posts in category sincerity

Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Dichotomy of Personal Choice

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Recently I was super-excited to find a cheap online learning course regarding living a life with poise. I happen to like this author, most of the time, so I was excited to get a little more lifestyle reading in. But even as I signed up for the cheap course (which lets face it-nothing is new-it's always just a refresher of what's already been mind-consumed), I felt the pull against poise. The pull towards authentic honesty.
There are two different camps. The camp of elegance, poise, and a bit of polite mystery stand tall on one side. Meanwhile, the pull towards authenticity, honesty, and transparency rises on the other. True, there may be some who can straddle both camps, but I think that's rare. And I find myself being pulled back and forth. I feel as if I should be on the poise side-the senator's wife is how I would describe it. Cultivating an aura of warmth, while revealing nothing, living the beautiful life and striving towards greater beauty would be paramount in this lifestyle.
On the other hand, I have always feared I would be put in the dreaded Candor group in Divergent, with a pull towards openness and honesty. I want to drag people into my crazy, into my mess, and show them,"Hey, it's all okay."

I see people around me falling into these two camps. There are people on Facebook who only show the lovely parts, who never speak of sick relatives and rarely share photos. Everything they post appears so carefully planned to present an image which helps them climb the ladder of their ambition.
And then there are the real people, the open and honest people, who tell it like it is. And I think these are the people I like more. But of course, there has to be a balance. Feelings change on a breeze, a new thoughts changes the perspective, and creates an all-new terrain frequently. If you always tell it like it is, you'll be a in a mess. I like people who are open about peeing their pants on a date, who ask people for sympathy when loved ones are ill, and who admit when their spouse is being a butt.
But then I read the poise side, and I wonder if maybe they are right. The world certainly rewards them more.

And as someone with a growth mindset, because I too am a product of this environment, I want to be improve and become more and better. I just wonder which way more and better is. Obviously, this is a case of wanting to have my cake and eat it, too. I want to say what I think, have people care, but at the same I want people to take it with a grain of salt and not care. Impossible. Ideally, I would become one of those lucky few who straddle both camps. But who is to be my guide, when I don't know any of those people? Who is to show me where the line is, so I can push it just a little bit, without hopping off the edge?

I was talking to a relative a year or two ago, about my blog just not picking up the readers like I wanted it to. This person suggested I limit the amount of personal introspection and boil it down to a lesson to give people advice on how to better their own life. This leads to doubt and stilted writing as I feel I always have to have a point. Maybe I just need to go with my gut and write what I feel and if noone follows, noone follows. Not having followers and loyal readers though, when I have the urge to write, makes me feel as if I getting it wrong. Writing with authenticity is a matter of laying one's soul bare-or rather pieces of one's soul because if one were totally honest-well, it wouldn't be pretty-and it is raw and difficult. And to not be followed can lead to a such a flushed, hot feeling of embarrassment and shame.

And then I remind myself of all the times I was quiet, and I think a life not expressed is a life not really lived.

Friday, April 10, 2020

What a Wonderful World

Today I was pouring myself out in words, playing up the melodrama, and feeling sorry for myself. I referred to my younger self as poor. Then all of a sudden little things started to happen, and I realized once again how lucky I have been.

What I realized:

  • We didn't have a lot of money, but we had a mother who read to us which is worth its weight in gold. 
  • I remembered a time in high school when we were running errands for French (as juniors). We stopped by my townhome, because I needed something. "Wow," my classmate (with the car) said, "How much do you guys pay in rent?" I told her. "That's what we pay for our house and these are much nicer!" Just a moment before I had been embarrassed over the trials of living in a rental townhome, and she was legitimately saying it was nicer. We stopped by her house after, and I understood.
  • I remembered visiting a friend in a nearby neighborhood. My mom dropped me off with plans to pick me up later. As we walked back to her room, which was on a glassed-in porch, I noted there were no cabinets under the sink, just a cloth hanging there. Now, there is nothing wrong with that and it could be quaint, but it was my first time seeing someone in such a situation. 
  • Then I was also lamenting having to make meatless meals for days on end for my kids when I was in college. Oh the horrors! And then as the day went on I realized, "My God! I had meals for my kids! Some people eat meatless meals every single day. By choice! I was able to go to college as a single mom. Sure our house was a bit crappy in large part due to my own poor housekeeping, but to pity myself as poor? I was so lucky!
  • And finally, I was taking a long, hot bath searching through Zillow. Now typically I look at higher end houses for fun, but today, I decided to look at cheap houses just to see what was out there, and I saw some of those places and thought, my goodness-people live there. People get naked in that house and touch those floors with their bare feet, and I realized again, how darned lucky I have been.
And I had to shake my head at my own foolishness. Perspective is EVERYTHING. I know you have heard it many times before, but there are people out there who only DREAM of things you have. I have more than so many people on this earth, and if half of it went away, I would still have more. 
How is it that we get so lost in searching for what we lack or have lacked, that we fail to see all the abundance around us, over and over again? 

