Tag Archives: Brittany

Follow Your Voice of Wisdom

August 27, 2016

Alex Forrest

Little did I know I was living below “Alex Forest” from the infamous Fatal Attraction movie when I moved into my quaint, vintage apartment.

She, like most mean girls, appears first as the sweetest, kindest person who ever graced the planet. And she did so gracefully walk. She had perfect posture and seemed to always know proper etiquette, especially in conversation. Even when she held her cigarette it was like watching an old Hollywood starlet. Something about her was intriguing, a bit mysterious and often left me feeling uneasy. There was some sort of wall or façade I could not clearly decipher. All I knew was to keep her on my good side. I had a sneaking suspicion that if I ever crossed the line, there would be no return.

I rarely meet people like this, but when I do, I am reminded of that gnawing feeling of discomfort. She was intentionally intimidating. I’m even bold enough to say that she was a bully. She made me want to shrink and cower down. A little voice inside me told me to steer clear, but I often felt sorry for her, especially when I’d get a knock on my door. Standing there with a glass filled to the brim with white wine, she had tears in her eyes.

As a child and teen, I always listened to that little voice. You know the still, small voice that would tell you not to go out with that guy? Or that feeling that you’d get when you knew something didn’t seem right? That voice is what many call their conscience or their wisdom speaking.

Somewhere along the line, I stopped listening to that small voice of wisdom. It has become quieter every time I have allowed someone to cross a boundary or line with me.

I haven’t taken a personality test recently, but I think it’s safe to say that I am Type B. I am very laid back, and on top of this, I am the middle child of two sisters. We, middle children, tend to be peace makers. Over the years, I have struggled with saying “no” to invitations or obligations. I want others to be happy, and it’s difficult for me if I know they will be disappointed by my decline.

If you’re a people pleaser like myself then you can relate. Because of this desire to please others, I have allowed people to take advantage of me. I have often sacrificed my own well being for the sake of avoiding confrontation. Around an intimidating person, my voice has often been soft, almost non-existent. Out of fear of retaliation, I won’t speak up.

Some call me sweet and innocent. I still get the occasional description as being naive. And those with ill intentions will truly prey on this. As a result, a person like myself will get used. Dare I say the term abused? Cruel people exist and even the smartest of us can fall into a trap of deception.

I started meeting with a counselor recently for self growth and because I have been faced with a difficult decision. He said the most simple yet beautiful advice: Follow the voice of your own wisdom. He reminded me that when you get that weird gut feeling or when you feel uncomfortable by someone’s actions toward you that it is your wisdom speaking.

I still have that little voice, but unfortunately, by not following it, I have said no to myself. Saying yes to others has caused me to say no to my well being at times. I have put my emotional, mental, and sometimes physical health at risk.

“Boundaries are not for others but for yourself,” my counselor stated. “You set the boundaries. If they cross them, you walk away.” I have often thought I didn’t have that right. However, now that my mindset has been made whole, I am and will set boundaries. My well being is more important than simply making others happy.

For the whole story of my bully neighbor, read here. I was right about that feeling. I’ll listen to it better next time.

Article by Brittany Windle

Follow her on Twitter.

Mental Junk Food

March 12, 2014

keeping-up-with-the-kardashians_2Image via

I have a serious problem, a confession, if you will: I watch reality television, specifically the Real Housewives franchise and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. There is so much irony in this.

First, I advocate women empowerment. Heck, I have a blog dedicated to it. Second, I fervently encourage women to accept their bodies, flaws and all. (I’m preaching to the choir here). Third, I believe in cultivating an enriching life that will inspire others.

Reality tv does not promote any of the things true to my heart, yet I almost daily feed my mind with junk food. What’s the big deal? I mean, I only spend an hour or so a night watching it. I even criticize as I watch. (That should count for something, right?)

Let’s go back to my core values:

First, I advocate women empowerment. How does reality television empower women on any level? None of the women get along. They teach other women to be competitive, aggressive, and argumentative. They display bizarre animosity toward one another. Sisterhood is what we should strive for, having female friends to support, encourage and cultivate intellectual conversation.

Much of the behavior and values they project actually set women back. Instead of being recognized for achievements and goodwill, they are recognized for their material gains and outward appearance.

Second, I fervently encourage women to accept their bodies, flaws and all. Apparently, lion is the new look because every time I view the housewives, there is a woman flaunting a newly constructed face, remarkably similar to the face of a feline. Aging does not exist in “reality tv land.”  There appears to be little acceptance of their outward appearance, and extreme measures are taken to achieve whatever ideal they’ve conjured up in their heads.

