Posted in Think About it Thursday

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

We all let things slide, put things off, procrastinate.  There are some things that we really need to take care of before it’s too late.  This post was inspired by the “I don’t know who this is for” memes I see in many social media posts. I thought it would be a good idea to turn this post into a friendly reminder for all of us to take care of those things that we tend to put off.

iBourgie’s List of Things That May Need Your Attention

  1. Get a new toothbrush
  2. Change your air filters
  3. How old is your makeup? (Seriously, I don’t wear makeup often and I am certain I have had the same foundation for over a year.)
  4. Dust (I can’t remember the last time I did this)
  5. Cancel that free trial!
  6. Do you have any useless subscriptions? Cancel them!
  7. That ugly sweater that Aunt So and So gave you five years ago, donate it! She’s never seen you in it anyway.
  8. Throw all the stuff your ex gave you away.
  9. If you have a hope chest, start using that stuff now.
  10. Clean your belly button.  It’s a lint trap
Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday, Think About it Thursday

Put it On to Pull it Off

I have never in my life been very traditional, but a few years ago you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at me.  I have always loved all things bold and danced to the beat of my own drum, but I was afraid to express it.  I was, for all outward appearances, average.  I believe what the popular term nowadays is basic.  I was that basic chic who kind of looked like all the other women my age, or what society said women of my age, ethnic background, stature, sexual orientation, etc. should look.  I spent countless hours and several hundred dollars a year getting my hair professionally straightened, I never wore anything overly masculine or feminine, I always chose either contacts or a light brown pair of wire-framed glasses that said “I’m near-sighted, but professional”.  I was never to bold in my speech or my demeanor.  I was not too plan, but not too flashy.   Generally, I was nothing out of the ordinary.  I hated it.

 

 

I envied the beautiful women with big voluminous curls, and huge halos of cottony hair framing there faces.  I envied these women even though I had the same voluminous, cottony hair, but mine was chemically stripped of all its glory in order to fall in line with what I thought I was supposed to represent.  I envied the women with beautiful cat-eye glasses or horned-rimmed frames in bold colors. I envied their courage to step out of the ordinary and to be bold.  I wanted to be the kind of person who could pull that off.

As the years went on and I got older, I began to want to truly live my best life to the fullest.  That meant I had to be authentic and true to myself.  It started 11 years ago with my decision to stop straightening my hair.  As my hair was chemically straightened, I decided to cut the chemically processed hair off.  It was a big step as I my hair was rather long, but I was ready.  I really did not miss my hair.  I thought I would panic because I could never remember a time in my life when my hair was ever short.  I loved it!  I kept running my hands over my half inch curls and feeling their pebbly texture.  What I loved most about my new do was the ability to walk out in any kind of weather without a worrying about my hair being wrecked.

 

I got so many comments about my lopped-off locks.  People started rumors that I has some type of psychotic breakdown.  Some asked if I had been ill.  I also got comments from people who loved it, but my biggest critic was my mom.  She had jokes every time she saw me.  She bought me large earring and told me to always wear lipstick so I wouldn’t “look like a man”.  My favorite comment was ” You are the kind of person who can pull that look off.”  What??  Me?? I was one of those women??  Mission accomplished!!!

 

I was on from that point.  I got every pair of unconventional glasses I could find.  I have round Iris Apfel ones, cat-eye Shirley Chisholm ones, and big square Victoria Beckham ones too!  I also started to dress the way I always wanted to dress with no regard to what was expected.  Only what I loved and made me happy.

 

Just last week a coworker told me that there was a certain style that she wished she could pull off.  My advise to her was to just put it on.  Once you put it on, you are pulling it off.

I would like to challenge all of us to step out of our comfort zones and put it on!

Posted in Think About it Thursday

People Pleasing

 

As a recovering people pleaser, I have done tons of self-reflection on why I do what I do.  The jury is still out on that, but I’m no longer as concerned about why.  I just want to stop.  I do okay for a while and then I relapse.  I have noticed that it is easier to stop with certain people and not so easy with others.  I am constantly saying that you teach people how to treat you.  I realized that my people pleasing tendencies have taught people how to treat me.  More importantly I have taught them that they are able to use my urge to please to their advantage.

I have made a list of the things that go through my mind in the middle of my people pleasing thoughts.  I have found that my thoughts are really based on nothing.  As mentioned previously, this people pleasing behavior only comes into play with only one or two people.  Actually most who know me would be shocked that I struggle with this.  I generally give little thought about what others think, but my desire to please or not make a certain few uncomfortable has honestly stunted my personal growth.

I think all people pleasers need to examine their reasons.  Here the list of questions I asked myself:

 

Question:  What is my true motivation?

