Celebrating National Love Your Feet Day

HA!  This one made me laugh… Its also National Thrift Shop Day, but the feet thing… I’ll admit it: at first I thought “EW!  Why a whole day to celebrate feet?!?”  And I’m not even squeamish  about feet… but then I thought–you know, some people love feet, and some people can’t stand to look at or even think about feet…

This made me liken this thought to that about weight –I’ve been dealing with weight issues my entire life, but I like to eat, and coming from German and Norwegian stock–I’m f*cked.  So, I gave in and bought fat shorts–if you missed that goals blog, you can laugh with me here!

I then went to write a blog about just enjoying the things you enjoy.  For me, its coffee.  But ultimately, its not just about loving your feet–its loving your whole self for exactly who you are in this moment, you beautiful snowflake!  Revisit one of my all time favorites about loving the skin you’re in right now.

Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

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Life is too short for bad coffee

If you’ve been reading my goals posts, you’ll know that I’m struggling with my brain not liking my waist–I mean I’m human, so who among us does like our bodies more than three days in a row?

So I’m sitting here this morning, a lovely sunny summer Sunday in NYC, and enjoying my coffee.  There is nowhere I have to be today, I do have a few obligations (phone calls), and errands, but nowhere I have to be.  And I’m taking a lovely sip of my French pressed coffee and as I swallow, I’m realizing for the first time in weeks, I’m actually enjoying my coffee.  Its warmth, its nuttyness, its robust but creamy taste; as the warm and and the caffeine hit my system, I’m slowly awakening into, and becoming a part of the world again.  I’m drinking it out of one of my seven favorite mugs–If you’re an original follower you might remember that I’ve moved six times in three years–so I’ve dwindled down my coffee mug collection, so I have exactly the number of cups (that I LOVE) for the number of days in the week.  I’m drinking out of this beautiful oversized bone china tea cup–I can’t get away from working for three years in a fine china shop–all of my dishes HAVE to be quality!  I’d decided to enjoy my coffee and read a little (my roommate loaned me her copy of Warrior Goddess Training to assist my brain realignment with my body issues) as the sun and the breeze stream into my NYC apartment, and the coffee is bringing me into life and bliss, I’m realizing: this cup of coffee is amazing, and life is too short to drink crappy coffee.


Let me back up a little, and bring you to the pinnacle of why this realization is important.  For the past six weeks or so, I’ve been trying to drink alternative coffee.  As in, I like my coffee lightish and sweetish.  I don’t need it to taste like a Werther’s Original, but I don’t need to suck on coffee grounds, either.  The easy way to deal with this is to buy those presweetened flavored creamers.  Which have a lot of sugar.  I’ve been drinking these for years…. but I decided that a good way to cut my sugar intake was to take the flavored cream out of my life.  So I did.  I tried almond milk.  I tried unsweetened almond milk.  I tried cashew milk.  I tried sugar alternatives.  I tried just milk.  I was so unhappy–I tried to make alternative coffee work… but it just wasn’t the same.  Yeah, yeah, first world problems, I totally know… but its a fine line, isn’t it–the difference between taking care of one’s self well, and what we’ve deemed as a first world problem.  I mean, its one thing to complain about creamer when,  I realize, there are people starving in some countries, and I sit here and complain about finding a creamer that tastes good, but won’t add five pounds to my waist whenever I have a serving.  But this is about me taking care of myself.  Which is also a fine line.  When do we treat ourselves well, or when do we “take care of ourselves”.  


I’ve never been starving–I’ve had an extremely low or a negative amount in my bank account many times.  I’ve lived off of, and stretched food because of poor choices.  However, I also have gone the other direction and found myself eating just to try to make myself happy (aka have been extremely overweight because I was eating because I was depressed).

I’m not the most regimented of people–diets just don’t work for me… I find I become very irritable (aka an extreme bitch) and they never have anywhere close to the results I want (my stomach isn’t much flatter, and my thighs didn’t shrink).  However, I am good at moderation–I’ll happily have a handful of chips and stop.  Or one serving of ice cream.  I’ll have the yummy treat, but then be done.

As I get older, I’m seeing my metabolism slow.  I’m witnessing that 10 extra pounds of happiness each decade.  I’m probably more healthy than I’ve ever been, as living in New York makes me move and climb and walk much more than I’ve ever done in my life.  And yes, I actually go back and re-read my own blog on loving the skin I’m in now every three months or so.  But the voices in my head, will loudly remind me that I’m not as skinny as I could and hope to be.  Most of the time, I can tell those voices that I’m beautiful no matter what size I am.  Like Warrior Goddess Training, and other books like it I’ve read, tell me that its the size in the person not the size OF the person that matters.  In other words, confidence is what is beautiful/sexy/attractive.  Shape and size are all just perspective.


So back to my coffee–I’m reminded to return from my tangents to the original thought that started this blog because I just got myself a refill.  My mom was in town visiting me last week, and I bought flavored creamer for her–as I was finishing out my round of caramel flavored almond milk–still not a winner.  This delicious Hazelnut International Delight creamer was left over… and so coming from a “don’t waste food” home, I’m drinking it.  And for the first time in weeks, I’m enjoying the coffee.  The interesting thing is that it was too sweet and creamy on the first sip, so I watered it down with milk–and ultimately making it a little healthier.  A little.

Maybe my enjoyment comes from the fact that I’m drinking something I really like. Maybe my enjoyment comes from the fact that two weeks ago, I threw up my arms, went out and bought fat shorts and decided not to give a fuck about my weight.  Maybe the realization comes from the conversation I had with my roommate last night about “overweight” being the line of discomfort that you cross, and not the size of your clothing.  Maybe it comes from the price of happiness is worth wearing a size larger shorts this summer (and the understanding that the last two summers I was doing a lot of hiking and walking for my jobs, so I was more active albeit a smaller waist size). Maybe its something entirely different.  But this morning, in my one size larger shorts, I’m enjoying this cup of coffee and not caring about anything else.  And that’s the point of living, isn’t it–to deal with the ups and downs, and to enjoy and revel in as many moments of goodness as you can.

I’m going to finish this cup of coffee.  Let me know what you like to enjoy and revel in!

–Clare

 

 

 

Your Greatest Mistake?

What was it? What mistake was your greatest? The biggest, best mistake ever?!

As you may know from some previous blogs I am a podcast lover. I really enjoy listening.  Mostly I listen to other authors podcasts.  I wish I had more time to read but I don’t… so, I listen to their podcasts and then if I find myself say YAAS!!! High fiving the air, I buy their books.

