Owning It

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Making friends is weird.

It isn’t easy finding the balance between being truly me and also wanting to make a good impression. It is such a sticky path. It is twisted and complicated. Being in a new school, knowing absolutely no one, makes finding friends not super easy. The whole process of making friends makes me feel like I am back in elementary school and trying to find people to play with on the playground.

Since being in school, I have made one friend. We have a couple classes together and are pursuing the same major. We were basically destined to be friends. Our friendship went from zero to sixty, real fast. I wasn’t even certain we were friends and then we were spilling our guts.

We quickly began talking about the deeper things about life: heartbreak, family drama, life, death, and everything else in-between.

The other day our class got cancelled so we went out to coffee (what a classic college statement to say). We sat down, a pumpkin latte in hand, and the conversation ebbed and flowed. Back and forth. They shared. I shared. It was an extremely rewarding conversation.

It was at coffee that I began to share my story. Up until this point, they had shared more than I had. Up until this point, I was just Maranda. I wasn’t Maranda The Christian, or Maranda The Ex-pastor, or Maranda The blogger, or even Maranda The Sinner. I was just Maranda. When the questions began, all the details flowed. I shared quite a bit. I definitely shared the parts that make me look waaaay less than impressive.

My new friend responded beautifully. They were kind and understanding. But, I walked away and kind of panicked.

I woke up the following day questioning what the heck I did.

I think I was just smacked with the realization that I have left the comfort of the church community. And now I am trying to navigate what I believe, what I want, and where I am going. Now, I don’t have the safety net of the church. Or the comfortability of church. I am just figuring out where my place is.

I was terrified of what my new friends thoughts would be. Did I share too much? Is my story too different? Will I be accepted? Am I enough to be their friend?

I reached out to some of my superhero girl gang & told them I was spazzing. They responded with reminding me to own my story.

My story matters. Period.

It doesn’t matter what I did seven years ago.

It doesn’t matter what I haven’t done.

I have a really beautiful heart that deserves to be trusted, honored, and celebrated.

I deserve to be surrounded by people that remind me that my story is valuable.

It’s so funny, because my new friend was really understanding of my story, but MY insecurity got involved. Owning my story is just another layer, a deeper level, of self love. More acceptance.

So, in this journey of making friends…I’ve decided to become my own friend.

Just like I am accepting of the new people I meet, I will be accepting of my story. I will extend kindness and grace and understanding to myself. I will trust the beauty I bring into friendships. I will celebrate who I am become through every season of my story.

Why does it seem so complicated to accept and befriend oneself. The reality is, you deserve friendship. You deserve respect and honor. You deserve to extend friendship to yourself. So, regardless of your story…own it. Rock it. And don’t doubt the fire within you.

XO,

M

What to do: Life Crisis

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Ya know those moments, in life, where you feel like you are reconsidering everything? Those moments where you are reevaluating who you are, what you’re doing, how you’re going to accomplish life, why are you doing what you’re currently doing? Welcome to my last two weeks…

I have been back in Cincinnati, Ohio (where I am from & where my immediate family is) for the last two weeks. Each time I come home, I feel as though I can finally exhale. I feel like I can take a pause on my “real” life in order to find peace again or explore my options. This trip home, though, there has been no rock unturned.

I have been evaluating my job, my education, my relationships, my future, my dreams, my 5 year plan, my personal identity, and more.

Do I want to keep working at my job? Do I want to change my major? What do I want to do with the rest of my life? Who do I want to be? Do I like where I live? Are my friends adding positive things to my life? Am I sure? Am I sure? Am I sure? Am I sure?

There has been a lot of self-doubt. There has been a lot of questions. There has been a lot of emotions. It has, honestly, been a really taxing experience.

I have discovered that I am at a fork in the road.

I have every possible choice within my grasp and I simply get to choose what I want.

As someone who prides herself on her core value’s about self-love, self-connectedness, and listening to one’s heart…you would think that the answer of what do I want would come easy to me. Wrong.

I have had to fight for the last two weeks to distinguish what my heart is saying. It was easy to hear the voices of my parents, or my bosses, or the self-critic. But it wasn’t easy to hear my quiet and insecure voice.

Have you ever been at this spot? This confused, clueless, and seemingly helpless spot? (I know that I am not alone!) Well, I am sharing all this for Y O U ! (and for me the next time I get to this place)

What to do when You’re Clueless AF?

Step One: Journal

Journal out all of your thoughts, feelings, concerns, etc. Write out (personally I recommend by hand…because it forces you to really look at your thoughts) all the mumbo-jumbo floating through your brain. GET. IT. ALL. OUT. Even the ugly stuff, or the silly stuff, or the seemingly unimportant stuff…write it all down.

