#BOAW: The Beauty That Is… Me!

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This post is part of August McLaughlin‘s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest …an annual celebration of beauty in all its forms…for more, here’s August herself! =D

What makes you feel beautiful? What’s helped you embrace your body/appearance as it is? What area are you still working on—or should you? What makes you feel sexy? What helped you embrace, rather than shame, your sexuality? What’s stopping you? How do you define real beauty or sex appeal? Who epitomizes beauty and sexiness, IYO? What advice would you give your younger self or a girl in your life about beauty and/or sexuality? 

I’ll admit it. When I say that I know I’m beautiful, I still find myself resisting the urge to turn around and look over my shoulder. You see, I was raised to believe that it was immodest, and therefore undesirable and maybe even wrong, to compliment myself. I was told that it was bragging or ‘fishing for compliments’.

Well, I am beautiful. And I don’t think it’s bragging or unseemly to say so. My beauty is an accomplishment, a tribute to years of learning, work, healing, and self-discovery. I’ve delved beneath the layers and levels of conditioning, drained and stitched festering old wounds, and adjusted my inner and outer vision until I could see not only the beauty all around me, but also that which has been within me, all along.

Yes, I look back now at pictures of me as a little girl, and as a young woman – and I see someone beautiful – without the confidence to see or know her own beauty, or her own strength.

I first realized it by accident, a few years ago; I was at my parents’ house, when my attention was caught by one snapshot of a lovely young girl with long wavy blonde hair, sitting on a picnic table with her legs drawn up beneath her. I stared at her for minutes, trying to place her.

She was me. I’d been about sixteen then, and deeply insecure about my appearance. That wavy blonde hair? Wouldn’t do a thing I wanted it to. This was the 80s, the decade of big hair and oodles of hair spray to hold it. Only, my thick hair simply would not be tamed, insisting on doing its own wild thing…

At nineteen, with Aviendha. Thin, but unhappily embroiled in an abusive and toxic relationship.

I thought I was too skinny. I’d been a late bloomer, and held onto the image that I was a scrawny girl, long after I wasn’t anymore.

When I saw that old picture, I saw a beautiful girl smiling or laughing at something long forgotten…

Caught in that unguarded moment of not caring how I looked, I was beautiful. And that was the beginning of healing, for me.

As I’ve healed and grown and explored my own inner terrain, bits and pieces of it rise to my surfaces. No, I’m not sixteen anymore – but there’s more light and love and life in my eyes now. I don’t spend a lot of time considering how I look to other people – there’s too much else to think about, and see, and do. I’ve found not only my beauty, but my strength. I spend my time in a way that delights me, surrounded by people I love.

Brand new mom with two day old Jeremiah.

Sure, I’m no longer the thin young girl I once was – but the thickening of my body is the result of nearly forty-six years of life, almost eighteen years of being married to a mighty fine chef (I don’t just mean that he cooks for me; he actually IS a professional chef). It’s a consequence of having carried and given birth to three children in the space of four years. To some extent, I’ve been thickened by grief – the grief that comes with the loss of our second child twelve days after his birth.

I’ve found joy, and purpose, in the aftermath of that tragedy. There’s something beautiful in that – in embracing love and life and possibility, when I might’ve chosen a different path – one of bitterness, or rage, or betrayal…

With my kids in Lake George, NY, fall 2013. I’m beautiful when I’m happy and fulfilled!

I’ve found a beauty that comes from my deepest places, my most intimate self. And, by bits and pieces, I’ve given it the space to shine through. The more confident I grow in myself, the more beautiful I grow.

My hair? It’s darker, now, and scattered liberally with silver. It’s still as wild – but now, I see that as a reflection of a more elemental part of my own nature, and I love it. It suits me. So do the new lines in my face, the roadmap of my own personal history I wear with pride of ownership.

Mine may not be a ‘classic’ beauty – but it is my own, born of my history and my personal journey, and I claim it for my own.

What makes you beautiful?

Find more Beauty of A Woman blogposts here!