On a recent podcast I heard the interviewer ask the author: what was your greatest mistake? What was you best mistake?  As someone who lives without regrets I have to admit I was caught off guard.  I didn’t understand why anyone would want to think of their lives and highlighting mistakes. But, then I got to thinking about all of my “mistakes.”  I thought about the stupid boys I dated.  The jobs I have had.  Not saying yes to some experience,  or saying no to someone.  Then I thought about where I am today.  I realized I had some great mistakes.  I have had some of the best mistakes ever–I am so happy I have had them.

Let me explain, I believe everything happens for a reason.  Not that anyone of us deserves bad things to happen, but that sometimes things that feel bad, seem bad, or just are bad are part of our path to greatness.


When I left my ex, it sucked.  I felt terrible for hurting him. I struggled financially, emotionally.  I questioned for a bit whether or not it was the right decision.  In the healing process I thought about the “Red Flags” of our relationship. I didn’t want to repeat my past.  I realized that had I said no to one of the dates in the beginning, had I dated others had I stopped things when my gut said to.  We probably wouldn’t have made it 5 years. We wouldn’t have probably made it past a few months.

But, if I hadn’t dated him I would not have learned what I know now about myself.  I wouldn’t have written my first book most likely.  I wouldn’t have known what I need out of a relationship. I wouldn’t have been prepared to meet the man I was meant to marry.

So, one of my greatest mistakes were all the bad dates I went on that got me here today.   Had I not had all those I would never have realized true love, true romance, true teamwork and true partnership.   Who would think that thousands of bad dates, and a perfect-on-paper relationship would lead to a happy marriage to someone else, a book, and many other successes, including this blog?!?

You may be sitting here, reading this and saying “Lesley! I am in a huge issue now. This could be the biggest mistake of my life. It doesn’t feel good. ” Like I said before, it didn’t feel good after all the bad dates. I truly wish I could go back to my twenty something self and tell her “this is going to suck at the end. But there will be a pot of partnership gold at then end of the storm.” Oh, how I wish! Sadly, readers, we don’t get that. We can’t take our future selves to our present selves and tell them “Everything will be ok.”


We can trust, though. Trust ourselves. Trust the Universe. Today prepares us for tomorrow, next year and fifty plus years from now. If you are feeling like you are in the worst mistake ever and you don’t know what to do. Here are some tips for you:

  • Don’t make any decisions right away. Get your breath back to normal.
  • Tell yourself how much you Love yourself, trust yourself and want and deserve nothing but the best for yourself.
  • Remind yourself you are being molded for the future. You are growing. Growth spurts don’t feel great while they are happening. But when you’re “taller” you can see the bigger picture.

  • Journal. Write and write and write. The first half will be your brain the second half will be God.
  • Get grounded! Lay on the ground. Put heavy blankets on top of you. Eat heavy foods (yes, I am saying to eat heavy foods) warm and heavy foods. Drink hot fluids. You need to feel whole and warm and soothed.
  • Just Keep Swimming. It’ll all make sense one day. That day isn’t today. Lucky you, you don’t have to have the answers now.

This brings me back to the beginning, what was your greatest, best mistake? Share them with us and our readers. The beauty about life is we are not alone. Your story can help so many others grow!

Xx~LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

5 Steps to Dreaming Big

We want to make our mark on the world in some individual way. Even more we want to be known.  We make friends. While engaging in relationships we find ourselves changing, or even worse, awaken one day to find we have changed into someone who has veered away from the path we thought ourselves originally on. Sometimes we like who we have become; who our relationships and experiences have made us. And sometimes we don’t.

At times these traits are obvious to us and at others they are not. When I first started this post, I realized that week that I’d become a pushover and a scaredy cat. (We often delay our blogs to protect the innocent–which is usually ourselves!) Anyway. At the time I was afraid to leave my job. For many ridiculous reasons that at the time seemed important and true. One: my life feels like a delicate balance and I don’t want to disrupt it. Two: my job was pretty easy and it paid me reasonably. Three: they know me. I’d been at the job for over three years. Four: they seemed willing to work with my crazy schedule.

All of these are bullshit. My life is a delicate balance, but living is about how you deal with obstacles while pursuing your passion. No job (or relationship, for that matter) is “easy” when you’re not being treated right–and sadly, I didn’t  feel like I was being treated well. Which leads to three–obviously they didn’t know me if they felt they could mistreat me. And my schedule isn’t so crazy and it’s not that I’m not accommodating when needed if possible.


Life is a delicate balance, but living is about how you deal with obstacles

while pursuing a passion.


Well, I woke up a week after writing the above. Went into work like a good worker bee, determined to keep my head down and keep working.  During my shift, I found out I was denied my request for time off to perform the show I was already cast in. I lost it. In what feels like the “Hulk smash” version of myself, I decided I didn’t need a job that told me I couldn’t put myself first, and I quit.

I hold myself in high esteem. I’m a calculated person and I very rarely make snap judgements, uninformed choices, or un-researched plans. For better or for worse, I rarely walk into a big decision without a plan. Quitting a job is just not something I do. This was a big decision, and I had talked myself out of it so many times, but when the thing I am most passionate about was put on the table, I didn’t think twice.


When the thing I am most passionate about was put on the table, I didn’t think twice.


Stephen Sondheim wrote the lyrics: “stop worrying where you’re going. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ve gone. Just keep moving on.”  These lyrics always reassure me, no matter what I’m in the middle of. In other words, stop thinking about it and just go. Just make the choice. If you are that passionate about making the change happen, things will fall into place. If I hadn’t quit, I probably would have gotten let go, because I was going to do those performances. It was also time to leave that job. But I sat in it for too long because I didn’t value myself enough.

A while ago I wrote a blog on self-worth. This is a gigantic topic that we as a society don’t talk about enough. Therefore we question our worth, and what we want fights a battle against what we can offer. Which determines our worth.  If you continually think down on yourself, hold yourself back, or tell yourself that you’re not worth it, you never will be.


Maybe you continually beat yourself up because you don’t know how to do anything else. And if you pick on your own weaknesses, it won’t hurt as much when someone else does it.


I don’t know you. I don’t know your situation. I do know that I’ve been in both types of situations: the ones where I succumbed and stuck with something I didn’t want to do, and I’ve stuck up for myself and went my own way. Both choices have led to both good and bad outcomes. However, most times I’m  much happier standing up for myself, even though I might have to work harder, give up things, ask for help or money, and suffer a little.

How do you begin? Here is a place where lists will help you.

