friendship

“One Is Not Born a Woman, But Becomes One…”

“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” — Michelle Obama

Happy International Women’s Day to all the fearless, kindhearted young girls and women who work hard to empower others and inspire change! No matter who you are, where you are in life or who you are with, never forget how strong, capable, beautiful and important you are. You deserve better and you definitely deserve to know you are worth more than what you believe.

Acclaimed French writer and novelist, Simone de Beauvoir’s words are inspiring as she shares, “One is not born a woman, but becomes one.” It is hard to be a grown-up, but it is even harder to be a women in today’s world. Left, right and center, women are taken advantage of by those in power, hurt by those who choose to lie, and left behind due to a society’s insecurity. de Bouvier made note that while we are not born anything in this life, we only come into our own when we meet with circumstances that arm us through stronger knowledge of the world around us and the relationships we form. Everything we are at this moment is the upshot of the choices we make, whether good or bad. We don’t just create our own values and morals based on what we feel empowers us — we create our identities and who we are at this very instant in existence.

I have known women who have been cheated on, I have seen women who have been disrespected in the workplace, and I have seen women struggle to get where they want to be. But what is holding you back? If things are horrible and circumstances point to desolation, heartbreak and a continuous stream of failure, what makes you think you deserve the life you are leading right now? You are your own person and no one can take that away from you. Be bold for change and know you are worth more than you give yourself credit for.

While women should be celebrated every day and honored with respect by each and every one of us, today is the one day we take out as a familial unit in the world to celebrate women and the amazing progress, change and impact we have each made in this world. When speaking from the heart, I can say I’ve been blessed in my life with an abundance of inspiring female role models, from my two grandmothers, my mother and sister, to my amazing friends and remarkable team of Womanistas.

Some are mistaken and think today is just for women, but it’s quite the contrary. Though we honor women, the bright, intellectual male is also one who understands that an equal society benefits both men and women, and that toxic ideas of masculinity and sexism hurt all of us. I have seen a positive attitude of feminism from my father every day who raises my sister and I to be strong-willed and defiant in the face of adversity, and in past instances with my best friend, who held his mother, sister and grandmother to great reverence. The support from these two intellectual men alone and how they honor the women in their life with such love, respect and trust raises hope that as a society, we can and will do better when it comes to gender disparity. 

As a society when we work together, we enhance each other and open up dialogue for positive attitudes and increased action. So here’s to the strong women: may we know them, may we be them, and may we raise them. Amen. 

“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman.” — Melinda Gates

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Top: H&M
Jacket: “Neelam Jacket” by Wilfred Free from Aritiza
Jewelry: Dogeared
Lipstick: Bobbi Brown, Luxe Lip Color in “Red Berry”
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Letter from the Editor: What a Broken Heart Can Teach You

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Something I have heard from many in the last month is how heartbroken they have been feeling since last fall. As a feeling I too have experienced while watching the world change every second, it’s no secret that a broken heart can take a toll on the best of us.

And there is nothing more painful than that. Heartbreak takes each of us on a seemingly endless rollercoaster ride, while pulling at the frayed fringe of our very being that leave us weakened and hurt. Yet, as the late Leonard Cohen sings in his popular song, “Anthem,” there is a crack in everything and “that’s how the light gets in.”

It might sound preposterous, but a broken heart has the power to not only motivate and improve our lives for a healthier well-being, but also unleash a great creativity you have never imagined.

If you watched the Golden Globes this month, you might have seen Meryl Streep sharing wise words from the late Carrie Fisher that urged all those with broken hearts to rise up and “take your broken heart, make it into art.”

The Hudsucker was one such venture. While the idea manifested through faith thanks to our Senior Managing Editor, Katherine, the very foundations and motivations of this online magazine were built upon a broken heart.

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How to Be Your Own Best Friend for a Healthier Lifestyle

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There’s no denying that while we might be surrounded by amazing relationships in our waking life, we have spent every moment from birth to now in our very own company. And the truth is, no matter who pops in and out of our life, we will always be the one soul consistently there for us.

