Tag Archives: Relationships

Why Self-Acceptance Is So Hard

March 30, 2016

singlematters.com I just celebrated another birthday. Not much has changed in a year, and yet everything has changed in a year.

I still struggle not to be completely awkward in unfamiliar social settings. Sometimes I say too much, and other times not enough. There are some life lessons I still have to learn over and over again. My brows are still uneven. My nose is still crooked. My body is flawed, and my mind often messy. Yet I have learned there is beauty in the mess. I have allowed myself to be taught the art of flawed acceptance.

To accept myself, my whole self, the flawed, the weak, the awkward, the crooked and the messy parts, God gave me permission to accept — to actually see — the beautiful, the strong, the brave and the supernatural parts of me as well.

For years I felt unworthy of a holy self-acceptance. I don’t mean “holy” in any type of religious reference. I mean that to be “holy” is to be whole by definition. I was light years ahead of others when it came to accepting the negative things about myself. Oftentimes I would find comfort in my flaws and mistakes, cradling those ghosts like a little girl rocking her doll. I thought I was being kind and honest to myself and to the world by willingly raising my hand and taking full ownership of the messed-up parts of me.

To be partly honest isn’t to be honest at all.

I had actually been lying to myself and lying to the world. To have been honest would have also been owning up to having blue eyes for days, a contagious smile, a heart for people, tears for the bound and a relentless tenacity to change the world.

After much work and conscious effort I found space for me within my own flawed heart. I have discovered that to choose me — all of me — allows me to choose all of someone else. In the process, I realized I couldn’t fully accept others until I fully accepted myself. I could not make the world a better place until I made me a better place. I have learned, and will continue to learn, the grace of holy self-acceptance.

I will keep finding room for me within my own beautifully messy soul.

I will keep requiring that I choose myself so I can choose others.

I will keep demanding that I be honest, yet gentle, with myself.

I will keep praying that I provide myself with kind attention where it is needed.

Finding room in my heart and holy self-acceptance are beautiful things.

They are energetic and powerful. They are healing. They do a work from the inside out. They are bold. They are brave. They give permission to change the world.

They were my gifts, and I pass them on to you.

Be brave enough. Be strong enough to make room in your heart for a holy, flawed acceptance. Your bravery might just spark a relentless tenacity to change the world, uneven brows, contagious smile and all.

Article by Cheslie Birks 

Follow Chelsie on Twitter and Instagram

Originally published on singlematters.com 

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Callie Blount of Luv Cooks

October 20, 2015

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I arrive at the quaint Homewood cottage right on time. Callie greets me at the door with an infectious smile. It was as if I was meeting a long time friend. She is in the perfect pair of black skinny jeans, burgundy booties, and a salmon hued blouse with a pineapple in sparkly sequins. I later discover that pineapples are Callie’s favorite, of course, a symbol of hospitality. She is even more mesmerizing in person.

Callie Blount is someone I’ve admired from afar for a couple of years, so I was eager to meet her in person. Callie runs a food blog called Luv Cooks – having the most mouth watering recipes, beautifully styled photography and entertaining videos. (She makes cooking look so easy!) By day, she is a freelance food and prop stylist. 

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With an industrial feel and splash of vintage, her kitchen area serves as the backdrop for most of her videos and shoots. She offers me grapes and tea, and we immediately sit down in the red apple dining room chairs to chat.

Sometimes you just get a certain feeling about people. Honestly, today is not about her skill in the kitchen; I want to see her outside of that. I’m intrigued by women who have an ease and comfort about them. And there is just something about her.

I don’t normally open conversation with the topic of beauty and overcoming obstacles (seems a little heavy as an opener), but something prompts me to, and I follow. I sit back, soaking in every word. I wasn’t expecting such a moving response. After all, this is the first time we had met. Her warmth and vulnerability are immediate. As I listen, I secretly hope to have those same qualities one day.

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I simply ask, “What is your definition of beauty?” Without hesitation, Callie speaks on this topic making me realize how layered and complex that word really is: “Beauty is close to my heart. I feel that beauty is the reason I‘m on the planet. I had this fascination of growing roses at a very early age. There was something about flowers that was so beautiful.” She continues telling of how her family passed on a rose bush from generation to generation with the women in her family. Sitting on the kitchen table is a porcelain white vase.  A pink rose peeks above a sea of petite red ones. It was then I notice the other fresh flowers on several surfaces of her home.

