Why Not Me?

  I felt the nausea coming on. It happens every time. You would think it would be easy by now. Nope. And yesterday was especially difficult. 

It’s a highly predictable pattern. 
I hit “post”, I feel like I’m going to puke. I “delete”.

Then, again, I hit “post”. I felt the vomit. I hit “delete.” 

The  third time I hit “post”, I paused. The usual thoughts flooded in. 

” You aren’t really a writer. No one cares about your thoughts. People are going shoot holes in your arguments. You should be making dinner. You’ll probably lose friends. You have lame vocabulary. You’re lame. Surely, you misspelled things. Does what you said even make sense. No one cares. No one cares. No one cares.”  

In my pause, I muttered a prayer, “Should I do this?” And I then remembered the words of friend earlier that day. 

She was sharing about a dream of hers. A dream that she admitted sounded crazy. But then, she concluded that other people had done it so “why not me?” 

Her words countered all the vulnerability. Every time I write or share my heart openly in a conversation, there is a risk. It’s the risk of being rejected. 

So I hit “post.” And this happened….

1000 hits in two hours. It established me as a bit of a writer and just recently landed me a job writing. 

Her words taught me important lessons. Imagining “Why not me?” is the first step. But also, reward typically comes at the risk of rejection. 

My calling in life seems to be to be open and honest about awkward and uncomfortable things. Sometimes people don’t like that. So I often interpret that rejection as my flaw. 

But when I look around me at other friends with varied gifts, I can see it more clearly. 

I can see the truth of this matter more clearly in you, my friends.  It’s sort of like the seven dwarfs in Snow White. 

I have a Doc friend – she is wise and insightful. I swear her IQ is like 483. I often find myself googling the meaning of the words she uses in texts. She introduced me to philosophy and poetry. 

I have a Grumpy, too- she’s a little rough around the edges but she’s got a heart of gold. The grumpiness makes her heart stand out that much more. She’s more cautious and suspect of situations but that’s often helpful. 

Then there’s my Happy- Her gift is making me pee my pants with her stories. Life is always more fun with this one. 

Sleepy is the best to vacation with. She’s chill and  calm. She reminds me to take in the moments. With her I see the leaves on the tree and taste the tannins in my wine. I savor life when by her side 

Bashful teaches me so much because she’s extra cautious with her words and her time. She teaches that selectivity is good. 

Dopey friend is just plain adorable. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, she’s kind beyond belief. Her heart gets in the way of her head often and we all absolutely love that part of her. 

Sneezy is a hot mess. She bounces from one thing to the next. She’s the one who dreams and goes for it. Her fervor inspires whether it’s with a new recipe or a new business. She’s the one who said “Why not me?!” 

Each one of you has your unique beauty. 

I can see your gifts so clearly. I also see people that you rub the wrong way.  Sometimes you see them, too. But what I’m seeing today is that their rejection of your gifts is usually about them, not you. 

You being you is a gift, but every time you put it out there you run the risk of rejection. Someone will think that Grumpy should be more Happy. Happy should be more serious like Doc. But those “someones” don’t know that you being you is your gift to the world; your gift to me. 

And it stings a little when your real self is rejected. To expose oneself completely, raw and unfiltered, is an extremely rewarding but vulnerable place. I want to protect you in that place, but sadly cannot always do so. 

All I can say to you is that those rejectors don’t understand you. 

And when *I* see this commitment to being your real self, I’m inspired to be my real self. To be raw, to be open, to write, to push “post”, and to dream “why not me”.  And so I do. 

Thanks, my dwarf friends, for the push to be a princess. This unfiltered, passion-filled Snow White takes a full seven to keep her healthy. I’m a sucker for bad apples and the Prince and I aren’t always so charming. 

So a few questions….

Who are you? Really?

What would it look like if you were your absolute best self? 

Why not YOU? What’s holding you back? Fear? Rejection? 

Let’s be brave. 

Let’s be vulnerable. 

Be you.  

I’ll be me.

