All Of the Things I Am Not – Leading With the Negative

There are countless things that I am not:

  • A good cook
  • Patient
  • Nurturing
  • Good with directions
  • Wealthy
  • Able to hide my emotions
  • A good housekeeper
  • Responsible with money

…the list goes on.  I recently found myself not only recounting all of the things I’m not to someone, but also focusing on them, in a negative way, in my own time.  What’s that about!?  That is not productive behavior and it is certainly not Owning It!

Yes, there are many things that I am not, and there are many things that I can’t do (I can’t slam dunk a basketball, I can’t bake a Martha Stewart worthy wedding cake, I can’t sculpt a masterpiece out of clay…) but who cares about that stuff?  Why am I not thinking about, and focusing on, all of the things that I AM?  I am a good friend, a caring person, a hard worker, strong, determined, successful, funny, honest, trustworthy…those are great qualities!  Why am I focusing on things like the fact that I can’t cook?  Why is that what I tell people?  Why do we so often lead with the negatives?

Let me ask you a question.  When someone pays you a compliment, what do you do? What is your first reaction?  Is it to shrug it off, downplay it, or deny it?  Be honest.  I know those are my first reactions.  “You look really nice in that dress, Annie.”  My response should be “Thank you!” but instead it’s an insecure look down, or in a mirror, and a shrug, an eye roll, and a comment about some insecurity, “Oh, it makes my hips look wide.”  Good god, why do so many of us do this?  Does this go back to the crazy beauty standards we see thrown at us every day?  Or is it that we don’t want to appear arrogant or conceited?  Either way, it’s messed up!  “You look really nice in that dress,” does NOT mean I should immediately compare myself to the model I saw wearing the dress in an ad.  Do I look like the model?  No.  Does that mean the dress doesn’t look nice on me?  NO.  Saying “Thank you,” to that compliment does not mean I’m conceited and think that I look better than anyone else.  It means that I took the time to choose this dress and put it on because at some point, I liked the way it felt and looked, and the fact that someone is acknowledging what I kind of already hoped to be true anyway should be met with gratitude, not self-deprecation.

Do you notice it when you talk to your friends?  Do you notice yourself dong it?  Do you notice your friends doing it?  How do you feel when you tell your friend she looks great and she rolls her eyes and says something negative?

Why do we lead with the negatives?  Why do we think that we should hide our confidence?  These are terrible habits that get in the way of each one of you being able to Own Your You.  Owning who you are and embracing who you are does not take away from anyone else.  So often we shortchange ourselves in order to make sure others have enough (any moms out there – you KNOW I’m talking to you!) but the rest of us often do it too.  It’s important to us that our friends and family have enough – enough whatever it is at that point in time – and so we sometimes hold back, take less, give more, etc. to ensure others are not wanting.  That’s ok, in moderation, but I believe that it flows over into things like this and starts affecting our confidence.

Have you ever heard, or said, something like “Yeah, I can do that, but Jess does it better,” or “Thanks, I do like this dress, but Sara’s really got the legs for it, not me.”  These are both examples of us trying to still give more to our friends and family.  Give more praise, give more credit…more something.  Maybe Sara does have legs that would look great in that dress, and maybe Jess does have skill at something that you also do, but does accepting compliments on YOUR stuff diminish them in any way?  No.  Does Jess do X any less well because you acknowledged that you did a good job at it?  No.  Do Sara’s legs look any less fantastic because you accepted a compliment on a dress that she isn’t even wearing?  NO!  Let’s stop this madness, friends.  We are all allowed to do well, be good at something, feel good about ourselves…this does not diminish or take away from anyone else around us.

Let’s break these habits.  Let’s tell the world about all of the things we ARE and all of the things we CAN do.  Let’s put on our favorite outfit and Own It!

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Settling. Stop doing it!  Find the love you deserve!

I’d like to address an epidemic in our society.  An epidemic of settling.  People seem to settle for everything.  It starts off with something small, but that sets the stage for more settling.

Have you ever been to a restaurant and ordered your meal and gotten something not exactly what you ordered?  Have you ever just accepted it – settled for it – and eaten it because it was easier and less disruptive than sending it back?  Probably.  I mean, if you are a vegetarian and they brought you a steak, I would assume that you’d send that piece of flesh back to the kitchen, or if you are allergic to dairy and they bring you big plate of cheese fries, I assume that heaping plate of gooey goodness went straight back.  But if it’s just a little off – like you didn’t want artichoke hearts in your salad but it came with artichoke hearts anyway – are you just going to pick them out (or even just eat them) because it’s less hassle than sending it back?  I think chances are good that many of you – me included! – will just eat, or pick out, the artichoke hearts and move on with our meal.

Guess what just happened?  We just settled for something that we didn’t really want – it was close to what we wanted, what we deserved (since we’re paying for it!), but not quite there.

Big deal, you may be saying to yourself.  Pick out the damn artichoke hearts and let it go!  Yes, I see your point, it’s just one salad, it’s just a few artichoke hearts.  But artichoke hearts may be the gateway drug to settling for bigger things.  Think about it: what else have you settled for?  Have you ever REALLY wanted to do something, say, go on a scuba diving vacation to the Florida Keys?  And you suggest the idea to someone (best friend, significant other, whoever your go-to travel partner is) and they’re on board and they’re excited and you start planning this fantastic scuba diving vacation.  And then, somewhere during the planning, they discover that scuba diving is a little more expensive than they had expected and they actually can’t afford that, but how about you guys just go parasailing one day and chill out on the beach the other days?  What do you do now?  You’re already in the middle of planning this trip, you’ve picked dates, you’ve booked flights, your travel partner is excited…and, I mean, you still get to take a vacation and go to the Keys and sitting on the beach sounds really good, and parasailing looks like a lot of fun…so do you settle for this vacation?  It’s a great vacation but it’s not what you wanted, what you planned on.  But, settling for this vacation will make your travel partner happy and, sure, you could go scuba diving by yourself, but you wanted to share it with someone and you don’t really want to just leave your friend alone while you go do that…so, you convince yourself that this vacation is good enough and you go.  And you have a good time.  But you don’t go scuba diving.  You don’t get out of it what you wanted to get out of it.  You settled.

Over time, we’ve learned that settling is just part of life.  You compromise, you make trade-offs.  You sometimes settle for things that aren’t exactly what you want because, hey, life isn’t perfect!  And eventually that translates into settling in your relationships.  And eventually you wake up 5 or 10 years into a relationship wondering how you got there and how you ended up with this person who doesn’t actually make your heart skip a beat, who doesn’t actually meet your needs, who you aren’t actually happy with.  You ended up there because you slowly started settling.

