Faith, Life Talk, Real Talk

I Don’t Believe in the One That Got Away

Two of my exes recently got engaged. I mean, it’s to be expected, I’m at that age where friends and Facebook acquaintances are getting engaged and having babies and buying houses and all that stuff, so my Facebook news feed is a constant minefield of people who look like they have their lives more together than me, making me feel inadequate about where I am in life. It tends to happen that way after college, or so I’m told.

Both of these exes are great guys, nice men and I hope that they have every happiness in the world with their fianceés, since they deserve it. I never regretted being in a relationship with either of them, and I am glad to know that they have found true happiness.

One of these men, until recently, was the one that got away.

He was my first love, my first serious relationship, and the first man that I considered losing my virginity to (don’t worry Mom, I held onto it for a little bit longer after him). He was a lot of firsts for me, my best friend for many years, even after we broke up, and someone who I always felt truly understood me.

Never again did I think that I was going to meet a man like him, and, honestly, I never really have. But throughout the last few years, that we were just friends, the bloom fell off the rose, and I began to see things more clearly, specifically, why he wasn’t meant for me:

  1. We have different political opinions
  2. I have to sometimes explain what words mean
  3. We have different ideas of what’s a fun way to pass the time
  4. He smokes or vapes or dips or does something with smoke or tobacco and that’s a deal breaker for me
  5. He doesn’t always think before he speaks, which results in some really hurtful things coming out of his mouth
  6. He didn’t stand up for me as much as he should have
  7. We couldn’t have the important conversations
  8. We rushed our feelings and slowed our building a relationship

All the bad things, the disenchantments and the falling outs, eventually grew to outweigh the good, and now, I am happy for him and his fiancée, and I wish them a lifetime of happiness together. I hope that their relationship grows and changes the way that they wish it will, and they stay in love for the rest of their lives. I’m moving on.

I no longer believe in the one that got away.

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Yes, I believe in romantic comedies, and one of my favorite rom-coms will always be Sweet Home Alabama and Reese Witherspoon’s beautiful line “The truth is I gave my heart away a long time ago, my whole heart, and I never really got it back,” and I always thought how romantic that concept was. I wanted to be the girl that gave her heart away to “the one” and then he got away but then they reunited and she finally got to feel whole again. But the truth is, I don’t need that anymore.

Sure, it would be nice to find the one that I can settle down with and keep around and maybe not hate to wake up to in the morning, someone who fills my heart with little butterflies whenever I see him or makes me smile and laugh, but the truth is, he’s in the future not the past. All the ones that have come and gone have gone for a reason, and that reason isn’t because I needed to make myself a better me to be worthy of them. I am perfect just the way that I am, and I am deserving of someone who can see me for who I am, rather than who they want me to be.

I have my whole heart now, and it’s mine all mine. My whole heart is filled by me, my thoughts, my feelings, my passions, and it’s open to experiencing life with someone else, but it’s not empty. There is only one magic person that can decide to make it full, and that’s me. I can find things to fill my heart, make it swell with pride and passion, but I can’t look to someone else to do it for me. Giving my heart away to someone else only tells my that I don’t care about it enough to treat it nicely, but I’m just going to willy nilly let someone else take over the job. Caring about and respecting my heart means caring for it myself, loving it myself, and making sure that it gets the fulfillment it needs. That’s how I get a full/whole heart.

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These words are true. They will always be true and they are never untrue. God has a plan for who He wants in your life, in my life, the people that He wants around to shape who you become. His reasons might not always be apparent at first, but He is making room for someone better to come along. You won’t know who it is until they get there, but if you trust His timing and His planning you will be just fine.

That’s why I no longer believe in the one that got away. God wants to make room in my life for the person that He has picked out for me, and that person isn’t one of the boys who have walked out before. That person is someone new, someone whose story I don’t know yet, who can add to the remaining chapters of mine and make them worthwhile. God is telling me that I need to be patient, and that He’s working it out for me. It’s not always going to happen right when I want it to happen, because, as Lauren Graham says, “then it wouldn’t be called life, it would be called vending machine.”

“But life doesn_t often spell things out for you or give you what you want exactly when you want it, otherwise it wouldn_t be called life, it would be called vending machine.” -L

God’s got it all under control. If someone walks out, let them go. You have much greater things waiting for you on the other side, and you have more room in your heart for them now.