And it will be beautiful. Maybe in a dwarfy kind of way, but that’s okay, too. They’ve got cool hats. I like hats. And that one is your color. 

 

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We are a Ridiculous, but Glorious, Hot Mess

Yesterday, my big kids ganged up on me.

I think it was the first time they’ve EVER agreed on anything.

 

It was a bitter sweet moment. Their bonding over a common enemy- me.

 

The saddest part was that I really needed it. I really needed them to gang up on me and give me a stern talking to because I needed to understand something.
I had heard the horrid news about Virginia and I lost it. I did. Completely. And my rage was pointed at my kids in the form of a lecture about how “privileged they were and they better not forget it.”
And you know what? I was completely right. They are. WE are. My outrage over the events was proper. Some things deserve outrage and this was most definitely one of them. For so many reasons.
But because my anger was pointed at the poor fools that were in the car with me on the way home from the mall, I got a good talking to. They explained I was completely out of line-I was interrupting them often. My tone was horrible and that I seemed to be projecting my anger. Seriously, they said those things.
I wish I could say that I wasn’t  acting like that, but I was. I wish I could also say that I apologized right then, but I didn’t. I screamed more about “how they needed to understand that this wasn’t the way things had always been. This wasn’t normal.” (All this from the severely oppressed perspective of a white suburban kid who grew up in the 80’s where her biggest worry was a shortage of AquaNet, of course.) I continued. “You don’t understand- this is not okay! And you don’t want to talk about it and that’s not okay either!”
They rallied and came back. Defending one another. Expanding on one another. They were a force not to be trifled with and *I* was the freakin’ victim of their united front. And even worse, they were completely and totally calm and rational.
So, I did… eventually…. I apologized for my tone. And it was one of those super-lame apologies where you say your sorry but then you explain why it was important to be mad. So lame. So, so, so completely lame. But they accepted it.

 

 

And then they decided I needed a little time out. They ditched me and went and hung out together. I was left alone with my justified rage.

 
If they had rallied against anyone or anything else I would have been thrilled. But this rallying of theirs forced me to think. I didn’t want to think. So I was not thrilled.
AND….So I did what any rational person would do. I talked with like-minded people who would bolster me and my ego.

 

 

So I called Mitch. I replayed the entire thing to him highlighting my stellar arguments about the flaws in our society. He listened and told me I was right and, more importantly, that I was not a horrible mother simply because my children ditched me after a heartfelt rant.
Mitch wasn’t enough, though. And so I ranted to a friend. She agreed with me. She, too, told me I was a wonderful mother. So all was well.
I was justified and had a sound argument.
I was a good mother and human being.
And they were absolutely right. I was.
But there was this one thing…
My children were right with some things,too.
And some of those “things”  came to me when I couldn’t shake off their rallying cry. Their plea, yesterday, was for me to stop ranting about the insanity of our current administration. I really don’t speak of it much around them as I did before the inauguration. So I couldn’t understand their request. This was an isolated rant and they were acting like I did it every day. And, by the way, I forgot the most important part—they brought it up!! So how was I now being chastised for discussing it too often? I was thoroughly emotional and confused, yet rational about the absurdity of all of it.
It was in that moment of gray that I stopped myself to think about what they were trying to tell me. And in their patience with me and their maturity I heard this…
They are tired. They are so  very tired of the conflict but at the same time they are completely accustomed to it. They are the post 9/11 generation and THIS madness is their normal.

 

This conflict… this hate…this terror…this racial tension…this judgement.
I began to remember other things they had recently said. They had told me, “Mom, [insert person with opposing political viewpoint’s name here] is never going to change. So why do you even try?” My kids say this even , though, they usually agree with my views.
And they are correct. I think there is wisdom in that. Sometimes we don’t want to change. Sometimes, we aren’t worth talking about issues. Sometimes we just want to find things to justify what we already believe. We don’t want to listen and get uncomfortable with opposing views and treacherous grey areas. In those moments, we aren’t worth talking with. We will just twist your words and use them to build up our own arguments. I had just been that way with them ironically.
Lately I have become especially cognizant of this issue. I want to say something if I think makes more sense and if it would change someone’s mind, or better yet, their heart, Sadly, I don’t often think it will. So often I remain quiet when I hear flawed logic or even false statements.
So as I processed these thoughts, I began to hear even more clearly my children’s hearts. “Mom, there is no use arguing if all it is going to do is wear all of us listening out!”

