Beauty Contest

I watched part of the Miss Universe, or whatever it is called, a few weeks ago. I was in awe of their beauty.  I can remember far back to when I was a young girl, thinking certain women in my life, and those I saw on tv, were beautiful.  I had a judgement of what I considered to be beautiful, even at as young of an age as probably about 5 or 6. Maybe younger, I don’t know. As I got older, ideal beauty consumed me, as it does many and most teenagers. One day my mom found a baggy with white powder in it in my bathroom.  She became very angry and yelled at me to come upstairs. Of course she questioned me about it, assumed it was drugs.  It was baking soda.  I had seen on a tv show that if you add it to your toothpaste, your teeth would get whiter.  (Obviously, I’m old and this was before whitening toothpaste was available… or effective.) I remember going on a diet when I was in kindergarten with my best friend who lived down the street.  We told each other we only eat lettuce for every meal. I fought with my mom about what clothes I would wear to school.. in first grade. 

What’s odd, and all women know this I think, is that we are not only judging ourselves to adhere to certain standard of beauty, but we are constantly judging each other as well (men included). Or is that just me? 

Either way, as I got older and had kids, I realized that I honestly just could no longer keep up. I can’t do it all.  I can’t take care of the children, attend to my husband, make sure the house is in working order, make all the hard decisions, take care of the finances, and STILL care for myself. I just cannot do it. Therefore, my standards of beauty for myself have fallen by the way side. It’s fine. I’m fine.

What I have noticed, however, in all this unpacking of ideals, is that every person that I see, I can honestly say that I see such amazing beauty. Do they have flaws? Of course. But man,  I truly see so many beautiful people, all the time.  I see them driving their cars, walking on the street, at church, in the store, at my daughter’s dance class, in videos on the internet, in my friends, my family,  in my clients’ homes, in my workplace… oh man,  my workplace… It is filled with such beauty! 

So did the world get more beautiful over the past few years while I checked out after having children? Or am I seeing people in a different light? Am I seeing beautiful souls? Am I seeing how we are meant to see each other?

It’s not perfect. It’s not 100%, but it is definitely the majority of the time. This may be my positivity finally shining through. Who knows, but at least I can say it is beautiful. It might even be that pretty glow.  đź’—

Advertisements

Hiya, emotions!

Well,  I’m back.  You know what is cool? When people tell you (in person)  that they love your blog. That’s a good feeling. So thank you to those people!

Anyways… things have been… Good? Sad? Happy? Fun? Scary?… oh ALL OF THOSE THINGS.  

Where to start…

1. How about here?  Good: Ted and I started and completed the Whole30 plan.  It was good! A lot like paleo. Lost a few lbs. Realized how I need to change my eating habits again.  Immediately ate tacos when it was over. 

2. Sad:  I had to make the decision to put down my dog, Dexter, of 10 years due to congenital heart disease.  It really sucks when you lose a part of your family like that. I know he was suffering. I know it was time. But I hated letting go.  Still, I think of him nightly when he’s not all snuggled up next to me. Or when he isn’t there to bark at me when I leave without him.  It’s hard. Taylor took it surprisingly well.  She asked about heaven a little.  She asked once if he was going to come back.  Now she asks to buy stuffed animal dogs that look like him. 

3. Happy: Overall and in general, everyday has its happy moments. Some days more than others, of course. I am loving watching Taylor grow.  She started kindergarten and the way she has grown and is thriving in school makes me so happy.  She’s smart, independent, kind, confident, and inquisitive.  She makes me happy. 

4. Fun: I finally got to visit San Diego again after too many years passed. We went to the zoo,  Coronado beach, and ate and stayed in Old Town.  I used to say I was meant to live in San Diego.  I could feel it in my soul.  Now it’s too busy and expensive for “old person me”.  That’s okay! We get to have fun there while we visit instead!

