Beauty/Loveableness/Teens

It’s said beauty is in the beholder’s eye. I suppose that is true. As I’ve grown older, my definition of beauty changed dramatically. I suppose as a teenager I found my idea of beauty in fashion magazines, teen magazines, and had a skewed idea of beauty. It was anything but me. I think most girls my age felt this way, although I did not know that. We just didn’t have those kinds of discussions.

As I remained dateless after the age of 16, I thought no one would love me. Images of Twiggy and Goldie Hawn as the “Sock it to Me” girl made me believe I would never be thin enough for someone to love. It reinforced the message from Madison Avenue, my mom, and what I saw around me. Everyone but me was beautiful and loveable. I felt fat and ugly. And not very smart. Little did I know I actually had a pretty face, beautiful eyes (hidden by pop bottle lenses of the 60s) and was the right size of a normal human teenage girl. (The other day, a friend commented, “I wish I was the weight I was when I first thought I was fat.” Amen, sister!)

I lost all that. While my first husband was gone in the Army (Europe in an office, not in Vietnam), I crash dieted my way to less than 130 pounds. Starved myself, lost 50 pounds, and wore hot pants and shorts for the only time in my life. It was hard to maintain. I went back to a normal weight again, and felt fat. I wasted how sad so much of my life on feeling like that. Who the heck cares? I did, way too much.

I’d gain 35-40 pounds during each pregnancy when some doctors only wanted a 20 pound weight gain. I suspect many babies did not have the great start they deserved during this era. Mine were all healthy from the get go, thankfully. I’ve yo-yo’d my way during the rest of life. I was at an unhealthy plateau for a long time, until COVID let me to realize I wasn’t comfortable. I lost about 40 – 45 pounds, feel great, and haven’t KETO’d since.

By charts, etc., I should weigh less. I’m not sure that’s going to happen. For my health, it would be a little better, but the rest of my health numbers, etc are great. No high cholesterol, blood pressure under control, and I have various specialty docs I see for chronic pain. My knees don’t require injections every 90 days any more. I’m good, by most standards.

My idea of beauty now? It’s never found in a celebrity or the pages of a magazine. It’s found in the smiling, wrinkled face of a grandmother; the wisdom of a toddler who talks constantly; the excitement of a person discovering their talents after a lifetime of doing for others. It’s in nature; it is in wildlife; and it is in the every day, commonplace things. It is in the beholder’s eye. The heart of the beholder. The mind of the beholder. It’s a tween telling you they like spending time with you. When you tease your grand kid about silly things they did when they were young, they smile. It’s there! It’s everywhere.

As I finish up the cleaning from yesterday, I’ll see the beauty and show gratitude for taking care of our home. I’ll see it in our dogs. I’ll see it in the book I’m reading. It is everywhere. I’m going to soak it all in, and be grateful for learning what is truly beautiful. Check it out for yourself. Let’s see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there!

What Day Is This?

I’m sure everyone has asked themselves that question during the last ten days. I’ve been a day ahead of myself all week for some reason. It’s perfect to have it during vacation, with the holidays themselves on Saturday. Recuperate on Sunday, back to work on Monday? Maybe. Some folks will have designated holidays on Monday, and schools won’t go back until Tuesday or Wednesday.

This is Thursday, I had some office work at the Post to help the Babe; he had two funerals at the Omaha National Cemetery for the VFW Post 2503 Honor Guard. The Commander’s wife was decorating for New Year’s Eve; it will be beautiful. A lot of progress is evident at the Post; a year ago, we met to begin planning the great remodel of the facilities. It’s coming along nicely. The bar area is the last and will be most expensive, as it includes the rest rooms. The 90th Anniversary Party is in April, 2022, and it will be wonderful.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with saying:

“The hero is no braver than the ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.”

All of us are capable of heroic acts. My dad was a hero in WWII and Korea. He was also a hero to me. He was a great example of working (perhaps too hard), and staying the course. He was unwavering in anything having to do with providing for his family. Shows of affection were a bit more difficult for him. His mother told me once, “he took after his father in that department.” Grandpa finished growing up in an orphanage, one of ten children, hugs weren’t given away freely in that era.

