I remember reading that thing about people coming into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime when I was in middle school. It made so much sense to me each time I saw my friendships change, grow or drift away.
Brittany’s prompt was specific for today’s date, and it was to write about your best friend. I’ve been excited to write this post since the prompts were posted because I was going to spotlight three of my best girlfriends because they’re all equally great.
The last 72 hours changed my mind. The best friend of a lifetime left me today. My heart is in a billion pieces and I don’t want to go home. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend, confidant or sidekick. 11 years of the best friendship anyone could ask for.
She gave my grandma everything she’d wanted in two short months, she was my mom’s companion while I was in school and she’s been my best friend all along.
I can’t thank this beautiful creature enough. She saved me time and time again, she licked years of tears away, she celebrated when we did and she always made sure we were safe at home. This beautiful dog had the best life and she got to do so many things. She got to be the Grand Marshall of a parade, swim, she won a costume contest, she was a two time cancer survivor, and she had the biggest heart ever.
Our season together may be over, but Oakley came into our life at the best possible time and for the absolute best reason. She’s imprinted on my heart for a lifetime and, no matter the pain, I can’t imagine having lived life without her. I sat with her the last couple days and thanked her for choosing us, thanked her for loving us and for being the best dog that we could have ever asked for.
Good night, my sweet girl. I love you. Say hi to Grandma for me.
The 5 women who have inspired me.. whoa. That’s a really long list to narrow down. Lately, there have been some heavy influences from some amazing women, luckily, I’m able to call the majority of them my friends. Oh, I didn’t put my Mom on this list, mostly because I would turn into a pile of tears and keel over sobbing. She’s pretty freaking great and I love her a whole bunch.
I’m going to start off by talking about two of these women because not only do they know each other, but they do incredible things for people.
THIS WOMAN. Okay, so Meg’s been through it and back, and is one of the people that I’m so grateful to know. We met at the Fourth Estate Leadership Summit last summer when my friend and I introduced ourselves on the dance floor the last night of the conference. She’s an MFT who is working toward her doctorate and who works with inmates and juvenile sex offenders. I’ve never felt so welcome, so accepted and excited to know someone. We kept in touch afterward and lucky for me, she lives in San Diego which is only a couple of hours away. She has invited me into her house, trusted me to keep her kid and cat children safe for a couple weeks while she was out of the country and has allowed me to use her as my go-to yoga resource. She is incredibly open about her struggles and her life, and you’ll feel like a better person just because you know her. If it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am.
Meg, I know you’re going to read this, and I can’t even put into words how happy I am to consider you family. You’ve made me laugh/cry, you’ve inspired the courage I needed to get back into the yoga studio time and time again, you’ve made me cry in public countless times and you excepted me for who I am from day one. haha, I’m crying in public as I type this, I shouldn’t even be surprised. You’ve inspire me so much, and you’ve supported me through so much this past year whether you knew it or not. Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey, just as much as you are a part of mine. You are one of the most honest, caring, open, accepting, loving, hilarious, generous, cultured, well-read, silly, dorky, appreciative, driven, diligent, and well-respected humans I know. I love you foreverrrrr, and I promise to bring cookies every time I come visit.
Meg’s TEDxWomen talk: http://youtu.be/81hy3AZjkr4
This fantastic woman created I AM THAT GIRL, which is pretty much the coolest non-profit geared to making sure that women and girls know their worth. She’s incredibly well spoken, caring and genuine. Her book, I AM THAT GIRL, is also part of the reason she’s on this list. If there is any book I recommend to women of all ages, it’s this one. It’s not a self-help book, it’s not an inspirational book, it’s a book that will knock you on your ass while firing up the drive to go out, kick ass at life and take names. She spoke on the same panel as Meg did at the summit I attended… along with Sophia Bush, Yael Cohen of FUCK CANCER. I sat near the front of the room, but off to the side, thankfully. I ended up quietly crying throughout the entire thing. These women who aren’t much older than me sat there and told me that no matter what, I am just fine the way I am and that I can do whatever the hell I wanted. It was the talk the best friends and sisters have when times are hard. Talk about an inspirational panel. When I found out that she was also writing book, I made sure to hunt it down within two days of it hitting shelves. I have her words tattooed on my arm because her words are powerful. They shocked and spoke to me as I read the very first sentence of her book. I am so grateful that I was able to cross paths with her, even if we didn’t actually get to meet each other at that event. It’s the little things you say and the small gestures that matter, and I hope she knows just how much she’s hit home with the girls and women who have read that book.
