Adventures in Imperfection

Selfie-Concious

Ever had one of those days where you’re plugging along, big smile on your face and feeling pretty durned good about life?

“Dude, you rock! I got this life stuff all figured out.”

Life is good!
Life is good!

Then you get thrown a curve ball.

Not a horrible hook, but just God’s little off-speed reminder, “Um, not so fast. You are still figuring this crap out.”

What happened to me was so little that I almost pushed it back inside my mind and forgot about it. But, that’s not how my mind works. Stuff eats on me, manifests in other ways (buh-bye corn patch) and keeps nagging at my brain like a gnat in the ear until I face it.

So, here’s me swatting that gnat.

Hubs calls out from the living room a couple of days ago, “Hey! Your daughter just challenged you to something on Facebook.”

Assuming that it was another ALS ice bucket challenge, I simply said, “I already donated and we are out of ice.”

“No. Not that. You just need to look.”

So, I did and found this:

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Awww….it’s my pretty college girl! I could look at this generous smile all day. And her laugh? It’s one of the most infectious and endearing sounds ever! I may be biased, but my daughter should be the poster child for genuine joy and love.

Anyhoo, once I pulled my eyes from that glorious smile I read the post that went with it:

I was nominated by Alyssa to post a picture of myself right when I get out of bed, without any makeup and to say three characteristics I believe I have.

I am a problem solver, good listener, and kind-hearted. I now challenge Ashley,  Michelle, and Lindsay to do the same! Love you ladies! And let your beauty shine! 

What followed was a series of random thoughts. What started out as benign quickly progressed to full-blown neuroses:

  • My girl doesn’t ever need makeup–she’s pretty inside and out
  • Come to think of it, those other girls don’t need makeup either
  • I don’t wear much makeup
  • Um. I don’t think I want to do this
  • People don’t need to see me on Facebook. I’m on there waaaay too much as it is
  • Ugh. I hate selfies
  • Correction:  I hate myselfie selfies
  • Where is the damned ice bucket?

My dear Tanna had unknowingly tripped a “shame trigger.”

Until about a year ago, I’d never heard of a shame trigger, but after learning the definition, I realized that I’d been living with a bunch of gremlins for years. Feeding them after midnight and dousing them with water in the form of negative self-talk and poor self-esteem.

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Brene’ Brown defines shame as “an intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging. Women often experience shame when they are entangled in a web of layered, conflicting and competing social-community expectations. Shame creates feelings of fear, blame and disconnection.”

From another interview, she says, “There are no universal shame triggers. There are no events or situations that make all of us feel or experience shame.  Without exception, all of the participants’ shame experiences fit in one of these categories: identity, appearance, sexuality, family, motherhood, parenting, health (mental and physical), aging, religion and a woman’s ability to stand up and speak out for herself. These are the categories in which women struggle the most with feelings of shame. When we experience shame we feel trapped, powerless and isolated.”

As you read this and start to wonder, “What’s the trigger here?” you might automatically assume that I don’t want to be seen without makeup.

Dear friends, that ship sailed years ago. Many of you have seen me at my worst and accept me anyway. I’m not scared of wrinkles and you already know that my good hair days are those that the pony tail doesn’t accidentally end up in a greenhouse fan.

Everyone feels shame differently, but most of us feel it physically before we even realize emotionally what’s going on. Think back to a time in grade school when you were shamed. Do you remember what your stomach did, how your heart pounded and pulse raced? But, what triggers you have might not even be a blip on the radar screen for someone else. Shame is personal and visceral and it had me befuddled for a couple of days.

My shame triggers are: parenting, motherhood, identity and vanity and this innocent post triggered all of them at once with vanity being at the top of the list.

Vanity is what almost kept me from writing this.

Not only do I have a tendency toward being vain, I don’t want anyone to know that I’m vain. I’m humble to a fault because I’m trying to bludgeon and kill that vanity monster. Additionally, this is not a humble-brag plea for compliments. I hate getting compliments, especially about my appearance. The voice in my head says, “Just who do you think you are? Get off your high horse, Michelle…you’re not all that.” I worry that my less-than-desirable outsides will reveal my ugly insides, too.

I didn’t want to take a selfie, because to me, selfies are the ultimate demonstration of vanity. Not for others–I don’t judge them–I judge ME. Then I started to beat myself up because I knew I was missing the complete point of the assignment. What are ‘three things I like about myself?’

How horrible that I couldn’t even find three? How did my daughter turn out so awesome? How can I be a good parent and teach her about self-love if I can’t even do it myself?

Why am I making such a big deal about this? Just take the blanketedy blank picture!

So, I went out onto the deck as soon as I got up Saturday morning and tried to take a picture. Every one I snapped just looked uglier and uglier to me. I was mortified. As the snapping continued, the inner voices and gremlins rose to the surface until I stopped trying and erased the evidence.

I walked inside and found Scott in the kitchen,

“Did you take enough selfies?”

Shame punched me in the gut and I was whisked back to the a classroom filled with nuns’ voices mixed with others, “Vanity is a deadly sin.” Fortunately, I also heard Brene’s voice in my head, “Don’t shrink – don’t puff up. Stand on your sacred ground.”

That’s when I decided that I needed to write about this, to be the authentic mom, wife, friend and writer that I’ve been trying to be for almost a year now–trying to emulate the tag-line that sits prominently on my web page, Celebrating the art and soul of imperfection.”

If this is what celebrating looks like, then I definitely need a new concept of party time, right?

Honestly, I felt an obligation to address this even though it makes me wretch on the inside doing so. You don’t have to be a woman to experience shame and negative self-esteem and it’s only by addressing it that we can conquer. One of my blogger buddies, Michele set forth a concept of call and response and I tried to follow her lead. Seems like I’ve been called to write for more than selfish reasons. If one person reads this and finds a way to tackle their own shame, then it’ll be worth all the angst it took to write this.

From Brene’ in an interview with Mother’s Movement Online:

We must also find the courage to share our stories and experiences. We must reach out to others and speak our shame. If we feed shame the secrecy and silence it craves— if we keep the struggles with our bodies buried inside – the shame will fester and grow. We must learn to reach out to one another with empathy and understanding. There is a tremendous amount of freedom that comes with identifying and naming common experiences and fears— this is the foundation of shame resilience.

It’s with a gentle nudge and prompt from my sweet girl that I finally post a little picture and three things that I like about myself. It will never be a selfie–I can’t fix everything over night. But, it is definitely without makeup or filters and maybe captures me at the most vulnerable I’ve been in the last 40 years.

photom
Good drugs that lasted 30 minutes at a time.

