Monday, April 01, 2013
Who are you?
If you were able to peel back the layers of your life, disrobing the learned behaviors and shaped beliefs that you have carried with you throughout your life, would you do it? Who are you behind closed doors, when no one is speaking, when no one is listening, when no one is watching? What is your innermost dialogue that seems to be speaking with every heart beat, your true definition, your real purpose, of your life here on this earth?
Is it to be considered a success in your career? Is it to be labeled as a strong and dutiful person whom everyone looks up to? Are you tough? Are you soft-hearted? Are you intelligent? Proud? Remorseful? Do you put yourself under a daily microscope and vow to do better or do you just "float" thoughout your every day hoping the next is a better one? JUST WHO ARE YOU? When the lights go out and the house is quiet, when you are alone and no one is around, what is the true you?
If you could cast off the garbage that your heart has carried over the last few years, would it be liberating, freeing? Most of the time, you do not like what you see when you look in your soul's mirror. Flawed. Imperfect. Handicapped. Broken. But it is in the mess of you that you will find your truth. You know this to be true. So why do you hesitate? You know it is within this kaleidoscope of pain, triumphs, successes and failures that your true definition lies.
One of your biggest endeavors is better health but you seriously have to begin within. You have to find a way to get to your true nature, forgive your imperfect thinking, develop a different dialogue and find acceptance of YOU. If you cannot love yourself at 210, 180, or 150 pounds, what makes you think you are going love yourself at your goal weight? And what makes you think that you are going to be capable of loving others, truly and deeply, if you cannot love YOURself AS IS? Are you capable of doing that when you are wallowing in self-pity or giving yourself grief because you have deemed yourself unlovable and imperfect??
Newsflash. You ARE imperfect. You always will be. You must accept your physical flaws and make an agreement that you do not have to have a perfect body. You do not deserve to beat yourself up over your past mistakes or sins. You are perfectly imperfect and your life is a beautiful chaos of mistakes and learned lessons that have taught you so many things. It is then and only then you will be able to clear the smoke of your thoughts and look at the person across from you with no filters, with no judgments, with no prejudice and see the heart deep within THEM, THEIR fears, THEIR social awkwardness, THEIR joys, THEIR longing for acceptance and love THEM despite THEIR imperfections, too.
So who are you?? Do you abuse your emotional well-being? Do you belittle yourself, make fun of yourself, make fun of others? Do you tell yourself that if/when you get to your desired weight, get that promotion, etc, etc, you will finally be happy? Or do have the courage, right now, right here, to accept yourself for who you are, at this point in time? Are you willing to admit that we are all connected in this life, in this fragile existence, by the same cord that makes us all human? Are you willing to forgive yourself for past mistakes, casting them off like an ill-fitting coat? Are you willing to step out from behind your excuses, behind the lies you are proclaiming and just get real? Are you willing to finally accept your flaws and imperfections because they are unique, beautiful and exquisite...?
It's time. It's time to throw off your blinders, expose the true you and embrace yourself with the same encouragement and compassion you claim to have for others. You're not getting anywhere by sitting in the dust of your self-criticisms. You're not getting anywhere by spinning your heels in the same direction that didn't get you anywhere before. Be bold. Be strong. Take action.
Have the courage to love yourself, the real self, the one that lies in the depths of your heart. You are worth it.
The Self You Were Meant To Be
Saturday, March 16, 2013
We are defined by our words. How we say them, when we say them, if we even say them at all. Our tongues are our most powerful attribute...they say that actions speak louder than words, which is very true in most cases, but words have the power to build up or tear down just as well. The old childhood taunt of "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" has lost its strength as we are faced with the reality that bullying in our schools has reached an epidemic level. The tongue truly is a two-edged sword...we can act like we don't care what people don't say about us but if we were to be completely honest with ourselves, angry words, untrue statements or totally being ignored DOES hurt, just as a compliment boosts our ego and makes our day flow a little bit better.
