Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Reflections

The Big Girl Chronicles:  Thanksgiving Reflections

As I was pushing my shopping cart through the grocery store hurrying to gather all my necessary ingredients to prepare my ultimate Thanksgiving feast of all times, I accidentally bumped into a fellow shopper riding the wheelchair assisted cart.  A closer look in the midst of  my apologies revealed that the stranger I thought I had accidentally collided with was in fact an old college friend whom I had lost contact with.  I playfully quipped that he was being a lazy shopper riding the handicapped equipment rather than battling the other frantic shoppers on foot, as he was always one full of practical jokes and shortcuts.  The expression on his face alerted that this time was no playful prank.  He shared that he'd been involved in an accident that spared his life but caused permanent injury.  The worst of it though was that there were lives that were lost.  I listened dumbfounded as he explained the details of the tragedy that would leave he and his family with fewer loved ones to partake in this year's Thanksgiving celebration.  There were no words I could offer that would be a proper consolation, but I attempted to offer encouragement and wished he and his family a pleasant Thanksgiving despite the circumstances.  As I continued through the grocery aisles with his story fresh on my mind, I realized my pace and focus had shifted considerably.  I began to take notice of others combing the aisles searching for their Thanksgiving fixings and all the things that they no doubt traditionally indulge in this time of season, oblivious it seems that any tragedy could disrupt their lives or what others like my friend might be enduring during this holiday season. 

It was in that moment that I realized the true spirit of gratitude.  Regardless of what the pilgrims ate however many moons ago or who's playing who on television or what store has the hottest Black Friday deals, the true spirit of this season is in the fellowship of family in friends who have returned to gather another year.  So what if I burn the turkey or the dressing is bitter.  I'll be glad to hear the complaints of those I love declaring that I'll not be allowed back in the kitchen for next year's feast.  I'll be happy to hear mumbling about too much mess to clean while others create an even bigger mess watching the big game.  I'll live in the moment as I hunt with fellow shoppers for the hottest electronics, gadgets and deals to wrap for Christmas, keeping the memory of my friend's story in mind.

This holiday season and every moment from now on...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from the BigGirl Chronicles and mine.  Warm wishes for a holiday season filled with love of family and friends, peace and prosperity for the new year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2014


The Big Girl Chronicles: Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Month has started with some awesome products created to support breast cancer research, treatment and prevention. Below you'll find a link to some of your favorite retailers and brands that have featured products specifically for BCAM. 

Apparel  
       Aerie Limited Edition Bright Pink Bra


Cosmetics    
       Estee Lauder Modern Muse Solid Perfume Compact

       Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Lip Gloss Collection

       Aveda Moisturizer


Miscellaneous
        Tweezerman Tweezer

       Nest Fragrances Candle

To make certain your financial support is used as intended you can opt to make a donation in lieu of purchasing merchandise to organizations that have proven to have the best interests of those who benefit from breast cancer research the most in mind.  Click on the links below for more information:

 Susan G. Komen Foundation


National Breast Cancer


Breast Cancer Research Foundation

As always, remember to schedule your annual mammograms and take a friend along!  You can ante up your support by participating in events that aid in support and awareness of breast cancer research and prevention.  Protect your Ta-Tas!




*Susan G. Komen, Susan G. Komen Foundation nor any of its affiliates, organizations, employees or supporters participated in this post.  No breast cancer research organization contributed, participated, nor solicited support for this blog post.  None of the above mentioned products, retailers or any affiliates contributed to this post.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

10 Things About The Big Girl

The Big Girl Chronicles:  10 Things About the Big Girl

Reading over my previous posts I've decided that it's time to have some fun.  Sometimes I'm slightly "fun impaired." This post is to kickstart an increase in my "fun-o-meter."

 1.  After vanilla being my flavor of choice from childhood through young adulthood, I now find myself preferring chocolate instead.

 2.  Blue is my least favorite color.  I now own over 50 bottles of nail lacquer in various shades of blue, and about 1/3 of my wardrobe is some hue of blue.