Making my own dreams – like being a published writer – a priority in my life makes me beautiful!

#LoIsInDaBl Day 22: I’ve Got Friends…

Put a Little Love in Yours!

Put a Little Love in Yours!

 Here we are, already at Week 4 of Love Is In Da Blog. Bee‘s  theme for this last week is “friends.

Actually, I have quite a lot of them, scattered across the globe. Now, that’s something I never imaging possible, when I was a young girl, about forty years back.

We live in a changing world. Some things are scary – the hatred that runs through our species, polluting it as surely as we’ve polluted this spinning blue marble that is home to us all…

And some things, like the ability to have a wonderfully diverse array of friends, are really quite amazing, and altogether delightful.

My own children take it for granted, and don’t bat an eye about having best friends in another state, or playmates from around the world. Skype, Facebook, Omegle, YouTube, and keep them connected. My daughter, at 10, has also recently fallen in love with sending out paper letters on pretty stationery in the old-fashioned way.

There are some people who would say that online friends aren’t “real”. But I think that depends on a lot of things. How do we define “friend”? Or “real”, for that matter?

In my own case, I’ve now met dozens of friends in person who used to be only online friends. Some have become lifelong friends in real life. Others remain more like acquaintances. There’s only been one I can think of that I chose not to remain friendly with – and it was a conflict of ideologies and lifestyles that would ultimately have ended the relationship, one way or another.

I’ve got another group of friends, too – the characters who populate my story worlds, and cavort in my imagination…

This week, we celebrate friendship in its many forms!

Looking for more Love Is In Da Blog? Find it right here! 

SoCS and #LoISInDaBl Day 21:”A Helluva Team”

Float down the Stream With Us!

Float down the Stream With Us!

For today, Bee‘s prompt is “you/me.  Linda‘s is “relative/relativity”And, yup – the Vulcan in my head, and the human who loves her, decided to hijack this post, too – rather delightfully, I think. I hope you agree!

Disclaimer: Although I believe T’Pol and Trip have their own ideas about it, Paramount claims ownership.

“Who’s that for?” Jon jabbed a finger at the tea.

“T’Pol.” I knew he wasn’t going to take it well, but the best option seemed to be brazening through. “And, if you’ll excuse me, Cap’n, I want to get it to her while it’s still hot.” I turned, and he barely got out of my way in time. I figured the hot liquids might be all that stopped him from decking me. Did I look and act this stupid, when my testosterone was up?

“From my observations, it seems to be endemic to your species.” But there was teasing acceptance behind her thought-message. “However, your possessiveness troubles me considerably less; perhaps it’s a relative matter, or that I am yours…”

“We talkin’ in our heads, now, pepperpot?”

“Yes. I would appreciate receiving my tea while its still hot.”

“Trip?” Jon was peering at me, now, as though he couldn’t decide whether to be mad or concerned. “Are you all right?”

“Yeah, Cap’n. Just an aftereffect of the meld, I guess. Didn’t know she could still talk to me.”

“What did she say?” There was a little too much emphasis on the ‘she’. I hoped like hell he was going to get over this possessive streak when he recovered from those Orion pheremones, because this wasn’t making adjusting to the bond, or that second bombshell she’d dropped, about needing to mate so she wouldn’t die, any easier.

“Said she likes her tea hot, and that I should get a move on.”

“T’Pol said that?”

“I could be paraphrasing.” I smiled. “She’s a helluva lot more formal than I am, after all.”

I got to the door, and Jon pushed the button, then followed me through. Any hope I had that he’d let it drop evaporated when he said, “Trip, what’s going on between you and T’Pol?”

I was at a loss – but then, words and ideas came into my head – a way to reveal just enough, without actually lying – or really answering the question. I surrendered to the master, and let myself be her conduit, lending her my own voice and tone. “Well, Cap’n, she’s too polite to say anything -“

“T’Pol’s not that polite, Trip. And I’ve never known her to hold back when she’s got something to say – any more than you do.”

