bringingupbuddhas

suburban adventures in bu-curious mothering

Tag: women’s health

The Flawed Foundation of Feminism

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I enjoyed watching Emma Watson speak on feminism in this video. She articulated beautifully the need for worldwide immediate action toward gender equality. My concern is that while we women demand respect and equality from our male counterparts, the foundation of our argument is weakened by our own interpersonal habits.

By gossiping about each other and cutting each other down through our words and actions, we disempower our entire gender. Yes, our entire gender. Because it’s not just me doing it, it’s not just you doing it. Almost *all* women do it. And if we’re not woman-bashing out loud, most likely we’re struggling with jealousy or pettiness in our heads.

If the sisterhood should thrive in political and economic society, it must first thrive within itself. And while international campaigns shine a bright light on civil imbalance, the movement really starts with private, daily efforts in consciousness. Tiny efforts that eventually become a new normal.

This movement is a political overhaul in the making, but I’m suggesting an overhaul of the female ego. We can start by vowing very simple things: “Today I will not engage in idle gossip. Today I will be kind to every woman I see. Today I will support another woman in business.”

We’re stronger together!

What are your thoughts on this recent surge of the feminist movement? Is feminism only the new black? Why is it that vulnerability is a requirement for women to support one another while vulnerability seems to be detriment for men to support men? What are you doing to propel the feminist movement? Why or why not?

http://www.vanessagobes.com

Emma Watson Delivers Game-Changing Speech on Feminism

goodbye back pain

I’ve had constant lower back pain for several years. I’ve tried yoga and chiropractic and massages, but nothing really made it go away. I mean, all those things made me feel great, but the back pain still lingered.

Okay, switching gears for a minute – hold tight, this will come around.

I am typically messy and disorganized and forgetful and overcommitted. It’s a problem for me and it’s a problem for those around me. So I’ve made deliberate efforts to simplify all parts of my life and have been super disciplined and organized for about two months. I always strive to walk my talk, but these months I’ve been absolutely intentional about it. Will power and discipline are my #1 and #2 challenges in life so this effort has taken *extreme* concentration and commitment!

I’ve noticed, as I’ve become more disciplined, my back pain has dissipated, to the point that my lower back feels loose, flexible, and healthy. The pain is gone. And there’s no reason for it to be gone. But it’s gone nonetheless.

Physical pain is a manifestation of spirit’s last ditch effort to communicate with us. “There is something really wrong here! Please pay attention! I’m talking to you!!!” I’m totally convinced that God has rewarded my organizational efforts by alleviating my back pain. I can find no other explanation and I do not believe in coincidences.

So whether or not you buy into my healing hypothesis, consider this: What could your body be telling you? Do stress and challenges manifest for you physically? Have you ever equated your physical pain with emotional pain?

Here’s a fun exercise – write down something going on with your body that’s troubling you. (Headaches, allergies, back pain, tummy troubles, etc.) Now write down your biggest challenge or source of stress. (Be careful not to name another person as your source of stress – this has to be all about you!) Spend 3 weeks working deliberately and intentionally to ease that emotional challenge and see what happens to your physical pain.

Share your thoughts!

http://www.vanessagobes.com

are you a spiritual hypochondriac?

Please tell me I’m not alone in this!  Click on the link to watch this quick video and please strike up a conversation in the comments below!

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

how to tame your PMS and take back your life

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I have a love/hate relationship with my period.  I love it because my uterus is downright miraculous and menstruation is its required maintenance.  I hate it because tampons give me a headache and PMS gives me a bad attitude.  

Have you ever read The Red Tent?  It’s the story of Jacob and his multitude of wives; the red tent is the annex where Biblical village women would go when they were OTR, though back then it would be more appropriate to say OTH (On The Hay).  Our female ancestors menstruated simultaneously and would leave their men and boys in the competent hands of young girls who hadn’t yet started monthly bleeding and old women who’d survived the transition out of the cycle.  So basically, once a month, young women enjoyed a whole week spinning stories and teaching each other feminine skills in a cozy tent without men demanding seconds of mutton stew or begging for blow jobs.  Honestly, I think it sounds kind of awesome.  I’m seriously considering erecting a red tent in my backyard.

