Nothing brings a group of people together like the grief over someone well loved and revered. Someone like Kobe Bryant.Read More...
New Year’s resolutions have never really been my thing. I guess I have always been judgmental to some degree of people who make these resolutions. I mean, how many people actually follow through with their list of commitments and intentions in the New Year? And for how long? A few weeks? Months maybe? I resigned myself to the fact that I was a cynic and would never be one of the millions of people to put pen to paper with each coming year. The truth is my judgment wasn’t really directed at anyone in particular of course. That’s the thing about judgment. Who was I really being judgmental of? Yes, you got. Me, myself and I. Yes, I am the one who doesn’t follow through with my own goals! So this year I have chosen to make a list of intentions for myself. I like the idea of setting intentions for myself so much better. I have made a list of things that I would like to accomplish this year. One of the things that made it on to my list of intentions was to write more. To be more creative. To be intentional with the time I make for this creativity. This will be a place where I share my heart about life, love and everything in-between. Join me as I try to make sense of this human thing. And dare I say, I had a blast making a list of intentions for myself. I totally get it now. I’m so sorry to all the people I have judged over the years. It was never about you anyways. 😉
I have been thinking about writing about this particular subject for some time now, but to be honest admitting that you are often times lonely feels terribly tragic and sad. Especially when you are a mom. Right? I mean the very definition of the word “lonely” is “sad because one has no friends or company” or “without companions, solitary”. It seems to me that the antonym to lonely is mother. My constant tiny companion and lack of solitude suggests this to be true. So how, when a woman is surrounded by humans all day, could she possibly be lonely?
I spend my days homeschooling my daughter, helping my husband with our business, doing laundry, cleaning, cooking, running to the dance studio, cooking, and more cleaning. I often wonder when I lay my head down at night how I could possibly fit one more thing into my day, but there it is. That one extra thing. The lonely ache. Please don’t misunderstand me. I love my life. I love my family. But when I became a mother no one prepared me for the moment that I would be lying in bed next to my husband while he slept and feel, lonely. I’m not really sure that is something you can prepare someone for. Along with sometimes feeling lonely comes the feelings of guilt. How could I allow myself to even entertain the notion that motherhood can feel isolating at times. I mean this is what I wanted right?
I’m not really even sure I can adequately express to you why I find myself feeling lonesome at times. Maybe it’s because I spend my time encouraging and listening to my family and rallying around them to breathe life into their dreams. As moms, we carry the weight of our happiness and if that wasn’t heavy enough we carry the weight of ensuring our children have the tools to someday embrace the idea that their happiness is their responsibility and theirs alone. Or maybe its because there are times as a mom I don’t feel I am seen. You know. Really seen. I am a mom. I am a wife. But those are not the only things that I am. I am kind. I am generous. I am compassionate. I am strong. I am intelligent. I am a woman outside of these beautiful souls. Or maybe because, no matter how hard he tries, my husband is not here all day and sometimes he just doesn’t get it. He’s not a mom. And if we are being truthful, I am so thankful for that. He works so hard for our family and gets up each day and leaves us to go make a living so that I am able to stay home and raise our family. But at the end of the day he just doesn’t always get it. No matter how open his ears and heart are to me, until you become a mother there is only so much you can understand.
I know I can’t be the only mom who feels this way sometimes. Maybe we find ourself on isolation island because it seems motherhood has become a race and competition of sorts. Where love and support are supposed to be we are met with judgment and ridicule. I don’t know what could be more isolating than that right there. Or what about the belief that moms are not supposed to hate motherhood or God forbid, in a fleeting moment, their children? How lonely to think we are the only moms to have those thoughts. Or maybe it’s the honest confession to being lonely that makes us feel like we are on a desert island. We remain isolated because we believe the lie that we are the only one who could possibly be lonely amongst a room full of the family that we created. I’ll give you a few seconds to go ahead and laugh. You done? No? Ok a few more seconds. Now, that we got that out let’s get serious again. The road that we call motherhood is never straight. We will encounter bumps, ruts and detours and often will wander on Lonely Lane. The good thing is that we won’t stay on that road forever. Eventually we will be led back or taken to a . We just have to allow ourselves to ride it out. And when you find yourself on that road please remember to look up. What you will see is other women just like yourself. So give a smile and a wave and remember that you are never alone on this journey. Don’t believe the lies of loneliness. There is an elite group of women who are feeling the same way you are and they want to remind you that you are loved, you are seen, you are amazing and you are understood. And besides being lonely isn’t the worst thing to happen in the world. We are souls having a human experience after all. It’s just another part of our journey. It means we are alive. Ain’t nothing tragic about that. Surrounding all you amazing mamas in so much love and light.
