“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!

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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.

Blue Castles and Ninja Turtle Giggles

This weekend, I had the most fortunate opportunity to keep my granddaughter for a few days. One day, during our time together, I was pumping gas into the car, and looked into the back windshield, I could not see any part of her, not even the top of her head, only a single tiny hand held up, pointing to things outside the window. I remember looing at that tiny hand, and thinking of my son’s hand, on the day he told me they were expecting her. I remember that day so clearly, and as my son asked me to sit down and explained that he needed to talk to me, I remember throughout all his words, I kept looking at his hands. He was holding his hands in a most curious and unnatural manner. Which, as the conversation continued, I realized, his hands were that way because he was nervous, telling me that they were pregnant. I understand that is a very scary and exciting time all together, and it seemed to make sense in that moment.

The news of my first grandchild came on the heels of a time that was nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster. I was going through a divorce, having to move out of our home, my son was moving out on his own for the first time, I was going to have to stay with my mother, and my daughter was going to be living with her friends, as her family had graciously agreed to let her stay there since there was not room for both of us at my mother’s house. Facing the idea of being an “empty nester” all alone, and with no place to call home was, to say the least, devastating. I was excited about the news of a new baby, but scared if I would have anything to offer her- I was a failure myself and my life was a wreck, what could I possibly have to add to the quality of her life? Just before I first learned of my soon to be granddaughter, I had been going to a church. I had reached out to my “pastoral” staff at one point, as I had felt my life spiraling out of control and contacted them to explain my current situation and told them how I was feeling suicidal at that point, and I really needed help. Ironically, not one single member from the “church” reached out to me, to even acknowledge my cry for help, or to offer resources for help. I felt let down and very betrayed by the church that I had poured my heart and soul into, so at that moment, I turned my back on church and religion, just as they had done me.

Shortly after my granddaughter was born, I managed to find a house to rent for me and my daughter. We got settled in and I spent a lot of time going by my son’s house to help out with the baby. His place was on the way from and to work, so it was very convenient to stop by there through the week, and still close enough for going down on the weekends. However, after a while I noticed that my son never really let my granddaughter come to my house to stay, and they rarely came up to visit themselves. This went on for some time, and the more it seemed obvious, the more I felt hurt by this. I knew I had made a mess of my life, but I was trying so hard to put things back together to be the grandmother that she needed me to be.

It was quite some time before I was privy to the real reason she was not allowed to stay with me at my home. And in retrospect, I understand the decision. I had a neighbor at my new house, who I had come to befriend, and while I either failed or refused to see it for myself at the time, this friendship became extremely toxic. He became very influential over me and as a result, I had managed to seclude myself from family and friends. He would do things like, berate me for making plans with my friends in my car group to join them in an outing. He would tell me how juvenile being part of the car group was and he would tease me mercilessly about my friends in the group and even make up condescending nicknames for them. I would feel so guilty and shamed for making plans with the car group, that I would back out at the last minute. He would call or text me constantly and if I did not answer, he would cuss and shame me for not being there for him when he needed to talk and then give me the cold shoulder for days at a time. Over time, I came to realize that my “friend” was a narcissist and he was using the technique gaslighting as a form of mental control over me and secluding me from my family and friends was the way he was able to maintain that control. One evening my son had come up to visit with me and my daughter, and I had mentioned to my daughter in law that I notice that my granddaughter was never allowed to come to my house and spend time with me. She told me then that my son did not want her there because of my neighbor. I initially became very hurt and defended myself, saying that they should know I would never allow anything or anyone to hurt her. My son told me that he did know that but did not trust my neighbor and did not want her to be around him at all. From that point, I had started trying to restrict the amount of time that he spent at my home, but he was very intrusive to me and my daughter. He would come to our house, uninvited or when we informed him that we had plans, and usually try to start a fight with one or both of us. It became very clear at that point just how toxic of a friend he was. I later started dating, it was not something I had planned or even thought about doing, but I had thought that maybe with a male being around, he would eventually go on about his way. I was wrong. He seemed very threatened by my dating, and he tried to sabotage my relationship by always being very condescending toward my boyfriend. As time went on, things took a more serious turn such as finding doors opened in the morning, as if someone had been in the house during the night, or things out of place or missing after returning home. At that point, I realized my son had been justified in his concern about him, and I made the decision to move.