 

Step Two: The Goal of Identity

Who are you? Who is it that you want to be? When you imagine your future, what kind of human are you? Write it down. This is the first puzzle piece of your answers.

Who you want to be is the goal for your character. It is the vision board of where you want to head.

 

Step Three: The Results are in

Take some personality tests. The reason I love personality tests so much is because they give words to things you’ve thought or felt that you might not have had language for. For example… I took the Strength Finders test and discovered that one of my top 5 strengths is Connectedness. This means that I believe there are links between all things in life and that everything has a reason. Knowing this about myself explains so much to me. It shows me that believing in connections isn’t an odd thing I do, but it is part of who I am and it is part of what I bring to the table. This test helped me learn a bit more about myself!

Myers Briggs: This test is incredible because it not only tells you about your personality, but it also tells you how you act in friendships, romantic relationships, work, and which careers would be good for you.

Enneagram: This test was interesting because I discovered that I am a Type 1. Type 1’s are called “The Reformers.” They are fixated on perfection, responsibility, and are constantly looking for improvement. These results are totally me, but I had a hard time hearing that. The qualities that I shared (perfectionist, high responsibility, and are constantly looking for improvement) are qualities that I have always resented in myself. I don’t like that I am constantly trying to look for improvement in myself or others. I don’t like that I am always striving for perfection. Despite the difficulty of accepting this personality type, I have taken these results are a positive thing within my life. Knowing this is the type of person I am, allows me to own it more and allows me to give grace to myself when those aspects of who I am rise up.

 

Step Four: Pros VS. Cons

I know this advice is a little overused, but it is honestly so helpful. Make a pros and cons list. Simplify the positives and negatives to each decision and organize then. Making a pros and cons list has helped me recognize what is important to me and what isn’t important. The list does not have to be long, just a few short things to help you see the decision for what it is.

I did this in trying to decide which degree I should pursue. Until I made the list, I had so many positive and negative thoughts about every possible major, but making the list allowed me to actually see the positives and negatives.

 

Step Five: Moments of Peace

My last little piece of advice would be to find your place of peace. It might be late in the night, or early in the morning. Maybe it is in the chaos of a city street or maybe it is within a coffee shop’s four walls. Whatever that place is, it is the place where your thoughts seem clear.

For me, it is the morning time. Just me & a cup of coffee.

When you get to your place of peace…it isn’t time to over think but it is a time to expect the best…to expect answers.

 

Step Six: Repeat Steps 1-5 as many times as necessary

 

As someone that is still very much within these steps… I’ll keep y’all updated on more things and keys that help me. But, I think I have gotten over the hump of the chaos. Sometimes life can be so difficult. But, it is encouraging knowing I am not alone.

Let me know your tips and tricks for making major life choices and for reevaluating your life!

Thanks for reading!

XO,

M

Love heals.

Blog Post

WOW.

I am shocked at the responses from last week’s post! (If you didn’t check it out…check it out here. It is all about my story with pornography & freedom). Thank you sooo much for the support and encouragement. It truly means the world to me.

After last weeks post, I really wanted to give some encouragement/hope to anyone that might be in the midst of struggle. (Whoops. I guess that applies to us all (; ) Life is hard and sometimes we simply need someone to tell us that it. is. possible.

Now, I know that some of you are not Christians and may not believe in God, but I also think that everyone is spiritual and desires spiritual growth. My desire in this space on the internet is to be a place where anyone, from any background, feels free to be. By this, I mean that I never want to push my thoughts onto anyone else…but I, too, want to make sure that I continue to allow myself the space to share what I feel needs to be said.

So, in this post…keep in mind that I honor where each and every one of you is.

Something that some of you do not know is that I work for a discipleship program. This is a spiritual program that focuses on working with adults to help them to heal emotional wounds, actively pursue personal growth, and urging them to connect deeper and deeper to God’s undeniable love for them.

Personally, I went through this program and was radically changed (you can read more about it here!) This program sees all kinds of people come through it’s doors: addicted, tormented, broken, hopeless, insecure, young, old, and everything in between.

I have seen LOVE heal each and every thing. I have seen LOVE mend the deepest of wounds. I have seen LOVE heal years of torment. I have seen LOVE show people to dream, love, believe. I have seen freedom from addictions. I have seen anger resolved. I have seen insecurities become areas of confidence. I have seen hope fill people’s lungs. I have seen dreams flood people’s minds. I have seen purity affect people’s lives. I have seen shame brush off of people’s shoulders. I have seen bodies restored. The healing, breakthrough, and freedom that I have seen in people’s lives is ridiculous (in the best of ways).