When turmoil hits I often think of that proverbial puzzle. You know, the one we liken our lives to once we have it all figured out, once all the pieces fit together leaving us with a picturesque view of the ocean or a snow laden mountain top. So what happens when life happens? When our life is blown into smithereens right before our very eyes? Our once perfect picture is stained and unrecognizable. We don’t know where to begin. We try frantically to create a new picture. To find new pieces to fit together to give us the same sense of security and hope we once felt. We see the pieces that once were and we shutter. They are ugly. They are painful. They are grotesque. They are dark. They are hopeless. They offer nothing to us. Except the painful reminder that life will never be the same. No, those pieces will never be what they once were. So we begin to move through the rubble of our lives and attempt to re create. To reinvent. To reestablish. But can we? Can we actually piece back together something that is irrevocably damaged? Can we recreate it to be exactly what it once was? No. Our lives will never be the same. We will never be the same. So what do we do? We start over. We take a step back and survey the wreckage before us. The shattered remains. We realize that the puzzle will never again look as charming and delightful as it once did. We begin working. We begrudgingly grab the remains and wonder to ourselves how pieces so small and so ugly could actually create something worthwhile. Something whole. As we move and work we notice that the puzzle we are creating is coming together. Piece by piece we are creating something new. Something abstract. Something different than we have ever known or seen before. We step back and admire our work. And that is when we get it. We understand. We acknowledge that our work was created from the rubble. And it is with this recognition that we see. We see our new reality. And we are full of gratitude. Why? Because we know that our beautiful, abstract puzzle is whole. And we have an even deeper knowing that our ruin and destruction is what created this beautiful masterpiece. We understand that if our life had never crumbled beneath us we would not have been able to create such a piece of art. I think that is the answer to life’s biggest puzzle. Finding beauty in the ashes. Choosing to see that the heartache we endured was meant for our highest good. Choosing each day to wake up and to continue trusting and having faith. Understanding that life was never meant to stay the same. Change is bound to come. Some change gently arrives and then other times, it violently crashes into us swallowing us whole into the waves of grief and loss. During tumultuous moments we need to remember that they are just that. Moments. Sure they can last years, but when the shift happens and our hearts have expanded we will sit down with a cup of coffee and take a deep breath. And with that out breath comes the acknowledgment that we survived. We made it. We are renewed. We are whole. We are changed. We are grateful. And we laugh. A hearty, full laugh. Why? Because we had the audacity to question our strength.