I need to make a sign, like Augustus Waters mom would put up, reminding me just how very lucky I have been in this world. I'll hang where I am forced to see, and I will remember what a wonderful world this is.



Sunday, April 5, 2020

8 things I Do To Make Myself Happier

Listen! We are living in some crazy times. If you are anything like me, or say, the other 7. whatever billion people on this planet, your whole life has been turned upside down in just a few weeks. Although most of us are holding on the hope that things will eventually (and hopefully soon) get back to to normal, we are still going through a huge amount of uncertainty, upheaval, and resulting stress.

To get through these times without losing my mind, I find it helpful to keep a stash of little things in my back pocket to lift my spirits, so I can continue to be the strong and mighty queen the world needs!

This post contains affiliate links.

1. Rehydrate every morning
I find it hard to drink water, especially upon waking, EVEN IF my throat is dry. One thing that helps is having a quick 8 ounces before I start my coffee brewing (seriously it almost makes me gag, I don't know where this aversion comes from),  and then sip another warm cup with fresh squeezed lemon. Somehow when I warm up the mug of water, and splash a little zesty lemon it becomes a palatable treat!

I've got to get this happy cup!



2. Caffeinate
I like my coffee. Dark, rich, and hot, just holding that steaming cup in my hands in a fantastic morning pleasure. If coffee isn't your um, cup of tea, perhaps trying a cup of tea will give you a lift. There are so many varieties of coffee and teas, both caffeinated and decaf, you can easily find the right brew to lift your morning mood. Anything that becomes part of a quiet morning ritual will enhance your day and bring a feeling of wellness. When it comes to favorite brews, I swear I love the Walmart Great Value French Roast K-cups. To increase the value of that minute or so waiting for the Keurig to heat up and brew, I do between 20-30 various squats to tone my legs.

Go crazy and consider this coffee:




3. Morning Meditation
I am not going to lie. I am not a super-meditator who can sit for 45 minutes visualizing world peace (although if you are, you go!). But I like to sit and listen to a short meditative lecture on the Simple Habit app, while doing slow stretching exercises to warm my body up and loosen for the day. After that, I will listen to some white noise or meditative music and practice true meditation and visualization for oh, an average of around 6 minutes.
If the Simple Habit app isn't for you, here are links to several other similar sites you can try

4. Hiking

Photo by Toomas Tartes on Unsplash

While not my picture, and apparently that photo was taken in Chile, I love hiking. I don't do it nearly as often as I should, because the hump I have to get over to pack enough for the kids and get all the stuff ready seems to outweigh my perceived benefit of pushing through, but when I do push through I always am delighted I did. I love the outdoors, the scenery, the exercise, and even the confidence I feel when I manage rocky terrain surefootedly. Nothing as of yet has compared with our short family hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, however, I have explored Ozark hills, quiet wooded paths,  emerald green paths atop the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, and I plan to see how the Alps compare to the Rockies as soon as fate allows!

While not technically hiking boots, these were my go-to boots on rainy walks in Ireland:




I swear I love these things. I get so excited on work days when it is wet and rainy. A perfect excuse to wear my two-year-old boots!


5. Favorite Movies
A little media can be good for the soul. Watching a tear-wrenching film is often the carthartic release I need to look at the world through new eyes. Most of us are getting more than enough screen time. Let's just make sure it is something worth our time which enriches our lives. For you it might be a silly comedy, an action film, or a light-bright rom-com. You do you. You deserve it.

Or watch something fun, like the movie we got my youngest child, Alec's name from (I am totally the dorky blonde girl)





6. Reading
I will never have enough time to read. From fabulous fiction which takes me away to a better place, to informative and inspiring nonfiction which helps me discover who I was meant to be and encourages me to become that person, there are so many amazing books out there! Now that my life is so busy I read a lot more nonfiction than fiction. It is just so much easier to skim and drop off and pick up a nonfiction book. But every now and then a fiction book will grab ahold of me and won't let me go until we come to that shaky, sleep-deprived ending. Heaven!
I'll be posting on my current reading soon.

