Some days when I want to write something and save it for later I will email myself. Last night I was going through my email folders, because yes, my email is pretty organized. My house could be a mess if you walked in, but not my email. I have folders that are all labeled. I have one marked writing and another free writing but I had forgotten about the one marked personal.
This was inspired by a quote that Just Plain ‘Ol Vic posted earlier today.
“Stop hating yourself for everything you aren’t. Start loving yourself for everything you are.”
It prompted me to write myself a letter on why I love me. I decided to share it and maybe encourage others to do the same.
Physically, I love my eyes, my nose, my smile. I love the shape of my body, regardless of the weight I am at, all my curves in all of the right places. I love my hands and my feet and toes. I love my “perfect” legs (as my gram used to call them). I love my hips and the way they move to the rhythm of good music.
Mentally, I love my brain, the way I think, the way I see things and try to see things from different angles, different points of view. I love the way my thoughts flow onto paper. That I can wrote in a poetic way. The way I day dream and close my eyes to see pictures. My analytical self, my mathematical self and my realistic self. But I also love my day dreamy, creative self.
I love my heart, that I can see and find the good in people. I love that I am trusting, that I give people a chance. Yes I may have been taken advantage of before but I have learned to let that go. It doesn’t mean that I do it again or continue to trust them. It means that I forgive and move on. I realize that the people who try to hurt me with their lies and manipulation are truly the ones hurting. I am learning to love my vulnerability. I was so scared to show it for so long but now I am embracing it, along with my sensitivity. These are the things that make me who I am and I don’t want to be anyone else.
I am proud of who I am. A loving mother, sister, daughter, friend, cousin. Not perfect but perfectly flawed and made into the woman I am today. Yes I’ve made mistakes, I’ve been hurt, lied to and taken advantage of. But overall, I am loved by many and the ones that are still around are the ones that matter. The rest have lived through their reason, their season and have made me stronger.
Yes I am woman….RAWR!!! and I love me!
We all have those days. Those days we feel like we have failed. Those days we want to sit in a corner and hide. Or crawl back into bed, pull the covers over our heads and shut out the rest of the world. Why is it we are so hard on ourselves, yet so kind to others. Why do we not give ourselves more credit? If only we could look at ourselves through other people’s eyes. If only we would treat ourselves, the way we treat others.
Encouraging ourselves. Telling ourselves, “hey! It’s ok. You can’t do everything in one day. You don’t have to be perfect. You are human! You are not a machine. You are not a droid or a clone. You make mistakes.” In fact, that is how you learn better! If we could take the time each day, to find one thing we love about ourselves. Be proud of what we have accomplished.
I feel like lately I have had lots of conversations with people who are feeling down. Having moments they want to cry. Moments they don’t want to get out of bed or just moments of struggle. Guess, what? What if I told you we ALL have these moments? Yes, even I do!
For those people who know me, who have known me throughout the years either in person or through social media, what if I told you a secret. What if I told you that I have had these moments.
Yes, I may post statuses on facebook about how my teenager is driving me mad. How my car was broken down. How I didn’t want to work in insurance anymore. But that’s not all. There are things that I have not shared. Moments that maybe no one even knows about. Today, I need to share these moments.
As a single mom, yes I have complained from time to time about not having money. I may have felt bad for myself. But what if I told you there were nights I cried? Times that I felt sad and lonely. Times that I cried in bed alone and had pity parties. Nights I wondered why was I alone. Nights I felt unworthy of pretty much anything and everything. I didn’t tell anyone. I was supposed to be a strong, independent, single woman. I felt I couldn’t show anyone this side. I couldn’t show anyone my vulnerability. I would fight to hide that and get up and put a smile on my face. I would walk around confident in public because that is what a strong, independent single mother does.
Over the past few months I have really been working through some things. Dealing with the fact that I am sensitive. Thinking about the fact that I try to be tough. That is, until I realized who I was fighting. It was me! I was fighting myself! I wasn’t fighting anyone else but me. I finally realized that it’s ok to be vulnerable. It’s ok to feel! It’s ok to ask for help, to accept help, to feel emotions. It’s ok to be me. It doesn’t mean that I’m not strong and independent. I have proven that for years. But sometimes being strong means asking for and accepting help. Sometimes being strong is being vulnerable. Having the strength to ask for help. The strength to accept help and the strength to cry, but then get up, wipe your tears and keep going.
