What would you tell a younger you?

cafe con leche 2

I still remember the first time I heard pop singer Pink’s song, “Conversations with my thirteen year old self.” At the time, I thought how utterly wonderful it would be to regress in time and warn a younger me of all that lay ahead, to insist I do certain things, to behave or not behave in a particular way.

Yes, life would be easier if we knew what lay ahead, if we knew which decisions would result in hardships and struggles. Yet even while this is not possible, I still find it useful to contemplate how I would be better prepared to steer the course of my life if I knew what lay ahead. I find it’s still therapeutic to think of the things I’ve done and shouldn’t have or the things I didn’t do and should have done. Because even though I cannot change the events that have taken place in my life, I can still identify lessons learned.

I pondered this as I drank my second cup of cafe con leche this morning. As I sat, soaking up the early morning sun at an outdoor cafe, I overheard an angry exchange between a mother and an adolescent girl over her appearance. While the mother desperately tried to convince her child that she looked fine in her swim suit, the girl insisted that she would not take her shirt off at the beach and “expose the public to her fat rolls.”

As I listened to her words, I regressed in time. I easily retrieved a mental picture of myself at thirteen. I remembered how difficult it was to feel good about myself, how I struggled to accept myself. At the time, the opinion of others mattered so much. My decisions revolved around what others thought, said, or demanded. The media ruled how I felt about my body, my person, my self. Comments from friends and family dictated my mood and self worth. Magazines told me what I should wear, weigh, and eat. It was excruciatingly difficult to know who I was, to become acquainted with the real me with so many voices telling me who I should be, what I should do, and how I should act.

Yes, life would have been so much simpler if I had been able to warn myself that the opinions of others would not define me, that it wouldn’t be necessary to seek validation, acceptance or approval. That I and I alone would determine my worth and what others thought of me would not serve as a compass in my journey of self discovery.

If I could go back in time, I would tell my thirteen year old self that physicality alone should not define my essence. That I am so much more than a face, a body, a size. I would insist I follow my heart but only after weighing the consequences of my actions. I would affirm that while dreaming allows me to envision possibilities, realism provides the wisdom to know when to walk away and when to scrap what doesn’t work and start fresh.

I would encourage a younger me to not expend energy on other people’s problems, to stay away from toxic folk, and abstain from meeting the expectations of others. Given the possibility to regress in time, I would shake the adolescent me, hard, and say that no matter what anyone says, I am destined to become a phenomenal woman.

Sisters, today when you look in the mirror or catch a glimpse of your reflection, smile at yourself and say, I am beautiful. I am unique. There is no one else like me.

Because it is every woman’s destiny to breathe, feel, and experience joy. But alas, this is only possible when we believe in ourselves, when we believe we have what it takes to do whatever we want to do.

Let us learn to love ourselves unconditionally and without reserve.

Watching the tears trickling down that angry teen’s face this morning, I was reminded of how easy it is to hold ourselves hostage, to deprive ourselves of feeling joy, to sabotage our right to be happy.

And while it may not be possible to warn our thirteen year old self, we can still move forward, secure in the knowledge that we are phenomenal women.

Each and every one of us.

Yes, ladies, we are phenomenal women meant to shake our hips without reserve, hold our heads high, and laugh heartily with every step we take.

What would you tell your thirteen year old self?

Should I label this post a disclaimer?

My last post, “Return of the Speedo?” elicited mixed reactions from readers.

Most of you manifested fear at the thought of encountering a Speedo on the beach, while others admitted you’d have a hard time containing your mirth.

Most of you agreed that the Speedo is a fashion faux pas, and a few protested that men have the same rights as women to wear whatever they please, regardless of how comical it might appear to women.

And ladies, I agree.

After all, I can’t claim to be a feminist and then assume a sexist attitude; especially when my next post has to do with a woman’s right to strut her stuff in a two-piece.

That said, I want to clarify that my posts are almost always written in a humorous vein.

I like to think of this blog as a place where readers come to get their “giggle fix.”

