Slow and Study


No, that is not a typo in the subject line. Yes, the line is traditionally “slow and steady” and is usually followed by “wins the race” but this post is not about being slow and steady. It is not about winning (or losing for that matter). It is actually taken from a comment in author Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s blog, Ivy League Insecurities. She writes that she started her blog because she needed something that would force her to slow and study the moments of her life – the good, the bad, the middle.

How perfectly Aidan’s simple comment captures the sentiment behind most of our blogging endeavors. I have kept a diary throughout my entire life, a private one. The style I have adopted has varied, sometimes my entries look like a grocery list of key moments; the grades, the jobs, the fights with my sister. Other times it has been a long and detailed essay about the way I was feeling at the time. I’m still not sure which method or approach I like better. Sometimes I want to look back into a diary and know exactly who I spent Thanksgiving with, who was missing, who was fighting, who forgot the pumpkin pie. Other times I want to know how I felt. Either way, I love having a record. So why take something as personal as a diary into a public forum? Why expose ourselves? I have certainly had this debate with myself over the years and here is the conclusion I have come to. First of all, it is wonderful to be able to open up your thoughts and questions to a public audience, to create a dialogue with people you would have never met or connected with otherwise. It is also a great writing exercise to put yourself to the task of writing a coherent, concise piece that is ready for public consumption. My diary entries look nothing like the posts I write for my blog. I am not as exposed in a blog post as I am in a diary entry. I am not as vulnerable and my emotions are not as raw. I try to organize my thoughts in a more professional way. I try to see all sides of a situation, I try to be logical and fair. In a diary entry I am on one side only, my side. Usually I am ranting about something that has bothered me or rubbed me the wrong way. It is very specific with little room for interpretation. However, with the blog, I can explore the bigger issue, the more universal problem, whether it be difficult relationships or facing responsibilities, it is approached with a clearer head and a more even keeled tone. My diary is a rant, my blog is an exploration, a course in the intricacies in life, the nuances that so often get overlooked or ignored. My blog is a way to slow down and study the life I am living. It is a way to be more appreciative and grateful for the blessings, the tiny details that make an ordinary day a great day. Because when you are writing an essay for public consumption, exploring the meaning of life, you need to have a reason for writing. This forces the writer to stretch their mind, to see beyond the annoyances and search for the hidden gems of meaning and happiness. Blogging (and writing, in general) is a blessing because it forces you to rise above the mundane details of life and find the beauty in the ordinary. My goal for 2011 (because what is a New Year without a resolution) is to follow in the steps of Rowley and blog every single day. I am not doing this for a larger audience, good publicity, a book deal, I am doing this for my own personal story, to give myself the blessing of clarity, to slow down and study life.

Flawed and Fearless


Last night my sister M called from a hotel in Maine. She’s there for a photo shoot for a profile in Glamour. After detailing the less than glamorous journey she experienced in getting to this tiny town in Maine, she told me about her fascinating travel companion, a famous makeup artist. When my sister started asking the makeup artist questions about the application of makeup and how best to cover up a few imperfections on her face, the makeup artist looked at my sisters’ face and immediately said, “Why did you point them out to me? I would have never noticed them if you hadn’t pointed them out. Never draw people’s attention to your flaws, only accentuate the areas you love.”

Talk about a life lesson when you least expect it?! How many of us point out our flaws, hoping to beat people to the punch. Let others know that we are aware of the areas we need to work on. But why? What does this do for us except accentuate the things we dislike and, as the makeup artist explained, draw others’ eyes immediately to our flaws.

This leads to the larger issue. Why are we so critical of what we see in the mirror? Why do we have to issue judgments, label things as imperfections, get frustrated by our own appearance? Why can’t we be more accepting and appreciative of the face that stares back at us? The face that has laughed and smiled, cried and comforted. Our scars and lines are maps of our journey, a life fully lived and deeply felt. We need to throw away our ideas of perfection and take a good long look in the mirror…and smile! This is the only life we’ve got and this is the only face/hair/eyes/body we’ve got so I say accentuate the positive and ignore the negative and live your life to the fullest…flaws and all!

On a side note: What I love about blogging and what I have learned from other extraordinary bloggers out there, is that by giving yourself a schedule to adhere to (a post/essay a day) forces you to find the questions, the life lessons, the pearls of wisdom in the common every day occurrences. You really begin looking for the bigger questions in the small details of life.  You truly live the examined life and it makes everything that much sweeter. So thank you to all of the women who inspire me daily!