I love you. Je T’aime. Te amo. Three of the most powerful words in any dialect. Where does love begin? Love seems to be the universal word for so many feelings and emotions. I said “I love you” romantically for the first time when I was 18 years old. For privacy issues, the young lad in question will be known as “Steve”. I met Steve at the church I was attending at the time. We were both volunteers. Our romance was a whirlwind. It was quick and it was messy. I was desperately looking for love in any form at this stage in my life. We exchanged “I love you’s” after a few short months together. Along with my declaration of love, I gave him something that I vowed to hold onto. My virginity. Thus began the haze. I knew we wouldn’t last and I knew he was the wrong person for me and yet I plunged headfirst into the deep waters of infatuation. I convinced myself that our love would last and that his pending college acceptance to a university miles from home would have no bearing on the outcome of our relationship. I mean, the only reason he would ever think to leave me would be because long distance relationships are so difficult and he needed to focus on his studies. Right? It couldn’t possibly be the fact that I was an emotional vampire who sucked the very life right out of him. Hindsight is always so very 20/20. Much to my dismay, our whirlwind romance had come to an end. I was devastated. I incessantly called him, begging him to take me back. Which ALWAYS goes over so well. There were many factors in the demise of our seemingly picturesque partnership, but the one that I choose to shed light on today was my deep rooted need to be loved and my quest to find it. I would love to tell you that Steve was an asshole who just fucked me and then left, but that would be a lie. Steve didn’t stand a chance against my journey to find love. The poor, unfortunate soul was swallowed whole into the rose colored abyss. So what went wrong? We cared for each other, we were attracted to each other and we had fun in each other’s presence. We LOVED each other. I didn’t know what happened until years later. At first I blamed him for the crash of 2004. And then I was angry. And then I was ambivalent. I chose to detach myself from the knowledge that I had ever known him. He didn’t exist. If he didn’t exist I didn’t have to face what went wrong.
That was almost 12 years ago. I am in the twilight of my twenties and will be 30 in a few short weeks and I can confidently tell you that I know, unequivocally, where things took a turn for the worst. It was the moment that I chose that I was not LOVE in its purest and most powerful form. It was when I looked outwardly for what I had already obtained. Love begins with me. Love of self. Recognizing that I am the love that I had set out to find years ago. I look back on that time in my life and I am so full of gratitude. The ending of that relationship was a beginning. The soul exchange I had with Steve was crucial to my spiritual development. It was this experience that paved the way for me to truly learn what love is. It is Me. I AM LOVE. To Steve, thank you and my 18 year old self apologizes for the unrealistic and unfair notion that you were her end all and be all. I hope that wherever you are that you are happy and that you recognize your own nature. LOVE. We are all LOVE. We cannot love and experience love in the way that we deserve until we fall in love with ourselves. That is where it begins. They don’t call it “falling in…” on accident. Go ahead my darlings. Fall hard into the Divine LOVE of your very being. Much love.
Food. That very word elicits a certain sense of exhilaration and enthusiasm in my soul. I love food. I love everything about it. From the planning to the execution and then to the ever so beloved task of consuming, I love it. A healthy, conscious way of life is very important to me. Choosing food that nourishes both body and spirit is essential to my over all well-being and happiness. I know for a fact that a slice of chocolate cake has the power to change your life for the better. I believe that when we saturate our food with love, acceptance, and gratitude it will nourish our bodies on a level so raw and so spiritual that it has the ability to heal our bodies from the inside out. Mealtime should be a spiritual and reverent experience with laughter and love being the main ingredients. Along with loving our food experience, being aware of where our food comes from is so critical as well. In America, we have grown accustomed to eating food like products. We have health food sections and our organic food is so expensive it’s no wonder folks feel overwhelmed with the idea of eating healthy. Simple and raw have been replaced with GMO’s and chemicals. We now live in a world where we fear getting cancer when we bite into a piece of fruit. Becoming aware and mindful of the food you put you into your body and where you procure said sustenance can radically change your health and experience with food. Nestled in the heart of every city is a farmer. One who toils day and night to provide beautiful food for others. My family’s favorite day of the week is Saturday. We wake up early and head down to our local farmer’s market. My daughter plays with the other children while my husband and I shop for our week. Supporting our local farmers has become so important to my husband and I. Becoming familiar with the food I put into my body has inspired me to cook more and try new things. Which brings me to my reason for this post. Beets. Up until a few years ago the only experience I had with beets came from a can and the only description as to what they were was provided by my father who emphatically despised them. Beets have become sort of an underdog in the vegetable kingdom. They are only remembered for leaving you with a metal and bitter aftertaste in your mouth. But they are so much more than that. They are sweet and earthy. When I consume beets I feel as though Mother Earth is whispering all of her secrets into my ear. Beets remind me how connected I am to the Earth. Beets ground me. My most favorite way to use beets is to pickle them. Who doesn’t love anything pickled? Pickling beets showcases these underdogs in a whole new light. So without further adieu, I will share with you a wonderful recipe for these humble gems from Alton Brown.
