I’m Sexy And I Know It

I’m a big believer in the art of the compliment – I know how great I feel when someone pays me a compliment, and I try to pass that feeling forward as much as possible. I don’t just over-compliment willy-nilly all over the place, because that sounds so fake and I loathe fake-ness with all my heart. I know people who compliment the ever-loving hooey out of me – it was nice to start with, but now when it keeps going on and on, it just sounds so insincere. Ick.

Take a compliment

I am also fascinated by the phenomenon of those who rarely or never pay compliments to people…I find that equally weird. I don’t know if it just doesn’t occur to them, or if nothing ever pleases them – I can’t work it out. Case in point: I see someone, tell them how nice they look and compliment something they are wearing…and I’m met with silence. I show up in a new frock, excited because I think I’m mildly cute – and again. Nothing. This strikes me as weird behavior – but now, as I read over what I’ve written, I think I’m probably being Goldilocks…never happy. Is that correct? Am I being higher maintenance than usual? I probably am. I really need to work on that. I know that I can be difficult, demanding, needy, and an attention sponge, but…surely it can’t be wrong to expect to hear nice things from time to time?

What is the right amount of complimenting? Don’t you think it should be natural, organic, and come from a place of authenticity and genuine appreciation? Me too. I did a bit of online research about compliments, and came across this little gem:

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

-Mark Twain

The 12 Characteristics Of Effective Compliments

1. Be Genuine
Above all else, a truly effective compliment is a genuine one. Only praise someone if you think they actually deserve it. People can tell when you are being genuine, and they appreciate it. Conversely, there are few things more agitating than to receive a dishonest compliment.

A part of being genuine is not using hyperbole. In other words, don’t exaggerate.

Bad: “This is the best green bean casserole I’ve ever eaten!”

Good: “You cook a delicious casserole. I really enjoyed it!”

A genuine compliment is not given with the expectation of getting anything in return. You are simply saying what needs to be said at that moment.

Bad: “Nice shoes, wanna shag?”

Good: “Those shoes look great on you! Where did you get them?”

2. Be Specific
As a master complimenter, you must pay attention to detail. Giving a general compliment isn’t always a bad thing, but being specific is always better. A general piece of praise just doesn’t mean as much to anyone as a more detailed one. By pointing out a specific aspect of another person, it shows that you have taken real interest in them. You have taken a real interest in them, right?

Bad: “I like your style.”

Good: “That’s such a cool ring you are wearing! It really complements your whole style.”

3. Be Unique
This is related to being specific, but it goes a bit deeper. Some people receive the same compliment a lot. Beautiful women hear the same thing about their looks every day. Telling them they have beautiful eyes, while specific, won’t do much for them. Instead, tell them something they have never heard.

This requires an extreme amount of attention to detail and again, a genuine interest in the other person. Being unique is a challenge, but it will set your compliment apart and give it way more impact.

Bad: “You have beautiful eyes.”

Good: “That bracelet you’re wearing matches your eyes perfectly! Did you do that on purpose?”

Rock And Bomb Compliment

4. Acknowledge Their Effort
Chances are good that it took some effort for the other person to achieve whatever it is you are complimenting them on. They will like your compliment even more if you acknowledge that effort. It shows that you appreciate what was going on “behind the scenes” to make it happen.

Bad: “You have a great figure.”

Good: “You have a great figure. You must have an impeccable diet and exercise routine!”

You can also acknowledge the character traits that must have been necessary to achieve their results. This has a similar effect.

Bad: “I like your artwork.”

Good: “I like your artwork. You’re clearly a very creative person.”

5. Describe The Effect Something Has On You
While praise is ultimately about the other person, they must have had some effect on you in order for you to notice it. People like hearing about how they affect others. If you let them know that they have positively impacted you in some way, it will make them feel better.

Bad: “You are a great writer.”

Good: “Your writing really inspired me. Because of what you wrote, I’m going to start exercising again.”

6. Use Emotional Or Descriptive Language
This is an important point, but if you don’t have a way with words, you shouldn’t let it stop you from complimenting others. If you can, however, I recommend using more emotional or descriptive language. You aren’t trying to impress them with your knowledge of SAT words, but there is no doubt that certain words have a stronger effect than others.

Bad: “You look really good today.”

Good: “You look absolutely stunning today.”

Remember to be genuine though. If you exaggerate too much, your advanced vocabulary will backfire.

7. Don’t Be Backhanded
Oftentimes, people will give compliments that make the other person feel worse about themselves. Don’t do that. A compliment should be entirely positive, and should leave no room for a negative interpretation. Backhanded compliments usually involve making some kind of negative comparison. This is best demonstrated through examples.

Bad: “You’ve lost so much weight, and you look great!”

Good: “I’m impressed at your dedication to health.”

Bad: “Nice nails, are they real?”

Good: “I love your nails, they look so classy.”

8. Don’t Wait For The Perfect Moment
Sure, the timing of your compliment is important. But the perfect moment will never come.

