Mama, am I beautiful?

Alice through the looking mirror

I never leave the house without my trusted little notebook. No fancy apps for me, thank you very much. I like it old school when it comes to jotting down thoughts, ideas, and lists. I carry the little notebook everywhere because I never know when I’m going to be inspired by something I see, smell, taste, touch, or hear. But I digress.

This morning, whilst standing in a line at the supermarket, I found myself digging through my purse. My fingers swiftly searching for its weathered spine and bent corners. I say swiftly because inspiration is a fickle lady who arrives unexpectedly in the unlikeliest of places and dances out as quickly as she dances in. The scene in front of me continued to unfold.

“Mama, am I beautiful?” asked the girl for the second time. Irritated, the mother replied, “Stop being so vain and hand me the milk.” I swiftly jotted down an idea for a post.

Stop being so vain.
Four words that regress me in time. I am 14 years old and standing in front of a mirror, silently contemplating my reflection.

“Bella, stop being so vain and finish your chores,” I hear my grandmother say.
“Don’t waste your time, mamá,” replies my mother. “Bella will learn soon enough that God punishes vanity.”

“Ma’am, are you ready to pay for your items?” The cashier’s question brings me out of my reverie. Walking home, all I can think about is why the mother thought her daughter’s question was prompted by vanity.

On the one hand, I admit there is such a thing as a narcissistic personality. After all, we’ve all come across individuals so conceited, they believe themselves to be better than others. On the other hand, I wonder if there is anything wrong with thinking one is beautiful.

I am beautiful.
Something I think all women should say to themselves every day.

Are these words spoken in vanity or are they an affirmation of self love?

Had nana been right in thinking I was vain for looking in the mirror, or was it acceptable for me to be mesmerized by the reflection that stared back at me and whispered, “You are perfect just the way you are”?

Does a woman suffer from a Narcissus complex when she chants the words, “I am beautiful,” or do these simply reaffirm her self worth?

Was my mother right in thinking vanity is a sin or am I right in believing pride in one’s appearance is a sign of healthy self esteem?

My mind wanders back to the young girl and her question. Had she asked me, my answer would have been, “Yes, yes you are.”

While vanity may reside in many who are fixated with their physical appearance, I find that in moderation, it can also help us believe in ourselves and our abilities. In other words, vanity can be used as a means for self love and acceptance.

In a world where society, culture, and the media dictate the standards of beauty, I’m under the impression vanity may be the only tool we have left to battle false ideals. After all, who better to tell us we’re beautiful than ourselves?

What’s your take on vanity?

XOXO,

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Have you missed me?

diary writing

I want to think that I’ve been missed. I want to suppose someone has wondered why I haven’t posted in a while. I need to believe someone, anyone, has asked himself or herself where I am.

The truth is, I’ve been held hostage. Or more accurately, I’ve held myself hostage. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this. Readers who follow my blog can attest to the fact that my going AWAL has become rather habitual; that my rants have become fewer and far between.

But like I said, I’ve been in self imposed captivity.

How? In thinking the only time I can write is when circumstances are right; when all my ducks are in a row; when everything else has been handled. Only then, can I set my imagination free so as to give birth to creativity.

However, I’ve come to realize that I am never going to have enough time. My ducks are never going to be aligned and something will always have to be handled.

That’s life; the way things are. It is not going to change.

So after much pondering, I’ve concluded that if I don’t take action, this blog is going to die. My virtual friends are going to disappear, and if I wait longer, no one is going to wonder where I’ve gone.

Some time ago, I read the following phrase: “A true writer is unable to stop writing. For a true writer, it is easier to stop breathing than to stop writing.” Don’t ask me where I read that. I’m afraid I don’t remember. Nevertheless, the message stayed with me.

I thought of those words today, and while I agree there are times writers are unable to stop writing, I disagree that only those capable of doing so are true writers.

Which leads me to ask myself, am I truly a writer?

This question is what prompted me to think about what direction this blog should take; before it dies; before you forget about me.

And I’ve decided that more than a writer, I am a communicator. It is vital to my existence for me to communicate; to share with others what touches my life. As such, no longer will I wait for the perfect time to crank out what I believe to be a writing piece worth reading. Instead, I am going to communicate more.

At times, it might only be through a photo of something that caught my eye. Or an anecdote of someone or something that infuriated, impressed, or shocked me. Other times, it might simply be a haiku.

I truly hope you will continue to accompany me on this journey. I promise to try and make it an interesting one.

Who calls shotgun?

XOXO,

Don’t you think you deserve it?

Happy New Year!
Image by Evan Leeson

A close friend called last night to tell me her divorce had been finalized.

Twenty three years of hardships and struggles had finally come to an end.

“I guess now I can tick the box that says single on my tax return” she said through her tears.

Hearing her sob on the other end, I felt confused.

During the two years it had taken for her divorce to become final, I had heard her talk about how unhappy she was, of how she felt like a prisoner in her home, how she wished she could break free.

Yet the day had arrived and she had welcomed it sobbing.

“What will I do now?” she wailed. “I feel utterly incomplete.”

For once, I was at a loss for words.

Should I tell her to host a party to declare her new state of independence, or should I voice the old adage of “This too shall pass”?

I did neither.

Instead, I listened to her fears of starting over, of finding her place in the world, of joining the ranks of single mothers who struggle to raise their children.

And when she was done, I simply said:

You’ve been given the chance to do something many women wish they could do but don’t.

You’ve been given the chance to start over.

To live your life the way it was meant to be lived.

Without restrictions.
Without disapproval.
Without someone policing your every move.

You deserve to be loved unconditionally, without having to act, be, or look a certain way.

You deserve to be appreciated, respected, admired.

You deserve someone who truly listens, and cares about what you have to say.

You deserve someone who doesn’t chastise you, tears you down, or reduces you to a state of invisibility.

You deserve someone who values your independence and encourages you to soar.

Someone who supports you, motivates you, and desires you.
Someone who thinks you’re perfect just the way you are.

Yes, my friend, you’ve been given the chance to reacquaint yourself with the old you.

The chance to leave behind the excess baggage that has held you down for so long.

The chance to resurrect the woman you were before, or reinvent a brand new you.

The chance to meet new people or reconnect with old friends.

The chance to process lessons learned and plan new adventures.

You are free.
Your life is just beginning

I thought long and hard whether to publish this post today and not one I had written on New Year’s resolutions.

Yet it’s today’s date which makes this post all that more significant.

A New Year–a new beginning.

Tabula rasa.
A clean slate.
A chance to rewind, fast forward, hit play.

This post goes out to anyone who is unhappy but unsure of what to do.

As you ring in the New Year, remember, you deserve to come out of the shadows and into the light.

You deserve to be all you were meant to be.

Happy New Year!

XOXO,