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weight loss, lose weight fast, loose skin, thighgina, weight loss problems, how to lose weight fast, weight loss, how to lose 100 pounds

Want to lose weight fast? Don’t we all. I’ve been wanting to lose 100 pounds for years but I never did it. But, not because it was impossible but because I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to commit to all the things I needed to do to lose the weight. It’s not hard to lose 100 pounds, but it is a lot of work. A lot of work and it won’t happen overnight. If it does, you may want to go see your doctor because something is probably wrong.

READ ALSO: The Burden of Being a Fat Woman

To lose weight, you need to make up your mind, seriously, that you are ready to lose the weight. You need to go into it knowing that it will take time. It will require sacrifice. It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change. You will have to dedicate yourself to pursuing this for as long as it takes, maybe forever.

The good news is that you can unlearn bad habits and form new habits in about 3 weeks time. 3 weeks is a long time when you are adjusting to reducing carbs and calories. 3 weeks is a long time when you are just starting to move and work out but it’s only 3 weeks.

How to lose weight without feeling like you’re being punished.

After 3 weeks, moving will become a habit. Believe it or not, you will begin to crave it and even enjoy it. You’ll look forward to your morning walk or workout. I promise you will. Your body will adjust to your new way of eating. The bad foods will stop tasting as good and the good foods will start to taste better. You will learn to live in your new normal. You will find that after 3 weeks, it doesn’t feel restrictive. This is a lifestyle change so everything in moderation. Don’t put anything off limits or your mind will want it more.

What am I doing to lose weight aside from changing how I eat?

I am developing a healthy relationship with food for the first time, honestly, in my entire life. Food is fuel.

Am I still a foodie? Yes, you can be a foodie without being a glutton. I eat everything in moderation and a weigh and measure before it goes in my mouth. No more mindless eating. No more stress or comfort eating. I’m having to face my issues. It is hard. No more asking for forgiveness. It’s all about permission now and allowing myself to be human.

I’m eating fewer carbs and less sugar, and eating more vegetables and whole foods. That’s it.

READ ALSO: How a Doctor’s Visit Saved My Life

I’m moving.

Moving doesn’t need to mean going to the gym or getting a Peloton, even though I still want one of those. For me, it means alternating between CIZE by Beachbody ( I started with the 30-minute video and just upped to the 45-minute one) and the BBG app. It can mean just walking.I’m still pretty overweight and out of shape so BBG is hard for me so I modify and on some days, I even do the postpartum workout because it’s what I can do. In the past few weeks, I’ve also added walking 45 minutes a day (when it’s not raining out.) The point is that I am making a conscious choice to move and more importantly, I’m making the time and not excuses. Excuses are what got me here in the first place.

how to lose weight fast, weight loss, how to lose 100 pounds

Forgiving myself for not being perfect.

I am a human. I am taking one day at a time. Losing this kind of weight and fighting for your life is not a sprint, it’s a long ass cross country race and it takes time. There will be slip ups and plateaus. But with the one day at a time mentality, one foot in front of the other, it’s just one moment of my journey and that one slip up does not define me. Neither does the size of my pants.

Loving myself.

I never thought I could truly love myself. As I said, I am a perfectionist with control issues. I am my harshest critic. I love big and fearlessly when it comes to others but I’ve never been able to look at myself that way. I’m learning to love me. I’m prioritizing me. I am as important as the people I love. I’m beginning to see the good in me. The gifts that I offer the world.

READ ALSO: Sugar is a drug and I was an addict.

Letting others be there for me.

This is another thing that has always been hard for me. I love being people’s rock but I hate hinging my happiness on others so I never do. I’m always afraid they will fail me. But after 20 years of marriage to the Big Guy, he has always been there for me. I always say that he saved my life when we met because that’s when I stopped the anorexia. Well, he’s doing it again. He’s all in and so are my girls and my friends and family. I have received so much love, encouragement and support from so many of you. It means everything to me. You all inspire me.

This is how you lose 100 pounds.

Well, actually the end goal is 111 pounds. It’s not about starving yourself. It’s about loving yourself, forgiving yourself and prioritizing yourself enough to take the time, have the patience and put in the effort to get healthy.

To be honest, the end goal is not even a number on the scale for me. The end goal is being completely healthy and on no medication. The goal is to live as long as I can to see my girls grow up, my grandchildren be born and grow up and get married. The goal is to be happy, love myself as unconditionally as I love my family and to feel good in my own skin; to be around to see as many sunsets with my husband as life will allow.

What are you doing to take care of you?

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food's an addiction, sugar is a drug, I was an addict, carbaholic

I’ve never had a healthy relationship with food. It’s always been the one thing I’ve loved and I’ve hated. I love the taste of food. It comforted me when things were tough. It would console me. Then I would use it to punish myself; to find myself unworthy. I would withhold it from myself, like love from a misogynist. Yet, I never thought sugar is a drug and I never considered myself an addict. This is how I lived in this vicious cycle pursuing perfection that doesn’t exist. It was a controlling relationship wherein I was the victim and the abuser.

But then I had a revelation, food’s an addiction. Sugar is a drug and I was an addict.

Yes, food is a drug and I am an addict and it’s almost killed me twice. Anorexia in the ’90s and diabetes in 2019. I used to proudly proclaim, “I’d rather work out for 3 hours straight than give up my French fries!” I was also the same person who secretly high-fived myself when people started to tell me that I was getting “too skinny” and looked sickly. In my mind, I was winning. I was cheating the system and beating food. Really, I was killing myself.

READ ALSO: Bulimarexia the Consequence of Impossible Standards

Here we are, 20 years in recovery from starvation and purging. Nasty little fact, being an anorexic is like being an alcoholic, every day is choosing to not indulge in the bad behavior no matter how much you want to. I won’t lie, there have been slip-ups. I’ve had a big meal and thrown it up. I’ve skipped meals. I’ve worked out excessively. I’ve tried to cheat the system and lied to myself that it was, “Ok, just this once” knowing how slippery the road really was. But for the most part, for the past 20 years, I had to let go of the control.

The problem with me is that there is no in between. There is micromanage everything that goes in my mouth and purge, there is restrict and starve and there is eat all the things with wild abandoned and no worry of consequences.

READ ALSO: How a Simple Doctors Visit Might Save My Life

Let me create a picture, so you all don’t think I was shoving whole sleeves of cookies down my throat. When I say wild abandon, I mean I ate food in moderate amounts but without worrying, caring or writing down anything. I had to do this because the alternative behaviors sent me right back into obsessive, controlling behavior that caused my anorexia in the first place.  Basically, I was out of control for two decades to avoid being dead. Or at least, that is what I made myself believe.

