I Ask

I Think The Title Speaks For Itself

12 Notes & Comments

Is fat okay?

I am 28 and driven to depression, thinking myself fat and undeserving of the name “beautiful.”

To me, thin is beautiful. Not for everyone— the plus sized model who recently graced, grabbed, shook the crap out of Glamour Magazine’s traditionally skin-and-bones model bodies, I kiss your feet, girl. You rock. Thin is beautiful for me. Thin is a necessary Jodi commodity.

…this belief is a sickness. But despite my efforts I can’t, poof!, make myself better. My only (working) remedy is to be thinner. The only consistent, non-white-washed remedy is to lose weight.

… When I was young and found myself turning into WOMAN I recognized/ learned my assets. I was never going to be the cute, athletic, perky-titted type. Nor was a ever going to be deliciously curvy, oozer of yes-I-can-carry-and-deliver-your-many-children. I was never going to be the girl next door or the exotic, brown skinned lovaah from somewhere south of the border. If anything, as a sexual-something, I was going to be “the model.”

"Wow, you are so tall-and-thin. You could be a model…"

Tall-and-thin, tall-and-thin, tall-and-fucking-fucking-thin. That’s what I heard (and hear) as my female value proposition. And it is one item. One description. Tall cannot live without thin… not in the land of high-value anyway. This is a combo-effect. Necessarily married or doomed to nothingness.

And that is what I fear, I think, as I see my love handles expanding beyond confinement of my jeans. What will I become… if I’m not tall-and-thin. The athlete? The curvy girl? The exotic? Not a chance.

"Tall-and-fat" just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it…


So where am I left? Embarassed. Angry and feeling small and immature that the same goddamn issue that I wrestled with and starved myself over as a teenager, and again mid-college, is creeping up on my otherwise evolved life.

I don’t want to deal with this one anymore, guys. Can we pick another flavor of focus? Can someone please help me understand how fat-Jodi can be beautiful? Not the intellectual-quick-fix. Please don’t patronize me. I, too, took Women’s Studies in school. If it was quick as (thump-chest) “Beauty is from within” for the love of God don’t you think I’d kick this addiction/ self-depriving/ confidence-mutilating roller coaster?

I may not want to be fat… but I want to be okay being fat. I want fat to be okay.

Filed in fat beautiful woman body weight beauty girl tall thin

57 Notes & Comments

How will you know the right time to start a family?

It’s not time to start a family yet. I know this. When I think with my head, reasons like poor professional timing, not enough savings, still prioritizing playtime, me, mine over unconditional giving. Yeah, I’m that twenty-something.

But my sense is, that not all of these intellectual benchmarks beginning to grow, evolve will make me any more ready. I have a feeling it will just be a feeling. My twenty-something self has no idea what that will mean exactly. Again, intellectually I think about having to, gulp, grow a human being in my belly. A belly that cannot house a whole Subway sandwich let alone two arms, two legs, a head, a body. Unfathomable. And yet, someday I will. I think about having to wake up every night, any night, whenever the baby wants me and how violently I sometimes throw my alarm when it disturbs my sleep. Babies are not alarm clocks, of course. But this illustrates a larger, perhaps systemic issue. I’m just not ready.

So how will my partner and I decide on the right size of our family? We’ll just know— like I knew it was him I wanted to marry. Sure, sure there were the reasons: we have the same vision for our future, we have the same values, we have the same stance on what a healthy relationships looks like. But mostly, most importantly, we just knew. Like I recognize myself in the mirror. I just knew.

Filed in family baby planning partner children babies

55 Notes & Comments

What is your greatest relationship contribution?

I recently started working Cerra™, an inspiring new website that’s helping busy women embrace personal awareness, act with thoughtful intention, and reflect on our experiences, thus leading to a happier and more balanced life. Their organizational philosophy is rooted in what they call the Seven Intentions— Creative Energy, Gratitude, Courage, Wisdom, Loving Kindness, Grounded and Inspiration. Thus their prescription says that living with these Seven Intentions produces balance and well-being.

I admit… not all of Cerra’s Seven Intentions resonated with me. Not at first…

Loving Kindness doesn’t mean anything to me,” I promptly announced to my team at BlogFrog. And I meant it. Bitterly. It seemed as vague and intangible as a bumper sticker. But everyone else seemed to really GET IT. Nodding their heads, yesssss. How profound, how meaningful, they said. And since I don’t like to be left out of the loop… I’ve been thinking about it. A lot. Everyday actually.

