“I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100%…….”

Now that you have Lizzo’s hit song, Truth Hurts, playing in your head, you are welcome. Lizzo, if you do not know (SHAME), is a performing artist – singer, song writer, rapper and flutist! Besides her musical talents, this woman is a freaking rock star, seriously and no pun intended. Amazon Prime just released a reality show focused on Lizzo and her “Big Grrrls.” These are her dancers, and let me just tell you those girls can MOVE. I watched every episode and loved it. The message behind what Lizzo is trying to do and share with her fame is inspiring.

No, this is not a review of the show or Lizzo’s music or even the dancers. This is to share how Lizzo is not only breaking glass ceilings, but she is speaking her truth and empowering others to do the same. The show focuses on women from all over and from different backgrounds as they audition for the chance to be on stage and dancing with Lizzo as she performs. Each episode is a different challenge for the dancers, but also designed to help improve their skills, mental health and self love. You get to see these women become confident with not only their bodies, but with who they are as individuals!

Lizzo is spreading SELF LOVE! The world needs more love, but if we are honest — we all need to love ourselves just a bit more as well. WE need to embrace our differences and uniqueness! That is the exact message that Ms. Melissa Viviane Jefferson (Lizzo) spreads. If you look at her social media pages she is comfortable in her own skin and shows it and helps others see what they offer the world as well. She doesn’t hide her hard days or that sometimes the rude and nasty comments people will make do get to her, but she keeps persisting. She not only speaks, but shows that it does not matter what critics will say about you. You can follow your dreams, you can be you, take up the space you deserve. Do not shrink or fade into the background because someone thinks you are not good enough, or pretty enough, or whatever is the negativity they are throwing your way. At times during the show my heart ached for the dancers as they described being told they were too this or too that or not even given a chance based on their size, color and even gender. Then to see them become confident because Lizzo said, F THAT, YOU CAN DANCE. YOU ARE A DANCER.

I’m not sure that as a society we have reached the point where we fully understand the impact that words have on individuals. I also am not sure when we all stopped following the rule “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Words of Affirmation is one of the 5 Love Languages described by Gary Chapman in his book, “The 5 love Languages.” WORDS of affirmation is one of the main ways that a lot of people receive love and feel loved. Words hurt and stay with people a lot longer than most of us care to admit. So why do so many people use their words to tear down others instead of lifting them up? Or if not to lift another up, just keep your mouth shut. It is not hard, nor is it too complex. On the counter side, we have to be willing to call out others when they say something that is hurtful or out of line, even as a “joke.” Not all jokes are funny and not all jokes should be shared, so stop it as it is heard.

I hope to use Lizzo as my inspiration as I continue on my own journey of growth and self love. It doesn’t hurt that most of her songs are hella fun to jam to as well. Go ahead and listen to a few of her songs to get some good vibes and put your positivity out into the world! YOU are ENOUGH! YOU are SPECIAL!

So to Lizzo, THANK YOU! Thank you for being you, and for showing the BIG GRRRLLS and EVERYONE that we are worthy! That we all have something special to offer the world and do not let anyone rain on your own parade!

PS – yes, I know Lizzo is not going to see some small town girl’s blog, but she deserves a thank you regardless!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lizzo

https://www.instagram.com/lizzobeeating/?hl=en

Finding Your Way

After turning 18, you are considered a legal adult – as in you can vote and join a branch of the military……if you do not go the military route, you are expected to decide what you “want to be” for the rest of your life. You have to decide a career path via work or pick a major and continue with your education journey. How in the world and why do we expect people that are only 18 to make this decision?! At 18, you are not allowed to legally drink and in most states can’t purchase tobacco either. Very few people at 18 can say for certain what they want to do with the rest of their lives, so why do we continue to make these “adults” pick a path and expect them to stay on it? We allow these young people to vote on issues far surpassing their experiences – that will impact the majority. We allow these young people to sign a contract with the military – in which there is the possibility of death. We do NOT allow these young people to drink or smoke (legally). We push these young people to decide on a path that will ultimately determine the rest of their lives. I barely remember being 18, but I know I was very fortunate, but I still had no idea what I really wanted to be or what major to choose. I can’t imagine how someone without the focus on education, life lessons, and family support that I was blessed to have makes any kind of life decision at that age.