Stay fearless, friends (3)

Affirmations, Faith, General, Life Talk, Real Talk

You’re Right Where You’re Meant to Be

My most recent therapy session was the first one in a while where I felt that I had only positive things to say and it was going really well. I was in a good place, and feeling pretty solid about where I’m at in life; I was at one of those ups in depression where you feel really awesome about the world and where your life is, and all parts of my life were falling into place. Finally, the subject of my love life came up, since there’s a new guy in the picture and I wanted to get her opinion of him before I stressed too much about whether he was going to be worth my time or not (by the way, he is).

Anyway, I was sitting and talking to her about how I was finally casting off the social media goggles that I am always wearing, the ones where I look at the people that I graduated from high school or college with who are in different, seemingly more advanced, places in their lives and think that I’m somehow behind because I’m not engaged yet or in a long term relationship or running a company at almost 24 years old. I was talking about all the people in my life who constantly remind me that I’m “only 23 years old,” and shouldn’t be in such a rush, and that I was finally coming to terms with that and accepting it as a truth in my life. And that’s when she said something that I’d heard before, but at this time in my life really struck me: “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.”

Those words have stuck with me this time, all the way to today when I am (finally) writing this post. They are so simple, yet so powerful, and cannot be any more true than they are right now. Here are some of my reasons that it’s true:

  1. I’m working only one job and finding my niche in the industry
  2. I’ve been writing more and developing my craft, while also looking to build a portfolio and look for freelancing positions
  3. Despite my young age, I have been able to hold down a job for almost 2 years, the first years out of college
  4. At just 23 years old, I am (almost, with a couple married roommates) living out on my own
  5. God has my plan in place, and He’s constantly sending me signs that I am on the path that He wants me to be on in this life

Despite all the feelings that I don’t belong, that I don’t know what I’m doing in this world, because of my age, my degree, and sometimes I even feel like my depression throws up walls that I can’t climb, I am exactly where I’m meant to be. The only timeline that I need to be following is my own, the only standards I need to live up to are the ones that I set for myself and the only expectations that I need to satisfy are mine, designed by me alone. No one else can dictate what I should live up to, and no one else should. The only person who can make my life rules is me, and I am in charge of how I feel. If I don’t like it, I can change it.

Every person, place and thing that I have encountered on this journey has led me to this moment, to typing these words, to my finger hitting each key as I sit in front of my MacBook Pro on a Monday night. I am exactly where I am meant to be, writing these words for you all to read. The people that I have come across that have hurt me, broken me, pushed me down, those are the people that I have the most to thank. They are the ones that showed me where I was going wasn’t where I was meant to be, and sent me off in another direction. God puts those reminders in your life and in your heart, as His way of talking to you and telling you that He has a plan for you that’s bigger than what you’re going through, and right where you are, is where He wants you to be.

Remember this: If it feels right in your heart, it’s what you’re meant to be doing. If it makes you feel strong and powerful, right and belonging, then you’re right where you’re supposed to be. If you can wake up in the morning and breathe deeply because you are ready for the day ahead, then you’re doing okay in the world. Society might have set some timelines for how people are supposed to act and when things are supposed to be done, but it really doesn’t matter. Your heart is the timeline, your soul is the clock and your path is your path. The people who are there along the way are all meant to be there, for some reason or another, and the challenges that you face will make you a stronger person. Every time you veer off the path you think you’re heading down, you’ll stumble into a place where you’re truly meant to be, and before you panic, take some time to enjoy the ride.

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The only person who can decide your life and your timeline is you. Even if you feel like you’re moving slower or faster than other people in your life, if it feels right and comfortable for you, then it’s exactly right, no matter what society says. To paraphrase William Ernest Henley “[you are] the master of [your] fate, [you are] the captain of [your] soul.” It’s all right for you, and it’s all right in the grand scheme of things.

Daily mantra: I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

Stay fearless, friends (3)

General, Life Talk, Blog Talk

The Liebster Award!

 

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The beautiful @moodsreflective and Michele from Mindful Wellness tagged me in this blogging tradition, The Liebster Award. So, I’m answering both their questions and will follow the rest of the rules of the Liebster Award!

