Tag Archives: flaws

God’s Will?

godbird3

Ok, so since my Jesus post from a few weeks ago didn’t get me stoned, I’m gonna try this one out and see what happens.

I have a friend on Facebook who recently posted about the fact that he has battled and defeated many addictions throughout the course of his life, ranging from alcohol to food.  He made a blanket statement about how he was surprised at the fact that he had gotten through those trials, because he doesn’t feel like he has very much willpower.  So, as is par for the course with Facebook, the comments started rolling in.  And amid many of the well-intentioned comments, there seemed to exist the same theme.

“That’s because it wasn’t you, it was God’s work.”

“It was God’s will that you made it through.”

“God did it.”

*sigh*

Ok.  Get your stones ready.

Every single time I see comments like this, I shudder a little.  I’ve never really understood why that is.  Like I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not the most religious person on the planet.  But I do believe there’s a God.  I do.  So, why does it bother me when I hear stuff like that?  Shouldn’t it make me feel good?  Strengthen my belief in the God that I believe in?

Well, this particular instance got me to thinking about this very thing.  I dug a little deeper into why those statements bother me so much, and this blog is about what I came up with.  Will you agree with me?  I don’t know.  It doesn’t matter, really.  When it comes to religion, politics, and all that other good controversial stuff, it’s rare to find two people who truly see eye-to-eye on it all.  And that’s ok.  But I’m going to share my viewpoint with you anyway.

I started this blog with a picture/quote by J. G. Holland that says “God gives every bird its food, but he does not throw it into its nest.” (And I can’t even begin to tell you how long it took to find one with the correct usage of its/it’s.  Phew!  I finally gave up and made my own.  Sheesh!  But, hey, that’s a blog for another day.  Back to the story….)  To be quite honest with you, I think that quote stands alone and says about all that I need to say.  Thank you, Mr. Holland.  But let me elaborate a little more anyway, because that’s what I do.

To me, what this quote is saying is that yes, the answers to our problems are out there.  They’re available to us.  God’s not gonna leave us hanging.  Like He says in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you…”  I firmly believe that the God I believe in is not one who is going to toss some bad things our way and watch us suffer with no way out.  In fact, I don’t believe He is the one who throws bad things our way at all.  Life does that.  But regardless, there is going to be a way out of them.

But, see, here’s the thing.  It’s not going to happen until we get off our butts and do something to make it happen.  It’s not going to magically appear.

So, when people make such comments as “It was God’s will,” or “God did it,” I just can’t bring myself to believe that.  God may be the one who provided the answer (i.e. the “food for the birds”), but I don’t believe He is the one who made it happen (i.e. “dropped it in its mouth”).  In the case of my Facebook friend here, God did not stick down his big hand and physically turn my friend away from those addictions.  My friend did that.  He made the choice to turn away from those addictions and do the legwork that it took to break those bad habits.  And does he deserve the credit?  You bet he does.

annie2I compare this to when my own child got the chance to play the lead role in our local production of Annie.  Was I proud of her?  Holy crap, you bet I was.  But did I take the credit for her performance?  Of course not.  I may have helped her along the way.  I may have advised her, encouraged her, and supported her.  But did I do it for her?  Of course, I didn’t.  And if someone claimed as much, I’d probably be offended that they were focused on me and not giving her the credit she deserved.

I don’t think God feels much differently about His children as I do about mine.  Do you?

Why are we so scared of being proud of ourselves?  Or of allowing someone else to feel the pride that they deserve to feel?

I know we’ve all heard the saying “Pride goeth before a fall.”  Maybe that’s where this unfounded fear comes from.  But what you probably didn’t know is that this term is actually a shortened version of the verse found in Proverbs 16:18 that says: “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  When you look at that term in its entirety, as it is fully stated in the proverb, the “pride” it’s referring to is not the pride that comes from feeling as if you’ve done something good.  Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “pride” in two ways:

  1. Pride:  a feeling that you are more important and better than other people; and
  2. Pride:  a feeling of happiness that you get when you or someone you know does something good, difficult, etc.

