Posted in Letters to..., Thoughts and Opinions

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! 

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Posted in Thoughts and Opinions

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.

Posted in Thoughts and Opinions

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).