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Dear 22 year old

thI have been where you are. I know what is going through your head. I am still there most days, but I have got some age on me now. I know things you do not know at 22, or do not believe yet anyway. It is hard to believe them, when all around you everything goes against it. But, I am writing this because at 22 there is still time. Time for you to change your thought process . Time for you to become head strong. Stronger than you already are so that when you do have years on you too, like me, you will be able to look back and think, “I’m so happy I was able to change my way of thinking.” The reason is this, your mind is one of the most powerful tools you have. It can help you, it can hurt you. It had done both over time to me. It continues to do it daily. I wish I had someone to say this to me at 22, really at 15.

My story begins at 15, really younger, but for the sake of this we will say 15. I looked around, I noticed what was going on. The girls getting the attention from the boys. Meeting them at the movies. I could not figure it out. I was outgoing, friendly, had plenty of friends but I was not one the one the boys noticed outside of the “friend zone”. I realized what they did notice. I became obsessed with it. Exercising like crazy, becoming “healthy” is what I said. But at one time my parents considered sending me off to treatment because my “healthy” behavior had gotten out of control and on my large boned frame, the weight I had lost down to was skeletal thin. However it paid off where I wanted it to at the time. According to what the “norm” was anyway.

At age 16 the first boy notice me and asked me out. We hit it off. blah, blah, blah, fell in love, married when we finished college at 21 and the rest is divorce history. I could not keep up the charade. I am not born to be a naturally thin person. I am not a skinny girl by birth. I began to gain the weight back when I began to eat again. Just eating healthy, minding my own business, still exercising like normal and eating like normal, but gaining weight above Skeleton’s level. After gaining the weight, this person who promised me forever, better and worse, realized he only like the size I was at 16, not the size I had become 12 years later. Immediately my mind went to the place , “no one will ever want me, love me, if I am not small”, really there was evidence of that right?

Time passes. My soul was searched. Prayers were prayed. I cannot tell you all scars heal, but now I know that body shaming is a real thing and a real problem. I actually lived it the entire time I was married not only by my ex-husband but his family also. The people out there that talk, whisper, stare. They are not secure with something they have, something they are dealing with. Yes, I said I struggle now. Because I did not change my thought process early enough.

That’s what I want for you. Change your mind now. You are good enough RIGHT NOW! RIGHT THIS SECOND you are GREAT, exactly how you were meant to be. Whoever does not see that, whoever comments to the contrary does not deserve a second thought. I know it is not easy. I KNOW it is not easy. But you can do it. You HAVE to do it. Now. Change your thought process now and stop body shaming yourself. NOW.

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Care Bear Stare and Prayer

  

For some reason Penelope thought about how the beloved Care Bear Stare of the 80’s was similar, yet an innocent form of prayer. I am not trivializing prayer in anyway!! Here is the definition of The Stare:

” The primary uses of this ability are to defeat the Care Bear’s enemies and to heal people and objects that have been corrupted by them.”

“When the Stare/Call is used it creates a ray of light that is usually filled with hearts and stars and also it glitters. When it strikes a major enemy of the Care Bear Family is appears to harm them whereas when it hits someone or something who has been affected by one of their enemies it appears to heal them from the evil power”

Credit:  http://carebears.wikia.com/wiki/Care_Bear_Stare

Isn’t that what we do when we pray? Especially when a group comes together to pray? We want to protect, intercept, heal on someone else’s behalf or by our own petition.Much like we use prayer to protect and heal.

Prayer warrior:

Prayer warrior is a term used by many evangelical and other Christians to refer to anyone who is committed to praying for others.

Within the context of Dominion theology, prayer warriors see themselves as engaged in spiritual warfare against satanic forces

Credit: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_warrior

Ephesians 4:30-32). We learn that we are in a spiritual battle with Satan, so we must pray for our own spiritual well-being to maintain our strength and focus in praying for others (Ephesians 6:12-18).

