Self Love

I’ve been thinking a good bit lately about how we view our bodies and ourselves. It’s almost never positive. If I asked a random woman on the street what she liked about herself, and then what she disliked about herself, I bet we can already guess what list would be longer.

Society has created visions of what the perfect woman should look like and shoved it into our heads and made us believe there is no other way. We have made these irrational views the social norm.

Because of these insane views, I have disliked myself and my looks for years.

Everything from my weight to my feet, I could give you a list a mile long of things I don’t care for about myself. I see this in other women. They are scared of gaining weight, getting older, and doing everything in their power to stop both of those things. Everything from starving to doing extreme things to their bodies.

Instagram has a community of women who are about body positivity. This is body positivity at any size, any shape, any form, and any fashion. Women who wear a lot of makeup, women who go barefaced. They encourage body love and self love, but also receive a lot of hate. When I read comments on positive photos of themselves, there are people who say that they are fat, unhealthy, and ask them how they can even show their face on the internet.

What does this tell you about our society? A woman can post a photo of herself online and show a little positivity only to be told that she’s wrong. Why can’t a woman have fat and be beautiful? Why is it so hard to be positive or move along rather than be hateful and cause someone to feel worse about themselves?

If there is one thing I know for sure about being overweight and unhealthy is that it only gets worse until you love yourself enough to do something about it. We need to instill in our children a love of self and, at the bare minimum, a respect for their bodies. Just because you are shaped differently than someone on TV, does not mean there is anything wrong with you.

It’s up to us to break this norm.

I am obese and have been most of my life. I’ve found that in my low times, I turn to food as a comfort because in those moments, I dislike myself and my body. During those moments, I don’t care that what I am putting in my body is not good for it.

I’ve been transitioning over the past year. I’m coming to terms with my body and learning to like, if not love, the skin I’m in.

I’ve started doing yoga and eating more veggies. I am in no way vegetarian, but I’ve been eating meat only once a day, most days. I pay more attention to my body and the way it moves and the way it feels. I am more mindful of my body.

My feet are wide but are a good foundation for balance in yoga. My legs are steady, hold my body, and move me from place to place. My hips are shifty and offer better mobility. My back has it’s issues but has carried me for 31 years. My chest and ribs protect my heart that sends blood throughout my body and carries oxygen and water and nutrients to every part of me.

Sometimes, loving ourselves is hard and could use a little help. Getting to imagine yourself from another’s point of view can really help your view of yourself. A family member, friend, or significant other can really open your eyes to yourself.

I asked my husband to make some notes on what he liked and admired about me. The majority of what he wrote was about my mentality. For someone who is not wordy, I was impressed. A lot of it was flattery, but he did very well with his assignment.

He said he appreciated that I’m strong and that I really put myself into whatever I’m doing whether it be cooking, planting flowers, or putting up with him. His words, not mine.

He said that he admires my ability to immerse myself into my writing or reading.

I thought about what I like in myself. I like that I’m compassionate and empathetic. I love my appreciation of nature and living things. Finding things that you like in yourself and recognizing those traits will put you on the right track for self love.

The human body is a miracle and universe unto itself. It all connects and flows to make your body function as a whole. Carl Sagan once said, “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” How amazing is it that we are made of the same thing as the stars? When you think of your body in that fashion, it becomes much easier to love.

Before I close, let me tell you something that I am still learning myself. PERFECTION DOES NOT EXIST.

Striving for perfection is like draining the ocean with a straw. No matter how hard you try, you will not reach perfection because it simply does not exist. Just because I love my body doesn’t mean I don’t want to improve it. I want to make it healthier, stronger, and better because I’m learning to love it. So, on the national day of love, I encourage you to love your body, love your heart and mind, and love something about everything about yourself. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Writer’s Block



I’ve been frustrated lately. Creatively frustrated. I’ve been mad at my computer for something it did not do. I’ve been angry about it’s blinking cursor and blank pages without words. I’ve felt dried up and uninspired. I thought maybe if  I went back to the fundamentals. You know, pen to paper. I put pen to paper and waited for something to happen. The only thing that happened was that I scribbled and scrabbled and got even more frustrated.

I’ve words and stories a-plenty in my brain, swirling about in a never ending vortex. I just can’t get a good connection between my brain and my fingers. I’ve tried all the usual suspects to no avail.

I’m discouraged with my inconsistency. My last blog did really well in terms of views and visitors. I think I’ve gotten intimidated by it. Doubts and insecurities can wreak havoc on one’s creativity. I came to the conclusion that I should write about being uninspired and insecure and all those things going on with me.

