Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘women’

Why Women Blog

I Blog to Heal—Myself and Those Who Share My Travails

It’s hard to believe I created this blog more than 9 years ago at my daughter’s urging. To be honest, I don’t even remember the original reason I created it, except as an exercise to broaden the scope of a healing journey that began 16 years later than it should have, yet at exactly the right time.

Over the last 9 plus years, I’ve used this forum for a number of things including conversations about family suicide, it’s original premise (the name I gave it then, “Surviving and Beyond”, lives on only in the URL these days). It’s evolved into so much more, for me, and hopefully for at least a few others as well.

Use Your Comments Wisely

Recently, a young woman who is going through her own challenges mentioned that a woman “over 50” gave her crap for sharing her journey via her blog. My first reaction was to want to smack that woman and tell her to shut her pie hole. As I don’t know who she is, nor does it really matter, I’m going to address the message and not the poster, as we used to say.

In the first place, a blog is someone’s own personal space. You can choose to read it or not, but be advised, if you disagree with what they post and attack them, your comment can and will be deleted. If you attack someone who is particularly outspoken and honest (like me for example), you’re liable to see your cruelty discussed at length. Believe me, you’ll recognize yourself though no names or distinguishing features will be mentioned. Unlike you, most of us write about our hardest times so others who are in similar circumstances will feel they’re not alone, or going bat shit crazy.

That’s not to say a dissenting opinion is unwelcome. There’s simply an enormous difference between voicing an opinion and attacking someone. I suspect I’m not alone in blocking a few URL’s for vitriolic comments.

Building a Bridge Instead of a Wall

https://www.flickr.com/photos/17367470@N05/34548761725/in/photolist-UCXrcB-ecCNUL-4zfgf6-dAnmf-ngJT8C-azZxsp-nqHgd-b6nZQ8-eM19w4-2cSiqbp-ax5dgA-27J7Psa-6LxpFR-2bRXjnz-pEj693-j4VCQQ-fmd2HZ-svmgQ3-2es7nPR-7AUKsG-GnaSGd-9KvniY-pzqY5Q-VkF76-25utPi9-aLKEgF-qa3JFd-7pVuMa-cMP8xf-K8vLgj-nEqYEz-JW6mY-fB5met-nqHga-aRccva-JWkte-aFcmuG-JW6n9-7Z3cY8-aLKvYc-AM33ua-5Jgt83-9hYUkR-cu1wuJ-9mTEYo-aR8L6v-28j4DAt-PBhbUU-emC61v-9yg7h6Writing for me has always been a way to hash out things I didn’t feel comfortable talking about. Until 9 years ago, most of what I wrote never saw the light of day. When I started allowing small things to slip and learned others could relate, I gained courage, opening up more and more as time went on. When people who’d clearly been holding onto a lot of crap for years began sharing pieces with me, I knew I was opening up a side of myself that needed to be cracked open for more than my own sake.

I learned what many bloggers before me had; by opening up about our own struggles, we allow others to do so as well. For some of us, our blogs become a safe place, much like a trauma support group where people who share a common trauma can talk about what they’ve experienced without fear of rebuke, attack, or shame.

These days, you can find people blogging about any number of painful subjects for which they might have been shamed or abused in the past. Some write about suicide and mental health like I do. Others write about child abuse, or rape (or both). More and more are opening up about miscarriages too. Like the young woman in my story, I’ve seen several talking about a sudden, unexpected, and decidedly unpleasant change in their marital status.

To all of them, I say “Good for you!! Keep up the good work!”

Holding Onto Our Pain Affects Everyone Near and Far

We need this openness. We need to allow people to talk about the things which Created with Canvamay have caused them to retreat into themselves, bearing a shame that’s not deserved. I know from my own experience, every time someone comments or sends me a message saying they get what I’m talking about, and that they’re glad I brought the subject up, I’m reminded of the value of my words, but more, I heal a little more myself.

