You Are Beautiful: Part 2

I don’t have flaws. Ha! What a freeing thing to say. I don’t have flaws, I have differences. Let us not be another generation taken in by the world’s flawed definitions.

I will be real. I will be the beautiful that I am.

Instagram filters, photo editing, lighten exposure and add contrast. Why do we spend so much time taking away the things that make us human? That make us look real? Photography as an art is one thing, but must we edit every selfie, every profile picture?

578317_10201177694108591_22046003_nGuess what: I’m a human being. I have blood in my body. When I blush, when I’m warm, when I’m experiencing some beautiful human emotion like love or anger or happiness, my cheeks redden. I am healthy and I am able to perspire – let’s call it what it is – sweat. My face can have a healthy glow. It’s not excess oil, it’s being alive and able to get rid of toxins.

And speaking of excess oil: know where it comes from? When you’re a teenager, it’s caused by your hormones. Your hormones. Not things to be hated or suppressed, but the things that enable you to grow and develop. They’re good and healthy and are a beautiful part of the human experience.  Why do we insist on hating our own natural assets?

Where did your definition of beauty come from? I’ll tell you. It came from the TV, the magazines, every media image all around you every moment of the day. Because when you look at a mountain, it’s jagged, but you never think “if that crack was gone or it was smoother, it would be really beautiful.” No, you don’t even question its beauty. Why do you question yours?

406663_10200470189861427_1229666087_nWho decided what a flaw is? Who decided that the things that make me stand out from you and you from me aren’t unique beauty marks, but flaws? Who decided that a good way to get people to embrace their own beauty is to say “Your flaws are what make you beautiful”?

I don’t have flaws. Ha! What a freeing thing to say. I don’t have flaws, I have differences. Let us not be another generation taken in by the world’s flawed definitions. We aren’t flawed, their standards are. Be healthy. Be real. Be the beautiful that you are.

Click here for Part 1.

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T-Minus 36 Hours

Ok people, it’s the 30th and NaNoWriMo is happening the day after tomorrow. If you plan to stay up until midnight to start, then it happens rather soon! About 36 hours, in fact. The point is, it’s almost here! So here are some more practical tips for starting the month off right. I’ve already posted a more general tips thing and some other NaNo 2013 blogs, but this is the hands-on, nitty-gritty stuff!

Conspirators

Good Snacks For NaNo

Soooo a lot of people eat tons of chocolate and candy and junk food during NaNo. While I totally understand this, it’s better to eat healthier so that your brain can actually function instead of just try to keep you breathing. Obviously candy will happen, but some other, healthier snacks that are easy, fast, and in some cases eat-able-while-you-write, are:

1. baby carrots

2. tzatziki & wholewheat crackers (you can make your own tzatziki if it’s too expensive)

3. popcorn (if you pop it on the stove using olive oil it’s much healthier)

4. toast & peanut butter

5. protein powder with milk (preferably a healthy brand, not one with a bunch of added stuff)

Posture Pizazz

DON'T DO IT
DON’T DO IT

1. Especially if you’re going for a higher word count, but even if you’re doing the traditional 50,000 in a month, your posture is really important. I know it’s temping to lie on your bed and write, but your back will murder you in your sleep if you do this all month. Try to sit at a desk or table when you write.

2. It’s good to vary your position now and then, especially in a long writing stretch. If you have a laptop, alternate between a comfortable position for your neck/back and a comfortable position for your arms/wrists. You can’t have both with a laptop, but if you alternate it will help. If you have a separate keyboard you can use, definitely use it; elevate your laptop/monitor on a stack of books until you can keep your back/neck straight while looking at it (at eye level, in other words), and put your keyboard on the desk so that your hands can rest comfortably while writing.

3. Get up regularly. When you take a writing break, try to spend at least half of the break actually standing/walking/doing jumping jacks/stretching, and not just surfing the ‘net.

Other Stuff

1. Write whenever you have time, even if it’s 15 minutes. You don’t have to get your whole word count in one sitting.

2. If you live with other people, whether your family or roommates, explain what you’re doing and ask them not to bother you while you’re writing.

3. Do use the forums (especially the Shoutout forum) to check in, motivate others, and get motivation for yourself!

4. ENJOY IT. Aside from the actual writing, the point of NaNo is that it’s fun. So have fun 🙂

Warning Novelist at Work Neon Light Sign

Tomorrow Night is the Big Night!

If you’re staying up until midnight, it’s tomorrow night, people! That’s exciting! I’ll post another short blog tomorrow before I get started.

I’ve started a vlog about NaNo but I don’t know if I’ll keep it going. Also, here is my day one spreadsheet and here is my month spreadsheet in case you want to see how it’s going 🙂

A day and a half to go!

