Parental Guidance is Advised

Nowadays, parents must have a couple crucial conversations that may prove to be just as (if not more) awkward than the Birds and the Bees.  While many do not realize it, it is paramount to discuss seemingly uncomfortable topics to circumvent being in an unfortunate situation that is unimaginable until you find yourself in it with your child.

The talk that I am referring to generally took place right before we went off to college in my hay day. However, it seems in this millennial age, the talk to should occur just around the when the rite of passage of cell phones occur with a few circumstances and consequences that didn’t exist back then before Google was invented.

Cellphones

Cellphones have proven to be quite dangerous and detrimental to people’s lives.  A simple tweet could ruin you.  A meme can brand you and scar you.  A photo can completely bar you.  Perception is reality and in today’s world virtual reality is reality.  It is a big responsibility and it is important that children learn this early on because if they don’t they can be charged with crimes they didn’t realize were crimes.  Activities such as sexting and trading racy photos can result in charges like possession of child pornography (even if both parties involved are minors).   Please click here to find out what you must know about minors sexting, revenge porn, and how to discuss these topics with your children.

Parties

It is imperative that adolescents get thoroughly educated on some basic practical skills that keep them safe.   The sooner these skills are instilled in them, the better.  Two of the most basic cardinal rules when going to parties are:

No one left behind.

No drink unattended.

As simple as these two cardinal rules are, they are often broken yielding some unfortunate and tragic consequences.  Naturally, choice of friends and interests play a big part, however, equipping children with the basic expectation that they are responsible for one another and that they need to have each others’ backs is a must.  If you a drink goes unattended, get another one.  *Go with a stranger or an acquaintance to fetch a drink.  If at a bar, take the drink directly from the bartender.  These basic rules of engagement circumvent a myriad of scenarios.  At which point it may be a good idea to add, always have cab money in case of emergencies and don’t leave the house without your phone being fully charged.  What is mentioned here is just a few important bullet points in addition to what we were taught when we were once teenagers – in addition to any and all other safety habits you would like to instill in your age appropriate child.

Social Media


Aside from the epidemic of cyber-bullying, there are all sorts of dangers lurking on social media like body image complexes, depression and sex trafficking.  Yes, sex trafficking.  Recruiters have become quite savvy using social media platforms to promote, glamorize, and recruit for prostitution. It’s going on more often then we would like to think.  Just one more thing to be aware of, and to have a conversation with your child about; most recruiters aren’t creepy old men, but classmates with nice fancy and shiny things.  Please click here for more information on sex trafficking.

In terms of bullying, a good practice is to Google your children every now and then to see their activity.  It can give a good glimpse of your child through the eyes of,… well… the world wide web.  This practice can reveal whether your child is a bully or bring bullied.  It’s important to let your children know the importance of not expressing their anger for another person online and if your child is being bullied – make sure they know they are not alone.  If a child feels alone, loses hope and feel despair… nothing good can come from that.  Click here for information. Talk to them.  Regularly. 

Making Out/Getting Intimate

“No means no” is more than just a slogan.  The nuances get misread by the inexperienced youth who subscribe to the philosophies of their misguided peers or reference pop culture (which has an extremely skewed view altogether). If your children should take any queues on that topic from any source, it should come from you.  So it is imperative to start the conversation and engage them.  At any time anyone can change their minds. Anyone can agree to one activity and decline another.  If one person is intoxicated, it’s best to wait until they are not.  Someone’s behavior or their clothing is not a clear indication of consent.  Consent is consent.  Click here for some more information for this conversation.

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Purging: it’s absolutely necessary!

Purging your personal quarters is crucial to your existence.  I know, this sounds dramatic but it is just as true.  Letting go of things that take up space for no other reason than they happen to belong to you can be harmful and can hinder your ability to grow as a person or move on toward the future.P1000270

Hanging onto items often facilitates hanging onto memories and the emotions attached to them.  Some emotions may be good; and others, not so much.  Every now and again we must sift through the accumulated contents in our environment and release some of these “vibes” in order to make room for new ones.