It might sound like a lonely thing to say, but we never escape our own presence and in that understanding, we have the ability to be our own best friend, without fear and without judgement. After all, if we allow ourselves to be our own best friends, chances are we will never really be alone.

So often we disappear into those we love or the life we make, that we end up neglecting not just our family or friends, but ourselves. Whether you’re 34 or 64, how many friends you have and at what stage in life you’re at, it’s essential to recognize that you are capable of everything you imagine for the others you love in your own life.

In order to feel at peace and realize we are worthy of self-love, we need to build a solid friendship with our very being at the core. It might take some work and patience but with a careful mindfulness, you can surely get there.

Continue reading…

Reflections in the ‘Bend’

During a very serene and introspective moment last week in snowy old South Bend, I had the opportunity to reflect on my life in a quiet, barren city. As previously mentioned on his birthday, the winter season tends to be a hard one for me. Where do all the memories go when a relationship breaks? Why is it easier for some and not others? More importantly, how did he manage to forget in an instant? I wish he could tell me. Incessant thoughts worth six years are cast into words as nothing, yet become immense distractions that keep you wide awake wondering where it all went wrong.

This month has been interesting and in some ways, emotional. I don’t really know what to say except there are aching moments when I miss him still and it gets hard knowing in this great big place, he sleeps soundly without a single toss and turn. While I had been up north that week to meet up with family, I got a chance to walk the lone chilly sidewalks and really catch a glimpse of my place in this great big world—or in this case, state.

While watching It’s A Wonderful Life tonight (also known as, one of my all-time favorite films), I thought back to that moment in South Bend as I walked beautifully dusted sidewalks. If I never loved who I did and the way I did, I don’t think I could be who I am today, where I am today. In every understanding of my own life, I can proudly say now that I am content with myself and who I am because in every ounce of pain felt from these past six years and more so in these last two, I know who I am and my purpose in this world now. We don’t always get the dream house, but we get pretty close. And if I happen to tread a Kathleen Kelly kind of life sans Joe Fox (“I am a lone reed”), that’s alright because it’s better to be alone than in a relationship that makes you feel alone. Relationships have shown me that you don’t need a significant other to lead a significant life. As long as you are content with yourself and are true to that person you see in a window’s reflection, you are never completely alone.

Call it a holiday miracle or what you will, but those wintry streets opened my eyes and made me realize I have never felt more at home than I am when I am in Indiana. I have always loved this state and continue to, even though sometimes and especially in the past two years, memories sneak up and cast a shadow of doubt on my worth. These thoughts force you into a train of thinking falsified by fear and doubt, and make you think you don’t belong anywhere, especially where your heart feels more at peace. But those thoughts are nothing compared to what you truly feel deep down in your gut and the world you build for yourself. As I’ve lived my hardest in these past two years by working off my gut, living my truth and driving forth from passion, I don’t think I’ve ever belonged more in one place than I do today. Whether in Indy or South Bend, Goshen or Muncie, my soul in some odd way just feels a consistent concord no matter where I am in Indiana.

While work has given me immense strength and has been a helpful toll in fulfilling voids felt by loss, I have learned so much more about my heart and its honesty than I ever imagined. Every moment lived through this beating chest has taught me how important every step I take is to my life and the lives of others. I have been through rough patches along this path, but have learned every good thing you do with your whole heart, every ounce of love you put forth, it all makes a difference no matter how hard it is to see at first. While he might be moving on and is happier than can be, I have come to accept that nothing is ever conceived in vain even if things go awry. I have loved with my whole heart and still do, and I will not regret that even as I walk lonely sidewalks in a hushed city.

Tonight I count my blessings for that which I had, that which I have, that which I will receive and that which God has prepared me for. These past few years have proven to me that living an honest life built off love, passion and self-trust is a great way to understand your worth and reiterate that no heart is ever broken in vain. It might have been hard to understand during those months of crying to sleep and trying so hard to fathom why something so internal, so deep within you, a piece of your identity, could be shattered almost instantly as if there was no barrier to begin with. But over the course of time, if that broken heart was sincere and truthful, it grows stronger and allows you to see right through who you are to help you figure out your purpose and meaning.

