Author Archives: Natalie

5 Ways Girls Can be Safe While Jogging this Summer

1) Be UGLY.

I really don’t understand why girls think they need to look cute/sexy when working out or ESPECIALLY if they go out running. Do they like seeing nasty guys size them up as they jog by? Do they realize that they aren’t noticing how cute your nike shorts are or how nice your ponytail looks? No, they are thinking the most disgusting stuff possible. So do what I do. Be butt ugly. Seriously. I wear the baggiest shirt possible, knee-length jogging pants, 5 year old shoes, and I really just don’t give a damn. It’s quite nice actually. I really don’t worry about how “cute” I look, because I don’t want any guy to notice me when I go out running. Call it paranoia or watching too many Law and Order SVU episodes, but I really do my best to not call attention. Ladies, you are under constant pressure to look your nicest, either at work or school, etc., so why not just cast all your fears aside and know that for a couple hours its ok for the world to not see you at your best? Take out your contacts when you get home from work and put your glasses on. Put your hair in a ugly bun so it resembles a large circled turd on top of your head. Wear a baggy comfortable shirt and splurge for a good sportsbra so that the ladies doesn’t bounce all over the place (it hurts less too…WIN WIN).

2) Give the LOD.

The LOD is the look of death. I give it quite often to people who piss me off while driving, and occasionally to my co-workers and husband. Most of the time it is a fake LOD, but ladies, when you are out running, it’s time to get your bitch on. Have a Sasha Fierce look on your face that tells everyone that you are not to be messed with. You know how sometimes you worry that you look mad even when you are not? Not now. Look as mad as you want. Squint your eyes, furrow your eyebrows and if looks could kill, everyone would fall dead when you run past them. If  women or children are coming into view, quickly break free from the LOD, give a smile and cheery “Hello!” then as soon as they are out of sight release the LOD back onto the world.

3) Feel like a BADASS.

woman-joggingThere are plenty of times during the day when we doubt ourselves. Am I cute enough? Why did I say that? Does my boss think I’m dumb? Did he just hear me fart? Jogging is not that time. I don’t care how much you can’t stand yourself, it’s time to be that confident girl you always wanted to be. It might be a fake confidence, but it’s still confidence. Basically, I don’t want you to look weak or “easy” when you go out running. Along with giving men the LOD, I want you to feel confident about yourself. If you need help releasing the badass that I know is in you, I have some advice. First, listen to a song that totally pumps you up and makes you want to run faster. I recommend listening to “MF” by Awolnation. Yes, the MF stands for exactly what you think it stands for. The beginning of the song is the singer just singing “What what what what?” To look very crazy and scary, I recommend you lip sing this as you run by people. You ask them what. At the end of the song, there is an audience that claps, as if praising you for being such a badass. This is no time for Mrs. nice girl. You are no longer a student struggling to pass your classes. You aren’t trying to please your boss. You are no longer a mom trying to carry all the groceries into the house and get dinner started. You are a MF that sends this message: “I will kill you bitch.”

4) Be AWARE.

If you have ever watched the news or Taken or Law and Order: SVU, then you know that the world we live is not a trustworthy place. There are some great people out there, sure. Maybe you could meet your true love while out jogging one day. Maybe you should listen to your momma when she tells you to always look your best cause you never know who you might meet or run into. Maybe. And if you think that is true for your future, then look as cute as you want, but you still need to be safe. Don’t look any man in the eye. Run in places where you know a lot of people will be. If there is a fork in the road where one street is a shortcut but has less people and the other one is longer but has more people, then take the latter. It’s more of a workout and you will be more safe with people present. If you have a trail near your house that you MUST run on, get a workout buddy. Run in the daylight. BE SMART.

5) Carry a WEAPON.

Whether it is mase, a tazer gun or a sharp key, as long as it does some damage, take it with you. You may think that I am being way too paranoid, but I look at it as being more safe than sorry. Shit happens people. It does no harm to be as prepared as possible. If you want to be really safe, text or call someone, like a family member or friend and let them know you are going out for a walk or jog. Even if their response text is “….” who cares. At least when the police ask them if they know where you went, they could tell them and help with the case (*knocks on wood*). To be REALLY REALLY safe, you can carry a gun with you. Ladies, our boobs aren’t there to just look awesome and give food to our babies, they also serve as excellent storage. As long as it doesn’t harm you when you jog, hide it there. (You can also fit your iPhone perfectly). Can you imagine the look on the perp’s face when you reach into your bra and pull out mase or a gun? PRICELESS.

I hope you will keep these tips in mind should you decide to go out running this summer. I would prefer if if you did Taebo at home or went to the gym, but even I sometimes want to go out and be in nature. Also, use it as an excuse to be really FREE. Be confident. Don’t look your best. Be one scary badass MF. Show that pimple on your forehead with pride.

Happy Jogging!

 

Snow White and the Huntsman Review – 4 Lies from the Trailer

*Spoilers*(but it doesn’t matter cause this movie sucks)

Because I love you, I will save you the time and $25 it will cost you at the movies and tell you why you should not see Snow White and the Huntsman. If you were like me, you’re probably thinking, “No! What? It looked so amazing! Charlize is so pretty and the special effects were awesome, and hello! Chris Hemsworth! It’s going to be one of the best movies of the summer!” Yes, I once thought as you did. And then I saw it. And all my hope in movies vanished. Out of all the horrendous trailers out there, this one had some potential. It was dark, beautiful, and looked like it would be one of the best adaptations of the Snow White story that was ever to be seen. The special effects were mesmerizing and even Kristin looked like she would be forgivable as Snow White. Whoever made this trailer should get an award, because it’s seriously one of the most deceptive trailers of all time. In fact, the whole movie is one gigantic trailer. There is no heart in the story. No depth. No chemistry. NOTHING. If you were like me when you first saw the trailer, you probably assumed certain things to be true from the story. Allow me to shatter all your hopes and expectations of this movie with these 4 lies.

