June 26, 2013

What I Love About Me ~ Annika of the Pineneedle Collective

What I Love About Me

This summer, I'm hosting an ongoing weekly series called "What I Love About Me," where I ask a variety of women bloggers what they love most about themselves! This was a project I started last summer, and I'm happy to bring it back.

In our culture, it can be hard for women to think and talk positively about ourselves. TV, movies, commercials, magazines, and even blogs constantly prodding us with messages about how we are supposed to look, act, and feel as women. It's easy to be susceptible to these messages, and it's not uncommon for many to find themselves on a constant quest to be "good enough" in society's eyes. On top of that, those who are confident and vocal about their good qualities are often thought of as arrogant, conceited, and sometimes others even feel the need to "take them down a notch."

With this series, I want to promote women realizing and celebrating the amazing aspects of themselves, without fear or shame.

Read on about this week's amazing woman, Annika of the Pineneedle Collective.

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What I love about me?

After giving this question from Chantilly a lot - LOT - of thought, I decided that what I love most about myself is my ability push myself, especially when bad things happen. If you had to put a name to it, I guess you'd call it tenacity, persistence or determination. Or, as I'm going to refer to it for the rest of the post, total stubbornness.

Being finally happy with my appearance and who I was as a person at age 19, after being an extremely self-conscious teenager, it was suddenly ripped away from me when I was diagnosed with a terrifying, life-threatening (and unfortunately, lifelong) illness. This was 2 years ago now, and I'll be dealing with it for the rest of my life. Being put on a whole bunch of medications - which did save my life, I'll give them that - I was suddenly no longer in control of my appearance or how I felt. My face swelled up, I instantly gained 15 kilos, my skin became horribly blemished and I was having mood swings that were like PMS x 1000 every single day. I was no longer able to do a lot of things that I'd always taken for granted (including, at my worst, doing my hair and dressing myself. That wasn't a happy time for a fashion blogger). And, I wasn't able to concentrate for long periods of time and felt really stupid and slooooow (which was awful because I wanted to become a scientist!) It felt like everything I had been aiming for was being ripped away from me, and it all felt horribly unfair.

But you know what? I'm happy. Most days, I am really, really happy. And I am happy both because I had to learn how to put things into perspective, and also because I am stubborn.

I never let being sick stop me from doing what I wanted to do. At the height of my illness, I started going to University full-time to study science. I studied extra hard because I had such a difficult time concentrating in lectures.

640 Also, for some mad reason, I started up a fashion blog which kept me crazy busy. I refused to let the fact that my appearance had dramatically changed get in the way of sharing with the world something I was really passionate about. I dyed my hair bright blue and pink, to wrangle back some control over my appearance. I wore crazy wigs and some really out-there outfits. I kept myself totally busy, pushing myself to keep going, doing whatever I could manage to do. And now that I am doing much better than I have been in 2 whole years, I am really quite proud of myself for being ridiculously stubborn and refusing to let something bad take over my life.

So, even though it was something my parents always complained about when I was a kid when I would cry and scream until I got my own way, that quality has evolved into something that I really like about myself - my stubbornness.

xo, Annika


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  1. Sweet. I really adore your blue dress! Love to know some stuff about u.


  2. What a nice series! I hope to read more posts.

    Monica, www.pear-shaped-gal.com

  3. great hair!
    I think is always important to push ourselves no matter what :)

  4. What an awesome idea for a series!

  5. this is a great series! and I love Annika's blog!
    Rebecca @ tr[i]b[e]cca

  6. What a wonderful series! This is very inspirational, I love her blog.

    Blue Roses


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