Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 17

(Days 15 and 16 are in the works and will be posted out of order...)

Replace What You Heard

As I've mentioned in a past post, I really can't blame my negative body image on anyone but myself. Nobody has said negative things to me and scarred me in any way. Nope, I get to blame myself for those feelings. So, I'll re-name this one:

Replace What You THINK.

And I'm doing a much better job of that!! I've made it a point to think positively when I look in the mirror. Is this an easy task all the time? NO! While it may be a challenge at times, the more I do it, the more naturally it comes. When a negative thought sneaks in, I'm getting better at replacing it with something positive or at least something a bit more neutral.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Grateful Heart

In November, my lovely , beautiful friend, Jillian from Family Rooted In Love dedicated her blog to "Grateful Hearts." She had many guest bloggers (including yours truly) discuss what they were grateful for in their lives.

I was honored when Jillian asked me to contribute to the Grateful Heart series. It would be my first blogpost ever and that was exciting and a bit scary!

Recently, this post has been on my mind and I thought it was worth repeating why my heart is grateful. My reasons have not changed and I am reminded daily of the blessings in my life.


A Grateful Heart

This post has plagued my mind for quite some time now. Like others, I had a hard time picking just one person or thing that I’m grateful for. Every time I came up with an idea, I would feel like I was leaving somebody or something out. I know, I know…it’s really not that tragic! It’s just a blog post, right?

Last year around this time, I attended a regional forum for district teachers of the year. As the “Former” District Teacher of the Year for my district, I was invited to attend with the current winner. Bryan Coburn, the South Carolina Teacher of the Year at the time, would be leading the forums this year. Bryan had been my “competition” the year before and we became buddies during the various forums and meetings before he won the title and I was looking forward to hearing what he had to say to us (not to mention his amazing dry sense of humor that always had me rolling!)

The wisdom that he gave us that day has given me a new outlook on each day that I wake up here on Earth. The short version of what he talked about:

- Use Mondays to your advantage – we typically dread Mondays, but we shouldn’t. Each Monday gives us a new week in which we have 7 days to make a difference in someone’s life.

- Positive Thinking = Positive Outcomes. We should surround ourselves with positivity.

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself “what in the world does this have to do with A Grateful Heart? And why has Jillian asked this woman to write a blog post?”

Ok. Here it is. My heart is grateful for all of the positive things in my life. I have chosen to surround myself with positive people and positive things in order to make myself a more positive person.

I am Grateful for My Music – Music is my life. Without it, my world would be pretty cold and dreadful.

I am Grateful for My Husband – Michael has accepted me for me – all of the good, the bad and even the ugly imperfections. He supports my crazy schedule, he believes in my dreams and he loves me unconditionally. What more could I ask for??

I am Grateful for My Family – I have this wonderful, supportive family that believes in me and every crazy thing I put on my schedule. They are always there for me no matter what I ask of them.

I am Grateful for My Friends – these wonderful friends of mine support my in every way possible. They give me their shoulders to lean on (and cry on), they hold my hand through the tough times, they celebrate my victories, they listen to my crazy ideas and ramblings, they coach me in my running, they love me for who I am, they teach me amazing life lessons, they help me find my way when I am lost and they are just the most wonderful people in the world.

I am Grateful for My Faith – My journey in faith has been an unusual one. Most people don’t quite understand it – sometimes even I was a little confused by it. But on this journey, I’ve learned to trust in G-d and He will provide. Even though my outlook may be slightly different than others, that is how He created me and I have to trust in that.

I am Grateful for My Children – The “Walker Kids” are something else. I knew that when I went into the teaching profession that children would touch my life in all kinds of ways…little did I know they would end up being truly “my children”…to the extent that they call me “mom” all the time. They have proven that family doesn’t always share a name or a skin color or even a background. Families are created in love and trust and hope…

I am Grateful for My Running – Admittedly, I have a love-hate relationship with running. I love running for the fitness and the accomplishments and the ability to raise money for charities. But running kicks my butt, so I sometimes claim to hate it…but I’m lying. I really do love it!

I am Grateful for My Students – My crazy, unique, talented students. They teach me new things every day. I love them for who they are and who they are going to be. They make me proud, even when they’re driving me a bit crazy!

I am Grateful for My Mondays – Yes. Mondays. Each Monday brings a clean slate. It brings a new week in which I get to consciously make the choice to make a difference in someone’s life. It brings a new week in which I get to think positively and hopefully influence others to do the same.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 14

"Have You Lost Weight?"

Day 14 encourages the reader to banish the question "Have you lost weight?" from your vocabulary.