I began to notice how Loving Kindness was present in my behavior, in my experiences, in my life. And I realized, it’s all over the place. Both in what I contribute to the world, but also in what I choose to exclude from the world…

Sure there are those moments of positive feedback: teammate has bad day, teammate receives random gift card for a pedicure. Boyfriend breaks ear-buds, new ear-buds magically appear on kitchen table with sticky note: I love you. Friend has interview, friend sees encouraging text message first thing in the AM. I think human beings are good at positive feedback— fundamentally, we understand how to help eachother smile. 

But what about preventing a frown, a tear, or a bust up in anger? The truth is, my greater contribution to my relationships is knowing when to refrain.

I have a friend who is getting married soon. And I think she is a mistake by choosing that guy as her life partner. He is not the sort of person I would want for her. And she knows— I’ve expressed my concerns. She knows. And even though there is a part of me that wants to (leap leap, me, me, meeeee!) when the pastor says, “Does anyone here have any objections…?” I won’t. This is my gift.

My gift is to let her make her own decisions. This is my act of Loving Kindness.

More than what I give or add, for me, Loving Kindness means not blaming someone else for my pain, a violation of my beliefs, a pinch, a button push. Sure I can share my feelings with them… but I can not expect that they are going to take responsibility, or change in any way to accommodate my sensitivities. This realization has helped me push through, smooth over, and release many tense situations. So thank you, Cerra. In Jodi world, it turns out Loving Kindness is not just another bumper sticker.

Filed in Cerra relationship contribution loving kindess Intentions

4 Notes & Comments

What if you let it all go?

There was this little kid screaming on my flight last night. Screaming and crying. Pissed that he was cramped and stuck in a tiny space with not enough room to stretch-out and cuddle with his blanket. (Okay, okay… I filled in the blanks about his psychological state… the point is: the kid was crying). He’s just expressing what all of us are feeling, I thought as I felt my knees rub against the seat in front of me. And this thought has stuck with me.

Maybe being a grown-up—being quiet, contained, polite, introverted—is exactly what’s messing us all up. Children bounce back, fast and easy—a little sleep, a sip of milk, a good cry and a hug later, they feel all better. But us? The grown-up us? We hold on to pain for days, weeks, decades.

Some philosophers believe that we are born enlightened and devolve as we age. Taken as true, what if we did as the children do and expressed everything? Even when it’s non-rational, fatigue induced, “childish”?

I did a spiritual retreat in Fiji a couple of years ago and the Guides suggested this very thing—they suggested to never let a day go by without expressing (even the tiniest bit of) suffering. They told us the story of a former student; a mother of a four-year-old boy. One day the little boy came to his mother in tears because his friend had taken his ball and wouldn’t return it. He sobbed telling his mother how he felt— how violated, angry, hurt, disappointed. His mother interrupted, firmly coaching him with big-kid logic. After a few minutes, the boy cut his mother off and cried “Mom! Can’t you see I’m suffering??”

Maybe children are born enlightened.

I think often of this little boy… combined with my personal understanding of the catharsis of emotional expression. I think about living through my own mini-nightmares—my break-up with M, my mom and dad’s divorce. The suffering itself wasn’t the most bitter bit—the suffering alone was. The feeling that I was the only person in the world that could possibly understand or contain such anguish.

I realize that taken seriously, unfiltered expression of emotion would truly be an insane philosophy… I mean think of it: plane, train, barista, attorney, mother-in-law… they’d all share their woes. And (oh my god) actually honestly answer the question, How are you today?

But what about as a general idea? What if we never went to sleep without processing the hurts of the day? Could each morning truly be a brand new day? And surely it’s not practical (or comfortable) to share with just anyone or just anytime. But what about with a select trusted friend, or in the comfort of your alone, or with your Divine? And what if you could choose the place and the convenient time of day?

What if you could really Let. It. All. Go?

I like to think of emotion like a liquid substance. It pools, it flows, it builds, quickly hardens, slowly softens. Like molten lava and coarse stone. And just like lava, the key with emotion it to keep it moving (through you). I wager it’s those of us that bite our lip too hard, too long, or too often and are disabled by painful emotions.

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As children illustrate—we’re really not so different, emotionally. We all need to give and receive love, to feel significant, to feel connected. It’s possible that authentic expression—through it human connection— cures all. Or at least that’s what the crying (read, enlightened) children teach us.

Filed in expression, emotion feelings children emotional silent Fiji

12 Notes & Comments

How do you strive for balance?

