A “Swift” Revelation

They often appear “flawless,” “put together,” free of any time of blemish or quandary. They often appear on a screen, in a magazine, in a video, movie, interview or production of some kind appearing upbeat, a smile aloft their faces and their bank accounts full and swelling. Though, beneath it all, a fact/truth I often regrettably forget, they are human, like us. They wake up after a sleep like we do, they experience the same sore throats, post-nasal drips, colds, sadness, happiness, and fears just like us.
 
If you haven’t realized it yet, who I’m describing above are celebrities or individuals consistently in the public eye – albeit a movie star, singer, band member, or some type of public figure summoning consistent attention. Many of them to me, appear to have it all; sometimes they even seem “inhuman,” to me, because their lives appear to be such a contrary to mine. Often times, I’ll ponder what their lives are actually like; what do they do on their days off, or do they even GET a day off? Most of the time though, I’ll wonder if they are happy; do they end each day feeling grateful for what they have, or eager to start the new day? Or, do they feel depleted and in denial of their physical and emotional states?
 
More and more, I’ve started to ponder these notions, but even more profoundly as I stumbled upon numerous articles surfacing this morning in regards to Taylor Swift. Admittedly, since a young age, in my teens and early 20s, I became a fan of hers, often listening to her CDs in my car during long drives or commuting to and from college. Her songs resonated with me and found myself memorizing many of the words as I sang along. There was something relatable in her song and voice and today, her relation to me, in particular increased significantly.
Taylor Swift 2
 
Though I have yet to view it myself, in Taylor Swift’s new Netflix documentary, she bravely and candidly shares her struggles with disordered eating and body image; two issues I can closely relate to. Reading her thoughts as detailed in the articles I stumbled upon, she was honest in her fears of sharing these struggles, but to me, it makes her human – it makes her authentic and genuine; it makes her someone like me, someone like a family member, someone like a friend, someone like a neighbor. We all struggle, we all have doubts and fears – some more than others, but no matter who we are, famous or not, rich or not, successful or not; we struggle.
Taylor Swift Quote
 
No amount of money, clothing, traveling, fame, or relationships in the world will make us happy if we feel ripped apart inside, undeserving of nourishment, happiness and love. Throughout the years, I’d look at Taylor Swift as she performed or graced the award show stages, accepting her awards and the acknowledgment of others and I’d wonder how she did it. People and life in general are not always what they seem. It’s important to remember, we all have exteriors, but what’s more important is what is housed inside of those exteriors. To focus solely on an outer shell is to forget all that is housed inside, which could be broken and beautiful, all at the same time.
 
None of us are without flaws, but often what I’ve found is that from those flaws, they prove to make us more empathetic towards others. Our flaws can bless us with the ability to reach out and help another who may be struggling and hurting and ultimately, it can give us an appreciation for when we are finally at peace with who we are inside.
Taylor Swift 3
 
Thank you to Taylor Swift, who is someone who experiences much public scrutiny and observation on a daily basis, but still takes ownership of her past and her struggles. Thank you for helping me realize, today and everyday, no matter our differences, we all still share one very identical trait – we are all human.
What We Can See

Dance to Life’s Rhythms

Not expecting to see much this morning, I stumbled upon this quote, as you see below. When I initially saw it, it was inspiring and struck a chord with me, yet, I continued scrolling.. until, I couldn’t move on.The words and hidden meaning within this quote continued to resound in my head and mind. It brought me back to the countless times in my life where I’ve resisted taking a chance or challenge or calculated risk out of fear of “not doing it right,” or “making a mistake.”
 
Years ago, at my first job out of college, my co-worker shared with me the wisdom she would often impart on her daughters, one of whom was hard on herself. She would remind her, “It is perfectly okay to make mistakes; that’s why pencils have erasers.” It was the first time I’d ever heard that expression, but I found it to be truer than I could have ever imagined. How insightful and a very relevant reminder especially to someone like myself who typically calculates every decision, choice and thought to a T.
 
There have been points in my life, where I HAVE taken chances, tried something new, or tackled a challenge I thought was beyond my skills and abilities. In those moments, I’ve come out stronger and felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. Sometimes, when faced with a challenging task, it feels overwhelming and impossible to even begin, but then a quote I once read surfaces in my mind, which reads, “To begin, begin!” It is simple, yet true. There is no other way to accomplish a task, no matter how big, small, challenging or simple, than to start. If we calculate every decision and choice, sometimes it can hold us back.
 
