I Have Challenged Myself To Face My Biggest Challenge
I recently challenged myself to do something I have never considered doing. I have asked myself to try and face my biggest challenge head on. I have asked myself to push myself to limits I am unsure I can reach. I have challenged myself to conquer a timeline embroidered with fear, personal exposure and endless embarrassment.
I have faith in me. I have always pushed myself to be the best version of me. I am already cheering myself on.
However, I fear this time I may have pushed myself beyond a comfort zone I never really wanted to cross.
After careful consideration and reflection on my mission with corporatetocountry.com, I have accepted my hard-core challenge. If I can quit a full-time, high profile, high paying corporate job to move to the middle of the woods, flipping my life upside down, I can easily do what is being asked of myself.
Folks, I need 100% of your support to get over an obnoxious bad habit I have had my ENTIRE LIFE.
It’s called Trichotillomania. It is an impulse control disorder. Basically, whenever I feel stressed or under pressure, I pull my eyebrows and eyelashes out. Trichotillomania effects people in many different ways. For me, whenever I feel the pressure of stress, I tend to pull tiny hairs out of my face.
I know. It sounds ridiculous because it is.
My family and friends have always pointed out missing hairs from my face. I have been made fun of many times, especially in high school which would lead to more hair pulling. When things have gone sour in any area of my life, I would literally pull my hair out. I have actually gone months with little to no eyebrows.
Over the years, I have really tried to control my bad habit. I would manage my stress as best I could, understanding the triggers for my hair pulling habit. Unfortunately, I would end up pulling hairs out in my sleep (stress sucks).
As I became older, I just started using a tweezers to pull out unwanted hairs, rather than my fingernails. Consequently, the shape of my eyebrows has changed drastically. In addition, my eyelashes would sometimes be missing patches that I had pulled in my sleep. The lash would curl because my fingernails which would lead me to pluck. Plucking was a way to “save” my lashes and brows.
It’s never really worked well. I am now down to a thin amount of hair and I HATE IT!
I have challenged myself to let my lashes and brows grow for the next three months without shaping them or giving in to my impulse control disorder. Now is MY TIME.
Seriously, what better of a time than now for me? I live in the woods, secluded from the masses, no 9-5 job to “look good” for and a completely supportive husband that will love me no matter how foolish I may look.
So, why am I exposing my most personal challenge with the masses online when I can easily hide my problem?
Well, I have to. I believe my website, my blog and my personal experiences are meant to be shared with the world. My personal mission is to motivate others to be the best possible versions of themselves. If I can involve the masses with my hardest, most personal “problem”, prove to everyone that I can solve it and be pushed beyond my comfort zone limits, then I feel like I have done my job. If I can show the world that we are capable of facing our fears head on, pushing ourselves, envisioning a promising and happy future, and leading a life worth living, then I will leave this world happy.
Listen, we all have things that make us feel silly, small, stupid or not worthy. The biggest problem with these issues are that we are sometimes not willing to push ourselves to get over them. Moreover, we choose to deal with them for fear of embarrassment, or even worse, for fear that we will not receive the love and support we most certainly deserve.
So, here I go. Here and now, I begin my own personal challenge. I vow, for the next three months, to let my eyebrows and eyelashes grow without plucking or pulling them out. I will keep you updated with photos of my progress and a journal-like report of how my challenge is challenging me.
Wish me luck!
Update: 1 Week
Wow! What a week!
I managed to not touch my eyebrows AT ALL this past week. Let me tell you. It was definitely a challenge. I had to be so much more tapped into my personal feelings and aware of my hands reaching to pull out hair. I am proud to say that I overcame the hardest part of this journey…starting.
It seriously could not have been harder. Here are some things I endured this past week:
- My husband came down with the stomach flu ten minutes after I published the original blog post about my personal challenge.
- I got the bug the very next day, all day.
- My mortgage company contacted me to let me know our bill would be increasing to cover the costs of rising premiums for home insurance. My escrow needs to cover the insurance so my brain, and budget, was thrown into a vortex for a moment. I just hate receiving news that messes with my world. It’s one of those stressful events that triggers my hair pulling problem.
- Both kids are going through a crazy growth spurt which means all the food in the house is simply not enough. Grocery shopping trip had to be done. Not my idea of a good time.
- I never find myself interested in televisions shows, nor do we watch much t.v. at all. However, I have found myself addicted to The Bachelor this season. Chris Soules is a real farmer from Iowa and had me hooked right from the beginning. I’ve never watched this show before, but it consumed me. The last episode was this past week…he chose the girl I wanted for him. I caught myself reaching to pluck my eyebrows throughout the entire episode. I felt like a moron when I kept realizing that I was making these gestures about a crazy reality show. What the hell Jessie?!
These are only a few of the ridiculous events that stressed me to no end. Thankfully, I have a nice set of crazy hairs growing back in random places on my brow line. My lashes seem to itch more so I am wondering if new growth will be popping out soon.
