Take A Compliment. Because It Was GIVEN to you.


I kicked ass today. I got up in front of a room full of people gave a presentation on a topic I don’t even fully understand myself and kicked ass. Afterwards, I had several people come up to me and compliment me on my vast knowledge on the topic in such a short period of time and professional presence. I work with some really smart people. Smarter than a lot of people. I work with doctors and scientist and engineers. I should have been totally stoked to get those compliments from such a group amazing intellectuals. I should have known myself that walking into a room with minds like that and impressing them was a huge feat. You know what I did instead? I shrugged it off. I got insecure. I joked. “Oh, I was faking it most of the time” or “did you really not notice I had no idea what I was talking about!? Whew!” and “well, I’m not curing cancer like you guys, but I get something once in a while”.

As I’m batting these compliments off like mosquitos it suddenly occurred to me that I’ve been encouraged to be modest my entire life by society. We’ve been taught that it’s not lady like to take a compliment. Think about the movies: “Wow, that sure is a nice dress” to which the young lady would reply “Oh, this old thing”? Now, I am curious, what about not taking a compliment makes you modest? I think it actually makes you slightly rude and annoying. Just keep in mind that I am talking about my most recent actions too before you get defensive. We’re just dissecting this thing together. So, I thought about when I give someone a compliment, women in particular and I thought about how they react. For example “wow, have you lost weight? You look amazing in that outfit!” to which the reply was, “no and I really need to loose like 10 pounds, you haven’t seen me sit down in this, my stomach just rolls up and it looks awful. Watch I’ll show you”. She was so determined not to take a compliment she even took physical action to show me wrong. It felt like she didn’t hear me or maybe she just couldn’t. Either way, I found myself feeling awkward and at a loss of what to say next. The conversation is different when someone takes the gift of the compliment you have given them. For example “Wow, you did such a great job on that project” to which they replied “Thank you, I worked really hard on it”. That was a smooth conversation that ended with a smile instead of a confused look wondering what to say next.

You see, the thing about compliments is that they are given to you. You are supposed to graciously accept them not refuse them. They are gifts, that is why they are given and not just stated. Have you ever heard the phrase “paid you a compliment”? That’s because they feel you are “worthy” of receiving it, they are recognizing your worth and therefore paying you a compliment. You in turn are supposed to accept this for a job well done. You wouldn’t turn your check back into your boss insisting that you were not worth the pay, you should not give their paid compliments back either. So, now that I have caught myself I have made an active effort to grit my teeth and reply to my compliments with a Julia Roberts smile and a great big confident “thank you!”. I hope that you will join me in accepting the recognition of others and in congratulating yourself on your own self-worth. Otherwise, you’re just making everyone stand around awkwardly trying to figure out what to say next. Because ultimately, confidence is always sexier than meek modesty any day.

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Gym Wars – Continued


A man clearly invented these spandex work out pants that slide on as easy as a second skin laced with sand paper. I probably look like some kind of ape with my elbows pointing in and out attempting to squeeze my ass into the tiny black hole that is spandex. Typically, I would wear my most baggy covered up clothes to the gym with a cap and hope not to be noticed. Maybe I thought the extra exposed wobbly bits would encourage me to work just a bit harder. Instead, I felt myself continuously checking for a camel toe before bravely and finally leaving the woman’s locker room. I quickly tune into my gangster rap so I can build the confidence to walk the 20 steps to the nearest elliptical. I’m cut off by another determined woman, clearly more comfortable with the concept of a camel toe, and I wonder if that super power is what made her just a tad bit more speedy than myself. Panicked, I look around for a suitable machine that is comparable to that of the elliptical, which is really the only gym machine I know how to successfully use without looking like a complete idiot. I jump onto the curious looking machine directly next to her in a unnoticed attempt to say “this is actually what I meant to do, so there”. I painfully try to work this machine similar to the way that an elliptical works, but quickly realize though they are close in appearance they are not in the way that they move.

