Building Mentally Healthy Habits

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Who knew it would take my late twenties to understand the concept of self care?

I used to find purpose in myself by keeping super busy or involved in many things and that was taxing on my body, mind, and spirit. I’m ashamed to admit the little time I took for me meant sloppy tooth brushing, avoiding the 2 minutes exfoliating took, and running to bed many times when I could not keep my eyes open with a face full of the day’s makeup. These are necessary little things, right? So I just raced through all that. But it’s more than necessary, it’s ways I care for myself on a practical level.

Now I’m slowing down a bit, making even those little actions more intentional. I’m pausing for a moment to realize how important it is to not always be rushing and to take note that the minuscule things like cleansing my face and applying moisturizer every night are little ways I love the body I’ve been given. And yes, those crocodile legs are worth slathering in lotion. And I’m worth 2 extra minutes of exfoliating too.

If I can intentionally acknowledge I am worth less rushing and neglecting in my daily routines, I can finally move on to bigger things.

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‘Rape Whistle’

metal Whistle

 

We met up for sushi. It was a little past noon, midday, and the place we gathered at is in a safe suburbia town. After our meal, we pulled our keys out of our purses and pockets in preparation to leave. As ladies, we all knew keys in hand meant saving a few seconds where we could possibly be distracted and targeted as prey. I know I’ve been told more than a handful of times to have them out and that the end of a key can work as a weapon of self defense if needed.

Diligently shining from all of our keychains was a whistle. Mine, the shape of a coach’s whistle with the little ball inside, all silver. Some of them had flute like whistles that were shaped more like wands in different metallic colors. We all had them. Each one of us.

“Oh hey,” a friend exclaimed, “I see you guys all have rape whistles too.”

It was funny because it was true, but it was also sobering. We were all concerned enough to equip ourselves with a device that basically shrills in case our voices fail us or don’t carry in the midst of harm. If people see a whistle on a guy’s keychain or lanyard, their first thought is that he coaches. If people see a whistle on a gal’s keychain, it’s not even a safety whistle. It’s a ‘rape whistle’.

Most people in their right mind agree that rape is wrong. Because it is. It certainly is wrong. However, even those who believe it’s wrong are divided. One extreme believes that women who may dress or act a certain way or who perhaps venture somewhere late at night are ‘asking for it.’ The other extreme types ALL CAPS flaming messages about people supporting ideas like carrying a whistle, using rape drug detecting nail polish, and locking panties, claiming it tries to shift responsibility on the victims when rape is always wrong and never the fault or lack of preparation of the victim.

There is so much division, and so many limitations are placed on women because rape exists. Whether or not ladies feel safer walking down the street with a whistle, pepper spray, or locking panties, the bottom line is we’ve advanced SO MUCH as a society, but are still dealing with inexcusable rape statistics.

It’s not just women. Men are raped too. The statistics of rape cases involving incarcerated men is shocking. People joke about butt sex in prison and guys ripping other guys a new one, but at the core of their crudeness, what they are advocating is rape. How are we still taking rape so lightly in our culture, in this day and age?

We own our own bodies. They are important, and they are ours. No one has permission to do to our bodies what we do not allow. We are to respect our own bodies and respect others’ bodies. Anything other than yes means no. These simple truths are universally permeable, yet rape still happens. I just don’t get it. I dream that one day in the near future, these simple truths will resound enough to eradicate rape.

I hope that one day, when I pull out my keys, my whistle can truly be a safety whistle, not a rape whistle.

Vitality Corner

I’ve done a few big projects to make my room a sanctuary and here’s a project I’d like to complete next: a vitality corner of encouraging quotes and pictures and many plants.

plant-leaves

I would call it a vitality shrine but some would take offense to that because of the religious connotations people assume with the word ‘shrine.’ It’s not religious in an idolatrous way, but it is reflective and meditative.

I want to use green plants as a reminder of all the things I want to be: 

– I want to bloom as I prepare myself emotionally, financially, and physically for mid-life. 

– I want to reach new heights.

– I want to seek the light even if I must bend and outstretch in one direction towards it. 

– I want to nourish my body with good healthy food and kindness so that my radiant outside reflects a well fed and cared inside. 

– I want to be growing in Christ. I feel tingling in my roots and hope to know and experience even more foundational truths about my God and our relationship. I need to be reminded that what I soak up in my roots helps me react to the world around me and feeds me substance.

– I want to prune and throw away the bad parts so that I can focus on what’s important and not feel inhibited. 

– I want to remember as I’m tending them that people who love me are tending me and to love them back fiercely with that devotion. 