Lie #1 Snow White’s inner beauty surpasses the queen’s physical beauty.

snow_white_and_the_huntsman_movie_posterIn the beginning of the movie, Snow White’s mother notices her young daughter’s pure heart and tells her that it is very important to show the world the beauty of her character. The little girl who plays Snow White is cute, and one of the first scenes she is in we see her running around with an injured little bird and showing it to her ailing mother. That is our first clue that SW has inner beauty. Now fast forward to the Kristen Stewart Snow White who is locked away in the dungeon (which makes no sense because the queen is evil and was sucking up all the youth from the younger girls but for some reason allows her to live). So Snow White is looking all dirty and sad and sparks a pitiful little fire to stay warm. And then she says the Lord’s prayer (“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name”). The audience is then supposed to react to this and think, Oh look, she’s praying the Lord’s prayer in the midst of her suffering, she is so GOOD. She also seems to care for the girl prisoner next to her and tries to save her at one point, but by then she is an old woman who was sucked dry by the queen and tells SW to run away and save herself. Another scene where we are witnesses to the supposed inner beauty seeping forth from Kristen is when she is playing dolls with a young village girl. From this simple act we are meant to think how BEAUTIFUL it is to see her play dolls with the girl. What a woman! Kristen actually looked very uncomfortable in this scene, like she was really acting. You can almost see it in her pained expression, saying something like, “Hey kid what’s up, so I’m supposed to be playing dolls with you and showing the world my inner beauty right now (places hair strand behind ear) so keep looking like you are having fun filming this scene with me.” She also has little creature friends who can see such obvious inner beauty before them. We really have no DAMN idea why these animals flock to her. Everyone seems to just “feel” the good from her when she walks by. NO movie, NO. I do not believe you. She is beautiful because she says one prayer, tries to help someone, awkwardly plays dolls with a girl, and walks with the animals? There is absolutely nothing about this character that makes you go, “Wow, this girl is so pure and lovely and I wish I could be just like her!” You were just like, “Oh ok, she’s praying now. Now she’s talking to a little girl. Oh, she’s dancing with a dwarf. Oh, now she’s petting Bambi’s dad. Yup, now I see it, plain as the nose on my face. Inner beauty just exudes from this girl and if we were all a little bit more like her, the world would be a better place. Her character is like, way more gorgeous than Charlize.” Nope, Charlize in all her evil bitchiness takes the cake on this one.

 

Lie #2 The most original and creative Snow White story yet

Why is it that filmmakers these days are more concerned with how the movie looks rather than the heart of the story? Yes, we love special effects, but don’t be mistaken that this will be enough to appease your audience. Maybe it will to the tween audience who thinks Twilight was the best movie of all time, but not those of us who are in our mid-20′s and grew up watching epic movies like Braveheart and First Knight. Those of us who were wowed by Lord of the Rings and Dark Knight, thanking the movie gods above that someone was finally getting it right (Thank you Peter Jackson and Christopher Nolan). You can have the most advanced and amazing special effects in your movie, but if you have no heart, depth or original story that captivates your audience, you have nothing. There was nothing great about this story. Evil queen hates Snow White, keeps her locked up, SW escapes and goes into the forest, Hot Huntsman hunts her in forest, finds her, they run from the soldiers, they find little men who try to be funny but are really not, walk into an enchanting forest to see Bambi’s dad, queen tricks SW to eat apple, SW dies, Huntsman kisses her, she wakes up, demands everyone to go into battle, does a little Yoshi braid to her hair, rides into the castle and kills the queen. She is then made queen, sheds a tear and gives a little smile to Hot Huntsman, who this whole time has treated her like a younger sister more than anything else. Really Hollywood?? Really? That is seriously the best you could do with your team of screenwriters and millions of dollars? For SHAME.

Lie #3 Snow White is a badass warrior princess

Film Title: Snow White and the HuntsmanDon’t let that Yoshi braid fool you. She may be wearing armor, riding her horse very fast, and has a determined look in her eye, but this Snow White does nothing to make you want to be proud you are a woman. She is brave, I’ll give you that one. She was able to escape the dungeons and survive the dark forest and run straight to the queen to kill her without a moment hesitation. But that’s it. She’s not very skilled with a sword, doesn’t really fight with the queen, she just gets thrown around a lot and finally is able to stab her (which was very anti-climactic). She tries really hard to give her men a speech before battle saying something about how we must turn metal into steel and steel into swords and we must fight! I don’t really remember because I was falling asleep. Speeches before war are supposed to move you, excite you, perhaps even evoke a tear from you. Kristen’s did not. She is no Eowyn from Lord of the Rings. She is no Mulan. She is no Joan of Arc. She just sucks.

Lie #4 A beautiful love story between SW and the HH (Hot Huntsman)

Maybe this wasn’t so obvious from the trailer, but I’m sure people assumed that there would be some kind of epic romance between them, since both of their names are in the title after all. I don’t really know what I was expecting. From the trailer I couldn’t really see the romance between them, since they seem too apart in age and Kristen is so unworthy of Chris, but I was ready for anything, hoping to be pleasantly surprised. When you first see SW as a young girl, she plays with a little boy named William. Of course we see him later in the story, good-looking as well, and apparently still in love with her. When I saw William, I was like, Ohh… maybe he will be her love interest, because obviously nothing is going on with her and the HH. So far HH has been treating her respectfully and protecting her since she was the princess. Any gentleman would do the same. There was absolutely no sign that he was romantically interested in her, and not from her part either. There is even a scene where SW kisses William, who at the time is really the evil queen disguised as him. We are then made to believe that SW still loves William, or perhaps just wanted to make out a little since hey, a girl does get lonely sitting in a dungeon for 17 years. But then she dies from the apple that fake William gives her. Even though no talk of spells and kisses are made, William decides to kiss her for the heck of it, but shocker above all shockers….she doesn’t wake up. Now it’s HH’s turn. He walks around her bedside and talks about how she reminds him of his dead wife, which provokes him to give a friendly and respectful kiss on her lips. Right now the audience is confused, thinking, ‘but I thought she loved William because she just kissed him? Oh snap these clever screenwriters have tricked us, she really DOES love the Hot Huntsman!’ Apparently his kiss is the one that breaks the spell and she wakes up. Right before battle, (they hadn’t spoken to each other yet since she woke up) he rides up to her and she looks away all embarrassed and shy. “Hey what’s up Huntsman, don’t look at me right now because I will totally blush. That kiss you just gave me was AHH mazing and apparently enough to break the spell, so obviously that means we love each other even though we haven’t given this poor audience any clue of it!” So we are now to believe that from this whole epic and adventurous journey they have fallen in love with each other, even though there is not one inclination of this? No. Nope. Sorry movie, it just doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t work on SMART people. We know what it takes to fall in love with someone. We know what emotions you are supposed to feel. We know how a FREAKING storyline works. Here’s a concept: actually employ brilliant screenwriters to create an unforgettable plot and hire talented actors who actually have chemistry with one another.

 

If this review made you never want to see this movie, then wonderful, my job is done. If I made you even more curious to watch this movie so that you end up seeing it anyway, I will take that both as an insult and a compliment. So watch it if you must, but I warn you, some brain cells might die in the process.

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere” – 3 Things We Learn from Belle

If you know me, you know that I love stories. I love watching it in movies, reading about them in great books, and writing my own. I grew up writing stories and reading tons of books, really thinking that one day some epic adventure and romance would happen to me. I don’t really know the specifics of exactly how this would take place, I just knew it would happen and it would be awesome. Maybe one day I would be kidnapped and one of my captors would secretly be working for the CIA and risked his cover so that he could keep me safe. Naturally, he would be drop dead gorgeous and end up falling madly in love with me. There would be some obstacles in the way, of course, and we would be in lots of danger, but the injuries would be mild and everything would work out perfectly in the end.

