Tag Archives: positivity

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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things i love thursday! (may 30, 2013)

Happy Thursday, friends! Time to scribble down your list of gratitude. Here’s mine!

CSC_0029

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • A day out to myself.
  • ICED lattes. (Can’t play around with no hot lattes in SO FLA.)
  • Retail therapy at THE BODY SHOP.
  • Body scrubs, body butters, and a clearer face.
  • Making chores barters with my husband.
  • Leaving the screen porch open for the kitties.
  • The way Romeo curls up on his new scratch pad.
  • Cuddles with my baby boy.
  • ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT!
  • A familiar worship set.
  • Going out to lunch with new friends.
  • Memorial Day.
  • Introducing Dax to the pool for the first time.
  • Dax’s reaction to the pool. (See my darling above.)
  • Toting the kiddo along to staff meeting.
  • Cafeteria food and smiley fries.
  • Clean eating!
  • Fresh, locally grown, organic oranges! So delish!
  • Trying out new recipes (zucchini fries?!) for the little one.
  • Singing along to kids’ shows on PBS.
  • Going on adventures with my little man.
  • Old school throw back photos from high school! Thanks Scho!
  • Sunsets.
  • The way my kid looks when he’s trying to feed himself. (Hasn’t quite figured it out yet.)
  • My family.

What do you love this week?

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things i love thursday! (may 23, 2013)

I think after yesterday’s supah-negativo post, it’s only fitting that TiLT would come next. I promise; it’s not all bad here. Naples really is beautiful and wonderful and I’m excited to be here. I mean check out the view!

the_dock

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE MY FIRST WEEK IN NAPLES:

  • The fact that driving down here with Dax was actually really, really easy. (I did end up with pee on my shorts but let’s save that for another blog post.)
  • Our first family dinner out on the town, which is where the above picture was taken.
  • Pitchers of GOOD margaritas.
  • Oysters!
  • Getting settled in our new condo. (Condo! Sounds so beachy!)
  • Late night texts amidst inebriation.
  • The Third Street Farmers Market, complete with steel drums and a male booth worker who happened to be overly excited about babywearing (I was wearing Dax) and breastfeeding! That’s right — a DUDE excited about babywearing! Nice!
  • S’mores beignets!
  • The worship leader’s wife offered to watch Dax for us on Saturday night so we could unpack and organize. So nice of her! I was even late picking Dax up and she didn’t mind!
  • My first Sunday, and all the nice people whose names I still don’t know.
  • Night time family walks around the neighborhood.
  • Our screened-in porch.
  • Renting The Emperor’s New Groove and shamelessly quoting the whole thing.
  • Delivery chinese food and sushi. Not on the same night, obviously.
  • The sunsets here on the gulf coast. Simply stunning.
  • My first staff meeting.
  • Laughing a little too much at my first staff meeting…
  • Confirmation cake!
  • Cooking dinner for us. When there’s an easy recipe to follow, I’m not so bad at cooking! Thanks, eMeals!
  • Hot n’ Spicy Cheez-Its and Cool Lime Refreshers at Starbucks.
  • Encouraging texts/emails/phone calls/voicemails from people I love/miss the most.
  • And most of all, my handsome, sweet, funny, smart, hero of a husband who is doing his best to take care of all of us.

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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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what i learned from a social media fast.

It’s as if I’m waking up from a long nap. I’m rubbing my eyes and stretching and grunting, recoiling from the blinding sunlight that’s screaming through my window.

But that’s not what I’m doing at all. I’ve been awake this whole time. The sun has risen. It has set. Numerous times, in fact. But I just haven’t tweeted about it.

My social media fast is officially over. 

As I’m slowly starting to ease back in to the world of status updates, tweets, and likes, I am also carefully redefining what it means for me to live in an over-connected yet under-personal world.  And, like any good blogger, I’d like to thrust upon you my new-found knowledge.

Free of charge, of course.

four things i learned from my social media fast:

1. posting on the internet is like getting a virtual tattoo.

I know you can technically “delete” posts and photos and tweets and whatnot, but honestly, nothing is ever really gone once it’s on the internet. It’s as forever as a butterfly tramp stamp, so it’s important to be really intentional and (gasp) think before you post/tweet/Instagram. (This was really convicting for me to learn, actually. I still haven’t re-downloaded the Twitter app for this reason. I’m pretty sure that 90% of my tweets were like bad tattoos I can’t get removed. I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to go under that needle again just yet.)

2. boundaries are important.

Social media is built on relationships. In IRL relationships (oh yeah, busting out the internet lingo) it’s important to have boundaries, so why would social media be any different? Before, I had absolutely zero boundaries regarding social media. People I hadn’t talked to in ages could post something that would ruin my entire day. That’s not fair to the people with whom I actually do maintain real relationships. Coming back into the world of social media I’ve set my own personal boundaries to make sure I’m in control of the consumption and not the other way around. (For example, I have disabled push notifications on my iPhone. I found that if my phone told me I had notifications on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, I would put everything on hold until I checked and cleared them. With push notifications off, I can check my social media at designated times during the day, when I’m not doing anything else that is more important, to make sure I’m intentional, timely, and still engaged with what’s going on around me. This also discourages mindless scrolling through updates, which is important because…)

3. i don’t really care.