Answer:  Duh, to please another person.  This led me to ask myself another question.  Why?  I realized that I didn’t want any conflict with that person.  The person I didn’t want any conflict with is a huge part of my life.  I interact with this person on an almost daily basis and I love this person.  There is a certain degree of “I want to please this person because I fear not doing so would cause that person to think less of me.”  After thinking about this for a while I realized that although I may disappoint that person, that person will not stop loving me.  That person has been disappointed or upset with me before.  So what if it happens again.  Is it really as big of a deal as I have worked it up to be in my head?  I began to realize the root of my people pleasing is fear.  That fear is often based on what I think may happen.  I need to learn to deal with others disappointment rather than avoiding it.  So my motivation to please is based on what I fear may happen.

 

Question:  Why am I worried about what they are going to say?

Answer:  First of all, who is “they” (also known as “people)?  “People” and “they” are our own reservations and insecurities.  We are just putting a name of group of nameless people to an issue we are not willing to address ourselves. Are they even important enough to really be concerned about?  So what if they do talk.  They will talk anyway.  This is something I have gotten over, but I feel people pleasers generally stress over the ubiquitous “they.”  What I have learned is that if I am concerned about the “they/people”, that is a personal concern of mine. This thing may be something I am not quite comfortable with.  It may be something that requires a bit of a risk, so I want to be let off the hook.  What lets me off the hook is blaming my dependence on the “they”.  This finding led me to my next question.

 

Question:  Am I making excuses?

Answer:  Sometimes.  I will admit it has been easy to say that I don’t want to do something because I don’t want to rock a boat, but in actuality I’m just scared.  I have noticed this when I verbalize my decision to do or not to do something to another person who I am certain to share my view.  Once I get that confirmation, I feel that have been let off the hook.  I use people pleasing as an excuse because, unfortunately many people can relate to it and often find it acceptable.

 

What I have learned is my people pleasing has been rooted in fear.  As I have started to break a lot of my people pleasing habits I have realized that when I fight against the urge to please, the results and reactions are not as drastic as a I thought they would be.  Of course certain people did not like certain decisions, but that’s life.  No disavowals, or broken relationships.  Life simply goes on as usual.  Once I began to hold fast to my own decisions, I got little to no interference, not two cents were thrown into the mix.  It was just accepted.

I would like to continue to challenge all of us to examine hour people pleasing tendencies.  Let’s get to the root of it and grow beyond it.

Posted in Write On Wednesday

Write On Wednesday #57

 

 

Today’s Writing Prompt: What are you thankful for?

 

Today’s writing prompt is a little different.  I would like for us to write a list of all the things we are thankful for.

This year I have started a daily gratitude journal.  Each day write 10 things I am grateful for.  I have asked some of my friends and family to start the practice well.  Sometimes they tell me it is hard to come up with 10 things each day.  Oftentimes we take many of the small things for granted, but we should take time to acknowledge their importance and express gratitude for them.  For instance, my love of reading and writing began at a very early age.  Way back in the 1900s, when I wanted a book, I either had to order it from a catalog and wait for it in the mail, get it from a library (if they had it, or if it wasn’t checked out by someone else), or buy it in a store.  Now, as soon as a book is released, I can download it and begin reading it instantly!  Isn’t that something to be thankful for?  When you think about it, it is truly amazing.

Also, I started this blog just as a kind of online journal of my thoughts.  I didn’t expect to have any followers.  As of today, I have over 1500!  That may not be a lot to some, but it is to me. For that I am grateful.

Thank you to all my followers and those of you who stop to read my posts.

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday

Gratitude

I can’t say enough about the power of genuine gratitude.  Not only is it great for others to know you appreciate who they are and what they do, but it is just  a good feeling to feel gratitude.

When most people think of gratitude, they think of saying “Thank you” after getting something or and polite acknowledgement of something.  I’m speaking of a feeling, something that lasts long after the words “thank you” exit your mouth.  I’m talking about walking and living in a constant state of gratitude.  There are so many wonderful things in this world that we take for granted.  This blog post has the potential to reach people I would have otherwise had no opportunity to speak it to because of technology.  That is something to be thankful for!  The fact that I don’t have to hand write this post is a blessing (I have very difficult to read handwriting).  I have a computer of my own to make this post.  That is something to be thankful for.

Throughout the day, name at least 10 things you are thankful for.  It doesn’t have to be something grand or extravagant. Just see if you can feel gratitude in everything you come into contact with today.  Think about what your life would be like if you didn’t have it and feel those feelings of gratitude.