I do not know what you’re facing right now in your life. I don’t know what your past holds or what future complications you will experience. But, I want to say that THERE IS HOPE. Regardless of what it is…LOVE can heal.

I know that this is a little crazy…but today at work we replaced lies with truths. We went after the lies involved with comparison. For me, I was believing that that I was unworthy. After that, I apologized to God and to myself for partnering with that belief. And then, I was intentional to receive LOVE. After that experience, I feel so much lighter and fuller and happier.

(Now, that does not solve all problems. I have to continue to be intentional to stick with the new truth that I have learned. But, I have hope that this new truth can be maintained)

So, whatever it is that you are facing, LOVE is enough. LOVE  can heal. LOVE  can restore.

This is a short post, but one I truly believe in. Also, I just want to say that I am here for you…feel free to reach out. I would love to connect and encourage you.

What is the new truth you’re believing? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

M

ShameFree

Blog Post

So, let me be honest.

Each blog post I have written so far has been fairly easy for me to write. The amount of transparency and vulnerability has been easy to swallow. But, today I want to write about something that is actually a challenge.

I have tried starting this post about 7 times and I keep having the faces of my sweet family roll through my mind. Isn’t it funny how it is easy to be transparent with strangers, but it is far more difficult to be vulnerable with those that matter? (I promise family, this story ends on a good note!)

I want to start off with a disclaimer: this is simply my expereince. In no way am I trying to push a belief system or be the moral police for any of you. Be the best version of you, whatever you think that that is. But I do feel led to share my story.

WELL, here goes…

About a week ago I was sitting in a room with a group of spiritual leaders that I trust. We were talking about sexuality (and all things related). A question got presented about pornography and it was referred to as a man issue. I was instantly irate. Because pornography does not just affect men and I think that needs to be talked about more.

It affects women. It affects people. It affects me.

I think I was about 11 or 12 when I began watching porn. I think it started from curiosity, turned into fascination, and remained an addiction. It was about 7 years before I got any freedom.

For me, watching pornography and masturbating was a terrible act that reiterated all the self-hatred that I had been cultivating inside me for most of my life (see my blog post all about my story to know more about that). It became a form of punishment and self-absue.

Now, this is where I remind you all of the disclaimer above…you can obviously make your own decisions about your own purity. But for me, watching pornography was horrible. I felt terrible after, I had to hide a major part of my life from the people that love me, and I felt violated seeing those images. The experience for me was one of shame.

Overtime I became numb. I struggled to make true, vulnerable friends. I put up a wall with my family. My identity became solidified that I am worthless and I deserve shame.

I was like two people: the good christian girl to the public eye and the shame-ridden worthless monster behind my bedroom door. I hated living like this, but it felt like exactly what I deserved. I tried so hard to “be a better person.” And nothing I would do made me quit (or like myself anymore).

Long story short, I applied to go to a christian ministry school and was asked to attend their discipleship school instead. When I got that news I was devastated. I told my parents and they did not understand why I didn’t get in. They attempted to learn more both about the discipleship school and the reasons behind why I didn’t get approved to go to the ministry school.

I was terrified that my parents would learn about my battle with pornography from someone else. I knew I had to admit to this problem. I sat my mom down and with big ol’ tears streaming down my face (just kidding. that sounds too put together…I was a blubbering mess) I told my mom my pains, shame, and problem with pornography. I asked her if she still loved me, to which she replied “Yes. Of course.”

Okay, I know this sounds absolutely insane…But I swear…after talking to my mom I was set free. The act of bringing something to the light, having accountability with someone close to me, and receiving love within the darkest parts of who I am…it changed everything.

This is really the heart of this post: get vulnerable and bring things into the light! Let trust worthy people see into you. Let them see the pretty parts and the yucky parts of you, your life, your thoughts. Regardless of what you have done, or what has been done to you, or who you think you are…YOU DESERVE LOVE. YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE. 

It will be terrifying. It will be difficult.

but it is worth it.

Regardless of what your thoughts are about pornography…take away this: all of you deserves to be seen by trustworthy people. Even the parts you think are too ugly.

Being vulnerable, having emotional intimacy, changes lives. Allow yourself to be seen, heard, and loved.

After about six months, or so, of freedom from watching pornography, I began to struggle again. I fought off and on for some time. Vulnerability isn’t the cure-all fix to any problem. I had to make powerful choices about what I wanted in my life and who I wanted to be. I began to see that I deserved a pure love and deserved authentic intimacy. I decided that watching porn and masturbating was no longer an option in my life.

Because of love and because of powerful choices, I have freedom.