Here’s the one line bullet-point summary of this entire (extremely long) post:

  • Stop Settling!

You have a checklist.  It’s ok to admit that, everyone has one.  It doesn’t have to be a long, specific, overly-detailed thing, but there are things, qualities, characteristics that you look for, that are important to you.  Your list may include things like: must be kind, compassionate, love kids, be loyal, have a sense of humor, love to cook, want to see the world, love to read, be from a big family…whatever is important to you.

Then you meet someone.  There’s a spark.  You seem to hit it off.  You find out that Honey is an only child.  Ok, so what?  That’s not a big deal.  You cross “be from a big family” off your list, I mean, after all, it’s not like Honey has any control over that!  Things go along and you get involved and start leaving toothbrushes and pajamas at each other’s place.  You find out that Honey hates to read and never read anything except for work emails.  Huh.  Ok, I mean, that’s not a big deal, really.  So you’ll talk to your friends about the books and articles you’ve been reading and find interesting.  It’s not like you guys have to like ALL of the same things.  Now you’re really involved, you’re practically living together.  Things are great.  You don’t go to all of your family’s gatherings because Honey gets overwhelmed by all of the siblings and cousins and general familial chaos.  But that’s fine, I mean, you can see your family whenever and they do hold a lot of get-togethers, what’s the big deal if you don’t go to ALL of them for the whole day?  Eventually you and Honey tie the knot.  This is great!  This is everything you wanted!  Well, except for the things you don’t really share with Honey because Honey doesn’t really like those things…but everything ELSE is great!  For your honeymoon you go…nowhere, because Honey doesn’t actually like to travel and has no interest in seeing the world.

Do you see where I’m going?  I’m guessing one day you wake up and realize that Honey isn’t actually the one for you.  You settled without even realizing it.  I’m guessing Honey stopped giving you butterflies somewhere around the time you first took them to a family event and they didn’t like it.  And you justified that because who really gets the butterfly thing after the first few dates, anyway? Right?

Does any of this sound familiar?

Guess what?  You deserve better!  You deserve someone who meets your needs, who gives you butterflies, who has the traits and characteristics that are important to you.

In order to find this person you have to do ONE thing:  Love yourself first.  When you love yourself, you know your worth and you know that you deserve all of the things you want.  You love yourself enough to NOT settle for less.

Love yourself, fill your life with what you love, make the plans you want, live the life YOU want.

Your true love is out there.  Your true love isn’t someone who will complete you.  Your true love isn’t someone who will fill in the emptiness in your life.  Your true love isn’t someone who will save you from anything.  Your true love is someone who will complement you and will fit into the full life you’ve already built for yourself.

I know this is a lot of words, and a lot to take in, so I’ll wrap it up with this, your challenge:  think about what you want, what you love, what you need.  Start building THAT life.  Start thinking about how to build YOUR life.

It might be scary, it might be overwhelming.  Start with something small.  Do you always go to a certain restaurant even though you don’t really like it just because it’s familiar or your friends or partner love it?  Find a restaurant YOU love and go there.  That’s simple.  You can do that.  Build on that.  Find the things that you love, that bring you joy, and do them!

It may be a slow process, but it will be worth it.  You deserve to love your life.  When you have built the life you want, your true love, the person who will complement you and fit into your already-full life will turn up.  You won’t even have to look for them.  They’ll just be there.

True love.  It’s out there and you deserve it.  In order to find it, you have to Own Your You, love yourself, and live YOUR life.

I Believe in Love…But is it Really Attainable?

I’ve been thinking a lot about love recently.  It turns out I have a lot of ideas about it and I’ve been preventing myself from truly experiencing it, too.  Who knew!?

Love.  Is there anything more powerful in the world?  I really don’t think there is.  We all know that countless songs, books, movies, and plays have been written about love.  Without love, what would people write about?  What would teenage girls gossip and dream about?  Love has brought people together and driven people apart.  Love has created alliances and started wars.  Love continues to be what millions of people spend a lot of time and energy seeking.  Love is a multi-billion dollar industry – think about the cards Hallmark wants you to send, the online dating sites that want to help you find love…the entire wedding industry.  Billions and billions of dollars are spent by people seeking or celebrating love.

It’s true, millions of people spend a lot of energy seeking love.  Either because they truly believe in the magic of it, or because they feel that finding love will complete them and fill their voids (obviously, this is NOT the reason to look for love, and in fact, you can’t actually find love if these are your reasons – but that’s another topic for another rant post.)

It’s also true that millions of people take love for granted, or (claim that they) generally don’t believe in love.  For some it may just be the image they want to project, for others it is likely a defense mechanism because for some reason they don’t feel worthy of love.  They may tell you that this is complete bull, but I’d be willing to bet that in the vast majority of people who claim that they don’t believe in love are really just wounded souls trying to protect themselves.

Just as we are surrounded with society’s version of beauty (you can read my thoughts on that insanity here) we are also surrounded with society’s version of love.  And, as it is with beauty, society’s version of love is IMPOSSIBLE!  We are fed all of these stories of happily ever after loves.  I’m not even talking about the Disney Princess happily ever afters that get people all fired up.  I’m talking about all of the other happily ever afters we are supposed to believe in.  There are some pretty high standards being set by Hollywood and the like.  Has your Significant Other ever run through an airport to declare their undying love for you?  Probably not (maybe only because of all of the security measures that exist these days).  Has your SO ever broken out in song in a very public manner to express his/her feelings towards you?  Probably not.  Has your SO ever fought off R.O.U.S.’s for you? Probably not.  (Any Princess Bride fans out there?)  Does that mean they don’t truly love you, like the kind of love you see in the movies?  Probably not.  But is it easy to start to believe that these big gestures are what set the foundation for true love?  Probably.

Given that this is how we see “true love” shown to us on a daily basis, it can be very easy to become cynical about it and believe it will never happen for you.  Or, you’ve been hurt before and your way of protecting yourself from getting hurt again is to denounce love.

I get it.  I understand that it’s easier to mock something than to accept that it won’t happen for you.  I understand that it’s easier to tell yourself that you don’t believe in something than it is to open yourself up to being hurt.

I’ve been down all of those roads.  I’ve been down the weird path of holding the guys in my life to the standards set by the (ahem, fictional!) guys in the love songs and love stories.  I’ve been down the unhealthy path of thinking that it’s better to put up walls and not let anyone too close because it was safer to protect myself from being hurt.