Now, here I am. Last month, I told you all about my come to Jesus meeting with my doctor. It was eye-opening, if not traumatic. She told me some hard facts. I feel like, for years, my doctors have been coddling me. I went from 103 pounds and inched up over the years and through the pregnancies to a whopping ( gulp..I’m about to say it out loud) 259.9 pounds at my heaviest. On the day my doctor gave me the bad news, I was 249.9 pounds. I’m 5’7”. I am morbidly obese. You know morbid means deadly, right?

I went home that day, cried my eyes out, stayed in bed for a couple of days, quite frankly, terrified of food. After all, it was literally killing me. But really, it wasn’t the food at all. It was me. I needed to take ownership of that. It was always me from anorexia through to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

READ ALSO: A Day in the Life of a Girl with Eating Disorders

I took my 3 days to cry it out and feel sorry for myself and then I did what I always do, I put on my big girl panties and I figured it out. Not as easy as it sounds. I am still figuring it out.

Here’s where I began to break my food addiction.

I changed my thinking. I stopped thinking of it as a death sentence and began to think of it as a blessing. I was still alive. All I needed to do was change my behavior and learn how to eat.

I began to measure my food. You cannot imagine how off my portions were. Try it, you will be floored.

I began to count carbs. My doctor gave me grams per day; 45 per meal 3x a day, and 15 per snack 3x per day. The thing about counting carbs is first, carbs were not taken away. There is nothing that makes me want something more than making it forbidden.

I eliminated all pop and juice because they are nothing but sugar. Instead, I opted for fresh fruit and if I need a drink other than water or milk, I drink Bubly. Actually, I am obsessed with the cherry flavor.

I am learning to say no to things. I am learning that sometimes it is ok to say yes to a bite or a ½ of something you really want but always in moderation and always aware of the portion size and carb count. Through this process of cutting my carbs and portion control, I’m learning that I really don’t love some of the food that I thought I loved as much as I do.

Case in point, pizza. I can have one piece with a salad if I feel the need. However, wasting 27 carbs on one slice feels ridiculous and it just doesn’t taste the same to me anymore. Pizza, the food that I thought I couldn’t live without. I don’t even really like anymore. It tastes weird to me.

I’m eating real food. I’ve been focusing on lean meats, fresh vegetables, fruits and logging every single thing I put into my mouth. I’m not living on chicken broth or cabbage. This isn’t a diet. I also weigh myself every morning and check my blood pressure and my blood glucose every day. It feels a little bit like restricting and that terrifies me because I can’t slip back into those old behaviors but I can’t eat with wild abandon either because my life is at stake. For now, this is what is working for me.

So far, I’ve lost 20.5 pounds in 6 weeks. I’ve lost 17.5 inches since May 29th ( that was the first time I measured but by then I had already lost about 10 lbs. so I’m sure I’ve lost more than that). My blood pressure is completely normal. No more headaches. My blood glucose is completely in the normal range. No more insomnia. I’ve had insomnia my entire life. Now, I shut my eyes and go to bed on most nights by 10 p.m. I feel better than I’ve felt in years.

Maybe food’s an addiction. Maybe sugar is a drug and I was an addict but I’m changing all that and you can too. Do you think you’re a carb or sugar addict? Does your health say otherwise?

 

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patient portal, cancer, misdiagnosed, tech glitch

Does your doctor use a patient portal? Sounds great, right? I’m tech savvy. I hate waiting for people to “get back to me”. I am all about the technological advancements and if I can get my results instantly online, why wait? Right?

Well, up until last week, I would have whole-heartedly agreed with you. I am impatient. I don’t like waiting on results. It stresses me the eff out. Like seriously, sends my blood pressure up and occupies my every waking moment. I fixate. The unknown scares the hell out of me.

The known, I can do something about. I can formulate a plan, make a checklist, do what I’m supposed to do to check things off the checklist and unlock the next level. That is how I work. You give me a challenge; I find the solution. I don’t like unfinished things. I need to see, pursue and conquer. It’s how I’m wired.

READ ALSO: That One Time I thought I was Having A Heart Attack

It’s been a busy month, with lots of surprises and not all surprises that I wanted. Last Monday, my world came crashing down around my feet. I got that news the good old fashioned way, face-to-face. Thank God because I needed to see my doctor’s face when she reassured me “everything was reversible.” Whew. Terrifying but fixable.

I’m used to things not going perfectly but when I was told that my health was failing, well, it shook me to my very core. Like reevaluate your entire life, wade through the murky facts that you could die and then pull yourself up by your bootstraps and fix it. I won’t lie, the first three days of last week after getting the news, were hard for me.

There were meds and a complete lifestyle change. My life felt in upheaval; complete chaos and it left me depressed. I’ve not done depressed many times in my life. Honestly, I’m mostly manic but when life throws you these kinds of curveballs it’s too much and all you can do is feel your feelings, accept your new reality, grieve and move on. That’s what I’ve been doing.

READ ALSO: When Cancer’s on the Table

The thing is it scared me straight. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise but last Monday, my life was shattered into 1 million pieces and I had to look mortality straight in the face. My mind said, “Not today Satan…not today.” But after all was said and done, I changed because I had to. To live, I have to suck it all up and move forward on a new path. Eat right. Portion control. Exercise. Make better choices. Take meds. Repeat. This is my new reality.

It’s not easy but it’s the way it has to be. So, I wallowed in self-pity and carb withdrawal headaches for most of last week. But, this past Monday, when I went to the doctor she told me that I lost 9 lbs., my blood pressure is in the normal range and my sugar levels have come down considerably…almost to normal from 200. All great news. My doctor is very proud of me and I’m pretty proud of myself too. We all know my relationship with food has never been right.

However, TUESDAY was another story. I am still adjusting to meds and feeling a little weird. There have been daily calls into the doctor’s office. I’m sure the nurses have my picture on a bulletin board and I am labeled “frequent caller or send directly to voicemail.” On Monday, my doctor gently urged me to sign up for the new patient portal. Which I’ve always belonged to because of the aforementioned control freak who doesn’t like to wait for people to call her back with results.

READ ALSO: How a Simple Doctor’s Visit Might Save My Life

Monday night, I completed the registration for the new patient portal and logged in at bedtime. As I was reading through my chart and diagnoses, I saw one that I didn’t recognize. Sure I had a lot on my mind when she was telling me I had diabetes and high blood pressure but I heard everything…or did I?

Because right there in my patient portal was a diagnosis for what, when googled, was bone marrow cancer!!! Yes, you read that right. My chart said I have bone marrow cancer but either I went temporarily deaf or my doctor forgot to tell me. Everyone was sleeping. I was hyperventilating. I.Have.Bone.Marrow. Cancer. It kept repeating on a loop in my brain.

