For a Friend in Need:

Hello there, Beautiful.

Yes, I’m talking to you. The mom who’s down on yourself because life has once again knocked the wind from your lungs.

Maybe you lost your job, you wish you could lose ten pounds or your baby has been colicky all day. Maybe you are behind on your rent, your dog ran away, or you are fighting with your best friend.

Big or small, it doesn’t matter. You’ll get through it, I promise. Whatever it is.

Remember that you aren’t alone in this. And when you look in the mirror, try not to be so hard on yourself. Try to see the same beauty that the rest of the world sees in you.

Those sprouting grey hairs are not a sign that you are getting older, but rather a sign of the wonderful life you’ve already been fortunate to live. The smile lines and crow’s feet aren’t ugly wrinkles sprawling across your once-buoyant skin, but proof of all the laughter you’ve shared.

The crooked smile on your face is one of a kind, so don’t despise it. Show it off whenever you can. People will gravitate towards you because of it.

Maybe you think your boobs are too big. Or too small. Or too something. It doesn’t matter. They are just boobs. None are perfect, trust me. Not even the manufactured ones.

And maybe the person you see in the mirror doesn’t look as thin or muscular or young as she did ten years ago. But ten years ago was before your kids, or your awesome desk job, or your amazing husband who can cook a perfect medium steak and potato. If you want to lose the weight, fine, but don’t call yourself names because of the extra pounds. You are still you. And you deserve better.

Learn to embrace every imperfection you have, because they are like pieces of art. You are a piece of art.

And don’t worry so much. Trust me, that sink full of dishes, piling laundry and sticky floor aren’t signs of a dirty house, but instead of a family busy with dance classes, football games, visits to the playground, or maybe just frequent trips to the grocery store.  It’s okay to let it go from time to time. It’s okay to breathe.

Stop worrying about what the neighbors have or what’s on Facebook. That can drag you down further. Instead, focus on yourself and the loved ones around you. They are the only ones who matter. They can heal your heart, whatever happens to be troubling it.

You don’t have to be the perfect chauffer, cheerleader, chef, coach, comedian, daughter, doctor, gardener, mediator, mom, teacher, ventriloquist, veterinarian, and whoever else.

It’s absolutely fine to just be. So just be and see where that gets you.

Despite what society tells us, it’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to scream into your pillow that life isn’t fair. It’s okay to stumble and even to fail. But what isn’t okay is giving up. You can’t throw in the towel over a bad day, week, month, or even year.

Never give up on yourself.

So today when you look in the mirror, straighten your shoulders and love the person staring back at you. You deserve that much.

Remind yourself that you are beautiful and completely worthy. Promise yourself that you’ve got this. Take it one day, one step, one breath at a time, if that’s what you need. You’ll get there in due time.

Trust me, because I believe in you.

Photo courtesy of Jairo Alzate/Unsplash

Advertisements

Bullying SUCKS.

The year was 1993, I was in fifth grade and I’d finally convinced them (you know the ones – they had perfectly poof-y hair, the best bodysuits, gem-colored jeans, the newest sneakers and BOYFRIENDS) that I was cool enough to be part of their group.  I was IN, which took some diligent work on my part because even though I wouldn’t say I came from a poor family, my parents definitely lived paycheck to measly paycheck, sometimes struggling to make ends meet.  They did their best to not let us feel the burden of being broke, but we had better luck getting a unicorn than clothes with labels.  That was difficult to explain while trying to fit in, but somehow I managed.

In any case, it was a cold, rainy day in good old blue-collar Toledo Ohio; a typical spring day in the Midwest.  It was pretty much completely miserable on all levels.  My “friends” and I arrived at school early, so we decided to take a stroll in the frigid, torrential rainstorm for some Jolt Cola at the local In-N-Out, situated across the street.  My brick behemoth of an elementary school was perched on top of a hill (which was lovely on a sunny day, but during rain it was like a slick pig, full of muddy bumps).  Instead of taking the stairs like any halfway intelligent person would have done, we decided to be total idiots and take the shortcut down the hill.  For some reason, I went first and (big surprise) I only got one K-mart sneaker on the hill before losing my footing.  One teensy-weensy tiny step and

DOWN

I

WENT.