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I attended an Ignite Boulder speech months ago. Months ago and I still can’t, can’t, can’t get this speech-topic out of my head: How much negative space do you have in your life?

I return to the question and immediately notice the tension that flows, like coarse waves, over my narrow shoulders, pooling around my lower back, through my stomach and into my brain stem. I am tense, stressed, hot and bothered. And it’s not just me, I know many, many stress-balls. Everyone I meet seems to reflect this state of icky-being.

Life is bliss, I was told as a child. A disappointing non-reality, indeed.

Or is it…?

There are beloved moments where I am cleansed of all discomfort and return to that state, space, perception of who I am and the reality that is mine. Bliss. Pure, pure, pure happiness. Without reason, without end. Magical bliss.

It happens on Sunday mornings, over veggie-sausage dipped in maple syrup, in the eyes of my gorgeous James Dean. It happens 8 minutes into a 4-mile run—when that sticky, addicting stuff called adrenaline, pump-pump-pumps up the jam. It happens deep in a full belly-breath, through the shake of a yoga pose, sucking on the first bit of double chocolate ice cream. Little bits of whoa, noticed and enjoyed.

Bliss happens when I make time to experience it.

I forget, sometimes, about my bliss and how accessible it is. How many sources there are and how it is really (and always) up to me to make time for happiness, make time for “me-moments.” To make time for bliss.

Now I’m curious: In your busy everyday life, how do you strive for balance?

Filed in balance me-time self-development stress bliss

16 Notes & Comments

What is the ROI on networking?

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Networking. The dreaded term. The act, we all put on. Some better than others. Some just plain hideously. And when I say hideously I don’t mean without skill. I mean intending payback.

We all know people who call themselves good “networkers”—shake so-and-so’s hand while walking into dinner, name-drop “My good friend, Mr. Blah Ba Blah” mid-conversation, get invited to events based on relationships, claw themselves up up up the social and professional ladder—with drive.

THIS is NOT good networking. This is transparent, false, superficial, yeah-we-totally-know-where-your-real-intentions-lie-honey kind of behavior. The key being—they expect a return on investment. And THAT FACT completely disables human connection.

It’s a lonely affair this “networking.” And, from my perspective, an empty use of life.

One of my friends, Grace Boyle, is no such “networker,” although her social and professional network far exceeds that of ten of my other friends combined. I’ve spent some time studying her—her social and professional relationships— and here is where she is both brilliant and unstoppable. Grace gives without the expectation of return. She gives work to a struggling graphic designer, “just to help out.” She gives rides to her carless and pregnant friend, “because she needs me.” She gives advice, time, recommendations, introductions, wisdom, hugs, love, inspiration, tools, lessons, short-cuts, make-all-better-aid. She gives and gives and gives. And never, ever expects anything back. Grace changes lives… because that’s just her nature, nothing more.

An altruist is a natural and superior “networker.”

I’m no Grace Boyle, but here is what she and other relationship building rock stars have taught me:

1.     Step outside your comfort zone to make new connections. Sign up for that meetup. New friend wants you to come over for a barbeque? Your “errands” can wait.

2.     Help, even when it’s a pinch. Your ounce could very well be their waterfall.

3.     Help anyone. Even if they don’t own a startup or have a bunch of letters at the end of their name. Bill Gates was a nobody, too, once.

4.     Do your homework and remember details. Find a system of remembering titles, kids names, city or origin, favorite restaurant. People like to feel significant. They’ll never forget YOU if you remember what makes THEM tingle.

5.     Set others up for success—know a Harry who might love a Sally? Hook ‘em up. A writer who needs a client or a job? It just takes an email intro.

6.     Keep contact information (in a disaster-proof place) and dive in to create solutions, connections, smiles.

7.     Stay in constant contact. There is no such thing as “free” time. You must MAKE TIME for important people.

8.     Any dummy can fulfill requests. A superior people-person unpredictably acts in kindness.

9.     Ask questions—delivering a monologue is as uninteresting as it is ineffective.

10. Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate. “Thanks” is not enough. If some act of kindness moved you, allow yourself to become vulnerable and express why.

When I grow up, I hope to be like Gracie. But until then, I will simply mimic her. Forever in awe of and moving towards embodying the genuine altruist, and (by default) the superior networker.

Filed in networking relationship career professional giving connection

6 Notes & Comments

What does it mean to never say quit?

