Sometimes I like to end the tiring work day with a movie; an escape from reality. A reminder of the poetic beauty in life we seem to forget in the day to day grind. Last night I decided I would pop in a childhood favorite, A Little Princess. Please tell me you’ve seen it. If you haven’t, it’s totally a must see (I’m serious) for every daughter, sister, mother, and best friend. I had been feeling stumped on what to write for this week’s linkup until I was reminded exactly why I loved this movie. The main character is sort of like the spirit guide or guardian angel that we all deserve to have whispering in our ears; her unconditional faith in the magic and beauty of the world is more poignant to me now than ever.
I fully realize the level of cheese I’m at when I’m spouting sonnets about how much I love this movie, but I’m just a sucker for films/books/anything that reminds me of the hope we all used to have when we were children. We believed we could be princesses, we could be artists, we could be anything we want if we just believed in it hard enough. Where does all that optimism go when it disappears? Does it transform into resignation and regret? Could it ever turn back into what it once was?
There’s something so beautiful about mornings. The sun slowly streams through your window and it’s like possibility is being reborn. A couple mornings ago, as I was enjoying my morning coffee drip and toast with apple butter, I took notice to a guest on the Today Show. The topic was personal finances and the guest was Kate Northrup, author of Money, A Love Story. Her book is a guide on how to refocus your understanding of money in order to take into account not only its monetary value, but its emotional value as well. Her perspective makes perfect sense to me and reminded me of how infrequently we, as a society and particularly as women, feel like we have enough to be happy.
I thought this would be a great subject to touch upon for the Choose Beauty Linkup because the way in which we choose to spend money can directly relate to how beautiful or valuable we consider our surroundings and belongings. Money is such a sore subject and I often find myself (especially lately with the move and the job instability) complaining that I don’t have enough of it. It’s easy to resort to this rant because it places blame on the external rather than admitting to the weaknesses of the internal.
I’m sad to say that I’ve been guilty of not writing to the fullest. And this is mainly because I haven’t been living to the fullest. With the pending move and the shape shifter that is known as my income, I’ve been happy to even keep my head above water. When going through times of change, decisions get that much more difficult to make given how much is riding on them. I know now that the decision I made to begin this blog was a landmark for my personal and professional growth, so continuing to move forward with it is just as important, if not more so. Despite feeling like I don’t have any beauty to give right now, it’s also important that I participate this week in the Choose Beauty Linkup – in order to remind myself that there has to be something left inside to push forward. There just HAS to be.
One of the obstacles I face every day (particularly lately because I’ve been on so many job interviews) is projecting the shiniest and best, most optimistic version of myself. I wear carefully curated outfits, I meticulously draw on my lipstick and my smile, I speak confidently about my erratic and yet fulfilling journey.
For this week’s Choose Beauty Linkup, I was able to convince my best friend Liz to write an article for Tide & Bloom. I am extremely grateful to have someone like her on my side; she’s been a steady force in my life since high school, always supporting and loving me through all my crazy periods of growth. It’s no surprise to me, or anyone else that knows her, that she turned to therapy as her career path – making it her life’s goal to help others. I’ve been begging her to write something for me because she has too many great things to share and I knew this series would be something right up her alley.
When I began this entry, I did not know exactly what I wanted to say or where it was going to end up. I knew I wanted to focus on the power of nature, as I have been using it as a personal self-care strategy in my life. Christina and I had discussed the idea of me guest-blogging many times before, but I have a lot going on in my life right now having just moved to a new city and began a new career. In the midst of that, she still wanted and believed that I had something to offer in writing a column. I felt many doubts run through my mind… “I can’t do that, I am too busy,” or “Ugh, what do I have to offer to anyone anyway?” The irony of that last statement is that I am a therapist, a mental health counselor who helps people for a living.
Some may wonder, what is it like to be a therapist, to deal with people’s problems all day? It is true that in my professional life I deal with the entire spectrum of human emotions. I see people at the lowest of their lows, as well as hear about truly horrific events and situations they have experienced. It is crucial that I have ways to protect myself in order to have an escape from all that trauma, hurt, sorrow, abandonment. One of my current rituals is taking time at lunch to step back and be with nature. I work in an office with no windows so by lunch time, I am craving the sunshine and open spaces. I am fortunate to have beautiful outside spaces surrounding me. Although I do not claim to be an outdoorsy person, the research, along with my own experience, shows how powerful communing with nature can be. Within minutes of being outside in the open air, I feel a shift in my being.
Explaining your goal in life or work is never easy. There are all these things that people expect for you to say – to make the world a better place, to have an effect on people’s lives, to make money, et cetera. Of course those are all things I want to do, but that doesn’t really explain how I’d like to do it. I think my life is better summed up as an endless pursuit of beauty. I want to seek beauty, find beauty, and cultivate/create beauty within others and within myself. So when Natalie Borton began her Choose Beauty Linkup, I knew I had to get in on it. I’ve read such lovely and poignant stories being shared on Anne‘s Love Yourself Linkup so it was a no-brainer to join another network encouraging earnest reflections on personal stories and experiences. I may not be able to post every week on both linkups, but hopefully what I do get to share will be fulfilling for both me and you.
I’ve always thought of beauty as an outward journey, an active search or effort to bring more beauty unto me. Whether it is through clothes, make-up, decor, or whatever, the thing I thought I needed to find would always be out there somewhere. It was within the pages of the glossy magazines showing me who I could be if I just tried a little harder. It was in the stacks of history books in the art and architecture library. It was growing outside in the meadows and all around me. It can actually be overwhelming sometimes when I think about all the ways in which I see our beautiful world. And perhaps one of the biggest reasons why I see beauty so pervasively is because I often fail to see it within myself.