Perfectly Pretty

In a world where women are taught they need to wear makeup and spend an obscene amount of money on their hair and nails in order to be loved, I took a stand to live my life differently by appreciating the way I look without all of the unnecessary bells and whistles.

It is quite amusing to see the expressions on the faces of those who find out I do not wear any makeup. I mean, they are flabbergasted! Why do you think that is? It is because the confidence I exude without makeup distracts people from the fact that I choose not to wear makeup. And I am more comfortable with the way I look than a lot of the women I know who do wear makeup.

Friends, I don’t wear makeup and I still think I’m beautiful. I don’t wear makeup and other people still think I’m beautiful. I don’t wear makeup and I’m still loved by those around me.

Today’s challenge: Leave the makeup on the shelf and tell yourself you’re much more beautiful without it. You may not know this but… you really are! If you can’t go a day without makeup, ask yourself why that is and then sit quietly for an honest answer. You may be surprised at what you discover.

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Beware The Line Cutter!

I was waiting in line for about 15 minutes and when it was my turn, a woman cut right in front of me. I said, “Excuse me, I’m next in line.” She turned around and stared at me blankly. I wondered if she heard me so I repeated myself and let her know that I had been waiting and would like to get my ass out of there. “I’ve been waiting too.” She said. “There are two lines.” Now, I got there when my line was the only line and I don’t know when or why the second one was started. What I do know is she hadn’t been waiting in line THAT long (because the people in my line didn’t even realize a second line had been formed until she cut me). I got irritated and said, “Well, you’re the one that decided to make your own damn line when this one (I pointed down) was already established. Now you’re gonna have to wait.” As soon as I spoke those words I regretted it. My blood pressure rose and I could feel my face get hot with embarrassment. She stepped aside and let me go on ahead of her. I got out of there as quickly as I could and didn’t look back…

I thought to myself, “Oh, Amber… why do you have to be so mean?!” *face palm*

How would you have handled that? What could I have done differently?

Don’t Smooch The Mooch!

In talking with friends about relationships, the subject of “women who mooch” came up. My male friends asked me if I knew any women like that. I told them that I used to be that woman. They couldn’t believe it because I’m so independent today. I reminded them that my independence came later in life because of my sober lifestyle and the desperation for self respect and self sufficiency, not in spite of doing nothing to change.

There is nothing more attractive, in my opinion, than people who think of the needs of others and take action to live selflessly. We are not saints and we will fail at living selflessly over and over again, but it’s obvious when we’re working toward selflessness as opposed to living a life of “what about me?”.

Here’s a question: if you’re only dating women who you believe to be “mooches”, would you be open to the thought that maybe you’re one of them or that you practice behavior of similar caliber? We’ve all heard the phrase “like attracts like”, right? I mean, we can point fingers all we want but what good is that if the result is unhappiness?

If you’re a man who wants to stop meeting moochie girls, here are a few suggestions from the biggest ex mooch of them all (me):

• Quit dating and sleeping with party girls. Duh!
• Date women who are wise with the money they earn. If they’re wise with their own money, they will be considerate of yours (because they understand the value in investing as opposed to foolish spending).
• Stop spending all of your money on dates, find free things to do instead (you’ll weed out the mooches indefinitely).
• Go out with women who read for pleasure.
• Do volunteer work.
• Quit dating unemployed girls who don’t have their own place! Another duh!
• Listen to how she talks about people. Is she nasty? If so, she is probably a selfish, hateful person and you should run for your life!
• Date a woman who can throw down in the kitchen. She will want to cook for you and when she cooks for you, you’ll save money on dinner.
• Date a low-maintenance girl. Don’t ask, just do it.

Any thoughts? 

The Power Of Prayer

A long time ago I was introduced to the concept of prayer. I always believed in the spiritual world but I never thought I could be the kind of person who practiced anything consistently, and I assumed prayer was, like most things, something boring I’d have to do regularly to get the results I want, so I decided prayer was not for me.

As I’ve grown up, I have discovered the many wonderful ways in which prayer can be – it doesn’t have to be this long, boring monologue that sounds like something from a Shakespearean play. I pray when I sing; I pray when I dance; I pray when I talk to God; I pray when I say “thank you” before I eat a meal; I pray when I ask a homeless person to dinner; I pray when I put love into the meals I prepare; I pray when I say, out loud, everything I’m grateful for.

Gratitude has been the most effective form of prayer in my life. When I’m ungrateful, my life tends to get way out of control and I go insane… seriously. When I am grateful, life feels better, even the hard stuff seems manageable.

When I started making gratitude lists, I would write down a few things I was grateful for every day. Of course, I would get bored and eventually stop. When the insanity returned, I’d make those lists again. Over time the lists grew and then the lists turned into more than just superficial, “basic needs” stuff. The more I was grateful, the more I had to be grateful for. The more I had to be grateful for, the more I was able to incorporate those other forms of prayer into my life. Funny how that works.

Dr. Masaru Emoto did an experiment with water molecules where he blessed, or cursed, water and then observed what happened to the molecular structure of the water after doing so. The results were phenomenal! The difference between the blessed water and the cursed water was the difference between beautiful water crystals and mucky, swamp-like death! You can see it for yourself at http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.html

Dr. Emoto’s experiment proved to me that words and thoughts are creative, and that I must be cautious about the words I speak and the thoughts I think or else I’ll end up like those cursed water crystals! Now, of course, I’m not always cautious. I mean, I’m still a human being and I often slip back into old patterns. The awareness, though, and the reminders are key for me in getting back on the gratitude wagon. 