I applaud everyone who has been courageous enough to admit their life isn’t perfect in a forum that’s accessible to a world of both strangers and friends. I’m incredibly grateful for those who use their experiences to help make the world a better, place. I’m humbled to be a member of their vulnerable, courageous ranks.

Not everything I share is intense or life-changing. Often I talk about minor struggles; patience, relationships, and such. Sometimes I go off on a rant, or tickle the edges of a political issue. But mostly, I write whatever comes into my head as I traipse through this world with less grace than most, yet more than some. Often, what I write is prompted by something I read or hear from someone else who’s also doing their best to navigate this unpredictable path we call Life.

Honored to Share the Blogosphere With Courageous Women

Created with CanvaThe young woman who prompted this post is going through a divorce she didn’t see coming. She’s not sharing gory details, nor is she bashing her soon-to-be ex. Instead, she’s showing an inordinate amount of class while still sharing the pain, the disillusionment, and the topsy-turvy mess she feels like her life is right now. Unlike me and many from my generation, she’s opening up from the start, asking for help from her friends, sharing her journey, and doing her best to ease her kids into what will be their new version of normal.

I know she’ll be better for her honesty and for refusal to hide her face in shame over something she didn’t cause. As I said, it took me 16 years to start dealing with my mom’s suicide, by then, my dad had been gone 6 years, also by his own hand. My path would have been smoother had I allowed people to see my cracks. Unfortunately, I had to overcome a lifetime of training.

I don’t want to see anyone else suck it up and fumble along alone as I did. If it means talking about the unmentionable stuff, I’ll do it (and have). If it means supporting someone else while they share their own struggles, I’m there, and woe be to anyone who tries to tell them to suffer in silence.

If You Don’t Like What We Write, Don’t Read it!

What it all comes down to is this, what someone writes on their own blog is their https://www.facebook.com/cmhagbbusiness. If you don’t like it, don’t visit. What they write on Social Media is a little more controlled, but if they’re speaking their truth in a respectful manner, again, shut up and walk away if you can’t comment politely. You have no idea what they’re going through, so your judgement is neither wanted nor needed. In it’s worst form, it will do a lot more harm than good.

You and me, we’re in this together. We were put on this Earth to help each other; to uplift and support each other in times of trouble, and to celebrate our victories; our achievements. Life ain’t a competition. There’s enough love, light, and joy to go around. You just have to stop looking for the ugliness. You will always find what you’re looking for, so choose wisely.

Sharing Includes Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful the young women today are less inclined to hold their feelings in, at least for the most part.
  2. I’m grateful people are becoming more sensitive to each other, and more willing to stand and support, instead of bash and tear down.
  3. I’m grateful for opportunities to support others and help them along their path. So many have done it for me, once I finally learned to let them.
  4. I’m grateful for the people who love and support me in my journey. I couldn’t have gotten this far without them, and going it alone is a hollow victory anyway.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; community, love, friendship, caring, sharing, blessings, friendship, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Are You Letting Your Hot Buttons Mask What Matters?

Reacting With Your Hot Button

https://www.flickr.com/photos/photofarmer/6257525038/in/photolist-awXsbJ-duQquY-dDiY1D-y5suB-ps5ehG-abz714-o2taeS-ps2G5B-q2jANC-8f15SS-qFjEaK-2TNJE-4JDoLu-dSd8Jk-33E8ba-Ld6UzH-3r5Xf1-9Fy3LS-6V5Qwk-7mK27x-Dqqgc-8iVeJ-5qbL6X-4A42Dv-km1PMr-5c69aT-6wpwbs-6obFPX-4ohi6S-MhvW-3jdEjA-VBYVHD-cHm9EG-5eUJSD-8jzSfk-8Bs1dE-fAT6Ze-8CdsnD-b1Fxi4-8h1ahY-58C1fa-67UbYu-8Ebapf-fJbG1X-AeCBj-MZTR4-62zkMw-fF4Nre-4Dfjiv-4c3tayOnce again, the world, and especially the US is in a turmoil over a hot button. This time, the button is (for the bazillionth time) abortion. Equally predictable is the fact it masks a much more insidious agenda: women’s rights and the current administration’s continued attack on Roe vs. Wade. Make no mistake. The decision in Alabama and elsewhere is nothing less than an effort to take women’s rights back to a time when women were nothing more than chattel, and of less value than a man’s livestock.

