The Thoughts of the Layers of the YES Onion

October 23, 2020


This is my last post for The Beauty Project: Exploring the Beauty Industry 2020 and with that I want to share my journal entry (in addition to my conclusion) that led me to share this photo that I LOVE. I am aware of the length of this and the actual blog post and I believe both are worth reading fully and without distractions. To me, writing is how I process. And I want you to know that I am sharing this because I believe that my choice in sharing my vulnerabilities is not easy but I know the massive benefits of the ripple effect. Sometimes it’s a friend that I haven’t seen in years telling me how much my words mean to them when they are having a tough time (even if they never even hit that “like” button) and most of the time I will never really know how all of words land with you. But if I can positively impact at least one person by sharing all of this, I’m doing something right.


Journal entry 10/22/2020:


The Thoughts of the Layers of the YES Onion


I just got done eating a plate of delicious nachos and then went to the bathroom to take a bath. As I took off my clothes I had a series of thoughts.

First thought: Damn, these “bigger” pants are starting to feel tight.

Second thought: Woah. I’ve never felt actual fat on my body like this. I’ve just felt fat without actually being fat.

Third: *Panicked* This isn’t good. I need to get it together.

Fourth: Fuck, who am I kidding. If I haven’t gotten it together by now this year, there’s no way that’s happening now.. it’s winter!

Fifth thought: Yupp. This is what it’s like to not be a tiny little twig. Those days are behind me.

Sixth thought: I kind of like this.

Seventh thought: Oh I shouldn’t like it. I’m not supposed to actually like it.

Eighth thought: Goddammit, I’m gonna have to buy new pants again. And what am I gonna do about this new development of my double chin?

Next thought(because who am I kidding, no one actually counts their thoughts): Okay, let’s be real for a second… I kind of like this. I kinda really like this... I know I’m not supposed to like this. But if I didn’t have the voices in my head (that are not mine) telling me that I shouldn’t like gaining weight and being out of shape, I might actually like this.

And so as I lay in the bath, looking at a body with thicker thighs, a bigger ass, a belly I understand I am to be shamed off, feeling my rounder face; I have a calmer mind, a softer heart, a delighted spirit, and you know what, a god damn beautiful body that was put here to be just as it is. To love and be loved, just as it is. And it’s a body choosing to take on a new experience to be open to more empathy, compassion, understanding. To grow in love, diversity, and divinity.

As these layers of my onion are getting peeled back and I’m shakily excited to take on this newness. To look at my layers of shame, guilt, and vulnerability to ask questions about how they came to be, what they came to teach. I’m gonna have some hard honest conversations with myself as I take each one off, but ultimately those are the best, most direct ways to becoming more human.”


My onion includes a very complicated, drawn out explanation of wanting to share this fun photo of myself. But since I don’t have to explain myself to anyone and I can just celebrate myself for being an accomplished, beautiful woman, I am sharing this photo because I am beautiful, fun and sexy! It reminds me I can let myself be all of that and MORE!!!! I love that I am choosing to share this despite my family being on this list and some people I wouldn’t normally share such a photo with. I am choosing this to embrace and commit to my journey of radical self love.


I have been getting fed really well on levels of mind, heart, body, and soul. My mind has been getting fed well with the gentleness I’ve been tending to. My heart has been getting fed really well with the love I’ve been giving and getting. My body has been getting fed really well with so much amazing food and nourishment. And my soul has been getting fed really well with how well I have been showing up for it by living on purpose. My body may have been expanding out of my pants in uncomfortable ways, but so did my heart, mind, and soul. The allowance of uncomfortable expansion of thyself is odd. It’s easy to get all gungho about wanting to be fixed or to change and be different than you were before. It’s easy to avoid and not sit in the uncomfortability. It’s also easy to want to be constantly improving, always wanting to be a better human.

But what if it was just about peeling back the layers of your onion to be more fully yourself, not striving to be a better human, not trying to change. What about just being more fully you and who you are at the core of your onion?


The journey of radical self love that I have been on without screaming from the top of a mountain top to the whole world has been part of the layers of my “YES onion!”

And now that I’ve been peeling back those layers, learning that loving myself is more than accepting myself. Accepting myself is mediocre and plain. I have arrived at the declaration part of my onion... I am elated to share my YES to RADICAL SELF LOVE.


The next part of my onion is finding completion, celebration, and acknowledgment for all that I have learned and accomplished. The beauty of pouring my heart and soul into something and it coming out ugly, messy, unclean, and not “perfect” is probably how I mostly live my life. It’s a constant battle of finding balance between being too much and not good enough. But it’s these things that push me to learn, grow, and accept. And, the best way I have found to do this is creating PROJECTS!!


I love assigning myself with extravagant projects — like this one, “The Beauty Project: Exploring The Beauty Industry.” I love the journey of getting a cool idea, then thinking about that idea, and then the idea finally grabs a hold of me and says - “Are we doing this or not? Because, if not, then I’m going to find someone that will!”