Wonderfully Made

Psalm-139

This morning I woke up and realized that now, this morning, for the first time in a long time, maybe for the first time since I was very small, I love myself. I’m flawed and imperfect, but I love myself. I love who I am. I love what is inside me. I respect myself, my thoughts, my feelings. I am allowed to take up space. I am allowed to feel. I am allowed to think, to be, to create, to speak, to breathe. I am excited about my future. And I now realize the importance of loving yourself, because how can you begin to love others if you don’t love yourself? It is then constantly a game of earning, earning, taking, inhaling, because in that state, the only love you can give is a needy love, a wanting love – at best, a self-conscious love. When you love yourself, you can love others. And all I can say is, praise God for bringing me to this place. It has been a hard road and a hard road still lies in front of me, but I have found my voice and allowed myself to speak, and I will speak and make and breathe until the hard road leads into another springtime and I can rest again.

It’s That Time Again

Lights! Camera! Exams! Yes indeed, the time has come. So in light of that and the fact that I haven’t posted in ages, I thought I’d do this slightly irregular post about: How to Stay Sane While Studying. I offer some advice.

-make time to jump/dance around your flat/house/room/closet like a maniac. music would probably be good, but sometimes I like to go without.

-cook elaborate meals! at the moment I’m working on some fried noodles and chicken…partly because I overcooked the chicken in the first place, but also because it’s fun to do. during exams.

-go outside. seriously, fresh air = fresh brain. brain wrinkles are good, but sometimes you need to air the thing out, you know?

-make allllll the kinds of tea you have. indian chai, vanilla chai, green tea with mint, green tea with lemon, earl grey, rooibos, rooibos with blackberry, normal tea, ethiopian normal tea…tea = goodness for your soul.

-stretch. better yet, go outside and stretch.

-spend some time with Jesus.

-don’t panic. everything will actually, literally, for seriously, be. ok.

Just Do It

I am the last person I would have expected to have this problem, but apparently I do, and as of today I am determined not to have it anymore.

Saying no.

A lot of people struggle with this, but with Christians there is the whole added element of spiritualizing everything. When people ask me to help them, to take part in something, etc, I struggle to say no. This is partly because I really do just struggle to say no, and partly because I forget to be realistic. If someone asks me something while I’m in a good mood and feeling energetic, I immediately say yes, forgetting about the three essays, the build up to exams, and the other commitments I have. Only later do I regret not thinking it through.

In any kind of church setup, it’s especially difficult because it’s God’s work so it must be good, right? If someone asks me something “it’s a sign” that I should do it. NOPE. Wrong answer. People’s expectations of you are different than God’s expectations, and surprisingly God’s are way easier to handle and deal with, because He wants what is best for us in the long run and He knows exactly what we’re up to and when.

I am currently on my couch after being sick all week long and I’m on antibiotics, resting by force because I didn’t take time to do it voluntarily, with no desire to see or talk to anyone except Jesus and my parents, because I took on too many things and had a miniature burn out. I am recovering in every sense; not because other people are jerks and loaded things onto me, but because I took too many things on myself that God never intended me to. Every person is different, too. I happen to be an introvert and need rather long periods of solitude, with no people, no Facebook, no communication period; just chilling with God, whether I’m doing “God things” or not. I need to recharge, and I haven’t been doing it.

God’s yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30). If your burden is heavy, something isn’t right. God never intended us to be crazed energizer bunnies running around like chickens with our heads chopped off. God is all about peace in the midst of chaos, about everlasting joy, about rest that is found in Him. Psalm 23, which I blogged about a while ago, is the most obvious passage about rest and peace (I should have taken my own advice, yes?).

You have your calling, both ultimately and daily, that God wants you to do, and that He’s given you the strength to do. You can’t take someone else’s calling on your shoulders simply because God didn’t give you the strength or tools you need to do it. You also can’t take on so many things that you’re stretched thin, because God, quite frankly, doesn’t do that to people. Even as I write this I feel nagging guilt about the things I’ll have to say no to in the future, but that isn’t from God either.

As I read this morning in Come Away My Beloved: “Do not be distressed by the misunderstanding of people. Let me take care of them Myself…As you give Me My rightful place and do not allow others to intrude, you will be at peace with Me.” This is between you and God. If people don’t understand it, or get offended, or make judgments about you because you obey God and not their expectations of you, that, frankly, is their problem. The people who love you should understand and if anything should be encouraging you with much cheering and confetti to make God and His expectations your priority even when it conflicts with theirs. God will sort it out; you do what He wants you to, and the rest will be history.