Not fixed. But not broken.

I was reading a blog last week when a bit of an epiphany struck.  I’m still working through it, but I thought I’d share the beginnings of it with you, nonetheless. 
On Fancy Pantalons, Elyssa Tardifwas reflecting on her recent retreat with Geneen Roth, author of Women, Food, and God.   
She wrote that Roth had said at the beginning, “I’m not going to fix you.”
And then proceeded to reflect,
“Which meant, of course, that she wasn’t going to fix me, either. So I accepted rather begrudgingly the reality that I would have to put forth some effort on my own behalf. For two days, I proceeded to treat myself to Geneen’s wisdom, again and again (what else would you expect from a re-treat?), and Sunday afternoon, I emerged on the other side. Not fixed. But not broken.” 
And there, with those final two sentiments: Not fixed.  But not broken.  Something hit me.  A friend and I often reflect on how all of us have brokenness.  I even wrote a graduate school essay called “Blessing the Brokenness.”  The title, my grad school advisor wrote, is so cliche.  So, indeed, we’ve all been broken in some way.  But as I read Fancy’s blog post, it occurred to me that maybe that is the very point of life.  That we aren’t supposed to go through life unbroken, without challenge and sacrifice.  That maybe the whole point of life is exactly the brokenness, because that is the way our lessons are packaged and those lessons are the ladder rungs we climb to our next steps. 
After finishing the post, I wrote this as part of a comment on Elyssa’s blog: 
Maybe what we can most wish for in life is to be both not fixed, but not broken.  If we’re fixed, perhaps we quit living.  If we’re broken, perhaps the same.  Maybe it is in the between that we do our very best for ourselves and others.
And I have been thinking about that ever since.  How we wish so much to arrive at perfect, to arrive at total, complete satisfaction with everything- our selves, our home, our relationships, our work, our mission, our family, etc, but maybe, when we do that– wish for the arrival to the perfection of our imagining- what we are doing is losing sight on the journey that we are supposed to be on.  We don’t want to be so broken that we can’t thrive and grow but, perhaps, we don’t want to be so fixed that we quit aspiring that, instead, we just exist, an inhale and exhale without any fire in the belly.  I think maybe we are at our best- for ourselves and others- when we are in the in-between because that means we are at our most earnest, at our most willing, at our most engaged. 
Not fixed.  But not broken.   That sounds just about right somehow. 
What do you think? 

September 26, 2010 at 3:36 pm Leave a comment

Just a reminder that Tuesday is SPIKE DAY!

And I don’t mean your hair. 

Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance will officially be released by Seal Press on October 5th. 

What’s Beautiful You all about?  

Every day, American women and girls are besieged by images and messages that suggest their beauty is inadequate—inflicting immeasurable harm upon their confidence and sense of wellbeing. In Beautiful You, author Rosie Molinary passionately encourages women, whatever their size, shape, and color, to work toward feeling wonderful about themselves despite today’s media-saturated culture. 

Drawing on self-awareness, creativity, and mind-body connections, Beautiful You incorporates practical techniques into a 365-day action plan that empowers women to regain a healthy self-image, shore up self-confidence, reframe and break undermining habits of self-criticism, and champion their own emotional and physical wellbeing. Through accessible, doable daily actions, women of all ages are encouraged to manifest a healthy outlook on life—teaching them to live large, and starting them on the path to learning to love themselves and others. Molinary steers clear of the florid affirmations and daily meditations often utilized by books geared toward personal growth, and instead delivers a hip, modern guide of inspirational thought that keeps pace with the times.

Beautiful You is a practical, candid, and accessible handbook that will strike a chord with every woman who has ever faltered in her self-confidence or lost her personal brilliance—and it will make sure she never lets it happen again.

 But before BY hits bookstores, I am hoping you’ll join me for a Beautiful You Spike Day where we’ll celebrate sending the book into the sales stratosphere with a Buy One Get One giveaway for those who order the book ON Tuesday, September 28 (tomorrow!). 

Why does a Spike Day matter?  Because bookstores, web-sites, media sources pay attention to pre-publication sales.  It might mean that they recommend that book more frequently, they get more copies in the store, or they review it.  All these things give a book a boost and I think Beautiful You really deserves that attention. 

Here’s why:   Over the course of a year, Beautiful You teaches women what they need to champion and fully live their own lives, coaching themselves into the most extraordinary- and necessary- habit of treating their whole selves well.  It’s a great journey for one to take personally and also a great gift for friends.    

I am so incredibly proud of this book and also eager to get it into the hands of women of all ages who could benefit from more self-care and self-love.  I am also eager for it to spark conversations among women so that we can be honest about how we judge ourselves and begin to let those behaviors go. 