As far as what I like about myself? It’s actually pretty simple:

  • I’m a good mama
  • I treat others the way I want to be treated
  • I make an awesome banana cream pie

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. It was difficult to write. Special thanks to my sweet Tanna. You heal me more than you’ll ever know and I want to be just like you when I grow up. Have a great first day of being a college Junior!! xo

~~~~~

Now, it’s your turn! What three things do you like about yourself? What is your take on the selfie craze? What are your shame triggers?

If you are interested in reading/hearing more from Brene’, I highly recommend the following video series: The Power of Vulnerability. Here’s a sample from one of her TED talks where she addresses shame and vulnerability. She’s funny, authentic and will fill your day gut-punching honesty.

 

 

 

 

109 thoughts on “Selfie-Concious

  1. One of the things I love most about your writing is its honesty, humbleness and genuine appreciation for the things that make life the wonderfully flawed place it is. Clearly, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to your lovely Tanna. It’s no wonder she was able to inspire this thoughtful, insightful post — and no surprise you rose to the “challenge” of being you 😉

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    1. Wow. Thank you so much, Ned. Your words hit me at the heart and that’s a good thing. I almost didn’t write this–doing so made me practice what I preach.
      I also need to smile–the characteristics you like about my writing are the same ones I love about yours! You can’t go wrong when it’s from the heart…even if that heart is a little nicked up 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m ok with selfies because I can make myself look like I think I really do, which never happens when someone else takes a picture of me. Whenever someone else takes a picture of me, I look just like my mother (the 72 year old version, not the 44 year old version). I was bullied as a kid so one of my biggest triggers is when I feel like people (especially women) are ganging up on me. I go from an acceptable level of vulnerability to full armor in a second. Your daughter is absolutely beautiful and I can see where she gets it from! I love the picture you shared of yourself. It brought tears to my eyes. And now I’ll be craving banana cream pie all day. 🙂 xxoo

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    1. Oh yes, I don’t like being ganged up on either!
      I’ve seen your self-portraits and I DO love them. In fact, I found the one you sent of you and your daughter a few months back and I absolutely treasure it. This post is truly the result of a Universal shake of women like you and my daughter who push me to be better.
      I didn’t mention that I don’t like pictures that others take of me either. The best ones are those that I don’t are being taken or have someone I love on the other side of the camera. It lets me look at them instead of the lens and a photo is always good when it’s reflecting love.
      Your post on Healing was the final straw that I just needed to buck up and do this. Thanks for the unintended nudge..it was all I needed. xo

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  3. This is a great, honest post. You have given me something to think about – my shame triggers – which is something I hadn’t given much thought to before.

    I oscillate between vanity and truly not thinking I’m all that. But I *do* take selfies, which I see as a by-product of dating again. I also take them with my son because nobody else ever took pictures of us. And I agree with the comment that you can control how you are seen….I rarely like pics taken by someone else. I generally think I look heavy.

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    1. Hi Ann!
      I’m so glad you posted your “Spam” post today…I would have never found this!!
      Thank you for stopping and taking the time to comment–the subject has me a bit hungover and was worried that it may have caused others to feel badly about their own triggers. I’m not used to having so much discussion on one of my topics.

      Deep Breath.

      I’m grinning from ear to ear because, like you, the few selfies I have are of my son and myself or my daughter and myself. I know you can’t determine a person’s appearance by their words or voice, but if I were to guess…you are just as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside! Add to that, your larger-than-life confidence and generosity…it’s no wonder you’re a man-magnet (in case you didn’t notice–I just named your “three”!)

      Thank you again for stopping and reading. It means a lot to me. xo

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  4. Now that you know what the triggers are, you can whittle away at their power over you.

    I don’t worry about my good or bad qualities. I can live with myself (and so can my girl). that’s enough for me.

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  5. I started taking selfies at the request of my therapist, of all people. I hadn’t had a picture taken outside of work IDs for years. Like someone else said, I could take dozens until my chin didn’t look as chubby and my expression didn’t look as goofy. I was posting them on here for a while too as part of related blogs, but then I stopped. Yes, I got some negative feedback, but mostly I just could not “face” myself like that all the time. All part of my ongoing issues. Do I stll try to take them, hoping for the perfect picture? Or trying to represent myself as not as flawed? Yes. I have to make sure I don’t get obsessed with it though, as I am wont to do with so many other things when it comes to image, etc.

    OK. All that said, you and your daughter are beautiful, inside and out 🙂

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    1. Hey Sheena,
      You just expressed a lot of what I left out. My experience on the deck was as you described. Lines, creases, bug eyes…ugh and then avoiding the obsession. It’s why I deleted the pictures. I do remember seeing your pictures and honestly, I really do miss seeing your smiling face. You are one of the most generous and honest people I know…let your light shine pretty girl. You’re beautiful insides definitely match your beautiful outsides. xo

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  6. I understand much of what you wrote here. I don’t take compliments well. I don’t like pictures of myself. I could probably easily name three things I like about myself, but could even more easily find MORE things I don’t like about myself.

    Honestly, I just try not to think about myself at all. That way I’m not focusing on good or bad.

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    1. Hey TD,
      I think you and I have had similar conversations before and it’s an unfortunate reality. I’m with you on the not “thinking about myself.” until I’m forced to. The best part was the text message from my daughter this morning. She loved the post and said she loved me. That’s all that really matters in the scheme of things and I know you get that part, too.
      As always, I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

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  7. I love this and I don’t have time right now to re-read it 47 times, because I will have to to make sense for myself about it.
    But I do want to say that I now have a piece of paper stuck to my refrigerator with a magnet that says :
    “Don’t shrink – don’t puff up. Stand on your own sacred ground”.
    That sacred ground is the middle way and I need to be reminded all the time….
    beautiful post, beautiful Tanna, beautiful Michelle.
    (I have started and stopped a post about aging…which would probably be my shame point and has to do with all of these other things…maybe I will finish it, take that as my challenge)
    xo

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    1. I’m so honored that something from my wandering thoughts made it to your refrigerator. I would love to see the scraps of paper you keep and hold and wait on for a response.
      And oh, the aging. Don’t get me started on my triggers around that. I didn’t have enough room or guts to tackle in this post. Thank goodness I have YOU for that. I’ll be here patiently waiting…there’s no time limit on bravery, baby.
      Love you! xo

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  8. Good Morning Gorgeous!

    So many things to which I relate… where to start? I laughed out loud about the line “and I’m not fishing for compliments…” I say or write that every time I admit something about which I feel insecure, or less than. It’s like a defense mechanism… I’m not telling you this for you to stroke my ego, alright!?!

