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.

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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.

Fake it!

The hardest part about Owning Your You is believing it.  Believing that you are good enough, capable enough, etc. to do what you want to do.  It’s hard to change how you view yourself, you’ve spent your whole life thinking about yourself in a certain way; for many of us, that “certain” way includes a fair amount of negativity and self doubt.  I’m not as smart as her.  I’m not as pretty as her.  I’m not as talented as her.  I can’t do what she does.  I’m not.  I can’t.  I’m not.  I can’t….

After years of the “not” and “can’t” commentary in your head, no wonder it’s so hard to break out of that and start to think “I AM” and “I CAN!”

But I have good news.  There is a way to start acting like you are and you can: Fake it! Yes.  Fake it.

You see, perception is reality.  Think about that for a second.  Perception is reality.  If other people perceive you as being confident and capable (or whatever else you want to portray) then in their eyes you ARE confident and capable.  They believe it if you act like you believe it, too.  Eventually, their perception of you is that you are confident and capable – repeat that last part: you ARE confident and capable.  It’s often true that a big part of our negative feelings about ourselves are a result of what we believe that other people think about us.  Well, then, the opposite is also true.  If we believe that people think we are confident and capable, we will begin to believe that ourselves until, eventually, you’re not faking it anymore…you’re believing it…you are Owning It!

The next time you are in a situation where you want to be successful, where you want to be capable (again, these are my examples, use whatever skill/trait that YOU struggle with and want to improve on) take a minute before you enter that situation and remind yourself to act the way you want to be perceived.  Remind yourself to fake it.

You’re on your way to Owning Your You.  Be proud of that.