5. Scary: Brace yourself for a long story. So we went to San Diego. Yes,  IT ENDED UP being fun.  The traveling to get there? NOT FUN.  SCARY! Ok. So. My mom, my husband, my kids, and I pile into the 1995 Chevrolet suburban.  This thing has miles on it. It’s obviously old.  But my parents are very good at keeping old things in really good condition.  My dad changes the oil, puts gas in it, and pumps up the tires in preparation of the trip.  Let the last task linger in your mind for a minute…

We get to Primm, Nevada, approximately 20 minutes from my house, and the whole enormous vehicle starts shaking like it’s about to take off.  It’s bad. We don’t know what’s happening.  We drive all the way to Barstow like this, get off and go to the only tire store that is open.  The guy says we have bubbles in both of the back tires.  (Yes, this is a thing.  Bubbles.) So we pick the tire with the worst bubble, and put the spare on it.  Continue on.  Still shaking.  Luckily make it past the death trap that is the Cajon pass. We get to Rancho Cucamonga, and the other tire blows on the I-15 South freeway.  This freeway is insane. We pull off with *just* enough room to not get pummeled by passing traffic. Ted tells everyone to get out because he’s been watching too many car crash videos on you tube. I figure it’s probably not a bad idea, so we pull my sleeping children out of their car seats to climb over the guard rail on the freeway.  We are super cool…. the tow truck comes in like 20 minutes, which was awesome. He lets out air in the other bubble tire that was taken off first and puts it on. We get going again.  Still bumpy.  10 minutes down the road,  in Ontario, the spare tire blows off the tread.  WTF!!! Someone is really trying to hurt us! *cue major family meltdown from children and adults* Next tow won’t be here for TWO HOURS, and will only transport 2 adults and 1 child, leaving behind one adult and one child on the freeway without a car. What?! We cancel the tow and decide to attempt the 8 mile ride to the nearest hotel with a bubble tire and a no-tread spare tire.  We made it! Got four new tires the next day, and only got stuck in a traffic jam for one extra hour the next day.  Note to self: Do not drive suburban. Do not drive to San Diego. Always fly there. Thanks. 

I’ve had a few crazy and mind blowing months. I’m so glad I’m still here to tell you about them! All about my emotions. I have them. A lot. Too much? Oh whatever! I believe in letting it all out. You will regret keeping things bottled up. Trust me. Tell people how you are feeling.  Get personal.  Communicate! Without communicating our feelings with one another, you will lack connections, you will miss opportunities to feel something deeper that you didn’t even realize you wanted or needed to feel.  It’s life and death. It’s that important. 

Also, since I started writing this while it was still September…

In honor of Childhood cancer awareness #gogoldforcancer

In honor of too many lives lost and many more lives that should continue to see that pretty glow #suicideawareness #suicideprevention
Spread the good word and find that pretty glow!

Kindness 

Today was a good day.  A long day (Tuesdays always are!), but a good day. Caring and kindness go hand in hand, right? Well, I guess not always (I won’t go into the horrific details that just poured into my mind), but in general if you care for someone, you are kind to them. If you are kind to someone, you show that you care. Okay, we all agree. Good. Moving on.

A few instances of kindness and not so kind behavior were witnessed throughout my day. I would say that’s probably typical, except for those days where everything seems be on the not so kind end of the spectrum.  What sort of brought all of this up was tonight at the park, when I kissed my baby girl goodbye (she’s having her first sleepover at her cousin’s house! Ahhh! That’s an entirely different story and blog post…), and I said to her “Have fun, be safe, and be kind.” I don’t usually say, “be kind” when leaving her and it made rush of weird emotions run through me.  
Earlier at the park, a couple of kids showed some bratty, not so kind, behavior.  They’re kids, it’s bound to happen, but it still made me cry on the inside a little bit.  But that’s not really a big deal.  They are testing boundaries (that are hopefully being set by someone).

Then even earlier today,  I was treated absolutely differently, albeit still somewhat with kindness, than a peer of mine, and I know it was completely based on our looks.  I wore scrubs today, had my hair pulled back and no makeup on… I was definitely on the hot mess express.  My peer was not dressed or made up similar to me in ANY way; not to mention our outer appearances are much, much different.  In general, I absolutely could not care less what people think of me.  Am I the prettiest? No. Am I the thinnest? No. Do I have the best skin and makeup? (I will soon enough… eh hem, Rodan + Fields and Maskcara Beauty… Uhh…) I mean, no. Am I the tallest? No.  Not even close, lol. Do I have the best singing voice? The best athletic ability? The best teeth? The best anything?  NO! None of us do, duh! That’s the point! That pretty glow is not always found in our perfectly smooth skin and flawless makeup application.  It is found in our character – our care for others, our empathy, our kindness.  

I have an overactive empathy gland. For real.  My cup runneth over for everyone. Sometimes it is a lot to handle. I feel everyone’s hardships and heartaches as if they are my own.  And then I have my own to deal with. That’s why my motto is “I’m just trying to keep my head above water.”