I made myself go to sleep. There was nothing else I could do but….think. I woke up at 2 a.m. and I emailed my doctor through the patient portal. I asked her, “Do I have cancer? You told me everything I had was reversible.” Then my mind ran through all of the scenarios and for a brief few minutes, I thought to myself….I can reverse high blood pressure and diabetes but bone marrow cancer? It’s too much. I’m broken.

READ ALSO: When Mental Health is Marginalized

But then, I  thought to myself, “ Wait an effing minute. You can’t just give up YOU.HAVE.THE BIG GUY AND THE GIRLS TO THINK ABOUT. Immediately, I rationalized with myself that if I had bone marrow cancer, I’d have to find a way to beat that too. I heard my mom’s voice, “Where there’s a will, there is always a way.” I finally fell back to sleep.

Of course, I had to drive for a field trip for the 8th-grade graduation mass at the Cathedral. I guess there’s no better place to be than mass praying while you’re having the worst morning of your life, take 2 in as many weeks.

I asked the Big Guy, my husband not God, “She’d have told me if I had cancer, right? She’d have to, right?” He assured she would have but his face looked like he wasn’t sure. This poor guy. My warranty has run out and I’m falling apart just 20 years into this marriage thing.

READ ALSO: How Scrambled Eggs made my Marriage Sexy

I didn’t want to freak out the girls so I didn’t say anything. I just went on like normal while I was casually freaking out on the inside. I couldn’t take it anymore and while I was waiting for a carload of 8th graders to get in my car, I called the doctor’s office over and over until I got a human being.

Finally, my nurse answered the phone. I told her what I saw and asked, “She’d have told me if I had bone marrow cancer, right? She’d have to, right? That would be unethical to send me on my way without making a plan and starting treatment. For the love of God, I WANT TO LIVE. HELP ME!!”

My nurse said, “Debi let me check your file and yes, she would most definitely have said something to you if you had cancer.” I was frantic. The kids were walking towards the car but I couldn’t end this call until I knew one way or the other.

READ ALSO: When Your Period Attacks

“Debi there is nothing in your chart or the notes about you having cancer of the bone marrow or otherwise. I am so sorry that you were so scared. If there was something wrong, she would have told you and it would definitely be in the chart. It gave me a random diagnosis before too. It just inserts weird stuff sometimes.” And with that, I had a mini psychotic breakdown because for 12 hours I had bone marrow cancer. I don’t find the patient portal’s behavior to be acceptable.

I’ve never prayed so hard or sung so loud in mass before. Talk about a grateful life. Every day is a gift. Every minute and moment sent on this earth is precious. That was my week. It’s been a crazy one. I’ll tell you one thing, I may never look at that patient portal for as long as I live because it almost killed me.

 

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My parents just celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary. They are coming up on 50 years soon. The Big Guy’s parents will be celebrating 47 years of marriage this September too. The Big Guy and I come from a long line of lifers. I’m not sure if it’s a generational thing, a religious thing, a cultural thing or if they just love each other a lot. I’m hoping it’s the latter.

That is not to say that their relationships were always easy. Far from it. I don’t know about my husband’s parents’ relationship but I know my parents had their ups and downs. I also know that it wasn’t always the easiest relationship. There are lots of moments looking from the outside in, during my childhood, where I would have walked away if I were in the relationship. Yet, they pushed through. Even when they didn’t like each other very much, they loved each other. You could see it in the way they touched and spoke and the way it spilled out onto us children when it wasn’t toxic.

I wanted what they had but I wanted marriage 2.0 minus the chauvinism with a healthy dose of friendship and respect. My parents weren’t friends. They were passionate lovers who got married and built a family. The Big Guy and I were passionate lovers but he’s also been my best friend since college and over time, we’ve fallen deeper in love with one another. Wow, that sounded cheesy and did anyone else notice that the word “passionate” is almost as cringey as “moist”?

Today, we celebrate 20 years of marriage. We’ve been together for almost half of our lives. That’s a long time. It doesn’t feel that long. Some days it feels brand new and others, it feels like forever. We’ve grown up together. We’ve traveled the world, lived and worked in several cities, owned homes and cars, had babies, lost a baby, gotten pets and lost pets. We’ve gone from college co-eds to middle-aged parents of teens. We’ve laughed and cried, fought and made up, more times than we can remember.

20 years is a long time to be committed to anything, especially in a world of instant gratification and swiping for sex and relationships. It’s so easy to move on to the next person but when you find someone who you still like when you hate the entire world, someone who understands you without words and loves you unconditionally without question that still makes your heart beat faster when they walk into the room, that is the dream. To love and be loved in return so completely

Maybe we’re not the two cool kids with the banging bodies that we used to be. Maybe marriage and kids have made us a bit thick in the middle and dull around the edges, from a lack of sleep for the past 14 years. Perhaps, we are not as exciting as we once were. Maybe I’m not the girl who’s the life of the party these days and he’s not the guy with the cool car, but we’re happy. We’ve evolved past superficial things and we’re stronger than we used to be.

We got engaged a few months before we graduated and from there we forged our lives together. We’re like two tree roots growing in the same direction and intertwining together for the past 2 decades. At this point, I’m not sure where my roots begin and his end. They are simply ours. I don’t feel lost. I feel deeply rooted in exactly where I belong, beside him.

At the end of every day, I am grateful that this man came into my life at a time when I was probably at my most unlovable and yet, he loved me anyway. I am thankful that I went against all common sense and logic and said yes when this tall, beautiful man asked me to marry him in the middle of the dance floor after only 4 months of dating.

This year we’re only low key celebrating because life is crazier than usual this year. But, we’ve got something huge planned to celebrate later this fall a trip to Disney World. My first trip to the happiest place on earth was on our honeymoon and ever since Disney has held a very special place in our hearts. I can’t think of a better place to celebrate such a momentous occasion.

Big Guy,

This journey so far has been absolutely crazy and I wouldn’t want to be doing it with anyone else but you. 20 years of marriage is a lifetime but a lifetime isn’t long enough.

Love you to infinity and beyond and back again.

XOXO

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diabetes, diabetic, high blood pressure, how a simple doctor's visit might save my life, healthy, how to keep your kids healthy, happy children, healthy habits, Anthem, ballet, ballerinas

Have you ever heard that song by Tim McGraw, “Live Like You were Dying”? Today, it’s personal. It’s real. I found out Monday that I’m a diabetic with high blood pressure. Now,  there’s nothing I want more than to reverse diabetes and high blood pressure.