Third, I believe in cultivating an enriching life that will inspire others. In the lives of these reality tv stars, little is to be seen when it comes to an enriching life. Passion, ideas and intellectual conversation are not paramount of these shows.

By watching these shows, I am advocating the very things I detest. I am supporting women who sell manufactured sex appeal and unnecessary discord with those they should support.

Although it’s a little late to be making a new year’s resolution, I think it’s time for me to reassess and give up my mental junk food. Yes, I’d rather zone out in the evenings, but should I be filling my mind with fruitless material?

Here I am. I confess to being a junkie to reality tv. What are your confessions? Do you think it’s important to self-evaluate often?

Brittany Windle

Follow Britt on Twitter.

A Real Reality Check

February 3, 2014

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills - Season 4

America: the land of the free and overnight reality stars. Anyone can be a star these days from the Housewives of Wherever to Amish Mafia. What are most of these people famous? Yet, millions of Americans tune in to soak in the latest drama that is the farthest from reality. I admit; I’m one of them.

What impression does this really give to people? Even shows like American Idol, which I do find entertaining, are portraying that success is quick, cheap, and easy. When was the last time you heard of someone working hard to gain the credibility that they have?

You’ve done it before. You’ll get really excited about something, try, and when it doesn’t happen fast, you give up. Can I blame you? I’ve done it, too, a thousand times! Unfortunately, it is a trend of our culture.

You may be thinking, “Great… This is another ‘Follow Your Dreams’ speech!” No, but what I am saying is find your dream, your goal, your cause, and COMMIT.

I recently watched a young man on the Bonnie Hunt show tell his story of how he became a successful actor. He knew what he wanted to do, so he decided to surround himself with people who were committed to the same thing. The closest he got to acting at the time was working at a gift shop on a film set. How did folding clothes and doing inventory get him in the movies?

He eventually tried out for a part. Because of his acting skills and networking with the people he encountered, he landed a role along side of Denzel Washinginton.

How long did he work at the gift shop? I don’t know. What did he do before that? I don’t know that either. I do know that he said something that was key. He surrounded himself with people who were committed to the same thing he was committed to and stuck with it (even if that meant serving the people that he hoped he would become like one day).

If you want to be a writer for a major magazine or even start your own, the closest thing you may get to doing that at first is being an intern. Making coffee and filing may not be glamorous, but it’s one step closer to where you want to be.

Most people who are successful have put in the hard work that is necessary. They probably didn’t start at the top of their game, but what they did do is commit!

Now think about that one thing that you really want to see happen. Whatever it is, keep that dream. Now, throw away the mentality of microwave success. Next, surround yourself with people who want the same thing, even if it’s starting at the bottom. Commit to it, and see what happens. I dare you!

Brittany Windle

Follow her on Twitter.

Midnight Dress Rehearsal

January 2, 2014

the coulisses

I heard some of the best advice given to me the other day: “Don’t let someone’s decisions change your character.” When I heard that one sentence I was shocked that someone would have such wisdom. You see, this past year, my parents after thirty years decided to separate and divorce.

If you have ever experienced parents divorcing, you know that there is a lot of pain, confusion, and heartache. I don’t think it matters your age; it always hurts. A picture perfect family that you envisioned will soon be two families (even when you always knew it wasn’t perfect). Fun-filled holidays won’t be the same, but rather a tug of war to go to not just one parent’s house but now two.

Eventually you learn (or I hear that you learn) to move on, heal, and do what’s best for you. During the healing process, I have become calloused but then vulnerable, sad and then sometimes furious. There is a roller coaster of emotions that encompasses a divided family. I have gotten mad at individuals and have stood firm and unwavering on my decision to never speak with them, but then realized that was not realistic and not a healthy way to live. Unforgiveness smothers your happiness and will deteriorate your joy.

It is a process. At times, I’m able to live without it crossing my mind. Then sometimes I’m hurt all over again and mad at certain individuals. I have spent countless nights lying in bed rehearsing a speech that I would love to give to those who have hurt me. The words are choice, the phrases are timely, and sharp as a two-edged sword.

Recently, I had decided that the speech would become a reality. I would march up to that person’s door, knock furiously, and invite myself in, completely unannounced, of course.

