Tag Archives: comparison

you don’t have to defend yourself.

Lately I’ve noticed a lot of my friends posting articles on Facebook titled things like, Reasons Why It’s Okay That I’m a Working Mom, or, I Didn’t Go To College and That’s Okay, or, Why Being in My Twenties and Not Married or With Children is THE BEST. (By the way, don’t go Googling those titles. They’re not the ACTUAL titles. I didn’t want to cite the real articles because that’s not the point.)

I have read a couple (particularly the ones that validated my own personal life choices/position in life) and I have rolled my eyes at some of them (particularly the ones that went against my own personal life choices).

The most recent one I came across was about how being my age and having no kids or no husband was TOTALLY OKAY and how the writer was sick of the expectation that, just because of her age, she should be sporting a gold wedding band and a diaper bag. And it made my stomach sink a little bit because as I was reading it I felt a little bit self-concsious because I am.

holdhand

My knee-jerk reaction was to post a blog that was all, Hey! I’m married and have a baby at 27 and you know what? It’s not only OKAY but it’s also GREAT and AWESOME and I LOVE IT but then I stopped myself and thought…

I don’t have to defend myself.

And neither do you.

All of these articles are floating around to serve one of two purposes: 1. to validate or 2. to defend. But either way, they all tend to perpetuate the idea that you are only worth what you do/don’t do/choose/don’t choose. 

So I’m here to tell you something else.

Whether you went to college or didn’t, graduated high school or didn’t, got married or haven’t, got divorced or haven’t, have kids or don’t want kids, homeschool or don’t, are vegan or aren’t, love something or hate it… whether you think you’re “there” yet or you know you’re not, it doesn’t matter.

You don’t have to defend yourself. Because you are you, and that is enough.

So let that be enough.

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Filed under motherhood, personal, the media

words to live by: demi lovato.

A couple years ago, while discussing popular music and culture, a girl in our youth group said something to my husband that, upon his retelling of it, left me dumbfounded. It was something along the lines of, “Demi Lovato is a bad person because she’s in rehab.”

If I would have been around, I would have lost it. I would have said something horrible like, “People like you are the reason that people like Demi Lovato hate themselves.”

Then I would have launched into some sort of theological diatribe about how, technically, we’re all in rehab for SOMETHING and that realizing that you need and want help for your problems should be celebrated and not condemned.

Maybe that’s why I’m not in youth ministry anymore.

But I digress.

Last night I gave in to Cosmo’s temptation and purchased their August issue simply because it has Demi on the cover. It also promised a “shocking” interview with her which… eh.

Shocking probably isn’t the right word. Anyone who has followed Demi’s story (like myself) won’t be shocked. But there was one paragraph that made me stop and mentally high five her.

[Sorry. There's a bit of profanity.]

demi_lovato_cosmo_quote

 

Underlined emphasis mine.

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Filed under words to live by

words to live by: josephine hart.

wine

Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.

– Josephine Hart

This morning my heart is hurting over the loss of Cory Monteith. Not because I knew him (of course I didn’t) but because it, along with living in a city that has been nicknamed “Heaven’s Waiting Room”, is just one more reminder that this life on earth is temporary and fleeting and precious and (sometimes) empty.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Each new day is a gift. Even for those of us who may have been dealt a slew of really crappy days in the past, leaving us in what seems like irreparable piles of destruction. Though we may be damaged, we are not yet dead and, therefore, are still capable of overcoming a lot.

Survive, today. Survive today for those, like Cory, who can’t anymore.

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a story about superlatives.

A few weeks ago, I got invited to join a Facebook group for my 10-year high school reunion because, evidently, I’m a lot older than I feel or would care to admit at this point in time.

It’s so fun to interact with these people again. No matter where we eventually ended up, we all have this crazy past experience in common — a collection of four years in which we all tried to grow up too fast but also be young and stupid at the same time, yielding countless memories of euphoric highs and heavy lows.

Naturally, senior year was my favorite. By the middle of the fall semester I’d already been accepted to all the colleges I’d applied to, so I tried my best to enjoy my final days in high school as much as I could.

(Read: I slacked off and, uh, let my hair down, if you will.)

One of the most fun parts about senior year was, of course, the Senior Superlatives for the yearbook. I’ll never forget the day we were filling out our ballots. The room was all abuzz about Who are you voting for Biggest Flirt? Best Hair? Most Likely to Succeed?

Then, of course, Best Looking.

“Oh, I don’t know who to pick,” I told one of my guy friends.

“I’m picking you,” he said.

“No you’re not!”

“Yes I am. Watch me.”