I’ve sat down numerous times with my computer and determination only to be let down. I’ve put on my game face, tightened my ponytail, and set my teeth only to give myself a headache. In this case, headache leads to heartache because I am disappointed in myself.

After searching WordPress, I’ve found I’m not alone. There are lots of creators out there with brains and hearts on hiatus. I found I’ve been more inspired these past few hours from the one thing that calms and helps always. Reading.

I wish that I could say I’ve been reading something new, but I can’t. I’ve discovered in recent years that I am a rereader. I’m not sure that’s a word. Microsoft Word says no, but I’m going with it. I’ve been reading something that I’ve already read and using it as a comfort. There’s no anxiety, no rush, no suspense. It’s just me and old friends I’ve known for a while taking a stroll down memory lane. It’s reading words that are familiar and seeing something new in the pages.

Stress is more than likely a factor in all this. I find the best stress relief is to go from cover to cover. It’s like a salve for achy head and heart.

I’ve been writing more fiction in private than things I wish to share on my blog. I love my blog. I’m proud of it. However, I’ve recently alienated myself from it. I’m not happy about this and intend to change it. Hitting a brick wall when you want to be on an open highway is frustrating to say the least. I’m slowly taking a pickaxe to it. Please be patient. I’m undertaking an uphill battle in my writing life. There is so much I want to say, and my brain is failing me.

Becky’s Burger

I’ve lived in Magee nearly all my life. Zip burgers have always been considered the best burger to be had. I grew up on them, and they are wonderful. However, that’s a blog for another day.

Hidden back behind the old elementary school in Magee, Mississippi is a gem of a burger joint. The exterior doesn’t look like much. It’s to-go only and is ran by a sweet lady who makes a mean burger. It’s so good she named the main item after herself. 

The Becky Burger is a big beautiful hunk of meat with cheese between buns to match  with your usual burger toppings. My husband likes his with bacon. The meat has a terrific flavor and is hard to eat without making a mess. You’ll end up with juicy goodness running down your chin. I usually get tots with mine. This time I got tots with cheese.

The menu has something for everyone. The picture I have is not a very good one but shows the large variety they offer. How do they fit all that food in that little building? The world may never know, but boy am I thankful. They offer ribs on Friday which I’m told are wonderful. A member of my group got fried chicken. The breast was huge and was tender and tasty, and everything you want fried chicken to be. The pork chop was also mighty fine. Although I’ve never tried it, I’ve heard Ms. Becky makes a mean salad.

We set out to get our Becky Burger order almost bouncing with anticipation. We arrived to find the parking lot full and customers like us who were ready to get their grub on. Having to park on the street was no big deal. I am a supporter of local businesses in our area. It makes my heart happy to see any small business busy and doing well. We made our way up the window to pick up our order. Greeting other customers, we chatted for a bit being early and our food not quite ready.

Once back home, we divided up our grub and commenced to feast. Other than talking about how great everything was, we barely said a word. Even with our special requests, no tomatoes on this one, no lettuce on that one, and even gravy on fries, we got what we asked for and enjoyed every bite.

With a belly full of goodness from our favorite hole in the wall, I recommend you seek it out and experience it for yourself. 


New Year, New Me

New Years Eve, I planned to make a huge pot of potato soup. You can’t go wrong on a cold day with hot potatoes, ham, sautéed onions, and parmesan cheese.

So, a run to the local grocery store was in order. We’re seeing record low temperatures for central Mississippi. I had the following conversation with every person I met:

“Hi. How are you?”

“Good, but it’s cold out.”

“And only going to get colder. Happy new year.”

“Same to you. Stay warm.”

If Southern folks can’t agree on anything else, the consensus is usually the same on cold weather and ice. My cashier said that they were running low on milk and bread as is the norm for extreme weather in Mississippi.

My soup was tasty and my cornbread was pretty and also tasty. I haven’t made a sweet potato pie in a while so that was on the menu as well.

My husband’s Mimi and mom couldn’t make it so me and my best bud took them a big bowl of soup, cornbread, and pie. Molly enjoyed visiting and had to sniff out the whole area.

I decided that my inner child would enjoy some fireworks. Tony is suffering from a bad cold so he stood in the back door and watched me fire off a few. After a few minutes, I knew it was too cold. I headed in and got in my warm pajamas, fuzzy house shoes, and cuddled up under my blanket.

While Tony and I watched t.v., I reflected on my year.