I am not writing this for pity, but for encouragement. To remind all these strong independent, single women out there to know it’s ok to be vulnerable. It’s ok to ask for help. And it’s ok to cry.
This is a song by India Arie that always encourages and remind me that I can do anything when I believe in myself. If you are having a rough day, go ahead and take a listen.
What is speaking the truth? Speaking my truth? Speaking your truth? It’s all different. What is true to me may not be true to you. But what matters is that we are true to ourselves. To our true, authentic selves.
I was out the other night, for drinks and really wanted to go dancing. Once I got out though, I started to get this anxiety. I saw different people, some I’m not fond of, and realized that I immediately started hearing voices in my head. Their voices. I was imagining what these people were thinking of me. Whether I was right or wrong, I was imagining them all judging me. I started looking around the room, I started feeling small, like I wanted to hide away. Crawl into a corner. Me! I always seem so calm and confident. I am the one who will go to a bar or restaurant alone to enjoy a meal. I don’t care what people think. WRONG! I realized I was sitting here thinking all these people were judging me in some way. Feeling uncomfortable. Feeling Insecure. I started feeling like I wanted to run and hide. Then I talked to myself. I stopped for a minute and said, “Elissa! What the hell do you care???? Really? What if they do think those things??” I looked around the room again, observing. Changing my thought patterns. I started asking myself these questions, who are these people? How much do they matter to you? What do their opinions matter? Are these people you want to base your self worth on? All of a sudden I felt empowered, for many reasons. First, I just didn’t care. If these people were actually thinking these things of me, the ones I had made up in my head, who cares? They obviously don’t know me. Who were they to judge me? Then I took it a little further and thought, why am I even here? Yes, I came to meet my niece for a bit. Yes, I wanted to hear some good music (old school 80’s and 90’s r&b) but really, are these the people, in this room, that I want to base my worth on? Is this what I want to be doing a week, a month, a year from now? NO!
I looked at my just finished drink. I looked at my tab. I looked at my surroundings and my situation and thought HELL NO! This is NOT where I want to be. This is not how I want to invest my time, my money, my thoughts, my feelings and my energy. It was like a wake up call.
Now don’t get me wrong, there were people in the room that I like. People that are very nice, that were just out with a group of friends. Overall, I do enjoy to go out and dance. I love going out with my girlfriends and shaking it on the dance floor. But, in the grand scheme of things, I want so much more out of life! I could be spending my time and money so much better. I could be home in bed all cuddled up with…my journal. Lol Honestly, this is where I would rather be. In fact, that’s what I came home and did. Here is a glimpse of what I wrote:
Sometimes we need reminders of where we don’t want to be. Where we came from. To let people think what they want to. Stop caring WTF people think! Today is my day to say I’m done! Done with small minds and simple living. Done with not knowing my worth. With placing my worth in someone else’s hands. Done with focusing on a number. A scale. Who the F cares?? These people are not important in the grand scheme of things. Not worth energy or thoughts. I have so much more to worry about. To focus on. Put my energy into. I can’t be bothered with pettiness. I want so much more in life. I need to focus on what I want and need in my life. I have been so blessed already.
I realized that I want to do something with my life. I don’t want to live the day to day, ho hum, everyday 9-5 life. I want to live! I need to make a plan to get out! I need to do something meaningful in this life. Put my time, money and energy into what I love. Into writing, into people, into making a difference. I need to stop focusing on losing weight. Stop focusing on my weight at all and focus on DOING something! Who cares what I weigh? Move more. Eat Healthy. Do things you love! Dance, Sing, Write, LIVE!! Let go of the made up critical voices in our heads telling us we aren’t worthy.
I only share this because I KNOW I am not alone. I know there are plenty of people, (I’m guessing everyone of you has had this experience) with the voices in your head feeding you negative thoughts. STOP! Take back your power! Know your worth! Start putting your time and energy into you and what you love. Don’t worry about anyone else. Just be true to you.