We make assumptions about people who speak certain ways. Or about people who don't speak at all. We consider them "snobbish" perhaps if they stand off in a crowd without speaking or don't return a "good morning" or just simply don't JOIN in a conversation. Maybe we wave them off and quietly think, "Well, just be that way, then" and go about our way.
Such is the case with Janet. I've worked with her for about five months now and she barely speaks a word to anybody. She is an attractive lady, smiles on occasion, but I've noticed that she doesn't really care to join in on meetings and prefers to sit off to herself during luncheons. My coworkers speak to her and she nods but that's about the extent of it, much to their frustration. I have sat next to her, trying to draw her in during conversations but to no success. It has bothered me. I was very tempted to label her as "unfriendly" and move on.
She and I were the last ones to leave last night. As we both stood in the locker room gathering our belongings in silence, I put my arm through one of my coat sleeves and a bundle of ear plugs and hair nets came out the other end. I started laughing because it was yet another prank we play on one another to cut through the monotony of the day. I looked at Janet and she was smiling quietly not wanting to meet my eyes. I said, "Those whippersnappers. Just wait. This means war." We both walked out of the room, made our way to the exit, her steps always a step or two ahead of me. Once outside we had a long walk to our vehicles and I noticed it had rained. I made the comment that at least it wasn't snow. I heard her say something. I said, "I'm sorry, I didn't hear you..." and she turned to me with what looked like pain on her face.
"Yes. I don't like snow."
But her words were a little jumbled. It was evident that this beautiful woman, whom we all thought was a snob, whom we all thought didn't want to associate with us, had a speech impediment. My heart jerked. I didn't know what to say. Should I perhaps nod and wish her a great evening or should I try to continue to talk to her the remaining minutes to our cars?
I smiled and caught up with her as she quickly marched on and matched her steps.
"I hate snow. I hate cold. I can't wait 'til it warms up to plant my flowers. I just hope that I can keep the deer out of them this year. I have always wanted a garden full of vegetables but the deer and ground moles get those too. And I get so cold on our line that my toes go numb."
"Really? Mine too. I wear two pairs of socks."
Laughing, I said, "I wear long johns too! And two shirts!"
A few more seconds of silence ensued and I was ready to wish her a wonderful weekend when she stopped and put her arm in front of my body. I was about to walk in front of a car that was pulling out...I would have been smooshed. I thanked her quietly and she smiled.
"I'm sorry. I don't like to talk much."
"It's okay. I DO. So if I'm around, I'll be content to do all the talking and you can just listen if that's alright with you. Seriously, God gave me the gift of gab."
Smiling broadly, she nodded and said, "Oh, I KNOW! And yes. That would be fine." I could not stop looking at her face...her smile was so beautiful.
We got to our cars and bid each other careful going home. I noticed the smile did not leave her face. Quite frankly, neither did mine. Then on the way home I was overcome with sadness.
I made assumptions about this woman.
We all did.
How incredibly unfair is that? How often do we do that in our lives, without truly knowing the situation, their individual stories? I feel Janet has developed her quietness out of self-image and the things that people have said over the years. She would rather be thought of "snobbish" than reveal her impediment. It's very disheartening in so many ways.
But I like her. I'm going to keep talking to her. And I'm going to keep Colossians 4:6 in mind. "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." Maybe I need to remind myself of that with everyone, not just Janet, as well.
Words define us. Just as much, if not more than, our actions. They have the power to break our spirits or to lift our souls. Most of us were given the gift of perfect speech, unlike Janet. But just because we have it doesn't mean we should use it carelessly. My mother used to say, "You really need to learn to think before you open your mouth." That is still a work in progress, by the way. But as I get older I am learning the importance of it.
"Let the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be accepted in YOUR sight, O Lord..." -Psalm 19:14
Have a beautiful weekend, my friends. God bless. You are loved.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
My old man and I both work the same shift so everyday before we leave we try to spend as much time together as possible. Whether we go out for lunch or just cook together we talk about our kids, grandkids, the bills, our health or what's going on in the news. But there are some days we get bored and that's when stupid stuff happens. (Like seeing who can make the most points tossing cashews into the other's mouth. You get double points if you don't choke them doing it.) Or watching reruns of "Everybody Loves Raymond."