In the past, I’ve implemented a “no special occasion” rule ( meaning every single day is special) and decided to go for it now (stop waiting for conditions to be right). Eat the cake. Dance like no one is watching. Enjoy life. Laugh. Love. Tell people you love them every single chance you get. Be more tolerant of people because you don’t know their story. But I was never actually in harm’s way.

Monday, I went to the doctor for my annual physical. Only it’s been more like a year and a half because of all the health issues that happened to me in the fall. The 3-month period and the removal of my lady parts who were trying to kill me. I thought I was finally out of the proverbial health woods. I should have known better.

READ ALSO: Why I’m having a Hysterectomy

I spent 3 months sitting during my last recovery. I’ve been eating like there were no consequences. Pop. Yes, please. Fast food. Yep. Juice. Yep. Late night snacks. Hell yeah. Insomnia makes you hungry. I’m joking but it’s really not funny.

My doctor gave me a whole lot of bad news this week. Not the “you need to eat better and work out”, usual news they give everyone. Nope, I got the “you are severely sick; morbidly obese, extremely diabetic, your blood pressure is so high you could stroke out at any moment and oh yeah, your cholesterol is up too” news. I was shocked because how can you be prepared for that kind of news.

Maybe it doesn’t sound too scary to you. Let me explain. My sugar numbers are twice what they should be. I am a diabetic and I wasn’t on Sunday. My blood pressure was 200/130. I cried. I sobbed in my doctor’s office because how did I get here? How did I ignore my body so much that it could, quite frankly, kill me? Literally, I could die. I might be crying while writing this post. My entire life has changed this week. I have a new perspective on life.

All I want to do is get healthy

I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all. My doctor and I made a plan. Dying is not an option that I want to consider. All of this is reversible. It’s a lot of hard work, planning, completely overhauling my diet and lifestyle but it’s not optional. I have a husband and two daughters who love me and depend on me and I made a promise to be here for them. My goal is 103 years old. This was never part of the plan. I can see so clearly now what is important to me…my family.

I’ve never had a healthy relationship with food or my body. Food is basically my arch nemesis and my body has taken a beating over the years. I was stupid when I was young and I starved myself. I punished my body.

READ ALSO: Burden of Being a Fat Woman

I realized that I could live with being fat a long time ago because perfection and I have a longstanding struggle and to not let it go was going to kill me. Maybe I don’t love being overweight but I knew eating disorders were off the table. Maybe you think there are more options but when your eating is as disordered as mine, it’s like being an alcoholic. You are eating disordered for life. You have to make a choice every morning to not act upon it.

Now, I’m having to make a choice every single day to commit to staying alive. My goal is to get healthy and reverse it all but what damage is it doing while I’m trying to lower my sugar and my blood pressure? I’m so scared. I’ve been walking around in a funk trying to get my bearings since they told me. It’s knocked me off my axis.

“You’re diabetic…have high blood pressure and are morbidly obese”

If you could have seen my doctor’s face, you would have seen the severity of my situation. I cried because did I actually let bad food choices rob my children of their mother? I have a responsibility and a profound want to be here for as much of their lives as I can. I don’t want to let them down. That’s the last thing I ever wanted to do.

And the Big Guy, I made a commitment to him to love him for the rest of our lives. We’ve only had 20 years. It’s not enough. I’m terrified right now. I feel overwhelmed. But I’m not giving up. I’m doing everything I can to right this wrong.

I always put myself last. I remember every few years to make myself a priority but then it falls to the wayside. Everyone else gets their dental appointments, physicals and eye appointments. I make sure to meet everyone’s needs but my own. I put myself on the back burner because my job is to take care of them.

“It’s all reversible. You don’t have to be a diabetic or have high blood pressure. But you’ll have to make serious changes.”

I get a physical every year, but it’s been a year and a half. Either something came up for the kids, or I was dealing with the hysterectomy saga or we had someplace to be or something to do or finances were tight. Every time, I went to the bottom of the list by my own doing and now, I have to focus on me. No more excuses.

I have to let things go. The most important thing right now is my health and my family. Nothing else matters. I want to live more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my entire life. Food is fuel to me now and there is no food worth dying for.  If I have to eat sandpaper for the rest of my life, I will. If I have to give up sweets, eating out, pop, juice, bread and coffee, I will. If I have to work out every day for the rest of my life, I will.

If you have any diabetic friendly recipes that don’t taste like sandpaper, I will take them. If you have prayers to spare, I’ll take them too.  Please, remember to take care of yourselves because if you don’t…you might not be there to take care of the people you love the most.

My family, the Big Guy, Bella and Gabs, they are my reasons for everything including taking care of myself. They are worth living for. I forgot that. I was so busy putting everyone else first that I forgot about me. Don’t forget about you.

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How Brené Brown Inspired Me to Answer the Call to Courage, the Call to Courage, How Brené Brown Inspired Me, Brené Brown, vulnerability

I just watched Brené Brown Netflix special, The Call to Courage. It’s not the first time I’ve heard her speak. She’s spoken at several conferences I’ve attended. In fact, we’ve been connected online for almost a decade. Still, her words move me and she inspires me. She reminds me to embrace who I am, as a woman, as a creator, as a mom, as a sister, as a daughter, as a human, whole-heartedly. That’s something I’ve forgotten. Brené Brown called me to be courageously, unabashedly myself. She can show you how to find yourself too.

I miss running headfirst into life. I miss being vulnerable and sharing my stories. I miss being full-on joyful. I have always been a “what you see is what you get” kind of person. It’s how my parent’s raised me. Then, someone told me that I shouldn’t be. I’ve become so afraid of the bad that I believe will follow too much good that I can never fully enjoy the good things. That fear has caused me to shield myself, sometimes even from myself. But Brené Brown has taught us how to find yourself.

READ ALSO: How to Move past the Doubt and Fear and achieve your Dreams

I started blogging ten years ago (May 7, 2009). I was a new mom with 2 little girls. Bella had just turned 4 and Gabi was 1-years-old. I was blissfully exhausted. The Big Guy had just lost his job and taken a new job on the East Coast. He came home about once a month. I needed a life preserver. I needed someone to talk to on a daily basis. I needed to feel like more than just a “mom”.

I was struggling to find my footing in my new role as a married single parent. I was grieving the loss of my husband’s presence in our home and in my life. When he moved away, I lost my person and it sucked. I started blogging to find my voice and connect with other women who were going through similar situations. Blogging was fulfilling. I felt like I had found where I belonged in the world. I didn’t have to change anything about me. I was me and people loved me for it. They accepted and embraced me into their community.