The only reason I hesitate to bunk with a bunch of menstruating modern chicks is that most of us are crazy.  We women are generally so out of touch with natural body rhythms that when the crazies set in we can’t see that it’s all just hormonal hocus-pocus.  We pick fights with friends, feel offended by co-workers, convince ourselves that our children are purposely not flushing their poops to spite us.  We weep and we lash out and we oversleep, all the while believing whole-heartedly that this is who we are.  But here’s the newsflash:  We are not psychos.  We have PMS.  And we are so totally disconnected that we accept PMS as our normal state of being.

Several years ago I read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of NOW.  (Most likely anyone hanging out on this website has read it, so I won’t recap.)  Back in 2011 I responded to his study on the pain body with a rant on one of my blogs:

During his description of how to manage the pain body, Tolle strolls a bit through the forbidden forest:  PMS.  He actually calls it “menses,” causing me to choke on my pink lemonade.  Menses?  Who says that?  

Whenever a man talks about PMS or periods, I reactively roll my eyes, and Tolle is no exception.  But to my surprise, he is onto something profound.  During a woman’s menstrual cycle, he says, there is “an opportunity for the most powerful spiritual practice, and a rapid transmutation of all past pain becomes possible.”  He invites us hormonal bitches to observe the painful and emotional waves of PMS rather than be pulled down and drown by them.  A fast track to enlightenment via the feminine aisle?  Well, shit.  I gotta try this.

My first problem appears to be that when I’m behaving like a raving lunatic I don’t connect it to hormones.  For two weeks of every month, Aunt Flo moves in with her crappy attitude, her heavy suitcases, and her complaints about my cooking;  she tosses and turns in my bed, she tries to tell me how to manage my relationships, she pigs out on my chocolate cookies.  Half my adult life, I’ve shared a home with this cranky old rag…   

Screeeeeeeeccchhhh!  Hold up!  There it is.  The shift in perception.  I’ll reiterate because this is big:  Half of my adult life (2 weeks each month) operates under Aunt Flo’s grueling regime.  I’m not the freak.  She is!  Awakening to this fact was the first step in keeping Flo contained in her guest suite so I could move around my home in peace.

So this is it, ladies.  The big how-to in reclaiming your body, your emotions, your awareness:  Observe your behavior in the 7-10 days before your period begins.  Each time you are short with your boyfriend or hypercritical of your mother-in-law, each time you feel insecure about a relationship or explosively frustrated with your kids, take a breath and observe.  Watch as if you’re hovering over yourself like a sweet Midol angel.  Don’t judge the behavior.  Just notice who’s doing the talking in your head.  Is the voice loving?   If the voice is not loving, it’s not you.  It’s that curmudgeon Aunt Flo, otherwise known as your pain body.

These observations may quiet your pain body immediately.  But it’s possible that longer term observation will be required.  It depends how attached you are to your pain.  We get used to having the pain around, we accept the pain as normal, the pain becomes our story, we convince ourselves that life is pain.  But this simply isn’t so.

Meditation is the absolute best catalyst in detaching from habitual beliefs.  And there are some pretty fantastic side effects.  When I meditate, I better maintain composure, especially when I’m PMSing (yes, I use PMS as an action verb).  I still get pissed and crazy and squeezy, but not for very long.  The feelings become more like a motorcycle gang joyriding past my house on a quiet Sunday.  The ground rumbles, my heart pumps faster,  the engine noise fills every square inch of space around me; but within a few minutes, the last biker is out of sight, the engines are barely audible, and my heartbeat resumes its rhythmic thump-bump.

Another side effect is physical healing.  A consistent meditation practice will do this:  diminish cramps, diarrhea, cramps, headaches, cramps, cramps, and cramps.  When we meditate we are simply more aware.  We are more thoughtful about the food we eat, the cocktails we drink, and the lifestyle choices we make.  When we meditate we create opportunities for our bodies to heal.  When we are peaceful in our minds, we are peaceful in our bodies.  All of our inner bits are connected, after all.