Sure enough, he wrote my name in on his ballot for Best Looking. My name. Mine! For Best Looking!

For an insecure girl battling an eating disorder, that was the best news ever!

Now, to be fair, he probably only did that because a) in a class of more than 500 people it’s hard to think of one person and I happened to be sitting right in front of him at the time or b) because he wanted to be nice or c) he wanted to get into my pants and I had no idea.

Still, I was very flattered. So flattered, in fact, that I couldn’t wait to tell my boyfriend.

My boyfriend at the time was a year older than me, already knee-deep in his freshman year of college in another state, and, as I would later discover thanks to the at-the-time-very-newfangled internet, absolutely cheating on me.

“I got voted for Best Looking!” I almost screamed into the phone.

“Oh?” He said.

“Yeah! Isn’t that wild?”

Then, without missing a beat, with the flattest voice, he replied, “Your class president should win that category.”

If I’d had a mouth full of water, I would have done the most epic spit take.

“I’m sorry?”

“Not to be mean, but she is the prettiest girl in your class.”

“Are you serious right now?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. First of all, he was right. She was definitely the prettiest girl in our class. Second of all, she was a friend of mine, and he knew that. Third of all, I was his freaking girlfriend! Anyone with a brainstem knows that, regardless of the validity of a statement like that, you don’t bloody say it!

“Yeah, I mean, no offense. If she weren’t in your class I’d vote for you.”

Nice save.

For the record, I am still friends with this beautiful girl. I never told her this story but I wish I would have because I know we would have laughed our faces off about it. Perhaps at the reunion?

Ten years later, I’d all but forgotten about this little exchange until the Facebook group brought back a tidal wave of memories, both great and (like this one) less than great.

To be honest, I don’t remember who won Best Looking. Or Most Likely to Succeed. Or Best Hair. (And I have no idea where my yearbook is — oops — so it’s not like I can look this stuff up.) But, you see, here’s the thing.

Ten years ago, my life hinged on whether or not people found me attractive. If they did, I felt like I was worth something. If they didn’t, it was crushing because I was convinced it meant I was useless.

Today, I know that isn’t the case.

I have a wonderful husband and a devastatingly beautiful son and a life that is so full, so abundant, that it has exceeded any and all dreams and hopes I’d ever had for myself.

I am radically loved by so many people. My God and myself included. And I am grateful.

So. Here’s a message to all you young ladies in high school right now who are praying to whomever you worship that you’ll be voted Best Looking. Or that your boyfriend won’t cheat on you. Or that you’ll lose ten pounds before prom. Or that you’ll go from a B to a C cup by your junior year.

Listen to me. Listen good. 

I know all of this seems important. Like earth-shatteringly important. And I’m not here to tell you that it’s not because it was for me, too. But what I am here to tell you is this:

Just wait. It gets so much better than this.

Ten years from now, you will look back and laugh at yourself for ever thinking (or caring) that you were fat or ugly or lonely. You will look around you and see all the blessings you have because of your brain and your heart and your talents and your demeanor and you will wonder why you ever thought any differently. So just hang in there.

Oh — and for Christ’s sake, eat something.

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when it rains.

I know this can’t possibly be true but it really feels like it has rained nonstop since I moved to Naples.

dangnatureuscary

First, it was your regular ol’ summer-in-Florida situation in which the sky would turn a mean black around 2pm and then vigorously pour buckets for all of ten minutes before clearing back up.

Then, one day, it just kept raining.

And then a tropical storm rolled through.

And it kept raining.

Really put a — wait for it – damper on things around here. (I COULDN’T RESIST. I REGRET NOTHING.)

rain

Yesterday was one of those five-star parenting days in which I was operating on very little sleep and it was all I could do to not burst into tears and so, despite the tropical conditions outside, I took Dax out for a drive hoping the lull of the car and the sound of the rain would calm him.

I told you; five. star. parenting. (It worked, by the way.)

While I was waiting at a red light, enjoying the sound of my baby not crying, I tiredly stared through the windshield while the wipers swish-swished back and forth rapidly to clear away the cascade. My eyes fell upon that triangular space between the wipers that never gets wiped and I remembered analyzing that same spot as a child driving with my mom. I could hear my tiny voice in my head, whining: “Why can’t they make wipers that wipe the WHOLE windshield? There is so much left of the glass that has droplets all over it!”

(I’ve always been a perfectionist, I guess.)

As an adult, I looked at the glass differently. Instead of being upset that, all these years later, they still haven’t made wipers that actually wipe the whole windshield, I felt grateful for those wipers and their persistence. No matter how hard it rains, no matter how many drops (or buckets) fall, those wipers keep on keepin’ on, with no regard for how many drops have already previously fallen or how many will fall in the future. Swish-swish-swish-swish. Dry-not dry-dry-not-dry-dry. 