The point of my rambling this morning is that there is someone close to my heart and others around her that could use any and all. Of course, I would love to dress as a Care Bear and stand out front pretending to emit rays of light from my belly, but somehow I think campus security wouldn’t get my humor. Please use your power of prayer, your care bear stare, or anything else positive you have for my love friend this morning as she faces a huge mountain to climb. Together we can get her over!

  

Being a woman is hard enough….

rachel_mcadams_mean_girls_20080813_02

(Photo credit: http://tcnjjournal.pages.tcnj.edu)

I am working through the Blogging 101 course that WordPress is offering this month. The other day I searched through the blogosphere (learned that new word…you like that dontcha ?), and I came across a fellow blogger, The Wanna Be Island Girl, and part of one of her post really stuck with me. The post title is The Sisterhood, and I will be making a few references to the part of her post that is leading me to what I am trying to say.

I think about it all the time. Women are nasty to other women. I see it all the time. For no reason either. I just don’t understand it.

“But, I’ve always had this deep rooted appreciation for girlfriends and women in general who lift each other up. We have enough tearing down in society and it makes me sick. ”  (The Sisterhood)

This is what sparked my thought process. Women need to lift each other up, but women need to teach their daughters the same. I can tell you from experience that this behavior can sometimes be learned. It also starts young. I cannot believe that at 4 years old my little penguin has to worry about (well, she doesn’t really worry because that’s how she rolls) about cliques on the playground. Really? I see a generation of parents (women) who don’t realize what their children are absorbing and don’t realize they emulate their behavior. When these daughters see their mother isolate another woman, these daughters are being taught this is an okay behavior.

I’m not preaching. Believe me I have my side of me, especially my Penelope in my head, that can be judgy and nasty. I always catch myself and remind myself not to do that and especially not to say it or convey my feelings in any way that my daughter may pick up on. There are a group of women in my church, that I refer to as the Alpha moms, or Stepford moms depending on how snarky I am that day. Mind you I only refer to them this way in my head or to my husband, but in front of my child I am nothing but smiles. But I observe them. I know how I am treated by them, and I sit back and see how their children treat other children who aren’t “like” them.

Now, these Alpha moms have never been outwardly rude, it’s the hidden rudeness that really crawls my skin. The “I’m the perfect mom with the perfect look and the perfect kids” attitude that just make me cringe like nails on a chalkboard. We exchange pleasantries and I overhear their latest pintrest pin and that’s where our “sisterhood” ends. But, as I said I observe. The same way that their children have seen their mother treat me in a subtle way as an outcast, with my less than perfect clothes and tattoos, I’ve noticed they treat my child and other children who may not fit the “mold” the same way.

So why don’t women build each other up? Why isn’t there more of a sisterhood? Because it’s learned at an early age not too. Now I’m sure some readers may be thinking “you are just as snarky and guilty of this as they are”. Well, I am…..but only in my head. And the reason I point that out is that I make a big effort to let my little girl know that 1) it’s okay for her to be the way she is and 2) we accept everyone for who they are. She has never seen me or heard me be anything but gracious and nice to these other women nor will she. She can form her own opinions when she is old enough. But as a mother, I will not stand by and let their mini me hurt my child either. Right now at 4, her hurt feelings are easily smoothed over, but I know more difficult injuries are coming and I’m bracing myself for blighting my tongue and having to continue explaining that she is okay being the way she is. I will teach her to build up others, women especially.

But I beg, I plead of all women to just take a moment and be real. Be real with yourself, your children. Being a woman is hard! It is not butterflies and hearts. It is not perfect hair and makeup. Can’t we stop pretending, making others feel bad and just be there for each other as women? Can’t we be honest and share those honest stories with complete raw vulnerability that everyone knows but no one will talk about? To build each other up as women we need to start with being honest as women. Remove the screen, the facade, and just be real. Discuss the really hard, nasty stuff that gets swept under the rug.