Showing posts with label joy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label joy. Show all posts

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Prettiest Girl in the Room

Everyone harbors a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room.”  ~32 Flavors, Ani DiFranco

I think about that line a lot.  Sometimes it’s in the literal sense of how people compare their bodies to others and sometimes it’s more in how we get down on ourselves because of others’ accomplishments and attention.  It all ties together.

It’s true that I have been thin all my life.  And I have pretty much been 5’10” since the 4th grade.  I was the textbook definition of awkwardly scrawny, and still have a knobby knee complex that is truly ridiculous.  Because I tried to eat at least a little bit healthy in school, skipping the unidentifiable parts of high school lunches and going for salads instead, people assumed I was on diets and accused me (light-heartedly?  playfully?) of being anorexic.  (The still-clinging habits I adopted to try and prove people wrong are a whole other story!)

It’s taken me a long time to realize the fact that most of my life people have demonstrated that it’s ok to say things to each other like, “I hate you; you’re so skinny.”  And it’s “ok,” because people think it’s a compliment.  People think that phrases like that actually make someone feel good about themselves.  People think in that sense that if they put themselves down it will boost others up.

It’s completely inappropriate to talk to someone in that manner if they’re overweight, so why on earth is it ok to accuse someone of being under weight?  (And furthermore, when the heck did it become a compliment to tell someone you hate them??)

What’s the message learned from that?  “Shine too bright and you’ll make others around you feel bad about themselves.”  Ouch.  No one wants to do that.  Most people would rather hold themselves back than risk hurting other people and somehow the guilt is lessened if we diminish our light and keep ourselves down.

We need to fix this, in a big way.  We need a new model (take that as you will!).  As best I can figure it out we are all here to be as happy as we possibly can, and you know what?  Joy is beauty!  When we shine our brightest, when we do our best, when we follow our dreams, when we take care of ourselves, when we tell, and show, the world that we are in love with who we are, we help teach others how to do the same.  That’s what the world needs.  That’s a remarkable gift we can give each other. 

You are here to shine, with a light that is yours and only yours.  The world would not be the same without it. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Beautiful Start to a Beautiful Year

Well well well, what have we here?
A beautiful start to a beautiful year.
I do believe with all my heart that there is only one direction life can go, and that the nature of the universe is to be better and better all the time.  There is no limit to how happy we can be.  No need to hold back for fear that we're going to use all of it up, or hit the peak of the hill just to roll down the other side to our bored and unhappy demise.  
Sometimes I worry that I'm running out.  Sometimes I worry that the world is running out.  Of what?  Of resources, of creativity, of new ideas, of general Good Things.  For every good song that is written that's one less good song in the pot.  For every creative endeavor that's one less thing that can be discovered.  Isn't it?  
I spent much of last year working my way out of that mindset.  And thank God, 'cause it sure was a heavy thing to carry.  I began to feel a bit ashamed that I would ever accuse the Universe of being anything less than infinite.  I began to feel tremendously excited and humbled to think of how many things people think of to create and then never do.  What if?  What if everybody created everything they ever dreamed of creating?  That is what joyfully calls me into this year. 
I vow this year to be kinder to myself.  
I vow to judge less and give more.
I vow to do more of what I love and less of what I don't. 
I vow to let go of everything, and know I cannot keep something that was never meant to stay.
I vow to breathe. 
I vow to look in the mirror often and say, "Shawnee, you can do it.  And Shawnee, I love you."
I vow to live more and hesitate less.
I vow to be happier than I've ever been.