The Woman in the Mirror 

I’ve had self-esteem issues for as long as I can remember.

When I was very little, I had no worries. I was a total tomboy, who didn’t care what other people thought of me. I was happier dressed in clothes I could climb trees & get muddy in. And often did just those very things. I climbed up & down a cliff behind our house on a daily basis, snagging my hair on tree branches, and chewed my nails down to the quick, making my mom lament of me ever being a “girly girl”. 

She has often told stories about how she would wait until we were literally on our way out the door for church to get me in my dress, or I’d get something on it.
But, little girls grow up, and as they do, they eventually start to care about how others see them.

I was no different.

By the time I hit 6th grade, I cared about how I was perceived by my peers, as well as by adults. 

Alas, also by this time, we’d moved from Iowa, where I had friends, to a small town in North Dakota, where… not only did I know no one, but I was a complete outsider.

I was, and still am, a nerd. I read a lot, was good at school, & got good grades.  I wasn’t a troublemaker. I’m not good at sports (my nickname in volleyball was “jello-wrists”, no joke) except for horseback riding, and our small town lived for its sports. I wasn’t considered pretty enough to garner the “pretty new girl” attention, & I didn’t have the “right” last name. 

All of these things pretty much signed my social death warrant there.

In high school, at 5’7″, 125-130lbs, I was considered the “fat girl”.

I smiled here because I knew it was almost over. 

My saving grace through high school, was that my best friend had faith in me. She was a total extrovert, who moved to our town when we were in the 8th grade. She was good at sports, & was/is gorgeous & skinny. And she believed in my writing.

She sort of adopted me, & pulled me out of my shell, got me to leave our small town, & we went on adventures to other towns where we fit in much better, & made our own fun.

Even with that, I still stood in the shadows. I was always – “Oh, you’re S’s friend, right?” 

*sigh* yes, I’m her friend. 

I did make some friends of my own, separate from her, we did each gave our own groups that we’d hang out with, occasionally. And I did have boyfriends from those other towns that had no connection to her.

But I never felt as though I was enough.

Every relationship I’ve had has ended with me feeling as though I wasn’t enough for the other person. I always felt as though I was lacking, somehow, because of how things ended. Every. Single. One.

I’ve never really, truly, felt good enough.
And that includes my writing.

I’ve had certain friends tell me for years that I should write a book. That my words are worth more, that they have value.

I’ve always kind of just pooh-poohed the notion, telling them that I write my blog for me, to get the words out of my head.

After all, friends & family are supposed to say nice things to you, right? They’re supposed to back you up no matter what, right? Even if it’s trash?

Nephew… You live too far away to smack me on the back of the head right now, so sit back down.

I love you.

And I’m not done talking yet.

Because right now, I’m standing on the edge of a cliff.

I’m terrified – and exhilarated – and about ready to puke – all at the same time.

Because… I’m taking a leap of faith, & I’m going to try to build a pair of wings on my way down.

A little over a week ago, someone that I’ve admired & respected from a distance for a long time, but who has had zero idea that I existed, contacted me. 

We started talking, & in the course of becoming friends, I introduced this person to my blog. They liked my writing, & started telling me that I should write a book. 

I told them to talk to my Nephew, because it sounded like an echo.

My self-esteem still needs work – I know this.

I still look for acceptance & approval from others on my work, whether it’s my writing, my crafts, my remodeling I’m doing on my house. I’m never sure that what I’m doing is good enough, and I flounder in indecision about the choices I make unless I get feedback from people I trust.

I don’t know if it’s just a Gemini thing, or just a Jen thing… 

Even today, when I spoke to one of my coworkers about the possibility of me writing a book, she called me crazy. And I immediately started to doubt myself.

It’s easier to believe the bad stuff.

The woman in the mirror every morning looks at me with bleary, disbelieving eyes.

The woman in the mirror at night usually tells me it’ll be better tomorrow.

I’m hoping there’s a bad ass bitch hanging around somewhere in the background who’ll kick both their asses, smash the mirror, & yank me up by my collar one of these days.

Till then… I’ll be shoveling sand.

Ready… Set… Rrrrrrrrrip the Bandaid Off

A friend sent me this picture not so long ago. 

And, over the last several weeks, I’ve circled round it, always coming back and reading – and re-reading it. 

There is truth in this little square of words – if only I can dig it out of myself, somehow.

