" Not all who wander are lost."


Day 8 and a Detour

Today's topic is supposed to be Someone who has made your life hell or treated you like shit....

After mentioning my bullies in a previous post and forgiving them, I am done with this topic. I do not keep people in my life who make it hell. I have no abusive family member or stalking ex. I am very selective about my friends and refuse to spend time with anyone who doesn't make my life better. I can quote Eleanor Roosevelt here, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." In my life now, I give no one permission to abuse me.

So, I choose to detour. A good friend and neighbor sent me this link last night:
You MUST watch it! It does contain a well placed curse word, so you may want to turn the volume down a bit at work.


I must have watched it about 20 times before I could stop and think about what I was witnessing. I am saving it for Hannah to watch as soon as she asks about being "pretty".

My life from age 10 through about 24 was focused on the quest for "pretty". All of my friendships seemed to center around boys, looking good for boys, or some expensive store in our local mall. We were just being "normal" girls back then. I was always concerned about my makeup, clothes, hair, and of course making sure that I looked as skinny as possible (even if this required the most damned uncomfortable undergarments one could imagine). I have tortured my feet and legs with high heels in effort to make my stubby legs look longer. If I thought is would make me "pretty", trust me I tried it. I was the only 12 year old who knew how to apply eyeliner perfectly. I owned and eyelash curler for goodness sakes.

My Mom was good about not pushing beauty on me. For me the pressure came from a grandmother, boy crazy friends, and my beloved teen magazine trash. TV and advertisements did not help either, and by 14 there was no escaping the grip the teeny bopper girl culture had on me. I was going to do whatever it took to fit in and be "pretty". I even tried a grunge phase just because it seemed to look good on other girls. I always tried to hide the fact that I was trying so hard to be "pretty", but trust me, it was always the first thing on my mind. Even in college, "image" was foremost for me.

Somehow I have managed to escape. I think it was motherhood that finally pushed me out of the vicious cycle. Sure I obsess over the occasional outfit, but once Hannah came into the world, I began a quest to teach her what beauty really is. Beauty is intelligence, common sense, humor and a life full of smiles. Beauty is sharing with a friend and helping a stranger. A beautiful woman has class and a great respect for her own body. Beauty is knowing who you are, Whose you are, and being a light because of it. I can honestly say my child is BEAUTIFUL! Sure she loves to play dress up, put on makeup, and tromp around in plastic heels. There is nothing wrong with girly, it's who she is. I have never put a value on this in her life, and never will.

The most beautiful women I know spend their days in goodwill clothes, no makeup, and old shoes. Their houses are lived in, and their kids are always running around with dirty faces and barefoot.They teach their daughters the simple joy found in life, and I am blessed to have them as incredible examples for my daughter as well. They know the joy you could never find in a perfectly applied face of makeup and curled lashes. They teach by example, not direct instruction. They know how to live and enjoy a simple life. These ladies find beauty in a campfire, good conversation, and cheap beer. They are more comfortable at an old bar than a fancy restaurant. They find pure joy in watching our kids play in a creek and collect acorns. They look beautiful sitting in a camp chairs, wearing pj's, and just enjoying a late night sky. These women are amazing. They are "pretty" intelligent, and "pretty" incredible for sure!

I will not name names because I believe they know who they are. I hope each of you is reading this. I am the baby of my group(s) of friends, and am learning more from you than you can imagine. For once in my life, I am finally in a comfortable place. I am not hiding who I am or concealing any "bad" habits. I am not scared someone may stop by my house and catch it unkempt (though for some reason I still feel the need to apologize if it's messy). I do not have to pretend to be Suzy homemaker or June Cleaver. I am learning that my own personality makes me unique and beautiful as well.

Because of this change of mind, I am able to very honestly blog without the fear of being judged. I have amazing friends who know me. I don't feel the need to try to become just like them, I can be my unique and quirky self. I can wear heels, converse, or cowboy boots and always fit right in. Like I said, I'm "pretty" blessed!

I hope all of the women in my life have found this kind of friendship. The freedom of just being yourself is incredible.I know many of you enjoy getting "gussied" up, and I know there is great fun in doing so. My prayer for everyone today if that you feel just as "pretty" in sweats as you do pearls. I hope each of you can look in the mirror and love what you see, without having to hide what you think are "flaws". I'm working on it...


Becky said...

Amen Abby! You know one thing I like to do? I like to look at beautiful paintings of women, like Renoir's Bathers or Titian's Venus at her Mirror. Sometimes it's nice to have a little perspective on female beauty besides the shiny plastic images that follow us through every grocery checkout line.

I agree with you too that motherhood can be really powerful in learning how amazing our bodies are. I honestly and truly would never get rid of my stretch marks in a million years. They are the tracks of how my body created life!

It's wonderful to see you blogging and sharing. Keep it up! Writing takes practice, just like everything else and you can't find your voice if you never speak.

Wendi said...

Speechless...with chill bumps. Bravo!!!!!

I learn something powerful from each of you ladies/friends everytime I talk to you. You all add a differnt perspective to my life and teach me how to make the best of my roles: woman, wife, mom, daughter, friend, neighbor, community member. I gained more than just neighbors. God planned it.