Despite my rocky relationships of the past, and my current divorce situation, I’m realizing that neither of these paths are right for me, neither of these paths are healthy.   I want you to know that, while these paths are normal, they are not your rightest path.  Whatever other anti-love path you might be on, that’s not your rightest path, either.  True love does exist.  You deserve to find it.  It won’t be like it is in the movies, but it will be real.  It will be yours.  It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.

I’m not cynical about love.  I believe that love is the most powerful force out there.  I love love.  I just didn’t know that I was blocking myself from truly letting it in.  I’m working on removing those blocks.  I believe in love.  And it is attainable for all of us.

There are a lot of things that have to happen with YOU before you are truly open to love.  One of the first is that you have to work on admitting that you believe it exists, and another is that you have to believe that finding it is worth the risk of getting hurt.

Let’s start by identifying some of your love blocks.  Which anti-love path (or paths) are you on right now?  When I say “true love” what do you think?  Do you roll your eyes and snort with derision?  Do you smile wistfully and think that it’s a nice idea but it won’t happen for you?  Think about it.  Think about what you believe to be true about true love in your life.  Once you can be honest with yourself about that, you can start to get off of the anti-love path, once you can be honest with yourself about how you feel about love, you can start to open yourself up to love.

Wherever you are today: Own it.  Embrace it.  And then think about how to improve it.  Let’s work on letting love in.

The Sun Still Rises

Life just threw me a pretty major curve ball.  One I hadn’t really accounted for.  My husband decided he can’t do this anymore, and ended our marriage.  Just like that.  He decided this is what he wanted, there was no discussion.  Talk about a twist in my path!  I’m still struggling with all of the emotions that come with this…sadness, confusion, anger…and it’s tough.  I’m not going to pretend, either for my sake or for yours, that it’s not.  I didn’t get married, just two years ago, thinking that we would come to an end.  Certainly not like this, and certainly not after only two years.  But here we are.

It happened on a Saturday earlier this month.  I felt confused and lost and sad on Saturday night.  Sunday was a bit of a blur, but I had a lot of work to do, so I focused on that.

But as it always does, Monday morning came, and the real world was staring me in the face.  As I was driving to my morning yoga class, I looked to my left, as I always do at this time of year, to marvel at the colors of the sky as the sun makes its way over the horizon.  And suddenly, this surreal Monday, I had this thought: the sun still rises.

Yes, I’m going through some stuff, and it’s hard.  And yes, my personal world has been tipped on its end.  And whatever plan I thought I had has changed.  But the sun still rises.  Things will always get better.

I have no doubt that I will be just fine…more than fine, actually!  I will get through this and continue my journey.  I have no doubt that there will be times during this period where I will wonder how to do that, how to keep going on my journey, how to be confident that I’m on my rightest path.  But, I also know that every single morning, I can look out and see the sun.  The world keeps turning, life keeps moving, and I keep working on me.

This is part of my journey now, it’s becoming part of who I am (a divorcee…seriously?), and I am going to have to learn to own it, to own me.  This is the next chapter in my life.  I think I’ll title it The Sun Still Rises.  And I’m going to own it!  I’ve got a whole new journey ahead of me, one I had never considered, and one I can turn into anything I want.  I’m going to embrace it!

My message to anyone who is struggling, who is going through some tough times, who feels a little overwhelmed or lost is simple:  Please know that whatever life hands you, you CAN handle it.  You are strong enough, you are smart enough, you are capable enough.  You can take any punches that life throws at you and you can keep on moving forward.  You are allowed to have sad days, you are allowed to have angry days, you are allowed to have whatever it is that you need, just know that you will come out of whatever your situation is as a stronger person who has amazing things to experience.

Your path won’t always be what you expect, your journey won’t always take you where you thought you wanted to go.  That’s ok.  Embrace the change.  Love the journey.  Live your life.  Own Your You.

Perfectly Imperfect – My Musings on Body Image and Beauty

Body image.  Ugh.  What a horrible topic.  But let’s just dive right in.  (oh, also, I’m back! Thanks to those of you who stuck around even though I haven’t posted in an embarrassingly long time!)

Body image has always been something I’ve struggled with.  It’s something that most women, (and men, too) I believe, struggle with.  It seems impossible NOT to struggle with this.  We’re bombarded each and every day with thousands of images of beauty and perfect and what we should aspire to.  (I know I’m only about the 4,103,381,193rd person to write about this topic, so I may not be saying anything new or earth-shattering – BUT I might say something that actually hits home with someone, and that’s why I’m going to continue with this topic.)

So, let’s just take a minute and look at the standards of beauty that we are supposed to a) believe are real and attainable and b) aspire to.  Perfectly toned EVERYthing; perfectly proportioned hips, waist, bust, neck, thighs, arms…; perfectly straight and gleaming white teeth; perfectly coiffed hair (sleek, curly, tousled…whatever the style, it’s got to be perfectly pulled off); perfectly sculpted chin, cheekbones, collar bones…; perfect, blemish-free skin.  And that’s just the start.

Now let’s take a look at who our role models for this level of attainable perfection are, who we can look to for guidance, support, advice on how to reach this perfect beauty.  Oh, wait…there is no one because that level of perfection is only attainable though artificial means.  Thank you, PhotoShop.

By now we’ve all seen multiple articles, memes, and videos of the lengths that people go to in order to project this image of perfection.  We all know that what we’re seeing isn’t real…but it LOOKS so real!  It’s insanely difficult to look at photos in magazines and NOT compare yourself to them.  I get it.  I do it!  I get frustrated with myself because I’m doing it…and I get frustrated with myself because I’m not attaining it!  How messed up is that?

Here’s what I’m doing to counter this epidemic of false beauty and poor body image for us “regular” women.  I’m no longer commenting on how pretty, skinny, etc. Celebrity X is.  I’m no longer looking at magazine photos as anything more than an advertisement for a product or a celebrity personality.  I am looking around me, and the real women I see in my daily life, and focusing on their beauty.  Their real-life, day-to-day imperfect perfection.  I’m talking about the women who live each day to the fullest: they get up each day and say, “I’ve got this.  Today is going to be.  And I’m going to live it.”

It doesn’t matter what today is going to be.  Not every day is perfect, not every day is a party…but every day IS.  And you don’t have to love everything about every day, but you do have to live it.

I’m talking about the women who MAKE each day one they want to live.  They have a love, a passion, a goal.  They have hobbies and friends and family who bring them joy.  I’m talking about the women who may not get to the gym as often as they’d like, they may have baby food in their hair at noon, or they may be in a stressful board meeting at dinner time, but when girls’ night comes, they throw on their Spanx and their LBD and they OWN IT.  They MAKE their lives what they want them to be, and they are happy.   And that’s where their beauty comes from.

