Friday, April 26, 2013

The cost of being beautiful

I'm sure by now, almost everyone in the world has seen the Dove "Real Beauty Sketches". At last glance, the video is currently up to 28,774,413 viewers on YouTube. I always thought "Bread on It" was worth such high numbers, but maybe it was just too ahead of its time.

By now, I'm sure you've also seen some of the backlash for the ad. There's a men's version parody. There's this article with the astute quote: "You should feel beautiful, and Dove was right about one thing: you are more beautiful than you know. But please, please hear me: you are so, so much more than beautiful." There's the sermon that a pastor at my church gave when he reminded us that we are more beautiful than we think, but that fact is rooted not in beauty products, but that beauty is rooted in the fact that we are made in the image of God.

I laugh at the parody. I hear the criticism. I amen the sermon. However. I still like the video. And this is why:

Last night after going to the gym I went home to take a shower. My before bed time routine consisted of the following things: washing my face, toning my face, using "repairing lotion" on my face, using a 6% sulfur overnight face mask, putting repairing cream on my feet and sleeping in socks, lotion on my hands and elbows before getting into bed.

I have a clear memory of myself as a kid getting ready to go outside and play. I was wearing leggings, summer dress, crew socks rolled down, tennis shoes, and my hair was in a pony tail. And I hula hooped for hours and hours standing in the sunshine. Getting dressed enabled me to run outside, stand in the sunshine, and play. Now getting dressed enables me to often feel bad about myself, pick apart my muffin top, and sit uncomfortably at my desk.

So, I get all the Dove backlash. They are after all a company trying to sell you something, and not a philanthropic organization. But there was a time when if someone said to me "You are more beautiful than you think you are" I would have been confused...because I never gave much thought to whether or not I'm beautiful. I just did life. And I'd like to rediscover that girl.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friends who tell you what you're thinking

I have a few friends who know me well enough to not only tell me what they're thinking (and believe me, they do) but to also make sense of the storm cloud of thoughts perpetually above my head and tell me what I am in fact thinking.

I am currently in Nashville visiting my friend Liz, and she is definitely one of those friends. We've known each other since our freshman year of college, so September will mark 10 years of friendship. A crazy but true fact.

One example of this deep knowingness which Liz has. During lunch I said something to the effect of, "I always just thought since I think through things so deeply and intensely that I should be with someone who thinks the same way." Liz's response: "Your poor children."

Thus far our time (my roommate Karen is here too) in Nashville has consisted of: seeing some parks, taking a tour of the Vanderbilt campus, eating lots of food, going to the same coffee shop twice b/c cinnamon honey latte amazingness, eating meatball subs in a car, meeting Liz's friends at a game night, witnessing Liz win a competition for her thesis presentation, and a craw fish boil.

Also, I am well, well, well, on my way to accomplishing many of my 2013 goals. But that update will be for another time.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Reasons why this day rocks

1. My Pandora station (inspired by The Civil Wars) is killing it this morning. Just started playing my favorite Gungor song.
2. I'm studying participles and only feel of slightly below average intelligence.
3. Wearing a pair of brand new size 8 petite jeans which I got to buy recently.
4. Just got word I got into the class I was waitlisted for.
5. My coffee is really good.
6. My shirt is pink - like VERY pink.
7. I am sitting by a window in the coffee shop and the sun is shining slightly through the clouds.
8. I ate a ham and cheese croissant about breakfast.

On my way to my Tuesday morning study session in the coffee shop I was praying very earnestly that God would equip me to love well today - to see every interaction and moment as an opportunity to love those who he has entrusted to my care. On days like today, where everything is spectacular, it seems easy to do such a thing.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

If at first you don't succeed, eat another piece of cake

Back in January I resolved NOT to make any New Year's Resolutions and instead made 13 New Year's Resolutions. One of which was to go three month's without any refined sugar. So, starting February 17, I set out to accomplish that goal. The start date was strategic as it meant I'd be able to eat birthday cake on May 17.