Rules:

This tag is meant to help bring more awareness to your blog, as well as be able to help others grow in the process by passing it along to other bloggers that you nominate. We’re here to make connections amongst each other in the blogging community, you guys, so this is a perfect way to make those connections to get your blog goin’. So, here are the ground rules, as I’ve seen them:

  1. You recognize the person who tagged you in the first place in your Liebster Award post.
  2. You answer the questions they included in their post for you to answer (they’ll normally insert the new questions they want you to answer towards the end of their blog post. I almost got confused and thought I was supposed to answer the questions that were already answered, lol).
  3. You create 11 new questions for the people you nominated to answer.
  4. You’ll tag the bloggers you feel you’d want to see do this tag, preferably if they have around 200 followers or less (help their follower count jump the fuck uupp).

Here are the questions from the wonderful moodsreflective!

Who are you writing for: the people, or yourself?

I’m writing for me, mostly, as a way to express myself and get in the regular practice of writing more. I also wanted to join a community of people who were similar-minded and dedicated to blogging and sharing and would help me make my writing better 🙂

Where do you normally draw inspiration for your blog posts?

Things that happen in my life, things I witness, and sometimes a thought that I want to write about and want to explore further

Who are you the most inspired by right now?

All of my fellow bloggers, warr;ors and mental health warr;ors, as well as my coworkers

If blogging is mainly your side hobby, where does your true passion lie?

Being a voice for those who feel like they’re in a dark tunnel, helping people in crisis and giving a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a support in times of turmoil. I am a social worker by trade, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world

Do you feel that your current level of confidence is where you want/need it to be?

When I’m standing in front of a bunch of impressionable kids, I’m the most confident person ever and I love it! In real life, my confidence could use a little work

Do you feel like you have enough “me” time?

I take so much “me” time that it’s crazy. I just wish that sometimes I had some more productive “me” time and actually accomplished some goals once in a while (Exhibit A: it’s taken me 3 days to write this blog post)

Are you most comfortable in a crowd, or hiding out in your room?

My room, all the way. It has my books, my laptop and my Gilmore Girls ❤

In times when you feel overwhelmed by life, what do you do to re-center yourself?

Reading, writing, going for long drives, falling asleep at random times in a comfy bed, listening to empowering music

How do you stay motivated to keep writing blog posts if you don’t get the amount of feedback you’re aiming for?

Knowing that this blog is for me, as a way to write out my feelings, practice my skills and express myself. If I reach one person with at least one of my posts, then I’ve done my best

Does your family know that you blog? If not, why?

Right now, no. This blog is for me, and my personal thoughts and feelings. While some people would argue that putting them on the Internet isn’t really all that personal and private, it still feels like mine and my project and a great way to grow my feminism and faith without too much pressure from too many people I know all too personally

What is a lesson you wish you would have learned earlier on in life?

Your parents are there to help you, not hurt you, and they want you to succeed. There is no shame in asking them for help when you’re struggling, because they are there to help you learn how to live life and be independent

Here are Michelle’s questions:

How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start writing?

I’ve been on and off blogging for about 4-5 years. I started in college, and was just looking for ways to express myself and my thoughts on the world around me. This is probably my 3rd or 4th attempt at a blog, and I have been so inspired this time by myself and my journey and all the other strong people in this world and the blogging community

What is your experience/journey with mental health?

I was diagnosed with depression in high school, and have been fighting it ever since. It’s been a long road of finding the self-care that works for me and the coping skills that get me down from the ledge that I’m on. See this post for the full story on my mental health journey

What are you favorite self-care tips/routines/rituals?

Painting and art have been really healing for me, as well as writing. There’s something about creating something from nothing or blank space that’s so wonderful and exciting. Reading is also a wonderful part of my self-care, being able to appreciate the work of fellow artists and writers.

What else do you enjoy, aside from blogging?

Reading, writing, journaling, watching Netflix, going for long drives with the music blaring

What is your favorite food?

Any comfort food, really 🙂 I’m a picky eater when it comes to some things, but I also know what I like and what makes me happy

Any book recommendations? Mental health related or just for fun?

I just finished This is Just My Face, Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe, and it was AMAZING! I also love reliving classic childhood books like the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and more. If I had to write them all down, it would be a blog post in itself. Stay tuned for that post!

What are your long term goals for your blog?

Keep up with it for at least 6 months, be a part of the community and write some stuff

What’s your favorite song when you are feeling down?