The worst thing you could do is try to “manufacture the moment”. Nothing could be less genuine. What does this mean? When you manufacture a moment, you are performing some kind of social maneuver in order to make your compliment fit a context. For example, you might really like the other person’s ring. After noticing the ring, you deliberately steer the conversation towards jewelry. There is nothing wrong with talking about jewelry. But you should first give the compliment, and then use that as a transition into a conversation about jewelry. It is much more authentic that way. Remember, you should let your compliments flow organically. It should feel like the right thing to say at the moment, or like something that just had to be said. You will improve the timing of your compliments with practice.

9. Don’t Second-Guess Yourself
Own your compliment. Whatever you have to say, say it like you mean it. You do mean it, right? If you are wishy-washy about it, your compliment will completely lose its effect. This is a common problem when a man compliments another man, particularly if it is about their appearance. A lot of guys think that if they compliment another man on their looks, they will seem “weird”. There is nothing weird about telling him that his shirt is awesome or that you’re impressed at their bench press. Don’t worry about what other people think. Just say what needs to be said.

10. Be Concise
A good compliment should not take long to say. If you add too much explanation to it, you dilute your message. This isn’t just true of compliments, but of communication in general.

Bad: “I really like your dress. The color is perfect for your complexion. I saw a dress like that once and I wish I had bought it. Total mistake on my part. Tomorrow I should go back and get it…”

Good: “I really like your dress. The color is perfect for your complexion.”

11. Pause For Effect
After saying what you need to say, stop for a moment. Give it a moment to sink in. It’s not as though your compliment should be a conversation stopper; nothing could be further from the truth. But you don’t need to immediately launch into another thing just because. This is similar to the advice of keeping your compliments concise. The idea for both is that you want the other person to actually hear what you have to say. If you don’t pause, you risk having your compliment get lost in the conversation.

12. Don’t Expect Anything In Return
Sometimes we compliment others because we want to get something back from them. This is a bad place to be coming from. Remember, the compliment is for them. You shouldn’t be saying it because you want to get a compliment in return. Besides, if they give you a compliment right after you give one to them, theirs will probably seem less genuine to you. It won’t feel as good as if you let them compliment you on their own. Similarly, don’t expect a “thank you”. You’ll probably get one, and you probably deserve it. But it’s not necessary, and you shouldn’t be expecting it in advance. Say what needs to be said, and then move on.

Good stuff, eh? I think so, too! There are few things lovelier than the feeling you get from a legit compliment…it puts the sprinkles on the entire day. :)  Some folks find it harder to compliment others – for example, I went to meet some peeps the other day straight from work (a 12 hour work day, yet), and I wasn’t looking my best, which I acknowledged. Don’t worry, one of the people at the table said,  you don’t look bad…you’re fine. Hmm. I don’t know about you, but there is something so non-complimentary about that, don’t you think? I’m relieved to hear that I didn’t look BAD, but…is it really so hard to tell somebody that they look nice? I wasn’t expecting to have smoke blown up my skirt and be told that I was a numbah one stunnah, but….come on. It takes so little to effectively use adjectives, and can make others feel super-great, so…why not give it a try?

I’m going out to compliment a whole ton of people right now – I’ll let you know how it goes! Truth is…heading out the door, looking for lovely things to compliment is a pretty great activity – and I’m excited. :) It’s great to look for the good amongst us, don’t you think? :)

xxx

Don’t Speak

Here is a list of the top ten things you should never say to me (and most other sensible women) – just for your information:

1) Relax. Calm down. – These statements drive me absolutely insane. I will calm down if I want to calm down, and I will get riled up if I feel like getting riled up. It’s not your business, so don’t even go there.

image

A cute picture - words to use with caution

2) You owe me. – Unless your name is Visa or American Express, I don’t owe you a damn thing. If you’ve done something for me, I will repay you and your kindness tenfold, so not to worry. Telling me that I owe you something when I don’t repulses me, because of the ownership that it implies. And I hate ownership when it comes to people. Gross.

3) Are you really going to eat all that?  – Yep. Now shut up. Not your business. 

image

I ate all that - it was delicious :-)

4) How much money do you make?  – If my salary is your business, I will happily discuss it with you. If it’s not, bugger off. Talking about money is vulgar.

5) Why can’t you be more like _________?  – I’m me, I’m myself, and most days myself is pretty great. I’m good with that. Why can’t ____________ be more like me? Comparisons are miserable, friends….just say no.

6) You look fine. – Really? Fine?? That’s the best you can do???! I’m not saying you need to channel my one true love the Bard here, folks…but there are a lot of adjectives more fitting than ‘fine’. A tip? Ravishing – one never goes wrong with ravishing. :-)

image

My boyfriend Billy the Bard :-)

7) Have you gained weight?  – Probably. But I am aware, so I don’t need your stupid arse pointing it out. So hush…my weight = not your business. Besides – I’m still cute and foxy, so…who cares??!

