6/9/15 – Vulnerability, Risk and Connection

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“Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism. Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection…I’m inspired by everyone who shares their work and opinions with the world. Courage is contagious. My friend Katherine Center says, ‘You have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.'” – Dr. Brené Brown

The last blog I wrote was a very difficult one for me to write and even more difficult for me to share. I have been thinking about it for YEARS, ever since I started this blog. I think that one of my hopes when I started the blog was to eventually share what I shared on the 4th without being scared of how vulnerable I had to be when I shared it with the interweb world and my network of family and friends. I’m not sure if I thought that day would ever come but it did…and I was immediately changed!

I received a lot of positive feedback from what I wrote and, please let it be known, that every word, share and like was noticed, appreciated, humbling and was felt in my heart and soul. It’s for those words and that feedback that I write. I read a lot on the topics of self-awareness, vulnerability, authenticity, fear and personal growth. Over the years the authors and doctors behind all of the books and journals I have read have taught me that vulnerability is not only necessary for self-growth but that the courage that it takes to be vulnerable is contagious and it is within the fear behind vulnerability that we find our strength and true selves. It’s AMAZING how true that is today after I shared one of my darkest sides last week. I truly feel like a better, stronger and more authentic version of ME and I BELIEVE what I said to myself. I have already begun to change my thoughts, the way I see and speak to myself and my word choices in dialogue with others.

It worked, it really worked, Dr. Brown!!! You were right! “Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.”The connection I felt with hundreds of you after I shared my blog is indescribable and connection is such a beautiful and comforting feeling. To know that there are others out there that share your same stories, struggles, pains and feelings is what keeps many of us going when the going gets tough. We are not alone in this world. We all fight very similar battles and its by putting our wounds and stories out there for all to see that we find that shared connection and reminder that it’s not just us on this roller coaster of life. It can be a beautiful ride and we don’t have to ride it alone.

Thank you to all of you that have let me know that you are in the seats with me. By being brave with my life I have helped some of you to be brave with yours and that’s the reason I LOVE to write. Thank you for making the vulnerability worth it and for being vulnerable enough to say it out loud.

Dr. Brené Brown will be in Nashville in August and I bought my ticket immediately! I can hardly wait to meet the woman that has helped to change my life, that has taught me how to be vulnerable, how to embrace my imperfections and that “authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” Shaking her hand and hearing her speak in person will be a true gift that I’m so excited to receive! If you haven’t read any of her work, start with The Gifts of Imperfection. Consider it a gift to yourself! (Or a gift from me!) 😉

I will end this blog with ONE MORE quote for tonight. It’s one of my absolute favorites:

E.E. Cummings

6/3/15 – We Must Change!

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“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” – Rudyard Kipling

I feel like every time I have posted a blog over the past 2 years I have started it the same, “Man it’s been awhile since I’ve written…”, “I need to get back to blogging consistently…”, “I really miss writing…”.

Well, here I am again, same old song and dance, and all of the above is true! It’s been awhile since I’ve written, I need to get back to blogging consistently and I REALLY miss writing! It’s not that I haven’t been inspired to write, especially seeing that Bailey passed away 6 weeks ago and she was always such an inspiration for me. I’ve wanted to write about her since that sad day on April 14th so bad, I just haven’t been strong enough yet. And there have been many days when quotes have consumed my mind, I just haven’t put them to “paper”.

But today, today I feel like it’s time for me to write. To address a topic that I’ve wanted to talk about for so long. A topic that consumes my mind on a daily basis and a topic that I have carried on my back like a 5oo-lb gorilla for most of my life.

The topic is broad and can probably be broken into a few topics that all tie together:

The Power of Words, The Power of Judgement, Self-Sabotage

Our news is constantly full of stories like how hot Caitlyn Jenner is as a woman, how fat Melissa McCarthy and Kelly Clarkson are, how perfect and beautiful the Duchess of Cambridge is after having her second baby and how Giuliana Rancic is too skinny. Every magazine on the shelf has a new diet to get you “bathing suit ready”, our first comment after seeing a picture of ourselves has to do with how fat or ugly we look and we edit the picture until it doesn’t even look like us and most of us can’t take an honest compliment anymore without cutting ourselves down. I’ve had it, I can’t take it anymore, and I’m GUILTY as well! But I’m DONE!

