Maribeth Doerr

My own brand of beauty

Bi2Right after Christmas, my local Barnes & Noble ditches the Christmas stuff and puts up a big display of diet books.  I know most stores and magazines do this since so many people start off the New Year wanting to lose weight.  The irony is this display always sits next to the Valentine’s display (you do want to lose all that weight to look sexy by Valentine’s right?) and includes lots of their Godiva chocolate gift boxes.  Starve yourself with diets but be sure to buy the chocolate to soothe yourself when you throw the worthless diet book away.

Now that it’s March, the display has moved to another part of the store (but still close to the front) and the sign reads “Diet and Nutrition” but there is NO book in the display that concerns itself with nutrition.  Not. One.

Why is our society so bent on eating everything it wants and then trying insane diets to lose weight?  I’m not pointing fingers.  Until I lost 55 pounds in my chronic illness of 2012, I was a yo-yo dieter.  I was thin in my teens until 35.  Then yo-yo’d for 15+ years.  I can trace my body image issues back to two major things.  The one I want to address today is  my mom’s persistent criticisms of my appearance.

My mother seemed to find fault with my appearance for most of my life.  She used to take great delight in telling me that my old aunties came to the house when I was a baby just to see my gigantic thighs.  The first bra she bought me was a padded one because, surely, I must be disappointed in my size.  I didn’t know what cellulite was until she pointed it out on my butt and thighs when I was 16 (I was 5’5″ and 110 pounds so how much cellulite could have been there???).  My dad nicknamed me Grace (because he found me clumsy) and my mom said I was as dainty as an elephant.  The adjective I heard the most often was PLAIN.  I was just simply plain.  Your average Mary, the band geek.

It’s true I was a late bloomer.  My husband wouldn’t have looked twice at me in high school but by 24, he noticed.  He says it was my confidence that attracted him more than anything.  I was supporting myself through some difficult experiences and that awareness that comes from knowing you’re strong enough to survive, take care of yourself and make it in this world was an energy he picked up on.  My mom used to tell me I better “keep myself up” or my husband would dump me.  It’s been 28 years and we’re still together.

Mom didn’t know everything.  Sometimes I think she knew absolutely nothing about me.  I know lots of daughters feel that way about their mothers.  And truly, how much do we really know about them?  What made her criticize her only (and beloved) daughter so much?  I KNOW she loved me.  I could put on my psychologist hat and give you a litany of reasons why she did this.  The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter what her reasons were.  What matters is how I view myself.

I struggled to let go of the crappy stories she filled my brain with, and I finally realized, ironically in the middle of a yoga class, that those gigantic legs are the two parts of my body that have NEVER let me down.  They are amazing with what they put up with!  And guess what?  I AM beautiful.  Perhaps not in the way my mom (or Hollywood) would define beauty, but really, as I said before,  it’s not her (their) story that matters.  It’s MY stories that matter for ME and I can rewrite the bullshit ones.

badassSo a big BOO HOO to those of us who had mothers that criticized.  Want revenge?  Be you, in all your glory, in your own unique brand of beauty.  To hell with magazines that advertise the latest diet craze on their photoshopped covers next to headlines about cookie recipes.  Walk right on by the Barnes & Noble diet book displays and the glam magazines.  Celebrate YOUR curves or your angles or your lines – whatever you’ve got.  Let’s dump the comparison monster and stop judging people for how they look, especially ourselves!

Yeah, I’ve got my own brand of beauty.  And so do you.  It’s called uniqueness.  We’re all unique.  Vive la difference!  My brand celebrates my weirdness; my ability to be big and small, quiet and loud, radiant and dark, all at the same time.  Plain?  Only when I want to be ;)

So go write your own stories.  Show the world your own unique brand of beauty.

 

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WriteGrief has launched and other less interesting tidbits

Can you believe January is nearly over already?!  It’s raining as I write this, I hear a plunk plunk plunk as it leaks through the ceiling into my office.  But it’s delicious moisture that my area needs so badly to avoid a more serious drought this Summer.  It’s also the new moon and so I’m happy to share something new with you . . .

WriteGrief has launched following WriteGrief for the holidays.  If you enjoy writing or exploring your innermost self and you’re grieving, you’ll find WriteGrief helpful (although, it’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, and I know some of you will call me names with some of these prompts :)  It’s okay; I won’t get offended!).  Even if you don’t enjoy writing, these prompts can work for you because you don’t have to be a writer to do them.  In fact, it works  best when you’re NOT fussy about editing and spelling and grammar and all the rules I’ve just abused this sentence.  Letting go and digging deep without regard to grammar or any other rules can make a cloudy merky grief filled mind find clarity as you see your words in black and white.  It’s been a lifesaver for me, and I hope it will be for you as well.