 

 

But at the same time, I could feel the truth in my heart and such tension on how and whether to speak up

 

 

So often, I want to speak up. I want to cry out. “This must stop!” because I don’t want this to be normal for my children. I don’t want terror and hate to NOT shock them.
A nation so divided. Communities divided. Families divided. I, myself, divided on what to do.
I’m often torn in this way…

 

Speak up, but aggravate.  After all, evil persists when good people remain silent.

 

Or

 

Sit silent hoping to foster peace?

 
My heroes are those that stand up:

For the underdog.

For those who don’t have a voice.

For those who need an advocate for justice.

For the children.

 

But are you really standing up for someone if you’re just pissing people off even more with your rhetoric?

 

It is all so muddled in my brain and that’s precisely the point.
I needed to hear the message that the gang of Walker kids tattooed on my soul yesterday.

 

The message, their message  — All of this madness is exhausting.

 

And they needed to hear MY message even if it was poorly delivered– All of this madness is infuriating.
And ABOVE ALL the exchange of all this truth is extremely messy.

 

So first, for the kid’s sake…

 

Let’s stand outraged together at the undeniably ugly things – a politician being shot in a friendly baseball game, a woman being run over, the threat of nuclear war, Nazi flags, police brutality, police who lose their lives in the line of duty, refugees being turned away, refugees that embrace terror, religion that lacks humility, egos that mock religion, ignorance, insanity, insensitivity and most of all let’s rise up against moms that rant uncontrollably in enclosed areas with a tone that can rival a sassy tween. It’s ALL ugly.

 

Next, let’s also acknowledge the mess in it all.

 

Me, first. I’ll acknowledge the messiness in my own response…

 

In my worst moments—I’ve mocked. I balked. I’ve criticized. I have ranted. I’ve screamed. I have refused to hear the heart of another. I’ve demonized the other side.

 

In my best moments —I’ve talked. I’ve shared stories. I’ve reasoned. I’ve listened. I’ve bent and changed. I’ve apologized. I’ve shared gently my heartfelt convictions.

 

….and this is the messy part- I have often been both my best and my worst at the same time.
I realized in the aftermath of my conversation (I use the term “conversation” lightly) that this was all one giant, glorious, hot mess. That WE are individually and collectively one giant, glorious, steaming hot mess.
And THAT is what I needed to understand and what my children ushered in to my reality.
It’s not all black and white. I had very valid points that my children needed to understand, but it was cloaked in raw emotion and somewhat irrational but justifiable passion.
My children had maturity insight and perspective that I did not have in some ways, but a skewed reality and a lack of experience in others.
You see, we were, combined, so right and also so wrong. All of us.
Thankfully, in this instance and mess, we were somehow able to wade through the madness and see each other’s hearts.
It’s my hope that sharing this story would call each one reading to do the same. To calm themselves for a moment and listen in the midst of the mess…

 

Listen for the good and true in yourself AND acknowledge your shortcomings.

 

Then, listen for the good and true in others all the while graciously accepting their humanity.

 

Then together, with ALL that messy, confusing, flawed,  collective reality, let’s move forward as one glorious, hot, but compassionate, mess.  Then, and only then, we will be stronger because we won’t  allow the mess to overcome our combined glory.

Random Mother’s Day Thoughts on the Supermom Complex & Dude Envy

Today is my day. It’s Mother’s Day. I can ask for whatever I want and they get to feel the small pang of guilt, that usually is taken on by me,  for even thinking about not giving [insert request here] to me.

 
Savannah woke up and I was doing laundry while waiting for my morning coffee and she said, “What are YOU doing? It IS Mother’s Day!” I know she’s mine, but I really love that kid.