“You and me, pepperpot – the loudmouths of the ship.” I found that more amusing than she did. To Jon, I said, “You’ve never been seduced by an Orion slave girl before, either, sir. But you have been now – and so have the rest of the men aboard – even, I’ve heard, the ones that don’t usually think of women as potential partners.” I had to admit, I felt sorriest for those guys – bad enough to be overwhelmed, but to be attracted to someone who would never normally turn your head – there was something cruel in that…

“Except you.” That was an accusation, pure and simple. “Why, Trip? T’Pol’s immune. You’re immune. Nobody else.”

“I’m not a doctor. If Phlox doesn’t know, how the hell am I supposed to? Maybe it’s that we work together a lot. Maybe it’s the neuropressure, or the melding – or even the dance lessons – I just don’t know.” We had our suspicions, but it was true that we didn’t know for certain that the bond was the reason. “Anyway – there’s been a lot of sexual frustration around lately, and a lot of fighting. And a lot of excess, angsty emotional energy floating around. She couldn’t hide from it while you weren’t able to do your duty, but she can now that you’re – more or less- functional again.”

“But she can tolerate you? Trip, when she first got here, I was damned near positive you were going to kill her. After I saw her fight a time or two, I was damned near positive she was going to kill you.” Finally, Jon cracked a smile.

“And now look at us. I’m bringin’ her tea, like I’m all civilized.” I felt T’Pol’s awareness sharpening – she could feel the punch line coming, even if she didn’t use those words. And she knew I was getting closer…I could feel her quiver of arousal humming back to life. “Lusty little pepperpot,” I thought to her, and something sinuous and swift passed through my mind, catlike and tempting. “But I’ll tell you a secret, Cap’n, if you promise not to tell her.”

“I promise.”

I grinned at him as we neared her door. “I’m just waiting till her back’s turned. I was the fastest short-sheeter in summer camp, and I’ll just bet Vulcan kids don’t pull pranks – hell, maybe they don’t even have summer camp – I mean, it’s a desert world, and all that…what would the counselors say -‘OK, kids, go jump in the sand dunes?'”

“Trip, I order you not to short-sheet Commander T’Pol’s bed.” Jon chuckled. We were at her door, now, and he pressed the button. He peered in; thankfully, T’Pol was sitting facing us, eyes open, but still in meditative pose. “Watch him, T’Pol – he’s got designs on your bedding. Dinner, nineteen hundred. Both of you. Enjoy your tea.”

T’Pol sighed deeply as she accepted her mug, her fingers lingering on mine, seductive in a way I’d never known, before her. “You handled that well, Trip.”

Me? Not all by myself. It was you and me, pepperpot.” It was tempting fate, but I couldn’t resist. I took those fingers, very carefully, and brushed my lips over the backs of her fingers. She moaned softly, trembling.

Like you said, Trip, we make a helluva team.”

Put a Little Love in Yours!

Put a Little Love in Yours!

Looking for more Love Is In Da Blog? Find it right here! https://justfoolingaroundwithbee.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/love-is-in-da-blog-february-ping-back-post-rulessuggestions-week2/

 

#LoISInDaBl Day 20:”T’Pol Visits T’Mir”

Put a Little Love in Yours!

Put a Little Love in Yours!

 

For today, Bee‘s  prompt is “grandparents”. I had an essay in mind, but I live with this Vulcan woman in my head, and she had other ideas – and so, you get a vignette from T’Pol’s childhood…

Disclaimer: Although I believe T’Pol is a law unto herself, Paramount claims ownership.

Here, we have TMir, as a young woman on 1950s Earth…

“You will comport yourself appropriately at your first foremother’s home.” Mother was calm; I wondered at what age I would be able to control my responses to that degree. Or, perhaps, Mother had no emotional responses to control. It was logical to assume that the possibility existed. I wondered if it would be possible to devise an algorithm by which I might calculate the possibility. Certainly, that was a more interesting and useful pursuit than listening to her say the same things, in the same tone, in precisely the same order as she had ever other time I had come to stay with T’Mir.

