Tag Archives: self-love

can you hear you? we can.

This post has been swirling around in my spirit for the better part of six (!!!) months, but I haven’t really had the real words for it until now. (Actually, even now, I’m not entirely sure I have all the right words. But what I am sure of is that there is becoming increasingly less room in my brain for unimportant things like blog posts so I’ve got to get out whatever loose scraps I can to make room for all those important 90s song lyrics I can’t seem to forget.)

I have this friend whom I dearly adore. She happens to be strikingly beautiful, dangerously talented, wickedly smart, and hilarious. I want to tell you so many other things about her, including her name, but I can’t do that because I’m pretty sure she reads my blog and if she knew I was publicly affirming her in such a way I bet money she would very likely turn fifty shades of burgundy and demand that I remove the post immediately.

And this post is way too important to me for her to do that. So let’s just call this amazing girl Kay.

The thing about Kay is that no matter who you ask — whether they’ve known her for five minutes or her entire life — they’ll all say the same things I just did: that she’s a walking phenom; a force to be reckoned with; someone that transforms the earth from merely a revolving sphere of dusty rock to a beautiful, magical work of art. I’d venture to say that anyone you ask wouldn’t be able to find one, single bad thing to say about Kay.

But here’s the thing: none of us have to say anything bad about her because she says all the bad things about herself.

If you compliment her, she will deflect it. She’ll be the first to tell you she’s worthless. Or ugly. Or something equally wrong.

And it hurts my heart so very badly, not because all those things are untrue, but because to her, they are. 

I’m sure it will come as a surprise to exactly ZERO people when I say this, but Dead Poets Society is one of my all-time favorite movies that I don’t own (DAN WHY DON’T I OWN THIS MOVIE?!?!). One of my favorite quotes from the film comes from the character of John Keating, played by Robin Williams:

No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.

Whether you believe it or not, words have power. They have the power to build us up and they have the power to break us down, either in one fell swoop or in tiny bits and pieces, methodically chipped away over a period of years. And as loud as the words other people say to you can be, the words that come out of your own mouth — bubbling over from whatever is in your heart – are, strictly from a physical standpoint, the loudest ones. 

shh

The season of Lent began yesterday and, as you all know, I love to fast things for Lent — my hair straightener, all liquids except water, fried foods, the list goes on and on. But this year, I chose to fast something less tangible.

Words. 

Not cuss words, mind you. But certain words that I can’t write here on this blog. Words that, when strung together in lengthy, negative diatribes, damage my spirit. Words that break me down bit by bit. Words that change my world but not for the better. Words that, when flying out of my mouth, are the loudest in my own ears.

I hate hearing all the things Kay says about herself. It is heartbreaking and infuriating. But even more than that, I hate that she hears them. Because in this screwed up world, there are enough people who can say crappy things about ourselves. Why must we give them fuel for their fire?

I can hear you, Kay. Can you? Can you hear you? If so, could you stop talking about yourself for one minute and let me talk about you? And let me talk about how you know how to make anyone laugh. Let me talk about how you sing so beautifully it gives my goosebumps goosebumps. And let me talk about how you’re so stinking smart and capable and can do literally whatever you set your mind to.

I can hear me. Can you?

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Filed under personal, transformation

hope.

Even though my husband is actually the one who gets paid to do youth ministry, I actually teach a middle school discipleship class at our church on Wednesday nights. That’s right; one other brave volunteer and I face off against upwards of 20 middle schoolers each week by choice and I happen to love every minute of it.

Well, if I’m being honest, every minute of it that I’m not scolding them for doing weird things like drawing on each other’s faces.

Last night our lesson was on grace (specifically, how God will always love you no matter how many faces you draw on). To start out the class I had the students write down all the things they like about themselves and then share them with us (the point being that once you are in Christ, God only sees the good in you and not the bad). One little girl’s answer really struck me.

“I love that I’m really good at the cello,” she started, “and I love that I’m so pretty. Like, I’m really pretty. And I love that.”

