Quote of the Day:
We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.
Current Local Weather:
Showers of falling leaves, forgotten anxieties and new love reigning over
the unkempt terrain of my mind.
Currently on my iTunes:
"Beast of Burden"
"Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith"
Dear Friends, Family and My Family of Friends,
This week marks a first for me. Actually, the first of many, many changes coming my way. This year has been a record-breaking year of firsts, too. I took myself off of Facebook. I'm removing most of, if not all, of the "non-essential" tasks from my life. I've made efforts to simplify life before and dubiously failed at each of them. Reasons for these episodes of failure vary as widely as the reasons Fox News comes up for the Obama administration's plot to bring this country into a new depression era. However, unlike the Obama administration, I don't have to answer to anyone other than myself and I will make sure that the rest of my career as a mom, a writer and friend/lover, from here on out, will be a success. Time has been a great educator and has taught me that the only thing that truly matters on this earth has nothing to do with monetary success and everything to do with the people you love most. Failure is not an option.
As a human, I am dubiously flawed. It seems that when life gets you down or is holding you by the throat with a vice grip, that's when most of us tend to be the hardest on ourselves. Throughout the last couple of years I've called myself names and beat the ever-living shit out of my self-esteem by assuming that I was the fault of all of my issues and that if I had just not done this or said that or been here or left there, that everything in my life would be aok. It's taken me a cool 37+ years to learn that this isn't the case. That everything happens when it's supposed to happen whether or not we want it to happen. It took one person, well, a couple of people to teach me that calling myself names, just as if I was calling someone else names was/is the wrong way to handle stress and my life.
But for the sake of example, I wanted to catalog some of the names I've called myself through these tough times and that I've now forever erased from my vocabulary
Like many women, I believe that we are harder on ourselves regarding our weight than any other person would dream to be. However, I've been dating and meeting men on and off for over three years now. Each time a man would ask me out and, yes there were more than a few, meet me for the first time and make the comment that...if you would just lose 20-50 lbs, you'd be hot...I would lose a bit of myself. Would I entertain the idea of going out with them again? Absolutely not. Would I allow them to enter into my head and f*** it up for a few weeks/months/years? Absolutely. Doesn't mean it's right. But it is what it is.
I recently met a man. We'll call him Mr. Wonderful to protect his identity. I asked him, on one of our dates if my weight bothered him. He then asked, "Are you happy with yourself?"
I had to pause before I answered his question. I then said, "Yes. Yes I am." Because truth is, I'm really happy with myself. I can't believe I am actually alive and thriving after all the shit I've been through. Being happy in this life is a given compared to the alternative of being dead. And so what if I have curves. If you've ever been in my kitchen, you'll know that my curves are due to constantly practicing the art of home cooking. And I'm damn good at it. I've earned every square inch of my true and womanly shape and it feels damn good to be in my skin.
Failure or bad health do not equal stupidity. Making mistakes is something even the brightest stars in the human race do. Making the same mistake twice...doesn't equal stupidity either. I think calling yourself stupid is never an option in serious situations. I've often called myself stupid for not being able to say no, or because I couldn't remember something even though I reminded myself of whatever that something was a million billion times. But what hurts the most is knowing that I feel more stupid than not when I'm being attacked by others, verbally or emotionally. As if something I have done brought it on when more often than not it was NOTHING I did and everything about their own insecurities.
This is something I've had to grapple with when it comes to my daughters. They're 12 years old and have entered those gloriously awkward years known as Junior High. I've heard them both say that they feel stupid when they're doing their homework. Teaching them that this is not a name they should ever say about themselves or anyone for that matter is paramount in my home. If they grow up believing in the names they call themselves, like I did for many, many years, they'll be repeating a lot of the painful episodes I've gone through. I realize I can't stop them from saying it when I'm not around. However, the only thing I can truly do is remind them that they're absolutely NOT stupid, they're just learning and storing up experiences for their later years. I am making a concerted effort to not use that word at all, even in joking about something, around them. It too has been wiped from my vocabulary.
And despite my opinion, I've been quite successful in this life. Choosing to become a failure and being a loser is one thing...assuming you are one is a completely different issue. This is one of the bigger reasons I've removed myself off of Facebook. Night after night when I was sick or felt like throwing the proverbial towel in, I would sit on Facebook and look at the pictures of everyone's life. It was as if I was window shopping for a life that could potentially look good with my hair, my makeup and personal style.
So and so would have pics of their new car. Some people would have pics of their new house. Wedding pictures. Beach vacation pictures. Beautiful gardens. Beautiful boyfriends/girlfriends. Vacations overseas, book covers for their newest publication, kids graduating and kids just enjoying themselves with their friends and family.
I looked at everyone else' life and decided that I was a failure. I was the loser. I was doing nothing but existing and often times I still am. I've been in survival mode for years and years and years. Just getting by and never getting ahead. But this does not mean that I'm a failure. Nor does it mean that I'm not grateful and joyous over my friends' successes and lives. However, it does mean that I've spent time, instead of being grateful for who I am, where I am and the life I'm living, I've been resentful, pained and strained in every way possible. I could have invested my thoughts in the positive and through doing things that made ME happy and brought me closer to the better life I want...nope. I was on Facebook. So now, I've chosen to leave Facebook. I've chosen to do things that better my life and not make me feel like the loser I've felt like.
NAMES I SHOULD HAVE CALLED MYSELF:
FAITHFUL, LOVING, KIND, BEAUTIFUL....
I've met the most amazing man. Just when I'd lost faith in ever being able to be a loveable person, I met someone that not only has the most patience of anyone I've met or dated, but someone that is reestablishing faith and love in myself. Someone that absolutely takes me for who I am, flaws and all. Someone that lifts me up and asks me to place faith in my God before placing worry on my shoulders. I've finally met my unicorn. And this unicorn wouldn't have stayed if I hadn't cut the names above out of my vocabulary prior to meeting him.
I've been blessed with the very best friends in the world. Real girlfriends that are there with me every step of the way. Ones that I can call and scream and yell and cry and they still hug me and allow me to get snot on their shoulders and vice versa.
I've renewed my energies towards my daughters. After all, this is their ONE shot at growing up. I've already grown up...mostly...and it's my responsibility to raise them the best I possibly can and provide them the foundation they need to make the right choices and to avoid name-calling in their futures.
And despite feeling as if I've let my "career" go to the side, I've realized that a career is just that. It's not the end all be all, but I am the world to my daughters and they have every bit of faith in me as their mom and provider. It's high time that I realized this and gave them every chance in the world to succeed at life and have a good foundation to make the choices that will ultimately carve their life path.
I've ignored God for way too long. He got me through hell and back and to throw him to the curb now that I'm "healthy" and finally loving who I am and where I am...well, that's the real definition of STUPID.
I hope that wherever you are in your life, wherever you're going in life and whomever you choose to share your days with, that you're happy. Whether it's a Mr. Wonderful like I have or with the family you've always been with since the day you were born, it's my wish that you'll ignore the names you may call yourself when no one is listening and the voice that tells you that you're not good enough for the rest of your days. Comparing yourself to anyone other than the person you see when you close your eyes and the person you know you can be, is a true crime.
Don't rob yourself of the future you deserve. Try calling yourself these names next time life gets you by the throat and see the difference it makes: Beautiful. Kind. Charitable. Giving. Worth the world. Perfect in your Imperfections.
Yours in Name Calling, Never Giving Up and A New Life,