 

I ask for tea; Mitch gets it for me. Instantly.

 

I make my kids carry all their crap AND some of mine to the car. I don’t bat an eye.

 

It’s MY day. I am living it up.

 

I take not one, but two naps, totaling six hours.

 
But here’s the clincher–I don’t feel guilty about it. None of it. I am not less of a mom because of it.

 

Well, not today.


 
Any other day, I’d secretly feel like a bit of a failure if I unapologetically made the same requests. That would be very un-super-mom-ish and what would people think of me then?  I shudder to think.

 

So it occurred to me today… is that what it’s like to be a man? I am most definitely a smart ass, but really, I don’t mean it that way. I’m just once again speaking without a filter and honestly asking…Is THIS what it’s like to be a traditional dude? You get to  ask for things without guilt? Is THIS what privilege feels like? …I get to assume that I am equally entitled to my needs being met?

 

Or maybe we could even say -is this what it’s like to be an assertive woman who’s free from an archaic “my role is to put aside all that I am and serve my man and my children and every god-forsaken creature in a ten block radius” mentality?

 

 

Please, don’t freak out on me. Listen closely to my heart here………My point in this moment is to recognize that I mostly put this super-mom cape on myself and how unbelievably unhealthy it can be! Sure, we can talk about society’s expectations until we are blue in the face. I am not doubting that. There are doctorate degrees for that. (And I am all for them.) I also know there’s very real prejudice and objectivity of women out there. I’m not doubting that either. I’ve been victim to that. (If I had better aim I’d punch those men that promote blatant sexism in the face or better yet, somewhere else, ). But I am talking here today, about how I subtly affirm and build on that role and find my worth in unrequested martyrdom.

 

 

So my Mother’s Day takeaway is, ironically,  I need to stop taking so much pleasure in the martyr syndrome. That statement is not to be confused with being a servant or self-sacrificial. It’s equally egotistical to do all that I do and feel guilty for the moments I assert myself.

 

Let me explain and expand.

 

For sake of the illustration, an assertive person (or a man) asks for what they want. If they aren’t a narcissist, they are mindful of the needs around them. They ask for what they need and here’s the clincher again— they don’t feel guilty about it. And there you have it. They are done. Need noticed. Request made.

 

Co-dependents, martyrs, women and good Catholics… we ULTIMATELY do the same things and execute the same actions, but we often tip toe around our needs and feel ridiculously guilty afterwards.

 

“How is that an ego?” you ask.

It’s assuming that we are both nothing and superior at the same time. It’s an arrogant presupposition. It’s saying we are inherently less important and less beautifully created than others- our needs are less important. AND it’s also saying that you, my friend whom I’m sacrificing, is incapable of surviving without me. I feel guilty because I am inadvertently implying that without me, you’re a lost cause.

 

In short, that is really jacked up thinking.

 

Let’s look at today through these lenses. A simple situation that took place after brunch. We walked to the car and I had some lovely gifts. We were leaving the restaurant. There were leftovers, presents, purses and flowers. I tried to gather them all. I couldn’t. Mitch kindly asked the kids to help. I FELT guilty. What in the world is that about???? It’s completely acceptable to ask your children for whom you just got lunch to carry a box! So why did I feel bad about that? It caught my attention perhaps because I reminded myself that it was Mother’s Day and it’s the one day I get to feel minorly entitled.

 

But what was really happening in that moment is that it IS a day where it’s okay to assert myself and my needs.

 

The other side of all this is that I don’t need to be bitchy about my needs being met. It’s not about getting pedicures, massages and never doing the dishes (although that would be nice). But it’s about knowing ourselves and knowing our needs and believing our abilities to meet them are equal.

 

My kids CAN help carry my shit to the car. They ARE  capable. And it can even booster their willingness and capabilities for later-in-life experiences. There’s no need to feel guilty!

 

Guilt is for when you do something wrong. Selfishness is wrong. Diminishing our capabilities is wrong too. Overemphasizing the necessity of me… in your life… for your survival and functionality… is my ego and is wrong as well.

