selfie love

As if this blog wasn’t self-indulgent enough, I have been participating in a 365 day photo project: the #365feministselfie project.

The what?

Why?

Go ahead and roll your eyes. I know you want to.

You feel better now?

Good.

Talking about one’s sense of self love and self worth, Tamryn Hall recently shared, “It was not a magazine that formed my opinion of myself, it was what my mother told me…“. Ms Hall’s statement struck a very loud chord with me. How true this is. Children learn what they live. She went on recalling all the positive words her mother, her father, her extended family have always said to her about her and how that has always been with her with every success and setback in her life.

When I started writing in this blog, I began because I needed a safe place to put my thoughts, my fears and frustration. My plate was overloaded raising my five children including a very angry teen pushing hard and breaking through as many boundaries as possible and a medically fragile toddler whose weekdays were busy with appointments with specialists, physical therapy, occupational therapy, feeding therapy. My brother had recently died and honestly, it seemed like I was the only member of my family who was mourning him. So much was rattling around in my head that I had to have a place to put it and here is where most of it went. Through the years this has been a place where I could write about what ever I wanted to write about…my thoughts, my fears, my tears, my joys, my opinions…and they all mattered here.

Pretty much my entire life, even now, I have been told what is wrong with me…how I talk, how I walk, the colors in my wardrobe, I’m too skinny, I’m getting fat, my career choice, my parenting choices, my opinions, my beliefs, what I read, what I watch, what I listen to, my thoughts…and on and on and on and on….and it STILL goes on because as I approach my 52nd birthday I still need the correction criticism like I am still a child. It’s hard, very hard to recall ever hearing “I’m proud of you for being you”.

Children learn what they live.

But as this blog grew through the years into more than 3,500 entries, I have evolved and have grown to like me a lot. I like the parent that I am. I like the NICU RN that I am and I wouldn’t settle for anything less. My thoughts, my beliefs and my opinions are indeed my own and they are most definitely just as important as anyone’s…maybe more so to me because they are mine. Ten years of navel-gazing writing has exorcised a lot of demons and damage. Of course, it is a work in progress.

Which brings me to my own #365feministselfie. Pretty indulgent and narcissistic of me, isn’t it? Oh, and definitely attention seeking too.

Enough!

Attention is power.

Of course, the self-portrait is an easy target for charges of self-involvement, but, in a visual culture, the selfie quickly and easily shows, not tells, how you’re feeling, where you are, what you’re doing.

In our age of social networking, the selfie is the new way to look someone right in the eye and say, “Hello, this is me.”

Hello, this is me.

I’m discovering that in this exercise.

I’ve never liked nor respected too much the image that reflected back in the mirror at me. I’ve never really seen what my darling husband has seen and still sees…I recently overheard him say that he has a hot wife. I don’t know if I will ever see what he sees or what my kids see; but I am starting to see things in these selfies that I do like…my curves, my edges and my perfect imperfections.

Self-indulgent.

Of course.

Still it is a very important part of my exercise in self-love.

Self-love is about taking care of yourself inside and out. It’s about reminding yourself that even on your worst hair day with a red zit glowing at  the top of your nose, your heart deserves to smile. A smiling heart and a passionate life will create a beauty within that transcends the standards of most. Only the weak and superficial among us will be unable to see the smile that shines from within because they haven’t earned the privilege to see into our souls.

Added bonus is the kids will have a few pictures of me for my memorial someday.

And if the daily blog ruminations and selfies aren’t enough to cluck one’s tongue over…

It’s my birthday month!

play it again: in a word

Addressing my holiday cards, I found myself searching for a particular address. I knew I had it here somewhere, I mean we exchanged cards last year but it wasn’t in my address book. Then I remembered, we direct messaged each other our addresses so that we could exchange holiday cards. Scrolling through a year’s worth of private conversations on Twitter, I find the address.

Hurray!

I also find a conversation we shared last January 4 when I found myself needing to just unload all my worries and fears…and as always, Kale listened; as Kale always does. You’re a good friend, Kale. I love you! If only you and I were geographically closer. Reading our exchange from that day I can’t help but think that January 4 must have been a pretty intense day.

It was.

Surely I blogged about it because…

I did.

