I was working the other day, listening to music, doing my thing to stay productive… And a song by Anne-Marie came on called “Perfect To Me”. To say the least, she pulled me away from my work… [insert crying laughing emoji]. In the video, they ask random people, “What does perfect mean to you?” and OMG I LOVE this question. While watching the video, I saw just how many different types of perfect there are out there!
You know that one perfect that the media mostly covers? Skinny, clear skin, non-frizzy hair, no scars or stretch marks, no cellulite, always happy… It is clear that none of this is realistic for every person – not even one person if we’re honest… At least not all the time. So why should these particular “models” look, be perfect, for everyone else? There is not ONE perfect road.
We say “there is no such thing as perfect”, and I used to say this too, but now, I believe there is such a thing. When I define “perfect”, it is many “perfects”, under one definition. My “perfect” is being yourself. It’s true, it’s genuine, it’s real… Perfect should be effortless. You’re not trying to be someone or something you’re not.
I have skin breakouts. I’m not skinny or toned. I have a scar from stitches on the skin around my eye, on my nose and my cheek. I have freckles all over my shoulders and arms. My nails are kept on the shorter side. I suffer from PTSD and depression, but I still try my best not to let those disorders affect my life. I’m friendly, I love people, I love music, I love singing and dancing even though I’m not great at either! I love to work out, I love eating, I love going to water parks. I rarely wear make-up, but when I do usually it’s eyeliner, mascara and lipstick (if I’m in the mood). This is me. These are the things I like. Not everyone may enjoy doing the same things as me, and that’s okay. Those who don’t like these things can do the things they enjoy on their own! Because those things are what makes THEM perfect! This is the same concept as looks. Just because most models are skinny and look flawless and they might love how they look, it doesn’t mean YOU have to do the same for yourself. Be how you want to be. That’s it. It’s super simple.
Here are just a few examples of different people’s definition of “perfect”:
“Being different to everyone else in the whole world”
“…That Barbie body that is enforced into young girls that is perfect…”
“To be perfect is to be truly you.”
“My mom died when I was 14, my perfect was eating lunch with her every day.”
“The word perfect to me is the way someone feels within their own body.”
As most of you may know, We Are Not Broken has a recent motto: “Turn trauma into triumph”. I wanted to talk about this a little because it is very important to remember, to help us stay positive through these hard times!
What are we experiencing?
There are different ways we can turn trauma into triumph OR turn a negative situation into a positive one. Here are just a few examples!
Scars – If you have a scar, instead of remembering your scar moment as the time you got hurt, remember it as the time you survived… the time you got through it… the time you got up and walked away… the time you won at life. Every year, I celebrate May 4, the day of my car accident, with the fact that I am still here. Of course I get emotional that day, it never fails… but it’s a “good emotional”. I start to feel thankful for my scars – they’re super cool… I start to feel thankful for those who were around me through those difficult times in the hospital and in rehab. I also make sure to physically thank them, or in some way, let them know that I love them. I feel thankful that I am alive because based on what happened, there is a definite chance that I could not be!
COVID-19 quarantines – Instead of seeing COVID-19 as a ruin for your birthday celebration, your baby shower, or anything you might be having a party for… Make something of it! There are a lot of people who I have seen that are blaming the virus for making their birthday a sad one this year. The hard truth is about to come out, but nothing is making your birthday a sad one but YOU. You need to take that celebration into your own hands. Have a party online by webcamming with your friends and family! Go all out to make it FUN. Buy a cake and ice cream. Buy some wine (if it’s an adults party of course)! Buy some fun little decorations. Maybe make a little pre-announcement that you’re gonna have a virtual birthday party and you want people to attend. Play some music in the background for a dance party and PARTY ON!
People love to see others happy. They love to see them enjoying life as it is, no matter how hard it may get. Positivity (especially through difficult times) gets so much attention.
Financial distress – If you’re having issues financially, instead of making your stress grow, instead of giving up, get the mindset to tackle it. Get a planner. Get a financial advisor. Prepare to rise above and succeed and manage those finances like a BOSS!
