Thursday, September 5, 2013

Shit just got REAL.

I am 28 years old.  According to History I was 18 when I graduated high school. According to Math 28-18=10.  So that means I have been out of high school for 10 years. Really?

My 10 year high school reunion is this weekend and you better believe I have been hit with a rush of emotions, thoughts, memories and more from those awkward teen years.

I had a weird experience in high school, just plain weird.  I can sum my problem up in one sentence but that would make for a pretty dull post.  I wasn't teased in high school, I wasn't out casted, in fact, most of my peers were really nice to me despite the fact I struggled inside, my issue was I just didn't love myself and in retrospect I can see people picked up on that.  IMHO, my problems stemmed from my struggles with religion and family.  I was raised Mormon and the issues that arose from that are a whole different post entirely.  My family had some issues, my parents were divorced and we were never taught to focus on loving ourselves. My mom was so unhappy she could only handle the basics, like making sure we had a healthy dinner on the table and our grades were up.  My Dad hurt my Mom alot and my Mom felt she did not have the emotional capacity to give me any emotional strength as she was struggling with the same issues herself. Instead, I was made to feel ashamed for all that I wanted and felt.  I was constantly beating myself up, wondering how I could be different? I found myself constantly rebelling and in trouble at home.  Looking back, it's no wonder I wasn't my Mother's favorite child, but according to my memories, instead of getting talked to and consoled I just got grounded, again probably because she had little available to give.

No shocker, the minute I hit 18, I moved out and never went back.  Completely un-grateful my struggling mother had raised me to the best of her abilities. Most people at this point would hit the pavement full speed, but no, not me, I just got a regular Accounting job and started working.  My self-worth was still not there.  I was still a scared little girl who had no faith in herself and wanted to be popular in high school and take 2 inches off her waist. What finally shook me from my shell, was dating someone who had zero self-worth.  It was so easy for me to see that he wasn't living his life.  He was coasting.  Scared to make decisions.  Scared to fail.  And then in true Rachel form, I had a moment.  An Oh My Gosh, stop pointing the finger moment. I realized everything that I found 'wrong' with him, was 'wrong' with me and that I was basically being a petty little baby. Talk about getting hung up on the little things.  Why didn't I love myself? Why didn't I think I was amazing? I felt like a burden to my parents. My smile isn't perfect.  And when I smile that not perfect smile one eye gets smaller than the other.  I've always had some pudge around my lower belly. Oh no my parents weren't perfect? My legs are short. My sense of fashion is always once accessory short.

Truth be told, alot of those issues were my parents, and the other ones are just trivial and lame, and every flaw I highlighted took away from a strength that I did have. I FINALLY woke up and learned to toss that shit to the side, like taking out the trash I let all that go. Maybe I went overboard, maybe not, but I ended that relationship with a quickness.  I found inspiring blogs like, that helped me a TON. I started dancing at concerts, I started doing my hair differently, I wore whatever I wanted, I embraced my body by walking around naked and loving the flaws, I exposed myself to strangers, I let my snort come through in my laugh and I just plain fell in love with myself.  Genuinely.  Lots of times I look in the mirror and look at my forehead wrinkle, or my teeth that Zoom! can't even whiten and I just smile.  I feel so complete (ok, most days!!!) and fulfilled, I just feel that I am who I am and now that I'm not comparing myself to others, I feel so much more uplifted.  I fail at times obviously, but I always try to make sure to rise again and make myself the best I can be. This is not something that I did overnight, and not something that is as easy as the fore-mentioned taking out the trash.  There were emotional conversations with my Mother, there were drunken nights I went too far, there were setbacks.  But ultimately I knew (and still know) that my relationship with myself is the most important one.  I know that if I don't take care of myself, I won't be the best partner I can be for my love now, and he deserves the best.

Life could be worse.  Life could be better. My favorite quote that I have lived by since I read it,"Personality starts where comparison ends." Life is not about comparison. We are all our own versions of awesome, and the best favor we can do ourselves and the world is to highlight the best things about ourselves and share them with the world while uplifting others to do the same.

PS- I'm not going to the reunion.  Although I am at terms with my high school years, I feel moving forward is the best way to...well....move forward. Going back seems completely un-necessary. And unlike my past years, I love my life, and myself now.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

This is not a parking game, so no, I will not validate you.

I have been thinking lately about validation and what it is all about.  When I think about my life I always try to think about what I can do to be more like the people I admire.  Selfless, happy, humble, non-judgemental, etc. are some of the random attributes I strive to work on.  But when is the last time we all tried to be good for the sake of being good to ourselves, not for external validation?  I want to point out, external and internal validation are two completly different things.  For instance a person who constantly strives to work on their outer appearance but never works on their character would be mostly concerned with external validation.  Someone who spent the majority of the time working on their psyche and thoughts vs physical looks would be more into internal validation, as a general statement. So it's no surprise many people are worried about what others think, who saw them do what they just did, and if nobody was around- why couldn't they be? How many times have we been caught in a situation where we didn't want anyone around (maybe in the bathroom!!) and thought man it would be nice to get some privacy right now! How many times have we done something really nice and looked around only to discover that privacy we so craved had been obtained but all at the wrong time.  Well, as fate would have it, we can not control who is around us at what times in all given situations. The truth of the matter is, whether positive or negative it doesn't matter who sees what we do because the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. We account to ourselves everyday, not our family or partners but just ourselves. The thought that plagues me is why more people don't do the right thing for the right reason; themselves. 

If this is an area that we are struggling in, here are some thoughts on how to progress with it.

When acting and making choices ask yourself....

-Am I being true to myself?
-Am I making daily choices that bring me happiness?
-Do I care what others think?
-If so, why?
-Would I admire my actions in another person?
-Is my motivation correct?

I am not claiming total innocence here, but I can say I have had it happen to me where I have had something nice done for me and I have expressed a simple thanks!  A heartfelt, but simple thanks! Only to receive a text message later saying that the person felt unappreciated and taken advantage of, etc.  We, as friends and family, should not do this to eachother.  We should give of our resources freely and not expect anything in return.

I have often heard people say that after they give selflessly of themselves they always feel better about themselves, which sometimes can lead to feelings of guilt.  I strongly encourage you to release that guilt.  Do you stop wearing makeup because it makes you feel prettier? No. So don't stop being the change you wish to see because you feel uplifted. This feeling is a natural by-product, that you deserve to relish in.

I challenge you all to consider a recent favor you have done for a friend and stop and think about why you did it..... did you do it because you wanted to feel good about doing it? Did you do it because you wanted the recognition from the friend?

I encourage us all to do the right thing for self-peace, self-love, internal radiation, and comfort of our souls.