I was sliding down a muddy hill wearing my only decent pair of blue jeans.

Crap.

As I was sliding (which felt like a freaking eternity, by the way), I managed to crane my neck to see “them,” my so-called friends.  I reached a pitiful hand out in a lame attempt at some help, but they just stared at me, wide-eyed with smirks painted on their pretty faces.  One laughed, then they were all laughing.  They pointed and giggled, then pointed and giggled some more.  When I finally came to a stop I was a brown, wet mess sitting on the sidewalk.  No one even helped me up.  So, with burning cheeks and an undeniable desire to crawl under the nearest rock, I got to my feet, found the closest set of stairs and went inside the school to call my mom. Rain water sloshed inside my no-label sneakers with each embarrassing step and brown water dripped from my even browner hair.  I hung my shoulders, not daring to glance at them.  I knew that I would officially be OUT and somehow, despite the chain of events, I still thought that mattered.

Bullying is a real problem.  I see it now even with my daughter, who is only six.  We, as parents, need to stop this starting at home.  We have to teach our children that bullying is wrong.  We have to help them learn that it’s important to include peers, and to be themselves, no matter what.

If you’d like more information on bullying, check out the government’s website found here.

 

Photo courtesy of Reza Shayestehpour on Unsplash

Empty Bottle

The wine bottle is half empty,

But it still doesn’t let me

Forget the painful past.

My cup has stayed  full,

As my mind has been pulled

Back to the breath you took last.

So I poor another cup,

As I try to add up

The reasons God took you away.

I’ll keep on drinking,

Until I stop thinking

About that painful day.

My tears just keep falling,

And my life has been stalling.

Tomorrow I’ll get back on track.

But today it still pains me,

That your smile; I can’t see

I only want my mom back.

Random Thought on Music.

Music has a way of bringing me, and probably most people, back to a specific moment, much like the sense of smell. Certain songs take me back to my wedding day or a high school dance with my best friends, and some other songs take me back to completely random moments that were tucked deep away in my memory, almost forgotten.

For the last couple of days I have been missing my mom very much. I’ve been reaching for the phone to call her, just to hear her voice, but then I stop short and realize I can’t. I’ve been wishing for one last bit of motherly advice, one last hug or even, at the very least, one last good laugh with her. Thoughts like this come and go and, even after more than two years, I have bad days.

Yesterday was a particularly crumby day. I was in a strange place, emotionally, and once my daughter was napping and I had nothing to drown out my thoughts, except the pounding rain on the window, my sadness seemed to magnify. It was so quiet in my house without the sound of my daughter’s voice filling the empty space like tiny little bells chiming happily, so I was left feeling very alone.

I turned on the radio, trying to get rid of the noise in my head, while prepping dinner. While I was standing there, browning the beef for my homemade sloppy joe sauce, the song, “I wanna Dance with Somebody,” started playing. Instantly, I was reminded of my mom when she was young, beautiful and vibrant. Whitney Houston’s pitch-perfect voice transported me back to the late 1980’s. I was standing in my little kitchen on Custer Drive in Toledo and my mom was there, at the stove. She was dancing and snapping her fingers while singing off-key into a big, black plastic spoon as she, too, was making dinner. The song was crackling out of her cassette-playing boom-box despite the antenna being stretched up and out as far as it would go.

I looked at her, in awe of her effortless, simple beauty. Her long wavy hair was pulled back into a ponytail that was swinging back and forth as she danced. She had on high-waisted stone-washed jeans and a faded Florida t-shirt. She was happy and carefree.

Back in my kitchen, I could feel a smile tugging at my resistant lips. My mood was lifting, despite the heaviness in my heart. I no longer felt alone, but instead could feel her life and her love all around me. I couldn’t help but to reach for my big wooden spoon to sing along, just like my mom did more than twenty years ago.

I am completely amazed that music can do this; can change a mood instantly, brighten even the darkest of days and conjure up old memories that were once completely forgotten. It is a truly remarkable gift that we shouldn’t take for granted.

Until Next time.

Danielle.