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The Voice Of Reason

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It is judgment day.


Stop it. Stop it right now. Stop the judgment. Stop the addictive comparisons to the six-pack -abbed, Martha -Stewart-like, rocket scientist who is sitting next to you. I know, right at this very moment you are inspecting the failures of my day. My hair is a mess, the bags under my eyes are wretched and I just don't care about my raggidy maxi dress I wore twice this week. Franky-I am not surprised by your judgy-infused observations-- because I have heard them before. I internalize what you say. For example, I heard when you said, why can't she get a pair of jeans that don't accentuate her muffin top? And I know you have asked --why do her kids run around like crazy animals? You have judged by thinking, why does she wear that bright, bright pink lipstick--to carpool? #urbandecay. Girlfriend, you observe, you digest, you manipulate and you make satirical comments to those who will listen. It is likely your mother would be nodding her head in disapproval-citing the Golden Rule. And, girls (and guys) let me tell you now- the fundamental goodness of me is erased by this practice of judging.



However, the most destructive element of my makeshift scenario is that I am the one judging me. I am repulsed by the reflection in the mirror.


Sometimes I feel that I am drowning. I am drowning in what other people think. And it has changed me at a cellular level. Believe it on not, I can pinpoint exactly where this self-inflicted torture began. It began in 1984. Yep. The realest year in this gals existence. Prior to '84 I was pretty much a blissful girl, rocking out to Michael Jackson's Thriller, bopping around the playground, loving mom's after school Nestle Tollhouse cookies (which reminds me I need to apologize to my kids as their after school memories revolve around half cooked, pre-made Kroger's cookie dough cookies). I digress, let us get back to 1984. Prior to this year I enjoyed a time that was acne free, brace face free and baby- fat -free. And when 1984 hit- I became acutely aware of that I was not good enough. Not only was I reminded of this by classmates, my brain connected and accepted these adolescent proclamations.


1984 was the year my self -esteem was under attack from goofy, adolescent boys telling me I am fat, I am ugly, I am a loser. Girls wouldn't sit next to me at the lunch table. Girls laughed at me because I was just not that the cute, pixie perfect, Ked's wearing, bow on top of my head cheerleader. And to be fair--they were right. Looking back and looking at this tattered 6th grade picture , I see a girl with self-styled, uneven bangs and a funky Ogilve home perm. The outfit combo speaks for itself. However, I also see a little girl that is trying so hard to smile. She is a freckle faced, innocent girl struggling to find out who she wants to be. And really, this little 11 year old, just wants to be liked.




The Message is CLEAR? (I know you can relate. Statiscally 95% ((I think 100%)) of women have repetitive negative thoughts about their bodies daily.)


 

At the time when your self esteem and hormones collided- you also received external messages that grew into self-disgust. And for some, this self hate led to battles with anorexia, drug use or the welcoming of bad partners into your lives. I as lucky enough to have a good support system that embedded a moral compass into my DNA. And I am grateful that my flirtation with esteem numbing antics were kept to a minimum. The Miriam -Webster dictionary defines judgment as "the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing". Mr. Miriam and Mr. Webster make the definition seems so rational and ordinary. However, the definition becomes extraordinary when it is applied to self judgment. This self inflicted judgment is constant audio loop in our heads that can create an internal upheaval. This upheaval can destroy date-nights, demolish irreplaceable moments with your children and crush your soul. I am begging you to end this misery as of today. I am hereby sending you a cease and desist letter.

At this very second you should know that we all do this to ourselves at one time or another. Our magnificent brains filter this human experience in so many ways-adjusting to our individualistic awesomeness. So embrace your quirkiness! Learn from your failed attempt to assemble a cherry, butter cream trifle. And please girlfriend- cherish your uniquely formed, hard working, life supporting body. I want you to take pen to paper and write down every time you think a bad thought about yourself. Look at it when the paper is full of scribbled, bad commentaries and rip it to shreds. HEY YOU--yes you. Life is too short. Let's not lose sight of what is truly important. Cellulite should not be at the top of your list when you have bigger, BADASS things to do. #realmecampaign #comparisonisthethiefofjoy #lifecoaching #selfcare #selflove #rise #empower

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Updated: Oct 14, 2019

Jen's Story

I am going to call her "Jen". In a valiant plea, Jen wanted to lend her name, her voice and her soul to my rinky dink idea. After dusting off my legal 'hat' I concluded it is Jen's best interest is to remain anonymous. I know her perpetrator is angry and I did not want to provoke further altercations. However, the following snapshots are all genuine . They are hers. This is what happened behind closed doors. #wingsprogram

1:3 women are victims of domestic abuse. (I am not excluding the guys-statistics point out about 15% of men are victims of domestic abuse). This means that 5 million innocent children, see with their very own innocent eyes-the people they love and trust most in their world beating the crap out of each other. And the cycle continues.

The last time Jen got the crap beaten out of her was around the holidays of 2018. I answered the phone to guttural cries. It was the first time I knew of the abuse. I always knew Jen as a positive girl, a fantastic mom and a loyal wife. For the past decade, I always sensed there was a cloud of dissolution hovering around her marital union. I rationalized it as typical struggles. After years of marriage, there are the peaks and valleys. I know this from first hand experience. It takes a lot of effort to keep the sparkle in a marriage.

My brain reaches into it's farthest depths, trying to recall any signs that my friend was in distress. I never saw bruises, blood or evidence of confrontation. Her husband was a known entity in my life for years. Yes, he was insecure and lacked immaculate hygiene-but a wife beater he was not.