Meditation isn’t complicated.  There’s really nothing to it.  Just sit down, close your eyes, and breathe.  Try to feel your heart beating.  Try to sense the flow of blood under your skin.  When your mind starts to wander and chit-chat with Aunt Flo, watch it without judgment, then ask it nicely to be quiet so you can focus on your breath and your heartbeat.  Sit for 90 seconds if that’s all you can do.  The next time you sit it’ll be easier.  You might make it to two minutes.  The next time three and so forth.

Go ahead and experiment.  Try it and see if it works.  You are your own best teacher.  The proof will be in your period.

Please share this with the PMSy women in your life.  (Did you know PMS is an adjective, too?)

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

wait. where DO babies come from, mommy?

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I had the talk with my little ones today. The conversation caught me off guard as we sat together on the couch playing Spoons, sharing a bowl of Pirate’s Booty. The yellow puffs started running low, and my youngest daughter, glancing sideways at my son, said, “Mommy, we should get more Pirate’s Booty than him because we’re girls. And girls need to eat more than boys so our bellies can grow big and turn into babies.”

I was momentarily stunned. Realizing this theory was something she had spent time hypothesizing, I stifled a giggle, “Oh, honey, women don’t have babies from eating too much food.”

My oldest girl piped in quickly and confidently, “No, we get babies by taking pills from the doctor.”

“Who told you that?” I spun around to look at her.

“Well, no one. When you were pregnant you had a big bottle of orange pills in your bathroom and you took one every day.”

“No, those were prenatal vitamins. I took them when I was pregnant to give my body extra energy while I was growing the baby.”

“Oh,” she said, looking perplexed. ”Wait. Where DO babies come from, Mommy?”

“Yah,” echoed my youngest. “Where?”

It took me a minute to gather my thoughts (and my courage). My children are 5, 7, and 9. I’m a true believer in answering their questions honestly. Life is wrought with unknowns — there’s no need to be evasive when they ask me what a tampon is or wonder when they’ll grow pubic hair. They’re asking about their own bodies after all, so I always tell them the truth. They have every right to be absolutely comfortable in their skin suits. Plus, dispelling mystery is part of my job as a parent.

That said, I briefly considered shooing away my 5 year old boy. But if I excluded him, I’d be implying that conception is secretive. And he might think that this type of questioning is dangerous. 

I want my kids to be comfortable coming to me FIRST. With ANYTHING. If they are not comfortable coming to me, they will inevitably turn to the internet or to friends. And I know for sure that I can parent my children better than Bing! or some tween on the playground. So I stepped up and addressed all three of them together with honesty and *restraint* — because telling the truth doesn’t mean telling ALL.

We started by talking about Nat Geo and Animal Planet, two of our favorite family channels. The kids adore animal shows and are relatively familiar with mating rituals. I explained that the animals mate to create offspring. I told them that all mammals conceive the same way, and humans are also mammals. All of our body parts have a certain function. And ultimately, our primary human function, like all mammals, is to reproduce. In order to make a baby, a man and a woman need to work together.

The girls followed attentively, locking on my eyes and nodding their heads. The little guy began spinning the spoons lying on the game table, distracted. 

I quizzed, “When you think of body parts on a man and a woman, which ones are different?”

“Boys have penises. Girls have van-ginas,” said my oldest proudly. The others agreed.

“Right. And inside the bodies, men have sperm and women have eggs. Once a month, about a week after a woman has her period, an egg drops down and the man’s sperm has a chance to fertilize it.”

“But how does the sperm get to the egg?”

“It swims. It has a tiny tail and races with a million other sperm to see who can reach the egg first. The one who gets there first gets to become the baby.” Admittedly, I hoped that the kids would be satisfied with this and we could return to playing Spoons.

“Yah, but how does the sperm GET to the egg?” No such luck.

“Well, you said yourself that men have penises and girls have vaginas, right?”

Silence. Introspection. Reaction:

“WHAT?! Daddy put his penis inside your vagina?????”

I tried but failed to contain my giggles. We three girls started laughing. The little guy really had no idea why we were snickering. He probably wasn’t ready to hear it anyway, so it was all for the best. But he could still benefit from the openness of our dialogue even though he didn’t understand the content of the message. He took what he wanted and focused the rest of his attention on twirling spoons.