Beauty comes from living a life you love, surrounding yourself with love and positive energy, and exuding joy.  Those are the women I look up to.  Those are my role models for beauty.

Those are the women who should inspire us, those are the women we should look to as role models.  I’d like this to be the beauty we all strive for.  We are all beautiful.  YOU. ARE. BEAUTIFUL.  I’d like to challenge each of you to find at least one real person each day who you find beautiful…whatever defines beauty for you – courage, kindness, generosity, etc. and focus on that for a few minutes.  You can tell the woman you think she’s beautiful if you want, but you don’t have to.  This isn’t a challenge to put anyone in an awkward social situation or to be creepy, but it’s a challenge to redirect your ideas of beauty and perfection.

Imperfectly perfect.  That’s what we all are.  Part of my journey has been to accept that.  It’s time to own it.  It’s time to Own Your You.

I’m a Hypocrite!

Part of Owning Your You is that you accept your body – your physical YOU – for what it is, and you love it and respect it. I don’t think I’ve talked much about body image yet but it hit me in a BIG way this morning…

Some of you may know that I am an avid yogi.  I practice Bikram Yoga 4-5 times per week.    I love it.  I crave it.  It’s become part of who I am.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bikram Yoga – it is practiced in a room that is heated to 105 degrees with at least 20% humidity.  In warmer climates and warmer weather, the temperature and/or humidity can rise significantly.  The point I’m making here is that it’s hot.  It’s a hot, sweaty, 90 minute class that forces you to focus on yourself, your body, in the moment.  It’s amazing.  But, needless to say, you don’t want a lot of clothes weighing you down, bunching up, etc. so people in Bikram Yoga classes wear very little.  There are women, like me, who will wear fitted shorts and a gym-type top, or fitted capri yoga pants and a sports bra type top or gym-type top.  There are other women who have said “Screw this, that’s too many clothes!” and they wear these adorable little “bum-bum” shorts with their sports bra-esque tops.  The shorts are ADORABLE!  The cutest, funnest prints ever!  But they’re tiny.  I mean, they cover everything, and they don’t move around during any of the postures – they aren’t indecent by any means, but they are tiny.

The Bikram Yoga culture, in my experience, is one of acceptance and love.  There is no judgment in class.  Everyone is there focusing on their practice, their postures, their bodies.  When you are 30 minutes in to class, sweating like a beast, and just trying to convince yourself that you CAN lock your knee and you CAN make it through the next 60 minutes, believe me, you are NOT focusing on what the person in front of you is wearing – or not wearing, or whether he or she has flabby thighs or a spare tire…you are truly just focused on yourself.

So this morning I show up at the studio at about 6:10 (for the 6:30 class) and can’t help but notice some totally adorable new bum-bum shorts!  I look longingly at them because, as I’ve stated – ADORABLE! and this morning, feeling bold, I even go over to look at them.  A fellow yogi who does own one pair of these teeny tiny shorts also came over to look and ogle the adorableness.  I tell her, “I cannot wear these! But they’re so adorable!” and she counters with her own story about how she didn’t think she could ever wear them until the day she got to class and had forgotten her own (longer) shorts.  She was forced to either skip class (um, NO) or buy a pair of shorts…she bought a pair (obviously).  She goes on to rave about the material and how they don’t move and ride up and end up all up in your butt or anything.  I am still skeptical.  I’ve never even tried these tiny little wonders on…I’ve only looked on from afar.  Finally I give in to my own curiosity and try a pair on.

Now let me digress for a minute and tell you that while there are, of course, teeny tiny yoginis who wear these teeny tiny shorts, there are also normal sized women, women with cellulite, women with big thighs, women with belly fat, etc. who wear these shorts.  And no one in class is passing judgment on anyone else for what they are wearing.  No one ever thinks, “Wow, that woman should put on some longer shorts/tank top/etc.”  If anyone gives anyone else’s clothes any thought at all it’s to say, “OMG LOVE your top/shorts!”  It is truly judgment-free – and those who do come in and judge the rest of the class aren’t really cut out for Bikram Yoga (or any yoga, really) and don’t end up coming back.

Ok, back to my monumental bum-bum shorts try-on…also, I should clarify that I am NOT one of the teeny tiny yoginis.  I have big thighs – they touch (gasp! I know.  Scandalous.  I do not have the enviable “thigh gap”).  My stomach jiggles…I could go on, but let’s just leave it at this: I am not a Victoria’s Secret model.  So I put the shorts on and step in front of the mirror.

And I scream.  And then I laugh.  And then my fellow yoginis who were in the locker room at the time laugh – not at me, but at my reaction.  And they proceed to tell me how good they look, how I should definitely get them, how I’ll love them, and they say things like, “So what? My thighs touch, too!” “We all have that!” and other appropriate and supportive responses to all of my personal critiques.

In this middle of this circus – for it really was a circus, the locker room was now full of yoginis sharing their teeny tiny short dramas and questions and insecurities.

I eventually stop freaking out and say, “You know, if any of you were in my position, I would be the first one to tell you how great you looked and how you should just rock the shorts if you like them, and be proud of your body…but here I am unable to do the same to myself!”  At that point, I decide to do it.  I thank my yogi friends for their “Annie validation moment,” then I buy the shorts, I walk into class, and I rock those teeny-tiny shorts and have a killer class!  Not once do I feel embarrassed or wonder if anyone is judging me.  They aren’t.  I am the only one passing judgment on my thighs and critiquing myself.

After class, and after getting multiple congratulations on the shorts – yes, they congratulated me on buying and wearing bum-bum shorts (we yogis are an odd bunch, I know!) I started thinking more about my reaction to the shorts.

Own Your You.  I preach that.  I try hard to live that.  I will tell each and every one of you that not only CAN you rock the bum-bum shorts, but you SHOULD rock them!  Your body is amazing.  Your body gets you up every day and takes you where you need to go.  Your body is strong.  Your body is the only body you will ever have.  It’s yours.  It’s beautiful.  Own it.  And I would mean all of that.  Sincerely.  Yet I could not internalize that this morning.  I was overwhelmed with body image insecurities.  I could not get my “imperfections” out of my head.  I was having a hard time Owning My Me.