I decide, “Okay. Yes. Let’s friggin’ do this!” Then I get my people to support me in whatever it is this time. Sometimes, it’s a Cheese and Cracker Party or a fundraiser for young girls and women; it’s talking about beauty and watching a neat documentary; and, sometimes it’s a wild eight hour dance party to raise money for the community safe alliance. The list goes on and on.

And then what happens next is magic.


I do it.


I get the crazy idea done.


But it’s not without learning a lot of new things. It’s not without lots of new challenges and lessons. It’s not without wanting to bang my head against the wall, scream, throw it out the window, and quit-- sometimes multiple times during the process.


There is something about the ideas that I fall in love with and I think they fall in love with me back. Somehow the idea and I befriend each other. Somehow we get to be in each other’s lives, we create a relationship, and... somehow we get to bring each other to life.


We create sweet beautiful magic together.


At the end, I often look at the project I created and laugh at all the shit I was so stressed about. I laugh at my desire for it to be perfect and I celebrate my incredible ability to let it not be “perfect” because that’s where the beauty lies. The beauty lies in the cracks of perfection, the humanity of myself, and the grace I find to know I did my best and that’s what perfection is.

Perfection is the imperfections, imperfections are the truth, truth is beauty, and beauty sits in the cracks of perfection. The idea and I look at each other in awe of the love we just created in each other and how we brought it to life and into the world, showed up for each other, took a chance on each other.


We said YES!


I cannot not have a purpose, something to be working on or towards. It’s something that is deeply rooted in me. It’s something that drives my life force and I am grateful for it. It’s something I am so glad that I have spent the time to learn how to receive messages inside of me, navigate, make commitments to, and most importantly, have boundaries with.


I am a river going with the flow, with direction, purpose, and determination. I roll over some rocks with no problem, I crash into some obstacles by making a splash, and I simply avoid others by acknowledging that they are not for me. I flow over the waterfall's edge with freedom, liberation and sometimes absolute terror. I land after the freefall with a graceful yet loud passionate expression. I move through the river bed sometimes with stillness and calmness. I collaborate with other water sources moving in the same direction, creating a team to become something more magnificent and impactful. May we all be streams, creeks, and rivers headed into the infinite, deep Mother Ocean.


Doing this project, the entirety of “The Beauty Project” starting five years ago, has been a wonderful example of this very thing inside of me. To be able to come up with ideas that I am passionate about and actually make them happen is a gift that I cherish. I love that when I started this year’s version of The Beauty Project I had no idea where it was going. I just wanted to connect with other people in the beauty industry. I love that I have had community and support through all of it. I love my moments of “OMG THIS IS WHO I AM!” I love becoming a writer and having my voice heard. I LOVE having my process witnessed. I love becoming a leader. I love being of service. I love enjoying being me and connecting to my inner self. And I love that through all the challenges I faced -- technology, getting COVID, feeling like no one wanted to be a part of my project, feeling like I bit off more than I could chew, etc... I still showed up to make it happen. I love the scarf in the magician’s hand, it just keeps going. This project is so much! I am so much! I am this project and this project is me!


I love reflecting on all that I got from this experience, writing about it and sharing it. One of those magical things that I gained from this year’s project during this time of deep, inner work, and inability to socialize like I used to has been letting go of needing validation. My ability to chat with people, to tell them what I am up to, what is alive for me, and what I am excited about has now shifted, if not become completely different. Sending emails that are about my project that 70% of the people on my list won’t open is disappointing (I’m guilty of this too, I am terrible at this for other people’s emails. I wish that I actually spent time reading emails and people’s blogs in the way that I wish people would actually spend with my work).


With “The Beauty Project” I have been exercising putting myself out there and letting go.

Having no idea who actually cares about receiving the emails, seeing only a fraction of the people opening them on the reports, and wondering if my hard work is just sitting there in space in the long lost email land. Posting about it on social media and getting five or six likes and one share, usually my mom, is disappointing. And when I am in a situation where I could actually share about it with people in person, I can’t seem to do it because my current ability to bullshit, small talk, and pretend I care about what strangers have to say is next to nothing right now and that is also disappointing. I suppose that’s what seven months of a pandemic will do.


I think it’s not necessarily that I don’t care about what people have to say or that they don’t care about what I have to say. I think that I am in the deep seeds of discovering a new way to listen and a new way that I want to express myself and be heard. Letting go of the need to be told that I am worth people’s time, that my ideas are worth people’s time, and my project is worth people’s time feels fucked up in the best way. Not being able to connect with people in person with immediate gratification has sent me on an emotional journey of feeling like people don’t care about my project or what I have to say -- no one cares about all the time and energy that I have poured into this. No one cares about me.


Of course, this is all a story and I know that none of that is true.

