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Category Archives: Musings

Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye

Today, I said goodbye to my dog companion of 12 years. What can I say… she was the best dog. I know, a lot of people feel they have the best dog, and I think they do. She was the best dog for our family. So gentle with my kids, so loving, so trusting, so delightful.

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Our brand new dog – 2006

When we first got her, my husband was on the night-shift and though I’d gotten a kitten – my daughter quickly took him as her own. So, I said I wanted a dog. We went online and saw a picture of her – legs out in front of her, mouth hanging open happily… she looked like a dog that wasn’t in jail, but was simply on a trip. I went in and didn’t immediately recognize her… while all the other dogs were barking, whining, pacing, and pawing… she sat right down by the gate of her kennel – her back to me, and tossed her head over her shoulder to look at me. ‘Pet me.’ That was love at first sight.

We brought her home on Valentine’s Day, consequently, one day before she was to be put to sleep… one day before my birthday. I call that kismet. The people that had adopted her as a puppy had returned her at 11 months old saying she has seizures. She’d been at the pound for six days – they kill on the seventh. I was ready to buy whatever medicines she might need. I told her she’d never go back there. She had a forever home.

This old girl and I… walks together, hikes together, disc golf together. Nary a seizure in sight. She loved going places with us, loved just being in the same room with us if we weren’t on the go… truly, and completely, a dog that fit exactly our predilections for some days exercise, some days cake. She was always game… unless water was involved. Though she was part lab, water was a no-go.

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Pepsi’s Final Visit to “The Hill.” 4/21/2017

We knew she was getting up there in age – little aches and pains, slow to get up with arthritic hips. We gave her glucosamine (which seemed to help a lot) and tried to be certain she got out at least to smell the roses. On her final wellness exam six months ago, I asked the doctor when I would know. He said, “With a dog like this… it will be when she just can’t get up anymore.”

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Pepsi and Pixel – the cat who loved her, too – 2016.

True to his prognosis… it just got harder and harder for her. She would trip on her own feet, she took a couple falls that splayed her legs out in all directions, and eventually – we were having to lift her back end to help her get up. When she started refusing food – and being a lab mix, well… she’d eaten crayons before and left rainbow poop in the yard – we knew the end was coming. We plied her with everything from cheap Gravy Train to expensive dehydrated turkey – rib bones with meat on them to chicken backs fresh from the butcher… eventually, she turned up her nose at it all. We knew.

I took her on a walk and we sat in the grass and she looked at me. My dog and I had shared many looks, but this one was different. I could see it on her face, in her eyes, that she loved me but was so very tired. I know there are people who consider it anthropomorphism – but anyone who has ever had a dog and shared a bond with it knows. There is nothing like seeing into the soul of a dog. Your kindred spirit. That look, two days ago, was the one that let me know I – personally – had to start letting go.

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Pepsi’s Final Sponge Bath

Our Pepsi got to lay out in the grass. She got copious cuddles. She got a sponge bath, a mani-pedi, brushing galore. Kisses, hugs… the whole nine yards of all the love we could give her, and she drank it up.

Today, I could see it on her face. ‘I’m ready.’ She was just so tired, so achy. We got her in the car, picked up our teens, and headed to the vet. She loved going there, too, so this trip was not at all a stress for her. As soon as the doctor saw her, he said, “She definitely looks beat. I support this decision 100 percent.” He liked her, too. Pepsi was a champ at getting the vet’s office to hand out half a bowl of treats. These guys would love on her and let her clean their faces. She definitely had a way of making dog people glow.

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Pepsi gets ready to go on a hike in 2008.

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They made the injection as I sat behind her. She grew drowsy and looked around for me for a split second. I told her I was right behind her… and her head dropped back into my arms. That is how I said goodbye to my most special girl. I told her we’d keep a look out for her and in that moment, in an ending that would make the best of Hollywood movies, she passed away in peace.

We’d been warned she might take an involuntary breath. Warned she might release her bowels. Warned about all those ugly things that death can be. But none of that happened. She dropped her head in my arms and took her last breath. To see her get to transition so gently, so dignified… I was privileged to be her human mom and companion.