PHOTO CREDIT: I do not own the rights to this photo it was found on the internet
We are barely one week into the new year and already I’m sick of hearing about diets! It seems like somehow everywhere I go, the conversation turns into diet. Green tea is the best, don’t drink coffee, drink one cup of coffee, cut out carbs, you need some carbs, grrrrr!! I’m over it already! First off, having struggled with weight loss for years, I know what to do. I hate to tell you this, but most of the time, the people who are always trying to lose weight, actually know how to. We have done every diet out there! We have done Weight Watchers, Atkins, the grapefruit diet, the 2 day diet, the 17 day diet, the eat clean diet, and the list goes on. I am over it! Can I just say it one more time?? I’M OVER IT!
I don’t want to talk about diet anymore. Yes, thank you for your encouragement, your support, and your offer to help me, but really, I’ve done this how many times? I know what to do! I know I need to stop eating crap. I know I need to get my butt off the couch and move. I know I should watch my portions, eat more veggies and drink more water. I know I should cut out refined sugars, eat more fiber, do more cardio and tone with weights.
Here is the thing, I know what to do! I may even want to do it! But I have to do it. People can encourage and support me. Yes, that does help. But regardless what anyone says or does, it is my decision. It’s something I have to do. And even if I know what to do, even if I want to do it, I have to do it! I have to want to do it! Sometimes just because you want to do something, you REALLY WANT to do something, you still don’t do it! Sometimes it takes getting out of your own way. Sometimes it takes stepping on the scale to see that number gone too far up or not fitting into those pants you just wore last month for your brain to say “OK! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” Sometimes it’s overwhelming to think about all the weight you want to lose, all the things you should be doing and all the time it could take to get to where you want to be. So you have to stop dieting and start living healthy. Stop looking at everything you need to take away and look at what you can add, or what you can have more of. More veggies, more water, more moving. Look at the little things you can change. Look at the whole picture. Add more of what you love. Dance around your living room, sing loudly, write a poem, take a walk. Whatever you love, add more of it to your life. Just make small changes that you can live with for most of your life.
I know for me, I’m done with diets. I decided with the new year that every diet book I have in my house I am getting rid of. I know what to do, I just need to decide to do it. If I stop and think about how I feel when I eat something, if it makes me feel good, then I will have it. I know that if I sit and eat a big bowl of homemade mac and cheese I will feel heavy and tired after. So maybe I will have a bite or two and then fill my tummy with chicken and veggies. I know some days will be harder than others, but I am done with diets. I don’t want to hear about them anymore. I’ve spent about 20 years worrying about dieting and losing weight instead of living healthy. I refuse to continue this cycle. From now on down with diets for me, I will be living healthy.
So we are just one week into the new year and I’m loving my gym time! I have been here 6 out of 7 days this week. Now, before you go telling me to “slow down” and “don’t over do it”, please save your breath. I have been over doing it for months now. Over doing the sweets, over doing the lying around, over doing the excuses why I am not working out or at the gym. Making excuses why I can’t work out. Why I don’t have the time. The energy. The money. Well, that went out with the old year, 2015. Welcome 2016 and the year of no excuses! The year of getting out of my own way. The year of taking time to take care of me. Taking time to do things that make me feel good. Like working out and writing.
So far I have mostly been coming in to do cardio. I’ve also done the nautilus machines a couple of times too. But my favorite part of working out has honestly been the sauna. It feels amazing to lay in the sauna at the end of my day with my thoughts that don’t seem to shut off. The heat. The sweat. The relaxation my body feels after a long day. I’m pretty sure that is what has kept me motivated to come to the gym on a fairly daily basis.
What’s funny is that the gym and working out has also made me want to blog. It’s like as soon as I step on that machine and put my music on, my brain overflows with thoughts and I want to write. The problem is that by the time I get home, cook dinner and eat, I’m too tired to write or blog. So today I had a thought. What if I blog from the sauna? That’s when my thoughts flow freely and I can get it all out. And here we are. In the sauna.
