Posted in inspiration, life, thoughts, women

Watch Me Shine

Today’s photo prompt from The Daily Post is Shine: Has something bright or reflective caught your eye in the moment? Share a photo of something you were able to explore a bit!

Living in New England in the fall is an opportune time of year to snap a photo of a bright and beautiful leaf to correlate with this challenge but for today, I’m taking it literally.

Something that caught my eye that caused me to reflect was this post by the Kind Campaign on Instagram:

kind

There will be days where we will be taken for granted, looked down upon or seen as weak but keeping this passage within your soul gives you the proper moment to shine even through those moments.

Posted in 20somethings, life, opinion, thoughts, women

What Makes You Think It’s Okay

As I am about to share my most personal post to date, I must make it known that what happened really weighed on my mind heavily throughout the day. I contemplated writing this all down in the fear that it may be taken as a ‘poor me’ post but maybe that’s the problem with everything on my mind. If something happens to us, why must we be so fearful of speaking out or what others may think? You’ll get what I really mean in a moment.

My Sunday mornings have been pretty typical over the last few months; sleep in a bit (most likely until 8:30/9- my teenage years are behind me!), eat a quick breakfast, head to the gym and settle in for football. Today was supposed to be nothing different. I wasn’t supposed to feel out of sorts.

As I began settling into my workout with Eminem’s ‘White America’ blaring in my headphones, I was approached by another gym-goer that I had seen before. Our first encounter was less than appreciated. He made uninvited comments about my looks and how he’d been watching me workout over the course of a few months. Pretty much enough to make anyone feel creeped out! Since then I have made a conscious effort to avoid this person and to not give them the idea that I have any interest in entertaining anything he has to say. Today was the first time in a while that he approached me.

Seeing him leaning up against the machine I was using, I tore out one of my headphones with a “what is it?” sort of look. What he said next really shook me.

“Good morning. How are you doing?” he asked. “Fine. Thank you,” I responded, eager to get back to my workout. Before I could get that earbud back in, he quickly said the following: “I just wanted to say what you did last week was very mean and unfair.” Not knowing what he was talking about, I responded with a “what are you talking about?” His response: “While I was doing my back workout, you were standing in front of be bending over and that’s just not fair.” I’m sure at that moment, the color was gone from my face and my mouth was wide open. A very small handful of times I am at a loss for words and it was happening right then. Where was my typical witty response? What happened to the big “F-U” that would take this guys out at his knees? Nothing was coming to mind so I put my headphones back in in hopes that the rap music would fuel my anger. It didn’t.

As I moved from machine to machine, all I could think about was what he said and how he said it. It was so causal, like someone talking about the weather equipped with a sly smirk. What makes a man or anyone think that saying something like this is okay? I started to feel insecure. What was I doing that day? Were my workout clothes revealing? Were my move provocative? Should I be more aware of what I am doing? This isn’t me, I thought. Why should I be blaming myself over this situation when I am not the problem here?! I even quickly thought about changing gyms and getting away from this person but again it’s like why should I change who I am and what I do over someone’s words?

When a girl gets raped, it’s probably because her skirt was too short. When a girl uses her mind, she’s a bitch. When a girl feels confident in her gym clothes and her workouts, she’s a distraction. What can we do as women where we aren’t the ones to blame?

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From the photo above, you can see the change in my demeanor. I kept looking down at my feet in-between weight sets because I felt insecure. I kept going over the scenario in my mind and started to feel angry that I didn’t put the guy in his place.

Well, the chance presented itself.

Wrapping up my workout on the treadmill, eagerly pushing to make it home for the Patriots game, he appeared again right in front of me. I was suddenly so angry about the situation, my safety and having to defend myself, I took my headphones completely off this time and before he said a word I said, “You need to get away from me and leave me alone. I am not interested in anything you have to say. Stay away from me.” I said it loud unsure it if was due to the fact that I wanted people to hear or that the music had been blaring in my ears to drown out my thoughts. Of course he started laughing and walked away. I was glad that I said what needed to be said but still didn’t feel safe.