Brené Brown Inspired Me to Answer the Call to Courage

For the first time in years, I felt like I had a purpose other than just herding little people, wiping butts and cuddling. Not that I didn’t love all those things, with the exception of the butt wiping. I did and I still do. I fiercely love my girls and even every moment of minutia that parenthood is full of.

But within all those moments of lightning speed growing and changing, there are moments of profound bliss and misery; the unavoidable and unforgettable pain and ecstasy of motherhood. I wrote about all of it. That’s how I connected with others by processing what I was going through openly. There was no fear of failure because I showed up and was seen for all my imperfections and it was more than enough.

READ ALSO: Tips for Living Authentically Online

I was scared. I was exposed and vulnerable in so many ways. But I jumped in because the alternative was drowning beneath the weight of it all. The crushing weight and loneliness of parenting small children, it’s hard and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. Loving someone so fiercely and completely is exhausting. Living with the knowledge that kind of love means that if anything happens to them your life will implode is absolutely terrifying. It is also the greatest gift in the universe. I had to push past that fear of loss and failure and embrace all of it.

I started this blog, I knew no other way than to be completely transparent. I never thought of it as telling my story to thousands of strangers on the internet but rather “friends” who were there to love and support my journey through motherhood and marriage.

Blogging helped me find myself and others like me.

Then, I started writing for bigger online publications and the comments were merciless. Then, they followed me over to my blog and soon, even “friends” were warning me that “if I wanted to continue to work, I needed to censor what I wrote.” I remember the words falling on my heart like a betrayal. If I wasn’t telling my story honestly, wasn’t that lying?

The thing is that I refused to censor myself. I had long talks with the Big Guy about it. That I couldn’t censor who I was because then I wasn’t me. Censorship was compromising in a way that I couldn’t compromise. But I stopped swearing as much as I had been. No big deal, my mom had asked me to do this since I was a teenager.

Then someone told me that my Throat Punch Thursday posts were definitely getting me blacklisted. What? Gradually over time, I began to ask myself, “What question are you answering? How are you helping? How do I best keyword those post?” Everything had to have a very specific purpose.

READ ALSO: Rise of the Real

How to’s and listables became a thing on my blog when before it was all stories. Personal, relatable, true stories with all my imperfections out in the open. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not all kittens and rainbows but I’m not exactly writing straight from the heart without going through a Yoast filter either. But I want to change that. I want to get back to where I was. I want to get back to telling my story in my own way. That was the thing that you related to…me.

This is how Brené Brown inspired me to answer my call to courage.

I’ll still be writing my how to’s on certain things because, well, I’ve been a mom for some time now and I’ve learned some things that might be helpful and more easily digestible in bite-sized pieces. I’ll even have some listables for travel and checklists to make things easier. I’m trying to be more vulnerable again and to stop listening to how others think I should do me. I hope you’re doing you like no other can.

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do. – Brené Brown

Let’s answer the call to courage together. Let’s stop letting fear stop us. Move forward with grace and gratitude and live the life you want. I want to be the best example I can for my daughters. I want to show them that they are better than good enough and that if they are willing to be vulnerable and try, they can accomplish anything.

What is the one thing you want to do but have been too afraid to try?

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Things to do in Banff with Teenagers, traveling with teens, travel Tuesday, Banff, Alberta, visit Canada, Visit Alberta, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers and tweens, family travel

Earth Day is one of my favorite days of the year because it’s a great reminder to take a moment and be thankful for the planet we live on. I know, it sounds super crunchy but it’s like realizing that you should be thankful for your body for all that it does for you, instead of complaining that it doesn’t look like everyone else’s. I’m always looking for awesome Earth Day tips for raising environmentally aware kids.

Aside from raising your children to be good human beings (which should be first and foremost every parent’s goal) and showing them how to commit random acts of kindness in the world, we have to teach them the importance of taking care of our planet. We have to make it clear that the earth provides for us; food, water, air and everything else we need to survive and thrive in the universe. We need to take care of it in return. Like any good functional relationship, it takes two and lots of respect and reciprocity.

READ ALSO: 10 Steps for being Environmentally Aware

Kids understand so much more, at much younger ages than we often give them credit for. They can understand concepts like climate change, endangered species and overflowing landfills better than some of their adult counterparts. Showing them the way could motivate them to adopt Earth-friendly behavior. Encourage them with your own actions.

You should be having Earth Day conversations with children as young as preschool-aged about why taking care of the planet is such a good idea. The more you talk with your kids, the more they’ll understand but don’t dumb it down too much. Talk in age-appropriate explanations.

READ ALSO: Beach Bag Must-Haves

  • Use Analogies: Wasting the Earth’s resources too quickly is like spending all your piggy bank money before allowance day.
  • Outline Causal Relationships: If you throw trash down a storm drain, it can make ocean animals sick.
  • Define New Vocabulary Terms: Like “biodegradable,” or “renewable energy.”
  • Make Connections to Prior Knowledge: Just like plants use sunlight to make food, solar panels use it to make electricity.

Show your child how important the environment is to everyone around you. But you have to do more than just show them on Earth Day. For eco-friendly behavior to truly become second nature to our kids, it helps if it is done daily, rewarding and fun.

Here are Earth Day Tips for Raising Environmentally Aware Kids

  1. Recycling: Cut bottle, can and paper slot shapes into your bin lids to make sorting recyclables a fun family game. You can even sing a song while you sort.  And if you take your collected items to a recycling center, consider sharing the redemption money with your kids for an added incentive.
  2. Transportation: Look for chances to reduce emissions (and your stress levels) by taking car-free trips whenever you can. Biking, walking and riding public transportation can give your family some exercise and make traveling a lot more fun, too. City dwellers should find this easy, but even if you live out in the suburbs, we bet you have a park, restaurant or friend’s house within pedaling distance.
  3. Reducing Waste: Help your kids look forward to saving electricity by having one fun candlelight dinner every week. Or encourage them to use less water by timing who can take the fastest shower (while still coming out smelling clean, of course)!
  4. Water: Use only the water you need, and reuse when possible.
    Rain barrels can be used to collect rain and then you can use it to water a family garden.
    Bathe together. Put the kids in the tub together. Shower with your kids or your husband. It saves water, creates memories and nurtures the bond between siblings Dispose of solid and liquid wastes and medications safely.
    Take advantage of medication take-back programs or household hazardous waste collection programs that accept medications, pharmaceuticals, oil, paint and other liquid wastes.
  5. Pass on gas! For example, take public transportation, carpool, plan your day to reduce trips and vehicle emissions.
  6. Make sure your home’s air is healthy, learn about indoor air pollutants from indoor energy use and toxins.
  7. Plant a tree. Or plant many trees! Plant a garden. Plant a vegetable garden.
  8. Prevent additional air pollution by finding alternatives to burning your waste.
  9. Use pesticides safely! Reduce or eliminate where possible.
  10. Learn about composting, try it out!
  11. Reducing yard waste by recycling yard trimmings into free fertilizer.
  12. Learn about the native species and the negative effects of non-native plants and animals in the environment. Plant native species in your gardens, encourage important pollinators such as bees and birds by planting gardens full of their favorite plants. Join a team in your community that removes non-native species.
  13. Save energy at home Choose energy-saving appliances if they’re available. Look for Energy Star!
  14. Hang dry your clothes. This is one of my favorite things to do.
  15. Go renewable! Create your own power from the wind, the sun, water, or biofuels.
  16. Find alternate ways to reduce the use of diesel and other fuels for transportation, production and energy.
  17. Upcycle! Take something that is disposable and transforms it into something of greater use and value.
  18. Recycle metals, plastics and paper
  19. E-cycle Recycle and/or properly dispose of electronic waste such as computers and other gadgets
  20. Don’t litter! Properly dispose of trash and waste