Fight Song by Rachel Platten, Brave by Sara Bareilles, Fight Like a Girl by Kali Shorr, I Am Invincible by Cassadee Pope, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, Make My Own Sunshine by Olivia Lane, Own It by Bailey Bryan, Road Less Traveled by Alyssa Bonagura, Road Less Traveled by Lauren Alaina, Roar by Katy Perry and pretty much anything country 🙂

What keeps you positive?

I’ve made it through every bad day so far; I can make it through these. God sometimes has a plan different than my ideas and trusting Him is the fastest way that I’ll be happy

What have you found to be the most difficult about blogging so far?

Sticking to a schedule and sometimes remembering to post

How has blogging or being a part of the blogging community helped you?

I have learned more about myself, my writing style and learned how to be more open with my mental health and personal journey. I have met some wonderfully strong and inspiring bloggers, and I am so grateful to be learning from them and working with them and building a group of warr;ors that I can lean on and be a part of and it’s so empowering!

 

And now…. it’s my turn. Here are some awesome bloggers that I admire:

Here are my questions for you all!

  1. Is this your first blog? If not, how have your blog efforts changed over the years?
  2. How has blogging made an impact on your life?
  3. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
  4. If you could travel any place in the world, where would it be?
  5. Favorite TV show to watch on a rainy day?
  6. If you could do one year in your life over again, what would it be and why?
  7. Name your 3 favorite things about yourself
  8. If you were going to run for president, how would you convince people to vote for you?
  9. Do you have any pets?
  10. What inspires you to blog, write or post?
  11. What is one thing that you wish everyone knew about you?

Thank you to moodsreflective and Michele for tagging me in this and allowing me to take part in it! I had a lot of fun, no matter how long it took me to write it!

Stay fearless, friends (3)

Faith, Life Talk, Real Talk

I Wore My Illness: A Note on Mental Health

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I was honored to participate in The Heart Project, a project intended to end the stigma surrounding mental health. I decided to wear my illness and show it to the world, because I wanted to show what I am fighting each day, and come out from behind my mask of fineness and share my struggles, being honest with all of you beautiful people out there.

Depression: I was diagnosed with depression when I was in high school. It was my senior year, and I was struggling in so many different ways. Moods were constantly changing and I was more down than up, friends were worried about me, and scheduling meetings with school counselors to try and figure out what was wrong with me. I couldn’t pull myself out of the deep hole of sadness and uncontrollable moods that were constantly swirling around me. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and I could barely stay in school some days. It was hell, and I had no relief.

The diagnosis was the first hint of relief for me, the first sign that I had a light at the end of the tunnel of unknowing. The thing that I was fighting had a name, had a face, and had a community of people that fought to combat it every day. I had a support system, and a place to turn when I needed an ear, none of which would have been possible without that first trip to a therapist and a psychiatrist and trying to find a name for the beast.

Now, I have been on Lexapro for 7 years, been in therapy on and off, and am constantly working on my coping skills. By talking about my mental health, and the struggle I face every day, I am normalizing it, giving it a name and showing depression that it can’t beat me. Some days are better than others, as it is with all struggles, but I know that I can face each day confident that I am going to beat it because I have beat every day before it. The monster in the closet has a name: Depression, and I have a plan to defeat it.

Self-Harm: It was my number 1 coping skill for a long time, my way to escape from the world, and to give something physical to the pain that I felt inside. Too long I felt the pressure building up inside me, and taking a knife to my wrist was the only way that I could let it out. Hurting myself was how I expressed my pain; being mean to my body was how I felt better about the life I was living and the choices I made.

You don’t have to have a knife or a razor to self-harm. Even when I wasn’t cutting, I was calling myself stupid and worthless, wondering why I even deserved to live. Putting my body down, putting my choices down, and putting my life down every day, when I feel like I didn’t belong somewhere or my work hasn’t been up to snuff lately. Hurting myself took many shapes and forms, no matter if I had a sharp object in my hand or not.

March 13, 2015. The last day that I cut myself, put a knife to my wrist and opened it up. Not the last day I told myself something hateful (that was more like the night before last), but the healing journey is not a straight one. It has lumps and bumps like any other road. Every day I don’t cut myself is a victory for me.