But I was stopped in my tracks when a mentor of mine said that one tiny but powerful sentence: “Don’t let someone’s decisions change your character.”  I realized that no matter the decisions of a person, I couldn’t let it alter who I was.  Even if someone has been unquestionably wrong, that person’s actions do not give me the right to do something that for 1. is out of character and 2. possibly damaging as well.

So I’ve decided to keep my character intact. No more “dress rehearsals” at midnight with me killing someone with my words. I won’t change on account of someone else’s decisions.

When will I heal completely? Who knows? But as I continue to forgive…sometimes daily, the pain is slowly melting away, and my joy is being revived.

Brittany Windle

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Style & Substance: Sarah Mason

November 22, 2013

Sarah1

A note by the door bell reads: “Do not ring. Children sleeping.” Knocking, I am greeted by three year old Alice with a warm smile, she still in her pajamas. Her tasseled hair falls gently across her face, and behind her is Sarah, her mother. She hugs me, and I am reminded of her genuine and authentic self. I first met Sarah and her husband, Will, at Redstone Church. These two are the perfect duo with their apparent chemistry on stage along with their impeccable talent both in singing and instrumentally. Sarah and Will are owners of Mason Music with two locations in Cahaba Heights and Mountain Brook, AL.

Sarah looked effortlessly beautiful, and she always does. She’s able to create an outfit which looks comfortable, trendy and classic all at the same time. I am in awe of how she makes it look so easy and fun:  mother, business owner, music teacher, and worship leader.

Her effortless style goes beyond her clothing but to her home as well. Splashes of color through art work, drapes and pillows make each room unique, classic and comfortable.

Will&Sarah

Sarah, and her husband, Will.

“The story of Mason Music began when Will and Sarah met in 2006. Home from touring nationally as the guitarist for Moses Mayfield, Will was introduced to Sarah while she was visiting Birmingham on her summer break from the University of Missouri- Kansas City. Almost immediately, the young couple began writing and performing music together.” (Read the rest of their story here).

Sarah, a woman of style and substance, was my first pick for this column. As she welcomed us into her home, she gracefully answered our questions on balancing life and defining what beauty means to her.

What are your favorite places in Birmingham for a night out with WIll?
When it comes to date nights, I really enjoy either staying in Cahaba Heights and hitting up Mudtown or the Olive Branch, or going downtown. When we decide to venture out, we enjoy trying new places. We love going to concerts when we can and try to support local musicians.

Playroom1Play RoomHow do you balance work and family?

Finding a balance between work and family is a challenge. Owning a business with my husband is rewarding, fun, exciting, and also causes a lot of bickering. I have chosen not to put my kids into full time daycare because I really want to invest in their lives while they are young. Since I am with them a big part of the week, my husband  puts more time into the family business. When I start to feel like work is taking over my life, I try to remind myself that the time I have with my kids is limited, and they are more important than any business I will ever be a part of.

What advice can you give future entrepreneurs?

If you have a desire to start a business, do what comes naturally to you. For me it was music. I realized that I had a gift for teaching, and there was a need in the community for a teacher like me. Will started teaching guitar lessons while I taught piano and voice, and things just grew from there. In order to build a successful business you need to find a mentor who knows a lot. We had a great guy who helped motivate us and give us great inspiration. You need to be willing to take risks with your money and time. You need to be good at networking and building relationships. These are the main things that helped Will and I as we started our company.

Sarah2

What quality is most beautiful in women? How do you define beauty for yourself?

I think a confident woman is a beautiful woman. It doesn’t matter what she looks like on the outside or what she is wearing. Confidence is super attractive. Beauty is a person’s idea of what is pleasing to the eye… I think most “beautiful” women have attractive faces and bodies, but how can we tell they are beautiful just by looking? I think you have to know a person before you can qualify them as beautiful.

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Sarah’s favorite room in her house, the guest bedroom, is adorned in all white with hints of blue on the handmade quilt.

WhiteRoom3WhiteRoomSarah

With the pressures of the media bombarding women to look a certain way, how do you keep a healthy balance?

I try to remind myself that I am a unique individual. I don’t have to compare myself to the women I see in the media. If there is someone that I admire for their talents and abilities, I think it’s okay to notice what style choices they are making and wearing. It becomes too much when we start to idolize people that are famous, or the images of women we see.Like I said before, it all comes back to confidence. If you are confident in who you are, people will find you more attractive.

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Den1-1

 ~ Brittany Windle

Follow Britt on Twitter.