Friday, May 30, 2014

I Want to See What You See

I would like to be someone else.  A different version of me, with the same sweet, handsome husband; same beautiful baby girl... I want to see something different when I look in the mirror.

I hate mirrors, because all I see in them are my flaws.  I see the uncooperative hair that hangs to my shoulders, limp as a dishrag and red as a stoplight, thanks to a poor dye choice on my part.

I see the high forehead, a reminder that I was born with too much cerebrospinal fluid.  For years, I believed my mom when she told me that it was because I was so intelligent.  When I found out the reality, that the plates of my skull had expanded under the pressure of CSF, I cried.  I was 22.

I see the left eye that crosses if I am the least bit tired, that everyone who meets me points out at least once, as though they are the first to notice.

I see the discolored crack in my front tooth where it was repaired after part of it was knocked out.

I see the moles on my neck that I hate, even though I can't find the courage to have them removed.

I see the weight that I gained when, as a curvy 15-year-old, old men started acting like stupid boys, and boys my age didn't know how to act.

I see the scars... some from lifesaving surgeries, one from the c-section that gave me Charlotte (I love that one!) and others that I inflicted upon myself, angry that I wasn't the girl I wanted to be.

For the last 20 years, I have hated what I see when I look in the mirror.  That's no way to live, and that's no way to teach my daughter how to love herself.  For the next thirty days, I will post something every day that I love about myself.  Maybe by the end of June, I'll start seeing the girl my husband fell in love with, or the young woman my mother-in-law loves as her own. In any case, I hope I start to see someone I can like a little more.

Day 1:  I adore my baby girl.  She is the best part of me, and every day I am amazed that I made this beautiful little human being in partnership with my husband and Heavenly Father.   

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pregnant Pauses: A Thank You to my Husband

Our girl, Charlotte Emmellyn McGinnis, is due on Valentine's Day.  Appropriate, I think, for the child we have loved and prayed for almost as long as we have loved each other.  Ever since I have gotten pregnant, my husband Chris has become even more gentle and caring, something I had no idea was possible.  And yet, there was a subtle shift when that second line appeared, and it grew even stronger as the days went by and I was wracked with morning...afternoon...evening sickness, IV fluids, and a lack of self-esteem so deep, I yearned to hide somewhere.  I could imagine coming out when the pregnancy was over, holding my yowling child  over my head like a victorious warrior woman, presenting her to the world like a magnificent gift. 

Alas, I am not so strong.  I need to be held and soothed, snuggled and taken care, nourished and sometimes (okay, many times) put up with as I ask my beloved for the millionth time if I'm still pretty.  I hear these words coming out of my mouth, and I want to take them back, but it is always too late.  And so I wait, feeling injured, as I hide my face from this man who loves me far more than I deserve.  He never gets exasperated, he only pulls me close and tells me I am beautiful, I am loved, I am safe, and I will never not be so.  In that moment, I believe him.  I know there will come several more moments of insecurity before my hormones return to normal, but I am not afraid.  He will speak this truth to me as often as it's needed. 

Over the weekend, I mentioned that he should consider a career as a doula.  I figured he has been an immense help to me since I got pregnant, and there is no shortage of single moms-to-be who could use some comfort.  I imagined, I suppose, that he could be a sort of stand-in husband to these women in their hour of need, giving out back rubs, ice chips, and coaching them to breathe as they fight to bring their children into the world.  Upon further research, however, we found that even after a few thousand years, this is still a predominantly female profession.  Fine.  I get to keep him all to myself then! 

Last night as I climbed into bed, Charlotte started her nightly salsa dancing.  As Chris leaned in to tell her goodnight, and how much we love her, she delivered a kick that felt like lightning.  Several more followed, taking my breath away.  "Let me OUT!" they seemed to say, "I want my DADDY!"  The thought made me laugh.  As a preemie of over three months, I wondered if a similar idea had entered my head before I made my early entrance.  I rubbed my belly and sent calming thoughts to this girl who has become the center of our universe.  I cautioned her to stay put and keep growing.  As much as she might want to meet us now, it's simply not the right time.