When my mom told me that she met my dad in college, I remember thinking, college? Boooooring! That won’t happen to me. No, I will probably be out camping one day and sprain my ankle, some attractive man will save me and carry me for miles (without struggling), then we would have to spend the next week or so fighting mountain lions and bears, encounter a secret forest gang, and jump off into a waterfall. Gorgeous man and I will probably not like each other at first, might banter with each other a bit, then eventually, through all our adventures, we would begin to fall in love. And where did this all come from? This kind of plot could be seen in pretty much every Christian romance novel I read as a kid. Books are to blame for my fantasies! And Disney movies! Why do we encourage reading so much? Look what it does to you! Especially for women. It makes you think that it is completely possible for you to live out this epic romance. Maybe not all women think that. I probably knew in the back of my head that this was probably never going to happen, but I think the desire for it never went away. I don’t think any woman stops wanting to be swept off their feet and involved in some kind of adventure where your heart feels like its going to explode, but in a good I’M ALIVE kind of way. I met my husband in college. No, he didn’t have to challenge another man to a duel to date me (unfortunately). He pretty much won me over, we dated and blah blah blah. Where is my story? God, knowing how I am a huge fan of stories, why couldn’t he give me this desire? He could have made it happen. Now, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for all the blessings He did give me. I am very grateful for my husband and feel very blessed that we are together. I just wish it could have been done in a more…Natalie type way. You know? If you read my fairy tale version of how Alexander and I met, you will see the typical Disney-like story all of us girls secretly crave. Even if I didn’t get my perfect epic romance adventure of a lifetime story with Alexander, I believe that there is still hope for you (maybe not a crazy fantasy like mine, but maybe something close). Let’s see what we can learn about finding adventure in the great wide somewhere from one of my favorite Disney characters, Belle:

belle_beauty_and_the_beast1) “Adventure” is not always transparent, and never easy. When Belle gave up her life to be imprisoned with a nasty-ass beast, I don’t think she knew this was going to be the adventure she had read in her books. All she could see was living in a castle with just one scary beast and creepy talking furniture. She gave up her life of going into town every day, feeding the chickens, and rejecting a handsome man everyday. And why? So her father wouldn’t have to live in a castle. She could have said no and let her old man die in there, but Belle had a kind and loving heart. She sacrificed her own comfort and life for her father, and was rewarded for it in the end. How many times have you said no to something because it required you to sacrifice some comfort? If we can learn anything from books and Disney movies, it’s that great epic romance never comes easy. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty, sacrifice some comfort, and see where it takes you.

2) Don’t settle. Belle could have lived a nice life with Gaston, sure. He could provide for her, hunt for her, give her some good-looking children. She would have everything she needed, but she would have to put up with his unbearable arrogance and conceit. Even though he was handsome and offered her everything that other women would have swooned over, Belle was like, “Screw that! I’m going to live with my Papa until the day I die rather than marry you!”

3) Your True Love May not be A Looker, at First. The Beast is ugly. Let’s just get that out of the way. Once Belle spent time with him and gave him a chance, she could see his true character. That might be the same for you. Your prince charming may not look like the guy you had dreamed about, but giving him a chance and seeing his great personality could transform him into the prince in the end,( i.e., he could become attractive to you.) Lucky for Belle, he actually did transform completely. You might not be so lucky.

I hope you keep these things in mind and hopefully one day, you can share with me the adventure you and your now spouse have shared. Although the story of how Xander and I met is boring, I’m not going to let that stop us from living a life with adventures. The books I read never prepared me for marriage. They actually always ended when you knew they were going to be together forever. And what did this subconsciously teach me? That once you get married, that’s it. Your life ends. The romance is done, the chase and excitement…done. Finito. Now all that’s left is living with each other every day and trying to make a living and keep your house clean. Well, I refuse. If I ever start craving that epic romance, I can A) always write about it in books, or B) actually try to live it out with my husband. But I need to take the same advice I just gave you. Adventure is never easy. You have to plan to go somewhere, save money and do it. Let us both keep these lessons from Belle in mind and see where the adventure might take us!

It’s (NOT) all about me

Why is it that we live in such a “Me” centered culture? We even have a magazine out in stores called “Self.” Maybe they thought naming it “Me” would be a little silly, but that’s what it really is all about, isn’t it? Catering to everything you want, need, like, or would entertain you? Whether you consciously know it or not, we live our daily lives ALWAYS thinking about ourselves. “What am I going to do today, what I am going to eat, what is wrong with me, why do I suck, why do I rock so much, what did that person think of what I said, do they think I am smart or dumb, do they think that I am a success or failure…” You get the picture. It’s all about me mentality.

Too often I think we get distracted by us, our image, our thoughts and actions. It’s such a small thing when you think about it, but think about how much damage it may be causing. The enemy is using ourselves against us. And I think that’s the scariest kind of attack he can make on us, because we don’t even realize it when it’s happening. Did you ever go through a whole day just too consumed on what was going on in your life that you didn’t once think about someone who has asked you for prayer? Or were you ever so consumed in your own thoughts that you completely ignored a stranger who walked by that might have been looking at you with pleading eyes? We really are our own biggest enemy. I’m to blame for this just as anyone else. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to know who you are, accept it and have good self-esteem. Nor do I think any kind of psychology or therapy is wrong. I think it’s a very helpful way to express your emotions, trauma, what have you. I do think it becomes wrong when we spend too much time reflecting on ourselves. That’s exactly what the enemy wants. The key to understanding the depths of who we are is not found in us. You want to understand yourself and your purpose in life? Look to Him. If you truly understand the glory of God and his heart, you know who you are in this world and where you stand with him. When we begin to turn to ourselves and not focus on who He is, we are missing the picture. The best example of this can be found in the book of Exodus with my homie Moses.

The reason I call him my homie is because I relate most to him out of any character in the Bible. And not the badass Moses who leads the people through the Red Sea and throws the Ten Commandments on them telling them how absolutely retarded they are for worshiping pagan gods. No. Not that Moses. Flash back to Moses and the burning bush. At this time, Moses had been chilling with the Midianites, his wife Zipporah and his son and was living a comfortable life, taking care of sheep and what not. He had escaped from Egypt and all that drama and was content taking care of his flock. One day, as he was working, he noticed a fire on the mountain of Horeb (that was actually called the mountain of God).

So Moses sees this bush that looks like it’s on fire but it’s not. And Moses was like, Man, that’s weird. I must look closer.

Then he hears God’s voice say, “Moses! Moses.”
Moses says, (probably scared out of his mind), “Here I am..”

moses_burning_bushGod then tells him to take off his sandals and explains that He is the God of Isaac, Jacob and Abraham, then naturally Moses hides his face on the ground, afraid to look at him. Then God goes on to tell him that he has seen the oppression of His people and that he wishes to deliver them. Then says, “I will send you to Pharoah, that you may bring my people and the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

This is Moses’ response: “Who am I that I should go to Pharoah, and that I should bring the children out of Egypt?”

