Category Archives: Feeling good

She Actually…


I adore this article and had to share. Credit to The Messy Life.

“She actually turned out to be pretty…”

A few years after coming out of the awkward i’m-far-too-lazy-to-wake-up-early-and-dress-like-i’m-going-to-Paris-when-i’m-actually-going-to-gym-class stage, these words were said about me.

Casually, someone told me about that conversation when we were in the car leaving Walmart and something about it dug deep into my skin. It had been a conversation between boys who apparently wrote the definition for pretty.

I had always known that braces, curly hair and untamed eyebrows were not a winning combo, but it did something to my core to hear those words actually said out loud (even years later).

“She actually…” 

As if there had been some town council meeting that had convened during the years when flannel wasn’t cool and nobody liked the messy/bed-head hair look. It was as if everyone had gathered to secretly whisper their doubt about me and my future cool status.

“Yeah, that girl? She’ll probably always be awkward, gangly and discombobulated.”

There was a fire that sat in my bones for years. “She actually…” Over and over again those words would follow me around. It took everything in me to keep blow drying my hair, or using any makeup. There was something in me that so desperately wanted to just go back to how I looked at twelve years old. I wanted to prove to them that twelve year old Ashlin? She actually had always been pretty.

Oh, and that she actually knew that people were pretty in their own way. No one person, or group of people, is superior enough to decide a universal definition.

I’ve seen so many gorgeous girls stand in front of a mirror with a look of disgust. Even if I thought them to be absolutely breathtaking, it never mattered, because they couldn’t see it in themselves.

I should have said something like this to them:

Oh, you were always beautiful, babygirl. It was never about your hair. It was never about the tag sewn into your jeans or how much mascara you could coat onto your eyelashes.

Pretty was that fierce way you stood up for truth in the lunchroom. It’s the way you love to make others laugh. It’s the way you choose to stay and hold others when they cry. 


Pretty is when you still cry at movies because you’ve got a heart beating inside of you that knows love is still worth waiting for and not so impossible to find.

You know, the world will say these words are stupid, they will roll their eyes and call this another inspirational speech or ridiculous piece of encouragement for people that I’ve never even seen.

But I hope you don’t really believe that we have to see someone to know if they’re pretty or beautiful. Those words are not lost on blind eyes, but rather on blind hearts. 

Whether we never sit across from one another, I will always believe there’s something breathtakingly beautiful about you.

Because to me, you will never be a number on a scale. You will never be just another face. You are entirely your own kind of wonderful, though some may never see what I do. How sad for them, that they’ve defined their own worth by what they see in a piece of reflective glass in the bathroom.

You were always enough. You actually were always pretty. Even in your awkward middle school years and even when you take your make-up off. You are beautiful because you are intricate and deep, and thousands and thousands of details make up the heart of who you are.

And you are worth untangling. You are pages upon pages of your own kind of story and it’s worth reading. You have value and I hope that’s what you see when you look at yourself. I hope you know that at the end of the day, it will never matter how tan you are or whether or not you ate that second serving.

You deserve to hear that you are incredible. I really know that, I really believe that. There is somebody in your corner who thinks you are worth loving.

But I hope you really believe that about yourself, too. Because no matter how many times I write it for you, it only matters what you see.

As for me, when I stumble into the bathroom to get ready, I see a collage of all the stages of the person I’ve been and the person I am. I laugh at her frumpy ponytail and oversized pajama shirt and I shove the lies from the back of my mind and think about those words said to me on that car ride and I reply,

She actually was born beautiful and lives beautifully and she actually didn’t ever really need anyone else to believe that but herself.

She actually wants the world to see the person behind the hazel eyes and tiny hands. She actually knows that there’s something put inside her that the world can be changed by.

And she actually wants to say thank you. To the girl who told me about that conversation and the two guys who never intended for me to hear that and most likely meant no harm. Because in their twisted compliment, they made me love that girl in a whole new way, the one I am and the one I’ve always been.


The Invatation


The Invitation~


It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know WHAT YOU ACHE FOR

and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.


It doesn’t interest me how old you are.

I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool

For LOVE for YOUR DREAM and for the ADVENTURE of being ALIVE.


It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…

I want to know if you have touched the CENTRE OF YOUR OWN SORROW

If you have been OPENED by life’s betrayals

Or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.


I want to know if you can SIT WITH PAIN – mine and your own

Without moving to HIDE IT or FADE IT or FIX IT.


I want to know if you can BE WITH JOY- mine and your own


And let the ecstacy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes

Without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic,

to remember the limitations of being human.


It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.