Yields: 2 (1-quart mason jars)
Roasted beets, recipe follows
1 large red onion
1 cup tarragon wine vinegar (I just used white wine vinegar)
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
6 medium beets, cleaned with 1 inch stem remaining
2 large shallots, peeled
2 sprigs rosemary
2 teaspoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl toss all the of the ingredients (from the roasted beets ingredient list). Place into a foil pouch (I placed the pouch on a cookie sheet) and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
When they are cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the Roasted Beets and slice thinly. Arrange in 1-quart jars alternating layers with the onion. In a small pot boil the rest of the ingredients and pour over the beets. Tightly lid the jars and place in the refrigerator for 3 to 7 days before serving.
I found this recipe on the Food Network’s website. If you feel nervous about trying these earthy treats I hope you give them a chance. And more importantly I hope my words have sparked in you the inventiveness to be creative in the kitchen and to remember that love is the most essential ingredient to infuse into your dish. You can obtain the most magnificent ingredients, but without love they are just that. Love is the sacred salt needed to create lasting memories and health. Bon Appetit!
Growing up I never imagined a life without both my mother and father in it. As a young child I imagined how my life would be. I would get married, have children and enjoy family dinners and holidays with my children’s grandparents. I imagined what my parents would be like as “Grandma” and “Grandpa”. So when my father died at the age of 52 it threw a wrench in my well thought out plan. I was 21 years of age and had only been married 5 short months. How could this happen? I had envisioned the future since I was a little girl and now I was trading family get-togethers for a family gathering with a funeral coordinator.
My dad died on a chilly day in October. Halloween to be exact. I was picking my children up from football practice when I received the phone call that no 21 year old new bride would ever expect to get. The man on the other side of the phone informed me that my father was in critical condition at St. Bernadine’s hospital. As the tears streamed down my face I questioned how something like this could be happening. I was supposed to be celebrating Halloween with my family. Through sobs I pleaded with the kind man to give me more information. He politely told me that was the only information he could offer and that I needed to get to the hospital immediately. I quickly made arrangements for the boys and proceeded to the hospital with my husband. When we arrived the receptionist led us down a white and terribly sterile hallway that seem to go on for miles. When we got to the end of the hallway she proceeded to lead us into a special family waiting room. Growing up with a mother who cared for terminally ill children I knew exactly what this room represented. I refused to enter. To this day I do not know how my husband persuaded me to walk in. But there I found myself sitting on a hard chair in an extremely cold room wondering if my father was alive. The doctor and his team arrived moments later. It felt like hours. He sat down and looked at me. He was silent for what seemed like an eternity. The silence was deafening so without thinking I opened my mouth and blurted out the words, “Is he alive or not?” Taken back by my brazen attitude he replied, “No. We did everything we could, but his heart was just too weak. He suffered a massive myocardial infarction.” Considering my heartfelt commitment to “ER” I knew that was the medical term for a heart attack. In that moment I was hoping I was dreaming and I that would wake up with a vague memory of George Clooney in a white coat wandering through a television set. But it was not a dream. It was a nightmare. A nightmare, that within the amount of time it takes an individual to utter 19 words, became my new reality. I didn’t even get to say goodbye. How was I going to tell my 17 year old sister? My mother spent nearly 25 years married to this man when they decided to end their marriage. How was I going to tell the woman, who created life with this man, that she would never see him again? I was paralyzed. It was sheer supernatural forces that lifted me from my chair. When your world has crashed in all around you there is only thing to do. Go home. And that is what we did. The next month was spent going through mounds of paperwork and a lifetime of memories. The day I laid my father to rest was the day I buried my soul.
My experience over the months that followed my father’s death is personal and I have shared it with few people. Up until this moment in my life I had never navigated through turmoil without the aide of a substance. Anti-depressants were my therapy. I did not want to go down that road this time. I was not fully aware of the journey that I was about to embark upon, but I knew that I wanted to truly experience every stage of my grief. I told my husband my plan and that at some point I would come to him and beg him to take me to the doctor to get a prescription. I informed him that no matter how desperate I became he was not to let that happen.
