finding myself

The Beauty in the Bar

There I was, standing at the corner of the bar completely alone. The lights flashed on and off as the rotating colored bulbs turned my coral shirt into blue, purple, green and red every few seconds. The DJ, with his “man-bun” held high, bobbed his head to the latest mixes of pop music and electronic dubstep.

Drunk girls were falling around me, shaking their booties as they “got low”, and people were hanging all over each other as they met for the first time a few minutes before. The cocktail waitresses dressed in little crop tops and shorts that looked more like underwear as they walked around selling bottles and dancing on tables to their favorite songs. Perfect bodies, perfect hair, perfect makeup, and perfect empty smiles.

I felt so out of place.

My younger sister has the unique ability to flock people to her. Men stand in line waiting to talk to her, offer to buy her drinks, dinner, and a list of many other things. While we were standing at the bar, there was no room to turn around let alone dance as the men huddled around her. As she left to go to the bathroom, the scent of burberry and Axe trailed after her.

So, there I was, alone in my maxi skirt and hippie tank, with my travel bracelets and hair wrap radiating out free spirit, stories, and depth. A depth that no drunk guy at a bar cares about. A beauty that is overlooked and invisible as I stood at the end of the crowded bar with no one within four feet of me in any direction. A feat almost impossible to achieve.

Throughout my life, I have been compared to my sister’s looks. Boyfriends have told me how hot she is, friends and classmates have wanted me to fix them up with her, and even strangers have come up to me asking how we look so different and how big and beautiful her eyes are. When I was younger, it devastated me. I was so self-conscious, I never wanted any guy I was interested in to see her, I worked harder at my grades and what I offered the world, so I too, would be noticed. When I was younger, I didn’t acknowledge both the inner and outer unique beauty that I offered the world and I beat myself down over and over again.

But that night was different. She received the cat calls, the whistles, and the free drinks. And that I watched how she owned it and her confidence was contagious.

Why did I ever let those gestures and those societal standards of beauty affect how beautiful I thought I was?

For a minute I began to question my beauty. I went into my mind and fed the stories from when I was little. But this time, I didn’t allow myself to stay there.

I looked and saw that this attention isn’t what I want. Of course the compliments feel good. But, I love myself and my body and knowing that I feel beautiful within myself, is enough. I won’t allow the compliments and surface level flirtation, or lack of, affect how I feel in my own unique, radiating beauty.

So, as I stood alone at the end of the bar, Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars came on and I danced. I danced alone in the 16 square foot space I managed to be given to express my happiness, my beauty, and my uniqueness. I twirled my maxi skirt, I smiled, and laughed in my aloneness because I felt beautiful and so different from every person in that room. I celebrated my growth from when I was younger to where I am now. And I stood there, closed my eyes, and felt that power rise within me.

After an extended bathroom break my sister walked up from behind me. She flashes a gorgeous full teeth smile as she strutted her stuff towards the bar. I looked at her and saw how beautiful she is. Her perfectly toned legs, her perfectly toned abs, and her great hair flowing down her back. She danced and moves in her own unique way and I looked at her in awe. She is so beautiful.

But so am I.

And this is what I learned standing alone at that bar

 

We each have our beauty that we offer the world. And that beauty is so deep and profound that no catcall or surface level compliment can even begin to touch on our magnificence. And while, in the past, I have gone into the envy and jealousy and began to tear my sister or another person down in my head to make myself feel better, I realized how hurtful that truly is. What does it do? It takes away from another person’s unique beauty. Just because someone else is recognized for their beauty and gifts, doesn’t give anyone the right to tear them down or make them feel small.

So, when someone else shows their beauty, celebrate it, acknowledge it, and compliment it. Not just the physical beauty, but the beauty of the soul. The only beauty that really matters. By celebrating their beauty, our own depth and profound magnificence isn’t just shown, it is magnified.

 

Dreads 2

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Myth: Failure Sucks.

candle

 

When we start out on projects or attempt something we have never tried before, we always believe the myth of failure. We fall into the trap that failure will kill us, we won’t go on, and it will be the end of our dream. Throughout life we hold back on taking chances because the chance of failure is a hit to our ego. What will people think if we fail?

 

But, in reality, the most important question is what will we think of ourselves when we fail? How will we choose to live with it?

 

I will share something with you, this is a secret, so let us keep it between us. Because, just like I said before, what would happen if people found out I failed at something 😉

 

I set up a webinar series to teach self-love to women and men. To give them the tools to start or continue their journey of learning how to love themselves. Last week, I had my first webinar series and I was so nervous. I was almost shaking and my nerves were at an all time high.I had never been this nervous for a workshop. I guess maybe because I had never done anything on the internet before and I was putting myself out into the world to be judged and criticized.