I’ve been seeing New Year, New Me posts. I don’t intend to be a new me. I like me. Do I need some bettering? Yes, but don’t we all. I don’t want to be a new me. I want to be a better me in 2018.

Better reader.

Better writer.

Better friend.

Better wife.

Better employee.

Better me and all that means. 



I remember being a little girl and seeing my Papaw standing at the edge of his garden and looking out across it. That particular time was early evening. His feet were planted firmly, his mouth set, and the look of a man who knows his land settled on his face. There was power there and pride. He put his heart into his garden and took pride in that it would help to feed his family.

When he turned to look at me, he smiled and said, “Come on, gal. Let’s get pickin’.” I would hold out the hem of my oversized t-shirt and use it as a tote as I trailed behind him holding the fruits of his labor. When it was full and too heavy, I waddled back to the house to turn what we’d collected over to Mamaw.

Then, when the work was done, we’d sit in the swing and sing. Sometimes I sang along, others I just listened. His voice carried tones of the old south and emotions set to melody. He sang of pain and love and told stories in song. Some of the old and some of the new and some he probably came up with as he went along. His voice was country with soul and blues and something particular to him.

I remember riding along with him on the lawn mower and “helping” him push the tiller to turn the soil. I wore his too big gloves and dropped seeds and made every step he made. I listened to tales of him growing up. I wish desperately I could remember more.

He kissed booboos and dried tears. We giggled and smuggled candy and watched many a-sunset. He would twirl me around until I couldn’t stand and laughed at all the silly things I did.

At his funeral, I listened to one of his closest friends tell of a day in 1956 when some rowdy boys visited Weathersby Baptist Church because they heard the girls there were pretty. Mamaw was one of those girls. She’s told me before how she and my Paw met at a peanut boil at church. Brother Johnny said that on the day he recalled that Paw answered alter call and accepted his Lord at the front of the very church where he met my Mamaw, and the very church where we were currently having his funeral.

He said that out of that group of boys and the pretty girls at Weathersby, my Paw was the only one to find his girl and get married.

My grandmother used to talk about how they were married in a house with cracks so wide in the floorboards that you could see chickens walking beneath them during their wedding.

My grandparents were always simple people. They worked, loved, and lived in a simple, old fashioned way as husband and wife for 61 years. I’ve tried to imagine 61 years worth of living much less marriage. I’ve watched my grandmother, my Mamaw struggle with his death. I watched her before he passed sit beside him and hold his hand. She would rearrange his blanket and hang her head.

Today, he would have been 80. We’ve lived a few weeks without him. His void is definitely felt. However, I find peace in knowing that he is breathing fully on his own again and walking wherever he wishes to go. He has left the struggles of this world and his earthly body. His sun has set.


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Our book club has always been a great group of girls. Our newest member, Kim, is proving to be a wonderful addition. She came in at the perfect time. We’d just finished a full rotation of each existing member choosing a book. When Kim chose The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead for us to read, I knew in that moment that she’d fit right in.  

I am of the belief that everyone should diversify their reading with stories of other times and other cultures. Kim really brought this to the table.

The Underground Railroad was a hard read for me. Being of an empathic nature, the treatment of slaves described in the book really got to me. I’d read for a while and have to put down the book to cry a bit.

The book is based from different point of views. The main ones are of a slave named Cora, a slave catcher named Ridgeway, and a slave named Caesar. There are others throughout the book that feed the storyline and give better understanding to the inner workings of the characters. Cora was born a slave. Her mother and grandmother were slaves on the Randal plantation. The Randal brothers are a hateful duo. The most despicable brother takes over the plantation with all slaves included at his brother’s death. He makes an example of the slaves, subjecting them to horrifying methods of torture. To make matters worse, if a friend or family member of the tortured slave shows any sort of emotion, they are beaten along with their loved one. All members of our club agreed that this was how a slave owner would discourage relationships among slaves so that they would not band together and/or plot runaway attempts.

We discussed how the slaves in the book almost had a social hierarchy among them. There was social standing as well as survival of the fittest. The weakest links were sent to live in their own house called the Hob.

When Cora witnesses an especially vicious beating of a slave, she decides she’s had enough. Caesar had come to her before and asked her to leave with him. At the time, it seemed ludicrous. However, the more she mulls it over, the more sense it makes. When she was a child, Cora’s mother escaped the plantation and was the only slave so far to successfully to do so.

As Cora and Caesar make their escape, another slave named Lovey tags along. A series of unfortunate events leads to Lovey being taken and an even bigger man hunt gets underway for the escapees.