The girls pummeled me with questions — Did it hurt? Did hair get up there? Do I have to do that? Because I am NOT doing that. What about twins? Does that take two penises? 

I explained to them that the woman has to have her period before her body is ready to make babies, and it’s best that she’s married and settled first. Because every baby needs two loving parents and a stable, happy home.

My second daughter stated emphatically, “I’m only doing that twice. And I’ll have two babies. And THAT’S IT!”

“You can do whatever works best for you, babe,” I reassured.

“Does it hurt to get your period?”

“No, sometimes you’ll get crampy in your belly, but if you eat right and take care of your body you should feel just fine.”

“How about when the baby comes out? Does that hurt?”

“Yep,” I confirmed. ”It really hurts.”

“What does it feel like?” she probed.

“Stretching. And fire. Kind of like you’re pooping a hot cannonball.”

“I’ve had big poops like that before.”

“Well, maybe not this big. Do you want to hear the stories about when you were born?”

“YES!!!!!!!” all three shouted.

As the subject graduated from conception to birth, all three kids sat up and leaned forward, giggling and scrunching up their little faces as I colorfully wove the stories of their beginnings. It was a really lovely experience and I’m so glad it unfolded in just this way, with all of us together.

A minute later my husband strolled into the room and I said, “We just learned about the birds and the bees!” Without a word he spun on his heel and strolled back out. I guess he wasn’t ready to learn yet.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

p.s.

Please share this if you like it!

the best way to live your life all the way

Make this the Summer of Service!

Here’s the link to Huff Post.

Here’s the link to the story of my mentee and me.

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It was spring and I was walking under the pink magnolia blossoms lining Commonwealth Ave in Boston, on my way to a prenatal yoga class.  After a long struggle with morning sickness and lethargy, I was starting to feel energized again and was exploring ways to stay in shape while carrying.  Yoga sounded like a safe bet so I trotted off to my first class.

I was five months along, just starting to develop a visible roundness to my belly, finally wearing real maternity clothes and beginning to think of this baby as more than just the impetus for nausea and a stuffy nose.

There was a teensy person in there, growing fast.  I’d just found out she was a girl and obsessively tried on baby names.  I can’t be sure, but I can imagine myself mentally combing through “The Best 1,000 Baby Names of 2004” when my clog caught a mislaid brick and I face-planted right there on the sidewalk – well, more like belly-planted.  I landed tummy first, arms reaching awkwardly forward and legs stretching behind me.  I didn’t move.

A man in a business suit hustled over to help me find my feet and I stood there for a few moments, examining my scraped, bloodied palms, brushing sand off my protruding belly.  I told the good samaritan I was okay and hobbled off to yoga, sniffling and deflated.

The scene, in general, was nothing overly memorable.  The pain was minimal, the spring day was ordinary, the clumsiness was nothing I hadn’t experienced before.  But this stumble laid the first foundational stone in what would become a motherhood filled with worry.

During the weeks following my fall, I had convinced myself that I’d caused my baby harm.  I would lie in bed at night with my palms splayed out on my belly, begging Baby Girl Gobes for a kick or a hiccup or an arcing elbow to confirm that she was still alive.

I called my OB, “But I fell FLAT on my belly, doc… all of my weight… must have crushed her.  Should I come in for an ultrasound or something?  Anything?”  My doctor assured me the baby was fine.

Pregnancy progressed normally but I still found other things to worry about:  smoke rising from manhole covers, cabin pressure on a trans-Atlantic flight, chlorinated pools, bumpy car rides and arguments with my husband.  All of these ordinary things seemed to pose a danger to my unborn child and I began to stockpile an armory of “what ifs”.

As I neared week 40, I committed myself to natural childbirth.  I worked with a doula, an extraordinary woman who assured me that both the baby and me would be better off for a drug-free experience.

No drugs.  No way out.  Well, one way out – between my legs.  Holy shit.

I liken the feeling to preparing for a date with the firing squad.  The sentence has been decided, it’s scary, people are watching, it’s going to hurt like hell and the aftermath is a complete and utter mystery.

As it turned out, all those things were true.  But instead of a blindfold and a lit cigarette, I was equipped with an IV and ice chips.