There it is. His very first concern in delivering God’s will is himself. It’s all about Moses.
(I would have said the same exact thing).

Then God says, “I will be with you.”

Moses says, “But who should I tell them sent me?” (Again, worried about himself).

God says, “Tell them I AM has sent you. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Then God continues to tell him the whole plan, how Pharoah probably won’t let them go, how He will perform many wonders, and the last thing “and you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

Then Moses AGAIN says, in his very Moses-centered way, “But what if they don’t believe me?”

God tells him to take out his staff, toss it in the ground, where He turns the rod into a snake. He also has him take out his hand from his bosom, where it is leprous, then puts it back in his bosom, takes it out and it has been fully healed. So after showing Moses how he will be showing Pharoah signs like these, Moses again says, (my favorite one), “But I am slow of speech and slow in tongue.”

If it were modern times, and it was me in front of the bush, I would be like “Seriously God? Have you heard me speak? I don’t know if you are aware of this but I tend to rant, or say the wrong thing, or say a vocab word the wrong way. And actually, it’s your fault I am this way, since you made me and all. So yeah, I think you got the wrong girl. I can think of a million better people for the job. Do you want me to get Francis Chan on the phone? He might be available…” *takes out iphone to look up his email address.*

And what’s God’s reaction to this? “Who made man’s mouth? Is it not I? Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

And is this enough? No. Both Moses and I would say, “Can’t you please just send someone else?”

Then God get’s angry and is like, “Look, don’t you have a brother who speaks well? He will go with you and I will be with you both.”

And finally Moses accepts this and goes to tell his brother to get ready to go to Egypt.

So what is the problem with all this? The problem of me. I don’t trust God, He can’t possibly deliver all these miracles, and I am not the person for this. He must be crazy. I don’t trust that He really will be with me.

But if you turn a couple of chapters to chapter 33, we see that Moses finally gets it. After seeing all of God’s works, Moses knows and trusts God. Before this chapter, the people turn from God and worship a golden calf, and God commands them to leave Sinai, without His presence.

Moses, terrified of the thought of not having God with them, says “If I have found grace in your sight, show me now your way, that I may know You and find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is your people.”

Then God says, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Then Moses, desperate at the thought of being separated from His presence, says “If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here!”

God says, “I will do this thing that you have spoken, for you have found grace in my sight, and I know you by name.” (This is also amazing, that the God of the universe would care enough to want to know us by name, and show us grace.)

And, this is the best part, Moses pleads, “Please, please, show me your glory.”

He finally gets it. It was never about him, or his speech impediment or his own ill-conceived notions of how incapable he was as a human being to fulfill God’s plan. From the get-go, his answer should have been, “Please, just show me your glory,” because he knew it was never about him in the first place.

Is there really any point in arguing with God? But God, I am weak. God I suck. God, I’m dumb. No. It’s show me your glory. This sentence should be the very thing that defines our lives. This is the question of life. This should be the greatest desire of our hearts.

badass_mosesLet’s not live our lives constantly thinking that it’s all about us. We think, “It’s about my story. It’s about what God is doing in my life.” We tend to think that in America, that it’s all about us, our nation. But God’s love is global. You are not the only person He died for. Yes, He loves you and we can rejoice that He loves us. But let’s not forget about the other people out there who don’t know this yet.

I want to be that badass Moses. The Moses who finally gets it. I don’t want the first thing I think of when God gives me a task is, “But I’m too dumb, there are so much better people out there!…” yada yada yada. I want to get to that point when I realize that it was never about me. That God is the kind of God who chooses losers to get his ish done. Losers like me who mess up everyday. To realize that the only thing I can really say is, “Show me your glory.”

Heavy in Your Arms

This song from Florence + the Machine really stood out to me, not just because it is beautiful and her voice is simply mesmerizing, but because the lyrics reminded me a lot of myself when I first started dating Alexander (now my husband). Now, I’m not sure if this song is about her being in a relationship she never wanted to be in, since she says “this will be my last confession I love you never felt like any blessing” and it was a relationship doomed from the start since it was a burden for both of them to be in love with each other, but here is my interpretation. I see this song as a woman who is heavy to her beloved because she is testing his strength.

Here are the lyrics:

I was a heavy heart to carry
My beloved was weighed down
My arms around his neck
My fingers laced to crown.

I was a heavy heart to carry
My feet dragged across ground
And he took me to the river
Where he slowly let me drown

My love has concrete feet
My love’s an iron ball
Wrapped around your ankles
Over the waterfall

I’m so heavy, heavy
Heavy in your arms
I’m so heavy, heavy
Heavy in your arms

And is it worth the wait
All this killing time?
Are you strong enough to stand
Protecting both your heart and mine?

heavy_in_your_armsWho is the betrayer?
Who’s the killer in the crowd?
The one who creeps in corridors
And doesn’t make a sound

My love has concrete feet
My love’s an iron ball
Wrapped around your ankles
Over the waterfall

This will be my last confession
I love you never felt like any blessing
(Ohhhh)
Whispering like it’s a secret
Only to condemn the one who hears it
With a heavy heart

I was a heavy heart to carry
my beloved was weighed down
My arms around his neck
My fingers laced to crown

I was a heavy heart to carry
But he never let me down
When he had me in his arms
My feet never touched the ground

Since I grew up without a dad and saw that most of my aunts were either divorced or widowed (and seemed perfectly fine with this) the message sent to me as a kid was that men were a) not to be trusted, b) not needed or c) a burden. The only stable man in my life was my uncle Larry, who treated my sister and I as if we were his own daughters. Throughout high school and the beginning of college I had dated here and there, but very casually. Xander was my first real boyfriend. At first, everything was fine. It was all very new to me and it was a lot of fun being someone’s girlfriend. However, as time went on, and things were becoming more serious, I subconsciously put Xander to the test. I had to make sure that he was “not like the rest”. From what I could understand based on my family situation, men were not to be trusted and could very easily abandon you. That was the message my dad had sent me. You are not important enough to stick around for. You are not important enough to build a relationship with. So, naturally, I had to see if Xander was going to do this to me as well. I would say that in the first 2-3 years of our relationship it was the most challenging, since pretty much the whole time I would do or say things (really mean things at times) to see what his reaction would be. It really confused me that he wouldn’t leave me. I was like, Seriously, I’m not worth it, can’t you see?! (Of course, I wasn’t doing this consciously, only now when I look back can I see why I did everything that I did.) It also helped me realize how I felt about my own relationship with God. Seeing Xander’s unfailing and unwavering love for me reminded me that this is exactly how God is in my life. No matter how many times I tested Him, left Him, forsaked Him or yelled at Him, He is always there. It was a beautiful moment when I realized that I was unconditionally loved, not just from Alexander but from God as well.