PTSD: Was the diagnosis I got after leaving an abusive relationship. I was constantly having flashbacks of the torment I experienced, and once even thought I saw his car on the road, even though I now live 2 states away from him. He still haunts my nightmares occasionally, usually kidnapping me or looking for me no matter where I am. But I have moved on from him and his insanity, his putdowns and his insecurities. Sure, I am not perfect, but the flashbacks and nightmares have calmed down now, and I have learned new ways to combat them when they do arise. Of all the demons I’m fighting, his is the one I am best able to keep at bay.

Support: Here’s to all the people that are out there, struggling just like me. The people who feel they have no one else to turn to, who feel encased by the darkness, desperately looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s to the people who have monsters in the closet and inside of them, and who are seeking a way to fight them. Here’s to the people who get through just one more day, take life one day at a time, who hold the blade to their wrist and wish that they had the courage to open it up and let the blood flow freely, but make the decision to try to make it through just one more hour. Here’s to the people who hit a bump on the healing journey, who got off at a detour, or are just taking a pause while they recollect and try to see what happens next.

The semicolon that I have tattooed on my wrist demonstrates a reminder that a pause is not the end, only an invitation to keep going in a new direction. Just because there is a bump in the road, doesn’t mean the journey is over. There is no shame in taking a breather when you need to figure out what step to take next. The road is rocky, the journey is long, but it’s flanked with love and support along the way.

I’m here for you… You are not alone… I love you… You are strong… You are a warr;or, darling. Things will get better, just take it one day at a time. ♥

Stay fearless, friends (3)

 

P.S. I have joined a group of bloggers looking to put together a mental health awareness collaborative project. Have something you want to see? Have ideas? Fill out this survey and tell us! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HQ826JK

Book Excerpt, General, Life Talk

Love is Louder

The following is an excerpt from my book Love Letters to a Warr;or: A Journey of Self Love publish date TBA.  Just sharing thi

Dear

Love is louder than self-harm, than hate, than racism,

Than bigotry, than war and all the ugly redness that

Covers our society today and causes

Good people, educated, God-fearing, well-raised people

To throw around word grenades as simply as if they were

Balls of paper tossed around at lunchtime under a teacher’s eagle eye.

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the disregard for that person that you pass on the street,

Begging for something, anything from the cars that pass by,

Just another way to get them through that day,

Stay alive for another 24 hours, even though they have to do it all again in the morning.

They look grungy, undesirable, lonely, pitiful, ignored, forgotten,

Blending into the background, in desperate need of someone to ask them their story.

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the bullies on the bus, and, when we get older, the bullies that we live with.

All the people that try to cut you down and tell you that you’re worth nothing more

Than the dirt under their fingernails, tear you down just so that they can

Rise up themselves and take everything from everyone because they need to feel powerful.

The hurtful words that tear through you like a knife, the punches and slaps that take the

Shine away from you because they never learned what love is and means and looks like.

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the little voice inside you that says “you can’t”

The one that creeps into your nightmares and your daydreams

Curling around your wrists and ankles, ensnaring you in its trap

Of paralysis and fear and self-doubt.

That little voice might be loud at times, and berating while you strain

Against the shackles, but it can always be droned out because:

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the mistakes you’ve made along the way, the little slip-ups and messes and Downright disasters that you’ve sometimes caused in your journey.

Those reasons that sometimes you feel people look at you and think that you’re no good,

No good for the job, no good for the boy or no good for more than what you have now.

Think of all the times you look at your life and feel like there is nothing more for you to try

Because you’ll just mess it up anyway.  Always remember:

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the disgust that you feel when you look in the mirror,

The criticism that you always have for your figure,

And the neon lights you add to the parts of you that you deem ugly.

You’re convinced that everyone you pass on the street is pointing out your flaws

For their friends to notice and laugh about since they have never seen someone that gross,

Even though, in reality, you’re the only one who knows what you hate about yourself.

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than your fears, your doubts, and your stresses.

Love will be there to drown out your objections, your questions and your misdirections

Until you stop looking down on yourself and find a way to show yourself kindness.

Love is there when no one else is, self-love, and by loving yourself,

You can overwhelm the haters and prove to them that you’re strong, you’re powerful,

You’re a fighter and that you know, you will always know:
Love is louder.