After moving, things began to fall more into place. And soon, my son began allowing my granddaughter to come to my house to spend the day and even the nights, on occasion with me. I began to develop a beautiful relationship with her. She became my whole world. We would have so much fun going to places like the science museum, the beach, and out for ice cream. She adored my boyfriend, and he absolutely adored her as well. My life began to have purpose and meaning again. I was always making plans around places I wanted to take her and things I wanted to do with her. She loves to explore and I enjoy seeing how excited she gets over learning something new or experiencing a new place for the first time. She seems to love rocks, and she collects one everywhere we go, which is very ironic, as I have always done the same. I even had a pet rock when I was a child, so I find her obsession with rocks some connection that we have together. She has truly become my best little friend.

She has a baby sister now, and I truly lover her as well, and I cannot wait to get to start making memories and building a relationship with her too. But, I feel like the bond that I have with my first granddaughter is, and will always be, a little different. Not that I am playing favorites, maybe just that natural difference in the relationship one has with their own children from the first born, to the baby- who seems to be the one that stays with you until later in life. Or perhaps, it is because she is the one that changed everything for me. Yes, as I stood there looking at her tiny hand held up in the window, and thinking of her daddy’s hand, I wished that could have gone back in time, at that moment, and told him that he had absolutely nothing to be nervous about. You see, son, the birth of that beautiful little girl, saved my life.

Stop Playing the Victim.

Have you ever had someone in your life that you just dreaded being around because they are always so negative and complain about everything? Often times, these are the people who love to play the “victim” role, and they continually love to remind everyone about how shitty their life is, usually at someone else’s fault. They may complain about their life sucks and they barely survive on their current wages but seem to always cycle their current situation back to a specific incident, perhaps a childhood trauma or an early relationship that impacted their lives. Then, there are some people who seem to be so negative that their entire life is one series of hardships right after the other. It is as thought their whole life is nothing more than a never-ending horror movie. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand completely that there are things that we can experience that are extremely hurtful to us and can have serious long-term impacts on our lives, or future relationships. I never take that type of thing lightly.
Many people, if not most, face hardships at some point in time throughout our lives. I am certainly no exception. I was physically and sexually abused as a child, I endured adult relationships that were physically and/or emotionally abusive and found myself in my forties living with my mom as I was trying to get myself in a position to face living on my own with my daughter with no home or car that I owned, about one hundred pounds overweight, and no financial security for my and her future. I could have been pissed at the world. I could have blamed my parents for my fucked-up childhood, or my ex-husband for crushing my spirit and destroying any sense of self-worth I may have ever had. I could have blamed everyone else for my failed life. Granted, because of the choices and actions of others at times, I have been placed into unwanted situations that altered my life plan, but I ultimately had to choose whether to let that defeat me or fuel me. I learned some harsh lessons about other people, but I learned so much more about myself. I made a list of my top ten goals, and then I started doing the work that I needed to do in order to see those goals come to fruition.
Do you ever just want to shake those eternal “victim” card playing people and scream in their face, “we all go through hardships, YOU have to bring yourself out of it!!”? I find myself wanting to do just that. It is difficult to be around those kinds of people. They constantly play the “woe is me,” “my life sucks,” and the “nothing good ever happens to me” cards, and quite honestly, it gets old. People who live to play the victim, will get angry at you when you try to point out that, in fact, not everything about their life sucks. They can shut you out and avoid you. They often times will talk negatively about you to other people. Basically, they resist hearing the truth because it forces them to admit that they are not accepting responsibility for their own role in controlling their own life situation. People go through hard times and heartbreak every day, and some people go through absolute hell on a regular basis, yet they still can manage to find the strength inside of them that pushes them to get better and be willing to fight through any hardship to change their circumstances. People who refuse to accept that responsibility and continue to blame others for their situation, is someone who is unwilling to accept that they are capable of putting in the work to change the situation. It becomes easier to blame others for their own laziness. And, that is what it boils down to, when it becomes easier to lay in bed all day and be pissed at other people who hurt you throughout your life than to get up and get busy making yourself happy, that is lazy. Muhammad Ali said, “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.”