“Are you strong enough to stand, protecting both your heart and mine?” Love is a huge risk. You have to trust that the other person you are pouring your heart and soul to is going to accept you for who you are. Alexander had just gotten out of an emotionally scarring relationship and had to trust that I wasn’t going to do what his previous girlfriend did to him. Through all my testing, I was basically asking him if he was strong enough to protect both our hearts. He had to be the strong one for us, otherwise we would never have worked out. And so, the beginning of our relationship was Alexander doing his best to carry my heavy heart. He never let me go as I dragged my feet across the ground, didn’t unlace my fingers that crowned his neck, and he never let my feet touch the ground. (And I am very glad he didn’t!)

As our relationship continued and I realized that I was obviously not getting rid of this beautiful man, I began to let my guard down and fully trust that he wasn’t going to be like all other men. I began to see that I was worth it, that it is possible for someone (especially a man) to love me unconditionally.

Do you have a heavy heart? I’m not going to lie, it is pretty damn difficult to fully trust someone with your heart, especially if you have been burned before. One thing that you can always, always trust in, is that God loves you unconditionally. He doesn’t care about all the other stuff, how many times you have spit in his face, how many times you told him you didn’t need him, He is still carrying you and will never let your feet touch the ground. Your love doesn’t need to be an iron ball or have your feet made out of concrete. With other people, yes. That’s why God tells us to above all else, guard your hearts, because he knows how delicate and fragile it is. My heart was guarded to the max when it didn’t need to be, because time and time again Alexander proved that he was a solid guy who had no intention of leaving me.

Perhaps this is why I am so infatuated when men carry women (without struggling of course). Every time I would read about it in a novel or see it in a movie, my heart would give a little sigh and I would picture the day when my handsome strong prince was going to lift me from the ground effortlessly and carry me home. There is something incredibly sexy when a man is strong enough to carry his woman, not just physically but emotionally as well. Let’s face it girls, we are pretty crazy. Emotions run high and we are weary of giving up our hearts so easily. For a man to be willing to carry a woman despite all her baggage, or how much she may be dead weighting to test his strength, is a beautiful picture to me. I applaud all men out there who have carried their women’s heavy hearts and patiently waited for them to trust in their strength.

(Today, the only reason why Alexander struggles to carry me is because I weigh a bagillion pounds. It’s back to the gym I go!)

I love this song so much that I will even forgive Florence for letting them use it in the awful Twilight movie, Eclipse.

What Makes You Come Alive?

If you read my afterlife blog post, you’re probably not surprised that I want to keep talking about this whole “coming alive” thing. I honestly, in the depths of my heart, think that this is something extremely important and needs to be discussed. I want every single one of you to understand what it is that you makes you come alive and really live it out. Because, contrary to what some might people might think about Christians, we are not called to live a boring, dull, inactive life. That is not what God intended for us at all. We are here to be a light. We are here to bring Him glory. How do we bring Him glory? By using our God-given talents. Now, I am not saying that God wants us to all be happy. He wants something much better for us. Happiness comes and goes. It’s fleeting. No, what He wants for us is joy. Inner peace. Contentedness. Take a look at the physical world around you. Some sunsets, mountains, rain forests, waterfalls– they literally take your breath away. My husband comes alive whenever he gets to be in the snow. When I look at him, I can see his eyes dance. His smile is huge and contagious. I love snowboarding with him primarily for this reason. When I see him come alive and I know my being there helped with that, I am filled with joy.

come-aliveFor me, I come alive when I write stories. Ever since I was a little girl, I had a crazy imagination and loved to write my mom and sister poems and stories. I loved diving into a novel and getting completely lost into a whole different world. I always knew that I wanted to do this too. Every time I have written either a short story or novel, and my fingers can’t stop typing because I’m completely entranced, that’s when I feel it. There in the depths of my heart and soul. That feeling that tells me that I am supposed to be doing this. Now, this talent may seem a little boring in comparison to other talents you see out there, but I don’t care. I don’t care how “boring” your talent seems to the rest of the world, if it makes you come alive, then that’s all that matters. Too often, we get completely absorbed into the routine of everyday life. We go to work, or school, (or both) come home, browse through all our social media sites, have some dinner, maybe go work out, come home, watch TV and go to sleep. By the time we know it, 2 months have passed where we have been doing the same thing, day after day. What a waste! I encourage you to right now, take out your pen, or planner or phone, and schedule it in. WILL paint something for a half hour on Thursday. WILL come up with some new fashion designs. WILL cook something new for Friday night dinner. WILL take a salsa class. You get the picture. Baby steps. (Oh, and I also love waterfalls and water slides. The picture above was me at Slide Rock. I need to do more adventurous stuff like this!)

Now for those of you who may not know what your particular talent is or not sure what makes you come fully alive, here are my questions for you: 1) what have you done where you just felt the utmost joy coming from the depths of your heart and soul? 2) what have others told you “comes naturally” to you? 3) what do you remember loving to do as a kid? If you already know what you love to do and what your talents are, that is wonderful. Now use them. For those who are still on that journey, I would encourage you to keep these questions in mind.

You might be thinking, ok, so how does my drawing ability glorify God? How will I glorify Him by playing soccer? Cooking? Building cars? I believe that God created you and knew exactly what to bless you with and what would make you come alive. So yes, as crazy as it might sound, I do believe that brings glory to God when you crochet, draw, play basketball, whatever, because of what it does to you. You are loving life. You have a joy within you. And people will notice.

Don’t let these things hinder you from coming alive and living life to the fullest:
1) Fear: my biggest enemy. Fear might prevent you from working on a project because you think a) you won’t be good enough or b) you won’t be as good as other people. I know that for myself personally, I always compare myself to others. I think, holy crap, there are so many amazing authors out there and a million books that are already written. What makes me think that I will stand out? Something my sister said really resonated with me. She told me, “Yes, there are a million other authors out there. But there is only one Natalie Bahadori Ricker.” (I love her). Remember this whenever you feel any doubts coming on.
2) Laziness. Another big enemy of mine. Get up off your butt and do something! Don’t let months go by without you picking up that microphone or paintbrush. Let’s go, time’s a wastin!
3) Life. Yes life is unbelievably busy at times. But try your hardest to make time to do what you love. Schedule it in!

PS. I write this not because I have all the answers and I am the queen at being fully alive all the time. Heck no. It is a struggle for me every day! So, I write this for you and as a reminder to me. Let’s do this together!

P.S.S I envy people who have amazing singing voices. This is a talent where you can clearly see someone come alive. Every time I see this video with Carrie Underwood singing, “How great thou art”, I am awed by her talent. It is the perfect example of what happens when you use your talent to bring glory to God.

