In February I had given myself the task to read inspirational books for the month. Ones that would possibly make me understand things a little clearer and to have an open mind towards things in life. As of late, I have been feeling empty. Unmotivated more than anything. I felt as if my life had come to a complete halt and I was lost beyond measure. Ringing in this year I told myself that this was going to be my year. This was where everything I had worked so hard for was finally going to pay off. It was going to be a joyous one, I felt it, because everything leading up to it was slowly coming together. Until a few weeks in when everything that I had worked so hard for actually started crumbling before me. To say a disaster would be an understatement, but it was. Perfect happiness, the one that leaves you smiling in your sleep, really can be gone in a matter of seconds. I’ve learned that now, but like so many times before, I had to keep reminding myself that this was only a small bump to what could possibly lie ahead. It may take a few shitty years, but we’ll learn to find our way eventually and once we do, we’ll realize that our previous experience of what seemed to be perfect, was in fact not.
My inspirational reads for the month were:
- Year of Yes – Shonda Rhimes
- Wildflower – Drew Barrymore
The love I have for these two inspirational women simply cannot be expressed through words. They shared their stories, stories that all single, independent, and flawless women can relate to. When I thought I had finally hit a wall, it were these women who made me think differently. They taught me to love myself and that sometimes it takes a lot of work, not to mention courage, to be in a place of content.
These are their stories.
Part One: Year of Yes
There is one rule.
The rule is: there are no rules.
Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be. Be your own narrator.
And go for a happy ending.
After reading the Year of Yes, it was this rule, her rule, that made me realize of the simple things we take for granted in our daily lives. The things we overlook or don’t think enough about. It was this book that has taught me to say yes to my body, my mind, my accomplishments, my failures….my life. She has helped me define what it is to be my own person and to always love myself regardless of what others say or think. It only matters what you do.
Growing up though I was one that never had an issue trying to be my own person. I loved being unique and standing outside of the ordinary. To others I was always known as the quirky, humorous, fashion risk taker individual. Essentially I was the family weirdo who didn’t give a shit, but it were these characteristics that I found had defined me more as a person than anything else. It was trying to love myself, physically, that was the issue. I thought defining myself as an individual would help to understand this, but it never did. Regardless of what others would say about my physical characteristics, I still saw them as flaws and more. My non-existent chest, my nose, my spider veins, my hips (birthing as some would point out), my moles, my chin…… everything to me was a flaw. I saw them as such because as a child they were seen as flaws to others. I was bullied a lot growing up over the way I looked and it was always for the same thing.
You have weird teeth
What’s that thing growing on the side of your face? It’s gross.
You have a man voice.
Your sister is really pretty you know that? She’s beautiful!
Okay so that last one wasn’t so much as a jab towards me, but I always saw it as one because that sort of compliment was never given to me. I heard it more often than not and I hated it. I saw myself as someone who didn’t exist in the world and was seen to others as a robot. I wish I could say that it had bothered me more than anything, but it didn’t. It was the what’s that thing growing on the side of your face trait that did. For years as a child growing up I always begged my parents to have me get it removed. My mom’s answer was always the same to me, no. When I would always ask why, she would proceed to tell me that it was this little characteristic that made me stand out from the rest. She knew it always bothered me, but said one day I’ll learn to love it. I never wanted to believe her, pointing out that it was a mole not a friggen beauty mark. She was right though. She taught me not to define what it was, but what I wanted it to be.
If you want it to be a beauty mark, tell others that it’s a beauty mark than. Who cares.
Now to this day if anyone finds the need to ask me what it is I have “growing” on the side of my face, I’ll proceed to tell them it’s a beauty mark. I know that they know what it is, but people can just be mean sometimes and want to actually hear you say the word “mole”. Well bite me. They’ll never correct me though. They’ll just proceed to give me the look that reads “if you say so…”. Kids on the other hand will inform me of this, stating that what I have is in fact not a beauty mark, but a disease. They’ll proceed to tell me that their mommies have taught them that beauty marks are what makes someone beautiful. I apparently did not fit under that category.
YEAH WELL YOUR MOTHER DOESN’T EVEN LOVE YOU!
No I have never said that to a child. Our conversation usually ended with them asking if it’s okay to touch it as their fingers slowly stretched out towards it like E.T. You can’t blame them, I never did. Their kids. Who cares.
In any case, after many years of defining, I realized that these flaws I have actually define who I am. I am ordinary. I am beautiful. I am me. It wasn’t until recently, when I felt that my life had come to a complete halt, that I was falling down the hole of not loving myself again. Reading the Year of Yes changed that.
Shonda in her book made a point, a realization for me, how some of us find it hard to accept compliments from others. It is always us who are caught lowering our head and uttering no no no when one is given. Refusing to acknowledge such a thing and shuffling away before more damage can be done. That right there cannot describe me enough. That is 100% me. Always.
I can never, for as long as I can remember, accept a compliment to save my life. It has always left me thinking the other person was being way too modest, not understanding why they’d think like that.
“You have such gorgeous eyes” – I have a massive nose though!
“I’d kill to have your body” – I have a buddha belly! Want to see!?” *proceeds to fold over*
“You’re beautiful” – No I’m not, you should see my sisters. I’m a troll compared to them!
I blame the bullies as a child for making me have such thoughts. It has always been so hard for me to accept a compliment and it’s horrible! I never really gave it much thought, until reading this book, that no one is obligated to compliment you. They do it out of kindness. They do it because they want to. Dismissing one’s compliment is an insult. You’re simply telling them that they’re wrong. You are questioning their judgement and taste.
To those I have insulted, I apologize. I have learned to shut up and to simply just say thank-you. Thank you, smile, shut up. That is all.
Shonda didn’t only teach me this, oh no. God no. Do you know the women? She’s a rockstar. She knows how to make a women feel more beautiful in their skin, but just so I don’t continue to bore you with further explanations of each lesson learned, I had condensed it in a list for you.
- DITCH THE DREAM. BE A DOER, NOT A DREAMER: Just keep moving forward. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring, and dreams are not real. Just…DO.
- No food is off-limits. Eat anything, as long as you eat in portions. Only eat what you crave.
- Be badassery: 1. (noun) accepting one’s own accomplishments; 2. loving oneself; 3. not giving a crap about what others think.
- Stand like Wonder Women. Feel like Wonder Women. Be Wonder Women.
- People like being around whole, healthy, happy people.
- Your friends are the real deal. Thier your tribe. They do not tell you to be braver, faster, stronger. They tell you that you are.
- Say YES to dancing it out. Always.
- Be Happy.
- Be Worth It.
- Love Yourself
Here is to many yes’s & to feeling beautiful!