    Well, in this case, too bad! Because Michelle, as the kids say these days, you are tots gorg, girl! I have yet to see a picture of you, including the one above, where I don’t think that you are so beautiful. And I am not just saying that, I really and truly mean it… every picture I have seen of you on your blog I have thought the word “beautiful.”

    Which I know is not at all the point of this post, I just wanted you to file that information away. In terms of Brene Brown (and I will be sitting down and watching, after I blog myself, and go back-to-school shopping), you simply wrote a few lines of how she described shame and I was transported back in time to two different childhood incidents. So small were these events, and yet… you defined shamed and I was reliving them like a movie projector was playing in my head. Powerful stuff is shame, and I’m almost shaking my head in wonder… why were these small moments in time so powerful for me? I guess I really do need to watch the TED Talks to figure out what to do next.

    I really loved how you wrote about Scott making the comment to you, you identifying your internal reaction to it. That’s the kind of growth that helps the rest of us who read. Recognition is such an important first step, and often overlooked and undervalued. Well done, Michelle!

    Finally, and least importantly, thank you for tipping me off to the next FB nonsense I have to look forward to. Maybe I can get a jump on it and nominate myself just to get it over with 🙂

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    1. Hi Josie!
      I read your comment this morning and am just now getting some composure to respond. First of all, you are too kind…like always! And thank you (I’m working on accepting compliments!)
      If you want a place to start with Brene’, her book The Gifts of Imperfection is fantastic as well as the audio series I mentioned. I’ve actually been through the audio DVDs twice and it seems that it might be time to do it again. Hubby was just here in the office talking to me and recapped what he saw when I tried to get the pictures. He said that he didn’t have any idea how deep-seeded this stuff (shame!) can be.
      Isn’t it crazy…we all know that “beauty is only skin deep,” but dang it…we really want that skin to be smooth and pock-free!!
      As always, I love it when you stop by and add your valuable perspective. You’re a gift (and miracle!) to me every day.

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  9. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this. We are a nation of people who have been raised with the beliefs that we are not good enough, shame, blame, and other negative feelings. And they are instilled in us at very young ages by adults who are motivated by fear and a need to control little one’s behaviors. If you were able to go back to the very first time you were told that a very normal feeling (being proud of your appearance) was a deadly sin, and have that little girl in you totally understand that she was perfect, and that the nun was motivated by fear (because she had been taught that if she had this normal feeling, then she won’t get into heaven), allowing that little girl in you to understand the bigger picture would change that belief and would change you in a minute. This is the sort of stuff I’ve done in hypnosis. And because the conscious monkey mind is quiet, it can’t interfere with the process. I, myself, have been ashamed because I had gotten so very large. What our society doesn’t understand in general, is that when someone uses food to the extent that they are morbidly obese, it’s not about food. It’s about a person in pain trying to not be in pain. But now that I’ve healed what was underneath all of why I became so big, I’m much more open about having my picture taken, and about sharing pictures of myself. I’m still quite large, and that’s ok. And I’m shrinking. In fact, I took a big step and finally let my blog readers see me for the very first time in my latest post.

    I love it when people get honest and real and show their flaws. We are all human and everyone has some issue. Great piece!

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    1. Hi Susan!
      Thank you for a fantastic comment and perspective. Brene’ even has some interesting research on the impact of 9/11 on this country and the trail of broken spirits it left in the wake of the national tragedy. It’s too extensive for me to get into here, but it’s fascinating rings true on so many levels.
      How awesome you happened to have posted your first picture on your most recent post. I saw it this morning and remember thinking, “Oh yay!! I love putting a name to a face!” I’m glad you are more open to having your picture taken because you’ve got a light inside that can be a beautiful beacon for others…much like the awesome lighthouses you just finished photographing. You have many gifts and talents and I feel blessed that you share them with me. Thank you again for stopping by and taking the time to comment! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow! Shame! Okay…that’s a name for it.

    Self-hatred, for so many reasons, has been my constant companion since childhood when I was first led to understand that I was a burden and pretty well repulsive, unattractive and otherwise not worth anything, and certainly the cause of far more hassle than I *was* worth.

    My sub-conscious still speaks down to me in the highly critical tones my dad used, though it tends to be crueler than he ever was, I think because I’ve somehow taken his thoughts about my person and amplified them with every self-perceived failure.

    I’m good at that (wait…that wasn’t the right kind of statement?…ack!)

    But selfies…they don’t really bother me too much. I don’t like them, and I don’t ever like my photograph, but they serve to underline my own assumptions about myself and how I look. Pretty much all I see is ugly, and I don’t wear makeup (except on VERY special occasions) because I would rather fail ordinarily than fail having tried. I am *intensely* vain (if, by ‘vain’, you mean image-conscious) yet I never meet any kind of hoped-for expectation.

    And on the odd occasion that I really cannot stand the photograph I have on my social media sites, for one moment longer, and I change it, I say ‘thank you’ very politely for all the compliments which inevitably come the way of anyone updating a picture, and I take them with no credence at all, after all – people *are* objectively ugly – variation in the gene pool dictates that not everyone will be beautiful – and yet everyone gets comments on their latest photo saying things like “beautiful” and “so pretty” from their friends, no matter what they look like.

    There are other things, too. I guess you don’t want an essay in your comments, and sorry about this, but it tapped into something huge for me, so I’m really, really, really pleased you worked up the guts to post this post. I appreciate it HUGE. Thank you.

    And before I get called out…

    1, I have fabulous friends
    2. My family love me
    3. I cook well.

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    1. Dear Lizzi,
      First of all, I absolutely loved that you wrote an “essay” in the comments! This type of discussion is exactly what needs to happen if we truly want to support and help each other. There were so many parts to your note that reached right out to my heart, but this was the sentence that really got me.

      My sub-conscious still speaks down to me in the highly critical tones my dad used, though it tends to be crueler than he ever was, I think because I’ve somehow taken his thoughts about my person and amplified them with every self-perceived failure.

      Isn’t it amazing that we can be so much more cruel to ourselves than to a perfect stranger or someone we might consider an “enemy.” It’s heartbreaking and certainly not solved over night. That said, I look at your list of three and sense the hope that the people who love you can help show you the way. Even as a new friend, I can see your light shine from miles away. You have so many gifts–let the world see them!!
      On a less serious note…I’m a bad blogger friend!! How I have not followed you up to this point???!? I thought I was! No wonder I wasn’t seeing anything new from you. I have some catching up to do!
      Thank you so much for stopping by, reading and commenting today. I was just telling hubs how hard this was to write and even harder to publicize. It’s women like you who make it worth the angst. Sending you virtual hugs and love. xo

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      1. Thank goodness you didn’t mind the essay! I tend to rather let my thoughts run away with me sometimes, and thank you hugely for the considered reply. I appreciate it.