After several hours of contractions and pushing, my baby girl was placed gently on my chest and I briefly bawled my eyes out.  I didn’t die after all.  Instead heaven came to me.  And with heaven, as is expected in motherhood, came even more worry.

Am I doing this right?  Am I permanently scarring my child?  Am I a crappy Mom?  Is my kid going to hate me for all of the mistakes I’m making?  We all ask these things, right?  Unfortunately, the answers to these questions validate all of our parental concerns.

Because we aren’t doing it right.  No one does.  We are totally scarring our children.  That’s what parents do.  Every parent wears the Crap Crown sometimes.  And yes, our kids will hate us at some point – we’ll just have to hope it’s short-lived and based in irrational, hormonal, misplaced illogic.

But unlike the pain of childbirth, there is a way out of our looming motherly fears – acceptance.  When we accept these inevitabilities, something really amazing happens.  That tight grip we have on the worry and concern and anxiety, nestled so conveniently into parenthood, loosens.  The worry evaporates.

We accept that there’s only so much we as mothers can do.  We can guide them.  We can educate them.  We can encourage them.  But we can’t live life for them.  They are who they are.

They’re going to fail classes, get sick, lose games, offend adults, break arms, lose expensive electronics, crash cars and make fools of themselves, just like we did.  That will change when they are adults.  Or it won’t.

Some will overachieve early then burn out – or maybe continue to overachieve and stress out.  Some will fly below the radar then launch into the stratosphere of success later in life.  And some will be total screw-ups for the duration of the ride.  And all of that is okay.

There are important lessons to be learned regardless of the path, each as valuable as the other.  In fact, the drug-addict / drop-out / derelict probably learns more about life than the magna cum laude MIT grad groomed by his parents for high achievement.  Life without life-learning is no life at all.

But enough about them, let’s get back to us.  The Mommies.  Because we’re the ones connecting here.  We’re exploring our own feelings associated with worrying about our kids (who probably aren’t worrying about themselves at all).

Our worry is like tumbleweed, picking up all sorts of garbage as the winds of life roll it along.  Garbage that doesn’t help us one bit.  If we Moms allow the tumbleweed to entangle us, we’ll only end up with deep wrinkles, sleepless nights and multiple prescriptions for Xanax.

But worry and acceptance cannot exist in the same space.  It’s impossible.  And there are beautiful side effects of acceptance: liberation, trust and peace.

Wouldn’t it be nice to take a break from the obsession?  From the projection?  From the competition?  From the fear?  From all of those ugly tendencies that we’ve been carrying around since scraping our bellies off the sidewalk in week 20 of pregnancy?

Dragging around a garbage bag of fear will only encourage those same feelings in our children.  That black Hefty is only so thick.  And our trashy bits end up ripping the liner, leaking out and causing a big stink for the people around us.  People like the kids we’re worrying so much about.  Sure, we can tell them not to worry.  But our kiddos do as we do, right?  So let’s do something helpful – model acceptance and collaboration.

Easier said than done, I know.  But acknowledging fear and the reasons for fear is a beautiful stimulus for change, creating wide crack for light to shine in and expose fear for what it is:  Useless.

Meditation is a great way to drag those useless habits out to the magnolia-lined curb.

Often when I meditate lately, I hear the words “create space”.  (I’d love to know who is saying that to me, by the way.)  For me, the creation of space is a deliberate effort to push all of life’s clutter off to the sides and invite an open connection between me and the universe.  In that open space, I can find acceptance.  Anyone can do this.  You don’t need to take a class or read a book or have a special degree to do it.  You just have to know how to breathe.

Solutions don’t have to be complicated or even external.  Peace is as close as your breath.

I’m so grateful for this mindfulness practice.  Through non-doing, I’m actually doing the best thing I could do for myself and my family.  There will be times ahead during which my trust in the universe will be tested, I’m sure.  Nights when I’m wearing a trench in my hardwood floors from pacing.  Days when my kids are flailing and I’m desperate to carry their pain the way I carried their little bodies so long ago.  But the more I practice acceptance, the easier I’ll recover from those angst-ridden moments.   Mindfulness is a lifelong practice that deepens with time.  And as far as I can tell, time is all we’ve got.

