Second Real Girls Giveaway Winner: Poetry

I am SO excited to announce our next Real Girls Giveaway winner: Sarah!  This fantastic lady sent us a brief glimpse into her life and her talents by submitting a poem – all the way from Dubai!  Inspired by the last Real Girls Giveaway winner, she wanted to share this poem she wrote on being real.  

A few comments before I post the poem: I am so unbelievably inspired by this poem.  It is so eloquently written and uses very sensual visuals to illustrate the raw reality of being “real”.  Poetry has such an incredible ability to express things that we cannot say in any other way, and it takes real talent to be able to bring together the harsh reality of our everyday lives with the beauty and subjectivity of the written word.  I am also in LOVE with her handle: Desencajada, which, according to her blog, means “out of her place”.  I believe it is Spanish (Foreign languages have such an amazing way of conveying meaning we often can’t express in English!).

You’ll love this read – 

What’s yours?

Link to the original poem on Sarah’s blog:

 

To stop resenting others for their happiness,
to unclench the knot in your throat that forms when they smile, 
pouring out their joyous abundance.

To start sculpting your own happiness, 
with bare trembling hands and tears in your eyes.

To dig deep in the dirt of your own secret garden 
and bury deep in the fertile soil 
all of your own dreams and hopes 
and grow and care for that garden, 
not allow the winter nor the beaming sun 
to either freeze nor burn your desires and destinies.

To gouge your own ditch 
to let the countless little streams of your heart flow 
until they form the thirst quenching sea 
and to have the courage to jump into it, 
not be afraid of its depths nor shallows 
and swim all the way through it 
to get to know its tide and temperature.

To untie all the strings that your fears have woven around your ankles,
keeping your feet from walking 
away from this house, this backyard, this fenced garden of deafening monotony.

To embrace the pain of growing wings, 
of tearing open your best guarded box, 
that chest, treasurer of that little throbbing muscle, 
and let the sunlight undisclose all the hideous secrets,
yes, 
to live and not dread the honesty of being real, 
range of possibilities exposed, of steps untaken and peace unmade. 

And yet to love, deeply, freely, guiltlessly, oneself…

To Love Freely Oneself

My favorite line is:

“To start sculpting your own happiness, 
with bare trembling hands and tears in your eyes.”

What’s yours?

Thanks again, Sarah, your gift will be arriving soon!

If you have a story, poem, experience, thought, piece of artwork, photo, or anything else that tells us about who you really are, please email Real Girls at BeaRealGirl@gmail.com and you’ll have a chance to win the next Giveaway!  

 

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Loving Your Bare Self

I’m not talking about physical nakedness in this post, although that is absolutely an amazing part of you that deserves your value and attention. At the moment, I’d like to focus on metaphorical nakedness. This concept is best explained with a short activity.

Pull out a paper and pen, or iPad, or the Notebook feature on your cell phone, or just close your eyes and participate in your head (after you’ve read the instructions, of course). We all have metaphorical “clothes” that we wear everywhere – some are placed on us or encouraged by others, some are taken upon ourselves. Some are positive, some are not, but they often become a strong part of our identity. Your metaphorical clothing might include “musician”, “smarty pants”, “nerd”, “writer”, “sister”, “beauty”, “gymnast”, “nice girl”, “niece”, stubborn” girl, etc. I want you to write down every word, title, or label, positive or negative, that you or someone else might use to describe you.

Do you have your list? Ok, now I want you to look at your list and imagine yourself standing behind the words – maybe the words just float on you, maybe they are tattoos, or maybe they are just descriptors pointing to different parts of you. Picture it however you like, but imagine those words being on your body, your person in some way.

Now picture those words melting away until they are gone. As if they no longer apply to you. What is left?

More importantly, at this juncture, I want you to ask yourself: “do I love and value what is left?”.

In our day there is so much emphasis put on achievements, abilities, and accomplishments – all by people who love us and want the best for us – that it’s easy to wrap our identity up in all those different roles we play, the things we do, and labels we carry. But when you take all that away, and leave just the nakedness of you, that is the you that needs your greatest love; The you that is valuable and worthy simply because you are you. There doesn’t have to be any other reason. You are of value. With no strings attached.

Now skills, abilities, and accomplishments are all amazing things and quite necessary for fulfillment and even survival these days, so let’s not pretend they don’t exist and ought not be celebrated! But they are not what make you inherently valuable. They are what an already valuable person exudes. And the greater your sense of inner value, the more you can believe in yourself and guide yourself towards that achievement that will contribute to your fulfillment and survival.

Look back at your page with you and your non-existent words. You may not love that naked person right now. You may feel she is only worthwhile with her baton or calculator or hairbrush. That is not the reality. Take some time every day to spend with that naked girl. That girl deep in your core that lies at the very heart of who you are and does nothing, accomplishes nothing, just simply is. Begin to nurture her the way you would your own child and practice cultivating loving feelings for her. In time, you will find that your value lies in far more than what you contribute to the rest of the world. And that your contributions to the world are simply loving expressions of your deepest self. Give her a chance, she needs some attention.

And I think you’ll like her.

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MY Stress Is Better Than YOUR Stress!

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Anyone remember this game?  We used to play it all the time when we were kids.  In fact, my daughter was playing it just the other day.  Her friend came to play, and in the midst of an intense discussion about the merits of being able to successfully lasso a younger sibling’s leg with a shoelace, the line in the sand was drawn.

“MY family is better than YOUR family!”  Uh oh.  Tears erupted, accusations flew, emotions ran high.  Remember all the versions of that statement?

