“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.

 

 

 

 

 

Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.” ― Bob Dylan

Hey mom. I remember sometime in high school or early college, I told you that I thought depression was just people being whiny, even though I knew you were dealing with some.  I’d just like to apologize for that.  Someone that I spent a lot of time with in the theatre department took his own life last night and no one saw it coming.  Just wanted to take a moment to tell you that I love you.

My daughter sent me that text just a few days ago.  This is not the first time in my children’s young years that this kind of tragedy has brushed into their lives. When my son was in 8th grade, a classmate had also taken his own life.  You wonder what can be so bad, that that’s the only solution you can come up with. I remember being at  Christmas Eve mass and I was handed a free book. So as I read through it, I remember reading that Bob Dylan’s grandmother used to tell him to be kind to everyone because you don’t know what they are going through. I thought about that.

How very true that is.  We just seem to bump around day to day, lives softly brushing by one another as we make quick judgements on the mother with an unruly child, or the disheveled person at the grocery store, or the aged person driving way too slowly on the road. There is a show out there on Netflix that has just surfaced and it’s all about suicide.  The creators say it’s not supposed to be easy to watch and that we should watch it with our kids. Well I think they are wrong.  Why would I want to coddle and encourage that topic with my kids? I realize that it needs to be addressed, but weekly?

There is something seriously wrong with our society. Just look at the selection of reality shows out there.  Look at what’s happening on social media, where murders are being recorded and people are actually laughing in the background.  It reminds me of the Roman times where people would flock to an arena to cheer on as someone was killed.  Sometimes I just sit and try to think of how we can fix this.  Mark Zuckerberg is hiring thousands more employees to sift through social media to pull inappropriate postings, but honestly, I don’t think there’s anything you can do when there’s a live feed filtering through.  My 18 year old jokes to me that his children will have flip phones.  I think it’s a good idea. Hind sight is 20/20.  When phones came out with cameras, they should have had regulations in place where kids in elementary and middle school could only have a flip phones at school to call in case of emergencies and after school communications with parents. And if there parents wanted to spend yet another 200 on a camera phone, fine, but not in  school.  With these devices at a very young age, we have promoted addiction, and desensitized our youth. Movies have ratings ( and don’t get me started) alcohol has an age restriction, why not these devices? I’d also love to see packages bundled where you don’t have to accept the channels that conflict with your values.

So what is the fix? I don’t know. What I do know is we need to slow down and challenge ourselves to put down our devices a little longer each day and take an interest in our neighbors. Friendships and relationships need to be nurtured, but it requires paying attention. And a lost art needs to make it’s way back. The art of listening and taking in another person’s opinion without knocking them to the ground figuratively.  They seem like small steps to take.  I think it’s worth a shot. And who knows, someone that may be considering doing the unthinkable, may change their mind, and figure out they do matter, and they in turn may be able to help others.

” Be kind to everyone because you don’t know what they may be going through.”

 

 

 

You Can’t Regret Regrets!

Special milestones often invite reflection and with reflection comes regret.  My two children are about to graduate and though this should be a very happy time for me, there is a sad echo inside saying I wish I would have been more, or done this. The truth is parenting is the hardest job in the world. And when people are touting about their adult children’s accomplishments the response that often follows is, ” Do you know what that means? You did a great job as a parent!” But what if that person grows up to mark society in a negative way or doesn’t measure up to what your idea of success is? Does that mean you were an awful parent?

I recently read of an interesting experiment that started off with a simple observation of rats and pups.  Scientists were pulling the pups out to observe their physical condition, then putting them back in the tank.  Randomly, they noticed sometimes an adult rat would rush to the pup and nurture it by preening and licking it. The pup would calm down. So the scientists decided to separate the pups they knew to have been nurtured verses the ones that did not.  The ones not nurtured would stick to the outside rim of the tank while the ones that had been nurtured would venture to the center. Then the scientists would put food in the tank. The ones not nurtured took longer to trust and eat. The nurtured ones were bold and just went to the food.  So they went on to study a group of kids that grew up below the poverty line through out their lives and concluded the ones that grew up in a nurturing environment were successful. This included studying the ones that were held more as babies.  They addressed how there was a period where babies were viewed as mechanical and parents were encouraged to leave them to cry, and they would eventually fall asleep. According to their study, this was not the best thing to do.

So I reflect and I have regrets of my parenting performance, like most people do. But then I quiet that echo by telling myself, “You can’t regret regrets.” No one has a baby and knows what the heck they are doing.  When the second baby comes along, you might have learned something, which is why the first one is often called the guinea pig. But if I never had that first one or any at all, I would have never have known the joy that comes with holding a pure innocent life in those aqua pink and blue blankets, and feeling that you are needed and loved by that soul. ( And I know friends that have adopted and get it because as children grow with you, the love does too.)