I allowed my mind to sink into the puzzle as the groundcar angled up the final hills to the home of my oldest living ancestress…better that than reveal my ‘unseemly anticipation’.

“T’Pol, you are not attending to your mother’s directives with sufficient focus.” I blinked – when had we stopped?

“Yes, Father. Mother, I will do my best.” I gathered my bags and passed them to Father before disembarking.

“See that you do.”

That was all the parting I had from her. Father leaned in close to me, and something quick and alive flashed in his eyes. “May you find your time agreeable, daughter.”

Mother was already turning toward the groundcraft, and wouldn’t see. Had she planned this, to allow us this moment together? I didn’t know, but I pressed my fingers against Father’s in a filial ouz’hesta, attempting to memorize his bioeletric signature, so that I could hold it in my mind, during the time we would be apart.

And then he was turning to join Mother, and I was alone at the entrance to my first foremother’s sand garden. I opened the gate and passed within. It was too near zenith for T’Mir to be comfortable coming to greet me; she was very aged, and had grown frail.

“My T’Pol. Come, child, and let me relearn your face.”

It was pleasingly cool and dim inside; the candlelight made flickering shadows on the walls – and the shrunken woman seated before the bank of candles. My emotions became intense, and I hurried to her, eager for her touch, for her stories – for her acceptance of me, precisely as I was, always. For the learning she offered, of a people far away, a people most Vulcans found primitive, lacking the discipline of a mature culture, chaotic and dangerous.

Terrans.

I went to her, settled on my knees beside her.

“Will you allow me to touch you, T’Pol? My eyes no longer adjust well, after I’ve watched the flames.”

I had to focus on each word; here, when we were alone, we spoke only in English, the dominant language on Earth. She waited, blinking as she watched me. “Yes, T’Mir,” I said, when I was certain I understood her intent.

Her hands felt like desert breezes against my skin, and I breathed in the warmth of the touch, so different than Mother’s. “How can it be that a mother and daughter are so unlike one another?” I hadn’t meant to ask the question aloud, but there was nothing to be done, once it was said.

T’Mir’s breath released in some way I’d never heard from anyone else – was it something she had acquired, when she lived amongst the humans? “Are you thinking of the differences between me and my daughter, T’Pol – or yourself and your mother?”

“T’Les seems unlike both of us,” I replied.

“Humans have an expression: ‘Some things skip a generation’. Perhaps it is true, and there are things in my nature that I passed, through genetic inheritance, not to her, but instead, through her, to you.”

“Do you think it is so, T’Mir?” Her fingers trembled slightly; I was reminded again that she was very old, and couldn’t be expected to live much longer.

“Perhaps, child, and perhaps not. But it’s most agreeable to have you here with me, and know that you’re of like mind.”

“Tell me how I may serve you.” I wanted to do something for her; something that would, however illogically, allow me to forget her mortality, even if only for only a short time.

That strange breathing sound again. ” Simply be as you are, T’Pol. I live alone, most of the time, and I’m well capable of meeting my needs.”

“I -” I paused for a moment, attempting to choose the most precise human term to express my emotions. Terrans had a great diversity in such terms; it was something I wondered at. “I wish to serve you.”

“Ah, T’Pol. Such a serious child – do you know that children on Earth are seldom so? That play is often considered their main occupation?” Gentle fingers stroked my hair. “You will serve me best by being as you are, and doing what pleases you.”

“I will prepare tea,” I decided. But, as I went to her kitchen and tended to it, her words remained in my mind.

‘You will serve me best by being as you are, and doing what pleases you.’

As I watched the water carefully, so that no drop would be wasted, I wondered at the alien concept. Neither Mother nor Father, nor anyone but her, had ever asked me to consider what pleased me. Suddenly, with T’Mir’s statement, there seemed something amiss in that, that my life would be orchestrated without any consideration of my – my wishes.

But was that not the way of a Vulcan life?

Looking for more Love Is In Da Blog? Find it right here! 

 And the blooper fun as T’Pol entertains the humans who asked for a story- two hundred years later.

#LoIsInDaBl Day 19: A Whole Lotta Cousins!

