I feel pretty…oh, so pretty!

By Lisa Sugarman

My forehead is just too damn high. I wish I had more thigh gap. This Bohemian-looking curly hair is throwing me over the edge. Why can’t I be just two inches taller? I wish I had thicker eyebrows. If only my index toe looked a little less like a finger and a little more like a toe.

If you’re a girl, or, for that matter, a guy who has a wife or a daughter or a sister or a girlfriend, then you’re either saying or hearing things like this on a pretty regular basis.

images68XLFG9RThat’s because, according to the Dove beauty products company, only four percent of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. I say again, only four itty-bitty percent. That leaves another ninety-six percent who think they’re somehow flawed. And as far as I’m concerned, as the mother of two daughters and a girls cross country coach, that s**t’s gotta stop.

I see it every day, girls beating themselves up about everything that they aren’t instead of celebrating all the beautiful things that they are. I see it with my daughters. I see it with my friends. I see it with strangers. Because, in addition to writing, I work in a school where I see it constantly. And it’s sad. It’s sad because if we siphoned off even a fraction of the time we spent feeling inadequate and repurposed it to honor the things that make us unique and beautiful, we’d put the anti-depressant drug companies out of business. Because, in the same way that muscle weighs three times more than fat; praise weighs at least three times more than criticism.

Look, I’m sure it would take very little effort for me to write eight hundred words about the things I wish I could change about myself. In fact, I’ll bet you cash money that none of us would have a problem scribbling down a whole list of things we’d like to transform.

But be honest, doesn’t it seem a little absurd to you that most of us focus on everything that’s wrong with us instead of everything that makes us beautiful? Because, when you think about it, conflict, at its roots, stems from unhappy people. And if people could just learn to be happy in their own skins, I think they’d be less inclined to bitch about, well, everything else. Cause in case you haven’t noticed, it’s very rare to find a truly happy person who’s also a complainer.

You and I both know that most of us spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over the things we wish we could change and not nearly enough time celebrating the things that make us the beautiful people we are. That’s because, somewhere back in history, some moron decided to come up with the phrase nobody’s perfect. And while that’s absolutely, one hundred percent true, I think it may’ve caused almost all of humanity to try to prove that wrong and be the first.

It’s just too bad that way back in the beginning, mankind didn’t interpret it the other way around and felt relieved by the idea that perfect is unattainable. I honestly think it would’ve taken all the pressure off every one to try to measure up.

See, I know it’s become human nature to dissect ourselves, no matter how centered or grounded we are. We just can’t help it. Even in spite of our best efforts to withstand the temptation, we’re all more or less incapable of shutting off the urge to focus on our flaws. And I think that’s just because everywhere we turn there are always people around us who we just keep comparing ourselves to, even when we know we shouldn’t.

We start out doing it as kids, always measuring ourselves against the faster or taller or prettier or smarter or more popular kids. And we keep doing it as adults, constantly comparing ourselves to the people we work with, or our friends, or our neighbors. Too many people have this crazy-looking yardstick that they measure everything against—one that measures things like stuff and status instead of heart and soul and inner beauty. To me, it seems like ninety-nine times out of a hundred the things we beat ourselves up about are actually the things that the rest of the world loves about us. Ironic, isn’t it?

Let’s do this… every time we get the urge to diss ourselves, do what George did on Seinfeld and reverse it. Do the opposite. Force yourself to replace the diss with something positive. It worked for George. His entire ridiculous life turned around and everything started going his way. So I feel like it’s got a good chance of catching on for the rest of us.

So repeat after me, I feel pretty, oh, so pretty. I feel pretty and witty and bright! And I pity any girl who isn’t me tonight.

There, now doesn’t that feel better?

Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItIsWhatItIsColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com.

Seaside Book Nook rates LIFE: It Is What It Is as a 5-star MUST READ!

untitled (3)So apparently LIFE: It Is What It Is made the book reviewer from Seaside Book Nook laugh until her sides hurt. And that, my friends, is about the end-all-be-all of book reviews as far as I’m concerned.

Oh yeah, and they also gave it a 5 sea star must-read review.

See the full review by clicking on the Seaside Book Nook logo above.