 3.  I prefer the behind the scenes & special features of some movies sometimes more than the actual movie itself.

 4.  The first album I was gifted is Michael Jackson's Thriller.  The first cassette tape I was gifted is LLCoolJ Bigger & Deffer.  My first compact disc is Dru Hill 'Beauty' maxi single.  My very first MP3 download was Fastball's Outta My Head.

 5.  I'm newly obsessed with cute socks.

 6.  My first job as a taxpayer was a cashier.

 7.  My dad satisfied my curiosity at the taste of beer when I was a small child.  From that day to this I won't drink it.

 8.  I was a flower girl for the first time in a wedding around the age of 8.  It was there that I snuck to the champaign fountain and had my first sip of champaign.

 9.  My first pet was a rabbit my mother gave me for Easter.

10.  I put things back in the original packaging and boxes to make them seem new longer.

I was going for 25 things but have found myself not that interesting.  (Inject laughter) Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Big Girl Turns 2!!!



The Big Girl Chronicles

The Big Girl has had 2 years in the blogosphere!  If you’ve traced back to my first post you read that I went through a divorce, which sparked my blog.  I found myself back at a place I’d made preparations to avoid educationally.  Yet I managed other aspects of my life so poorly that I ultimately sabotaged myself.  I know it seems silly.  But not making decisions with my goals and interests in mind has allowed someone else to dictate my circumstances so much so until I awoke one day wondering how I ended up in such a mess so completely opposite of where I wanted to be.   And from there the digging began.  I had to sift through each decision I made to understand where (and how often) I made mistakes.

My blog has been therapeutic.  There’s retail therapy, and there’s blog therapy.  I’ve had quite a bit of fun with it, too - experimenting with the various avenues of expression in media.  There are so many who share common struggles and experiences that it is helpful to click on a link or visit a webpage and read about how someone else handled whatever obstacle or difficulty.  Or what’s trending.  And from those ideas form an online presence and identity that represent you.  I’m in no position to offer any advice about managing a blog.  From what I gathered, it’s all about what you want it to be.  When I began my blog, these are the things I took into consideration:

My Intentions

I thought about why I wanted to blog, and quite frankly it was because I had accumulated so many journals from writing all these years that it seemed more of a chore to have to store them or tote them around upon relocating.  And in keeping with the times, It’s quite obvious that each generation is progressing toward a future with less pen and paper.  Thus the blog. 

 The pros & Cons

Entertaining the what-ifs wasn't that much a concern because of my intentions.  I realized that my blog would be a reflection of myself and a stamp in the blogosphere of just that - who i am.  There is always potential to grow.  And I have blogged how I would like to be recognized... only I'm still trying to get to grown.  Not the kind of grown that is "deserving" of yes ma'ams and whatever.  But the kind of grown where i've managed myself less like someone subjected to circumstances and approval and more like how a responsible, independent woman of age is expected to manage her life.
 The pros and cons of it are essentially to blog at your own risk.  What is posted is a direct reflection of yourself to not only friends and relatives, but extends to all audiences - intended and unintended.

Expected Outcome(s)


I haven't any real expected outcomes for my blog.  I know that is a direct contradiction of many of my posts, such as Why Plan and others that are consistent with a theme of planning and preparation.   For the most part I wanted to focus on what’s worth preserving and how it’s presented rather than blogging about a bunch of crap that isn’t conducive to building character or bettering circumstances.  It's been interesting to learn that given the choice to focus on progress and growth or continue emphasizing faults and fallacies it seems most choose to keep with the latter.  Regardless, this blog is  my story and there is no pressure to meet any deadlines or subscriber quotas.  It's just me.


Healthy Balance


In my life I've noticed that a healthy balance is what has been missing and could hold some responsibility for how I became such a mess.  Things were always at one extreme or the other.  And I learned that what you focus on becomes what your world revolves around.  Seems like a "duh," right?  And it is until you realize that some things that have your attention have taken control of you.  Without a healthy balance that could be to your detriment.  If I focus on subscribers and deadlines rather than what I want my blog to represent, I risk compromising my intentions for the sake of an audience that I was never supposed to have.  That doesn't mean not to strive for that if an audience is part of the original purpose.  But it does expose who you are without it.  Was the blog about you?  Or we're you merely seeking attention?


