Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Featured on academichic blog!!!!

A link to my recent blog post plus one of my photos was featured on academichic because of my participation in their Dress Your Best Week! Hehe, I feel a little famous, and I'm thankful that the academichic bloggers noticed how many of us wrote about learning to love our bodies in ways that don't fit the norms of what society tells us is beautiful.

Monday, May 17, 2010

waiting for the storm

As soon as I stepped outside, books in hand, I knew that the storm would arrive any minute. As I sat down on the patio table, the powerful wind pushed against my back. I decided to ignore the imminent weather and carry on as I planned, beginning with journaling. As I began writing, the weather soon became hard to ignore. The wind continued, building speed. A small branch broke off of the tree and hit the roof, tumbling down to the ground. Instead of ignoring the storm, I embraced it, using it to fuel my writing. I wrote my thoughts and prayers. The wind picked up. I wrote my desires and hopes. The trees shook. I wrote of my trust and surrender. The hairs on my arm bristled as the temperature dropped. I continued writing, covering pages with emotions and truth. Another branch landed on the ground. The wind picked up and blew a magazine off of the table. The bush behind me leaned forward, tickling my back. The clouds grew darker, then strangely lighter.

I looked up from my pages. Dark clouds raced past the lighter ones. I looked down again. The glossy cover of the book next to the journal was dotted with moisture. I continued writing and determined to stay outside until the storm began. My hopes that the storm would come before I finished writing weren't realized. I opened my book, found my place marked with a receipt, and hadn't read two paragraphs before I started noticing one, two water drops on the pages. I read a little further, and the drops increased. I closed my book, left the table, and stood on patio. Drops of rain began to land on my hair, my arms, my clothes. The cold wind soared past me. Thunder began to crack. I kept waiting, waiting for the rain to come in full.

I expected it to come on suddenly, drenching me without warning, but this storm crept in softly. The raindrops increased. I felt them on my cold skin. I put my books under the porch to protect them from what was surely about to come. And it came.

I stood on the patio, I stretched my neck back, letting the rain hit my face. I spread out my arms, and began to pray.

Lord, forgive me. Wash me, make me clean. Baptize me, wash my sins away. Wash away all my sorrows, my disappointments, my insecurities, my fears, my pride. Wash it all away, clean me, free me! Make me new!

I began to move as I prayed and as I received my answers. I spun around, slowly at first, but soon faster. I smiled. I laughed. I threw my arms above my head. I threw my head back again and again, smiling upwards at the clouds above me.

A fat raindrop plopped into my eye, and I decided this was my cue to return inside. I walked back under the shelter of the porch, but realized that I hadn't had enough. I went back out onto the patio, and spun, and danced, and laughed some more. More satisfied, I walked inside and wiped the rain off my face with my hands and arms and listened as the storm raged outside.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dressing my best - Tuesday, May 11th - Legs! Fair skin!

I have a love/hate relationship with my legs, but this week has encouraged me to try to show more love to my legs. Sadly, I have spent much of my life feeling ashamed of the perpetual paleness of my legs, often feeling uncomfortable wearing shorts or skirts the showed too much skin, exposing the blinding whiteness of my legs. From my friends, I alternately receive comments that I shouldn't be so shy about showing off my legs or comments that my legs are so pale, and "Gosh, can you even tan?" making my pale legs a great source of embarrassment.

When I first saw this picture from Tuesday, I was embarrassed at how pale my legs look compared to my olive-skinned, Italian-descended friend. However, thinking about it more, we're both gorgeous women, we just have different looks and body types and skin tones.

It's time for an attitude change. Though not radiantly tan, I have great legs. My legs are long, lean, and muscular enough. My legs are beautiful, functional, strong, and sexy! And I'm also coming to appreciate the alabaster shade of my skin. I often observe pale beauties, such as this model from with envy that they can look so strikingly beautiful with their paleness.

I've decided to stop envying these models, and enjoy the fact that I can also look strikingly gorgeous as a pale-skinned, red-haired, blue-eyed, thin woman! A big reason why I can pull of the henna-dyed red hair is because of my fair complexion, so I'm thankful that I have a look that is so versatile. I think that redheads are absolutely gorgeous, anytime a redheaded man or woman walks by, I'm always checking them out. It's been exciting for me to embrace the look in the past several months. So, I decided this week to show off my great legs, with this dress from H&M -

Trying to show off my dress at the bar where I sang "Bohemian Rhapsody" at karaoke night with a few friends -

A pretty "leggy" shot from this angle -

Lovin' on my ivory legs -

So, I'm thankful for this exercise to love my body for all that it is. I hope that in the future that I will feel less shame about my fair skin when I'm surrounded by tan friends, but instead feel thankful and blessed that I have a such a unique, beautiful look. I hope that my friends reading this post can also be challenged to love the parts of themselves that they may not always see as beautiful.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

other people's love stories

I often feel like I just keep playing a weird part in other people's love stories, over, and over again. I'm that girl the hero thinks he's in love with, and then he meets someone else, or he realizes he's still in love with that other girl he thought he wasn't in love with anymore. Or I'm the quirky friend urging the heroine to follow her heart or stay careful or chase her dreams. Except in this rom-com, the quirky female friend doesn't fall in love with the awkward male friend. Not yet at least.