8) What happened to your hair? – Me. I happened to my hair. I’m not a stylist, and I don’t play one on TV. I suck at doing hair, and frequently contemplate copying Sinead O’Connor. I know I have ugly hair – you do not need to remind me. Eyes…I have ‘em. They work, too.

9) Do you really need another pair of shoes/dress/lipstick?  – Yes. Yes I do. I’m paying for it, so…what does it matter?

image

I needed these shoes

image

And this purse :-)

10) It’s up to you. – I make decisions all day long…I’m great at it. However, I’m not good at dealing with people who don’t have opinions. Get some! Go on!!! I bet you’ll like them!! They’re fun!! :-)

Thank you for listening – please refer to the list as needed…and feel free to apply it to all of the women in your life. It’ll make all of our lives so much easier – and probably buy you a ton of good will. You’re welcome.   :-)

Xxx

Change Your Mind

I’ve had some time recently to take a few quiet moments and take stock of a few things…I’ve been feeling really pensive and introspective – must be the impending Big Birthday (3 weeks to go!). This past week away from work – while action-packed and full of Paris fun – was a beautiful respite in the midst of the busiest, most chaotic – yet amazing – year I’ve ever had. There have been a hell of a lot of changes for me since last summer, and the majority of them have been really great – but all of these wonderful things have left me with little time to myself. The bits of free time I do have are so precious, and I’ve decided that I need to spend that time doing only the stuff I really want to do. I’ve been doing really well at not saying yes to invitations anymore unless I really want to go – I would rather spend those precious few hours at home (I don’t get to spend a lot of time at home anymore – and I miss it). I’m also working on not trying so bloody hard all the time with people in my life who don’t really put the same effort, attention, and energy in to me. For example, I know someone who I consistently text, reach out to, try to make plans with – and all I get in return is whiny text responses full of promises to call and text and get together…which never come to fruition. What’s the bloody point? Forget that nonsense…I’m done trying so hard. I’m also pretty much done sitting around waiting on people to make plans with me, and the plans never come so I sit doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself – I’m famous for always waiting to hear from peeps…which embarrasses me, because it’s so dumb. Why? Why do I wait?? Screw that. I really need to just go on, do my thing…and people can learn how to accommodate me. It’d be a nice change. :-)

Speaking of nice changes, while I was in Paris, I was really struck by the extraordinary beauty of the women I saw. I did see a few well-known fashion models (Paris Fashion Week had just ended the day before we got there) that I recognized, but it was the regular people who blew me away. The women seemed to wear very little – if any – makeup, didn’t fuss much with their hair, yet were breathtaking…and their beauty truly did come from within. That’s a mindset I could really benefit from embracing (couldn’t we all?) – learning to love the stuff inside, and letting that seep through my pores to the outside. I try to avoid going places with no makeup on…because I think I look dreadful – isn’t that silly thinking? Who cares??! Last weekend, a thing was going around Facebook where women nominated other women to post makeup-free hair-not-done selfies – I don’t generally go on Facebook, but when a sweet friend that I love to the moon and back nominated me, I felt compelled to participate. I posted my picture – and I relished seeing everybody else’s pictures, too. One day in Paris, I went out with straight hair – I never do that here…I don’t feel brave enough. I want to, though…sadly, I will never have that glorious, thick, glossy straight hair that lots of women have. Mine is kinda kinky and weird – but I did it. Yaa me! :-) Look:

image

Ta-dah! :-)

While we’re in the business of full disclosure, here’s my makeup free picture – and a makeup one. There are a lot of differences:

image

Boo!

image

Maybe a bit better?

I came across this today – and I’m kind of blown away by how very much I love it:
image

I could not agree more. There are way too many idiots out there, judging people on their appearance – it’s ridiculous. Why can’t we just be who we wanna be, without all the commentary? For example, I rarely wear pants (maybe once a week, if that) – I’m a dress wearer big time. A lot of people feel it is appropriate to make mention of that. Why? Do I comment on their schleppy appearance and general disdain for attire that fits? Noooo!!!! You do you, friends…and I’ll do me. Let’s say supportive stuff to each other, and compliment our fashion choices instead of dumping on them! It’ll make the world a better place, I promise! :-)

Do me a favor? Go compliment someone – find somebody and say something, anything, nice…and be sincere. It’ll make them feel great – and you will be a rockstar, too. Everybody wins!! :-)

Xxx

Believe

image

In his book “Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell wrote about mastery taking 10,000 hours of practice – makes sense, eh? Practice makes perfect :-) However, there’s a whole other piece at play when it comes to mastering something and becoming successful – belief in yourself. While in Paris, we visited a lot of Ernest Hemingway haunts – Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots, the English bookstore Shakespeare and Company.. I was channeling Papa, calling on his spirit to bless me with even a drop of his writing talent; while in the Latin Quarter, I bought a book called “Paris WIthout End”, about Hemingway’s first wife Hadley Richardson. I read it on the plane on the way home – and it’s fascinating. It chronicles her life prior to meeting him, and their tumultuous years together – mostly in Paris – while he was beginning his writing career. Her unwavering support of her husband and his aspirations are admirable…but so was his steadfast determination. He knew that he and his writing were destined for greatness; he believed it with every inch of his being. It was simply a matter of him doing what he did, and waiting for the rest of the world to get on board and realize his extraordinary talent. It was never ‘if’ – but when.
image

