“Girl, wash your face” an Honest Review

Often times we are reminded of how much influence we allow society as a whole to have on us. I was recently reminded of that myself when I read “Girl, wash your face,” by the witty and charming Rachel Hollis. The book takes an in-depth look at how we can buy into the lies that society spoon feeds us and how we can, in turn, begin to feed those same lies to ourselves. She tackles many commonplace misconceptions about oneself, such as, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not a good mom,” “I’ll start tomorrow,” “I am defined by my weight,” and a whole smorgasbord of self-defeating inaccuracies that can limit ourselves to step out of our proverbial comfort zones and realize our true potential.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading her book, but in all sincerest honesty, Rachel made me acknowledge some hard truths about myself. While, most of my later adult life, I have been a self-proclaimed “independent woman” who had my shit together, the reality is that I have been independent because life had thrust me into circumstances, not of my own choosing, that warranted my self-independence, however begrudgingly. No matter how much we think we have ourselves together, there will always be those things that society sells that we are buying up like they are bargain deals at a going out of business sale at our favorite boutique. I for one, have come to accept that I have bought into so many of the lies that society, family, and even friends have been dishing out to me. Many of those lies, I have held on to and hid behind as though there was a sense of comfort in attaching myself to them, like a tub of death by chocolate ice cream after a stormy break up.
There is something about the way that Rachel engages her readers with her own life experiences and stories that lends an air of realism to her, and allows the reader to relate to her words and gain a sense of trust in her, as though she gets us, because she has gone through so many of the same things. While Rachel’s stories may not be exactly the same stories, verbatim, as the ones that I or anyone else who reads the book owns, Rachel allows her one personal accounts with the lies that society places upon us to in some way, come across as a comforting chat with a dear friend, or sound advice from a trusted therapist.
She speaks volumes of truth in her book in how she implores her reader to peel back the layers upon layers of untruth and tragic bullshit that society has heaped upon us for years and years, and realize the true and real value that we all possess. I would highly recommend anyone to read “Girl, wash your face.” But I would really encourage anyone reading the book to take the time to really dig deep in to the pages, and the words that Rachel is expressing to each and every one of her readers. Take her stories and let them seep in deeply into your mind and your soul. The advice she provides at the end of each chapter, noted as: “Things that helped me” are there as stepping stones, not meant to be disregarded or taken lightly. She has, as the reader will learn, overcome overwhelming odds to become the dynamo that she is today. And, people do not get that far in life without learning a few lessons along the way. When such people offer to share those learned lessons in an effort to prevent others from giving into the lies or to aid them in seeing past the lies dished out daily by the world around us, we listen. We learn. We adapt. We wash our faces, and we show the world just who we are!

Affiliate Disclosure Statement- This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you.) Thank you for your support in this way.

