For Men Who’ve Never Held Your Feet

Every 6 months or so I go through the large wooden Olive and Cocoa box where I keep the little things that bring me joy. Birthday cards & “wish you were here’s“, gut-wrenchingly beautiful articles, old photos, worn ticket stubs, and quotes. With time these things begin to look scattered and lost — my pile of messy love. A tiny piece of my heart is in that box. And tonight was the night that I went through it, reflected, and organized the little notes and trinkets.

As I was doing this I found a quote folded up that I printed off at work. I did so because at the time there was a man in my life that treated me like a kitchen dish towel. It felt as though he had found me nicely folded, dunked me in hot dirty water, used me to clean the corners of his dusty and tattered heart, and then rung me out before he threw me aside to dry. Needless to say, there was some healing to do.

I’ve always loved the way words can handle my emotions that I often don’t know what to do with. This quote is long, but it is such a nice reminder of how far I have come. How much my heart has grown and how much strength I have found since this time of my life. It’s an incredible feeling to know that I’ve made the decision to never allow anyone to make me feel that small again.

So as I sit here on the floor of my cozy little apartment I am crossing my fingers. Hoping that at least one person can relate to this and then think “Wow, I am so much stronger now.” Anyway… I hope you enjoy it.

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“How far have you walked for men who’ve never held your feet in their laps?
How often have you bartered with bone, only to sell yourself short?
Why do you find the unavailable so alluring?
Where did it begin? What went wrong? And who made you feel so worthless?
If they wanted you, wouldn’t they have chosen you?
All this time, you were begging for love silently, thinking they couldn’t hear you, but they smelt it on you, you must have known that they could taste the desperate on your skin?
And what about the others that would do anything for you, why did you make them love you until you could not stand it?
How are you both of these women, both flighty and needful?
Where did you learn this, to want what does not want you?
Where did you learn this, to leave those that want to stay?” 
― Warsan Shire

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Oversharing and Living in The Now

In the last year I’ve noticed an unhealthy pattern with social media: it sends a message that we’re never good enough, that there is always something or someone doing it bigger and better out there. Because of this we often put up a front instead of showing who we really are. Some do it out of fear, insecurity, uncertainty, or to try and avoid “social rejection”. Others do it because they thrive off of attention, they need to feel validated in everything that they’re doing and they want to show that they are “winning” in this game of life. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter each have their own influence.

So much time is wasted on these things that can never bring us genuine comfort, happiness, love, or the healthy social interaction we need as humans. And we tend to spiral into a negative head game with ourselves by comparing our lives to others, usually complete strangers, who manage to portray the “perfect life” (that does not exist) by posting photos and videos online. This is so. damn. unhealthy. And honestly, it’s kind of scary. We make up a romantic illusion of what our lives look like, when really things are far from what your feed reflects.

I’ll be the first to admit that I regularly have unhealthy thoughts about my reality and the life I show online. I’ll think “I should take a photo of these weights to prove how healthy I am, to show that I’m dedicated to my fitness.” or “This dinner was delicious and it happens to be pretty, I should snap a photo and upload it to show off my love for time in the kitchen.” or the best one, “I look good today. I should post a #selfie and then put a quote as the caption that has nothing to do with my face. It will distract others from the fact that I’m trying to bring attention to myself” And before I know it I’ve wasted time at the gym, my food is cold, or I’m being rude to those around me by giving all of my energy & attention to an insignificant little app that will not ever truly measure the “good” in who I am or add value to my life. It’s all really unfortunate.

How can we be our authentic selves & truly enjoy this beautiful opportunity to create a life we love when we’re so caught up in this rat race? When we’re constantly missing the miracles in life because our heads are down & we’re living through others? Yes, I am guilty of being sucked into social media & societies expectations. I have been doing it all for years now, including this little blog of mine. For a long time these things were positive outlets. I posted uplifting thoughts, photos of nature, and things that simply made me happy. But it has grown into such an unhealthy daily game of comparison that I’ve decided to step away for a while. No more Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for me. I need to take a breather from all the bullshit. I desperately need some authenticity in my life. And I need to really think about what I want my message to the world to be.

“Your life is your message to the world. Make it inspiring.”

― Lorrin L. Lee

We should be doing things because they make us & the people we love happy. Our actions, words, and goals should be said, and done, for personal fulfillment, not for ego boosts & validation from strangers who will never truly get to know who we really are. Photos aren’t taken to get as many “likes” & “comments”, they are taken to capture moments that take our breath away, moments that we want to be able to look back on & reflect as individuals. Not to edit the shit out of them, throw on a tacky font with a word like “Yum!” or “Joy!” & post online. Give me a break.

