Needy Necklace…

When I turned 16 all I wanted was a digital camera for my birthday… They were new… They were exciting… Plus no one I knew really had one yet…

So when I went to open my gifts on my birthday I was convinced my parents bought me one…

As I prepared to open the last gift, I kept thinking, “The packaging is too small for a camera. Maybe it’s just super small and sleek.”

But the more I tore back the paper the more and more I was disappointed to find a small, black jewelry box…

On inside was the most beautiful necklace I’ve ever received… A heart with alternating diamonds and sapphires… It was a stunning piece… Something my parents wanted me to have as a sign of maturity since I was turning 16…

But there I sat… Trying to be as “excited” as I could be… But then on the inside I was full of disappointment because I didn’t receive what I wanted at all…

Now it’s taken me a few years and a lot of maturity to realize that that necklace is something I appreciate dearly… It’s so precious to my heart and soul… Especially now that my dad is gone…

But something that makes it even more valuable are the lessons it’s taught me throughout the years…

To me it is a symbol of identity because it’s filled with sapphires fitting for my birthday month of September… But then it’s also come to help me accept deeper revelation God has taught me about who I am in Him… Who He’s created me to be and sees me as in His eyes…

Now today I sit in life… Completely disappointed with what God keeps handing me… I want adventure… I want to live… In so many ways, I keep expecting to unwrap a digital camera type of life from Him… Something that let’s me go free from this chapter I am in…

But upon opening everything He’s given me I seem to discover something that’s actually very different… Something that resembles my diamond and sapphire necklace… Something filled with precious value and meaning and identity… Something that He has decided I am mature enough for…

Now my heart is touched by His constant gift of shaping me and molding me into who He needs me to be… But then my soul is severely disappointed because I wanted what was cool, hip and ever evolving…

So I’m left with these questions in mind… What happens when you don’t get what you so desperately want in life, but you do get what you so apparently need? How do you respond to it? How do I continue to make sense of this time in life where I feel somewhat angry and disappointed because I want God to give me what I want, not what I need? How can I be at peace with the fact that He is providing me with what’s of value, not what is easy to come by because it’s part of our current culture? And… How do I actually embrace, “If God sees me mature enough for these gifts, I must be. Even though I don’t feel it or see it or clearly see it at all?”

Loving My Body…

Just recently I had a conversation with a friend about health and fitness…

Knowing the journey I’ve been on in life with my weight, image and overall approach to health, she asked if I had “gained a better understanding” of what it means to gain our confidence from within…

I thought about it for a moment… And then realized something…

Honestly, it’s taken me time to respect my inner beauty over my outer beauty…

I definitely feel more confident when clothes fit me well, but the place I was in 3 years ago was scary… I let outer beauty and its importance take me over… It became such a form of control in my life…

But then… Living and working out here in Cali taught me so much about myself…

And I think just being in an environment everyday where I didn’t feel judged by anyone for the way I looked definitely helped… Kimora was a supermodel, but she never looked down on me for the way I did or did not look… She really just helped me accept myself… And I’m still not sure how…

And the kids too… They didn’t love me for the way I looked… They loved me for being myself and giving them what they needed, 120% of the time…

But… I think more than anything, just accepting myself helped has cured me…

Accepting who I am internally has caused me to love who I am externally… I will never ever be super tiny… I’m taller and bigger boned than what Ive been taught I should be… And my chest I broader, which I’ve always disliked…. And I don’t have huge boobs, which I’ve also disliked before…

Plus, I hated all of the stretch marks and extra skin left on my body from weighing so much for so many years…

But the truth is, no one sees any of this but me… And if people care, then they aren’t looking at my heart… They see surface things…

This is my body…  It’s my story… I live my life in it everyday and it deserves to be appreciated as much as my spirit and soul do…

Plus, I’m going to live every single day in this frame for the rest of my life, so I have to continue to learn to love it…

And… As silly as it may sound… I recently started speaking and sending more positive thoughts to the parts of my body I still struggle loving, and it’s helping SO much!..

Life Giver…

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A few weeks ago someone spoke the words “life giver” to me…

And since then… Well they’ve just made sense…

Because when I think about life… All that it is… All that it can become… All that is possible… All that I believe for and that I have worked for and that I believe for in others… Well I continue to want to give those thoughts away….

Essentially I want to improve the quality of life around me… To make it more alive…

And I think… Actually I believe… That as I continue to discover the woman that I want to be… Well I believe it is best for me to begin with the fact that I am a life giver…

In a way… It’s something I’m passionate about…

I never thought I would say I was passionate about anything…

For a good while I’m questioned and even thought and believed I have no passion… That only some do… And that others… Like myself… Well we don’t… That we can live without them…

But as I continue to live signals continue to confirm and point me to the fact that I love to give life…

Now don’t get me wrong… You can find me equally destroying and stealing life too… Over of gossip, jealously and bitterness…

But for the most part I just want to give… I want to give to so much around me…

And I think with time I will learn that continuing to strength this one quality about myself… Well I think I will learn that it can and it is a foundation for my life… For the woman I want to become…

Because from that phrase “life giver”… Well you can find forgiveness, grace, kindness, goodness, love and the faith I believe I need for the woman I am going to become…

And I’m sure throughout the journey I will find other qualities… More truths that fit into and compliment this phrase…

But for now… It stands on it’s own…

And I cannot wait to discover, accept, embrace and become the true meaning of this life giving phrase….