  1. Figure out why you dislike where you are–and “being you” doesn’t count. Is it because of hours you don’t like, not able to have a creative outlet?
  2. Can you change this by staying in your current situation but by just rearranging things?
  3. What is more important: comfort or creative? Heads up–pursuing the creative or the passion isn’t always easy. Generally it’s twice as tough because if you fail at even the smallest parts of your plan, it’s painful.
  4. Figure out your financials–this isn’t to say “don’t leap until you can afford to” but instead, “understand what downgrades and adjustments will need to be made, so it’s not so harsh a reality later.”
  5. Breathe deep and leap.

Just know that if you’re meant to do whatever your passion is, you’ll find the support. My gal Angie Atkinson is a huge example of this (outside of LL and I). Angie started her path to rock stardom three years ago, and isn’t famous yet, but you’ll hear about her soon. Angie started out wanting to move to NYC to be an actress.  That dream (and her amazing acting prowess) brought her to the city.  However, she decided it wasn’t the path for her anymore, and instead wanted to write and perform music.  She has been working on this in her spare time; writing, rehearsing; performing; and making an album–which she just released–go to iTunes or Amazon to buy it!!  For now check out a video or two.

Remember, whatever mark you want to make, you’re probably already on the path either to make it–just take a look around, what are you happiest doing?  What do you spend the most of your time doing?  Are they similar?  Why not?

We only get one life, so live it large.

Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

 

101 pieces of advice

We started out this blog, 99 posts ago (a whole year and a half ago), because we are told we give good advice and are always asked for it. Self-proclaimed, self-help junkies—we love and absorb ideas, knowledge and advice. We both love to expand the mind, quest for happy living, and search for analysis and reasoning in human behavior. Here are our 101 favorites from our blog, and from a few of our favorite bloggers (note that if you want to read more, just click the link at the end of each quote!):