I am sad to say that as of Friday, March 8, I fell off that New Year's Resolution wagon. And tonight, instead of opting to get back on the wagon, I went and bought a comfortable pair of shoes because I'd rather walk. And as I walk I'll be eating another piece of carrot cake and some M&Ms.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Is guarding your heart a bunch of bs?

I have a crush on a boy.

I don't want to say anything related to said boy, i.e. how long I've known him, whether or not we've spoken, etc. All I will disclose is that he is a boy, he is of legal dating age, and he is not married (I don't think.) I also realize that saying "crush on a boy" may be juvenile, but saying "I have strong feelings for a man" just sounds ridiculous. I choose juvenile.

I have two friends who have differing feelings about this whole crush thing. One is fully on board. The other is still on the shore, arms crossed against their chest, dubious about getting on a ship called "The Titanic 2". The cheerleader is telling me to put myself out there. The aquaphobic one is telling me to guard my heart. They literally had this conversation over my head the other day, as if I wasn't even in the room.

So, which is it? Team risk or team guard?

I recently read this article on Prodigal Magazine where a columnist explores the idea of guarding your heart. What she's actually responding to is the way that phrase has been misused to imply that we as women have a responsibility to hold our emotions close to our chest until the moment we discover that the guy is going to put a ring on our finger, and then we can open up the can of crazy. I know I've heard this at times when I tell friends I'm interested in someone. Just interested. No dates have been had, no phone numbers exchanged. Against what, precisely, do I need to guard my heart against when all I know about a boy is he's cute? Am I basically being told to stop having crushes?

If so, then I am in big trouble...

I'm starting to think that guarding my heart, as it's been pitched to me, is a bunch of bs. I'm 27 years old, and I've never had my heart smashed, which is a huge blessing. But there's something peculiar about hearing 32 crossed in love songs from Taylor Swift who is only 23 years old and not being able to relate. Hey, at least she's trying.

Which is why I might take a hiatus from guarding my heart. Because I may get mashed up, but I'll also write some kickin' pop songs.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Just a couple of wild and crazy girls

This year for Christmas my roommate and I opted to gift one another surprise "experiences." We cashed in my present to her last month when I took her to the Queen Mary Tea Room and this week we cashed in her present to me.

First we went for happy hour at the The Brave Horse Tavern in South Lake Union. A wicked Tom Douglas restaurant with delicious burgers and homemade pretzels. We each got Diet Cokes because that's how we roll on a Friday night. Hers had a twist of lime because she's crazy like that.

After happy hour we went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum at the Seattle Center. We've both wanted to go for a good long while, but Karen wanted to make sure we went at night so we could see all the outside glass sculptures lit up. We wandered around the museum until it closed and each made a mental note to go back when it was warmer outside. King County residents also get a $4 cheaper ticket price which is awesome!

All in all a wonderful Friday night, and it almost makes up for the fact that we haven't seen each other's faces in 50+ hours. Sigh. At least we have this cute picture from our date night to remind us what the other person looks like.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sigh of contentment

You know those mornings where you wake up without your alarm clock but are able to lay in your bed daydreaming for a while?

And then you lazily get out of bed and go for a 3 mile run, thankful that your body works to run all three miles in 28.5 minutes while listening to music, that while not Grammy worthy, makes you happy?

And then you take a long hot shower, and put on an outfit that makes you look cute while listening to the same song by The Head and the Heart three times?

And then you make breakfast and fresh coffee and you can just stand in your kitchen savoring every moment?

That's what contentment looks like. And it's a blessing, and it's good, and it's soul refreshing. So, thank you God, because I didn't know I needed this today but you've gifted it to me anyway.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Is being a good friend sexy?

I have a good guy friend who I've known for a while. For the first two years of our relationship he would call occasionally call me "mom". Part of this was because we had served in a ministry together for a year, and while he was new to the ministry, I was a veteran so I very often was the person most "in the know" as it were. I also enjoy taking care of people and making sure they feel comfortable and included. He tried to get other leaders to call me mom, but thankfully it never took off. Finally, I put my foot down and told him he absolutely cannot call me mom.

