My mother’s smile…

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I can’t stop thinking about her face, the way it glowed every time she walked into a room filled with people. I can’t stop thinking about how people commended her on how gorgeous she looked, even when her dress was less expensive than everyone else’s.

I can’t stop thinking about how rich and satisfied I felt every time mother was around, it was evident by how clean the surroundings were and the aroma of great tasting food coming from the kitchen (I know people would love their mother’s food whether it tastes good or not, but this does not come from that place at all). Her cooking is amazing! Just knowing that mother was around meant that even if there was no money, there would be an abundance of food and happiness (I consider that a miracle even to this day).

I remember how at some point all she did was come home from work and lay down in an attempt to relax (or at least that was what I thought it was). I used to get mad at her and ask her why she was avoiding me, why she wouldn’t play with me. I even had a little journal where I would write about how she didn’t love me anymore and how I was going to plan my escape (yea I admit, I was a little dramatic as a kid). I had no idea that in those moments, mother was battling with headaches, fever, and some other illnesses that she has since overcome (thank God) plus the general stress and tiredness that came from working as hard as she worked. I really love her.

I remember how she would make me dance and sing  for her (I was really dramatic) in different accents and styles and it would make her laugh hard, how she made sure that I always looked my best for school, church, or a regular outing even if there clearly was no money to make that happen (she was the God i could see), how she shared her love so equally among myself and my siblings that it was difficult to tell who she loved most. Watching her go out was the worst thing I experienced (I always felt like she was leaving me) and seeing her return from work or travel was all I ever looked forward to. It was all I lived for.

I remember how I didn’t know how to comfort her in those moments where her pain was so intense that it brought tears to her eyes. I only remember putting my tiny hands over her shoulder, hugging her hard and whispering in her ears “You will be fine” (that was all I could afford to say especially as her tears made me cry). And when I grew older and she started to bring up the subject of sex and men, I would be so uncomfortable to the point where I would act like a know-it-all just so she would drop the subject. I knew nothing.

I did not understand why mother would carry her rosary everywhere, why I would meet her praying in her office, singing praises while she worked or even praying late at night after we had concluded the general family prayer. I didn’t understand why she would give herself to the church, working selflessly and helping people who sometimes I felt didn’t deserve her help. I didn’t understand why she never reacted negatively when she was pushed to the wall by people in her life who didn’t appreciate her (and who personally I would have loved to beat the hell out of if I could). I never understood why she was always quick to forgive her transgressors and foster peace wherever she went. Now I do.

I could never repay her for all her kindness (a lifetime would not cover it). Now when I think of love, I think of her. When I imagine selflessness in its pure and undiluted form, images of her beautiful face envelop my mind. And I have made it my responsibility to live my life in the way I know would make her happy, in the way that would make all her efforts find purpose and meaning. I will spend the rest of my life being grateful to her for everything, and making her smile always.

My mother’s smile is after all, one of the wonders of this cold world.

TO DO : Call your mother, and let her know how much you love her!

DAILY MANTRA : I will learn to love others, just like my mother loved me.

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A woman’s Sacrifice….

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Then the Lord God made the man fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the flesh.He formed a woman out of the rib and brought her to him. Then the man said; “At last, here is one of my own kind- Bone taken from my bone, flesh from my flesh. ‘Woman’ is her name because she was taken out of man.” (Genesis 2:21-23)

Does that explain why no matter how hard you cry, no matter how much you multitask (feeding the baby while cooking and cleaning the house plus attending to work from the office),no matter how much mental, emotional, psychological and even physical(sad but true) pressure you are put under, you never really cave in or break down easily? Yes it does, because you were made from bone.

Let me take a moment to note down a few characteristics of bone.

  1. A bone is a rigid organ that constitutes part of the vertebral skeleton.
  2. Bones support and protect various parts of the body
  3. Bones enable mobility
  4. Bones give support to the body. (I got all this from Wikipedia by the way)

Now we can see clearly that…

  1. A woman (who is made from bone) is a strong (rigid) part of the body (representing both man and woman).
  2. A woman supports and protects the body ( you now see where all that concern and protection mother’s and women in general show comes from right?)
  3. A woman can make things happen and effect great change (positively or negatively) as seen all throughout history  and in our present society.
  4. A woman gives support to the body (pretty obvious given how strong she is right?)

Having seen all of this and gotten a clearer perspective on what the woman is truly made of (that eureka moment), it is clear to see that the woman is ‘sacrifice personified’. She gives all of herself, takes on so much responsibility through the good and bad moments and still finds the strength to smile through all of the pain. Talk about being blessed!

We are more than we make ourselves out to be. We are far stronger than we let on. We are beautiful, intelligent, brave, and we have the strength to do all, be all and still take on more. So wherever you are, whatever you are facing, no matter how difficult it seems, never give up. Hold on to what strength lies inside of you and harness it when you have to. Believe that you are strong enough to outlast and be happy through those sacrifices you have made and keep on making. You are after all, made from bone!

TO DO : Recall, at every moment of hardship, how strong you are and smile.

DAILY MANTRA: I am literally superwoman. Yes I am!

The Reward for good girls….

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My mother used to tell me when I was little: ” Brush your teeth properly Aubrey, if you don’t have clean teeth, no man will marry you.” I never thought much about that statement until recently.