I bawled simply because I’d been holding it in to let her pass without worry. This girl was so in tune with me that often, when I’d cry, she’d whimper. Her final days had me happy in her presence. Then, once she’d left behind her shell, I just wept. My husband was there, as were my teens – all of the people she’d loved for her life and loved her back.

It took me about 40 minutes to be ready to leave. The thing was, as I told my husband, I felt like she was still there. Not her body, but her spirit. Right in the room with us. As we drove home, I still felt her presence. Even as I sit here, she’s with me.

I can’t tell anyone how to make this decision or when, but I know for our old girl – we did it all right… all the way from start to finish. Knowing when to say goodbye before she was blind, deaf, completely lame, or using the bathroom where she lay… she still had all her dignity in tact, and – from one actor to my dog actor – died like a beautiful swooning diva. She always was a silly girl.

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“Silly Dog” She’d lay like this and wiggle around. If she did it in front of the couch, she’d shoot herself across the floor by kicking off. Then she’d wag her tail and out would loll that tongue!

I told her as she lay there in my arms to come back to us. I know right now I’m not ready for another dog, and I don’t think her spirit is quite ready to be a new one… but I am a firm believer that nothing ever ends and we’re always coming back again. I do believe that when I’m ready, she will be too, and all that will remain is for the two of us to simply find one another all over again.

Pepsi Rainbow

Our daily message board for today.

 

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Posted by on April 21, 2017 in Experiences, Musings, Spirituality

 

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Heaven in Seconds…

Heaven in Seconds…

Have you ever wondered what happens when you die? This post won’t be about food or religion, but something that I ponder from time to time. Some feel you go to heaven (or the equivalent in their religion), some feel you are reincarnated, some feel you hang out as a ghost doing ethereal things until you decide you’re done. But I have to state, for all the speculation, it’s all coming from the side of the living.

The honest, hard, cold fact is – we don’t know what happens when we die because once you’re dead – you can’t come back to let anyone else know. Sure, there are “near death” experiences, people who have “technically” died and been resuscitated, but those people were still alive. They didn’t endure cellular death and body breakdown, nor absolute brain death. Their bodies were still ready for a continuity of life.

Doctors have figured out that often, if you cool the body, you slow that process of death – the one that you don’t come back from, when your cells decide to die. I’ve read about it, there’s a certain point where your cells are so damaged, there is no return. That is why you can’t just die and be frozen, then be returned to life. Currently, we have no way to reverse that point when your body betrays your spirit. That is death.

So with that as my definition, I don’t believe the people who have come back as reliable bearers of what it’s like to be dead. After all, they never truly were. If they were, they’d be in a box under the ground. Not that their experience isn’t valuable or valid – I am definitely not discounting what they endured, I’m just saying – it comes from a living mind – even when it seems that person is not.

With brain death… those are people who don’t come back – their brain is gone, there is no captain to steer the vessel. You can do all the tests you wish – cold water in the ears, pin pricks on the soles of feet, swabs on corneas – no reaction. Once your brain stops working complete, it doesn’t matter how alive the rest of you is. You… what you know as you… has flown on to greener pastures.

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But are there greener pastures? I’ve been put under anesthetic for two surgeries now. Do you know what I remember? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I remember getting groggy as I was wheeled into the operating room. I remember hearing Tchaikovsky – the Nutcracker Suite – and laughing to myself. I remember saying, “Tchaikovsky!” and then waking up. Maybe that doesn’t prove anything, but maybe it’s a reliable indicator of what is to come.

Please, don’t get discouraged while reading this. I just need to explain how I am coming to the point, the idea, that I’m about to make. You see, I thought about that darkness of surgery. Then I thought about how it is that when I’m dreaming, when I’ve fallen back to sleep for the five minutes after my alarm has gone off and I’ve hit snooze, that I can have an entire experience that lasted for hours in my mind. Minutes in real life that are hours in my brain.

So I have a theory – it may be right, it may be wrong. It comes from someone who has seen ghosts (I’ll share some of those experiences below, which I can’t explain). Someone who believes there is life in everything because the vibrations of atoms and molecules are energy and that means even rocks have life, though not consciousness.