So without further ado, here are the details for WriteGrief over on my Permission to Grieve site:  http://www.permissiontogrieve.com/?page_id=92  I am SO excited about finally offering this to you.

What else am I up to?  I am a yoga teacher in training!  Can you believe it – and at my age??  Some days I think I’m totally nuts.  It is my dream, though, to teach yoga to grieving folks and those struggling with whatever it is they’re struggling with.  Grief has such physical symptoms that we don’t realize; we tend to furl up into ourselves hiding our hearts from further pain.  Yoga and movement can help us unfurl, unstress, and connect with your hearts again.  It’s a gentle opening and that is so very healing.  We can learn to breathe with our entire lungs again instead of taking sips of air with the very tops of our lungs.  As you can probably tell, I’m passionate about this and I can’t wait to bring it to you.

Last but not least, a beautiful share from David Gilmour as he sings Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 . . . Enjoy

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An Invitation to Celebrate

Life is full of surprises. Sometimes those surprises bring us to our knees, and we wonder how we’ll ever recover. Later on, (whether it’s weeks or many years later) you’ll probably find yourself shaking your head at the memories, proud that you survived. Somewhere along the way, you rediscovered the natural resilience you were born with and found a way; it’s what we all do eventually.

Today, I invite you think about what something difficult in your life and how you’ve learned from it, or found something positive in it, or how you’ve DONE something positive because of it. And I invite you to celebrate it, today, in the midst of the holidays/holidaze/hellidays.

Why today? In 1982, my beautiful son, Mark Adam Pruett, was born. He died 5 1/2 days later. I CELEBRATE his life every December 11, and I invite all of you to celebrate with me by remembering something difficult in your life that you turned into something positive in some way. It’s 6 degrees F as I write this, and thinking of Mark and his great big life makes me feel warm and radiant. Mark has been my greatest gift. I am so grateful I got to be him mom. He taught me more about life and myself in 5 1/2 days than anyone else ever could. I am a better person and definitely a better mother than I otherwise would have been. I grieve his death but I CELEBRATE his life. His loss was a gut wrenching experience that began a chain of more loss in my life. I didn’t think I would survive; I almost didn’t . . . but I did. I rediscovered my natural resilience and I moved forward while always keeping him in my heart; I chose AND and I continue to do so every day, even when it’s painful.

So, what’s your story? I’d love to hear your reversals, rediscoveries, and reinventions. Here’s a toast to Mark Adam; I hope you’ll please celebrate with me today.

Mark Adam Pruett 1st Picture - December 11, 1982

Mark Adam Pruett
1st Picture – December 11, 1982

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WriteGrief for the Holidays

WriteGrief for the Holidays is over until November 2014.

In the meantime, try WriteGrief weekly prompts. Details here.

Announcing a new offering – Write Grief for the Holidays: Weekly prompts encouraging a self-exploration of healing and grief.

Grief can often leave us numb, and it can be hard to articulate the simplest things. You may feel that there are no words to express your feelings, that it’s all just a big knot in your throat or your heart and everything is stuck there. Writing can be an outlet for these knotted up feelings, a way of unraveling the stuck. I have often found writing to be a new way of seeing my thoughts in black and white which brings more clarity to the muddy chaos of grief.

Once a week, you’ll receive a writing prompt which you are free to use – or not. Write a lot, or write a little. Share it – or not. It’s all up to you. We will have a private Facebook group where you can share your writing if you wish. Here’s a sample prompt:

“If I could sit across the porch from God, I’d thank Him for lending me you.” ~Flavia
Prompt: If you could sit across the porch from your loved one, what would you thank him/her for? For 5 minutes, write a list of what you’d like to thank your loved one for. After 5 minutes, circle a few items on the list that really grab your attention. Then spend however long you like writing a letter to your loved one focusing on one or two of those items you circled.

Our first session will run from November 4 through December 29 – 8 prompts with a focus on the holidays. The cost for these 8 weeks is $25. You can join anytime before the end of 2013; previous prompts will be sent to you so that you receive the full 8 weeks of prompts.

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If you would like to schedule a one-on-one coaching call to discuss anything that comes up during your writing, the discounted price for WriteGrief participants is $50 for a 45 minute session.

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In January, WriteGrief will continue with weekly prompts available as a month-to-month-subscription. Details here!

Questions?

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A Gift for the Weekend

heaven

 

This was taken at a fabulous restaurant called Nepenthe in Big Sur, California.  We were eating outside facing this view in early evening.  There is a blue jay in the tree and dolphins were splashing around in the Pacific.  About as close to paradise as you can be!  When I’m feeling stressed, which happens a lot these days, I take a deep breath and pull in this image.  It never fails to helps me feel better.

What do you do to help bring a sense of calmness to your stressed out self?  I’d love to hear your methods.

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