Love Your Selfie!

Selfies, also once known as self-portraits, have taken over the internet by storm.  I admit that at first I did not know how I felt about such a phenomenon. Prior to 2004 (when MySpace first made it’s debut), selfies were almost non-existent on the internet.

MySpace was first started as a website where people would post photos of themselves and others would rate how hot they were on a scale from 1-10. This then created the pressure to have the perfect photo! MySpace was the first home for the bathroom selfies. You know, the ones that you took with your Razor flip phone when you think you look good but you forgot to windex your mirror? From there, the human race eventually discovered that they no longer needed a dirty bathroom mirror to capture a photo of themselves, just long arms and the right lighting would do the trick.

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Now, selfies have become just an added activity to the every day life of a human. It’s just as common as brushing your teeth everyday and the variety of selfies are endless. Gym selfies. Car selfies. Bored selfies. No makeup Monday selfies. Short hair don’t care selfies. An inspirational quote selfie. A cry for attention selfies. Just hanging out selfies.

Basically, if you didn’t take a selfie, did your day really happen?

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There seems to be an unending debate as to whether or not selfies should exist. The way I see it, if you aren’t for selfies you are wasting your time. They aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they are only growing in popularity!

Personally, I am in support of selfies.

Why? Because as someone who struggled with insecurity for so long, I’d rather see people embracing who they are than hiding it.

It’s funny because I remember having a conversation with people a few years back when I was struggling with a lot of insecurity. They would always say, “I wish you could know how beautiful you are.” Fast forward to the present and I am now an avid selfie-taker. Not because I am vain or conceited, but because I’m confident. The same people who used to say they wished I could see my beauty are the ones who have tried to make me feel inferior because I take a self-portrait every once in a while.

It’s somewhat of an inconsistent message that we are sending. Be confident in who you are but not too confident because then I’ll feel insecure.

Do you take selfies? Great! I applaud you and all the work that goes into taking a perfect selfie! Love your beauty and never apologize for seeing it!

Do you hate taking selfies? That’s ok! You don’t need to take selfies to be a confident person. I am sure you are beautiful and you don’t even have to prove it to me with a picture!

My point is, whether you like selfies or not, they are here to stay. I’m embracing the movement. If you don’t want to, fine. But don’t try to make others feel badly about themselves for it.

I’m just saying, take as many selfies as you want. There are multi-million dollar companies with old white men as CEOs that profit off of your low self-esteem and self-hate.

destroy them.

love yourself.”

-anonymous.

Six year old Rihanna knew she'd love selfies.

Six year old Rihanna knew she’d love selfies.

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A Summertime Update!

Well, I have sadly and officially broken my blogging streak!  After my Miley blog went viral, I made it my own goal to blog at least once a week and for the first time in nine months, I missed a week.  At first I was hard on myself for not living up to my own rule, but then I decided to look at it from the other angle and be proud of myself for consistently blogging for a straight 36 weeks! A feat that was not always easy in the midst of balancing life, school and a new-found love for Grey’s Anatomy.

As I was considering topics that I could blog about for this week, I realized that I don’t very often update my loyal readers on my day-to-day life other than an inspirational Israel story or a humiliating booty call confession (before you judge me, click the link to see what I am talking about). So, this blog will be just that! I apologize in advance if you find it to be boring and not quite as entertaining as my previous posts!

As my last blog stated, I just finished my second year at Bethel. To be honest, the day after graduation I felt as though I had just spiraled out of a tornado.  I felt like I was brain dead for a few days as my mind tried to process everything that had happened in my heart over the last two years.  This year started off a bit rough for me as I experienced a case of home-sickness and just feeling overall confused as to where my life was headed.  At one point I found myself driving around Redding for hours in tears just trying to figure out what exactly I was doing.  It’s been a year of surrendering a lot of dreams I had for myself, which is scary for me because I have always been a huge dreamer.  What’s interesting is that even though I felt as though I was losing my vision for life, a lot of my dreams became true this year.

As I said, I just finished second year which leads me to third year! Third year is an internship program and I will be interning for a lady named Beni Johnson who is passionate for health and fitness.  I am extremely honored and excited to be able to serve her vision as it is a subject that is so near and dear to my heart.  What I love is the irony and complete redemption of God.  When I came to Bethel, I was bulimic and had lost hope that I would ever be able to be free from its grip. Now, not only have I experienced the miracle of being almost 2 years free of it,  I will finish my schooling at Bethel being able to help get someone’s passion for health and wellness spread.  God is just so good.