Forget the fact that the Human Race would die out in short order without women to continue bearing children. Ignore the fact that all the culling efforts in China to select for male children has led to a serious shortage of those women to give said males a way to keep their name alive. The simple and sordid fact is, men know women have the ability and the brains to be their equal or maybe more, and they’re resorting to underhanded tactics to bring them back to their knees, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

Women in Power Are Being Manipulated Too

Yet, as the decision in Alabama indicates, there are women in high places who https://www.flickr.com/photos/125303894@N06/14365669046/in/photolist-nTrNV5-2f5PCUZ-28knBCQ-bSRpwg-hSnPyx-otGuDp-azqvRQ-D2QXQh-YVh4U5-8ZJcE3-26bTzFo-eeaBEi-occovQ-9i7bQ5-23CJvTx-rhV1XQ-26LZPM6-nrsG7K-bmnvub-8rRn4C-MZDGbT-HuqYEh-27342hV-HrkwAE-ehfTPF-2734sEP-LgusiG-272GRGH-25DqddG-25Dqn1m-Y2VH7U-LXKfra-LguvaJ-25Dqnoq-25DJuL5-2f1ci9J-25DqbXL-28povan-Lm2wcx-HkMrNJ-2dYUsVs-oaeobo-ZR9qTn-rtFBMa-24ZPYXp-R78K1f-Dymseq-24W5BDs-23CJCE8-21DkYfLare buying into this load of hogwash because the men behind the plan know how to push the hot button called “abortion” and blow it so far out of proportion as to spread rampant lies about late-term abortions which, for the record aren’t abortions at all. They’re Births! Never mind the fact that in the words of Planned Parenthood:

Generally, in the US, abortion is an option from very early pregnancy (somewhere between 4-6 weeks, depending on where you go) until about 24 weeks. Abortions are available later than 24 weeks only in rare cases for medical reasons. (bold and italics added)

I know I’ll take some heat over this reference, but as Planned Parenthood’s primary concern is women’s health, I’m more inclined to believe them than some of the more questionable sources out there.

Fake News Again!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/armenws/5837909811/in/photolist-9TSPcr-C3VGX-24FwY6-26x1rb6-5itLut-dhFGeP-pFWFZK-abNp5y-adf5z-hL7FHE-dhFHhY-dhFvph-dauvud-dhFwgW-dhFqWQ-dhFtAn-abeFZP-dhFDeu-dhFuoZ-dhFqbq-adhZR-abKzAD-adf81-abKx9R-bpTzDn-QVxKyY-abKyYK-9gERc8-anUgst-abeFCX-bzS7hf-abeGb2-2cYSbck-8GpCMm-abNm6Y-21Uy4Gb-4NKgmb-abNkTs-begshM-hRcioi-daKq9G-aUymi2-ZRYKoW-9tsYBM-abeFsx-bNLL6K-F2o45H-6MFFvx-9SsLVR-ZAWXwiUnfortunately, all too many are taking sides on the fake-news-fueled issue, failing to do their own due diligence (no real surprise there) and thinking legislation regulating what women can do with their bodies is a good thing!

Seriously! Let’s listen to science. At least the results are provable and replicable, which is more than I can say for what’s coming out of the mouths of the fanatics lately.

Still and all, people are taking to the streets, social media, and anywhere else they think they have a platform, and shouting their opinions to the hills without digging deeper into the hows and whys of the latest hornswoggling.

Manipulation Runs Rampant

Let’s look at a few possible reasons behind pressing one of our most emotion-grabbing hot buttons:

  • Who is the real power behind the throne, so to speak. In other words, who’s behind everyone jumping into an old, tired, yet still emotionally charged fray?
  • Where are the horrific pictures and videos they’re posting coming from?
  • Why do people react to words and pictures with fabricated captions instead of going back to the source to find out what those words, pictures, and videos really represent?
  • What do all of the emotionally triggered issues have in common when you trace them back to their roots?
  • What are the people behind them truly hoping to achieve?
  • How are they using fear and horror to manipulate others to act and speak instead of think?