Isn’t that just gorgeous thinking? I love it – and I was really struck by that undercurrent of belief throughout the book about Ms. Richardson. (NOTE: It’s an interesting book, if you ever come across it – I liked it a lot) As I’ve written before a zillion times, I’ve been known to suffer a bout or two (hundred) of rather crippling self doubt. I have often struggled to believe that I could be anything more than what I was – which is straight up ridiculous thinking, because apart from a supermodel or a man, there’s not much that I can’t be. However, it has taken a lot of years, a boatload of struggles and false starts to get where I am now…and I’m still not as sure of me as I would like to be. Perhaps someday. :-) Earlier this week, I heard an interview with singer extraordinaire P!nk, from early in her career. She was a guest on Howard Stern’s show, and he had a ton of questions about her childhood, because of a Behind The Music-type program he’d just seen about her. He was inquiring how her parents dealt with finding out that she wanted to be a singer, and her answer included something about how she always knew she would be a singer – and a famous one. Howard asked her how she knew that – and she told him that she knew what she wanted to do, she knew what she needed to do, and that she knew she would be successful…it was just a matter of time. That overwhelming belief in self and confidence in ability is so inspiring to me…I find it so admirable. I wish that I had more of it myself; I can’t imagine where I’d be! :-) I’m happier now than I’ve ever been, but I know that I’m destined for more. I have so many goals, dreams, and aspirations that, while I’ve accomplished a lot already, there is so much left to do. I’m just getting going…and I need to look to some of the most successful people out there and truly start to believe…

it’s just a matter of time. :-)

Xxx

PS:
image

Why Complain?

I really hate complaining – I don’t like it when it comes from other people, and I absolutely bloody hate it from me. I have always endeavored to keep that under control, but, like all people, I’ve been known to slip up a time or two (million). The reason I dislike it so much is because it serves no purpose other than to cleanse and purge me and my frustrations – which is nice for me, but basically what happens is I vomit all of my issues on to somebody else, and pretty much bugger up their day. How fair is that? It’s not! Shame on me!! :-(
image

I have been really considering this whole complaining thing recently…a few months ago, I started making a conscious effort to curb my negativity (but there’ll be no curbing my enthusiasm – heh heh). I would find myself ramping up to bitch and complain about something, start to let’er fly…and then abruptly stop. It made for strange looks from bewildered people, but…c’est la vie. It was hard, too…do you know how easy it is to rant and complain whenever you feel even a wee bit slighted? Easy. There are so many, many times in a day that we all feel hard done by, whether we really do get the brown end of the stick or it’s all in our heads. Either way, it’s difficult to overcome perception – and even more difficult to stop the complaining. However, I came across a book recently that has blown my damn mind into itty bitty sparkly bits. It’s called “A Complaint Free World”, by Will Bowen…and it is an AMAZING idea: go 21 days without complaining, gossiping, or spewing negativity out your mouth. The peeps behind this movement have made bracelets, which you put on one wrist…and, if you find yourself complaining or gossiping or being negative, you stop, switch wrists, and start again – reset the timer. You keep doing this until you’ve sustained it for 21 days. According to the website, scientists have discovered that it takes 21 days to form a new habit – and imagine how blessed and positive your life would be if your habits included no complaining, and an emphasis on positivity and good thoughts?! Amazing!!! :-) I devoured the book in no time, I’ve ordered the bracelet (they came in a pack of ten…let me know if you need me to hook you up)…and I’m going to give this a very serious shot. While I’m waiting, I put a ponytail elastic on my right wrist – and, when I have felt myself getting distraught or starting to complain, I snapped the elastic on my arm…bringing it to the forefront of my mind that my thoughts and my words have power, and it’s important to make those words count for something good. There have been a few moments in the past few days when I fretted about leaving welts on my arm or snapping my hand off, but…so far so good. I am really excited about trying to do this and truly making a change in my mindset – I’m pumped! :-) I will keep you posted on my progress!!! (And I hope with all my heart that it doesn’t take me the better part of 10 years to make it 21 straight days!!! ;-) )
image

What do you do to emphasize the positive things in your life? How do you handle the negative thoughts that we all struggle with? Share your tips…I can’t wait to hear from you!! :-)

Xxx

Little Moments

image

Muppets!!!! :-)

