Hashtags are a nice start. What’s next?

SexualHarassment

Dear Readers,

If you spend any time at all on social media, you will know that in the last few days a trend has been happening with the hashtag #metoo. Hashtags have come under fire recently for being toothless and I am glad to see that in this case it’s not.

The aim is simple. If you have experienced sexual assault or harassment, you post #metoo on your wall with this message. I have been overwhelmed and cried like a baby over some of the stories that have been so bravely shared and some not shared.

Some people have just posted #metoo without sharing their story and that is 100% acceptable as well. You don’t owe anyone your story. It’s yours to tell or not tell.

I try my best to be real with you on this blog but I also don’t share everything and that is a choice I make every week as I sit down to pen this message. I hesitated to blog about this because it’s uncomfortable.

So, (deep breath) I will tell you only that both of those things have happened to me and that I have experienced both and no one protected me from sexual assault.

NO ONE PROTECTED ME.

It was the job of my family of origin to teach me to speak up and say something and it was their job to be on the lookout for this type of thing that was happening and they did not.

That’s a hard sentence to write. It’s even harder to sit with and live in that reality AND that was my reality until chance and I firmly believe, God brought me into contact with who I now know as my Mother of Choice, Joan Ellen Young.

I acknowledge no other mother.

Joan Ellen Young has helped shape me into the person I am today. I thank God every day that we crossed paths many years ago and she continues to be a tower of strength that helps support me in my journey of life.

My family of origin let me down over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Still, I gave them chance after chance to see me, hear me, and love me and they didn’t. Not ever. Not even a little.

I could be bitter about that or I could decide to forgive them, which I have because the anger would eat me alive otherwise. The decision to forgive but not reconcile is something I have been questioned about but you know what, I am at peace and will remain so.

In order to change things, we are going to have to do what’s hard.

Our daughter will own her body and that starts with her parents not “forcing” her to hug and kiss us or other relatives. As her father put it, “just because she is a baby, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have rights”

So for those reading this for whom, “Me Too” applies. Please read this, it’s just for you.

I SEE YOU.

I HEAR YOU.

I BELIEVE YOU.

 

Notice a need? Fill it.

Dear Readers,

Yesterday I was in a hurry and forgot to close my trunk. I didn’t realize this till I was stopped at a red light a few blocks from my house and I saw someone get out of the car and heading toward my car, my first instinct was to panic but then I heard a “clunk” and saw my trunk closed. I didn’t even know it had been open! I rolled down my window and said, “Thank you” to the kindly soul who noticed it. Today I was in traffic and I let someone in and they waved. (I hate it when they don’t wave)

Today, our server dropped a glass and it shattered, someone else in our group went to help clean up. I really regret not jumping in to help, but as someone else pointed out, “I don’t want to get in the way.” and quite frankly, I was feeling lazy.

Yesterday, as I was walking to the elevator, I said, “Hold the elevator” and someone else did. None of these acts together are anything special but one at a time, they filled a need I had at the exact moment I had it.

It got me thinking, we could all stand to be a little kinder to each other, and one of the best ways I know how to do that is to notice other people. It’s a sure-fire way to help take the focus off of yourself and think about other people.

A few years ago, I heard Andy Andrews speak and one of my favourite things he taught me (and an audience of thousands) was to peel a banana the right way… From the bottom. All it takes is the act of  “noticing” that peeling it from the top takes longer and is more difficult. I also love this quote of his. “A people – all lives – are either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis or headed for a crisis.”

“A people – all lives – are either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis or headed for a crisis.”

So that may seem kind of depressing, but not to me. I think it’s an an opportunity to serve.

Your one kind act of –

  1. Smiling at a stranger who looks downcast.
  2. Texting a friend who is far in distance but close in your heart
  3. Letting someone cut ahead of you in line.
  4. Stepping in to help when you see a need.
  5. Holding the door open for someone.

could be just the “lift” they need to keep them going on a very rough day.

Think About it, Notice a Need, Do Something. motherteresaThink About It!

 

What lifts you up when you are feeling down?

Dear Readers,

I must confess it’s been a rough couple of weeks all around.

There have been deaths in the family, work stress, and parent stress and friend stress and well, quite honestly, just life getting in the way of my feeling good.

I suspect I am not alone.. so I wanted to give you my top 5 ways to feel better when you feel down….

  1. Listen to some music that literally makes you get up and dance. I don’t mean that makes you bop along in your seat, I mean, you hear it and you MUST dance.

Like this video for “Sugar” – Maroon 5 went around and crashed all these people’s weddings and it’s just so much fun!

 

or Happy-

 

2. Watch something that makes you feel better— like this guy.. who showed us the evolution of dance…

and this guy.. who danced in lots of places

or watch a truly artistic feat by OK Go when they perform in zero gravity

 

Disney.. this one always perks me up… probably because the vultures remind me of the Beatles…

 

This Disney movie is all about the magic and loveliness of New Orleans.

