Sunday, November 24, 2013
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Saturday, August 17, 2013
You have been conditioned to believe that you are wrong. Wrong for even entertaining the notion that you are beautiful, even if you aren't average. And when did "average" become beautiful? When did we all start striving to assimilate, to mold ourselves into replicas, when we are born as bold originals?Remember a time before you were told who you were supposed to be.
Turn off your television and close that magazine that target faceless consumers. You will never be special to people who call you "consumer" or "target audience" so stop believing anything they propose right this minute.Think back to a time before you hated your thighs for touching and appreciated their strength when you were the fastest girl playing tag. Remember a time when your father told you he loved you, that you are beautiful and special, and you believed it without hesitation because he never wanted you to be anything but what you were. A time before the internet created a photo-shopped world view, all smooth lines and porcelain faces or you never wore that dress you died over at the store because you suddenly developed the notion that your curves are all wrong. When you perceive yourself in this way, when you present this fragile being ready to be shaped by anyone's hands but her own, you are giving the world permission to judge you. Why give someone who doesn't know you the right to shape who it is that you are going to be? Take a breath, and stand in front of the mirror. Look at your skin, freckled and lined, scarred and bruised, that protects the softness inside. Appreciate it for holding you all together, for being strong even when you are weak. Look at the softness of your stomach, that portion of you that feeds the rest. Admire your strong legs, your bright eyes, your firm forearms and realize that you are more than the sum of your parts.
You are more than skin and curves, you are life itself.Your potential is only limited by the thoughts you think, so be vigilant and, above all, kind, when forming them. Challenge the world not to love you, all of you, and rest easy in the truth that you love you and that is enough.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Yes, I had a philosophical moment in a Kroger checkout.When you're present, "moments" can happen anywhere and with anyone. I looked around and I would dare say about 70% of the people in my line of vision were on their cell phones in some capacity. I've been in that number many times, sacrificing making eye contact with someone who might reject me and instead checking a Facebook status update. To be human is to be exposed and raw and the influx of technology at our disposal is making that feeling optional. We face a conundrum because as human beings, we crave social interaction. We need to be around others, even if only sporadically but we're terrified of it. We've been taught to tear one another apart for appearance, financial and political status, and even geographical location (Oh, the teasing about Kentucky Fried Chicken and being barefoot, will it never end!?) So, we plug in, upload a perfect version of ourselves, and connect on the most superficial of levels.
Technology is a necessity in the professional world, I'll give you that. However, who says we have to make it a focus in our personal life? If you're reading this thinking "This is isn't about me" then I have a challenge for you. Turn off your phone from 6p.m. until it's time to get up in the morning for one week. Your computer is not to be used either (unless you're only streaming music, that is forgivable.) No excuses about how someone could call you in the event of an emergency. You not being available for a night, when you should be connecting with your friends and family, creating something, going for a walk, looking up at the sky, maintaining your home, will be okay. Now, pay attention to the urge to pick it up. Process why it is that you feel a sense of loss for not having it in your hand. Why does it make your anxious? Why do you care if that little device is on or off? You have formed an attachment to a machine, my dears. You have developed a relationship with an inanimate object.
Ultimately, remember that you have warm and beating heart that longs to be used. It can withstand being put at risk when you seek out relationships with others. Stop making easy choices. Unplug and be human.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
How is that we are the superior species? My dogs do not spend their day stressing out if the internet is down. They don't forget to give me a cuddle because they are in a hurry. If the electricity ceased to exist tomorrow, they would still be able to feed themselves, whereas my ability would be iffy at best. Our shining technology and brains thick with contemplation fail to realize how short the distance is between us and our pre-historic breathren. There are days when I think, wouldn't life be better in the dirt, hands calloused from use and sun, my reactions guided by my most basic needs? When the the glitter and gold of this bright world didn't distract my mind from the truth of life, that we are fragile, that we need little and that joy comes from hard work, human touch and food to eat. When did we decide that we should create so much distance?I long for a world without internet, which is ironic, given that this is my medium for storing these thoughts. In a world "connected", I have encountered more lonely souls than I ever did when socializing meant sharing a space with someone. Sometimes I wonder what a person traveling from the past would think of our "progress". In my heart, I believe they would be amazed and saddened, hypnotized and repulsed. Our round bodies, our glazed eyes, our SUV's carrying one passenger, our waste, our decadence, our sleeplessness, the relentless noise. Run far, time traveler, and good luck sleeping knowing the fate of your race. I