I ask myself the question, over and over:

Just what IS it, that lies at the center of my being?  I can feel the answers there, like a small, golden orb, glowing with a steady light, and yet… I’m afraid to pull back the layers of protection, to knock down the walls of self-doubt and fear that I’ve put up over the years. 

Just what am I afraid of?

Well, the same things that everyone’s afraid of, I guess.


Because if I pull back all the layers, and finally discover who I really am, and start actually being that person, then if someone rejects me… they’re rejecting the real me.  Not a stunt-double, not a stand-in, not a construct or a mask that I’ve projected for their approval.  I can’t hide anymore, nor can I blow it off as “Oh, they don’t know the real me, or they’d love me.” 

I have to be honest, though, and say that, for the most part, I am the real me, here.  Even under an assumed name, I am more “Me” here, than I am in most of my everyday life.  It’s easier to show the raw emotions, the darker, scarier stuff, when you have the anonymity of the internet to hide behind. 

And some of you that read this, know me in real life.  Which… kind of causes me to be hesitant when we speak, to say the same things out loud, that I say here.  It’s like there really are 2 completely separate personalities… one is Brea, and lives here, in the computer… one is the legal-name me, and lives out in the mundane world. 

So, for those of you that know me, especially those that I see day-to-day, please know, that when I start to whisper, or my eyes slide to the side, hesitant, it’s not because I don’t want to talk… it’s that it’s harder, face-to-face, to be that raw, that vulnerable.  Because I fear the rejection.

One of my blogging friends… you know who you are… said that it’s so much harder to say things in person, that he was telling his blog-readers things that he had trouble telling his family.  And it’s true.  Just that touch of anonymity… makes it easier.  A little distance, a tiny wall of protection, and you can fool yourself into believing that you’re just “writing in a journal on the computer”. 

I’ve been using a phrase a lot lately… That I’ve always been a kind of “rip-the-bandaid-off-all-at-once” kind of girl.  I don’t like limbo, I don’t like prolonging the agony or the anxiety, any longer than I have to.  I like to do things in a certain order.

1.  Do my research on any given subject – whether it’s choosing a hair style, choosing paint to go on a wall, choosing which e-cigarette I’m going to use to quit smoking, or choosing to get a divorce – I research.  I haunt the web, reading sites, checking out what other people think about any given thing, and asking people at work, and friends, what they think of a thing.  I try really hard not to walk into things blindly.  I might make a wrong decision in the end, but, it’s still my decision, so… lesson learned.

2.  I make a decision – one way or the other.  And once the decision is made… there really isn’t much going back.  I have a very stubborn streak.  Ask around, everyone who knows me, even the slightest, knows about my stubborn tendencies.  It’s genetic – take my word for it.

3.  I act… and I want results.  I hate limbo, even with the game of limbo, I always ended up on my butt, because I was in too much of a rush.  I hate waiting.  I want it over, and behind me.

Right now, my life consists of this irritating limbo- waiting- between one place and another, between one life and another.  And I hate it.  I really, really do.  I know that there is a certain order to things, and that I have to wait for them to occur in that order… but I still hate it.

I don’t care right now, if the wound bleeds… I’ll wash it off.  After a certain time, wounds need the oxygen to heal, just as much as they needed the bandage before.

So, at the center of my being… who am I?  And what do I want?  Hang on, and we’ll find out.

Friday Filosophy 2/11/11

Opening that Can

I’ve talked before about how I feel like I’m getting old.  I have big plans for when that happens, and I’m looking forward to the day when I can officially take up my “crone stick” and start whooping some @ss that deserves it.

And there are a few.  I’m going to make a list of some of the types of people that deserve a little karmic justice delivered fresh to their door.

1.  People that forget that sports are supposed to be about the kids HAVING FUN.  If it isn’t fun….. what’s the point?  Why do you yell at these kids and call them names, screaming when they make an honest mistake, or, for pete’ssake, TRIP on the basketball court?  IT’S A GAME, PEOPLE!  And they’re KIDS.  Learn some sportsmanship, or stay home. Especially the coaches.  If you can’t teach the kids on your team good sportsmanship, WTH are you doing leading them?

Brea’s Philosophy:  For these jerks, I’d like to see them get reamed out by their mothers for being bullies.  And dragged off by their ears to sit in a corner till they can “play nice”.

2.  People that expect their children to act like adults.  They grow up fast enough as it is, folks.  Give them the chance to actually act their age.  I’m not saying that bad behavior is ok, but fer cryin’ out unprintably!  You can’t expect a 2-yr. old to understand the same abstract concepts as a 25-year old, or a 40-year old.  Give it a rest. 