The Woman I Want to Be….

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Being honest with myself is a treasure… Sometimes I fear that I’m not honest enough… That I hide things from myself in order to protect me from reality…

Other times I think I’m too honest with myself… Too hard on me… Too real with the person that I am… And not focused enough on the person that I’ve become through the process of life…

But lately I’ve had these thoughts… And that’s what they are right now… Just thoughts… Thoughts about the woman I want to be…

But the way I’ve chosen to think this over doesn’t involve criticism… It more involves curiosity and hope…

Because as I see myself getting older… Growing up more and more… I have to admit… I’m not some college aged kid anymore… But I don’t feel like an adult either… Sure I do adult things like working a full-time, nonstop job, paying bills and constantly cleaning house… But I still don’t feel like an adult…

And I’m not sure what point in life decides that we are adults… Maybe when I’m thirty I’ll realize that I’m finally an adult… But today… Today in this moment… Well I am searching some for the woman I want to be…

So in all honesty… As I look at women I admire… Well I see them as very strong, spiritual backbones and pillars of their homes… And I don’t mean the churchy, preachy, scripture reading woman I grew up around… I mean legit women who aren’t all that afraid of anything… Women that are vulnerable and honest… That have experience to draw from… And that are full of wisdom… Not knowledge and understanding…

Because one day I hope to be able to provide my family and children with practical advice that works and that can make their lives easier to manage and sail through…

It’s funny to think how my life has evolved and come to this point… Because through the decisions I’ve made it’s at a place where it could and can go absolutely anywhere…

And I don’t know where it will go… Where I might end up next… But I do see my next direction…. And it’s simply based upon the woman that I want to become… The woman that I want to grow into… The truth of myself that I want to leave behind in the lives of others…

And for me… Right now… Well I think it’s exactly where I need to be….

Being Human…

Why are we considered human once we’ve gone through tragedy?… What does it make us realer?… More reachable and accepting….

I’ve been thinking about that for the last 24 hours… And I continue to think about the amount of compassion and understanding that follows a tragedy…

Once we’ve been affected in a certain way…. Well it seems like we’re just more open… More willing to understand life…

So then my question is… Do we need tragedies?… Pain… Suffering… Deep, deep hurt?… Are those things necessary in a sense to draw us closer?… And if so, well why?…

And I know it’s not my job to ask questions like this anymore… But I do wonder… And I am curious… Curious about it all… Because it seems like these intense moments of pain help shape who we are… They can really give us a real factor… A reality check… An awareness of how alive and short life truly is…

And in the midst of it… Well I find myself more loving and accepting of the people around me… And then I find myself irritated when I’m not understanding enough… I’ll think “come on Amanda, you can do better than that. You can be kinder than that. You can consider what that person is or might be going through.”….

Because at the end of the day… Well what if that one of the purposes of this life… To accept ourselves and others… Flaws and all… Misunderstanding included… To just reach out and say, “I see that life is taking you up a giant mountain, but it’s okay because I’m not going to judge you. I’m not going to talk down about you. And I’m not going to make your load heavier as your climb. I’m just going to stand by you and walk and encourage.”…

I wish I could always be that way… Encouraging and inspiring towards those around me… Understanding enough to realize I don’t understand it all… And that I just need to be kind… But I guess that’s part of the learning curve of life….

And I also think it’s part of me taking the tragedy I’ve been through… The one that’s still fresh… Still new… And allowing it to be what it is… Allowing it to remind me that I am only human… And that those around me are human as well… And that they’ve probably faced something much worse than me…

So if that’s where I am in this moment… In this space and time… Well I’ll take it…