Have a happy Sunday, Mommies.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

ps

I am ever-so-grateful to those who share, tweet, like and/or promote my writing in any way.  I’m a stay-at-home mom trying to rub two sticks together and spark a career.  Matches welcome.  🙂

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this is my favorite personal pic. holding my first baby moments after birth. my face full of unanswerable questions.

you’ve come a long way, baby

i’ve been on a cleaning spree all weekend.  it began when my son came down with strep.  my husband took the girls up north to go skiing and i stayed home with the little man.  for the most part, he slept while i scoured every nook and cranny of my house.  i’m talking creepy basement closets, mudroom cubbies, behind the lazy susan in the kitchen corner cabinet…  whole hog.  the purge felt nearly blissful, undercut only by the inevitable shame attached to buying so many stupid things over the years.  i recycled as much as i could, but far too much junk was laid to rest in trash bins.

the rampage continued this morning – monday.  the kids left for school and i got busy clearing the useless contents of my personal space.  i started in my bathroom, tossing crusty bottles of hair gel and half-used hotel shampoo samples.  then i moved onto my closet, launching last decade’s kitten heels and tired pashminas into a box labeled “salvation army”.  i dumped loads of t-shirts and old sweaters into the same box without taking the time to consider if i’d wear them again.  it didn’t matter.  if someone else can use them, that’s what’s important.

i then scooted into my bedroom and pulled open the drawers to my nightstand.  i barely use these drawers.  they’re oversized and hard to open, so i don’t put anything in there that i need to access frequently.  as it turned out, my life’s story was buried inside:

a stained rasied-seal birth certificate for one “Vanessa Linsey Cronin”; a gold necklace given to me by my beloved gram who passed 7 years ago; a diary filled with pages cursing my father for leaving me when i was 11; unsent love letters to boys who broke my heart; calendars marked with cheerleading practices, key club meetings, midterm exams and sleepovers; a panty liner, random, i know, but it stirred the clear image of me at age 15, with a figure like flat stanley, pleading daily to the menstrual gods that i’d get my period; a little red monopoly hotel; expired immodium AD tablets – left over from my years of suffering from IBS, a time when i was so emotionally twisted up that i could barely leave my house for fear of pooping my pants; an autograph autobiography on rex trailer, an old time TV star who helped me put together the resume tape i schlepped down the east coast in hopes of landing a TV reporter gig, a gig i never got; postcards, maps and museum passes accumulated over several european adventures; a white silk rose from my wedding gown that i swapped out for a peach one for the big day; a funny sex kit i won at a winchester neighbor’s club yankee swap (too embarrassed to leave it for the trash man); a loving birthday card to me from my husband; my first baby’s hospital ID bracelet; a pile of books about buddhism and spirituality; a few pens, some yoga pose cards and a box of matches.

looking at all this stuff, i really felt for the girl i used to be.  though her life was pretty good, it wasn’t always easy for her.  as you can probably tell by the contents of the nightstand, that girl’s adolescence was emotionally challenging.  she experienced some real torment, some desperate times, some sadness and sickness.  but she was a survivor.  shit happened and she found a way to make it better.  she cried then laughed then cried again.  but in the end she was just fine.  she got involved, had some fun and dreamed big.

sifting through these relics, i saw the progression of things – how that girl overcame one obstacle at a time.  sometimes alone, sometimes with help.  but she forgave, she worked hard, she acted on good advice, she never said no to an adventure, and she remained hopeful.

life has continued to move along, the young girl’s patterns and tendencies creating the woman i am today.  sometimes i think about my herstory and wince, happy it’s in the past.  sometimes i look back and smile upon fond memories tucked away in a fuzzy thought bubble.

it’s the goodness, to which i was able to cling, that overpowered the angry, insecure, disappointed, lost kid i used to be.  i still have my shortcomings – the same ones that have haunted me all my life.  i’m messy, i procrastinate, i talk too much, i’m a terrible eater, i’m too sassy to my husband, i hate to exercise, i’m jealous, i give up on things easily.  but these qualities are very manageable now.