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“Beauty is power,” she continues. “With beauty comes responsibility to lead people to good or astray. I want my life on this planet to be a beauty that leads people to Jesus. Style is how I do it. When you see an image, you see something that is attractive. This brings people joy and happiness. Beauty is impactful, powerful, and can change the world. As a woman, I wanted to run from beauty at times. I felt as if I was too much or not enough. There have been moments that I didn’t want to care. But I knew not to run away. It can be for the good.”

Intrigued by her sense of self and concept of beauty, I ask about the most challenging obstacle she’s had to overcome. Candidly, she speaks of the end of her marriage and the beauty God brought from divorce:

“Personally, I walked through a difficult divorce, but the Lord is a God of restoration. He took me from a place where I had been stripped. A part of it was reclaiming my beauty and who I am as a woman. God has an amazing purpose for my life. When you go through a broken relationship, the world gets small and you think, ‘This is all I have.’ But God says, ‘I have way more for you.’” Callie is now married to a creative like herself who is a musician and photographer. “God built something new in my spirit,” she warmly says.

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On a professional level, Callie recalls a recent interview experience: “Being in the video world, there are a lot of people who say you aren’t enough. Someone said one time, ‘I really like you, but you are too southern. You are not for us.’ I really wanted to work with them.”

With reflection in her voice, she says, “Through those experiences, it goes back to, ‘You are fearfully and wonderfully made. It’s how I (God) made you to be. I’ve got this.’ It’s a journey of joy.”

Callie’s faith in God is evident. Her vulnerability to share her story reminds me of the importance of every woman’s story, although possibly messy, it’s meant to be told.

“Let’s turn on some 90′s rap,” Callie playfully says before the shoot. Pulling out inflatable fries and an apple pie, she giggles, “I wonder what we can do with these?”

A few things I learned from Callie that day: vulnerability is breathtaking; the name Callie actually means beauty; and make no apologies for who you are.

Her authenticity: awe-inspiring.

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Get to know Callie:

Favorite dish to cook. I LOVE brownies. Nigella Lawson has an incredible brownie recipe. I also love chocolate and peanut butter combos, so I love to top a hot brownie with chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

When did you know you had a love for food and cooking? My love for food began at a young age; I remember sneaking sugar cookie dough into my mouth as we decorated Christmas cookies, trying to carry on 6-year-old conversation while pretending it wasn’t there! But, my desire to learn how to cook started in college. My family sat down every night for a home-cooked dinner, and I was left, for the first time, with no one to cook for me!

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Who taught you how to cook? When was Luv Cooks created? I grew up watching my mom in the kitchen, but both of my parents worked, so she really didn’t have much time to teach me! I started Luv Cooks first as more of a baking blog. When I began learning the basics of cooking, baking really intrigued me, so that’s where I started. And I loved the satisfaction that came from bringing someone a home-baked treat- their faces would light up! And that’s really where Luv Cooks started- that idea that food is one of the best ways to show people love. The recipes have morphed from there, incorporating gluten- free, dairy-free, vegan options as well, because everyone should feel loved and included, no matter their diet.

How do you balance it all? This is a complete matter of prayer! A friend of mine taught me one of the best life principles I know a few years ago, and I have tried to stick with that. Since I am a freelance stylist, I have Sunday evening or Monday morning “meetings with the Boss” (the Lord) and just pray over my week- photo shoots, appointments, coffee dates, etc. I have found that that makes all the difference, and the Lord will really show me where to spend my time, and also open up pockets of rest in my week.

What women have inspired you? I am truly inspired by all women! Each of us has something incredibly beautiful and precious inside that the world desperately needs. I love learning from women who are really operating from that place. Christine Caine and the Propel women movement has really caught my attention lately- I love their outlook on women and purpose.

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Favorite piece of advice. “Life is either a grand adventure or nothing else.” Helen Keller. As women, as Creatives,we are called to take risks and leaps of faith with our lives. I don’t want to look back and wish I had taken on the challenge instead of sitting that one out.

Favorite piece of fall clothing: BOOTS! I love boots- tall, ankle booties, brown leather to purple suede. They dress up any outfit. Plus, there is no better feeling than a cool fall day, feeling cozy in a big chunky sweater, jeans, and boots (drinking a pumpkin spice latte of course). Perfection.

Article by Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.

Many thanks to Becca Bell of 2b Photography for these images. There were way too many to choose, so check out the full shoot on the 2b Facebook page

7 Musts to Look for in a Spouse

July 29, 2015

2b PhotographyLast night I met a close girl friend at the eclectic Mexican restaurant one street over from where I live. We normally have our weekly talks at the gym after church on Sundays.