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Alex Grey – “Creativity”

My theory is that we experience our heavens and hells in seconds. From the point that you stop breathing until the point that your cells betray you – be that minutes or moments – you experience your life end. You might go to heaven and see all the relatives you’ve lost, you might walk the world, you might become a new person, you might burn in fire, you might become an angel, you might blow over the land as wind, become a star, travel the entire universe, or crawl in an insect’s body. But then, you die – and like the anesthetic that turns the world to black, you sleep eternally.

Honestly, I’m okay with that – if my theory is correct. Sure, it may mean I don’t live on forever, but if I’m right with myself at that last moment, my dying mind will give me a glorious ending. In those moments, I may live hundreds of years more. I may agree to enter darkness after those hundreds of years because I would like to finally sleep. Either way, I think how we are to others and ourselves allows our minds to create our final end. So long as we have a beautiful end… isn’t that all we ALL want? (Except those of you who want to live forever… 😀 )

I mentioned above that I’ve had paranormal experiences. I can’t account for those in my theory. And I’m not talking about looking for them on some ghost tour, or trying to conjure up spirits in seance – I’m talking about going about my business and being confronted with something that isn’t there. Some examples:

  1. My mother died when I was eight years old. I won’t go into how crushing that is right now, but I have only, just now, after thirty years, started to be okay with it. Of course as a child I thought I saw her at the foot of my bed, I can’t tell you whether that was true or not, but I can say that many a time when I was alone in my house after school, watching television, I’d hear footsteps. One of the times I heard the footsteps walking in my father’s room and grabbed a broom handle, ready to do battle. (Which honestly is comical – I was about as big as that broom handle.) I got upstairs and there was absolutely no one. Not in the closet, not under the bed. I checked the rest of the house when it dawned on me that I was hearing something that I shouldn’t have. I walked to my aunt’s house – a mile away.
  2. Coming up the stairs at my old house to go to bed one night, I hit the landing and looked up. In that house, from the landing, you could look up into the hallway and see my bedroom door and my father’s on the other side. Sitting on the edge of my dad’s bed was a greenish figure who had it’s head in it’s hands. It slowly looked over at me. I went back downstairs.
  3. Sobbing my eyes out when I was about 15 years old. I was cursing God, cursing the universe, cursing my mother for leaving me behind. (My life was one filled with abuse after her death – a story for another time.) I was crying so hard into my pillow I could barely breathe – there are times sorrow is so deep… so bitter… anyway… I hated everything at that moment including myself. As I wept, I felt a hand on my back, rubbing gently. I honestly thought my Dad had come into the room without me knowing it and was comforting me. I looked up and no one was there.
  4. Filming a short film at the old State Penitentiary here in New Mexico, sitehooded-figure of one of the worst prison riots in history. (There is a book called the Devil’s Butcher Shop… chilling.) We were filming in the medical wing, where I naively thought nothing had happened (I found out after that, indeed, several men had OD’s there). I wasn’t bothered by being there, I made peace and was respectful of the history and the prisoners who suffered there. At the end of the medical wing is a room with a window that looks out toward the new State Penn. I was all the way opposite from it and saw my friend standing at the window. So I start down the long wing calling his name, rankled that he wasn’t responding or turning around. I jogged the entire corridor as he turned and walked farther into the room where I couldn’t see him. When I got there, not only was it not Brian, no one was there. I heard my name and turned around to see Brian all the way back where I’d started out. He’d heard me shouting and come to find out what I’d wanted. And that figure was so dark as to have me believe it was solid, in silhouette from the daylight outside.
  5. Right before my surgery for my gallbladder removal, I was thinking about the worry on my husband’s face. I could do under and that be all, so goodbyes are crucial for that “just in case” scenario. Nothing over dramatic, but ‘I love you’ is a must. I was being a trooper, strong for him, when I felt what could only be described as a pair of arms encircle me from behind – like someone was standing behind me and hugging me. Calm swept over me. Of course, no one could fit behind the bed but the wall – no one was there… but I knew I’d be alright and I went calmly into my surgery.