 Now, back to Spike Day:  All you need to do to be a part of Spike Day is order Beautiful You ON September 28th from Amazon.com, Powells.com, BN.Com, Borders.com or another online market (like a local indie favorite) and then send me a copy of your receipt (minus the credit card information) at hijasamericanas@gmail.com along with the mailing address you want me to use to send a book to you.  What’s in it for you?  Another book! 

The first 75 people to send me receipts will receive a signed copy of Hijas Americanas or Voces Latinas (an anthology for young Latinas and Latinos that I am included in) or another Seal Press title (I have a limited quantity), or a signed copy of The Green Year by Jodi Helmer (if you have a preference, let me know which one you’d like and if I have copies left, I’ll hook you up).  Thank you so, so much for your support!

September 26, 2010 at 3:23 am 1 comment

Random Bits

Bit # 1:  The other day, Happy was evaluated for Occupational Therapy.  I knew he had some tactile, auditory, and sensory seeking behaviors that were likely off the scale of normal and thought we would at least check to see if they were the sorts of things that register on the OT’s scale.  Anyway, the OT handed me this survey to fill out on Happy’s behaviors and one of the first questions was  Does your child like to put things in his mouth?  Um, that would be a yes.  Everything but food.  Food, not so much.  Eating is a drag for him but other stuff (and in the case of the photo above- fake food), all about it.  Yesterday, I discovered the buttons on my calculator had been chewed off.  Cannot blame Lola for that one.  She is not nearly so precise. 

Anyway, Happy technically qualifies for OT in the areas that I felt we were seeing some issues but the OT evaluator also felt like we were doing so many of the modifcations at home already that formal occupational therapy wouldn’t help us get much further.  Kudos to all the folks in our pre-adoption education who had us read as much as we could beforehand about working with children with different needs so that we could be better prepared when we came home.  Right now, our approach is to, as we transition, to let Happy know the next few steps that will happen. As we prepare for nap, I tell him that we are going to read, then change his diaper, and then go night-night and we repeat that several times throughout the reading, etc so he knows what is coming next and can prepare himself.  We give him time to become still in between activities.  For example, if we have dinner out– whether just as a family or with other people- we need to come home and have transition time before he can get into the bath without it being too hard for him.  So, we leave in time to build in that transition time at home.  We also try to do a fair amount of safe physical activity with him on our terms- maybe more than the average kid needs- so that he doesn’t have to go seeking them out on his terms which may be less safe.  So there is guided big jumping, pillow crashing, big bear hugs, Happy sandwiches, wheelbarrow walking, etc to help him get all that input he both wants and needs every day.  We also choose a preschool that has a fair amount of physical activity built into their days including gymnastics a couple times a week.  Each day it feels like we get one more piece of the parenting puzzle figured out and that’s feeling really good and productive right now.  Hooray!           

Bit # 2:  So, I’ve noticed this for about the last year with Happy and it still just cracks me up (and I don’t believe that I’ve told y’all this yet).  Every time Happy sees me after it’s been awhile (ie: when I pick him up from preschool or come home from working away from the house), he screams and then instantly says, “Milk.”  It totally cracks me up that he associates me with milk even though I didn’t breastfeed him and I don’t believe he was ever breastfed.  Milk=Mom, we even know that at our nontraditional family house!

And another observation:  When it comes to prayer, I tend to limit my personal prayers to one of two varieties- prayers for strength and prayers of thanks.  Outside of that, I have long, personally, felt that I don’t really have a right to ask for more than strength because as a person with faith and a deep spiritual root, I believe that my life is not accidental- so what has been handed to me has been handed to me for a reason- what I need is the strength or grace or etc to get through it, if that makes sense.  Anyway, that means I try to source out gratitude in my personal prayers or ask for the guidance and wisdom and perseverance and compassion and resolve that I need to make it through something.  I tend to be an all day long pray-er.  Meaning that when something strikes me is when I send up the prayer– at whatever time of day it is, wherever I am when I hear about what someone’s going through or read something in the news.  Anyway, I’ve noticed over the last year and a half that I have a new constant prayer.  It is not one that I am particularly proud of, but it is one that I know I used to say over 200 (I would chant it over and over again, I am not kidding) times a day when we were faced with the constant lack of sleep and that I now probably say 5-10 times a day as we’ve gotten down to just bad naps (and getting less bad every day, I might add) and more moderate nighttime sleep issues (and this is not a prayer that technically qualifies in my prayers for strength or prayers of thanks categories).  If you are looking in my window mid-afternoon or mid-evening, you can most definitely read the following on my lips, “Please, God, please let this baby sleep.”

September 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm 1 comment

The Beautiful You Trailer

Thank you to all of you who shared your pictures and stories in order to help inspire the Beautiful You trailer.  I wish that I could have used every single picture as every single one was so inspiring.  It was seeing each photo as it came in that inspired the Beautiful You trailer but the beauty of these photos is that each one is so inspiring for life.  And these women- the stars of the BY trailer- glorious and beautiful, every one.     