Now, if I were to stand up in front of a group of my peers and say that, I might get smacked. But I love that she so boldly stated that for three reasons:

  1. She stated it as if it was a total inarguable fact (and, if I could weigh in, it absolutely is).
  2. She wasn’t ashamed or bashful about this.
  3. In a world where the vast majority of teenage girls today say the exact opposite about themselves every day, how refreshing!

Today when I went grocery shopping, I had so many people stop and tell me about how beautiful my baby is (isn’t he though?) and the whole time I just kept thinking about that girl in my class, and praying that my son never doubts his unique beauty or his worth in this world, despite all the things society may tell him.

And so, today (and yesterday) I’m grateful for the hope in a future where kids/teenagers/adults/people rise above a society built on self-esteem crushing lies.

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

mom finds “diet list” in her 7-year-old daughter’s room.

You read that subject line right. According to this post on Mommyish, a mother found a heartbreaking “diet list”, complete with documentation of daily food intake and exercises, on the floor of her 7-year-old daughter’s bedroom.

I can’t even imagine.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about something like this. I’m grateful for that fact, truly, because any time I come across something like this every hope and dream I have about the world in which we live dies just a little bit more.

Sorry for the melodrama but here’s the deal — I have a kid now. Not that this wouldn’t have pissed me off a year ago, but it’s a little different now that I’m a parent. In a moment of fleeting amnesia, I forgot how terrible the world can be sometimes, so I decided to bring a little life into it. So I had a little boy. A little boy who will sit next to little girls in his classes at school. Girls he will talk to and possibly befriend. Or fall in love with. A little boy whose utterances about girls’ appearances could either be encouraging or incredibly damaging.

See, people? Now it’s personal.

Anyway — here’s a picture of the “diyet” list this poor mother found.

diet_list

If you read the article, you’ll find that the mother’s discovery of her 7-year-old’s diet plan sends her into a tailspin of parental questions, as I’m sure would be the case for any warm-blooded parent with a heartbeat and a brain stem — How did my daughter learn about diets? Did she hear this from me? Was it from someone at school? Was it something on TV? 

I’ve only been a parent for 7 and a half months, but I am already wracked with so much mom-guilt it’s not even funny. Guilt because I work full time. Guilt because my son once choked on a piece of carrot that somehow didn’t get pureed enough. Guilt because he’s teething and so nursing isn’t exactly his favorite thing at the moment. The idea that I’m hurting my child in any way causes me paralyzing grief each day; I can’t imagine the pain I’d feel in my gut if I ever knew that my child didn’t like himself and that feeling was somehow tied back to something I said or did.

The reality is that we do live in a broken world, one that puts so much emphasis on our outward appearance that it’s literally (in this case at least) destroying our youth. We can’t get away from airbrushed magazine covers or commercials for diet pills or anti-aging cream. But what we can control are the words that come out of our own mouths.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are capable. You are worth so much more than your skin color or weight or height or eye color or anything gives you credit for. 

Here’s the thing, though. I sincerely doubt this mother ever told her 7-year-old she needed to go on a diet. I also find it highly unlikely that this mother ever uttered anything to her daughter that might suggest she didn’t like her appearance at all. I’m sure this mom doted on her daughter every day like all of us would our own children. So what’s the disconnect?

While it’s extremely important to make sure we say these things to our children (both boys and girls) as well as our friends and family, we’ve got to start with us. The words we say to ourselves are just as important, if not more so. They’re not just heard by us; they’re heard by others. Especially, I’d argue, the littlest ones. The ones we wish couldn’t hear us the most.

What if she heard her mom complaining about her body? What if this woman (who, at this stage in life, is her daughter’s main example for womanhood) offhandedly commented on her lovehandles or something like we all tend to do? And what if this little girl just assumed that’s what life is like for a girl these days? To be unhappy with her body?

Furthermore, what if this little girl was a classmate of Dax’s? And what if she had no idea what a diet was, but when talking to Dax, learned I was on a diet.