That first definition is what that verse is referring to.  Not the second.  Pride is a feeling of happiness.  Don’t you think God wants us to be happy?  There is nothing wrong with feeling proud of yourself.  Nothing.  And, on that same token, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging people to feel that pride in themselves.  They worked hard; they deserve it.  And the crazy thing is that the more pride you feel in yourself, the more likely you’ll be to keep going.  Whether it’s fighting an addiction, working to better yourself physically, or maybe even…oh, I don’t know…writing?  When someone recognizes your abilities and your talents, it really is ok to accept that recognition and bask in the glow of a job well done.  Besides, you never know who you might be inspiring in the process.

So, hey.  Maybe that might be something for you to think about the next time you innocently tell someone that it was God’s will when something good happens.  Don’t negate what they have done by telling them that they didn’t do it.  And don’t make the others out there who haven’t had such good fortune wonder why God isn’t on their side too.  It’s just silly.  Recognize them for the good that they have done, and congratulate them for it.  They worked hard for it, whether they realize it or not, and they deserve to feel pride in themselves for what they’ve accomplished.  And if you’re one of those people who deflect the compliments in that same manner?  Maybe you should work on not doing that anymore.  Yes, maybe God provided support and encouragement along the way, much like I did for my daughter as she found her way to playing the role of Annie, but I certainly didn’t pick her up and place her on that stage.  Recognize your own efforts and applaud them.

And you know what?  I’d be willing to bet that God is pretty darn proud of you, too.

***

“Calm self-confidence is as far from conceit as the desire to earn a decent living is remote from greed.”
– Channing Pollock

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Fix Your Face

face

She was not one for emptying her face of expression. ”
– J. D. Salinger

I have a pretty bad habit.

My face shows everything I’m feeling.  Everything.

And you know what else it does?  It shows everything everyone else is feeling too.

My daughter Kelly has often made fun of me for this.  We’ll be watching a movie and I’ll catch her looking at me instead of the screen.  When I turn to see what she’s looking at, she breaks out in hysterical giggles and says, “You’re doing it again.”  Apparently, whatever the person I’m watching is feeling, I display it on my face.  They’re laughing?  I’m smiling.  They’re crying?  My face is all scrunched up.  They’re singing?  (Oh, Kelly loooooves this one….) My forehead is creased and I’m straining to reach the high notes just like they are.

Well, that last example happened at church Sunday.  The choir was singing one of the most beautiful songs ever, and I was feeling it to the core of my being.  My face was singing right along with them, when I feel a little elbow go into my side and I hear,

“Mom.  Fix  your face.”

Fix my face??  What the…. [wait, I’m in church]…crap is she talking about…?

Oh.  Oh yeah.  That again.  Grrrr.

Ever since she said that, I’ve been thinking a lot about it.  While, no, I don’t want to look like an idiot, and yes, maybe I do need to work on ‘fixing my face’ sometimes to avoid just that – the deeper meaning behind why I do that maybe isn’t such a bad thing at all.

See this quote?

“All that is in the heart is written on the face.”
Ritu Ghatourey

Well, I believe that.  And I think that the fact that my face reflects what others are feeling is a pretty good sign.  I think that shows that I’m empathetic.  That I don’t just look around at my fellow members of humanity, I actually take the time to really see them.  I feel them.  I put myself right in their place and go right along with them on their journey, even if it’s just for a few seconds.

That’s kinda cool, right?

Even if I do look like a complete idiot in the process.

There are a lot of things that we teach our kids when we don’t even realize we’re doing it.  I’m sure I have some habits that I’d like for Kelly to overlook (which I’m sure are the ones that she’ll remember best, unfortunately), but this in particular is one of them that I’m not too sorry to pass along to her.  Feel for each other.  You know?  Feel your fellow man’s pain, his happiness, his struggle, his triumph.  Anything that happens to another member of humanity, is also happening to you.  We’re all in this thing together.  Recognize that.

Wouldn’t this world be a much better place if we all did that?  All the time?

Well, it would also be a much funnier place if everyone showed that on their face all the time like I do.  Kelly sure would get a kick out of it.  So, maybe you could just be that way and try to hide it a little better than I do.  That might be a better idea.

So, note to self:  Yes, listen to your daughter.  Fix your face.  But your heart?  Yeah, that heart is probably right where it needs to be.

No worries.

