Saturday, May 28, 2011

be better, not bitter. the two choices that will change your life.

whenever you find yourself in a situation that frustrates you, or hurts you, or makes you cry or scream or give up and give in; you always have two options.

the first one is the obnoxious, obvious, impatient choice to impulsively react to the situation without any thought or reflection. this choice is easy, sometimes exhilarating, and the adrenaline rush of saying the thoughts that instantly appear in your head without thinking creates a powerful high of emotion. this choice is often used by the intoxicated, the exhausted, the immature and the selfish side of people, all of which have one thing in common: the unwillingness/inability to reflect on their own feelings and be honest with themselves.

the second choice is quiet. it sits in the back of your mind, waiting for the emotional dust to settle before making it's entrance. it's timid, and when it speaks to you, it whispers. it doesn't shout over your other thoughts, or swelling emotions, it waits for hours, even days and weeks to whisper to you something you've felt inside for a long time. this choice will speak only a few words, sometimes stinging when you first realize what they mean. when it speaks, you feel a 'growing pain' of character, a shrinking of pride, a dwindling flame of anger. it's the first initial feeling of, "but, it's not fair!" or "why should I be the one to ____?!" etc, but inside your gut knew this choice all along.

ambrose bierce once said "speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret", and i couldn't agree more. after a venting bitching session, even with my closest friends, i don't feel better because of the nasty things i just "let off my chest", i feel better because someone listened to me and heard what i had to say.

no matter where you find yourself in any type of situation, you have the ability to be better that the person you were before that moment. i fully believe every single day, you can be a better person than yesterday.
next time you feel emotional, frustrated, angry, sad, etc. just remember that the answer you're looking for lies within the stillness of your emotions.


i was left in awe!

Friday, May 27, 2011

non-action active listening. p.1.

the world clamors "do more! be all that you can be! quickly!" but our father whispers, "be still, and know that I am god".

whether you find god through nature, through the love of your friends, through your own stillness; what is it whispering over the chaotic chatter of the world?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

loss is not as bad as wanting more.

simplicity. a small word for such an powerful way to live, to be, and to understand who we are and why we're here.
i've always admired simplistic people for their ability to address issues and discuss ideas in a clear and precise way, something that i've never been able to do. I've always been known for talking too much, too loudly, with too much energy; i tend to overdo nearly everything i try to accomplish. 
but, in the past, my complexity tends to back fire and destroy everything i've invested my unruly energy into. i'll overwhelm myself because i want to do everything for everyone, all the time, resulting in projects and plans crashing to the floor. the worst part is that in my efforts to try and help, i end up hurting the person more.

my intentions and motives are always good, yet my actions reflect the people-pleasing side of me, which reflect a selfish side of breanna that i've always hated. my actions and willingness to do things for other people aren't motivated by a need for the other person to accept me (generally), but because of my sensitivity in similar situations and my internal gratitude for people who act out of love and graciousness. i will be forever moved by the people who've treated me with selfless acts of beauty, and i've always wanted to be someone that will change others' lives in the same way.
sometimes, though, i'm not honest with myself-or others- about what i can and cannot do. for example, i've had a tendency to make multiple plans on the same night, and when the time comes to make a decision of what to do and who to change plans with, i'm too afraid of hurting that person- so i don't do anything. i'll just sit, plagued with anxiety about what they'll say or what i'll have to do, and blow the whole night by dwelling on  what-ifs.
i've never really understood how awful that feels until someone told me (not in a hurtful way, but an honest one) that i was "unreliable". that stung worse than i could have imagined, because i've always felt a fundamental part of who i am was to connect to others with an open heart. unreliability, to me, felt like an unconcerned individual that didn't care what they did to whomever they dealt with.
unreliable. one of the most shameful words someone could be described as. yet, for a lot of my life, i've deserved that word. 

this summer, i've been feeling an internal change. i can't quite describe it, but a quote i read describes it very closely: "the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." i realized that so much of my energy, time, love, thoughts, attention and focus was spent on trying to decipher the chaos of my life, which resulted in a disarray of my thoughts, my spiritual identity, my relationships, and myself. i caused self-inflicted anxiety, and instead of eliminating the stressors and frustration out of my life, i hid behind it. i've gotten so used to body-numbing, mind-piercing, spiritually depleting, energy-poisoning anxiety that if i'm not under an enormous amount of stress, i don't feel 'normal'.

well, now it's time for me to use the extra energy, focus, and attention that was previously wasted on stress and anxiety to now face the fears and doubts that caused me to hid behind my chaotic self. 

this brings me back to the idea of simplicity. now that i have the tools to overcome the biggest, scariest, and deepest fears without the distractions and safety of hiding behind my web of chaos, i know i will become a newly-blossomed bud, with nothing (including myself) standing in my way.