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It’s not enough to simply run, swim, bike. Endurance athletes like to do it for ridiculous distances. Stretching our bodies and spirits in ways that are “impossible” for most. 13 mile bike? Bah! I’ll take your 13 miles and raise you 99 miles (as in the Ironman Race). WE LIKE IT. We want more, and more, and more. We change our diet, our sleep, our routine, our home-life, work-life. Because it’s a thrill. It gets us off. That’s our own little piece of “Seven, seven, seven, seven, seven!”

And when I say “we”, I struggle to include myself into the “endurance athlete” category. A wistful exaggeration. I mean, I do stretch myself (like the big-kids do). Everyday: hills, run, bike, run, swim, drills, harder, faster, longer, breathe, pant, hate-myself, think I’m a dummy for even trying, beg me to stop, need energy, you a lou-who-se-her, weak peon of a human being

I guess I’m not one of those athletes. I DO NOT LOVE IT.

I hate it… mostly. I hate every minute after the first five-to-ten. After the first five-to-ten, I go to the dark place. Mentally, physically. I waddle in life-hatred. Minute ten-to-twenty, I plop myself into the pool of self-hatred. It’s warm, prickly. I tell myself I should just quit… before I die… or worse, embarrass myself. I cream myself over that SHORT-CUT over there. I mentally sing along to the hip-hop/trance/house tunes—desperately trying to keep myself from remembering the rapid-fire burning creeping up my quads, my calves, my… you know… BODY.

Minute thirty-to-forty, music turns to ringing, and wheezing and ouch, ouch, ouchy. I beg, mentally on hands and knees, hands clasped in prayer. Please, no more. Please, please. It’s like my mind quickly goes through the first Four of the Five Stages of Grief:

Denial:

“You’re running farther than yesterday! Whoopee!”

“MENTAL FISTPUMP, pass dat bitch!”

“Shade… ah feels nice.”

“Good for you, Jod. See it’s getting easier. Stick with it.”

“I love Florence and the Machine!”

Anger:

“Lazy blob.”

“Why would you ever think you could do this?”

“You are stupid, weak, pathetic.”

“It’s only 30 minutes of running. I mean, really?”

“Shouldn’t be this hard. Should not be this hard.”

Bargaining:

“How about we just walk for 30 seconds?”

“Okay, maybe not right away, but if the music skips—that will be a “sign.””

“Or how about at that next stretch of shade?”

“You deserve a little break. You’ve been working so hard.”

“Come on, please. Just a little short cut?”

Depression:

Begin to reservoir tears.

Blubbering, like I did at age four, five, or six.

Miserable, helpless, hopeless.

Simple going through the motions.

Like I’m not even in my body at all… a mere observer.

It’s so often painful, but I can’t help to see the training through. I do love to be challenged and more, I do love to set goals… and kill it.

I remember being 5-years-old and discovering the monkey-bars. I had no idea how it was possible to get from this side to that side using only my hands and arms. I felt gravity like I felt my own self-doubt, heavy, impossible. But what I felt more and what I believe pushes me past minute 10 and onto success(!) is this: I will do this.

I will do this. I will do this.

And so, at 5-years-old, my hands stung with each rotation of palm and wrist. And so I eventually bled—scrapped knees, torn skin, hot, hot, burning pain. But I eventually mastered those (fucking) monkey-bars. I mastered them on my own— no skill, no gifts, no tutelage. I mastered them like I will master this triathlon. Simply, I will do this. I will do this.

Filed in triathlon athletes run bike swim endurance sport training

5 Notes & Comments

When is it okay to lie?

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I used to feel morally compelled to TELL THE TRUTH, even if it meant bulldozing someone else’s emotional comfort. But then, this one time, I tried the lying bit—just a little guy: “Congratulations!” I exclaimed. “I’m so happy for you.” When truthfully, I thought the now-fiancé was a complete moron. The result? It worked! My friend smiled. Probably knowing, deep down, that I had other opinions, but grateful that I was choosing to keep them to myself. AND IN THAT MOMENT… I realized how little service I was doing by not telling little lies here and there. By uninterruptedly telling the truth, I had hurt feelings, caused tension, created drama, and on and on.

These liars, I thought… they’re really onto something.

The truth is, none of us like to hurt feelings. (No like-ey! Nooo like-ey!) Even if it’s for some higher good or “their own good” or whatever. On some level, when we hurt another person, we hurt, too. And we don’t like to feel pain. None of us like to feel pain. And so it (reasonably) goes that the liar lies to avoid making someone else feel pain so that the liar herself can avoid feeling pain. And the lied-to allows the lie to be told (even when we know it’s not truth) so that the lied-to does not have to feel pain.