***

When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.
– Susan Sarandon

Luck

“Any fool can have bad luck; the art consists in knowing how to exploit it.”
– Frank Wedekind

Luck.

Ok, so you know those people, right?  The ones who seem to have everything going for them.  Who seem to skate through life with no noteworthy negativity [How do you like that alliteration??].  Everything just seems to go their way without them even having to lift a finger.  *sigh*  Must be nice.  As some of my graceful, elegant family members used to describe it, “They walk around like they have a horseshoe stuck up their butt.”

(Ok, maybe “butt” wasn’t exactly their choice of words…but I digress…)

Well, me?  Yeah, I am NOT one of those people.  Especially when it comes to vehicles.  While those people get to have horseshoes stuck up there, I apparently have an albatross that climbs up mine every time I get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Now, maybe blaming it on luck isn’t exactly fair.  I’m sure some of it may have to do with my own carelessness.  Maybe.  But seriously, a lot of it just really isn’t my fault.  Really.

Let’s look at the past five months, shall we?

Some of my regular followers may remember that I had an accident back in April.  I totaled my car.  (Missed that blog?  Want the gruesome details?  Click here.)

[Ugh…ok, I’m lying.  There aren’t any ‘gruesome’ details.  That was just a shameless plug of an old blog to get you to read it.  I’m a jerk…]

Anyhoozle…

So, I totaled my car.  And that sucked.  Yes, I guess you could say that was my ‘fault’ (at least my new insurance premium screams that loud and clear), but in my defense, a freak, unexpected winter storm hit us out of the blue while I was on the road.  A new layer of snow on a curvy road doesn’t make for the most favorable road conditions.  So, fault or no fault, I guess you could say a little bad luck was at play.  That is, if you believe in that kind of thing.  I call my boyfriend Richard and he comes and picks my car-less self up and takes me home to take care of me.  (Awww.)

So, fast forward a few days.  I finally feel able to drive again.  (Now, nothing was all that wrong physically, mind you, other than my slight concussion – it was more of a mental barrier to wanting to drive again after flipping down a rocky bank…)  That sweet, wonderful boyfriend of mine and his generous mom offer me a spare family vehicle to drive until I get the insurance stuff straightened out and get another car of my own, and I gratefully accept their offer.

So, here we go.  Vehicle #2.

The *first* day I get behind the wheel of this borrowed car to drive to work, I’m about ten miles from home and out of nowhere comes a turkey.  Yes, a turkey.

A TURKEY.

A-turkey-007

[**Note.  This is not the actual turkey.  But this is an accurate portrayal of the look that was on the little jerk’s face as he barreled towards me.]

He side swipes me and…rips off the driver’s side mirror.

Are you freakin kidding me??

Yep.  A turkey just tore up my borrowed vehicle.  So, of course I make what I feel like is the hardest call I’ve ever had to make to Richard and, through my tears, ‘fess up.  And what does he do?  Laughs.  A lot.  It’s not funny!!  I borrow a vehicle and break it in the first ten minutes!  How is that funny??  Still.  He laughs.

Oh, he thinks that’s funny, huh?  Let’s fast forward another two weeks.  Really.  Two tiny little weeks later, I’m driving along in the same borrowed car, now complete with a brand new driver’s side mirror, and what happens?  I turn the wheel to the left going around a curve and…ready for this?…it FALLS OFF.  I’m not exaggerating!!  Ok, I’m exaggerating a little bit.  It didn’t completely come off.  But it fell over.  Apparently this is known as a tie rod end breaking.  Call it what you want, but I call it “Oh crap!”  (And again, maybe crap wasn’t the actual word being used, but no point in digressing yet again…)

So, here comes call #3 to Richard.  (If you’re keeping track, call #1 was totaling my own car.  Call #2 was the turkey.  And now call #3 is telling him his wheel fell off.  And this is all within a matter of 2-3 weeks.  *sigh*)  He didn’t laugh as much this time.  But he did have to come get me.  Again.

Well, after some pretty hefty repair work and Richard driving me to work every day in the interim, I manage to drive his car for a few more weeks without anything else falling off.  And eventually I am even finally able to get the insurance mess worked out and get a car of my very own.  Yay!  After the first few days of a random ‘check engine’ light malfunction (don’t EVEN tell me there’s no such thing as bad luck…), the dealership got everything taken care of and all was well.  Smooth sailing with Vehicle #3…

Until today.