Not only does keeping a positive attitude about traumas and failures attract people, but it helps the individual grow as a person. It helps the person grow spiritually, grow in relationships with others, and most importantly, grow in a relationship with themself.
So go ahead and turn your trauma into triumph! How are YOU gonna do it?!
Let’s think for a minute about how the media portrays makeup.
“It’s a necessity.”
“You won’t be pretty without it.”
“You NEED to look perfect for people to love you.”
Celebrities hire professional makeup artists so they can have their makeup perfectly applied and look flawless. And they do look flawless! But having no imperfections is not real. In my personal opinion, wearing makeup (at least a lot of it!) is covering the real you. It covers up your natural looks, your natural person, your natural self. Am I against makeup? No. Do I think makeup is the devil? Heck no! I love wearing makeup. I use it as a toy when I’m bored. I like to do my makeup and see how I look with different “vibes”. There are soooo many different looks that one woman can achieve and that intrigues me! Wearing makeup, however, to portray that it is a necessity and you won’t be “cool” or “liked” or “pretty” without it, I AM against.
Let’s take a positive role model from the media for example. One of my favorite ladies on this beautiful planet is Alicia Keys. I’m sure you’ve heard of her but if you haven’t, she’s got an amazing singing voice, and has been big in the entertainment industry for about almost 20 years. In 2016, Alicia Keys stopped wearing makeup, not just in the comfort of her own home, but at those big celeb events like on the red carpet, at her concerts, photoshoots, etc. When asked why she stopped wearing makeup, she said “I hope to God it’s a revolution. ‘Cause I don’t wanna cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.” [Insert red 100 emoji 3 times]
I wish we had more of this with the people who have such a large platform as she does. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of celebrities who post pictures here and there of themselves without makeup (still sending credit to them), but no one has made it a normality in their life until Alicia Keys did. PROPS, MS. ALICIA! #nomakeup
So how often are women really wearing make-up? On a normal day? While they’re sheltered-in-place and stuck in their house? A personal study shows that on a normal basis, on any given day, 45% of women wear make-up every single day.
92% wear makeup because it makes them feel good and gives them a confidence boost. Only 8% said they wear it to hide their physical insecurities. This is great! I think it is totally okay to want to wear makeup to make yourself feel good. Sometimes we need a little confidence boost and makeup is a great way to get it, in case we don’t want to interact with anybody – cause let’s be honest, sometimes we’re just not in the mood for people 😉
Then we asked the women how often they wore makeup during the COVID-19 outbreak. 34% (the highest percentage) said they never wear make-up and leave the house occasionally. I found this to be interesting as I noticed a big difference in the amount of women who wear makeup every day under normal circumstances (no pandemic) as opposed to when we do have a pandemic, they are never wearing makeup, yet still occasionally leave their house (I’m assuming for necessities like groceries). My “everyday” ladies disappeared when I asked about the pandemic times! There could be several reasons behind this: stress, not enough time, just don’t care, OR they are finally identifying themselves and are enjoying looking at their true self in the mirror!
I am happy to find out that the least of women wear makeup to hide their insecurities. If this is you, I want you to know that no matter what your insecurities are, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. I don’t need to know the specific reasons to tell you that. Everyone has that beauty inside them that they need to find, themselves. It’s all up to YOU. People around you can help by telling you, as I just did, but you need to make sure to find your natural beauty within you. Quite frankly, at the age of 29, I am just reaching mine. There has been a light shining through for many many years, but now I absolutely love myself both naturally or done up. I love my personality and I love my physical attributes. I no longer negatively critique my looks when I look in the mirror!
What’s your favorite feature about yourself? It can be a physical or personality attribute!