 

There’s this weird payoff I get by attempting to be super-mom and surpressing my needs. I am treading on thin ice here, I know, by making the connection to male- female roles. I get that. But I do think there is a cultural incentive here. We are applauded as women when we can do it all. It’s a shallow applause, but it’s still an applause, nonetheless. We prop ourselves up for our self sacrifice. Carrying all the boxes, leftovers, purses, kids toys and being able to find the keys in heels while gently coaxing the little one to look both ways – this ability to do it all raises us to mythical motherhood status. We pat ourselves on the back for squashing our needs. I take complete ownership for embracing the egotistical ugliness that this role offers.

 

Let me repeat— promoting selfishness is not my goal! There are days when I need to carry everyone’s burden and then some. I will do it. Gladly. But I need to get my ego out of the way and let others carry some of the load so that I have energy for THOSE crazy days where I really am needed.

 

All this makes me think  I want to be a dude.  Not in the way that I will cause a problem at a Target bathroom in North Carolina, but in an envious way. Generally speaking, they are pretty good at this assertiveness and guilt-free living.

 

We, wives, are particularly good about bitching about their talent in this regard, too. We say they are clueless and oblivious to the needs of others. While it is sometimes true, most of them (grandiose generalization acknowledged) are just good at asking for what they need and waiting to be asked to do what you need. In my experience, they don’t feel guilty OR inadequate.  They also expect others to help them. It’s not a sign of weakness to request help.

 

I want to learn from that.

 

So I propose celebrating Mother’s Day tomorrow, too. All of us. Let’s all wake up and assume our needs and capabilities are equal. Let’s tell whoever is starting the laundry, “Wait! Let me help you.” And then, let’s do it together. Neither party feeling guilty or entitled.

In Celebration of Sierra’s Confirmation of her Faith

My Sweet, Sierra Danielle,

IMG_1467

We always prayed that God would give us the perfect names for our children and she really out-did herself with you.

We named you after one of your dad’s favorite places, the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You stand tall and strong like a mountain with beauty and dimension.  You are truly one of Dad’s favorite “places”, too.  You do special things with him that no one else enjoys as much as you two IMG_0404do… gardening, fish tank cultivating, documentary AND brownie making.

Also, you were named
after Daniel of the Old Testament. It was the perfect name for you.  Daniel stood up and did his own thing when no one else would.   He was insightful and able to read deeply into the king’s dreams and see meaning that other’s were unable to see.  It came naturally and he humbly gave God the credit. He refused to buckle under great pressure to do so, and possibly some may say- he was stubborn. Do I even need to expand on how this relates to you? I have always admired how free you are to be you.  I love that you don’t try to impress people, but are secure in being yourself.  Your deepest calling seems to be, like Daniel, true to who you were created to be.

An often overlooked piece of the story of Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den is that the king was somewhat heartbroken that he was being punished.  He prayed for Daniel and hoped that God would rescue him.  To me this speaks to the deeper character of Daniel which you also exude- you are good and well-intended and people know it.  You are not one to demand center stage, yet you still find your way there by your shear giftedness, and when you are on the stage everyone knows your hearty goodness and hopes for your success- they hope for this because they value you and have experienced your kindness personally. People are also often cheering for you when you face challenges and opposition.  Once again, all because you are deeply loved and valued.

So as your nDSC00818.JPGame suggests you posses a curious inner strength and that is why I gave you a tea set yesterday.  (It wasn’t simply because your favorite store at the mall is Tevanna and  because I have the tea in our cabinet to prove it!)   It’s because I see you as beautiful and kind and sensitive, much like a tea set. But one mustn’t let that sweet and sometimes sensitive exterior of the set fool them; the tea within c
an bring great warmth to people. Tea has so many amazing properties.  It can be used to bring great healing and comfort.