The world is full of opportunity to achieve limitless possibilities. There are countless online platforms that allow anyone to do just that.  But as with anything else, not everyone is going to achieve the same measure of success.  If your idea of success is defined by how you compare with another you could be hurting yourself by deciding that you are a failure at something that - minus the comparison - has brought you some degree of satisfaction and growth.   The Big Girl Chronicles has been that.  My therapy.  My reminder that I might not always come out on top, but that's ok.  What matters most in my life is what I have achieved by my standards.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Formerly Considered Minor Appreciations


The Big Girl Chronicles: formerly considered minor appreciations

I was sitting beside my bedroom window completely engrossed in how I plan to make some changes for the second half of this year.  Thinking about the changes I intend to make is usually both a pleasant time full of optimism and a stressful cocktail of lingering “what if…?s”.  It would seem irresponsible and unrealistic to make plans and not consider the worst case scenario or avoid making any alternate plans altogether. Keeping grounded and finding balance becomes a challenge when your feelings about possibly not following through creep in.  Before you realize it, the feelings have dominated and your productive planning session ends without a clear, logical outline of your intentions and feelings of desperation. But the strangest thing happened as I was doing just that.  I looked out of my bedroom window and noticed how beautifully the sun was shining through the clouds and glistening on the grass.  Don’t get it wrong.  In the world of breathtaking views, the one from my bedroom window would definitely be the least of all.  Yet, As I looked up and noticed what was going on beyond What’s in plain view, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of calm… and appreciation.  Unemployment, poverty and divorce – the shift in socio-economic status – all these things have allowed an experience of life from a different perspective.  This experience is more than I could have learned reading a text or in any internship or facet of public service employment.  It’s an experience that has provided depth and insight beyond any that I could have ever empathized in any other capacity.  And the lessons in frugality have been priceless.  I’ve done so much excess spending.  Now I completely understand the power of the coupon and getting two for the price of one. or paying only $1 with it as opposed to $3.50 without.

Some other formerly considered minor appreciations:
·       A good deal on a simple item otherwise considered unaffordable for a LISP (Low income/Single Parent) budget.  Like being able to purchase my fave brand of ice cream because it’s on sale and I have enough customer loyalty points (And the coupon) to get the additional discount.  Before it didn’t matter that one pint of my favorite brand cost as much as two gallons of the generic.

·       The dollar store – With a miniscule budget the dollar store gives a little wiggle room.  There is much less of having to sacrifice When you can get quite a few of your cleaning supplies there and have enough cash leftover to afford some school function or event.

·        Thrift stores – pretty much self-explanatory.

·       The kindness of a stranger – Perhaps I wasn’t in the right circles before.  But since this change in socio-economic status I have experienced kindness from strangers that I’d not ever experienced before. Before there were certain “hook-ups” we all get from time to time because of an association or whatever social/civic memberships you have been subscribed to.  But to have a stranger who has no reason or obligation to extend a kindness generously do so is beyond incredible. 

Taking a moment to appreciate a beautiful day was the opened door to realizing how fortune can be uncovered among some unfortunate circumstances.  Our experiences and interactions are what shape us into the kind of person we grow to be.  Under any other circumstances, had someone warned that one day It wouldn't matter that I have a master's degree, i'd still end up living in public housing I would've thought them to be less than credible.  But what I've learned firsthand is of more value than what I could've recited from a textbook or quoted from a study.  I am satisfied with myself about how I have handled these circumstances I had prepared myself to avoid.  But I am more than pleased with the kind of person I have found myself to be in spite of it.    