“What’s a diet?” she might inquire.

“My mom says she has to eat less food because she’s fat,” he might respond, if he were to repeat anything I’ve ever said around him concerning my own body.

Let’s break this cycle. Let’s start with us. Let’s talk about ourselves positively and encourage others to do the same. Let’s tell our children they are the perfect creations they are. Let’s end this.

Now.

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Filed under commentaries, eating disorders, food bytes, life, motherhood, rants

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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Filed under gushes, life, the media

overcome the lie.

A quick Google search tells me that the average person can see up to 5,000 advertisements a day. That’s a little more than 208 an hour.

Whoa.

That may seem unrealistic at first, but if you think about it, it makes sense.

In the morning, your alarm clock rouses you. You get up, take a shower, and get dressed. Already, you’ve seen the brand names of all your shampoos, body washes, and clothes you wear. While these products aren’t currently trying to sell themselves to you, you’ve already bought them. Your brand loyalty is being cultivated.

Then, you get into your car and drive to work. On your way, you pass billboards, signs, and placards all vying for your valuable consumer eye. Then you get to work, sit down at your cubicle, and open up your Internet browser to check your email. The page you’re blankly staring at recycles a handful of ads based on your past web experience.

At the end of the day, you get in your car and go back home and plop down on the couch to relax.  You flip on the television and scroll through channels while flickering ads quietly trigger the firing off of millions of synapses in your brain. You consume an hour or two (maybe) and then hit the hay, all to wake up the next day and start it all over again.

If the average person sees that many ads a day, how many lies do you think the average person is told a day?

Now, I’m a communication major. I have a lot of friends who, after graduating college with me, went off to be very successful advertisers. So I’m not about to bite the hand that feeds me. But if every coffee company claims to have the best coffee out there, like they all seem to say in their ads, at least one of them has to be lying, right?

We are told so many lies each day.

“Wear X brand so you’ll be sexy.”

“Buy Y makeup because it will make your skin flawless.”

“Your looks are the best part about you.”

“Your looks are the worst part about you.”

The truth? You are fearfully and wonderfully made just how you are. 

It would be so nice if we could get society to stop lying to us. To stop telling us that our worth is found in outward appearances and things we buy. But that will never happen; we live in a broken world.

But we can’t sit idly by as this happens. We’ve got to take action. It is our responsibility to overcome the lies we are told each day.

I’m asking you to join me, along with Lionhart (a non-profit organization I work with), and The Story Project, to OVERCOME THE LIE.

overcomelie2

Next week, we’ll be teaming up to encourage one another and women all around the globe through inspiring blogs, Facebook posts, and tweets and we want you to join us.

Check out the Facebook event for more information or The Story Project blog.

I’m so excited about the change that is about to happen in so many women’s lives. We, as women, have overcome so much throughout history. Now, it’s time to overcome the lie.

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Filed under faith, God, gushes, life, transformation

thanks, friday favorites!

Over the past couple months I’ve been doing this series, I’ve been challenged to look at myself each week, even when I really really RE-HE-HEALLY didn’t want to, and find one thing about myself that I appreciate and blog about it. From my hair to my outfit to my personality traits and likes and dislikes — things about me that are either physical, mental, internal, or external — I’ve been able to find at least one thing each week that I happen to enjoy. This practice has definitely been a necessary discipline for this season of my growth. 

I was struggling to write a Friday Favorite today, not because I couldn’t think of anything about which to write, but because I couldn’t pick just one thing.

That may seem narcissistic, and if it does, I apologize. Those who know me well know I am anything but a narcissist. But I think that this can only mean one thing.

The series worked. It ran its course and did its job.

I’m glad I stepped out in faith and did this for as long as I did. I think that, by doing this, I’ve gotten my spirit to a good place as far as my self-love journey goes.

And so, Friday Favorites, I bid you a fond farewell. You’ve been quite good to me.

NOW COME AT ME, THREE DAY WEEKEND!

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