“MY Mom can beat up YOUR Mom!”

“MY car is faster than YOUR car!”

etc. etc.

The funny thing is, when you think about it, there’s nothing really WRONG with any of these statements.  Every individual thinks they have the best family, best car, best parents (well, maybe not everyone…), best life.  Why would we have chosen them if it was not so???  So it’s not really wrong to say such a thing…. It’s just not really helpful.

SO!  It’s a good thing we grow out of that stage eventually, right??

Ummmm….wellllllllll…..actually, most of us don’t.  We simply disguise it and reuse it in a different form (see, it’s recycling, we’re just being efficient, right??).  Let me set the (fictional) stage.

I’m at a wedding reception.  I’m sitting at one of the fancy white tables with a few other people, all making conversation about various topics.  I’m tired.  It’s been a long evening.  My two kids are tired and cranky, I spilled strawberry cake on my brand new dress, I have to get up early the next morning for a meeting, and to top it all off, my daughter runs up to me and head barrels into my chest.

“ALYSSA!!!!”  After some scolding and very frustrated sighs, I send her back off to reak havoc on her next victim.

As I am visibly agitated, the others at the table begin to console me.

“Hey, it could be worse; you could have 5 kids like me!”

“How can you be stressed, you only have TWO?!”

“haha, you’re right.” I say, and in increased frustration, I belabor through the rest of the evening.

The translation of their statements? “*scoff*.  MY stress is better than YOUR stress!”.

Unfortunately, most of us do this to each other.  We even do it to ourselves!  We’ve all caught ourselves chanting the “Children are starving in China!  War is breaking out in the Middle East!  What do I have to be upset about”, AMIRIGHT?!

If I’d had the (fictional) courage to respond to these (fictionally) well-intentioned (fictional) folks, my response would have likely gone something like this:

“Really, I shouldn’t be stressed because I only have two kids?  Because you have, what, 10?  Well, when you had only 2 kids, you were just as stressed as me.  And yes, if I had 5 kids, 2 kids would seem like a walk in the park!  But I don’t have 5 kids, I have 2.  So I will go right ahead and reserve my right to feel stressed about my 2 kids just as you felt stressed when you had 2 kids.” *Curtsy*  *Skip away*

Probably not very helpful either….

Here’s my point: when you’re stressed, do what’s helpful, and leave the rest behind.  There are times when it is actually quite helpful to play the “ItCouldBeWorse” game.  Sometimes you’re just in the kind of mood where you want to brush off your struggles, turn to the sunshine, and remember everything you’re grateful for.

And sometimes you’re not.

And when you’re not, don’t worry, you don’t need to torture yourself by repeating how Susie might get kicked out of school, AND her parents are getting divorced, AND her brother is in rehab, AND her dog died, AND she has diphtheria, AND she’s losing her house so she has to move to Africa and starve and fight in wars and live her life with only three toes, blah, blah, blah….

Sure, there are people out there who have it much worse than you, no doubt.  And it’s worth recognizing that at times.  But your life is just as valuable as theirs is.  Your stress is just as worthy of your attention as theirs is.

So give yourself a break.  If someone comes at you with an “ItCouldBeWorse” and you feel like vomiting in your mouth, just let it float away with the wind.  You’re allowed to be stressed about your midterm, your boyfriend being a jerk, your parents fighting, your college decisions, your wayward child, your mounting bills….

Because at the end of the day, YOU are the one who gets to live your life; the good and the bad.  Own it.  And give yourself a little more room every day to be you.

Be Real.  Be stressed over stupid things.  Find helpful ways to cope with it.  Be human.  Be You.  And don’t let anyone convince you that you’re better off being any other way.

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What is a Real Girl

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Be real.  Be you.  And don’t let anyone convince you that you are better off being anyone else.

You are beautiful, original, unique.  You are amazing in so many ways.  Being a real girl is simple: just be yourself.  Dig deep, search through your life and environment to find those things that make you uniquely you; then love them, develop them, and embrace them every day.  Encourage others to do the same.  No matter what social construct, race, religion, or society you belong to, there is no set prescription for who you are supposed to be.  There are certain societal spaces where specific behaviors are encouraged or expected – in the workplace, at church, in formal environments – and you will likely benefit from respecting those conventions (though not always) while letting your personality and true self shine.  Never fear being exactly and authentically who you want to be.

This blog is for the Real Girls of the world: the unique, unafraid, and powerfully different.  By the way, this is ALL of you.  Here is a place to learn how to discover all the beautiful qualities, opinions, pieces, and parts that make up who you are.  Who you are and who you want to become is ultimately your sacred and beautiful choice.  Life will give bits and pieces, hints and discoveries to show you who you have the potential to become.  Keep them safe, keep them special, and close to your heart for no one but God Himself (if you choose to believe in him or her) will understand your value as you can.

People may try to say you are not who you are; build your personal proof and your personal confidence so their opinions no longer matter.  Never be afraid of what you feel, be it good or bad, right or wrong, for every feeling is a part of who you are and deserves your attention and love.  There is good in every shortcoming or mistake; find it.  There is hope in every loss; seek it.  There are pieces of you everywhere you look: find them.

And remind yourself of these personal discoveries when the inevitable rough road of life causes you to forget who you are and the potential overflowing inside of you.

Your parents love you; they want what is best for you.  Their advice is often sound, if not well-reasoned, they simply want you to avoid the mistakes they made or have seen others make.  They do this out of LOVE.  You have the right and responsibility to make and learn from your own mistakes, and pave your own path just as they did.

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