When I was younger, I heard a suggestion to count to 10 before voicing anger. The point was, when your ire (or for that matter, any other highly charged emotion) is triggered, it’s unwise to let loose with your first reaction. As I grew older, and life got faster as a result of technology, the sentiment changed a bit, but essentially remained the same. If you want to respond to an email or call which set you off, it’s best to sleep on it before dashing off an emotionally charged tirade.

Acting Without Thinking

In this world of instant gratification, and yes, a proliferation of lemming mentality, people act out their outrage as quickly as it occurs. They don’t take a step back or look closely at what set them off to determine its validity. Their emotions are triggered and they react accordingly.

So we hate entire cultural groups for no good reason. We boycott companies because we’ve been told they mistreated someone from a group we support. Our police officers’ lives are in more danger than ever, and in some cases, they overreact as a result. After all, they’re as human as we are, even if they’re highly trained. You bombard a human with enough stimulation, most will still crack, regardless of training and extraordinary levels of control.

Missing the Point

We jump up and down about the attacks on Roe vs. Wade, the rights of women https://www.flickr.com/photos/ionics/6338284584/in/photolist-aE6nbG-49a2Xa-TLgW2Q-5wAD6N-HGKPP-8UV6CB-6Sg7YA-9QycpZ-6u4T3X-4sC9aH-5nXKzn-5grmh3-ane6BH-W9uq65-62rxQ-Kud31E-XtaBzZ-LdJuy-LdJvu-ePGUFv-aE6qsQ-LdYkF-8Kvnyj-RdeDP4-6Btbw-ekUyG-eSNDQT-ESpkfb-5U4HwZ-66XHwe-a9LTFX-bWTW3k-4YhDF-2qGQSu-5LpPj-4jpvK-vjdRaC-8L6p5A-6HFRB-5r1qA-4jpvJ-4joXu-5QDfE-7qEysG-4jpS4-24RfjoL-bEFCy1-4joXx-43zSs-2e9RpMMto make decisions about their own bodies, and more, missing the entire point, exactly as the button pushers planned. While the shepherd sleeps, the thieves run away with the flock. Except, in this case, we are the sheep.

What rights are we giving away willingly because this game of sleight of hand has us looking in the wrong direction? What are we accepting willingly because we’re reacting with our emotions instead of thinking with our brains. We’re forgetting to ask for the whole story instead of what a bunch of scared old doddering idiots want us to know? How much of our proverbial farm are we going to give away before we wake up and start asking questions? If we ever do.

How long are we going to argue with people who don’t listen before we realize how much effort we’ve wasted, and how much ground we’ve already lost?

Taking a Pause for the Real Cause

If you ask me, it’s in our collective best interests to:

  • Count to 10, or even 100 before reacting/responding to inflammatory stories or comments.
  • Sleep on it before mounting a campaign for, against, or anything else.
  • Dig deep. See what’s behind the comments, decisions, legislation, or campaigns of anyone who raises hot issues once, or repeatedly. Lift the curtain and see what lurks behind it.

All too often, things aren’t what they seem, and few in power have anyone’s best interests at heart but their own. I hate to say it, but in many areas these days, the admonition “Trust No One” is apt and good advice to follow. There are many who, if they told me the sky was blue, I’d go outside and check. Even then, I’d probably do some research about the sky and how we perceive the color. I might even look into colors themselves and what truly constitutes “blue”.

Being a skeptic in today’s climate, even with our own reactions is probably safer, wiser, and in the long run, more efficient. It will save hours of time spent following a rut-ridden path to nowhere fast. I’m taking the position, when all else fails to say “Show me the money”. Not in the usual sense, of asking for payment, but instead, to illuminate the sources behind the stories they want us to buy into. I’ll then be able to do my own due diligence and determine whether I think that source and the information it flings can be trusted.