Brea’s Philosophy:  Overstuffed parental units need to be deflated.  Hand them  a MENSA test, and see how smart they are, when they don’t pass, point and laugh.  Then post their results on Fbook for everyone to point and laugh.

3.  People that say that their way is the only way.  Just where did you get those blinders?  I thought they stopped issuing them around the time that free will came into fashion.  I’ll hang on to my free will, thanks.  You can just keep the blinders.  They chafe.

Brea’s Philosophy:  People that only see their own road, should be allowed to follow it.  Attach a life-like bobblehead doll to the front of their blinders – they’ll think someone’s agreeing with everything they say, and they’ll walk off happily talking to their new friend.

4.  People that think it’s ok to bully anyone, anywhere, at any time.  They say that the bullies are just people with low self-esteem.  I DON’T CARE.  Bullies should NOT be tolerated in any form.  When you see someone bullying, STEP UP and SAY SOMETHING.  Silence is a form of acceptance.

Brea’s Philosophy:  The only way to stop bullies is to back them down.  It doesn’t have to get violent, just get smart.  Bullies are usually not very smart.  If they were, they wouldn’t be acting this way, because they wouldn’t feel the need to.  They need to be brought low by the proper placement of shame.  If you can make them feel ashamed of their bullying behavior, they’ll stop.  Maybe even apolog— well, you can hope. 

If the bully is being physically violent?  Call the cops.  9-1-1. 

And the last can of Old Lady Whoop @ s s I would like to open?

5.  People that call me old, even if I am.  Knuckle sammich.

Happy Friday, children!  Keep it clean, and play nice!

The Lesson of Pride

Narcissus was a youth that was full of pride in himself.  He was so prideful that the Gods cursed him.  The curse was one that caused him to fall in love with that which was unattainable – his own reflection.  He pined away, staring into his own eyes.

The lesson in this legend is that neither should you be too proud, thinking yourself better than others; and that you should not blindly seek to attain love from those that will not return it to you.  Both are damaging, and will result in nothing but pain.

I had part of this lesson opened up to me today. 

I believe that I wrote about being asked to officiate at another wedding, this one to take place on Halloween/Samhain.  I was, and last night, I was scheduled to meet with the couple to talk about the ceremony, and get all the particulars.

Well, the evening didn’t go as planned at all. 

I went to the restaurant to meet with them, and waited.  And waited.  For 20 minutes, I sat there.  I tried to contact them by the phone number that I’d been given, but it had been disconnected.  And they didn’t contact me by the e-mail address that I’d given, either.  I was angry, and slightly embarrassed.  After all, here I’d sat in the entryway of the restaurant for 20 minutes, by myself, didn’t get seated, and ended up walking out, again, by myself. 

Stood up.  Jilted.  Disrespected. 

Me.  An ordained minister, a professional (cause, you know, I’ve already done 2 official weddings and a handfasting, for Pete’s sake!)

I’m special.

I had plenty of help in this prideful notion today, too, when I told the women in my office how I’d been stood up by the couple that wanted to get married.  And they better have a damn good reason for it if they still wanted me to do this wedding.  The women nodded in sympathy, and told me flat out to refuse the couple.  There was no excuse for that level of disrespect.

Which made me stop.

Yeah, there are reasons.  And I don’t know them.  And it’s only disrespectful if I let it reflect on who I see myself as.

Am I some holier-than-them special high-muckity Grand Poobah?


I’m human.  I hate mornings.  I growl at people until I’ve had my Diet Coke caffeine fix.  I run late sometimes, and sometimes I don’t live up to my own, or other people’s expectations.

So how can I sit on my big Judging-Otter chair (for you Laura) and pass sentence on people that I’ve never even met?

Well, I can’t.

So, tonight, when the prospective Groom called me, apologetic and wanting to try again for a meeting on Saturday, I told him it was alright, and I was still willing.

Because really, without compassion and forgiveness, how can I call myself a member of the clergy of any faith, and still look myself in the mirror?  My head would be too swollen with my own reflection to see anything, or anyone else.

At what point do Self-Esteem and Pride become harmful?  When you let it get in the way of life, and when it stops allowing you to be a useful and contributing member of society. 

In other words, Check Yourself – Before You Wreck Yourself.

Lesson learned.  Thanks.