 

I will end with this…

My view on pornography is not just based on my faith. It has a lot to do with the fruit that it caused in my life. Everything that came from both porn and masturbating was bad. It pushed me to keep secrets. It pushed me to cultivate shame. It kept me from relationships. It reiterated the lie that “I didn’t deserve love.” So, I would say that it is really important to look at the fruit happening in your life. Surround yourself with things that bring truly good fruit into your life.

Thank you for reading and letting me share. Feel free to send me any questions or comment below!

XO,

M

Missed Opportunities

Blog Post

Hello Lovely Humans,

I want to start by saying thank you for reading this post (& for checking out my blog!) It is such an honor to have each view, like, and comment I get. MarandaTaylor is a dream come true.

I have mentioned it before and will mention it again (somehow it comes out within each blog post I have)…the topic of

Self-Love.

Self-love is a subject that has many opposing views. Ultimately, to me, self-love is the intentional act of accepting oneself, fighting for one’s desires, and expressing love towards oneself. Self-love is not thinking that you are better than everyone else, but it is treating yourself with the same kindness you treat others with. Self-love is being gentle, gracious, and forgiving towards your being, actions, and body. Self-love is brave. Self-love is wild. Self-love is complicated.

Self-love has become one of my all time favorite topics. I believe that self-love is a journey, one we never arrive to a destination with. We are always learning new ways to love ourselves. And we are always presented with new opportunities to practice our new ways of self-love.

Now, I know that society hasn’t easily accepted self-love as a common practice, despite the strong efforts of men & women that are fighting to create a culture of self-love. Growing up, I didn’t know anything about self-love. I did not realize it ought to be a priority in everyone’s life. I never heard that my self deserved love.

If that is you, this is me telling you that your self deserves love.

Because society isn’t sharing about self-love enough…I want to. I want to share everything I learn about self-love and I want to constantly encourage those around me to love bigger and accept more.

Recently, I have been recognizing that there are so many opportunities for me to practice my self-love. Everyday I wake up and I get a chance to love myself more. But recently, I have been settling for convenience more than I have been choosing love. I choose convenience in my actions and choices. (For example, it is convenient to get some greasy food to-go as opposed to cook something healthy at home. Or it is convenient to not make my bed as opposed to take the time to create a clean atmosphere of a made bed.) I became convicted at the opportunities that I was missing.

I don’t want to look back on my life and see missed opportunities. So, I have been challenging myself to embrace the moments that each day has. This means infiltrating my life with things that make me feel loved. I want to decorate my life with things that bring me joy.

Have you ever spent quiet time with yourself to really discover what brings you joy? Have you ever spent time to ask your heart, what makes you feel alive? Well, I did that this past weekend and these are a few of the things that I have come up with…

a fridge full of fresh food,

essential oils diffusing through out my house,

sleep at a decent time,

long phone calls with old friends,

baths with a good book,

a clean and tidy home,

fresh flowers,

open windows at any chance I can get (in my house, my car, my office),

tween fiction novels,

face-timing my nieces,

slowing down for sunshine,

and journaling anything and everything that happens in my life.

 

Now, it might not seem like much but as I have been pressing in to this list of things that I love, I have been enjoying my days in a more fuller way. At the end of the day, I couldn’t tell you why I have had such good days but I think it is for pressing in to these things. I believe that it is these simple acts that elevate our lives from mundane to sensational. I believe that our lives can be full of vibrancy, but we have to actively choose that.

This topic of self-love is a big one, but it does not have to be overwhelming. Each day, you can practically love yourself. What is unique to you? More than just answering the question “how do you practice self-love?” I want you to feel inspired to put action behind your list of joy things.

It is people like y o u  &  m e that will create a society, a culture, of more love. So, start with yourself…you are stuck with you forever, anyways (;

Let me know in the comments what you did to spread more love today! (PS: Make sure you subscribe to my blog!)

XO,

M

The Power of Me (Guest Post: Destiny Story)

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One thing I want to use this social platform for is to promote and celebrate the people around me. I am someone that searches for lessons & inspiration from those around me and I want to share those stunning people with you all!

This first guest post is by a woman that is dear to my heart. She has been in my life for almost two years and I am deeply blessed by her:

Destiny Story EFC06971-A31D-486D-A638-69E09A6FAE27.JPG

When I think about who Destiny is I think of one word: brave. She is a woman that looks at life, her challenges, her fears, her dreams and responds to them bravely. Destiny has bravely stood in the wilderness of life and come out to the other side. She has stood, alone and scared, and yet she has not turned away.

Destiny Story is a brave woman.

In this post she has written, she shares about some of her wilderness. She shares about a process that I’ve had the privilege to watch her walk through. And as a witness to this time in her life, I can safely say that she has a lot of wisdom & inspiration on the things she shares. So, let her sweet words inspire you!