“I realized that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with someone like that,” she confessed as she was telling me about the ex that was reaching out to her. We all saw that coming. He’d realize he made a mistake and come crawling back. We, humans, are so predictable.

The first three to five months are what many people call the “honeymoon” stage: sweaty palms, butterflies, and blindness. Seriously, we are blind. It’s not because the person is always hiding their flaws or bad habits, although some do. My girl friend would often smell cigarette smoke in his bathroom. The funny thing is that smoking was not a deal breaker to her. Even if they aren’t hiding anything, we are blind because we simply don’t know that person yet.

We often can only see the good and admire the qualities we like in that person. The focus is what they are offering us and what we have in common. Although common interests are nice, they are not paramount. This is a revelation to me.

I admit that I’m a sapiosexual. “What the heck is this?” you may ask. By definition, it is one who finds intelligence as the most sexually attractive feature (thanks, Urban Dictionary.) I’ve become so fixated on one quality or two that I overlook red flags that are waving and yelling, “Mayday, mayday!” My focus has been on our common interests and my likes and dislikes of that man (his style, his interests, intelligence, etc.)

This, to most, doesn’t seem like a problem. However, recently, I read an article in Elephant Journal that made me change my whole perspective:

“Love is more than a series of likes and dislikes, attraction and interests. If attraction is based on what you like or dislike about the person, it is a setup for failure. Likes and dislikes change over time, and remain at the surface level of human expression. Common interests change, appearances change, language change.”

Ten years ago, I didn’t know that I would absolutely love sushi and coffee. They are now my two favorite things. Ten years ago, I also bleached my hair too blonde. We change. We grow and evolve. If the sole reasons we are with someone are based on likes and dislikes, then overtime, we may not still appreciate or like those things.

“The only constant is change,” Artisan states.

So what exactly do we look for in a person if we are aren’t looking for attraction, likes and common interests alone?

Here are 7 Musts to Look for in a Potential Spouse:

1. Character – What is the integrity of that person when no one is watching?

2. Chemistry- Physical attraction. This seems self explanatory.

3. Competency- Can this person hang on to a job? Or are they always going from thing to the next?

4. Culture- Can your cultures blend? Do you have similar views on finances, education, and spirituality?

5. Commitment- If a person can’t keep a commitment with other things, then something is wrong.

6. Communication- Can you identify your own feelings and the other person’s feelings?

7. Core Values- Are your core values the same? Do you have the same beliefs?

Although intellectual conversation about literature and art is fascinating to me, it is not what will see a marriage through during its most turbulent times. And as a close friend said to me, “That type of conversation all the time sounds exhausting!”

It is the core traits that are sustaining and nurturing that should be most sought after.

Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.

(Photo Credit: 2b Photography)

(Resource: Family Life)

Smorgasbord of Men

December 9, 2014

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I thought dating would be a smorgasbord of scrumptious men after my four year relationship ended. The men started coming out of the woodwork, whether through meeting them through friends, arranged blind dates or the occasional reconnection through Facebook (which I hate).

I was flattered, had the upper-hand, and I was going to enjoy the process. But I was quickly reminded of why dating is not what it is cracked up to be.

The Rebound. Everyone has one. You are completely blind and incompetent to make sane decisions during this time. Friends and family should lock you in a padded room after a bad breakup.

But instead I met him….

I cared nothing about him besides his stunningly beautiful blue eyes and muscular arms. Somehow during the course of our dating, I overlooked the ridiculous stupidity that vomited from his mouth or, rather, texts. He would often text acronyms like “bb” which apparently stands for baby. (Why abbreviate a four letter word?!) And my all time favorite, “SMH,” which means “shake my head.” (You don’t know what this does to an English teacher.) No person over the age of sixteen should talk like that.

He was my trainer at the gym. (Note to self: Never date your trainer.) After his countless requests for me to get breast implants and his week-long gambling trip to Vegas which included a lovely picture with a stripper, I realized we were on different pages.

After all, he is ten years older than I; should he still be partying like it’s 1999? I ended it. And he called me 40 times from 2 different phones trying to win me back.

Four months after, he got hitched… probably in Vegas.