“… I swear, it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt.” – Alicia Keys
Yep. I said what I meant and I meant what I said. Words. Are. Powerful. Nice words. Bad words. Loving words. Rude words. It doesn’t matter what kind of words they are… they hit hard. A perfect example is the Youtube video that We Are Not Broken posted to Facebook on February 6. It’s called “Who You Are: A Message to all Women”. It’s literally a three and a half minute video of Jon Jorgenson talking to the woman who is watching the video. Providing nothing but words of affirmation – POWERFUL words. The way he looks at the camera like he is staring into your soul makes it alllll the better!
You are beautiful
You are unique
You are always enough
You are worth more than you could ever imagine
This is just some of the verbiage he uses. I cried. This video made an impact on me. There are so many things he mentions that I never would have thought would apply to me, but do. You know it’s a good video when someone you don’t even know teaches you things about yourself that you never even knew. That’s POWERFUL. A “simple” three and a half minute video (that I only watched once) made such an impact on me that I’ll remember it for the rest of my life – a lasting impression… Three and a half minutes!! I know I’m not the only lady who feels this way. Remember, we all need to aim for spreading positivity around us. Positivity from the things we say to others, our actions, our facial expressions, our text messages… We all have bad days; but if we can learn to turn that negative experience into a positive one, well what kind of a world this could be!
How can I change my life into a more positive one? A goal of mine is to watch a short inspirational video every morning before I start my day, or before I start work.
I challenge YOU to find something to help kick-start your day! Maybe it’s starting to eat a healthy breakfast every morning, read an inspiring book (if you’re not a fast reader like me, you could read a chapter every morning), download an inspiring quote app to your phone and looking at a quote every morning, sit outside and enjoy some coffee and fresh air before you start your day! The possibilities are endless! Share with us what you are doing to positively start your day by commenting on We Are Not Broken’s Facebook announcement post for this blog!
Stuff happens. Stuff happens to us every day. Stuff doesn’t discriminate against your skin color, your personality, your body type, your height, your hair color, or your age. Children are included with this stuff, and most of the time, they don’t know how to process it. If a child gets a scar, or has an illness, they more than likely will not feel beautiful or worthy… unless we help them.
Children already go through so much at school or even in public in general, just learning how to live. Children make fun of each other because they don’t know that people have different styles and dress different ways. Children make fun of each other because they don’t know that not everyone has the same home-life as them. Children make fun of each other because they don’t know that people as young as they are can still have an illness such as cancer, or an autoimmune disease. Children make fun of each other because they don’t know that people as young as they are can still lose an arm or a leg or an eye. The commonality between these situations? They don’t know. Kids don’t know what can happen in life. This is where we teachers, parents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, and adults come in.
To me, one of the most important things in life that I want for my five year old daughter is for her to understand we all have differences and that it’s completely okay. I will gladly explain when she asks me about such. She first saw someone in a wheelchair at Wal-Mart. She asked me what it was and I simply explained to her that if someone is not able to walk, they use a wheelchair. “Why can’t they walk?” she asked. “Sometimes they might be missing a leg because of something that happened, or they might be paralyzed and can’t feel their leg so they can’t walk on it, or they might have just hurt their leg and it needs to heal before they can start walking again.” I explained. My daughter is the type to repeat what she just learned back to you. So she repeats everything I said and it sticks in her brain. Now when she sees someone in a wheelchair, she knows why they are in it. She knows wheelchairs are not scary, but that they exist to help us get around. Another instance she’s witnessed a couple times is people who are blind. One person had a white cane, and was wearing sunglasses. My daughter asked me why they were holding the “stick”. I told her that “the person is blind, which means they can not see. The cane helps them get around.” The second instance was a lady who was blind but wasn’t wearing any sunglasses. My daughter asked her why her eyes were “like that”. The lady knew she was an innocent child curious about her differences. She very kindly explained to her that she could not see and she was born that way.
When children ask these things about other people, they aren’t being rude or inappropriate. They are genuinely curious little souls who are trying to learn about the world around them. When they ask, rather than telling them to be quiet or pulling them away from the situation, I think it is important to teach our children about all the differences they might see at school or at the store, etc. Let them know that it’s okay to be friends with someone, no matter what they may look like, because we are ALL different.
