Pleased to Meet You

I was given an assignment today, but before I can even address it (3 goals for my blog) I am to frame them around, ” Why do I write this blog?” Just over a year ago, I was feeling pretty low self esteem. Approaching 50 ( shy over a year away now) I’d go shopping for a size 14 or 16 depending on Women or Miss size. I got frustrated that I was being directed to a whole different section in a department store, or not even find a size in boutique like stores. Then in day 4 of my writing, a young man offered to bring his model girlfriend to do a commercial take on the business I run with my husband, starring my husband AND his model girlfriend.  Then I realized this was the year the last of our kids graduate high school and are leaving the nest.  I’d spent years on the role of mother and wife, and left the workforce for 7 years now. In each case tears flowed and self talk ensued.  So I decided to create this blog to find purpose with what I want to view myself like for the rest of my coming years, and to help other women who may be going through similar turning points in their lives. The title  Shift in Beauty hints that we need to change what our idea of beauty is. I write mostly on the daily word prompt  once or twice a week and connect it to whatever might be going on at the moment.  So what are my goals?

Well clearly this is not a blog that is meant to generate money, or I would be homeless. What I would like is to make connections with the great women out there, that may find themselves in the same place. I’ve written about my one year journey of eating healthier and making exercise a part of my life.  I’ve written about aging and redefining myself.  I’ve written about  experiences from the death of my sister, to my groovy time machine.  I’d like more views and comments on my writing, along with learning about guest bloggers. As of now if I get 10 views on a writing piece, I’m thrilled.  I’ve muddled through a year now and managed to get 41 followers.  Imagine if I knew what I was doing! Finally, I’d like to get more comfortable with social media and learn to use it to my benefit. I don’t even own a face book page.  Is it possible to gain an audience without one?

So if you stopped by, I am pleased to meet you.

What Love Leaves Behind

Image result for pictures of love

Everyone goes through the temporary moment of grieving a loss. It’s incredibly painful, trying to fall asleep as tears stream down the sides of your face. It’s dark and solemn and yet, strangely beautiful. Love is something that cannot be proven by science, but it’s there.  It’s proven by what it leaves behind.

I had a loved one die while holding my hand. That’s my memory anyway. It was probably the hardest day in my life. She was very sick and was in the hospital yet again.  I was with her just getting through another day. Oddly enough, each evening as we tried to fall asleep, we’d recall times of long ago, and laugh a little. One night I recalled how my parents would give us an elixir for stomach aches from a local Cuban pharmacy.  Amazing how it really stopped the aching right away.  Maybe it’s because it had a slight bit of opioids? My parents started going to commercial pharmacies after that. But it’s laughable now, or it was on one of those nights we were talking before falling asleep. But one night, she had trouble breathing.  I’d call the nurses, and one propped pillows on her lap for her to lean forward on. Suddenly the machines started beeping and she was rushed down the corridor to a better equipped room.  I looked into her eyes, she was scared, I was terrified.  Her last words to me were to call her husband. I did and came right back to her.  I held her hand, I was told I could stay then it all happened so quickly…she was intubated.  I heard her gasp, her eyes wide and full of fear. I held her hand as long as I could. That was the last interaction I had with my sister.

“Time heals all wounds,” but leaves scars behind. Thankfully the pain is temporary. Under the scars there are warm memories of summers with our kids growing up before our eyes and home based happy hours. My adult kids and my adult nephews now, look back and I see the warmth generated when we revisit those days.

Before starting treatment, she spent quite a bit of time putting photo albums together for her kids. Today, I have hundreds of photos in my phone, as we all do.  But to me there’s nothing like a hard copy photo to frame, display and remind us of a loved one and a memorable day. They are also a trace of legacy and background…roots.  I have a small collection of family black and white photos. I just love these because they spark wonder. Each frame is an invitation to meet family members I never met, if only through stories.

I am a person that loves to create. Believe it or not, I am already planning what it is that I am creating as gifts for Christmas this year.  I’m not sure what I will be creating just yet, but I do know it’s going to involve photos.  After a loss, after time passes, photos are all that we are left with. They serve as reminders. I will admit as I have in past writings, that nostalgia can hurt. But they only hurt me.  My kids love seeing photos of themselves when they were children. When people come over, they wander through the photos, smile and find interest in them. They ask questions and lead to some great conversation. They honor the people not with us anymore. They end up being what love leaves behind.

“Beauty Light”

I don’t care if you think I’m weird

Just cause I don’t fit your def of

What beauty ought to be

It’s not  pink lipstick, or high heels

Treated hair and what I wear

I can always do that stuff, but it’s just not me, I don’t care

And when I’m good and ready

I’ll find someone free of thinking that way,

cause he’ll see where my beauty really plays

deep inside of me, and it’s simple and free

I won’t get tangled in fighting the rhythm of time

While all the ladies struggle and fight to keep their shine

they’ve mistaken all these years for the falseness of beauty

Then I’ll be the one they wish they could be, cause I’ve always been me.