My generation and the ones before mine are by far terrible at this notion of you pick a job and do it until you retire. We chose a career path and we remain on it, no matter how much we do not like it, if it is unfulfilling, just go to work – do your job – cash the check – pay your bills and taxes – maybe retire and then die. We literally take this beaten path forever, and then expect our children and grandchildren to do the same. Perpetuating this terrible cycle of you can only have one career in your life and you will do this even if you don’t truly want to anymore. WHY?

I started thinking on this recently because my oldest niece turned 15 and started talking about colleges. (Excuse me while I cry – as I was a Freshman in College when she was born!!). She has started creating a list of potential schools she would like to attend, based on a potential major she will pursue and ultimately what career…..at 15! Granted she is an over achiever, like the rest of us in the family, but it just made me wonder – why are we still asking people to pick a path and stay on it? Why are we, the older generations, so afraid to break off the path and try a new route? Robert Frost even wrote a poem about taking the road less traveled that has surpassed time and is still studied, discussed, and reviewed in education – why are we fascinated by this concept but too damn scared to act?

Are we as adults too afraid of the unknown? Maybe that is why we learn and try so much during our formative years, because we don’t know the fear yet. Is it the fear of failure? I honestly have no idea….I can tell you that in my career I have changed jobs, in the same field and similar positions, and it is scary! I think we get comfortable and settle, even if our situation(s) leave us unhappy, and wanting more. All of this leaves me with the question: How do we, as adults, get more comfortable with starting a new path? How can we learn to be OK with turning around and taking a different road?

For me to have an answer to those questions, I look to younger generations. These young adults are not afraid to try new paths, to speak out and say they need and want more. We are currently in what media has termed “The Great Resignation.” People are resigning, quitting and changing jobs more now than ever before. As someone in a position that deals with recruiting, hiring and HR, it can be frustrating. As someone that has been in a professional role for over 10 years, I’m in awe and impressed by most of the individuals that have used this crazy time to find a new career and follow their desires. We change our clothing styles, vehicles, living situations, and more to adapt to our evolving styles or needs, but not our career paths. When will we finally embrace the idea of working to live, not living to work? I just hope it is within my lifetime, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to retire early enough to still have lots of fun?

“You’re in the same boat with a lotta your friends, Waitin’ for the day your ship’ll come in, An’ the tide’s gonna turn and it’s all gonna roll your way” ~ Nine to Five, Dolly Parton

This is going to sound strange, but I talk to my current work friends more than anyone else these days. The strange part? We have never met in person. We talk, email, text and FaceTime, but have never been together in person. These two ladies are a huge part of my support system. We have an open group where we can talk about anything – work, life, love, health – you name it and we have discussed it. We are all so different, and we are all fiercely strong women with big attitudes, yet we all get along even if we do not agree on everything.

These are the people that get it when I can’t work for one more minute that day, support me when I decide to start writing a blog, and even force me to call the doctor. Friends can come in all shapes and sizes, the three of us could be the poster pic for that saying. We hold each other accountable, we push each other to be better, but also make sure we are taking the time to take care of ourselves – physically and mentally. You hear people talking or posting about how as women we need to support each other more – that is what these ladies do!

They are equally creative as well. One is a baker at heart. You should see the Frozen themed Elsa cookies and cake she made for her niece – the pictures with the perfect frosting and matching sprinkles made my mouth water! The other is a visual. A visual? This is what I call someone that has multiple creative outlets, but each of these outlets creates a beautiful picture. She creates videos, costumes, make-up, gifts (bags/glasses/all the things), and graphic designs. We each have our own separate lives, that we know the high level on, and we can go a couple of days without a text, but no matter what these two ladies have been in my corner since day one.

