Choose to Inhale

29 Oct

First, an update.  I went to court yesterday for my recent accident, and I am thrilled to report that I was released with no fine or points because there were no witnesses to prove the state’s case that I was guilty of negligent driving.  Personally, I am relieved as I really don’t believe that I could have done anything to stop the accident from happening.  I wasn’t speeding, I wasn’t on my phone or playing with the radio.  In fact, thanks to the rain, I was driving quite carefully.  So…  phew!  I was going to write a post about all of the people I saw in the court room, ranging from the sad to the sadly stupid and beyond, but then something changed my mind and my outlook.

This morning I was listening to the radio and I heard a story about Mattie Stepanek.  He was fourteen when he died from disautonomic mitochondrial myopathy.  Despite his very short and difficult life, he was the author of some beautiful, inspiring books that really focus on positivity and the beauty of life.  The interview was with his mother, who has recently written Messenger, a book celebrating his life. She was talking about all of the ways in which her young son inspired her and others.  She said two really powerful things that really spoke to me.

Do not lie down in my ashes.

Her son told her that when he knew he would die.  What a sad, beautiful thing for a child to say to his mother, and so true.  Do not lie down in the ashes of those you’ve lost.  Do not settle for a live half-lived.  Do not go through your days in a haze brought on by the things that have happened to you.  They were not done to you, they simply happened as things do in this sometimes cruel and often beautiful world.  Instead,

Choose to inhale.

This was another gem from Mattie Stepanek.  Do not go about your days breathing because you must or because your body does it automatically.  Every morning when you open your eyes, choose to inhale.  Live on purpose.  Embrace all of the positive things in your life.  They pass too quickly not to be cherished.

I have been thinking a lot about this in my own life, about ways that I can more fully embrace the good, the now, the beautiful and leave the rest behind.

Thanks to a comment on my guest post, I started thinking about my current eating habits.  Thanks to the routine I have gotten myself into and the general sense of tired, we’ve gotten into the really bad habit of eating a lot of quick, prepared foods.  Even when we cook, we tend to take shortcuts that, in the end, decrease the value of our meals.  I want to go back to the Mediterranean diet.  I know I have said this before, but the truth is that though cooking that way took me more time, it was SO worth it.  It was cheaper because I was using fresh, local ingredients.  Aaron and I both felt better, happier and healthier.  This is not about my weight.  I meant what I said about loving my body.  I just want to be taking the best possible care of it, and a diet with more vegetables and whole grains and less prepared, packaged foods is a huge step in the right direction.

A friend of mine has a young daughter who has just decided that she is ugly.  This little girl is only seven, and she is actually a beautiful girl.  I am sure someone at school made some sort of comment, but it kills me.  I hate that we live in a world where seven year olds have any concept at all of beautiful and ugly in terms of physical appearance.  I hate that now her mother has to worry and wonder, and try really hard to keep impressing upon her the importance of inner beauty, intelligence, and strength.

We are all beautiful, and now I am determined to embrace all of me.

10.29.09 Chin

This is my chin.  I call it my King Tut chin because I feel like it is oddly long and sticks out strangely, like this:

Other people don’t see it this way, but I do.  So who is right?  Really, who cares?  In the end, it is a perfectly serviceable chin and it is just fine.

10.29.09 NoseHello, nose!  I happen to think I have a really large nose.  That’s why you very rarely see profile shots of me.  Is it really a big nose?  I don’t know.  I see other people with smaller or larger noses who look lovely.  I just have had a hang up about mine since a cute boy in middle school said my nose had a hump in it.  Before that, I don’t think I ever thought about my nose.  I don’t think I would ever change it, because then I would stop looking like ME, and I like me!

10.29.09 BellyOh, my belly.  It was much smaller before, and has gotten significantly flabbier and marked by stretch marks since Evi’s arrival.  I am self conscious about it.  But really, how can I be?  How can I knock what gave me my son and daughter?

I know this is a tough subject.  I know that there are people who might see these pictures and be angry with me, thinking that they only wished they had a stomach so small or a nose so straight.  There are others who will see these pictures and think about how disgusting they find me, how ashamed I should be.  In the end, I think that is the whole point.  No one sees us the way we see ourselves.  No one notices your flaws the way you do.  Plenty of people don’t notice them at all.

So today I will try to stop.  I will try to see myself more through the eyes of the people who love me.  I will make better food choices for the sake of my health, for the purpose of living longer and stronger for my family.  I will have bad days, I will feel cranky and focus on the negative sometimes.  I will hate my stomach at least one more day in my life, and I will avoid a profile picture at some point in the future.  I cannot shake these feelings entirely, but today I choose to try.

I will wake up each morning, and I will LIVE!  I will choose to inhale.


6 Responses to “Choose to Inhale”

  1. Patty Horst October 29, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    Where did I get you? I’m so glad I did… are so beautiful; more so than you will ever realize; both inside and out. I’m so fortunate to have you – you have turned into such a caring and loving person; and honestly are one of the most beautiful people I have ever, ever known…and I’ve know many beautiful people! I love you my girl!


  2. a October 29, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    Very inspiring…

    Glad to hear that you got off with no points or fines too.

  3. Beautiful Mess October 29, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    You are beautiful! Not only on the outside, but on the inside, as well. I think there comes a time in all our lives when we start to accept ourselves. I’ve been down this road many times. I go from loving my tooth that never “fell” into place, to think I want to get it pulled out of my head! But I’ve had it for so many years, if I get it “fixed”, will I be changed? Do I want to be changed? In the end, I rarely think about my “flaws” and try to go about my life thinking I’m beautiful, inside and out.

    I’m sure you’ll have good days and bad days, but how can you not love who you are? You are a wonderful woman and I’m glad to have met you.

  4. Lindsay Nielson October 29, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    That is just what I needed to hear today–thanks, Heather 🙂

  5. Barbara October 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm #


    And that is what you are.

    Evi is a lucky girl.


  6. Jason Rohrblogger October 30, 2009 at 8:26 pm #

    How do I tell you that you are beautiful, without sounding like a creepy blog lurker? Evi has a totally hot moms.

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