Simplicity, patience, compassion. 
These three are your greatest treasures. 
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. 
Patient with both friends and enemies, 
you accord with the way things are. 
Compassionate toward yourself, 
you reconcile all beings in the world.
 Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

spoon me!

summer craft project!



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

my month of may, 1 year ago!

babe turns 21!

starbursts and tequila! 

last day of semester!

wind storms!

wew, tequila!



funniest times!

cutest sister!


wedding of past friends!

love bugs!

i love you!

squats and beauties! 

beer pong couples!

vincent sucks at card games!

cutest boys ever!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Curve: The loveliest distance between two points

I'm 22, female, and living in a society where appearance is valued over character, intellect, talent, etc. Just like almost every single girl that has looked at a magazine, watched an american TV show, or have seen any american hit movie, I've doubted who I was because of what I felt I looked like. Insecurities about body weight have unseen effects on nearly every aspect of a girl's life, often resulting in the most horribly powerful way: hating herself. 

But our fantasy body hasn't always been what it looks like today; in fact, today's malnourished figure has historically been deemed unattractive and definitely unfortunate when it comes to valuing one's appearance. 


"Three Graces" painted by Raphael in 1505 (the left picture above) depicts the actual beauty ideal in the form of three women. All "grace representations" of former centuries show more corpulent women than it to our today's ideal corresponds, like this figure-coveted picture of the Girls Next Door. 

Historians and research has shown that the ideal form of beauty, evidently heavier in earlier history, was a status symbol. Females from wealthy, intellectual families could afford to eat well and be healthy, while the poor remained malnourished and starved. The picture on the left, "Venus before the mirror" from 1615 by Rubens, paints a beautiful, wealthy female subject. The model on the right would have been deemed low class if she lived in that era.

To a certain extent, this correlation has reversed: for instance in the US obesity has become a problem of the lower class. Now, the fashion industry, magazine publishers, Hollywood, your female social setting have emphasized the idea that thin is better, sexier, more valuable than not.

But, as females hardly admit (myself included), a big part of how we see ourselves depends on how much attention we get from the opposite sex. It's ridiculous, I know, but even I feel prettier and have higher sense of value if I receive a compliment, or a tacky guy hits on me, or a whistle is directed my way- rather than something that illuminates values and beliefs I hold about myself. If we only knew what the opposite sex really doesn't prefer these ideals we squeeze, suck-in, and starve ourselves to emulate.

(these are British sizes. The equivalent U.S. sizes would be 10, 6, and 14)

Ladies, the study in the picture above, taken by Fabulous magazine, only says one thing to me:

We are too critical of ourselves. 

If you don't feel beautiful in your own skin, you sure as hell won't appreciate somebody who is confident in their own body, and we tend to make a point of doing so. Ellery Queen once wrote, "the two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy", and you know you've likely done the same.

But there is something you can do about what we value in appearances, and why. Madeleine Albright, an idol I've admired for years reminds us that "there is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women". It's summertime, and with the sunshine comes sun dresses, shorts, skirts, and most dreaded: bathing suits. Let's hold all judgment, criticisms, and nasty comments from infecting another person's mind and understand that you don't see people as they are, you see them as you are.

Elizabeth Metcalf once said "The rarest thing in the world is a woman who is pleased with photographs of herself". This summer, I challenge you to be a rare one.

Here are some pretty quotes:

I've never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful. - Raymond Chandler
Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart. -Kahlil Gibran 
That which is striking and beautiful is not always good, but that which is good is always beautiful. -Ninon de L'Enclos
Beauty comes as much from the mind as from the eye. -Grey Livingston
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. -Confucius
A woman who cannot be ugly is not beautiful. -Karl Kraus
Taking joy in living is a woman's best cosmetic. -Rosalind Russell