I am blessed because my two kids grew up to be pretty great people to get to know.  One is a college graduate, an English major.  The other is going off to college.  Can I take credit for it? I don’t know. What I do know was that their younger years were a tumultuous course because there was divorce and separation. Do I regret having them? Never! What I regret was that chaotic transition they witnessed as I settled into my new life. But if I wouldn’t have met the man I divorced, then I never would have met them. And that would indeed be the biggest regret of all.  “You can’t regret regrets!”

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!

Just Because Everyone Says It’s OK…

Image result for Pictures self worth

One woman reached out to total strangers on a health/weight loss site social chat. Normally one would post, who is having trouble with getting to the gym, or reaching this goal weight. But she stated it was her anniversary, and in 6 weeks she would be having a baby, but caught her husband with porn. He had promised to stop, but he did not follow through with his promise. The replies poured in…” Porn is natural.”” Pornography is not anything to worry about.” “If watching porn upsets you, then there may be a deeper issue on your end.” “Well look at it this way, at least he’s just looking at porn, and not hiring hookers.” ” Maybe indulge with him in some of these fantasies.” Of course there was another side to the responses. The ones I tend to align with.  I wonder if these women ever held their new borns and thought, ” I can’t wait till you grow up to be a porn star, or stripper.”

How have we come to justify pornography and sex on the big screen? The excuse tends to be ” Oh, they are artists, and they are portraying the story line because if we don’t see the strip club, or the complete physical act of sex in the scene, we may not understand the story line…” Yes, of course I am being sarcastic. How come ( AND NOT THAT I WANT THIS- this is only a question) we never see normal people engaging in sex on the screen? Because it simply wouldn’t generate money.

I remember having a conversation with a friend about ten years ago now.  She was having problems with her husband.  Her husband was ” friends” with a woman who was being very flirtatious and even showed her boobs at a party. The husband said my friend was making way too big a deal of it. My friend explained to me , and her husband, that she did not want him fantasizing about her while engaging intimately with each other in their bedroom.  That made sense to me. It wasn’t porn, but his attention was drawn to someone else, not his wife. And the same thing goes with porn as far as I’m concerned. How have we set the bar so low in our relationships to allow our spouses to engage in this behavior? I did some research to get some outside input on this and there are other harsher views on pornography leading to violence towards women. If anything else it’s demeaning to women- our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends.

It is so difficult being a woman in today’s times.( And being an aging woman is one big party!) There is so much pressure to balance what we look like, our employment status, raising and nurturing our families, our spouses. I really felt hurt for the woman who reached out on the chat, and hope she can draw strength from family and friends, and see if she can get through to her husband on why this has hurt her so much. Just because people dismiss this issue as women being overly sensitive, and porn is ok, does not make it ok. OK?! Just like shortening the word doesn’t make it cute.

The movie Embrace is dedicated to getting to the bottom of why many  women feel badly about their bodies. I have only seen the trailer, but I know I identify with a lot of women out there that doubt their beauty because of the exterior ( their perception of their bodies).  I think it has something to do not only with all the model types that are put out there in  fashion magazines and movies for us to emulate, but the casual way sex is viewed, how movies and tv portray it, and how people are willing to sell out their diginity for it. In my opinion we need to hold ourselves in high esteem.  Too much emphasis is placed on looks and being “sexy.” Nothing to do with BEAUTY.

Personally I am on a journey ( Day 271). I decided to make more time to care for myself mostly so that I don’t feel uncomfortable in a room full of women at social events. ( There was an event that stirred up a lot of hurt, and the only person that could resolve it was me.) I am thankful for a great marriage of ten years now, (my second marriage) in which we hold each other in high esteem, and I value that. I value him! If you are a person about to take on marriage, make sure you’re willing to put each other on the highest level of respect, because if not, what’s the point? Give your spouse and family value and more importantly give yourself, self worth so that you CAN value those close to you. And look inside for BEAUTY because what we look like is such a small piece of who we are.

Progress Post Note-Day 272- Realizing that eating healthier is also good for my brain chemicals, skin and nails. Going into the closet makes it easier to COME OUT OF THE CLOSET now that things fit better. And I’m having a little fun too! Got lashes two weeks ago. Loving them! I am revisiting my faith and  trying new exercises. There are a lot more positives in my life!

A good point from Embrace is that our bodies are not ornaments, but vehicles.  I want to  explore that more within myself and look forward to making some quiet time to view it and reflect. Stay tuned.