My first panic attack happened while I was watching American Idol. I thought I was dying. I could hear the contestants trail off in the distance as I quite literally crawled up the stairs to our bedroom. I couldn’t breath. It felt like ice was coursing through my veins and the walls around me were closing in. My husband followed me upstairs and met me with a cool rag. He placed it on my forehead and gently held space for me as I found my center. Once calm, I fell asleep to have it all start over the next morning and it continued for weeks after that. I went from being a happy, carefree spirit to one who lived in constant fear of dying. I was afraid to drive. My solitude had always been a source of inspiration and renewal and those feelings were now replaced with fear and anguish. My husband became my chauffeur and whenever he left the house I went with him. This went on for months. This was all so hard on my husband and yet he never left my side. He held space for me. He believed in my power even though at this time I could not comprehend that infinite source. I became isolated and depressed. I didn’t want to live. The pain and anguish was unbearable. This was no way to live. Who was going to save me from this pit of despair that I was in?
As I surrendered to the idea that I was going to live the rest of my life in between anxiety attacks something happened. I became pregnant. We weren’t even trying. I was then struck with even more panic. I was in no way ready or willing to bring a child into the hell that I was living. As I let the news of new life sink in I realized I had two choices. I could continue to let fear control my life or I could pull up my bootstraps and trudge through the shit. I had no other option. With loins fully girded, I began my journey of healing. For my husband, for my children, for my unborn baby and for myself. The promise of new life was just the inspiration I need to find myself again. She was the motivating force, but I had to do the work. I had to be the one to save myself. No one could do that for me.
As the months past and my belly grew so did I. I woke up early one morning and was greeted by the sunrise. Along with its grandiose greeting the sun brought with it a beautiful reminder. It always returns. I closed my eyes and let the warmth envelope me in hope and faith renewed. I felt alive for the first time since my father died. I had learned something invaluable through my anguish. I learned to just be. I learned not to resist my emotions, but to invite them. I learned to see the despair with new eyes and perspective. My suffering reminded me that I was indeed alive. I had learned to let the grief was over me like rain. I still had rough days, but when those days came I knew that they would pass. My feelings saved me. They taught me how strong I am. They taught me to let others in and help. I started to face my fears one by one. In becoming reacquainted with solitude I became friends with someone who I thought I would never see again. Myself. She was always there. The soul. My soul. She was the voice I heard in those dark nights. She was the one who was gently beaconing me to look within. As American poet Robert Frost says, “The best way out is through.” And that is the only way I was able to heal. I had to walk through the turmoil, I had to crawl through the heartache. And at some point I found my bearings and I could see light. It was dim, but I could see it. So I ran. I ran like hell to it’s warmth.
It will be 7 years that my dad made his exit from this world and looking back over these years I can see how clearly Divine my experience was and that I had a host of angels guiding me through it all. Through these years I have learned what faith really is. Faith in my Higher Self. My dad is not gone. His soul is very much alive and I believe him to be my special angel who guides me and protects me. I give great thanks for this experience. It was through my father’s death that I was born. Born to live the life that I was meant to live. Which, in my opinion, far exceeds any vision that I could have ever imagined for myself. I love you Dad.
I have been married almost 9 years. My husband and I are very different people. He is the pragmatic, analytical, and sensible one. I am the wild, carefree, and untamed one. Most days we balance we each other out. And on the days we don’t it’s every man (and woman) for themselves. I have learned a lot about my husband in the time that I have known him. I know what makes him tick and I know what sets him off. Most of the time I see it happening before even he does. That’s how familiar I am with this soul I decided to do life with. But as the years have passed I have become enlightened to the fact that just knowing how he takes his coffee or that he prefers light starch to heavy when getting his clothes dry cleaned does not mean that I love him or even know him. It means I am simply observant. Which any one can do. Hell, the servers at our favorite Mom and Pop restaurant know that he loves cinnamon with his oatmeal. So how do we really love our men beyond daily mundane tasks and familiarities? How do we connect with these men that, on a core level our so vastly different than we are?