 

Earth Day, Earth Day 2019, Earth Day tips for how to raise envirnmentally aware, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers, traveling with teens, travel Tuesday, Banff, Alberta, visit Canada, Visit Alberta, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers and tweens, family travel

The best thing you can do is simply the act of getting your kids outdoors; no matter the ages. In our high tech world, kids spend a lot more time indoors looking at screens. I’m not judging. I’m stating a fact. We all do it but we need to actively get our kids moving outside, for their health and the health of the planet.

One amazing experience in the great outdoors is worth a thousand nature lectures. Children who have an immersive experience in nature between the ages of 5 and 10, tend to care more about the environment. There is also a greater likelihood that they will actively work to preserve the important life-giving aspects of the environment as adults.

READ ALSO: Tips to Keep Your Kids Healthy

Rather than teaching our Earth Day tips about sustainability, give your kids a nature experience that will instill them with an environmental ethic that will inspire them to develop their own dedication to sustainability.

We’ll be spending this beautiful Earth Day outside, as we always do, watching our girl play soccer, going for a nature walk and playing in the backyard. There is something about getting outside, breathing in the fresh air and playing that truly inspires my family. Nature is like my church.  I feel most at peace just being still and taking in the wonder and beauty that is outside.

What are your best Earth Day tips for raising environmentally aware kids?

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signs of miscarriage, miscarriage symptoms, causes of miscarriage, grief, sadness, loss, miscarriage, lost baby, how to carry on after a miscarriage

I’ve realized that loss never really leaves you, not truly; not the big ones. They remain right beneath the surface, just deep enough for you to get by, to go on living in that forever changed, never the same way only the loss of someone you love more than yourself affects you. A miscarriage or losing a baby/child is different than losing anyone else.

Last night, I watched the movie Return to Zero on Netflix. I stumbled into it like a drunk falling into a wall and then I stayed there for the duration because even though it hurt when the wounds were reopened, it was familiar. The knowing washed over me like a warm surf pulling me into the undertow. Gasping for breath, the pain of drowning reminded me that I was alive.

READ ALSO: All I Can Do is Cry

I think I’ve been living in a protective state of comfortable numbness for the past 7 years. Maybe it’s where I need to stay for the rest of my life because I can’t let myself feel everything, all the time. I can’t live like the exposed nerve that my soul sometimes is. I mask it with levity. I tell myself that I’m letting go but then I see something, hear something or remember something and my dam of grief breaks wide open and it all comes flooding back. Vulnerability replaces the protective cover around my heart.

Return to Zero is a movie about a couple who loses their child in utero at 9 months from a health complication. The baby’s kidney develops a cyst and the organ bursts. The baby, thought to be completely healthy and normal, dies. No rhyme, no reason and no explanation that can ever console a grieving parent’s heart. Just immeasurable and unfathomable loss. The kind of loss that swallows you up whole. The kind of loss that makes it painful to breathe. The kind of loss that is almost not survivable.

A couple of things have happened in the past month that has really brought it all up for me again and least of all, not being that I am less than a month away from the anniversary of my own loss. I know it sounds weird to remember and mark a day of loss but when you are left with a loss this big, that no one else seems to feel as strongly as you, you feel like you have to hold on to that memory with everything that you are or your baby will disappear forever. You have to fight for it. If not, it will be as if he/she never existed and that is too much to bear so you hold on because, as a parent, you feel like it is your responsibility to that child to make sure the world knows they were here. You are the keeper of their legacy; however short lived it was.

READ ALSO: The TRUTH about Life After Miscarriage

Last month, my friend lost her full-term baby to Trisomy 13. She went through 9 months of unimaginable hurt and loneliness, culminated in the worst kind of pain. That is what losing a baby is like, you feel so alone with your anguish and emptiness. A different friend lost her baby soon after announcing. Other friends are still learning to live in the losses of their children who are gone. Yet, another friend is struggling with fertility and I keep finding myself getting angry because I am afraid that she is going to get pregnant and experience loss. I was so afraid after my loss that I never tried again but I don’t want my fear to color her experience. There’s just been a lot of things going on that have been reminding me of my own empty arms and since I had to have a hysterectomy last fall, the finality of it all has been hitting me harder than I ever could have anticipated. It’s been 7 years since my miscarriage with our third child but the weight of that loss is as heavy as it ever was.

I don’t cry every day anymore. I don’t wear my grief like an armor these days. It’s much more subdued and quiet but it is there and can be felt as strongly as it was on May 1, 2012 in my heart. There are certain things I will never forget; the minute they didn’t see the heartbeat, sitting in a waiting room full of beautiful bellies full of living babies as I sat there with my silent womb. I remember calling my husband to tell him and no words coming out of my mouth, the primal screaming and sobbing that I did alone in my car in the parking lot as my heart broke in between the doctor’s appointment and preschool pick up, the emptiness that I felt in my soul that afternoon, my 4-year-old hugging and kissing my belly telling the baby she loved him at 4  in the morning before I left to the hospital for my D&E, A Thousand Years playing on the seemingly eternal drive to the hospital, the sick child I saw at the hospital that morning and feeling sorry for her mother.

Surviving the Grief, Loss and Aftermath of Miscarriage

I’ll never forget the way I refused to go ahead with surgery until they performed one last ultrasound, the photo I made my husband snap of the ultrasound machine of our baby, the helplessness in his eyes, the loneliness that I felt as they wheeled me back to surgery as the nurses lovingly told me of their own losses, the sadness I felt when I saw their eyes fill with tears and the helplessness that I saw on my brothers’ faces when I found them waiting with my husband in the waiting room while I was in surgery. The love that I felt for each person who tried to hold my heart and protect me from the inevitable pain that was to come next.

