You are perfect just the way you are

You are perfect just the way you are. I don’t know who needs to hear this today, but if you do, please keep reading. Wipe your face. I see those tears, tears for a person you think you’ll never be, tears for a person you once were – I want you to look in a mirror. Wipe your face and take a good long look – who do you see? On a good day, you might say you see a girl with brown hair and green eyes, a girl with a smile and too many freckles. Today though, you tell me you see defeat. You see a girl who has tried so hard and just doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere. I will tell you now to look again. 

What I see is a girl who has never given up. I see a radiance that is only born through being knocked down over and over and standing up every single time slightly taller. I see a smile that has seen shadows, yet still steps into the light and allows the sun to shine on it. I see a spirit that has been nearly broken, yet is still chugging along each day. I see a girl who is enough.

If you look in the mirror today and this is not what you see, please just take a seat and listen to me. You don’t have to feel perfect every single day. You don’t even have to feel okay every single day. All that I ask is that you remember you are enough. Remember that when people look at you, they see a completely different person than you are currently seeing in the mirror. Remember that I believe in you. You can do the hard thing. You can take this life by the horns and you can live it in a unique way that only you can. And if you don’t see that today, that’s okay.

Look in the mirror again tomorrow, and maybe then you’ll see it. If not, read this again. You are perfect just the way you are.

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Remembering Yourself: A Guide

Opening up Facebook this morning – this generations version of the morning paper – the first post I scrawled across: How To Be A Good Woman. Curious as to what tips this random stranger might have for me and what ‘being a good woman’ actually looks like, I opened the article and felt my jaw drop more and more the farther down I scrolled. Tip One was basically a lesson plan on how to impress the man in your life. Tip Two was all about putting your children first. And the article continued, painting a picture of what society evidently views as a good woman: Beautiful, intelligent, put together, focused, putting others first, ect.

I felt like I was watching one of those movies where the popular girls transform the class nerd into a beautiful princess by taking off her glasses and letting down her hair. As I always wondered when watching these movies, I began to wonder now: What was wrong with her before? Society has us convinced that to be a good woman we have to look and act the right way. We have to say the right things and wear the right clothes. Our hair has to be perfectly styled. We have to be amazing mom’s every second and great friends at every chance we get. We have to be perfect. Every minute of every day.

I say to hell with that theory.

Being a good woman starts with remembering yourself. It starts with wearing the clothes that make you comfortable and doing the things that make you happy. Being a good woman has nothing to do with how you treat others, and everything to do with how you treat yourself. Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying to treat everyone around you like scum and think you can get away with it. I’m saying that the one person we all spend the most time with is ourselves; shouldn’t we be our biggest priority?

Remember yourself when you go the grocery store. Buy the box of donuts you’ve been eyeing for days. Remember yourself at night after you’ve tucked the kids in. Take a hot bath or read a good book or do both. Remember yourself when that guy asks you to come over. Think about if you really want to or if you’re just trying to impress him. Remember yourself when your best friend asks you out for coffee before you say yes. Do you really want to meet her, or would you rather take the few spare minutes you have in your day for a little me time?

A good woman isn’t perfect. She is flawed. She is struggling. But she is trying. A good woman makes steps every day to be the best version of herself. And some days she takes two steps backwards instead of one step forward. But that’s okay. A good woman gets up and tries again tomorrow anyway.

Here’s to all the great woman out there – forget society and remember yourself. You are perfect just the way you are (cliche for a reason).

 

Rainy Days

If I were to take a pole, I’m ninety percent sure rainy days would be the least favorite kind of days for seventy five percent of people –

statistics I made up but could be true because

rain makes people sad.

When the clouds pull over the blue sky and water begins falling,

suddenly people are reminded of the day their lives began to fall apart.

It’s as if the sky is crying.

She is sobbing her loneliness into the soil but first her sadness hits our shoulders

and even if we aren’t outside to feel the drops, we still soak a little of it into our souls.

Our insides wilt just a little even as the flowers outside stand a little straighter

our branches bend against the wind

and that is the beauty of rainy days –

For those that fall in the fifteen percent of made up people that love the rain

there is something about the sound the drops make when they hit the ground

that remind us that we aren’t alone.

When the clouds begin to cover the sky my soul starts to shift

and my body begins to wake up.

Dancing in the rain is on the top of my favorite things to do list

and I think it’s sad how many people miss out on it’s beauty because

they are afraid of messing up their hair and drenching their clothes.

Hair can be brushed, clothes can be dried

but how many chances are you going to get to live this day again –

this moment, this life.

The next time it rains or pours or sprinkles

please step outside if only for a fraction of a second and instead of dreading

the feeling of the water hitting your skin

let it remind you that while the sun is beautiful and warmth is brilliant

rain has the pour to awaken even the most hopeless of hearts

and that’s pretty special.

 

-CM

For the love of an Introvert

I am an introvert. The dictionary definition describes us as “a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things”, as opposed to the dictionary definition of an extrovert being – “a person predominantly concerned with external things or objective considerations”. These are the psychological definitions, while simplified labels are shy versus outgoing. While no one can be boxed completely into either category, we all lean more heavily into one state of being. For me, I have always enjoyed the quiet of being alone with my thoughts, rather than abundant conversations and other activities that require me to socialize.