A Look Back at the Future

Often, we find ourselves looking out into the horizon and for the life of us, we have no idea how to get there, or how we even got to where we are at this point in life. The new year is always a time of reflection for many people; a time to reflect on the year that has come to an end, and what it brought us, and a time to reflect on the year ahead of us, and the promise of opportunity that it lays out before us.
All too often, when people look back over the year that has come to an end, they are filled with regret. Regret over a broken relationship, perhaps they did not make that job change they had been contemplating for some time, or maybe, just regret over doing absolutely nothing throughout the year that brought about a sense of fulfilment to their soul. A true sense of peace and happiness from within generally originates from personal growth, and most people rarely step out of their all too familiar comfort zone to reach the level of uncomfortable that is required of growth.
Sometimes, looking at the year ahead can be a damn scary thing for many people. Maybe their job has changed; maybe their family dynamic has changed because some family members have moved out or moved away; perhaps, they are the ones that have moved to start a new life in a new town, or even a new state, and they see themselves, for the first time, surrounded by total strangers instead of family and friends. Fear can be a very overshadowing emotion that can obscure the view of the future.
Some people are fortunate in that they do not look to the past year, nor the upcoming year with any regret or fear or dread. They view the changes that have taken place in their lives during the past year and the changes that they will face in the new year as opportunities to learn, not just about new places or the world, but learn about themselves. When we have been surrounded by family and friends for our entire lives, we develop a level of comfort in that, and in knowing that while family and friends will not always see eye to eye with them, they will always love them and be there no matter what. People fear less failing when they know they have loving and supportive people there to help pick them back up afterwards.
To face a new year that is already latent with big life changes, provides one with a chance to see how strong they can truly be. If failure comes, there is no loving family or supportive friends to comfort you. Likewise, if great successes arise from the changes that have transpired, those same family and friends will not be there to provide hearty congratulations or help celebrate the joyous occasions.
Regardless, as the very cheesy and cliché saying goes, the new near brings with it three hundred and sixty-five new opportunities; three hundred and sixty-five blank pages on which you have the chance to author your own story, make it a good one. As a matter of fact, I believe that is the best way to look at the upcoming year. There will be good days and there will be bad days; days that come easy and days that will present a variety of challenges to get through. But days that have no concrete story line to follow as of yet, and days that can be faced with determination and anticipation. After all, we learn the most and obtain the greatest amount of grown through the bad days and the challenging days. Those days will only make the good days sweeter.
So, as you stand on the threshold of a new year, take the regret of the past year, and put it away, we cannot do anything to change what has already been done. Rather, look forward, knowing that all days will not be easy or fun, but you have the opportunity and the power within you to make them as good as you can make them for yourself. Every year, the flowers die out from the harsh conditions of the winter, yet, every spring, through thawed ground, they inch their way back to life, and put on a glorious showing for the springtime. See yourself as a flower in the spring at the beginning of the year. Inch your way back to life and put on a glorious show!
Yes, good days will come and go. But after all, “it can’t rain all the time.” (Eric Draven- The Crow)