7. Brainstorm Fun Ideas
From bucket lists, to do now dream lists, to planning imaginary virtual vacations, I love to think about the all the options in the world, and think about what it would be like to make it happen.
I have recently been inspired by my reading of How to do Everything and Be Happy, by Peter Jones. It's a simple book to help you feel brave enough to take back some time and has practical hints on how to organize the things you want to do and get them done.

This is one of the books that is cheaper in paperback than kindle...




8. Practice Letting Go
Letting go of past hurts and disappointments is never easy. But it is the KEY to a happy outlook. Give yourself the time to really dig in and feel the feels and then when you are ready, look for the lesson, and move on. Learning not to hold grudges and not to drown in self-pity has given me the power to control my own happiness, and I recommend giving it a try. This is a lesson which requires practice, because once forgiven, doesn't mean always forgiven. The stubborn heart when challenged will bring back those unpleasant memories, so it helps to think of forgiveness as an ongoing process you can practice again and again and again.

I am sorry. My good-girl-ness doesn't usually like bad words, but is just so right on. A good short affirmation for yourself!



As you can see, these are simple ideas. Not a one of them is too crazy-hard to implement to increase your daily happiness. While you would obviously want to switch out the ones which don't work for you and put in things that make you, personally, happy, the key is to add a little joy to your life Every. Single. Day.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Embarrassing First Date Confession

First I want to say, being a female is fantastic. Now I am not saying misogyny and sexism don't affect my world and aren't a real thing, but overall I like being me in this time and place.

Basic arm strength aside, I don't really think women are the weaker sex at all. We are amazing in the sheer amount of work we can get done(although my husband's ability to clean a refrigerator or room quickly without tiring is really impressive, and I envy that), the number of things we can keep on our mind (and this is not my strong area), and our ability to reason well and feel deeply(not saying you men can't do this either).  Women Rock! Go Rosie!

But there is an area where I feel some of us are lacking. Maybe not every female, maybe not you. But for me and some women I know, this is a problem.

But I am jumping ahead of myself. Let's get to the date.

My  mom had introduced me to Karl. He lived in the same apartment complex and my mom was always out socializing and meeting people. He had come to a group movie (I started to suspect he liked me since it was my mom, an elderly neighbor, and me only), and my mom's Halloween party. Finally he worked up the nerve...to ask me out as friends. We had a few "friend dates" where we met at a local bar complete with some heavy kissing afterward, but more than anything I was just confused. Finally after a break, he asked me out on a "REAL" date. 

I was excited, but also wary. The three week break we had just come off of had hurt me, and I wasn't quite sure of his intentions, and I have a tender heart hidden behind a layer of false bravado, keep 'em guessing BS (which probably fools noone-but helps me feel safe). We went out for Mexican food, and then back to his bar again. I am not a bar person, and definitely wasn't then, but it was a small supposed-to-be lesbian bar, which seemed to attract its share of single men, hiding out from life I guess. Anyway, I got this amazing, big tropical drink. It had five shots, but I usually stuck with wine or champagne when I had alcohol, so it didn't really register with me that that might be more than enough. I think I even ordered a second. Everything was fine. I was relaxed and having fun, and then we got up to leave. 

And suddenly, the world swayed around me.  Sounds seem to blur as wave of nausea came over me and I clung to Karl for support. We went outside and decided to walk back to Karl's place. Both his apartment and my home were within walking distance, and taking the car didn't seem like a good idea since we were drinking. Outside the winter air seemed like it might clear my head and then...

I threw up. Right in the parking lot by the back door of the bar. That in itself is embarrassing, am I right? But you see, I was a female who had three children. Three beautiful children who barged through the door to my uterus weighing a range of 8 and a half pounds to a chubby 9 pounds 14 ounces. My pelvic wall had seen better days. So when I threw up, I also (you ladies guessed it, right) peed my pants. Right there by the bar, in winter, when we were too drunk to get in a car to get anywhere. 

I was partially mortified and partially 34 and developing wisdom (hey, men will go through a lot to get a little, ahem). I may or may not have squeezed out a tear. There was nothing left to do, but walk the 1/2 to 3/4 miles to his apartment. We got there, I showered, and then embarrassingly, fit into a pair of his jeans, and we hung out for several more hours, watching movies, kissing and eating lots of candy. 

On good days, I think it is a sign of our comfort with each other, that we could move on and finish the date. 

On bad days, I think it is an omen and I should have known better.

:)

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