Bad Days: Normal?

Yesterday I woke up with some different kind of pep in my step. I looked in the mirror, bed head and bags under my eyes, and I felt like a Queen. I picked out the only push up bra I own, my tightest pair of jeans, and I completely made up my face with gold eye shadow and red lipstick, all while jamming out to Cardi B. Mind you, I work at a group home, so this level of getting ready was completely unnecessary. But I also knew I needed to take advantage of this feeling. I texted a good friend of mine and said ‘ever just wake up really feeling yourself, cus same’, and she replied, ‘feel it, feel all of it’. I was reminded in that moment that we are allowed to have good days and we are allowed to have bad days, and we should completely revel in and feel both.

Reminded again when I woke up this morning bloated, feeling sluggish and greasy. I looked in the mirror and although it was the same girl looking back at me from only twenty four hours before, I didn’t feel the same. Cardi B wasn’t getting me hyped. My hair wouldn’t stay styled the way I wanted it to, and I had no energy to apply more than just mascara, and even that was a struggle. I didn’t want to wear jeans – so instead I pulled on leggings and a baggy shirt because that’s what I felt comfortable in today. Old me would have slumped her way to work, dreading it every step of the way and feeling like a hideous monster who shouldn’t have been let out of the house.

Instead, I thought about yesterday. I thought about how I felt when I looked at myself, how it was me looking back, and how good that had felt. And I did the same thing I had done then. I allowed myself to feel ugly. I allowed myself to feel broken and gross. And then I moved on.

You are not going to feel your best every day. No matter how many times you go to the gym, no matter how healthy you eat, how many self help books you read, how many times you meditate, you are never going to feel today the same way you feel tomorrow. That’s beautiful, and something we should take more time to fall in love with, instead of being angry about. It’s easy to wake up today and feel terrible about yourself and try to change it. That’s what I used to do, and would spend my entire day miserable because even though I was looking at the same girl who felt great about herself the day before, I couldn’t bring myself to feel that same way today.

Don’t try to change how you feel, thinking that might make you happier. You are feeling how you are feeling for a reason. Feel it. Live with it. And then let it go. Acknowledging that you are feeling this way about yourself gives the power back to you – a strategy that can be used on so much more than just how you feel about your looks.

If you feel good about yourself today, own in. If you feel bad about yourself today, own it. Just know either way, tomorrow you are going to feel completely different than you do right now.

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Hello Friends!

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Our tiny family here is growing! Hopping on here this morning and realizing we had hit 120 followers, I decided it was time to make a post about what I am doing here. I know 120 isn’t much in social media terms, but for me, a small town blogger who never thought she would get over 5 followers, that number makes my heart happy.

My blog has been a bit all over the place as of late. And this is because I started this blog purely because I love to write. I love to write but sometimes I don’t feel like adding to my novel or scribbling down a short story. Sometimes I have a thought my brain needs to get on paper – this blog was my solution for that. A place to write down my little ideas in hopes that maybe a couple of people might read them and agree, or perhaps feel a little less alone in this vast world, as I myself have when reading blogs written by others.

Over the past few months of adding posts here however, I have found a common theme in my ideas, and thus, in my writing. I am very passionate about self love, mental health, and supporting other woman. I always have been. Since my own very first struggle with depression as a Freshman in High School, to my now 22 year old self, I have thought mental health was a topic not many people feel comfortable enough to contribute to. Most of us struggle with loving ourselves, with depression, or some other form of mental illness, but many of us don’t think it is our place to share our opinions.

That is what I am here to do. Since before High School, since a little girl in middle school bullied by the more popular girls, the girls I always dreamed of being but who seemed to hate me, I have known I was put on this earth for something larger. I knew that all of this pain and suffering had to add up to something.

I don’t care how many people this blog reaches. I don’t care if I get zero reads a day, two reads a day, or ten. I really do not care. Because I am writing this for myself, and the one lonely girl behind her screen who feels no one gets her. I get you.

I am not promising that from here on out each post will make perfect sense and will fill you with some sort of purpose for your day. I am promising that I am here as your big sister, as your friend, as your cheerleader. And I plan on continuing to shower each and every one of you with the love that you deserve.

Thank you for reading my little update and I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Perspective Makes Me A Stranger

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Two questions for you today – have you ever looked at someone and wished you could be like them? And – who do you see when you look in the mirror?

Stay with me here.

We have all been the person a stranger wanted to be.

Read that again. And again. Now let it sink in. Believe me.

I am willing to bet you have looked in the mirror and saw a person you never thought you’d see staring back at you. Maybe you thought you’d be stronger, skinnier, healthier, smarter – maybe all of these things. I am willing to bet you have looked at that reflection and hated every single thing you saw. To say this is normal is sad, but it’s a reality. We can never be perfect. You will always see more flaws in yourself than anyone else will ever see in you.

Now, the tougher one. We all know the girl in the coffee shop who’s wearing the black pants void of cat hairs and perfectly pressed. Her top is tucked into her pants, it isn’t causing any lumps or bumps on her hips. Her bottoms aren’t rising up causing the dreaded camel toe. Her top is showing just the right amount of cleavage. She’s staring at the menu above the barista’s head, probably reading, considering what she’ll order today, and in the moment, you would give anything to be her. You glance down at yourself and see your jeans that should have been washed two wears ago and you’re shirt wrinkled from being in the hamper half an hour before – the sniff test deemed it okay to wear one more time. You look at yourself and you are disgusted. Why can’t you be more like the girl in the black pants with the perfectly clean hair, gorgeous face contemplating the menu like it’s a work of art?

What you didn’t see though, as you looked down at the body you have labeled as ‘gross’ and ‘unworthy’, was the Goddess before you running her eyes over your body, wishing with every ounce of her soul that she could be more like you. She woke up two hours early to wash her favorite pair of pants. She tried on five different shirts before deciding on this one, all of the others showing too many rolls. She stood in front of the mirror for an hour applying and reapplying her makeup until it was perfect. She cried for ten minutes over her eyeliner wing not being just right. And now she’s standing here staring at the menu with an anxiety bubble forming in her chest, hoping she doesn’t start crying while telling the barista she would like a small latte. She looks over at you as you glance down at your own body, and she wishes she didn’t care what people thought. She wishes she could look as effortless as you, as beautiful as you do.

But you both look up and go on with your day without ever knowing that you were that stranger. Without knowing that you are perfect just the way you are.

Let’s revisit my second question, but let’s revise it a bit this time. Who are you going to see tomorrow when you look in the mirror? You see, who we are is all about perspective. You can choose to see the bags under your eyes and see the hours of sleep you didn’t get showing on your face, or you can see the nights you stayed up laying with your boyfriend or cuddling your baby. You can see the way your clothes fit too tight and beat yourself up about the weight you’ve gained, or you can think about how much better your a** looks, about how full your tummy feels, about how good the food tasted.

It’s not easy. Change never is. But next time you look in the mirror, try seeing yourself as a stranger. If you saw you on the streets, what would you think. Because I promise, some girl has wished she was you while you would have given anything to be her.

 

 

This post was inspired by a real interaction I had with a former co-worker. The story was too long to share in this post, and storytelling isn’t my normal content, so I decided not to include it. But if you’d like to hear the story, please let me know in the comments! 

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.

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!