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I Did Not Get Punched in the Face. (Also: Some Thoughts on Beauty.)


I did not get punched in the face.

I found it helpful to start most of my conversations with that sentence last week, answering the question that was inevitably in the pucker of everybody's lips.

At first I thought I was saying this as a way of breaking the ice for people, but then I realized I was saying it for ME because what I REALLY wanted was to answer the question that I was AFRAID was on peoples' minds.

That question, of course, being, "Did you get a nose job?"

Listen.  I got 99 insecurities, but my nose ain't one.

By telling people that I did not get sucker-punched, it opened the floor for me to say that I had a chunk of (non-scary) cancer removed from my nose, which, in my mind, translates directly to, "no, I did not get a nose job."

I'm going somewhere important with this post but hang on tight because we're going to take the back-way there.

Owen was out of town on the day of my surgery, and when he got home, I had just returned from a day at the office and a whole lotta errands looking exactly like I did in the above photo.

"I'm proud of you, Honey," said he.  "I think a lot of women [he surely meant 'people'] would have done anything to avoid going out in public like that.  You are ballsy.  I love that about you."

I did not take this as the backhanded compliment that it appears to be in print.  I took it as a fabulous compliment.

I puffed my chest like a rooster.  He is right.  In the best way possible, I've got metaphorical cajones when I need 'em.

I have the potential to be extraordinarily brave.  And I love that about me.

But I wasn't being brave when I went out in public looking like that.  I ENJOYED going out in public like that.  I was not scared, so it was not brave.

Let's look at three relevant points:

Fact #1:  I care a lot about what people think of me…as a person.  I care TOO MUCH about what people think of me as a person.  It an unhealthy sign of insecurity (and also of an unruly amount of kindness and empathy) how much I concern myself with what people think of me as a person.

Fact #2:  At this point in my life (key words "this point"), I truly do not give a sh*t whether people think I look pretty.  

Fact #3:  Rereading fact #2 is distressing to me because I typed it mindlessly, and when people say they "don't give a sh*t" about something, they usually in fact give many sh*ts about that thing, which explains the strong language.


Let's figure this one out.  I haven't seen my therapist in a while, so I can think of no reason why I shouldn't hash this one out before a vast audience of peers and strangers, can you?

Let's begin, then.

The reason I was under the impression that #2 was a fact was because I enjoyed going out in public like that.  I enjoyed it for the same reason I sometimes enjoy dressing sloppily in public.  It's a good filtering process, you know?  Helps to remove anybody from my life who might think that my worth (or any person's worth) has anything to do with whether or not I or they dress pretty, for crying out loud.

It feels like a gentle way of flipping the birdy to the Judgy McShallowtons of the world.

Which is why I was under the impression that I don't care what people think of my appearance.

But if the opposite of love is not hate but indifference, then the opposite of vanity is not using sloppiness as a middle finger to the world.

The opposite of vanity might be indifference.  But more likely, the opposite of vanity is LOVING the McShallowtons and McChauvinists, who suffer because they can't see truth.

But definitely, the opposite of vanity is self-love.

nose2 copy.jpg
nose2 copy.jpg

I'm rolling my eyes at my own epiphany over here.  [For the love of all things holy, someone tell me--PLEASE--that we have not landed on the self-love card again!!]  After all the time and money and vulnerability I have invested in trying to learn self-love, how is it not yet instinctual for me to be loving towards me?  Why is there still anger there??

I guess I know where that subconscious passion about this topic--that quiet desire to flip off the world--comes from.

Some of it comes from knowing that for many years, my happiness in a given day had a lot to do with how much my thighs rubbed together that day, how voluminous my hair looked, or how many compliments I did or did not receive that day.

I'm angry that I gave my power away like that.

But this isn't about the past, is it?

I STILL give away my power.  I give it away every time I value someone else's opinion of me more than I value my OWN opinion of me.  I give it away whenever I concern myself with other peoples' perception of my business, my photos, my written words, my parenting, my decisions.

That's where the anger comes from.

It's not the WORLD I want to stick it to.  It's the critic inside of me that I want to flip off.

That's why I enjoyed walking around in public looking like I just stepped out of a boxing ring last week.

It was liberating.  And it made me look tougher than I felt.

I sat down to write a much different post than this today.  But when I let the words flow, I write--not what I plan to write--but what I need to write.

I think we all are maybe a little too concerned with how we are publicly perceived.  I think the success of social media is pretty much spawned by this fear.

