Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Respect Yourself.

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Girl Warrior. Respect yourself. Yes you. Hold yourself in high regard. The highest, in fact. For you are a prized and precious and perfect person. Exactly as you are now. Exactly as you always have been. And exactly as you always will be.

This does not mean you won’t change and grow. Refine, reshape and rework your life. You’ll edit, emend and evolve as you go. There will be times when you press repeat, rewind or even pause. And that’s okay. You’ll learn new things. Astonishing things that will blow your mind. You are free to try on different roles and responsibilities along the highway or dirt road of your one-of-a-kind odyssey. Abandon what doesn’t feel right in your skin. Keep all that speaks to your truth and honors the brilliant Girl Warrior that you are. For this is the essence of self-respect.

Respecting yourself is part and parcel of loving yourself. It all starts here. You unwrap them together. They are hand in glove and should not be separated. They will act as your guide, your touchstone and spiritual litmus test for everything you think, say and do. But they do ask that you think well of yourself at all times. That you hold yourself in such high regard and esteem that you wouldn’t think of causing harm to yourself. Not physically. Not emotionally. Not intellectually. Not spiritually. Not ever.

There are no exceptions Girl Warrior. Your standard is set high. It is golden. And so are you.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: 20 Things to Love About Yourself.

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At the end of November my beautiful daughter-in-law (DIL) sent an interesting Facebook message to my two daughters and me. This message was actually a challenge. It was something she herself had been challenged to do in her fitness class that week, and one that she found extremely difficult. When I read that, my first thought was that “if this incredible young women finds a “fitness” challenge difficult,” then I’m dead meat. No way Jose. Not going to happen for this Old Broad (OB). Then when I read “the challenge” I was even more convinced that this was something I could not do.

What was so challenging about “the challenge”?

Everything. Why? Because it requires that you take a long hard, uncompromising, honest, candid, truthful and LOVING look at yourself. Both physically and non-physically. And come up with ten things for each that you like about yourself. I’m not even talking love here. Just, like. A little nod to one of your more redeeming attributes, a mere mention of some cute little trait or charming characteristic. You know the thing I’m talking about. That endearing eccentricity that your family mutters under their collective-breath at family gatherings, “There it is.” We all have those, right. But as my DIL said in her note, “It’s amazing how in 2 seconds you can name a million things about family, friends and even people you’ve just met, but to name 20 things about yourself is HARD!”

She’s right. It’s easy-peasy to find 20 things about someone else that are admirable and praiseworthy, both physically and non-physically. But try pointing the lens back at yourself and it is damn near impossible. At least for me.

But this is a new year. And I’ve decided that this is the year that I will challenge myself more. Go out on that fragile limb and do things. Face uncertainty head-on. Take some risks. Do things a little, or a lot, differently than I have in the past. Some of these things I know are going to scare the shit right out of me. And at my age this could seriously happen.

Other things, I’m going to do because they’ll be good for me. Like eating more vegetables and less meat, especially the stuff that causes the unnecessary death of cute animals. This is a dilemma for me because I think all animals, and many plants, are cute. And if you think I’m being facetious, check out Marimos. They are freakin’ adorable. So are Baby Lichens. Then there’s Venus Flytraps. Not all that cute but extremely interesting. Like the dark-haired girl wearing uncool glasses in a roomful of Barbie’s with big boobs. I can relate to the V-Flies.

And then there are those things I’ve been putting off for years, decades even. You know the things, the “I’ll do that someday” stuff. All the stuff you make excuses for, that possibly involve some kind of weird time and space continuum. I have no idea what that is but it sounds like it may apply here, and very likely every aspect of my life to date. But I do plan to make a heroic attempt, and at the very least, confront some of these things that I’ve been putting off and maybe quite conceivably, should all the stars line up just right, get around to it. Perhaps.

As for the 10 physical things and the 10 non-physical things I like about myself? I haven’t a clue. I only know that it will require me to be as kind and loving with myself as I am with others. I will need to be as gentle and gracious, understanding and big-hearted, caring and compassionate, forgiving and magnanimous to me as I am to you and you and you, and the person I’ve just met. For this is all the great big important stuff that is at the very heart of “the challenge.” Maybe, just maybe, that’s why it’s so difficult.