– Like photosynthesis, I want to use good energy to fuel me and have that process produce beneficial things for my environment. 

– My assortment of plants may all look different and need different types of tending and soil environments for best performance, but they all work together to be beautiful although they are diverse. Similarly, I want to see my strengths and weaknesses more bigger picture and know that what I have works together to do even more good collectively.  I want to remember not to judge someone for not having similar outlooks, interests, faith, or personalities, but find ways to admire them and encourage our growth and relationships.

– Like potted plants, I want to accept help when I can’t get what I need from my limited resources. Plants need fertilizer, and I need other people’s wisdom, encouragement, and experiences to help feed me. I may need coaching, programs, and therapy to help me reach my potential at different times in my life and shouldn’t be afraid of needing these resources.

I think just a few years ago I would have thought this notion was silly, but perhaps that is a sign I’ve grown. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

The Cute and Comfy Shoe Secret

I have a secret to share with you guys. Maybe you already know this secret, but it’s something I’ve just slowly figured out and am excited to share. This shoe type is cute for ANYBODY. Tall, short, slim, plus size, and everything in between. It goes well with skirts, shorts, pants, crops, and even leggings. It has a chunkier heel and more toe support for better shock absorption and comfort. It holds your feet in place and often has some ankle support so there’s less klutz potential. And you can usually wear them for longer periods of time than heels.

Have you figured it out yet?

It’s clogs!

Yeah yeah yeah…the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they hear clogs is something like this:

 

And if that’s your thing, you keep on rockin’ them…

But these are the clog styles I have in mind. Clogs may be a bad word in fashion but these are incredibly cute!


Over the last 5 or so years I’ve finally figured out a couple things about my feet.

1. Having large, wide width and flat feet, shoes are difficult to find. Period.
2. Being over 250 pounds means flimsy shoes stress my feet. They have A LOT to hold!
3. Ballet flats are dainty but rub my heels and pinky toe. I feel the shock and no support.
4. Heels over 2 inches really hurt me and stress my toes if standing/walking past 15 min.
5. There is more to life than flip flops. Sorry, Havianas.
6. People really do pay attention my shoes and feet. It’s a noticeable part of my outfit.
7. Rounded toe styles squish my feet less. That makes them happy.
8. I have long toes. Deep cut flats give me toe cleavage. Toe cleavage is gross.
9. My big gal calves don’t fit longer boot styles. This makes me sad, but it’s reality.
10. I am a practical shoe person, but I like to keep sneakers to workouts and outdoor activities.

So booties and clogs to the rescue! They provide a comfy shorter heel and more support for my feet. They tend to be more roomy which makes my wide width feet happy. They usually have a little upward curve to the toes or extra padding, which minimizes stress. I can walk in them without feeling like I’m wobbly and keep them on for long periods of time and be comfortable. They tend to look cute with and without socks and tights which means I can wear them year round. They also tend to make my outfits look more put together and I feel more fashionable in them.

lula-roe

This isn’t me, btw. Photo credit unknown.

So, there you have it. Clogs are my new best friend.

I feel like booties are fairly easy to find in several types of styles. And clogs have always kind of been around, they are just highly overlooked. Many of you who follow my blog know that I’m trying to keep a KonMari mindset for my belongings. So I’m nixing a lot of those cheap flimsy shoes I hoarded from clearance end caps and sales. Those DO NOT bring me joy. Once I get enough pennies saved up, I’d like to purchase a pair of Swedish Hasbeen clogs, and once I reach 50 pounds lost, I would like to reward my hard work with a pair of Frye boots. If I stick with timeless styles and practical colors these shoes should pay for themselves with how well they wear.

Do you have any shoe advice to give me? Have you figured out what you like on your feet for style and comfort?

Does Anyone Have it All Together?

You’ve heard it before: “They seem to have it all together.”

That person looks like they are the model citizen – someone to aim to be like in most if not all ways. They’re rational, inspirational, well-rounded, innovative, and just seem to have everything going in their favor. From what we can see, through our rose colored glasses, their life is envious. We examine our own lives and beat ourselves over where we think we fall short in terms of personal or societal expectations.

Does anyone have it all together?

The high school sweethearts are finally married and have a love story that would compel Nicholas Sparks to turn it into a novel. They never expected their small combined income would cause them to move thousands of miles away from where they grew up and desperately miss all their family and friends. And still, they are scraping by.