Surviving Natural Disasters

The air seemed to hang heavy that Palm Sunday afternoon in March. Springtime in the south always carries a chance of storms, so it was not unrealistic that today may be one of those days. I had taken my son to the park that afternoon, but our visit was cut shorter than anticipated. I heard thunder off in the distance, but it was not the thunder that had me most uncomfortable. The ducks and geese at the pond were acting abnormally concerning. They seemed loud and irritated, and for some reason, almost uneasy. Since it was starting to thunder anyway, I decided to get back home. When we got back to the house, things continued to get stranger. My dogs were underneath the porch, whimpering. I had thought maybe a bear or some other dogs had been to the yard and perhaps they had been fighting. I had three dogs at the time, and could not get any one of them to come out from underneath the porch. After some time, I gave up trying to get them out and just went inside. I went about doing some house chores while my son played. I could not shake the uneasiness I was feeling toward how unusual all of the animals were acting during the day. I turned on the television and the every channel was abuzz with weather alerts. Reports of a tornado that touched down in Piedmont Alabama. I decided to keep the news on and monitor reports, being that they storms moving towards Georgia, and I was home alone with my son. The weather conditions deteriorated in my area and I could sense that it was going to get worse before the day was over. Within a few hours there were reports now coming in that a tornado had touched down on the southeast corner of my county, near where my parents lived. I called them to check on them, and they were okay, but had some damage around their area. My friend called me and wanted to come get me and my son to take us to her in-law’s home, where they had a basement. I agreed, as the news reports now continued to get more ominous and the threat was far from over. By the time my friend pulled into my driveway, I had already lost power, and there was debris flying around, both outside and inside my home. They used to teach you to raise your windows during a tornado threat, and I had done just that. There were pieces of paper and small objects lying about the house that were new blowing around in the rooms. It was a sickening feeling that we were too late to get across town to the basement. With having small children, we decided the only thing we could do now was take shelter the best we could. I had a hallway closet that housed the washer and dryer. So, we gathered pillows, blankets, and anything that we thought may act as a cushion to shield us, and we huddled in front of the washer and dryer in the hallway. The thunderous noise as the storm passed over us was nothing short of terrifying. There was a sound of popping that sounded like twenty gunshots. We kept our heads down and buried under the coverings as the noise of what was happening outside washed over us. It was like the sound when someone scrapes his or her nails over the chalkboard, you just cringe. Even though it seemed as if we were cowered there taking shelter forever, it was in actuality only a few minutes, and then silence fell upon us. It was much like when someone describes a deafening or deathly silence. We took a few minutes to collect ourselves and ensure everyone was safe and unharmed. We then got up from the hallway floor and started going about the house looking to see what had been left for us. Every window was covered completely with trees. There was very little daylight showing through, and we knew getting out of any window was not an option. There was so much damage on the back deck, that the rear door could not even be pried open. We were able to force the front door open just enough to see that there had been trees that came down and collapsed the roof of the front porch. We were blocked at every angle. Unsure about just how much damage may have been done to the roof or how many trees were on top of the house, we knew we had to find a way out. We made our way back through the house, looking at every option for an exit. We finally decided on the front door. We would have to crawl under the roof, over, and between a few trees. However, it was the only way out. The whole thing took a considerable amount of time; crawling and climbing with two toddlers. Eventually, we made it out. We made our way through a tangling of downed trees and found a clearing in the driveway. Taking a car was now not an option as they were underneath the downed trees. We proceeded to walk up my long and steep driveway in the torrential rain to try to get to my neighbors. Our greatest fear was that, since they were at the top of the hill, given the damage to my home down at the bottom, we would find their home leveled. Ironically, we found their home untouched. They were all safe. They took us in. After a little while, a group of neighbors from the street had made their way through cutting trees to clear out a path and check on everyone on the road. They were able to get us out, and took Deb and her son to her in-law’s home. I had them take me to my parents’ house. Several more storms ripped through my county that night; finally ending around ten o’clock. The following morning revealed substantial countywide damage and unfortunately, loss of life. I was grateful that we survived that day, but utterly heartbroken as my hometown laid in ruins.