Work friends are an important part of life. We spend the majority of our days with Work friends. This means that when you change jobs that unless these work friends transition into another group, we usually lose touch with them. I can tell you there are previous work friends that I miss all of the time and wonder how they are, outside of the random social media posts. I also have work friends that crossed into another group and we keep in touch, even when one lives in a different country every few years!

Covid and remote working have changed our interactions with work friends, at least they did for me. I am full time work from home, therefore my “office mates” are my 4 dogs and occasionally the husband if he is sick or has to work from home as well. I do miss lunch/grocery shopping dates and the inside jokes that come with in person office interactions, but I do not miss having to get ready every day. I am thankful that despite working from home, and that starting a new job in the middle of a pandemic didn’t hinder getting new work friends.

My husband is different. His work friends are his adult friends as well. He met most when he moved to Birmingham and they clicked. Honestly? They are a great group of people and I understand why they all transcend the work friend group. they spend 50+ hours a week together at work, they are lucky they get along so well (most of the time). Despite all that time? They still choose to spend time together outside of work as well – golfing, fishing, hunting, weddings, lake – all the time! I am thankful for his work friends because some have become my friends as well!!

This is Part 3 of TBD on Adult Friendships. Part 2: https://emmaswarmestregards.com/2022/01/08/friendship-takes-work-finding-friends-nurturing-friendships-scheduling-face-time-it-all-take-a-tremendous-amount-of-work-but-its-worth-it-if-you-put-in-the-effort-you/

“I vow to always love you, even during football season.”

I really am a sports fan – I am not kidding when I say we have watched a CORN HOLE TOURNAMENT….so yeah, sports fan. I understand not everyone feels this way. Look, I get it. As soon as Kyle puts golf on the TV – unless it is a playoff – my eyelids get heavy and I just have to “rest my eyes.” So I understand the dread of watching ANOTHER game of whatever with what teams playing? I dabble in this, not often, but I understand always!

Kyle was watching the golf tournament earlier and I was taking down Christmas decor. It finally dawned on me the way to get (most – more – some?) people that do not enjoy watching sports to sit and watch so their partner can watch as well without much complaining? We need to have real world commentators. Hear me out……

For golf – when a player is being featured (I’m only referencing the PGA event we recently watched), have two or three sentences about his play/round, and then just tell his story. Is he in a relationship? Where did he go to college? Some have started foundations – tell me about that! This format can be applied to any sport. Don’t want to hear the talk show and want the “normal” feed? Well buddy just get you one of the old man ear radio things people wear at the Alabama games. Or maybe with all the technology it can be added as a feature we select, like language or any other setting. Sounds easy enough to me. Don’t understand the sport and want to learn a little more? Add that feature on too!

This is not a new concept. ESPN started doing this for Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli Manning. They do commentary and have guest hosts – go off topic – and it is different, so it is on a different channel. Same concept, but geared for those that typically do not enjoy having to sit through sporting events on TV – that aren’t the Olympics – they are in their own category, anyone can watch the Olympics.

For example, did you know that during Week 13 of play, NFL players are allowed to design cleats to wear that support a cause important to them? This is something that would be interesting to have a little story explaining this and showing the cleats, more so than they do now – which is LIMITED.

Another newly added thing that could be of interest, college athletes are now allowed to be paid for the use of their name, image and likeness! IE some college athletes are in ads, of all kind mind you, and it is not advertised unless they are a HUGE name. So tell me about Jordan Battle (Alabama Football player) and his deal with BOJANGLES!! Does he get free biscuits when he wants? Can he order Bo Sauce in a gallon – asking for a friend? Is he going to be in a print ad or on TV? Tell me what the kids are majoring in and why. I promise you would have these people jumping in convos saying, “Oh no, I’m sorry, but “random name here” did not play last week. They are injured with a strained ACL and will not be back for at least 3 weeks.” Partner’s eyes are now bugging out of their sockets – “HOW did you know that?” – “Oh babe you’re so funny. We watched the game and they filled us in on his therapy sessions!”