The successful businessman is at every charity, well loved, and the social media pictures of his lavish vacations with his family cause much envy. Little do they know his 80+ hour work weeks leave him worn and give little time to make memories with loved ones. He treats them all to summer vacation splendors to reconnect and thank them for understanding. Sometimes he wishes he could trade the success for time, but knows he is able to provide a future and financial legacy if he just stays the course.

The budding millionaire has three innovative patents that have enabled her to “get rich quick”.  Growing up with little, her head is spinning when thinking about investments and managing her expanding wealth. Friends and relatives she never figured would leech are pressuring her for loans and pricey gifts and dinners. She is making waves and ready to date after spending years developing her products. But now, she isn’t sure if the suitors are wanting to get to know her or more about the patents or figures.

The county’s brightest student is off to an Ivy League – but his ultimate goal is to be a minister. His family and teachers desperately want to see those smarts equal a high profile job. He wants to do what is on his heart and is passionate about his dreams.

The grace and beauty of her small town is as lovely inside as she is outside. She has looks, smarts, and heart, and is complimented all the time on all three. Even though she is praised often, some jealous individuals try to make life difficult for her just because of her beauty. They are downright rude and constantly looking for flaws to make her seem less perfect. For all the good they have to say, they jab her with remarks about nearing the end of fertility, wasting her looks not thinking about making progeny, and scratching their heads about why with all that she has going for her she can’t “get a man.” They don’t understand the personal standards she has committed to and why she is cautious. She can’t tell them about all the times men have tried to pursue her only to be a notch in their belt or for less than savory intentions, about how she has to be extra careful because her beauty sometimes means unwanted predicaments. They would think she was full of herself to say such things.

No one has it all together. For all the steps we take forward, we encounter new obstacles. Our timelines are unique. There isn’t an ideal for everyone. Our milestones are ours to make, and were never meant to be compared. Just because someone’s struggles seem smaller doesn’t mean it doesn’t takes less out of them. When we pretend others have it all together, we only take the joy out of our lives by pining for something we only see through a lens.

I can choose to look around and feel like I’ve fallen short, or I can choose to look at my own path and see how far I’ve come.

My victories are no less victorious. My struggles are no less real. My journey is mine to take. I’m not going to assume that I, or others, will ever have it all together. Life is happy, sad, joyful, messy, hard, rewarding, sweet, and stressful. Life is not multiple choice, it’s essays. I was never meant to try to glance at others #2 graphite lead filled bubbles and try to copy. I was meant to write my heart out and try my personal best. Just like school days, you finish the last sentence and turn it and sigh deeply. It was hard, but you did what you could with what you knew and the resources you were given. And that’s the same for everyone.

Keeping Faith

One of the biggest transitions into adulthood was owning my faith. After years of sunday school, church attendance, and godly upbringing, I could choose to stay or stray.

I quickly learned upon examination and stepping away from trusting what others have said/preached, that I was forming opinions of my own. I have the Holy Spirit and scriptures to lead me. The point was not to leave it up to my personal interpretation but to validate what scripture says. I realized I had taken many people’s words and opinions as truth, and some of the opinions I formed were NOT pleasing to God.

I don’t question my faith because I don’t trust, I question my faith to build on what I know and believe.

I left the church I attended in my youth knowing that I wasn’t growing (not to say it was a place that didn’t preach the gospel) and still don’t feel totally acclimated to my new church home, but I know that I’m not leaning on my own comforts and that moving forward requires effort – hard effort.

As a quarter-lifer, I look around the church and realize that I’m a dying breed and wonder why. What is the world or the church doing that leads people my age to leave? I feel alone sometimes. The last ladies event I attended had three people in a room of 100+ women that were under 30.

I also look around and realize that the closer I creep to 30, the less I see other unmarried ladies. It’s a given most people will marry at one point in their life. Many of my friends have gotten married and started families and the couples classes and family-based sunday school, Bible study, and small group crowds tend to welcome and plug in families better than single units. I just want to say to the world of single Christian ladies, I see you. I see you as an adult and your own person. Whether you attend church with your family, or sibling, or boyfriend or just attend by yourself. I also know what it’s like, and I think it’s awesome that you’re pressing on despite possible frustrations because our “group” grows smaller. I can’t promise we’ll all get married and have families or have single ladies group to hang out with through the church. But I can promise that we’re equally important to God and we are called to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.

Millennials…are we lazy?

Guy with Question Mark

You’ve probably heard it out of someone’s mouth (if not your parent’s or grandparent’s.) We’re a “lazy” and “entitled” bunch. We’re slow to establish ourselves as adults and in our careers. We are bombarded with complaints and comparisons of “back in my day…” Continue reading