Put a Little Love in Yours!

Put a Little Love in Yours!

Here’s an interesting tidbit about me. On my father’s side, I have 32 first cousins. Yes, that’s right. My grandparents had six children. Between them, they produced 36 grandchildren – me, and my three siblings, and thirty -two others.

What’s this have to do with anything? Well, today at Love Is In Da Blog, Bee prompts us to write about aunts, uncles, and/or cousins.

Most of these cousins are older than me – my father was the fifth of those six children, and his oldest sibling, my Uncle Leo (a former firefighter, and a lot nicer and more fun than Jerry’s Uncle Leo on Seinfeld), is twelve years older. The effect was that Uncle Leo’s youngest child was the age of my older brother, eldest in our family. I barely knew one of the older children until I was a teenager. I played with several second cousins just a few years younger than me.

Most of my cousins grew up far away – many in South Carolina, some in Virginia. I saw them on occasion, growing up, for days at a time, so I knew them well enough to carry on conversations and play with, but not well enough to ever feel – well, casual, I guess – around them.

But we had a helper, in my Grandpa Foster.

For all of our childhoods, Grandpa would take Super Eight silent films as he traveled from family to family, with my grandma until she died when I was nine, and then alone. The main attraction, when he came to have dinner with us, was to have his movie screen set up in the living room after we ate, and it was dark enough for the movies. We’d watch the films as he ran the projector, and it was a huge honor to be asked to be his assistant.

We’d watch the movies of our cousins living their lives, showing off new toys, new skills, new clothes, new teeth…sharing their favorite things. There’d be new movies and old favorites. They’d be spooled together, their families merging with ours, hodgepodge, the way sprawling families get all tangled up together. And, because I saw bits and pieces of their lives in this way, and because my grandfather almost always narrated, I felt that I knew them.

Other times, he’d bring the camera, and something upon which to write the date, and he’d film our lives-of-the-moment, and I could imagine my cousins somewhere far away, watching the movies when it was their turn.

There was an air of magic and mystery to the whole process.

Decades have passed since my grandfather died in 1987, the same year I graduated. Many of my cousins were already adults by then, living their own lives, and, as time passed, we gradually lost touch without the cohesive force he had provided –

The Internet has reconnected me with several of my cousins. It’s a little like those old movies. I get to peek into bits of their everyday lives. I get to know them in a new way. But, this time, they have control of what they share….

And I can share what I want of my life, too…

I think my Grandpa would be very happy about that. =)

Looking for more Love Is In Da Blog? Find it right here! 

Me, as a baby. Photo supplied by my cousin Heather, who lives in Virginia, via Faebook.

#LoIsInDaBl Day 18: Siblings At My House

Put a Little Love in Yours!

Put a Little Love in Yours!

 

Today, Bees  prompt is Siblings. I am a sibling, and the mother of siblings. I could, and have, said a great deal on this subject. So, for today, I’m going to stick mostly with images of two happy children who live with me. They live a life far more peaceful and connected than my siblings and I share, even as adults. They’re friends, in a way that’s not often depicted in entertainment media, especially between male and female siblings. Without further ado, I present, with love, a bit of our family life, throughout the early lives of its younger members. 

Itty Bitty Sibs in Matching Duds!

Silliness by the tree!

Cozy Coupe Collision!

Toddler Tenderness!

Peekaboo Pair!

Choreography and Connection – oh, and in inflatable yellow dolphin named Echo.

Summertime Sibs.

Grinnin’!

Skull Sibs!

Siblings and their brother’s memorial tree….

Huggin’ it out!

Metro Kids on the way to Washington, D.C.!

Sweaty and Sleepy at the Smithsonian’s  Sculpture Garden.

Growing up happily together.

An (invisible) brother’s helping hands!

Find more Love Is In Da Blog posts here!

WIPpet Wednesday: Storms and Snares

Come WIPpet with us! =D

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It’s hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!