Inside I’m beauty and love, strength and peace

And time can’t deteriorate that, it will never cease.

I’ll pass it on to my girls, created in love

Don’t get caught up in trying to please and compete

Your beauty will shine through and defeat

the idea of what it should be

And you’ll lead others to rethink and redefine

Then I’ll know I’ve done right by you,

because my ” beauty light” will have shined through.

 

 

 

 

 

In Response to Daily Word Prompt: Nervous About…

Womens right to vote
From Pinterest

The message above expresses how I feel, as a woman being able to take on all the privileges that everyone else is afforded in our country. I’m so proud that we almost voted for a woman to be our President, and know we are just a short block away from getting there. What makes me nervous (and I say this cautiously, at the risk of alienating women who are always so positive with my blogs , but I think it’s necessary to speak my mind freely, again as a privilege afforded to me)  is the kinds of demonstrations in the name of women’s rights, or a great injustice done to all women in our country. In our country? If today’s stand, for example, of schools closing down in the name of women around the world being treated unfairly, then I would fully endorse this movement. But I simply cannot. I’m in for everything that stands for creative, independent, strong women who give back to our communities and set high moral examples to our daughters, and show them where their beauty really comes from.  But, for example, a few schools closed down here, in our U.S., because women are being encouraged not to go to work today and not shop today to show how essential we are to our economy. Great! For some single moms out there trying to keep things all together, now their children can’t get to school and they have to make arrangements for them so they can get to work and make their living. Do you see what I’m getting at? The Women’s March I did not “get” either. What injustices exactly are we marching for? And who are we following?, because this organizer seems to have used violence in her past to make a point. I’m just saying we are better than this. Children throw tantrums to be heard, but they don’t always get their way, because the adult knows the child is crying to get them to do something. That’s what a lot of these different waves of movements remind me of. Spoiled children. You did not get your way in this last Presidency ( neither did I for the record). Can we take a quick glance at Bill Clinton, or JFK and their regard for women? This too shall pass. What we should be doing instead of making all this cacophony of sounds, is pull together NOW. Begin pulling great, strong examples of our community out, and put them in the forefront so people begin to know their names and messages NOW. When the next election comes, the foundation of a strong positive movement can be set and ready, so people don’t have to figure out who they are or what they stand for. To our young people I say, if you are tired of these two parties, start NOW and lay the foundation for a third party that can really  shake things up, but do it for the right reasons.

Post journal Day 278: Still learning to “EMBRACE” Peace be with you all!

Humaneness

I read an awesome essay the other day called Fat in Every Language by Jonatha Kottler. In it she shared her experience of having lost a whole lot of weight and working for a company for weight loss, being praised for it all the time, etc.  She struggles with her self image even though she has a husband that thinks she is sexy as she put it. She gave some examples of things that hurt her, like making an effort to bring back a toy from the US for her neighbor’s child.  The child asked, ” Mom why she was so fat?” She said ” She is a fat lady but don’t say so.”She was also asked by a complete stranger at a movie theatre if she was really going to eat all that popcorn. She listed all the beings she has in her life that love her but concluded, what has to change is how many f***s I give about all this.

And that’s my question.  How can I stop caring so much about what  I look like. Is it the aging, or all the expectations society burdens women with? I think I need to be brave and just kick up some attitude.  I went to a family event, it was a high school fashion show and one girl, who I say is brave and beautiful, truly, had some rolls show through the gown she had designed and sewn herself.  But she strutted confidently and I thought, “Man, I don’t think I could ever do that!” But wouldn’t you know it.  I had two women, clearly in their 40’s sitting in the row in front of me snickering and laughing.  I was infuriated, but did not want to make a scene.  It was and is upsetting. Looking back, I wish I had just leaned forward and said, “You are being rude, knock it off.”

The second entry of my writings shares an incident in which I worked with a consultant for our business. We sell cars if you are wondering.  The young man said, you should do a video.  My girlfriend is a model, so she can come in and do the video. This was, as in, she would do the video with my husband, when he and I are the owners.  It crushed me. All the negative thoughts flooded my head, like a loud radio of annoying rock music. Am I too old  (then 47), too fat, too unattractive?  So much noise went off. That’s when I decided to take a good look at myself from the outside and dive inside. Am I overly sensitive?, I don’t think so. The irony is that in a society where we find ourselves being sensitive to not offending this person or that group, we have lost our ability to empathize with others. Just like the two women mentioned earlier, just because they did not have rolls down their backs, could they ever imagine walking down a runway, knowing that there are people out there snickering and mocking? Do they have anyone in their life that may be overweight, and know the obstacles they face, simply based on looks?