We all participate in and even come to expect poor excuses, half-truths, embellishments, exaggerations, omissions. WE EXPECT TO BE LIED TO. Because it’s so damn effective in saving us from PAIN.

Pain… I am not the first to suggest that pain is an indication that something needs to be changed. That some-thing is wrong. Therefore, PAIN is highly functional- it not only facilitates our personal evolution, at times it saves our emotional and physical lives. If pain is such a useful tool, WHY DO WE AVOID IT? And why do we spend so much time helping our fellow humans avoid it?

I met a funny fellow the other evening. A self proclaimed Buddhist. For unrelated reasons, he explained that Buddhists believe not in seeking enlightenment, but rather in seeking to align themselves with their own higher truth. Above all else, TO BE TRUTHFUL TO ONESELF is the Buddhist mantra.

So with Buddha in mind, and assuming we all accept that sometimes there is benefit to fibbing that outweighs the iron-clad statute of SPEAK THE TRUTH…

Here is my RULE: Start by asking yourself, what is my intention when I lie? Does it come from a place of love (self-love or love for another person) or does it come from a place of FEAR?

Love? Lie away. Fear? Check yourself, bite the proverbial bullet, and bulldoze.

Filed in lie love self-love Bhuddism Bhudda fear

8 Notes & Comments

If you wanna know if he loves you so, it’s in his…?

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When he is in love with you…

1.     He stares at you like you are the most beautiful woman in the world

2.     He finds ways to spontaneously show you that he loves you- in tiny details, in tiny moments, every day

3.     He lets you take the spotlight, and he assumes the position of shadow- ever framing your brilliance

4.     He will do anything for you, and it’s not a burden: it’s his joy and his purpose

5.     He will face any fear, and wrestle any demon, if it will make you just a little more comfortable

6.     He believes you are capable of miracles and that he is fortunate to be with you

7.     The happiness of the relationship is his first priority

8.     He uses the term “we” more than “I”

9.     He fantasizes about growing a life with you and includes you in conversations about his future

10. He unconditionally defends you

11. When needed, he chooses you— over work, family, friends— without request

12. He remembers what makes you happy and surprises you with unprovoked acts of kindness

13. He respects and supports your interests by participating in them—even if only on the periphery

14. He lets you win, even if it means he loses

15. He asks to include you in his hobbies and interests, and in the relationships with the people who are most important to him

16. He is compelled to please you—seeing you happy MAKES him happy


Do you agree? What did I miss??

Filed in love man in love relationships signs adoration men devotion

4 Notes & Comments

How do you know when something is right?

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It’s time to add a little OY! into my professional life. You know that, “Whooooa, that is sohoho cool,” that resonates somewhere in your everything? It’s time. I am happiest avec un challenge. I love to push, push, push. That’s when I feel the most alive.

I don’t need a job. I have a nearly a full schedule of clients and the income to back it… but last week I happened upon a job posting and I found myself clicking on the link to read more. Giggling and shifting in my seat when the posting appeared with requirements that I could totally nail for a business that inspires the pants off of me. I FOUND MYSELF right then. Knee deep in OY.

And I heard my heart beat.

Truth is, that job still hasn’t called me for an interview. But I got out of it what any person should/could who thinks and acts with her heart—I was reminded of WHO I AM. A whole stinking pile of OY! And I am best—best friend, best professional, best enthusiast, best world-wide-contributor—when my life is oozing with Mmm-hmm-yeah.

Bottom line… there have been moments where I feel the rumble… You know that deep rumble that comes more from the earth below and the organs within than that damn lump that sits on our head? I have felt that rumble and ignored it. Sometimes the scariness of the unknown keeps me revolving in that (comfortable, familiar) place of unhappiness. I have let myself revolve there—personally, professionally. It might be a bit o’ human nature. Maybe it’s just my internal scared-shitless-ness. But I admit. I’ve hovered there.

But there gets more and more uncomfortable the longer I linger…

And despite my numbness, last week I felt the tingle and that part of me that is curious and passionate and loves to explore and dream and make a difference starting speaking (okay, maybe more than one part of me feels this way). I heard that part of me explode, C’mon now! JUMP! LEAP! Tumble, scrape, bleed, curl up and shrivel, but then EXPAND, TRY, HARDER, DO IT! KEEP DOING IT!

So here I go—going after something more. Abandoning the old, worn out college-hoodie-type comfort and slapping on some new professional (high-heeled) kicks, a new attitude, and a whole lotta OY.

Filed in career professional right job