This will be one of the most vulnerable blog posts I’ve ever written and it’s way over due.

Words

This is so true…words are an addiction! Our society is addicted to words that are killing us all slowly. Words that we use to describe and judge others, words that we use to describe and judge ourselves are drugs that we just can’t put down, no matter how bad we know they are for us and those around us. We use them and use them and use them!

“Fat”

“Ugly”

“Too Skinny”

“Sick”

“Gross”

“Disgusting”

“Gay”

These are the words we use when we talk about others and when we talk about ourselves. We comment on the appearance of other people CONSTANTLY! We are consumed by it, particularly woman. We are AWFUL to each other! We poison one another with these words and they stab like knives. They leave permanent marks on the soul and they carry on in the minds of young girls, boys, men and women like Scarlet Letters, burnt on our skin for years and years.

Why do we do this to one another? Why is acceptance of ourselves and others so hard? Why must we label and judge by physical appearance and sexual orientation? What are we scared of? Why do we spread such hate? Deep down, I know that we all want love and acceptance more than anything else in this world. That’s a characteristic I truly think all humans share at their core, yet we continue to get our next fix on such hateful and powerful words.

Since I was little I’ve been judged by my weight, by the way that I look, the way that I dress. I’ve been called such hurtful names, thinking about them brings tears to my eyes as I type right now at 32 years old. I can remember specific moments from my past and with each memory I feel a pain in my chest and a lump in my throat. Why? Because these words were SO powerful! They HURT then and they still HURT now! I will never forget them and how they made me feel and continue to make me feel. I’m a grown woman, I know that I “know better” and that I need to “be bigger than that”, but it’s not that simple. As I grew up I began to define myself like everyone else did. I was fat, I was disgusting and I was ashamed of myself. Every day my mind is consumed by my size and my appearance. I can’t remember a time when I have truly been comfortable in my own skin since about the age of 12. It was around that time that I began to talk to myself like kids did around me….and I was listening.

Be Careful

Not only was I listening I was self-sabotaging myself. I hated myself and I was inferior. Now, at age 32, I’m in a relationship with someone who thinks I’m the most beautiful person in this world and I STILL can’t take a compliment from him. HOW ANNOYING!!! I’m over it! I’m over the tears, I’m over hating myself, I’m over all of the tabloids, the news, the judgements, the hate, the poisonous words! I’m DONE!!! I’m sick of not being comfortable in my own skin and I’m sick of being defined by a society by my waist size and my figure. I’m sick and tired of it dragging me down EVERY day!

This is going to take a lot of time because I’m addicted to this drug. I’m addicted to the words, the thoughts, the constant fear of the thoughts of others. But I have to train my mind.  I don’t want to discuss “How much weight ‘he’ or ‘she’ has gained” or “How much weight’he’ or ‘she’ has lost” or “How good or bad ‘he’ or ‘she’ looks”. These conversations just make me feel worse and worse about ME. It hurts! I have to change the way I’m living this life because over a third of it is over and I can’t carry this 500-lb gorilla on my back anymore.

NO ONE CAN. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO. WE MUST CHANGE!

We truly are good enough just the way we are.

So, Caitlyn Jenner, you are a woman. Whether you are some people’s definition of physical beauty or not, you are who you are and hopefully finally comfortable in your own skin, and that’s what matters. I hope that so many out there can find comfort in your journey. Melissa McCarthy and Kelly Clarkson, you are 2 talented women and I commend you for your success and strength in such an angry and judging world. Duchess, you are a mother of 2 and a wife to the Duke of Cambridge and you seem to have such a beautiful soul, I’m sure Princess Di would be so proud, and Giuliana Rancic, you have faced personal battles many of us will never understand and have been successful in your career. You are a wonderful role model for young women in this country. To the young kid or even the oldest adult that is reading this right now, you ARE enough and you ARE beautiful the way you are.

And, last but not least, Lauren LaViola, you are a kind and successful woman who loves with a big heart, who is stubborn as a mule and who deserves a life of happiness, free of judgement. You ARE “bathing suit ready” right now, today at over 200lbs and a size 16, yesterday, and always! Your character is not defined by your weight or your external appearance and you too must change the words you use. You must stop judging others solely because you are actually, deep down, just judging yourself. You must change!