Yep. I don’t. This is probably the most valuable lesson I learned on my fast. The truth, no matter how harsh it may sound, is that I really don’t care if one of my 900-some Facebook friends posts a status about doing laundry or making dinner. I just don’t care. I have better things to do with my time than scroll through countless empty updates of the mundane. The people with whom I have real relationships? I know what’s going on in their lives because we intentionally seek each other out through phone calls, texts, and (wait for it) coffee dates and lunches.

4. real life is so much better.

It seems like this should go without saying, but life is so much more fun to live when you don’t have to worry about whether or not you need to post about it. A few weeks ago, my phone fell behind the couch a few minutes before I was to leave for bible study. I almost left it there because I really felt like I didn’t need it. But I did retrieve it in the event that I were to get in a horribly debilitating car accident on the way across town. I also intentionally left my phone at home last night when Dan, Dax, and I went out to dinner. It was so liberating to know I really, truly, didn’t need it because the only people with whom I needed and wanted to engage were right there with me.

I feel really good now. Really good. I feel refreshed, renewed, and like I have a handle on this again.

Have you ever done a social media fast? Are you considering it? Why or why not?

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trying to make it while trying to look like we’ve made it.

dax_7months

So. This happened last week.

Well. Uh. To be honest, the pictures were actually taken last night. But little Dax Arthur turned 7 months old on the 19th.

I know. I’m slacking a little bit. BUT WHATEVER, I WORK FULL TIME AND I’M A MOM OKAY? I’M SUPER BUSY, COME AT ME.

* shifty eyes *

My mom and I were talking the other day about how all of my friends, both from my childhood and my adulthood, keep popping out babies lately. Three of them came into the world in the past ten days. (Hi Joshua! Hi Parker! Hi Eleanor! You all are very cute! It’s nice to meet you! Sorry about all the rain!) A handful of friends are also pregnant right now, due to join the mommy club in the next few months. It’s quite exciting, but also sobering.

This revelation comes about a year away from my ten-year high school reunion. This is a bit scary. When did we all get here? When did we all become parents? Just yesterday we were (read: I was) waking up at 5:30 in the morning, even though school started two hours later, to flat iron our (my) unruly hair and apply copious amounts of makeup in order to look like we were (I was) the sole human(s) that weren’t affected by the awkwardness of adolescence. Just yesterday we were (I was) worried about whether or not our (my) skirts were short/long enough to make us (me) look older than we were (I was) but not too old. Just yesterday we were (I was) throwing shaving cream at each other in the senior class parking lot, pausing from all the fun to catch our (my) reflections in the side-view mirrors of random vehicles to ensure we (I) still looked “pretty”.  But today, we are (I am) leaving the house covered in pureed sweet potatoes and spit-up, furiously wiping ourselves (myself) down in the car on the way to work, scrambling to find babysitters so we can take our (my) husband(s) on a dang date.

How did we (I) get here?

Blah. I don’t know. But what I do know is that, based on the conversations I keep having and on the Facebook statuses I keep reading, one thing remains the same.

We’re all still trying to make it. But we’re all trying to make it look like we’ve already made it.

Last week, the Durrenbergers were in a funk. After letting Dan and I get used to long stretches of uninterrupted sleep at night, Dax was up several times wanting to nurse which, despite how cute he is, irritated us. Our exhaustion led to crankiness all over and it was like every word that shot out of Dan’s mouth was poison to my soul and every glance I gave him lit up all his insecurities.

All unintentional, of course. (Side note: Dax is officially cutting a tooth. I get it now.)

It was just a week. One, measly week in the almost five years of our relationship. But even still, it was enough to make me question everything.

Am I a good wife? 

Am I a good mother?

If I were either of those things, life wouldn’t be so hard right now.

All of a sudden I am reliving the days where I woke up at ZERO DARK THIRTY to literally burn my kinky hair into stick-straight submission before high school (shout out to all the flat irons that were manufactured before keeping your hair un-damaged was a legitimate concern). Just like back in my awkward teenage days, I just want to have it all together. But, more so than that, I just want to look like I have it all together.

I remember when I was still on maternity leave, a girl at church remarked about how put-together I looked. She was astonished that a new mom like myself could just effortlessly waltz into church on a Sunday, my newborn baby snugly sound asleep against my chest in my Maya Wrap, with the curls on my head falling into perfect place with just the right amount of makeup on to communicate, “Yeah, I made it here. And still look good. But whatever, I guess motherhood is just so easy. I don’t know what everyone is so upset about. We’re all sleeping great. And I just don’t have to try.”