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mental Health Awareness Month 2014


The Big Girl Chronicles:  Mental Health Awareness Month 2014

Millions of people in this country depend daily upon the mental health system for treatment and to advocate on their behalf.  However as with any other service, sometimes you find yourself surrounded by a system that is in dire need of repair itself before it can provide adequate and effective services to its consumers.  Some systems seem more enabling than operating with the intention of encouraging independence.  The reason this is allowed to continue I imagine is because the voice of a person diagnosed with mental illness is quickly silenced among the general “healthy” population, being disregarded as having the potential to exaggerate more than others or is less credible.  Also, no psychiatrist wants his decisions questioned and some tend to take offense when patients challenge them.  There are also instances when complacency is favored above creating a rift in schedules, routines and services that most employees would rather not be altered.  And let’s not overlook the fact that a long list of clients is always much more fruitful.     

Why is revamping the mental health system of such importance?  The answer is simple.  Of however many millions of citizens that reportedly endure mental illness, there are however many more who have watched a relative, friend or loved one get trapped in the system to the extent that they themselves shirk from getting help that could be necessary to assist with day to day living and/or prevent a personal catastrophe that could have unintended victims.  Additionally, we are bombarded with commercials advertising drugs that come with warnings of bodily harm while attempting to treat your mood or other psychosis that can also seem intimidating for someone wanting to engage in mental health treatment. Areas where some clients can seem to feel their mental health is being “held hostage” more so than being adequately treated include diagnosis, treatment and therapy (which pretty much encompasses the entire system). 

Diagnosis

It would be ideal to believe that most people who have mental illness are insightful enough to identify need for intervention and seek treatment.  Unfortunately that isn’t the case often times and it becomes necessary for someone else to assist in getting that person the help (s)he needs.  There are those who enjoy every moment of psychotic perceptions so much so that it has become a world within itself.  In those cases the need to “convince” the client that there is a need for treatment can (and often does) interfere with accurately identifying symptoms and behavior that support the correct diagnosis.  However, those who are insightful enough to identify need for intervention and seek treatment can -and sometimes sadly are- blindly thrown into a system that treats a diagnosis rather than the person.  For this reason, it could be more effective to consider more of the client’s personality and background in naming a diagnosis so that the client isn’t being robbed of those characteristics that make him or her the person (s)he is.  Someone who has always been lively, talkative and humorous with a bright personality could become lost in a bipolar diagnosis that could’ve been avoided had the doctor have been more aware of the client’s personality to differentiate what symptoms and behaviors have become problematic versus those that are part of the client’s persona.  Also, a client that has had such a bright personality would more than likely experience some degree of sadness and should be given a fair amount of time to adjust rather than immediately bombarded with diagnoses and meds, depending upon severity of illness. 
  
Treatment

As with any health concern, helping the client understand his/her symptoms and diagnosis is key to gaining full participation in mental health treatment and curbing regression.  After all, compliance is the single most important element in sustaining quality of life.  There are some clients that enter the mental health system eagerly hoping to begin an end to whatever form of psychosis has held their life captive for however long.  But remember the presumption mentioned above about those managing mental illness seemingly considered less credible?  How can the client feel comfortable enough to openly discuss their concerns if (s)he doesn’t expect those concerns will be taken seriously?  Or that those concerns are conjured up in attempt to avoid medication?  It seems unfortunate that the mental health system has a tendency to stereotype those it is intended to serve.    

Therapy

Ideally each client is to receive individualized care.  Individualized care is inclusive of not only access to those therapies that are easily available but also new therapeutic interventions and activities that could prove beneficial to clients.   What can be most therapeutic sometimes is to allow the client to lead rather than continuously layering information upon information and employing various techniques that can seem tiresome and draining to the client rather than therapeutic.   Also there can be a tendency to provide treatment and interventions based upon what a client might do.  Unless there is some absurd intention on behalf of the client or (s)he has shown potential to be a danger to self or others, it is counter therapeutic  to prevent clients from opportunities, ventures and interests that could be considered a form of therapy because of unfounded and unsubstantiated “maybes.”  