I’m not even sure what the hell this machine is. It takes strides but also teeny tiny little steps, my guess is to work your calves? I’m desperately trying to coordinate my body on this awkward beast when I see the reflection of two gym employees standing behind me appearing to be gawking at my spandexes ass becuase by this point it’s clear that they own me. My initial thought is to tighten my buns and straighten my back like a proud ostrich, I guess so as not to look saggy and old in my new found work out clothes. However, I am sure it translated more like the desperate mating call of a cat in heat arching her back and making that terrible sound, which is the sound I am convinced I must make moving in these pants. I’m squeezing my eyes closed hoping my Jedi mind tricks will kick in and sway their gaze elsewhere. Suddenly, I have a dreadful thought that perhaps they are in fact gawking at something appalling. Just then, I feel something inside my spandex scratching my rear up and down and I swear to myself if I’ve torn these horrible pants down the rear I’ll never return to this gym. So, here I am with this critical dilemma. Firstly, Pandora finally stopped playing commercials and started in with a dope Bone Thugs song which is just ghetto enough to bob too, but not so much that I feel like a bad person. Second, I have promised myself that I would spend at least 40 minutes on this stupid machine and there are 10 minutes left to go. Third, am I supposed to be wearing underwear with these things?

I can pull off 10 more minutes, that’s like 1 and a half gangster rap songs. The scratching intensifies and I pull my tank top down low in an effort to conceal any exposed skin that may or may not have occurred. I try to calm myself reminding my head that I am new to the world of spandex and perhaps they all just feel a bit airy. The staring continues followed by some pointing and arm punches back and forth. The clock isn’t moving “oh please just let this be over” I think to myself in an effort to calm my wobbly legs. At 8.5 minutes left, I finally give up, knowing that I still have to walk over, grab a sanitizer wipe and walk back all with the possibility that I am giving out way more than this crowd paid for. I keep my head down during the journey holding the false sense of security of a 5 year old and in my head chant that if “I can’t see them, they can’t see me, nah nah nah”! Wiping the machine down with the speed of light I run through the gym, past the gawking men and down the long flight of stairs. Cooley, I check my rear in the mirror relieved that there has been no tear, but realize my tags were in fact still attached and had been rubbing and poking out causing the airy sensation. I shower and change feeling pretty good that the gawking was probably more in a flattering way than anything that was humiliating.

Reaching the top of the stairs feeling triumphed and hot I see said employees exchange the same arm punch. Just before I return my ears to the sounds of gangster rap bliss, I over hear one of them state “I told you, next game was mine, now you owe me $50”. I stumble towards the front door and in the confusion catch a glimpse of my abandoned elliptical and then just above it where the football game had been playing. Well, I guess matters could have been worse. Much worse…..

Deep lessons Concealed


Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it – Echart Tolle 

I try not to focus on the negative aspects of my life. I try to take deep breaths mediate and send loving energy out to the world. I try to send loving energy to those that are not giving me the same respect. I’ve learned a few hard lessons over the past few months.

1.) When your mother told you to just “ignore it” when girls at school were being catty towards you and they would stop, she lied…. it didn’t work then. It still doesn’t work.

2.) You cannot jump into a friendship as an adult the same as you could as a child. You have to ease into the process and really get to know others true colors…. or you will find them out too late. 

3.) Some girls never grow out of catty, jealousy or revenge. You have to be the bigger person, even if you draw blood biting your tongue.

4.) Sometimes being the bigger person, get’s you into more hot water. While others are busy discussing you, and you’re refusing the discuss anything, I guess it’s human nature to listen to the one talking. Even if it’s ill intended. 

5.) Those that cannot make up their own minds, will allow others to make it up for them. Even with little or no evidence of the accusations. This is why our judicial system is so broken.

6.) If someone thinks something you’ve written, said or thought is about them…….they have a guilty conscience……………(A Good friend pointed this out to me the other day, wow so true!) 

7.) It’s OK To go on a totally negative rant on your otherwise ZEN blog when you’ve reached your wits end.

8.) It’s OK to decide someone isn’t a good fit in your life. You can still pick your friends even if you can’t pick their noses. Pick carefully or you might draw blood. 

9.)  I’ve always subscribed to quietly and gracefully exiting a relationship and I still will.

10.) When you’re getting married, you should be allowed to talk about it all the time. You should be able to complain about the 18 different dresses that were all wrong and every single annoying and ridiculous detail of it. Your friends should smile and nod and smile and nod until you have no more talking about wedding in you. You should be able to have little to nothing else to talk about until it’s all said and done.  It’s a right of passage as a good friend. We all have to do it and we should all secretly love it when we truly are a good friend. 

11.) Life is busy and complicated. All the time, it’s up to you to decide what is important to take up that time.

12.) At the end of the day you still have try not to focus on the negative aspects of your life. Try to take deep breaths mediate and send loving energy out to the world. Try to send loving energy to those that are not giving you the same respect. Learn a few hard lessons over the next couple of months.

