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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Self Love Is Messy

People love to romanticize self love. Everyone does it – and recognizing the importance of self love is a huge step, but romanticizing it can be destructive, and here’s why.

In the romantic version of self love, we see bubble baths and wine glasses. We see facial masks, nail polish, silky robes and a romantic comedy on Netflix. While at first glance, this self pampering seems like the ideal pinnacle of self love, it isn’t the reality for most people. Here is my example.

When I think about self love, my go to is a night alone, me in my apartment in fuzzy pajamas, sitting on the floor in front of my TV watching the same movie I watched last week, eating a jar of pickles and drinking a can of diet coke. My nails aren’t painted, my hair is piled in a bun resembling that of a pineapple on top of my head, my boyfriend’s sweatshirt adds five pounds, and my face hasn’t been washed since early this morning. It isn’t pretty. If someone was to look in my window, they wouldn’t think this was self love. They would probably think I was self destructing. But here is where I am my happiest. I might pass out on the carpet, wake up with a half eaten pickle in one hand and my cat curled up on my chest, but I will wake up happy.

It is important to recognize this as self love too, because for many girls, self love isn’t bubble baths and facial cleansers. I love a bubble bath as much as the next girl, but if I need a night to really relax and find myself again, I will be on the carpet with my pickles and coke, not in a bath tub smelling pretty and looking nice.

Self love isn’t always pretty. Most of the time, it’s sloppy. It’s messy, greasy, fuzzy, and dirty. Self love is the feeling you get when you are complete. Self love is treating yourself like a priority, instead of an after thought. On a normal day, I go to the gym and I eat a good breakfast, I wash my face and I listen to good music. I do consider this self love. Loving the only body I get was the best decision I ever made. This is my every day.

And then I have nights of pickles and coke, nights when bubble baths and silky robes aren’t doing the trick. These nights, I need something else. I need to remember what makes me feel whole, what makes my heart sore and my skin tingle. It’s a rare feeling, a feeling people usually dedicate to finding your true love – my first true love was in myself, as it should be.

Take bubble baths. Do face masks. Let social media advertise to you it’s ideal of treating yourself. But also have your pickle and coke days. Let yourself fall in love with just being sloppy, being alive, being messy. Let yourself feel – that is in fact, the whole purpose of self love. Remembering to breath, remembering to live, remembering what a blessing being alive truly is, and then allowing yourself to feel it. All of it.

 

I Am So Sorry

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I am so, so sorry.

I am sorry this cruel world lied to you. I am sorry you have been kept in the dark, force fed fairy tales and romance since the day you started dreaming. I am sorry you were convinced your dreams were too big – they handed you heartbreak and fear and told you that was life – live with it. I am sorry you believed them.

I am sorry I wasn’t able to reach you sooner. You fought their words for so long, pushing back with a sharpened tongue and soft heart – I can see your battle scars. But eventually they wore you down. The lies snaked into your ears and began to take root in your mind and grow – you began to shrink to fit the world’s picture of yourself. You wanted castles and an empire built on blood and sweat and they told you a girl like you would never make it on your own. Each time you took a step forward, they pushed you two steps back, until you decided you had had enough.

So here we are. You’re giving up. Who could blame you really? You were told you could do anything, you could be anything, but when your anything became too big, you were shut down. You were stomped on and spit at – you were told to sit down, shut up, go back to the kitchen. You were told little girls don’t achieve big things. I wouldn’t blame you if you threw in the towel right here and now. I would hold your hand as you walked about, and yes, you would have a beautiful life. I am sure of that. And you would be happy for a while. Until that little girl inched her way back to you, crawling on hands and knees and looked up into your eyes and asked – ‘why did you give up on me’?

Hear me out.

I am so, so sorry.

I am sorry you think giving up is your only option. I am sorry quitter has become synonymous with successful. 

I am sorry I did not find you sooner – I am sorry you now believe it’s too late – it’s not. The cliche truth is, it’s never too late. Not now, not tomorrow, not until your heart stops beating is it too late to start over and start reaching again. It’s really not that complicated. So they told you that you weren’t enough – now’s your chance to show them that you are. They told you little girls with big dreams don’t make it that far – now is your chance to show that them little girls grow up to be woman with fire in their stomachs and ideas larger than sky scrapers and not even the strongest army can hold back a woman with motive.