- Let him be a man. Men are masculine in nature. They are virile, rugged, robust and at times can be rough around the edges. Let them be men. Let them grunt, sweat, fart, burp and then when you’ve done that turn around and do it again. Love their masculinity. Love their brawny, testosterone filled, and red-blooded ways. Don’t nag him. If he pulls out a new roll of toilet paper and doesn’t put it on the actual holder you have one of 2 options. You can shut your mouth and just put the damn roll on the holder realizing that his hard work made it possible for you have that ass wipe OR you could hold the lonely TP holder in between your tits and ever so politely ask him if next time he could remember to refill it. Don’t whine at him. He had a mommy. You are his partner. In the words of Miranda Hobbs, “No one wants to fuck mean mommy.”
- Accept him. I realize that this is a hard one. Especially when you know that sometimes the change would make him a happier, more fulfilled version of himself. Trust me. I know how hard it is. But we must accept our men. Their journey is singular and completely separate from ours. There will always be one person in the relationship who is meant to hold space for the other. And more often then not at some point throughout your lives together he will be holding space for you. Our men are our teachers and vice versa. Love them. Be gentle with them. Because simply put, they are your mirror. In being gentle with him you are being gentle with yourself. It’s a win win. When you accept this man for who and what he is he will blossom.
- Let them be fathers. The worst thing our society has done is make our men think that they are incapable of caring for their children. We see commercials, ads and ridiculous videos all the time about it. Let them give your preservative free kid double stuffed Oreos. Fuck. Eat them with them. It shows your husband that you trust him and even more it shows your children that there is balance to everything in life. Let your men be silly with your kids. Let your man be the soft place for your children to fall when you have had enough of them and they most certainly have had enough with you. Demand your children respect him. Even if you hate him. Demand it. Undoubtedly you will hate this man at some point in your partnership regardless of whether you decided to procreate. But if you did create life with this man count on it. It will pass I promise. No matter what he deserves to be respected.
- Fuck him. Men need us in a raw and carnal way. No ifs, ands or butts. Maybe butt. But I digress. You want to inspire your man? Fuck him. Don’t blush or laugh. And if you are offended by my vulgarity maybe you need to fuck your husband. NOW. Go do it. This goes hand in hand with accepting him. If you want him to help out more around the house than you need to screw him as if he is Mr. Clean himself. I am being silly to get your attention. Now that I have it. Listen up. Make love to your husband as if he is the highest, most fulfilled version of himself. He will become it. Give yourself to this man. Heart. Mind. Body. Soul. Be vulnerable. Allow him to see every part of you. Let him know that you trust him with the inner most parts of your soul. This will inspire him and give him the courage to face what lies outside the walls of the home you built. Together. And one more thing. When your guy is an asshole do not withhold sex from him. I understand that for some women that after being hurt the thought of being physical is completely out of the question. That is how I am. I have to cool down and talk about the offense before I can feel ok. I just always check my intention. Is my intention to hurt him in return or is my intention to connect by communication first? And just so he is clear I usually say something like this, “When you remove your head from your asshole I would like to speak with you about your dick head move. And no, I do not want you to mount me. But please know that my lack of carnal desire has nothing to do with my love for you or the fact that you completely turn me on. I am hurting. Your actions hurt me and I want to talk about it.” Sometimes I scream it and sometimes I say it like I am the fucking Dalai Lama.
- Dream with him. Whatever his dream may be, envision yourself there right a long with him. Get excited with him. Research with him. No matter how silly you think it is. Even if he thinks the end of the world is on upon us and reminds you of Christopher Walken in “Blast from the Past” you buy the best tuna on the market and make sure to make Anthropologie jealous with the candles you make. Go all out. And if everyone tells him that his dreams are unrealistic you be the voice in his heart reminding him that if he wants it he can have it. And if you get the opportunity to watch your man’s dreams unfold stand by him. Be his biggest fan. The work will be hard and toilsome, but you will get the rare honor of watching your man in his element.