I am officially employed! This is very exciting news as my bank account had dwindled down to 8 cents (yes, you read that correctly). As you can imagine, I am ecstatic to be working and am considering finding a second job so that I can save money and splurge on an OPI nail polish or go see a movie in the real theater every once in a while. I have big dreams people!

There you have it! The day to day in life may not be the most exciting, but I’ve learned that it’s where the most precious memories hide. As Pam Halpert once wisely said, “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things.”

Peace and Love,
Ri

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10 Lessons I Learned from Ministry School

Two years ago I arrived in Redding, California. A town I knew nothing about to attend Bethel School of Ministry.  I remember standing in line for registration, overwhelmed with the loud, out-going and over-ecstatic students who all seemed to want to hug me at the same time.  Around the time I passed the 296th hipster I saw, I wondered if I would soon have to embrace lifestyle of indie music, vintage clothes and artisanal coffee.  Does Beyonce count as indie?

I was terrified because I had no idea the capacity of beauty that lied ahead for me. Two years have since passed and although it was hard,  I have survived. My life has been forever shifted.  I love deeper, live fuller, but yet Beyonce is still the number one more played artist on my Spotify playlist.

This last week I have found myself reflecting on all that has happened in these last two years. I’ve learned so much, but here are some highlights:

1. Impossible is an illusion. When I had arrived, I had learned to live with an eating disorder lurking in every corner. I bought into the lie that I would have to live with it forever because it was all I had ever known.  Now, when I hear people use the phrase “transforming power of God” I know that it’s real because I am a walking testimony to that as I am now a year and a half free from bulimia. There’s no place so dark where God can’t shine through.

2. Coffee is a dietary supplement. Don’t like coffee? You may want to consider that ministry school may not be where God is calling you.

3. A Coffee date isn’t really a date. A coffee date is the politically correct way to let another person know that you may be interested at some point in the distant future at getting to know them. Make sure that you make it clear that you have no intentions and act like you hardly even know their name. Also, be sure to pretend that you have NEVER spent an excessive amount of time on their facebook with your roommate!  It’s like an unofficial interview for a real date because people who go on real dates are practically already engaged. What happens if you go on a real date with someone only to find out they are called to Hollywood and you are called to AFRICA?! Unless you are Brangelina, IT WILL NEVER WORK. Plus you just wasted like $30, which  let’s be honest is a large sum of money for students. That’s what the coffee date is for. It’s cheap, efficient, and you can always get out of it early by claiming to have another coffee date waiting for you.

4. There are broken people everywhere. Sometimes, coming into a place like this, it’s easy to let your guard down and let everybody into your heart. Generally, that leaves you hurt. Learn to love, but protect your heart.  Competition in friendship is ugly. Find friends where you can love and celebrate each other’s victories, beauty and life and keep them close.

5. Embrace the awkward hug. Gosh, ministry school students might be the most awkward huggers ever because they insist on ALWAYS hugging.  You can be walking with 6 bags in your hands while trying to carry your kale and quinoa salad in a mason jar in your arms and 4 books on your head and they will STILL try to hug you! Don’t even get me started on how mortifying it is when they go in for a side hug and you’re thinking real hug so you end up with your neck looking over their arm with no body to embrace you and gosh, you just feel so vulnerable!

6. Vulnerability is beautiful.  There were a few times when I knew I had made a mistake and old Rihanna would have brushed it away and carried on figuring that nobody needed to know.  But there’s a beauty to being fully real and fully honest with someone and giving them the opportunity to see every part of you, the good and the ugly, and loving you anyways.

7. You have to experience the process before you can experience the fruit.  I love that the typical school year is 9 months because it reminds me of a mother who is growing a new life within her.  She doesn’t see the baby.  She can’t hold and show off the baby, but she knows it’s coming.  The 9 months is a roller coaster of emotions ranging from joy and anticipation, to pain and wondering if you will make it out alive. The life comes after the process and should never be rushed because just as a mother doesn’t want a pre-mature baby, we shouldn’t want a pre-mature destiny.

8. You will be emotional. Sometimes, you will find yourself driving around late at night listening to anything from Brian and Jenn Johnson to Taylor Swift to Sia because you are just SO CONFUSED about where your life is going.  It’s ok.  Nobody really knows and that’s the beauty of it. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

9. Learn to embrace the awkward run-in.  Redding is a seemingly small town and Bethel has about 2000 students which means that it is literally impossible to go ANYWHERE without seeing someone you know or kind of know.  Long gone are the days where you can run into your local grocery store in your sweatpants and an old, oversized shirt with no makeup and two different shoes. You never know if your crush is going to be there buying organic apples and kombucha!  Do you want to be single forever?! I didn’t think so. So brush your hair and put on your best vintage floral dress because you need almond milk!

