Beauty is…climbing mountains.

I was never athletic growing up. I did beauty pagents and McDonald’s commercials. Not soccer and softball.

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You know that beautiful quote, “She believed she could. So she did”? I have loved that quote for many a moon.

But today I did not believe I could. But I did.

She didn't believe she could.

 

We are lucky to live near several parks and recreation areas. We have bike trails out the wazoo. One such trail leads to one such park– a state park that is riddled with hills. It is where cyclists go to die. Leading into the park, there is a mountain. Ok, we are in central Missouri, so it is really more of a hill. Anyhoo, I decided today would be a good day for a nice 20 mile ride. It has been a while since I have gone that kind of distance, and I would really like to participate in a “metric century” (67 mile bike ride) in the summer. So I though today was the day to do some training. I hoped on the trail and planned to head in the direction of the big scary state park. I knew I was not quite ready for the hills therein, but I thought I could handle the road TO the park. As I happily coasted down the never-ending hill that led to the park entrance, it dawned on me. I would have to turn around at some point. I would have to go UP this beast. Not going to lie. At that point, I cussed a little.

Flash back to TWO summers ago. In another state park near us. My husband is patiently teaching me HOW TO RIDE A BIKE. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. My 30 year old booty was on a bicycle seat for the first time. I got to the point where I could go straight. But turning was out of the question. And those little pillars at the beginning of trails that indicate cars are not allowed– they were terrifying. I was sure I would crash into each one. And I did hit a few. I would walk my bike DOWN hills lest I get to going too fast and loose control. I would walk my bike UP hills because my legs just could not do that. I was a mess. Not even a hot mess. Just a mess. But I kept peddling.

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Today that hill seemed to have no end. Going up it, I remember thinking at least three times, “Yeah, I can’t do this. Pull into that driveway.” But then that driveway was behind me. So I thought, “OK, at THAT sign I am going to have to stop.” But then the sign was behind me. Why wasn’t I stopping?! I literally NEVER told myself to keep going. I never said “You can do it self! Slow and steady! You got it!” There was literally NO positive self-talk. And then, I was at a flat bit. And the mother of all hills was behind me. What just happened?!

When I got home I texted my husband: “I climbed the hill outside Babler!” He expressed File_000his pride. And I realized that these physical feats mean a lot to me. I was never athletic growing up. I did beauty pageants and McDonald’s commercials. Not soccer and softball. The lessons I learned doing those things were many: Eye contact is a lost art, casting does not have time for your silly questions (for real though, don’t ask Danny Goldman what your motivation is), it feels damn good to command a stage (even if you don’t know you are doing it at the time), practice practice practice, be articulate (those interviews, man!), go to every audition no matter how “small” the part is, win gracefully, loose gracefully, and always ALWAYS thank the judges.

What I didn’t learn then is what I get to learn now– the awesome things my body CAN DO! Did you know I can run?! I got that handy “Couch to 5k” app last summer– and I ran 3 miles straight MULTIPLE TIMES! I even got the “Couch to 10K” app in my exuberance. I got up to about 5 miles STRAIGHT. But that shiz takes a long time. Now I’m back to nice little 2 milers. And I can RIDE A BIKE! Those things are crazy– just two little wheels holding you up! Like high heels, but scarier! Because stilettos can’t go 20 miles an hour. Human bums were not meant to sit on those little seats for long periods of time. But we do! Because we can!

I have spent a while saying things like, “I’m not a runner, but…” or “I’m not a cyclist, but…” I think that is toro poo-poo. Do you run? Yes? You’re a runner. Do you pedal a bike for any distance at all? You are a cyclist. I bought my bike from a second-hand bike/coffee shop. I do not have those cool, but so easy to make fun of, padded shorts. Sometimes I forget which finger to use to change my gears correctly. But I am a cyclist. Just ask that hill outside of Babler.

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Happy Thought Thursday

A man found an eagle egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.

All his life, the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. He would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.

Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in a cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.

The eagle looked up in awe. “Who’s that?” he asked. “That’s the eagle, king of the birds,” said his neighbor. “He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth– we’re chickens.”

So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.

(Taken from Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality by Anthony DeMello and J. Francis Stroud)

Youre an eagle

Beauty is…unapologetic

There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being apologetically herself

There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being apologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the essence of true beauty. (Steve Maraboli)
There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being apologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the essence of true beauty. (Steve Maraboli)

Have Courage and Be Kind

Every day I am learning to be a little selfish. I think it is a trait a lot of good woman need. If for no other reason than to teach our daughters that their desires have worth and validity.

My girls and I watched the new Cinderella the other night. In the movie, Cinderella’s mother’s last words to her were, “Have courage, and be kind.”

Cinderella starts with the ‘be kind’ part. She is too kind. You know the story– she lets the step sisters and step mother walk all over her in the name of being kind. How often have you found yourself being taken advantage of, all the while thinking you were just being kind? Kind to the other person, sure. But not very kind to yourself.

That is where the ‘have courage’ part comes in. Courage comes in lots of forms. In it’s most obvious form, it is courage that allows us to stand up to someone that is hurting us, even if it is just to say, “Ouch. That hurts.”

Less obvious is the courage it takes to be kind to ourselves. To take time to do what you want to do for no other reason than you want to do it. Maybe this is more true for women than for men, but I can’t help but feel a little guilty when I put energy and effort into something that no one else will directly benefit from. I will be the only one gleaning pleasure. I will be the only one profiting. Women are often told that such actions are selfish. And perhaps they are.

Every day I am learning to be a little selfish. I think it is a trait a lot of good woman need. If for no other reason than to teach our daughters that their desires have worth and validity. They can say, “My desire to (fill in the blank) is enough to justify me doing (fill in the blank).” Nobody is allowed to call me ‘less than’ for doing what I desire. I can let the dishes sit in the sink while I write because I can let the dishes sit in the sink while I write. I don’t want to do the dishes right now. I want to write. My desire is more important than the dishes. (Sounds a bit silly when we put it that way, doesn’t it?)

The obvious limit here is when doing what you desire brings harm. But then we come back to kindness.

Ladies, do what you gotta do. Whatever that looks like. Take care of your responsibilities. But also, take care of you. Because you are beautiful and worthy and your desires are valid because they belong to you.

Happy Thought Thursday

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It’s easy to get complacent. To think, “Oh, I can’t do this or that.” And often times we think we need someone’s permission to do the THIS or the THAT–especially if it is something out of our normal “thing.”

Now, I can’t speak for you, but I know I have felt this way. And often! Maybe I have a new idea, I run it by someone and they are less than thrilled. I deflate. I shelve the idea and move on with my life. But every so often I think back and wonder “What if…?”

Do you see the problem there? You see what I did? When I told someone my idea, and they responded negatively,  I reacted as if I had asked them for permission to pursue it. But I don’t need their permission, do I? It was my idea, my risk, my loss if it falls apart.

Sometimes we wait for life to happen. We wait for permission to go on that trip or to set time aside to start that novel. Ladies, I give you permission to give yourself permission. Who is going to stop you?