  1. “OWN being in transition.”  Transitions
  2. “Help yourself out. Sort through all the issues in a simple and effective way: Make a list.”  Regain Control of your life- Make a list!
  3. “Things, life, kisses, don’t always happen the way you dream or plan.” First Kisses
  4. “Change needs to happen. Not all of it is drastic. Sometimes little change is good. It keeps you on your toes.” Patterns vs Change
  5. “You already know the answers.”  Breaking up was RIGHT to Do
  6. “It’s completely OK to know what you want but not want it now.” Don’t want it now
  7. “You really don’t need to keep things. Really.”  5 things I have learned from Moving
  8. It doesn’t matter where you lay your head, as long as you have a place to lay it.5 things I have learned from Moving
  9.  Be vulnerable. Take a breath. Ask for what you need. “ 5 things I have learned from Moving
  10. “… remember to breathe through the painful moments and just keep moving forward. If nothing else, you’ll figure it out as you go.” 5 things I have learned from Moving
  11. “Like any good relationship, a good friendship brings out the best in ourselves.  If you’re not seeing your best, you’re not in the right relationship anymore.” Growing out of Friends
  12. “Its time we make connecting in real life a trend again!”  Eye to Eye
  13. “Cut out the excess chatter and find that peace within.” Text-a-Bitch
  14. “It’s tough out there but don’t try giving advice that 1) wasn’t asked for 2) puts your friend in a place that makes her second guess herself 3) that isn’t leading to a positive feeling towards oneself.” No more projections please
  15. “‘No’ is a full sentence.” The Olsen Twins said that.  Basically…life’s too short to do anything you don’t want to do, or anything that makes you uncomfortable. You always have a choice.–Honestly Libby’s Blog
  16. “A flirt is really just a compliment of you being alive and in this spot at this moment.” Flirting: A How To Guide 16332829367_ddb088af60_k
  17. As cliché as it sounds, love will happen when you least expect it… The most important thing to do is make sure you are living a full life. Fill your days and nights with the things you love, your passions, your family, your friends. Don’t wait for love to happen.–This That and The Other Thang’s Blog
  18. “…. do it with bells on—figuratively that is.” Duty Dating
  19. “Statistics are like a bikini – what they show is interesting but the important stuff is covered up! In a world where we rely heavily on data, it’s people who are at the heart of what really matters and numbers can paint a very different picture, whether good or bad.”– Aloada Bobbins’s Blog
  20. “We all have our lists of wants and needs in a mate. If you don’t experience it in the flesh how do you know its something that is a deal maker or breaker.” Duty Dating
  21. Treat dating as a hobby. If you’re too busy with life, or not having fun, stop. Don’t stop your life, just do it in your spare time. First, dating should never be your number one priority.”  Duty Dating
  22. “Whatever happens, we are responsible for our own happiness and success.”– Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  23. “Truth sometimes hurts, but lies are ultimately more painful. Let’s stop lying to each other and make this a more truthful world.” Lying: is it really worth it?1438336432_0904c3f0be_o
  24. “..not every date will be someone you want to date again. It’s nice to set boundaries until the date becomes the partner.” Whats in a Name? 
  25. “Maybe you want to be distracted by a 6 out of 7, but 7’s and 7 Plusses do exist, and are out there for the finding.” Move On From a “No”
  26. “If you want it and are willing to work for it, you can make it happen!  “It” can be anything.”–Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  27. “The thing about callings is that once you’re called you have to answer!” Leap of Faith
  28. “Chances of winning the lottery are increased significantly by actually buying a ticket.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  29. “If you want to buy fancy undies, or fancy wine, or have a fancy shave: do.” Am I an Amy
  30. “It’s wonderful if they call, it’s great if they take you out, but if you’re not being introduced to friends or other people in their lives after a month or so, there is a reason.” Professing
  31. “…forgiveness isn’t letting down the protection walls. Its more of the mental version of just releasing unneeded tension and relaxing your shoulders.”  How to Apologize to Yourself
  32. “Only tell others things that you wouldn’t mind the rest of the world knowing unless they have consistently proven that they are trustworthy.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  33. “…acting like a queen means watching and kicking lots of jester’s to the curb but one day your king—do not settle for a prince!—will show up.” RESPECT
  34. “You can change anything in your present.  You can take steps to cure your own unhappiness.” Stick Your Neck Out
  35. “Sex one time or multiple times does not a mate make. If you’re having sex to land a mate…” The Best Sex
  36. “My advice for you is dream big.  Work that dream backwards until you have something “small” to work with.” Climbing the Career LadderSONY DSC
  37. “…moving and doing creates options.”  Round Peg Square Hole
  38. “…the excuse “he/she is not my type” is out the window. If you’re single and alone, its obvious your type hasn’t exactly gotten you a home run. So, try on a different pair of ‘jeans’.” Because He ASKED
  39. “If something makes you want to scream, it’s the absolute wrong answer. Step back. Put the item down.”  Holiday Sanity
  40. “Desire: the sexy Live ClareLesley way to prepare you for a positive path for your future! It’s the Fuck Yes way to set your “goals”. If you don’t desire the outcome, it’s a Fuck No!” Desire
  41. “Happiness is ALWAYS just a perspective.” Happiness
  42. “Sudden change of who you are shouldn’t happen just because the calendar changed, but instead because you want to become a better, upgraded version of your current self.”  New Year, Same You: Upgraded
  43. “Once you start sneaking in the time to create, you’ll start making time for yourself to create.” Competitive Progress
  44. “Get off that “woe is me” train! Grab you happy side up ticket and drink a glass of Self Love.” In Your Social Face
  45. Make your own damn plans.”  Valentines Survival
  46. “Shed those red flag preventing glasses and see your own wants, desires, happiness.”  Red Flags
  47. “Don’t make yourself smaller for a mistake.” Stop Saying I’m Sorry
  48. “ANYONE that you kiss, sleep with does NOT a Relationship make.” Sex with Friends
  49. “Remember, the right one isn’t “out there” but instead is inside of you.”  How to be Single
  50. “You’re exactly where you need to be right now. Isn’t that Amazing?” Climbing the Career Ladder
  51. “We decide when we want something to be done, and we arbitrarily pick dates and times and abilities that we think we should be able to do.” New Year: Same You. Upgraded
  52. “Remember, breathing is the opposite of nerves—if there is plenty of good warm breath in your stomach, there aren’t room for butterflies!”  Nerves: Squish Those Butterflies
  53. “You rest, you rust! Seriously. When I think about rust I remember this old wheelbarrow out in the back yard where I grew up. Do you really want to become and old wheelbarrow?”  Love the Skin You’re In
  54. “…dating should be fun. It should be treated as a hobby. No one freaks out about or overthinks yarn, book club, or collecting stamps.” Dating:  Straightforward From the Beginning
  55. “Texting does not a relationship make.” No Waiting Dating
  56. “Get your face out of your phone. Actually talk to people, see what happens.” Crying wolf on social media
  57. “Sometimes we set goals and then we grow out of them. Luckily we write goals on paper, not in stone.” How To Stop Avoiding Your Goals
  58. “How do you fight the distortion?  Fight it with truth. Get down to the nitty gritty. Get naked.  Find a full length mirror you trust, and take it all off.” Love Your Skin Now
  59. “It’s nice that someone is contacting you. Wallpaper is nice my friends; your relationship should not be just nice.”  Texting is not a relationship
  60. “If you don’t eventually demand your worth, people will think you’re worthless, or worse, take advantage of you.” What Is Your Worth?
  61. “Sometimes the dream we have had in our head since childhood isn’t the one we really want to achieve.” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  62. “You are a beautiful snowflake, and you travel however you want to.” Age–Does It Really Matter? 11445631923_df52846c49_o
  63. “Be ok with changing your timeline.” Are you in a trough of sorrow?
  64. “It is great to be altruistic, but you have to take care of yourself if you are going to be any good to anyone else.” Rest IS good for you
  65. “Just like a stockbroker doesn’t put all his money in one companies stock. Don’t out all your stock in dating online. Keep yourself available to meet people multiple ways.” 5 ways to change up your dating game
  66. “I will survive my crisis. You will survive yours.” How to survive your own personal hell
  67. “Your life shouldn’t be supporting your business; your business should be supporting your life.” 5 steps for getting out of your own way
  68. “Even if you walked the same path, at the same speed as another person, you would have a completely different experience. If you open up your eyes and have no expectations, you’ll have enjoyed the journey much more; you see more, experience more, gain more.” Age–Does It Really Matter?
  69. “Slowly progress into the schedule you need to hit the goals you have.” Love the Skin You’re In
  70. “What do you really want? Re-tailor your life to that dream!” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  71. “Go, picture the life you want to live, ignore the negative voices, try something new and have fun while doing it.” I Said Yes
  72. “Understand you are not on a timeline/time crunch/expiration.” 8 tips to survive your friends wedding announcements
  73. “Be careful what you say: your brain is listening.” Be careful the things you say: Your brain is listening
  74. “Love the person, leave the label off, and let your expectations and demands on a relationship fall away.” Labels are for Soup, Not People
  75. “You will not die from rejection.  The odds are better than any other form of gambling.” Just Ask Already
  76. “Build your business around your lifestyle not the lifestyle around your business.” 5 Steps to get out of your own way
  77. “You are never “too” anything… so stop thinking that way!!” Why the word “Too” is just an excuse
  78. “That is the first thing you have to understand and realize is that all “single” means is that you’re not in a pair.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be–unless you choose it.” How To Be Single
  79. Wouldn’t you rather be your own original story? Knockoffs and remakes are rarely as exciting as the original.” How to deal with a barrage of green grass 2680294816_e710a43d3b_b
  80. “Partners take time. Just like friendships take time. They deserve to take time. Like a fine wine, tea or beer…fermentation is a good thing.” Sex with Friends
  81. “Focus on yourself. In this time that you’re waiting, think about things to do for yourself, or that you need to accomplish.” 6 Ways to Stop Your Waiting Anxiety
  82. “Stay Hydrated. Drink in lots of self love, big picture thinking and how this storm will prepare you for the future.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  83. “Don’t value the actual money more than you value time.” What is your WORTH
  84. “Don’t create realities that aren’t really happening.” Make like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  85. “Breathing may be difficult, but you’re the only one who can control that. So it is up to you to keep breathing and keep moving on.”  How to Survive Your Own Personal Hell
  86. “You are in control of your life and your thoughts. Remember you have choices.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  87. “Maybe you’ll succeed. Maybe you’ll fail. No matter what you’ll try something new and you’ll learn something.” How writing a novel made me a better person
  88. “The thing is, you’re never alone in your crap.”  What to do when Shit Happens
  89. “Forget about “you only live once.” You only die once, and its getting closer every day.”  How to Face your Big Fears
  90. “Change it up! If freestyle isn’t working there are other strokes out there. The important thing is to take action. You’ll feel more in control of your situation.” Just Keep Swimming
  91. “Remember the beginning is always slow, but you have to just slog through it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there eventually.”  How writing a novel made me a better person
  92. “Take a look around you. Say a general thank you to the positives in your life.”  The Power of Thank You
  93. “Let’s stop being virtual recluses!  Go forth and have conversation.” Make Like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  94. “Being yourself, having fun and making eye contact are all things that attract someone to you and your personality.” Could your next date be at the grocery store?
  95. “Sitting around complaining about it and doing nothing to change it seems pretty silly don’t you think?  Unless you do something to change your situation, nothing will change.”  How to Let It Go2512983749_ee38b41e0d_b
  96. “By creating a new schedule for yourself the bad stuff won’t seem so bad because you are living the lifestyle you desire.”  5 Steps to Getting Out of Your Own Way
  97. Make mistakes. Make choices. Take chances.How to Listen to Life Lessons
  98. “I understood that I would be even more unhappy and unfulfilled in my life, which would actually be worse than the possibility of failure and the humiliation.”  How to Face Your Big Fears
  99. Being kind only takes a moment of time, but it will earn you moments, hours, and years.–Clare
  100. The true definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity. You can be the luckiest person in the world if you want to be.–LL
  101. Go out and be great.  Or at least enjoy the ride!–LCL

