Saturday, February 17, 2018

What is Sexy?

What is sexy? Does that question conjure up images of thin, well toned, barely clad women?  That's what society has influenced us to think and to believe, but what is it really?  We're lead to believe that it's about how we look. 

I asked if I was sexy and I was told yes.  I asked what made me sexy and the list he gave included things I never thought about.  Things that are who I am, not how I look.  Then he asked, "don't you understand that?"  I had to answer no. 

I'd never thought about or considered what makes someone sexy is their mind, their heart, the kind things they do.  I'd been drinking the stereotypical cool-aid of the media, thinking that sexy was about being thin, having long hair and big boobs.  Go ahead and laugh, but the next time you're standing in a grocery store checkout line look at the magazines and tell me that's what sexy is portrayed as.

I've struggled with my body image for years, and while I think I'm winning one battle at a time, this is no easy war.

I tired of being labeled.  Curvy, "Plus size", and even overweight by a few healthcare professionals.  I'm a woman, a healthy woman. Could I stand to lose weight, maybe, but according to who's scale and at what price?

I'm tired. Tired of feeling bad about my body. Tired of talking about diets. Tired of talking about losing weight. Tired of hearing about other peoples food "issues" and diets". Tired of hearing people say "I can't eat this or that". Tired of feeling bad because I don't want to workout, give up certain foods and drop a size or three. Tired of thinking everyone is judging me because of how I look.

I'm 5'8" and I weight 206 pounds. I enjoy food, love desert and look forward to a good glass of wine.  I love this line from an article I read a while back - "The diet industry lives in an ocean of body negativity, twisted science, and behavioral Russian roulette".

If you desire is to change your lifestyle and your body to get healthier I'm all for it, but can we please stop talking about it all the time. There is more to life than the latest diet craze and the latest exercise routine.  I'll be honest, it's mentally taxing on everyone when the conversation is constantly about food restrictions.  It makes everyone uncomfortable when shame looks are shot at someone for eating the dessert you wish you were "allowed" to have in your restricted lifestyle.  And don't get me started on body shaming, it hurts to know so many women would rather tear each other apart than lift each other up.

Everyone has a judgment to pass on the statement above. Some might think "she should drop some weight" and some might think "I wish I was her". Here's the thing though, life is going to happen whether or not you're living it or waiting until you get back into those smaller jeans. 

Remeber Sexy is so much more than how you look.  What's your sexy? 

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Extroverted Introvert

That's me, and extroverted introvert.  Left in the wild I will seek out one-on-one conversations, avoid large groups and get hives at a sign of a big crowd.  I will avoid public speaking at all costs.

The flip side of that coin is I have a job that is very public and very much a people-oriented game.  I get hurled into large groups of strangers and which often leads to the public speaking opportunities I loath.  I'm a program cordinator...I've got no choice.  It just comes with the territory.

I'm loud and often funny, maybe even a bit quirky.  Most people mistake me for an extrovert that loves the wild world of entertaining.  I'm a good jokester in the right company and I enjoy a good round of teasing.  Left to my own devices though, I'll choose to alone.   I often decline party invites, especially if it's a party where I know very few people.

The other part of my personality that is often misunderstood and misjudged is the public withdrawal.  After weeks of engagement, I will withdrawal from the world.  This is how I recharge.  I unplug from human interaction.

What I always find funniest about all of this is how many people find me to be a rare breed, when in all actuality I'm not that rare.  There are zillions of us running around the planet.  I have several friends who fit the mold.  People also find it odd that I'm married to an introvert and will often inform me that because of this fact I can't possibly be an introvert as well.  Look folks, it is how it is and he is the most amazing introvert and loves me in ways I never knew were possible.  Get you mind out of the gutter, he loves me, all of me - My heart, my soul, my mind, my emotions and my body in all of its imperfections.