Check it out:

Change – The Inevitable Bastard

making-changesAs I grow older, I am realizing more and more how I hate, nay, despise change. I am still trying to figure out to this day why I so dearly want to keep canoodling with routine and familiarity. It’s true, most people struggle with this as well, but some people are lucky enough to welcome change. When I look back on my childhood, all I can see is me, my sister and my mom, living life in our 2 bedroom condo in Aliso. Since I was 2 to 14, every weekday consisted of my mom driving my sister and I to my aunt and uncle’s house in Lake Forest. She would then drive to work, pick us up, then take us home. When we were in school, she would take us there, my aunt would pick us up, take us to her house, then my mom would pick us up. Every day. We never moved once when I was a kid. I became used to stability, safety and familiarity (which I am definitely not complaining about- my mom was a rockstar). My first big change was going to live on campus at Biola University. This, strangely enough did not rock my boat as much as you would think it would. By the time I was ready to go to college, I was completely ready to taste freedom and independence. I think it also helped that I met an awesome girl at Golden Spoon who was going to be my roommate. Now that I think about it, my first memory of hating change came when my sister decided she was too cool to share a room with me and demanded to have a room of her own. My mom, crazy woman, actually agreed with her! So there I was, my little self trying to block the door, looking like a big X. They both were holding the twin mattress and easily shoved me out of the way. Once they pushed their way through, and I was scattered to the side, they placed my mattress right next to my mom’s bed. And I hated it.

The next REAL change came when my mom decided to sell our condo. The scary thing is that I didn’t really process it. It all happened in a blur. I remember being confused as to why this whole thing was happening. No one really sat down with me to explain it, and I guess I didn’t ask. After that, I went from living on campus, (while my mom and sister lived in Temecula), to living with my aunt on the weekends so I could go to work, to moving into a ghetto apartment in Laguna, to living in a nice apartment in Aliso, you get the picture. Although these moves were big changes, I believe that they happened at a time in my life when I was old enough to understand them. I really wasn’t hating life at this time because of all the change. I was just going with the flow.

The hardest changes that I have experienced were in my relationship with Alexander. Getting used to being a girlfriend then being used to a wife was unbelievably hard for me. It took a lot of time of learning and growth to finally accept these roles. Learning how to be a wife in particular was ridiculously difficult. It was so different than anything I have ever known, and that scared the hell out of me. Think about it. You grow up your whole life living with two other women and a whole lotta aunts (barely any men). The only stable man in my life was my uncle, but it was still different not actually living with a man. So I go from this, to living with other girl friends to being some MAN’s wife. It’s part of the reason why my first year of marriage was a lot like Supreme Scream. Actually, not part of the reason, all of it. All of it was just dealing with the change. I HATED IT. I’m not going to lie, it took a long ass time for me to get used to being a wife.

Now the next big change that I find myself (hating) to deal with is Alexander’s new career choice in becoming a flight attendant. This was especially hard when he had to be gone for a month in training. This is how it was in my head those 4 weeks… ‘hate it, hate it, hate it, hmm the house is soo nice and clean, hmm I’m gonna go hang out with my girls tonight, hmmm I’m gonna go home, get some dinner and read when I get home…wait, what…Xander’s coming back?…… My emotions were like (^%%$#%%*&(*&*^%%^$&) If you didn’t catch that, it was basically batshit crazy. Why? Because things were becoming routine and familiar. And then! Xander decides to come back and I honestly didn’t know what to make of it. I mean, part of me was happy to see him, but a part of me was terrified. How was I supposed to adapt to this kind of life? It was dawning on me that I now had to deal with him being gone all the time. So I kind of lost it. We got into a huge fight, and then….yes, yes I think we did get back together. Uh huh. Yes, we did. And then, I got used to the next routine—seeing him for three days, then he go to work for three days. Then he hurt his knee, and had to be on disability. He was home for 2 ½ months, and I loved it. I realized how much I missed the small things, like him being home and asking me how my day was, us watching our shows together, CUDDLING together. It was like I was married again. And then of course, his damn knee had to heal so now he has to go back to work. We are planning on moving in July and buying a house, and in order for us to be able to accomplish this, Xander would have to work a lot to make quite a bit of money. The only problem is that if he wants to make a lot of money, he will be home like never. He told me that basically he would only see me once for the rest of March. So I had another freak out moment for this next huge change in my life. So, after a lot of crying and talking, we came to an agreement. Xander did some research and figured out how to stay home every night this next week but still work 5 days. I told him I could live with this. Ease me into it. Don’t just all of a sudden leave me for a month…again (and expect me to not become a wreck!)

Now, I feel a little guilty about this, because I know that there are a ton of wives out there who have to deal with this as well. Army wives, athlete’s wives…etc. They might not even see them for a year! I cannot even begin to fathom how they can do this. If I am honest with myself when looking at my reaction to change, I see that the reason I have a hard time with this is because of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of isolation. My fear is basically telling God that I don’t trust Him. He doesn’t know what He is doing. God, just let me handle this because I know what’s best. You just sit back and relax. I got this. Really Natalie??

I think change can be a very good thing. If you aren’t growing as a person on a daily basis, you’re just stagnant. Just there. How can God work through you if you aren’t willing to change or be open to the changes that come to your life? I’ve been reflecting on all this and have come to a conclusion. My infatuation with routine and familiarity needs to stop. Is God calling Alexander to a life where he can be a witness and light to others while flying? I don’t know, maybe. If so, I don’t want to be that nagging wife who hinders him from doing what he needs to do. But I do know that for me, I need to let go. Life is scary. Yes. But in order for there to be growth, there has to be change. It’s a struggle, but it needs to be done and I need to be open to it. Like Pastor Dave Rolph says, whenever you go through a hard time in your life, ask God, “what do you want me to learn through this?” Learn something every moment in life.

If you have read this far to the very end, I salute you.

Switchfoot’s “Mess of Me” VS Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way”

I am sure that 99% of the people reading this blog post have heard the song “Born this Way” by Lady Gaga. Maybe 25% of you have listened to the Switchfoot song, “Mess of Me.” I actually just listened to this song not too long ago, and I couldn’t help but compare this song to Gaga’s Born this Way, solely due to the fact that they hold completely opposite mentalities. One song recognizes that the human heart is inherently wicked and that we have all made a mess of ourselves, needing some kind of redemption. The other song says, “I was born perfectly. I have no flaws, I am beautiful doing whatever it is I want to do or want to be.” Of course, most people who hear both these songs will naturally flock to the upbeat pop song that Lady Gaga created (in 10 minutes apparently) and love hearing that they shouldn’t feel any guilt at all for who they are, because A) they were born this way and B) God doesn’t make any mistakes, because He was the one who made you this particular way.