Make Lemonade


One thing people tend to forget in life is that not everything is about them, in fact nothing is, it’s only the way you feel about it which makes you take it personally. Even the way someone is acting towards you or a current circumstance really has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with that persons own experiences and interpretations and your feelings towards the situation. Most of society has not learned the skill of controlling their emotions and are therefore are in fact controlled BY their emotions. The way that you “feel” really has very little to do with the person or situation you believe is causing you to feel that way. It’s your choice to make a situation whatever it is and you have the power to change it.

I was recently traveling in Hawaii and feeling a bit down because my Fiance had been on a business trip there that I had tagged along on. Granted, I should have been prepared to spend a significant amount of time alone due to his work responsibilities, but alas I still whined “there is nothing to do by the time you get off, we haven’t done anything!” It hit me then, that yes WE had not been able to do anything that was worthy in my opinion of a vacation adventure, but that was not his fault. I still had myself to blame for letting time pass idle. Even though truth be told most people would have been perfectly content lounging about the beautiful beach of Waikiki and here I was complaining about being lonely. By the second day, I realized how silly I had been allowing these feelings of fear and self pity overwhelm my time in this beautiful place, even alone! I decided to take matters into my own hands and ventured off by myself. I found a sailing trip for only $20 by chance and hopped on board with a boat full of strangers! A wonderful couple from Vancouver shared their beer with me and I learned so much about their lives. What an amazing thing they had done, moving all the way from Korea to Vancouver learning the language and cultural differences along the way!  Had I decided to let my emotions get the better of me I never would have had such a wonderful encounter.

I ventured off to the zoo next and was in awe of the difference in the experience of being with the animals solo. It was a week day so there were few people walking around and I had the opportunity to sit individually at each exhibit, quiet and study the animals. With no pressure to rush and no other obligations, I took advantage of my time to sit and spend significant time at each station. I saw couples and families walk by, hastily peering into the exhibit for a few minutes, shrugging at the lack of animal presence and walking away. I’d smile and chuckle to myself as the leopard would poke his head above the rock once all motion ceased on the outside. I wonder if he felt relief to be seemly alone again and had to laugh at my own resistance to that very same gift.

Leopard

I watched him for quite some time, having off and on staring contest as if trying to read the others thoughts. At one point a rather loud and rambunctious crowd drew with children and their yelling parents. The children would whistle and make loud roaring sounds towards the leopard. Slowly and reluctantly he pulled himself two by two to all four feet. He yawned and climbed onto the rock closest to the bench I perched on, now surrounded by yelling children. His face turned serious as he squatted then peered down at the children, all anxiously awaiting some remarkable act. The leopard had a bowel movement yawned and retreated back behind the rock. Wide eyed and shocked the children let out an enormous ripple of laughter as if this was some kind of deliberate comedy routine for their amusement. They trotted off happily exchanging gasp and laughter at one another.  “If a message was being sent at all”, I thought, “the joke was on them!” To me it seemed like a big “screw you for messing with my nap, take this human brats!” I let him sleep after that and moved onto the elephants.

The one afternoon that my fiance did have totally free we planned to go hiking. Based on the tip of another amazing person I met on my trip. She was a local coming home from LA and we struck up a conversation on the airplane, I was so inspired by her passions and plans for the future. She and her friend had been planning to open their own boutique in Hawaii. People that truly know their paths always fascinate me and I love learning about them. Upon walking to breakfast on this beautiful morning a sudden down pour hit and we knew hiking was too dangerous and out of the question. We talked over breakfast about all of the what if’s that could occur and decided it was too risky, but just as quickly dismissed all of those thoughts and figured even worst case wasn’t so bad. Since we were on a positive and somewhat dangerous train of thought, we decided to rent moped’s and cruise up to the hike in the rain.

Along the way, the down pour became so intense that our clothes were soaked through and we could barley see in front of us. We pulled over to the side of the road, but instead of discussing the obvious dangers and misfortunes of the weather we laughed so hard we cried. We climbed back onto the soaked leather seats and continued our trek. As it turns out, reading directions while driving a moped is not a very realistic feat. So, instead of heading to the hike suggested by my new local friend we found ourselves randomly at diamond head. Just as we made it to the top of the look out view, the rain ceased and the beautiful skies shown through. Most people would have chosen to let the rain get the better of them, they would have run back to their hotel news paper over their heads and waited it out. The fact is, a bad situation is only a bad situation if you decide that it is and allow it to be. Every moment in life, even death can be joyous and free. We all have a limited amount of time on this amazing earth in our current physical forms. It’s up to you to feel the best you can in all of those moments in your life, even the “bad” ones.  Choose to enjoy, choose to release situations that cause you grief and are out of your control, choose to be happy, choose to change, choose.