Writing out my thoughts helped. They always do. But talking about what was on my heart, what was really on my heart and knowing that someone was listening was even better…so much needed. I honestly don’t think I could have chosen to “embrace” this year…this year with lots of good, some bad, too many feelings and a whole lot of adventures with laughter, tears, fears, silliness and joy.

Originally published January 4, 2013

Oh 2013, a brand new year!

Welcome!

Four days into it and I am finally considering a reflective post about the start of another new year for me. I have no resolutions. I don’t believe in making them. I’ve said that before here…over the last eight years around this time of year. I don’t. But like so many others, I can’t help but consider this a good time to reflect on what lies ahead. Like my friend Kristen said, they are “days full of wonder without any mistakes in them. Yet.” Others are making plans to run big races or get organized or maybe to break a bad habit or to lose a set number of pounds and those are all good things to work on…for them. As for me, I choose to look ahead.

Okay, fine, there is a little bit of personal navel gazing…but no resolutions.

My hair is now long enough for me to twist it up into a braid…a thick strong braid because my hairs are so dang thick. I like it. I like it a lot because, well, it doesn’t take much to make me happy sometimes. Being able to plait my hair is one of those simple things that puts a smile on my face. So while I took a break from my navel gazing, I regarded this braid of mine. It is pretty cool. It is thick and it is strong.

A braid is indeed a particular type of decorative hairstyle or an embellishment that is created by entwining or twisting round and around three or more strands. This intertwining of the smaller, weaker strands of material or hair creates a bond woven together that is stronger than the singles could ever be alone. In their unyielding embrace they are made substantial and strong.

Yeah, I was looking up the meaning of the word “braid” and as I was I came across these words: embellishment, entwine, intertwine, weave, substantial, strong, unyielding, embrace. And yeah, I was seeking a little inspiration while reflecting on my awesome braid and the start of a brand new year. While I fiddled and twirled my braided hair between my fingers it came to me…

EMBRACE

My one word for 2013.

One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.

For 2013 I choose to embrace…embrace who or what? That is to be determined each day in this coming year but I will embrace each day and whatever that day presents to me.

My well-being and my happiness is no one person’s obligation but my own so it should be my responsibility to embrace this life I am given, this life I have created, this life that I am responsible for each and every day. My life is full blessed with my talents, abilities, my darling husband, my beautiful children and grandchildren and the people I hold dear and call friends but none are the key to my happiness and well-being. No, not one of these.

I have been working hard lately on me for my own health and well-being, as well as for those around me whom I love and who love me back. In order to be a better me, to the me that I deserve and certainly the me that they deserve I must embrace every day.

EMBRACE is my word for 2013.

Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.

Stacey Charter

 

wait, there’s a window?

Picking up a prescription at my local Target pharmacy I encounter one of our very own Target Ladies who waited on me.

Oh my goodness but your hair is SO LONG!

Has so much time passed that she hasn’t noticed that, yes, my hair is long? Perhaps I have been wearing it up too much. Well today it was down and it was long.

You look SO GOOD with long hair!!

Thanks.

You look so YOUNG wearing your hair like that! Like really young. Ten years younger, or more. Of course I know how old you are so I will have to say you look forty-one!

Well 41 is good. Thank you.

Walking away with my prescription I find myself laughing a little. Thanks to Overly Familiar Target Lady everyone waiting in line now knows how old I am…ten years older than 41. Not that I really care. It just struck me as funny, as pretty much every encounter I have with Overly Familiar Target Lady. So I overshare a little on Facebook…as we do.

Overly familiar Target Pharmacy lady says I look like 10 years younger with long hair. “Like 41 because I know how old you really are.” Okay!

To me it was funny and so I shared.

Soon enough comments followed and although I LOVED the compliments that wasn’t what I was going for. I swear. Still, it was nice. Thank you. But quickly enough, the air was let out of my ballooned head by a comment that perhaps there is a limit, a limit of when one is too old for long hair and perhaps that window was soon closing…for my friend…my friend who is ten years younger than me.

Seriously?

There is a time when long hair is no longer acceptable for women of a certain age…40-something year old women?!

In 2013?!

Why can’t middle-aged women have long hair?

Why indeed.