The most impressive thing that I remember following that was the outpouring of support and love from my friends, family, and neighbors. There was a sense of community shown in my town, that I believe only can be understood after experiencing it firsthand. I have seen that since then, many times, from other towns and communities tornados or other forms of natural disaster have ravaged that. It is a sense of coming together and taking care of each other during a crisis. The resilience of people and communities are best displayed following these times. Much like following the terror attack on September 11, the displaying of patriotism and coming together as Americans, is very much like how these small towns come together for each other when disaster strikes their friends and neighbors. There is nothing more beautiful, nor endearing, as the resilience of the human spirit and sense of community displayed following a natural disaster. Not only is there a physical rebuilding taking place with the material things: building, homes, and churches, but there is a spiritual and personal rebuilding that resonates with the sense of community that are our family, friends, and neighbors.

Unfortunately, often times, there is an alter side to the resilience of those people following natural disasters. It is very common after experiencing a natural disaster to experience PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I, myself, was diagnosed with PTSD several years following the tornado. Trauma is trauma, and we all have a natural response to it, whether physically or psychologically. I worked with a therapist for a while who taught me how to manage my PTSD. She taught me about identifying my triggers (things that associate to the event), and ways of coping with those triggers. For the next few years, I became obsessed with weather related events, particularly tornado outbreaks. I would watch hours upon hours of The Weather Channel during sever weather events. Following those events, I would search on the internet everything I could possibly find regarding the damage, or if the town were within a reasonable driving distance, I would drive to the area and see the damage for myself; once the roads were opened up and the general population was allowed in the area. I felt, somehow, connected to those people in those towns. It was as though we were complete strangers, yet shared a very deep and personal bond. I felt as though no one else could wholly understand what I was going through, except for those people who had gone through the same thing.

Eventually, I wanted to find a way to give back to my community and help others who were facing disaster. I became an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) for my county, and volunteered with the fire department. Soon after I got into public service, I began studying everything I could learn about severe weather. I took the formal training and became a certified storm spotter. I wanted to understand weather, and how to be better prepared. I also wanted to share that knowledge with my own community, and help them be better prepared. I have since had experience with several tornados. Although, none to the extent of that first Palm Sunday storm. I have helped with search and rescue after a tornado touched down in my own town; I have helped cut trees from the roadway following another touchdown at a different time. In addition, I have been driving on the interstate when a tornado touched down and crossed the road on which I was driving. Thankfully, it was not a major tornado and while it was no less scary with the little to no visibility and debris hitting my car, it was not a strong enough storm to flip my car or cause me to hit any other cars on the roadway. Each of those times, I faced the storm with respect for the power of Mother Nature, as well as a newfound confidence in myself knowing that I understood so much more about tornado safety. Getting involved the way I did, and forcing myself to go back and face the terrifying thing that affected me so deeply, was the most impactful thing I could do to gain some control back over my own life.