Heroes we refer to who save a regiment of soldiers solo are much more glamorous than everyday, working class heroes. Consistency is what matters. Integrity is what matters. Above and beyond often means taking care of yourself so you can care for others. It’s not news-worthy but it is necessary in life. Staying the course, being consistent, and honesty are critical. We are all capable of doing small but heroic deeds in our daily lives. Keeping on our workout routine and eating healthy makes you a hero to your child, who needs you to be there for him or her as they grow up. Be your child’s hero. Those of us who achieve hero status just have worked at it a little longer than others. But we all can do it. Let’s join each other in being each other’s heroes next year. Help each other along.

Try and list all the things that turned out well this year. Concentrate on the positive. Despite everything, I’m thrilled with how 2021 played out for me. I became not only a published blogger online, but also in print; in Nebraska Writer’s Guild Anthology #5. I’m nearly there. What have you accomplished despite the odds? Be your own hero. You know you were braver than you ever thought for even five more minutes. Be safe out there. See you tomorrow, as we say goodbye to 2021.

All You Need Is . . .

Love is probably the most abused, overused word whether you “mean” it or not. Anyone I know from South Dakota ends a phone call with “Love You, Bye!” That is pretty genuine, trust me. But the “I love my phone,” “I love your hair!” All those. But let’s not split hairs.

My handy daily mediation book jumped out at me again today.

“Where does all the fake love come from? Is it them or is it me?” – Mel K.

The meditation goes on to state the more precious something is, the more fakes are created around it. That’s a big statement. And I think it’s true. Over 25 years ago, when I was thrust into the dating world after getting married at 18 and getting divorced at 30, it was certainly true. A lot of men would be dishonest about the fact they were married. Some were quite crafty about it. Meet you for lunch, not drinks or dinner. Meet/see you during the week, but never on the weekend. It didn’t take long to figure it out.

Also, at the end of the 80s, the AIDS crisis reared it’s ugly head and had every single person worried. Again, if people weren’t honest about their marriage status, they probably wouldn’t be honest with their sexual history. It was crazy out there. Terrible. I became good at staying home. Authentic love is the goal. Inauthentic love is so hollow. Some is plain deception: If you love me, you will lie for me, don’t tell Mom, don’t tell Dad, you will cheat for me, you will call me in sick at work so I can sleep, and no, don’t even think about calling me out on my behavior. You have no right to do that.

Hey, pal. Yes I do. If you love me, you will be honest and truthful, you will not expect me to compromise my morals, you will respect my feelings, you will understand I, too, have a life and obligations. If you don’t honor that, you certainly don’t love me.

There, as a much wiser older lady, I can finally say that. I tried to wriggle out of letting the Babe tell me he loved me. I was afraid. Afraid of lies, loss, and relationships. I said, “No, you can’t. It’s too early.” But he said he knew he did. And set to convince me of that fact. Glad he didn’t give up easily. Real, true loving is hard. It’s almost more attractive to accept the cheap knock offs.

Authentic love is trusting, fake is not. It dares to try, fake does not. It dares to take a risk by being expressed, fake stays silent. We need to trust they’ll understand, they’ll believe us, and they’ll trust. The problem isn’t them; it’s us! It was hard for me to learn to trust. Thank goodness, the Babe was patient.

I had a head full of phony ideas about love. I grew up hearing Mom’s Dean Martin LP’s on the Hi-Fi. “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.” Andy Williams crooning, “Love Story.” Englebert Humperdink singing “A Man Without Love.” I had stupid ideas everytime you disagreed, you’d get flowers. That I got from TV. I never heard my parents disagree, if they did, they did it when we were gone or asleep. I thought if you fought, it ended. If Mom got angry with someone, they were cut out of her life. Silent treatment. With the Babe, I’ve learned that important tool of life, to listen to someone else’s side of the story, and to adjust my thinking should I need to be less rigid. It does happen.

Trust is a very hard thing to earn and to learn. I’m proud people trust me with their private thoughts, and I’ve been told I’m a good friend. That’s important to me. I’ve earned trust. I’ve also learned to give the gift of trust to those who deserve it. Those who don’t can keep walking.

Maybe I’ll write a book filled with all the lines I’ve heard over the years. That could be hilarious! Someday. For today, I’m going to design the program for our event Sunday, and work on the Post website. It needs some stuff updated soon as our newsletter comes out. It’s going to be a great weekend. I hope yours is too. Be safe out there, and we will see you tomorrow!