It seems that the more we(good girls) try to be distinct from the crowd, the more we carry ourselves in a dignified manner, the more we keep ourselves pure and untainted by the world, the harder it gets for us to achieve our dreams. It is almost as though those who choose to live on the other side of life have more fun, experience life more and get their needs met(it is more frustrating than it sounds). Someone called me “fake” once because he did not believe that being good was a real trait a girl could possess (matter of fact, you would find people who would call you a pretender more often than not because you have principles, imagine that!)

This brings me to the subject of concern: the reward for good girls. Is the reward for good girls marriage? Is that all I get if I follow all the rules, jump all the hurdles and make all the right decisions? At the end of that long tough road transitioning from a little girl to a woman, will all I get at the end of the day be a husband? (Don’t get me wrong, getting married is a beautiful thing), but even the worst of women(if we decide to call them that) have been married to good men so really, something is totally off right??

I believe good girls can and should have everything they desire. I believe parents should tell their girl children that in addition to being good, they can have everything they want, everything that they work hard for, and that having a husband could be the cherry on top of the cake, but not the cake itself. Forgive your parents for not coming to this realization and be blessed knowing that you can not only apply this in your life as a young woman, but you can pass this on to your girl child(children) in the best way possible(I forgive you mum, I know you were just looking out for me).

So what is the reward for good girls? I dare say anything and everything!

TO DO: The right things, but be ruthless in the pursuit of your dreams

DAILY MANTRA: I am a good girl, and that’s not a bad thing!

This little heart of mine…

 

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My name is Aubrey and I understand what it feels to be in pain, to inflict pain on myself and to try to wish it all away. I know what it means to want things so badly and not get them. I understand the pain of loving someone wholeheartedly and not having them love me back the way they should. I know the pain of being let down by a once trusted friend. I know the pain of knowing that other people like me, have been here and are still here.

As women, we are taught to seek validation from those around us, and to feel beautiful only by the things we adorn ourselves with: our hair extensions, our makeup, our clothes (the fancier, the better). However, real beauty comes from within (I know this is the most cliche-est cliche statement ever) but it still remains the truth. We get all hot and bothered when we feel that we are not living up to the expectations that others have set for us. We want to be what the world wants us to be and we do not learn to accept who we are.

Today I cried…I cried because I felt this pain again but this time it was different. It brought me to the realization of the time I had lost, seeking approval, waiting for validation and falling short each time (because no one will love you the way they should if you do not love yourself like you must). It was different, this time, because I brought myself to the realization of myself: a precious, priceless jewel who needs to be loved and cared for and this task I must accomplish first on my own before I can receive it from anybody else.

Make a decision to value yourself above all else and live up only to the standards you have set for yourself. Never let the world dictate to you who you are and how you need to appear before it. It is never an easy task, but once you come to the realization of who you are, learn to accept yourself. Say to your little heart: Be Strong!

TO DO: Only what makes you happy.

DAILY MANTRA: I accept myself, I love myself.

 

Noise in an otherwise peaceful mind…

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Night after night, sleep eludes me, all I hear are the voices inside my head. Every morning is a drag, waking up is scarier each time. “How do I face the world? What do I have to offer it today?” A baby’s sweet laughter becomes toxic to my ears and the screams of people fighting have become a familiar sound.

It is happiness that we seek in this world, not money, not power. It is happiness that gives us the strength to shut our eyes to the world and wake up with new hope, new purpose, new expectations. We desire nothing more, but anything less is worse than everything else.

The pressure to stay beautiful, fend off the wrinkles, look natural and plastic at the same time, take care of the chores and get a life at the same time, love a man and hate him at the same time, be the best and the weaker vessel at the same creates noise in our otherwise peaceful minds…

We don’t have to be anything, we don’t need to be anything. But if we desire anything, anything that means something to each and every one of us, then we must first dim the voices in our heads that seek to destroy what is left of who we are, of who we hope to be, of who the universe beckons on us to be.

We must first be happy, for in happiness, we have everything.

TO DO: Spend 5 minutes each day doing absolutely nothing, just breathing.

DAILY MANTRA: I choose to be happy.

 

Timid Queen…

Have you ever thought to yourself “I am amazing and can do anything” but when the time came to follow through you cringed in fear? If your answer is yes then I am glad (not in the way that makes it out to be a good thing) to tell you that I have been exactly where you are right now.

As women we are taught to follow rules, party less, work twice as hard, have a heart of gold and so on, in other words, be superwoman (yea, I said it) and we become all of these things eventually. But more often than not, we are not taught how to face our dreams, pursue them, take what we want out of life the way our counterparts do (you know what I mean right?) so we end up being “timid queens”never really getting what we want but settling for what life gives us.

My name is Aubrey and too many times I have been limited by my timidity (more times than I would be proud to admit) but here’s the truth: your will to move forward will eventually supersede any hurdle that is placed in front of you. You remember the saying “where there is a will, there is a way” right?  Well, think of that the next time you need to do those squats, speak to those scary looking people or have that hard talk with your other half.

Here’s to my timid queens around the world, may you live all the days of your lives!

TO DO: Watch the movie “The Martian” (strongly recommended)

DAILY MANTRA: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”

 

 

 

 

In The Beginning…

I know that I was destined for greatness, destined to be a tree standing tall above the others, where the birds of the air prefer to make their shelter.

I know I was destined to shine, not like the stars but like the sun, burning and blinding all in its path yet providing a warm feeling to those who are out cold.

This is my story, this is my dream, and I would delight upon all who become part of my team, reading my stories, reflecting on my reflections and sharing theirs in solidarity to this cause: a woman with a dream.

Her travails have only just begun…