Thank you!  Here is to hundreds more blogs, stories, and pieces of advice!

xoxo–Clare and LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Photo credits–all photos from Flikr Creative Commons: 100 (by Ash); lightbulb (by Beat Kung); Create (by Dana Bateman); Truth (by T); Snowflakes (by MayYeo); Dream Big (by Heidi); Ant Heart (by uditha wickramanayaka)

8 Tips to survive your friends wedding announcements

I just returned home from a shopping trip to Whole Foods.  Even though I’m happily single, the essentials were needed:  beer, cheese puffs, and, caramel gelato.  This trip was spurred because I was on the phone with one of my best friends who gave me the good news that he is going to propose soon.  Yesterday, I got a text message that my littlest sister is getting married. A few weeks ago, I got a similar text from LL that she, too, was engaged. I’m excited by the news of all three, but also this concentrated injection of bliss reminded that I’m still single…no wedding bells in earshot for me.   In addition to all of this good news, I had a conversation with my new roommate about the social imperative to get married—she is recently single, and feels that urge to “get back out there” and is disappointed in her recent dating outcomes.

As a single person, it feels like we’re only getting older, and time and opportunity are slipping through our fingers as each day pass. WHY is this?!? Yes, my biological clock is ticking. Yes, I only have a certain number of years that I’m able to have children. But, there is still time for my roommate, for me, and for any other single person out there to find someone and achieve “wedded bliss.” There is no timeline that says: by the 28th day of the 32nd year of life, a person needs to be married.  So what is the rush and the big deal over being married/in a relationship/single by a certain point in time, ESPECIALLY if you haven’t found the right person?

In this day and age, we value love and compatibility above most things/aspects in relationships. We like the superficial stuff: money, good looks, proximity, etc. But when it comes down to it, we look for someone who has similar interests that will make us laugh, and that we can live with for many years to come.

We are lucky, because it was only a few generations ago that love was not an option. Marriage was a business transaction.   And in some cultures and religions, it still is. Some people don’t get the choice or opportunity to choose who they date and who they fall in love with. Well, most of us don’t get to choose who we fall in love with—love just happens. We are only get the choice to follow through; to say yes to the opportunity.

I am single. Most days I’m happily single. Other days, I’ll admit, I would love to have someone around to wake up to, or to open the jar that is stuck, or to see on the sofa when I walk in from work. I have lots of friends and two roommates, and although I love them, they just don’t quite fill the need I have. And this need seems to grow a little more when I hear that one of my friends (or relatives) has found a match. Please know I don’t begrudge my loved ones their happiness. I love that they have gone out and caught the illusive love bug. I’m so excited for my little sister, I can’t wait to celebrate with the bestie, and I’m daily watching for flight prices to dip down to buy my ticket to California to see LL get hitched! But I can’t help but sit here and wonder: why not me?   Why hasn’t it happened to me yet? What is wrong with me?

I know I’m not the only one to have these thoughts—I’ve had several conversations with friends over the years about the same issue. I also dodge the questions of: when are you getting married? Why don’t you have a boyfriend? Do you like being single? Bridget Jones answered this question so well: “perhaps its because our bodies are covered in scales…” My answer isn’t as brilliant, its simply, “I don’t know.” I no more have answers to these questions than I have to the mysteries of the universe. The only concrete answer is: I don’t know, because it’s not my time yet.

It’s a weird feeling, because I feel like there is something that isn’t working, but I don’t know how to do anything differently than I already have. I’ve tried dating apps. I’ve tried going out to bars and clubs. I’ve tried having friends set me up. Ive tried being single and focusing on me.  And I’ve done a whole lot of “when I’m not looking for it…” And hey—I’ll be going to at least two weddings in the next year, although that has failed me in the past, too. Its actually ok. I’m not blissful being single, but I’m not tragic about it either. Someday I’ll reach the married chapters of my life. Just not now.

So, how do I survive it?

  • I’m happy knowing that my friends are happy.   Depressed and angry people rarely start new relationships… so share in your loved one’s happiness.
  • Date so you learn about yourself. Stop dating when you obsess about it. Yup. Simple. Dating is a hobby. When it stops being fun, don’t do it anymore. There are ways to meet people without dating. If you need more tips go to Duty Dating, Changing Your Dating Game, or Straightforward Dating.
  • If you build it, they will come. Dating is great and its needed to figure out who you are, but don’t make it EVERYTHING. Focus on your own life. Find activities, groups, clubs, outings. Make your life full.
  • Don’t make your life about one thing. As in: don’t spend all your spare time trying to bag a significant other. If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, especially from RomComs—manipulation of their life or yours, never makes a good match.
  • Mix up your company. I LOVE my gay men, but I can’t always hang out with them because I’m not going to find many straight men hanging out in gay bars. I love my single gals, but again, a gaggle of gals absorbs a lot of men. Go out with different groups to different places. Don’t be afraid to go out on your own!
  • Read a book in a bar. Ok, well you don’t have to do that if you’re not a fan of books, bars, or both… but if you do something out of the ordinary, by yourself, you’re bound to attract a different populous—its not foolproof. You might attract unwanteds.  But why not try something different?
  • Understand you are not on a timeline/time crunch/expiration. No matter what you want out of a relationship (companionship/wearing the wedding attire before you retire/having a baby) ANY OF THAT is possible. I know it feels like it’s a handful of bullshit, but really when you are ready for it, your match will appear.
  • Know that NOTHING is absolute. Tomorrow is a different day.  Tomorrow is a fresh start.  (And a scoop of ice cream, a bite of chocolate, or a bottle of beer might get you through til then.)