See, that show is a trouble-maker. We are always amazed how it relates so much to our lives, minus the kids being small and at home. (And unlike Deborah, I am a pretty good cook if I say so myself.) But the other day, as we sat on the couch unwinding a little before our departures, we tuned in and they were discussing who they would marry if something "unfortunate" happened to them. Brian looked at me with one eyebrow raised and I thought, "Oh crap. Here we go."
"Well, missy, who would you marry? Gerard Butler?"
"First off, how do I go?"
"What happens to me?"
"Who cares!! Who would you pick to get shacked up with?"
"Let's say I get trampled by elephants. There ain't no elephants in southern Ohio. So that happening is very very unlikely..."
"I'm going to pick someone for you. I think that's how Ray and Deborah are doing it. I choose Jake."
"Jake?! Our NEIGHBOR?! He looks like Willie off of Duck Dynasty!! I want Don from the tire place. Can I have Don?!"
"Don!? You don't like Don. You just want his Mustang."
"Who would you pick for me?"
"Nea. She's 73! And her hair is blue."
"You want Pamela Anderson."
"Who DOESN'T want Pamela Anderson."
"Well, I want Dr. Oz."
"But Dr. Oz doesn't want you."
"And Pam wants YOU??"
"Everybody wants me."
By this time I'm getting miffed. "We should discuss how you go out."
"You're getting close. To being strangled. By me."
I got up and started packing my lunch for work. He followed me into the kitchen with a grin and stood there watching me. I skillfully ignored him. I didn't have anything to say to that, that...PAM-lover. I fingered my old-lady bun that would later be covered with a hardhat and smoothed the creases in my unflattering work pants. So unPam-like...I was just a glob of everydayness. A person who paid the cable and internet bill and bought him sugar-free pudding on rare occasions.
"Funny thing is," he said, "Pam would was always second choice because I picked the most beautiful woman in the WORLD to marry..."
Holding my hand up in the "talk to the hand" fashion, I continued stuffing my fruit into my bag and crammed in my ice pack. I hastily zipped up my items and caught half the banana...I didn't even care that half of it's guts was hanging out as I slammed it onto the counter.
"Especially when you're ticked."
"C'mere you sexy thing..." and then he scooped me up in his arms and squeezed me tightly.
I laughed a little and said, "Even if I've gained back a few pounds?? Like, seriously, my badonkadonk is junking it a little these days..."
"I like your badonkadonk. And I will save you from the elephants. That's how I will go out. Saving you."
Tears stinging my eyes, I looked at him and said, "I love you."
"More than Dr. Oz?"
"Yes. More than Dr. Oz."
"Pfff. What's he got that I don't have anyways..."
"Bite me. Oh, and I love you too."
After 20+ years, it really is still good to know that I can beat Pamela Anderson hands down. Well, with MY old man anyways. And watching him stand at the window that day as I pulled out of our driveway for work, waving and blowing kisses...I felt like the luckiest girl alive. Big badonkadonk and all.
I wish you all a blessed Sunday. Hug your husband/wife closely today. Always remember what brought you together. Don't let the little things blur the big picture and work everyday to keep that bond alive and intact. It IS important to remind the other of your love for them. It IS important to tell them that they are still your one and only...
You are loved. By them AND me.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
We've all seen her. The little girl in the corner at the party with her arms folded across her chest and a pouty mouth, mad because something didn't go her way. The people around her are trying their best to make her smile, to reassure her that it's going to be okay, just come out and have some fun. She won't look anyone in the eye and quickly turns away from them with tears in her eyes, defiant and a little testy. All she can think of is how "unfair" life seems to be...
A couple of weeks ago I got hurt at work which resulted in an accident report, a few days of being incapacitated on the couch and light duty at work. Not to mention the ultimate loss of a friendship that I didn't have the energy to try to maintain anymore. I went into "pout-mode." Then my weight increased. (I am now back up to 124.5.) I ate to numb the physical and emotional pain. My appetite/cravings escalated and now it's a battle to keep them under control. There is the rabbit hole...it's always lurking but this time it seemed bigger and strangely more welcoming. Self-pity? I was and still am the poster child for it. But...