Compare the lyrics:

Switchfoot “Mess of Me”

I am my own affliction
I am my own disease
There ain’t no drug that they could sell
Ah, there ain’t no drug to make me well

I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive

I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
The rest of my life alive

We lock our souls in cages
We hide inside our shells
It’s hard to free the ones you love
Oh, when you can’t forgive yourself
Yeah, forgive yourself

switchfoot_gagaLady Gaga “Born this Way”

It doesn’t matter if you love him or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up
‘Cause you were born this way, baby

My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars
She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir

There’s nothin’ wrong with lovin’ who you are
She said, ’cause He made you perfect, babe
So hold your head up, girl and you you’ll go far
Listen to me when I say

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way, born this way

Give yourself prudence and love your friends
Subway kid, rejoice of truth
In the religion of the insecure
I must be myself, respect my youth

A different lover is not a sin
Believe capital H-I-M
I love my life, I love this record and
Mi amore vole fe yah

Don’t be drag, just be a queen
Whether you’re broke or evergreen
You’re black, white, beige, chola descent
You’re Lebanese, you’re orient

Whether life’s disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
‘Cause baby, you were born this way

No matter gay, straight or bi
Lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born to survive

No matter black, white or beige
Chola or orient made
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born to be brave

This is what Switchfoot’s message is with their song: We are a fallen human race. We have made a mess of ourselves. Just take a look at the horror and evil you see in this world. Rape, murder, genocide, pedophilia, etc. These are PEOPLE doing these things. Is Lady Gaga talking about those people too?Where does the line get drawn? Oh, rapist, just enjoy and love yourself today, cause baby you were born this way. Oh, pedophile, you go on ahead and love on those little kids, because God made you this way, and you enjoy it! Here is the truth guys. We are ALL a fallen people, every single one of us. Do you think that you are inherently a good person? Maybe you are a law abiding citizen, help out in some charities, and live your life not getting into anyone else’s business. Do we really, in the depth of our hearts and souls, think that we are a model standard of everything that is good in this world?

What would you do if you were put in a situation where food was scarce, you were driven mad with hunger and there was a child who had just snagged a bagel and was eating it in front of you? Would you sit next to that kid, pat his head, and be like “You enjoy that bagel, kid.” Maybe a few of you would. But most would either A) think about stealing it or B) steal it. My point is, at our core, we are not a perfect human race. We have plenty of flaws, so bad in fact, that we can’t even fathom some of the things we read or see on the news. And what is bad? How do we know that certain things are evil? Everyone can agree that murdering babies is wrong. (If someone doesn’t think that’s wrong then something is wrong with them). What makes it wrong? Is it just your opinion? If that is wrong, then what is right? Do we have a standard of something that is completely and perfectly good? Yes, I believe we do. I don’t believe that science or natural selection could provide humans with the sense of morality that we have. If this standard of ultimate good comes from God, then I believe Him when He tells us what is best for us, and what actions we should stay away from. He is the creator of the universe–I think He knows what He is talking about. Gaga is right. We are born this way, born with sin. No one is righteous except Him. Only when we realize how much of a mess we are, how we cannot keep living in this life trying to do things our way, can He begin working in our lives. In “Mess of Me,” the artists are saying to recognize that first, you are a mess, and second you are in need of some desperate help. They also say that once you realize this, you need to forgive yourself. This means you don’t live the rest of your life in guilt. You have been freed, knowing that you have been forgiven by the God that created you and loves you. You have been redeemed. I am not saying in any way, to think less of yourself constantly so that God can work more in you. I am not saying that he wants us to live life with low self esteem. On the contrary, I am saying to have a realistic idea of who you are, only then can you live a freeing life.

I love this quote, “The answer to “low self-esteem” is to understand that we do not DESERVE anything because we, in and of ourselves, are worthless. Yet, because the God of the universe has chosen to love us and redeem us with His very life, we have gained a value that is beyond compare. Knowing we are worthless humbles us before God and allows us to appreciate His grace and love, which are given to us even though we don’t deserve them. Knowing we are loved by God and redeemed by His blood, we see the value of each and every soul on this earth.”

Maybe Lady Gaga’s intention with this song was to celebrate how diverse we all are and that we should appreciate our unique personalities and talents that God has given us. I think she sincerely wants to have everyone love each other for who they are. I don’t have a problem with that. I do believe that we do need to love everyone. Jesus in the New Testament told us to love one another over 20 times. (And he did mean everyone.) Love isn’t the issue here. I believe Lady Gaga’s main (maybe a bit more discreet) message is that you should love who you are because you were born a certain way. I believe she specifically wants to address homosexuals with her song. Now, I am not going to dive too deeply in this, let me just say that it is uncommon for scientists to think that homosexuality is solely genetic. There are many factors as to why someone is homosexual. But even if it was, I would say, so what? Does that automatically mean it is morally appropriate? Yes, there are those who are genetically predisposed to be an alcoholic when they grow up. Do we still condone the act? There are those who are predisposed to become a sexual addict. Do we approve of that just because they were born that way? To learn more about this, click here.

Check out what this Denny Burk, dean of Boyce College and associate professor of New Testament , says about Lady Gaga’s understanding of being “born this way:”

.. It is true that God created human beings in His own image and that as a result every single human has intrinsic value and worth (Genesis 1:26-27). It is not true, however, that God endorses every thought and intention of the human heart. We live in a Genesis 3 world in which humanity and the cosmos are fallen and compromised by sin. That means that some of our desires are misdirected — even some of the ones that we are born with. That we desire sin from birth is not a cause for celebratory anthems but an indication of just how desperate the human condition really is (Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Jeremiah 17:9).

What kind of outlook do you have? Do you agree with the fact that we as a human race have made a mess of ourselves, or do you think that we all ought to accept the way we are because we are born this way?

“I’m ready now I’m not waiting for the afterlife”

I recently listened to Switchfoot’s new CD “Vice Verses” and there were so many songs on there that I immediately related to and wanted to share with you. I really appreciate deep and meaningful lyrics, so I wanted to reflect on these and share my own thoughts and opinions on their songs. This first song is called “Afterlife.”