XO,

M

Ps: You can check out D’s blog here: https://destinystoryblog.wordpress.com

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My whole life I’ve felt like I wasn’t enough, or honestly, that I was just too much. I’ve felt not skinny enough, not talented enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not funny enough, not good enough. I’ve felt too loud, too tall, too fat, too opinionated, too passive, too emotional, too sensitive, too different.

I’ve always felt like I was different and I’ve spent most of my life just trying to decide if what made me different was good or bad. But I think somewhere around 7th grade I subconsciously decided that it was a bad thing, a really bad thing, that would forever keep me separated from those around me. I thought I would never be able to connect with people because it felt as if people never wanted to connect to me (my parents and friends) or that I was always “too much, not enough” for the people around me to connect with. I felt creative but was never shown it was okay to be creative in ways that didn’t quite make sense and I was never shown it was okay for it not to be perfect. I buried myself in perfectionism because it seemed all the amazing people were, and the sad part was that people around me wouldn’t have known because it was all in my internal world! It revealed itself in my self talk and my constant attempts to “fix” myself that only led to me feeling suicidal.

Even after I became a Christian, it only intensified. Except this time thankfully I was healed enough to not feel suicidal, but I did feel like the weight and the pressure of always doing things perfectly would eventually break me. I had somewhere, along my journey in life, picked up this idea that the real me was too messy and would never be good enough so I needed to make up for it with perfect actions. Ha! Funny, huh? I mean this was definitely not something I would consciously know I was doing! It would look like me trying really hard, being praised for my actions, and then making a mistake and beating myself up for it for days and thinking “what else could I have done? I’m doing everything I can and it’s still not enough!” and then eventually trying to make up for it by pretending like it didn’t happen and continue doing more things that would look perfect.

But the problem with this is that I had equated being “enough” to things that were unattainable, like never making a mistake or never hurting anyone’s feelings. Anybody ever been through something like this? Ever try to perform for love? I’m guessing that I’m probably not alone in this. I’ve noticed as a human race, generally we have more grace for others than we do ourselves.

But sometime last year I decided this thing that made me different may not have actually ever been a bad thing! What if my imperfections made me beautiful? What if my emotions made things fun and are natural? What if my sensitivity wasn’t a weakness, but a strength? What if my chubby body could be enough for me and eventually someone else? What if making mistakes only made me human? Could I still be loved if someone saw them? If I were fully me, mistakes and all, would I be enough?

These were the questions running through my head and I made the decision that I was going to try being seen. I decided to show people that I was different. I decided to try allowing myself to be loved through my mistakes. Because when I try to be “perfect” I still don’t feel like I’m enough, and I never get to be truly authentic. And that life wasn’t working for me.

I went to Oregon last year on a missions trip and after days of barely sleeping and not being able to control a single thing, I could feel my emotions starting to rise. And as they got closer to the surface I could feel them starting to bubble over into my actions. I was short with people and I was crying uncontrollably. I felt embarrassed but free. I knew that these people doing life with me would see a side of me I was afraid of showing to people that hadn’t been in my life for an extended period of time. But I couldn’t care anymore. I decided to take a risk and be vulnerable and see how they responded.

And to my freaking surprise they still loved me!

And not only that, they complemented me! They asked me what I needed, they encouraged me, and they loved me through it. And not just once, but repetitively. I was UNDONE. This was not a way of life that I was familiar with! But I knew I could never turn back.

I’m coming up on a year since that trip and as I reflect I see that my journey of accepting myself and being vulnerably me, has not been a fun or pretty journey. I have hid, I have made some of the most painful mistakes I’ve ever made this past year and I’ve been the most myself I’ve ever been in my whole life. I’ve never been as open with those close to me quiet like I have in this past year. I’m loving who Destiny is more than I thought possible and I know there’s only so much more!

You see, perfectionism tells you that until you do everything right, you aren’t enough. But a life of freedom looks like vulnerability. It looks like showing the world who you truly are and not wavering in the truth that,

you are enough. No questions asked.

A life of freedom consists of making mistakes and allowing the people who are close to you into them because you do not deserve to be alone during it. A life of freedom looks like you being confident in what you enjoy doing and wearing. A life of freedom looks like creating without comparison.