The emptiness that emanated from my womb throughout my entire body. The endless crying and guilt. The disappointment at my body’s failure. The blame that I wholly accepted. The solitude and hatred that permeated every single thought for those coming weeks. Laying silently in stillness feeling unworthy of breath. Looking into my daughters’ eyes and seeing the confusion. Fake smiling to survive. People telling me that God has a reason. Someone asking me if I was relieved. People telling me that my baby was in a “better” place as if my arms were not good enough. Having misplaced love and anger and not knowing what to do with either. Trying to be normal for everyone else.

READ ALSO: When a Tattoo Heals Your Heart 

Celebrating my husband’s 37nd birthday, 2 days after my D&E, because I refused to let my pain make things weird. Celebrating my Godson’s communion that same weekend after sending a text to everyone not to bring up the miscarriage to me. The next weekend, going out for our 13th wedding anniversary and celebrating Mother’s Day. The next weekend, attending my 4-year-olds preschool graduation, my 6-year-old’s violin concert and a few days later throwing a party for my 5-year-old with all of our friends and family; the same party where we were going to announce our pregnancy. That Thanksgiving, the due date of what might have been, and someone asking me, “don’t you miss the pitter patter of little feet running around the house?” as my nephew played and I had to run to my room to not break down in front of a house full of people. Between all of these brave faces I was putting on for everyone else, I was crumpled up in a ball sobbing in my bed. I stayed in my room alone as much as I could. I felt like I was dying. Secretly, maybe I hoped that I was.

I’d pushed all of these feeling down. I’m scrappy and I’m good at being stoic even when I just want to give myself over to my grief. Some parts of Return to Zero felt like watching it all happen to someone else but all the same things were being said and I could relate to the hurt, the pain and the fear. My heart cracked wide open for the first time in years and all that pain resurfaced. It flooded my heart and every thought. That’s why I’m writing this post. I know that there are so many women who have lost a pregnancy, a baby or a child and it all really is the same to a mother; we’ve lost the possibility of what could have been and that changes you in ways you never expected. We are irrevocably and molecularly changed from the person we were up until the moment we experienced that loss.

READ ALSO: Some Things Change You Forever

I’m damaged. I’ll never be who I was before the words, “I can’t find a heartbeat” were whispered to me in a poorly lit, sterile room on the second floor of the women’s health center by a kind woman who didn’t know what else to say as I stared back at her begging her to change her mind and take it all back. You are not alone. We might all process it differently and it might look different from the outside but on the inside, we are gutted and speechless and feeling more helpless than we’ve ever felt before.

As much as Return to Zero broke my heart, I found comfort in the fact that someone wrote an honest screenplay that so accurately portrays the realness of loss; the humanity of it all. The primal part of loss that no “I’m sorry for your loss” can ever salve. Losing a child is losing yourself in the world, becoming completely unrecognizable, and being sentenced to a lifetime of living. It’s cruel. You will survive and you will never forget. Tiny time bombs of grief will unexpectantly go off for the rest of your life and you will find yourself a broken mess at the most inopportune times but this is your heart reminding your mind not to forget. This is you living. This is you loving your baby forever and there is something beautiful in that pain; something comforting.

How do you process loss?

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Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will, envy, pushing past fear, being your best self

On the wall in my office, these words, “Doubt Kills More Dreams than Failure Ever Will,” are posted as a reminder. A reminder to not compare myself to others but to work my tail off to be my best self. I want to do better and be better as a human being; as a wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter and writer. First thing’s first, stay in my own lane and don’t even look to the other lanes.

Let’s talk about envy and competition. I hate both because it involves comparing myself against others which is unfair because we’re not the same. Competition takes life and turns it into an unending race rather than the journey that it’s meant to be. It’s exhausting and seldom enjoyable. It’s not the road I want to take.

READ ALSO: A Life that’s Good

How can we enjoy life when we’re constantly measuring ourselves against someone else. How can we compare our worst day to their best and ever feel like we’ve succeeded? How can we even have authentic relationships if comparison enters the picture? My whole life I’ve been pushing comparison to others to the side and trying to ignore it but still, it remains like a soft whisper reminding me of ways that I’m falling short.

I’ll be 1000% honest with you, I struggle with not using others as a measuring stick of my own success. It’s hard because I’m always striving for perfection and that doesn’t even exist so not only am I running this constant race but the finish line keeps moving. Did I mention that I hate running?

Envy steals rational thought

I have the privilege of surrounding myself with hardworking, overachievers and I’m so happy and proud of them. Their hard work is paying off. But sometimes, I find myself asking, “Why not me?” I know it’s petty and childish but it’s not something I deliberately do. I’m genuinely happy for their success and at the same time disappointed in myself. There I go comparing myself to them.

I don’t think any of this is luck. They are not lucky. In fact, if we’re being really honest with ourselves, we know why “other people” are living their best lives and seemingly always succeeding. They are tirelessly working to achieve their goals, they are pushing past the fears to make their dreams a reality and they are sacrificing. There is no such thing as luck, it’s hard work.

Maybe I’m succeeding by someone else’s standards but by my own, I’m treading water. I take full responsibility for this situation. I’m dead afraid of failure. I want to succeed but sometimes I’m so afraid of being exposed as an imposter that it’s easier to hide behind the status quo. I’m a control freak so when I fail the onus is directly on me.

READ ALSO: Words Matter

I try to do everything myself. I have issues trusting others to complete tasks and I always find it easier in the short run to only depend on myself and that’s also a part of why I can’t achieve what I want to. No woman is an island. We all have different strengths. We need each other to succeed. I need to let go. I’m working on that. I’m trying to ask for help when I need it without worrying that I’ll be outed as an imposter.

When I find myself envying my friends, my brain says don’t compare yourself to others but something small inside me feels less than for a moment. I feel like I’ve failed myself. Worse, I feel like I’m not good enough because if I were I’d be the one getting chosen. Then, rational thought kicks in and I remember to stay in my lane. It’s a process.

Success is relative. If I were basing my success on my relationship with my girls and the Big Guy, I’m winning. If I’m basing it on my Instagram, I’m failing. If I’m basing it on my opportunities, it depends on the day of the week.

READ ALSO: Other Shoe Syndrome

For now, I’m trying to follow my own advice and remember that I’m not you and you’re not me. Our definition of success is probably different, as are our priorities. I’m trying to learn to measure myself only against who I was yesterday compared to who I want to be tomorrow. I want to be the best me that I can be and I really am happy for you, even if for 1 split second I wonder why not me.