        My friends are trying, bless them, to show me the light, and I fear it’s rather a thankless task, as I’m very good at rejecting or discrediting every nice thing they say. It’s a nasty habit and really I should try harder to stop it in its tracks. I do understand that they genuinely mean what they say – to *them* these things are true. Which is important and nice and should be full of warm fuzzies, but I always feel slightly as though these nice attributes don’t ‘belong’ to me, or as though some day, they’ll find out what I’m REALLY like…if that makes sense.

        You’re right though – we really do make life very much crueler for ourselves than we’d ever DREAM of doing to someone else – even an enemy. I suppose because we know how painful it is to be on the receiving end of such thoughts – perhaps it even renders us more merciful and more compassionate as a result? I know I have more sympathy and empathy for those who are struggling with things like depression and low self-image because I *know* those thoughts and those patterns of behaviour.

        Silly thing is, it makes my heart sad when I see it happen in friends, and feels deserved when I see it in myself. Go figure.

        I’m glad you think that (amongst others) my reading this made it worthwhile. I suppose in a way that’s rather validating all round 🙂

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      2. (and as to being a bad blogger – pffft! not even! – you responded here, and that was delightful. There are some who would claim you aren’t even obliged to do that, having said your piece. You certainly owe me nothing more, but I do appreciate the follow – thank you 🙂 )

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  11. I relate to so much of this post, MM! I think the selfie crazy has gone a bit overboard as it has sometimes fed into our narcissistic culture, BUT I don’t think it’s bad to celebrate your own beauty. Interestingly, I took an amazing picture the other day, and didn’t share it for fear of seeming boastful. There’s something wrong with that thinking. I should boast about my ability to see the beauty in myself.

    Three things I like about myself:

    (1) My sense of humor. Not only has it helped me get through life, but it’s also a great way to bond me to other people.

    (2) My generous heart. I feel like I was put on this earth to help others in some way, and I am always giving of myself.

    (3) My loyalty. I take secrets to the grave, I always have my friends’ best interest at heart, and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for someone I love.

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    1. Hey Jen!
      I love what you just wrote here…it makes me want to see your amazing picture and “boast” for you!! I also whole heartedly agree with the three items you mentioned. Whereas I don’t know about #3, I have no doubt it’s true. I’ve experienced your sense of humor and generous heart first hand and it’s actually saved me more than once. You sit on my “favorites” page for a reason dear friend. Thank you again for always taking the time to read and respond–it always makes my day to hear from you! xo

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  12. Read this. Identified with it big time. Gave me a lot to think about . . . I’ll have to get back to you after I have time to process and then re-read.

    P.S. I agree with everyone else: you are beautiful inside and out. Your daughter is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary,
      I’m completely humbled and amazed how this struck a chord with so many people…not necessarily a good thing, huh? Process away, my friend…that’s why I knew it had to be written.
      And thank you saying those sweet things about my girl. The best part of writing this was getting a text from her midday telling me how much she loved reading it.
      I hope you are doing great…I need to go over to your site to make sure I haven’t missed anything! Michelle

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  13. Too much to say on this and yet not enough. I could go on forever about what you spoke of here, but the other commenters beat me to it all. I am like TD in many ways where it’s easier to jump on what I am NOT good at, because it’s just that much easier and it’s a reflex motion. Selfies, unconscious behaviour, how we see ourselves, shame, vulnerability…you hit the mark on all of these with such few simple words. your brevity and economy of word, shackled to such humility and hearwarming notions is what makes this shine.

    Your best post yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Paul,
      “Your best post yet.” Wow! Thank you so much!
      You know that feeling, right? The words are there, but you’d just rather keep them to yourself and bottled up? Yep…that was me for several days until I listened and gave in. Thank you for being there to listen and respond. Your words and insights are so valuable to me and I feel blessed that our paths have crossed. Thank you:-)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”

    ~ Brené Brown

    I’d say your post / story and everyone here who responded with empathy and understanding kicked shame’s but to the curb. 😉 ❤

    RIP

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    1. Dear Victoria,
      One of my favorite memories is the first time I read your Freshly Pressed post on authenticity and vulnerability. It was one of my very first introductions to WP and I remember thinking I heard angels singing when I came across you (ironic, huh?!?!) Seriously, I was to excited to have found you. How comforting to know that we are NOT in this alone. I think Brene’ would be tickled to know that she brought us together. AND, I’m pretty sure she would feel comfortable using ass in her comments as well. Love you, girl! xo

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      1. Magical moments, my friend. I think Brene’ would agree. 🙂 I’ve grown a lot since that post and feel especially blessed to have met you. I’ve been spending a lot of time atrophying disadvantageous neural pathways that I consider energy vampires.

        I really resonate with this quote by Sam Harris:

        “Almost all our suffering is the product of our thoughts. We spend nearly every moment of our lives lost in thought, and hostage to the character of those thoughts. You can break this spell, but it takes training just like it takes training to defend yourself against a physical assault.”

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      2. OMGoogle. Sam’s words are so true. Just two weeks ago, I spent an entire weekend full of angst because I let my brain create situations that didn’t even exist. In the end, my friend and I laughed about what I was worried about…but, prior to that, I was ready to knock myself out with a hammer so I could stop the anxiety and wayward thoughts!
        My hubby liked the post, but still becomes astonished at what goes on inside this noggin of mine. At the risk of sounding sexist, I really would like to see what it’s like to have a man’s brain for an afternoon.Just sayin’ 🙂

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    1. Tee! Hee! I am totally cracking up, Victoria!
      I’m planning to be back at the computer tomorrow to respond properly (cuz I want to say more). But I had to hop on my phone and tell you how much I’ve been enjoying but, butt and butt. You are awesome and make me grin from ear to ear! Xo

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      1. 🙂 I am actually dropping her and my husband off later this morning. She hit mile 325 Sunday and we picked her up for 2 days rest. Now her daddy will hike with her the rest of the way to Canada. No cell service for 2 weeks!
        Thanks for the nudge…my next post will be an update w/some of her pix.

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  15. Michelle, the thing about shame is that it doesn’t really make you not-beautiful or not-enough. It only makes you see yourself that way. Other people still know you as the beautiful person you really are. You’re kind, compassionate, and courageous. Tanna is lucky to have you as a role model.

    Now where’s my banana cream pie?

    Like

  16. Nice post. That would be a hard one for me too–mainly because I hardly ever post on Facebook. I have a fear that I’ll sound like an idiot no matter what I post (although from what I’ve seen from a lot of others, I guess that’s the point). I don’t know you in person, but I agree already with your first 2 things–you are a great mother (I can always feel your love oozing out in your words for your kids), and you are so kind in your comments back to everyone. I don’t know about the banana cream pie, but if we ever meet, I’m all for verifying that one. Oh yeah! 3 things about me–I’m calm and don’t make waves, I love listening to people, and I love to try new hobbies. Selfies (for me) rank somewhere between cleaning toilets and smashing spiders.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Char,