Peach Among the Palms

It is a sunny, brisk Christmas morning as I sit here alone by the pool. There seems to be no other living creatures stirring about, well, other than the half a dozen or so birds flocking around the area. They tend to stay close to the pond, which is located about ten to fifteen feet from the pool area. On the occasion, I hear a random car passing by on the highway, and there has been a plane or two passes overhead, as they shuttle friends, family, and associates to and fro. But mainly the only sound I hear is the fountains in the pond. The sound of water is quite relaxing, and blended with the sounds of the birds, make for a great soundtrack for a little self-reflection.
For quite a few years now, I have talked of little else than the notion of one day throwing caution to the wind, taking off, and moving to the Gulf of Mexico. And, on this peaceful Christmas morn, here I am. The pool and the pond are actually part of the amenities at my apartment complex. It is truly a lovely place. The landscaping alone at my complex gives the feel of being off on some tropical getaway. One of the selling points the complex uses in their website advertising is “resort style pool” and it truly is. Sitting here, one can easily feel as though they have slipped away from reality on some amazing tropical adventure in peace and tranquility.
However, the irony of it all is that in realizing my ultimate dream of living in the Gulf of Mexico, is the reality of being here without my family. And, that has proved to be a fairly hard pill to swallow. When we first moved here, to this specific dot on the map, it was because my son had chosen to move his family here. I had long planned to move to the gulf area, but perhaps, not quite this far south into the sunshine state. Sadly, life in the sunshine state has not rendered itself quite so full of sunshine for my son and daughter in law, and they have made the decision to move back to Georgia. I will miss them and the girls terribly, as I already do miss my daughter and mother and brother. Circumstances has placed me in a position whereby even if moving back was something that I wanted, it would not be in the cards, at least for this moment in time. As much as I wish I could hold all of my family here, perhaps hostage, and keep them with me for as long as I am here, I understand that they are all adults with their own rights to their own choices.
Initially, I was deeply saddened at the thought of being here with no family or friends, and utterly heartbroken over the idea of not being able to spend time with my granddaughters, or to have the chance to develop a relationship with my grandson, who will be born in a few months. But I am slowly coming to terms with the reality of how things are going to be. There is always FaceTime and a flight is only about one to two hours away. While driving is also an option, it is a ten-hour drive, and not highly adored.
I have been trying to come up with ideas and things to do to better blend into the culture down here that is so different from my little dot on the map in Northwest Georgia. It is not always easy to fit in to a new place. And it does not make things any better when you leave a small town and move to an actual city, there are far more people and less likelihood of seeing any one person enough times to form a friendship. I have investigated things like joining a book club, transferring my volunteering with the Red Cross, and even joined a local rock group- a group who paints rocks and places them in random areas about town, as little hidden treasures for someone to discover. At this time, I have not got around to getting any rocks to paint myself to hide about town. Henry and I have gotten out a time or two to attend local events, such as the lighting of the tree downtown, the local art walk down the river district, and the Christmas boat parade. On each of those events, we discovered new things that we plan to go back and visit again, places to go shop at, local eateries that we wish to try out, and have even made random conversations with people who make Florida seem not so bad.
I believe, for me, the simplistic customs and laid-back lifestyle in little town north Georgia is so different than here, there was an initial culture shock. Back home, you shop in the same stores, and you, over time, get to know the employees, and they in turn recognize you. In many places, the slogan is “we treat you like family” and that bears truth for most of them. You learn all the short cuts and back roads to avoid the main roadways that may be congested at various times. Neighbors get out in the evenings and walk around the neighborhood, and always take the time to stop and hold a conversation with you if they catch you outside. Many of those neighbors even take the time to make treat bags full of home-made goodies to personally deliver to their neighbors during the holidays. Where I come from, family is first, and traditions mean something.
Here, things seem to be much different. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that this is a city, and much larger than any town I have ever lived in. However, I believe a lot of it has to do with the people here. Apparently, this is an area that is common place for retirees and “snowbirds” (a term used for people who migrate south to live for the winter to escape the bitter conditions from the norther towns they normally reside. I think, in many ways, the blending of so many people from various other states and towns, lends itself to the fact that there are few people who are actually natives of this area, and with many of them only residing here a few months of the year, and many more, much like me, just newly moved to this area, we are now a city made up of strangers.
I plan to continue to research groups or activities to get involved in. I have a whole new appreciation and respect for the proverbial “new kid” in school. It is not that easy to blend in and make new friends in a place that is so unfamiliar to you, and where the people are not as warm and welcoming as you would hope they would be. But, for today, Henry and I are going to embark on new traditions. We will go and spend time with Ryan and the girls, it is Christmas, after all, and we will exchange gifts and food with them. But, afterwards, we will do something that neither of us have ever had an opportunity to do in our lifetimes, we are going to the beach to spend some of our Christmas day, just taking in the reality of our new life, here in the Gulf of Mexico. Then, we have decided, to try something completely new. A Christmas Story is one of our all-time favorite holiday movies to watch, and we have decided to start a tradition in honor of that movie. We are going to find a local Chinese restaurant open and have our Christmas dinner there.
So, as we prepare to end this year and look on toward the next, some traditions will end for us, as life has a way of changing, and so with it, people and circumstances change as well. Being separated from family will force some changes in our holiday plans and traditions. Being in a place where we do not have friends to make plans with, will surely change many more. But we will look at this as a time for growth, opportunity, and chances to make new traditions, to try new things, and to experience a life, well lived.

