Friday, October 26, 2012

The Big Girl's Guide to Managing and Overcoming Embarrassment

The Big Girl Chronicles:  The Big Girl’s Guide to Managing and Overcoming Embarrassment

I am the queen of embarrassment.  Whereas some people have a few moments they can recall where they were made shame, I seem to have made it a way of life.  "The Big Girl's Most Memorable Embarrassing Moments."  Depending upon what degree of embarrassment you experience, the result can seem impossible to live down.  Add to that a witness or two, and that embarrassing moment could become a staple in time that will never be forgotten.  If you’ve found yourself in an embarrassing situation and can’t seem to get past it, don’t continue to beat yourself up about it.  Try applying some of these thoughts to help you manage your feelings about what’s happened.

Try to think about it logically.

Giving the wrong answer in a crowded room has been something we’ve learned at an early age to fear.  How many of us remember that feeling from our school years?  You thought you knew the answer.  You were sure it was the correct answer.  But once you were told you were wrong you were rewarded with laughs and jeers.  This can be considered one of the earliest lessons on embarrassment that we’ve learned to try to avoid altogether by not answering at all.  But wait.  Isn’t the whole point of going to school to learn what you don’t know?  Few people have figured that out, I guess.  So we’ve carried the need to always be right into adulthood.  If this has happened to you as it has me, let me tell you that it’s ok to give an incorrect answer.  More than likely someone else was thinking something similar to your response as well, or something equally as wrong.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  It’s all a part of the learning process.

Remove yourself from the situation. 

It seems embarrassment has such a foothold on some that you feel singled out.  No one else has ever given a wrong answer, or fallen or whatever it is that has put you to shame.  And that simply isn’t true.  I know the shame of embarrassment can seemingly place the burden of shame on your shoulders, but shake it off.  Everyone has had to endure an embarrassing situation.  Yours just happened to have been at that precise moment.

Get over yourself. 

Sometimes we can take ourselves so seriously that we seem to think we are exempt from a little playful teasing.  Learning to laugh with others at something you’ve done can be therapeutic and lessen the feigned severity of the situation.  And as cliché as it sounds, one day you really will look back on the experience and laugh.

Do damage control.

Unfortunately, there are some embarrassing situations that won’t easily be overcome.  To help manage those instances, be assured that no matter what happened you weren’t the first and you won’t be the last.  If there’s anything that you can possibly to do rectify yourself and lessen the severity of the situation, do that.  But most of all, learn from it so that it doesn’t happen again.     

Embarrassing situations are inevitable, but aren’t always to be taken lightly.  Some have been embarrassed to the extent that they can’t see ever moving on.  If your embarrassment has been so devastating that you can’t cope, please seek the help of a mental health professional or someone who can help you through the pain.  If you’ve had an embarrassing situation that hasn’t been quite that severe, consider it a minor inconvenience that you can add to the stories you’ll share with your girlfriends and grandchildren.   

Friday, October 19, 2012

Election 2012

The Big Girl Chronicles:  The Big Girl’s Guide to Election 2012

It’s time to make a choice of national leadership.  Both candidates have debated the issues and presented their vision of America for the next 4 years.  Both candidates seem passionate about how they can make a better America with our help.  The plans that each have outlined have some favorable key points…and some not so favorable.   

With regard to President Obama’s plan to have insurers cover contraception without copays via the Affordable Care Act, I don’t understand how Governor Romney could disapprove of something that encourages responsible reproductive health citing it as an imposition that would compromise the values of employers with religious standards.  Surely not every person those employers hire are of the same beliefs.  And a simple solution would be to have each employer opt to participate in the company insurance plan or allow them to seek coverage elsewhere.  

What I have yet to learn from either candidate is discussion that would address over 20 million Americans.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 26.2 MILLION Americans struggle with some form of mental illness.  That’s 26.2 MILLION voters (yes, “crazy” people can still vote) that you didn’t speak to directly that will also decide upon leadership in this upcoming election.  Instead of lumping them all together under discussions of affordable health care, it could’ve been worth it to take notice.  Add to that their families and the millions who work in the health professions to care for these individuals, and those are some impressive numbers.

No matter what choice you make in this election, please take the time to go vote.  See you at the polls!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Big Girl's Guide to Change

The Big Girl Chronicles:  The Big Girl’s Guide to Change

“Why change?  I like things just the way they are.”  Have you ever found yourself pondering this question? The truth is, change is inevitable and absolutely necessary.   Don’t waste time whining about it and making the process that much more painstakingly unpleasant.  Choose the more mature option.  Embrace it and grow.  Below are a few things that could help. 

The first step to growing into change is always to check your attitude. 