Trash pickup day.

Now, most of you know I am a runner.  I just ran 8+ miles yesterday while working my way up to my second half marathon in November.  You read that, right?  I ran EIGHT miles yesterday.  But you know what I apparently can’t do?  Walk my trash down to the end of my driveway.  Ugh.  It’s sooooo far.  (Read that with your internal whiny voice, because that’s exactly how I just said it.)  Nope.  That 100-foot walk to the end of my driveway is apparently too much for this chick.  Instead, I feel the need to drive it down and drop it off as I leave for work.  And, well, it’s a bag.  Of trash.  I don’t want to put that nasty thing in my cute little car.  Gross.  So, what do I do?

I leave my driver’s side door propped open and back down the driveway holding the bag of trash out of the car.  You with me?  You got the mental image?  You see me backing down a slight declined driveway holding a bag of trash out of my door?  Ok, now picture a huge mound of dirt that I forgot was there.  And then picture my drivers side door catching on that mound of dirt.  Picture me not noticing and continuing to back down the driveway…and picture my door bending BACKWARDS and practically breaking completely off.

Seriously??  SERIOUSLY?

Call #4.  “Richard?  Um.  I just broke my door off of my car…”

*sigh*

Goodbye, Goldie Sue.  (It’s a gold Subaru.  Isn’t that name clever?  Yeah, like that matters to this story…)

IMG_20130924_184206 (2)

So, here we are again.  Richard had to come and get me and take me to the same borrowed vehicle from before and once again save the day by giving me something to drive to work until I get mine repaired.

Story should end there, huh?

Oh no.  Not for Melissa.

On the way home today, the passenger side mirror on the borrowed vehicle that had been just a tad loose all along, decided to go ahead and snap all the way off.  Of course it happens while I’m driving it.

Call #5.  “Um, Richard?  You know that mirror that was loose?  It just broke off.  But it’s NOT MY FAULT….”

Wow.

I’m betting not many of you are going to want to ride with me after reading this blog, huh?  Well, join the club.

Hey, at least I have one living creature that will still come along for the ride…

IMG_20130924_162736 (2)

Bless her heart.

Well, there you have it.  Confessions of a Bad Driver, Volume One.  I’m sure there will be plenty more to come….

Hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself, what can you do?  You know?  Yes, I have some seriously bad luck when it comes to vehicles.  That albatross has apparently found a nice comfy home.

But you know what?  That bad luck only applies to vehicles.  Because look at the rest of my life.  Look at this story alone.  I have a wonderful, patient man who is always there to help me pick up the crazy pieces of my chaotic life and calmly put them all back together.  I walked away from a totaled car with barely a scratch, I have a cute little dog (ok, it’s the neighbor’s but she doesn’t realize that) who loves to go along on car rides with me, and I have wonderful readers who read this blog and come along on this crazy ride and laugh right along with the silly happenings of my never-a-dull-moment life.

Hmmm.

Maybe I’m actually a pretty lucky lady after all.

Well.  That is, if you believe in that kind of thing…

***

“Not many people have had as much bad luck as I have, but not many people have had as much good luck, either.”
– Tig Notaro

Me

me

“What a laugh, though.  To think that one human being could ever really know another.  You could get used to each other, get so habituated that you could speak their words right along with them, but you never know why other people said what they said or did what they did, because they never even know themselves.  Nobody understands anybody.”
– Orson Scott Card

I am going through a very hard time right now.  The reason?  Doesn’t matter.  Just another hard time – you know how it is.  You have them too.  It would be great if life stayed up there on those peaks all the time, but we all know that the trail dips to the valleys every now and then.

And it sucks.

But this time, I’m starting to realize something.  Most problems we have (all of us – not just me), at their very core, exist because people just don’t understand one another.  And like the quote above illustrates, how can we?  We don’t even understand ourselves.

Well, I don’t know if you care or not, but I’m going to use this blog to try to understand myself.  I’m getting ready to describe…me.

And you know what?  Maybe by the end of it, you’ll understand me too.  And hey, who knows?  Maybe this might even help you understand you.  Or at least try.  That’s all we can do, right?

