What is beauty really?

It’s dark. I’m at the park.  The sun will be popping its head over the hills within the next 30 minutes or so.  Puget Sound stretches in front of me.  The lights of a boat quietly makes its way along the shore; I think it’s a tug, but it is still too dark to properly see.

A small factory is nearby and I get caught up watching the steam billow from the single chimney  I sip from the coffee I brought with me.  I have music playing from my phone – a song that I seem to play a lot lately.  And I mean… A. LOT.

Scars to your beautiful

She just wants to be beautiful
She goes unnoticed, she knows no limits
She craves attention, she praises an image
She prays to be sculpted by the sculptor
Oh, she don’t see the light that’s shining
Deeper than the eyes can find it
Maybe we have made her blind
So she tries to cover up her pain and cut her woes away
‘Cause cover girls don’t cry after their face is made

But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

She has dreams to be an envy, so she’s starving
You know, cover girls eat nothing
She says beauty is pain and there’s beauty in everything
What’s a little bit of hunger?
I could go a little while longer, she fades away
She don’t see her perfect, she don’t understand she’s worth it
Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface
So to all the girls that’s hurting
Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within

There’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

These lyrics, the words bounce around in my head.  I suppose they strike a chord.

Beauty.

Beauty is something so fleeting… so changeable, and yet so many of us strive to embody it. But what is it really?

We have this image in our heads and hearts of what the perfect version of ourselves would look like, and yet…

In nature – it is often the unique…

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the renegade…

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the inner play of co-existing dualities that are some of the most beautiful.

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Beauty can be simple and can be complex.

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For too many years now, I have looked at myself as not beautiful. I’d turn such critical eye to my perceived faults instead of celebrating that which makes me beautiful and unique.

Enough is enough.  Maybe it’s the state that the world is in lately, maybe it’s just a strange burst of frustration mixed with heartbreak and hope … but damn!  If I can’t love myself, how can I possibly expect the people in the world around me to spread love? Enough with the hate.  Enough with the judgements.  Today… I celebrate myself.  Today – I will celebrate you, your neighbor, your mother, your friend.  For today – and every day to come, I will find a reason to spread a smile, and lift someone else up.  The world must change. Let’s put away our walls.  Love yourself, and love others.

Thanks for sharing a moment with me.  Off to work now!  Much Love!

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December is finally here!

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Holy crap man!  This year, both, flew by and crawled at the same time.  But it’s now officially December.  On friday, we’ll put up our Christmas tree.  It’s a bit late for me this year, but oh well.  We do what we can.  I’m lacking in motivation to actually work today, I’d much rather be at home working on my side business.  Things are going well on that front – after this weekend, I’ll be ready to do a soft launch.  Going to have my products in one store front before the christmas season ends just to see how it goes.  Will give me the chance to change and tweak things a bit before officially launching next year.  Until then, I’m continuing to build up my stock and test my product to ensure everything is working beautifully.

I’m looking forward to Christmas this year.  I can’t wait to decorate the house.  I can’t believe that as of March 17th, I’ll have been in the house for a full year.  And hoo boy – what a year it’s been.  I hugged my daughter extra last night, reminding her that I love her and am proud of her for the efforts she’s put in to change some things.  She’s on a better path these days – and it’s a relief.  But it’s also a lesson learned – I now know how quickly things can change, how easy it is to get off course.  I will continue to keep a wary watch over her – to ensure she stays on track.  Her depression really snuck up on us all – and I won’t let it blindside us again.

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Yesterday I discovered that I’d been submitted for a job opening for a company I’ve been trying to get into for quite some time – the real bonus on the opening – it’s about 10 minutes from my house.  I have my fingers crossed, as I’m quickly discovering that I’m not enjoying the commute to my existing job, among other things.  I’d be a director again too – which would be nice.  The job I’m at right now, this is the first time in 7 years that I’m not a manager – and I don’t mind at all – but my new manager keeps having me do work FOR him and it’s starting to get a bit awkward.  It’s not my place to set the course for the team – it’s his, and I’m a bit leery to keep putting myself in a position to step on his toes.

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Ben’s anniversary came and went, and I’m doing ok.  Thanks to some friends, I wasn’t completely alone on Monday and it helped.  I’ve definitely been a bit quiet this week tho.