And likely someday I'll have a love story of my own, where I get to play the heroine and I get to share romantic adventures with the hero. And those who's parts I've played in their love stories? They will be the strange characters in my love story, the boys who didn't love me enough or who lost my love, the boys I fell for but who weren't meant to stick around. They will be Sally's Joe, or Prince Humperdink (ha!) or Kathleen Kelly's Frank Navasky. Some of them will be Franks, the dutiful boys who would have stayed with me had I not let them go, but more of them are Joe's.

But for now I'll be Parker Posey or Judy Greer or (worse) James Marsden before 27 Dresses.

This is the story of the boys who loved you
Who love you now and loved you then
And some were sweet, some were cold and snuffed you
And some just laid around in bed.

Some had crumbled you straight to your knees
Did it cruel, did it tenderly
Some had crawled their way into your heart
To rend your ventricles apart
This is the story of the boys who loved you
This is the story of your red right ankle.

But wait, why does my story have to revolve around love and romance and relationships? Who said that the only story worth telling is about a man and a woman falling in love? Ok, everyone says that, it's all over our culture, everywhere you turn around. But do I have to buy that, hook, line, and sinker? Why should I write my story around someone else? What kind of a frail human actually holds that kind of power in my life, that I would want to write my story around him? Why should I believe that my biggest desire, my greatest source of fulfillment is in falling in love?

The first few paragraphs of this blog are sadly easier for me to feel and believe at times, but despite all the confusion I feel, I really do believe that the above paragraph is more true. That I have a life to live, and purpose to pursue and it's happening NOW, whether I'm single, engaged, married, a mother, a daughter, a student, a psychologist, a sister, whoever I am, I am me and I have so much to give and offer to those around me. I'm just as much me now as I would be me if I were married or with a Ph.D. in my hand. Why do we keep believing that single people are just married people who haven't found their "better half" yet? Why do I swallow these lies again and again?

Sometimes, I'm freed from those lies. I spent most of this semester remarkably happy to be single, loving my life and my relationships, and not even really desiring to be in a relationship, because having a dude around would just mess up all the good things I've got going on, and he's got to be really worth it for me to mess my life up for him. I wish I felt that happy and content this consistently now, but lately it still comes in moments and waves. It comes in moments when I'm surrounded by my family that loves me, when they wrap themselves around me with love and support. And it comes in quiet moments, when I sit on my bed and type and contemplate these things and when I stretch back onto my pillow and pray and remember that I have all that I need, that my Father doesn't withhold any good gifts from me, and that this is good. That it's good to be me, a student, a counselor, a friend, a sister, and I don't need to be anyone else right now. It's good. And those boys that loved me or who didn't love me? Well, it's good for them to be themselves, they're not some pawns in mine or anyone else's story, they're valuable humans created by God, just as I am. If I'm just a character in someone else's story, it's not a silly human fable, it's a divine story, a sacred story.

Besides, Parker Freakin' Posey is pretty freakin' fabulous.

Dressing my best - Monday, May 10th - Eyes & Hair

Monday, May 10th I gave a pre-proposal presentation before faculty and students about what I intend to study for my dissertation - a perfect opportunity to dress my best! I decided to highlight my blue eyes and henna-dyed red hair.
To do this, I chose to wear vivid colors that make a nice contrast to my colorful features. I'm glad I did too because a couple of the other young women presenting wore all black dresses, so I enjoyed standing out and showing my personality with color while I presented!
  • Green lace top - New York & Co.
  • Black skirt - H&M
  • Gold shoes - Cato
  • Pearl necklace - Gift from mom
  • Coral scarf - Bazaar in Cappadocia, Turkey
Thanks to the travels of myself and friends, I now have a growing collection of international scarves, which I decided to try out with this outfit . . .

Inspired my Academichic's recent post highlighting "tight" color combinations, I've been playing around with pairing colors that are close together, such as pairing this forest and lime green scarf (also from Turkey) with my lighter green top -
Staying with the cool colors, I paired it with this turquoise scarf from Bangladesh, a gift from a dear friend. I like that there are some green threads that mingle with my green top. I also think this color of great for highlighting my eyes, something I played with later this week.

Another contrast with this orange and yellow striped scarf my friend gave me from Spain -

But I'm quite happy with the coral scarf I chose to wear that day, and I'm also quite happy with how my presentation turned out and the gracious comments and suggestions that my colleagues offered me.

Which is your favorite scarf color combination with this outfit?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dressing my best!

I'm participating in Dress Your Best Week with with Academichic. Stayed tuned as I add fashion posts about how I'm dressing my best to highlight the aspects of my body that I love the best - my eyes, hair, legs, butt, and feet!