Media campaigns encouraging the removal of stigma from mental illness often describe life while managing mental illness as something that doesn’t have to interfere with quality of life.  To remain credible, it is imperative that the mental health system – or rather those that are employed within it- begin to advocate for and provide services to clients with the fewest restrictions necessary for treatment.  This being understood, if you or someone you know are experiencing a disruption in mental status that impedes your capacity for daily functioning talk to someone about it immediately.  You can contact your physician or local mental health facility to schedule an appointment and speak with a professional.  Early detection and treatment is essential to managing the deteriorating effects of mental illness and sustaining a desirable quality of life.  You can click the following links for more information:  




Monday, April 14, 2014

National Child Abuse Prevention Month


The Big Girl Chronicles:  National Child Abuse Prevention Month

I’ve compared statistics about child abuse in America.  I’m saddened at reviewing the numbers not just because there are so many but also because I realize that those statistics are only cases that have been reported, meaning that there are still however many more children out there who continue to suffer abuse.  I’m sure growing up you were aware as a child of something not quite right with a friend, fellow classmate, neighbor or peer that you later learned could possibly have been abuse.  Now as adults we have taken on the potential horrors that our parents once endured with the possibilities of abuse of our children away from the home.  Or that someone else’s child – one of our children’s peers, friends, a neighbor or classmate – is quietly being abused.  As with many unpleasant thoughts it’s easy to instead practice avoidance on the subject and distant our minds from the possibility that some child we know could be subjected to abuse, much less the thought that it could be your own child.  The truth of the matter is that if we are to do everything within our power as parents and responsible adults to help diminish child abuse, the first step is awareness.  We can educate ourselves about signs and symptoms of potentially abused children and what those different forms of abuse are.  Then we can get involved and properly report anything that seems legitimate.  Among the most important of steps we can take to diminish child abuse is educate our children, and to begin doing so at an early age.  Professionals have suggested talking with children about what is considered “good touching” and what kinds of touching are inappropriate. Arming your children with knowledge is one of the most important measures that can be taken to prevent your child and others from becoming victims of abuse.  

Click the following links for more information about child abuse.




National Sex Offender Registry    nsopr.gov

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Why Plan?


The Big Girl Chronicles: Why Plan?

Sometimes I stop and take a look around.  I wonder exactly what I’m doing in this place.  This isn’t where I’m supposed to be because I’ve made preparations to NOT be this person. As I reminisce about what life was like at the time I felt I was closest to becoming my best I experience a startling personal revelation.  Although I’ve prepared myself to earn a living in a profession, I’d not done very much planning in other aspects of my life.    

I listened to an older woman share how she had certain wants for her life but ended up in another place instead.  She stated that “life happened.”  For whatever reason I became focused on that sentence.  “Life happened.” Isn’t “life” what happens when you’re living on your own terms and realizing your goals?  In reality, she hasn’t begun to live.  “Life” has now become a factor that is no longer under her influence.  The cause of my being sidetracked definitely isn’t because of “life.” I am where I am because of poor decision-making and failure to plan.  By not having a plan, the decisions I’ve had to make about my future have been driven instead by impulse and what seems like a good idea at that moment rather than what would best serve my purpose.   Ultimately, by not making decisions in accordance with a plan I’ve given up control and allowed my life to be manipulated by circumstances. 

Among the firsts of things I realize is that I’ve taken too much for granted.  I assumed that employment would always be available only to learn that the job market isn’t self-sustaining and can be shifty.  But that doesn’t mean that earning money is beyond my control.  Had I have planned, I could’ve explored other sources of income to increase my earning potential and serve as a resource in times when jobs are scarce.  During times that I was employed I didn’t have a plan for the money I earned, again assuming that I’d always have access to money.  The potential of that money has been lost in accessories and gadgets that have long been forgotten and will be obsolete upon retirement.

Another significant aspect of planning includes networking and friendships.  I didn’t take these things seriously enough.  I overlooked events where I could’ve met people and formed associations that would provide a stronger foundation for my future.  Planning friendships that are meaningful and mutually rewarding is also an important part of establishing a support system.  Not making wise and well thought out choices can create more stress and unnecessary hindrances that could be avoided.      

The three examples mentioned above are among the most important of decisions each individual is responsible for in his or her life:  career, money and social life. I’ve read somewhere that the future prison population is predicted based upon periodic monitoring of academic success in public schools.  That means that while children are in school preparing themselves for adulthood and have yet to decide exactly what they will do or who they will be in life, an entire institution is planning to accommodate their failure.  What this says is that if you don’t have plans for your future, don’t panic.  There are others who are planning for you, and make quite a profitable living doing so.