I know that wedding announcements aren’t always easy, but remember what they are about: a celebration of love and family. If you’re being told about it, you’re considered part of the family and you are loved. Put on your brave face to answer the questions about being single, and then go have fun. You never know what is around the next corner!

–Clare

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I Said Yes 

I’m Engaged!!! Yes, it’s true!  And when it happened, I was shocked beyond belief. I literally had no idea it was coming. I of course could not wait to tell my family and friends. Then it was time to write about it. Right? I mean I have to share this with our readers. I want to share this with you. The world! But why? Why did I want or feel the need to share my engagement news with you? I’m not someone who shares news to fluff my own feathers. I certainly don’t want my good news to make anyone feel less than.  So why share it? Well, the simple answer is I have always shared experiences from my life.

More importantly though I am sharing this with you because just 2 years before the proposal I was leaving a relationship after 5 years. One that did not end in a proposal. I thought I would be single for some time and maybe someday I would find the man I would spend my life with. Or maybe I wouldn’t but at least I would be rocking my bliss. Well while rocking my bliss and following my dreams and goals. While being me I met him.  I wasn’t looking I wasn’t expecting and then this happened. “Will you Marry me?” I was laying in a tent in Joshua Tree State park. I had slept the day away in the tent (we camp, the air mattress is a Serta and 18″high. Its a dream). I woke up to my Love laying next to me and looking into my eyes. He was so handsome and there was so much magic in his eyes I asked “What are you thinking about?” And he proposed…Right there. In the tent. My mind literally thought a million things at once. All I could say was “Are you serious?” Poor thing.  The look on his face when I said that!!  He responded with “Yes.” (Said more like yeah-that’s-why-I’m-asking-you.)  In reply I said “Yes!” While in the back of my head I was wondering if he planned to propose. Then he pulled out a box from his hiking shorts. We had never discussed what ring I would want. Only my dear friend Eric and the designer knew. I never wanted to pressure him. We talked about marriage being in our future. I believe in the beauty of organic growth. So, I figured I would tell him about my dream ring when the time was right.  He pulled out THE RING! Not just any ring but The ring that I wanted. The one he had NO idea about. I squealed “Are you kidding me?” Needless to say I was shocked. Stunned. In 30 seconds I went from a girlfriend to a Fiance. I went from thinking about future work projects and trips, to thinking about walking down the aisle towards the Man I love.


We kissed and then we went for a walk. We passed 18 people at the camp fire, and I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming still in my nap or if this was real. I am getting married and not just to anyone. To my Best Friend. There are plenty of people out there (Clare and I included) giving you advice on dating, life and You. It can be hard to hear all the advice. There is also a lot of crap advice out there. Don’t even get me started on the blogs I came across that of questions I should ask him before we get married (written by a 20 something single-never-been-married author). You have so many messages coming at you on how to “get someone.” I am sharing this exciting news in my life because I want for you to someday have your exciting news to share with us. I want to celebrate your joy. Maybe your joy is marriage but maybe it’s finally being comfortable in your own skin. When you are ready take a moment and:

  • Discover what your Happy Ever After Is
  • Care less about what others think and Care more about how you feel
  • Be you, Your Whole Self
  • Be open to learning new things and meeting new people
  • Have so much fun, laugh a lot

I cannot promise much, (as I am not the keeper of the Universe) but I can say one thing. If you are truly being you, having fun and working towards your Joy and not someone else’s you will find your happy ever after. I met him through a new friendship. He was not “my type.” He did not call me the next day (actually we didn’t even exchange numbers). He broke up with me two times before we ever dated. In less than a year we were engaged. This fall we will be married. I’m over 30.  I took some major “risks” to follow my dreams. I took some leaps of faith to stay true to myself when those around me thought I was crazy. I had to stay on my truth path. That path is what brought him into my world. That path is what attracted him to me. That path is leading me down the aisle to the Man I cannot wait to spend the rest of my days with.

I know that everyday is not blissful. There will be highs and lows but there will be lots of love and support. Go, picture the life you want to live, ignore the negative voices, try something new and have fun while doing it. Share your dreams with Clare and I! We would love to hear them. Today, go say Yes to YOU.

xx~LL

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Age—does it really matter?

I found a grey hair!!! Most of you probably read that as an exclamation full of dread… but, I actually proclaimed it happily! My mother says it’s a blonde hair, but I’m kinda hoping it’s a grey one… why? So many reasons. I’m a character actress who is waiting to come into my age so I can actually play the roles I’m right for (and want to play… I am itching to play Mrs. Lovett, and Marmee, and King Lear).

Age matters to me, because growing older has mostly been good to me. (If you’re not a regular to our blog, it was my, and the blog’s, Birthday last week.) I’m older and wiser than I have ever been, but with age and wisdom comes knowledge that I have still farther to go. Its like climbing a mountain—when you start you just want to get to the top, but the farther up you get, you start to understand the world around you better and get these AMAZING views of the world.   I know as I age, I only have gotten better. You couldn’t pay me enough to go back to any part of my life. I’m quite happy where I am and excited to look forward.

Recently I stopped into a jewelry store, and the woman who owns it and I were chatting about age. We first started talking about how my birthday was coming up and I was looking for a present for myself—I buy myself a piece of jewelry every year on my birthday—a tradition since I don’t have a significant other to do it for me. (For more on birthdays, check out our birthday blog! INSERT LINK). I stumbled on this bat necklace, and I loved it… and the price was $36—perfect because that is the age I was about to turn. She, like many, was shocked to hear that I am “that old” because I don’t look it. (Sigh. I don’t want wrinkles, but I would like to look older than my mid/late 20s… those roles are calling me!! But like we tell every child that just can’t wait to be “bigger”… that time will come.) Back to me purchasing a necklace. The proprietor was stunned I was young. She told me to enjoy it because she was, gasp, turning 50 this year. I was truly stunned that she was that old… because she didn’t look it either. She continued telling me not to be worried about being in my 40s because those were even better than 30s… (which must mean my 40s are going to be amazingly awesome).

We continued to chat, she telling me that turning the corner into 50s seemed like doom, as none of the fashion magazines talk about anything above that. I told her it was because women over a certain age don’t need fashion magazines to tell them how to behave, do their makeup, or live. I also told her that any milestone seems like a horror once you are on the cusp of it, but they’re always a breath of fresh air and wisdom on the other side. In other words, you’re at a new point on the mountain, and get to see a new view!