The Speedo post was not intended to deny men’s rights to wear Speedos, but instead, to take a humorous jab at men who insist on wearing this underwear-type garment in public.

Nonetheless, even I have to admit that it takes great self-assuredness to wear one.

Hence, these men’s self confidence is much to be admired.

The self confidence, that is.
Not the swim trunks.

The way I see it, you’re free to wear what you like, but you’d better have the right attitude to back up your choice of wardrobe.

As for the sisters who went up in arms voicing their support for our male counterparts, kudos to you for expressing your opinion.

However, given I’ve yet to see a man taking a stand to defend a woman’s right to wear a bikini, you’ll have to pardon me for not joining your team Speedo defense.

And so, I’d like to put the Speedo controversy to rest, and reiterate that this here humble blog is a wee place where sisters come for a laugh; where we join in the rant, and where the majority of the time, posts or readers’ comments produce a “Sing it, sister!”

I like to think that we join in solidarity for that which makes us laugh as well as that which we believe to be an injustice.

I like to believe this is a place where the sisterhood has respite from work, chores, spouses, pets, children, and anything in between.

I like to think that, for the five minutes it takes you to read a post, the only hat you have on is your “sister” hat.

After all, we owe it to ourselves to indulge in a little lightness of mood, a small bit of naughtiness, and a large bit of laughter.

I’m just sayin’.

Oh, and to all the Speedo-wearing men, I repeat, wear a Speedo if you must.

Just know the majority of us women will be laughing our asses off.

Any thoughts on the matter, ladies?

Vintage Saturday

cc licensed flickr photo shared by DBR9007

Can every day be a good day?

I’ve always considered myself to have pretty high self esteem. Of course there are those “bad hair days”, and those “fugly days” and the worse of the lot, those “hippo days”. Fortunately, those days are far and few between.

However, why isn’t it a surprise that just when you’re feeling on top of the world something happens to kick you back to one of the aforementioned statuses?

That “something” would happen to be finding yourself in line sandwiched between Ms. Vogue and Ms. Elle. Flowing tresses completely absent of split ends, perfectly manicured and pedicured feet, makeup fit for any Hollywood star and legs that don’t stop.

Any shred of self-esteem you may have had before you got in line has shamefully exited the building. The only thing you’re left with is a very severe inner critic who seems hell bent on reminding you that somewhere in a village an oompa loompa has gone missing.

You catch a glimpse of yourself in the reflection of the cashier’s glasses and you see flyaways, frizz and, is that a feather?

You look down at your fingernails and wonder where they have gone.

Sadly, you’re not brave enough to look down at your feet because you can’t even remember the last time a pumice stone came within a ten-mile radius.

And the makeup? Does pinching your cheeks for a minute and biting your lips before you came into the store count?

You pay for your items and do the walk of shame to the car.

As you sit at the driver’s seat, you wonder if there is a pygmy village somewhere in Central Africa that would welcome you with open arms.

In the meantime, Ms. Vogue and Ms. Elle are making their way to the parking lot. You glance at them in their perfect outfits, with their perfect hair, drinking their perfect Skinny Vanilla Lattes and that’s when you see it.

You quickly put your keys in your ignition, glance at your rear view mirror to make sure it’s clear, put your car in reverse and wait. They’re almost where you want them.

You put your car in drive as they get closer. Just a few more steps.

You take your foot off the brake and head for it.

It’s perfect and it’s waiting. Waiting, just waiting. The minute they walk next to it, you floor it.

Dirty water spurts everywhere. Screams are heard. Bags are dropped. Cursing ensues.

As you drive off, you once again look in the mirror and witness the macabre scene.

Ms. Elle and Ms. Vogue giving you the finger as they run after your vehicle.

No more flowing locks of hair. No more perfect makeup. No more gorgeous outfits.

Just two crazed looking women running behind your car drenched in muddy water.

Because while Mother Nature doesn’t always give us looks to die for, now and then she bequeaths us with the perfect puddle.