After my week was up, I looked in the mirror and told myself I did a good job. It was crazy hard, but totally worth knowing my real eyebrows and lashes will be here soon. In fact, I gifted myself (and my family) six new chicks. We added them to our homestead yesterday. Check out my Facebook Page to see some pics the baby chicks.
Needless to say, I am proud of myself and ready to continue my hardest personal challenge!
Update: Week 3
Okay, things have slowed down in my household the last couple of weeks so stress is not my biggest challenge. I’m feeling wonderful now that the sun is shining more often.
My eyebrows are filling in sporadically. It has been YEARS since I have had this much hair hanging over my forehead. I am proud of leaving my hairs alone and growth is actually happening. However, I definitely feel awkward. There are many spots that still need to fill in. I am beginning to worry that I have killed the follicle and growth will cease to happen in these strange looking patches.
On the same front, my eyelashes also have a few missing patches where hairs are not growing. Luckily, they are small and the longer lashes surrounding the baron spots somewhat hide the problem.
Overall, I am just glad to feel more calm about and at ease about my trichotillomania impulses. I am also feeling slightly better about letting these emotions out the masses. I have had several emails and Facebook messages with encouraging words and outpouring of some others’ personal habits that they are now in the process of fighting. I am glad to have your support and be able to help where I can. Thank you.
Update: Week 7
Personal challenges need to be taken seriously if they are to be conquered. I have spent the last several weeks focusing on my personal challenge, really honing in on what makes me “tick”. My trichotillomania has had the best of me for years and years, but I refuse to let it consume me anymore.
Okay, for starters, I have stayed away from updating this particular blog so that I would have more content to write about. However, that is one of the single most annoying things that triggered my habitual impulses, making me want to pull my facial hairs right on out! I LOVE writing…I LOVE updating my readers…I LOVE spending time on my computer getting lost in the creative parts of my mind. Forcing myself to stay away from the blog was pure torture and made my achieving my goal of leaving my eyebrows alone turn into a real issue for me.
My eyebrows look pretty darn good (more of that to come). Unfortunately, my eyelashes took a major hit. I woke up one morning with a few patches on my right eyelid. I knew it going to bed too. I had this overwhelming feeling that I should hop onto the internet and do a little once-over on a rough draft. I didn’t and that feeling apparently got the best of me.
This speaks volumes to my frustrations, triggers and stressors. I have always been a working woman. I literally let it define who I am, and still do right here on this website corporatetocountry.com. I’ve made serious strides to free myself of the corporate lifestyle, but ditching the creativity in me altogether is pure insanity for me.
It sounds pathetic on paper and likely, as you are reading this, you have some slip-of-the-tongue names for me and my embarrassing trichotillomania issues.
I don’t care. I am trying to take care of this problem once and for all. This is how I feel it will work best for me.
Okay, so the good news on my eyebrows. They really do look good. I have left them alone for long enough that I felt I deserved a special plucking session to even things out. It didn’t take long to pluck the few unruly hairs and shape my new-found brows.
It feels great to ditch the eyebrow pencil for the most part.
Now, the last few weeks of my personal challenge will be spent focusing on filling in my missing l;ashes and finalizing the steps to breaking my bad hair-pulling habit. I am confident I can beat this thing head on now that I have spent some much needed time understanding my frustrations, triggers and stressors.
Update Week 12:
I did it!
I completed my goal…all twelve weeks. It was the single hardest thing I have ever purposely put myself through. The challenge, ultimately, was to overcome a 20-some year old habit of pulling my eyebrow and eyelash hair out whenever I felt pressure or stress.
With that challenge came so much more.
I discovered what actually stresses me out. Honestly, knowing what sets me off to secretly (and unconsciously) pull my hair, allows me more freedom from my internal demons AND gives me a chance to really love who I am.
See how a door to betterment happened for me?
Seriously though! I had to make myself work hard to not touch my face. There were times I failed. There were times I caught myself. There were times I prayed to get over it. The challenge was real. The struggle was real.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If there is anything I can teach others from my own personal lessons gained here, it is this: Once you are able to recognize your faults, failures, ticks, stressors, pressure points and personal negative criticisms, you will be able to fall in love with yourself. What happens next is amazing. You will be free. You will feel like you can fly. You will put all those unnecessary things behind you, moving forward with only a positive light to guide you. You will LIVE!
Thank you to all of you who followed my challenge story. Thank you to those who reach out and communicated your support. Your kind words and caring spirits truly helped me push forward. I appreciate it.
I have chosen not to include a picture of my somewhat bushier, shapelier eyebrows and somewhat thicker eyelashes. This challenge was not about my end result of how I looked, but rather focusing on overcoming a bad habit, trichotillomania, and figuring out how to be in front of the problem so I can beat it before it beats me.