Cora and Caesar make it to South Carolina using The Underground Railroad. This brings a bit of the fantastical to the book in that the railroad is an actual railroad that moves through tunnels from location to location.  

Under assumed identities, they are allowed to learn and hold jobs. While everything seems to be going great, an unseen storm is brewing on the horizon.

In a turn of events, Cora has to flee and is unsure about the fate of her friend Caesar. Just as she is unsure about the fate of Lovey and her mother.

Ridgeway is a slave catcher. The only slave thus far to ever evade him is Cora’s mother, Mabel. It has been his humiliation and what has kept him up at night. This makes him all the more determined to catch Cora and her running mate. He and his men catch up with Cora and have her in their grips when things shift from their favor. The author does a nice job of switching perspectives and seeing things, however wrong, from Ridgeway’s point of view.

This book is ripe with nail biting scenarios. You find yourself rooting for Cora and hoping that her life has some semblance of happiness. Her story and the supporting stories in the book are some that everyone in our book club agreed will stick with you. It is a raw, honest view of slavery and what those in that time period lived with.

Learning the fates of Mabel, Caesar, and Lovey bring suspence and some closure to the book while others leave your heart in turmoil.

It is a great group of stories that intertwine  to make up a powerful book. History books tell us about the evils of slavery and the horrors endured by those who lived it. Seeing it from the perspective of a slave leaves necessary wounds on your heart and helps tie what African Americans have dealt with in their ongoing quest for equality. The Underground Railroad makes you think, makes you feel, and while not to be undertaken lightly, is an important read. 


Stolen bodies working stolen land. It was an engine that did not stop, its hungry boiler fed with blood.

The whites came to this land for a fresh start and to escape the tyranny of their masters, just as the freemen had fled theirs. But the ideals they held up for themselves, they denied others.

The world may be mean, but people don’t have to be, not if they refuse.


Surviving Thanksgiving

Social media is ripe with posts about being thankful and lists of what people are thankful for. That’s what I love about the holidays. People are thankful, talk about their blessings, and are charitable. We need to act like it’s the holidays all the time. Not that anyone asked me for my opinion, but there she is.

I spent the whole week before Thanksgiving preparing to host a Thanksgiving meal at my house for the first time ever. For the first time ever in my 31 years, I cooked a full sized turkey breast and ham. I got no negative reviews on those, at least in ear shot. I’m calling that a win. Just because I don’t get those that often.

I handled the stress fairly well I think. Tony intended to make the dressing and help with the other cooking/setting up. However, he decided to move a refrigerator on his own and so afterward, he could not move himself. He was down during the duration of the holiday, but after having a minor freak out, I persevered. I also made dressing for the first time. Tony has always done it for us. Let me just say that six years experience working in a restaurant came in handy. At the end of the day, I made a ham, turkey, two pans of dressing, a green bean casserole, hand rolled dumplings, rotel dip, homemade french onion dip, butter beans, two pies, peach cobbler, fudge, and rolls. A friend asked me at the end of it all if I would ever attempt it again. I surprised us both when I said yes.

Overall, I enjoyed the cooking. Cooking things from scratch always reminds me of being in the kitchen and learning at the elbows of both my grandmothers and great grandmother. Although I was stressed out and tired, I enjoyed the cooking. I may have sent my mother in law to her room a time or two and banished her from the kitchen, but hey, memories, right?

The Thanksgiving feast at my house was on Black Friday. I wouldn’t dare ever leave my house on that day of all days. I ventured out once on that day with a friend. That day I witnessed Wal-Mart become full jungle mayhem the likes of which I’d only ever seen on the Discovery Channel. People played tug-of-war with marked down pillows and discounted towels. They ran through the aisles screaming prices at one another to alert a comrade of a deal.

My poor little antisocial heart beat erratically in my chest as watched droves of people run rampant through the aisles. Finally, after an hour in check out, we made it to the safety of the car. I heaved a huge sigh of relief and swore an oath that never again would I participate in such.

Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but I was overstimulated and sleep deprived. Those things can wreak havoc on a body.

All in all, I have to say that I’m a Thanksgiving survivor. I came. I conquered. I wore myself out. I gave reverence to the women I’ve known that have handled that meal of all meals and more. My grandmothers included. 



My resolutions for 2017.

We’re drawing close to the end of the year, and I’ve been thinking about resolutions and what 2018 holds in store. I’m bracing for the worst and hoping for the best on that front. 