It is time to get real with ourselves. To embrace the fact that life is messy sometimes & we don’t have to share every little thing we do. Sometimes it’s about the quiet moments we have with ourselves. And sometimes it’s about deep, intimate, raw discussions that we have when we are connected with somebody else… Looking straight in the other persons eyes, not into a screen.

Humans tend to be so self involved. We forget that there is an entire world out there filled with so many other beautiful, intelligent, incredible beings. They don’t have iPhones but they do have hearts bigger than their bodies give them credit for and dreams far too large to document in one photo. When are we going to begin celebrating that about people? The quality of their character, their dreams & accomplishments, and their zest for life & making it better for others. That is what matters. Not your “Man crush Monday” “Throwback Thursday” or “Flashback Friday” posts that are repetitive & mean nothing. Go do something. Go be something. Make someones day & resist the urge to tell everyone & their dog about it. Stop posting about it & simply be about it. I promise you it will feel good. It’s time to break the habit of over-sharing and begin living in the now.

I hope that this break will help bring clarity into my life and allow me to step back, breathe, and truly be here.

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Remember Why You Started

Hey all, I hope you’re having a beautiful weekend so far. I spent my Friday night in the gym with my best friend, we worked hard and laughed harder. And as I was breathing through my latest challenge (perfecting the deadlift) I looked at myself in the mirror and figured out why I was really there.

I’ve noticed that most 20-somethings are in the gym to see quick results. They do whatever it takes to get that perky booty, toned stomach, wee arms, and the infamous “thigh gap” (which I hate, but that’s another story. Click here for my opinion on that) And I’ll be honest, a year ago I was that girl. But I’m so grateful for my experience in the gym these last 2 months because it has drastically changed my view of what fit and healthy really means. 

When I go to the gym I focus, I compete with the person I was the day before, and I have fun. I am gentle with myself when I am not quite understanding something new for the first few times, and I am hard on myself when my body says “give up” and my mind says “try one more time“.

At the beginning of this journey my goals were not healthy. I wanted to look good for a trip we’re planning in January that calls for bikini’s and sundresses. But something clicked and I realized that I’m not there 6 days a week to have skinny arms to flaunt at the bar or while I’m on vacation. My reasons go much deeper than that because they’ll effect my life, and those in it, years from now.

I want strong arms so that I can swoop my nephew up and squeeze him tight when we’re playing. So that it’s not as much of a challenge to carry things like groceries up the stairs to my apartment. I want to be strong so that I can defend myself if I ever found myself in a scary situation. And so that in May when it’s time for me to move I wont have to rely on so many people for help (and wine to recover;)

The strength I am working so hard for is for myself. So that I can have a lifetime of good health & fitness instead of simply working towards a slim body for the holidays or sporadic vacations on the beach.

And I am many years away from this part of my life, but I work hard now so that one day I can be a strong momma to my children. I want to be a good example of happiness & health for them. I want to be able to keep up with them when they are being stinkers & booking it as fast as they can away from me ;) & I want to be emotionally strong, which is what focusing on loving and nurturing my body does for me.

I will continue to run races, compete and complete spartans, and stay active. I want to be a fun auntie, a daughter who can help with big projects, a girlfriend who can do her own heavy lifting, a self-lover, and someday I hope to be a mom who can keep up with my quick and curious kids.

So when I walk into the gym on a Friday night or an early weekday before work I will forget what society says, I will brush any self-doubt aside, and I’ll remember why I started. And I think that’s pretty powerful.

“A woman is often measured by things she cannot control. She is measured by the way her body curves or doesn’t curve. By where she is flat, or straight, or round. She is measure by 36-24-36 and inches and ages and numbers, by all the outside things that don’t ever add up to who she is on the inside. And so if a woman is to be measured, let her be measured by the things she can control, by who she is trying to become. Because every woman knows measurements are only statistics, and statistics lie.” -Nike

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Finding My Fitspiration

Good morning sunshines! I start a strict meal plan & workout routine this Thursday. Kelsey & I are doing it together which is a bonus because I always excel with a partner, especially when it’s my gym-loving best friend.