There are many more instances in my life, but those are standouts. Those were moments that I was not thinking about ghosts, death, afterlife – just moments where I was going about my business or my grief or my apprehension and the ghosts/spirits came to me. I can’t tell you how that fits into the theory. I could say that regardless, those experiences are still filtered through my own mind and could have been manufactured by me. Psychosomatic experiences are real for those feeling them. Those visions sure were solid enough for me to react to them.

I can’t say I have any answers. I have a ton of theories and this is just one – if we are just fractals and the universe trying to understand itself, then who knows where we’re off to next or how our energy patterns will react with the whole. Regardless, the fact remains, the only way I’m ever going to know, is when that time finally comes for me and I go, “So this is what it is…” and turn around to tell the living… and can’t.

 

For what I *hope* to have happen – well, being able to travel the universe and go anywhere I wish would be amazing, but if our wispy souls are bound by laws of physics and gravity like the winds, I’ll settle for being a guardian angel. I like a good challenge. If I have to come back as someone new, I hope that I get to come into a family full of love to experience a childhood that I didn’t get to have before. I hope that my tenacity comes with me and that maybe I drive my new self to cure cancer. 😀 And, if after all is said and done, it truly is just darkness and eternal dreamless sleep – I just hope that I’ve done enough in this life to make a difference for someone else – be it helping them through a tough time, or simply giving them food for thought.

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Kenny Callicutt – “Light from the Beginning of Time”

Until next time.

 
 

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Gluten Free Lemon Pound Cake…

As I have struggled with my writing, struggled with feeling burned out and at odds with the way our election has turned out – as I struggled with feeling a deep sense of doom and foreboding, I decided to pick up baking once more.

I baked quite a bit many years ago. Until my mother died, she baked like a mad woman. Cakes and cookies were a staple in my house, and maybe why I still have such a sweet tooth. I baked up until my husband and son were diagnosed with Celiac disease, and then my hands went dormant in the kitchen. It wasn’t until a few days ago, when my husband and I were talking about the expense of buying gluten free bread, that I decided to give it another whirl. Am I ever so glad I did!

We went out and bought pans, and I’ll spare you the goose chase of finding a 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan after buying 9 x 5’s, and all the ingredients. I made my own flour mix from scratch and set about baking sandwich bread. Now, while I can say the taste is great, the height still isn’t there – but during all of this discovery, my husband mentioned how much he missed lemon poppyseed cake. I, naturally, took this as a challenge.

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A preview from Christina’s Cucina

I found a recipe online and for the first time, baked a completely gluten free cake from scratch. I love baking. I can let my OCD run wild as I dote over measurements and hover over the oven. Every bit of my perfectionism can grow wings and soar. And then, the house smells like a wonderful home – warm and sweet – and somewhere deep inside, I feel an insane pleasure at watching my family eat and enjoy what I’ve created. Doing it from scratch is just… well, pardon the pun, icing on the cake. Hah! Baking for me is a pleasure, and I’d forgotten how to feel that way in the past several months. I’d forgotten what it felt like to look in the oven just to check progress and smile at what was coming together, to cross your fingers that the cake doesn’t fall, that it bakes evenly… I’d simply forgotten just how much I love baking.

The loaf came out looking gorgeous, and the taste… oh my goodness, it was just like a regular lemon loaf made with wheat flour (and for something gluten free, that is a feat). Every pleasure center in my brain was alight with this sugary goodness, and when my husband wouldn’t talk until he’d finished his slice – when he wanted to savor the moment of the eating… I knew I’d hit paydirt. All of us sat still, chatting idly for about five minutes, before pronouncing that we were all thinking of another slice and had been the entire time. I’d call that a win!

If you’d like to try your hand at a fantastic cake for yourself, or a friend, or even someone you know that can’t eat gluten, here’s the link: http://christinascucina.com/2016/03/the-best-gluten-free-lemon-or-orange-pound-cake-ever.html  You will need a scale, just trust me and everyone else who ends up with awesome GF eats… your mouth will thank you. It’s different, not cooking with cups, but oddly enough – for me – it was a liberation. Still utterly precise, but a liberation none-the-less. Anyway… make it and be amazed for yourself.