“Walk with me for awhile, my friend—you in my shoes, I in yours—and then let us talk.”  
– Richelle E. Goodrich

I am passionate.

I mean, seriously.  I don’t half-ass anything.  When I feel something, I freakin feel it.  As you can imagine, that can go both ways.  When I love you, I soooo love you.  I’m hopelessly devoted and cannot even imagine being with anyone else.  But when a negative emotion hits?  You’re going to get the same intensity as the positive.  If I’m mad, I’m furious.  If you hurt me, I’m crushed.

I am innocent.

I hate to admit that, but I am.  I’m naïve.  I truly don’t understand this new world that we’re in where relationships have become casual and ‘hooking up’ seems to be the norm.  I don’t desire to go out and drink until the wee hours of the morning.  I have no desire whatsoever to ‘date.’  I am the most happy when I’m in a loving, committed relationship.  Nothing else will do for me. My preferred past-time is hanging out with a bunch of kids and goofing off – not partying.  Does that make me a dud?  I guess.

I am loyal.

Once I am committed to something, I’m in.  You can trust me 150%.  There are no gray areas.

I am obsessive.

I admit it.  I find it so incredibly hard to get my mind off of whatever is bothering me.  I want to fix it.  And a lot of people’s way of ‘fixing’ something is to find something else to temporarily ease the pain.  Not me.  I want to talk it to death; beat it to death; squeeze it until every last drop of life is gone.  I have lost a lot of people I love this way because I tend to love people who are exactly the opposite.  People who need their time and space to deal with things.  I have always hated this about myself.

I am intensely intuitive.

I know when something is not right.  Maybe that stems from my extreme interest in other people.  People fascinate me, so I pay attention to them.  I watch what they do and figure out why they do it.  So, with that being the case, I can usually spot when something is not right. I  know the signs and signals.  The problem with this?  The problem is that while yes, something may be off, my overactive imagination turns what may be a little molehill into Mount Everest.  I picture the absolute worst scenario in my head and assume that is the case until I know otherwise.  Then, when I find out otherwise, it’s hard to put what I’ve found out in place of what I already assumed to be true.  That sucks.

I am honest.

To a fault.  I lay it ALL out there.  Whether you want it or not.  And the problem with that?  I expect others to be that way too.  And then I’m crushed when they’re not.  I wish I were a better liar.  I wish I could be mysterious.  I wish, I wish, I wish.  But it’s not going to happen.  It’s not who I am.  And since it’s not who I am, I am especially sensitive to it in other people.  I don’t understand it, and I am deeply wounded by it.  Once I’ve seen dishonesty, it’s really, really, hard for me to unsee it.

I am forgiving.

I fully understand that this may seem to counteract what I just said.  But it doesn’t.  You’ve heard of forgiving and forgetting?  Well, the forgiving part is easy for me.  I have forgiven so many things over the years.  I understand that people make mistakes.  I hope people understand that I make mistakes too.  Crap happens.  But forgetting?  *Sigh*  Sadly, forgetting is not my specialty.  Can one exist without the other?  I don’t know, you tell me.

And finally, one last thing.

I like myself.

It’s true.  Yes, I’ve just mentioned some things that aren’t so great about my personality.  But I’ve listed some things that I think are pretty honorable too.  I have finally – FINALLY – come to a place in my life where I realize that I’m just really not that bad.  I fully understand that some people cannot accept my blunt, intense nature.  But I just absolutely cannot change who I am.  Just like they can’t change who they are.  We just have to learn to live together, you know?  Flaws, differences, quirks.  We just have to accept ourselves for who we are, and accept others for who they are.  That’s the only choice we have.

Now that I’ve written this, I’m not sure what the point was really.  I guess I’m just hoping to be understood.  That’s all we’re ever hoping for, isn’t it?  Do you see yourself in anything I’ve described?  Are you the complete opposite?  Is someone you love like me?  Do you think understanding them might help?

It’s your turn.

Who are you?

There may be someone that could really benefit from you letting them know.  It could be a start to mending something that is broken.

I sure hope so.  Life is way too short for the alternative.

***

“Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.”
– Emma Goldman

Moments

argueblog2

Awwww.  How sweet.

