Sunday, December 8, 2013

Doing Me: A Call to Action

I started my morning by waking up way too early, so I could get myself woke up, for later on in the day, then retreating back into the soft, milky warmth of my bed, for around three seconds before I took my usual routine to the bathroom--face checking time. And what do you know, it doesn't look amazing. I stare at my face, drinking in every flaw and blemish, before making a face at myself, washing my face, and hastily brushing on concealer before my blemishes had any more time to mock me. My day begins and the feelings of anxiety, self doubt, and the extreme urge to fix myself my through out the day, and with every mirror dodging my steps, the stress and worry increases.
Am I doing the right thing, should I just go back to doing what I was doing before...but what if it's too late to go back? What if it starts all over again?
But I wanted to make that commitment to go natural with my products, I don't want to be putting harsh chemicals on my face.
But what if those things are the only things that will ever work?
The fear literally eats away at me, capturing my mind, forcing me to think, to research, to somehow, find something that will work, so I don't have to go through it all a third time.
(note: not my pic, but very close to what I did eat.)
Breakfast time. There are pastries leftover from a party, but I scramble up two eggs and half a piece of toast with a little bit of orange juice. That feeling that my stomach isn't perfectly tight stays with me, and the article I just read on about food guilt, and how women feel it is their duty to stay thin, to eat little, to avoid sweets, to eat healthfully. I'm almost worse because I'm an almost hippie and am pretty much set on clearing my skin, and have researched exhaustively, an am trying to avoid gluten, dairy, sugar...basically everything delicious.
I sit down with my breakfast, and I eat it, and it's good, but it's not enough. And as I think about what I read, and how I feel, I eat some of the pastry from the party's breakfast, and refuse to feel guilty about it.
And the more I think about it, the angrier I get.
What do I owe the world?
Why do I feel that in order to be presentable and acceptable, my skin has to be clear, my body has to be toned, my hair has to be neat and in place, and that unless I'm like that, I'm doing the public a disservice? That people shouldn't have to look at me, or accept me?
What do I owe the world?
Absolutely nothing. None of us do. We just think we do because that's what we've been told our whole lives. Girls are supposed to be pretty, sometimes sexy, always attractive, they have clear skin and toned legs and flat abs and a nice rack, they have manageable hair, they have white teeth, they have a wardrobe so they look professional and cute all at once.
Well guess what?
I don't have clear skin. I'm not tall and super skinny. I don't have a huge rack. My hair looks different every day, I have no idea what it's going to look like when I wake up. My wardrobe is a mixture of indie and vintage influences, and yes, sometimes I dress like a chick from the eighties, and sometimes I wear panel hats even though I'm not a skater, and in my teenage years I never played normal sports because I'm homeschooled, so I like karate, and I ride horses-- I don't like Taylor Swift like I used too, I don't like Justin Bieber or One Direction, I love Coldplay, and think it's horrible that they aren't more popular, and I'm not normal and I don't owe it to anyone to be that way!!
Neither do you!
I don't owe anyone clear skin or a perfect beach body. I'm the one living in my body, and I'm doing the best I can. I can't eat a perfectly clean diet, because I like bread and cereal, and I can't have that perfect polished wardrobe because I think it's boring and I feel like I'm playing dress up when I wear that stuff, like I'm pretending to be an adult. My room isn't always clean, with perfect girlie accents, I walk around barefoot outside, I'm a lot of things mixed together into one, and I don't need to be perfect.

I stand in front of the mirror, and see my imperfections, and then with a big smile, point to my reflection and say "I love YOU!!" Too much of my life has been spent saying "I hate you, I need to change you, people won't like you if you don't change, become better."
I have that constant tightness in my forehead and shoulders, constant stress from trying to make things better, make myself better.
What for?
People haven't even asked me to do those things, I just assume I have too. And for those who do, all those self improvement articles and books, an entire industry devoted to convincing me and everyone else that we aren't good as we are--SCREW YOU!
I don't owe perfection to the world, or myself, and you don't either. Just do what you feel. You like eating cookies? Eat those cookies. You like eating a raw and vegan diet? Do it. You like wearing lots of makeup and playing around with it all? Play to your heart's content. You like dressing in boy's basketball shorts and sneakers? Rock that athletic grunge look. You like being super girlie? Wear those polka dots and little bows in your hair!  You have a big nose? Rock that schnozz! You have a few zits? Do they bother you? Why? Do they actually bother YOU? Or are you just worried what other people will think when they see them? Quit!
My point--you don't owe it to anyone to look, act, sound or eat like anyone else but you. It's hard to believe that in a world that tells you need to be everything but who you naturally are, that you need to fit in the little niches the world creates, but you don't.
You don't need to have a label. You don't need to be perfect. You don't need to look like a girl in a Target ad. You don't even need to look in a mirror.
Who you are, that's who you are, and there's only one you in the entire world. Why should anyone else be able to tell you how to be you, or how to live your life, how to eat, or how to look? You know what you like, you know your boundaries, you know what you like to eat and don't. DO YOU.
You owe that to yourself.