I’m returning to Chameleon’s Dish (which may or may not become Never Doubt I Love) – to reconnect with Henry, Tisira, and Nockatee…

In the dangerously superstitious past of Shakespeare’s England, an amnesiac girl and a foundling boy must keep her strange nature hidden as they stalk the Bard’s words and Hunt her lost identity.

This month I’m sharing the opening lines from each character’s Inciting Incident, as they’re currently written in revised first draft scenes. We’ll be on vacation when this posts, so I may be slow making visits and returning comments – but I’ll get to as many as I’m able to.

Today I offer you Henry’s opening. He’s a boy on the cusp of manhood, who’s been fending for himself far longer than a child should need to. He’s currently occupied with assuring he can survive the winter…a winter that’s not going to be anything like what he expected…

Note: I’m still struggling a bit with Henry’s specific voice and language. I need to do more research; that will come before Draft 3. For now, any suggestions appreciated! He’s also likely going to be a little older by the final draft – fourteen or so.

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is February 18, 2015.
  • Math: Adding the digits of the year: 2+0+1+5 =8. Subtract that from the date: 18-8 =10. for a total of 10 longer paragraphs.

The rutting musk of a fallow buck, blended with the sweat of his labors, were rank and unpleasant in Henry’s nose. He hastened as much as he dared, wanting to have done with this snare line. He wanted to be home before full dark, and he was thinking that he would heat a bucket from the creek over the fire, and have a good washing later, to cleanse the noisome scent, and warm his chilled bones.

Seven rabbits filled half of his hempen carrysack, their bodies stiffening with death and cold alike. It was meat for himself, and for Goody Cooper and her brood of hungry young, and their furs, so close to the coming of snow, were rich with winter growth. Spring would find him with need of the coin they would bring, to replace the supplies he used over the winter.

Thoughts of a washing, and the venison stew, cheese, and bread awaiting him, roused his spirits, and his feet, needing no trail, were lighter upon the ground beneath his snare line, despite his burden -almost too much for his body, still small for his twelve years. He smiled at the call of a winterbird, and gave back an answering whistle, pausing a few beats, head tipped, to listen for a return call. That it did not come told him that he hadn’t quite the mastery of the call.

He’d have ample time to practice, soon enough. Henry lifted his eyes to the heavens; the clouds were growing heavy and full; the air held the tang of growing chill and coming snow. He was of a mind to remain within doors, on the morrow. He could skin the rabbits, and begin his stew, and some meat for drying -he might even have one for spitting and roasting.

Best I tend to these snares, then, while I still have the ease to walk on solid ground, and so do the rabbits.” He liked his lips, and ran a hand through his tangled curls to press them back away from his eyes.

It was an odd habit, this way he had of talking to himself, and he hoped none of Verity’s children were lurking about, ready to tell their mother all they saw and heard. Mayhap, she would think him ensorceled, or mad, to speak so where none were near enough to answer. In the foundling’s home, he had scarce spoke; to speak wrongly might gain a slap, hard labor on his knees, and, oftentimes, even worse. It were best, there, to be small, silent, and willing to do as he was bidden.

Now, he lived as he chose, and spake as he would, and wondered if that made him a madman. He sang, softly, as he walked his snare line, gauging his pace by the number of snares unchecked, and the lowering of the sun through branches and gathering clouds. Aye, there would be time enough, if he did not tarry about the tending.

Only a dozen snares between him and the pleasures of his home, now, and Henry’s mood was fine, when he came upon a sprung and empty loop of leather cord. It had not been escaped – there were broken branches, and bits of fur clinging to them that bespoke struggle, and the scent of death clung like a shadow.

The snare was unbroken; something had slipped the carcass from the loop, leaving him the cord, but no meat. And so it was with full half of the next six – the rabbit gone, unbroken snare left behind.

Ah, a mystery – and less meat than Henry expected. What or who is robbing his snares? Will he survive the winter? Catch the thief?

Well…

C’mon, you really didn’t expect me to answer, didja?

See you next week – and, hey, while you’re here, here’s the link to more delightful WIPpet Snippets; assorted genres and styles to choose from! =D