We all must change! We are bigger and better than this and we are capable of so much more! There are so many more important things to focus on in this world.

We must LOVE!

2/18/15 – Own Your Shit

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Elizabeth Gilbert shared this today on Facebook and I felt it re-share/blog worthy! Enjoy! And thanks to Liz as always!

“OWN YOUR SHIT”

“Dear Ones –

Oh how I love this drawing, sent to me last week by a friend of this page who knows me so very well, and who thought I would like it.

Hell yes, I do like it!

The artist is a woman named Carrie Hilgert, Artist . From what I understand, the character shown here is somebody named Myrtle, who, in the words of her creator, “doesn’t give two fucks.”

I love this character. I love Myrtle’s posture, her attitude, her self-assurance. “What Would Myrtle Do?” is perhaps not such a bad question upon which to base your life

One thing I can tell you about Myrtle? SHE OWNS HER SHIT.

You guys, for serious, it’s very important that you learn how to own your shit. At some point in your life, you really have to get honest about the weirdest and most damaged and most broken parts of your existence, and take responsibility for it all…lovingly, but unblinkingly.

Or, as Iyanla Vanzant puts it: “I know my crazy. Do you know your crazy?”

You gotta know your own crazy. Can’t own your shit without knowing your crazy.

For many years, I didn’t own my shit because I didn’t KNOW my shit. If you don’t know your shit, people, then that shit will control you and make your life into Crazy Town. Until you own your shit, all you do is make excuses for the madness that is always surrounding you, while throwing blame around like confetti.

By this point in my life, though, I know the worst of me. I know the triggers that make me into a temporarily insane person. I know my vulnerabilities and my pride. I know the stuff that makes me want to deceive, and the stuff that makes me vindictive, and the stuff that makes me insecure, and the stuff that makes me just flat-out mean and ugly. And I definitely know all my demons by their first names.

This is what therapy does — helps you to learn your shit, inside and out. This is what meditation is for. This is what recovery is for. This is what reconciling the contradictions of your life is for. This is what radical honesty is for. This is what the courage of truthful introspection is for.

Owning your shit begins to happen the moment you finally recognize that the common denominator in all your biggest problems is YOU.

Not them: YOU.

It’s a beautiful, humbling, necessary realization. It’s an education. It’s painful. It’s the beginning of adulthood. It’s pretty much the definition of maturity.

And then you take a deep breath and say, “OK, I admit it. It’s me. That’s my crazy shit. I own it. Now what?”

Then, the work begins.

You might or might not be able to change it, but at least you gotta own it.

That doesn’t mean abusing yourself: it just means taking accountability. Own your shit with love and perspective and self-compassion…but definitely own it.

Don’t worry if other people are owning their shit or not. That isn’t your problem. Just own yours. Keep your side of the street clean and honest, and rest of it is none of your business.

Just be honest and real. Like Myrtle. Who I freaking love.

Please do check out Carrie’s blog, too, where, JOY OF JOYS, you can order this as a t-shirt:

http://carriehilgert.com/2015/02/15/meet-myrtle/

Thank you, Carrie, for this fabulous creation!

Thank you, Myrtle, for being awesome.

ONWARD!

LG”

1/29/15 – Cheers, Parenthood!

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“Do you know what I told my kids every day of their lives? I mean, all four of them, whether I was angry or frustrated or sad or whatever, I… You know what I told them every day? ‘I love you.’ I wanted it to be clear to them, that’s why I told them.” – Zeek Braverman, “Parenthood”

March 2010, six months after the passing of my father, the show “Parenthood” premiered its pilot episode. During a time of my life when I have never felt so lost or so scared, this show became a place of comfort. Watching the raw inner workings of this relatable television family I found somewhere I could go every week and cry. An hour a week when I was allowed to cry and blame it on something else. An hour a week when I didn’t always cry because of what they were going through, rather I cried with them and let out my own tears that I fought to hold in from everyone around me, trying to hide my pain out of fear that I would seem weak. To many of you that will make sense. To many of you this may seem like the wrong way to grieve. But what I learned is that the word grief has no definition and no boundaries. Ever since that night in March, 2010 I have been one of the many that fell in love with the show and became a member of the Braverman family.