I had no choice but to stick up for myself yesterday with my mom.  I didn’t want to start a fight so close to christmas, but I’m finding that my tolerance of her negative energy is getting to be less and less.  I made a request of her.  All I asked was that I be treated with common courtesies and decency – just as you would with any person you interact with on a regular basis.  My request was not met well at first, but once my step dad finally stopped trying to talk over me and listened to my request – I think he understood.  Hopefully, he can help me navigate around my mom.  I love her, hell – I love our family – but I’ve always felt like I don’t matter to them.  Unless I’m not doing what they want me to – then it’s world war 3.  LOL.  Thankfully, I managed to simmer them down just enough to avoid utter catastrophe.  I’m not entirely pleased with the outcome – I always feel like compromising is one sided for me – but at least the war was avoided.

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Well – I better get to work.  Thinking of you Neverland.  Wish we could somehow hang out and play hookie today! 😀  Talk soon!

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How can it be?

Can someone please explain how it’s possible to experience both, or even all sides of a spectrum at the same time?

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On one hand… I’m doing better than ever.  My kids are happier than ever.  Work is starting to take shape and I’m finding that I might even have made myself a role in the company that I can be excited about.  My side business is growing and the more I dive into it, the happier and more content I seem to get.  The holidays are coming up and I’m looking forward to them.  I have so much hope for the near future and what it holds for me personally.  And yet…

On the other hand… I have moments when I feel scared and lost and alone.  Wow – I won’t lie – that took a lot for me to type.  I think I’ve been trying to ignore it.  It’s this thing that’s been sitting on my shoulder for a few weeks and I’ve been doing my best to pretend it’s just not there – but like an elephant in a room that is too small, it can’t be completely ignored.  I give myself these silly pep talks occasionally.  Trying to give myself the courage to keep getting out of bed, to keep doing what I have to do, when sometimes… all I really want to do is sit down and hide, or find a friend and just cry and let it out.  Tho – truthfully – even THAT doesn’t seem to do much for me these days.  I’ve just never been much of a crier.  It doesn’t actually solve anything, and a lot of the times, only makes me feel worse in the long run because I tend to get headaches afterwards.

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I’m grateful that I got this job, as the bills were piling up.   As it is, it’s going to take me until mid December to fully be caught up and not be living paycheck to paycheck.  It’s kind of a foreign feeling.  To be working but not make enough to cover what needs to be covered.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been in those shoes.  Helped remind me of how good I have it.

Maybe that’s part of my problem.  I know – compared to many – I have it good.  I live comfortably, my life isn’t full of drama or crazy levels of stress.  If anything – I’ve been leading a pretty boring life these days – as I’ve been busy working on my business when I have any spare time, so I feel guilty when I start to feel down.  What do I have to feel down about?!  And that’s the crux of the issue – I DO have things to feel down about.  People often think of me as this chipper and enthusiastic girl, “Ra! Ra! Be happy!  Stay positive! Go Team!”, what they don’t realize is that often, I do that more for myself.  To keep myself from feeling down.  That or I joke around – make people laugh. It’s only in the last 3 years that i’ve learned to allow myself to have moments where feeling down is ok.  Often, by feeling it – sitting with it for a little while – I move forward from it easier.  That is my hope tonight… I had a good day.  Not entirely sure I even understand how this mood crept up on me, but there it is.

My son is already tucked into bed, and my daughter is busy watching a show on netflix… and yet all I seem to want to do is swoop them both up and cuddle with them.  Instead, I’m sitting on my bed with my laptop writing here baffled at why I’m suddenly feeling so sad? Is it possible that I feel like I’ve just been lacking in hugs?  Is it wrong that a hug from my children… lately… isn’t quite satisfying enough?  Don’t misunderstand – I love hugging my kids… but it’s just not enough.

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Goodnight Neverland.  Much love to you tonight.  Stay safe, wherever you are… and know that even tho we haven’t met, and we don’t know each other – you have my love.  🙂

Fall is here

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I know – not a very imaginative title.  I may or may not change it.  Tonight, I need you Neverland.  I love it here.  It’s a place that I feel safe to let anything out.  Vulnerabilities and all.  I like to posture and say that by sharing my vulnerabilities, it gives me strength.  It’s a bunch of BS tho.  I’m still not very strong.  Today especially.