This has been an amazing week I must say. The first week of the new year. Some of us have new goals and new resolutions. So far I have met one goal that I have been working on for months, getting up early. I finally made it happen. The past week or two I have been getting up about 30 minutes early to have my coffee and write in my journal. I love my morning coffee and journal time. It’s so peaceful and I actually look forward to it every night as my head hits the pillow. I have also started another goal of taking time to email, text or write to one person a day to tell them why I love or admire them and I must say it is amazing. It has literally made my day to make other people’s day. It takes about 2 minutes but the effects have been far beyond that. It seems as though the timing is impeccable for who ever I have chosen that day. Some days it will choose a person depending on if they are going through something on social media, but sometimes it is just a person that has been placed on my heart. In just over a week, I feel like it has become an addiction! It just feels so good I look forward to doing it every day. Which brings me to another new addiction I have. WordPress. I am addicted to WordPress. I have subscribed to endless amounts of blogs and can’t stop reading! So many of them that I seriously can’t keep up! I had no idea what blogging would do to my life! This WordPress community has become part of my daily routine. I love how loving and accepting everyone is. All these writers and poets in one place, encouraging each other and uplifting one another. Not to mention there are so many people from other countries. I love seeing how someone from Nigeria has read my blog today or I can read about someone in the UK. I feel like I’m making friends around the world just through blogging.
On another note, I have had some struggles and my house could use some work. There have been nights I was too tired to do my dishes because by the time I got home from the gym and cooked dinner I was exhausted. I have also had a bit of anxiety over the fact that my son will be 18 next month and it’s making me emotional. (Don’t be surprised if you see a separate blog about that subject!)
Overall it has been a great first week to the new year. Like most things in life, finding balance always seems to be the key. It’s just hard when you start doing things you really love. You want to do more of them. It’s like being in love with someone. When it’s new, you want to eat, drink, sleep and just be with them all the time. That’s how I feel about writing lately (and quite frankly the sauna too!) So I guess it only makes sense I should be writing from the sauna. I think this week I will work on bringing it all into balance, work, home, gym and blogging. If all else fails, you will find writing, in the sauna.
For most of my life weight has been an issue for me. I’ve had ups and downs. The last time I remember being really happy with my body was when I started running. I had just quit smoking for the first time. (yes, I had slip ups and have quit more than once.) Lately I started asking myself what happened to that me? The one I used to love. What happened to the runner? What did I do? Why did I stop taking care of my body? I guess the first issue was when I ended up with an injury. I had a hard time getting back into running after that. My mind kept telling me to nurse my injury. Fear took over and told me I couldn’t do it anymore. Things changed over the years. I started learning to love myself, for more than my physical appearance. Yet every year at my physical the issue of weight would come up and I would leave the doctor’s office in tears!
So I started delving deeper, trying to figure out what the real “issue” surrounding my weight was. Maybe I needed to meditate on it. To stop dieting. Stop obsessing and weighing myself every day. (Sometimes several times a day) Then I just left it alone. After so many different times of trying and not seeing the scale change much more than a pound or two I left it alone. I would walk or do some stretching hereand there. My mind told me, it doesn’t matter what I do. I’m just stuck. I would eat healthy, I would write down everything I ate, count calories. What was it? Eventually I left it alone. I gave up.
So this past week I decided to pick up a cleansing kit at Trader Joe’s for the New Year. It’s nothing extreme, just some supplements to take but you eat healthy and of course lots of water. I noticed lately my body and mind have been craving gym time. I keep having these thoughts about how good I would feel after working out. Yet I continued to come home from work and make dinner or sit down. I continued to make plans to do things, make plans to write and just plain make excuses! Yesterday morning I woke up to a new year and thought I should weigh myself. I started this cleanse and I need a starting weight to see what it does to my body. I pulled the scale out from it’s hiding place, dusted it off and placed it on the floor. I did a double take. What did that say??? Ten pounds heavier than I expected. I have never weighed this much in my life! I knew I felt it. Especially after the holidays. That is when it hit me. I MUST do something! No, my weight does not define who I am. People will love me for who I am regardless, and if they don’t, I don’t need those people in my life. I must do something for me. For my health. My mental, physical and emotional health. I must get out of my own damn way. I must start being who I who I want to be. Not trying to find the healthy woman I was a few years back. Not just trying to find the woman who loved getting up early to run. Yes, I want that body again, but I am no longer that woman. I have changed. I have learned and grown and become an even better version of myself. I need to get out of my own damn way because I am the only one preventing me from being the me I want and need to be! My weight doesn’t define me, but feeling comfortable in my own skin makes a difference. Feeling confident in myself makes a difference. THIS is why I need to do something about it. For me! For my strength. My confidence. My health. I need to do something not because I need others to love my body but so that I can start loving and taking care of my body. I need this because at the end of the day I want to feel good! I want to feel comfortable in my own skin. I want to be the best me.