I stopped asking this question quite a while ago. I learned from personal experience that it is much more positive to give someone a compliment than to ask that question. That question has a very negative connotation.

Instead of asking that question, try a positive compliment:

"You look fabulous!"
"You're glowing!"
"That color looks great on you."

This will be an easy one! What are some more positive compliments we can use?!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 13

Defining Beautiful

The dictionary definition of the word "BEAUTIFUL" looks like this:


1. beauty; having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind: a beautiful dress; a beautiful speech.

2. excellent of its kind: a beautiful putt on the seventh hole; The chef served us a beautiful roast of beef.

3. wonderful; very pleasing or satisfying.

My definition of the word "BEAUTIFUL:"

~ strong
~ passionate
~ empowered
~ confident
~ intelligent
~ courageous
~ inspiring
~ brave

What is your definition of "BEAUTIFUL?"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 11 & 12

You are not your body and your dissatisfaction is not about your body...

These two days have been hard to respond to for me, which is why it's been so long since I've posted.

I don't have any deep, dark secrets or trauma or crazy events that have lead to my dissatisfaction with my body. I had a pretty normal childhood. I grew up as a Navy brat with both parents until they divorced my senior year. While that was a pretty defining time in my life, I didn't develop body issues because of it, nor do I feel I was totally traumatized by it.

I went on to college and had a pretty calm college experience. I actually participated in beauty pageants while I was in college (!). I was told by the judges that I had a lot of potential in the pageant circuit, although one said that I probably needed to do something about the weight on my thighs. Coincidentally, that's one of my "problem areas" now. But, at the time, I absorbed that comment and moved on. Again, I don't see it as a traumatizing moment in my life. I had pretty thick skin and dealt with the comment and moved on with my life. I never won any of the pageants...I didn't even place or win any of the talent competitions. I did manage to win Miss Congeniality at one of the pageants and I think that's when I realized that the pageant scene wasn't for me! I was perfectly happy being Miss Congeniality rather than Miss WhateverFestival or MissWhateverTownOrCity! I will tell you that being in the pageant scene for the short time I was involved was an incredible boost to my confidence. I knew that if I could walk around on a stage in a bathing suit and high heels in front of hundreds of people, I could do ANYTHING!!! And when I got all dolled up in my evening gowns, I actually felt quite beautiful.

When I got married, I was quite happy with my body. As time passed, I gained the typical pounds that I guess come with being comfortable and letting your guard down with your significant other. I slowly became unhappy with my body. My weight fluctuated slightly (in my eyes it was more than slightly, but isn't that always the case?). I gradually became unhappy with the changes in my body. The unhappiness would go away when I was working out regularly and my body reflected those workouts. It would return when my body reflected my lack of workouts.

After all of that, I think my unhappiness/dissatisfaction with my body directly relates to this "perfect" body image that I have in my head. Where did this image come from? I think it's a combination of the bodies of women who I feel have "amazing and perfect" bodies along with some of the women/girls that my husband has photographed (they all seem to be "skinny" and beautiful). I compare all of these bodies to my own and there are a lot more contrasts than comparisons. This is where my frustration sets in and I start to beat myself up.

I do realize that my dissatisfaction is not totally about my own body but about not reaching that "perfect" body image that I have engraved in my head. I need clean that slate off and realize that the strengths I possess are much more valuable than that crazy image.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 10

Positive Memories...

What do you appreciate most about yourself? What are you confident about? What is the first positive memory you have of yourself?

Despite my body image issues, there are a few things that I actually do appreciate about myself. Physically, I love my eyes. I love the colors they are and how they speak my emotions so clearly. I love my hands. hands. Not only do I like how they are shaped, but I love that my musical talent flows through them.

I am most confident about my musical and teaching abilities. When I have my flute in my hands and am making music, I can forget about all of my stress and troubles and woes. It transports me to another world where everything is good. On the other hand, I know that I am called to teach. When I see a child's eyes light up because they "get it?" Yeah...that's one of the best feelings in the world. And to see students who had no exposure to different musical experience grow to love and appreciate a diverse repertoire of music? It's a beautiful thing and my heart grows full just thinking of it!

I honestly can't remember what my first positive memory is of myself so I'll talk about some of my most "memorable" positive memories.

My college senior recital - Not only did I feel beautiful that day, but I felt accomplished. I knew that I performed to the best of my ability and that I had showcased my talent in a positive way. I knew that I made my family and friends proud and that I was proud of myself! It was also one of those defining steps on the path of my college career that lead to graduation and the real world.

