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.”

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s the Little Things that are the Big Things!”

 

hershey-kissesWhen my husband and I were dating he used to say, “It’s the little things that are the big things” all the time. When he explained it to me, he referred to the Bronx Tale movie and  the door test . Set in early 80’s I think,  the main character was giving a young man dating advice. He instructed the young man to open the door for his date and walk behind the car to see if she leans over to unlock the door for him.  If she didn’t, it was a sign of selfishness and he should go on to drop her like a bad habit (my own movie reference to the Rocky series I grew up with and love even today.) The point is that small gestures add up like quarters in a jar. John and I have been together for eight years now, and we have actively adopted the phrase to maintain the value of our marriage.

If you think about it, simple gestures are attached to beauty. So if I were giving dating advice today, I would tell our young men and ladies out there to try to look beyond the exterior. It seems logical, but again in our times of selfies and loving ourselves in a narcissistic, boastful way, it may not be as easy as it sounds.  I would also encourage posts with their pics be kept to a minimal, so the interaction remains more genuine. As  far as the door test goes, I would pick a test setting more durable.  One that has withstood the test of time… the kitchen. I may have thrown you for a loop, but don’t worry, when you know you are being valued, other doors are bound to open. You know the old question,  “Do you live to eat, or eat to live?” Well if you follow my blog, you know that I’m on a weight loss journey, but the only reason I’m on that darn path in the first place is that I live to eat. To me the kitchen is the sexiest place where testing the little things has an array of possibilities.

Everyone remembers the first time their spouse cooked for them. That’s like a huge romantic gesture! After eight years it continues to be a huge romantic gesture for me.  Honestly whether my husband washes the dishes, or cooks for me, those small gestures, signal my inner self that I am loved.  By that same thought, I like to think that bringing him coffee each morning as he wakes up, or go by the office with lunch lets him know I dig him. These are tiny, tiny gestures, with colossal impact. And for young couples raising a baby, the sexiest room in the house may be the one that has a changing table in it.  I think offering to help is the sexiest thing a man can do for his wife. “Honey why don’t you have a glass of wine in the next room or take an extra long bath, I’VE GOT THIS.” Again very sexy.  If more couples experienced those tiny moments, we would have less divorce, I guarantee it! As a matter of fact all those small gestures, the ones that say we are partners and I love you, were missing from my first marriage and indeed it ended up in divorce.

The little things are the big things! What a great idea to live by and such an easy way to enhance one’s beauty and attractiveness. Tiny actions- no strings attached- like insider trading.  Your stock will definitely go up!

Post Note– Day 157 of my weight loss journey 148.0 ( Got off track last weekend, but back on track now)

A little on edge with Thanksgiving this coming week.  I plan to give myself that day, then hopefully make healthy turkey leftovers. Any healthy recipes much appreciated.

 

 

 

What is a Superhero?

Image result for pictures of super hero symbols

With the prompt “Superhero” I am inclined to think about a homily in which we were directed to think about the saints in our lives.  I took the message in, and just thought for a few minutes about the positive influences/supporters in my life. It was a peaceful exercise.  I reflected on the times where I was just struggling to be a parent, a school teacher and a provider all on my own, or so I thought.  The timing in which my friends appeared in my life, just as my fridge leaked and flooded my living room after a full day at work, as my car broke down over and over again, and as my sister was diagnosed with leukemia… at the most challenging moments where I felt I could drown in a glass of water, they appeared, reassuring me that I could indeed get through all of it.  Up to that homily I had always thought, “I don’t know how I did it.” Now I realize I had saints, I had real live superheroes pick me up and get me through those hard times.

Those experiences have humbled me because now I look to those very “heroes” who pulled me out of my stress and held me up. They are now widowed, parents to autistic children, and people that face their own challenges with grace, and even a sense of humor. What’s more, even though their hands are quite full,  they still find it in themselves to offer people around them help, or even dedicate their small bit of leftover time to  something positive to the community. They taught me to say the words, ” Can I help you?” to the elderly or to the overwhelmed parent whose toddler may be melting down in the grocery store.

Our society’s vision of super heroes is all wrong. We get so stuck on exterior appeal, we forget to look at the real make up of a hero. For example, would we ever think of Mother Theresa as a super hero? I remember she died right at the time Princess Diana died.  (Not to take away from the Princess, for she too had the compassion to visit hospitals and was active in projects that promoted peace.)  I understand the death was unexpected and tragic and I think most people remember what they were doing when the princess died. Truly, I don’t remember what I was doing when Mother Theresa died. I was young and did not value life and actions as I do now. My vision was blurred.  But perhaps if the media/society had stressed a little more on the loss of Mother Theresa, maybe I would have started to value life and actions at an earlier age.

Superheros do exist. They are the people whose inner beauty oozes out.  They have compassion and drive and make a difference whenever possible. No excuses. If I was cornered into choosing only one superhero, I guess it would be Mother Theresa with her blue and white cape.  But I also recognize that I  witness other superheros all the time. Because of them I can  take comfort that in this crazy, self centered society of “selfies and me me me!” there are people that can look beyond exteriors and extend their hand to help others.  They  “walk the walk.” Not only are they Superheros to me, they are truly beautiful beings and I’m glad I can see them very clearly now.

Post Note- ( I might add that I am married to a Superhero myself- LOL)   It is day 80 of my journey and I did have a major slip up this week, but am back on the path.

Beautiful People

In Awe of Kindness Among Neighbors

Living in South Florida, we Floridians know to work out in the yard either really early, or as the sun sets.  It’s wicked hot as my husband says. Recently, I chose to stay behind from boating to catch up with my neglected yard.  Owning a business is a romantic idea, but 90% of your time gets dedicated to it.  Although I started in the morning, before I knew it, noon had crept up on me.  I was trimming my calusas along the back fence.  If you know this species, they are sappy and sticky as they are cut. I was hot, with frazzled, frizzy hair escaping the border of my hat but I was determined I was gonna finish this chore.  Suddenly, my neighbor showed up in my back yard.  “Would you like some help?” I was in awe that someone would come out on a hot as Haitis day, and volunteer to do labor with me. Before I knew it, he was pulling his truck around back and loading branches to haul away. He then proceeded to take my clippers and finish the hedge, while I dragged out branches from my yard.He was drenched by the time he finished, but was smiling much of the time. If he hadn’t come out, I may have been there for two more hours. What a lovely surprise.  Now that’s a beautiful person!

Imagine if we all took the time to do a random act of kindness…What a beautiful world it would be!

Post Note- day 10- Be Careful of Which Voice to Listen to

My son had a 6:40 am flight to Washington, so we all were up early. While my husband drove him to the airport, I went out for a 5:30 jog.  I don’t use any kind of music earphones.  I take in the sounds around me and I say hello to neighbors as they walk their dogs or go off to work.  At 5:30 no humans we out and about yet, but I did count 7 bunnies. Well I wasn’t sure what the last critter was but I told myself it was a bunny. It was rather peaceful at 5:30 am and the moon was out.  My “stress thoughts” floated away with the release of endorphins and I am feeling that sense of accomplishment, as small as a 2 mile jog may be.  I had attempted jogging before many times but would stop and start and always gave in to the inner voice insisting on stopping. What a shame I listened to that voice, instead of the one I am hearing now.  It tells me, “I can do this!” and if I can do it, anyone can do it. It’s a beautiful voice.  Listen for it and be inspired to challenge yourself to a new accomplishment. “You can do this!”