Many times, I’ve fallen into the trap of overthinking, rationalizing myself out of decisions that could prove to be fruitful and some of the best choices I could make. This quote as you see below, serves as a reminder that sometimes, we simply have to move our feet and our hearts and minds will soon follow.
 
Keep moving, because forward, is forward.
Keep Dancing

Monologues Without Words

There are some days and some moments, where for whatever reason, we are plagued with sadness, fear, worry or contemplation. Sometimes, these thoughts can render us silent, unable to summon the words to convey our feelings, or maybe we lack the desire to place these feelings into words. Or, maybe there are NO words to really describe these sentiments.
 
In any case, there are some people, who no matter what they hear or don’t hear, can understand what is being said. Maybe they know the way you cross your legs when you’re uncomfortable, or bit your lip. Maybe they know the way you gnaw on your fingernails when a situation has become too much. Maybe they know the way you dress yourself and your regular jewelry is absent. The people who truly love us, the people who pay attention, the people who want wants best for us, often times can hear so much, whether we are verbally speaking or not, because communication is never solely the words we speak.
 
Often times, it is the actions, rather, or what we DON’T say, which holds all the meaning. In my life, I’ve encountered or met people who I can speak a thousand words to and yet, they still truly hear nothing, or close to nothing, or what they hear is not the truth. Then there are others, who hear everything without a word being uttered. What I’ve learned throughout my life, is that it is not about solely listening to the words being said, but rather to see AND hear all the communication conveyed in the appearance, actions and subtleties in which so much can be revealed.
What we Hear Quote

Healing Hands with Heart

Almost two days ago – Wednesday, the blustery winds whipped the entire day, sending the wind chills plummeting into the 20’s. It was a frigid day in early Winter, sending me running for indoor warmth much of the day. However, responsibilities beckoned and so in the afternoon, my mom and I made our way to the local grocery store to pick up items we needed.
 
Gathering our belongings after paying, I swung the grocery bag over my shoulder and as I did, glanced outside to see a woman pushing her cart outside, but abruptly stopped at a minivan parked adjacent to the entrance of the store. The minivan’s engine was running with the passenger door open, an elderly woman half in and half out, appearing in sudden distress. Suddenly, I noticed the woman pushing her cart abruptly stop, abandoning her cart filled with groceries on this blustery day, an action which could have easily send her cart flying into the distance, carrying away all of her groceries. However, in that moment, groceries were the furthest thing from this fellow shopper’s mind. Abandoning her cart and purse, she focused on the task at hand, safely placing this woman in distress back into the minivan. Though I’m not certain as to what the situation was, I watched in amazement, unable to avert my eyes as I witnessed the most selfless act I’d seen in many years.
 
So often in the news, or in daily life in general, all we hear and are faced with are of the criminal or hurtful actions by fellow humans, however, in this sense, it was the complete polar opposite. What I witnessed was an act the passenger most likely will never be able to repay, it was an act that was filled with heart, bravery and courage. It was an act where this fellow shopper, from my observation barely had to think about before acting. Watching this take place served as to a reminder to me to always remember the good in people and like our friend Mr. Rodgers mentioned his mother said, in times of distress to always look for the helpers. Well, I found one, a true helper; a true example of what it means to be selfless and to do something out of love without counting the cost. There is a quote that says, “You’ve never truly lived until you’ve done something for someone for which they can never repay you.” Seeing this, it surely couldn’t be truer.
Help someone 2

Walking a Different Path

Some people might say, myself included, that I opened myself up to it; that I asked for it and as a result, I got exactly what I set out to get and maybe they’d be right. In any case, several days ago, at several moments prior to 6am, I lay in my bed, fumbling for my phone as I routinely do to check my email and social media feeds. An email I’d been looking for had arrived overnight. As it usually does, gmail provided me with the small preview prior to actually opening the email; a preview that signified the rest of the email would be one to send my already low morale plummeting even further.
 
Within minutes of reading and digesting the words on the screen, I was no longer a 31-year-old woman, but rather a 16-year-old high school junior arriving home from school, flinging myself onto my bed, shutting the door and refusing to re-emerge until many hours later. Shunning water and sustenance of any kind, I berated myself all those years ago, hearing my journalism teacher’s words reverberating in my head, chastising me for not knowing how to properly manipulate computer programs for a school newspaper layout and using too many adjectives in my own writing.
 