I am so, so sorry for everyone who ever doubted you – because now is your time to prove every single one of them wrong. I can only imagine how they are going to feel when you reach for your dream one last time and end up going farther than the top – I can only imagine how sad they will be, how angry, that they didn’t back you. They will all say ‘I always knew she could do it.’

Smile. Shake their hands. Turn around. Look back and say –

I am so, so sorry. But the only one who knew I could do it was myself, and even that was iffy.

When You Died I Read

When my world fell apart I went to the bookstore.

I went to the bookstore because there I am a stranger.

The aisles are just hallways and each person is just a traveler.

I went to the bookstore because the pages on the shelves

hold more stories than I ever will so within those pieces of paper

They must know greater heartbreak than what I am feeling

and there is a comfort in that

knowing that in this bookstore as I pass each title

I am not alone.

When my world crashed around me

I didn’t buy anything at the bookstore.

I wasn’t there to exchange paper for paper –

I ran my fingers down the spines of each bound cover I could never have

and I thought of your face.

What a beautiful thing you are – they are –

so far gone from me yet within finger tip distance.

I could flip through your pages but I will never get the chance

to read your novel.

 

-CM

Falling In Love Early

I found my soulmate long before I even knew what romance was. Funny isn’t it? You’re just playing in the backyard with a person who laughs at the same things as you, comforting a person who cries when you cry, and all of a sudden you can’t imagine your life without them. I met my soulmate before I could even walk or talk. That’s the thing about a true soulmate. They often aren’t even romantic at all. They’ve seen you through it all. They were the one person who stayed when everyone else left. They believed in you when you didn’t even believe in yourself. They are much more than a best friend. Sure, we can simplify it and call it that, but this bond deserves a title much larger than that. You can’t really know it until you feel it, this connection that crosses boundaries. It’s almost as if you become mind readers. You know what they are going to say before they say it. You know they are in trouble before they call you. You know to message them before your phone even goes off. You can be thousands of miles apart, and you still know the exact moment that they need you. It’s almost supernatural, and that’s why it deserves a much bigger title. Sure, you’ll meet many people you love after them. You’ll fall in love and get married. You’ll have other friends. But your soulmate will always be your soulmate. No one can replace them.

-CM

Advice from the also lost

Tips from a semi-happy twenty one year old on how to live a happier life (read on if you think taking advice from an only semi-functioning semi-adult is a good idea):

1.) Start off your day with a cup of coffee. Or tea, if that’s your thing. Prepare it the way you like, with just the right amount of sweetener and milk, even if your boyfriend judges you as you tip the whole bottle of french vanilla creamer into your mug. While you drink it, watch your favorite program or read your favorite book.

2.) Wake up earlier. Don’t give me that look. I know we all love the extra five minutes the snooze button gives us, but start off by not hitting the button. And then set your alarm for ten minutes earlier, and then half an hour. I try to be up by seven every morning. I go into work at noon most days, and it’s amazing how much more you can achieve if you give yourself just a couple extra hours. What are you really getting from laying in bed tossing and turning anyway?

3.) Keep in touch with your friends and family. Only the ones you want to talk to, I don’t mean you need to daily face time Great Aunt Macy from your dad’s side. But reach out. Call your mom every day if you can, text your sisters, snap chat your best friend. It’s easy to feel lonely and isolated if you are indeed isolating yourself. People want to talk to you. Sometimes they just forget to start the conversation.

4.) Be the bigger person. I don’t mean eat tons of cake, but hey, do that too. There is nothing wrong with a few extra curves. But also, let things go. When something someone says bothers you, if it won’t matter tomorrow, just brush it off. Maybe they are having a bad day, and they unfortunately chose to take it out on you. There’s no need for you to now have a bad day too. Just be the bigger person and let it go.

5.) Wear what makes you comfortable. If six inch heels and a skin tight dress are what makes you happy, wear it. But if sweat pants and a sweater do the trick, wear that instead. There’s no point in impressing people you aren’t going to ever see again, or really even people you see every day. Dress to impress yourself, because at the end of the day, that’s the only opinion that matters.

6.) Purchase some white Christmas lights and put them around your main living space. Just trust me on this one. At night when you switch them on, you will feel so much comfier. You can thank me later.

7.) Smile at children. They don’t know yet that the world sucks. And the smile you get in return will make it suck just a little less for a few minutes.