Questioning Everything Beats Questioning Nothing

https://www.flickr.com/photos/plaisanter/5360979843/in/photolist-8RoeNN-9aJqwX-AHesP-5UZrfW-68j7nm-dKRkGV-dJJaMa-As42TB-78XnSC-6pdkW7-8ZY9dX-8a6tP5-5Ta4hu-noSffW-npbZV7-912e5s-SVpSMZ-jpmvv7-A8zQK-ED531-aiZvpP-6Pe3sh-5Gyyhx-o1WgXU-dJPB8S-rgDZSQ-ehkNmj-ehf44H-9fEBcv-iqqZBP-2bHrrf4-np9yEc-8Jjkj6-RSPQ6r-ehfaxV-912ehG-ehkN5w-TiroUZ-ehf3hD-8ZY9fi-dKWRNj-ehf96H-HPwJ8-cfnus7-9XWTbs-jUjHgu-5UV3xk-5UV3n2-5n8qDB-sskeNRAll too often, when emotions are triggered, I’m already taking the position the source is suspect and fueling it’s own agenda at the expense of the greater good. Then again, I fear the greater good hasn’t been a consideration for a very long time, and it’s supporters are being forced to put their efforts into keeping their own heads above water. The masses are being left without support or representation. History has shown us that turning large groups of people loose to fend for themselves after having their basic needs (food, shelter) provided for lifetimes leads to its own set of problems, both personal and social.

Still, lack of a transitional period gives the powerful reason to point at the failures and convince themselves they’d been right to try to maintain the status quo, ignorant of less obvious basic needs like human dignity. What’s needed instead is simply transition and support rather than casting people out to sink or swim in their hideously under-prepared state. Worse still when support is withdrawn without warning or preparation.

Teaching the Masses to be Self-Supporting

It’s like kicking a baby out of the womb and telling her she must now fend for https://www.flickr.com/photos/linasmith/3920553695/in/photolist-6YrS2n-XDiyeq-5Fkjbt-6a4ZHZ-8KT3ar-7CYE7f-aTVe2g-bRcANF-QNJvjp-8FMx6s-XG4XSg-XQczyE-5S3xnJ-6Jg13D-v9jE8-XQcirE-XQcg1N-XDiBym-aKYTHB-qmw6v-wFFwj-qa7de-tUTQP-qa7gd-XQcv4h-XUg1Wc-rhdSu-tUTW6-aKZ8Zp-5P9Gv2-aKYSdZ-aKYYeK-9tiEZz-aKYVie-5dFPhe-s5SJG-tUTNk-6RmSyD-6iFpQL-fcWq3p-brMQDz-qa7eE-s5SPp-x3Zh3-854v2D-aKYW7T-aKZ1Lx-5dLbJ1-7CUQZV-aWWxggherself. There has been no warning or preparation; no skills learned or even a basic understanding of what needs to be done. Those who ensured the masses could survive and even thrive are now mired in garbage-filled bogs, fighting for their own lives, unable to offer even a minimal amount of guidance or support.

Still, the masses think with their hot buttons, react to wildly exaggerated claims, and fight amongst themselves, just as they’re supposed to. They’re rats in a maze, changing directions with every new electrical shock. Mindlessly racing around, getting nowhere, until they collapse from exhaustion, little realizing they’re locked in an endless, unsolvable maze, dancing to someone else’s tune.

Created with CanvaIf you ask me, the world needs a pause button to give people time to catch up, breathe, stop reacting, and learn some of those critical skills so they can advocate for themselves and their peers. More, they deserve an opportunity to see the truth, and to properly dispose of all the garbage being flung. There’s still beauty and purpose underneath all the crap, but the chest-pounding, reacting, and internal fighting has to stop before we’ll see the flower pushing it’s way through the sidewalk crack.

Are you ready to give that flower space to bloom? I’ll bring the broom if you’ll grab a rake and help me clear the way.

Let’s Do This Together!