am a product of my generation, banging my head into the wall I put up. Sleep is stolen from us, and yet, our life lengthens. We have lost our balance. Green spaces are healing. Plant something and watch it grow and know that your hand grew something free. No uploading necessary. No firewall protection needed. Hold someone's hand. Don't like their photos or email them. Connecting existed long before electricity did. Think about whether you are spending more time with your computer than the people you love. That box full of wires isn't going to give a damn if you never turn it on again, but the people in your life are dying a little everyday. Do you want your life flashing before your eyes to be filled with Google searches and Facebook? Improve your quality of life by living it! It's okay to take trips into the cyber world, but build your life with things you can touch, taste and smell as well as see. You have so much potential. You are a living thing, move, breathe deep and rejoice! Surround yourself with life and not static. Treat yourself like a growing thing, nurture your heart and mind. You will be surprised with the peace you will find in letting go of what it is you think you need.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
"It is singular how soon we lose the impression of what ceases to be constantly before us. A year impairs, a luster obliterates. There is little distinct left without an effort of memory, then indeed the lights are rekindled for a moment - but who can be sure that the Imagination is not the torch-bearer?" ~Lord ByronIn the midst of all of the BBQ's, intoxicated buffonery and road trips, Memorial Day is time set aside in a world that often moves too fast, for those of us fortunate enough to still be among the living to remember those who has ceased to exist as we do. For my family, Memorial Day is a time to remember how the dead lived. We share stories and rejoice in lives that made ours richer. We exchange our sweetest memories like children sharing a melon in the middle of summer, happy for the company.
Personally speaking, it was restorative to share stories about my father with my family this weekend. His loss is easily one of the greatest in my life, but when I talk about him with others that knew him, I feel his presence. I can hear his laugh when my Mom shares a story about early in their marriage when she was coaxed by him to assist on the farm by guarding an impossibly high gate used to keep hogs in a particular pen while he and his brothers tagged their ears (so if they were to get loose, they could be returned.) Somehow, the hogs became startled and made a beeline for her, causing her to abandon her post and somehow jump a fence that was double her height. When she smiles in the telling of this account of her younger years with my father, I can feel the warmth of a love that lasted a lifetime. When I close my eyes I can see him taking her hand and saying he owed his life to her, that she had been his entire world. My Pop's was always the storyteller in the family until his passing. My mother has now taken up the tradition and tells them in such an animated and passionate way, that I just know my Pop's would be proud. It was a small gathering that we had at my mothers house this weekend, and I was the only one of her children that could make it, but we were a group rich in memory and love. When my mother blessed our meal, her voice cracked when she expressed her gratitude to have everyone gathered at her home and I could practically hear my Pops whisper "You did good, sis."While I didn't move terribly far away from those mountains I called home for nearly 20 years, I might as well have moved to another planet when it comes to tradition. You don't see as many people gathering to decorate cemeteries, or reaching out to one another to remember their dead. Death is clinical and formal. Death is a severing thing, cold and insurmountable. The dead are gone, unreachable, disconnected. People are always moving forward, believing that strength is forgetting. This is alien to me. The dead are guides to those of us raised a little further South (or who have been raised in homes by those who have). My Dad always paid his respect to members of our family and community that had passed on. He always sent flowers, he always shared stories, he always visited grieving family members. Always. When I was younger, I didn't understand why we always had to pack up and go to what felt like every funeral in our small town. I didn't like the heaviness and grief. Why would a person want to be spend their weekend shouldering someone else's pain? Did he like having a shirt that doubled as a handkerchief? Now that I'm older, I see that he was alleviating some of the heaviness and that his XXL heart needed to have time to grieve every life that he no longer got to share. He always brought kind words and funny stories with him to any funeral. Even in the most tragic of situations, he had a way of lightening the mood and giving the families a minute to breathe in air not entirely saturated with loss. I suppose all this rambling is my way of taking that breath. Visiting his grave with Mom this weekend was tough, in spite of the beautiful weather and the humbling beauty of his final resting place (imagine the Shire and this is pretty darn close to what the memorial garden AKA cemetery, looks like.) Spending time with Mom, my brother and his wife and my Aunt and Uncle and really reminiscing was comforting in a way that you can't describe to someone who see's death as a medical term instead of a spiritual passage. I don't want death to be a wall that locks him away from me. Talking about him doesn't hurt, it a balm that soothes. It encourages his memory to live, strong and tall in my heart and mind. When my family gathers and the stories about him begin to flow, he is there, once again providing comfort, joy and a commitment to family. Memorial Day is no longer just another paid holiday for me.