Ok, I’ll get back to this picture in a minute.  First – let me tell you a little something about myself.

I’m a jerk.

Oh yeah.  It’s true.  When I’m upset about something, I become an inconsiderate, irrational know-it-all who cannot see anyone else’s point of view but my own.  Especially when I’m already tired or stressed to begin with.  Anyone else like that, or am I all alone here in Jerkville?

Now, my boyfriend definitely knows this about me.  He has been a prisoner in Jerkville a few too many times.  And sometimes he likes to put a positive spin on this aspect of my personality by referring to it as my being passionate.  Passionate.  *Giggle*  (He missed his calling as a politician.)

But, then there are other times.  The times when he’s fed up and has had enough of the scenery in Jerkville and is ready to go home – that’s when he’ll call it like it really is.  He says I get crazy.

Ok, I’ll admit it.  Both are true.  Sometimes I’m passionately crazy.  But it’s because I feel things.  You know?  I feel them to my core.  There’s no half-assing it with me.  (Pardon my French.)  When I feel it, I feel it.

Now, sometimes that’s a good thing.  Sometimes it’s a wonderful thing actually.  I know I love with all of my heart, and then some.  I’d go to the ends of the earth for you if you’ve managed to win my heart.  And honestly, I kinda like that about myself.

But when the tide turns?  Ohhhh boy.  When the tide turns, it’s not such a good thing anymore.  It can get ugly fast.  Yep – it’s a flaw.  My biggest flaw, perhaps.  I admit it.

I, Melissa Caudill, am a flawed human being.  

I know, I know….shocking, isn’t it?  I thought I was perfect too!  But nope.  Turns out, I’m not.  Who knew!?

So, with all of that said, I want to tell you about something that happened in my latest argument with my honey.  Now, he is the exact opposite from me.  Polar opposite.  His way to handle a problem?  Clam up; don’t talk; wait for it to pass.

Bless his heart.

Now, you read all that stuff I just said about me, right?   If you were a fly on the wall during one of our spats, I can assure you you’d be quite entertained.  Honestly, though – (and don’t tell him this) – I admire him for the way he is.  In the same way that he admires my being “passionate,” I admire his being level-headed.  Calm.  Well, that is, until I’m pissed.  And then?  Then I think he’s….well….crazy.  Unhealthy.  A ticking time bomb.  He needs to let that junk out of his system!

In other words, I guess we’re both flawed.  It just happens to be in exact opposite ways.

Well, last night – as it has a few times in the past – those flaws came into play during a stupid argument.  I wanted to talk; he didn’t.  So, I marched my crazy self over to his house to make him talk.  When I first got there, he was asleep.  (Asleep?  Asleep!?  You think that is an excuse not to text me back??) 😉  After an unwelcomed chuckle from his half-asleep ramblings (he saw me and said in a slurred voice, “What are you doing in the band room?”…oh my gosh, I can’t even type that without laughing again – what the heck was that boy dreaming about?…), we got down to business.  We (I) ranted and raved and discussed every little thing each of us have ever done wrong in our lives from the time we exited our mother’s wombs.  Or, at least it seemed like that. Then, eventually, we chilled out and finally actually discussed the issue like we should have all along.

We’re fine now.  We still have problems, and always will (we’re human), but this catastrophe was avoided at least.

Now, back to the picture I posted at the beginning.  (See? I’m telling you this story for a reason.  And you thought I was just rambling….)

At one point during the argument, he got up and went into the kitchen to get a bottle of water.  (I know, right!?  How dare him walk away when I’m ranting…)  He came back into the room, and I took a deep breath and resumed where I had left off without missing a beat.  And in the midst of my continued rant, you know what he did?

He handed me a drink of water.

Here I was, hoarse from all the fussing at the poor man, and he hands me a drink of water to help me continue.

Isn’t that amazing?  You can be irate at someone – think that they are the craziest, most insane, irrational person alive – and yet when you love them, you still make sure they’re comfortable.  Make sure they know you love them.

These are the moments, people.  Not the candlelit dinners, not the flowers, not the cute little pet names.