The Elderly. “I can’t believe I never thought of setting you up with him,” my dear friend stated eagerly regarding her single male friend. “He’s a lawyer, running for circuit judge and around forty years old,” she continued. I was willing to give it a go at least once, even though I was not keen on the age factor. We met at her house for dinner with friends. He firmly shook my hand and his blue eyes sparkled under his cute ball cap. The conversation was natural, and he seemed like a true gentlemen.

He asked me to dinner the next day. I obliged. We met at a local Mexican restaurant. Walking toward me was a man who looked much older. With his geriatric shoes, pleated khaki pants, and reading glasses around his neck, I was a bit taken aback. Is this the same man? Instead of the cute ball cap, he sported a comb-over, one of the worst I had ever seen. Ten desperate hairs draped across his bald head. “Maybe others will think he’s my dad,” I thought as I spotted several acquaintances.

The conversation was pleasant yet again. We talked politics, religion, relationships, and none of it uncomfortable. Normally, I am very forgiving with looks as long as the personality chemistry is there. But I could not believe this man was the age my friend told me. He never would reveal it… red flag, perhaps? Needless to say, we never went out again.

I later found out he is at least twenty years older, not thirteen. I see him from time to time at church and have thought about setting him up with my mom.

To Be Continued…

Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.

Broken Not Destroyed: Leaving

December 9, 2014

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Tough Man was of masculine stature. I would need more than two hands to count the number of times he was stopped and asked for his autograph. By “his” I mean that of Vin Diesel. Same bald head, same features, same full lips, and yes, Tough Man was stacked. The two looked very much alike. His nickname by many was “The Hulk.”

Yes, “The Hulk” arranged his view, with puffed veins and clinched jaw, and we locked eyes. I froze in the doorway just staring in trembling fear of his unknown move. He cleared his throat with a dry cough, sniffed, puffed his lips out as if kissing the air, and refocused on Pre Game stats. All the normal signs and evidence letting me know I was in for days of ignorance therapy. I was in the clear. I closed the door behind me, and before I could even make it to the stairs, I was bid farewell by the locking of the double deadbolt.

Looking back now, the evidence to the truth of Tough Man’s final words to me, were apparent all along. It would just take me awhile, and unfortunately, a lot more pain before I built enough courage to truly leave.

I tossed the luxury weekender in the backseat of my 2000 VW Passat, and I drove, and I drove, and I drove. Noon turned to two, two turned to four, and four turned to six. Six hours and an empty gas tank later, I pulled into the 7Eleven not five minutes from the house. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be gone this many hours, but this was the first time I left without being told to get the hell out. He hadn’t called, he hadn’t checked in, and I knew it probably wouldn’t be good to go home. The unknown consequences scared me more. I had to make a decision, and checking into a motel wasn’t an option. Those were the days shortly after my first year of grad school. Tough Man was inspired by my drive to advance my education, and decided to do the same. Money was tighter than tight, and I was already going to hear about the unnecessary gas expense. I had isolated myself from most of my friendships to keep the abuse hidden, so there wasn’t exactly a laundry list of people to call. I wasn’t really prepared to sleep in my car that night, as I normally would. My favorite spot, the place I felt the most safe and hidden, was discovered by Grapevine Police Department the last time I was kicked out. The officer was kind, but firm, and promised me a ticket the next time I was found at 3:00AM in a secure zone.

Daylight was fading fast, I had a PA (Public Appearance) the next day from one of the top makeup brands. Driving four hours to my parents wasn’t really an option, and I wasn’t even close to ready to share with them, or anyone, of the fear, pain, and shame found in what had become my routine lifestyle. I needed a shower, a real one. The kind of shower where I get to use a fluffy, home washed, Downey smelling towel, and take as long as I need. Not the type of shower where I paid by the quarter hour, locker room style. I had become pretty close to Jennie and Randy that had a crappy little stop off HWY 10. I had discovered them two years earlier, when I was welcomed home one night after work to my belongings in the front yard of the apartment. To this day, I still don’t know what I did. Anyhow, whatever I did, awarded me four days of motel Passat, bathroom not included. By day two of long work days, I needed a shower. I felt prompted in my spirit to take a different drive to my “safe place.” That’s where I saw the sign for “hot showers and daily stay rates.” I pulled into the parking lot, and mustered up every ounce of dignity I had to walk through the office door and ask the mousey brown-haired woman about purchasing a shower. My eyes were full of tears, and my lip was quivering, not out of fear, but out of total embarrassment. I was humiliated.