i think they are manageable because i love myself just the way i am.  good at some things, bad at others.  some people like me, some don’t.  some things i screw up, some i kick ass.  i don’t need to spin my wheels trying to reach the unreachable goal of perfection.  because when i’m perfect i’ll either be enlightened or dead.  and based on the rate of awakening i’m experiencing these days, death will come sooner than enlightenment.  so why not just accept myself as i am and spare myself years of frustration.

the point is, we don’t have to define ourselves by who we used to be.  we can clear out those unhealthy habits and traits like we’re clearing out a drawer full of junk.  it’s just a matter of deciding that it’s time to let go of the clutter.

from mine to yours,

vanessa

p.s.  feel free to share this with other formerly flat 15 year old girls…  or anyone who might like the story for that matter.

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first grade, front row left, shortest (always the shortest) kid in my class.

playing the victim = giving away power

When we’re tied down to the train tracks, we cannot use our power to live our best lives.

I did so well striking out the “ummms” on the first half of this video…  fell off the wagon on the latter portion.  Working on it.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

aging with crazy, sexy confidence: listen up ladies, this one’s for you.

I have a question for my sisters around the world today.  Since when is it not cool to be your age?

I played tennis this afternoon for my team at home in Winchester.  Coming off the court, my partner and I shared a friendly handshake with our opponents and chit-chatted for a minute or so.  As we walked off the court, one of the away  ladies told me that before the match, her entire team was calling me a bitch b/c they thought I was young.  Ummmm…  huh???  I think she wanted to stuff the words back into her mouth right after they tumbled out, but it was too late.  I told her I’d be 37 next month and she blurted out, “Oh, well you just look young then.  When I was your age I looked young, too.  It goes downhill fast.”  Ummm….  again, huh???  I tried to escape from the awkward conversation by laughing through it with her, though honestly I didn’t think it was so funny.

Why do women do this to each other?

Women who are just a few years older than their peers can often be heard saying things like, “Oh, you’re still young,” with a tone especially reserved for the underclassmen of life.   As if those few extra years has significance in the relationship or provides them with an insightful edge.   Listen.  This type of chatter doesn’t come across as maturity or experience.  It comes across as what I call “the yuck.” I’m feeling insecure so I am going to dig you to give myself an excuse for being older.  

If I am to be considered one of the “young ones”, which is so flattering at 36 and 11/12, let me offer some well-intended, lovingly-delivered insight from my perspective.  I do not look at you and think, “Oh, she’s old.  I don’t want to hang out with her.”  I look at you and think, “Hi!”  That’s all.

So.  Here’s my very favorite You Tube video.  It serves as a gentle reminder for us anytime we’re digging a pity ditch for ourselves:

Okay, maybe not so gentle.  But we could all use a little dose of Cher once in awhile.  And with utmost compassion and respect for the extraordinary woman you’ve become, I beg you, please please please, stop talking about your age.  Stop unmindfully belittling yourself and offending the women who are a riding the life train just a few miles behind you.  The younger ones don’t likes to hear it.  To be lovingly honest, we think it’s really annoying.

You don’t want to be that person.  And I’d venture to guess that complaining about your age doesn’t make you feel good either; the words just tumble out of your mouth, like they tumbled out of my tennis opponent’s mouth this afternoon.  Try to use mindful speech to set a better example.  Think before you talk.  (Did I mention I’m sharing this with love?)

No one cares how old you are.  Seriously.  No one cares.  People love you because you are you.  So let’s accentuate the positive, shall we?  Why not be grateful that your life didn’t provide you with the alternative to aging:  an early grave.

You really wanna know what’s sexy?  Confidence.

You really wanna know what’s beautiful?  Grace.

You really wanna know what’s inspiring?  Acceptance.

Try to be *that* woman…  you remember *that* woman, don’t you?  She walked past you on the sidewalk when you were 19.  She looked older, put-together, confident, happy.  And you said, “I want to be like her when I grow up.”  Wrap yourself up in love of life and appreciation for all of the enriching experiences that the years have given you.  Be *that* woman who treats women as equals, regardless of age.  And show the younger ones how to live it up, love yourself and embrace your age.  After all, it’s just a number, and life at any age is a blessing.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

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