Monday, February 27, 2012

It's time to Stand Up!

When I started writing this blog, it was to document a journey.   I was turning 40, I set a goal to accomplish something, and frankly I just wanted to have some accountability, and maybe share something along the way.

When that journey was over, I realized that I had some things left to say, and certainly had a LOT of lessons yet to be learned, so I kept it going.   I have never written for anyone but myself, and if you have laughed or cried, or related in some way, that is great.   It's cathartic for me, and I have found it a truly valuable form of personal therapy.

So...with that being said.....I'm going to for the first time use this blog to try to start something.  I want to put out a challenge.   A challenge to everyone, but mostly to the strong, beautiful, talented women I know.   Let me tell you how this all started....

I have a daughter.   She is 9.   She is beautiful and kind and smart and compassionate.   And it has recently come to my attention that her self esteem is in the crapper.   She is JUST LIKE ME!   She already has body image issues, thinks people won't like her because of what she wears or what she watches on tv.   She beats herself up if she can't grasp a concept in school.  She wants so badly to fit the images that she sees on television, and if things don't go perfectly for her or fit into the mold she has in her head, she has a really hard time.   It breaks my heart that this little girl who I love with ALL my being is already tearing herself down inside.   I have spent a lot of time lately wondering HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?  

And here comes my theory.

We all sit in judgement.   Every one of us has at one time or another, and frankly more than I like to admit, made a judgement on another woman based out of complete ignorance.   Maybe it's that one mom fancies herself up for school events with high heels and tight jeans and makeup, so I make the judgement that she is trying to impress.   Or maybe it's the parent at the bus stop who seems standoffish, so I assume she thinks she's too good for me, so I ignore her.   And of course, the working moms vs. the stay at homers....they MUST think we do nothing all day long, and they put their kids in daycare....  Overweight?   Must be lazy.      The list goes on and on...

No one is right here.   NO ONE!  

I know how I hate to feel like I am being judged.   It's a VERY big trigger for me, and yet I find myself doing it to others as almost second nature.  I didn't even REALIZE I was doing it.    

It's no wonder that my daughter at the age of 9 feels like she isn't good enough.   When we as women are constantly tearing each other apart, of course our children will eventually begin to feel the fallout.    We tell our children not to be bullies, but we do it to each other on a daily basis.

So here's my challenge, and I am going to try REALLY hard to do this myself.   What if instead of tearing other women down and being so stinking hard on them, we try instead to BUILD THEM UP and understand where they might have come from?   What if instead of thinking that the lady in line at Target who's kids are screaming and seeming out of control should "get control" of her kids, we try instead to give her a compassionate glance, offer to help, or simply say "don't worry....I've been there too."  Or maybe if we just don't huff and puff and act all irritated, that will be enough.   I don't know.

Not everyone is meant to be my friend.   I know that.   I am also not asking everyone to start living life like Little Miss Sunshine.   Not possible!   But I do think that if we start a movement of trying to curb the split decision judgements, perhaps we can begin to turn the tides and help our daughters and our sons grow up a little happier, a little healthier, and with a little understanding that simple respect for one another can make the world a better place.   We don't know where others have come from, and we shouldn't judge.

I feel like we've begun to lose our sense of understanding and compassion for one another, and in our own fear of being judged, we step to the podium ourselves. I go.....I am standing up and making a change, and I'm going to see how it manifests itself in my life.   I am going to try to look at people with clear eyes that aren't clouded by my own insecurities.   I encourage you to try this as well.   I didn't realize how often I did this to others, and have since found that some of my judgements were sometimes WAY off base.  

Just make note in one day how many times you might look upon another with judgement, and the next day try seeing them with compassion.   It can't hurt....right?   And maybe in the long run, we will begin to show our children that you can't judge a book by the cover, that appearances don't mean anything, and that everyone deserves a fair chance.

Share this idea.   Share this blog.   Pass it on.  See if we can change things even just a little.   I have to try.   I love my daughter that much.    

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The bells are dinging....

I am not an auto mechanic.   I don't know much about engines or cars.   But one thing I do know is that people have spent years engineering cars so that we are warned when every little thing goes wrong.   A bell sounds and a light comes up on the dashboard, and we stop what we are doing as soon as possible to check the problem, because this automobile costs a lot of money and we wouldn't want it to stop working.

So today when I was driving my car and the light came on to tell me that I needed to stop for gas, why did I decide to go ahead and drive out to Zona Rosa and do all my shopping and then start my drive home before finally deciding I should stop since my odometer thingy says in approximately 4 miles I will be completely out of gas?   Why did I feel like I couldn't take the time to do one small thing I needed to do before moving on with my day?  Maybe I thought other things were too important?   Maybe I thought I could outsmart the engine?   Maybe I get a charge out of the game of chicken I was playing.   I don't know.   

I filled up my tank with 4 miles to empty, and then sat in my car a minute and the thought literally came into my head.....


It's warning me that I need to stop and take care of something, and yet it's something I completely ignore.   I ignore it until I am almost at a point of crisis, and then I slide in by the skin of my teeth and take care of it.  Not smart...and not something I would encourage others to do.   And frankly something I would yell at my husband about.... it's ridiculously simple!   When the bell dings, you have a short amount of time to refuel or your car will STOP WORKING!

You can probably see where I am going here.   My bells are CONSTANTLY dinging it seems lately, and I have been completely ignoring them.   I haven't been eating regularly, I haven't been listening to my body, I haven't been sleeping well....and all through the day my dashboard lights are dinging and flashing......and I simply keep driving and try to muddle through.  And guess what.....I don't feel good physically, emotionally, or otherwise.   It's a simple thought really......when the bell dings......STOP!  Assess the situation and take it from there.   Sometimes it might necessitate  a snack, or a nap, and sometimes it might require a talk with a friend or someone who can lend you a little advice.   But the bottom line is....when the bell dings, there is a potential problem, and whether or not your run out of gas at that point is completely up to you.   You've been warned.  

So...I am going to try to choose to listen to my built in warning system a little more efficiently, cuz frankly, the well oiled machine that I am (ha!) can't take much more of this abuse.   Time for a little overhaul.  :)