My wedding day - Again, I felt beautiful on the inside and out. I knew I was marrying an amazing man and was confident in that decision. I loved my dress, my hair and my make-up. I felt absolutely incredible walking down the aisle to one of the most important men in my life flanked by two of the other most important men in my life, my brother and my "father," Jay Watkins. My family and friends were there to support and be part of our day and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.

Completing my first race - What a feeling of exhilaration that was when I completed the Cooper River Bridge Run with my fabulous friend, Theresa!! I felt on top of the world; as if I could accomplish anything! Did I feel physically beautiful at the time...absolutely NOT (I just ran 6.2 miles!)!! But the strength I felt was amazing.

Completing my first 1/2 marathon - Again - the feeling of exhilaration! I ran 13.1 miles! And I did it all by myself! Yes, that's an amazing feeling and the emotions that come along with it are quite overwhelming. Did I feel physically beautiful after this race? I think I did - because at that point, I felt that a body that could accomplish that feat HAD to be beautiful!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Apparently, Day 9 really spoke to me since I decided to blog about it TWICE! HA! When did I realize this? This morning when I saw an email in my inbox with a comment about Day 9, which was the same title as a comment over a week ago. What's great is that I even copied and pasted the list from the 1st Day 9 post into the 2nd Day 9 post. Yup...I'm a dork. Oops!

Day 10 will be coming soon!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 9

What Are My Words Really Saying?

- My thighs are too big.
- My stomach is getting rounder.
- I wish I was 10 lbs lighter.
- I wish I was the size I was when I got married.
- I wish I was as the size of "those" girls.

So, these are some of the things I catch Beulah saying or thinking about me.

Why do I say these things? What are my emotions when I say them?

These statements are born out of frustration and unhappiness. As I mentioned before, I've got my own "Standards of Beauty" and I get so frustrated when I look in the mirror and see that I am not reaching those standards. I know that it's time for me to set new standards...standards that are more realistic and positive. And, honestly, those new standards are starting to sneak their way into my inner dialogue and it's fascinating to feel the difference when I look in the mirror.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


So, one of my favorite songs lately has been "Perfect" by Pink. The words resonated with me, especially now that I've started this blog.

I finally thought to look up the video for the song and I must say that I'm even more taken with the song now than I was before for a lot of different reasons.

Here's an article explaining Pink's reasoning for this song and the video:

And here's the clean version of the song with the video:
(warning: one slightly graphic part and deals with the issue of cutting)

Beautiful You - Day 9

What are my words really saying??

Some of the things I say or think about myself.

- My thighs are too big.
- My stomach is getting rounder.
- I wish I was 10 lbs lighter.
- I wish I was the size I was when I got married.
- I wish I was as the size of "those" girls.

Hmmm. So, what do these words really mean? I think most of my problem is that I hold myself to certain "standards" of beauty. And, honestly, it's not just a "Hollywood standard of beauty," as Rosie suggests in her book. It's really just standards that I've come up with. I look at women who have gained the attention of certain people and feel a certain jealousy because I don't feel I share the same qualities, whether it be my weight or general appearance. Sometimes these women are famous starlets and sometimes they're just regular women that I meet in passing or through someone else.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only woman who has come up with her own standards of beauty. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only woman who can't reach her own standards of beauty. I need to re-evaluate my standards. The standards in my brain right now are not healthy standards for ME.

And, for the record, Beulah has only reared her ugly head about 3 times. Not bad!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 8

Self-Appreciation Jar

This jar is now sitting on my vanity.
For every negative thought or comment Beulah has about me, I will add either a quarter or a positive note.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 7

Ah, yes. The inner critic that I just posted about yesterday needs a name. She's such a nag and just not nice at all. She's my biggest enemy. And, she needs a name.



I think I'm leaning towards Bertha or Beulah. What do you think?? =)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 6

Ditch the "Fat Chat." Stop the "Body Bashing."

This is an interesting concept for me. For me, it's not so much the "chat" that I have an issue with but. Typically, I keep quiet about myself if others are "fat chatting." I try to keep a pretty positive attitude when around others because I know that negativity breeds negativity no matter what the situation. I also realize that this chatter usually is with women who see me as very thin and fit and healthy even though I don't always feel that way. I learned early on that if I mentioned my body image issues, I was immediately refuted and dismissed due to their vision of me.