My professional makeup, elegant side sweep, and tailored business suit created mystery to my question, but my red face, glassy eyes, and quivering lip caused the middle-aged woman to refrain from questioning. I had a $5 bill, and asked if that would work? The rates were for rooms including a hot shower, so I needed a bit more. With excitement she explained they took debit/credit cards.

A little side note to those unfamiliar with abuse. purchases are one of the easiest ways to track a location, so the last thing I wanted to do was give Tough Man a traceable transaction to my whereabouts. I looked her dead in the face, and I lied, explaining the $5 cash was all I had. To this day I appreciate her reading between the lines. She looked at me with compassion and a smile, knowing there was more to the story. She walked around the counter, and handed me a key to room 113. She handed me a travel size of Perell shampoo and a bar of Irish Spring. She said her name was Jennie, and that her and her son, Randy ran the place. My imagination never allowed me to sleep a night on one of their beds. I did, however, appreciate the numerous showers and cheap toiletries, gifted at no charge. There was never a time, I didn’t, randomly and inconveniently, walk through their door with glassy eyes, and quivering lip, to a warm smile and humble acts of service. They didn’t know why I randomly appeared in a tailored business suit, and the need for a shower away from home, nor did they ever ask. All they knew was that something wasn’t alright, and they wanted to be a part of creating a little stability for the mystery girl. The new routine for the unpredictable had become their shower for hygiene, and the Passat for sleep. My location wasn’t traceable, and the PD hadn’t discovered me in a secure zone.

The gas pump jolted, signaling the tank was full. I hung up the pump, pulled the Passat out of the way, and for the first time all day, broke into hysterical tears in the 7 Eleven parking lot on Glade and 121. I had escaped into mental numbness, and in giving the day’s earlier events an ounce of thought, brought forth full emotion to feeling less loved than a stray dog. Tomorrow’s event couldn’t handle such feelings. I needed to be on and confident, with freshly-applied, trend-setting makeup, and a pocket full of feel-good tricks. As reliable as the back seat leathers were, they were no match for the rest I needed for an “A-game ready” arrival. It was now 6:11PM and the sun was quickly fading. Evening was turning into night and I was running out of options.

I wrestled between calling Tough Man, and playing off the events, by asking if he wanted his favorite dipped cone. In the moment it seemed easier to suck it up, find a way back in, so that I could take my best shot at gaining my beauty sleep. The fact that I had walked out without being kicked out kept running through my mind. Was He going to be more mad? Was he going to rage when I got home? Would I be hurt or bruised in a way that would keep me from being able to show up to the most important work event of the year? Tough Man never beat me as many experience. One push, grip, or hit from “The Hulk” was effective enough. I never had bruises in noticeable places. On one occasion a “simple punch” to my side enabled me from the ability to squat to pee for a week. The unknown of how he would respond to my leaving was my biggest fear, yet I desperately needed to rest up for the day of beauty exhortation.

I pulled out my Blackberry, stared at the number, and hit call…

To be continued…

I’m Chelsie Birks and this is My Glossy Life.

Broken Not Destroyed: Exposed

November 10, 2014

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Pastor Robert’s message was really powerful that particular Sunday. He had been teaching on a series about The End: What comes next? Tough Man had made his prejudgements about Gateway Church long before this message, so I was already walking on egg shells in asking him to come with. You see we had already joined and left two churches in almost three years of marriage. We stayed until people started suspecting problems, and Tough Man found every reason not to return. The fact his mother was with us that morning, gave some bit of comfort, as she was never going to deny her youngest, but she was, thankfully, very protective and fond of me. She had heard much over the years, and helped pack my car many a nights that Tough Man made it clear to get the _____ out before he got home. His mood was seldom predictable, and as unhealthy as it was, I appreciated, more times than not, his mother being just across the parking lot. I often referred to her as Mams, and she was the one person that had seen the signs of what Christian girls don’t speak of. Honestly and tragically, she had become my best friend.