Being vulnerably you will set you free from perfectionism or performance. There’s nothing quiet like when you allow yourself to be who you’ve always been in the inside. And I promise dear friends, there are people who are dying to love you as you. All your unique characteristics, all the things you’ve thought were too much, all of the parts of you that you thought weren’t enough, they are worthy of love. Because we all have them, let’s be honest. None of us have it all together. But none of us have to pretend like we do anymore. I’m starting to see that the people I admire the most are people who are unashamedly them. Unwavering to the opinions of others, they stand tall in who they are and they let themselves show. This is strength. This is vulnerability. Vulnerability is strength. And this is who I want to be. I am deciding that I will no longer look at people on social media, the models on tv or Pinterest, or even the people around me and think “I wish I were like them”, but instead I will say

“I’m thankful that I am ME. Because no one can be ME.”

So dear ones, will you join me in living a life of being vulnerably us? Will you join me in leaving perfectionism and comparison behind?? Let us celebrate who we are and what we create and what we do well, because we were always designed to do it the way only we can do it.

Xoxo

Destiny Story

#MoreSelfLove

#BodyLove

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Happy February! The month of love! This month I have challenged myself to be a bit more active in my relationship with myself. I want to be more intentional about the love I am extending to me.

To start this month off, I wanted to write about the power of loving your body (yiiikes).

#BodyLove

As someone that has struggled with body image issues my entire life, I know that some of you will not want to read this post. I wouldn’t have, but I promise it is worth it! No Shame Allowed.

Why should we pursue a positive attitude towards our bodies?

Our relationship with our bodies affect everything. It affects our quality of life, our confidence, our perception of the world, our adventures, and our relationships. It affects our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Our bodies are a representation of ourselves. Our bodies are the first thing we share with the world. Our bodies is what takes up space in this world (a space that each of us deeply deserve).

The beauty standards of our society (at least in America) are impossible. Did you hear that? I M P O S S I B L E. Jes Baker, in her book Things No One Tells Fat Girls, states that for 95% of women it is completely impossible for their bodies to achieve the current beauty standard of America. In order for a man to achieve the current beauty standard of America, that man would have to dedicate his entire day, everyday, to achieve that body. To me, these statements make the beauty standard null and void (but does not diminish the pressure to achieve those standards).

Lastly, if we added more acceptance, more love, and more positive attitudes towards our bodies, we would change the world. The world is filled with comparison, anger, anxiety, and filled with people that believe they are worthless. If we all began to accept our bodies, allowing ourselves to take up space in this world, we would fill the world with more life. The world would become a fuller and more beautiful place.

How do we pursue a positive attitude towards our bodies?

I think it begins by making the powerful choice to fight. You must decide to face the monster of body-hate and instead, actively pursue more acceptance and more love towards your body.

After you’ve made the brave choice to fight, you have to be gracious to yourself. For me, I have about eighteen years of bad habits towards my body…I need to recognize that I won’t solve those in a day or two. It I going to take time. It takes time to change those patterns. Everyone has good days and everyone has bad days. I have bad body days and so does the next body positive advocate. So, be kind to yourself and recognize that body-love is not just a switch of a flip…but taking a step forward each day.

I think the act of body-love looks like acceptance. It looks like you stop fighting against your body and instead fight for your body. Instead of hiding who you are, boldly share who you are with the world and yourself. Acceptance is a journey, but each day you are presented with small opportunities to accept your body.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, flood your life with truth. This looks like being educated on topics about bodies, and specifically your body. This looks like surrounding yourself with people that are fighting this battle for body acceptance, too. This looks like drowning your thoughts and talk with truths. This looks like declarations (declaring what you want, higher truths, and positive things). I read this book once, Love Yourself: Like your Life Depends on it by Kamal Ravikant, about a man that hated his life and wanted to die. After spending one month consistently telling himself “I love myself” his perspective about himself and life completely changed. ONE MONTH. Declarations change things!

Body love isn’t an easy thing to talk about, face, or pursue. But, as a woman that has fought hard for the love she has towards her body…it is  w o r t h  it! If you are just beginning to give your body the attention and love it deserves, don’t worry! You aren’t alone and welcome to the #BodyLove club!

I want to leave you with this quote from Jes Baker (from her book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls)…

“We build our lives around the belief that we are undeserving of attention, love, and amazing opportunities, when in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth.”

To all you lovely men and women, YOU deserve some body love, too! I would LOVE to continue this conversation down below. Leave your comments, questions below. Also, tell me how you are loving your body boldly today!

XO,

M

Dirty Humanity

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One of my all-time favorite things about me is that I am a human. That might be an odd thing to say, but I absolutely adore being a human. Being human is the hardest thing that anyone will ever do. Humanity is messy. It is dirty. It is a whole lot of spills, shattered glass, and broken hearts. It is selfish, offended, disappointed. Humanity is difficult, for everyone. Did you grasp that?

Humanity is difficult, for everyone.