As for what’s next… I’ll be back in the kitchen tomorrow for yet another go at GF sandwich bread, tutting over my bowl of yeast and smiling (I’m being hopeful here!) at what I see rising in the oven, my worries distant and my joy boundless.

 

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Dreaming of Death

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Dali gets it…

Given the recent string of celebrity deaths, especially high profile celebrities like Alan Rickman and David Bowie, death has been a companion in my day-to-day doings. I walk to the mailbox and wonder what it would be like to have a heart attack and face-plant on the road. I wonder what it would be like if someone broke into my house and shot me point blank.

I wonder what it would be like if I got the news I had cancer and knew my days were going to be much more limited. I wonder if I should be worried at all because fate will take me when fate takes me and worrying is such a tiny human preoccupation. (Which is one of those things that give our life its blessing and curse – we are doomed to remember so much, yet blessed to remember at all). I grant you, it’s macabre. I can’t help it, I chalk it up to my imaginative writer brain exploring things from the deep well inside of each thing I explore.

At any rate, I went to bed last night feeling very good. My stomach aches were non-existent, my anxiety was nil, I really felt good in my mind, and my body. So it was interesting when I had a dream of going to a huge fair and getting on a ride that boasted it was three-times bigger than any other. It was an incredible version of a scrambler (combined with other things to make it one of the most unique experiences my brain has concocted yet). It could hold three-hundred people. Massive gears in the walls that spun massive wheels that ran on tracks. Me, my husband, my sister, my children… we all got on and had a fantastic ride. No one else was in line! We decided to go again.

This ride was housed in an enormous building, rides whatever the weather, you know? So we are going around again, lifted high into the sky, when my sister shouts to me, ‘Look over at that wheel, what is it doing?’ Sure enough, as I look over at the wheel gliding along its track, it is headed straight toward another wheel meant to elevate the riders (I know, wheels everywhere, tracks, confusing… bear with me). Obviously they collide.

Now here is where the dream goes from glee, to horror. The whole ride shudders. It groans aloud as the arms attached to the wheels buckle, then snap. It feels like slow motion as we spin in a way unintended and I feel the vibrations through my seat as the ride collapses onto the ground. Screams fill the air, I see the ground rushing up, and like magic… incredible magic, I breathe in slowly and say to myself, ‘Well, this is it.’

I hit the ground knowing my death has arrived. It goes black, then darker black and utter silence as the rest of the ride topples over me – I feel it crush me, though painlessly as I’ve accepted this fate. At this point, I think I actually stopped breathing in my sleep, because I can say… the totality of this darkness, this silence, this stillness that washed over me in the darkness was… much like when you go in to get an operation and they put you under… you’re simply gone.

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Beautiful “Dreamtime Sisters” by Colleen Wallace Nungari. (www.aboriginal store)

Then… a miracle. I begin to see the red of my eyelids. I literally think to myself, ‘I must be being born again,’ and I woke. There I was in my room, in my comfortable bed with heaps of blankets, having had what I can only say is something akin to a shamanic experience where my mind let me die to bring me back. Spiritual, because what I took from it is something I heard a woman say on a documentary as she took the drugs to end her life, ‘Oh, that wasn’t so hard… this isn’t hard at all…’

I don’t know what my end will be, when it will be, how it will be, where it will be… but I feel calmer this day. I was given a gift by my incredible brain, a teaching: when you accept something that seems unacceptable, when you stop fighting the flow of this mighty river of life, magic and miracles are sure to follow.

I think I needed that reminder, (and with luck, death will be exactly what I imagined it to be), because I’ve been fighting my nature and hearing that voice of gloom telling me, “You can’t.” Truth be told, I can. I just need to walk through the doors and create with all I’ve got. It’s all any of us can do, and everything we should do.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2016 in Musings, Spirituality

 

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Thinking of You…

Thinking of You…

My first thought on walking back to my blog was… “Has it really been that long?” Good gravy, it has! It’s been almost two years since I last posted, but I have good reasons! At least I have to give myself the permission to see them as good reasons. Since this is a blog, allow me to explain.CRNewCoverTeaser

Since May of 2014, I have not only written two other novels since Carla’s Rivet along with getting a third ready for publishing, but have been working on Carla’s second edition (the one in which I finally can fix all the things that I didn’t like with the first edition). It will be given to the world in March, two years from the original publication date. I look at that and it already seems crazy…

I’ve been in disasters of theater which had me wondering what I’d done to land myself in actor purgatory. One of those actually sent me to the emergency room – so I’ll say it here – don’t ever let anyone get so far under your skin that you can’t dig them out. I should have left that rather abusive ride, but I stayed for some pretty wonderful cast-mates. They were the gold in the pile of… well… you know.