Its always interesting to me that people are concerned with age. I thought it was just women for the longest time, but I know many men who are also so concerned with it. Is it because ages are mile markers on where to be? Listen, we all climb the mountain. We’ll all get to the top when we get there. Why does it matter if we measure our journey versus those who are climbing with us or with those who have gone before us? It doesn’t. Think of any hike, or journey, or even mountain climb you’ve ever taken… you can kind of describe it to someone, but the things you saw and experienced along the way were different than others on that trail. Even if you walked the same path, at the same speed as another person, you would have a completely different experience. If you open up your eyes and have no expectations, you’ll have enjoyed the journey much more; you see more, experience more, gain more. If you go with a description on how to take the path, and try to see everything that someone else did, or even just look at the things they point out to you, the enjoyment and take away experience won’t be as great. Only you can live through your trials and tribulations. Only you can make your own mistakes. Only you can see what your eyes see.

Growing older is not a curse. Its not a burden. It shouldn’t be a frustration. Maybe you’re not on the same path. Maybe you’re not going as fast and getting as far as you should. I am where I am at 36. I wish I was older so I could have those experiences now… but I also wouldn’t trade it for the things I’m going through now.

At the time of writing this, I was doing Taming of the Shrew. I was playing Gremio (the “old man” suitor). This was a challenging role to play, because I was acting the role as a man. I was also acting the role as “old.” Every role I take on lately, I’m trying to be true to the role and the text, and not make it gimmicky—I’ve done that. I know how to do that. I want to walk on stage and have the audience think that I believe that I’m the person I say I am, and not have to pander or telegraph what I am. This was a fine line to walk, but it was an interesting path. Old people know that they’re old, but they’re also still living. Not all “old” looks the same. You will always feel old, because in this moment, you’re older than you’ve ever been. If you’re interested in more about my acting process, feel free to email or post a comment below and I’ll discuss more in depth… but, the point in talking about my character is: “old” is a perception, a viewpoint, an opinion. I was just as convincing being “old” without a crackly voice and hunched back, and my character was more believable. I was true to myself and my character from the view I have from my mountain looking out. I didn’t look up or down or compare myself and character to “old” people. I just was who I am, being truthful now.

During the rehearsal process of the play, we went out after rehearsals together as a cast. One of the gals in the play was adamant about not revealing her age. We’ve spent several evenings after rehearsal and performances trying to finagle how old she actually is. She will not give it up. (I tip my hat to her.) If she doesn’t want anyone to have preconceptions of her because of a number of years she’s lived, cheers to her. I, on the other hand, don’t give a rats ass about how old people think I am, versus how old I really am. For me its entertainment. In fact, I often forget how old I am, especially if I’m not in a milestone year, because it just doesn’t matter to me. My friend who wont reveal her age is at her point on the mountain, which happens to be the same as mine, just because we both have landed here in this moment. She might be climbing faster than me (aka she might be younger than me) or at the same rate, or slower. WHO CARES. My climb is mine and mine alone. Her’s is her climb. Her journey. Yours is your own.

Forget candles, forget calendars, forget numbers. As I said in Love Your Skin Now: your wrinkles are your memories, experiences, and past—it doesn’t matter how you got them, they are yours. Embrace them. You are a beautiful snowflake, and you travel however you want to.

I’m going to go blow out my candles, have a shot, and continue to climb my mountain. Just remember as you continue to climb to look around and embrace the view instead of judging how far you have to go still, or how behind you are from the rest of the pack.

Clare

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Kissing IS Personal

One of my first memories of the tale of my Love and I was our first kiss. Oddly, I don’t tell this detail I’m about to share with you often. In fact, when I tell our story I see this scene in my head but I gloss over the detail, or shorten our first night into a sentence or two. “We had an amazing night, I knew he and I were perfect for each other just Not right now. I left without giving him my number and he didn’t ask.” Then I go into the next headlines.
The truth is that our first night getting to know each other was/is truly special. We talked for hours at Sassafras, a saloon in Hollywood. We actually shared our breakups (both of us just barely 6 months out of serious relationships). Shared our life goals and our Strength Finders results. Ok, so we are also kind of nerdy. My point in telling you this is, before there was even the potential of another encounter we got intimate. Vulnerable. We shared honest details about ourselves.

Then he ASKED if he could kiss me.

I remember it like it was yesterday. We were standing there face to face. Of course I wanted him to. Of course I was hoping. Then he asked!

Now, I’m trying to think back of all the kisses I have had. As you know from my post “First Kiss” that one didn’t. I know my ex didn’t and I’m pretty sure those I kissed during “Duty Dating” didn’t.  Not that they should have or needed to ask. Body language can also imply that one is ready and open to kissing.

However, in this moment he asked me. When my entire insides screamed YES!   I knew this was different. It wasn’t just my physical being but much deeper than that.  I responded with “I was hoping you would.” Not so much a spoiler alert since we are together. But, yes we stood there and kissed and…well our families read this so….

My favorite movie, if I haven’t told you already, is Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. When I say favorite I mean FAVVVVVORITE!!!! I can quote it from the opening to the closing credits. Aside from the great and soon to be blogged about “What’s your Dream? Hey Sista What’s your dream?” or the scene where she walks back on to Rodeo and says “You work on commission right? Big Mistake! Big!  Huge.” Shoves her bags up in the air at the snooty sales women. I am sure I’ll write about that too. Today’s blog is about Getting Personal.  When Richard Gere’s character and her are discussing what she will and will not do for money. She’ll do anything. But she won’t kiss on the lips. Too Personal.

Is Kissing too Personal?

I have written about Your Best Sex and  Sex with Friends. If you haven’t read those. Click the links and do read. It’s important you know that I am not a prude. I am not here to say that you shouldn’t get close, personal, intimate, sexy. Quite the opposite. I want all of that and more for you.

Today, on the phone with my Love I said “I cannot wait until you’re not sick; I miss kissing you.” He has the flu; I teach Pilates so I cannot get sick. He knows that if I get sick, it halts my income. But back to kissing.  He said: “I know two days ago I was thinking if it was possible to have sex without kissing.”

Aside from the weirdness of that remark. Also, how anyone with the flu could possibly perform is a question I do not have the answer to. I proclaimed No Kissing is the best part. Ok, well almost the best part. But it’s one if not THE most important part. It’s like Julia Roberts’ character says: it’s too personal.

Maybe this is TMI, but I love kissing. When I see him at Trader Joe’s waling down the isle toward me, I can be taken up in the moment, and we actually kiss like couples do in a romantic scene in the movies. I guess low cost organic food packages for individuals gets me romantic. Or more likely than not we just enjoy being that personal; that intimate.