 

Love,

Me

Stay fearless, friends (3)

General, Life Talk, Real Talk

I Learned a Life Lesson at the Beach

This past weekend, I spent some time on Tybee Island down here in GA, with some friends. It was a typical summer day down south, which means that it felt like 110º in the shade, and the sun was blazing from the time we got there at 8:30am to the time we left at 2:30pm. Now, the beach is not my favorite thing in the world, but I love spending time in the water, and I was hoping to read an entire book, so I went along for the ride.

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m a proud BBW, or fluffy, woman. Extra stomach rolling over my waistband, a couple of chins in most pictures, 1.5 chins on a good day, some arms jiggles and thighs that spread like water in a pie tin when I sit down. I have since come to terms with the fact that I will never be a size 2, and have even come to realize that it’s not an obstacle in my dating life, which I long feared that it would be. I am always upfront about my body type, and if men don’t like it, they don’t have to talk to me. It’s really that simple. Still, as much as I have accepted my appearance and who I am, and am still working on body positivity, I sometimes worry how I will be perceived in the world because of my weight.

Hence why this weekend was such a major win for me.

How to Have a Beach Body-

Going to the beach, I was wearing a sports bra, athletic shorts and a long t-shirt that I sometimes use as a sleeping shirt. When we got there, I was determined not to take my shirt off, even though I knew it was going to be hot and everything that I was wearing was designed to dry quickly. As far as I’ve come with comfort with my body, and can even take my clothes off and have sex with a man, I didn’t want to expose my naked stomach to a bunch of strangers and beachgoers. I had images of men, women and children, even the lifeguards pointing at my large stomach and yelling “ewww!” and “gross!” and all over varieties of things that would make me feel self-conscious and not welcome on the beach because of my weight and would send me running back to the tent we set up in shame and disgust.

I got hot, wanted to go in the water, and still wanted to have something to wear for the car ride home, so I decided to take my shirt off and go in the water. As I walked to the water, I just had all the words of hatred and disgust in my head, people screaming and yelling “ewww! why don’t you cover yourself up? there are children here!!” and other kinds of nasty things at me. There were moments when I wanted to turn around and run back to my shirt, just to silence the voices in my head. (And by the way, this was not a long walk to the water.) While I loathe saltwater, I wanted to hurry up and get covered so that everyone would stop staring at me (all in my head, remember). Every step I took, the farther away I was from the water or my shirt, was another opportunity for someone to notice me and be disgusted.

But no one said a word.

I walked to the water undisturbed, unharmed, and possibly unnoticed, just another beachgoer who wanted to beat the heat and hang out in the ocean. No lifeguards screamed at me for people at risk, no mothers attempted to shield their children’s eyes, and no men came up and spat in my face and told me they were never going to date me. Just a young woman, who wanted to hang out and swim, and enjoy her Saturday at the beach, and not bother anyone. I wasn’t told to leave the beach and get my disgustingness away from everyone, and I had a relaxing time in the ocean and on the beach with my friends. And, I’ll tell you a little secret, I actually enjoyed how my body and fluffiness felt in the ocean waves: all free and easy, flowing with the movement of the ocean, and just doing whatever it pleased, taking a day off for itself too, just like me.

This experience was an eye-opening one for me, in a different way than normal. Everyday, I walk around with this body type, in clothes and dresses that make me feel beautiful, and people usually notice the confidence that I have, if they notice me at all. However, walking on the beach, with nothing on but a sports bra and some shorts, I felt exposed and open in a whole new way. But still, no one said anything. I realized that people have their own lives, their own families, and their own things to focus on other than one person walking down the beach leading with her stomach. While looking at the internet, you see people shaming large people all the time, most people in their daily lives don’t really care all that much whether or not the person walking past them is overweight or not. The voices inside my head are the things that hold me back the most, not the people on the street who make comments about my weight because, honestly, most people don’t care. I spent so much time worrying about whether or not people were taking time out their lives to look at me, when I should have been concerned more with myself and how I was feeling. I was taking a huge risk by exposing my naked stomach to the world, and I should have been proud of myself for that, and only thinking of the positive things. And, after realizing that no one else really cared but me, I was proud of myself. I took myself out of my shell a little bit, and I was ready to show the world how confident I was.