You are much like a beautiful tea set- one that deserves to be handled gently and lovingly, but one that has amazing depth and warmth to share with all who are privileged  enough to partake in your presence.  IMG_1743

A wise man told me once that whenever he was angry at his wife, he would take her a cup of tea.  He said his service to her would soften his heart.  I have adopted this strategy often in my relationships.  When I least feel like it, I ask (or think) about how I can serve the person.  It works.

I want to pass this tradition on to you, my sweet, sensitive, sometimes stubborn, and strong Sierra. Use your combined sensitivity and strength as you would use a warm cup of tea-  to bring warmth and comfort to those around you.  It will often come naturally for you, but when it doesn’t I still challenge you to serve up a cup of tea to “the least of them”, and in so doing reflect the heart and grace of your God.

Love always, Mum

Generous Punk

We have a lot of issues. Like a lot-a lot of issues. Like you have no idea how many issues. I’m not just saying that for dramatic appeal. At one point this year, we had five (yes,5, cinco, fivvvvve) therapy appointments a week for various combinations of our family. No joke. There’s so much I would love to write about…under a pseudonym. The really crazy thing is that I don’t think we are that unusual. I talk to you people and you’ve got issues, too! Maybe we are a little nuts with giving up college funds to go to therapy, but I don’t think we are that unusual when it comes to the issues.

 
Speaking of issues, and although not our biggest challenge, one of the problems is that we have the beautiful union of two over-analyzers. Mitch and I can beat a topic to no end. Self-awareness  is an understatement in the Walker household. And along with that unique gift and commonality comes our tendency to be overly-critical of ourselves and others. We analyze people for sport here in the Walker house. Not in a gossipy way but in a we-want-to-better-understand-you sort of way.

 
All this to say, that it is a welcome breeze when waves of positivity towards others whisk our way. We can sometimes see the good in others but we have such a hard time extending it to ourselves and our fellow Walkers.  I may struggle with this as “mom” more than the others. I’m always worrying that if I don’t keep on people in this house they will slack off. And ironically, my biggest kid, Mitch, is usually the recipient of such micromanaging. But not last night… I embraced the breeze that enveloped me.

 

 

I had a steady-stream of admiration for him. I didn’t analyze or dissect our relational tendencies; I simply enjoyed a piece of who he was. It dawned on me how generous he is. He gives so much of his time and energy to people it’s truly phenomenal. He hides it behind a grumpy exterior so it’s often disguised as begrudging obligation. But it isn’t. He voluntarily gives his time and energy to his kids and his community every damn day. It’s pretty inspirational really. And although he rants and raves about it (he’s an over analyzer, remember), he genuinely enjoys it. My favorite part is seeing this reflected in our kids. We’ve passed on plenty of “challenging” tendencies, but he’s most definitely passed on this beautiful gift of generosity. They’ve seen him willingly give his money and material things to others without a thought. They now do the same. He’s definitely not a pushover, though, and that’s what makes it so beautiful. It’s almost other-worldly because it goes against pieces of his nature. Or maybe it is his nature that’s just been masked by a hard life. It’s tough to know but it doesn’t really matter. The more he gives selflessly, the more he enjoys life and the more it inspires others, like my kids, to do the same.

 

 

So rarely does one see this in a leader-type. He’s a strong personality that consistently  seeks out of the unnoticed. Last week when our garbage men came by on their truck, one shouted, “Where’s my Mitch?”  I explained he was traveling. It was clear that my presence could not compete with Mitch’s  usual greeting in his boxers and friendly questioning about their kids.  And the funny thing is… the bromance, it’s unbelievably mutual. This week Mitch ran down the street half naked, yelling “Hey, guys!” because he almost missed out on a knuckle bump for the second week in a row!

 

 

This generosity is also amazing because he IS so flawed(as am I). There’s a unique affirmation that comes to those around when someone self-admiitedly flawed is undeniably generous. It makes those of us around him think we can be the same despite OUR flaws. .