Today, I feel lost.  Lost in a sea of my own making to some extent, as my life is my own, and the choices I’ve made over my life were mine.  Part of me thinks, well.. Jen, it IS fall.  You always get this way leading up to Ben’s birthday.  But I don’t think this is just a bit of grief.  Not having a job right now is frustrating.  I’m antsy and starting to worry over my financial responsibilities.  It’s a strange feeling – first time in 12 years I’ve been unemployed.  I won’t lie – I’m a little scared.

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Fall is really here.  It’s getting colder, more brisk in the mornings.  The leaves are changing.  It’s one of my favorite times of the year.  And yet – it’s also a time of year that typically has me feeling anxious, and even a little down.  This is the time of year, that I want to hibernate.  Who knows, maybe I was a bear in another life? 🙂  This is the time of year that I’m often hit with a lot of memories from my past.  I dreamed of Ben the other night.  Grayson asked about him the other day – as we have his picture up on one of the bookshelves in the living room.  I don’t cry very much anymore, but there is still a deep ache.  The kind of ache in the chest that if you dwelled for too long, the tears would well up behind the eyes, the flood threatening to flow down the cheek.  Some wounds are too deep to really heal.

I’ve had some pretty major shakeups with friends and family in the last couple of weeks.  That combined with the kids starting school, healing from my injuries and the lack of work… I can’t lie to myself anymore, I’m on the edge of depression.  And I know I’ll pull out of it – I always do – but the past couple of weeks have been hard.  I’m really proud of me tho.  I’m doing it all.  I’m managing to figure all of this out, slowly but surely.  I have to remind myself that courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid… it means you’re afraid but still take a step forward.

I have to remind myself that it’s ok to take some time for myself right now.  To be quiet and hibernate a little in my home.  It’s ok to feel a little lost and scared and lonely.  I’m lucky really.  I know how good I have it and I know that I’m one tough cookie who’ll find a way to  continue to have it good for a long time yet to come.  I’ve never been a fan of limbo – and that’s all this is.  A strange state where the path that lies ahead of me is a bit hazy and unclear.  It’s ok.  Although – I won’t lie – it would be nice if someone would join me with a flashlight and a map.  🙂

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I need to get some of this out

I’ve been hiding from my phone for the past couple of days.  Ok, maybe not hiding, but I plug it in and walk away from it.  I don’t want to be near it.  Families… weddings… I swear, weddings, funerals and babies bring out the crazy in people.  And typically – when the crazy comes out – someone gets hurt.

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I guess this time… that person is me.  I’m hurt.  Reeling actually.  I feel as if I’ve been singed and cut by someone I never thought I’d have to fear.

My “bro”.  He’s not related to me by blood, but we call each other “brother” and “sister”.  We met 13 years ago, he was my neighbor who lived with his then-girlfriend across the hall.  I swear, the first time I met him, I knew he was my brother from another mother. LOL.  We’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but we were always there for each other.  He’s always been there for me.

I knew, as his wedding day approached that our friendship was about to change in a big way.  Ideally, I’d gain a cool sister out of the deal.  But she has never seemed to have much interest in that, we don’t share a lot of the same ideals, so I get it. Actually – I wish she understood exactly just how much I get it.  The Bro’s life is about to change in a pretty serious way.  His life now must be with her.  Up until recently, I’ve been excited to think about what is in store for their future… moving in together, babies, eventually buying a house, doing all the things that I know he wants to accomplish.  And I knew that our friendship would move to the very back… like nosebleed seats.  And I’m cool with that – hell – I’ve been pushing him in this direction.  I guess I figured we’d get through his wedding day first.  I was wrong.  And truly, I’m not sure our friendship can recover from this.  And if I’m honest, After all that was said, I’m not entirely sure I want it to.