The journey of being a human is a long, over-stretched process of each person simply learning how to human better. Regardless of who they are, or how well their name is known, no human ever conquers humanity (other than Jesus Christ, I guess. Lol). Each day each human is faced with a new set of difficult human challenges. I mean, “I am human” is the ultimate excuse. Each day we have more human choices to make on what kind of human we will be.

A huge perk of being human is that we are surrounded by other humans trying to be humans. We are all fumbling along trying to figure this whole thing out.

We aren’t alone in the mess and difficulty of humanity.

If you feel like you are struggling or have been having a really hard time recently, I just want to say that you’re not alone. Human-ing isn’t easy! Insecurity, comparison, and offense are popping up! But that does not mean we have to partner with those things.

Recently, I have been feeling super offended. I hate that, but when I am feeling those feelings I get to choose if I am going to align myself with those feelings. Am I going to align myself with that? Or am I going to rise? Am I going to examine the situation deeper and find the true root or am I going to stay in the shallow end of offense?

Remember, you are simply learning to human better. So, be gracious to yourself as you learn. Do not get angry at yourself for getting a bit of dirt on your hands. Life is messy. and it takes time. So, take your time & get messy

Mess does not always have to be a bad thing. When I look back at my life and I see all of the heart-break, chaos, emotions, and adventures I have been on I am extremely thankful. Each pile of mud I have stepped on has taught me. Each handful of dirt I have picked up has strengthened me. Each shoe, covered in dust from adventure, has shown me new perspectives. Sometimes our mess requires a different attitude. No longer will I view my mess or the messy situations I am facing as failure, instead…I will rise to the occasion and embrace the mess. I will joyfully allow myself to be covered in the mess, accepting it all, and then learn to grow from it.

Just like a flower blooming requires some dirt, you require some dirt to bloom, too.

Having the heart to grow, regardless of how messy it gets, is what is important. Growing and developing as a human, becoming better at human things, is what keeps us moving and stops us from being stagnant. So, regardless of where you are…if you feel like you are a storm raging or if you feel like you are an empty field, it is okay. Just begin to pick up your pieces and build yourself again.

Here is a poem by Pavana that I thought went nicely with this post…

somedays,
i am the flower
somedays,
i am the rain.

-pavana

I hope you enjoyed! Let me know in the comments your human thoughts! Also, would love to hear what you’d like to hear from me, let me know! Thank you for giving me your time and reading my sweet simple words. It is such an honor to have your attention.

XO,

M

 

 

Hello Twenty-eighteen

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With the start of a new year it is a time to be fresh, new, and reinvent yourself a bit. (I have a tendency to jump on any opportunity like that…lol). I wanted to take this opportunity for all that it is worth…saying goodbye to 2017 and welcoming in 2018.

This year as I reflected back to all of 2017’s adventures, I was flooded with all of the things this year held. They were definitely not all good, like the week spent concerned that my boyfriend’s dad might die from a torn aorta (although I am super thankful for the time to get to know his family) or the difficulty of a full-time college course load (including online biology). But, despite 2017’s difficult things I am so thankful for all that 2017 taught me. I learned to be strong and endure whatever I am facing. 2017 taught me to be a woman that is steadfast. No matter the problem, or who created it, I faced each mountain head-on. 2017 taught me that I am a whole lot more capable than I once thought. I realized that I have skills, abilities, & I deserve to trust myself a bit more. 2017, also, taught me that I still have a ways to go. I have more mountains to climb. But after spending this time looking back and paying the deserved appreciation to 2017, I feel ready to say goodbye & start fresh.

I want 2018 to be a year where I accomplish a few things…

  1. I want to slow down and savor each moment. I want to live in a state of perfect peace, regardless of if there is tension, stress, or pressure around me. This is a habit I have begun to cultivate in the last few months…replacing performance for adequacy. When I decide to live in peace and with an attitude of adequacy I am able to enjoy each moment that I exist in.
  2. I want to plant seeds of love instead of fear. Love is inviting. Love is forgiving. Love is the ultimate force. Fear hinders connection. Fear is all about self preservation. I want to forgo my protection and instead I want to embrace the freedom within reckless, unending love.
  3. I want to nurture my body more. I have struggled with my body my whole life (check out the post all about it!) and I am tired of ignoring my body. I am an advocate for both the self love and body positive movement, but I want to press in even more. I want to give my body the nurturing it needs…good food, movement, relaxation, water, vitamins. I want more baths and more fun. I want more adventure and more breath in my lungs. I want a constant flow of good things going into my body.
  4. I want to grow my dreams and see them blossom. I really feel the inspiration to pursue my dreams and to believe in them. I want to spend time really looking at my dreams, discovering them, and then putting in the time and energy needed in order to grow them. I want my dreams to come true and am determined to see that happen this year.

