The universal female afflictionΒ 

I had the pleasure of being a part of a women’s group called “Sacred Sisterhood” for 8 weeks. It was so special. I got to meet some beautiful women with whom I wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise, and I am so grateful. I got slow down and hear their stories and really learn some things from them. One of the topics we discussed was our relationship with our bodies and food. Our “homework” assignment that week was to stand in front of a mirror naked and journal about it. 

I know this sounds crazy! To even participate in this activity at all, and then to post the poem online for the whole internet to read? 
Madness.   

(And I also excuse anyone from reading this, like my dad or brothers, who might be bummed out by my frankness. I won’t be offended if you’d rather pass on this blog post! Lol)  

I’ve thought a lot about it and decided that in the spirit of “keepin it real”, this poem must be shared. I have been on a weight loss journey for years now. Lost 75 pounds, gained fitness and endurance. My relationship with my body is finally changing. I was ready to accept the challenge! But, the craziest thing I’ve learned on this whole journey is that so many women I’ve admired for their beauty or assumed had it easy because of their looks or bodies are suffering just as much (if not more!) than I was, under the curse of self loathing. As I continue to learn to love myself and this body I’ve got, the more my heart breaks for women all around me who don’t SEE how wonderful and beautiful they really are. It truly is the universal female affliction.  

I could definitely look in the mirror naked and see a whole list of things that are gross. My body is never going to be “bikini ready” but it’s mine and it has served me well, especially under years of abuse. I choose instead, to see myself in a different way. The way I hope my daughter chooses to see herself someday and all of you, my brilliant friends and sisters. Look beyond what’s in the mirror.  
This poem is dedicated to my yurt girls!! 😝😍

My body is heavy shades of pinks and whites.
Freckled with brief moments under the sun. 
It hangs heavy with all of my apologies and best intentions.
This suit has always suited me, though I’ve never taken the time to have it tailored, taken in, worked on. 


Only now, as the softness has begun to melt and shrink have my muscles and backbone hardened enough for me to see the point.

My feet, through electric pain, have carried the weight of all of my worlds. Blistered and swollen, they still serve me. 

My legs are pillars of blood, fat and bones that keep me standing tall. 
Though, they have been wrapped under heavy blankets of depression and laziness. 
But, have also been wrapped around love, between sheets.  

Sweaty, sexy and strong. 
 They have trudged through every one of my unknowns. 

My hips are barely trying to emerge. Still hiding.
But when I’m not paying attention, they surprise me with a glimpse of a womanhood I thought girls like me weren’t allowed to enjoy.

My stomach, soft and ribboned with stretch marks, still large in mass.  

You see, it’s taken a long time to store up all of the fears and burdens I’ve pretended not to have.  
But oh…I’m learning to let them go,

and now appreciating how it has ached with hearty laughter. 

Felt the butterflies of new love and excitement.  
And, carried the joy of two healthy, beautiful babies. It gave them shelter, safety and warmth.  

My breasts fed them and have also fed me…the confidence I would need to survive my own nakedness. 
When all else failed, there they were to remind me of my power as a woman. 

My arms have held my husband close, my children, and loved ones while also holding me together in dark closets crying out to God. 
Always gathering, 
always carrying,
all of my strength to wear all of my hats. 

My hands have played songs, 

written poems, 

made meals, 

  They have been raised as high I as could reach outside the window of a rushing car, just to feel the wind.  
I used to see nothing but flaws, failures and disgust. 
Now, I only see gratitude.  

  

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Miracle Grow

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” And she had a will like a root; it was sometimes hidden underground, but it was there, tough and fibrous and sustaining everything she did.”

My cheeks burn as I try to stand my ground.
Speaking my mind.
Having the audacity to challenge credentials.

Hold on tight… I can feel my grip slipping.
And I realize I’m done,
done and onto the next one.

Are friendships supposed to be this hard?
Is this the easy and light yoke that was promised?
What happened to fellowship and sharpening of swords?

It feels so heavy,
but everything about me is heavy, so maybe it’s just me.
Agreeing that yes, I need to die to myself.
So I try.
And try and try and try.
And it chips away at what is left.

And with it,
the belief in grace for all.
Pardon for all.
Faith for all.
Because, it’s taken me so long to figure this thing out,
and now it’s ruined.

Guilt regulating this frigid temperature.
Nothing can grow on this plot.
Hard like a rock.
You can blame yourself.

If I’m rebellious?

Bitter?

I’m disobedient because my back straitened taller when I challenged what you said?

Am I obnoxious because my voice is raised often, and with passion?

Am I lost because I can’t fake what I don’t believe?