 

Posted in Good Stuff

Your Crown

 

by Achille DevÈria, printed by FranÁois Le Villain, published by Edward Bull, published by Edward Churton, after Unknown artist, hand-coloured lithograph, 1830s

 

No matter how one feels about monarchy, one must admit there continues to be a fascination with royalty.  We use it in our everyday speech as a compliment.  I often hear “Good morning, Queen!” from a nice young man when I am dressed fashionably or a “I hear you, Queen!” when I say something intelligent or witty.  Last week, my cousin used “Queen” to describe me.  I then told him my crown was bought and paid for.  I just had to start wearing it.  In my reply, I realized that although I was in possession of a crown, I had not been wearing it.  This caused me to examine why.

It has been always been my belief that we all have crowns. I think deep down most people feel this is the case, but do we walk around on a daily basis like royalty?  I didn’t.  People were seeing it in me, I feel it is there, but I was not wearing my crown.  When I was younger, I was known as the smart kid, teachers pet, and all those things that go along with being a bright student.  Although it was a good thing, this caused me to be teased by other students.  Being the smart kid wasn’t the popular thing to be.  So I took off my crown.  It started with self-deprecating humor and dumbing myself down to be what I thought to be more acceptable.  As I got older, being smart was cool again.  I reached for my crown and starting wearing it proudly.  Then there were other times I felt undeserving of the crown upon my head.  I would respond to a compliment not by simply saying “Thank you”, but by pointing out a flaw in myself.  I wanted to let people know that although my royal blood is evident to others, I doubted it.   I am ready to start wearing my crown at all times, at all functions, and in front of all people.  Are you?

Some of us are afraid to touch it, some of us are intimidated power and responsibility that comes along with it, and some of us don’t feel worthy of wearing it.  We all own one.  Start wearing it!

 

Posted in Think About it Thursday, Uncategorized

Are You Responsible for How People Treat You?

 

I have made a huge change in my life.  With this change came a lot of work that I needed to do physically and emotionally.  I will first explain the physical work.  I  made a physical move.  My son and I moved into another home.  Our new home was very close to the old one so I didn’t plan on hiring movers, and there was no deadline for me to leave my old home so I could take my time.  I packed our essential things gradually leaving the things we needed readily accessible in place.  I had no clear-cut plan on how the move was going to get completed.  I just relied on the fact that there was no rush.  I had time and I was only moving a few miles away.  So I packed my nonseasonal things in boxes and drove them to my home each day over that span of several weeks.  I chose not to fill my fridge with groceries as I would be moving it to.  Although I still had no plan on when and how I was going to do so.  The same went for my large furniture items.  I knew I would have to move them eventually, I didn’t want the shell out the cash to pay for movers, and didn’t feel the pressure of time.

A few weeks went by, and  I was still a one-woman caravan for my manageable items, but the larger items remained and I was starting to feel the effects of being unsettled.  I was rifling through packed boxes to fish out things I needed, but had packed because I believed I would only have use for them when I had completed the move.  As my frustration started to build, I began to wonder why no one had offered to help.  Everyone in my circle knew I was moving.  They all knew how I was traveling back in forth with my mid-sized SUV packed to the hilt.  They had all seen me stooped in pain from carrying boxes back and forth, loading and unloading.  I was getting upset with everyone around me for watching me struggle with this move.

Then I realized that I had never asked for help.  Not only that, several times in the past, I had refused help when it was offered.  It didn’t click with me at the time that my constant refusal of help may have been a signal to all of my friends that I didn’t need the help.  I was responsible for how they were treating me, but being the stubborn person that I am, continued to move unassisted.  I moved beds, a coffee table, shelving units, boxes, all by myself.  I even carried a six-drawer dresser up six stairs into my new home.

Eventually, I hired movers to move my refrigerator and sofas.  I have no idea how I was able to do so much, but I paid that price.  I visit a chiropractor twice a week now.  I could not walk the day after I completed my move, and two days later I couldn’t stand upright.  Was I proud of what I had done? Yes.  Was it stupid? Yes.  Was it necessary? No. Could I have asked for help? Absolutely.  Have I learned my lesson?  Not yet, but I’m working on it.   Old ways die hard and I am certainly open to suggestions.

 

 

 

Posted in Write On Wednesday

Write on Wednesday #50: Thank you Georgia Butler!