As I assess my current situation and plan to rebound from the “casualties” of my carelessness, I marvel at how much I’ve taken for granted, overlooked and undervalued.  I now find myself full of ideas and potential but without the means I once had to bring any of that into fruition.  Given my new circumstances, this is how I intend to begin my new journey:

Take inventory of present resources.

Funds and resources that were once readily available I now have limited access to.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m at a total loss.  The first item on my agenda is to explore what possibilities there are now.  There is potential to make new friendships and associations that could become helpful in building a better future.  There are opportunities and resources that are designed specifically for people in situations similar to mine that I now have access to.  Armed with knowledge and skill from my past experience, I can also use that to impact my present circumstances from a more personal level. 

Get in where you fit in.

Never before has that old saying been more relevant than now.  Finding what space that I can occupy  is an important building block to better circumstances.  By taking advantage of workshops and support groups, I not only make myself visible in the community but also get a feel for where I can be the most effective.  You never know when a potential employer might notice a volunteer who has consistent attendance, productive interaction and employable skills. 

Think outside of the box.       

The most "eye-opening" experience I've had from the changes that have occurred is that I was more of a resource for creating a better life for myself than I realized.  I always had hobbies and interests that I used to entertain myself from time to time.  But never had I given any thought to actually exploring how these things could create another stream of income.  Realizing this has improved my ability to explore how I can create a better outcome from what seems a hopeless situation.

Without question, the most important thing I can do is learn from my past mistakes and move on.  Spending excessive amounts of time whining and pitying those failures won't help encourage the present nor create a better tomorrow.  And once I'm taking myself seriously enough - and ready for others too as well - I'll sit down and create a concrete plan that will make my future well worth the effort I put into it today.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Black History Month Tribute 2014


The Big Girl Chronicles:  Black History Month 2014

In pausing to review the approach I took toward this time to collectively remember and celebrate Black History Month last year, I decided that for this year in addition to digging through black history books and meditating on quotations of noteworthy African Americans I don’t have to search much further than my grandmother’s house to get an account of black life in history.   No matter who you are, the wisdom and experience of the elderly is a wealth of knowledge for anyone wanting to peer into history and learn of the struggles, ideas and accomplishments birthed from our race in this nation.

Among the most significant of memories that my grandmother has shared about her recollection of life in the past is the social unrest that was prevalent then.  Many of the things that we now only get a glimpse of in movies were everyday, commonplace occurrences that couldn’t be “cured” or banished with a click of the remote.  She has shared exactly where she was and what she was doing upon learning of assassinations of historical black leaders such as Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.  She has described the tension that resulted from those events and the effect that trickled down to life in this small town.  The conversations that were had among her peers, the churches and others who were fearful and helpless of the plight of that struggle provide new insight into the bravery men and women of that time exhibited just to continue to get up and go to work each day.  To be able to reach out and touch living history is an indescribable privilege.

It never fails.  Each time I think about the course of events that have guaranteed my freedom today I’m in awe how others can not be committed to quality education.  Can not be committed to exercising a right to vote.  Can not be committed to those things that were fought for and paid with the precious lives of those that had a vision for our race of people to be more than secondhand servants and menial laborers, but rise to their potential to share the responsibility of moving the nation forward in quality healthcare, in justice, in technology and science and every aspect of productive life.  It seems so much has been and is being taken for granted that I can’t help but wonder how our generation would fair if faced now with the same challenges that our ancestors overcame then.  How “free” would we be today?

One thing is certain.  Learning about the past creates a renewed appreciation for my now.  In healthy communities there is ease of access to housing, businesses and institutions of learning for all citizens, regardless of color.  In healthy societies we are free to love, share and communicate with our peers regardless of those things that kept us separated during the turbulence of the civil rights movement.  There might be kinks that remain and surface from time to time.  But with a healthy outlook and compare/contrast of then and now, should there be a downfall it might result more from our own self-defeating ideals and practices rather than from anyone else.  This Black History Month be sure to include the wisdom and experiences of those matriarchs in your family among the celebration and remembrance of our historical figures.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New You, New Love and Your First VDay!!!