Jen, too, didn't even recognize the severity of the abuse and likened it a dark part of her marriage. This is a fantastic tool we as women have mastered--the ability to justify and compartmentalize. ( Compartmentalize the abuse--it is not all the time-he said he was sorry--flowers, dinner....)

 

Jen lived in suburbia. Jen had friends. Jen socialized. Jen parented. Everything seemed normal. Was it normal for Jen to be called a "piece of sh*t"? Was it normal to be told that if she ever left no one would ever want to f*ck her?". Was it normal for her spouse to keep her up at night with P.O.W. type tactics?


This is how her husband did it (Vietnam Style)-- deprive her of sleep. He would stare at her all night and threaten to kill her. Again, she compartmentalized (her kids deserve a family). Don't we all dream of a happily ever after? So she was beaten again. Mocked another time. She was denied funds -- by controlling her finances-this limited her ability to navigate a daily routine.

SO WHY DID I NOT KNOW? WHY DID HER PARENTS NOT KNOW? WHY? WHY?WHY?

I kick myself. I feel, at my true essence, I am a decent friend. I remember birthdays, I engage in mindful conversations. I try to feed my friendships. And still I did not know. I did notice, however, that I heard less and less from Jen over the years. We had a typical routine of chatting about once a week--and then the pattern changed. Jen had become peculiarly unavailable. Her husband began isolating her. Her husband's vengeful rants began to seep into her pores. She actually started to believe that no one liked her and that she would be nothing without him. So she was silent. Victims often become eerily silent. This is because shame is a good motivator to keep secrets like this hidden and locked behind closed doors.

FACTS:*

81% of women and 35% of men who experienced rape, stalking, or physical violence by an intimate partner reported significant short- or long-term impact such as post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and injury.

4% of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the last 12 months.

Only 1 out of 3 people who are injured during a domestic violence incident will ever receive medical care for their injuries.

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to police.

Men who are victimized are substantially less likely than women to report their situation to police.

SHE FINALLY LEFT- Jen was coming home from work one afternoon and there was a pit in her stomach. Things have not been good and her husband. He was more pissed off today than he usually was. He was waiting for her outside when she pulled her car into the driveway. Jen was met with vulgarity and a fist. He wrapped his hands around her neck and she couldn't breathe. She felt that she was going to pass out. However, she mustered a scream that her neighbors responded. And the police were called. Husband thought he was smart and quickly ran inside the home and scratched his face. The police arrived to a chaotic scene. Nothing was done. The police told Jen that if she pressed charges, Child Protective Services would be called and the kids would be taken away. So today, the perpetrator, the man she once loved, remains free of any consequences. I am calling, no begging you, my dearest readers, friends and community to help make a small difference. The week of Mother's Day, if you post a picture on your Facebook page (or any social media page) and use the hashtag #realmecampaign, and tag Wings Program, Julie Drost Lokun or AH Laser Aesthetics., you can join me in my efforts to stop the shame.


Together, we are numbers. As numbers we can blitz the net with our pictures, our testimony, our brotherhood. I hope we can shelter these victims and revitalize their spirit.

I am working with WINGS PROGRAM -www.wingsprogram.com , a not-for profit group that helps assists domestic abuse victims. They provide safe homes and services for the Chicago land area and beyond. If a woman or man is beaten, they open their doors to the broken families. They provide a sense of normality for the children. They provide shelter, food and support for a human who is at the lowest point in their life.

I promise you "Jen"--these bruises will not be in vain. xo-Jules

Need Help? Or do you know someone who does?

https://www.wingsprogram.com/


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Updated: Oct 7, 2019

Anoint Yourself, Girl



This is not a drill! This is , in fact your coronation day. Your tiara is polished and your subjects await this anticipated regal appointment. You are the protector of your realm. You are the figurehead of your nation.


This, of course, is an analogy. And I present to you the question--why are you insistent on keeping your diamond encrusted crown tucked away in your closet? You ascended to this role through years of hard fought battles. It is your day to shine. And it is now your duty to pass along the wisdom of your experiences to the sisters in your commonwealth.


As I connect with women every day, I notice a constant in many of their lives. They often are reluctant to let others observe their glory.


All too often though, women play down their competence as well as their accomplishments. Perhaps it’s through modesty, not wanting to be seen to brag, fear of what others will think, or lack of self-belief. If this sounds like you, it’s time to stop downplaying your success and instead celebrate it.


Here are a couple reasons why women fear their own success:

  1. Women have been groomed to downplay their successes as it seems boastful.

  2. Women often suffer from low self esteem: The importance of self-esteem cannot be ignored. Self Esteem has profound consequences that affect every aspect of our existence: how we operate in the workplace, how we deal with people, how high we are likely to rise, how much we are likely to achieve.


And in a more personal realm, the level of self-esteem influences our choice of the one with whom we fall in love, how we interact with our partner, children, and friends, and what level of personal happiness we attain.

All too often though, women play down their competence as well as their accomplishments. Perhaps it’s through modesty, not wanting to be seen to brag, fear of what others will think, or lack of self-belief. If this sounds like you, it’s time to stop downplaying your success and instead celebrate it. Here are several reasons why women should hold their heads high and own their success.


Successful Women Are Inspirations

Women who succeed can offer inspiration to others. It is part of the human experience that when a person witnesses the greatness of another that motivation will follow. Your path to success story may plant the seed for someone who lacks confidence. You triumphs may trigger another to take risks.

Celebrating your victories is not boastful- as the ripple effect can touch lives in ways you may never fully comprehend. By curating your road to success into a relatable story is a tangible tool in teaching others how to better their lives. Become a mentor. Give Back. Wear your Crown.

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