Oh, and that TEDx talk that Meg spoke at? Guess who hosted? Yeah, Alexis. I know, right? How cool are my friends.
Okay, now on the rest… let’s hope I can stop crying in this Starbucks. haha, who am I kidding.
Talk about a self-made powerhouse. I met J at a day long seminar called Women Empowered that Stephanie (read about her a little later) invited me to. She has become a one woman marketing machine and is really really good at what she does. Not only does she work with her own clients, but she’s a jet-setter who hosts small seminars all over LA and around the world. At the event, she retweeted something I posted and I introduced myself later that day. We exchanged information and made sure to stay in contact. She has become one of my biggest supports and cheerleaders as I work toward starting my own business and building the life I want doing what I love. To say that I’m excited to see her on Saturday is an understatement, and there aren’t enough good things I can say about her. I am so happy she’s in my corner and that I decided to say hi to her that day, she’s been a game changer.
I randomly started following her on Twitter after seeing her posts retweeted by another account… fast forward to a year-ish later when I got the meet her. I was on Twitter while at Fourth Estate and I saw that Stephanie posted that she was there as well – I knoooow, three of these women all came into my life the same weekend… I can’t deal with it either. We tweeted each other a couple times until we were able to figure out a good time to sneak out of the main hall and meet up. I remember standing there trying so hard not to fangirl all over the place. I love strong, outspoken women, especially when they use their voices for justice and to help others. Stephanie is key in that. She’s not afraid to speak about the causes and organizations she’s involved with. We talked for nearly a half hour and I realized that I had just met one of the coolest, most daring women ever. She’s been a catalyst for different organizations, she’s super supportive of those around her and she’s not afraid to speak out against injustice all over the world. She’s freaking great.
I’m running out of words to express how amazing all of these women are… I still have one more!
I have always ALWAYS had issues when it comes to body image and how I view myself. It’s gotten a hell of a lot better the last couple years, but it’s still such a journey. I am so grateful to be a part of a HUGE community of women that have been brought together by this woman via Facebook. The amount of acceptance and similarities between all of us in that group is staggering and in our tiny little internet world, Brittany is our fearless leader. She’s been a source of inspiration for countless women (and I’m sure guys too) because she’s a bad ass. She’s not afraid to have fun, to talk about the weird stuff, to express how hard she loves and is a fantastic writer. In reading through her website I’ve taken a few steps forward on my rough journey of self-acceptance. I bought a bikini for the first time ever and wore it this summer. Twice. That’s the first time I’ve worn a bathing suit in a decade. I’ve learned that no matter what you look like, what size you wear, what color your hair is or where you work, you’re worthy of love, respect – from yourself and others, and you’re worthy of great things. I can’t thank her enough and I really hope that I’ll be able to go to the grown up summer camp that she hosts so I can hug her and say thank you.
Brittany’s TEDxBGSU talk: http://youtu.be/81hy3AZjkr4
I could go on and on about these five courageous woman, but I can’t today. I’m out of words and I don’t want to ugly cry in public. I love you all so much, thank you a million for all the advice, support and comfort you’ve given me. I am forever indebted to you all.
Self care is insanely important and it’s something that a lot of us avoid, intentionally or not. Brittany’s prompt for this is to talk about five things that we can prioritize and treat ourselves with. This was harder than I imagined it would be.