Now it’s time to speak about those who may have a bit of a rougher time coping with these differences. I’m talking about the child with scars; the child who has cancer and can’t grow her hair long and “beautiful”; the child who had to have her arm amputated because of a blood disease. We also need to focus on these lovely children. We need to focus on helping them boost their confidence, to help them feel beautiful. It’s not only about feeling beautiful, but making sure they KNOW they are beautiful.
This is my number one goal I want to instill with my daughter. I tell her every day that she’s beautiful, but I explain in more detail almost weekly. I explain to her that “No matter what anyone says, you are beautiful. No matter how people treat you, you need to know that you are beautiful. Other kids at school might make fun of your scar, but it doesn’t matter what they think, as long as you know you are beautiful. As long as you keep a kind soul, you will always be a beautiful person!” I feel like I just won a Best Mom Award when she tells me she is beautiful… She also tells me I’m beautiful! As long as they have that kind of confidence, that’s all they need in life when it comes to their self image. We can never surely make their brains think that way but we can definitely help it!
If you enjoy making people feel happy, this blog is probably for you. Have you ever waved at someone, said hi, or even just flashed a smile THINKING that you might have just made their day better? You see, I have a mission in life. My mission is to help others… Whether I’m inspiring them, boosting their mood, making their day better… Whatever the case may be, I want to help them. After my accident, I wanted to become a motivational speaker and speak at high schools, colleges, etc but I didn’t have a relative enough platform. Usually if it’s about a car accident, most motivational speakers at schools talk about drunk driving (because that’s what usually had happened with the accident) but we were all sober in the car so it’s like I couldn’t even talk about that because I didn’t relate in that way.
That’s why I’m glad We Are Not Broken is here. I relate to the organization, immensely. It gives me the opportunity to share my story (just like I wanted to) and help others (just like I wanted to), never in a way that I had imagined but BETTER. I get nervous of speaking in front of crowds so sharing my story in front of Nick and a camera, or in front of this computer screen is completely perfect for me. It lets me do exactly what I wanna do it and HOW I wanna do it. I can use my scars to help motivate other women and girls to feel better about themselves. When a female feels beautiful, it instills higher self esteem which is something we all could use!
If you’re looking for YOUR calling or your mission in life, why not start slow? Let’s be honest, who DOESN’T enjoy making others feel happy or good about themselves? While this may not be your mission like it is mine, I’m sure it still makes us all happy when we do it. The ultimate goal is to make others happier, which makes us happier which makes happy people in general 🙂
You never know what is going through people’s minds as you walk past them on the street, or at work. Maybe they woke up late this morning… Maybe they had a good friend or family member pass away last week… Maybe they are returning to work after a major surgery… Maybe they just found out they have cancer… Maybe they just found out their significant other has been cheating on them… How much do you think someone else’s world would rise by giving them just a simple compliment? I can remember going back to school, as a senior in high school, after the summer of my accident, the way I felt by the way my face looked, it absolutely lit up my world when someone showed excitement to see me. To give you an idea, the photo below, on the right side, is how I looked going back to school.
“We’re glad you’re here!”
“You look great!” (Even though I completely did not feel like I did, it still made me happy.)
“I’m so happy to see you!”
All of these were said, and all were said more than once! And my favorite…
“Alysse is invincible!”
Someone calling me, a 17 year old, invincible… WOW. That literally made me feel like a superhero. Such a simple word made someone’s “simple” day a heck of a lot better.
At work, we have these red cut out paper hearts sitting on the counter from a decorative project. Today, a client walked in, saw them and asked “Can I have one of these? It will really make my day better…” I mean, talk about SIMPLE!!! Of course we let her have one.
I say let’s definitely keep these things in mind when communicating with other people. We all have bad days and maybe even on one of your own bad days, you can kill two birds with one stone (oof! that’s a really bad idiom to use with this subject) and compliment somebody, wave, say hi or flash a simple smile and you’ll make their day and your own, better!
“Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
We recently lost a great legend in the athletic world. As all of you may already know, Kobe Bryant lost his life at the young age of just 41. He was an athlete loved by millions, but most importantly, he was a husband, and he was a father. Personally, I’m not huge on sports – but hearing about his death hit me the hardest finding out that:
He is a father of four, and
One of his beautiful daughters was in the helicopter with him and followed him to heaven.
Let’s not forget the other seven people who also lost their lives in this horrific accident – Christina Mauser, a basketball coach, mother of three, and wife; John (a baseball coach) and Keri Altobeli, husband and wife and one of their children, Alyssa; the pilot, Ara Zobayan; and Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton.
What kind of fear do you think they must have felt while the helicopter was flying towards the ground at over 180 mph, knowing that they couldn’t do anything about it? I can’t help but grab my hair and cringe just thinking about it.
What was going through their minds?
“It’s gonna be okay. We’re gonna make it.”
“We’re not gonna make it.”
Or maybe even…
“May the will of God protect us.”
Were they hugging and/or telling each other how much they love each other?
Were they trying to call their loved ones to let them know they might not make it back?
All of these thoughts are to be pondered possibly forever. I think this is a really good time to reflect on our own lives and these scars we have – what do they represent?
When I was 16, I was in a car accident. I broke my nose, my eye socket, and shattered my bottom jaw which also knocked out seven teeth. I was immediately unconscious and remained so for four more days. My face hit the window, so I had more than several lacerations in my face. The corner of my smile was cut open, as well as the skin on the outer-corner of my eye. I spent about a month to a month and a half in the hospital, a week with inpatient rehab, and just had the rest of the summer to recover at home (and outpatient rehab) before my senior year of high school started… and WOW what a time that was! Looking back, I wish I had been more sure of myself, that even though I couldn’t eat the same foods as everyone else at the hospital (YAY for liquid and puree diets!), or do the same activities as the others, my time would once come and everything would be okay. Instead, I soaked myself in the moment I was in… Even though I had ALL the support from my family, I felt sad, lonely, and scared. As a teenager, it was very difficult to see past the tough times I was going through.
This is one thing I want you to try focusing on if you are currently in a similar position that I was in. If you’re going to dwell in the moment, dwell in the fact that you’re still here. Maybe you’re still able to walk or talk; Maybe you’re still able to eat food and drink water; You probably have people around you who will be more than happy to support you. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Ask for help or advice! More than likely, you have some new, (or not so new) visible scars… KNOW that they are what kept you here on this earth – and THAT, in itself, is a beautiful thing. Dwell on the positive! Listen to me now when I say it will never do you any good if you just think about the negative times – ALL THE TIME. I’m not saying it’s not going to occasionally happen – because it totally will. You are allowed to think about the hard times you’re going through. It’s okay to be sad, or mad, or frustrated with life. And it’s totally okay to cry, or scream or let those feelings out any way you want to… Just do yourself a favor and don’t get yourself stuck in a rut. Find a positive outlet and follow it.
So, let’s reflect… What do YOUR scars represent? Do they represent strength? Power? Consistency? Beauty? Maybe you can brainstorm some words (or if you can’t think of any on your own, look on the internet or in a dictionary!) and write them down on some paper or a poster board (feel free to use your own creative ideas to make it beautiful!). Join me in making something inspiring for yourself that you can hang up and look at every day. And if you feel so inclined, share your creation on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and tag We Are Not Broken so we can all see it and celebrate with you! (I have included mine below as an example!)
As an adult – I am so happy I have these beautiful scars that have been left on display for all to see. I am able to tell my story (I do get asked a lot since they are on my face), and I am able to talk about how God protected me, my body fought the hardships, and I won. Kobe and his family and friends lost their lives all too soon, in the blink of an eye. Remember to try to continuously think about the positive, praise God for all of His protection over you, and hug your friends and family and tell them you love them every day.