I am no longer involved with the fire department, and I have let my EMT license expire. I have gone back to school and currently hold a job that has taken me down a different path. Regardless, I still hold tight to that sense of being a tornado survivor. I still monitor with vigor any threat for sever weather. I still have my storm spotter certification, and most of my coworkers and friends continually ask my opinion on how severe I think weather events may be. I can never fully step away from that connection I have with people impacted by natural disasters, and I now volunteer with the National Red Cross as a member of the Disaster Action Team. I will always feel that bond with natural disaster victims, and while I may just be another face in the crowd of people they look at through numb eyes who stepped in to help during a tumultuous time, I will know that I have been where they now are, and that I know, they too, are survivors. Even if they do not feel like it in that moment.

If you would like to learn more about surviving natural disasters, and how to prepare for disaster emergencies, Check out this incredible emergency preparedness guide

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I was born to tell you I love you.

Finding the one person we are meant to love.
Every person is born with a purpose and a plan. I think we can all agree to that at least. But so many people live their entire lives missing out on their purpose, because they waste so much precious time chasing after finding true love; at least, their idea of what true love should be. When we put our ability to be happy or sad in the hands of another person, a lover, we are setting ourselves up for failure. And failure is exactly what we will accomplish. No matter how much we get along with another human being, or how attracted to them we may be; no other person in the world holds the power to control our happiness, and should never be given that power.
I am sure I can share my personal story and while it is my own story, so many others can pick out bits and pieces of the story and relate to it, if one picks out just enough of the pieces, they can even begin to believe I am citing their own story. While we are all unique and different individuals, we all go through life much the same way. When we are young, we dream of what our lives will be like when we grow older, we imagine, with great enthusiasm, how perfect our families, our homes, and our jobs are going to be. We get a little older and begin our search for “the one.” We all go through a lot of heartbreaks in the process. While there is that rare few who meet at a young age and are divinely meant to be together their entire lives, let’s face it, we go through a lot of duds before we find our stud (or goddess)! Sometimes, we find that “one” that we believe with everything in us that is the one that will make us happy forever, and then even those “ones” can leave us crushed and devastated, and , question every choice we have ever made- right down to why did we choose vanilla ice cream instead of chocolate. The point being, a broken heart can make us question our own self worth and validity in even existing.
It does not need to be that way. It is a hard concept to grasp, because we all dream of that sweet little couple lying in the bed at the nursing home holding hands and peacefully dying together after spending a lifetime sharing a perfect and true love. Even in the knowledge that most people never have that “Notebook” (Sparks) kind of love, many people never give up faith in finding it. Those same people fail to realize that they alreay have the one person they were meant to love from birth.
So often, we go about life foregetting that we are own one constant. We are always there, we know all our secrets, we share our own dreams and fears, and we believe in ourselves. Well, we should belive in ourselves more than anyone else does, although that is not always the case. In all sincerity, we can never expect to posess the ability to love anyone else until we can learn to fully love ourselves. That makes a far easier cliche than tangible act. But, therein lies a hope, a plea, a need even for us all to seach deep within ourselves and find “the one” true love that should be regarded above all others. Now, that is certainly not to imply that we sould place ourselves on a pedestal by any means. Quite the contrary, never boastfully put yourself that high- it would make for a greater fall.
To love yourself, means more than simply being good to yourself. Take time to truly care for yourself. Feed your mind positive affirmations daily- remind yoursefl often of just how wonderful you really are; clothe your body in tenderness- not just about dwelling on physical appearance, but treat yourself with true tenderness: nurture, rest, and be active; most of all, embrace your soul for all its wonders- you are divinely and uniquely created, so put your individuality out there and be proud to show it off to the world.
It will not be an easy transition, nor will it be quick. You spent years trying to chase all the wrong people to make you happy only to be let down time and time again. Take it day by day, and give just a little more each day. Start by standing in front of the mirror and say, with purpose and sincerity, to the person staring back at you, “I was born to tell you I love you.” Soon enough, it will start to become real, and then you will know what it means to finally find “the one” person who can show you the meaning of true love.

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Sparks, Nicholas. The Notebook. New York: Warner, 1996. Print.

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