He told me before he was watching me, expressed an uncomfortable attraction and already crossed the line in communication. What am I to do now? Why are we as women constantly faced with these situations and what makes anyone think it’s okay?

 

 

Posted in daily post, life, thoughts

Taking a Leap Off the ‘EGDE’

In response to Daily Prompt’s weekly photo challenge- EDGE.

What exactly defines someone as “living on the edge?” Is it those who jump out of airplanes? Maybe the ones that invest all of their money in a risky investment without breaking a sweat. Either way, “living on the edge” involves taking some risk.

What’s your edge and why haven’t you taken a leap off yet? At times I find myself battling this question as I teeter between the safe zone and the risk. There always needs to be some intelligent course of action and plan so if it doesn’t go as expected, you can hurry back to safety. Most recently my dog took a leap off her edge.

water

Typically my 12 year old Papillion hasn’t been much of a water dog. Though totally up for rough-housing and doing “big dog” things, she has traditionally shied away from dipping her tiny paws into any type of water. Last week we went to a pond with a beachfront that was finally open to dogs after the passing of Labor Day. Feeling the freedom from restriction, we both ran through the sand and down to the water’s edge where we took a moment to acknowledge where we were. After pondering her next move, she slowly made her way out into the water. I was blown away by her lack of hesitation and her immediate comfort in the calm, cool pond. When I finally looked down the beach, I noticed two large dogs playing ball and running free in the water. When my gaze returned to my own dog, that’s when I realized those dogs were what helped getting her into the pond.

They made her move off her own edge.

Although it sounds simple, this act completely encompasses  who we are as humans. We have the same fears, instabilities and uncertainties about taking chances.

As the New England fall season begins to arrive, I am still holding out hope for a few more sunny days where my dog can return and dip her paws back into the water.

Posted in life, thoughts, women

Single Stigma

….but you’re so pretty, why are you single?

A phrase used ever so often when a normal, upstanding female shares that she’s not in a relationship. Although most would think this is a compliment, it actually carries a bit of sting.

single

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day and the hosts decided to read some of their listener emails that are typically made up of women seeking advice about relationships, love and life. The first email was from a 32 year old woman who had recently become engaged but had a strained relationship with her mother whom she was excluding from the wedding planning. Though I’m sure most people can relate to dysfunctional family relationships and would probably be more engaged with what advice she would receive, I was taken back at the closing sentence of her email: “I know 32 is really old to get engaged but I wasted my time in another relationship for 10 years and it sent me backwards.”

Since when is 32 “old” to get engaged?

As a female in the middle of her first year as a 30 year old, I was shocked and saddened that this woman made this declaration. Since when is being unmarried or even single such a stigma? In a world influenced by Facebook, I’m curious to know if other people are diving into relationships and having children just to stay relevant among their peers. Are these relationships healthy and true? Sure, some may be but others prove that both parties may have benefited from giving themselves time to learn, grow and achieve some real-life goals.

We all take different paths in life whether on our own or with a partner. You never know why someone may choose to remain single but that doesn’t mean they are lacking the need to be respected. So before you approach your friend, acquaintance or coworker about being pretty and single, think about how they are thriving on their own and absolutely killing it.

Posted in health & fitness, inspiration, thoughts

Do Something that Scares You

The title of this blog posting, I realize, is totally cliche. It’s like one of those inspirational posts on Instagram that you come across and think hey that’s nice but you don’t necessarily follow these words of wisdom throughout your daily life. When my favorite boss left my previous job a few years ago, she gave me a card with “Do Something Everyday That Scares You” on the cover and it didn’t have the same effect that the title of this blog does now. Her words within the card were deep and what you would expect from someone that was invested in you as a person and your future career. Although I wouldn’t say the card and her words were the driving force behind me embarking on a new career and life, they did continue to resonate with me when I tried new things.