      You always make me laugh and think. I had a visual of you and I cleaning toilets and smashing spiders while our more outgoing friends snapped selfies!
      Most of all, I loved reading the three things you like about yourself. Like you said, even though we haven’t met, I can definitely see the three things you mentioned. To be calm and not make waves is a gift. I’m sure that calmness helped you (and your family!) when you had your bicycle accident. You are definitely a great listener (you pick up on all of the best nuances!) and as for hobbies…I’d love to hear more about those. I’m a bit of a hobby hoarder myself.
      What you wrote about FB intrigues me, too. First of all, I can’t even imagine that you would ever sound like an idiot…it’s not in your nature. I have about one post/week with standard family pictures to reach the folks I don’t see near enough. That said, I always feel exposed or that I’m bragging/boasting. Why even post, right? Seriously, most days I could use a big ole dose of Char Calm (that should be a hot tea flavor!!).
      I’m rambling and I’m so sorry…you always make me think. I appreciate you and your friendship and am STILL waiting to hear about your book project. I haven’t missed it, have I?

      Like

      1. I use Instagram more for keeping in touch with family–and don’t want to post the same things on FB, so then I feel stumped as to what to write (Post–I ate green beans today. Yum. So delicious!…or Post–I’m still doing the same things I was doing yesterday and it’s pretty outside. I love Idaho….or Post–My boy is weird. Nothing more to be said)

        No, you didn’t miss the book project. With vacations this summer and trying to keep up with my fruit trees and other distracting things, I haven’t even touched it for weeks. Bad me! My daughter and her husband are coming into town this weekend though and she will have cover ideas for me. Maybe that will jumpstart me to finally finish.

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      2. No rush on my account…I ain’t going anywhere 🙂

        I laughed out loud at your FB posts–you have a wickedly wonderful sense of humor 🙂

        Now, on another topic. Someday you need to school me on fruit trees. I’m trying to talk the hubs into apples and peaches. As soon as I talk him into the greenhouse I have my eye on.

        Thanks for the book update, Char. Enjoy your kiddos this weekend (still newlyweds, right?)
        xo

        Like

      3. Yep, still under a year married. They’re dang cute together. And my only advice on apples is to NOT plant one. You have to spray a lot for worms on apples and it makes them very expensive for the layman to grow (at least I’ve n ever had good luck with mine). I cut all mine down and planted peaches and other fruit trees that weren’t so icky with the bugs. Don’t expect fruit for about 3 years once you plant a new tree. And if it does put out fruit, pick it off so the tree can put all its energy into growing strong branches. Keep them topped off low so when the fruit does come on after a few years, your branches don’t break off (and thin). They’re a lot of work, so only grow what you really love. I’m a little annoyed by my nectarines right now because they’re coming ripe right after I’ve exhausted my energies on the 2 peach trees (and I don’t find them near as delicious as peaches). Let me know if you end up planting something.

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      4. Oh, thank you, Char!
        I love the first hand account. I took a Master Gardener’s class last fall and remember thinking…'”fruit must be a lot of work.”
        That said, what beats fresh peaches and cream. YUM! Seriously, thank you for taking the time to fill me in on your experience…I may stick with veggies and flowers 🙂

        Like

  17. Oh, this post gets to me.

    Your honesty, your insightful reflections, your mother-love, your vulnerability.

    Your acceptance of all of yourself.

    Your beautiful daughter; her outside appearance, yes, but her inner appearance also shines. Part of that comes from having you as her mama.

    I too hate selfies, but have one I’m probably going to include in a post this weekend as it was taken during a few moments of absolute joy and raw emotion — all experienced alone, on the deck of a ship. I hate the way I look in it, but I *know* how *I* was feeling as I took it and it represents those emotions. I’m not really sure what direction this upcoming post will be taking, but I may include a link to this post of yours as you express yourself — and so many momma- and woman- emotions — in a way I don’t have the words for.

    And “shame trigger”? I’d never heard that expression before. More deep thoughts in store for me, I think.

    Thank you Michelle, as always, for a post that makes me think and reflect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cindi,
      Can you sense me jumping up and down in my chair like a toddler?!?! I’m so excited!
      Boat picture? It must mean that you got to sail on that lovely ship you mentioned a couple of weeks ago? I will be eager to read your post and see your picture. You outlined something very important in your comments as it relates to photos. The reason I love photos is because it forever captures a moment in time. Every time you see it, you remember who you were with, where you were and how you were feeling. Those memories are priceless and no matter how you might think you look…it’s always beautiful when it captures the joy and raw emotion you mentioned. That concept circles right back to my selfie issue. The only emotions and memories (for me) a selfie captures is the angst behind being on the other side of the lens. The favorite pictures of myself are those that my kids have spontaneously snapped…I don’t see the camera, I just see them and we all know how I feel about my kiddos 🙂
      As always, thank you for taking the time to stop and comment. I always learn from you and soak in all that you send. I can’t wait to see your post, Cindi! xo

      Like

      1. Thank you, Michelle, for such a genuine response to my comment. I wish I had time in the busy blogosphere of life to enjoy these conversation moments with everyone, but I’ll take the calm moments when I can … and be thankful I have bloggers like you who always seem to speak directly to me. (I’m sure your other followers feel the same way.)

        I’m glad for your toddler reaction. 🙂 If you have time, I have the first part of the post up already; it’s the one dated August 24th. (And, actually, there’s a teaser to THAT one dated two days before.) I’m trying to stretch out the anticipation and joy of the short trip … and also, I took SO MANY PHOTOS (my little point-and-shoot, rechargeable-battery camera ran out of juice just as we were getting back from the trip) that I realized it would be much too overwhelming (for me?) to share them all at once.

        “…a selfie captures is the angst…” yes, and the self-consciousness of being in charge of the exact moment that shutter snaps.

        I have an image of a much younger me that my now 31 year old daughter captured at her 6th grade class end-of-year picnic. It’s my favorite of all my “me” photos, but it sure isn’t me now on the outside!

        Our kids really bring out the best in us, don’t they, whether it’s moments together, or moments captured forever with a single click of the camera lens.

        My gravatar image is one that captured at another “pure joy” moment for me: my husband’s son’s 2012 wedding in New Zealand, when the Norwegian family had just finished singing the local Bergen song (in Norwegian) for the English-speaking Kiwis, and I had bumbled my way through it as an English-speaking-American-married-to-a-Norwegian part of the family, and had turned to our other daughter-in-law with laughter. The photographer captured me at that moment, and it represents the absolute love and emotions of that day.

        I wish you sunshine and happiness today, Michelle … with maybe a photo snapped to help you remember it?

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  18. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I admire the honesty of this post. You and I are cut from the very same cloth it seems. I’ve done the selfie thing from time to time but I am always hackled up and ready for the criticism for every flaw. The funny thing is…I’m the only one doing the criticizing. Like you, I never know how to accept a compliment.

    Three characteristics about myself: 1) I am strong. 2) I am good friend. 3) I am teachable.

    Wonderful post that leaves me with a lot to think about….thank you!

    Like

    1. Hi Sandy,
