Middle…

Hello and Happy Friday!

Most Fridays I join the lovely little community over at Five Minute Friday, with a weekly writing prompt by Kate. This week’s word is Middle…

I hear it all of the time honestly, middle… 

You don’t know what I’m in the middle of. 

I’m sorry, Ive been in the middle of ________. 

I think the biggest thing standing against me is that I’m a middle child.

Middle child, middle of divorce, middle of a big project… We seem to, as a people, keep ourselves purposefully stuck in a middle. We allow this seemingly negative space to hold us captive to something else, even when those somethings may lead to better, even desired new spaces for us. There may be some honesty within our middles, but we also use our middle as an excuse- as a crutch…

There are many overused, yet accurate, statements such as the middle of the road, or middle class, which also- though not technically negative, are infused with just the right amount of something unpleasant that we equate them as such.

Let’s be honest- middle is safe, most of the time. (and not in a really great, rescuing us from danger sort of way) We walk the middle line, metaphorically, so that we don’t have to decide or claim ownership of a commitment completely. If we don’t actually decide, or choose, then we can’t be wrong. If we we aren’t wrong, we won’t fail. While these subconscious patterns elude us into believing we are being responsible, we are inhibiting our personal growth.

Sometimes we will veer from our safe middle ground, and we will get hurt. That’s ok. This is how we grow.

What if we tried to drive down the middle of the road? We would cause absolute disaster. The middle may sometimes be the best choice, (obviously not when driving) but the middle isn’t as safe we often want to believe.

~

Since I have you here, I wanted to share a few things SUPER quick, so that we can get on with our reading of other Middle themed posts and (Hallelujah!) our weekend!

  • There is a new season of Heartland, on UPTV and I’ve linked a teaser for you!
  • Our new episode of the Collective Podcast features an interview with writer Brie Jacobson, as she shares her story about surviving the Route 91 Music Festival shooting, in October of 2017.
  • Lastly, I did CampNanoWrimo this month and finished a 50,000 word writing challenge! So much lay ahead, regarding this precious (to me) manuscript of mine. I’m hoping to have the first draft done very soon, and move into editing. I have such a supportive readership, and so I wanted to thank YOU for that! This is as much our project, as it is mine. We’re all in this together….

October 1st, 2017…

On the Collective Podcast today, we have a survivor of the Las Vegas shooting that happened at the Route 91 festival, in 2017. She bravely shares her story and, while it may seem obvious to state, shines a spotlight on how most of us have gone back to life as usual, while the survivors from that day (and let’s be honest, many other brutal days, with other locations and other acts of violence) can never regain the normal they knew before…

Please listen to Brie share her story in episode 46…

And also, please do something beautiful in memory of these souls who lost their lives. Do not allow life to minimize them into one dimensional memories- these were living, breathing human beings, just like you and I. Look at their faces, learn about them. We need to, as a society, reacquaint ourselves with people and less with disconnected news blips.

What did you believe?

What were the beliefs you shaped, as you celebrated birthdays inching closer and closer to forty? Are you still on that journey, dreading those four decades of candles? Does that dread stem from reasons you possibly don’t really understand?

Growing up in America, I experienced the message of 40’s wickedness coming at me from many angles. Media, film, print, and the women I knew who crossed that threshold before me. At some point, around 32, I began to hear women whispering revolt to these society driven ideas, sharing about how their lives began at 40, or were simply better at 40. I allowed a fragment of hope, but also, I noticed these thoughts came after the dreaded age, and perhaps this was spoken within the context of “those lies we tell ourselves”.

My truth is that this past March I turned 43.

Three years ago, when I turned 40, I had- HANDS DOWN- the very worst birthday imaginable. (for anyone keeping score, it’s true- I’m prone to “bad” birthdays) This years celebratory event reminded me that life’s circumstances, as well as the actions of other people, aren’t really the things which should be defining our lives. The past few years have absolutely been among the most hurtful and challenging that I have known. That the fact though, life happens… Yours, mine, bad seasons, beautiful seasons and a whole gaggle of mediocre in-betweens. I’ve been frank, but the question remains: Is life better in my 40s?

It is.

Obviously there is no magical age which stops all of the out-of-our-control elements. It isn’t that I’m “living my best life” now, but it is true that I AM DIFFERENT. I care more, (and more intentionally) about the important things. I don’t care about the toxicity, the drama or the elements that simply aren’t worth my energy any longer…

Stemming from a brief social media exchange about this very topic, I invited my new friend Ritu to be a guest on The Collective Podcast. You guys, this lady is PURE light- and not because, now that she’s 40, she has it all figured out… She’s just lovely, and her life of experience (good and bad, just exactly like the rest of us!) has led her to this beautiful point in life. She’s working on a novel, that I personally can’t wait for, but her poetry book Poetic RITUals is available now! Come listen to Episode 40, and if you haven’t already, please subscribe!