When my kids grow up and inevitably become concerned with their appearance, I want them to know what I believe.  I believe that self-love and letting ourselves shine is the ONLY thing that will determine our "beauty."

I want my children to know that when they let themselves shine, NOTHING can stop them from being magnetically radiant…not even a punch in the nose.

I want you to know that, too.

And me.

With love and light.jpg
With love and light.jpg


Think You Are Stupid?  Unworthy?  LISTEN UP.


Think You Are Stupid? Unworthy? LISTEN UP.

pepere brain comment beneath
pepere brain comment beneath

It is more than a teensy bit distressing to me that several of the most genuine, thought-provoking, downright incredible people I am lucky to know are of the opinion that they, personally, are "stupid."

Knowing the plentitude of brilliance and wisdom these fine humans contribute to our world, I ask myself where the stupidity belief comes from.  Do they think this because of comments from teachers or classmates when they were young?  Did their low grades in school make them think that they are unintelligent?  Is it because they didn't go to college?

OR do they (or did they once) actually recognize the brilliance that I see in them?  And are they afraid that if they OWN that brilliance, people will point fingers at their bad grades and informal educations, thereby exposing them to the world as frauds?   


[Sad sigh.]  Ahhhhh, friends.  I think these divine folks of whom I speak are subconsciously afraid to shine.

[I am no stranger to the fear of shining.  In fact, for a long time, I hesitated to launch this very website because I believed I did not deserve to model the "Let It Shine" mantra.  (More on that subject in my next post.)]

pepere 10 comment beneath
pepere 10 comment beneath

Want to know the worst part about the being afraid to shine?

Our eyes adjust to darkness.

After enough repetitions of telling ourselves that we are stupid (or undeserving or cowardly or ugly or whatever), we actually BELIEVE we ARE those things.

The more we smother out light, the more our pupils dilate.  We adjust to the environment of the dark cave that we built to "protect" us.

Before long, we get so lost in that dark place of misplaced brilliance that we forget what it was like to be bright.  We even IDENTIFY with the darkness.  This negative trait?  It's just who we are, we poor things.

Suddenly, this scary cave that we do know feels safer and more comfortable than the oppressively bright, now unfamiliar light outside.

So when someone notices our brilliance or our beauty or our courage, thereby shining a ray of light on our dilated pupils, we clamp our eyes shut in horror and throw our palms at them in protest.  [The audacity of those light-shiners!]

I mean, SURE, it would be NICE if the light-shiners were RIGHT about us, but can't they see?  We are cave dwellers.  Cave dwellers do not shine, silly light-shiners.  We hide.


By this point, we have forgotten that we once perceived this place of negative self-talk as being dark.

We have forgotten that we were never meant to be cave dwellers in the first place.

What I am trying to say is that hiding our strengths from others is DANGEROUS grounds.  When we modestly or fearfully hide our brilliance from others, we not only encourage them to do the same, but WE ALSO HIDE OUR BRILLIANCE FROM OURSELVES.

Here's the kicker.   Most of us build our lives around a fear of shining without ever even knowing it. 

We swipe the rug directly out from under our own feet and WE DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.    We lay there in our cave corners, confused and depressed from a lack of Vitamin D, deliriously BELIEVING that we are actually stupid or weak or whatever.

I sad-sigh again because I know that some cave dwellers are SO deep in the cave (been there!) that they will read this post and think it does not apply to them.  (Don't let this be you, Sweet Reader!  I repeat:  Do NOT let this be you!!)


It took me a good 17 years of therapy and radical self-analysis to realize that I was afraid to let it shine.  Now I see it all around me.

SO, my Brilliant, Gorgeous, Deserving of Goodness Reader:  what positive qualities are YOU not owning?  Perhaps you are willing to proclaim your intelligence, but do you discredit your COURAGE?  Do you downplay your WISDOM?  Do you trivialize your INNER BEAUTY?


I do not ask you to demolish your Caves of Self-Sabotage right this minute.  I don't even ask you to know how.

All I ask is that you recognize that these negative things you think of yourself?  Maybe--just maybe--they are not true.

Maybe--just maybe--you made them up.

Maybe--just maybe--you did so because at one point in your life, you were afraid to shine.

Your willingness to take one brave baby step today by recognizing that?

That willingness shows that you are nothing short of brilliant.

rock smile with comment beneath
rock smile with comment beneath


Want to worry less about what people think of you?  Tune in for my next post, and I'll hand you a key to unhinging that mind-trap.

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As always, I very much appreciate your comments and your willingness to share this!  (I want my posts to help as many people as possible...and I need your help to make that happen!)  :)