5 Things That I Absolutely Love About Myself, Without A Doubt.

If I were asked to name five things that I absolutely love about myself, without a doubt, I would struggle quite a bit, as I am sure many others would. We tend to see the good and the best in people around us. Yet, we most often tend to be blind to our own good qualities. We easily see that we may be overweight, or that we have thin hair or short hair, or that we have freckles, or that we have not completed college and gotten that degree that we started out to work on several years ago, or that we are in a job that we are not in love with, or maybe that we are in a relationship that only benefits one partner. Regardless, we should do better by ourselves and realize the qualities that we each possess that make us great. And now, I will attempt to embark on such a task.
One- compassion. I do love that I possess a true sense of compassion for others. I once was told by my director when I worked as an Emergency Medical Technician that I would make a great paramedic one day because I had something that many of his current paramedics in the county lacked- compassion and a true love for others. Even though I do not work in public safety any longer, I still keep those words with me. It really meant a lot to me then, and it means a lot to me now that someone saw me in that respect. Often times, I believe that it goes a step beyond mere compassion and that I have been granted both the blessing and the curse of being an Empath. Everything I have ever read about Empaths sounds exactly word for word like I am reading something written specifically for me. I suppose I don’t hate being an Empath, but there are times when I wish I could be a little tougher.
Two- tenacity. I do not give up on things easily. Even in relationships, although I know in my head and my heart that the relationship is toxic for me or the relationship has reached its ending point, I have a hard time walking away. For some reason, I feel like a failure when things end, whether it be relationships or jobs, so I tend to persist in them, despite my need for closure and the limiting it puts on my self-growth.
Three- simplicity. I have never been a materialistic person, and do not foresee that changing anytime in my future. I love the simplicity of life. I enjoy quite time by the lake, a hike in the woods, and sitting on the shore listening to nothing more than the sound of the waves crashing against the sand and the occasional call of the Gull. At the risk of being cliché, life if made up of all the small moments that fill in the dash between the two dates on our death stones. But, that is true. It is truly the simple things like holding hands under the night sky bursting with fireworks, the laughter of a child, or the smell of fresh cut grass that make life worth living
Four- good listener. It seems that for most of my life, I have had family, friends, and coworkers alike come to me to talk about their problems. I went into college to get my degree in Human Services and learned a lot about active listening. But, the funny thing is, I think in some way I have always engaged in active listening, long before I even knew what it was. I was always that friend that people went to when they wanted to say, “don’t tell anyone.” I have long since been out of school and lost touch with almost one-hundred percent of my former classmates, yet, I still today hold secrets that were told to me in the strictest of confidence within the halls of my high school, that I have not dared to share with another soul. I have always had the tendency to be very accepting of other, and have never considered myself, nor have been considered by others as a judgmental person. Although, I think as I get older, I am losing that sweet innocent acceptance of everyone, and do notice a hint of cynicism showing its ugly head on the occasion.
Five- Pisces. It may seem a bit crazy or childish, but I truly love being a Pisces. They say that Pisces are so different because they have characteristics of all the other eleven Zodiac signs. I do believe that. A true Pisces can be quite a challenge, it is like riding a roller coaster, at times. We can be hot one minute, then cold the next. Yet, Pisces, are the dreamers and the believers. We see the good in people and we would move mountains to help others see the good in themselves. Pisces are creative and artistic. I would never say that I was good at anything but being far from perfect does not limit my attempt. I love to paint, and I love to sing. While I cannot do either of those well, I still continue to do them. That is why I love being a Pisces, it is kind of like that Steve Jobs quote- “Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”


Once in everyone’s life there comes a time to do some construction. We build walls, and we tear walls down. We build walls to keep out the enemy, and we build walls to keep in what we value most. Whatever the reason, it is time to start the process to tear down these walls. Good or bad, old or new, they have to go. Some say it is about the journey, I say it is about the destination. Let’s get to a good place.
In the bible there is a story that I love to think of when I am pondering over a stone wall. The story of Nehemiah is once of my favorite stories of determination and faith. I cannot quote word for word his story, but I know enough about him to know that when he was mocked and ridiculed and expected to fail, he made quite a triumph for his people. The rebuilding of the walls surrounding Jerusalem was going to be a mammoth project that no one was willing to commit to But Nehemiah knew the security of his people depended on getting those walls put back up. Somehow he managed to convince everyone to just do a little part and put up the stones around the fronts of their own homes. The enemy ridiculed him and put no faith into those walls ever going up again, but lo and behold, his endurance and faith prevailed. Alas, one day they were standing tall and stronger than ever before, and the enemy had no chance of breaching those walls.
I truly love that story and encourage anyone who will to read it. I have seen once, someone use the example of Nehemiah to make a great thing happen again. It was actually in the movie, “Facing the Giants,” and if  you have not seen that movie, please give it a watch! To make a long story short, it is a bout a high school football team who beat all the odds. Okay, so maybe you have seen that story line more than once, it never gets old, though. They are in the championship game, after coming from year after year of losing streaks and finally getting that once in a lifetime chance to make something happen. The coach had taught the boys the story of Nehemiah and how he made the walls to hold so strong the enemy could not prevail. So, when the game was on the line, the coach said one thing to the leader of the defensive line: “Stone Wall.” The young tackle got it, he encouraged his line to form a human wall that the opponents could not breach. You can probably guess the team won the championship and the story had a wonderfully happy ending.