      Indeed…I thought we were cut from the same cloth from the very beginning. And to know we have similar frayed edges is a comfort, too!
      Two really great things came from the post–my daughter loved it and my husband of 23 years learned something new about me.
      I love the three that you’ve chosen for yourself and I have no doubt I’ll continue to see that emergence the more I get to know you. How awesome our paths crossed when they did.
      Thank you so much!!

      Like

  19. Well done Michelle, I’m very proud of you. That would have to be one of the biggie’s in life and you have gone through it like a master 🙂 I’ve also realized that I don’t have my picture up on my blog either. So I better go do some ‘selfie’s’ and see which one I’ll ‘allow’ onto my blog 🙂 Namaste

    Like

  20. I felt like you were working through this as you were writing, which is pretty powerful to me. And well done. As far as the vanity thing, I am. For sure. And would have denied that I was until two years ago when I refused to allow candid photos to be taken of me on Christmas morning by a relative notorious for posting bad pictures of people on Facebook. She called me out on my vanity, in a negative way. I called her out on her judgmental attitude. She was not better than me just because she didn’t care how she looked in photos. 🙂 So I suggest that you take some selfies. Not for posting… But so you can find your best angles for when others are doing the shooting. Hugs.

    Like

    1. Hi Marian,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop and comment. You are SO right…this post was a work in progress and had to hit publish before I changed my mind 🙂
      Not only was your “friend” judgmental…she was downright mean! Says way more about her than she probably cares to admit. Thank you again for stopping by to read and comment–I always love hearing from you. xo

      Like

  21. First off, let me start by saying that you look like an angel when you sleep. And that’s not meant to be creepy sounding, just true stuff. Your girl is Mama Next, the generous smile and the big spirit going on. How blessed are you . . . and the best part? You know it, and you’re grateful for it. That’s what it’s all about.
    As for the 3 things I love about myself?

    1- I love my loyalty. If you got my back, I’ll dig holes when you tell me you just done shot your worst enemy. I WILL ask questions later. . . but they won’t be judgmental. And they’ll be asked over scotch and cigars.
    2- Honesty. What I say is what I is. Okay . . . except for Cayman Thorn (Not my real name). Alright, forget about honesty….
    3- Resiliency- I’m forty seven and I feel like I’m seventeen. Not the unreality of seventeen that most Hollywood directors end up living, no. Just the “Fuck, I feel like I could run a marathon!” feeling I get when I wake up in the morning. And despite all that has come before, I still look forward to what happens next.

    Like

    1. Awww…you are always so kind and generous to me. I do believe that Tanna is Mama Next–an even better and upgraded version 🙂
      And, as far as the sleeping angel–isn’t that typically the best? Guards down, pretense gone… rest of the dead and completely still. The only time worries and angst are buried and forgotten. PLUS, with mama asleep–nobody is worried about keeping herhappy 🙂
      Now, to the best part and comments on your 3:
      1) I can totally see this part of you. I have a friend who would help me drag the bodies, too and I thank the heavens for her every day.
      2) You are definitely honest–it’s the best part of your writing. Mark Twain had a pen name, too 😉
      3) First of all–YOUNG PUP! Oh, to be 47 again…Secondly–resilience is worth its weight in gold, no?
      If I may, let me a 4th to your top 10: Gratitude. You often comment on my characteristics in this arena–Takes a grateful person to know one. It shines from your space like a beacon…or like the moon 😉

      Like

  22. Ummm…holy cow! Am I ever sorry ERRR GLAD that I decided to click on your blog, after your poignant post on Dani’s latest…

    you just turned me inside out and upside down…I am a wreck with lotsa stuff raked up…and right there ready for Lady Grace to start skimming off.

    Thank you! It hurts so good!

    I really related to what you said about being humble…it is a huge priority for me too, and a struggle, ‘cuz with so many shame issues it is insidious how pride can masquerade as humility in self put-downs and self-hatred.

    I once asked Lady Grace what the definition of pride was…and quick and bright as mercury She said in my heart “Pride is the awareness of, the focus on, and the exaltation of self. Now Baby” (She calls me Baby), “I want you to define humility for Me!”

    Well…umm…I got it after a bit…substitute God for self, and you are there in the humble hall of fame…for real…the one where no one even knows your name cus they are too busy: being aware of, focusing on, and exalting God.

    I am following your posts now…an tremblin skert too! But your words taste sweet and they feel balanced and lithe and limber thrumming in my mind’s hand as I turn them over and heft them.

    Thanks so very much…Sincerely, Charissa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Charissa,
      Your sweet, funny and insightful words came across my phone just as I was heading into a football game yesterday…your spirit and light caught me immediately, and I knew your comment warranted much more than a “Thank you so much” as I was getting ready to scream my lungs out for the game.
      You say so many wise things in here, but the best was the part about substituting God for self. Seems simple, right? We are crazy, unique and imperfect humans and it’s folks like you who keep me writing and expressing, er, exposing my innards.
      Thank you so much for stopping by…and friend of Dani’s is a friend of mine!
      Michelle

      PS: Don’t be skert…most of my stuff isn’t this deep 😉

      Like

  23. Thank you for this Michelle…for real! I am anticipating such fruitful exchanges, and all sort of like the best walks in the forest and times by still lakes and mountain top sunsets and coffee gabberings…and tears soaking clothes and snot not even noticed and sitting quiet and under the mercy…

    …all crammed into one sort of “thing”

    Like

  24. Like any selfie photograph could ever possibly capture all of your beauty… Though that one you posted came close. 😉
    I understand though. I’ve never felt compelled to post selfies on FB or any social media. I’m not a fan of social pressure anyway, but that’s another topic…I don’t think it’s bad of us to want to put our best face forward though, as long as it’s still authentic.
    Be gentle with yourself. You’re beautiful inside and out, flaws and all. Theres a difference between vanity and confidence. Confidence inspires itself in others…and you my dear are very inspiring.
    Hope this made sense. Sleep deprivation… xoxo

    Like

    1. My dear Christy,
      If this paragraph is a result of sleep deprivation, then you should start cutting back hours 🙂
      Confession: I almost asked to put this on your site under the Braveheart Chronicles instead of mine. BUT, I knew that would be a really a chicken-s**t cop-out and not true to what the series is supposed to represent. Not true to what I want to represent to my girl or myself. It was a worthwhile jump off the ledge 😉

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are always so good to take the emotional and make it a tangible learning experience for me. I had never thought about the difference between confidence and vanity and you explained it so well in one single sentence. The “desire to inspire” was the reason I wrote this in first place and a text message from my girl last week was the only thing I needed to know that I had done the right thing.

      Thanks for always being so good and honest with me. Now, I’m going to run off and find some chocolate before I get too mushy. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Oh, Michelle, my heart is pounding so fast…this may come out all wrong, but somehow I know you’ll bear with me. First of all, I love your posts. I love how the heart of your message always hits me in my center, blossoming there. How reading what you have to share is my joy. And letting myself marinate in your words, is a gift I give myself.

    And this?? Well this is just SO transparent and organic and authentic that I nearly stood up while reading, arms outstretched to you…in your neck of Our woods, hoping that you’d receive the affection, the Knowing that we share. Hoping.

    And thankful.

    A million thank you’s for calling out your ugly, which when faced with heart and soul, becomes your beauty.

    And a million more for making me consider my own.

    Your questions:

    1. What three things do you like about yourself?
    2. What is your take on the selfie craze?
    3. What are your shame triggers?

    My responses:

    1. I See people as they are, where they are. I dance well. I’m closer to becoming the me God intends for me to be.
    2. I take too many, but don’t send them anywhere. Why I keep trying to see if my outsides reflect my insides is beyond me.
    3. My main shame trigger is my childlessness and feeling unworthy as a woman because of it.

    Like

      1. Awww…thanks Michelle. Finding the things is easy enough…but finding the courage to put it up here about me is the rub…particularly the shame ones…though, as I think on it, it may be easier to say those things than say the things I like about myself! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

    1. My dear Dani,
      I felt that warm hug of yours and sent it right back 100-fold. In fact, that’s about all that I can do because the words aren’t coming very well. You humble me with your kindness and my heart swelled with each sentence.
      How long have I known you? About 4 weeks? In that short time, I can DEFINTELY see that your beautiful outsides match your beautiful insides and oh, how I wish I had some of your dance moves 🙂 This chica cannot dance to save my life (unless you count swing dancing where the hubs does all the work!)
      Admittedly it’s your shame trigger that stops me in my tracks and makes me wish for wise words and a way that I could take away the pain of your childlessness. I can’t even begin to imagine that pain and I keep you in my prayers every day. My sister and my best friend both struggled with infertility, but that knowledge doesn’t help you, I know. In fact, my first impulse is to share their stories, but I know that’s only to make me feel better. Since I can’t fix it or say any words that will be right…I’ll just send you virtual hugs and a multitude of prayers and hope that it’s enough. You have a gift and a mother’s heart, Dani…God is just waiting for the perfect time. xo

      Like

      1. Totes agree!! In sooo many ways Dani has been a mom to me as I have been figuring things out in this strange walk of a virtual adolescent girl experiencing puberty (literally, with HRT) inside a body that has been around this planet for 5 and a half decades and carries with it all those memories.

        Her cheerfulness, her sensitivity, her encouragement, and most of all, her presence (yes, somehow she manages to be present with me, across miles and time…when I am skert I can feel her touch just calming me, reminding me who I am, and above all that she is staunchly there, “mine” as my friend)…

        …these are the essence of motherhood’s honor and quest given from God…

        …I continue to thank Them everyday for her life, and earnestly ask from my earthly perspective infused with heavenly longing that They would bless her with the deepest desires and longings of her soul.

        Like

      2. Michelle, thank you for this recognition:

        “In fact, my first impulse is to share their stories, but I know that’s only to make me feel better.”

        My husband and I are in NC celebrating our 10th anniversary. I had a scary episode on the beach Sunday and was helped by a couple from Ohio (gotta love Midwesterners). Anyway, they invited us to their beach house last night. And there we were, standing before a firing squad of questions (it was them and five other couples, all family). And I knew it was coming…just knew it.

        “So,” K pipes up, “why don’t you have any kids?” We looked at each other and hubby responds, “We lost 3 babies.” And then there was S.i.l.e.n.c.e. You know the kind…Sticky like right after you’ve blown the perfect bubblegum bubble. And it pops…on face, in hair, “up” nose. You know.?.?.? And you’re stunned even though you Knew it was coming.

        We feel awkward, they feel horrible, so then come the stories of so-and-so who lost 10 babies only to have 4 healthy ones. “So there’s hope, you see.” It’s implied, of course, but there are those that tell you your time is coming. Just be patient. Have more faith, more heart, less pain.

        But slowly, albeit SLOWLY, I’m realizing that perhaps God’s vision of me and design For me is even bigger than I had imagined. Perhaps I wasn’t created to be a Mother of one or two, in the traditional sense, but a “Mother” of many in the sense of the heart. And you know what?? That would be okay. Really. Will it take away the pain I feel when I see a child looking into its mother’s eyes, softening into her embrace?? No, it won’t. But it will make those moments worth it. And the shame I’ve felt and feel now for the graveyard that is my uterus?? It will make that worth it too.

        **If I’ve “said” too much, I’m sorry. I just had to respond**

        With tremendous heart,
        Dani

        Liked by 1 person

      3. *Charissa tugs at Dani’s sleeve while hopping up and down *

        Mama come help me with my freaking hair! All the other kids look fab and I look like a poodle that had a run in with a riding lawn mower!

        *Dani looks at me only slightly peeved and says* gotta run Michelle, my daughter needs me and she freaks out til I help * and then smiles affectionately… Rissa scurries away thinking she just MIGHT survive*

        All my way of saying that you are the goods, Dani. I am and am becoming even more living proof… And just first fruits…

        Liked by 2 people

      4. You can never say too much, dear Dani. My place is your place and I’m honored that you trust me with your story. It’s not ever an honor that I will take for granted. I promise. xo

        Like

  26. I know you didn’t write this to elicit compliments, but you ARE beautiful in every way. You demonstrate it so eloquently in this rich, thoughtful, and stunning essay — a sense of humility, courage, understanding of self, persistence, banana cream pies, all of the comments already confirming all of the wonderful things I think about you. I totally get why your daughter has turned out to be a lovely human being. And I just know if we lived in the same town, we would be best friends. Muuaaah.

    Like

    1. Hey Meggie! (Sorry, you probably hate that…but that’s what I would call you if you lived here!)
      Thank you for the kind words. This post has been a roller coaster for sure. So much so, that I’ve not been able to write anything meaningful since. The gifts have been people like you who have commented and made me feel less exposed and vulnerable and okay with putting myself out there just a little bit more than normal. In fact, this post will fulfill my serious side for awhile…it’s something for a little lighter, no?
      Your friendship is truly a gift and I can see us sharing banana cream pie while we talk about our sunflowers and poetry attempts. Muaahhh back atchya!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Hi Mama! I read your post when you published it, but have been thinking a bout it since. I giess I don’t like listing good points about myself, so I procrastinated. Ha! To answer your question, I feel that I am truthful, make a good friend and make a mean Cheeze Whiz sandwich. Ha! So there.

    Hey you took your Jammies to the hospital! That’s awesome and so much more comfortable than those gowns that close in the rear (or rather don’t quite close) You look pretty comfortable in that bed. I find the stay is much helped with good drugs, so I hope you got more than your fair share.

    Your daughter, Tanna, is indeed beautiful – as I would expect from such a beautiful Mama. You look great even asleep in a hospital bed. To be honest with you Mama it surpised me that you consider yourself to have a vanity problem. You are beautiful and it shines from the inside out, meaning you will be beautiful even if you fall in a mud puddle and you will be beautiful as long as you live. Your physical attributes are also very attractive, and the beauty shining from within is amazing.

    See? and because you said you don’t like compliments, I kept it down. Imagine if I hadn’t.

    If you feel vain that is indeed something that you should address, but i can tell you that you don’t have to worry about your beauty, it is natural and God-given and it will not abandon you. And as the Bible says so clearly: Do not cover your light with a basket. So, git that basket off your head Mama, and take a deep breathe, you’re beautiful and you’re stuck with it. 😀

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    1. Dear Paul,
      Thank goodness you told me about the “spam” problem…I would have never seen your kind and gracious words. Seriously, you have me a bit misty this morning. I also loved hearing your three and can certainly see all three points easily (cheez whiz…um yes!!!)