Why is it so hard for us to internalize what we so freely give to others – acceptance and love?  That’s a big question that I am not going to get into today.  I’m just going to leave it with this:  I took another step on my journey today by having my body-image freak out, and then acknowledging it, and now being conscious and actively aware of it.  I can’t say that I now am completely ok with my body – BUT I can say that I’ve taken a step and am looking at it differently now…and that’s progress.  That’s my journey.

It’s hard, my friends.  But it’s worth it.  Own Your You.  Love your perfectly imperfect self and your strong beautiful body.

Your Gifts: Sometimes they feel like things you have to overcome

I’ve been chatting with two of my best girls recently (you know them both – or if you don’t know them yet, you SHOULD! find them here: Victoria and EV) about some big, heavy, deep topics.  One of us is working through an existential crisis and is asking the big questions like: What am I doing with my life? and What am I meant to do with my life? and How do I find happiness and fulfillment in my professional life?

Phew.  Deep.  I’m feeling overwhelmed just writing those questions!  You see, there’s no one right answer to any of those questions, there is no one answer that works for everyone, and even if you find the right answer for you – it’s not going to be an easy fix.   The three of us have a long road ahead as we are all on our own paths, making our own way in the world, trying to believe in our journeys, and also trying to get on with the mechanics of day-to-day life (which often get in the way of finding your path, owning your you, and finding your happiness!) BUT while the three of us are on our individual journeys, we are also on this one big journey together.  We’ve discovered a lot about each other during our courtship (we’re now in full-blown long-term relationships with each other.  We don’t have to play nice or hide anything anymore…we let it all hang out) and now we are able to work with each other to aid each other’s journey.  It’s really quite amazing and powerful.  But, I’m getting sappy.  And also majorly digressing.  Ok, focus, Annie.  What I mean to say is that we are on a collective journey, and at this moment we are working on some of these big questions for the one of us who is feeling truly at a crossroads.

EV, being who she is, took some time and listed out the “gifts” she sees in both Victoria and me.  I read the gifts she sees in Victoria and I was just like, “Yes.  Spot on, EV.  Way to call it.”  Everything she said about Victoria’s gifts was true, in my mind.  And then I got to the gifts she sees in me.  And I was like, “Whoa.  Hold up a second.  THAT is a gift?  Why has it been something I’ve felt I have had to overcome my whole life?”

For example, one of the gifts EV sees in me is, in her own words: “You know what you like and you know what you don’t like and you don’t feel bad about not doing the stuff you don’t like. Umm, what?! This is like, amazing and super rare…most people are plagued with guilt about not doing stuff they don’t like…Annie is just like, nope, I know myself and I don’t like that and I’m not doing it and that is that. This is a great lesson for others.”

I read this and thought, wow, what an interesting take on what I’ve seen as simple stubbornness my entire life.  She’s correct in the way she describes it, absolutely.  But living with this “gift” my whole life has often made me feel that I’m simply stubborn or difficult (and don’t get me wrong, I CAN be both of those things sometimes!)  I’ve ended relationships because of things that would fall into this category, and that has made me think seriously that I just was not meant to have a meaningful relationship because there was something wrong with me.  (That’s a bitter pill to swallow…but another post for another day.)

For example, my last long-term relationship before I met my husband seemed to be going along well.  We lived together and got along and all of those important things.  As with many relationships, there were definitely a lot of factors that came together to equal the end of the relationship, but I remember in vivid detail being in bed with him one evening and talking about the relationship problems we were having.  (Sidenote: I don’t cook.  I loathe cooking – everything about it…planning, chopping, stirring, cleaning…EVERYthing about cooking is a huge chore to me.  Literally, there is not one thing I don’t loathe about it.  And not just, “I wish I didn’t have to cook dinner tonight,” sigh of resignation…no. This is something that I actually get angry about and will be in a horrible mood if I have to do it!)  So one of the issues that came up was that I never cooked…well, no…I RARELY cooked.  I would cook if I HAD to (meaning, if he asked me to because he’d been doing it every night for a month or if I lost a bet or something) but it was never something I offered to do, nor was it anything I did without complaining. (For the record, I’m all for sharing chores and everything, and I’ll clean the damn toilets and do the freaking laundry and all of that other crap without (much) complaining.  This is just something that I cannot make myself be ok with! I do not EXPECT anyone to do it for me, though.  I just want to make it clear that I’m not a bitchy diva who expects to be waited on or something.)

Back to the story…we’re discussing our issues and he brought up my lack of cooking.  And he said to me “I’m just saying that it would be nice to come home to someone who wanted to cook me dinner a few nights a week.”

I responded honestly, “I’m never going to want to cook you dinner.  I’m sorry.  I’m not that girl.”

The conversation went on and I don’t really remember it, nor is the rest of it relevant to this story.  When I did finally make the break, one of the things I pointed out was that he wanted someone who would want to cook him dinner, and that’s not me, which translates to ‘I’m not the one for you, and you are not the one for me.’

The breakup was hard, I suffered.  I second guessed.  I went down the path of “I’ll never find anyone, there is something wrong with me…”

I’ve since learned that hating cooking is simply part of who I am. I cannot force myself to like it.  My husband now is ok with it.  I will make dinner once in a while, I have two or three dishes that I am comfortable with and can handle.  And I don’t complain when I do it – because I don’t HAVE to do it, and he’s not EXPECTING me to do it.  I do it because he does it 98% of the time and sometimes It’s nice to give him a night off.

Finding a partner who accepts this as part of me, and part of our relationship, taught me that it is OK that I feel this way and don’t want to do this specific thing.  That there’s nothing wrong with me because of it.  This was a HUGE part of my journey towards owning my me.

But this story, among others, came to mind when I read EV’s description of that “gift” of mine.  Maybe it really is a gift…maybe it isn’t just another obstacle I have to navigate in my life.  Maybe if I embrace it and accept it, I can save myself the anxiety of trying (unsuccessfully) to make myself want to do things that I “should.”

So, I challenge you, dear readers.  I challenge you to identify characteristics in yourself that you perceive as obstacles or hindrances, and see if you can see them through a friend’s eye and describe them as gifts.  Maybe you even ask a friend to identify the gifts they see in you, then take a look at them and see what kind of response you have to their descriptions of your gifts.  Then go deeper.  Think of specific examples of when the gift/obstacle has come up and how you’ve handled it.  Were there instances where you handled it better than others?  What happened?  What have you learned about yourself because of it?  Do you always try to “overcome” it, or are you starting to accept it?

It’s hard to do this!  It’s hard to take an honest look at yourself and it’s even harder sometimes to acknowledge your gifts.  But you have many gifts.  Identify them.  Accept them.  Own them.  Love them.  And finally, Own Your You.