One of my last days in Tallahassee, I was out wedding dress shopping with my best friend. Toward the end of the trip, though, I got a frantic text from Dan asking me to come home as soon as possible to nurse a very cranky Dax. I headed home as fast as I could which evidently wasn’t legal because I got a speeding ticket.

I was so angry with myself because, I know better. During my twelve years of driving, I’ve gotten more than my fair share of speeding tickets and, until that moment, I had finally cleared all points from my license and was again deemed a “safe driver”. And one stupid misstep of speeding home cost me all that.

When I got home I yelled at Dan and yelled at myself, saying, “I’m just so sick of the fact that I’m such a crappy person.”

“You are not a crappy person,” he said, “you are just a person. Who does crappy things sometimes. Because you’re a person.”

“But I always do this!”

“Just because you’ve done bad things doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. You’re forgiven.”

It’s amazing to me how often this happens to me. I make some (relatively) minor mistake and I fall apart because it makes me think I am forever doomed to making mistakes and that I’ll always be bad and nothing can fix that.

It just keeps raining.

If you have the same issue I do — you seem to remember every dumb thing you do and beat yourself up every time you do another dumb thing — just remember the windshield wipers.

What.

Forgive yourself as persistently as my wipers clear away the rain. Forget the drops from the past, don’t anticipate more drops in the future. Just wipe them away as they come, just as fast as you can, so you can see what goodness lies ahead.

Because if I was still angry about all the rain that has fallen in Naples over the past three weeks, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy myself right now, sitting outside at a Starbucks, warming in the sunshine with the dry sidewalk beneath my sandaled feet.

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Filed under psychology, transformation

naked and unashamed.

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you might know that I was diagnosed with an eating disorder in 2007 and have since made it my mission to figure out how to love myself — inside and out — relentlessly. My blog has been instrumental on this journey. I’ve blogged my way through all sorts of self-love hangups, from navigating self-imposed pressures to be the perfect wife to finding my sexy.

I’m thankful to report that, in the past year, I haven’t had many reasons to turn to Ye Olde Blogue in order to make myself feel better about my self or my body. With God’s help (along with the assistance of my sweet husband and faithful mentors) I think that it’s safe to say that I’ve finally made peace with my own body and any chance of ED relapse is behind me.

However, regardless of my own personal growth, a recent chain of unsettling events has made me realize that this world is still, if I may be so bold as to say, effed sideways concerning the ways we women view ourselves:

+ My mom hasn’t had a nice picture of her taken in a while, so a few weeks ago she requested that I take one of her with my SLR. As soon as I was done she pleaded with me to Photoshop away some lines from her face.

+ During prayer requests at my bible study a week ago, a girl asked for a way for her to use her body to get ahead in life.

+ There are hundreds of leaders (male, of course) in the church community that have come out recently speaking against women for what they wear for being the cause of men to lust after them and even cheat on their wives. (Yes, read that again. The women are at fault for the men who cheat.)

+ Someone told me that of course I’m happy with my body because I’m beautiful. And there’s no way they can be happy because they’re not.

You know me — I can’t just sit back and not blog about how much these events (particularly the last one) infuriate me.

I’m currently fumbling my way through the book of Esther and trying to make sense of it; a story about a Jew girl who was integral to saving God’s chosen people because, quite frankly, some batshit crazy pseudo-king thought she was hot and, for that reason alone, wanted to “know” her. (This is, of course, the New Lindsay Translation of the story. I suggest you read it for your own context, even if you aren’t a believer.)

The other day, I hopped in the shower ever-so-quickly while my son was napping and gave myself the New-Mom-Speedy-Scrubdown, my ears tuned to the static sounds coming from the baby monitor in my bedroom. When I finished actually washing and found that, surprisingly, my child was still asleep, I stood very still and watched the streams of water race each other down my body.

For a while, I just stared blankly, sure my child would rouse any minute. But each second that passed with no sounds from the monitor, I would turn the COLD knob just a bit more toward the OFF position to allow the stream to increase in heat. As soon as my skin adjusted to the temperature change, I’d turn the knob just a little bit more.

I did this until the COLD knob was completely off and, though the water was scalding, my skin was comfortable (albeit considerably more pink).

Under the stream, my eyes surveyed my exterior and — as bizarre as it sounds — I marveled. I couldn’t believe that this vessel at which I was staring had done so much in its 27 years of life — danced its 10,000 hours, learned scales on the piano, grew and sustained another human life — and, yet, took the brunt of my own abuse for the better part of two decades. And then I thought about Esther.