The times the people you love are being anything but loveable – and you love them anyway.  The parent tucking in the child that just screamed “I hate you!” at them just before they fell asleep; the pet that still runs up to you and welcomes you home when you’ve left it alone all day; the adult child of an Alzheimer’s patient still patiently lifting a spoon to the mouth that curses them in confusion; the boyfriend who hands a drink of water to the woman who has just hurt his feelings.

These are the moments.

Don’t forget to notice them.  OK?

***

“Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.”
– Peter Ustinov

The Beholder

“Beauty is simply reality as seen with the eyes of love.”
– Evelyn Underhill

Last week, I wrote a blog called Self-Image (Click here to read).  In this blog, I mentioned that my friend, Iman Woods, who is a blogger with 8 Women Dream, had decided to use myself and my boyfriend Richard as “guinea pigs” for an upcoming article on women and their self-esteem.  Most of this was kept secret to me.  I honestly didn’t know what she was asking him or how he was responding.  (Have I mentioned that I’m in love with the quietest man on earth??  Dude can seriously keep a secret.)  All I knew was that I needed to pick out five pictures of myself – three that I particularly liked and two that I did not – and critique them.

My friend’s blog posted this morning.  Check it out here.

Wow.

My friend asked for my thoughts on this and to tell her what I think, and I’m not even sure what to say.  For once, this ol’ gal is somewhat speechless.  However, I’ll try.  I know nothing I say will truly convey how much this article affected me, though.

First of all, after reading this article, I’ve decided that I sure do seem kind of silly.  All of those little things that I worry about and obsess over?  The man whose attention and attraction I am hoping to gain has never even noticed them.  How crazy is that!?  I hope other women read this and take from it the same that I took from it.  We really need to stop this needless obsessing over little ‘flaws’ and ‘quirks.’  Sometimes we may be the only one who is seeing them.  As Richard says in the interview, “In my experience, most people (ALL dudes) pay more attention to the ‘big picture’ and not each individual detail.”

I think I needed to hear that.

Secondly, something that Iman said in her opening comments of her article really stood out to me.

“Changing our bodies isn’t as effective as changing our minds.” 
– Iman Woods

How much truth is there to that!?  If my smile was somehow magically straightened, would I think I’m suddenly beautiful?  If the gray disappeared from my hair or a six-pack appeared on my stomach – would that fix my self-image?  Nope.  It sure wouldn’t.  I have to see myself as beautiful just the way I am.  Just like Richard does.

Which brings me to this.  Most importantly, this article has shown me something that I really needed to see.

Richard loves me.

This man really, truly loves me.  And it has nothing to do with my crooked smile or the color of my hair.  He loves me from the inside out.  And isn’t that what it’s all about?  Isn’t that all we want?  For someone to look at us, and really see us…and then to fall in love with what they see?

I’m such a lucky girl.  I am loved…and I am beautiful.

And you know what I’m willing to bet?  So are YOU.

uscutepic

***

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”
– Kahlil Gibran

Self-Image

selfesteemblog

I remember a friend of mine once asking for help from her Facebook friends about possible upcoming blog topics.  One of her friends commented on her status and told her to “watch for signs” – that you’ll start seeing a common theme popping up in your life and when it does, then you know it’s time to write about it.

Well, it’s time for me to take that advice.

I’ve had it in my head for a while now to talk about how women feel about their self-images.  Ok.  Actually, about my self-image, and how I feel about it, to be more exact.  But that’s not a very comfortable thing to talk about.  Ya know?  It’s hard to admit that you don’t think too highly of yourself.  And even harder to admit that you know that is stupid and you need to change.

But something tells me now may be the time to bite the bullet and just be honest.

I have a wonderful friend, Iman Woods, who has dedicated her life to making women feel great about themselves.  She’s a photographer.  A photographer.  Now, I don’t know about you, but when I hear that someone who is a photographer is also someone who is going to make me feel great about myself – those two facts just don’t belong together.  How could a photographer make me feel good about myself?  I’ve seen me.  And having to see me immortalized in a photograph forever is probably not something that is going to make me feel good.  All it does is showcase all of the flaws in an 8×10 for me and all the world to see, right?  Right?

Wrong.