 

 

Reacting to Expectations that Fall Short

 

measurements

Is there anything more disappointing than getting on the scale expecting to have dropped weight, and have just the opposite happen?( Even moving the scale to 4 different locations on my bathroom floor did not move the numbers in the right direction.) All of us on the journey of weight loss and self love know this feeling. I got this feeling this morning, on Valentines Day of course. While I am finding my way of loving myself, and self care, I find there are days I can crank up the music and drip with sweat and feel like ” I can conquer anything that comes at me.” And then there are days like this, set backs.  I have not caved in to food today, though I really want to. The set back was the disappointment I felt, and the wanting to just give up.  I just paused for quiet reflection and my husband came in the room and asked me what was wrong. ” No it’s not that you bought me a beautiful card and wrote a beautiful sentiment in it and attached a 4 pack Resees bar to it…”I thought to myself. I shared how frustrating it is to work so hard, log my food each day, work out at the gym 4 to 5 times a week, feel guilty and work harder if I stray, all to get on the scale today after a full week of not straying, nailing workouts and eating all the right things only to gain over a pound. Now my husband is a fixer, and he can’t understand why I feel the way I feel.  The fact I love you, I’m proud of you and think you look great doesn’t help? No it doesn’t. This is about how I view myself. Then he did say something great. He suggested I get measured at the gym.

I thought about that.  I skipped my last scheduled measure in because at that time I felt I slipped up, but I should have gone and followed through to take ownership of my actions. So this morning I thought, that’s exactly what I’ll do and if the measurements too, are going the wrong way, then I will have to take a step back and see what it is I may be doing wrong. I felt comfort in dropping in my overall body fat, and proud of the way my abs have gone from 38 to 16 on my composition sheet.

What I learned from this experience is how to react to that scale, and have measurements as a back up. I’ve also learned that putting so much emphasis on a number can blur your sight to what is really important.  It’s not easy to put the process of my journey out there, but as I have stated, I look for other women that may be going through something similar, and form a community that can be encouraging and positive with one another. If an expectation comes out lower than what you wanted, be willing to reflect, question and adjust.

Another lesson learned: Keep those expectations real.

Ebb and Flow of Speaking Out

Speaking out can be freeing, yet frightening in today’s times.  Sometimes I think what great times we live in,  but other times I think , where did our sense of boundaries go? Where did our sense of looking at individuals as beings, without judging what they look like go?  A commercial for a luxury car came on this morning and a mother and daughter were talking about how the daughter liked to borrow mom’s clothes, that the yoga mats fit in the car, and the daughter says something like “You look hot mom.” Well for one thing I can go out and buy this so called luxury car, but am so turned off by the message that this car is only for the “hot looking ” I wouldn’t consider it. You may be thinking, ‘ But you yourself are making a judgment, aren’t you?” Well yes I am. I’m making the judgment that aging women are being set aside. Why couldn’t this company feature a very identifiable look that most aging women have or look like and come from a different angle, one of accomplishment verses entitlement? Because that message is being lost in our society.  Luxury cars are for the accomplished.  “What did you do in life that allows you the luxury of buying a high end auto?” That’s what I would be more interested in.  It’s as though success equals looking good period. Have we lost our sense of appreciating different views, different ages and the experiences we can learn from one another? How a person started at a certain level in life and worked hard to earn what they have? Women in their 40s and 50’s, like myself, are trying to figure out where they fit in exactly in today’s shallow, shallow world. I would love a real magazine about real women in their 40’s and 50’s without spraying off the crows feet. I have a magazine I have laying around the house and the back cover is a cream ad with a very flawless young woman and the ad reads “Aging is just a number.” Well then, if that’s true, why do we need this cream?

The irony is I have made a commitment to myself to lose weight and I work very hard to keep my weight in check so I can ,in turn, feel better about myself. And I do.  I’m able to visit my closet like my own personal little boutique of clothes that had not fit before. I’m more confident and have loads more energy. But sometimes I just want to embrace my age, and not deal with reaching my exercise quota for the day. It can be tiring.

The desire to be young again is a natural one. Even good ole Ponce de Leon was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he arrived in our lovely state of La Florida.  But at some point we have to accept it and be thankful for the right of passage aging grants us. We also need to speak out and get the message across to our young girls that you too are going to age, and it’s OK. Don’t be subjected to feeling that how you look is more important than what you accomplish in life.  The more you accomplish for yourself, the more beautiful life will be for you. The trick is finding grace in doing it.

post note: 145.6

Tried boxing at the gym this am.  I would have felt to self conscious to try 20 pounds heavier. Had great fun!cropped-audrey-hepburn-e1466259868975.jpg