The Former Me

I look back on the former me
Pretending I had all the answers
Faking my way through the things I was supposed to know
Looking confident and feeling scared

It used to be so difficult
The endless struggles
The lack of belief in myself
The daily fight for relevance

I’m glad to be older now
A little more sure of myself
A little more confident
Ready to make better choices

No longer plagued by the ills of my younger self
Knee jerk reactions and bad decisions
Confusion and self – doubt
Wondering when I’m going to figure it out

I look back on the former me
Yesterday was so long ago

You Write

You write because it looks
So goddamned good on paper
You write because it feels
So deliciously cathartic to let go
You write because
You want to connect
You write because
You are disconnected
You bleed on the paper
Because it’s the only appropriate place
You fight with words
Because people can be too fragile
You write as if
It matters
You write as if
You can
You write and then
It matters
You write and then
You can

You write because you are running out of goddamned paper

How I Hope You Define Beauty

Beauty has many definitions.

I first saw beauty as a way to fill a hole. If I could only find this person, I believed, then I would feel better. Beauty was an insecurity, something that I could get from the outside to fill in the inside.

This definition broke my heart over and over.

From there, beauty was an object to be had. A conquest of sorts. I found beauty in what I could have, and quickly discard, what I could hold up to the world and say look what I’ve achieved. Beauty was a victory, yet I could never be the winner.

This definition lead me to hurt others.

I then saw beauty as a way to fill a need. A functional desire to identify someone that could fill in my missing pieces, be good around people when I wasn’t, to cheer me up when I am sad, or to convince me to better myself when I wouldn’t.

This definition kept me from feeling love.

Finally, as I could find no complete example of beauty on the outside, I had to look in the mirror. I had to start with how I defined myself, how I felt about myself, and define beauty as within myself.

This is not an easy task.

It requires being ok with the parts you wish you did not have. It requires the understanding that those who would say you are not beautiful are simply stuck in the wrong definition, looking outside of themselves. And it means knowing that you are whole and complete on your own.

You are beautiful.

Three of the hardest words we can say are; I am beautiful. I encourage you to say them daily, in front of a mirror if you are really brave. When we see beauty in ourselves, when we are happy with ourselves, when we don’t need anyone to give us these things, we are best positioned to see beauty in others. I encourage you to see others in this light, through seeing the beauty in yourself first.

Beauty, therefore, is defined by you.

Because you are beautiful, you have the power to ignore those whose definition does not match yours. Because you are beautiful, you have the power to see the unique parts in yourself as they are, magnificent. Because you are beautiful, you have the power to change the world, as you see it in ways that few are brave enough to imagine.

You are the definition of beauty.

And I hope you feel the same.

In Defense of Normal

We get up
Brush our teeth
Get dressed, drive to work, do our job, drive home, watch tv, sleep
The desperate cycle of the normal we hate

The same discussion, the same people
The same job, the same paycheck
The same arguments and the same outcome
Silent expectations of the normal we know

It’s not something we want
The same everyday
But it is something to consider
When it’s taken away

A phone call, an alarm, a confession, an explosion
The sounds that make time stand still
They signal tragedy through silence on the other line
They quietly end the normal we know

The death of a job, a relationship or a dream
The death of our safety, of our hope and of our sleep
It’s a merger, an accident, a person, or a gunman
Is it a disruption in normal or the beginning of new?

What happens when the silence breaks
And the expectations are no more
When quiet fears become too loud
And anxiety becomes the normal we know

We get up
Brush our teeth
Get dressed, drive to work, do our job, drive home, watch tv, sleep
The desperate longing for the normal we hate

Where to Begin

Begin with your insecurities
Let the feeling of embarrassment be in charge
Speak as if you haven’t felt stupid, ugly, or insignificant
When that can no longer be maintained, go deeper

Get in touch with your pain
Let your fears run the show
Act as if you haven’t experienced failure, worthlessness, self-loathing, and worse
If that becomes difficult to uphold, don’t stop

Tap into those torturous voices
The ones that say you’re not worth it, you can’t do it, stop trying
Hide anxiety with excuses and fear with hate
Do it until you are completely convinced of its uselessness

When it doesn’t work
And it won’t
When you’re tired of hiding, of making believe
Then you might try a new place to start

Begin with your strengths
Let the things you do well be in charge
Act as if you believe in your natural gifts, your unique genius
As that begins to grow, go deeper

Get in touch with your values
Operate from the those things you care about the most
Speak as though they matter, that they are worth trying to achieve
As it develops within you, as the confidence develops, don’t stop

Tap into the belief you have in yourself
Those parts of you that have always known and struggled to say
Replace anxiety with action that is more sustainable and fear with hope that is more powerful
Do it until you begin to convince yourself of your own power

And when it works
And it will
When you feel the freedom of knowing your power
Understand, you’ve had it from the beginning