I’ve tasted fire I’m ready to come alive
I can’t just shut it up and fake that I’m alright
I’m ready now
I’m not waiting for the afterlife

I’ll Let it burn the way the sunlight burns my skin
The way I feel inside, the way the day begins
I’m ready now
I’m not waiting for the other side
I’m ready now, I’m ready now

afterlifeCause everyday the world is made
A chance to change But I feel the same
And I wonder
Why would I wait till I die to come alive?
I’m ready now
I’m not waiting for the afterlife

I still believe we could live forever
You and I we begin forever now
Forever now
Forever

“I wonder why would I wait till I die to come alive.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel as if I will only truly feel alive when I’m in heaven. As a result, I am subconsciously going through my life not living to my fullest extent, thinking that it will only come when I leave this world. I think that only when I am in heaven can I do all the things I’ve always dreamed of doing. Sometimes I think that the world isn’t good enough for me. This world is filled with pain, disappointment, sorrow, evil, greed, sometimes mediocrity. I loved reading adventure romance novels and watching movies all my life because it took me to another world that would always involve some kind of adventure, a dashing man to share that with me, some huge challenge we would need to overcome, and then marriage of course. But then the story ends. What happens after marriage? Most of the books and movies end once the couple decides to be together forever. Are they telling us that life is over once you get married? I never got to experience my storybook adventure romance novel and now I am married. So…now what? Is that the end for me? Did I really think that this story would happen to me in real life? No, not really. Maybe a little piece of me thought that one day I could finally have the story I always dreamed about, but I knew the chances of that happening are slim to none. How much of this though, is my own fault? How could I have been living my life now had I made different decisions? Perhaps take more risks, meet more people, live in a different country, etc.? How many opportunities did I miss out on because I have this thought in the back of my mind that my life CAN’T be lived to the fullest because my perfect story could only happen in a perfect place like heaven? Now, I’m not saying that all Christians are like me. Most of you know how to live life. You go on adventures, travel across the world, live in other countries, meet the craziest kinds of people, whatever. Good for you. I just hope that after you do all those things, you don’t feel an emptiness inside. Because we weren’t made to live life to the fullest in just the physical sense. If you do, you are just going through the motions trying to satiate the hunger inside begging for satisfaction. It is only by having satisfaction in Him first that you can fully enjoy other aspects of life.

The more I am learning God’s word, the more I am realizing how much God wants us to be fully alive in this world. Check out what Jesus says about His reason for coming to the world, “”I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 This verse is talking about living life to the fullest, not just in the physical world but spiritually as well. It is only when we can combine these two with God’s will that we can experience an abundant life. He did not put us on this world to just “work for the weekend,” come home every night to watch TV and browse the internet, and to wonder when will be the next time you go on vacation.

Cause everyday the world is made
A chance to change But I feel the same

Everyday we are choosing our fate with every decision we make. That, I believe, is the hardest part. Making that change. We say that we want to change. People can give eloquent speeches on how much change should be made, but it all starts inside. With our hearts, souls, minds.

Are you ready now? I am. I am so sick of the same old thing everyday. I don’t want to live my whole week excited for my weekend. My story isn’t over. I believe that I first need to change my outlook on life, realize that I was put on this earth for a purpose, to glorify God through the talents He has given me, and to finally take action. I’m ready now, I’m not waiting for the afterlife.

 

 

How NOT to Apologize

apologizeLet me first say that I am writing this post with plenty of experience on apologizing, or rather, the lack thereof. I did not realize until I was in my first serious relationship how extremely difficult it was for me to apologize. Why? Well, think about it. By apologizing, you are admitting that you are WRONG. Admitting that you are wrong is probably the hardest thing in the world to do, for anyone. It does not feel like rainbows and butterflies when you are admitting that you are wrong either because A) you were wrong B) because you don’t feel that you were really wrong but know that is the only way to make the situation better, or C) you know you were wrong but you don’t want to give that other person any satisfaction of hearing your apology. I am going to give you some examples of how not to apologize to your spouse, co-worker, family, friend, basically anyone you are in a relationship with. But since most of my apologizing has been to my husband, I will use him as an example.

Here is the scenario:

When throwing away Xander’s old pair of shoes, Xander comes home to find them missing, and naturally, starts crying.

Bad apology #1 – The Attack Apology (It looks like an apology because there is an “I’m sorry” in there, but that sorry is for the other person and how wrong they are.)

“I’m sorry that you are sad I threw away your shoes, Xander. But really, what is wrong with you? The shoes are 10 years old, you never wear them, they are ugly as sin, and you have 20 other pairs of shoes you could wear. I mean, seriously? Are you really crying about one pair of shoes right now?”

With this apology, notice how I don’t really seem sorry at all, and the only thing I am truly sorry about is how dumb my husband is being. I am saying, I’m sorry that you are sad about this, because obviously, I am right and you are wrong. Then the rest is a full-on attack. What reaction could I expect from this? Not a good one. Most likely when you use an attack apology, the other person is thinking of their own attacks they are going to say about you.

Bad apology #2 The Excuses Apology

“I do realize that I threw away your shoes and that made you upset. But Xander, I only did this because I noticed that you never wear them, like ever. I was only looking out for you and your closet, because I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but it’s overfilling with all your other 100 pairs of shoes.”

It kind of sounds like an apology, doesn’t it? But notice that it’s mostly a sonnet to how right I was in my actions, and therefore completely justified. It’s the excuses apology, where you go on and on defending why you did the things that you did. But is that really what the other person who has been hurt wants to hear right now? No. They have been hurt, and you need to make sure you have properly apologized. Notice as well that no “I’m sorry” was actually said. The apology sounds like one, and it is assumed that you are sorry, but you never get to actually say it (it’s called pride my friends.)

Bad Apology # 3 “The Other People Agree with Me” Apology

“I’m sorry I threw away your shoes Xander, but honestly everyone else agrees that you own way too many pairs of shoes. They wonder how I put up with it at all. You should be glad that I’m not like other wives who constantly throw away their husband’s gross things all the time. You should consider yourself lucky to have me!”

Now, do you think Alexander really cares at this very moment how many other people agree with me? Hells to the no. All he sees is the action that I have done. I betrayed his trust. I was the one who threw away the nasty caca shoes. By me telling him how much other people agree with me, that will only fuel the fire more and make him angry or self-conscious around my friends/family.

As you could probably guess, all three of these apologies have not really worked out so well for me. I know my husband now better than ever, and I know exactly how my words can hurt. How I began mastering the science of apologies is by putting myself in his shoes and realizing how much it hurt when people treated me the same way. It was kind of like a light bulb moment for me. “Hey, this ISN’T the best way to go about this. I could be MUCH nicer. I think I’m going to work on that.”

How to apologize: The Golden Apology

“I understand that it hurt you when I threw away your shoes without asking. I am truly sorry for any pain I caused you, I know how much those shoes meant to you. I realize that I may have ruined your trust in me, which I value greatly, and I promise you I will never do this again.”

Now isn’t that the perfect apology? Easier said than done right? Could you imagine how much healthier relationships would be if everyone could apologize like that? I’m not saying that I am the queen apologizer and you should learn from how awesome I am. Not at all. It took a lot for me to realize how to apologize (to this day I still suck at it, trust me.) It definitely does not come natural to me. Maybe you grew up in a home where your parents were perfect apologizers and you learned well. Good for you. For the rest of us, it is damn hard to apologize. And not to just “apologize” but doing it the right way. Swallowing your pride, killing that burning desire to be right 100% of the time, and not going into full attack mode is not easy. But trust me, if I could slowly learn to do it, you can too! I suggest trying to put yourself into their shoes, understand their needs, and do your best to make sure that any feelings that were hurt have now been rectified.

Happy Apologizing!

P.S. No shoes were harmed or thrown away in the writing of this blog post.