Never Too Old. Or: Annie has a Zero Tolerance Policy.

First of all, let me acknowledge the fact that it’s been more than a month since I posted.  What’s that about?  Well, it’s simply been about time – the lack of it.  I’ve got loads of things to say and every day I feel like I’m seeing more and more opportunities to reflect on Owning Your You – but the act of putting these things in writing has seemed impossible.  I simply haven’t had enough time to sit still and put my thoughts in order.  So, I apologize.  I’ve been thinking of you, I promise!

Now, let me get into Ellen’s story.  This one struck me as really powerful.

I met up with a group of friends and former colleagues recently.  Among that group was a close friend, Laura, who went through a painful breakup a while back, and who I have helped work through a lot of the junk that comes with a particularly painful breakup.  Also among the group was a woman, Ellen, who I only knew slightly prior to leaving my former place of employment, and who I always thought was sweet and funny, and I was happy to get to spend time with her on this particular evening.

And so it begins.  We are at dinner and Ellen’s phone happens to be on the table.  And it rings.  Immediately, there is a chorus of “Don’t answer it, Ellen!” “It’s Jimmy the Jerk. Ignore! Ignore!” and other such comments.  Clearly I was missing something.  Once the near-riot dies down, obviously I ask what the hell that was about!  To make a long story short (so that I can get to the moral of this fine story):

Ellen is seriously just sweet and generous and funny and everything that is good in the world.  And she is engaged to Jimmy the Jerk.  She had been married but ended that after 25 years, which obviously took strength and a strong sense of self.  Then she met the love of her life and had a few years with him, and then he died.  Then she met Jimmy the Jerk, who of course started out sweet and wonderful and she thought he was sent to her by god to fill in the emptiness in her life.  They got engaged.  He lives with her.  Rent free.  She bought a new car and gave him her old one for free.  And…he’s a total jackass now.  She got attacked/mugged outside of her house a few years ago and so has been very gun-shy when she is walking after dark and knows someone is behind her (um…UNDERSTANDABLY!).  One evening she was walking to her door after this had happened and she heard someone running behind her so she obviously freaked a bit and was at her door knocking and pounding (I’m guessing she was too freaked out to be fumbling with her keys or was doing the knocking while trying to work the keys, not sure which) and then Jimmy the Jerk opens the door and is like, “What’s your problem?”  She says, “There was someone behind me [turns out it was a pizza delivery guy running to deliver a pizza next door or something] and I freaked out.  I was attacked recently.  I could use a little support.”  And what does Jimmy the Jerk do??  Gives her the finger and says, “There’s your support.”

Are you KIDDING me?  And yet she’s still with him. she is afraid to “start over” again at her age (Ellen is 63.)  I do not care how old you are or how old you THINK you are (age issues – another topic for another post…this is something I continue to struggle with, no matter how hard I try to overcome!)  It does not matter how old you are or how many “chances” you think you have left.  You deserve better, Ellen!! You deserve to be with someone who values you and all of the amazing qualities that you embody.

Obviously, I started in on Ellen.  Not in a mean way, but in an “Ellen! You are amazing! You deserve better!” kind of way.  I don’t care if you’re 23, 33, 63, or 93!  None of us deserve to be with someone who flips us “the bird” and tells us that’s our support.  F* that!  This is when Laura chimes in and says to Ellen, “Annie has a zero tolerance policy…” and launches in to how I helped, guided, and supported her through her aforementioned breakup, including when she was making the initial decision to leave the guy.  I also shared some of my own story about stepping up, stepping out of my comfort zone, and making a life decision for MYSELF (another story, another post…I promise!)  I do not tolerate or condone one-sided relationships.  I cannot justify any form of abuse or neglect.  Zero tolerance.  We are amazing.  We deserve amazing partners.

I am never trying to encourage someone to do something they aren’t ready for, but I am always trying to push people just beyond their comfort zone.  Does Ellen deserve better than Jimmy the Jerk?  YES!  Without a doubt.  Would I push her to make a move she’s not ready for, or that would otherwise negatively affect her life?  No.  But the only barrier between Ellen and freedom from an abusive relationship are her own insecurities.  So, will I push her to get out of her comfort zone and see her true value?  Damn right I will!

Ellen needs to Own Her Ellen.  Who SHE is, at her core.  She is someone who gives love unconditionally and she deserves to receive the same.  We are all worthy of a partner who both respects our true selves and returns the values and kindnesses that we bestow on those we love…regardless of our age.

It’s scary.  It’s terrifying, in fact.  When you are in a relationship or situation that you are familiar with, that you are comfortable (if not happy) with, it is scary to think about leaving that relationship.  But I promise you…it is better on the other side.

Ellen is still with Jimmy the Jerk.  This story is not over.  But I have hope.  And I have faith in Ellen.  She just needs to get to the place where she can see – where she can BELIEVE – that she is worthy of more.

Ellen is working hard to Own Her Ellen.  I am working to Own My Annie.  Are you really working to Own Your You?  It’s more than just acknowledging that you should, or that you will…it’s about the steps you are taking to actually do it.

Talk to me, friends.  I want to hear the ways in which you are Owning Your You!

The Crisis of Today is the Joke of Tomorrow

 “The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.” ~ H.G. Wells

I ran across the quote while doing some reading and research for my day-job and it jumped out at me as a good platform to start a discussion relating to Own Your You.

But what the hell is it supposed to mean?  It’s a crisis! How will that EVER be funny?  Well, I guess it depends on which definition of crisis we are going to use.  The definition “a condition of instability of danger, as in social, economic, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change” may have less humor in it (although, that doesn’t mean there are not laughable pieces about it, or that it won’t be used as fodder for jokes by people…but that is a whole different story) than does a crisis that fits the definition of “a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life.”

For the sake of this blog post, when I refer to a crisis, I am not referring to the world-changing danger, I am referring to a personal crisis, because it is quite often our own personal crises that help to put us on our rightest path in our journey.

So let’s take a minute and think of the last time you had a personal crisis.  It doesn’t matter what it was, or whether anyone else would think of it as a crisis – all that matters is that YOU felt, in that particular moment, that it was a crisis.  I’m going to assume that you are remembering a crisis that is in the past, and not one that you are currently going through.  For the purposes of this exercise, you need to have already been through the crisis, not be actively going through it as you read this.

Now that you’ve identified a recent crisis – let’s break it down and look at what happened.  What you did.  What you said.  What you felt.  What was said to you…etc.