The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” The Bible also says in Matthew 21:22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” In the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu says “Express yourself completely, then keep quiet.” In the Quran, Surat ‘Ibrāhīm (14:7) says “Your Lord has decreed : The more you thank Me, the more I give you. But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe.” Conversations with God Book 1 says “All illness is self-created.” and “The best so-called affirmation is a statement of gratitude and appreciation.” 

Do you pray? How do you pray? Do you always use words? Today’s challenge: Say “thank you” before you eat. You can say it in your head if you’re too embarrassed to say it out loud. (One day, after practicing prayer for a while, you may not care so much.)

The Rules Of Attraction

Every day women are bombarded with the silly idea that we are not good enough. We are taught that we need to wear makeup, go to the gym, color our hair, cook amazing meals, be a one-of-a-kind lover, wear certain clothes, and look much younger than we rightfully should or else we will not find a man who appreciates us, and our ability to attract a mate is what defines our worth. Is this the truth? No.

There are many women who don’t wear makeup, who don’t look like super models, who can’t cook, who don’t experiment in the bedroom, who only wear sweats, and who look their age yet are in satisfying relationships with men who adore them. And then there are many women who do follow society’s so-called “rules” of finding a mate yet are still single and lonely.

I decided to ask men what they find attractive about women and what they look for in a partner. Here are their answers: 

“I prefer women who wear minimal makeup or none at all.”

“I don’t care if she knows how to cook.”

“I love women who have curves.”

“Men are supposed to have muscular abs, I like my women to have soft abs.”

“I like big, round asses.”

“Fake boobs are cool, but totally unnecessary.”

“Give me a low-maintenance girl over a high-maintenance girl any day.”

“Intelligence is sexier than a hot body.”

“Natural beauty is a turn on.”

“The thicker the better.”

“All that shit you girls do isn’t for us, it’s for other women. Men are simple. You guys complicate things too much and you’re always trying to one-up each other.”

“Catty, bitchy women are a major turn off.”

Shocking, isn’t it? If this is true, why are women everywhere trying so hard? Who told us that men only like a certain type of woman? Why do we still believe the lie that we have to do certain things to get a man to love us? Men really don’t care the way we think they do. Of course physical attraction is necessary. But who decided what men find attractive? We do these incredible things to try and attract men to our own detriment. I think it’s time to take a good, hard look at how we treat ourselves and other women.

Today’s challenge: Dress down, leave the makeup on the shelf, and appreciate the uniqueness that is YOU. Eat the burger and fries if you feel so inclined. Put that magazine down! Smile at other women. Give a sincere compliment to a woman who doesn’t meet your standards of beauty. Smile kindly at men you don’t find attractive. Share what your experience doing these things did to YOU.

 

The Art Of Solitude

I have never been one who likes to be alone, especially not on a Friday night. When I say alone, I’m not referring to being single, I am referring to being alone, literally.

I live alone. The reason I live alone is because my domestic practices differ from those of all of my former housemates. So much so that my living environments never felt like a home to me. Although I love the way it feels to live in a home I put together myself, I sometimes miss coming home to people. My housemates became my friends, my shoulders to cry on, my dinner dates, my wing men and women, my family.

Being single adds to the loneliness. I’m usually single but prior to two years ago I always had housemates with whom I shared my life. Now that I’m single and I live alone I thought it necessary to practice enjoying my own company for once.

This week I’ve spent more time alone than I have in years. In solitude I finished a few chapters of the book I’m writing, wrote some poetry, read books on subjects that interest me, meditated, took long walks, made delicious food for myself, prayed, practiced affirmations, took myself to dinner, and crocheted a Harry Potter scarf. And guess what? It was uncomfortable, but refreshing.

Many times I’ve heard it said that we need to learn to be okay being alone. I believe it’s normal to not be okay being alone; people are made for community. I do, however, believe that I had become so reliant on others that I felt like something was wrong with me if I didn’t have an entourage or a romantic partner. I have discovered that relying on people for my emotional security isn’t realistic nor is it healthy.

Practicing the art of solitude this week has helped rejuvenate me so that I can participate in life with others… in a healthy way.

How do you practice the art of solitude? Do you enjoy your own company?

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

We put a lot of effort into the way we look. We dye our hair, get tattoos and piercings, work out every day, practice guerrilla dieting, dread our hair or chop it all off, cake our faces in makeup, rip the hair off of our bodies… and for what? So we can be accepted by certain people.

I have been an active participant in many subcultures for as long as I can remember. Appearance, regardless of whether or not people will admit it, is valued more highly than anything else, even in the so-called “enlightened” communities. You don’t believe me? Take a look around at the next festival, beatnik poetry reading, or punk rock show you attend. Everyone looks like everyone else.

I, on many occasions, encounter people who say I am not a hippie because I look like a model. I encounter people who say I am not a real artist because I don’t have tattoos. And most of those people are apart of society’s subcultures- the very people who feel judged (by everyone else) on the way they look! Laughable, isn’t it?

It is the person who makes the person, not their appearance. Anybody can buy an outfit, get pierced or tattooed, go to the salon, etcetera. I’m a hippie because of the way I live my life. I do not have dreads in my hair or wear expensive hippie attire. Buying expensive clothing to fit in is actually very un-hippie. I do not cut my hair to look like a boy nor do I cover my body in tattoos, but that doesn’t make me any less an artist. I am an artist because I create art. Plain and simple. The rest is surface level.

This is an issue I fear will never go away. As long as we practice judgement, it will continue. As long as we keep teaching people that they need to buy this, pierce that, dread this, or tattoo that to fit in, we will perpetuate our race of insecure people who judge others for not looking like us and condemn those who don’t look the way we think they should.

Any thoughts? Share them here.