It was my brother’s birthday last week, so the Wee One and I called him to sing and wish him a happy day. During our chat, I was telling him about our upcoming trip to Paris and all the things I’m excited to show the Wee One. As usual, he started making fun of me and how much I spoil her – which is kind of true, but I don’t believe that she is a brat. I try to give her every thing and opportunity that I didn’t have, and I smother that kid with love love LOVE…which isn’t a bad thing. I know that my brother is happy and excited for us – but his remarks got me thinking about the beauty of the simple things in life. :-) I’m a person who needs to stop, unplug, and reboot every so often as I seem to lose track of the simple pleasures around me – between my 12-16 hour work days, the number of nighttime duties and events that I have, my Wee One and her busy little life…it’s no wonder I sometimes lose my way a bit. Let’s make a list of the sweetest things we can think of…that’s guaranteed to make us feel better, right? :-) Here we go! :-)

image

Great coffee :-)

-Drinking a good cup of coffee in bed :-)
-Sitting at the piano, placing your hands on the keys, and listening to the pretty tinkling as you start playing
-Audrey Hepburn singing “Moon River“, or Cristin Milioti singing “La Vie En Rose“…perfection :-)
-Pancakes
-Going for a walk
-The smell of oranges, vanilla, and rain :-)
-Waking up in the morning to the sound of silence, no obnoxious alarm clock in sight
-The smell of bacon cooking – yum :-)
-Holding hands
-Fresh flowers in a vase on a table
-The first sip of an icy cold beer on a hot day – bonus points if you’re drinking it in a delightfully trashy dive bar :-)
-The sound of a laughing child
-The Muppets. All of ‘em. :-)
-Falling asleep with the TV on
-Sheep…such adorable, awesome animals :-)
-Sushi!!
-Comfortable shoes
-Warm blankies on a cold night
-Spooning :-)
-A perfect cocktail with lime in it :-)
-The song “Dream A Little Dream Of Me”…in English and in French :-) Bonus for this Mama Cass version…the best ever: Dream A Little Dream Of Me

image

Yummy!

image

The perfect mojito :-)

I could go on and on, listing all of the silly things I love…and I will be watching my inbox if you fancy sending me what’s on your list! I know that at times (a lot of the time) I make my life wayyyyy more complicated than it needs to be. I’m not the only one who does that, I know…it seems to be a sign of the times. With all of today’s modern conveniences, we also make things exponentially more complex. Every so often it’s good to turn off, to shut down all of the noise, and just be alone with yourself and your thoughts (frightening though they may be) – luckily my warped little mind and I get along pretty well…we’re both easily amused. :-)

Xxx
-

Dirait-On

I got to do something really awesome today – in the midst of one of the busiest, craziest, most chaotic days (weeks/months) ever, I stopped what I was doing, made my way to the Choir room, and had a beautiful half hour. The Choir teacher asks me to help out when they have French songs, since I used to be a French teacher, as well as a Music teacher. This year’s song is ‘Dirait-On’ – do you know it? I’d never heard it before today, and I can’t even tell you how happy I am that I did…it’s gorgeous. We didn’t have a choir in our school growing up, not that I would have been brave enough to be in it if we had – it’s only in recent years that I’ve tossed all concern out the window and decided to sing whenever and wherever I fancy. NOTE: A lot of this new found musical freedom came about because of alcohol and karaoke. No judgment. Anyway – here’s a link to ‘Dirait On’…enjoy! :-)
image

What’d you think? Magical, eh? I know – love. :-) When I sat in the Choir room today, listening to our students sing this beautiful song, I got really overwhelmed by the beauty of their voices, the talent all around me, and the magic of the moment…before I knew it, my Leaky-Eye Disorder (LED) had returned with a vengeance, and I had to stare at the ceiling and blink furiously to prevent myself from openly weeping in front of 50 teenagers. It was so moving. I’m getting misty-eyed at the memory. The students were so good, and so talented, and trying so hard…they were in their zone, no doubt about it. They weren’t bothered that the VP of their school was standing there watching (and getting weepy) – and that moved me as well. I’ve wasted so bloody much time over the years feeling self-conscious…which is stupid. And a waste of time. Why feel self-conscious? Why think someone else is staring at us? So what if they are? It’s probably because we’re so damn cute!! ;-) I’m a funny duck – I’ve never had a problem standing in front of crowds, I’ve never known a second of stage fright, yet I will panic about walking down a crowded hallway in case I wipe out and end up with my dress over my head and my arse hanging out. Dumb, eh? I hate that I waste time thinking of such stupid things. Life’s too short.

image

I painted this!!! Me!!!!