Introverts, whether full-on introverts or the extroverted kind like me, are some of the most loyal people you will meet.  We love whole-heartedly and have very few close friends.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


How much of your life is based on someone else's perception of you?  No really, think about that a minute.  Home much of what you do and how you act is based on the thoughts you perceive others to have about you?  Go ahead, mull that over.  I'll wait.

Are you a little shell shocked?  It really does put a little perspective into your life when you think about it and actually, consider some of the more mundane things we do.

Do you wear make-up?   Why?  To hide your imperfections.  To enhance your natural beauty.  To highlight you check bones.  To make you eyes pop.  I really could go on and on with all the lines we're fed in our daily lives through advertising and social media.

Why do you hate your body?  You don't feel you're thin enough.  You don't feel you're swimsuit ready.  You don't feel your boobs are big enough.  You feel your butt is too (insert descriptor here).  Again, society has influenced these thoughts.

All of these things are based on someone else's perception of who you should be.  Oh, wait, what?  Yeah.  Didn't see that coming did ya?  When you started reading you thought perhaps I was going to talk about your friends, your neighbors and even you family's perception of you, but I caught you off guard didn't I?

Some of us are brave and take the Rett Butler approach about it all, "frankly my dear, I don't give a ...", and buck the norms, but most are wound into one perception or another.  Most of us have something, and many of us start to fly the "who gives a ..." flag in our late 30's and early 40's.  By then we are sick of all the cages we feel the perceptions have put us in and we're busting free.

I'll be honest, I still struggle with my body image, although it has improved ten-fold in the 12 years I've been in a compassionate and loving relationship.  The make-up thing is a security blanket for me.  I will now, at the age of 39, leave the house without most of it, but never without my mascara.  If you send me to a desert island I will want mascara, sunscreen and bobby pins.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Excuses Are Like...

Excuses are like ass holes, everyone has one and they all stink.  Yep, I sure did.  I just said it.  I put it out there for everyone to know.  I have the vocabulary of a well-educated sailor, but in all seriousness is anyone ever interested in someone's excuse?

When is it that we learn the behavior of blaming others for our shortcomings and failures?  No seriously.  When?  When is this taught to us?  Grade school?  Middle school?  High school?  Or do we learn it as young adults?

I've learned in my nearly 40 years, that's it's just better to man up and take the blame for the misstep and move forward.  That's not to say that the perfectionist in me doesn't beat me up for a few days after the misgivings of the failure, but if everyone survives without injury it's all good.    Yes.  I am still learning to let it go, but I do accept blame for the missteps I take.  

What I'm wondering is why is this so hard to do?  Do we hold ourselves so highly, that we don't think we can make mistakes?  Do we think others will think badly of us if we aren't perfect?  Do some of us just think we're that perfect and we can't possibly be at fault?  Do we think it makes us look better if we provide the excuse?

What I'm really talking about is the chronic offender.  You know the one who has an excuse for EVERYTHING!!!  "I sorry I'm late, but..."  They can't ever just stop at "I'm sorry I'm late."  I understand that there are sometimes when an excuse is perfectly acceptable, but really how does that apply to the chronic excuse maker?  

Am I alone here?  Someone, please tell me I'm not.  

In my line of work, I hear a lot of excuses and there is a lot of follow through needed on my part, but when I screw it up I admit it and move forward.  I jacked up yesterday, as a matter of fact.  I gave the wrong info, but no one died and the rest of the day went smoothly.  An hour after it all happened we all had a big laugh, at my expense, but a laugh none the less.  Everyone learned that I too am human.  I was still beating myself up a little as I wrote this, but I've moved forward and today is a new day.  I don't usually make the same mistake twice, and I know that owning it makes it easier to move forward.
Stop making excuses for your actions.  Break the habit.  Break the pattern.  I'll wager that your life will improve when you stop creating reasons why the world is against you and you start taking on the world.

"You're the sky.  Everything else - it's just the weather" 
~ Pema Chodron

Including your constant excuses.  