The Big Girl Chronicles:  New You, New Love and Your First VDay!!!

I’ll be alone on Valentine’s Day.  Again.  Yep.  For me this will be another lovers’ holiday that I’ll plant myself in front of the television with my fave snack and binge on calories and break-up movies.  The ones without the happy endings.  But wait a moment… didn’t I just start my new year off my celebrating a renewed sense of self?  So… wouldn’t it be counterproductive to shut myself inside and defeat my resolutions by soaking up calories and heartache?  If I don’t feel that I’m worth more effort than that then why should anyone else?  How about I plan to carry over my renewed sense of self and purpose for the new year with a renewed sense of self-love and self-worth?  It couldn’t hurt what I’ve already doomed to be another lonesome holiday.  So, what’s the plan?

Redefine what “it” is to you.

Valentine’s Day has long been “the day” for lovers to “love” each other.  For those of us that sit that day out, it’s more of a cruel “rub-it-in-your-face-I-have-someone-and-you-don’t” morbid kind of holiday where there are excessive displays of wasted money floating around and being delivered in cheap vases and heart-shaped boxes of diabetes and calories.   At every turn we’re met with magazine covers of couples and their “secrets” of romance and longevity in love.  Hmmm… Instead of giving this day over to those who require large sums of money be spent on them buying gaudy jewelry and other over-priced items that have retailers celebrating Christmas early each year, I’ll decide what I want VDay to be.  And I’ll begin by loving myself and the fact that my meager little pocket book will be that much richer because there was no perceived obligation to hunt for gifts and purchase cards.  Instead, I’ll plan to do a few of my favorite things.  Like cash in my frequent buyer or customer loyalty “freebies.”  Or go to a local fast food joint and quietly poke fun at all the people who spent too much on junk to afford a more sophisticated dining experience for the evening.  (I’m kidding.)  Ooo, how about I turn this into my own personal version of April Fool’s Day and send that jerk of an ex-boyfriend a “valentine” from “Belle” that just happens to get delivered while he’s cooing over his new love-interest!  (I just felt my horns growing.) Seriously though, instead of focusing on Valentine’s Day as it is traditionally celebrated, I can begin and continue my personal fete or interpretation.  And although it sounds cliché, I can learn to love myself - or rather renew the love of self - rather than expect validation that I am loved from some significant other once a year.  Get closer to who you are by journaling.  Each year you can review what you’ve learned about yourself especially from this experience. 

Focus on L-O-V-E

Have you ever thought about what love actually is?  A “feeling?”  A “relationship?”  A promise or commitment?  If you can’t quite put a staple in what love is for you, then how can you expect to discern genuine love from another?  In fact, I think I’ve been doing it wrong.  I’ve been depending on my partner at the time to “make me feel” loved.  And although that has happened, the success rate for relationships built upon the “feel” foundation has been ZERO.  I do know how I treat others that I love.  The concern that I have for them.  The things that aren’t necessary but things I do just to give that extra something – not only on special days or occasions either, but throughout the year.  The language that I use.  So… how do I love myself?  And how good am I at doing it?  How do I make myself feel?  What value do I place on myself?  Am I committed to becoming the best person I am capable of being?  In keeping with my goals and standards, do I say to myself “you didn’t achieve all your goals from last year so you might as well save yourself the disappointment and ditch those resolutions” or “with just a little more effort you can get a few more goals from last year accomplished along with this year?”  Loving myself doesn’t always mean bailing myself out, just as I wouldn’t let a loved one off so easy.  Would you forsake your health goals if you love yourself?  Or would you want to be the healthiest you possible?  Taking into consideration how you express love toward others and applying that to how you show and give love to yourself could be key to renewing your love of self.  You could also incidentally become a better partner to someone else because you have a renewed love and value of self rather than depending upon someone else to fill your emotional deficits.  Give it a try this VDay.  Make it instead all about how you show love for yourself.   