I decided to hit the gym early today before work. It’s 5:30 a.m & I don’t know how people do this! Luckily there is a lot on my mind so it was fairly easy to wake up. I am still deciding if I should go all natural or purchase a pre-workout. Right now I’m sticking to 2 cups of black coffee & a plain rice cake with some all natural peanut butter (dying for bananas right now) Do you use pre-workout?

It’s leg day & I tend to feel a little self conscious in the weight area when I’m solo. I’m looking forward to gaining confidence in that area. What are your favorite ways to stay motivated to stick to your routine & healthy food choices? Do you use a pre-workout or do you stick to good ole’ black coffee? I’d love your feedback. They say that it takes around 3 weeks to form a habit… Here’s to day one :)

Pre-workout day 1

“It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Give it 12 weeks. Don’t quit.”

 

No Pants Beyond This Point

Hi loves, I hope you’ve been having a great weekend. There was a fair amount of Jameson, beer, late nights, and fat kid food involved in mine so today I’m taking it down a notch. I love Sundays because nobody gets judged if you don’t have pants on & it’s a great day to catch up on “me time”. My team doesn’t play today & I did all of my boring adult to do’s yesterday so I plan on spending the rest of my weekend snuggled up to the documentary “Bully”. I’m going to sit here in my underwear & socks that don’t match & eat snacks because tomorrow it is back to reality & I’m trying my best to be in denial about it.

Okay so lets discuss snacks. Pomegranates. Poms are my absolute obsession & they are in season so I’m all over it. The downside: they can be a pain in the ass sometimes. If you don’t already know the trick to peeling them then I guess today is just your lucky day. I learned this trick from my girl Martha Stewart.

Pomegranate Trick

  1. Using a sharp knife, remove the top and bottom of the pomegranate. Don’t slice your finger off.
  2. Make 4 incisions creating 4 equal sections. Only cut through the skin, stopping when you hit the pit/membrane (white part).
  3. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Place the pomegranate in the water & begin to break the pomegranate into 4 sections along the incisions you made. Sounds harder than it is.
  4. Now, using your fingers, pull the seeds away from the skin and membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the skin/pit will float to the top. To prevent staining your surface, it is best to do this while the pomegranate is submerged under water.
  5. Before straining, skim the top of the water and remove any excess skin and pulp.
  6. Devour like the pom-lover that you are. Don’t share with anybody.

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My beverage, the detox elixir, is only 17 calories & it’s packed with a ton of antioxidants. The main ingredient, another one of my obsessions, is apple cider vinegar. It’s known to aid in weight loss so that’s neat but I just genuinely enjoy the drink because it’s a nice little pick me up. I try to drink one to two everyday.

Combine 2 tbsp of fresh OJ, 1 Tbsp ACV, 1/8 Tsp powdered ginger & a pinch each of turmeric & cayenne pepper. Serve cold. 

Happy snacking & enjoy your day of rest before you get back to the weekly grind.

10 to 1: Empowering our kids

Did you know that for every negative comment you make to a child you need to tell them ten positive things? You cannot erase the harsh words, shaming, and belittling. But you can start a fresh path with words full of love, encouragement, and empowerment. I wish that everyone kept this in mind while interacting with children. This goes for any child, not just yours. They are all sensitive beings who need to be told how wonderful they are, how intelligent they are, and how beautiful they are.

Why, you ask? Because eventually they grow up. Eventually we force their inner child to hush it’s young joy + excitement. Eventually we throw them into an adult world that is fast, competitive, judgmental, and quite scary. And eventually, they are you. Walking around with the insecurities that the adults who influenced them the most instilled without even knowing it. 

I’ve always loved kids + my career just so happens to allow me to work with them on a daily basis. My younger students always amaze me. They are quick, curious + eager to learn. And they are often all those things combined with some insecurities, self-doubt, confusion, and stress from societies pressures. There are days where I get a call from a student that is sobbing about not doing well on a test, letting down their parents, or failing a course. Finding the balance between being an adult they must discuss their education with + a person they can trust is hard sometimes.

All I know is that there is no black and white with kids, and if we start to focus on that then maybe we wont have so many damaged adults. Be their listener, cheerleader, link to success, and outlet. Be the person that tells them when it’s time to get up + get busy making their dreams turn to reality. But don’t be their source of negativity + self doubt, because that simply does not go away. Let them be eclectic, passionate about things you don’t understand, and slightly silly. Kids + their ideas about life deserve respect as well. We must shape the future generations, and it starts with the way that we speak to them. It starts with you.

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