So watch out 2016 because THIS WILL BE MY BEST YEAR YET! This will be my best me. I am ready to get out of my own way. I am ready to really love me!
These days we live in a world where every time you turn on the tv someone is trying to sell you something to fix your flaw. Weight loss products, hair color, hide the back fat, whiten your teeth, stuff these pads in your pants to give you a big butt! We can all find something we would like to fix or change about ourselves, but did you ever stop and think that maybe the one thing that bothers you most, is the one thing that makes you, well, YOU! It sets you aside, makes you authentic. What if God said, “I’ll give her a crooked smile” or “I’ll give him a gapped tooth.” What if that birthmark was God’s final touch to make you unique? My cousin and I were talking about Jennifer Grey’s nose job. (She was the lead in the movie Dirty Dancing, pre nose job and played in Sex in the City post nose job) We were saying how much different she look afterwards and my cousin said she looked better. “I don’t know,” I replied, “she just looked so different. What if that was what made her, her? What if God cried a little that day because he had made her just right and she went and changed it?” I still don’t look at her the same. Her nose does not make her who she is but she just looks so different to me.
We all have that one thing that bothers us. We all have that one thing that makes us self conscious. For me it is my weight. I have struggled off and on with my weight over the years. I have done Atkins, Weight Watchers, you name it, I have tried it and I have succeeded many times. Here’s the thing, even when I have gotten to the weight I thought I wanted to be, I wanted to lose more! I still found something I wanted to change about myself! Here’s the other thing, my weight does not define who I am! I am still the same person no matter what. My friends and family love me regardless. Now, this is not a pity party in anyway, I actually have a point to make.
Recently I have been reading and seeing a lot about the power of positive thinking. Oprah has had different shows and speakers on the Law of Attraction and the science of positive thinking. Whether you agree with these theories or you believe in reaping what you sow, once you begin to be grateful for what you have, your perspective will change. For example, I struggle with my weight and wanting to lose weight, but if I look at some of my skinny friends, they have struggled to gain weight. When I look at others who have health issues and illness, I can be thankful for my health. I can spend my day complaining about my job or I can be grateful that I have a job. With 2015 coming to an end, I want to start my new year out right. So, I have begun to start each morning by getting up a few minutes early to be grateful. To take a few minutes and write down what I am thankful for. What I love. They say attitude is everything and I am finding that this helps to put me in a good mood for the day. Throughout the day when people irritate me or things go wrong I try to step back and look at my issue from a different perspective.
With 2016 around the corner, I want to take the focus out of the flaws. Too often we focus on the wrong flaws! We watch the news and see all the real world problems going on. We have flaws in the government, flaws in the justice system, flaws in equality. Here we are feeding into our own superficial flaws. I’m tired of feeding the negativity. I want feed the world with love and positivity. I plan to try out something I heard about. Pick a person each day and send them an email, a text, a card or a letter telling them why you love them or what you admire about them. You can even just let them know you are thankful for them. Encourage others to do so. You will be surprised to know that it not only makes the other person feel good, but being grateful can make you feel good as well. Let’s see if we can cause ripples of love throughout the nation. Let’s look at our flaws from a different perspective. One of love, acceptance and thankfulness. Let’s be grateful.
I am loving me
All that I am
All I have been
All I will be
For if i don’t love me
how will others know
how to love me
How will they learn
to respect my boundaries
if i do not show them
where the lines are drawn
If I do not love me
how will I appreciate
when someone tells me
I am beautiful
If I can not see for myself
Loving my imperfections and flaws
Loving my truth
All that is within me
For there is no other like me.
Only one was made
I am the original
Far from perfect
Maybe my hips are bigger than hers
My eyes are bluer than his
A little shorter than this one
A little thicker than that one
Quick to anger at times
Bothered by petty noises
But this is certain
I am like no other
With a big heart
I can look past the surface imperfections
knowing deep down the beauty of my soul
any of these flaws
And if you can not do the same
there is no place
reserved for you
In my world