What would you do if nobody was watching and you didn’t have to worry about looking stupid? I have considered this question a lot and I’ve been working on my list. I would (in no particular order) take dance lessons and FINALLY learn to dance, order dessert first in a restaurant because – duh, dessert trumps salad every day, I’d wear inappropriately short dresses with leggings every day and not give a whooping funt what anyone thought, I’d write all of my work documents in pink pen and decorate the pages with stickers, I would ignore the people who irritate me instead of trying all the time to be polite, I would take up painting for realz and do it all the time – even if my art work is kinda ugly, I would go back to playing golf more and not be concerned that I suck at it, I would travel more, and I would laugh more of those real belly laughs where I usually end up snorting a time or two. I would stop being polite to the jackasses I meet in a day (there’s kind of a lot of them) – and while I would not be rude, I’d just ignore them. I wouldn’t feel compelled to be chatty and polite. I would say what I really think at all times, but do it in such a way so as not to hurt anyone…and I would find a way to build more ‘me’ time into my schedule. I would insist on much, much more time with my Wee One, and I would work out ways to do more writing. Speaking of that, I’d quit sugar-coating the things I say because I’m so afraid of being offensive…I’d just let it all hang out! Yaa!!! :-) It’s kind of sad, really…I have all these ideas, but I only want to do them if nobody’s watching! Stupid, eh? Who cares??? :-)
image

The other morning, our weather took a rather dramatic turn, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped A LOT. I, of course, didn’t know this as I got into my car in the garage and didn’t go outside until I got to school. I parked, hopped out of the car, started grabbing all of my stuff and was walking towards the building when I noticed how chilly it was…and then the wind started howling, and my dress blew up over my head. As usual. I figure I’m good for a wind/dress/ass situation at least twice a week (at least)…I do what I can, but…it is what it is. I called the Wee One shortly after, to wish her a good day – and I told her to dress warm because of the wind and the drop in temperature. I then told her the story about the wind and my bum – her response was this: “Are you wearing pretty panties? Of course you are ’cause you’re my mama and my mama always wears pretty panties!” I confirmed that yes, I had brought my A game in the knickers department that day (can I get a woot! woot! for ruffles??!), to which she replied, “Then who cares? Not us!!” I laughed, because she’s so damn cute, but…kid does have a point – shit happens, life happens…who cares??! What is the point in sweating the small stuff? There are so many crappy things to fret and worry about in life…we really ought to just chill out about some of the smaller things. So you slip and fall in front of 1500 kids in a cafeteria and land on your face? So what???! The wind blows your skirt up and the world sees your tights and a peek of your excellent ruffled panties? Who cares???! Let’s worry about things that matter – the remnants of the financial crisis in this country and how it’ll affect our retirement, the education situation and how we will ever catch up to our contemporaries around the world, health care for everybody…how those of us voting in Texas can make damn sure that the super-awesome Wendy Davis becomes the next governor of our fair state, and help her give some rights back to us Texan women. These are the kinds of things that we ought to be fretting about…not whether or not we look stoopid in front of the world around us. Is the world going to stop if we show our arse and look mildly foolish? Probably not…I think we’ll be okay. :-)
image

Xxx

Xxx

A Real Canadian Girl

As I’m sure you’re well aware, today is the last day of the Sochi Olympics – have you been watching? I have seen a lot of the coverage – I love the winter sports. There’s been nothing better than starting my work days with curling and hockey…Yaa! :-)

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you must know that there’s been a bit of hockey action going on lately: between the Canada-US Women’s gold medal final game on Thursday, the Canada-US Men’s semifinal on Friday, and then the gold medal game at 6:00am this morning…hockey lovers have been in heaven! :-) Now, I don’t wish to be an arrogant arsehole about how the results have turned out, but I simply want to share some of the funny pictures that have come my way recently:

image

I LOVE this! :-)

image

Pretty much ;-)

image

Preach

image

image

:-)

image

Heehee! :-)

image

The bars in the homeland opened up at 6am (Central Time) today and served alcohol - #proud :-)

image

Hahaha! For the record, I love Sweden and the Swedish people are amazing - but I'm really really happy that things turned out the way they did :-)

So…congratulations to the Men’s and Women’s gold medal winning hockey teams from Canada!!! :-) Ditto that for the Men’s and Women’s gold medal winning curling teams!! Yaaa!!! :-)

I can’t be certain, but I do think that Canadians are the coolest things on ice. ;-)

O Canada!!! :-)

Xxx

The Tracks Of My Tears

image

Love this!! :-)

Do you watch “Girls” on HBO? I looooove it – this season has been decidedly different for me, but I’m loving it nonetheless. Did you see this past week’s episode? Blew my friggin’ mind, it did…for about a hundred different reasons. First, this episode really highlighted the painful truth about friends who grow apart – it was kind of heartbreaking to watch Marnie try to plan this super-fun girlfriends weekend when no shits were given by the other girls. Speaking of the other girls….the bravery of Lena Dunham blows me away – girlfriend was in a teeny bikini for practically the whole episode, curvaceous, gorgeous bod just hanging out for the world to love…and it was a-ma-zing. Seriously. That shit moved me to tears because I can’t imagine ever liking myself enough to do that. Do you know that over the years I have apologized to others for the way I look. For real. Like some sort of psychopath. I swear I need a kick in the arse…seriously, who does that??! Grrrrr!!!!!! I wish that I could embrace this attitude:
image

I thought I was walking this lonely road of self-loathing alone until I read this piece by the brilliant writer – and my spirit animal – Mandy Stadtmiller:

The secret any man who sleeps with me eventually learns is that I have a scar underneath my breasts.