The little root and sprout of the woman I’m supposed to be has been curled up and hidden beneath the dark soil.

The earth is fresh and damp and warming up under the beating sun.

Soon, there will be a new thing.

A bloom.

Rooted deeply and rooted onward by the ONE who created my lungs to fill with my own words.

I feel it coming back again,
the hints of something special.
That nudge that I was made for something special.
That you are special too.

Pound the shovel down and pierce what would have died,
with freedom.

I am exactly who I’m supposed to be.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:18

* the picture and quote I shared are from an Instagram account I follow
http://instagram.com/prettynpaleoatx *

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Artistry

So jealous of your art.

Your music.

Your fashion and style.

Artistry.

Creating.

Beautiful people are everywhere.

Very, everywhere.

I want to join you.

Strumming heartache.

Painting wanting.

Writing courage.

Dancing victory.

Singing regret.

Created for expression, but I’m only good at watching.

So, watch I will and learn how to report what I’ve seen.

What I’ve learned.

What I’ve lost.

What I’ve dreamed.

These are all offerings,

of moments that only exist in our hearts now.

They can never happen again.

There is only today.

So throw open the windows and draw in deep.

The day the Lord has made is yours and free for the taking.

Take it and run like hell.

Like hell is chasing you down and grabbing for your clothes.

Just behind you, with the proof of your failure in its clutches.

Talons of doubts swiping at your back.

Running still.

This will be the chapter of persistence.

And the art it will inspire will be worth the pain.

 

 

 

 

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Island living

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I’ve been out bobbing on the water again.
I know I’m not alone.
We are no strangers to island living.

Bad news begs to shift the shape I’m in…
but I’ve discovered my resilience doesn’t fail me.
I fail to keep it.
Failed to keep the faith given to me so abundantly.
Remarkable recovery.
Rescuing me again and again.

Surrender.

Waters rage and calm…
day by day.
The shores of my heart weathered but,
I’ve found I’m anchored deeply after all.

Kept quiet for a respite to catch my breath.
Silence repairing damage done.
Pulling in deep,
lungs expanding.
Burning with a stretch that reaches far past what I’ve known.
Pain begins to sweeten and dull with gained strength,
reassured that healing is happening.
Breathing easier now.
Health is a steady diet of truth and rest.
Heavy heart on the mend.

β€œThe life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time my touch will be felt. Our lives are linked together. No man is an island.

But there is another truth, the sister of this one, and it is that every man is an island. It is a truth that often the tolling of a silence reveals even more vividly than the tolling of a bell. We sit in silence with one another, each of us more or less reluctant to speak, for fear that if he does, he may sound life a fool. And beneath that there is of course the deeper fear, which is really a fear of the self rather than of the other, that maybe truth of it is that indeed he is a fool. The fear that the self that he reveals by speaking may be a self that the others will reject just as in a way he has himself rejected it. So either we do not speak, or we speak not to reveal who we are but to conceal who we are, because words can be used either way of course. Instead of showing ourselves as we truly are, we show ourselves as we believe others want us to be. We wear masks, and with practice we do it better and better, and they serve us well –except that it gets very lonely inside the mask, because inside the mask that each of us wears there is a person who both longs to be known and fears to be known. In this sense every man is an island separated from every other man by fathoms of distrust and duplicity. Part of what it means to be is to be you and not me, between us the sea that we can never entirely cross even when we would. β€œMy brethren are wholly estranged from me,” Job cries out. β€œI have become an alien in their eyes.”

The paradox is that part of what binds us closest together as human beings and makes it true that no man is an island is the knowledge that in another way every man is an island. Because to know this is to know that not only deep in you is there a self that longs about all to be known and accepted, but that there is also such a self in me, in everyone else the world over. So when we meet as strangers, when even friends look like strangers, it is good to remember that we need each other greatly you and I, more than much of the time we dare to imagine, more than more of the time we dare to admit.

Island calls to island across the silence, and once, in trust, the real words come, a bridge is built and love is done –not sentimental, emotional love, but love that is pontifex, bridge-builder. Love that speak the holy and healing word which is: God be with you, stranger who are no stranger. I wish you well. The islands become an archipelago, a continent, become a kingdom whose name is the Kingdom of God.”

― Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark

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Day 20 of 35!!! πŸ˜Šβœ…βœ…βœ… Today was a CRAZY day, so I had to fit a quick 20 min SOMETHING in this morning! Hey...a workout is a workout! πŸ’ͺ🏽πŸ’₯πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ”₯πŸ’œ #keepgoing #persist #35daysofgainz #notallworkoutareglorious

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