Now, here is the Beautiful You story captured in video…

Want to know more about Beautiful You? 

Every day, American women and girls are besieged by images and messages that suggest their beauty is inadequate—inflicting immeasurable harm upon their confidence and sense of wellbeing. In Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance, author Rosie Molinary passionately encourages women, whatever their size, shape, and color, to work toward feeling wonderful about themselves despite today’s media-saturated culture.

Drawing on self-awareness, creativity, and mind-body connections, Beautiful You incorporates practical techniques into a 365-day action plan that empowers women to regain a healthy self-image, shore up self-confidence, reframe and break undermining habits of self-criticism, and champion their own emotional and physical wellbeing. Through accessible, doable daily actions, women of all ages are encouraged to manifest a healthy outlook on life—teaching them to live large, and starting them on the path to learning to love themselves and others. Molinary steers clear of the florid affirmations and daily meditations often utilized by books geared toward personal growth, and instead delivers a hip, modern guide of inspirational thought that keeps pace with the times.

Beautiful You is a practical, candid, and accessible handbook that will strike a chord with every woman who has ever faltered in her self-confidence or lost her personal brilliance—and it will make sure she never lets it happen again.

 Beautiful You launches October 5.

September 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm 1 comment

Mark Your Calendars for a fun September 28th BOGO event

So, because you may not have heard (smile!), I thought I would let you know that  Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance will be released by Seal Press on October 5th. 

What’s Beautiful You all about?  

Every day, American women and girls are besieged by images and messages that suggest their beauty is inadequate—inflicting immeasurable harm upon their confidence and sense of wellbeing. In Beautiful You, author Rosie Molinary passionately encourages women, whatever their size, shape, and color, to work toward feeling wonderful about themselves despite today’s media-saturated culture. 

Drawing on self-awareness, creativity, and mind-body connections, Beautiful You incorporates practical techniques into a 365-day action plan that empowers women to regain a healthy self-image, shore up self-confidence, reframe and break undermining habits of self-criticism, and champion their own emotional and physical wellbeing. Through accessible, doable daily actions, women of all ages are encouraged to manifest a healthy outlook on life—teaching them to live large, and starting them on the path to learning to love themselves and others. Molinary steers clear of the florid affirmations and daily meditations often utilized by books geared toward personal growth, and instead delivers a hip, modern guide of inspirational thought that keeps pace with the times.

Beautiful You is a practical, candid, and accessible handbook that will strike a chord with every woman who has ever faltered in her self-confidence or lost her personal brilliance—and it will make sure she never lets it happen again.

 But before BY hits bookstores, I am hoping you’ll join me for a Beautiful You Spike Day where we’ll celebrate sending the book into the sales stratosphere with a Buy One Get One giveaway for those who order the book on Tuesday, September 28 (a week from today!). 

Why does a Spike Day matter?  Because bookstores, web-sites, media sources pay attention to pre-publication sales.  It might mean that they recommend that book more frequently, they get more copies in the store, or they review it.  All these things give a book a boost and I think Beautiful You really deserves that attention. 

Here’s why:   

Over the course of a year, Beautiful You teaches women what they need to champion and fully live their own lives, coaching themselves into the most extraordinary- and necessary- habit of treating their whole selves well.  It’s a great journey for one to take personally and also a great gift for friends.    

 And here’s what others have already said about it:

“As I read Rosie Molinary’s Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance, I found myself marking the pages that contained body image wisdom that really resonated with me. Guess what? By the time the book was finished, I’d marked more than half the pages! Molinary has done a fabulous job of offering practical and doable advice to help women see — and appreciate — themselves in a whole new way, and to realize that a healthy body image is about so much more than what we think we see in the mirror.”  — Dara Chadwick, Author, You’d Be So Pretty If: Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies — Even When We Don’t Love Our Own (Da Capo, 2009)

 “Women are sick of the same tired, stale body image advice. Don’t tell us to ‘Slick on some sexy red lipstick’ or ‘Spend a day at the spa’ – we need real, functional tips that can help us break out of a bad body image day. Rosie Molinary answers our call in Beautiful You: Her ideas are inspired, creative, and totally doable, with many carrying a trickle-down effect to the younger generation of girls. With the first day of reading it, my copy was thoroughly dog-eared.” – Leslie Goldman, Author, Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth About Women, Body Image, and Re-imagining the “Perfect” Body (Da Capo, 2007)

I am so incredibly proud of this book and also eager to get it into the hands of women of all ages who could benefit from more self-care and self-love.  I am also eager for it to spark conversations among women so that we can be honest about how we judge ourselves and begin to let those behaviors go. 