3. Watch a movie that makes you cry–(I know it seems backwards, but stick with me)

Crying releases chemicals and that helps flush it out of your body, and then you feel better.. some go to “make me cry movies”

Steel Magnolias

Beaches

Morning Glory

Rudy

There are tons that make me cry, because as it turns out, I am a bit of a crier when I let myself going as any of my friends can tell you.. In fact,  one of my friends has a saying, “McKenna, you are such a weeper” which goes back a ways.

4. Go talk to a friend (e.g don’t stay by yourself and isolate) that you can just vent to.. and then let them do the same, it may be that they are on a high and encourage them to talk to you about what’s going well, it will make you feel better. I will never forget the time I had a promotion and a really awesome speaking gig that I hesitated to tell my friend about (mainly because she was going through unemployment and some family drama)  on telling my down in the dumps friend who was going through unemployment about my good news .. and when she asked (after venting her spleen about her situation) what’s going on with you? I told her and she was super happy for me because I have good friends, not selfish ones. I made a mental note then to always share with the idea of abundance not scarcity.

It will switch and she will have joy and I will have pain and vice versa. That’s life folks.

5. Eat some ice cream or cookie dough or whatever it is that truly comforts YOU.

For me, that is Haagen-Dazs Caramel Cone-

Yep, I said it. I am all for health goals (documented well on this blog) AND when you feel like crap it’s really hard to get yourself up and motivated to exercise and keep to healthy eating so give it up (not forever) but recognize you are in a season that is stressful so honor that and meet yourself where you are and do some comfort for yourself.

I hope that you don’t need this right now, but the way life works, you will at some point so tuck it away so you have some “go to happy” when you need it.

Please share your go to ways to feel better. I think we could all use that right now.

Think About it…. IMG_0258

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Vivienne!

Dear Vivienne,

Today you are one year old! ONE! YAAAAAAAAY ONE! We are teaching you to count right now, so there you go. Joyeux Anniversaire!! We are also teaching you French, and will continue to do so. Je t’aime mon petit champignon!! (this means mushroom) and Mommy loves mushrooms, so it is in fact a term of endearment.

Look at you! Your smile lights up the world and you charm everyone you meet.

You are a treasure and as we tell you each and every day,

“We love you, We are proud of you, and You are ours”

I would like to add, Thank you so much for being born!

You are teaching your mother patience and grace. Two things your Mom is still working on AND you have done a great job this first year instructing her on how “to relax, relax, relax”

It may interest you to know, your Nana has been trying to teach me that lo these many years, so congratulations on doing that which she could not do.

What a joy you are, what joy you bring to the world and definitely our world!

Your eyes sparkle and I can see the wheels turning, you haven’t said your first words yet and I can’t wait till you do. I can’t wait to talk to you for hours (though that’s many years into the future) about your favourite subject in school, your friendships and relationships and the movie you can’t wait to see or the books you are reading and well, just everything. 

You definitely have moments of upset and that is normal and ongoing.

I hate hearing you cry when there isn’t anything I can do to help you feel better. At the moment, you are teething and we give you medicine and icy teething rings along with the occasional Orajel application when the pain is just too bad. I wish so much that you could avoid pain, but this is part of growing so it will continue in one form or another.

Mommy never wants to lie to to you, so I am being honest when I say, this pain will end but another pain will take it’s place. More on that, when you are old enough to understand it.

You are walking.. a few steps and then falling and quite literally this is known as “baby steps” and absolutely expected.

Before you know it, you will be running, maybe with Mommy? VivienneONE

I love you my sweet baby girl and you make Mommy very happy!

Happy Birthday!

Love,

Mom

The 5 R’s of Rescuing Relationships

Dear Readers,Connection

I am no expert, but I can tell you that relationships, romantic or otherwise take work to thrive.  I have recently discovered a few tips that I want to share with you.

By the way, this can be applied even if you aren’t having trouble, here goes. It might even be a good defense against difficulty in the relationship. Here goes!

  1. REFRAIN– Stop yourself from saying the thing that would be the perfect zinger (because you are hurting or angry) while it may feel good in the moment, regret will often follow and you can’t unsay what has been said.
  2. RESHAPE– The way you think about what they say and do. You find what you look for, so look for the good. Try to think the best of them and their intentions
  3. RECAPTURE– Why did you create, build and nurture this relationship in the first place? Think about early interactions and why you like/love this person.
  4. REACH – Do three nice things for the other person and watch to see how they receive your gesture. Their reaction will tell you a lot. Don’t point it out, you have to do it, and not ask for credit. (This is SO HARD, AND WORTH IT!)
  5. REINVEST– Make plans for a date night, weekend away, whatever will help you prioritize that relationship                                                                                                                             Final thought– Don’t be too busy to take care of your relationships.