I consider how lucky I am.  I am bound by eternal marriage to a man who has wanted children for as long as I've dreamed of horses.  The adoration I see on his face astounds me, to her for simply being, and to me for being her vessel into this life.  It's a beautiful thing. 

To my husband:  I love you, and I always will.  Thank you for loving me and taking care of me.  You are my best friend and my eternal companion; there isn't anyone else I'd rather have by my side. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ending the Search for Unattainable Beauty...

Ever since I've gotten pregnant (YAY!!!!!!!!), I've taken a serious look at how I treat myself.  For most of my life, I have felt frumpy, chubby, scarred, and unattractive, and because of these feelings, I haven't always been kind to myself. 

Because I don't want my child to ever struggle with self-acceptance the way I have, to the point of trying to end my life, I'm ending The Search.  Today, I organized all of my nail polishes and makeup, getting rid of some things I've never worn, or don't like.  After counting my 18th lip gloss, I realized that I had a little bit of an addiction.  It seems fun and harmless, and to be honest, it really is fun until I sit down some days later and consider why I've bought yet another lip gloss, nail polish, eyeliner, or perfume. 

The reason behind it, for me, has dark roots.  It's because I'm looking for something transformative.  Something that will make me a better me, a different me... or maybe not me at all.  But no matter how hard I try or how much money I spend, I still see me in my mirror.

And that's got to be okay.

Yes, I am frustrated that I am so overweight.  It sucks to be tired all the time.  But ever since I've felt this little person start to grow, my body has begun to symbolize something else.  By turns, I am intimidated and awed by the fact that there is a human being growing inside of me, a son or daughter of God who has chosen me to be their earthly mother. 

Somehow, this pregnancy is forcing me to accept myself for the way I am, not the way I want to be someday.  Because of it, I can see past the scars.  I can curl up under the covers and sleep like a contented cat, soft and warm.  I can wrap my arms around my stomach and imagine what a comfort it will be for this child to have somewhere soft to snuggle, remembering the last time I hugged my soft, beautiful Mamma.

I still have a long way to go, but I'm amazed at the progress I'm making.  This life is good and sweet, despite the fact that I'm not the weight I want to be.  I will get there someday.  Many of the scars I bear are evidence of a life saved; I'm learning to rejoice in them.  Without them, I wouldn't be here.  And while I see "frumpy," my husband sees "sexy librarian."  There are far worse things to be. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Carriage Driving Circuit Training: Finding Joy in the Journey

There are so many things I'd like to talk about!  That's what happens when I only write once a month.  For one thing, I finally found a job.  As of now, I am a ground manager/driver-in-training for a small carriage tour company in Frankenmuth.  I love the work, and I've lost at least five pounds since I started from climbing up in the carriage, getting down from the carriage, grooming horses, hauling water, wiping down the carriage, scrubbing equipment...  It's amazing.  When we get out to Utah, I'll have a whole other skill set I can use to market myself to potential employers... and I'll be buff!

I have had the incredible good fortune to befriend the owners of Black Dragon Farms Friesians, and through them, I am free leasing my dream horse, a beautiful mare named Vesper, who instantly befriended me and started me on a wellness journey.  It's primarily because of her that I've had any kind of success so far.  I wish I would have considered long ago all the horses I could be riding (and riding better!) if there were less of me to get in the way. 

I've thrown the word "can't" out of my vocabulary, with the exception of the following:  "I've never done that before, but I can't wait to try!"  Aside from one or two small setbacks these last few weeks, I've noticed a few things:

I feel stronger physically, emotionally, and mentally.
When I think of myself, it's often in positive terms.  This is new!
For the first time in my life, I feel as though I have a lot to offer.
Because my employer and the owners of BDF believe in me, and believe that I can become a more competent horsewoman, I am able to believe it of myself, because I can finally see it happening.  I can hardly wait to be able to give someone else that same chance.
 I have come to believe that God wants me to have horses in my life.  He has opened these doors for me so that I can live better... live joyfully... and learn to love the person I am becoming.  For that, I am so very thankful.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Health from a Different Perspective; Chiropractic Medicine and General Conference

Hello, friends!