The ups and downs that this family has gone through over its six seasons on the air have been so real to me. I’m going to miss my Thursday nights with the Bravermans. I have to say that I’m going to grieve this loss like any other loss in my life. That may seem super cheesy to a lot of people but it’s hard to explain how many parts of this show have paralleled my own life. It has truly found its own special place in my heart.

So here I sit tonight, with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and a box of tissues, ready to say goodbye to a BEAUTIFUL show that has taught me so much and helped me through more than I can put into words. As Zeek taught us above, tell people you love them EVERY DAY. Make that very clear.

Cheers, “Parenthood”! Thanks for the unconditional support, for being a “friend” to turn to that wouldn’t judge me and for all of the tears over the years. I’m not sure I would have gotten “it” all out without you!

1/12/15 – Our children teach us what life is all about

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“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” – Angela Schwindt

Four years ago today I became an aunt. Not an aunt by blood but an #AuntByChoice. This is a title that I am very proud and honored to carry. Since that day my list of “nieces” and “nephews” has continued to grow and with it so has my heart. I don’t love any one of them more than another but I can say that Jackson Blaine McGee, being the first born, opened a part of my heart I never knew existed and gave me the title #AuntieLaLa.

Blaine, I hope that one day I can successfully articulate to you in a way that you understand how much your sweet voice, heart and smile mean to me. You have made so many dark days, bright and you continue to make me prouder and prouder as the days go by. You are so kind and so full of light and love and I am so excited to continue to watch you grow. Oh the places you will go! Happy Birthday, my smurf! Thank you for making me an “Aunt” and for teaching me what life is all about. I think that you are quite possibly the true love of my life! (And I was just kidding yesterday, I know that today isn’t your mom’s birthday, or your dad’s, or Lilly’s…today belongs to you! Oh, and your Aunt Melissa!)

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10/19/14 – I wanna know it in my bones

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“It’s not enough for me to just hear about something or read about something, I wanna know it in my bones.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Super Soul Sunday

This quote really resonates with me. I can’t tell you how many times a day I Google something I hear or read about in order to know more. I want to know more about everything that I can because I truly want to “know it in my bones”. Elizabeth Gilbert never ceases to speak to me in such a beautiful way.

I’ve been saying since Oprah started “Super Soul Sunday” on the OWN Network that EVERYONE should tune in! Even if you can’t tune in every Sunday morning, you should DVR it like I do. I try as hard as I can to do it every Sunday but my schedule doesn’t always allow this. But when I do, I’m at CHURCH…it’s my time of worship. Elizabeth Gilbert (ironically who was also on one of the episodes I watched today and also the author of today’s quote) says that we should have our own rituals and ceremonies, no matter how big or small. Well “Super Soul Sunday” watching time is just that for me.

My “Super Soul Sunday” Ritual:

– Usually always a Sunday morning

– Hot cup of coffee or tea

– Sitting in my same big, comfy, brown chair

– A notebook and pen set on my lap pillow desk ready to go

I don’t just watch my Sunday SSS service, I am actively involved. I pause when I hear something that strikes me and awakens my mind and/or my soul, rewind to the beginning of what was said, and make sure that I transcribe it word for word how Oprah or her guest said it. Then I take a moment with it, let it sink in, relate it to my own life, and then press play again. I talk aloud during the service a lot. It doesn’t matter that they can’t hear me or respond because I already know that they relate to me as do the thousands of other viewers. It just helps me to vocalize my A-Ha moments, it makes them more impactful for me. There isn’t a time constraint on how long it takes me to get through an episode, I’m not on a clock. Sometimes a one hour episode can take me two hours to get through because I pause, write and reflect so much.

