A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.
William Shakespeare (via lazyyogi)
I had a plan for today. Run errands, work out, make a healthy dinner and somehow clean the whole apartment at the end of all of this.
But today had different plans for me. I woke up with an awful kink in my neck. It was rainy and nasty outside. And because I’m trying to detox again from sugar, I was feeling a little weird and slightly out of it.
All afternoon, I was in the worst mood. I was dreading my day. I knew my workout would feel awful, and I had a long list of things that needed to be done. The answer to solve all of this was easy, yet I was fighting it. I needed to skip the gym.
I was so conflicted! It’s so silly. But when I was questioning my inner turmoil, I realized it all came down to one simple thought: my body needs punishment.
I preach an ideology of non-judgement, yet I have to fight it within myself. I am really great at removing morality from food, but I found myself placing it on my workout today.
The reality is that we get nowhere with punishment. I would have made my body hurt, then gotten nothing done tonight. And for what?! Don’t get me wrong, we need to have movement and sweat in our life on a regular basis. It’s one of the best ways to create calm and clarity, and it’s necessary for your body to thrive and age well. But we need to acknowledge that pushing through doesn’t make sense. Guilt or shame is not a reason to do something. Ever.
So, instead, I picked up some fresh veggies, came home, made a blueberry mint apple smoothie, cleaned the apartment and made some long overdue phone calls. I think, at the end of the day, I will be much more sane and set up for the next couple of days than if I had pushed and forced my body to do something that wasn’t right for today.
This is the only body I get. I must honor it by listening and nourishing.
Here’s to balance.
While I usually like to stick to positive, nurturing, calming topics and conversations, I have noticed a disturbing trend (in NYC, at least) that needed addressing. So here we go.
Often, as I walk down the street, thinking, observing, off in my own thoughts, I will hear a man say “Smile!” or some variation on this. “Hey, lady, smile,” or “Give me a smile,” or “Let’s see a smile on that face” or something. Sometimes it’s to me, and sometimes it’s directed at other women.
*One important thing to note: This is usually directed at a woman who is on her own.*
Now, this all seems harmless enough. After all, we want to be positive and aware of the energy we bring to the world. I myself have been caught in the trap of thinking, “Oh, I must look unhappy right now. Let me change that.”
But this is actually a really harmful request—no—demand.
When was the last time you saw someone demand that a man smile? Never.
The fact that we are asked to put a smile on our faces suggests that we are expected to always give the appearance that everything is great. It also suggests that women are solely here to be objects of beauty and to keep men calm and happy. It’s one more thing telling women that we are not allowed to be in control of our body and mind. Shut up, and pretend everything is okay.
I think it’s no mystery that it happens when women are on their own. Just like all other forms of assault, they want to single out and separate.
Men often don’t realize the amount of subconscious messages and cues we women get on a daily basis. I just started having discussions with my husband about this, because I realized he had no idea what I dealt with on the regular. And cat calling is the least of my problems.
For example, I had stopped wearing one pair of pants that my husband loved, and he asked why. I told him that the last time I wore them, a group of men yelled out at me that I needed to go home and change, that I was too fat, and then they followed me down the street, saying “boom!” with every step. He was enraged. But I hadn’t even thought to tell him about it, because I’m so used to having awful things said to me on the street.
Granted, telling me to smile is not the same as hurling insults at me. But it’s just one more thing men do to attempt to control women. One more sign that we have to change or suppress ourselves to make men happy and comfortable.
So, the next time a man tells me to smile, he will get an earful from me. He will hear that I will not be controlled or managed, that my femininity does not make me a slave and servant to men. I will look however I want to look, and he can ask the next man coming down the street to smile instead.
He will probably call me a bitch.
I will call him an ignorant, sexist asshole.
Have a nice day.
Tonight, I am sitting here on my couch, and I am shedding tears. Tears of pure joy and gratitude. I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever felt so loved and supported. I can confidently say that I could not ask for a better support system in my life than the one I have. I am surrounded by people (mostly women, but there are definitely some badass men) who know the real me, love me, support me and help me on a daily basis to be my best self.
Now, I’m not saying that my life is perfect by any means. Every day, I am humbled by the lessons the universe is determined to teach me. (Sometimes on a repeated basis.) But then, I have never asked for a perfect life. I have asked for the tools of growth and healing and self actualization. Those don’t come easily.
One of the deepest desires in my heart has always been to be surrounded by people, in my personal and professional life, who challenge me, keep me real and move me forward. I want realness, deep conversations, and the sharing of pure joy. I need people who are who they say they are and who are ready to unleash upon you a mountain of love. People to be a cheerleader for me when I can’t be one for myself. And I have that. Maybe I don’t have all the answers, all the knowledge, all the money. But I have the people around me that will help me move toward all of it.
If there’s one thing I want to shout from the rooftops today, it’s this:
Don’t wait to ask for what you want. What you really NEED.
You know what’s working in your life. You know when you spend time with someone if they make you feel stronger or weaker. You know how you feel when you head to your job. You know if your relationship is adding energy to your life or draining it.
Feed, nourish and honor the things that are working. Listen to those feelings in your gut. Weed your garden. Demand the best for yourself. You are the only one who can do it for you.
To all the people who have inspired, listened, supported and loved me lately, you have no idea what a difference you make.