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Rest, Relax, Reflect

I took Friday off last week and gave myself a long three-day weekend to rest, relax and reflect.  The 2017 year has been a bit tense and I needed some time to just chill.  I'll spare all the details, but I can say I definitely needed this weekend to unwind and recharge.

Day 1:

I enjoyed and iced coffee and a good book after running a few errands in the morning.  

Snapped a pic of the honey bees that are enjoying the dandelion field where my garden usually is.  

Sat in the grass and supervised Hubby repairing our garage roof.

Day 2:

Enjoyed a homemade waffle for breakfast while doing a bit of journaling.

Spent some time hanging out in the yard with the pups, enjoying a large glass of iced tea.

Did a bit of reading about Nature Journaling.

Grilled some chicken and bacon for dinner.

Which I turned into a delicious spin on a cob salad, to go with my red wine and Sunset magazine.

Took an evening stroll around our property.  It's my own little piece of heaven this time of year.

Ended my day with a little bit of creating in my art journal.

Day 3:

Started my morning with some art journaling in the yard.  It was such a beautiful morning complete with birds singing and the neighbor's rooster crowing.

I took myself to lunch at the local drive-in.  They have a delicious halibut fish sandwich.

I did a little more sketching outside before dinner.

These are just the highlights of the weekend that I took pics of.  I read quite a bit, did a bit of tree trimming and yard work, but mostly I just enjoyed being outside nearly all day long.  To be quite honest, I didn't realize how frazzled and worn out I was until I allowed myself to just rest all weekend.  I'm now ready to face the next very busy three weeks with a clear head and well-rested soul.

Monday, June 5, 2017

What if I was never meant to fit into the idea of "ideal"?

I don't want a busy life.  I'm not interested in what's referred to as "the hustle."  I hate hearing the phrase "you know how it is."

The answer is NO!  No, I don't.  I've never understood the feeling that you constantly have to be on the go and always doing.  I physically can't and mentally won't.  When life gets too busy I reach a saturation point and will withdrawal from everything!  I become angry and less tolerant of people, noise, and places.  Busy isn't good for me and what's more is I find it maddening when I ask someone how they are and I get the pat answer "busy" or my other favorite "crazy busy."  Either of which is followed by "you know how it is."  No.  I don't.  I've made the choice not to live like that.

To be quite honest, when you tell me about your "saturated" or "busy" life, it all sounds like complaining.  It sounds like you're letting your life is run you, rather than you running your life.  The other phrase that often follows "I'm so busy" is very often "I'm so tired."  Hmmm....anyone else see the connection?  If you're spending your days chasing everything for fear of missing out on anything, there's a reason you're so tired.  Stop.

Our life is simple.  We choose not to be busy.  We choose not to chase it all.  We choose not to care about missing out.  Is your mouth open?  Jaw on the floor?  Pick up your jaw, and close your mouth.  We choose to be lazy and enjoy our life.  Yes, I did say lazy.  Not the never do the laundry, lay on the couch all the time, and never shower kind of lazy, but the guilt-free option of not doing "chores" in place of something we'd rather do that day. Laundry gets done, but may not get folded for a week.  Beds don't get made very often.  Dishes might sit on the counter overnight before they go into the dishwasher.  We choose time with each other over the fast-paced lifestyle of "busy."

I'm not into the latest "diet and food" trends.  In fact, I hate the word diet and unless you need to be on one for allergies or serious health reason I don't want to hear about it.  I don't want to listen to you drone on about what you can and can't eat.  I don't enjoy listening to how fabulous you feel now that you're doing "X".  Quite honestly, when you "brag" about you newest diet you often make those around you feel like shit.  There I said it.  This kind of talk often makes those your raving to focus on all of their own issues, all at once.  Think before you speak, if all you talk about is your diet maybe you need a new hobby.