Let’s be honest, reality TV is still oddly popular. It would, or could, be a win – win for all involved! Think about how many more Tailgate parties can happen because most every one attending should have something to talk about – GAME related! ROLL TIDE to that!

SOURCES:
https://www.nfl.com/causes/my-cause-my-cleats/

https://www.ncaa.org/name-image-likeness

https://247sports.com/college/alabama/Article/Alabama-Name-Image-Likeness-Tracker-Compensation-deals-announced-by-Crimson-Tide-athletes-167270860/

“Friendship takes work. Finding friends, nurturing friendships, scheduling face time, it all take a tremendous amount of work. But it’s worth it. If you put in the effort, you’ll see the rewards of positive friends who will make your life extraordinary.” – Maya Angelou

I struggle with letting my friends know when my feelings are hurt by their actions, or lack there of….why? I started thinking about this more because of two points raised during my research on friendships – read as talking to my friends about friendships: 1 – when friendships are no longer fulfilling you/the friendship feels one sided and 2 – reevaluating friendships and removing those that are “toxic.”

Friendships are relationships that also need work, some more than others. From our friends we look for validation, but ultimately it is their support we need the most. To know, despite disagreements, they are in our corner. We need to be honest with our friends, but mostly ourselves, on what it is we need from our friendships: Acceptance, to feel seen, to be included, to feel as if they care and you matter, corny jokes, the weather, life advice, memories…

Dani* told me that she is tired because she has realized recently that a few of her friendships are taking more than they give. <Well Emma, isn’t that how relationships go? You would be right, some of the time – and that is OK.> If a relationship (or person) is constantly taking more than he/she is putting into it on a REGULAR basis, the scales will ultimately tip. You see my friend is feeling this. She is a giver by nature, always has been and does not require a lot. But damn, is it too much to ask for her friends (the ones she is referencing) to ask how she is doing? Call or text for the SOLE purpose to say hi and check on HER? She needs to know that she is not just a “friend” because of what she does and can do to help. Just because she is a “Low Maintenance” friend does not mean she doesn’t deserve the same attention given to the “High Maintenance” friends.

Anna Grace*, a friend in a different group, said that she has started evaluating the relationships in her life as well. She is removing the people that she feels are “toxic” and not part of her new, positive life changes. Good for you! This is not easy to do and often an unpopular opinion. It is OK to walk AWAY from people in your life if they are toxic or bring constant negativity to your life.

Anna Grace* understood the assignment y’all. When we were discussing friendships she said, “different friend groups bring a different purpose for me – not anyone better or worse or more fulfilling than the other.” YES! I knew this, I guess the ah-ha moment for me is realizing that despite grouping our friends, that does not mean they can’t surprise you with what they bring to the table. I should know this better, because I have friends that are in more than one group or have crossed from one group to another.

I realized that just because something is important to me, does not mean that it will be important to my friends. The support I thought – hoped – that I would receive from one friend group – an Adult friendship group – has actually come from another – Work Friends. That is OK too!

I’ve had to not only evaluate my own friendships, but also the type of friend that I am for these posts. Just like with all other things in life there was some good – things I want to keep doing, and some bad – things that have to change or be fixed. Almost everyone, that took time to discuss friendships with me, said that time would be the thing they would like to change about friendships. The amount of time we have to spend with friends is limited, for various reasons and excuses. The amount of time we have is limited, PERIOD. So are we, myself included, going to continue to say “we need to do dinner soon” or are we actually going to plan the damn dinner and go? Spend time with the people you enjoy, and those that bring positivity to your life. Life is too short otherwise!

*Names have been changed – stories have not.

This is Part 2 of TBD on Adult Friendships. Part 1: https://emmaswarmestregards.com/2022/01/06/many-people-will-walk-in-and-out-of-your-life-but-only-true-friends-will-leave-footprints-in-your-heart-eleanor-roosevelt/.

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