Kissing is very important!   Before you do the deed, I think it’s pretty important to enjoy kissing the other person. You can learn a lot about someone by the way they kiss you. If you’re present and aware of what you like and need you will probably be better prepared to make the decision of whether or not you want to take it to the next step. P.S. I am not sure what the next base is anymore. Somewhere in between the generations, first and third, or second base just became a blur of tastes or preferences. But kissing should be first. You should like it and want more of it.

If you’re single, please take the time to get to know someone, enjoy kissing them. Do not rush this step and end up in a relationship that doesn’t have kissing you enjoy.

In a relationship…when’s the last time you truly kissed your partner? I’m not talking about the kisses because it’s part of the routine. I’m talking the kisses where time stands still. The kiss where your surroundings blur, are forgotten, the Trader Joe’s aisles disappear, and it’s just you and your mate. Those don’t have to be special occasion. In fact, I’d argue they shouldn’t be special occasion.

But,  you have to want it. You have to make the point to do it. The next time you kiss, be present. Be intimate. Let yourself enjoy your partner. Even if it’s in the TJs aisle.

So, before you can have Sex with Friends, Your Best Sex or even a third, fourth or future date: get personal. Get kissed!  And if you like it, have seconds!

Xx–LL

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Love Your Skin Now! 

LL recently wrote about Loving The Skin You’re In. I suggest you go read it, or re-read–spoiler, the article was about getting up and getting out and moving–but seriously, go read it!!! It’s VERY motivational! 

I want to reiterate that idea: Love the Skin You’re In! But I also want to remind you that you should love yourself now. Just as you are. Your body is like anything else in life: a result of choices; unique; amazing if you believe it is!
My body type is tall, curvy, overweight (according to BMI, I’m obese). I’m 6’1″ and people are in awe and at times jealous. I’ve made choices. I like to eat, and I love some exercise, but I don’t like to make time for it. This is ironic because LL is a pilates instructor, my roommate is a gym enthusiast (and just came home stating she dead lifted 200lbs–go, girl!), one of my best friends is a dancer and gym bunny, and another bestie is a trainer and a spin instructor. They ALL encourage me to get out and work out–and I admittedly make jokes and faces at them. What can I say–other things take priority.  Here’s me April 2015:
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Apple shaped–whenever I gain weight, I gain it all over–I have fought weight since hormones kicked in when I was a teenager. I have an crazily distorted body image (I forget I’m tall and just view myself as “big”). I’ve also learned how to dress myself so my squishy parts are camouflaged. When I was a teenager, I thought I was fat. I was a size 14 when most of the other girls were size 3s or 5s. Shopping in women’s sizes at 15 years old sucked. Pants and long sleeved things are always too short. I remember a specific incident when I shopped in the hip juniors fashion shop, bought a pair of Z Cavaricci shorts, that frankly barely hid my lower lady bits. I brought them home, and was immediately told to return them. I did–but for a pair exactly the same, but in a different color.  Those got returned as well, this time with parental figure towing me, and then a trip to JC Penney’s women’s section where I was bought bright coulattes–quite the opposite of what all kids my age were wearing. Needless to say, I was unhappy for so many reasons. As an adult, I mostly derive feeling I was fat. Probably because I insisted I was a 12, and the shorts that were too large were also too tight in the waist and I never wore them. I know that the phrase, “you’re too big for those shorts” was used for all unfortunate purchases during this incident. I’m pretty sure I gave up on myself sometime in high school. I know I tried again in my 20s to reimagine my body. But my body image has always been so distorted. My mind is a fun house mirror–the one that makes you look like Violet Beauregard AFTER she blows up like a blueberry. Every time I walk in front of the mirror, I hope I’ll see the other type of funhouse mirror–the one that stretches you and makes you look super tall and skinny.
Looking back at pictures from high school, I wasn’t ever that big. Tall yes. Round, no. I did get rounder as I got older. In fact at one point I was 270lbs–which on my frame was very plump. I struggled into size 20 pants. I was in a few plays around then so I know my measurements.  I was shocked when my waist took almost the entire measuring tape around my waist–56 inches.
I now walk as much as I can, I try to swim 2-3 times a week, and walk a little extra when I can. Even though I’m now down to a size 14, 223lbs, I’m just a little bigger than I was in high school, but I still have that distorted image of myself as Violet.
I’ve created a reality of my body that isn’t true. It is a daily wrestling match with my brain to actually know what I look like and to Love The Skin I’m In. It’s difficult. How do you fight the distortion?  Fight it with truth. Get down to the nitty gritty. Get naked.
Find a full length mirror you trust, and take it all off.
This is really hard–especially the first time. Because you are not allowed to pick yourself apart. The new TV show “Younger” Sutton Foster is about to go on a date and asks Debi Mazar about a “cleavage wrinkle”. To which Debi replies: women have such a distorted body image, stop creating issues that aren’t there.
Look at yourself. You beautiful snowflake!  Yes, there are things that could be changed, but the life you led and your genetics brought you to this. Don’t pick yourself apart for the first minute. Look at all body parts, all sides. Those oversized parts encompass joy. Those undersized parts are freedom. Those wrinkles are proof of wisdom.  Stretch marks show experience. Changing your body isn’t instant–even with surgery. Remember there is a healing process in THAT as well. Nothing is instant. The physical things you don’t like about yourself now took time to put there. I have my mother’s thighs and my father’s stomach. But I have MY memories–my friend’s birthday where we ate until our stomach’s hurt, my Christmas holiday in the Dominican Republic where French fries and margaritas were delivered to us on the beach, my dad’s pot roast whenever I’m home–my most favorite food. I have stretch marks on stomach and thighs to remind me of how unhappy I was at 270lbs and a reminder not to return to that–and I’m reminded to be happy at the 50 pounds I’ve lost.
Before you put your clothes back on, pick three things you really like about your body. It could be that you love your pinkie toenail on your right foot, it could be you love the shape of your belly button. Small details are ok. Hold on to the positives. When you start beating yourself up, use the three things you like as a mantra to remind yourself that you do possess beauty. You are a snowflake. Different. Beautiful!
Now, if you want to change things about yourself–DO!  But, unless you’re willing to actively and HEALTHILY work on yourself YOURE NOT ALLOWED TO COMPLAIN!  This negativity will only harm you more. Physically and mentally. Read this Danielle LaPorte article on positivity.
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To review:
1) Stop the negativity–towards your own body, and the bodies of others.
2) Get naked. Literally face the truth, your truth.
3) No matter what, find positivity about your body.
4) LOVE YOURSELF
5) Change it or don’t, just know you are the only one in control of how you look and feel.
…and someone hears Trumpets
Clare
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Art credit: Cheryl Richardson.