It may sound symbolic at face value, but it is much more than that.  Just as a song can bring you back to the moment you first heard it, or a fragrance can summon memories of a person, place or thing,..  The accumulation of items in your environment can keep you stagnant emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Give it away, give it away, give it away,… NOW!

We tend to hang onto clothing for years at a time – even when it has not fit us in years.  Clothes can be sentimental but tend to be the easiest of items to purge.  There are people out there who messy_closet__2have no clothing, who are less fortunate, and who would appreciate the clothing you are storing for the potentially hungry moths.  If you have not worn it in a year – chances are you will not wear it any time soon, if it all.  Why not free up the space and invite the good vibes and blessings brought on by charitable contributions?

 

A few of your favorite things….

Items that were once your favorite can sometimes be upcycled or revamped.  A stud earring that lost its mate could become a pendant.  The storage trunk could double as a nice furniture piece in your den.  If  you cannot let it go, polish it up and work it into your environment.  If there is absolutely no place for it,… perhaps its place is on eBay.

Things that make you go “Boo Hoo”…

We all have an item or two that provoke tears even after all these years.  Purging these items are hardest of all.  If these items are the proverbial salt in a perpetually gaping wound, and youDSCF1876 feel you cannot purge.  Going through these items may take time.  You may have to do it in increments.  You may also have to arrange for back up with some loved ones as you sift through these items.  Go at your own pace.  Just because you get rid of tangible items, does not mean you get rid of the memory.  If its too much to bear, you can always prepare a special place for it.  Like storage.

As the old pun goes…. the when past, the present and the future meet, it’s pretty tense!  Tense is not the kind of vibe suitable for a dwelling space.  Tense is not good for health, creativity, or personal happiness..  When our bodies are tense we get a massage – which you could pay for with the profit you make from eBay after purging the clutter.

 

 

Masking It with Groceries

Skin care is a vital part to beauty.  If you have healthy and clear skin, layers of makeup are not necessary.  Believe it or not, you may not have to look beyond your refrigerator for effective beauty masks that make your skin healthier.

There are two particular face masks I use regularly that are tried and true.

Egg Yolk Mask:

Egg-YolkSounds gross, but it is amazing.  Take an egg and crack it placing the contents in a bowl.  You may beat it and make it frothy, if you like.  Spread it across your face and carefully avoid your eyes.  The consistency will feel a little slimy at first, but it will dry.  Once it dries your face will tighten significantly.  Once it is completely dry, (I usually wait about 10-15 minutes), gently wash it off in a circular motion.  Try to avoid your hairline, because that could become cumbersome.  Voila!  Nice fresh skin.

Coffee and Milk Mask:

Coffee is great as a scrub and milk contains lactic acid which is an active ingredient in coffeespa grade skin peels.  This mask is fantastic but it can be messy.  Place four table spoons of coffee grounds in a bowl.  Add milk slowly while stirring it until it makes a paste.  Add more coffee if the consistency is too fluid.  Add more milk if it is too hard and thick.  Apply the paste onto your face.  Make sure it is in the bathroom as it may drip a little.  It will eventually harden once dry and you may experience a little tingly sensation from the lactic acid.  Sitting with the mask on anywhere from 5 – 30 minutes is acceptable.  When ready wash it off with warm water while gently massaging the coffee grounds into your skin.  This mask is great for exfoliation and revitalization which makes up for the mess.

Honorable Mention:

fresh-lemon_zpsb31ebac4Lemon Juice! Although it is not a face mask, if you can stand it, it can clear up trouble spots on your face.  If your skin is misbehaving, lemon juice is a great astringent.  Citric acid, which is also found in spa grade peels, are great for zits, wrinkles, and hyper pigmentation.  Make sure your face is clean first.  Take a cotton ball and soak it in lemon juice and apply it.  It will almost immediately tingle. Try to withstand the tingling for at least one minute.  I usually fan my face so that I may hold out a bit longer.  Then wash your face with lukewarm water.