On the drive home, I was sandwiched between Tough Man and Mams in his black Dodge pickup truck. The stride in his step to the truck, locked jaw, and single hand grip on the steering wheel was full evidence he was heated. Mams and I knew that anything could set him off so we opted to remain awkwardly silent until the ticking in the air conditioner came. It wasn’t the type of tick that anyone would notice, but it was one I had become obsessively aware of, as it was the sound that would send Tough Man over the edge into a raging war. In an effort to drown out the tick, I resorted to the message from Pastor Robert. As much as I hate to admit this, I knew that Tough Man was already angered by Pastor Robert and his “mega church productions.” I knew that mentioning the service would take his anger off of those “responsible” for “allowing” the noise to continue and place it on someone that couldn’t presently be effected by his escalating rage. I knew wrong. As I mentioned previously, the mood was completely unpredictable. Just as I shared the confirmation the message brought to my salvation, my sunnies were knocked to the floorboard, and blood rushed to the surface of my left check to meet the heat of a fresh slap telling me, “Shut the ____ up!” Mams gasped in shock and began pleading for him to stop. He felt encouraged and affirmed in his adrenaline rush and began driving as if he were under the influence of a spirited bottle and tonic. He had lost complete control to the anger rush and nearly flipped the Dodge on the over pass bridge of 121 and Bedford Road. Tough Man pulled into the covered parking spot that belonged to our 800 sq. ft. apartment, shut the door calmly, and walked up the stairs as if nothing had happened. Mams stood there with me as gigantic tears burned my cheeks; my lips quivered; my body trembled; and I sobbed silently. I was embarrassed, ashamed, humiliated, and terrified all at the same time. I had learned to mask the physical abuse well, thanks to the training I gained from previous years of interview pageant prep and successful work as a makeup artist, whose job was to make others look and feel amazing. I understood “game on!”

What I had failed to prepare for was the abusers need to increase the adrenaline rush which often comes from “new” levels of abuse. He had done what I hadn’t prepared for- actually physically harmed me in front of another person, least of which I would ever have assumed to be his mother. I always felt like Tough Man was way too prideful to ever hit me in public, so I was ill prepared on how I would respond.

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Mams stood there with tears in her own eyes, having no idea whether to stay or go. The ever lingering question posed to keep Tough Man contained so to speak. Regardless if the abused want to admit it or not, we fall prisoner to the daily cycle of whatever, whenever, why ever, and however. Anything not to be the target of harmful hands and hurtful words. I encouraged Mams to head on home. I had Tough Man and his cycles calculated near flawlessly. I assured her the fit of rage was over, and now for the enduring of hateful words or days of silence. I would know once I saw the way he was positioned on the couch, and if the TV was on or not. Although the less accepted by society, I would have rather taken another hit, than the acceptable form of emotional, metal, and silent abuse that often comes with being the Christian girl that deeply desires to refrain from carrying one more mark of failure or un acceptance. I hugged Mams, and we parted ways in tears. I walked up the stairs, striving with everything in me to contain myself, because we already established what unwanted noises produce. I walked in to Sunday pre game and Tough Man comfortably couched on the middle cushion of the sofa, nursing a Dr. Pepper. I was about to get it, and it was going to be long and painful. I was in for an unknown number of days, maybe weeks, of silence. The type of silence that never acknowledges your existence. The type of silence that refuses to see you or hear you. The type of silence lonelier than any place of alone. It was routine for me to respond in one of two ways depending on my ability to endure Tough Man’s conditional therapy. I would walk to the bedroom and sob myself to sleep on the bed, or I would very casually and calmly grab the keys, and say I’m going for a drive. Neither one ever broke the silent therapy. It was simply my way of giving him the whatever, however space to let the punishment therapy for whatever I did, run its course.

Still in a state of shock, I think, I walked straight to the closet, packed my leather, electric turquoise weekender, gifted to me by Trish McEvoy, and prepared to do my own attempt at the unthinkable. I set the bag out of view as I opened the door wide enough to leave for my “drive.” I was awkward, and the bag was obvious. He arranged his view, with puffed veins and clinched jaw, and we locked eyes.

To Be Continued…

I’m Chelsie Birks and this is My Glossy Life.

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We will be sharing with you Chelsie’s courageous story in several parts. Thank you, Cheslie for allowing us to help share your story.

Have You Been Catfished?

October 24, 2014

online-dating-e1405898035178-600x300With new dating apps like Tinder, it is becoming more and more common to meet first online. Whenever I have had conversations about online dating with my guy friends, they confess of a having a fear of being “catfished.”

According to the ever-so reliable source, Urban Dictionary, it states, “A Catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.”

Now, I’m not about to go into detail of how I’ve gotten “catfished.” No offense, but who spends months or years speaking to someone they’ve never seen or at least have sure proof this person exist? And God forbid, plan a life with a stranger. It’s beyond me!

I have a hard enough time getting to know a real guy who is sitting right in front of me, much less some weirdo in another state or better yet, a con-artist in an internet cafe in Africa.

But I’ll be honest. I think I’ve been catfished (just not via Facebook or some other site). I’m pretty sure I’ve been the victim of others creating a false identity. Thank God, I’ve never found out some man I was dating was married with five children.