The secret? I TRIED REALLY FREAKING HARD, OKAY? BECAUSE I AM INSANE SOMETIMES. I wasn’t back at work yet so if my kid fell asleep (notice I said IF) the first thing I’d do was curl my hair and put on makeup. Yes, even before I showered or took a nap of my own. Because  I wanted so badly to look like I’d made it already, despite the fact that my baby was only a few weeks old and only enjoyed two things — screaming and nursing. Not sleeping. Or like, smiling.

Just like on those days when I’d stroll into my first period class like, “What? This? Yeah, my hair is so gorgeously straight, just by nature. Nah, I don’t do anything really. I mean I have a flat iron but, whatever.”

That was almost ten years ago. Am I really no different?

I’d like to believe there are other people out there. Women who are planning their weddings and trying to effortlessly please everyone on the guest list. Dads who work two jobs to provide for their families and by the time they get home they have a strung-out wife and a crying baby to answer to. Girls who show up to their high school every day praying that the outfit they chose that morning doesn’t bring about the bullying accusations of thinner girls.

I’d like to believe there are more people than just me in this boat.

In the event that I’m right in assuming that so many of us are actually walking shells, imposters even, of our true selves, I’d like to challenge us all to just let ourselves be. 

Just. Be.

What does that look like for me to just be? At the moment, it means hitting the snooze button a few extra times in the morning instead of waking up at the first (way too early) alarm to style my unruly hair. It means not cringing at the thought of someone randomly coming over to my always-messy house before I get the chance to deep-clean it. It means not stressing over the fact that my baby ate non-organic bananas one time. It means taking Dax’s 7-month pictures when he’s actually 7 months and one week old. It means giving myself a freaking break.

Because despite what I think, I haven’t made it yet. And I might never make it. But I’d rather spend my days just living than trying to look like I’m living a certain way.

Ya feel me, homies?

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cher horowitz on valentine’s day.

I’ve always been pretty apathetic toward Valentine’s Day, no matter if I had a “valentine” or not. I don’t hate it. I don’t love it. It’s just another day to me. My husband feels the same way. Each year we approach February 14th a little something like this:

“What do you want to do for Valentine’s Day this year?”
“Crap. When is that?”
“Tomorrow.”
“Oh.”
“Yeah.”
“Guess we should go out to dinner. Where do you want to go?”
“Oh I don’t care, you pick.”
“No, you pick.”
“Buffalo Wild Wings.”
“Sounds good to me.”

Even in my apathy, I do tend to think on and sympathize with those people out there who hate Valentine’s Day because the holiday makes them feel bad. I’m not writing today to say that that’s DUMB because, hello, I do everything short of throwing a tantrum on Father’s Day; I know what it feels like to lack something you think the entire rest of the world has.

I have been on a major Clueless kick lately, from sending text messages comprised completely of quotes to coming up with Cher-inspired hashtags on Instagram and Twitter. And so, because of my current re-obsession with the classic 90’s film, I turned to Cher for advice. (Which meant I just started reciting quotes in my head because I may or may not have the entire film memorized.)

“Tai, how old are you?”
“I’ll be sixteen in May.”
“Well, my birthday is in April so as someone older can I offer some advice?”

YES YOU CAN, CHER. I AM ALL EARS.

Cher_Clueless

To those of you who are hurting on Valentine’s Day, I totally get it. You are probably surrounded by a butt ton of love-sick, twitterpated morons and, with the curse that is social media, you probably can’t even look at your Facebook or Twitter feed until at least Monday to be in the clear of sappy, saccharine-sweet photos of overstuffed teddy bears and boxes of Russell Stover.

You might feel like the only person you know who is both a virgin AND someone who can’t drive.

Instead of crawling into a hole for the next few days to try and avoid these things that might trigger negative feelings within you, just ask yourself, WWCD? (What Would Cher Do?)

Answer:

…I did what any normal girl would do. I sent myself love letters and flowers and candy just so he’d see how desired I was in case he didn’t already know. 

That’s right, ladies.

Treat.

Yo.

Self.

Buy yourself some chocolates. Pick yourself up a bouquet of flowers. Make an appointment for a manicure or a massage. Run a bubble bath with a bottle of red and your favorite book.

And own that shiz. Seriously. Don’t walk into the flower shop and be all, “Blah blah blah, can I have a half-dozen roses because it’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t have a Valentine and I’ll probably be single forever and SOB SOB SOB SOB.”

NO. STOP.

Say something like this:

“I’ll have a half-dozen roses, please. Oh who are they for? Me, of course! I deserve them. I’m beautiful and lovely and amazing and these are going to look DANG GOOD in the living room I designed and decorated myself. Thanks for asking!”

Channel your inner Cher today, ladies. Make that cameo at the Val Party because you DESERVE IT.

Just don’t overdo it on the mochachinos; no one wants to spend their Valentine’s Day ralphing.

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