Give these natural face masks a whirl.  It just may be the beauty hack of all beauty hacks that have you looking nice and glowing for a mere fraction of the cost of beauty products.

The Fleetwood Mac Epiphany

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 1 Corinthians 13:11-13

The Fleetwood Mac ballad Landslide is a beautiful song with existential tones and ideas that were cryptic and abstract in my understanding as I was growing up.  If I were to make a movie about the wonder years of being 30 something, this song would definitely be in the soundtrack.  It’s an illustration of the cycle of life; we should all take heed to it.

When you climb a mountain and you turn around…

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Photo by Carlo Barlo

If we are fortunate to have our parents with us throughout our adult life, they get to witness us come into our own.  They witness us develop into adults striving to achieve our goals caring for us, supporting us and guiding us all the way.  Somewhere amidst all that, we reach a pivotal moment where we reckon our roles become reversed.  We find that we must care for the ones who cared for us our whole lives.  We must protect them, support them and sometimes provide for them.

Can you sail through the changing ocean tides…

Often times this pivotal moment is not so obvious.  It can be gradual and inconspicuous.  Other times it can be instantaneous.  It can be brought on by a death or sudden affliction of illness like a stroke or dementia.

Can you handle the seasons of your life…

As much as we do not like to think about these situations coming to pass, they are likely and inevitable. When situations like these come to pass, it is usually without warning and without relief from the mundane duties of professional and personal life.  Finding a balance while managing time and stress can be challenging which is why it is important to think about being prepared.

Time makes you bolder, even children get older…

If you have siblings, start a dialogue of how you would manage in these scenarios so that everyone can gauge their ability to help if need be.  Talk to your significant other and extended family.  Develop a plan and an understanding among you.

The landslide will bring it down…

If you find yourself in this situation, frustrated and scared, remember that you are not the only one.  Your parent maybe feeling the same way while trying to grapple with the reality that he or she has to be dependent (or a burden) upon you, the person whose diaper he or she used to change.  It is a difficult circumstance when your mind is sharp as a tack but your body can no longer keep up and you need help to complete the simplest tasks.  Patience and understanding can go a long way to get through together.

If you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.  There are many resources available – even if it is just to talk to someone and process your feelings.

 

REFERENCES:

Nicks, S. (1975). Landslide.
On Fleetwood Mac [record]. California: Reprise.

Peek-A-Blog!

I took another really long break from writing.  I thought perhaps I would live a little more in real time and spend less time staring at a computer screen.  On the contrary, I became a monotonous drone living vicariously through the social media feeds of others on a variety of screens – hand held included.

By the time I realized I was in the sand trap, a year had passed and here I am, dusting the lackluster off my passion and jumping back in the saddle.  Let’s do this, shall we?

Ghosting: The Psychological Bird Flip

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Photo by Elias Tucker

You meet someone and sparks fly.  You talk every day and do things together.  You two are building the foundation of a relationship or friendship; whatever the type of ship it may be, all of a sudden, this ship has sunk because this person checked out and stopped all forms of communication with you unexpectedly.

Maybe he or she enlisted in the Witness Protection Program or maybe aliens abducted him or her.  As absurd as these theories may sound, they may be plausible because you two were having a great a time up until this point.  At least you thought he or she was having as good a time as you.  In the words of the great and late philosopher Whitney Houston, “how will I know”?

In today’s world, no answer is an answer.  For those of you who do not know what ghosting is, it is the act of abruptly ceasing communication of any kind without warning or explanation with someone you were cultivating a relationship with or had a relationship with.  It is easy to hide behind the blanket excuse of “I’ve been so busy,”  but even the Leader of the Free World has time to make multiple posts that 150 characters are less in a day!   So what gives?  Ghosting has become the most common and convenient way to bail on a relationship.