I’ve had laser treatments on it a number of times to make it less visible, but the scar is still there. It is a vocal imperfection, taking away from any centerfold potential a man might construct in his imagination.

Imperfection. That’s what I know my body represents. The secret of this will eventually come out.

If I take my clothes off, my breasts will cover the scar, in the right light, at the right angle, cupped in the right way, but as happens during sex, much of the body is revealed. “What happened here?” “What’s that from?” “Does it hurt?” Or my favorite: “You know, if you got a boob job, then it won’t even be visible at all.”

These are some of the things men have said to me about my scar upon seeing it for the first time.

I once wore a black lace bodysuit and I camouflaged the scar with tattoo-covering makeup, and I glanced into the mirror at the blurred forged perfection through the lace. I saw a glimpse into an alternate identity. This hallmark flaw, gone and covered. I splashed the water from my bathroom sink up onto my chest, angry at the airbrushing I was doing for — who? Myself? My pride? I washed the makeup off.

The story of my scar is quite simple and quite common. For many children.

When I was 9, doctors advised my parents that because I had a slightly concave chest, or pectus excavatum, I could have surgery to correct it. I don’t know if it was medically necessary. Neither do my parents. They just nodded yes. I remember the main argument was that I would look better in a bathing suit if I had the surgery necessary to correct it. I don’t remember being given a choice. I don’t remember much of anything except for being given the option for unlimited ice cream in the hospital and not wanting any of it, nauseous in the gray hospital bed, feeling my body had been split in two.

“This form says you had surgery to correct a ‘pectus excavatum,’” a doctor once perked up as he read my chart. He is there to examine my legs. He looks me over. “Can I see it?” he asks. I unbutton my shirt and show him my breasts. “Mm-hm,” he says. The doctor performs a minor injection to rid me of a spider vein in my ankle, but instead of ridding me of it, it worsens. I have the scar to this day. Another imperfection. More questions. More stories. More apologies.

There is a saying that energy from various situations in our lives stays with us as we go along. That unless we work out the energy to release it, that energy — trauma, fear, shame, sadness, fear — stays with us in our body throughout our lives. It’s lessened over time, but it is still there, a little fuzzy cloud around how you feel about yourself.

In the past, with any man who might see me naked, I used to go through the litany of what was wrong with me, to apologize, to excuse, to point out what I could not control — to try to get in front of the story — and relay The Story of the Scar. It was as if I understood from a very young age that the primary duty of my body was there to serve, and any fault that a man might find was a failing on my part as a woman. And so like clockwork, before any intimacy, at the start of any intimacy, I would begin my story the same: “I had a surgery when I was 9…”

There it was.

Part of me wanted to hand a card out to any prospective man who might ever see me naked with an annotated explanation: “Here are all of my faults as best as I can categorize them. Let us begin.”

It was only after I got sober in 2010 that my speech simply ended. Suddenly, the unbearable became bearable. The pain dissipated without meaning or judgment — and morphed into simple facts. There it was, a scar. It was neither bad nor good, it simply was a part of me.

And so this weekend, there I lay, naked, about to be intimate with a man who I have never been intimate with before for the first time.

This man is not someone who I expect anything from, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is the nature of our relationship. I feel good about what I’m doing, and I feel good about the clarity with which I see everything around me. I don’t need this man. He is here for my pleasure, not the other way around.

“We don’t have to do anything,” he says. “I know,” I say.

“I’ll be reading about this, won’t I?” he says.

I’m tempted to write nothing to show just how little this means to me, but I like the idea of writing about the scar. About the power of the stories we tell ourselves about our bodies.

“I miss getting high,” I tell him as I lay there beside him, and I mean it. I don’t mean that I plan to relapse, to drink again, but acknowledging this fact is my way of getting high in the one way I allow myself to now: through speaking truth.

This night has been building up for months, for over a year. He turns out the lights, and he holds me. “Let’s look out at New York together.” We do.

He kisses me and starts undressing me.

If this man can see me, if he ever really sees me, I know he never will. No man can. 