Size doesn’t matter as much as I think it does. Weight is a personal choice, and a personal thing. People have a lot of other things to worry about than what I look like. I am proud of myself, and proud of who I am. God gave me a big personality and He gave me a big body to hold it all in. And I thank him for it every day.

Stay fearless, friends (3)

General, Life Talk, Real Talk

A Conversation… On Stories

-When you talk, you are only repeating what you know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.--Dali Lama

For the past week, I have been listening to Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, where he describes what it was like growing up as a mixed child in South Africa during apartheid and its aftermath.  Trevor’s father is white Swiss German, and his mother is black South African, which was illegal under apartheid.  So, much of his audiobook is centered around his struggle to fit in with the other kids and even his own family, due to his skin tone, his social class, and even which racial group with which he chose to identify.  I’m not going to give it all away, but it introduces an interesting perspective into the racial divide, not just in the United States, but throughout the world.

Speaking of the United States, I recently heard of an incident that happened at my alma mater, one that greatly saddens me, and makes me once again reconsider whether or not the school that I chose and loved so much for 4 years was really the magical place that I thought it was.  Basically, a fraternity chapter president used a racial slur against another student outside a party, and has since shocked my student body and alumni community.  Nor is it the first time that I have heard of something like this happening at my school.  My freshman year, in fact, just weeks after I started college, incidents of racial slurs where happening across the campus.  And I know that this has been happening before then, and since then, to marginalized groups across the country and the world for centuries.

I found out about the fraternity incident while I was at work, and I suddenly started thinking about if I were in the shoes of the administrators.  What would I say?  What would I do?  How would I find a way to relate to people who are so different from me?  Reading the previous paragraphs, you might be thinking that this post is simply reactionary, another supposed “activist” responding to an incident that happened at a school she loved, and that might be so.  Some of you might think that this post is just another white girl trying to prove how “open” she is and just putting the attention on her while marginalized groups are getting their problems swept under the rug.  And with all the attention-seeking people in the world, I don’t blame you.  But, I’m hoping that at least some of you reading this will take in the spirit in which it’s intended, a young woman looking to learn more about the world around her.

Now, as a white, straight woman who was born into the upper middle class, I don’t pretend to know what people outside that specific group of humans have experienced.  Nor will I try to speak for anyone who isn’t me, especially someone whose life experience I don’t know anything about.  But, as a straight, white woman, I very well know that I know nothing about anyone’s experience outside of mine, and that I have been very lucky to have been sheltered from some of the unpleasantries that marginalized people have had to experience.

I have always said that when I went to college was the first time that I realized how sheltered I was growing up.  Not that my parents didn’t try to teach me about diversity and what makes people different, they did, but the circumstances where I grew up prompted not too, too many of those lessons to go to heart from 5-18.  I grew up in an upper middle class suburb of New York City, mostly white and Asian, very few Black kids.  In fact, the one black kid in our class was a bit of a side show sometimes.  But when I went to college was definitely when I learned that people have voices more powerful than that of the white, straight man, and that we can stand up for each other.  But still, with all these incidents happening on my campus, and on campuses around the country, to racially diverse, to LGBTQIA, to women, to the disabled, I stop to wonder.  (I know I talked a lot about race in this post, but all groups are marginalized and I am thinking about all of them.)

My question is this: where is the outrage?  Where is the sitting down and listening to each other, hearing each other’s stories?  I’m looking at you white people, straight people, men.  Everyone who enjoys the privileges of being at the top of society in some way, shape or form.  Marginalized groups have enough outrage for 3 lifetimes, and they have every right to be so outraged.  But yet, where are the people rioting in the street saying “why are we continuing to do this? Why are we giving them more reasons to be upset and furious instead of being upset that we are still acting like cavemen?”  We should all be infuriated that we are still living in the days when people who are different from us are marginalized and treated as inhuman.  Why do we not care about this?!?!?!

So, here’s what I want to do.  I want to understand.  I want to learn.  I want to take some time to hear your stories and experiences, things that are different from mine and things that I may have seen growing up.  I want to hear what it was like growing up gay, bisexual, transgender, Black, Asian, Muslim, Jewish, Libyan, Iraqi, Buddhist, anything.  Share them in the comments, share them in my contact page.  Help me learn.  I want to learn more about the differences between myself and my fellow humans, and learn to appreciate, understand and cherish different experiences.

Much love my friends

Stay fearless, friends (3)