Are you struggling to wade through all the garbage that keeps you from reaching your goals? Would you like to help clearing the way? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Start Clearing the Way With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for my community. We have people who know how to navigate the sewer of falseness, and see where we’re being manipulated rather than led. We share research, and more, support each other.
  2. I’m grateful for setbacks which teach me I’m not alone in finding those who’d hold me back for their own gain.
  3. I’m grateful for strength to weather a setback, and with the help of my friends and community, get back up and forge forward again.
  4. I’m grateful for my butt-kickers who empathize, but don’t allow me to wallow.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance: love, friendship, support, community, lessons, challenges, opportunities, healthy, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Aging Gracefully With Gratitude

Selling Their Wares By Making Us Feel Ugly

Turn on the computer or the TV, listen to the radio, open a magazine, even see a passing bus, and many carry the same message: “We know you’re embarrassed by the normal signs of aging on your body and face. We’ll sell you a product or service to erase those signs and let you live a happier life.”

It begs the question: Why should my perfectly normal signs of aging make me unhappy? We should be looking on those imperfections; those signs we’ve used our faces, our bodies, our hearts as indications of a life well-lived.

Yet too many people buy into this crap. I have countless friends who, though the weather might hit triple digits and like me, don’t let a little heat keep them from dancing, are miserable in their long pants because they claim to have ugly legs. Most of them, just from what I see inside those hot, confining pants have perfectly nice legs. They’ll say “I’m not like you. You have beautiful legs. Mine are {fill in the blank with: fat, crepe-y, vein-y, cellulose-y, or other body shaming adjective}.”

Good grief! In the first place, it’s a bar so the lighting is low. In the second, if they could see all the flaws I carry proudly and without shame, maybe they’d be kinder to themselves…or maybe they wouldn’t. They’ve conditioned to believe they’re supposed to hide their imperfections.

It makes me sad to see and hear that, but even more when it’s perpetuated by other women (I refer to the self-professed beauty consultant who was quite offended I didn’t take her advice to cover up my own, in her words, awful legs). We should be each others’ best friends and staunchest supporters. Instead we are often the first to put another woman down.

Wearing the Signs of Aging Proudly

Worse still are all the women who are behind these purported miracle creams to erase everything from age spots and unwanted hair to cellulite and crepe-y skin. They should be ashamed of themselves for making their sisters feel bad about themselves in the first place.

Those age spots they want to erase are badges of honor for a life well-lived. Creases in face, neck, hands, and chest celebrate a woman who has ridden the waves of life supporting her family and friends with love and compassion. The gray in her hair is the thousands of hours she sat up waiting for a child to come home, a diagnosis to come in, or simply holding the hand of someone so they would feel less alone and scared. And the crepe-y skin is a woman who had more on her mind and in her heart than remembering to apply moisturizer every 5 minutes. She was too busy seeing to the needs of the people in her life she loved, and continues to love.

We don’t need magic potions or pills to change who we are—what we’ve become with time. If you ask me, we need to wear it all proudly, and be grateful for every minute we get to wear it. Too many are gone long before such imperfections begin to appear.

I continue to applaud the young people I see who let no one tell them they’re too fat or too thin, too short or too tall to wear the clothing of their choice. But more, I give credit to their friends who don’t need to resort to shaming another to feel better about themselves. I’m far less impressed with the ones who walk around with others with similar body shapes, all dressed alike. Sadly, they’re the target market of the future for an industry which wants us to believe our differences are flaws.

Lotions and Potions and Gadgets, Oh My!

I’ve been watching Hallmark movies late into the night more often than I want to admit lately. The commercials get worse and longer late at night when only night owls and sleepless tune in. Maybe they think we’re more susceptible to the gold-plated thingamjig that gently removes hair, or the miracle cream that makes you look younger. I wonder how many of those doohickeys that hold your earrings up higher are sold during the wee hours?

I get it that companies spend massive R & D and marketing budgets creating a need where there wasn’t one. I understand that someone somewhere thought some of these things were actually a problem, even though no one ever noticed until they created a solution and started their marketing campaign.