Fans of Being a Mom’s new website is LIVE and looking slicker than ever! And, they’ve got a new regular contributor…

So excited that Fans of Being a Mom (FoBaM) is back and better than ever with a whole new look! And, they’ve got a brand new regular contributor … Starting this week, It Is What It Is will be a regular feature on FoBaM. So check out what 779,000+ people already know… that FoBaM is the ultimate clearing house for All Things Mom. Just click the link below to check it out for yourself. fobam

Shower the people you love with love

untitledBy Lisa Sugarman

I’m going to get straight to the point because, as usual, I have a lot to say.

I dislike funerals.

Sorry, no disrespect, really, but they’re usually awkward and depressing, albeit for obvious and unavoidable reasons.

I mean, we’ve got all these rites and ceremonies that always have to be fulfilled as staples of traditional funeral services. And these formalities, especially when there are a lot of them, can make it pretty challenging to showcase the true essence of a person in whatever time is left over. So what I feel like we often see are stilted versions of what could and should be more authentic celebrations of a person’s life and legacy and impact on the world.

I think, though, for most people (myself included), funerals are just an all-too-vivid reminder that we’re all simply employees at will and can be terminated, for lack of a better word, whenever The Big Guy decides it’s time to let us go. So that’s why I think the majority of funerals have the same feel. There’s this somberness because (A) no one wants their mortality held up and dangled in their face; (B) we’re forced to recognize that we just lost someone we care about; and (C) we have traditions that have to be satisfied. And that’s a whole lot of heavy stuff, no matter who you are.

See, I’ve noticed, as a general rule, that there are a handful of emotions that are felt by the moral majority. Most people are usually pretty subdued, partly out of respect for honoring the funeral ritual and, I think, partly out of a fear of saying or doing the wrong thing under such delicate circumstances. And naturally, there’s this shroud of sadness that settles over people whenever mortality is concerned, and that’s because losing someone we love is just plain sad. But I just can’t help but feel like a person’s life should be truly celebrated after they die. In a way that captures the true spirit of who they were.

Now to my real point.

Last week, I went to a funeral that did exactly that. And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t alter my thinking on the ultimate potential of the funeral experience. That’s because it was way more of a celebration of someone’s life than a somber sendoff that marks The End. And that I liked. In fact, I loved it. So much so that I found myself crying and belly-laughing in celebration of this woman’s beautiful spirit—a woman, ironically, that I’ve never even met.

There’s this saying, “We have a plan but God decides.” And in the case of my friend’s stepmom Pam, that couldn’t have been truer. She was in her fifties, out for a bike ride, and was struck and killed by a truck. Tragic is the only word that really comes to mind—the only word that really seems appropriate.

But as tragic and unimaginable as her death was, the way her life was celebrated at her funeral was truly epic. There was more laughter and joy than I think I’ve ever seen at a traditional funeral. And that’s because, from what I gathered about Pam, she was a woman who insisted that feelings be expressed and never assumed. And so as a result, her funeral was part roast, part celebration, and part straight-up laughter and applause. The likes of which I’ve never seen. So right there, even though I had never known Pam, I felt we would’ve been friends if I had.

I suppose I was so taken by how spirited and joyous her funeral was because even considering peoples’ overwhelming grief, her friends and family still found a way to truly celebrate the essence of who she was in exactly the way she would’ve wanted. They clapped. They cheered. They laughed. And they happy-cried.

The whole experience has really given me a lot to think about in terms of how I’d like my own funeral to be. I know, it’s a little bizarre to think in these terms, but I just want it out there so when the time comes there’s no confusion.

First of all, I think I want everyone in fluorescent colors. Something snappy to really perk people up. Next, only happy crying will be allowed. And there will be absolutely no mourning of a loss; only the celebration of a life that was truly and wholly lived. (That’s because when I do go, I plan to be friggin’ exhausted because of how busy I’ve been living.) I’m also thinking about having a chocolate fountain for dipping because chocolate, as you know, has magical properties. Beyond those few details, I think I’ll let the rest ride. I’ve always been a big fan of improv.

In the meantime, though, I’m planning on showering the people around me with some extra drippy emotions, so keep a towel handy. It’s gonna get messy.

Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItIsWhatItIsColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com.

“Lisa Sugarman made me laugh and even managed to make me think a few times.” –Simple Wyrdings

This is the kind of review you cross your fingers and toes for when you send a book to be reviewed. So, so, so excited that Simple Wyrdings liked LIFE: It Is What It Is. I would’ve settled for making someone think once… but I got a hat trick.

To read the full review, click the link below.