How you feel about the transition is going to set the tone.  If you’re agonizing over what has to change, then you’re not going to gain as much from the experience.  Not only that, but it’s possible that you’ll either find yourself becoming part of a group of complainers who are also mourning the change in status quo or singled out from others who are on board with new plans.  If changes are occurring in your personal life that you’re not happy with such as relocation or a change in lifestyle, try to avoid obsessing over it with unpleasant thoughts.  Quickly assess the positives and capitalize on them.  Acceptance as early as possible makes things much easier.       

Do your research.

Find out as much as you can about the changes taking place.  Keeping yourself well-informed gives you a clear understanding of what you’re dealing with and what needs to happen to make the transition flow smoothly.  Although the changes might have been unexpected and unwanted, learning all you can could help you influence their purpose.  

Take this opportunity to introduce something you would like to implement.

 A healthy attitude and perspective puts you in a better place to make changes that compliment you.  Another reason why instead of whining about it you should be planning to interject some changes of your own.  Explore what possibilities this new circumstance has to offer.  Bounce around some new ideas that could make this a positive transition for you and develop a strategy for putting them in place.   If you do you could find that what began as something unpleasant could actually work in your best interest. 

Life holds many surprises and opportunities for growth.  As you maneuver through the peaks and valleys, take each moment as a challenge to learn and improve.  It’s easy to endure the good times.  But how you handle the not-so-pleasant changes that occasionally occur could help you gain insight into who you are.  Though it could have begun as something unpleasant, any experience that builds character is never in vain. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Big Girl's Take On Voter Suppression

Women’s Suffrage.  The Civil Rights’ Movement.  These are but two monumental historical struggles that speak to us from the souls of our past.  They tell of the great efforts that have been put forth and what we have collectively had to endure to gain equality as participating members of society.  Our past has also taught us that as long as we remain nonthreatening to the dominant society, we are ignored and overlooked.  Nonthreatening as in “so what if they have the right to vote.  They’re not actually going to.”  Now there’s been a change in dynamics and those that are desperate to return to “old world politics” have reintroduced those obstacles that have historical roots of bias against a certain group.  I’m not surprised.  Actually, that should be expected, because had we not stepped up to the plate and began to actually count as American citizens there would be no resort to such actions.  My concern?  HOW DARE YOU.  When I think about what I’ve learned about what my ancestors have had to endure to guarantee that future generations are acknowledged as equal  citizens in this country it becomes personal.  So, how dare you not acquire what’s necessary to secure your right to vote!  Not voting is the reason why those obstacles have been reintroduced.  Refusing to vote because of those requirements is the same as rioting only to destroy your own neighborhoods and businesses.  How dare you approach the subject as if you aren’t directly affected by the outcome!  If you don’t take yourselves seriously as citizens with equal rights in building and managing America, how can you expect anyone else to take you seriously?

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 makes it unlawful to require any prerequisites, qualifications, procedures or obstacles that interfere with a person’s right to vote, or deny him or her right to vote based upon ethnicity or race.  However, several states have put in place requirements that voters show identification before casting their ballots.  This requirement is historically directly related to past efforts to thwart “less desirables” from showing up at the polls.  I imagine it’s like dipping your toe in the water to test the temperature.  If you don’t do anything about this, then be sure to expect more practices that will indirectly place structured bias in voters’ paths.  And mind you, this isn’t a “black” issue.  Voter suppression doesn’t target only black voters, but could affect black voters and other minorities the most percentage-wise.

Essentially, what I would like to do is encourage you to meet the challenges that have been placed before you and vote regardless.  Only after that can we then eliminate (again)the structured biases that attempt to keep us suppressed and in a collective state of subservience.  Talk with your local politicians and legislators about what you can do to in the upcoming years to end the need for renewal of the Voting Rights Act, but have it become permanent legislation.  Care about the future of your right to vote and the others that come after you.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Big Girl Chronicles:  Breast Cancer Awareness Month
I know that you’ve been paying attention to your health.  I know this.  However, another  October has come upon us and we must remind ourselves to not take our ta-tas for granted.  You’ve been doing your self-checks and going to the doctor to get your annual mammograms.  Take this month to focus on awareness.  If you have a family member who has had a breast cancer scare, you’re aware that family history increases your risk.  Therefore, you must begin preventive measures early.  Encourage those who haven’t yet begun to practice routine checks and mammograms to do so.  Support those who are fighting cancer by participating in activities such as walks and other rallies to raise funds toward finding a cure.  Below are a few of the resources available toward the cause:

The Susan G. Komen Foundation

American Cancer Society

National Breast Cancer Foundation

Pink Ribbon (every order funds mammograms for women in need)

If you are struggling with breast cancer yourself and your fight has been ongoing, make time to prepare a living will or power of attorney over healthcare for those times when the chemotherapy and treatment could compromise your ability to make healthcare decisions.  If you dare, start your own drive to raise funds and awareness to support breast cancer research.  All that you do to help will be appreciated. 

Ladies, don’t take your body for granted.  Love yourself enough to invest in your health.  Celebrate a survivor and be a supporter of breast cancer research.