I often find it extremely difficult to meet men and women alike who are transparent, honest people. Those who know me know that I am very honest and upfront. This is a blessing and a curse. I often ask people sincere questions. Sometimes I get an answer but often times, the answers are vague and elusive like a child inquiring why Zebras have stripes.

False identities can be created in many different ways. I’ve dated guys who claim to be religious because they know my spirituality means a great deal to me. I’ve met people who hide bad habits like smoking or drinking, to later find out it was an issue. I’ve also met others who claim to have the same values as I do in order to get a so called “good girl.” Thankfully, I’m pretty intuitive. But only because I’ve been fooled before.

When it comes to cultivating relationships, honesty is the only way success can be achieved. Sometimes honesty hurts. Sometimes it means an end to a relationship. Sometimes it means taking a risk, and it scaring you senseless.

Thankfully, I still have time and am not remotely worried about meeting my match. I know it will happen. But as I continue with the exhausting dating process, I find myself weary with facades, lack of transparency and the ability in others to be honest.

I see it all the time, especially with men who will not be honest with their feelings or intentions. If you’re a guy reading this, I’m sure you have experienced this with women.

I was thinking today, “Why is it that often times when I ask a straight forward question, I cannot get a straightforward response?” It dawned on me.

If a person cannot be honest with me, then he probably is not being honest with himself.

I wonder how many catfish are swimming around?

Article by Brittany Windle

Follow Britt on Twitter.

Tinder Love

September 19, 2014

1370041886_nutella“Can I lick Nuttela off your body?” a blue bubble appeared. My initial thought: “I don’t even like Nutella.” This is how our love story began…

I’m kidding. But that really did happen upon my first and last trial of Tinder. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Tinder is a dating app. You login through Facebook and view the “available” men or women in your surrounding area. Swipe right if you find that person attractive or interesting. And swipe left if not. “Nope” appears across their face when you swipe left: classy!

Many times a bio is left empty, so it becomes a game of “do I find you attractive or not?” It’s not shallow at all.

So I tried it out, naturally… but not in my own city initially. When I visited a girl friend who lives a few states away, I logged in. I wanted to see what it was about.

Several swipes, a few chats and many clever pick-up lines later, I discovered a few truths about men and Tinder:

- They love to fish and show off their big catch.
- All men skydive or climb big rocks.
- Guys, too, take duck selfies- ya know, not with a duck but the ones with the strange pucker face
- It’s weird when you see a gym selfie
- It’s creepy when you see a guy lying in bed with his kitten
- 99% of them do Crossfit
- There are a lot of lonely military men

I logged in to my city when I arrived back from my trip. After a few swipes of “nope,” seeing a guy I once dated, and seeing a few I know who are married or in relationships, I decided that the app would be deleted immediately. I don’t have time to filter through cheesy pick-up lines or questions alluding to sex in order to discover someone who actually wants to get to know me.

I asked a guy friend of mine if he had ever tried it out. He said that he went on three dates. “One brought a backpack on the date in hopes of staying over at my place.” He told her it wasn’t going to happen.

While he says, he’s met several interesting people and has made new friends, I think I am going to stick to the traditional way of meeting people.

As far as Nutella being licked off my body, maybe he should have suggested a less messier option like whipped cream (kidding, of course).

What do you think about Tinder? Do you think it’s a good way to meet people? Is it just a hook-up app?

Article by Brittany Windle

Broken Not Destroyed

July 31, 2014

Chelsie Birks is courageous. She is courageous because she is a survivor of domestic violence. She is courageous because she tells her story. Chelsie Birks Many have a preconceived idea of what a victim of domestic violence looks like. Unfortunately, most envision an impoverished home with the victim and abuser both addicts of some sort. However, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That means that it is probably effecting someone you know.

Why is it that we are not aware of this epidemic? Most are afraid to speak up. Some are so intrenched in the abusive relationship that they feel as if they are trapped. Many also believe that their marriage is more important than their own emotional, mental, and physical well being. An abusive relationship can happen to anyone, and it’s imperative that we are aware of those around us. Once we are educated on this topic, we can look for those who are possibly abused and notice the pattern of abusive behavior to protect ourselves.

The National Domestic Violence Coalition defines domestic violence:

“Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background.

Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.”