Yes, I know after a certain age our hair, among other things change. Believe me, I am aware. Often a woman of a certain age finds that her hair thins some. For me that would mean I don’t break as many hair brushes as I used to in my twenties and thirties. It still is very thick…and as I am getting older it is changing a little in texture, becoming coarser, curlier…and grayer. Hollie covers that gray very well now. Perhaps I might not let her cover it as much…then again, no…for now.

Anyone who has known me for a very long time knows I have worn my hair very long and very short and all kinds of lengths in between. That’s me. That’s my hair. So the long hair now is not me trying to look young or trying to grasp desperately after fading youth or beauty. No. It’s just me and my hair and I like it this way right now. I like it a lot. As long as the hair is healthy and looks good why must a woman wear her hair short just because she is of a certain age? My hairdresser agrees. Me as a 51 year old woman is a helluva lot more confident and comfortable in my own skin than I ever was in my teens (DUH!), my 20s, my 30s and even part of my 40s and right now I am very comfortable with my long locks. So for me, that window is open, open all the way baby letting the cool, fresh breezes in…hot flashes, you know.

my 5 people

What can I possibly write about now?

I haven’t the slightest idea…of what I can possibly write about that is not positive or uplifting or doesn’t personally attack people whom I don’t know or likely never will or doesn’t call out the bitchy, snarky, passive aggressive side swipes from people I know…people I hang out with a lot…people who justify their bitchy, passive aggressive side swipes with duck-face, fish-lipped photos up on social media with “I am who I am and that’s how I roll” kind of statements.

I have no idea because all I have inside my head is noise…negative, snarky noise…noise that puts down, tears down.

I don’t wish to share that noise because I imagine y’all have your own noise going on…sometimes even with duck faces, fish lips and faux gang signs too, I imagine…because, wow, how awesome is that to witness from grown up, bright intelligent people whom we associate with…right?

Yay, social media at its very best!

Then I see this:

And I pause…

Who are my five people?

Who are my children’s five people?

Who are your five people?

in a word

Oh 2013, a brand new year!

Welcome!

Four days into it and I am finally considering a reflective post about the start of another new year for me. I have no resolutions. I don’t believe in making them. I’ve said that before here…over the last eight years around this time of year. I don’t. But like so many others, I can’t help but consider this a good time to reflect on what lies ahead. Like my friend Kristen said, they are “days full of wonder without any mistakes in them. Yet.” Others are making plans to run big races or get organized or maybe to break a bad habit or to lose a set number of pounds and those are all good things to work on…for them. As for me, I choose to look ahead.

Okay, fine, there is a little bit of personal navel gazing…but no resolutions.

My hair is now long enough for me to twist it up into a braid…a thick strong braid because my hairs are so dang thick. I like it. I like it a lot because, well, it doesn’t take much to make me happy sometimes. Being able to plait my hair is one of those simple things that puts a smile on my face. So while I took a break from my navel gazing, I regarded this braid of mine. It is pretty cool. It is thick and it is strong.

A braid is indeed a particular type of decorative hairstyle or an embellishment that is created by entwining or twisting round and around three or more strands. This intertwining of the smaller, weaker strands of material or hair creates a bond woven together that is stronger than the singles could ever be alone. In their unyielding embrace they are made substantial and strong.

Yeah, I was looking up the meaning of the word “braid” and as I was I came across these words: embellishment, entwine, intertwine, weave, substantial, strong, unyielding, embrace. And yeah, I was seeking a little inspiration while reflecting on my awesome braid and the start of a brand new year. While I fiddled and twirled my braided hair between my fingers it came to me…

EMBRACE

My one word for 2013.

One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.

For 2013 I choose to embrace…embrace who or what? That is to be determined each day in this coming year but I will embrace each day and whatever that day presents to me.

My well-being and my happiness is no one person’s obligation but my own so it should be my responsibility to embrace this life I am given, this life I have created, this life that I am responsible for each and every day. My life is full blessed with my talents, abilities, my darling husband, my beautiful children and grandchildren and the people I hold dear and call friends but none are the key to my happiness and well-being. No, not one of these.

I have been working hard lately on me for my own health and well-being, as well as for those around me whom I love and who love me back. In order to be a better me, to the me that I deserve and certainly the me that they deserve I must embrace every day.

EMBRACE is my word for 2013.

Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.

Stacey Charter