You guys won't let me wallow, will you? I've checked my page...the SparkMails are overwhelming with kindness and concern. The goodies spoke equally as much. Now you guys have resorted to commenting on my page, some with "tough love." (I gotta admit, one of them really ticked me off but I guess it got me on here spilling my guts. But I will deal with "you" later in a private message and it won't be pretty so consider yourself for-warned.)
It doesn't take a brick to fall on my head to know you all care. But I'm still a little mad. I feel a little failure in the fact that sometimes my health gets all screwy and I can't run with the big dogs. I'm ticked that a friend decided that, after all, I WAS just an option, no matter how much I cared and tried to be there for them and "checked out." But it gave me time to see the others around me who really DO have my best interests at heart. Who really do love me for...ME. So I thank that person for allowing me to realize my worth does not lie in their eyes. I thank that person for helping me to see the others around me who truly care about my heart and what it stands for.
Like Betsy. And Brad. These two people have basically kept tabs on me every day. I would say they are my two greatest friends. No matter if I was at work or home, I would check my phone or go to break and find a funny text or a sweet voicemail. Even a funny picture or two. It's kinda hard to stand in the corner pouting when you get a funny pic of Dewey posing for the camera (Dewey is Betsy's extremely handsome cat, btw) or a hand-drawn picture of a stick figure with arms open wide screaming, "I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH!!
Or even this cute little pic from my daughter exclaiming that two heads are better than one...
Sooo, I guess it's time to let a little smile replace the pout, even though the arms are still folded, albeit not as tightly, across my chest. I'm looking secretly out of the corner of my eye and feeling a little break in my defiant attitude. I want to slowly join in the party again. Yes, I'm still a little miffed at myself, weight gain and all, but I will get back out there on my trail again, huffing and puffing off the pounds. So, you see, PumpedUp, I did not quit. I may have felt like it, been tempted to do it, threatened to do it and had myself believing that I did it, but there is a spirit in me that won't allow me to. So there.
It's time to see, feel and enjoy the company of my TRUE friends. Who never gave up on me. Or who kindly gave me the space to go through the torrent of emotions that needed to be steamed off.
I'm healing. I will be okay.
God bless. You are loved.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
One of my challenges in life has been my illness. Most of you know, I have lupus. I always carry a low-grade fever and deal with muscular and joint aches on a day-to-day basis. I have been on every medication that treats it and have had to discontinue them because of the side effects. I have also used home remedies, herbal therapies, modified my diet, etc., etc., but still have to deal with some very bad days when it just wants to rear its ugly head and make my life, well, hell.
There are times when it not only makes day-to-day activities very difficult and painful, it wears and tears on the spirit as well. I'm not a vain person but I take alot of pride in my appearance. I believe in looking your best even if you're just running to the grocery store for milk. But it would seem this disease doesn't care about that. When the rash appears, it comes with a vengeance. No amount of make-up or creams will cover it. At times, to this day, I still cry when it happens because the little girl inside of me is afraid of being laughed at or shunned.
I cried last week before work when I woke up to the pain, swelling and rash. I was scared. My new coworkers had not seen this side of me. They met me with understanding and compassion. Some even put their arm around me and asked if they could help with some of my responsibilities. That helped. Of course I was stubborn and insisted that I could still function at my normal capacity. And I did. But inside I still die a little bit when this hits me. But I am surviving. I WILL survive.
The rash is now subsiding a little. It seems to have lasted a little longer than normal this time and my eyes are still swollen terribly!
Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your support and understanding. It helps to complain a little, lol. So thank you for listening to that as well. :) I hope that you all are doing well and had a very wonderful weekend. I miss getting on here and aggravating you all like I used to. For some reason "torturing" others makes me feel better, lol. I carry you all in my heart and hold you in my prayers each and every day.
God bless you. I sure do love you.
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