Check out her site: http://www.imanwoods.com/?page/88267/pinup-empowerment.  This woman can do wonderful things.  With some pretty girly clothes and a little makeup – she brings out the beauty in women that was there all along.  She’s not doing anything to change these women with her work.  She’s just showing them off.  Showing them what they may not be able to see without her help.  This is why she calls her work “photo therapy.”  And I think that she, and her work, are both absolutely beautiful.

Well, in addition to being a photographer, Iman is also a writer.  She posted a blog today about her own self-image and how it has changed over the years.  (See the link here if you want to check it out: http://www.8womendream.com/55706/find-your-body-role-model).  After posting this, she and I discussed it a little and she came up with an idea to interview myself and my boyfriend Richard and combine our responses with regards to how we see ‘me.’  I’m not sure what the end result will be, but I’m pretty excited about the possibility.  I have always loved watching an idea of hers as it comes to fruition.  (And you can bet your patootie, I’ll be posting the link here for you to read it when it does!).  Well, as part of the interview process, my first assignment is this – go through and pick out 5 photos of myself that I love.  Easy, right?

Whoa.

I had no idea how hard this would be.  I am looking through posted pictures of myself on Facebook, and I honestly cannot pick out ones that I like.  Each time I start to choose one, I think, “Well this is wrong…,” or “Well, that is wrong.”  “My hair looks bad in this one.”  “This one makes me look fat.”  “This one makes me look too tall.”  “My boobs look too big in this one.”  (Hey, I’m being honest here.)  Each and every picture holds something that I’m not happy with and don’t want displayed in an upcoming blog article.

What the heck is up with that??

I really don’t think I realized how much my self-image needed work until the past few hours.  Oh, I’d seen clues, of course.  For instance, I compare myself to other women like crazy.  Especially certain women.  I know I need to stop that, but I haven’t figured out how to just yet.  I’m working on it though.

This reminds me of lyrics from the Sara Evans song, “I Keep Lookin:”

“Well  the straight-haired girls, they all want curls
And the brunettes wanna be blonde;
It’s your typical thing – you’ve got yin,  you want yang
It just goes on and on.”

Yep.  That’s me.  I’m not extremely tall by any means, but when I’m standing beside certain short, petite women, I feel like an Amazon.  And I start to wish I was shorter.  (Ironically, one of these particular petite women has always wished she was taller…go figure).  I see a woman with long beautiful straight hair and I despise these wild crazy curls that I was “blessed” with.  And yet, women spend tons of money on curling irons and perms every day.  Again, go figure.  I search the ends of the earth trying to fight the right sports bra to fit my needs and then I see tiny little women not having to worry about that problem and I find myself wishing I didn’t have these giant….well, you know.  And yet, plastic surgeons stay in business for women who’d kill to have this problem.

Sigh.

I’m not the only one who does this, right?  Good grief, what the heck is wrong with us, ladies?

Well, as I have just displayed in this blog, I don’t have a quick fix.  I don’t know the answer to how to make us comfortable in our skin rather than seeing what we falsely deem as “perfection” in others.  All I know to do is this.  Start finding one thing you like about yourself every day.  Just one.  Of course everything you like about yourself doesn’t have to be appearance-related, but since that’s what I’m focusing on here – let’s start with that.

I’ll go first.  I’ll tell you one thing I like about myself.

Ok.  Here goes.

(Gosh, why is it so hard to do this???)

Alright….my legs.  I do, I like my legs.  They’re not too flabby – pretty muscular actually now after a year of running.  They’d probably look great in heels if I’d ever learn to walk in the dang things.  So, there we go.  It’s done.  There’s the one thing I like about myself for the day.  Now, on to trying to come up with something for tomorrow…

Hey, who knows?  Maybe after a few days of doing this, a few weeks, a few months…it’ll be less and less hard to think of something.  Maybe by then we’ll be seeing ourselves in the light that we so easily seem to see others in.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Oh, and I almost forgot.  Before I end this blog….since I have to do it anyway, I’ll go ahead and pick one of the photos of myself that I like and post it here.  This is a photo that was taken of me to use as a headshot in a theatre show I did earlier this year.  It took me a while to actually like it (it’s SO close up!), but once I decided it wasn’t so bad, I decided to just go for it.  So, here ya go.

me

There.  I did it.  One down, four to go…

Your turn.

***

“Relentless, repetitive self talk is what changes our self-image.”
– Denis Waitley