 Now, back to Spike Day:  All you need to do to be a part of Spike Day is order Beautiful You on September 28th from Amazon.com, Powells.com, BN.Com, Borders.com or another online market (like a local indie favorite) and then send me a copy of your receipt (minus the credit card information) at hijasamericanas@gmail.com along with the mailing address you want me to use to send a book to you.  What’s in it for you?  Another book! 

The first 75 people to send me receipts will receive a signed copy of Hijas Americanas or Voces Latinas (an anthology for young Latinas and Latinos that I am included in) or another Seal Press title (I have a limited quantity), or a signed copy of The Green Year by Jodi Helmer (if you have a preference, let me know which one you’d like and if I have copies left, I’ll hook you up).  Thank you so, so much for your support!

September 20, 2010 at 8:02 pm Leave a comment

Giving Up Beauty

So, I never intended to have a career as a writer and, most especially, did not expect to end up being a positive body image advocate (while I personally was a positive body image advocate, I just never saw it as part of my mission in life.  The reality, though, is that what I see my mission as is to get people to live authentic, empowered lives of their own choosing, to get them accessing and using their voice, and not being consumed in body image is one piece of that.  Not the only piece, and it is not even the only piece I work on within that mission but an important piece of it for sure).  I thought that I would be a career educator and went to graduate school- to get a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing- so I could learn how to better use writing in my classroom.  Along the way, I wrote a couple essays that changed the trajectory of my life.  One of those essays was The Latina in Me which led to Hijas Americanas.  Another essay was Giving Up Beauty which led to the body image work.  As I think about the very unlikely route my life has taken (ask me ten years ago where I would be in 10 years and I would have told you in a high school classroom) and about the upcoming release of Beautiful You, I can’t help but think about the essay that really articulated my awareness of body image.  As are all body image issues, it feels too personal to share, it feels like pubicly sharing this is the most embarrassing thing I could ever do, but that’s the personal talking and what I know to be true is that when we have secrets, we lose perspective.  We operate from a place of fear instead of a place of peace.  And so, though this is a personal essay, I’m sharing it here in the spirit of Beautiful You.  Because it is only when we give voice to that which seems unspeakable that it loses its power and we gain our own. 

Giving Up Beauty

            “It is not a malignancy.”  He looked at his chart, nodding, not looking at me.  I stared at him, squinting, trying to comprehend what he meant with these words that could not have been intended for me. 

            I craned to see the chart, convinced that he must have the wrong one, reading me some other woman’s good news because I was only in for a follow-up to my breast reduction surgery.  My breasts were simply smaller, not broken, not tumorous, not possibly cancerous.  They were the breasts of a woman with no family history of breast cancer.  Clearly, there would be no malignancies, even if there was a reason to think that way.  But there was no reason.   

(more…)

September 19, 2010 at 8:27 pm 2 comments

Look What Came in the Mail

A few months ago, the final cover for beautiful you was sent to me and it was just thrilling.  At the time, I mentioned that there are a few different times in a book’s evolution when it feels born to you- when someone buys your proposal, when you finish that first draft, when you finish the last draft, when you decide on the title, when you decide on the cover, and when the book officially lands in your hands. Well, the final “birth” happened today– the book landed in my hand.  My dear sweet publicist had emailed me that it had arrived earlier in the week and she grabbed a copy and mailed it to me so I could see it. 

Isn’t she pretty?  And she is the most adorable shape– she’s probably 5.5 inches by 6.5 inches or so.  So this compact almost square little thing and I LOVE square. 

And, now that it is here, I am going to embark on the Beautiful You journey.  I put this book together very deliberately creating an every woman plan and about 300 of the things are things that I have done for myself in my quest for radical self-acceptance (which is how and why I came up with the idea) but I haven’t done all 365 (like draw a picture of myself) so I’m excited about going through this all very deliberately, just like anyone else who picks up the book.  I start on Monday with Day 1: Begin.  I’m hopeful that I can turn off my inner editor– the girl who will be frustrated that I said something this way when it could have been better said that way- and that I can just enjoy the journey.  And soon, when the book is out, and in people’s hands, I’m hopeful that we can all periodically share revelations here.

September 17, 2010 at 8:33 pm 2 comments

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In a Bookstore Near You

What does it mean to be beautiful in America? For years, pop culture has insisted that beautiful women are tall, thin, and blonde. So what do you do if your mirror reflects olive skin, raven hair, and a short build? Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina offers a provocative account of the struggles and triumphs of Latina forced to reconcile these conflicting realities. Rosie Molinary combines her own experience with the voices of hundreds of Latinas who grew up in the US navigating issues of gender, image, and sexuality. This empathetic ethnography exemplifies the ways in which our experiences are both profoundly individualistic and comfortingly universal.
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