If you don’t add sugar to lemonade, it’s going to be sour.

Addiction


I used to have roommate that would say “Tiffany, everyone does some kind of drug, you just have to decide which one you’re OK with”. She’d remind me of this every time I was whining about my latest dead beat boyfriend and their alcohol, weed, coke or whatever issues. While I never completely bought into this theory as I myself did not partake in drugs and very rarely would with alcohol, I admittedly saw her point. The doctor put the fear of death in my head at a very young age due to my heart problem, I guess I might have experimented more if not for that.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about these issues on a much broader scale. What if, everyone is addicted to something? One of my other close friends once said to me “Tiffany, you like these outward artistic things because you need to be seen, you weren’t seen enough as a child.” Do I need to be seen? Am I addicted to the prospect of being seen? If so, what does the word mean within this context? If I am addicted to it, then perhaps it’s a bad thing as addiction suggests. On the other hand, if my addiction drives me to stardom then it’s just called drive. At what point does something we’re addicted to become dangerous to our well being? Be it a recreational drug or something as simple as a feeling. Perhaps, they are one in the same. Perhaps, we create the feeling we’re addicted to by continuously putting our-self in harms way. Either with alcohol, drugs or simply situations….

I don’t know if I am addicted to needing to be seen, I might need to continue soul searching on that one. However, I will admit that there was a time in my life that I might have been addicted to being the victim. I say this not because I was a huge drama queen, I think I was quite the opposite. There just seemed to be situation after situation after situation after situation where I was continuously a broken record of victimization. It seemed every wonderful thing that would manifest in my life would promptly be met with some kind of major dramatic and unbelievable event.

I can recall when I was 16 my friends and I got all dressed up and went downtown Seattle for Mardi Gras. Granted, that entire sentence already sounds like it will and should end badly. It did. I remember very little from the actual event except that a bouncer from a local club magically scooped me from the pavement I was being trampled on and walked me to the rest room through a gawking crowd of onlookers. Upon entering the ladies room I fell to my knees in the wet poorly lit cramped room staring up the barley there skirts of the 20 something’s stepping over me. I was confused and dizzy on the verge of a panic attach. I remember one girl making some snarky remark “whatever you do honey, don’t look in the mirror.” While it was unsolicited advice, I was thankful for it later once I finally did get a glimpse of myself in the local hospital mirror.

My left eye drooped onto itself as I checked to make sure all my teeth were in-tacked. I later found out that I had taken a blow to the face from the wrong end of a skate board, deliberately. I immediately understood the awed looks and the reporter camera flashes that followed me after the incident while being escorted from the bathroom to the ambulance. I escaped the scene with a broken nose, cracked rib, fractured elbow and two gaping black eyes. Which is more than I can say for the poor girl that was stripped, raped and beaten to death, no crueler fate I thought. The next day I would grace the front page of the local newspaper keeled over holding my bloodied mouth. Things like this just seemed to happen to me, and at the time it was completely inexplicable in my mind. I just figured that I simply had bad luck and a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

During a trip to San Francisco with an old friend we sluggishly and drunkenly walked back to our friends house late one night after a local concert. It was something she had done a million times before in the same neighborhood. During the walk I noticed a group of young woman crying on the side walk. Because they were near my age, and women, I stopped to make sure they were OK. My friends carried on ahead laughing at my constant “need to save the world” approach to every situation. I offered the girls some water and to help call a cab.  The woman sobbing with her face to the wall turned toward me with a devilish grin having made a miraculous recovery from her troubles while her friends surrounded me like a pack of calculated wolves. I was still completely unaware that anything was amiss at this point as I patted the girl on the back in an effort to reassure her that now everything would fine.

I was met with a bottle of mace unloaded directly into my face. Being 24,I of course, clang to my newly found vintage purse that had no cash or real assets inside. I kicked blindly in the air as pathetic as a cockroach desperately trying to turn back over onto it’s belly, vicious and vulnerable all at once. The mace kept streaming out into my face, my eyes, my nose, my very existence itself. I couldn’t take it anymore and decided that the clutch would have to go! I released it and the girls hopped into a waiting car near by. Being the strong woman that I am and that always gets herself through these things, I somehow managed to call and cancel all my credit cards while laying in the street probably clinically blind. I credit this to my persistent TXT messaging and literally memorizing the feelings of the keys and number under my thumb.