I have been dealing with some pretty crippling writer’s doubt as well. As I sit here banging out a first draft of my blog post (which makes me nervous, too), I have also figured out just how much money I will need to really push my next novel into the world… and it’s definitely a figure that makes that little voice in my head say, “Who do you think you are?” “Do you even think you have that kind of talent to ask the world for that money?” “Do you honestly believe you’ll be anything more than a nobody author?”

I tell you, that voice is incredibly nasty. Aneverythingd so, I look at other people creating art and taking no crap from anyone. I understand that I’m here to make words on paper – that’s all I can think about doing, it’s what I do even when I’m not doing it. So, it’s been a bit of a learning experience – giving myself room to feel insecure, but not letting myself absorb that voice’s opinions. I’m going to jump in this time, aim for the stars, shoot for the moon so even if I fail I’ve landed among them… all those idioms we use to simply say: ‘Do it already!’

I’ve handled anxiety so bad that I believe I may be sitting on a pre-ulcer, yes, I will get to the doctor soon. It’s distressing how much I’ve allowed the world to get to me this past year, but again, it’s allowing myself to feel bad but not beat myself up for being here. If I were to put a finger on it, frankly, it’s the Universe telling me that self-care is important. I think we all can learn from that.

So – in short – it’s been a bit of a crazy ride. I’m still not rich, I wish I had an amazing update to give in that department, but that I’m hoping is in the cards later. Hah! I won’t keep on with the negative, but I will end this post with this: I’m still here, I’m still breathing and grateful for it every day. I have a beautiful family supporting me with loving and gracious words, and through it all… I’m still writing, writing, writing and making the art that I hope the world will enjoy when I’m done.

Here’s to 2016 being a better year for all!

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Musings, Writing

 

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What Happens when Judging is Not Part of the Equation…

It’s been a little while since I posted last, as I’ve been busting my butt in my revisions and dealing with birthdays, holidays, and visits from family… the season is upon us, isn’t it? As I get nearer to publication, I get more and more people interested in what my book is about, and many of the people showing interest have ties in the homeless community. Which brings me to post this entry today.

I was trolling the internet (as can happen when you get sucked in), I came across a CNN video that really made my day. I will only caveat by saying: it shows what happens when people reach out a hand to help instead of passing a judgment and doing nothing.  Powerful.

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Nicole has written three novels, a feature-length script, and many short stories and short film scripts. Her debut novel, “Carla’s Rivet” is scheduled for release on March 1st, 2014.  Her short story, “Millsburg,” is available on Amazon.com and Smashwords.  Please visit http://nicoleagramlich.com for more information.
 
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Posted by on December 16, 2013 in Musings, Videos

 

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Do You Love You?

Beautiful Ms. Lawley.

The Beautiful Ms. Lawley.

I watched a clip online today from the Ellen Show, where she had a guest, Ms. Robyn Lawley (a plus size model whose only plus should be for a fantastic personality).  This beautiful 6’2” model from Australia was mentioning the newest insanity that has hit women and girls: the thigh gap.  Allow me to explain for those of you who may be unaware.  The thigh gap is the purported gap that occurs when you are so thin that standing with your feet together, your thighs don’t touch (more on this in a moment).  Ms. Lawley went on to discuss how she’s been called fat, called a pig, and many other horrible names, not that it has made her feel bad about herself.  What struck me as insane is that she was ridiculed by these names and she is a size 12.