My crisis is this: I bought a new car and then promptly rear-ended someone!  Now, it was not a bad accident, no one was injured, and the car in front of me (giant metal beast with a tailgate) had absolutely zero damage.  It was minor.  However, in that moment, it was a crisis for me.  I had literally had my new car for four days at that point. FOUR! I still had temporary plates on the damn thing!

Here’s how it went down: I was leaving work and it was a late fall day, which means that, where I live, it’s pitch black by 5:00pm, and this happened at 5:23pm (yes. I remember the exact time. What of it?)  I was sitting at a stop light waiting to turn right.  I was third in line to turn behind a giant metal SUV type thing – maybe an early 90’s Bronco type thing? (Cars aren’t my specialty.  It was big.  It was metal.  It had a tailgate.  That is what I know.)

So the light turned green and we all slowly let off the brakes and the first car in line made the right turn safely and without incident.  Suddenly: WOOO-WOOOO-WOOOOO.  Sirens.  So I put my foot on the brake to stop and see where the sirens are coming from/heading to.  The giant beast in front of me did the same.  I don’t know if it was just that the beast stopped faster than I did, or if I hadn’t figured out the brakes on my new car yet (I mean, they work fundamentally the same way in all cars, but as I’m sure you all know, they do have a slightly different feel to them from one car to the next) but either way, the next thing I know, I was stopped, the beast in front of me had it’s hazard lights on, and I was VERY close to the back of that car.  Right.  Because I freaking HIT IT!

I just looked down at my lap in dismay.  Complete and utter shock.  What have I done?  My BRAND NEW CAR!?!?

I got out to survey the damage, and the beast’s driver did the same (she was actually a very nice lady, thankfully, and my reference to “the beast” is solely referring to the size of the vehicle she was driving and not inferring that she is in any way, shape, or form, the beast.)  We looked and this is when I saw a small caved in area on my (plastic) bumper where it had obviously hit her metal tailgate.  But of course, my little plastic bumper did nothing to her metal one.  So we exchanged info and were on our way.

I was shaking, but only slightly.  I safely navigated the roads, traffic, and stoplights the rest of the way to the highway.  It was then, when I was safely on the highway, that I called my husband (hands free, bluetooth.  Safety first!)  I couldn’t decide whether to tell him then or wait until I got home.  As it turns out, I didn’t actually have to make that decision.  Once he heard my voice he immediately asked if I was ok.  I could not pretend that everything was fine (I never can.  Heart on Sleeve.  Always.) and so I immediately started crying and said, “Nooooooo!”

Hubby: “What’s wrong?”

Sobbing harder: “I was in an a-acc-acccident.”

“Are you ok?”

“Yeahhhhh.” (sob hiccup)

“Is everyone else ok?”

“Yeah.” (sob)

“Is the car ok to drive?”

“Yeah.” (refer back to the tiny ding in the plastic bumper.  Yes the car is ok to drive.  I know this.  I cannot imagine what poor Hubby was imagining, hearing me sobbing like this.)

“I am going to hang up now because I need you to focus on driving and getting home safely and I don’t think you can do that while you’re crying and talking to me. Ok?”

“Ok.”

“Be safe.  I’ll see you when you get home.”

“Ok.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.” (sob sob sob)

I made it home without incident.  I cried a lot of the way.  My husband met me in the garage when I pulled in.

I got out of the car, can’t even imagine what I looked like when he first saw me – mascara and eyeliner running down my face, red puffy eyes, red runny nose…I’m not a delicate, pretty crier.  I go all out when I cry.  It’s a mess.  So that’s the face that greets him.  Then he looks down at my bumper – at the tiny little ding.  Then he looks back at me.  And laughs!

He laughs!  “That’s it?”

I look at it again, in the bright light of the garage, and with someone who is completely sane, logical, and objective.  And I laugh.  And then I start crying again.  And the laugh/cry thing goes on for a while.  I managed to relay the chain of events to him.  To his immense credit he did not say anything along the lines of “You need to be careful.”  Or anything equally as incendiary as that.  He simply said “Well, with all of the driving you do, this was bound to happen sooner or later.  I’m just glad this is all that it was.”  Sane.  Logical.  Practical.

I moped around all night and most of the next day feeling sorry for myself.  Feeling sorry for my car.  Feeling embarrassed.  Feeling stupid.  Feeling angry.  Feeling that if only I had stopped at the bank like I had planned before getting in my car…  Feeling all sorts of feels. Until I couldn’t just feel the feels anymore and I had to just own them.

I made a mistake.  I screwed up.  No one was hurt.  I can fix the car if I choose to.  I can handle this.

I realize that this isn’t a massive, life-changing crisis.  But when it happened it was a crisis – to me.  It forced me to really look at the big picture and just handle things.  Moping around wishing it didn’t happen, wishing I’d stopped faster, wishing I’d stopped at the bank…none of that was going to undo what happened.

I can tell the story now in a way that makes people laugh – and in a way that makes me laugh.  I am human.  I screwed up.  I’m owning it.  I’ve owned my mistake.  It’s one more piece of who I am.  It’s not a big piece, but it’s there.  Am I a good driver?  Yes.  Am I a safe drive?  Yes.  Do I always make EXTRA sure I’m stopping before the person in front of me is stopping?  YES!  Lesson learned.

So now, back to your crisis.  The one you thought about before you started reading my story.  What about it was funny?  Your reaction?  Someone else’ reaction?  The setting?  The words used to express anything?  Surely there must have been something that now, in hindsight, seems comical.  Think about it.  Laugh.  It’s ok. Laugh out loud at yourself and the situation.  It feels good.

More importantly, what did you learn?  What did you change?  Did this help you Own Your You?  Did it help your journey?  How?  Think about it.  Tell me about it!

I used this minor crisis for this post because it’s simple to relay – it’s a specific event.  I have more life-altering crises in my past, of course, and if you want to hear about any of those and how I’ve used those to find my path, to shape my journey, to Own My Me, because you think it could be helpful to you in figuring out how to Own Your You, I’m more than happy to share.

Laugh at yourself.  It’s healthy!

Own Your Fears!

So can I just tell you how I almost died the other day?
Disclaimer – this post involves the death of a spider.  I am terrified of spiders.  I know that some people love spiders, or at the very least, don’t hate them, and I know that there are people who will not kill a spider, but who might safely capture it and set it free outdoors.  I am not one of these people.  I kill spiders.  I hope that my story does not offend any spider lovers out there.