Today is my 50th Write on Wednesday!  To celebrate this milestone, this prompt is dedicated to my 9th grade English teacher, Georgia Butler.  For many years after graduating from high school and graduating from college with a degree in English, I search for all of my English teachers specifically to tell them how much they inspired me to pursue writing. Ms. Butler left my high school to take a position as a principal in a neighboring town shortly after my 9th grade year.  I lost touch with her and was unable to find her.  About two weeks ago, I ran into her at the grocery store!  She could not believe I recognized her.  It has been 30 years since the last time I saw her but, I recognized her immediately.  I couldn’t wait to tell her what I was doing and that writing and education is still a huge part of my life and that I now work in higher education.

I have always valued education in all forms but, I have a tremendous amount of respect for those who teach our young children.  As with my first Write on Wednesday post I honor a teacher who left a lasting impression on me, but there is also a prompt in line with the them of this post.

 

Today’s Writing Prompt:  Write a Lesson Plan

Teaching takes time, planning, dedication, and effort.  It is not a small feat to create a lesson plan.  Pick any subject you like.  Take into account learning styles, audience, and objectives. This is a great writing exercise to practice something different.  It will work every area of your brain.

Posted in Embracing Vulnerability Series

Control

In my previous post, I ended with how I needed to gain control over my emotions.  I feel that control over my emotions is something I will never have, but I do have control over how I allow my emotions to affect my life.  If you follow my blog and read any number of my posts, you are familiar with my season of unfortunate events.  That time in my life was a period of reflection, introspection, modification, and liberation.  It was a necessity for me to gain control over how I allowed my emotions to affect my life, but I was failing at it.  I looked great and no one could tell that I was going through my emotional turmoil.  Actually, I made it my mission to look my absolute best, have the best attitude, and appear to have my act together.  The more my world fell apart, the more I tried to hide it.  I was doing a great job until my health started be affected.  I was getting sick often, getting various infections, viruses,  and inflammations.  I was not in control of my emotions.  I was still feeling these things, but I wasn’t dealing with them properly.  I was pushing them under layers of stylish clothes, Ruby Woo lipstick, and halo of perfectly coiffed, but gradually thinning hair.  It wasn’t until I got tired of sweeping tumbleweed of my beloved kinky coils off of the floor, that I realized something had to give.  I needed to regain control.

I had to realize that I had to do something about what was happening to me.  There were some things I couldn’t control in my life, but there were also things I could control and that’s where I started.

Posted in Introvert Lounge

Stand Tall

I’m a woman.  As a young girl I was always encouraged to be “lady-like”.  I was told to sit with my knees together and if I were to cross my legs, I could only cross them at the ankle.  I was told to sit up straight and practice great posture.  My mother told me all of these things not to conform to some idea of what it meant to be feminine, but for my health.  She always said these things were lady-like and good for me.  She told me sitting up straight would train me to have good posture and that crossing my legs only at the ankle would ensure proper blood flow.  She also said these things showed everyone else that I cared about myself.  She was right.  In addition to these things being good for my health, they also put out a message.

My mother also taught me to let myself be heard, and not to cower in fear of what others may think.  This is a lesson that took a while to learn, but it wasn’t hard.  I realized I project a certain confidence that I often found lacking in myself.  I have been told that I “carry myself” well, or that I look like the type of woman who “don’t take no mess”.  I have taken my share of messes in the past.   It often puzzled me that people at first meeting found me intimidating.  It was not until I saw a video of myself walking to my car shot by a friend of mine.  I was standing talk, back straight, chest out and thought to myself “Who is that?”  I could not believe my eyes.  I could now see what everyone else was talking about.  I looked more confident than I was.  This video was a game-changer for me.  That day I decided I was going to be the woman I had trained my body to be.

I was never a push-over, but I wouldn’t say that I was the most assertive woman either.  It took a lot for me to step up and make myself heard. I knew that part of me needed some work so I used the antiquated term of being “lady-like” to my advantage.  I took a page from my mother’s book.  She described the confident posture and demeanor that I now possess as “lady-like” because, I feel that she subconsciously believed that to be a less threatening term for a woman.  What she was teaching me was to convey confidence in a non-threatening way.  I had to learn to be assertive.

Being assertive for an introvert has its challenges, but it also has its advantages.  As an introvert, I tend to sit back and observe.  We introverts make lots of mental notes in our heads and tend to not act on impulse, thus making our assertion more effective.   We can be calculating and often let all the dust clear before sweeping up the pieces and putting them in order.  I use the “lady-like” approach.  I wait my turn, smile, and never raise my voice.  This is not a sign of weakness, but of control.  I can maintain my composure while making myself heard and commanding respect.  I have been amazed at how well this works.  I believe once you lose control of your emotions, you being to crack the shell of your defense.  I was able to convey a confidence and even intimidation just in the way I walked.  It wasn’t because of anything I said.  It was because I was in control of my body.  I learned that I also had to get that same control over my emotions.