And as my wise, witty and wonderful DIL said, it’s easier to come up with these things about someone else then it is about yourself. So I thought I’d do it for her.

10 Physical things that I LOVE about my DIL (in no particular order and just for starters):

  1. Big beautiful smile
  2. Gorgeous hair
  3. Killer abs
  4. Cute freckles
  5. Dazzling blue eyes
  6. Tiny waist
  7. Artistic hands
  8. Infectious laugh
  9. Melodic voice
  10. Magnificent fit figure

10 Non-Physical things that I LOVE about my DIL (in no particular order and just for starters):

  1. Loving-kindness
  2. Generosity
  3. Compassion
  4. Thoughtfulness
  5. Gentleness
  6. Intelligence
  7. Creativity
  8. Humor
  9. Courage
  10. Warmth and wonder

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Watch What You Say.

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Girl Warrior. Watch what you say, especially to yourself. Pay attention to your inner dialogue. The relentless non-stop conversation you have inside your head. The bitter discourses, fiery discussions and heated debates that turn and churn like a broken record in your mind. All the random thoughts that come and go but have such a powerful impact on the person you are. And more importantly, on the person you will become.

You are what you think Girl Warrior. And what you think you are is in essence who you are. Every second, of every minute, of every day, your self-talk shapes your reality. For better or for worse. It’s critical that you understand that your exterior world is actually your interior world manifested. Everything around you begins as an inside job. Think about that. Ponder the potency of that idea and just how empowering it truly is.

So first and foremost, don’t tell lies to yourself. Like I’m not good enough. Not smart enough. Not talented enough. Not pretty enough. Not enough of anything. Stop the self-condemnation and self-flagellation. Stop all the crazy-making put-downs and criticism. Stop saying all the hurtful things you would never say to anyone else. Stop the little inside bully. Right here and now.

Stop.

And instead, tell yourself the honest truth. The brave and fearless bloodletting truth. You are more than good enough. You are smart. You are beautiful. You are a brilliant. You are talented. You are tough. You are courageous. You are loving. You are kind. You are gentle. You are strong. You are large-hearted. You are a force to be reckoned with. You are spectacular in every way. You are a Pink Stone Diamond. The rarest of rare.

Tell yourself all that Girl Warrior. And only that.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Dress the Part.

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Girl Warrior. Dress the part. Every Girl Warrior should have a costume. Something that is uniquely her. At first blush, it might look just like someone else’s. Don’t be fooled. No two Girl Warriors wear their costumes in the same way. This is your personal power suit. Put it on.

Strut your stuff. Don’t apologize for the cut, color or condition. Walk. Run. Skip to my Lou. Black leather jacket. Frilly blouse. Skinny jeans. Mini skirt. Floor length gown. A sundress blooming with flowers. Floppy hat. Or fascinator. A pinstriped suit. Kick-ass boots. Red stiletto shoes.

It’s not about fashion. It’s about expression. Wearing the inside out. It’s about attitude. Character. Originality. You are a rare bird Girl Warrior. Know this.

So put on your cape. And fly.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Never Stop Learning.

Abby Gardner

Girl Warrior.  Your education doesn’t end with the cap and gown. Or the walk across the stage to collect your diploma. Truth is, it’s just beginning.

Be infinitely inquisitive, interested and intrigued by everything and everyone. Be eager to know and understand. Look under rocks. Check out every leaf and blade of grass. Peek behind curtains. Peer into windows. Pry open doors. Poke around. Pursue relentlessly the ‘who, what, where and why’ of life. Plant seeds of greatness. And pick the brains of the brightest.

Be a big thinker.

Grow your mind every day. Cultivate your intellect. Expand your knowledge. Enrich your life with new experiences. Seek wisdom in the nests of the sagacious old birds. Hunt tenaciously for truth. Let your mind wander. And wonder. Live life fully and may it be your finest teacher.

Read voraciously. Write prodigiously. Listen judiciously. Observe keenly. Ask questions. Be a perennial student Girl Warrior. Until you draw your final breath.

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Girls in Glasses