It’s not you, it’s me….

Are people not even worth a cliché anymore?   Giving someone the Casper treatment is rather disrespectful.  Here is why.  Disappearing without an explanation breeds a lot of confusion, speculation and worry.  It brings about far more intense feelings than the feeling of rejection that comes from being up front with someone and saying, “You are a great person and I enjoy the time we spent together; I don’t want to pursue a relationship with you.”   Yes, of course, you run the risk of having a conversation that might be uncomfortable but it is the last conversation you will have with this person on this topic.  It actually beats “ghosting” him or her only to randomly bump into him or her without any place to take cover thus being forced to have an even more awkward and potentially embarrassing conversation– in public, no less!

Ghosting to spare someone’s feeling is a piping hot pile of steaming dung.

Anyone who ghosts someone else is cowardly sparing himself or herself the daunting task of having to admit they are not into this friendship/relationship and having a conversation about why.  It is okay to want out of a relationship for no other reason than you do not want to be in one with that person.  Sometimes that happens.  Not everyone we come across is a crazy creep.  Sometimes sparks fly and fizzle out for no particular reason.  Just because someone is amazing and he or she has the right qualities does not mean he or she is right for you.

If you should find yourself in the situation where you want to call it quits, choose to treat this person with kindness and respect them enough to have that conversation with them.  Be brave.  Don’t be a cruel ghoul and ghost.

Bleeding Hearts

 

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Photo by Aaron Moeller

The bleeding heart type is always willing to self sacrifice or engage in martyrdom only to later remind you of all that they have done for you.  You must be indebted to them because they were there for you.  Gratitude is seldom enough.  Their help will be incessantly brought up to you like a specter at the feast to secure their entitlement to your time, attention and efforts.The bleeding heart type is not be confused with a person who wears their heart on their sleeve.  That is an entirely different type of person.  Bleeding hearts are those who will do anything for you with durable invisible strings attached to the deed;  whereas, someone who wears their heart on their sleeve is someone who does not hide their emotions to others.  They exhibit empathy and sincerity to others and may be out to help but they help for the sake of helping – not for the sake of getting something in return like recognition, or favors.

If you are helping someone and expecting something in return, you’re doing businessNOT kindness.

Bleeding hearts expect something in return and when they do not get what they are expecting, they become hurt and often vilify the perceived perpetrator as a calculated user who took advantage of them and their kindness.  Somehow, this is the recurring theme in their lives.

Bleeding hearts bleed because there is a hole in their heart that needs to be filled.  It cannot be filled by offering things and favors to garner acceptance, love, attention, recognition or affection, etc.  This method is a slippery toxic slope that causes the hole in the heart to turn into a cosmic black hole.  The gravity of the debt is as boundless as the dark rendering it virtually impossible for anyone to plug it up.  This vicious cycle is emotionally painful and psychologically exhausting as it brings with it strife and dissension.   In extreme cases, manipulation and abuse (not necessarily physical) tactics are used against the person who had not given what was expected in return.

People who interact with others like bleeding hearts are not likely to be able to successfully maintain a healthy fulfilling relationship whether it be platonic or otherwise.

At this Conflict Juncture…

When a relationship becomes more serious and all the idiosyncrasies that were once cute lose their luster, and in comes the bickering and resentment, you may feel like you have boarded the Express Train to Splitsville. Your relationship is full speed ahead towards the same old and all the energy spent fighting over the same things repeatedly can leave you so emotionally drained that you yearn for something different.

Anything different is better

Today we take the “anything different is better” mentality and interpret it as “anyone different is better” without ever really considering “any thought/action different is better.” Who says once you’re on that train that there are no stops? Is it possible to pull an emergency break, get off and take a different route? Simple answer is yes! It doesn’t have to end in a train wreck!  You may have to build the track… TOGETHER! It will take some hard work but it is not impossible.