Like Jonatha, I too have a loving husband, kids and friends that love me, and 2 really great dogs that really, really love me! Seriously- they get me! (If we could be more like dogs, who love us without judgement, it would be simple and lovely AND LOVING.)  And yet, either because I’m aging, or because while I wait in the grocery store line, society dictates what women should look like, I  do care about “looking good for my age.” But it doesn’t stop there. I care about how out of rhythm society is about our humaneness, and what really matters. How about a person’s positive contributions? Productiveness? Talent? Compassion? These attributes come INSIDE all kinds of body types. But it seems like society has stopped right at the line of , “what do you look like?” to measure people. I can see how easy it is to get self absorbed ( not to be confused with self care) when you are trying to attain a physical goal. What’s important is that you don’t let that physical goal , which is such a tiny representative of who you are, consume you. Be an example, give off positive energy, confidence and even some attitude when the moment strikes. Train your eye to look beyond the LOOKS and focus what really is important when you look in that mirror.

Day 264- Eating much better and feeling much better. Love my Family AND my dogs! Thank you for stopping by my blog today.  I hope something in it made you reflect on something positive.

 

 

 

 

 

Self Awareness

I honestly did not want to join a gym.  I have a small gym room right in my development that I already pay for through the HOA fees. But that just wasn’t enough. As shallow as this sounds, I became aware that my self esteem was tied to my self image. I sat down one day to reflect on all the things I feel bad about and the bottom line was that I am aging and I can either continue to feel bad about my self image, or get into a self care regimen, that would help me physically and mentally succeed. I take great comfort in knowing I am not alone in these feelings and there are women my age who are also fighting the inner battle of seeing themselves as beautiful beings, who have probably given a great deal of themselves to their families, and realize it’s time to self care and get in touch with who you are again.

If I were to tell someone, this is what I’m doing and you can too, I think they may feel overwhelmed and even say, ya that’s too much.  However I have been doing this for 8 months now and have added to the things I am doing.  I have made healthy habits, and have not been able to shake the not so good habits, but that’s ok because I know at the same time I have to be realistic. For example, I have been drinking Cuban coffee since I was 5 years old.  It’s the first thing I reach for in the am. It’s like a baby’s bottle to me. And my favorite part about my day starts at 5:45 am.  I make coffee for me and my husband, then I drag my out door rocker to face my back patio and take in the stars,  sounds of nature around me, the smell and taste of that morning cup and I simply pause to think about all the things I am grateful for.So while I work hard at trying to look and feel better, I am fully aware that there are much more significant things in my life that I should focus on. But the bottom line is that if you feel good about yourself it transcends into your relationships and people you meet. And I like knowing that I might be helping someone out there that may be fighting a little bit of blues.  You are not alone . I’m not alone.

Day 252

progress

While loss reads 16.3 I have really lost 20 pounds, I started recording pics when I had already lost 4. Looking at pic you can see a smile on my face and even earrings signalling,
“Ya , I’m feeling better about me!” I’m gonna list all the things I’ve adopted into my self care and again I’m thankful I can afford the things I do, but if you are on a budget there are all levels.For example, if a manicure is listed and you have little kids that you use that money towards, than you can give yourself a manicure, buy yourself a great happy color and have fun!

My list:

Fit bit: Accountability to log food in and record exercise. And record your progress pics!

Blog- It’s like journaling, but you’re being brave and putting yourself out there.

Gym 4 to 5 times a week. Pandora some great exercise music and hit that eliptical.  Shake up the levels and challenge your heart rate.

Gym trainer 2 times a week- more for accountability than anything else. Who knows, I may not keep up with gym otherwise.

Breakfast meal replacement: Plant based protein shake with fiber enhancer.  Keeps me full till lunch

Cauliflower rice gets cut into regular rice, bean sprouts get cut into asian noodle recipes, lots of veggies added into meals.

One week manicure, one week pedicure alternated, once a month hair salon.  I deserve this. You deserve this.  I always think to my first marriage on this one.  Men never leave their wives for someone with disheveled hair and sweat pants. Their heads get turned by women who are put together well.  My ex used to question when I would do things like that and now I realize, I’m deserving of these perks and I feel good about myself. So bring on the manis and pedis. One more thing to be grateful for- My husband of ten years now encourages me to do things like this for myself. To quote the great Salt and Peppa, “What a man, what a man, what a man what a mighty good man!”

Make good choices at restaurants.

Don’t forget to take care of your skin with sunscreen.

Walk after dinner to knock those 10,000 steps

Play with your dogs!