I miss him. I love him. Some nights will be hard. Some days in northern Indiana will be harder, but I have come to accept that now because God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle.

“All you take with you is that which you’ve given away.”

#HBD: 6 Wishes

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Winter tends to be a hard season for me. While I have been blessed in this past year to really dive deep into work and solidify my career as a writer—my utmost desired passion—things start to slow down as the new year approaches and memories start to creep in. Most times and in the tune of Talking Heads, these memories can’t wait though. As I skate through this season with my head held up, time gains on me and creates thin ice along the way, revealing memories that have lain dormant for months. Yet, lately they have begun to push at the door of my reality and send me in a tailspin that takes nights of mourning into my pillow to just get over. But letting that grief out doesn’t work, and it’s as if all that progress from months ago and just letting go has been lost all thanks to a season that beams as bright as it twinkles.

It’s a season governed by reclusiveness, where activities are fed to dormancy and our life becomes still, indwelling and most often silent. Like many others though, I think a lot during this season about my life, the people in it and the people who are no longer with us. Since the start of winter, I have stilled my soul, quieted my mind to the important bits that matter to my living, but every time I come up for air from this abyss, I find myself hitting a slope deeper into darkness all because I think about him.

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Roman à Clef: September 2016

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With the heat soaking through the ceramic to her cold fingertips, she held the hot mug of black tea firmly in her hands. In some way, the warmth calmed her nerves as she watched him focus his gaze out the window. Though they had been meeting every month since what he shared with her in April, she was nervous to see him again. Especially after their argument during the peak of summer about his message.

He turned his head and smiled faintly. While she wouldn’t have known the other side of it, his visit that included pounding down her door in July was more for the painful void felt in his bones, than the arduous hunger he had for every part of her in May.

“You’re wearing the scarf,” he said softly.

She looked down at her chest, nervously adjusting the scarf as if to cover her breasts and smiled. “Yeah, it’s one of my favorites — Redneck Riviera,” she said through a scoff.

“Redneck Riviera,” he laughed. “Dangerous, but it was worth it. You look nice.”

She nodded her head as if to hurriedly agree. “Are you alright?”

“Did I ever tell you about that trip?” he asked.

“To the shores last year?” she replied. (more…)

A Reminder

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Just going to keep this here as a reminder that waiting can be a blessing in hindsight. Whether it’s waiting for a heart to heal, a love to mend, a path to look clearer, a purpose to be understood—waiting often feels like torture and seems impossible to endure because we want things to happen on our own schedule. We have become such self-serving individuals that we don’t realize life doesn’t happen on our terms. God doesn’t operate on our schedules and expecting He will just hinders our faith in Him, ourselves and the circumstances that make up this world we create.

If Psalm 18:30 says God’s ways are “perfect,” then it’s essential to trust whatever happens because His timing is faultless. A lot of bad things happen and a lot of bad people get away with hurting others, but waiting can bring its own set of benefits for the pain caused or for the ones who have inflicted the pain. I know this because I have waited for a lot of things in life. And while God has blessed and showered me with good things, it’s hard some days to wonder about that little organ that is the heart and the engine running that is the brain. Will the heart ever heal itself? Will we ever be OK with it having been broken over and over by someone or something we love (or loved)? Could we ever just stop thinking of all the hurt that we feel deep down inside? I don’t know.

But I do know that time goes by quickly (or at least it did this year) and when we surround ourselves with love, positivity and good people, good work, it’s a sign of better things on the horizon. Our choices are our own and whatever we decide to make in order to aid our own emotional and mental well-being, God is there every step of the way reassuring us through signs and karma that all that waiting will one day mean something we never could have possibly imagined.

{Originally posted on Instagram / photo from Pinterest}