Food for Thought

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I think it’s time to talk about some of the things I feel ashamed for… The things that make me human… The things that I believe in my mind will disappear one day but never seem too… The fact that I’ve allowed food to be an enemy and a friend… The fact that it never should’ve been either of those things to me… And now here I am… Here I am and I feel like I’m making my way out of this issue with food and my body that I’ve had for so long…
Because I’m coming to a place where I am learning that food is neither a friend or a foe… And I had a friend… Actually my best friend tell me “maybe you’ll have to gain it all back before you actually realize why you were big in the first place”… And for the last several months… Well I’ve been gaining a lot of weight… and I’ve been learning about myself… I’ve learned that food is my friend when I feel weak… it’s my friend when I feel alone.. It’s my friend when I feel good… It’s there for me when I feel anxious, afraid and bored… It’s even there for me when I am stressed and feel like a wreck…
And then it becomes my enemy after I’ve eaten… Quickly in fact… The food that I’ve consumed becomes my worst enemy and I despise it… I feel guilt and shame and then I hate all things dipped in chocolate and coated with sugar…
You see I’ve allowed this thing… This substance we need to maintain life… I’ve allowed it to become a someone rather than a something…
Growing up it was what I ran to when I felt all sorts of emotions… And even now… Well it’s what I continue to turn too in so many situations…
So… Do I feel embarrassed that I’ve gained 20 pounds of unhealthy weight back?… Yes… Yes I do… But even more so… I feel a sense of accomplishment because I’ve learned something in the process… I’m learning that food can’t be an enemy or a friend anymore… It’s not here to bring me comfort or to hold my hand when I’m afraid… And it sure doesn’t make a good situation better…
I’ve learned that binge eating out of boredom is becoming stupid and dull…. I never actually feel better or less bored in the moment…
And I’m starting to see it’s time to grow the hell up and become the woman who I know deep within me that I can and will be…
So often I feel like a child… Like I’m never going to grow up… When in reality I’m 26 years old… And that’s closer to 30 than I’ve ever been… It’s time that I get it together…
And I feel like I am… Just discussing this in general is a relief… Because it’s practice in coming one step closer to being free…
And as always it’s taken time… It’s taken lots of time for me to come to this place… And I feel like my best friend was so true within what he said…
And maybe I didn’t have to gain all of the weight back… And maybe I did gain some of it back in a very unhealthy way… But the process… The things i’ve learned a long the way… The intangible parts of me I’ve been able to examine and gain a healthy relationship with… Well it’s been good… It’s been good to come this road…
And maybe it’s not the best way… and maybe there could’ve been a way that didn’t include me bingeing on so much food with sugar in it… But I know that within the binging… Within the eating for emotional reasons…. I’m learning how to just be healthy….
And for the first time… Well I feel healthier…. Mentally and emotionally… And now I can carry what I’m learning a long with me in life and hopefully share it with others…
Plus… At the end of the day… Well I finally see me for who I really am… And I’m so flawed… I’m so full of clutter… But I think that’s why I am beautiful… Because I’m just me… And I’m still on this journey in life…
And maybe that journey will lead me to my hearts greatest desire one day… And hopefully I’ll finally have this balanced relationship with me… All that goes on within me and around me… The anxiety, stress, fear, boredom, excitement and so on…
Because when it’s all said and done… Well I hope I’m living a life of progression and goodness…

What are You Leaving Behind?

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In a perfect world…. no in a complete and well-functioning world…. a world that looked at people with love rather than judgement and hate…. well I believe we really wouldn’t care about money and all of the things it can buy us…

I had this thought last night…. and most of it came from a conversation I had with my mom via FaceTime….

I’m tired of hearing about inheritances…. who gets what…. who got what… and so on…

I’m not talking about anything concerning my dad…. just other family members….

It’s comical to me how some see money and material things as an advancement in life…. something to really propel life forward…. and make it more whole and complete…

I feel like in America we are so greedy…. we work all day to place things inside of our homes that we don’t even have time to spend with…. so basically some of us invest our life and what we make in that life on things that just sit and collect dust….

Lately I’ve been really wanting to decorate my apartment…. to add new things to it and really let my creativity flow more…. but then I find myself questioning whether or not it’s worth spending money on things that don’t really give anything back to me at all…. nothing more than maybe being ascetically pleasing…. And then I’d also fit in a little bit more with those around me for having a home that looks “right”….

And that’s where this whole thought on inheritance comes into play too….

Because in a complete, well-functioning world…. I believe we’d care more about how much we love someone standing in line in front of us…. how much we tried to understand ones that aren’t like us rather than push them aside and reject the thought of even smiling at them…

And maybe it’s something I’m fighting off inside of me…. the want for more…. the sight of so much…. the idea that working in Beverly Hills means there’s a way to gain so much more….

But then I look around and see all of the unhappy faces…. all of the pain… the heartache… and the anger, rage and hatred… and in those moments… well something calmly reminds me that the things that seem to make our world go round…. well they don’t….

Beneath the idea of money making the world go round is something else…. the intangible… the unseen and for lots… the unknown…. the secrets of what really make this life tick… and it’s not money….

And I don’t know why I feel so strongly about this in this moment…. but I do…. and sharing it… my thoughts and feelings towards it is my way of lifting it from my shoulders all together….

Because in one way or another…. a majority of us feel the need to compete… to have more… to buy more… because we fit i when we have more and spend more…. Right??!…

No…. so untrue….

I think we might feel more satisfied externally…. but in reality we didn’t do anything for this our soul… for the deepest part of who we are… and we just confused our minds on a high level… helped it get mixed up and confused about what’s truly important….

Which leads me to remember what is important…. It reminds me that I had just as much fun playing in ditches as a kid… before my dad made any money and was successful, as I did when he became a success and started moving us into bigger homes with nicer things…

It also reminds me that my car…. no matter what shape, size and color gets me to the same destination the same way….

And that it might be nice to have things…. and passing them on to the next generation has been deemed “important”… but what about passing on gifts like the time my grandmother has taken to teach me how to cook and bake some of her most important recipes…

Or how about integrity and kindness that comes off of a person…. so much so that it leaks onto younger generations and causes them to adapt and share the wealth….

Because… at the end of the day…. I believe the generation after me would be in a greater place if I left them with principles, life lessons and faith…. rather than a sack of money and a huge house….

And it all causes me to question… what are you leaving behind?….