- Give him space. Be together and be separate. Give him the space to pursue what makes his heart sing. It does not mean he loves you less it simply means he loves himself more. And that is OK. If he loves himself first then and only then can he love you in the way you deserve. We live in a society where men work without much thought of vacation or time off. They are expected to produce and provide. Encourage him to take time to himself. If he can’t make it happen for himself make it happen for him. Men need alone time too.
- The past is just that. What is the use in bringing up past hurts and failings? It robs you of the present. I know that sounds so cliche, but it is the truth. You want to feel completely disconnected from this man? Bring shit up that happened in the past. This next thing I am still fervently working on. If you are angry with something that your lover has done sleep on it. If you are still upset in the morning talk with him about. Otherwise drop that shit!
I realize in typing this short list up I appear to have just stepped out of the 1950’s. Rest assured that I live and love in 2016 and am so very thankful for the powerful women who have gone before me and fought so hard for our rights as women. It is because of their fight that I am able and have the courage to write my thoughts for public viewing and use words like “fuck and bullshit”. I think somewhere between June Cleaver and the modern day woman we have forgotten our nature. We are women. We are powerful. Let us not fight our feminine nature. Let us love our men. We will not lose our power in their masculinity. In fact, in fiercely loving these sweaty, virile, rugged and sometimes rough around the edges men we will find just how powerful we are.
How many women have gotten ready for the day, looked in the mirror, and then swiftly thought, “Ugh. My hair is too straight.” “My thighs are too big.” “My boobs are too small.” “My tummy is too squishy.” “I have no ass.” “I was the inspiration for ‘Baby Got Back’.” “My legs are too skinny.” I am quite sure most women have gone to battle with the mirror a time or 2 and barely made it out unscathed. And how many times have we left our homes feeling like something that just crawled out of a slimy swamp only to arrive at our planned destination and have a friend compliment us and we go from feeling like the Loch Ness Monster to being confident that Vogue will be phoning any minute to let us know that our latest Instagram selfie will be featured on the cover. I know I have been guilty of this. But why do this? Why do we look to others for affirmation?
Body shaming as become an epidemic in our society. For ALL shapes and sizes. If a woman is petite in nature she is too skinny and looks like a boy. If a woman has curves she is fat and must not take care of herself. If she is dedicated to fitness she is obsessed and doesn’t know how to enjoy real food. Or worse. She is not feminine. It’s exhausting and yet we don’t stop thumbing through magazines and our Pinterest boards are full of the latest workouts and fashion trends. There is nothing wrong with any of those things. Please don’t misunderstand me. I love fashion. I love running. And of course I love a good glass of Cabernet and the latest issue of Vogue. I just think we need to do some soul work and ask ourselves why we are doing these things. Does it make our heart sing or are we tirelessly trying to meet society’s standards for beauty?
We talk about our pant sizes like we are quoting Scripture. I know I have done it. When I speak with other women about my weight loss journey and they ask how much weight I have lost I say, “Well I went from a size 16 to a size 10.” I am done with that fucking bullshit. From now on when asked about my journey in shedding those extra pounds I say, “I went from a size sexy to a size sexy.” We as women must do away with the utter rubbish of shaming our incredibly delicious, feminine, make men’s hair stand up on their necks bodies and instead we must start loving every inch of our magnificent bodies. I mean really loving ourselves. Why? Because we are so worthy. We are so strong. We are so sexy. Why? Because we are women. And we are Divine. Our bodies and our weight do not make us sexy. The heart that lies within these miraculous bodies is what make us sexy and desirable. Let us rid ourselves from the utter bullshit and negativity of body shaming and instead let us #bodysurrender. Let us stop fighting the need for perfection and surrender to our beauty. Let us surrender to our curves. Let us surrender to our petite physique. Let us surrender to our muscular strength. Let us surrender to our light. Let us surrender to our shadow. Let us surrender to caring for our bodies and let us treat them like the glorious temples they are. Let us be ever mindful of what we fill them with. Let us surrender to supporting each other as women and as individuals. And finally, let us surrender to the unparalleled honor of being a perfectly imperfect woman. Our daughters need this kind of woman. Our sons need this kind of woman. Our partners need this kind of woman. Our mothers need this kind of woman. Our fellow sisters need this kind of woman. Our soul’s need this kind of woman. It is this woman that will call forth the love that resides in each one of our souls. It is this love that will heal the skewed and unrealistic expectations and thoughts that we have about ourselves. And when we tap into that fierce self love we will change the world. And most importantly that love will change the woman. Much love goddesses.