It really got me thinking as I watched the clip about the image we’re putting into the media.  This mostly pertains to women, but men are also increasingly victims of the “beautiful, perfect body.”  Gentlemen, please don’t think I’m leaving you out, but I want to address the ladies this go round because I really think women internalize this on a deeper level than men.  After all, there are still television shows where you have the heavy-set man and at his side is his thin and gracious wife.  It is not to lessen the pain that size discrimination causes, but it is more acceptable to be a big man in our society than a big woman.

I just had a talk with my daughter a few days ago about the Photoshopped women in the magazines.  I’ve modeled and even I’ve been Photoshopped.  In fact, my daughter and I had a hearty laugh at how I lost an instant 5 pounds from photo A to photo B.  Then I got serious.  I told my daughter that she would never be the woman in the magazine.  Why?  Because that woman is a painting.  Just like you can never be a cartoon character or a painting, you have to look at magazine ads as art, someone’s creation.  She got up after chatting for a while and went outside to play with her friends, and I felt a small score for parenting.

Then I see things like Ms. Lawley’s interview and I’m stopped and stunned with the realization that so many girls and women are at the mercy of an impossible standard.  Many of the models used are teenaged – i.e. not women… not filled out… not full of curves… and this is used to sell clothes or purses or shoes.  Rather than showing women of all sizes, representative of life and all its differentiated beauty, they have the waif-thin girl caked with makeup.

I want to be very clear – there is nothing wrong with being a thin woman, either.  Nothing wrong with being a thin teen.  It’s wrong when we ALL begin to hold ourselves to a standard of beauty that is ONE way only.  It’s wrong when we stop paying attention to the fact that we’re all different, that our differences make us beautiful.  And we are all beautiful in our own ways.  We should be celebrating that diversity, not buying into the billion-dollar diet industry because those very ads have placed in our heads that shadow of a doubt that, maybe I’m not pretty.  Maybe I’m not good enough.  Can you imagine what would happen if we all just said, ‘Enough, I am and I can?’  I can tell you – amazing things.

I want to address the thigh gap for a moment, and if I can reach one girl who is sitting there at 14-15-16-(or any)-years-old thinking she needs to lose weight to get a gap, I will be happy.  Girls… there is always  something.  There will always be something that someone doesn’t like about you, or thinks you need to change to fit in, or thinks you should be doing because they are unhappy about themselves.  Life is too short, far, far, too short, to spend it worrying about something so trivial.  Life is too short to be concerned about other people.  I’d like to drop a saying here that I’ve heard before:  What other people think of me is none of my business.

We don’t need to spend any more of our time judging others, or judging ourselves.  Sometimes there are huge puffy clouds in the sky, sometimes there are flat thin ones, sometimes it’s all gray, sometimes there’s nothing there – and we can still appreciate them all in their variations because underneath it all, it’s still the sky.  Under all those various shapes and sizes and weights and hair colors and eye colors are human beings, and those things, human beings, can truly be beautiful if they choose to say, “I am and I can.”

I want to end with another saying that I think is pretty powerful.  Silly, but powerful.  I’m nothing but a ghost wearing a flesh suit.  Our outsides aren’t what make us, us.  There will always be something, but we don’t have to buy into it.  We don’t have to race the vicious cycle of judging ourselves and others.  We have the choice to say ‘Enough.’  We can love ourselves, deep in our souls, for who we are, regardless of what the outside is, and if we can show that compassion to ourselves and others, and spread that hope, and have it go exponential, and share it with our children so they grow up feeling it, too… the sky is no longer the limit, it’s the bar to be passed.

To Ms. Lawley and all the women who love themselves regardless of what anyone says, who go out there and choose not to conform, who are strong and courageous and warriors, you have my respect and admiration.  For those of us who are still learning the way, let’s look to the wonder women of our pasts and march toward the future with heads held high, embracing our lumps, rolls, curves, bones, and souls.  Who’s with me?

(See the interview here:  Robyn Lawley on the Changing Shape of Fashion)

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Nicole has written three novels, a feature-length script, and many short stories and short film scripts. Her debut novel, “Carla’s Rivet” is scheduled for release on March 1st, 2014.  Her short story, “Millsburg,” is available on Amazon.com and Smashwords.  Please visit http://nicoleagramlich.com for more information.
 
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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Musings

 

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