As many of you know, I spend a great deal of my time in search of health, happiness, and the ability to see myself as a divine being; a daughter of my Heavenly Father.  Unfortunately, most of the time, I become mired in this human experience and don't make much progress.  I'm sad to say that my self-image has been suffering as of late; I hope that the steps I'm taking now will improve it.

This past week, Chris and I have been seeing our chiropractor, a fantastic doctor and great friend.  She is a member of the Church, and I just love the Spirit that resides wherever she goes.  After I'd been adjusted, I asked her what I could do about my weight.  One nutritional evaluation later, I am on a small regimen of supplements that have eased the nausea and fatigue that I deal with on a daily basis; a blessed relief, indeed!

This weekend is General Conference, a time that I look forward to with great anticipation.  As a convert, I had never realized that women were not asked to pray, but I'm thrilled to be a member at this time.  I have always believed that women have a voice in the Church that is equal to the priesthood.  I'm grateful, however, that one of my sisters in Christ is being given the opportunity to pray for us all in the name of the Lord.

Aside from this momentous occasion, I'm looking forward to hearing from our Prophet and his apostles, among others.  There is a love and hope that I feel during Conference that is almost tangible, that comes with the knowledge and the affirmation that I am beloved of God, and that my sins are atoned for in Christ Jesus, an affirmation that will hold me fast to my strengthened testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Have a blessed week, everyone.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New home, new beginnings...

Today was my first as a member of the Flint ward.  When I was there two weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see a familiar face at the door, an Elder whom Chris and I welcomed into our home many times in the first few weeks of his mission.  We're certainly feeling blessed to be the ones to send him home with honor as well!  This morning, though, felt different.  The Spirit was amazing; I felt like I do sometimes in Conference, as though the talks were written especially for me.  It was a wonderful welcome, that's for sure.

I'm getting a little nervous about our financial situation, but I know something will come along.  If I've learned anything since my marriage, it's that I've joined up with a very blessed (and peculiar) people.  When my husband exercises his priesthood authority in prayer, Heavenly Father takes notice.  Sometimes I feel as though I'm just sitting there in amazement, watching mountains move.

Last week, when I attended the temple, I was in the grip of a deepening depression.  I thought "If I can just get to the temple, I'll be all right..."  I am convinced that my husband's prayers on my behalf in that sacred place pulled me out of what could have been a crippling downward spiral... I've not felt its' effects since.

I know it won't always be easy, and I hope I'll be able to visit my family often, but I am so glad we're here.  I know it is the Lord's will, and I am so happy to know that we're following His plan.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

31... now what???

Hello, all. 

Yesterday was my birthday.  I turned 31, an age which I have never bothered to imagine myself.  Why?  Well... because...

(i was supposed to have everything figured out by 30.)

Wait... what was that??  Oh, right.  I was supposed to have everything figured out by 30.  Husband, career, kids, horse, all that stuff.  Hahahahahaha... well, at least I've got one out of four, right?

Also, I have decided on a career, I just can't make it happen right now.  I want to get my realtor's license and specialize in historic property sales.  I also want to sharpen my genealogical skills and work for the Church.  So far, I need a wee bit more education, and a (much) closer proximity to Salt Lake City. 

Kids.  Well, all I can say about them is, we're open to the possibility.  It's totally up to Heavenly Father when though, and this year, I'm not stressing. 

Horse.  I know what I want.  I want a sane, sound, sweet older gelding with a smooth gait to be a trail and local show buddy.  I'm no longer a breed snob.  I still dream of the day when I will see my name on a stall containing a pureblood Friesian, but I'll settle for a cross breed.  Heck, I'll settle for a Heinz 57, as long as he's strong and kind and has a peanut rolling canter and an easy jog.  This also requires a closer proximity to SLC, since that is where we want to settle.  I get fairly sick imagining the cost of moving not only all of our belongings, but a horse 2,000 miles, and it's enough to make me thank the Lord that I don't yet have a horse of my own.  I certainly wouldn't mind a lease, though, once this darn foot heals!

Here's to what's sure to be an amazing year.