There is always an exception to this rule. Of course, I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, and if you were to see me around my family, best friend or boyfriend, you would have no idea that I am normally very quiet and closed off.

While the dictionary would label me as “shy”, this isn’t a term I connect with. I choose to keep to myself not because I am nervous or timid, but simply because that is what feels right to me. Sure, I have a history with social anxiety, but this keeps me from leaving my house – not from speaking when I actually do. I have no problem expressing my opinion if I am angry or irritated, or overjoyed even. I just don’t feel the need to always speak on the mundane and simple topics that normally fill everyday conversation.

For the longest time, I was ashamed to be labeled as an introvert. I thought there must be something wrong with me, some wiring in my brain that kept me from wanting to talk. I would beat myself up over it, and admire the people that could strike up a conversation about the tiniest of things, making friends as easy as counting to three.

I embrace the label now. I am proudly an introvert – if you feel the need to label me this way – because of the qualities that come with it. I am a good listener, an abundant feeler, and when I do choose to speak, I know I am saying the right thing. My opinions and thoughts are well thought out, I care deeply about everything and everyone, and I enjoy my own company. I don’t fear being alone with my thoughts anymore, because I am one of my own best friends.

Which label do you fall under? I personally find that most of us fall somewhere in between, and that is perfectly okay.

 

Living in the North

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I have traveled half way across the United States by car, and I still haven’t found a place that bewilders me as much as my own home has. I’ve traveled to Hawaii and swam in the expansive ocean, tasted a tiny bit of adventure, however I am still left speechless upon returning to my own state.

Born and raised in the middle of nowhere Northern Vermont, I was a child yearning to leave the dirt roads and small towns far behind her as soon a she was handed a High School diploma. However, three years later, and I am still here, still driving the same half an hour into civilization every day, still breathing the same mountain air, and many people ask me why.

For those who have never been to Vermont, the allure of such a state can seem absurd. The winters are freezing, the summers are undecided, spring time is messy, and the fall seems to be the only real selling point for the few weeks (sometimes mere days) that the leaves are in full color and presenting themselves under the right sunlight. We do see our fair share of tourists – mostly leaf peepers, skiers, and snowboarders. There are the few owners of summer lake houses who flee the hotter southern climates for the North in the summer months and return home during our winters. But to live here, and actually enjoy every moment of it, seems rather crazy to every person I have had the pleasure of explaining myself to.

It is not just the beauty that keeps me returning. There are plenty of beautiful states I have seen and some I haven’t, and I am sure beautiful countries I have not had the pleasure of stepping foot on just yet. Beauty is abundant in our world and not hard to come across. I have been blown away by black sand beaches in Hawaii, and left speechless by the sunsets in Mississippi. I have felt the pulsing life of New Orleans running through me and felt so alive I wasn’t sure death could even be real. So while the beauty of Vermont is not the only thing that keeps me coming back, it sure is one of the reasons.

 

There are small things that I love about every season that may not make sense to some. The winter is harsh and often unforgiving, but beyond beautiful and breathtaking. The first snow almost always brings a tear to my eye, especially when the sun hits the untouched surface just right, and the world looks so incredibly pure for just a moment. Winter also brings Christmas, and all of the small town spirit with it. Dirt roads are suddenly lit on every side by gleaming red and green lights and singing erupts along the streets for days as Christmas draws nearer. When the Holiday’s are not near, winters still have a unique spirit in Vermont that rings clear.

 

 

 

Spring may be my least favorite season, but it still has a special place in my heart. I only enjoy it least because the snow begins to melt, and along with it the special spirit we enjoyed for a couple beautiful months. But with spring also comes the blooming of flowers, and like an awakening, people begin to emerge into the sunlight again that you may not have seen much of for most of the winter. Shops bring in new product, windows are all opened, and the smell of mud fills your nostrils whenever you leave paved road. Four wheeling and dancing in puddles is a favorite pass time for me this time of year.

In Vermont, summer never decides what weather it will bring. I have enjoyed summers of intense heat for weeks, and I have experienced summers like this last one in which it’s more like an extended spring that slowly folds into fall. Either way however, the summer brings with it a charisma and joy unique to it. As kids begin to experience freedom again, their happiness becomes contagious, and it’s almost impossible not to give in and sing along with them with the sun roof open and the windows rolled down. Hair gets lighter and spirits get brighter.

Autumn is beyond a shadow of a doubt my favorite of all of the seasons in Vermont, and perhaps a fundamental reason behind why I can not bring myself to leave for too long. Not only do the falling leafs attract tourists, but they also draw me in like a magnet. As soon as Autumn arrives, there is always a shift in me, as if with the falling of the leafs, I shed something as well. Apple picking, pumpkin carving, leaf peeping, visiting corn mazes, trick or treating, walking among the changing leafs for miles with no one else around – these are only a very few of the many reasons why I can’t seem to resist the Autumns in Vermont.

However, I am afraid I was born a traveler. I have always wanted to travel, felt it deep in my bones, and as soon as I got enough money Junior year of High School, I began exploring with an eagerness I have never felt for anything else. I know that I will leave the safe and sturdy mountains of Vermont many times again and again, but I also know that they will always be here, beautifully waiting.

If you have any similar experiences with Vermont, please leave me a comment! I would also love to hear about your favorites from your home state!