This simple motto, although not so simply done when you have to take action, came into my mind when I was at the gym this weekend. Now I know what you’re thinking, how can you do something big at the gym that scares you enough that when you do it, you feel accomplished? Well for me, it happened.

inspiration

I’ve been lifting weights for a while now and have slowly transitioned away from my years of being a cardio queen. Although I still have work to do, I have watched my body transform and my overall strength increase. There’s nothing more empowering as a female than to walk in the gym and be able to lift heavier weights than some of the men. It’s nice to make them feel insecure for once 🙂

This weekend’s workout called for dips either assisted or unassisted. I’ve always used the assisted machine because I was nervous about failing in front of people. The assisted machine was safe and tucked in a corner so I could get as much assistance as I needed without anyone really paying attention. That theory changed though and I gathered up enough courage to approach the regular dip bars. To my amazement, I was able to pump out about 8 dips, maybe 5 actually looked good but overall I was able to do them on my own.

Moral of the story? You should do something that scares you, even if it’s something small. If I didn’t get out of my own head, I would have never attempted to do those dips and would be selling not only my workouts short but my confidence. There are so many other things in life that I want to try and I’m slowly dipping a toe in the water to see how far I can get without retreating. For now, the next thing to tackle in the gym is unassisted pull-ups. Those will come in time but I know the risk is definitely worth the reward.

Posted in life, thoughts, women

Breaking Away

Many of us go through it. We stay in a relationship, a friendship or a situation because it’s comfortable, convenient and maybe we don’t know who we are without it. Looking back, now wiser, I am disappointed that there were many opportunities to walk away from toxicity and I did not. Has it shaped me as the person I am now today? Sure. Although I truly think I would have been much stronger if I actually walked briskly through the exit door instead of taking delicate steps to get there.

balloon

The reasoning for this reflection was the news of someone very close to me getting divorced. It was shocking and sad but once the true reasons why the relationship was ending came out, I was no longer somber. Although I won’t reveal the specifics around this decision, it was clear that a Facebook picturesque family was not so what it seemed. A marriage that seemed happy and cohesive on the outside was not always consistent behind closed doors and it took the female in the situation to finally break away. The “I will change” and “It won’t happen again” song spewed from her spouse’s mouth and for most of us it’s just as common as the same old tunes on the radio.

She stood her ground. The answer was still divorce.

Seeing this woman be a strong mother and advocate for not only herself and family but the life that she deserves felt so empowering to me. She was walking away from the person she had been with for a long time and had children with but had the confidence that she was going to be okay, even if she didn’t feel that way in that moment. It will be hard on both of them, their children and their extended families but at the end of the day it was the right decision.

Sometimes you have to let go of the balloon and let it fly free. The longer you have it on your wrist, the more it weighs you down.

Posted in life, thoughts

Hey There Face. Night To Meet You!

So before I get started into the details of this posting, I want to emphasize that I wasn’t capitalizing on all those cool and trendy “Cosmo” articles about not wearing makeup for a week or how dressing like Kim Kardashian made my life change. This is not about that, it’s more about identifying what really makes you, well, you.

Pile-of-Makeup

Over the last two weeks, I have been off from work to take some much needed vacation time, without a vacation plan. I mean a mental break is definitely great but when you don’t have much to do, it can be hellish. I do think though, this was the first break from work I have taken in a while where I was able to sit back, relax, and not stress about where to be or how much money I was spending. I went to the gym, caught up with some friends, and did day trips to the beach. During this time, I actually stopped caring what I looked like.

As much as we all say “I really don’t care what people think of me or how I look,” we definitely do. We take some extra time to brush our hair, wear a shirt that isn’t covered in stains (usually) and apply some makeup so we can actually face the world. Well during my break, I did 2 out of the 3. I wasn’t really slaving over my hair and definitely had no desire to put makeup on. About a week in, I caught myself in the mirror and was a little taken back at how I looked. This was actually the first time in a while that I saw myself without any leftover makeup-because let’s be serious-as much as we wash and wipe it off our faces, there is always some left overs or at least your face does not look completely blank! Here I was though, skin exposed and eyes not lined, who was this chick? I’m not saying I prefer myself without makeup but it was definitely interesting to see who I really am underneath it all. Sometimes we need to take some time for ourselves, slow down, and identify who we are both on the surface and internally.

As I sit at my desk to close out this post, I’m wearing my usual makeup and feel pretty good about it. But there is a makeup free “selfie” in my phone that I pull out every now and then to remember the girl behind it all.