This afternoon I had to make a Target run for toilet paper and other essentials. As I was leaving I hit up the Starbucks to grab a much needed caffeine fix. In front of me was a beautiful mother with 2 children. One looked to be around 7 and the other was a baby. Before I continue I must note this woman’s stoic bravery for stepping into this establishment with children. With baby on hip she reached down under her cart to retrieve her purse. I swear this was some crazy acrobatic move that you would only see at the circus. I was impressed. I ordered my coffee and moved out of line to wait for my elixir. While we waited she received a phone call from someone who I can only assume was her husband. As she attempted to have an adult conversation with the individual on the other end her children started to acting up. I overheard her quickly say, “Nevermind, bye.” She received her drink and I could hear her baby wailing off in the distance as they continued on with their day. The woman who was behind me in line looked at me and nervously laughed, “That was awkward wasn’t it?” I smiled and said, “Oh not at all. I am a mom and I totally get it.” I bid the woman farewell and as I left this mother stayed in my memory and on my heart all afternoon. I decided to write her (and all mother warriors) a letter….
To the woman with the screaming child at Target,
You have been on my heart. I too am a mother and the last time I took my daughter into Target with me she smacked a stranger’s ass. So I want you to know that I was encouraged by your presence this afternoon. I now know that I am not the only mom who walks into that store full of hope and leave feeling completely defeated. Sometimes as a mom I feel like people don’t really see me. They see my unruly child and swiftly make judgments about my parenting choices. Of course that is only my perception. So I want you to know that I see you. I see you dressed in your yoga pants and no make up and I want you to know that you are beautiful. I see you pick up your Venti Egg Nog frappuccino and I know from experience that you ordered that size because you have children that will undoubtedly ask for some and you will probably only enjoy 5 sips of it. I hear you on the phone with your husband and as quick as you answer you have to hang up. You are such a great wife for taking the call because you know your children are not the only humans that need you. I see you lovingly interact with your busy little girl while you quietly soothe your crying baby. You have the patience of Job. I watch as you hurry off all the while attempting not to make eye contact with another human as you pass by. I want you to know that I have been where you are. I have made that walk of shame too many times to count. You need to know that I do not judge you. I am in awe of you. You taught me a valuable lesson today. You reminded me that we are all doing the best we can and we all need a kind face smiling back at us. Just maybe we will look into that strangers eyes and see our beautiful reflection mirrored back to us. You reminded me that as moms we are our worst critic. We need to stop that. We are raising our children to be functioning humans in this world and that is no easy task. As I watched you with your babies I witnessed the pure grace and messiness that is motherhood. You also reminded me that there should never be any shame in being a mom and God forbid shame when our children (and they will) act like an untamed beast in public. Their breakdowns have nothing to do with how well we are parenting. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that their fits are proof of our unconditional love for them. They know that no matter how poorly they act we will get frustrated, but their is no tantrum that will change the love we have for them. I also am frightened of children who never throw fits in public from time to time. I end this letter thanking you. Thank you for reminding me of my humanness and that my struggles as a mom have no bearing on my capabilities. You are amazing and your children are so blessed that you are their mama. You are strong and brave. You are nurturing and patient. I saw myself in you today and what I saw was an extraordinary soul. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Our silent interaction today was anything but awkward. It was enlightening and empowering. Just thought you needed to know that.
a fellow mom who has been known to hide in the dressing room at Target