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Photo by Aaron Moeller

Many times we have a very myopic scope of our relationships and laser focus on our own needs and how they are not being met by our partner. Being unable to see the full picture and understand what you’re looking at makes it extremely difficult to move forward.  Ask anyone who wears glasses or contacts!   In terms of a relationship we cannot see where we may be coming up short on delivering for our partners.  Couple that myopic view point with continual arguments with phrases like, “you always” and “you never” and we can almost see city limits of Splitsville on the horizon.
With the raw materials like love for one another, the desire to be together and the will to make a change then you are already ahead of the game, my friend! When we get caught in that vicious cycle of arguing about the same thing over and over again, there are two things we become experts on: how the topic makes us feel and how our partner will respond.

Can we talk…?

We have to laser focus on what is being said to us. Although we may not agree with everything that is being said to us, we must make a choice of trying to understand the message that is being conveyed to us and accept that it is important to the person we love. Because the person we love is important to us, we cannot always bombard them with our own needs and points of view. It is easy to recognize when we have begun bulldozing our partners during a difference of opinion when every other complete though begins with “I feel,” or “I think” … And every other statement ends in “to me,” or “about me.”
Opening lines of communications with open ended questions creates a dialogue that can help get to the root of the problem. Many times we get caught up in arguing about an issue and never addressing the real problem; when we do that, the problem reemerges in a form of another issue and we are back on the hamster wheel reacting off one another. Someone needs to take initiative and just listen for a moment: listening intently without thinking in your mind what to next while someone is speaking is a sure fire way to finally “get them.”

Not really sure what I think about it

Just because someone is speaking does not mean you are obligated to respond right away. Every now and then we get thrown a hay-maker in a conversation and don’t know what to say. It is okay not know and maybe ponder on what is being said to you until it resonates with you enough to form your own thoughts and feelings. We are not computers! It can take time to process information and let our heads catch up to our hearts. Immediate responses are not always appropriate. Keeping in mind that immediate responses are not always appropriate keeps us from saying or doing things we don’t actually mean and end up having to apologize later.
Someone has to take the first step and be the catalyst and lead by example.  Who is it going to be, at this juncture?

Standards of Beauty: Are Women Fighting a Losing Battle?

20131204-171943.jpgStandards of beauty change throughout time, like any other fad.  Whether it is a slender ballerina body, an hour glass body, a full round bum or toned legs with a thigh gap, we are told by them what is “in” and what is “out.”

I have always wondered who are they?  Who are they to tell us what part of our bodies are in and out?  What ever happened to celebrating the diversity of feminine shapes?  As with all preferences, people are attracted different things.

Variety is the spice of life, is it not?

Variety does not seem to be promoted nowadays.  As a result of that, more women have resorted to body mutilation.  So many women are attending parties and injecting mystery substance into their bodies.  Some women have had permanent side effects, and other physical deformities that are unpleasing to the eyes, and others have died.  And for who?  Are we as women doing this to attract men?

Men don’t seem to like all the war paint!

04e30f2c519e8240371454e6ea6609fd6fbe74 Despite what we may see and read, of my years of experience I have always found myself defending the need to apply make up.  I suppose make up invokes the confidence women need to face the external world.  Men, don’t quite get it.  The father of an Ex-boyfriend of mine who was 70 years old at the time had once said,  “Women wear make up for other women. It’s like war paint.”    That is a very interesting analogy.  Now, 20 years later, with my own wisdom and experience, looks like Tony might have been on to something!  I was never any comment short of, you look so much better without all that on your face!

Make up trends have now evolved into contouring and those very interesting Egyptian hieroglyphic like eye brows which are quite disturbing to some.  The nose slimming, cheek boosting, highlighting methods morph a woman’s face to the point where they are unrecognizable when the make up comes off.  No one appreciates false advertisement.