But sometimes, we do not put up those kinds of walls, the kind of physical walls that help us be victorious against our enemies. Sometimes we put up emotional walls, walls around our hearts, and the kind of walls that help us keep others out. Most of the time we justify what we are doing by saying things to ourselves like, “I’ve been hurt before and I’m just protecting myself.” It is all too easy to do; after all, self preservation is as natural a human instinct as is breathing.

I know in my own personal story, I have built so many walls that I should have an architect license by now. From early on in my childhood, I felt let down by people in my life. Then, as I grew older and began to develop relationships with other people, once I started feeling close to someone, up went the wall. So, that happened again and again, until I finally ran out of room to put up any more walls. Then it came time to start tearing down a few.

I spent most of my life refusing to let anyone see me, the real me. I was convinced that I could not be hurt by anyone if they did not know my weaknesses, my fears, or  my concerns. So, I pretty much made a lifetime hobby of helping other people deal with their problems. I wanted to be the one everyone came to when they needed someone to talk to, after all if we were always busy talking about your problems, we never had time to talk about mine, right?

And, then one day I finally realized that hiding behind all those walls was not hurting anyone as much as it was hurting me. So, the thing I had put in place to protect myself from getting hurt was the very thing that was hurting me. This inability to fully open up and reveal myself to people was hurting me in my relationships, my friendships, and even with my co-workers. Who knew? I learned so much about so many people from allowing them to open themselves up and reveal to me, yet, no one ever really knew me. Not one person could tell you my dreams or my desires, or even the thing that scared me most in life. I used to go to church, and most people knew that about me, but no one knew that I lost my faith and renounced Christianity. I always figured, no ever ever asked, so it was unlikely that anyone really cared any way. Hence, more walls.

So, then I found myself at a place and time in my life where some demolition was certainly in order. Life is hard, sure is, but what good does it actually do when we just hide from it in out feeble attempt to avoid it? When we peep out, guess what? It is still there. So, join along on this journey to face life head-on, and wall by wall, peel away all the layers that are keeping us form the life we deserve and desire. I have personally come a long way from where I was when I began the process, but I still have a ways to go to be fully where I long to be. I am in a continual process of, as I like to say, winging it. The first part of the process is easy enough, although it may not seem like that on day one. Take a notebook and number the first two pages from one to ten. On page one, title it “positive” and the second page will be titled “negative.” Take some time to reflect and really think about this, and on page one, list the ten most positive things you can find in your life. Guess what you will do with the second page? If you said the same, right on! Only on page two, you will be listing, you guessed it, the ten most negative things in your life. On page three you will list five people who you have in your life that you trust and believe you can share the things that you need to talk about. Okay, so the next two pages are where you will have to really humor me, make a list of ten positive and ten negative words. Then search out and write down one affirmation relating to each word. That is only twenty affirmations, and that will not be hard to find. After that, you will be equipped with the tools that you need to start the process. You have the top ten key things that both lift you up and bring you down. You have a minimum of five pairs of ears to chew on, five pairs of shoulders to lean on, and five pairs of  hands to hold, and you have twenty affirmations to refer to. Starting with the first blank page in your notebook, journal. Just write down your thoughts and feelings, fully open up, no one will ever read this book, unless you allow them to. Every day, as you are jotting down your thoughts to ponder, you can have security in knowing that if something is particularly tough for that day, you have an emergency list of friends to call on. As you start making progress with your journaling, and bring to light things that h ave been haunting you for so long, you will hopefully become more comfortable with allowing someone else in, and maybe want to start sharing some of the things that you have taught yourself about yourself.

At the same time, remember this is a process, a journey, so, baby steps. As  you work on this process, really give some true thought into what you are journaling about. Why are the walls there in the first place? Is there someone who hurt you in the past and you do not want to feel that way again? Has life made you feel like you cannot trust anyone? Or, maybe, are you trying to protect the world from yourself, are you afraid of what you are capable of? Whatever the reason, just take the time to reflect on why this began. What happened to make you feel the need to take such measures? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” For certain, in the darkness things can unravel quickly. One of my “go-to” tricks, and it may help you, is to sit in the sunlight; let its warmth bathe you, and bring the things of your mind out into the light. We cannot fight what we cannot see.