Putting myself out there on the internet and competing with a million other requests and offers of, “Look at me,” “No, look at me!,” “Open this email,” or “Click on this link,” when all you really wanna do is delete them all... or find that one important email that your boss sent you... or you really just want to numb out with your scrolling and not actually feel something... like this project’s whole intention is to make you feel and make you think, especially during the time of the most excruciating election, pandemic, and paradigmatic shift in livelihood... Believe me, I get it. Me, frickin’, too!


Whenever I start a new version of this project, I have simple ideas that snowball into big ideas. I tend to find a way to let the project lead me in the direction that it wants to go. I let it grab my heart and guide me. It has been a journey leaning into knowing that my project is worth people’s time, that they will appreciate it, and that it will enrich their lives in some way. That’s what this project seems to always bring to me...always some lesson of depth...always some lesson of giving in...always some lesson of letting go.


To add to the “not being good enough” or “not perfect enough” part, my video and audio are not, in my opinion, cleanly put together. I feel self-conscious about them. I cringe when I listen back and hear something dumb that I could have edited out. But, I decided that I don't want to change them. I don’t want them to be perfect. I like that they cause me discomfort because it challenges me to look at my conditionings and what I really want to believe. I like that there are long awkward pauses and abrupt transitions. Not because I want to disrespect or disregard something that is done well and from someone that actually knows what they are doing. It is because it reminds me that I am good enough to put myself out there as I am. That I am worthy of taking up space. I am worthy of saying that what I am up to is worth your time. Not because I need your acceptance of it, but because I have something to say that is important and so do these people. I love that they are messy and vulnerable because they are honest, real, and raw. They are expressions of where I am in my own becoming of who I am.


And, that’s what “The Beauty Project” is all about.


Defining the beauty industry in this version of “The Beauty Project” has been an incredible opportunity for me to point out my celebrations of it and my qualms about it. It has been a chance for me to call it out and name my frustrations and hold myself accountable for where I believe I fit into the industry. It has also been great to invite others to look at this question too. I’ve learned I’m not the only one that can be challenged with darkness and that others take those very challenges and create something worth standing for.


That's what the beauty industry is-- an opportunity to take the dark shadow sides of vanity, inadequacy, and superficial standards put them aside and create something deeply beautiful with the thickness of our strong thighs, the stretch marks of our growing hearts, and the scars of our childhood wounds.


I love my determination to make shit happen when I really want it to. I love that I notice when I don’t care about something and I am feeling like I “should.” And, I love my ability to challenge myself to try new things and learn new things. I am far from perfect. I am far from being able to handle lots of things in this world and I am so glad that I have learned a way for me to learn how to learn. I love uncovering and discovering what this project wants to be every time I sit down to work on it. I love that when I feel like I am overwhelmed and overworking myself with this project and it starts to feel like a burden, I stop. I just stop and I give myself a break. Sometimes it’s for a month because I had COVID and can’t stop sleeping. Sometimes it’s for a couple years because I’m exploring new and different parts of me that are still part of this project but it’s not the number one running constant. And, sometimes it’s just for a day or two because I need to do some mindless activity like my paintings.


I love that I’ll give this to myself in full trust that the next idea or inspiration for it will come when I’m ready, when it’s ready to come through me.


With all of that said there is still something missing… Gratitude.


Gratitude for... all that chose to have me interview them and chose to have their voice heard! Thank you for your time, wisdom, and presence in our world. Without you, this deep dive wouldn’t have happened. I LOVE YOU!


Gratitude for... my parents for always being so supportive of anything I choose to do with my time. I LOVE YOU!


Gratitude for... my coach, always giving me amazing feedback and guiding me to answers with thoughtful, deep questions, and impeccable timing. Your ability to be kind and keep me on track is mind blowing. I LOVE YOU!


Gratitude for... my aunt and partner for jumping on my team to help edit all my typos out so it flows and makes sense to other human beings so y'all aren’t just reading the mumbo jumbo thoughts inside my mind. I LOVE YOU!


And, extra gratitude for... my partner for listening to me go on and on and on about all my amazing thoughts, ideas, and dreams. And always listening to me cry on and on and on about how no one cares and my amazing thoughts, ideas, and dreams aren’t good enough or they are too much for our world. You help level and ground me. I LOVE YOU!


I wouldn’t be where I am without a team and community to support me. I am so grateful to have had such an amazing opportunity to have time to do this unexpected project this year.

Lastly, gratitude for... myself and “The Beauty Project” for always going with the next idea when the time is right, knowing how to trust myself, and navigate all the challenges and all the magic. I LOVE YOU!


Thanks y'all!

That concludes The Beauty Project: Exploring The Beauty Industry 2020. I’m off to other adventures! Until next time, please keep making this world beautiful despite the loudness of hatred.


Love speaks deeper, fuller, and is much more expansive...

...although the hatred, indifference and dare I say-- fear, is easier to hear and see because it’s needy and desperate; love and kindness is everywhere. And when you look beneath the surface the beauty that lies within is waiting to show up, teach you, guide you, and support you through all that is.


Love and gratitude,

Jillian

Creator/ Founder of The Beauty Project

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