Think About It….

 

 

What do you do with your White Privilege?

Dear Readers,StandAgainstRacism

Today I come to you to talk about my white privilege.

First, I have it, and if you are white, you do as well.

This weekend I had the honor of attending my friend’s wedding.

I was one of seven people there who were white.  Yep, I counted.

My first thought was, “Are we the only white people here?”

My second thought was, “I am very uncomfortable. Will I be able to relate to anyone here?”

I am not proud of it, but that is what I thought, which is utterly ridiculous because while I don’t use the term color-blind I don’t think about my black friend first and I would never use it to describe a friend, because it’s so limiting. My friend, their title or who is also a coach for Beach Body or who I work with, or my friend who just became debt-free (YAY) are usually my descriptors.

My third thought was, “I am honored to be included in such an important event” and it’s true, I love her and I am so happy for her that she has found love and is getting married, I have watched her grow and mature and seeing her do really wonderful things including get out of debt and find financial peace so it was an honor to watch her take this next step and witness her marriage!

In general, people have differences that make them unique and special individuals.

(Whoa, I almost said snowflakes there)

but more unites us than divides us and I found that in talking to the other people at the wedding, I had several things in common (wedding anniversary) (proposal stories) (mistake on someone’s name) (getting lost) (finances) with several different people who do not have my same color of skin. I hate that I was surprised by that, but I was.

We had a very good time and after the initial (self-imposed) awkwardness

I came away thinking, this has taught me about myself. This has taught me that even as an self proclaimed activist, I still have white privilege. The question is what do I do with it? What will you do with it?

I am committed to using my white privilege to do good, to stamp out racism when I see it, hear it or encounter it. I have NO idea what that looks like, because I am designing this as I go and it’s not anyone else’s job to tell me what to do, I need to figure it out.

As for you….

Think about it.

 

Banish Guilt, Give Yourself Grace!

Dear Readers,

Today, I want to tell you about something I feel guilty about. I feel guilty about not working out as much as I said I would last month. It’s a promise to myself and I broke it.

I could spend a lot of time telling you why I haven’t worked out 3 times a week for this month or I could own it and say, I didn’t work out 3 times a week this month. Okay there, I said it. I feel so much better, AND what is the next step?

Giving myself grace to say, it’s been busy at work and at home. Vivienne is teething and our 11 month old little girl has changed from sweet and smiling to surly and pissed off, much like an old man sending back soup in a deli. We are hanging in there but truth be told it’s been a hard month of parenting. I will go on to say, if you see either of us and we look tired or seem cranky this would be why.

That is one reason for me not working out three times a week, like I said I would, so I give myself the grace to go ahead and sleep in last week, 4 days in a row, and didn’t work out.

The truth is, I wasn’t working out AT ALL a few months ago. It took a really good friend to give me a kick in the pants. She and I both said, we would motivate each other and that worked for a while, we texted back and forth some silly pictures and messages to spur each other on. Then I got tired, and wanted to sleep. (Remember my sixth love language is sleeping in? )

Then I tried to motivate myself with Pepsi ( I LOVE PEPSI ) and pop tarts, which may seem counter-intuitive to long-term health but as my wise friend, Dr. Howard points out, “Different things motivate different people” and as I am always saying, “progress not perfection” so working out is a process and doing it three times a week will involve a series of baby steps, one of which is packing my bag with all the things I need and getting a good nights sleep, for me that means at least 6 hours of sleep, and be sure to spend time with my husband and daughter and then fit some time in for me to fill up (read a book, watch a little tv) or do some self-care and prepare for the next day’s work.

So this morning, I was all set to go to the gym and I had my bag ready and I looked at the clock and I said, nope, I just want to sleep. So I did. I gave myself grace, and I banished guilt. In that moment, I actually did not feel guilty, I promised myself I would work out tomorrow and Thursday and Friday so there are the three days.

My mom is fond of saying, “Screw Guilt” (cleaned up but you can imagine what other word she uses) to say how useless it is. It has taken me a VERY long time to give up on guilt, and I still work on it daily. She is right, it’s a pretty useless emotion.  The second that you say, “I feel guilty about xxxx, you stop any action. you don’t move things to the next step. So, much like my post about AND not BUT, the next time you are going to say, “I feel guilty about…. XXX” I would encourage you to say instead, “I feel guilty and I grant myself grace for this and I am going to do Step, 1, 2, and 3”

So, much like my post about AND not BUT, the next time you are going to say, “I feel guilty about…. XXX” I would encourage you to say instead, “I feel guilty and I grant myself grace for this and I am going to do Step, 1, 2, and 3”

I am going to challenge you to banish guilt and give yourself grace. You will feel better, trust me!

Think About It and Then DO IT! slow