And my mom.

And that girl from my bible study.

And men who blame their missteps on their victims.

And all the girls in this society that think their bodies are as deep as their worth goes.

And I got mad. Like. Really mad.

I think the main reason I got so mad is because I feel like I can’t do anything. I’m just one person in this giant effed up world and, as these recent events have pointed out, this issue is much bigger than me.

I said what I could say in bible study in order to encourage that girl. Ultimately I don’t know if anything I said made one bit of difference; I left feeling like something had been stolen from me. Perhaps that something was the notion that this problem is suddenly gone just because I’m not suffering from it anymore.

You know that played-out Goo Goo Dolls song from the 90s? You know, from the City of Angels soundtrack? Meg Ryan and that other dude? I can’t remember the name of it, but there is one line that sticks out to me:

“And you bleed just to know you’re alive.”

I think these events have served their purpose to cut me open and remind me that there is still work left to be done and that lots of people are still bleeding. And we’ve got to speak the truth to those people.

Because God knows no one else is going to.

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Filed under God, life, psychology, rants, the media, transformation

working through your crap. or, a crappy metaphor.

This morning while I was getting ready for work, I looked back to the bed to see my husband doing something strange.

He was holding our baby boy upright, while gently pushing on his tummy, and working his legs in a bicycling motion.

“I’m trying to get him to poop,” he explained. “He hasn’t pooped in three days.”

Mind you, Dax wasn’t fussy or anything about his gastrointestinal disposition. He was rather happy, actually. But, concerning this issue, Dan and I were miserable. The kid was farting like he wanted to gas us out. I swear, I thought he had turned against us and was using his own methane to let us know.

After a determined Daddy stuck by him all morning, Dax finally pooped. Not as much as he should have after holding it in for three days, but at least we got some movement going. This will, we believe, encourage more poop later. This is exciting!

Oh, the way your life changes once you become a parent.

You see, Dax needed to poop, no doubt. He just needed a little help from Daddy to work it out. We are not unlike my (almost) four-month-old child in this. Please excuse my “crappy” metaphor and the consequential puns, but this needs to be said.

Sometimes (more often than not, I’d argue) we need people to help us work through our own crap. We might not know we need help, but others around us — those who are close enough to us to “smell” our “farts” — know something’s up. For a while, they may be polite and not say anything. After all, they’re probably just hoping you’ll work it out on your own. And they don’t want to call you out or embarrass you. But other times, if it goes for an extended period of time, they may step in and finally confront you.

I’d really encourage you to get some counseling about this.

Have you talked to anyone about this issue you have? 

Get your shiz together already. Jeez.

Someone close to me said that to me recently. And a year ago. And the previous year.

“Lindsay, you should really consider seeing a counselor about the fact that you grew up without a dad.”

Up until now, I’ve just been kind of ignoring it. Hoping it goes away on its own. Letting those around me “smell the farts” — seeing the destructive behaviors and attitudes born out of this gaping void I have in my life.

A couple weeks ago, I went to the doctor for insomnia. I hadn’t slept more than a couple hours a night for seven days and I’d had it. The doctor gave me a prescription for Ambien but, since I was in tears over being so exhausted, he also referred me to a counselor for postpartum depression.

I don’t think I have PPD. I think I have insomnia, like I always have. And I think I was sobbing over the fact that I was so bloody exhausted. But the doctor insisted I see a counselor, so I shrugged my shoulders and went. I thought it might be divine intervention or something. My time was up. It was time to “poop”. This is how the first couple minutes of my first session went:

Counselor: “What brings you in today?”

Me: “Well, honestly, I didn’t sleep for a week so I burst into tears in my doctor’s office and they said I have postpartum depression. I don’t think that’s the case. I mean, maybe? But probably not. So, at any rate, postpartum depression is what ACTUALLY brings me here today but I don’t think we need to talk about that. What we SHOULD talk about is that my dad left me when I was three years old and I think I’ve got some issues surrounding that and I think it’s time I dealt with them.”

Counselor: “Oh. Uh… you’re pretty self-aware.”

Me: “I try to be.”

And so — here I am, admitting to the entire Internet that I’m currently seeing a counselor. I’m letting someone help me work through my crap. I’ve only had one session but I can already tell it’s going to do wonders for my spirit.

Is there something in your life that you need help working through? My advice is just take the plunge. Get the help you need. We can all smell your farts anyway; stop denying it.

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Filed under baby love, commentaries, life, psychology, transformation