 
Now, one last thing, all you ladies reading this… don’t go getting jealous. Seriously, he is most definitely the biggest pain in the ass you’ve ever met and despite how cute he is; it’s really hard staying married to him. Really I’m not just saying that. Remember the therapy…there’s some solid reasons we go! But I can’t write about those. So for today I’m going to enjoy the amazing side of this sweet punk that I am privileged to call my husband.

Smile :) 

Last week, I did my typical morning wanna-be-that-usually-turns-into-a-stroll walk on the beach. It was a holiday week and a Florida winter day. 

Families were getting settled for the day. Dads were dragging bags and umbrellas and two year olds through the sand towards the gentle gulf. Five year olds were straggling alongside gazing at birds or shells or a dead fish washed ashore. Moms were too cute in their bikinis and matching coverup, hat, designer shades and a baby slung on her hip. 

I’ve seen the scenario a thousand times on my beach. I smile always as I pass by and smell the scent of fresh sunscreen lathered on that sweet family. I inevitably try to make eye contact to no avail with the five year old poking  in wonder at the dead fish washed ashore. Failing, I smile at the parents hoping they catch a glimpse of my joy as I reflect on those precious fish-poking moments that are now but a sweet memory for my family. I hope that they can see that it’s a beautiful moment. One not to be missed or stressed  about. One to be savored. 

Sadly, though, in those smiles, I’ve never received one back. I see blank stares of exhaustion coming back my way. 

And then I remember….

It’s a pain in the ass getting three kids to the beach by ten in the morning. 

My smile turns to genuine empathy and one more thought. 

“How often do I miss moments with my teenagers because I’m caught up in the exhaustion.” 

I take a deep breath and vow to enjoy  my teens. My teens that can dress themselves, feed themselves, put on their own sunscreen, wipe their own behinds, carry their own shit to the beach, wash their own hands after they poke the dead fish, and read their own book on a towel next to me. 

God, I love those sassy mouthed, self-sufficient teens. 

I smile again.  But this time not at their crazy, exhausting reality, but at mine. 

Help me get out of therapy sooner. 

So in therapy lately, (I know. I know.  Me, in therapy. Big shocker there! Not. ) I’m doing a lot of work  around body image. Apparently, I have some issues with food, self perception, self loathing blah blah blah. I won’t bore you with details. This is gonna be quick, I swear. 

The background – Thankfully, I have not been bullied. I only remember being criticized for my looks a handful of times. Yet, I STILL feel incredibly judged by women. 

The issue and reason my therapist gets the big bucks- Why do I feel so judged when most of the time women are kind and complimentary towards me? 

The epiphany — I feel like crap not because of what they say to me, but because I hear how they judge themselves. 

Examples- When I offer kind words, their response is typically to brush it off and say something negative about themselves. They  are their own harshest critics.  They are too fat. They are too wrinkled. They had three kids and it ruined their body…. Girls, you know this scenario so well that I don’t have to even list things out. You know exactly what I’m talking about.  You say something nice to another chick and she will come back with a response about something that’s still wrong with her. 

The sad truth — It’s rare for us girls to give a compliment and hear back “Thanks. I love this sweater, too”. Or can you imagine after saying how cute a girl looks for her to say, “Thanks. I thought the same things this morning.” It’s unimaginable. 

My request—- “Stop it! Ladies, just stop it. Say ‘thank you’!” 

Why— Because I want to stop going to therapy someday— and because you are making me feel bad. If I think you look amazing and I tell you so and you disagree, you are inadvertently telling me my opinion isn’t valuable. 

So it’s all your fault I am so messed up(I need more therapy to move past this part, give me time)—because of your self deprication,  I make the logical conclusion that my opinion of myself isn’t valid or valuable. If you look like crap. I must too. 
Let’s practice-

Me:”You look fabulous, darling!” 

You: Thank you! 

Say it. You can do it. I know you can. “Thank you.” 

Louder now. “Thank you!” 

And now with some heart “THANK YOU, Kim. I appreciate that!”

Wow. Damn, girl, you’re good. And I feel so much better about me. So thank YOU! 

Oh, and in case you were wondering,  I do look fabulous today. Really fabulous.