SSS is so enlightening for me and always puts my mind and soul at peace. I have been very stressed lately and very anxious and this mornings 3 episodes were just what I needed. It was an extra big surprise that two of the episodes I had saved were Elizabeth Gilbert, author of my favorite book “Eat, Pray, Love”. The other was Ali MacGraw. I filled 5 pages in my Oprah Lifeclass journal this morning with what I took in from their conversation. For those of you that missed it 😉 I have shared some of what I learned this morning and some of the questions it left me with to answer below:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

 “What am I here to do with my life?” – EG

“Sometimes you have to shape the quest to the reality of your life.” – EG

“There are 3 kinds of women in this world. There are women that are born to be mothers, there are women that are born to be aunties and there are women that shouldn’t be allowed to be within 10ft of a child…You have to figure out which category you should be in and obey that longing. Being a mother is hard enough of a job when you love it.” – EG

“Marriage isn’t just a wedding, it’s all the stuff that comes after it.” – EG

“Turn suffering into grade or it’s just wasted pain.” – EG

When hard things happen in your life ask yourself, “What is this here to teach me? What did I do to make this happen? What was my part in this?”

No matter what I’m gonna be alright.

“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live a perfect imitation of somebody’s else’s life.” – Bhagavad Gita

There is no happiness without self accountability.

The only weakness to be had is waiting for someone to change your life for you.

“I’m in charge of this soul that was given to me to take care of and I accept 100% accountability for this soul!” – EG

I HIGHLY recommend joining my “service”. My whole life I have had others asking me to follow their religion, give it a shot and to attend their services, and I have. I’m very open-minded and non-judgmental and respect any and all religions and spiritual views. We all have the right to believe whatever we wish and our hearts truly believe in this life. I’ve kept a lot of my views about spirituality, “God” and religion to myself for so long out of fear of judgement and others not understanding my views. I guess this is my turn to ask the same in return that’s been asked of me. Give it a shot! By no means am I asking you to change your religion, that’s silly and I don’t believe in that 😉 Maybe I’m just trying to give many of those in my life a glimpse of how my mind works, what I believe and  how I view my world and spiritual journey. Each episode truly awakes my spiritual being and sheds so much light on this life I was given, shaping my view of the unknown in this world!

10/17/14 – Happy 3 Years, Blog!

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Today marks the 3rd Anniversary of “A Day in My Quote Book”. It’s sort of crazy to think that I started this three years ago. I can’t say that I’ve been as consistently committed to it as I had hoped I would be but, then again, I’m not sure I had a goal for this blog at all. I just knew I wanted to write and I wanted to share that writing with others in hopes that people could find solace and comfort in the shared feelings and ideas of others. That being said, just ONE comment on a post would have been enough. I’m ecstatic to report that in 3 years I have had 265 blog entries, viewed  a total of 38,581 times by people from 155 countries, all the way from Burkina Faso to Mozambique to Serbia to Qatar to China to Cyprus. I’m not sure I can even put into words how awesome it feels to know that I have “connected” with that many people from all over this world! Sure, website statistics for other pages trump this by billions even trillions, but I don’t care. I set out to connect with one other person across this vast planet we live on and it’s beyond humbling.

Now that I’ve gotten that our of my system I suppose I need to share a quote. The pressure of this today has been a lot. I felt like I needed to bring my A game. But that’s not how I write. I have to be inspired by recent life events, I don’t pick quotes at random. So after a long day that ended a long week, I had to dig deep to find a quote that did my soul justice…

 

“After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box.” – Italian Proverb

I was going to pick a quote that expressed my emotional state lately, but that was too deep for tonight. I was going to pick a quote that touched on love or that was about friendship, but for some reason this quote jumped out at me on SO many levels.

I could sit here and type out how it relates to my Leadership Program in my Grad School class and how I think it speaks to my personal leadership theory; I could sit here and type about how I think that our class system in this country is disproportionate; I could sit here and type about equality ; I could sit here and type about power struggles and fear and bullying…but I think I will let you do that on your own based on those prompts. What does it mean to you? How does it make you feel? How will you view the world tomorrow differently based on the answer to both of those questions?

Such a short and simple proverb with such a DEEP meaning! It sort of makes you wanna check your ego at the door, huh? 😉

For those of you that have followed me since the beginning, THANK YOU! For any of you that have given just one post of mine a chance, it means the world. I write for me but I hope that something that I have said has helped you at some point over the last 3 years and I continue to keep on writing. I’m not sure how often I just know that I won’t stop, and that’s the only rule I’m allowing myself to follow on this journey through my Quote Book.