      Your friendship and the light that shines within you is certainly a gift that I don’t take for granted. “Do not cover your light with a basket”….just great words and some I will start living by…right this moment!
      Blessings, dear Paul!

      Like

  28. I’ve posted many a selfie since I started blogging and being active on social media. Before that, not so much. Definitely vanity, definitely a dislike for the way I looked. I have a lot of regret about this, because there are very few photos of me doing so many of the things I love to tell stories about.

    I think selfies are like everything else– all over the place in terms of being any one thing, or black and white. Sure, I’ve totally scoffed at that person who shares the exact same photo every day with the exact same facial expression just with a different outfit, but– I think it can also be good to share those moments that you feel like you look good. Nothing wrong with that. But we should probably be good with sharing photos where we DONT look good, because that’s just part of life and I think it can be weirdly healing to embrace it. Who knows! Loved this post though, definitely thought provoking and very honest. Shame triggers are something we should all think about and identify. I’m still discovering some of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Aussa,
      I always LOVE your point of view…I truly do! You have a wise old soul inside the body and spirit (and face!) of a twenty year old. This post was so hard to write and the piece that I left out was my envy. I guess I’m going to confess it now!
      I absolutely love to see self-photographs of people who are confident, in love with life and are comfortable with themselves. I totally agree with your assessment on sharing those moments where we feel like we look good. It’s powerful, right? Pictures like that also capture memories of happy events and when it feels like, “Yeah, baby…I’m awesome!”
      I’m just so envious that I can’t do it! I could get all tangled up again, but let me say…I love seeing selfies of you! No lie. Your smile, your inner light and complete honest and authentic self show through each time. It’s admirable and inspiring. I see the same thing when I see my daughter’s social media posts and just thank God that she’s more like her daddy than me 🙂
      I used to be scared of shame triggers, but I find the more I bring them to surface and address…the quicker they disappear. Purty sure I’ll be darned near perfect by the time I’m 80.
      Always love to hear from you! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Mama Mick…I did sumfin dumb…I tole our Big Mama (Holy Spirit) that I would post my reply about this challenge if I saw another comment in my inbox on it…truth is I thought it was old enuff the comment flurry was past!!

    Um…so this is hard, but Ima do it. Please don’t laff and please don’t gush and (Okay, Stop it Rissa, that is just your fears!!).

    Things I like about myself:
    I love God. Even when I was really little, I would run around saying I loved God. This is not a spiritually arrogant comment or a brag…somehow there is just that connection written into me, and I wrote a long epic poem about it called Haunted By A Lovely God…http://charissagrace.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/haunted-by-a-lovely-god/

    I love to encourage people, and I am good at it. Cus I connect with their soul, in my gut, and I see a future for them in my spirit with God eyes

    I can make food and create celebrations that have “that sound”…you know…the sound of many voices, buzzing, punctuated by laughter and occasionally shouts, lulls of quiet while one person shares, and common union in song.

    Somehow, all of those things have some common thread. And we are supposed to be honest. Well, that is the honest truth about me, and it is real, and staggering when it happens. (Please know that I would never EVER say that out loud before…and when people would say thank you, or compliment me, I would push it away, and pile doggie doo on it and debase myself in hatred of myself, and end up tainting that person’s experience…sorry, everyone I did that to…truly sorry, and I don’t do that anymore!!)

    The selfie craze: I posted an interesting article on that and so will refer to my comments about it here http://charissagrace.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/confession-time-i-have-never-taken-a-selfie/

    in short, I now take a few selfies…cringe, and then take my thumb off the trash icon, and show them to my darling, or to Heather.

    Shame triggers…(tears now)

    Shame that I am alive…I never should have been, I am null. (I know this is not true, in my mind, but until recently, that was the core of my heart, side by side with God loving me and me loving God)

    Shame that I wanted to kill myself, and shame that I was too skert to do it, the pain, and the horror to those I love…and shame that I would even consider hurting them

    Shame for being stuck in a body that is a desert island, aching to be made right, and then even deeper shame cus this body is a good one if you are male and want to be big and strong and vigorous, etc. But I am NOT big or strong…in who I am, and I never have been…but everyone thinks I am, and so shame on shame on shame

    There it is…out there raw.

    In spite of the last 3 I am harping of the first 3, especially loving God. I am convinced that the key to overcoming shame is asking for and developing a clearer and clearer picture of God and Their Heart…2 Corinthians 3:18 says that as we behold Jesus, even if darkly as though thru a dirty glass, that we are transformed by degrees into His likeness and glory…

    …another way of saying that is: you become what you behold. And that is my profound truth!! So I am looking, always trying to see Him…in the trees and in the wind, in the glint of that baby-laugh and in the sway of the hair as someone talks…in the strength of a dad walking his daughter and in the freedom of the boys shooting baskets…and always in the heart of everyone I meet…always…

    Please…i am pretty skert to hit post, but I am. So here it is…here I am.
    Charissa the Redeemed…the Grateful Glad Gleam of Grace

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    1. You are one amazing lady, dear Charissa. I think it’s completely awesome that your trigger to share would be another comment. It was a comment (from Paul) that almost didn’t happen because got accidentally buried in spam. You were meant to come back and shine your light. I’m sooo glad you did.
      Like you, I’m going to harp on your fabulous three! What beautiful gifts you have and I already know that there are more than three. You should have also added bravery.
      You speak of many things I know nothing about and yet, your words and inner light continue to draw me in like a bug to a zapper. That’s God’s light within you–ain’t no way he was going to let you leave this world too early. You’ve got big things to do, my dear and I feel blessed to have crossed your path.
      I can’t wait to go back and read the two articles you noted. Feel free to drop in any time. No need to be skert here–it’s a safe place. xo

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      1. Michelle, I am truly touched by your go-go-gadget heart and soul. Thank you for being another safe place for my dearest friend, Charissa, to fall.

        You are cherished.

        Like

  30. Oh my god, where is Courageous in your list!? Michelle, this is such an amazing piece of writing and such an open and honest piece of your heart! It so aptly describes the things I have struggled with, worked with, tried to grow into over the past 15 months of getting to re-know myself. Sometimes I feel that my non-fiction posts are skirting an issue I’m not even fully aware of, that I’m not tapping into what is truly on my mind and not sharing enough truth. This post is a wonderful example of how to get to the heart of the matter. You are a fabulous example 🙂

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    1. Oh my goodness!
      Thank you so much. Isn’t it nice to know that we aren’t alone in our struggles? Personally, I think you do a very courageous job when you write non-fiction. In fact, I love it when folks in our Yeah Write group share bits and pieces of their lives. Sometimes it’s easier to hide behind beautifully written fiction, no?
      “I feel that my non-fiction posts are skirting an issue I’m not even fully aware of”
      You hit the nose on the head! I do the same thing and I’ve almost taken this post down several times because it is so revealing.
      So, thank you dear friend, I’ll keep it up as it seems to be relevant to many.
      And, regarding your own bravery…it shines within and I can see it all the way from here!! xo

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