I must, I must, I must increase my butt!

butt_implants When it comes to this new craze, aside from celebrities sporting their designer bum, there are scores of photos of this Murphy’s Law procedure that are horrific and sad.  These procedures are not safe.  Similar to Botox parties, there are Butt Lift parties where people inject (who knows) into their bodies.  Many have died hours later because the injection substance has seeped into their blood stream or lungs.

NEVER EVER go to an underground party and let someone who is not a registered medical doctor perform any procedure.  The complications of such a decision could end your life!

Aside from fatal complications any implant is a foreign body.  The immune system recognizes this and begins to work to reject it.  This can result in the implant detaching and slipping or becoming calcified. It can also result in infection.  Any implant in the body must be monitored every few years to ensure it is properly positioned and not leaking.  One must also be prepared to replace them if need be.

Again, with implants, men have a similar take on make up.  The look and feel is often unnatural.

So, what standard of beauty stays  “in“?

I read A Look Back at Beauty Through History it begs the question, if the standard beautiful body images changes throughout time, what does one do?  If the standard of beauty is not conducive to your own body type, what is there to do?  Manipulating your own body can be a solution but what happens when that body type is no longer “in”?  We lose!  That is what happens!

In my lifetime I’ve seen the heroine chic, skinny waif type that was frail with ribs shone.  A teen back then, I was forbidden to even attempt to achieve such a look.  Those who are naturally like that, I suppose are “out of style” in today’s world.  So, how does one survive this feeling of invalidity  when their body is not structured to achieve the current revered shape?

You cannot celebrate anything you are ashamed of.

Answer is, CONFIDENCE.  No one has come off an assembly line.  We are not Stepford women.  We are individuals with a uniqueness that should be celebrated.  How can you celebrate who you are if you do not see your value or are ashamed?  There is something to be said about not being like everyone else.  Everyone has a jewel of uniqueness.  This is what sets you apart. When chasing some image you are told to aspire to, you starve that genuine uniqueness that people – no just men are attracted to.

Despite what pop culture and the media may insinuate,  confidence cannot be bought or sold or made.  Confidence comes through self actualization and self acceptance.  Instead of putting energy, time, money into a potentially life-altering or life-threatening situation, perhaps putting energy, time and money into accentuating your unique attributes is  better prescription that going under the knife or getting injections or piling on layers and layers of make up.

Be  your own standard of beauty!

 

The 20s to 30s Threshold

During the 20s quest of finding ourselves we meet many cool people along the way.  These people may be part of your entourage and run in a pack with you doing all sorts of things together and sharing all sorts of new experiences.  Some of those experiences could be so momentous that we always hold that moment near and dear to our hearts.  When college is over and marriage is on the horizon or prenatal jargon becomes part of our everyday conversation or relocation comes to pass… we find ourselves in an unfamiliar territory and it can be difficult to adapt or relate.

We are not always experiencing life events at the same time.

Many times static begins occur and BFFs fight, act out, and sometimes fallout altogether.   You may find yourself one less bridesmaid, for example.  You may not get as many phone calls.  You may not be met with the same level of excitement and enthusiasm as you express your interests or your new ventures.  Things just aren’t the same anymore.  This is not a bad thing.  It is a great thing.  It is an exciting thing.  We have to accept the situation for what it is because there is so much more ahead.

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Photo by Aaron Moeller

Change can often feel like loss.

Life is a journey that is designed for you to keep moving forward.  Life is designed for you to have goals and once you achieve those goals, you are compelled to set new goals to achieve.    As your goals change, you entourage may change too.   This is not to say that you must end your previous friendships, but evaluate them to make sure you are not setting unrealistic expectations on the relationship.  As our needs change we expect people to change with them and this is not always possible.  Not everyone is meant to stay for the whole ride.  We must respect that they too have their own journey.

Whoever is meant to stay in your life can never go.

Just because someone is off on another path doesn’t mean you won’t reconnect down the line.  Lifetime friends will always remain your friends despite time, location, trials and tribulations – they will always be around for you – especially when you need them most.