Do you ever struggle with feeling like an imposter? Do you ever experience envy? Do you ever find yourself asking, “Why not me?” You are not alone, we all have those moments. We’re only human. They key is not to dwell there. Don’t live there. You are better than that and so am I.

How do you move past your envy and remind yourself that doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will?

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tweens, teens, Teen Girls Rebel when Teen Boys Rated Female Classmates on Looks, Teen Boys Rated Female Classmates on Looks, teen girls rebel, girls fight rape culture, #MeToo, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School

You’ve heard of burn books? We all have. I remember in high school they were called slam books; same difference. Same jerky idea, different decade. Well, a group of high school boys at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Maryland are bringing it back. But in the wake of the #MeToo movement, the girls are refusing to stand for it. Teen boys rated female classmates on looks and the teen girls rebel. They will no longer stay quiet. Like teenage superheroes, these girls fight rape culture.

Teen boys rating girls on their looks is a practice as old as time. For as long as men have been objectifying women, girls have been getting rated by their looks in burn books, slam books, bathroom walls and in guy group texts. It’s a national pastime for men and boys. The undiscriminating discriminatory act of objectifying the part of the population born with girl parts. It’s sickening.

This time the list is in an iPhone Notes app. It included the names of 18 girls in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, ranked and rated on the basis of their looks, from 5.5 to 9.4, with decimal points to the hundredth place. There, with a number beside it.

A number rating system for girls like they’re cattle being rated for purchase. A group of male students created the list over a year ago and it’s been recirculated. Spreading like a plague through text messages and whispers during class. One male student saw the name of his friend, Nicky Schmidt, on the list and told her about it. Within 24 hours, most of the senior girls knew about the list. Teen boys rated female classmates on looks and the girls are not having it.

READ ALSO: The Problem with Little Boys

In the past, tween and teen girls would see the list, hang their head in shame and pray no one brought it up again. It’s shameful. It’s one thing to feel ugly ( as we all do in those awkward years) but it’s quite another to have everyone at school to see your national ugly average rating in notes, much less hear it whispered as you walk through the halls. The thing about these sorts of lists is that it shakes even the most confident young women to their core. Even if you’ve always thought you were pretty, these books have a way of crawling into your psyche and taking root; growing, twisting and digging in.

As someone who suffered from eating disorders and was never sure of herself, at least in the looks department, finding myself in a burn book would have made me feel so isolated, unsure and depressed. As a grown woman, it would make me rage because of two things, 1) I know I’m attractive enough 2) I don’t care what anyone else thinks about how I look or think or exist. But this is as a grown woman, it took years to have this confidence.

Yasmin Behbehani, a student at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, found herself ranked on this list after her friend, Nicky Schmidt, let her know about the list, as a heads up. But Behbehani didn’t want to know about this list. She was trying to stay in her lane; just trying to survive high school is hard enough without extracurricular  humiliation. She’d spent her entire high school tenure recovering from eating disorders and trying to avoid this kind of triggering comparison to her classmates but there is was in a text message with a screenshot of the list, typed out in the damn notes app.

These kinds of lists are not new. And they will never not exist. As long as boys are raised to objectify women with no real consequences they will continue to do so. But today is not yesterday, or last year, or the last decade. Today, we live in the world of #MeToo.

We are raising ours girls to not take this kind of treatment. Raising our girls to know there are more important things to be than beautiful and to speak up, no to scream, when we need to be heard. We’re empowering our little girls. We are not afraid of you any longer. You can’t demean us with your stupidity and objectification because we know we are more than our parts.

READ ALSO: Raising Girls to Survive Misogyny, Sexting and Slut Shaming

The girls of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School felt violated, objectified by classmates they thought were their friends. They felt uncomfortable getting up to go to the bathroom, worried that the boys were taking notes and editing their scores.Objectification feels horrible; judged at your very existence.

The things that no one counted on in this “boys will be boys” rape culture that we live in is that  there is power in numbers. Dozens of senior girls spoke to the school administration and to the boys, demanding not only disciplinary action in response to the list but a school-wide discussion about the toxic culture that allowed the list to happen in the first place. This resulted in one male student being given an in-school detention for one day. It wouldn’t even be on his record.

Not happy with the disciplinary action, Schmidt texted 15 friends and told them to tell all of their friends to show up at the school’s office the next day during lunch, “to tell them we feel unsafe in this environment and we are tired of this toxicity,” Schmidt wrote in her text. 40 senior girls showed up, packing into the assistant principal’s office where Schmidt read a statement she had written.

We want to know what the school is doing to ensure our safety and security,” Schmidt said. “We should be able to learn in an environment without the constant presence of objectification and misogyny.”

READ ALSO: The Reality of Being Born a Woman

The girls and administration agreed that to have a meeting with the male students in the program, including the assholes who created and circulated the list. On International Women’s Day, almost all of the students in the IB program — about 80 students — met in a large conference room for what was supposed to be a 45-minute meeting during fifth period. It lasted over 2.5 hours.

The girls shared personal stories and impassioned speeches about how the list made them feel. They shared their stories of sexual abuse, harassment and the lasting effects objectification has had on them. And something miraculous happened, the boys heard them. In fact, the boy who created the list stood up, took responsibility for the list and apologized for the hurt the list caused. I am so proud of the girls for uniting and standing up and demanding that their voices be heard. Silence is the enemy of equality.

The thing this isn’t new and the kid who made the list and the ones who passed it around are not the minority. The girls who spoke up and refused to be treated like this, they are the minority in our culture. We need to make doing the right thing easier and more common. It shouldn’t be this hard for women to be treated like humans. We shouldn’t have to fight for a basic human right like being treated like people and not objects.

What will we do next time we find out teen boys rated female classmates on looks? Where will we be when our teen girls rebel?

To be honest, since the #MeToo movement began, I have shared my own stories. I shared them before but I never realized that men don’t actually understand what it feels like to be a woman and be objectified. They have always been bigger, stronger and more privileged than women. They’ve always lived in a boys will be boys culture and they’ve watched, from the time they were little boys, the world apply different rules for women and girls. Boys assault women in so many ways and all they get is a slap on the wrist, even from women. But no more.

Since the day they were born, we’ve been raising our girls to respect themselves and to value no one’s opinion over their own. I’ve taught them that no means no and if they have to scream that, then do so. We’re raising our girls to be brave and determined. They know that they are as good as any man and in some instances, even better.

This generation of moms is raising an army of feminists ready to do battle for their human respect, equality and dignity. If you can’t get on board with that, that’s your problem. It’s happening. Be ready for it. Don’t stand in their way. This is their future and their worth is more than any ranking a man could ever give them.

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