Although some of my thoughts might come across a little “salty,” the point is that there is no one who can love you better than you. So, Congratulations!  You just spent your first VDay loving and appreciating you rather than participating in a parade of emotional co-dependents.  And though you might find yourself among the singles for this couple’s day, that doesn’t take away from your identity or self-worth.  As a matter of fact, your character is that much stronger.  And as much as I wish the best for you as we brave this VDay alone, these comments become null and void if I find a sweetheart before you to spend my couple’s day with. 

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

HAPPY NEW YOU 2014!!!


The Big Girl Chronicles:  Happy New YOU 2014!!!

My 2013 Year-In-Review reveals some moderate highs… and lows.  Although I didn’t accomplish everything on my list of personal “renovations,” I am glad to mention that there were some things I did succeed in.  So as I begin to revise my resolutions for the forthcoming year I am eager about the challenge to take those improvements and continue to build while re-listing those goals that I missed for the New Year.  The thought of not having achieved a few of those goals I was most excited about can make the New Year seem as though it’ll only be an instant replay of 2013.  I mean, here it is another year and instead of building on this goal I’m still on the ground floor trying to figure out how to get things up and moving.  What is it about this “thing” that I can’t seem to make it happen?

Upon taking a look at the goals I held myself accountable for by writing them down and the record of progress I kept by journaling, I can detail what actions were helpful and what I could have done better.  Comparing the energy I put into those things I conquered successfully, it could be that I didn’t approach each goal with the same intensity and dedication as those that have remained undone.  Uh oh!  I just realized something about myself!  Those things that I felt most intimidated about were overshadowed by some of the “easier” stuff.  I’ll admit it.  I chickened out on maximizing the effort towards accomplishing the more difficult stuff and pacified myself by focusing more on the easier stuff.  A form of self-sabotage.  Once I continue through my list I realize that I must now increase my level accountability for each goal.  My new list of resolutions will include time constraints for each goal.  Time allocated for each goal means that I won’t spend too much time on the easy stuff.

As I read through my record of progress, I also realize that there are some things that I didn’t anticipate having to do to achieve my goal.  Although I had fabulous ideas about what I wanted to accomplish, I didn’t thoroughly research what bringing those ideas into fruition entails.  Seems like such a silly oversight, but it bears mentioning that in order to not set yourself up for failure - or become overly dependent upon “divine intervention” - following the steps of any goal or process from start to finish gives a complete idea of what’s required of you to make it happen before you commit to it. 

A healthy balance of criticism is also necessary in my evaluation of my 2013 performance.  Honestly, there were some things that were beyond my control.  Therefore, I shouldn’t critique myself too harshly in those areas where I did the research, put forth the effort but was short on resources.  The dilemma now becomes whether the goal should be expanded or if the challenge is worth the end result.  In either case, give yourself fair credit where credit is due. 

Having to continue adding the same goal year after year can uncover a need for some soul-searching.  If this goal is something that I feel I want badly enough to continue to give attention to it year after year but to no avail, the question becomes should I continue to try or let it go(?).  Why (other than what I’ve already considered above) is this something I continue in each year?  Am I doing this for my benefit?  Or am I doing this for someone else?  Some honest, personal self-reflection could be all that’s needed to actually end up dumping baggage cleverly disguised as goals and aspirations to make room for things that would actually improve my life and well-being. 

Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions?  If you’re like millions of others, your New Year’s Resolutions go something like “to lose the weight and gain more wealth.”  Or kick a bad habit.  While those are some good places to make improvements, I want you to take a more in depth look at what you would really dare to admit that you would want this New Year to make happen for you.  I know there’s something more that would be uncovered if we start peeling back the layers that have kept you floating through life and maintaining the status quo.  Just make certain that you aren’t lugging someone else’s baggage and are being realistic about what it is you want to achieve.  If you’re up to the challenge, why not push yourself to do more than trim off some pounds and ante up the savings?  Find out what’s been holding you back and make your journey more interesting.  Are you ready?  Happy NEW YOU 2014!!!!!