Honestly though,  I think that’s why I love my job and my job loves me.  Empathy.  In my opinion, you can’t be a very effective therapist without empathy.  Every day I look into the eyes of the kiddos I work with, and I feel their soul.  I can see their struggles, their achievements, and their desires. I know that sounds crazy or cheesy or something, but I truly feel this.  It’s hard to balance, but it has to be done. Find that balance. Find your empathy.  Find your kindness.  It will help you find that pretty glow. 

Good versus Evil

I have yet to read all the Harry Potter books (don’t hurt me!), but one thing is easily discerned from this series of books. One theme that runs throughout is “good versus evil”. I’ve been thinking a lot about this particular thing ever since I had a small reunion with a group of girlfriends about a week ago. A lot of memories from high school were brought up and even some from before then. I’ve known these girls for a long time – since elementary school and even one since preschool! We’ve all gone our separate ways for the most part, but when we get together, we talk like no time has passed and we still dig deep.

One particular situation was mentioned and it was in regards to an act that was done to one of our friends in high school. For me this particular action was, and still is, hurtful. For some, it is a memory that makes them laugh. And for others they realize that it was a rude thing to do but believe it was a long time ago and that it should be forgotten and that people change. 

I 100% agree that people can change. It is difficult and from what I have seen, often requires a life-changing event for that person to truly change within their soul. Some believe that the actions of people don’t always reflect the nature of the person – being good or bad. 

So from this “mini-reunion” conversation, I began my week-long “thought journey” about good versus evil. What makes a good person a good person? What makes a bad person a bad person? If a bad person can change into a good person were they ever really a bad person to begin with? Are bad acts simply mistakes that are made or do they reflect who you are as a person and the choices that you make?

For me, what I finally decided upon is that yes there are inherently bad and inherently good people. Some good people make bad choices and some bad people make good choices at times.  The deciding factor between  a person that is a bad and a person who is good,  is if a person repeatedly and consistently make choices that hurt other people and they choose not to ever feel regret or shame for those choices and never apologize when given the opportunity. That to me is a bad person. They might have great families, great siblings, great parents, great upbringings, but that does not mean that they are a good person.

 I like to think that I’m a good person. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe in some people’s eyes I’m not a good person. But I always try to be honest, open, and tell the truth. I don’t skip around my feelings and I let others know my thoughts and opinions on things. Some people can take this as being harsh or rude, but that is not my intention at all. In my dealings with others, I try to be as nice and thoughtful as possible given the situation. If I make a mistake or hurt someone’s feelings I approach the situation and apologize or try to make amends in some way. This is not something that came easily to me, and still doesn’t. It has been something that I’ve had to learn over the years, from other people and from self-reflection. 

I really wanted to make this post an uplifting post. I thought to myself, “It seems like my posts have really gone to a dark place over the past few weeks.” Fortunately, there are good people in the world that make this post a little brighter. There are people that I witness daily who try to bring a little bit more sunshine and goodness into this world. I know that they are out there and they should be acknowledged! 

They are that pretty glow.

UPDATE: I haven’t even officially published this yet, and I’m already having more/second thoughts.  A friend I reached out to about a loss she suffered said something…”I feel like this was a terrible impulsive choice.” Choices. Choices, choices, choices. Bad or good choices? Bad or good person? I can’t fault people for making bad choices. We all do it. It is fine.  

Negative Nancy

I realized today that I’m a negative person.  I try REALLY hard not to be, but I am.

I was driving to work this morning, and the morning talk show was talking about Father’s Day posts. The guy said, “Those bug me so much. It’s like they’re all just bragging.” The woman disagreed and mentioned how they make her happy, that they address honoring the dads, and she likes to read them.  Guess who I sided with?

Honestly though, don’t they bother you? Like, “Look how awesome my dad and husband are! They’re so much better than yours! And here’s a tribute to them about all of their great qualities so that you can feel bad about your dad and husband because they don’t match up to mine!” 

No? Just me?  (And radio talk show host guy)

Then later,  I got a very kind text from a friend who was attempting to show me how great it was that this person, who wrote a blog, was overcoming difficulties with their own speech to become a speech therapist themselves. I took it as the blog writer was bashing SLPs. 

Seriously. What is wrong with me??

Regardless though, at least I was able to realize (with the help of my friend and the radio hosts) that I would probably be happier and bring more light to the world if I tried to spread a little joy instead of assuming negativity. 

I have been around a lot of happy people in my life (one benefit of growing up with a church family and influence). There are always those people who find the good in everything.  Or those people who seem to always be able to have a good time and have fun and smile despite the circumstances. Those are the people that are good to be around. 