I want to know if you can disappoint another to BE TRUE TO YOURSELF.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.


I want to know if you can see BEAUTY

Even when it is not pretty- every day.

And if you can source your own life from its presence.


I want to know if you can LIVE WITH FAILURE- yours and mine

And still stand at the edge of the lake and SHOUT to the silver of the full moon, “YES!!”


It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can GET UP AFTER THE NIGHT OF GRIEF and despair

Weary and bruised to the bone and DO what needs to be done to feed the children.


It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will STAND IN THE CENTRE OF THE FIRE with me

and NOT SHRINK back.


It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.

I want to know what SUSTAINS YOU FROM THE INSIDE-  when all else falls away.


I want to know if you can BE ALONE with yourself

And if you truly LIKE THE COMPANY YOU KEEP- in the empty moments.




By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Fun things for teens to do in the winter!


Go ice skating.
Go sledding.
Have a movie marathon.
Ski on your Wii.
Go skiing.
Build a snowman.
Make a snow angel.
Build a snow fort.
Have a snowball fight.
See this year’s cool Christmas/Winter movie.
Watch last year’s cool Christmas/Winter flick on DVD.
List your ten favorite Christmas carols in your journal.
Shovel off the porch or driveway for your family.
Write a poem about ice or snow in your journal.
Make a winter journal.
Go on a winter hike with friends.
Go ice fishing.
List your ten favorite Christmas television specials in your journal.
Eat an icicle.
Drink hot chocolate.
Knit a scarf.
Babysit for someone for free.
Donate blood.
Sketch a winter scene.
Decorate your bedroom door for the Holidays.
Make a snowflake card for a friend who lives far away.
Start a new jigsaw puzzle – then finish it.
Make a cinnamon ornament.
Try and make a fun family or winter recipe.
Start a snow shoveling business.
Snow shovel for those in need for free.
Play a game of basketball.
Go watch your high school basketball team.
Go watch your high school ski team.
Go watch your high school wrestling team.
Drink some hot cider.
Make origami ornaments.
Make and use an advent calendar.
Go snow tubing.
Learn to use a snow board or learn a new trick.
Make a snowflake.
Take a walk while it’s snowing and catch snowflakes on your tongue.
Friend someone famous on your social networking page.
Decorate your social networking page with a holiday or winter theme.
Sit or look outside and write a song.
Sit or look outside and write a play.
Start your winter fantasy novel.
Take your dog/pet for a mile-long walk.
Clean out and organize your junk drawer so you have room for this school year’s junk.
Read something that warms your heart.
Read something that makes you laugh out loud.
Go to a museum.
Start a new healthy habit.
Add or add to a folder for homework help sites to your favorite links.
Add or add to a folder for sites on a new interest to your favorite links.
Create a family newsletter to send to your whole family.
List ten thing you like about winter in your journal.
Hug your parent, a friend and yourself.
Learn a card trick.
Make place cards for your family’s holiday meal.
Create an About Me scrapbook album or add a page to the one you have.
Send holiday cards to your friends.
Join a book club.
Play with Magnetic Poetry.
Take a bath in Glistening Winter Nights Bath Salts.
Make Vanilla Lip Gloss.
Make a Winter Beaded Safety Pin.
Make a Decoupage Snowman Bookmark Craft.
Make an Ice Candle.
Go Christmas caroling.
Volunteer to read to children at the library.
Create an imaginary teen from the future.
Go on a winter photo scavenger hunt.
Plan a board game or video game tournament.
Make friendship bracelets in winter blue colors.
Learn a yoga position.
Play ice hockey.
Rearrange your bedroom.
Organize your closet: Bring out your cold weather clothes and store your warm weather clothes.
Go through your socks and underwear. Pitch the old and ask for new.
Go snowshoeing.
Go cross-country skiing.
Bake your favorite cookie.
Make a snow mural with squirt bottles, water, food coloring and a yard full of snow.
Post winter greetings on your friend’s social networking pages.
Make a New Year’s resolution, and a plan that will help you stick to it.
Make a gel candle mug.
Make a heats and pearl choker.
Start or update your checking or savings account.
Plan a Holiday Party.
Plan a Valentine Party.
Go snowmobiling.
Learn a new make-up trick.
Get a new haircut or style.
Volunteer at your community food pantry, soup kitchen or church.
Go winter camping – learn survival skills.
Make a snowflake mobile – use glitter.
Make a crazy music video to your favorite song.
Write five facts about your favorite animal/rock star/person in your journal.
Grunge up a pair of jeans.
Play outside with flashlights after dinner.