8.) Do your best and trust that it has to be enough, then move on. Don’t stress the small stuff. It won’t matter in a year anyway.

9.) Eat whatever the heck you want. Simple.

10.) Do whatever the heck you want. Simple. If it doesn’t harm anyone else or yourself, then it shouldn’t matter. Just do it.

Those are my top ten. What are yours? Maybe from a slightly less lost individual, if those even exist.

 

-CM

Loving The Girl in The Mirror

 

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Three years ago, looking in the mirror was the hardest part of my day. I would brush my teeth and get dressed with the lights off, only flicking them on to check that I didn’t get any tooth paste on my face, before flicking them off with a churning in my stomach. The mirror showed me a person I didn’t like to see. She wasn’t unattractive really, she just wasn’t the person I wanted to be. Feeling this way continued for over a year, and I’m honestly not sure why I let it go on for this long, but I know I’m not alone.

The girls you see on social media or in the hallways at school or walking down the street after work are not nearly as confident as they seem. The skinny girl who seems to have it all together goes home and cries, wishing stores actually sold her size, just as the girl with the curves you envy does the same. The girl with the bright blue hair that shines a smile so bright you think you’ll go blind is hiding a depression darker than even the blackest night, just as the girl wearing all black wishes she wasn’t breathing as she takes another swig from the bottle.

The mirror isn’t nice to any of us. There is no secret, no switch that will allow you to love yourself. There isn’t a single person who looks into the mirror and loves every single thing they see. I promise you that. If I can promise you anything, it is that you are not alone. It took me over a year to realize that I didn’t have to force myself to love the girl I saw every morning. I didn’t have to love her – but she had never stopped loving me. No matter how many times I turned the lights off on her, pinched her rolls between my fingers, pulled at her frizzy hair, bit her nails – she still loved me despite it all.

Today, looking in the mirror still isn’t fun some days. I dread turning on the light and seeing that one tooth that sits back too far. I know I am going to grimace at the little hairs that grow above my lips where they shouldn’t. My stomach turns at how my hair never lays flat, always sticks off in random directions. But I still do it. I still turn the lights on. I still give her a long look and a smile, and I tell her I love her.

Seasonal Happiness

Sometimes I wish I lived in a tropical paradise so that

every year as the ground begins to freeze

maybe my heart and body would have a chance.

They tell me it’s seasonal depression as the snow begins to fall

and so does my stomach but I think I would prefer to call it

seasonal happiness for me who gets

maybe two good months of easy smiles

and forces them through heartbreak the other ten.

My heart loves the Holiday spirit but my body hates the cold

my body loves the hot chocolate and festive music but my heart hates

the forced nameless sadness that makes itself home in my chest.

They tell me it’s normal and that it will pass

but for twenty one years I have lived every day

waiting for it to pass.

Maybe next year this seasonal happiness will stay.

 

-CM

For My Niece

Never have I wanted to be a better person more than when I look into your eyes –

This isn’t to say I am a bad person, but when you look up at me

I want to be a saint.

When your tiny fingers close around mine I know I can’t give you the world

but I would give you mine in a heartbeat.

Holding you even for just a moment glues my wounds shut and

for those few seconds I feel like a little kid again –

whole.

When your blue eyes seek mine for answers I know I can’t protect you

from every evil in this world – you have a Daddy and Papa

with big hands and even bigger hearts for that –

But know my arms will always be a place for you to rest and know

my ear will always be here to listen and know

no matter how far away I am

I will always drop whatever task is at hand

if you ask me to and I will drive or I will fly or I will crawl but I will

be there.

I did not give you life baby girl – you have the worlds best Mama given to you by the worlds best Nana –

but know Auntie would give her last breath if it meant you could have just

one more.

 

-CM

Where I’ve Been

(A poem explaining my absence lately)

 

I owe no apology for taking a break mentally or emotionally

to anybody who picks and prods into my whereabouts

I owe no apology for living this life the way I choose however

I owe an explanation for the way my body has changed

I owe an explanation for the way my mind has grown because maybe

someone could learn from me when I walk into a room and

I no longer think I am the ugliest or the dumbest

I owe an explanation for this growth that sprouted from

planting myself in the dark, in the silence, alone

Light coming in from slats, reaching me in the deepest corners so that

when I stepped out

my wings unfolded.

I owe no apology for taking a break but I do want to let you know

you can take one too.

 

-CM