I think by now you’re getting the picture. Bad shit happened. It happened a lot. Inexplicable completely outrageous this doesn’t happen to other people on a regular basis bad shit. Until, one day I decided bad shit wasn’t going to happen anymore. Bad shit was going to be my bitch. I decided that I would break up with bad shit and end my addiction. I just started to take leaps of faith completely believing that it would work out, somehow someway and ever since, shit has been working out. Not just working out, but it’s been a complete shift in my reality.

So, my question is. Are we blindly addicted to our feelings? To the feelings we get when we drink, or snort a line or just get kicked in the face while we’re down. As a result of those additions, do we then continue to create those situations unknowingly in order to feed them? I think we do. I think that until we can be brutally honest with ourselves and what our emotional addictions are that we will continue to be victims. We will continue to reach for the bottle, the line, the needle the punch to the face until we can confront those addictions head on.

Stop. Stop now and think, what are you creating unnecessarily in your life because you’re addicted to the feeling? You’ve become so accustom to being scared, down on your luck, drunk or whatever….  that you unconsciously need those feelings. Begin to forgive yourself, begin to forgive others. Give yourself permission to be worth more. Give yourself permission to Let it go.

Relationships Are Easy ? Fight Or Flight


All of my life I have been told how much “work” relationships are. That it’s constant compromise and doubts. I even once dated a guy that SWORE it was impossible to be faithful in a relationship. It wasn’t my finest moment, I’ll admit.  Actually, that moment lasted more like 4 years of constant back and forth in and out of “love”.  It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I started to revise my perspective on relationships. Up until now, everyone was right. Relationships were hard, it was constant compromise and mainly on my part. There were couples counselors, advice from peers and even older father figures in my life that tended to pipe in on the situation.

Years and  years past in this same fashion and all the while I knew that it was “worth it”. Every time, I was just sure that this one would be worth all the trouble, all the long arguments and all tears. This one I would stick it out with and eventually we’d live happily ever after. Then one day, after my last messy break up, that ended in a restraining order, it occurred to me that in fact everyone was wrong. I suddenly had this amazing epiphany that not only was everyone wrong, but they were all in with the wrong person! I’m convinced this is why our divorce rate remains so high. If you’re with the wrong person, then so are they and you’re both depriving the right person of being with either of you and therefore they are in fact also with the wrong person! I actually spoke this aloud and ran out of breath before I reached the last person. Who started this vicious rumor that then started this vicious cycle?

Could it be the religious groups with their sexual guilt and repression? Perhaps, they were all getting married to warrant sex and by then it was too late to get out. Because you know god won’t love them anymore and all that drama. Perhaps it was the psychologist conspiring against the concept of love in order to continuously be needed by those with wounded childhoods recalling having experienced first hand two people not meant for each other. Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that human beings are convinced that in order to give and receive love you and they must suffer.

It’s been drilled into us so badly, that sometimes we do in fact find the right person, the yin to our yang and we begin to question it. We think to ourselves “where is the spark? Where is the excitement?” All of our romantic comedies and even the fairy tales we’ve grown up with teach us that the road to love is a long and dramatic one. That only with terrible pain and experiences will we find our happily ever after.  I like to blame all the Disney Princesses for my love mishaps.

Image

The truth is, relationships are actually pretty easy. They are fun and exciting even when you’re just doing the boring stuff. When you’re with the right person, they just flow naturally with all the vibrancy and energy of a perfectly working river. However, in the beginning of every relationship there is that pivotal moment of  drama. That moment that we all dread that we all create because of the crap we’ve been fed all our lives. It’s in that moment when you need to ask yourself “has it been easy so far”? I think this is the most important thing you can ask yourself honestly in this moment. When it seems everything is falling apart and the relationship could be ending, the only way to know if this is TV and society influenced necessary drama, is to ask how easy it’s been so far.

Do you struggle to find common ground? Does your sex life really suck? Do you really have to try to get through a day without arguing? It might be time to let go. Don’t be afraid of letting go. The woman down the street that’s been single for the last 10 years with 50 cats has made that choice. Maybe she picked wrong one too many times or maybe her right person is still with the wrong person. On behalf of all the crazy cat ladies and drunken fools please for the love of love, stop being with the wrong person. It just is not that hard. So, stop listening to your miserable parents or your miserable married friends and remind yourself that relationships are easy. When they are right, they are easy.

So, ask yourself….Is it time to fight or flight?

Because as it turns out, you CAN fit a round peg into a square hole, but why bother?