And so we begin…

A bit of background: you may or may not know that I am petrified of spiders. Absolutely terrified. Not in the way that I don’t like ants, or other bugs, but actually terrified of spiders. I have a physical reaction to them (sweating, shaking, sometimes there are tears – because when there is any spike in emotion and/or adrenaline for me tears just happen. It’s ridiculous and I’ve come to terms with it, although it can be pretty inconvenient!) and the reaction is directly related to the size of the spider (I’m pretty sure that if I came across a tarantula I’d have to be hospitalized!) I often scream. I always jump and then freeze in a complete panic with no idea what to do.

My method of killing spiders is intricate and involves chemicals and does not involve me attempting to touch or squish them by hand while they are alive. I will generally grab whatever spray bottle is closest (water, hair spray, bathroom cleaner…pure acid. whatever) and spray the hell out of the spider until it is either dead or immobilized. This method, while keeping me distanced from the monsters, has led to many discolored splotches on my walls and ceilings throughout the years. That is a small price to pay for my safety, I say. My husband, however, has (repeatedly) asked (told) me NOT to spray random chemicals on the walls. Clearly, though, I cannot promise such a thing unless he can promise to ALWAYS come to my rescue when a spider is nearby no matter the time of day or night…AND not be grumpy about it. Clearly he can’t promise that (although he says he does, but I’ve seen the attitude I get when I need spider assassination assistance and it’s not convenient for him!)
And don’t even get me started on the hysterics that occur when a spider is above my head! You KNOW they are going to jump down on me and kill me. And if you try to get one while it’s up there you will fail and it will end up down your shirt or nestled in your hair. Fortunately with my spray bottle technique, you can stand at a distance far enough away that when they do fall down you are out of the landing zone. Also, attempting to squash/kill with a tissue or something like some people do is NOT an option for me because obviously what would happen is it would bust through the tissue and bite my hand or crawl up my arm. And if you try to use like a wad of tissues or something you have no way to tell if you actually got it because you can’t feel it in the bunch of tissues and so it probably got away and will come back and kill you later. So yeah. Spiders must be immobilized before I can pick them up with tissues for their watery burial flush them. Do not put them in the trash because they will obvoiusly come back to life and kill you later – I assume that goes wthout saying, but just in case any of you weren’t aware, I felt it my duty to let you know!

Ok, now to this week’s events. I’m in my office attempting to walk out my door when I’m stopped dead in my tracks by something on the light beige carpet. Is it a spider? It’s a weird one that I don’t think I’ve seen before. So, no, maybe it’s a hairball or piece of something that somehow landed in my doorway (there have been many fuzz balls that have put me into my spider panic before I got up the nerve to investigate and discover that they were not, in fact, spiders set out to kill me). So I lean in (not TOO close, mind you, but closer – still several feet away) and the freaking thing JUMPS! Just a little hop to the side. Well that does it. Now I’m in full on spider panic.

Things running through my head at this point include such logical and coherent thoughts as: “OMG. Spider. OMG. OMGOMGOMGOMG. Spider. WTF. What do I do? It’s big. It jumps. I’m not attempting to step on it. OMG. OMG. OMG. Scream for help. Seriously, should I yell for help? Would that be over the top? What if it’s poisonous? OMG OMG OMG. Help. I should yell for help. No. Spray bottle. Get the Windex. Crap. I can’t, the Windex is in the kitchen and I have to go past the spider to get to the kitchen. If I am able to get past it without it jumping on me, by the time i get back, it will have crawled into my shoes or my closet and I’ll never find it and never be able to work in this office again. Dammit. Why don’t i have a spray bottle in my office?! Water. I have water. I have a cup of water. I can probably dump the water on it and stun it enough that I can get it. Ok yes. Water.”

I grab my huge cup of water (full. with ice in it) and fling the water and ice out of the cup towards the wall/floor where the spider is hanging out. Obviously I mostly miss and now there’s just a big wet splotch on the wall and carpet and the spider scurries away. It is now mere inches from going behind my filing cabinet. Just on the other side of the filing cabinet are my Uggs (wouldn’t THAT be a cozy place for this creature of the devil to hide out and wait for me?!) so I move the Uggs (fling them across the room) but now there is no barrier from stopping the monster from scurrying behind the filing cabinet and into the closet which has roughly 10 pairs of my shoes (all of which are amazing hiding places) on the floor plus a toolkit bag thing. And my jacket is hung up in there. And a box of pens (another GREAT hiding spot!)…no this cannot happen. The spider cannot make it to sanctuary in the closet. Fortunately just then, Dave (one of our analysts) walks by.

Me: “Dave. how do you feel about spiders?”
Dave: “Well. I mean, I don’t LOVE them or anything…”
Me: “Ok great. So can you help me?”

I briefly summarize the situation for him (and pay no attention to his expression when he’s standing in a puddle and a pile of ice!) Fortunately he is a good sport and together we scootch the filing cabinet out together (those things are heavy!) and I hand him a tissue. One single tissue. This spider was easily big enough to bust through a whole pile of tissues but Dave takes it like a champ and one tissues this monster!

Dave: “That’s a weird looking spider.”
Me: “Yes. Kill it.”

He senses my unease and disposes of it (wisely, NOT in my office trash can – didn’t even have to ask him to go somewhere else. He’s a good kid. And now he’s my hero. After he disposes of the monster he comes back to help me heave the filing cabinet back in place and finally asks about the puddle.

Dave: “So you threw the water at it?”
Me: “Yes. The whole cupful”
Dave: “So was that a reaction, or was that your plan…?”
Me: “No. that was my plan. I thought that out before I did it.”
Dave: “Oh. Ok. Well I’m glad I could help you out with that.”

What a gem. Once that ordeal is over my face is beet red, I’m sweating a little bit, my heart is racing, and my hands are shaking. I went into the kitchen to fill my water (since it was now empty!) and heat up my lunch. My hands were literally shaking the whole time I was making it! They finally stopped after about 10 minutes.

Phew! That was a close call.

What does this have to do with Owning Your You? Well, quite simply, in order to Own Your You, you need to own ALL of your you: your crazies, faults, neuroses and everything else that makes you YOU! A few years ago I may not have had the confidence to ask for help and show my weakness in that manner. I don’t know exactly how I would have handled it, but it would have caused me a great deal of stress and anxiety!  This terrifying (and a bit ridiculous) scenario showed me that by being able to ask for help…even in something as silly as this (although, when I’m in the midst of a spider-panic, it does not seem to be a silly thing!) showed me that I’ve taken more steps on my path towards owning my me.  I was grateful that I could acknowledge that (after the sweating and shaking subsided).

Whatever your you is – embrace it.  Own it.  And tell me about it!