I’m the only person who can ever see me. I know that now. And there’s no need to apologize.
image

I’sn’t she amazing? I know. I love her. :-) I’ve done this thing she talks of a million times -apologized to others for my scars, the width of my arse, my mop hairdo that always looks primed and ready for some serious floor cleaning…but why? What’s wrong with these things? I’ll tell you – nothing. Zip. Zilcherooni, friends. Not a damn thing. I will never be discovered by a modelling agency at the local Piggly Wiggly (we don’t have those here, but I sure wish we did. I’d shop there every day, just for the name alone), but hopefully I won’t frighten small children, either. But even if I do, so what??!
image

I am covered in scars…some of them are pretty significant and noticeable, while others have faded to the background, just part of the landscape. My left forearm looks like it has been through a lawnmower, my right elbow is right tore up (but that scar resembles a smiley face, which is kinda cool)…there’s tons of them. All. Over. Me. Each one a small badge of honor to whatever life event they were a part of (that elbow scar? Surgery following a broken elbow that happened while taking some of my favorite students ever skating…I think of them and smile every time I look at the scar). The scar – no, gash – across my left hip is one that I’m the most sensitive about…which is dumb, as it is rarely seen. I had bone harvested from my hip and planted into my left wrist, leaving me with permanent wound marks in both places. I hate that hip scar so much – it symbolizes so much to me: the failed attempt to fix my arm (while buggering up my hip in the process), the unhappy place I was at in my life when that operation happened, the agony and misery of trying to look after myself on my own after the surgery, with my arm in a cast from fingertips to shoulder and my hip all bandaged up…it was just a rotten bloody time, and that stupid scar is a hateful reminder of some of my darkest days. Perhaps a day will come when that scar will serve as a sign along the road, reminding me of how far I’ve come. Perhaps someday… :-)

In other news, I spend too much time in my head, you know that? As bloody busy as I am you’d think I wouldn’t have time for obsessing over trivial shit, but I do. It’s gross. I constantly fret that some people think the things that I do – and therefore me – are stupid. I don’t mean intellectually, because I think I do fine in that area…I mean something different. For example, I try to do thoughtful things like making up stupid poems, celebrating silly occasions like Birthday Eve, and bursting into song whenever the spirit moves me. I do these things to show love and encourage fun and happiness…but at times, I fret that people barely tolerate the things that I do in the spirit of good-hearted fun, and that they think I’m foolish and stupid. I usually don’t give a roaring rat’s arse what people think, but when it’s somebody I care about, I do. A lot. It bothers me. The thought of those that I care about thinking badly of me just breaks my heart. I wish that I could just do me and have that be enough – and it usually is, but…how to move past those times of self-doubt?

An expression I’ve always loved a bunch is ‘living out loud’…good, right? I have never been accused to disappearing into the background – truth is I wouldn’t even know how. But still I’m plagued with self-doubt. How do you get over that? How does a person learn to just let go? What’s the secret? I came across this article with eight tips for boosting self-confidence and moving past the doubt:

1. Stop comparing your accomplishments to your friends’ and colleagues’ accomplishments.

I find that I am most successful in my personal and professional life when I am following what works for me, and what makes me feel good, even if it is different from what someone I look up to is doing.

2. Forget about what everyone else is thinking of you.

When you care about what everyone else is thinking of you, you inhibit yourself. You’d rather do nothing and not get judged, than do somethingand risk criticism.

Worrying about what other people think of you will continue to hold you back from doing something potentially huge for yourself.

3. Just make a decision, and then correct your course as you go along.

Usually your first reaction is going to be your best since it typically comes from a place of intuition rather from the ego, and before outside opinions get in the way.

4. Write yourself a hand-written letter.

5. Listen and/or read positive material on a daily basis.

6. Write in a gratitude journal at the end of each day.

It’s far too easy to wallow in pity and focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do have. Giving those feelings energy will only create more situations in which we come up empty handed.

Instead of focusing on what you are lacking, focus on what you do have, and what you haveaccomplished. This fosters a feeling of gratitude, and when you invest energy into gratitude now, you’ll start to find that you’ll be rewarded in the future.

Feelings of gratitude put you in a positive frame of mind. When you’re feeling positive, you’re feeling good. And when you’re feeling good, good things happen.

7. Identify your biggest fans, and then nurture those relationships.

8. Go to your mantras for support.

I’ve learned that by surrounding myself with my biggest fans, by focusing on my own goals, and by practicing gratitude I can experience love more deeply, minimizing feelings of self-doubt.

What do you think? I like a few of the ideas a lot – the gratitude writing is something I’ve flirted with off and on over the years, but I’ve never built a consistent routine around this. I should. I hear so often that people who practice this are far more at peace with themselves and their lives, so I should probably give it a whirl. There’s a beautiful red Moleskine journal (the best – and only kind I use!) sitting on my nightstand right now…there’s no time to start like the present!!! :-) I also love the idea of not comparing your accomplishments to those around you – I used to struggle so much with this one, but I think things are improving here. Yaa me!! :-) One idea I’m not so sure about is the whole mantra thing – I have read about it, thought about giving it a whirl, but ended up feeling stupid, so I never followed through. Here we are with the feeling stupid again…all things really are full circle, eh? I need to work on this. Starts now. :-)

How do you do it, friends? How do you manage your self-doubting behavior and focus on being your best you? Is this something that matters to you or am I just being neurotic and worrying for nothing? I can’t wait to hear your feedback, friends! :-) I’ll read it after I’m finished with the gratitude journal for today. ;-) There’s so much to be grateful for. :-)

Xxx