There are signs to take notice when entering a dating relationship. Here are 10 early warning signs from the West Island Women’s Shelter (Click link for a detailed explanation of each:

1. He speak disrespectfully about his former partners
2. He is disrespectful towards you
3. He does favors that you don’t want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable
4. He is possessive and jealous
5. He is self-centered
6. Nothing is ever his fault
7. He gets too serious too quickly about the relationship
8. He abuses drugs or alcohol
9. He pressures you for sex
10. He intimidates you when he is angry

Becoming aware of important issues is empowering. Empower yourself by doing your own research, avoiding a potential abusive relationship and supporting someone who may be in need.

Chelsie is like you – full of passion, purpose and a woman of true substance. For years, her voice was silenced but now she is using her voice as a vessel of healing. Read her story here and follow along as she blogs about her experience.

If you are in abusive relationship, seek help. Contact The Domestic Violence Hotline.

Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.

30 Observations at Age 30

July 20, 2014

It’s not often that we have a male contributor here at Modern Lace. Tim Sayles shares with us his 30 observations at 30.

Screen shot 2014-07-20 at 3.03.31 PMIt’s not often that we have a male contributor here at Modern Lace. Tim Sayles shares with us his 30 observations at 30.

1. Although we never believe it at the time, high school popularity really doesn’t matter. #butIdomissthatpowderbluepromtuxedo

2. College really is the most carefree, fun time of your life. #gunsup

3. Making and keeping friends after college is extremely more difficult than when in college. Regardless, make the effort. #thankGodforgoodfriends

4. The common cliché “life is short” starts to make a little bit more sense once you look up and you’re thirty years old. #1/3lifecrisis

5. Marrying the right person is very important. #caitlinsayles

6. Trying daily to be the right kind of spouse is also important. #sheispatient

7. Facebook is exceptionally more popular than anyone in my college dorm could’ve ever imagined. #facebookusedtoonlybeforforcollegekids

8. From an outsider’s perspective, raising children seems totally hard but totally worth it…most of the time. #just2dogsfornow

9. Like my parents promised, I actually became friends with my siblings.
#josh #abby #micah

10. There is much to be said for a traditional education but I am shocked at the amount of success some people have without it.
#youstartedwhatkindofbusinessinyourgarage

11. Loving what you do for a living is a true blessing. #thankGodigotintoPAschool

12. On the other hand, a job really is just a job. It only defines you if you let it. #muchmoretolifethanthose40hours

13. That previously pathetic 10:30 PM bedtime has become an absolute necessity. #nomoreallnighters

14. I sometimes look back at photos from my youth with the same head-shaking disbelief I did when looking at photos of my parents at the same age. #myhair #notbesthair

15. I appreciate how shockingly invaluable a good childhood and great parents have been to my path in life. #mesquiteTXintha90s

16. As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes my body feels like it’s thirty years old. #rest #ice #compression #elevation

17. My aspirations of being a decent golfer will always be just that.
#iblametheclubs

18. Saving for retirement is weird considering I feel like I just started working. #401what

19. The idea of a mortgage payment that will last the same amount of time that I’ve been alive is both confusing and terrifying. #almosthomeownerproblems

20. Cross country moves are unavoidably chaotic; Almost as chaotic as trying own a home in the Bay Area.
#isthatpricetagforreal
#escrow #morelikemesscrow

21. Trips to Costco with my wife are strangely exciting and always more expensive than anticipated. #thatllbe$400sir

22. The cell phone I’m writing this on is ten times more capable than the desktop computer I grew up with. #wemissyoufloppydisk
#oregontrail

23. I would take Golden Eye over Call of Duty any day. #N64

24. Taxes go up, policies change, and social issues evolve but, ultimately, we have it very good here in the USA. #fiftynifty

25. After living in California for a short time it is even more clear to me that “Texan” truly is it’s own demographic identifier. #comeandtakeit

26. As a follow up, it’s hard to deny that California has a leg up in the weather and scenic beauty department compared to my beloved Lone Star State. #lubbockTXisoneofakind

27. My hairline really is receding. #Itsnotjustparanoia

28. If you’ve never traveled outside the USA, you should. There are some amazing things to see and experience on this planet. #Guatemala #South Africa #Brazil

29. Regardless of your current perspective or predisposition, try reading the Bible. It’s a truly an enlightening piece of literature.
#theGoodBook

30. I hardly ever use hashtags. In fact, I don’t even understand their purpose. But I used them here to prove I’m still cool at age 30. #whostillsayscool

What are your own observations? Share with us by commenting below.

Article by Tim Sayles