Criticism in life is inevitable and many times, necessary for growth and improvement, but from my experience, there are countless ways for it to be given. There is a difference between issuing a kind criticism, one that is laced with respect and understanding, providing guidance and a gentle acknowledgment of how something can be changed or improved in such a way that benefits all involved. For me, several mornings ago, this was not the case. It was criticism, I thought, but now I wonder, was it really? Or, was it a lashing? A series of words and accusations, not statements of improvements I could make or changes. Isn’t it all about the language used, the underlying tones that really make all the difference?
 
Initially reading this feedback, I was transported miles and years away, making me question WHO I am, what I want out of life and ultimately, what I am even DOING with my life. In my blog and life in general, do I have countless followers? Maybe not. Do I always get likes or comments? No, I don’t, but is that what I am really trying to do? In one word, NO; it is not what I am trying to do. Rather, through my blog and social media feeds, it is my goal to reach out to people, those who may be scrolling through needing reassurance, needing a kind word or thought, needing to be recognized, needing to be seen, needing to know they aren’t alone. For me, I often turn to trusty sources I’ve come to know on social media or books that give me the encouragement and words of wisdom that carry me through my most difficult times. This wisdom you see below is one of them, discovered via Pinterest during my recent times of wallowing.
 
My blog is not there to be a vessel for likes; it is there as a platform for self-expression and as a hope that someone can turn to it in their times of need, so that they can know, they always have at least one person on their side.
 
Never stop being you just because someone finds fault with a word you’ve said or written, or choice or action you’ve made; je suis qui je suis; I am who I am.
Be Bold

What’s Old is New

As we prepare to close one decade of life and begin a new one, over the past several days, I’ve contemplated and reflected on all the lessons I’ve been taught in the midst of it. In the span of 10, often tumultuous years, I’ve graduated college, held full-time professional jobs, experienced much sadness, but also happiness, became an Aunt to the two most beautiful, extraordinary children, traveled to Europe (albeit, very briefly), and discovered parts of myself I never knew or believed existed.

One of the most important lessons of all I’ve learned and kept with me is the notion that what and who is for us will never pass us by. So often, we can think or believe that because someone or something has left our lives or has never come, that it is gone forever or will never arrive. It’s been proven many times to me over the course of this past decade, that the opposite is true. People can return, maybe not in the same way and maybe not even in the physical sense, but maybe in some other way, shape or form. Or maybe, someone new can arrive, the person, people or place you’re supposed to meet or be.

Maybe I haven’t fallen in love, maybe I haven’t accomplished what I’d like to someday, but this decade proves to me that there is something and maybe even someone, waiting for me. So until then, I’ll enjoy the journey and I hope you will, too.

Happy New Year and wishing you all the best for what’s to come in the next chapter of your life.

Welcome A New Year

An Internal Kindness

Several days ago, while wallowing in my own physical pain/discomfort, I stumbled upon an article in a magazine I regularly read. In the article, it detailed many women with a chronic disease diagnosis. In spite of their diagnosis, each of these women accomplished many incredible feats on a regular basis, but one woman in particular stood out to me. A woman, raising several children, one with a mental/physical disability, detailed her experience with progressive MS, as well as a host of other illnesses. Despite her diagnosis and accompanying symptoms, she is a painter, a muralist, painting murals many stories high throughout the world. However, it was something in particular she said that truly stood out and resonated with me. She emphasized self-compassion, a concept that can be challenging for many of us to uphold, or even contemplate. Some days, she mentioned, are surely worse than others in regards to her symptoms. Sometimes, she can solely manage laying on her sofa, talking with her children about their days, providing guidance, while paying attention to what her body needs; rest and care. Not everyday is filled with bustling activity, painting and accomplishing many tasks on a to-do list, but in my mind, she does accomplish the most important task of all on that to-do list, which is self-care, self-compassion and listing to what your body needs.
 
Reading her thoughts and perspective, I thought back to the many times I chastised or berated myself for not accomplishing more; for not achieving what I set out to. Though, many other occasions DO stand out to me; the times when I paused to rest, paused to take care of me, when I wasn’t feeling emotionally or physically well, so that I COULD feel better and take on more of those other tasks. Sometimes, the very best thing we can do for ourselves and others around us, is to take care of US; to rest when you need or want to; to take a moment for yourself to pause; to spend time doing what makes YOU happy, whatever that may be. Sometimes, it can be something like taking time to enjoy coffee in your favorite mug, or spending time wandering through a bookstore taking in the sights and sounds. No matter what it is, remember that you matter and are always deserving of care, concern and most importantly, love, not only from others, but an internal one, also.
Self-Compassion Quote