I also wonder how many products like these were total flops. How many manufactured needs never caught on? How far would they go, not only to insult our perfectly wonderful bodies but our intelligence to make a sale?

One Industry Breaks Us So Another Can Fix Us

Is it any wonder one of the most visible markets these days is the one dealing with giving people back their self-esteem? The advertising industry has normalized insulting and shaming people who don’t match their idea of perfection (usually anything that makes people want to fix the imperfection enough to buy their product). It seems that one industry wreaks havoc, giving rise to another claiming they can repair the damage. Don’t get me wrong. Some who promise to teach self-respect and a positive self-image do deliver on their promises.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to invest all the money spent to break, then fix women into a fund to teach girls from early childhood that being different is an asset, not a liability? That being their beautiful, wonderful, unique selves is the best thing ever instead of pushing them towards the “next best thing” to fix what was never broken in the first place.

Perfection is a Killer

Too many women of my generation and earlier pushed themselves to be perfect, and suffered greatly from the frustration of setting themselves an impossible goal. My own mother thought she had to be the perfect hostess, the perfect cook, perfectly groomed, the perfect guest…I could go on. Sadly, even if others told her she did something perfectly, in her own mind there were always flaws. She always fell short of her own expectations. To my knowledge, the only thing she found even the slightest joy in was her grandkids, and any imperfections she saw there were clearly my fault. Somehow, I think she’d eventually take that upon herself as well.

As a writer, I’ve seen many get stuck in an endless loop of editing while they’re still trying to get the story out. I’ve seen others who do manage to get the story out, but edit 100’s of times searching for an elusive perfection they’ll never find.

In writing and in life, we need to realize that perfection does not exist, and that being able to accept good enough is perfection in itself. It allows us to move past our stuckness to go on and achieve even greater things.

That would make a wonderful mantra if you ask me.  “I am forever and always good enough.”

Healing With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my spots, lumps, gray hairs, and all the imperfections that show I’ve lived my life instead of trying to be perfect.
  2. I am grateful for friends to laugh with, cry with, and live life to the fullest with.
  3. I am grateful for dancing. It keeps me young, healthy, and mentally sharp. It gets me out of the house regularly, and among wonderful, heartfelt people.
  4. I am grateful for my quiet house in the morning, and cats who sit on the alarm clock so I sleep later than intended.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, life, friendship, coffee, music, sharing, caring, the energy to enjoy it all, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Speaking of Girl Friends

Being a Loner is Never Your Happy Place

long-hairMost of my life, I eschewed the close company of other women because most people of my gender with whom I came in contact tended to be whiny, petty, and catty. It took me a lot of years to realize the women in my world were exactly what I was attracting, much like the unfortunate choices I’d made where men are concerned.

The sad fact is, by the time I reached my 40’s, I could really have used the support of a network of women, but had never learned to develop such a network.

After the Northridge earthquake, I became friends with a woman across the street from me; another single mother with a son a little older than my girls. She taught me a lot about having and being a girl friend in the years we spent hanging out, with kids and without. But as these things often do, we drifted apart when she re-married and subsequently moved away. Though we still keep in touch, we’re definitely not part of each others’ women’s network any more.

Growth Means Opening Up to What You Don’t Know as Much as to What You Do

Fast forward about 15 years and I’m not the woman I was even then, but I find myself wanting and needing that network even more. One thing I’ve learned along the way is in order to be accepted into such a sisterhood, you have to be willing to expose at least some of your vulnerabilities.

The fact is, the women I attract now are all strong, intelligent, self-confident, and empathetic to some degree. The last thing they feel comfortable with is a woman who is all bottled up and trying unsuccessfully to convince everyone she has it all together. Because not one, single, blessed one of us has it ALL under control at any given time. Otherwise, we wouldn’t want or need those networks of women friends.