10. God is always good.  He is always, always, always good. There has not been one instance where God has left me stranded or let me down. Despite moving here with no car, no place to live, and no money; I have never had to go without.  His goodness amazes me on a daily basis. A common phrase He hears from me is “God, you are so crazy.”  His love is so deep.  When you really fully surrender your life to Him, He loves to shower his love on you.

In closing, the last two years were more rewarding, challenging, and beautiful than I had anticipated.  But what I find most exciting is that my best days are yet to come.

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I used to be a Mean Girl

She’s fabulousbut she’s evil. – Damien, MEAN GIRLS

The title of this blog is true. I used to be a Mean Girl.  Don’t get me wrong, by no means was I up to the standards set by our societies very own Regina George, but I did have similar qualities stemming from the same root. Insecurity.

I was a very insecure girl growing up.  I attended a small private school where my class ranged anywhere from 12-20 any given year.  The girls in the class segregated into two groups.  The “cool” and the “not cool.”  Let me just add that looking back, neither where cool. It was only a difference of whether you wore Winnie-the-Pooh overalls or Elmo t-shirts.  I’m not even going to tell you which one made you cool in our eyes.  I will leave you guessing.

I seemed to float back and forth. I so badly wanted to be apart of the cool group.  I would imagine myself sitting at lunch with the cool group.  I’d leave my Winnie-the-Pooh overalls behind (ok, I just gave away which one was the uncool group) and would proudly wear an Elmo shirt as we gossiped about other students who still wore Winnie-the-Pooh.  I would ditch my Point of Grace CD’s and proudly begin listening to TLC!

Years passed and my childhood dream of being cool never came to pass.  Finally, in Jr High I realized that if I wanted to gain attention, I had to be funny.  I was at a birthday party with the same group of students I had grown up with. I still so desperately wanted to be accepted and I knew exactly how I would do it.

There was a girl who was a few years older than us and all the girls in our class hated her. To protect the innocent, let’s call her Molly. She was dating the most handsome 8th grader we all knew and jealousy ran rampant.  So what do girls do when they are jealous of another girl who is receiving the same kind of attention and affection they want? They find all the reasons why she is not deserving of it and it normally begins with her looks.

I mean, I don’t want to be rude but she’s not even that pretty.

She wears way to much makeup that I’m afraid what’s under there.

Why would he date her? He could do so much better.

The cool girls all hated her and I knew that if I somehow began joining in their hate, they would accept me.  I went into my friends bathroom and put on a ridiculous amount of bad makeup.  I ran out of the bathroom with my makeup looking like a clown and declared in the best dumb girl voice I could do, “Hey everyone! I’m Molly!”

Everyone laughed and laughed as they continued asking me to do more impressions of her. The next day at school, everyone was still talking about it and I was even invited over to one of the cool girls houses after school.  I finally had the attention I had wanted for years from the cool girls and yet I felt terrible.

I remember the guilt and shame that overwhelmed me as I thought about that night.  Of course, within a few days word had gotten back to Molly and I remember seeing her crying during our lunch recess.  That night, I went home and mustered all the courage I could up and I called her to apologize. She was crying on the phone and from that day on, every time I saw her I felt this deep guilt and heart ache I had caused knowing that I had hurt her.

Over a decade has passed since that time and I still think about her time to time. Being a mean girl may have given me the popularity I wanted, but that popularity didn’t compare to the anguish it caused me.

This story may seem like a typical teenage mistake, but I see it happening time and time again in society still. We may not go to the extent I did, but we still get jealous, we judge, we whisper behind people’s backs, we make belittling comments that are subtle enough to make us feel less guilty.

Did you see the picture she posted on Instagram in her bikini? 

What kind of attention is she looking for?

What does he see in her?

Why does she get to go there with those people? She doesn’t deserve that.

Jealousy is fatal. Jealousy tells us that we aren’t safe.  Jealously makes us feel like we are forgotten or unseen.  Jealousy lures us into letting our guard down and saying words that we can never take back. Don’t let jealousy steal away from you the truth of who you truly are.

In the words of Cady Heron, “Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”

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