1. Go to yoga.
I have been telling myself to get off my ass and I go to my Bikram studio for a couple months, I mean, I’m paying for it anyway.. but I haven’t been able to step foot inside. The last time I went, I thought I had eaten enough during the day, but apparently I hadn’t and ended up dry heaving and laying on the tile floor of the women’s locker room pounding a coconut water and snacks. Today will be different, I have all my stuff with me and I’m prepared. I’m hydrated, well-fed and excited to sweat out the last few months.. I won’t be surprised if I end up crying at some point, luckily, tears and sweat look a lot alike.
My sanctuary is a well-stocked kitchen. When I eat well, I feel a lot better about life, so it’s a good thing that I’m a good cook. I grew up in the kitchen learning and helping my mom, my grandma and my aunts. I’ve laughed there, cried there, and talked about life’s greatest mysteries while eating cold spaghetti sandwiches over the sink… To say it’s my happy place is an understatement. The more I’m in the kitchen, the healthier I eat and the better I feel. Makes sense, right? Of course it does.
3. Did I mention yoga?
Before I could afford a subscription to the bikram studio near me, I started doing yoga in my backyard. I knew it would help my back/hips by strengthening my core and I figured since it was summer at the time that I could help my ever-deficient Vitamin D levels by being outside. I didn’t think it would change me the way that it has. My body shape changed, my outlook changed, my breathing changed, my stress level changed, my posture had changed and I felt more comfortable in my body than I ever had. I sound like a hack when I gush about how much I love and need my practice, whether in the backyard or in the studio, but I do. I need it and I need to make sure that I don’t just say I do yoga to make myself feel better for not being as dedicated. My body needs it so that I can stand up straight. I have to make a better commitment to myself.
Last summer, my mom and I started an edible container garden in our backyard. Tending to that, growing new things brings out the wonder in me. I noticed that we had carrot sprouts this morning and proceeded to happy dance around the backyard while I was doing laundry. The more I can grow and learn about, the better I can cook. Lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, herbs galore. It’s our baby farm and I love it. When I care for it, it cares for me, so I need to make sure that I do a better job watering, weeding and trimming things back when it’s needed.
The timing of this challenge could not have been better. I needed something to encourage me to write more, to explore more and to feel more confident in my own words so that I can further pursue my dream jobs. The more I write, the calmer I feel, so it seems that writing is yet another form of therapy for me. I have great friends who write a lot, and I never thought I would be among them, but here I am. I’m proud of that, and grateful for their encouragement as well as the CGG empire.
Despite my insecurities, I like who I am and who I’m becoming… the more I take care of myself, the more I grow, so I have to keep fighting towards the life I want.
Today’s post is getting up a little later than I had planned, but oh well, at least it’s there. There was a brief discussion on this topic late last night in CGG and I thought today would be a good day to write about it myself.
“Things you wish your mother would have told you about body image”
Yuck. Already, just ugh. I don’t want to write about this, but luckily, my mom is pretty rad and we talked about some of it the other day after Brittany posted the prompts, and well, I’m doing it.
1. My idea of beauty will be ever changing
I wish I had understood this concept a lot earlier. I’ve only realized it the last year or so when I started seeing how cruel we can be to ourselves and each other. As I’ve gotten older, and stronger, I realize that beauty isn’t something that one person can truly define. It’s a collection of things, of intangible, wonderful, driving things. I can tell you what it isn’t. Beauty isn’t a thigh gap. It isn’t perfectly shaped and sculpted eyebrows.
Beauty doesn’t give a shit about the clothes you wear because it finds a way to show itself by the light in your eyes.. there’s nothing you can do about it.
2. Varicose and Spider Veins run in our family and they’re awful
I think I always knew that I had a predisposition for these things, but it never really sunk in. Varicose and spider veins can plague someone for different reasons. They both can come from injury, standing for long periods of time, and about a million other reasons. I posted about being lumpy before (here and here) but this is a different kind of thing. Varicose veins can be painful and they’re part of the reason I don’t like wearing shorts. They’re weird and lumpy and really really veiny. Spider veins look kind of cool, but like, not really. They’re red, purpley things. Sometimes they look like spiders, or their webs, or sometimes they just leave nasty coloring around your ankles that makes you self conscious. I’ve been debating whether or not I should look into getting the varicose ones removed, the procedure has changed a lot in the last 15 years, and it’s not supposed to be as crazy and painful as it used to be, so who knows… I have to figure if it’s really worth it first.. Spoiler alert: it probably isnt.