I won’t spill all the details here… but I will say that I wish I could help some people see how much their words can damage.  How their tone and the way they approach other people will directly impact how their words are received.  I will also say that it takes a very brave and yet rather stupid man to judge another.  My bro laid out many of the decisions I’d made over the course of my life … pointing out my mistakes, effectively rubbing my nose in the areas he felt I didn’t measure up.  Not just in my past, but even now.  But he did all of this, only knowing bits and pieces of the story.  He judged me… and it came across with anger, disdain, disappointment and shame. His soon to be wife even joined in the “fun”.  She’d verbally attacked me prior to my bro letting me have it.  Screamed at me and said I was a horrible “best man”.  Ironic she did that when I was putting finishing touches on some bachelor party related stuff earlier that evening.  It was a hard hitting 1-2 verbal sucker punch from them as a couple.

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I won’t lie, that first 24 hours after they both let me have it… I was a wreck.  I broke down.  I bawled and went quiet.  I crawled inside my world and licked my wounds.  I wasn’t even angry, I was self-reflective.  I had to check myself… make sure that what he’d said wasn’t true.  I guess because I’ve been actively working on self-improvement, I had to really take a good look and make sure that there weren’t areas of his feedback that I needed to consider.  The next day, we spoke again and he apologized and tried to sweep it under the rug.  Even tried to deny some of what he’d said the night before.  I thanked him for the apology but stated that for me to feel comfortable attending the wedding and the festivities, that I would like an apology from his fiance/soon to be wife.    He agreed that I deserved it, but warned that I might not get it from her right away.  He laid out various reasons and excuses for why I should just let it go.  About 15 minutes after he said he’d talk to her and get back to me, my phone rang.  It was her, and I answered it pleasantly, as I didn’t want to start things off on the wrong foot.  She immediately started yelling – even yelled an apology.  Yea – cuz THAT feels totally sincere.  I hung up on her, and texted her that perhaps it would be better to move to text.  Honestly, I just didn’t want to be yelled at anymore.  We texted a little – but I pretty quickly gave up on that too.  So here I sit, no sincere apology and still feeling incredibly upset and uneasy a few days later.

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Yes, I could back down… I could suck it up and be there for him on his wedding day.  And likely – I will do this.  More for me than him.  I don’t want to feel guilty 10 years from now for not showing up.  And I’ll go into it knowing there’s the potential for drama, or daggers being thrown at me, there will be the potential for awkward uncomfortable silences, and even worse, a high chance that I will end up feeling used or insulted by the end of all of this.  I will suck it up, BUT… I’m done.  Or at least I think I am.  I’m going to just keep going down my own life’s path… because I’m dying to see what happens in the next chapters of my life.  To get thru this, i’m going to keep telling myself that it’s not my circus, and not my monkeys.

I’m a grown woman who’s made a successful, full and happy life for herself.  I’m a woman who has good, sweet, smart children who may stumble or struggle in their life in places, but who know without a shadow of a doubt that their momma loves them and would do anything to see that they are safe and well cared for.  I don’t deserve to be talked to or treated in that manner.  Especially when what is being said isn’t true.  At least I had that going for me, I knew, deep down in my heart that nothing they said was true about me… that it was being said out of spite and anger and jealousy.  But here’s the thing, even knowing that… it still hurt.  It was a different hurt tho.  This hurt came from knowing that the someone I trusted over the years is now throwing daggers… they are no longer worthy of my trust.  That perhaps I’d misjudged him all along.

So … because of all of this… I’ve been avoiding my phone. I’ve been staying off social media and just kind of hiding in my world.  I’ve had some shifts in a few friendships in the last few months… each of them shook me to my core for various reasons.  This one is no different.  What is interesting to me is that when I promised myself that I’d get healthy, even if that meant cutting toxic situations out of my life… I guess I didn’t realize how many of my relationships had toxic layers woven into them.  Maybe living on my own and staying single for a while truly WAS the best thing I could have done for myself.  I’m so glad I’ve done it up to this point.  I’ll have to watch myself moving forward… I’m putting up my walls with everyone – unintentionally.  And I don’t mean to.  I am just unsure on who to trust, vs. who will judge me or hurt me.  Easier to just put up the walls a bit.

I had an interview today – it went quite well.  I felt confident, for the first time in months actually.  A genuine confidence, not the kind where you fake it till you hopefully make it.  Maybe being shaken to my core this weekend was good for me.  Helped remind me who I am.  Where I’ve been, and more importantly, where I am headed.

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