Furthermore, I don't want to feel guilty for having a belly, thighs, stretch marks and cellulite.  It's taken me a long time to build a healthier relationship with my body.  Yes.  I'm considered overweight.  Yes. I could stand to loose a few pounds.  No. I don't want to feel bad about it anymore.  I don't want to feel guilty because I enjoy food, all of it.  I don't want to feel shame because  I'm not a size two model who's been airbrushed to perfection.  Last, but certainly not least, I do not want an overweight health professional judging me about not fitting into the "BMI" chart.  You first pal!

Children, one more of those hot buttons for me.  No, we don't have children.  Please stop asking.  Think about this for a moment - if we had kids don't you think I would talk about them?  If you engage me in conversation about children and I don't share a common ground story, chances are I don't have one because I don't have children.  For us, it was a choice, but for so many, it isn't and when you ask you often make them feel worse about not having any.  And no, I don't hate children, thanks for asking.  In fact, in my real life, I work with middle school and high school kids daily.  If I hated kids I wouldn't have the job I have.

My final thought, or maybe it's food for thought.  Slow down, stop punishing yourself for eating the cake and talk about something other than your kids.  Who were you before all of these things?  When was the last time you really connected with a person other than your children or your spouse?  When was the last time you sat down, enjoyed a good meal with friends, didn't worry about the calories, and talked about yourself, your hobbies, and your dreams?  When was the last time you had an unscheduled day in your calendar?

Monday, May 15, 2017

On Writing

I've been writing for years, like my entire life years, or at least since junior high.  I've written in starts and spurts.  I've had long dry spells, and I've had those moments of scribbling on any piece of paper I could find in my bag.

For me, writing isn't about scribbling out the next great American novel.  It's about getting all the thoughts and ideas out of my head and onto paper.  If something creative comes from all the nonsense, then that's a bonus.

I was never much of a journal keeper until a couple of years ago.  I took it on as a challenge for myself.  Somewhere to just get random stuff out of my head.  Looking back I wish I'd developed this habit years ago, but hindsight is always 20/20.

The type of journal I keep could be referred to as a "commonplace book" or a "brain dump book" or even an "everything book."  I'm not a "dear diary" kind of person, those kinds of restrictions make me hyperventilate and cause writer's block.  I also keep different journals for different things.

My daily journal is a Midori Traveler's Notebook.  I write anything in here daily including quotes, the weather, pictures I took, what we did (especially if we're on vacation), something I found interesting and even personal revolutions on things.  In the past, I've tracked my weight, activity and hours of daylight.  You get the picture - this is my anything goes book.  The journal where I put random thoughts.

Beyond that, there are a few other notebooks, all of which are composition notebooks.  I love comp books, versatile and easy to embellish the covers if desired.  I have one for "morning pages" where I clear my brain of all the stuff that seems to be on repeat in my brain.  The stuff you wish you said.  The stuff you need to do but hate doing.  The things that made you mad or stressed you out at work.  This is just a purge book, a book I rarely go back through.

Next on the comp book list is the one that holds all my free verse writing.  Creative writing needs its own space.  Sometimes it's just a line, sometimes a paragraph and often a complete poem.

The third is a second commonplace book.  I use this book for things I want to do more than jot a few notes about.  Things I'd like to research, kick around more and sort out.  Like when I decided to start writing this blog.  There's a list of notes and ideas, even options for blog names.  This book gives me more space to scratch it all out.

As if these aren't enough journals, there's one more in the stack for reading notes.  As a general rule, I read mostly non-fiction, which leads to note taking.  Lots of note taking.  Quotes, ideas of notes, little bits of knowledge I want to return to.  This also helps me write book reviews for the blog.

Do you write?  Should you write?  Does the thought give you hives?  Do you wish you could or had the courage?  What keeps you from scribbling in a journal?

Often when I ask these questions of friends they say something like "It'd be a bad idea to write down my thoughts," or "I don't want all my crazy out there for everyone to read."  I think this often comes from the preconceived idea that a journal needs to be a "dear diary" style and that you have to write all your secrets in a book with a lock and key.  While I don't doubt that those kinds of journals exist, I don't think they're as common as many people think.  I think commonplace books are much more common in the world of journalers.