"Body bashing," on the other hand, is what I need to work to get rid of. While I am very quiet about my feelings about my body on the outside, the voices on the inside are usually shouting and not very nice. I have got to work on quieting those voices and turning them into positive thinking. I have to learn to stop myself when I feel inclined to put myself down and when I hear those negative thoughts taking over. I need to kill those negative thoughts with positivity and strength.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 5

" It is impossible to live the life we want most if we haven't taken time to imagine it."
~Rosie Molinary, Beautiful You - A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance

My Vision

I envision myself being confident about ALL of me.
I envision myself feeling beautiful ALL of the time.
I envision loving myself - no matter what.
I envision myself not being envious of other women.
I envision celebrating myself for who I am inside and out.

Quite simply - this is not where I am today.
What will it take to get there?
It will take a new mindset.
It will take a conscious effort.
It will take strength and love.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 4

Body image didn't really affect my daily life and outlook until recent years. There was a time when I didn't even consider body image. I lived my life without worrying about weight. I was happy with what I saw in the mirror every day. I guess because my weight didn't really fluctuate, I didn't really pay much attention to it.

After I got married, my weight began to fluctuate. Honestly, it wasn't anything major but it was enough to bother me. It was enough to change my outlook on myself. I began to over-analyze every part of my body. I didn't like what I saw in the mirror.

Because of all of this, I am more critical of myself in all kinds of ways. I tend to beat myself up because of what I see in the mirror, especially when my weight fluctuates (just by a few pounds). I am very aware that my view of my body is very different from how others view it, and yet, I still have the same negative feelings.

I think one of the positive things that has come from my body image issues has been my entrance into the running world. This has helped my self confidence tremendously, but it hasn't erased those negative feelings about my body that come back to haunt me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 3

How do I feel about myself?

What a loaded question!!

I think I come across as a pretty confident woman (who knows if I'm right), but on the inside, I'm not really that confident. I constantly judge myself when I look in the mirror. Mornings can be brutal for me as I try to decide what to wear. Forget what is fashionable...but what can I do to make my thighs look smaller or to hide that roundness that my stomach has started taking on. It's an on-going battle that takes over my morning. I look in the mirror and really don't like what I see most mornings.

Why is this?

Well, I am constantly opening magazines with these "perfectly" shaped models. I turn on the T.V. and see beautiful actresses....who have "perfect" shapes. I see the women/girls that my husband photographs and they have those "perfect" shapes. They can all wear the latest styles and look just right. But what make them so "perfect?" Why does their body shape get to be perfect and mine doesn't?

Honestly? It's mostly because my brain won't let my body be "perfect" because it's different than theirs. They all have something in common that I feel I don't have. I see my imperfections and can't get past them. And it's mostly just my brain working in overtime and over-analyzing myself.

I need to get past this and appreciate what I have. If what I have fluctuates, I need to be grateful for what I have gained or have lost. When I can have a healthy sense of self, I will feel beautiful regardless of size or shape. When I can be confident in what I already have, I will feel beautiful. I need to remind myself that beauty radiates from the inside.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 2

Today, I pledge allegiance to myself. I will be a body champion and a body warrior.

I have signed my Body Warrior Pledge.

I think there are two statements from the Body Warrior Pledge that I am struggling with right now and will surely be the two to take the most determination for me to embrace is the following:

"To let envy dissipate and allow admiration to be a source of compassion by offering compliments to others."

"To change the inner monologue in my head to one that sees possibility not problems, potential not shortcomings, blessings not imperfections."

~Body Warrior Pledge; Beautiful You, a daily guide to Radical Self-Acceptance, by Rosie Molinary

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Beautiful You - Day 1

Body Image and Me
I hope that I can truly accept my body 100% for what it is and what it isn't. I hope that I can love my body for all of its perfections and imperfections. I want to look in the mirror and be truly happy with what I see. I want to stop arguing with myself when I get dressed in the morning.

Body Image and the World
I would like to turn on the T.V. and open magazines and see models, actors and actresses of all shapes and sizes being accepted as just that....models, actors and actresses. Why do we have to categorize "plus-size" models (who are actually quite normally sized)?? Beauty should not be dependent upon size or shape and, unfortunately, the world continues to be dependent upon them. I would love to see beauty be dependent upon talent and passion and faith.

How Can I Begin Today?
Today I can remember to appreciate the body that G-d has given me. I only get one, so I need to continue to take care of it and love it for what it is.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


So, my first blog.

I decided to start a blog mostly to keep track of my "beautiful you challenge." My beautiful friend, Jillian, gave me the book beautiful you: a daily guide to Radical Self-Acceptance, by Rosie Molinary as a holiday gift. She also gave it to my darling daughter, Angel, so we decided to make it a "challenge" of sorts.

I'm sure I'll also throw some other randomness in here, so just bear with me!