However, I have days when I need my “misery loves company” people. They are real and down to earth and aren’t afraid to say it straight. I love those people. I need those people. 

Can you be both things? Is there a good blend of overly happy and down to earth grime? That’s what I need.  I need an app to find those people – or to be those people. I can’t find that balance in myself yet.  I’m looking though. I really am. 

Have you found it? 

I’d call that balance… that pretty glow. 🙂

BFFs

Do you have a best friend? The one you always go to to divulge juicy information, ask deep questions, get advice, vent to, and sit in a room together and not even say anything and it doesn’t matter? In my last post, I mentioned that I think we are given just the right friends at just the right time in our lives when we need them.  Some friends are easy to make, some are more difficult. But it seems that everyone plays a specific role for a specific reason. 

However, the BFF is special. They stick around for longer and know you better. They might be new to you, but they’ll stay. I have a couple of these, and I love them all for different reasons and in different ways. None are better than others. It’s an amazing feeling to have so many good friends like this. 

But. BUT. How do you get to make connections like this? I had this crazy fear strike me suddenly the other day.  What if my daughter never has a best friend??

She is very lovable. She is kind. She is friendly. But she can be painfully shy.  She is kinda kooky, kinda bratty, kinda amazing.  I’m sure there are others out there like her, but I see her get left out often and it breaks my heart. Reruns of elementary and middle school flash in my mind.  It makes me so sad. 

Is it possible that she might not have a best friend? That she might not get to experience this amazing feeling of unconditional friendship? For me, friends are my family. They play that important of a role in my life. I would honestly do anything for my friends.  They love me through my good and bad times, and I, them.  I try REALLY hard to be a good friend all the time and no matter what. I try to be understanding and put myself in their place when they make decisions that I wouldn’t or say things that I can’t imagine saying aloud. I try my best to always be supportive.  I love my friends and my best friends. I just really hope that my daughter gets to be and have a best friend that strives for the same attributes, despite my fears. 

Where’s That Pretty Glow? Inside the heart of your friendships, of course. 

Matthew McConaughey

This guy is an American actor according to Wikipedia.  Hahaha! Yeah, no kidding. He’s also my mom’s boyfriend. Or is that Johnny Depp? She has lots of boyfriends.

One other thing I find fascinating about him is his impeccable talent to make speeches. Maybe he has smart speech writers. Maybe he’s just actually smart.  Turns out, homeboy went to college at University of Texas at Austin. So there’s that.

Point is, tonight I watched a speech that he made. It culminated in, “Prioritize your life. I prioritize my life into five areas- fatherhood,  marriage,  health, career, friendship.” And it resonated with me. I think I’ve actually watched that speech before, but tonight it made sense.

Motherhood is and will always be my number one.  Even when I’m trying to be alone…or leave the state…it is my numero uno. I constantly have fears and worries about my children and how I can mold them into the best sorts of people. I love them fiercely.

Marriage is hard. Remember that from earlier? This has become more apparent to me just in the last 3 months. But as a wise woman once said,  “you build from adversity”. You have to. It makes you a stronger person and your significant other a stronger person.  The only way to get through adversity with other people is outright communication.  Don’t skip around your concerns.  Just say it.

Health. Oh health.  We have a love/hate relationship.  I wish it was more love.  I can right now think of at least 10 people, who are very close to me, who are going through worse health situations than I am or did.  We are talking cancer, degenerative diseases, immobility, autoimmune diseases,  you name it.  I had a herniated disc that is recovering very nicely.  Did it hurt? Hell yes.  Worse pain than labor or c- section, or any other pain I’ve ever felt? Yep.  Does it even hold a candle to what these people I know are experiencing?  NOPE. But it was a stark reminder to me that I need to shape up, or I’ll be shipping out.

Career is another big one for me.  I love, love, love my career as a Speech Language Pathologist. Seriously, I do. There’s not a day where I hate going to work. It is my niche. Lately, however, it had completely taken over everything. I’ve had to do a complete overhaul.  It is good though. Good things and NEW things to come!

Friendships are my lifeline. They keep me laughing, sane, open-minded, kind, caring, adventurous, and accepting. My friends are amazing. I believe you find the perfect friends for you right when you need them. I try to keep the best ones around to fill up my bucket.

That Pretty Glow portion of this continues to be the good you can find in the ordinary parts of life. The parts that are all around and make my world go round (Well that, and fat bottomed girls. Anyone? Queen?).