One of the resolutions for the year that I wrote in my journal was that I want to take myself more seriously. (This doesn’t meant too seriously). I want to actually believe in myself. I want to believe that the things listed above truly can happen. I have decided that in 2018 I am simply going to believe it is possible. So, with that in mind…I am settled on carrying out everything I want for this year.

I am thankful for what is to come & for the new-ness of this year. This photo is of a sunrise from inside CVG (Cincinnati airport). It represents fresh, new, and the hope within this new year. I am believing for the good things of 2018 and hope you are, too. This is our year; make it exactly what you want.

How was 2017 for you? What are you wanting to accomplish in 2018? Do you have resolutions? Leave your thoughts & answers in the comments found on the left hand-side (on desktop) or down below (on phone or tablet!)

XO,

M

History

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I have spent my life bound within the prison of this body. Trapped tightly by each layer of my skin. My internal reality cloaked in darkness, despair, and disdain. I felt fire in my toes, highlighting the truths I clung to: you’re unwanted, you can’t do it, you’re ugly, you’re too fat. Everyday I experienced the burns from my lies. The pain I felt was all I had known and all I expected to ever know.

I was born & raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was a blessed little girl. I had parents that really believed in my dreams. They allowed me to chase after them, regardless of how odd they seemed. At 8 years old I was convinced I wanted to be a missionary. I dreamt of living in dung huts and being covered in babies that needed love. I chased after that dream for quite a while; it took me all over the world. I went to Mexico multiple times, South Africa, Tanzania, and Brazil. Missions, serving people, and loving on those that seemed to need it most was the only thing that I really knew I was good at. It was the only thing that made me feel slightly important.

Of course, I had moments that told me something beyond my common reality. I sometimes had fleeting thoughts of being a nice person, of being a kind woman. But, those thoughts never stayed very present. I was more satisfied by the pain inside. Instead, I could rely on my consistency to buckle under the pressure of my inner demons. Those demons hung around, day by day, moment by moment. I was never alone.

As a little girl I held onto my baby weight. I was always a little rounder in the face and stomach than a lot of the petite people in my life. At a very young age I became aware of my body and understood the societal truth that my weight mattersI have control over my weight. There are stories and memories of me lost under the pressure to be skinny. I don’t know when or how I decided that I was too fat and that I didn’t matter but I believed these things to the core of my being.

I was branded by the weight I owned. My own body had betrayed me. It believed the lies, too. Marks of stretching across my stomach, chest, and thighs. I couldn’t escape these chains.

Church was my sanctuary. Hearing of a loving God, one that believed in me and sacrificed for me, it showed me that there had to be something within me worthy. I couldn’t deny the powerful things I had seen from Him.

Battle scarred and doubtful, I discovered hope.

Those two things shaped me into the woman I am today: love & self-hate. I knew love existed and I knew that it was a ferocious force that deserved to be pursued. I knew that love existed because of my moms relentless acceptance of me. I knew love existed because of the sacrifice I had seen from sweet Jesus. I, also, knew that my personal life was laced with self-inflicted internal pain. This pain did not come from parents that did not love me, or a violator taking advantage of me, it was something I simply picked up along the way. At some point in high school I decided to forego the traditional paths after high school and instead, my life’s mission would be to pursue all of the love this world had to offer until I experienced it within my inner prison. With adventure in my heart (and a mission to replace this self-hate) I moved across the country to Northern California. I attended a school that centered around the truth of a loving God and I began to face my beloved demons.

I seemed to have found a key. A skeleton key that might possibly unlock me from my misery. With cold, deprived hands I fumbled at the locks that had become my chosen royal garments.

For the next three years I spent my time captivated by the possibility of love. I explored the ins and outs, the ups and downs. I experienced heart break and I experienced self-love for the first time.

With the bravery of the stars, I began to look at my body without those judgmental eyes. I saw the thankful things that existed too. I began to cultivate the garden of happy, of thankful, and beauty. What if all I had known had been a perfectly crafted lie? What if I didn’t deserve darkness, but was actually made for the light?

Now, I work at the school that saved me & showed me the truth about myself and the truth that I, too, deserve love. Regardless of what I have done, what I will do, or how much I weigh… I deserve to be loved. My mission is to deliver those keys to the world, to others like me. I am determined to show the world that our bodies and selves deserve love. I haven’t completely overcome it all, sometimes I still find myself stuck in my cage, but I now know that I deserve to live in freedomlove.

Have you ever struggled with self-hate? What is your greatest self battle? Comment below & lets get the conversation started about the struggles of being a human.

XO,

M