Are you heading to 40, and worried? Are you past that point, and different?

the b word…

There are fewer, (non-vulgar) words that cause such angst and division among women like the “B word”.

Not THAT one… Bikini.

Half of women love them and can’t wait for sunshine and waves to don theirs. Some women, (fictitious, maybe?) solidify their bathing suit/bikini shopping as a true summer milestone adventure. The other half of us, don’t. Trying bathing suits on can be super depressing, but when you add in the idea of a bikini…

And it is an even harder thing because, though sometimes we women really feed our insecurities by the negative and mean things we are so certain the world around us is saying- when it comes to swimwear people do have opinions. Strong opinions…

Have you ever encountered one of those overly concerned types, who are so worried about your health/heart/lifespan/__________ that they just feel they must discuss your weight (or someone else’s) ? Maybe you are one of those people, feeling validated in your certainty that a person is overweight because they make terrible choices, are lazy, and you magically have just the right words to turn this all around for them? If this feels familiar, please enunciate the following words as you read them:

You do not know what you are talking about and need to zip it. Period. (if you’re like me, and you aren’t one of those “joy spreaders”, then soak in those words too, except replace YOU with THEY.) Why should you do this? Because it is true.

I’m not going to dive into statistics because we are all capable of googling and finding our own fact based research, but a few fun facts:

  • a seemingly fit, size four woman is absolutely capable of having raging cholesterol issues and developing type 2 diabetes.
  • If being overweight, (let’s all stop referring to people as FAT. no one IS fat, they have fat. We all HAVE FAT, and if you don’t, then rush to the doctor immediately because something is seriously wrong with you. Also, if you are a woman, read the book Why Women Need Fat, because it is both scientific and enlightening…) were an immediate death sentence, there wouldn’t be so many people who are overweight. Why? There would be a lot more funerals.
  • There are genetics, environmental conditions, hormones, stresses, economic issues and several other factors that play into what a person weighs.
  • It is ignorant to assume someone sits around watching soap operas and eating twinkies.

Ok, I’m stepping off of my soapbox, because none of that is the point. What is the point? you may ask.

Let’s stop looking at other people through the lens of what we imagine (or know) their BMI is. Let’s stop looking at other people through the lens of our discomfort over their skin color, size, disabilities, sexuality, gender, etc.

Behind all of those things that we allow to cloud our vision exists a person. A lung breathing, heart beating human being with their own stories, their own triumphs and their overwhelming struggles. Let’s start seeing the people. Size does not matter, color does not matter.

Let’s just love. Let’s act in love. Let’s move, and think and see love.

Love.

In this weeks episode (39) of the Collective Podcast, Myself, Maggie, Jennie and Marion are chatting about why the Disney Princesses may not be so bad, we’re talking bikinis, self love, accepting things about ourselves that we don’t love and what exactly Body Positivity is… It’s a great chat and we hope you’ll join us!

That’s not the worst that could happen…

Rizzo sang all about the possibility of teenage pregnancy and how grim that outcome would be, in Grease. As a child of the 80’s, I ate an afternoon snack through many after school specials displaying the very horrible ramifications of a teen pregnancy. I even, SO MANY YEARS LATER, still remember a movie from the 90’s where Brian Austin Green played a teen dad and how very difficult his life was, because of this baby. We were a generation raised on the horrors of teen pregnancies.

With a childhood being shaped during the media onset and widespread fear of Aids, teen pregnancy still remained front & center in the worst-case-scenario educations so many American kids received. I remember encountering the rare teen mom, of my day, and becoming aware of how non mystical her life really was. The fear had shaped this idea so much larger than reality. While we were groomed in the fear of babies having babies, there were realities of sexually transmitted diseases that no one really talked about.

The special guest of this week’s podcast episode has an amazing story to share about one time decisions, choosing positivity and grace regardless of the struggles we have, and how teenage pregnancy is definitely NOT the worst that could happen…

Megan, a wife, mother, advocate and inspiration shares her story of living with HIV. She sets us straight on some misconceptions and really motivates me to not allow the negative aspects of life to keep me down. Follow this link to find the various options for listening, and then tune in to Episode {38}, and Megan’s incredibly brave story.