 

As the night came, I had only two people join the webinar, one of which being my mom. But, the show went on. About 37 minutes into my presentation, the internet cut out and wouldn’t reconnect. I was devastated and humiliated. Thank god, the audience was so small. After allowing myself to feel disappointed for a few days, I was back at it again planning and preparing.

 

Last night, I decided to try again. I was ready. I was prepared. I wasn’t nervous. I felt like I could take on the world. I got on 30 minutes early to set up and practiced over and over again. It was one minute before the webinar began and I closed my eyes and took a deep breathe reciting everything I was about to say. As the clock struck Eight,  I opened my eyes…

 

Number of viewers: 1, my mom. Thank god for my #1 cheerleader. I pictured everyone who had signed up speeding down the neighborhood street, throwing up the door, fumbling with their keys, throwing down their bags, and impatiently waiting for the modem to kick on and their slow computers to start as they were panicking they were late to begin their journey of self-love. But, I only felt patience and understanding as I waited for other attendees to join the webinar.

 

Thirty minutes later, still, no one. It was a party…my mom and I. Was I disappointed? Of course, a little bit. Was I sad? You bet ya, a tad. Was I ready to throw myself a pity party? HECK NO.

 

What I realized in that moment was, I had a few choices. I could feel sorry for myself, feel bad for all the effort I put into this, and take no one showing up personally OR I could use this as a chance to perfect my message. I could use this as an opportunity to grow, to learn, to evolve. What did I learn? I need to learn marketing. I need to better appeal to my audience. I need to find a way that will work. Because it will. It just isn’t supposed to right now.

 

Because here is the thing about “failure”: We can let ourselves believe it is a failure. We can let ourselves get slowed down by the challenge and obstacle or, we can let it catapult is forward. We can let it empower us and excite us more.

 

As I sat there talking to my mom for almost an hour, she was her wonderful self showing me support and optimism. And as we hung up, I told her, “Hey Mom, you know what will be great someday? When the day comes where I am on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday or Ellen and I will say, ‘I remember my first webinar series, the only person that came was my mom and now, I am selling out stadiums.’”

 

I sit in the soft sand with the sun beating down on my back. I feel each ray radiate into my skin as I feel it becoming red. The sky is almost cloudless and allows the true blue of the ocean shine to all those who look to her. The waves are powerful, forming perfect tubes as they crash into one another and then onto shore.  My body longs to be among them, to be twisted, turned, and crashed upon. My mind longs to feel the silence beneath the roaring surface.

As I watch the ocean, I realize life is just like the waves, but not in the normal cliché of ups and downs. The ocean is powerful, the ocean is in control, and no matter how hard we try to tame it, to own it, to conquer it, we are shown time and time again we have no control. Just like life. We go through life making plans, goals, dates, and we schedule each moment as if they were ours to own. As if these moments are ours to dictate and as if we decide the outcome of each instance.

As I watch the waves, I see them piling on top of one another as the white foam intermingles with the trash and debris. This debris being reminisces for metaphors of broken dreams, broken plans, and lost hopes.

A month ago, I was so certain of my plans, goals, hopes, and desires and my sight was set on a vision created in my mind. I placed blinders on either side of my eyes to keep myself from getting distracted. My heart was set and my mind was made. And then I met the ocean.

I feel myself among the waves. I am thrown into a current whipping my body back and forth, my hair was being knotted, tangled, pulled, and twisted. My arms are waving in all directions and my head and feet are over top of one another. And here I am in the chaos, in the frantic struggle to find my way to the surface as I am forced into the silence I longed for; without control, without knowing, and in complete surrender of this massive power.

I am still there beneath the waves. My body limp as I have given up the struggle to reach the surface. I am being tossed in every which way, but as I surrender, the ocean brings me up to breathe. As I am brought to the surface,  I replenish myself and my faith. I replenish my faith in the waves, the current, the struggle, and the ocean. And just as I think I am lost in this chaos forever I feel my feet touch the sand and the sand feels soft between my toes. I plant my legs strong beneath me as I stand to see the shore.

I look around me and there is my debris floating in the water; my broken dreams, goals, and old hopes. As I look up to the sky, my eyes begin to focus and I soon realize that this debris around me is of my former self. The controlling me who never gave up and surrendered over to my higher power . My mind is filled with new goals, new dreams, and new hopes. However, they are much lighter, more pure, and less selfish. Through the chaos, I was given my calm. Through this brokenness, I found my purity.

And in this moment, She Began.182