3. Shopping is not nearly as fun as they make it seem on TV.
Getting new clothes is never really something I look forward to because the process of going to 23847942 stores and trying on 238746709325892470 things until I’m red and sweaty is roughly 0% appealing at any given time. Granted, sometimes you luck out and you try something that surprises you (like I did at Old Navy a week ago!) but that is RARELY the case. US sizing is so odd. It’s just a bunch of arbitrary numbers that are supposed to make sense, but they really don’t. I wish we used more of a UK/European way of sizing clothing, and you know, like, just used the actual measurements of something because then it would be consistent and shopping wouldn’t be such a bitch all the time. I mean, it probably still would be, but I think a lot of the stress would disappear.
Anyway, I’m off to have dinner with my psuedo grandpa on his birthday and enjoy the start of my weekend.. Here’s to writing more and enjoying the weekend. xo.
I decided to lighten it up a bit and choose the prompt about your fashion icons. I’m not huge into celebrity culture, and I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy, so this one took me a bit to figure out before it dawned on me.
A few years ago, I remember seeing an article about menswear for women and how the concept wasn’t new, it was almost a revival. There was a spread of clothes that were modeled after what Katharine Hepburn would have worn, one after Diane Keaton and a few other women. That was what I wanted. They’re beautiful, strong women who don’t give a shit about what people think about their clothing. They could be both glamorous and functional, both breathtaking and forceful. Just look at them, they’re stunning. Neither were/are afraid to show their true selves, their wit and their intelligence. They didn’t let social norms guide their fashion choices and I think it’s the coolest.
Then, there’s Melissa McCarthy. I love this woman. I want to be her friend, I’d totally babysit her kids for free and I just want to go do fun things with her because I feel like she’s probably the most normal person who just happens to be hilarious AND GORGEOUS. Seeing someone who looks like me being celebrated on the cover of magazines and in movies and TV shows blows my mind. I can’t say enough awesome things about her. I know she has a clothing line in the works, and I’m really really hoping that it’s going to be accessible and affordable. I just want to hug her and say thank you for making it known that women are different shapes and yet still awesome. Can anyone hook a girl up?!
I don’t remember the first time the word was said to me. I don’t know if I overheard someone saying it, using it to describe me, or if it was a self-directed jab.
I wish I knew.
I wish I knew where that feeling came from.
I wish I knew so that I could make it stop.
With the exception of when I was born and the few months after, I was never a small person. I was taller, I was bigger, I was faster, I was stronger. When I was younger, and sometimes still, I just wanted to fit in, to swim with the rest of the fish and not stick out. I wanted to wear the same clothes, to not feel like a fish out of water constantly.. and to not be in the middle of every class or team picture because I was the tallest. I just wanted to be in the front row and play shortstop, not in the middle of the back row and stuck out in the outfield because no one could hit that far, you know?
I was made fun of a lot growing up, but I never considered myself bullied, and I think that’s partly because people were just talk, they never put their words into actions because I was a head taller. There were some mean kids, and they said mean things, and I’m extremely lucky that I don’t remember a lot of it. I don’t know if I just pushed it from accessible memory, or if it was more self-imposed than anything.
In our culture, the word “fat” carries so many things. It carries strife and anxiety. It carries fear and self-hatred. It carries a feeling of inadequacy and self-loathing. I really don’t like it. In Spanish, when you’re called “Gordit@” as a kid, it’s more of a factual statement. Sometimes its even a term of endearment from your grandma, but in English… nope, not so much.
Being called fat did a lot of subtle damage, I’m finding. I’m still trying to get over and through my own struggles with my body and how it does, or doesn’t, work, and it’s hard. Very hard, actually. The one thing I have learned is that no matter how hard it is, taking even a tiny step forward and out of the shadow of a word is breathtaking in all the right ways.