--love and riot grrl kisses,
Victoria <3 p="">

Monday, December 2, 2013

Trust and Follow

Trust. A somewhat fleeting, and often misunderstood concept, one that has been dogging my mind lately. Usually it doesn't occur to me to think about how much I trust God or the people in my life until that trust is tested, when there is a choice between trusting and choosing to follow your own way, where there's a fork in the road and you have to choose which path to take.
About a week ago, God told me something very straightforward and rather shocking, which although it is personal, caused me to go through a stage of wondering and wrestling, how much do actually trust Him and His voice? Do I actually believe that he has the best for me, and can I trust what his best means?
The intellectual and often automatic answer is, "YES, of course I trust God, of course I trust his direction and leading, of course He has the best for me!" And that was my initial response, but although I was thinking those things, my nerves were telling me otherwise. I was restless and my head was full of a million different voices, filling me with doubt even though I wanted to trust Him.
Although God is always right, and as He leads me everyday and changes my heart, I realize that and wonder why I ever could have doubted--but that's not trust, at least not in my eyes. Trust is believing before the proof, believing before He changes your heart or gives you confirmation, trust is believing what He says and taking Him at his word, rather than mulling over our own alternatives in our head.
We so often know these scriptures by heart--

Proverbs 3:5-6
New International Version

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways submit to Him and He will direct your path."


Jeremiah 29:11
New International Version (NIV)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Those are two of my favorite verses, because so much of the Christian life and the character of God is told in those two simple sentences--and although I love the verses and the concepts, and I believe them, when push comes to shove, do I apply them? When a situation comes up where I feel lost, do I trust in the Lord with all my heart, or do I first lean on my own understanding and exhaust every other method before I come to God? And when God tells me to do something, or tells me something will be so, and to prepare, do I submit to Him in all my ways and LET Him direct my path, or do I wrestle back and forth with Him, trying to make the situation work on my terms?
Do I truly trust that He has every detail of my life already worked out, do I trust that He KNOWS me, and knows what the best for me will be, and simply follow Him, like a sheep following a shepherd, just knowing that He will bring me into the best future possible for me?
I am growing in the process, of not second guessing the Lord, or bargaining with Him, or trying to fix and figure things out on my own, and it's quite a journey, but the further along I go, the more control I let go of, the less I try to worry and scheme on my own, the more I realize that I never had anything to worry about in the first place.

Of course God has the best for me! His every action is love motivated, because He IS love, and He loves me more than I could begin to fathom. The more I ponder who He is, and his unchangeable nature and incredible character, the more I wonder how I could have doubted in the first place. He is all knowing, he knows every possible scenario, and He knows how to guide me through each one. He knows which people he's going to bring into my life, the places He's going to lead me, the future He's going to give me. He is all powerful, so He can make anything come to pass. I marvel at how often I doubt His ability to change my heart or my situation, when with mere words he created the entirety of the reality we know and live in today. He breathed galaxies to life, of course He can give me peace when I need, of course he can soften and change my heart, of course his love can melt a heart of stone. The things we view as impossible are not even child's play to God. God is pure goodness and pure love, there is no way He would have a bleak future planned, because no matter what situation we're in, He gives us the strength and love and motivation to thrive within it.

When I ponder the nature of God, all that He is, and all that He has promised, my only response can be thankfulness and trust. He is the Being that created this universe, and He is wise, loving, knowing, and incredibly powerful, not limited in any way, and He chooses to direct my tiny life, to give me direction and comfort and peace every day. Now if that doesn't motivate absolute trust, I don't know what does.

Trust in Him you guys! He can and will bring you through anything!
Love and kisses,