It was a very fruitful conversation which he totally understood and as someone who so often sweeps things under the rug, I was very proud of myself for saying something.

Over the past 12 years or so, I've heard some variation of the following messages repeated often:

  • "You're not the kind of girl a guy is going to want to date. You're the type of girl a guy is going to want to marry."
  • "You're really smart and that's very intimidating to guys."
  • "Just be yourself and the right guy will come along."
But, what do you do when who you are is a "most excellent friend"? Is being a good friend sexy? 

I had a friend over to study last night and as I was getting some food I asked him if he wanted a glass of water. He said, "I'm good." To which I responded, "I know you're good, but would you like a glass of water?" He responded by telling me that his ex-girlfriend's mom used to say something pretty similar. 

Fantastic. We've been friends for 10 hours and already I remind you of someone's mother. Is being a mom sexy?

The flirting thing doesn't come naturally to me. The moves I have are being friendly, smiling a lot, making people food, and taking a genuine interest in their life stories. But these are my friendship making moves just as much as my move moves. So I guess that leaves me concluding that I can't worry about being alluring. Really all I can do is focusing on loving and serving other people well. And while I've never personally heard anyone say, "what really attracted me to this person was how good of a friend she was " I've got to believe that at some point in the history of the universe those words were spoken. 

Because it may not be a super sexy move, but being a good friend is really one of the only moves I got. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I'm going to be the best lab partner you've ever had

I adore personality tests. Ever since the days I spent as a child in California, lazily reading the same Seventeen magazine for the tenth time, taking the same quiz promising to clue me into my flirting style (despite my complete and total lack of understanding as to what flirting actually was), I have looked at tests and quizzes and "cootie catchers" as perhaps providing some insight into my deepest and truest self.

Cut to personality tests. I'm an ENFJ just in case you were wondering. But I recently discovered a NEW (to me) personality test called the Enneagram. And it basically reconfirmed the fact that I am an ENFJ, but it is fascinating none the less. According to the Enneagram, here are some things that are true of my type - type #2.

1. My characteristic role is that of helper
2. My ego fixation is flattery
3. My basic fear is being unloved or being unlovable
4. My basic desire is to feel love
5. My temptation is to deny my own needs
6. My vice/passion is pride
7. My virtue is humility

Furthermore, according to some thought surrounding the Enneagram, you can have a "wing" which is a bent towards one of the bordering types on the Enneagram diagram. I apparently have a wing to the #1 type, aka "the perfectionist." So, I'm a helper, but I strive to be a perfect helper. Which is why my new life motto shall be: "I am going to be the best helper you've ever had."

Inspired by Eunice from She's the Man

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sometimes I think my brain might be broken

In Greek class last night we began to learn about how to modify an adjective so it can be used as a compare nouns. I think (know) that I'm still fuzzy on this, but the gist is that you can add a prefix to an adjective and depending on the prefix, you know its relationship to the noun. We have this in English, but they're usually suffixes.

So we have...


Using -er and -est we can establish relationship between an adjective and a noun. "Over there is a taller tree. But behind the barn is the tallest tree." Tracking with me?

To demonstrate the way this works, our Greek teacher had a simple request: shout out three adjectives. Now, I should state that at this point I was in hour five of class, was a little punchy, and that punchiness was punctuated by sitting next to my friend Eric who had worked all day and had all but given up. Eric shouts out "Fantastic!" And when Renee asks for another he shouts out "Fabulous!" And then she asks for another.

And I provide the adjective of all adjectives. An adjective that I don't think I ever actually uttered until last night.


Where did that come from? From what part of my brain did that little adjective shake free and make itself known to my 25 classmates? Why that word? Why then?

And this is why sometimes I think my brain is broken. Because I didn't think of "happy" or "pretty" or "small." You know, things that if I was in middle school wouldn't get me sent to the principal's office.

Thankfully, Renee is a rock star and she joined the majority of the class by responding with a mixture of uproarious laughter and disbelief. And then she did me a solid and wrote the word on the board. But this meant that for the next 20 minutes every time I looked at the board and saw the word "engorged" I started to giggle.