Thanksgiving made me think of what I’ve accomplished this year. I remembered that at the beginning of 2017, I made a list of resolutions that were reasonable and within reach. A teacher once told me that accomplishing a list of small goals can lead to fulfilling big goals. Good advice, I think. 

So, did I accomplish my goal list? 

Well, I started a blog. I did write more. I did write more for myself. I do write almost everyday; even if it’s just scribbling a note of something I like, writing down a plot idea, or a blog thought. I’ve found that several intended blog posts have been stashed in my back pocket. After writing them and reading over them, they felt too personal. I felt like I wasn’t quite ready to share those. However, I hope they will find themselves here eventually. 

I did read more. I joined a book club, and that helped. It’s been a wonderful experience and has helped to diversify my reading. Along with meeting all my book buddies and getting their varying opinions on books, I’ve broadened my social life. 

Make more time for the things I enjoy. That one is tricky. I suppose since my favorite things are reading and writing, I achieved that one as well. 

Be a better me. I feel like the last few years have really helped develope who I am as a person. I’m finding more of where I fit into the world and the impact I want to make on it. With the blog, I’m finding my voice, so to speak. My opinions are more easily shared, and I find I’m more outspoken.

I’ve done many things I’m proud of this year. I do yoga. I’m in a book club. I have a blog. I did a big Thanksgiving meal mostly on my own. I’ve learned a lot. Most importantly, I’ve held it together. 

Here’s to hoping next year brings more firsts, more accomplishments, and more joy.

What accomplishments are you proud of from 2017? What are the goals you most want to meet? I’d like to know.  ☺


Loving A Victim of Abuse

I’m definitely not easy to live with, and I’m the first to say so.

Things happen in life that we have no control over, especially when we are young.

There are many variations on abuse, but the survivors all need love and all need people to be understanding about their situation. Loving someone who is a survivor of abuse can be a challenge. I’m going to give you a few guidelines.

Support them.

They have had their worth, privacy, safety, innocence, and confidence stolen from them. Understand that their mind, heart, and emotions are fragile and will be for a long time.

Don’t push for details.

What happened to me happened sixteen years ago. Still, I haven’t told the whole story. If the victim wants to talk about it, let them talk, but if you aren’t law enforcement, don’t push for details. This can cause more harm than good.

Let them not be “over it.”

Abuse is a lingering thing. I still flinch from my husband sometimes even though he would never hurt me. The body and mind remember things. A touch, a sound, a scent, and everything rushes back.

If they need to vent, let them.

Sometimes a survivor needs to vent and cry it out. Let them. If they need to scream, yell, kick. Let them. They’ll be better for it. They have a right to be angry. They have been violated.

If they need to be alone and need space, understand.

THIS. This is the most important. The best healing for me has been to be alone, to write it out, to be in peace. If a survivor needs this, understand. Leave them be. Sometimes silence and room to breathe are all a person needs. Let them have distance for as long as they need.

For someone who has not lived it, parts of living as a survivor of abuse can be hard to fathom. If you have no idea, say so, and ask what you can do. If the survivor says nothing, believe them, and let it be.

I have so much respect for my husband. Taking me on is no easy endeavor. I’m probably the most insecure person I know. There have been so many lasting memories and triggers that I still find new ones to this day. 

Belief is the biggest thing you can do to love a survivor in your life. In the midst of all the pain they feel, feeling like no one believes them is one of the worst things that can happen. Their circumstances are horrible enough without feeling like their situation doesn’t matter. Loving a survivor means supporting them, loving them, and believing them. 



“She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.”

Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Words are easily my favorite thing. They make up all my other favorite things: books, stories, and poetry. They seem to be the fastest way to my heart. Words can make something from nothing. Empires have been built on words.

Laws are created with words.

Love has bloomed from words.

Wars have been started over words.

They are used to motivate, to militarize, to organize, and to separate.

I hear people say all the time, “They’re just words.” I’m living proof that some of the most painful injuries can be caused by words.

Life is described by words.

I’ve read articles and stories of the blind and how they are better able to perceive the world because of being able to read braille.

The deaf are able to learn where they have not been able before. The animated teacher’s mouth movements can make sense when they are transcribed. Words are made into motion as someone translates speech to ASL.

I use words in everything. I use them to explain, to understand, to evoke, to heal.

Words make up the sonnet, the manifesto, the suicide note, and the battlecry.

Emotions and worlds come to life as words pass the lips or spill across the page. They are a confession of love, an apology, a last chance, a request, and sometimes, the last memory people have of us after we’re gone.

Whether in ink, by mouth, on a screen, or locked away and confined to your heart, words are my most favorite thing.