Fit, Fabulous, and Forty…Something!

Just put one foot in front of the other…There comes a time in every woman’s life, where she finds herself at a crossroads. A place of making a decision between forgetting her worth and letting herself go or saving herself from herself and showing the world. Just. Who. She. Is. Over the course of the past few months, I have found myself in such a place.
For far too many years, I have let myself go. I have battled depression, anxiety, failed relationships, trying to go to back to college full time while working a full-time job. We have all been there, that place where life has us pulled in so many directions, and nothing seems to be going right. I’ve eaten out of pity, I’ve eaten through the tears, I’ve gotten frustrated and angry with myself for trying to eat away my pain, and then eaten more because I was depressed because I had done so. It is a vicious cycle, and it is all to easy to fall in to.
The important thing is to learn to not beat yourself up for those moments of weakness, they say. Yet, when we give in and do such damaging things to our bodies and, ultimately, our already fragile self-esteems, it is all but impossible not to shame ourselves for such behaviors. Especially, when we know better. Yet, here I am, about a hundred pounds overweight.
Over the past couple of years, however, my life has changed in a very drastic way. I met someone, much younger, but very special to me. Despite my sense of practicality and the well-meant advice of many friends and family, I took a chance on dating him. I thought I would just see where it would go, and if it was not meant to be, I would just let it play out, knowing for a brief moment, I went after life with reckless abandon and enjoyed every moment I had been given. Ironically, to date, things have not played out. They are amazing, in fact. We have gotten married and are planning to move to Florida soon and start a new life, living it up in the Gulf of Mexico.
During the beginning of our relationship, things were great for my fitness goals of getting back into shape and dropping all of that depressed weight I had been carrying around. We went hiking often, we joined a gym together, and we were at the lake often. We were very active and wide open. It was fantastic, we were both getting in very good shape, over all. Then he was moved to second shift on his job. I still tried to work out and walk when I was home by myself at nights. That lasted a little while and was going great. Until he convinced me to go back to school while he was gone at night, I would have plenty of time to work on my assignments. He was right. I did not take into account, however, that after a twelve to fourteen-hour day at my job, I would be coming home at night and spending another three to four hours trying to get my assignments completed. And, just like that, working out went right out the window. He has since gone back to day shift, and we had decided to get back into hiking. Only, we found out really fast, that it has been far too long since we were that active with our marathon hiking weekends, and we were almost dead after a couple of less than five-mile hikes. Aside from that amazing husband of mine, I have two very incredible granddaughters. One is only about to turn a year old soon, and the other is almost four. I enjoy being with them so much, but they are very mobile and quite active now. After a few hours with them, I find myself needing a three-hour nap. And that has become more motivation for getting back active.
I have often heard it said that age is just a number. I have seen people in their seventies who are in prime shape and phenomenal active condition, and I have seen people in their thirties who can barely walk up a flight of stairs. So, I suppose it is true that it is never too late to start. I have decided to challenge myself to a hundred days of working out. Today was day one, and I got up before four a.m. to go to the gym. I did not do a very good job of getting anything laid out and ready last night and spent almost a half hour looking for everything to get ready. Therefore, I only had about an hour of time available for the gym before I had to get home and start getting ready for my day. But hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? And they say, the journey of a thousand miles, begins with one step. An hour of something is better than a day of nothing. I feel good after accomplishing that. It is hard to want to get up before four a.m. and it is even harder to jump out of bed and jet off to the gym. I know many people do this on a daily basis, and I truly admire them!
More than just getting fit, this journey I have committed to, is about living a fabulous life. I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful family, and a great future to look forward to in a quaint little beach town. Why not grab life by the horns and make the most of it all? They say now that forty is the new twenty, so why not rock those forties, and be fabulous? That is what I am aiming for. This one-hundred-day journey will take me far beyond just working to reach my fitness goals, but also losing the metaphoric weight of past regrets and failures. Depression and anxiety are real life problems that we all go through from time to time, but there is no hard and fast rule that say they have to define you, or control what you are capable. It is time to show the world. Just. Who. I. Am. Day one of one hundred, out.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