In fact, the years when I had everyone convinced I was most in control of my life were actually the years when I was a hair’s breadth away from collapsing into a puddle of goo. As I open up to other women, I find I’m not alone in this regard. So many of us became strong because of years spent holding ourselves together with duct tape and baling wire. In other words, life tested our mettle in order to give us the tools we’d need later in life to achieve our dreams.

Learning to Let Go of Worn Out Beliefs

Building a network consists of a couple of main activities. The obvious one is to reach out to other women with whom you feel an affinity. But the one to which I was probably oblivious until recently was recognizing when another woman is reaching out to you, and not just because she needs something! I’m finding that women reach out to me in simple friendship, something I never noticed before. No expectations, no demands, just an offer of their heart. At first, I didn’t know what to do with such a precious gift!

I knew I was oblivious in my younger years when the occasional man showed an interest in me. Who knows? I might still need to be hit over the head with a sledge hammer should someone of the male persuasion want to know me better than the space of a dance or casual conversation between songs.

I had no idea until recently that my oblivion extended to making friends with women as well. Maybe I just needed to learn to appreciate the ones I attract these days first. Then I needed to learn that I was indeed worthy of their friendship.

Hiding the Pain Behind a Wall of Humor

I used to joke about “Ladies who Lunch” or “Girls’ Night Out”. They do say humor hides our true feelings. That the people who spend most of their time making jokes and getting laughs are the ones who are probably hiding serious internal pain. In retrospect, I envied those ladies and girls because they were a tangible representation of the huge hole in my own life.

Those holes can be filled, but how we fill them will dictate whether we heal or wallow. And I know from experience that ignoring them simply gives them room to expand.

My mom tried to fill the holes insider herself with charity work and social events. She sought to immerse herself in doing good for others, but ignored the one person who needed her most; herself. When she needed to take something for herself, those who could have, who should have given to her had already turned their backs after years of mixed signals, masks, and demands we didn’t feel like meeting. By her own actions, we never saw the sad, lonely little girl who wanted to be loved but didn’t know how to go about it.

Vowing to be different from her, I demanded nothing and drew into myself. But that behavior is equally damaging. Telling yourself you don’t need anyone or anything is a lie of the hugest proportions, and that little girl inside us will shout louder and louder until she’s heard: It’s all a lie! You’re lying to your own self and it won’t end well!

Giving Our Inner Child Her Say

My inner child yelled long and loud. I tuned her out for far too long, but she’s finally being heard. She’s grown pretty wise through all of the years she’s been stuffed down inside, observing but not affecting. Now it’s her turn. She’s coming out to play, making new friends, and most of all, having her say.

She learned a lot about balance by watching me teeter over the edge. She learned a lot about work ethic by watching me juggle side jobs along with my 9 to 5 (or 8 to whenever, if truth be told) in a sometimes vain attempt to give my daughters the life I thought they deserved. And she learned that sometimes you just have to follow your passion, even if there are times when you feel like you’re going to go under for the third time financially while you’re trying to figure out where that passion will lead.

She hasn’t made me fearless, as you won’t find me zip lining or bungee jumping any time soon. But she did help me find the courage to do what makes me happy instead of stressed out. She’s still helping me, and the biggest gift she’s giving me is learning to be part of a network of women. She’s helping me love myself enough to know when it’s time to give help and when it’s time to accept it.

Accepting help doesn’t make me weak or helpless as I once believed. In fact, it makes me stronger because I expand my resources to allow the strengths of others to help me over those humps life tends to give us from time to time, I’d swear, just for the Universe’s amusement.

I’ve been doing good things for my body for the last year or so, and am slowly adding even more to my routine. But now, I’m doing good things for my heart and soul as well. Thanks to girl friends.

Letting My Gratitude Flow Freely

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m thankful for the wisdom of my inner child.
  2. I’m thankful for the women who waited patiently for me to wake up, wise up, and notice they were there to give as well as receive.
  3. I am grateful for expansion. The more I open my mind, the more I see, hear, and feel.
  4. I am grateful for love in all it’s forms. And I look forward to discovering more of those forms in the years yet to come.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, love, new experiences, challenges, lessons, faith, hope, peace, harmony, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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