For the Ladies.

Hello my dears.

It’s not always easy being a woman. I’m sure it’s no picnic being a man either, but I can’t really speak to that. But I know what it’s like to be a woman. To be told by society and church and people what you’re supposed to be, how you’re supposed to act, what you’re supposed to do, and how you’re to live your life. It becomes a cacophony of endless noise. So much to process. So many lies and half truths to wade through.

Sometimes the best advice is the simplest and the easiest.

These words are for all the good women who are trying to figure out life as best they can; some thoughts on men, life, and love. I hope they give you something to smile about, a bit of encouragement.

On Men…

Wait for the man who will never hesitate to tell you how beautiful you are, no matter the time of day or location or occasion. Wait for the man whose eyes light up when he sees you, whether you’re wearing a sexy black dress, jeans and a sweatshirt, the sweat from your workout earlier, your pajamas, or a mud mask you put on with a greenish hue. Because you are absolutely beautiful in every one of those moments and deserve the man who will recognize it.

Wait for the man who doesn’t tell you that you owe him your body, or that he’s been patient long enough, or that if you really loved him you would sleep with him. Wait for the man who doesn’t use your love as weapon against you. Wait for the man who doesn’t look at you and see all the things you can give him, ignoring the gorgeous, wonderful soul standing before him. Never settle for a man who demands what you aren’t ready to give. Never believe that by saying no you are missing out on your only chance to find happiness. Because happiness exists when your no is heard and your hesitance is respected. Wait for the man who will wait with you.

Don’t wait for the “right guy” or the “nice guy” or the “perfect guy”. Instead, wait for the man who is good, the man who is flawed like you and has his own past and baggage and bad days. Wait for the man who will share that with you, letting you see him for exactly who he is, not for what you imagine he should be. Wait for the man who will be himself with you; the man you feel safe being yourself with.

Wait for the man who will encourage you in your pursuits, who supports your dreams. Wait for the man who will dream those dreams with you, who believes in you even when you begin to doubt and second guess. Don’t wait for the man who tries to fix you, but for the man who makes you better simply by loving you for everything you are, faults and scars and all the good things.

Wait for the man who will be a true partner in every sense; for the man who believes you are worth pursuing; for the man who loves you and never hesitates to tell you.

On Life…

Take chances. Every day do something that freaks the hell out of you. Because the things we regret most later in life are the things we never did. Never let fear hold you back or convince you that you can’t do it or you shouldn’t do it. And just maybe the chance you long to take is the one that will change your life.

Be yourself. Be as weird, quirky, odd, awesome, nerdy, fashionable, sarcastic, passionate, creative as you want. Never apologize for being you, for doing what you love. Never believe that you have to tone down what makes you you in order to be accepted by those around you. Embrace who you are and share it with the world.

Laugh often. Because I think we’ve become far too serious these days. The world is a sad, desolate place, and we’ve let that seep into our bones and weigh us down. And that’s a shame, because there is so much in our lives that we can smile and laugh at. And sometimes we do stupid, ridiculous, embarrassing things. Laugh at those things, and remember them.

Travel wherever your heart takes you. We get comfortable in our little corner of the world. But there is so much to discover when you take a trip; when you hit the open road and drive until you can’t drive any farther. Until you reach happiness. Go somewhere new.

Know you are beautiful. There are days when you may not feel lovely or pretty or stunning or gorgeous, but even on those days, when you look in the mirror and can’t meet your own eyes, you are beautiful. You might not be perfect, and that’s okay. You are only to be yourself, completely and imperfectly. And every part of you – your body, your mind, your spirit, your heart, your soul – all of it is beautiful in every moment. Finally believe it.

Be kind – to yourself and to others. Life has a way of beating us up, and if we beat ourselves up in the moments in between, we never give ourselves a chance to be happy. So when life is hard and you feel defeated, remember you don’t have to always have everything together. It’s okay to be a mess, because you will always be strong enough to put yourself back together.
And be kind to others. For if you are fighting and struggling in your life, chances are that those around you are as well. Show kindness and grace rather than frustration and rudeness. Show compassion always.

Go after what you want. It’s easy to talk ourselves out of the things that we dream about, the secret passions of our hearts. We think we don’t deserve them or we’ve been told that we don’t. But you do. You deserve to chase after your dreams. You deserve the happiness that comes with making them come true. And perhaps it’s hard. But the best things in life will make you fight to keep them. So never stop pursuing the things your heart longs for.

Create things. Anything. Write, draw, paint, take photos, knit, make movies, sculpt, dance, compose music, scrapbook. Be artistic. Whatever it is that brings a smile to your face and joy to your heart, make it come to life. Because when you create you are making beautiful things and bringing to life a piece of your soul. You are making something special and wonderful that only you can make. You are bringing something into this world that wasn’t here before, and maybe you can bring joy and healing to someone else through your art.

On love…

Love yourself, because you are worth loving. You are an amazing, talented, lovely daughter of God. You are the only one in the entire world who is like you. Love yourself for all the good you bring into the world; for all the happiness and light you share with those around you. Love yourself because God created you and loves you. Love yourself because you deserve to be loved by the one who knows you best.

Love others, even when it’s hard. Everyone needs to be loved, to be told they are loved. We were created in love, and we crave that. So share that love with those around you, with friends and family. Love those who are like you and those who are not. Love those you make you smile and make you scream. Love those who seem unlovable, because they are the ones who need it most. In loving others, we better learn to love ourselves.

And lastly, I want to remind you that you are lovely and worthy and amazing even in the darkest times. You are strong. You are an inspiration. You are enough and you are good. And you are allowed to believe it.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter >> @cassiclerget.
I’m pretty entertaining.

Why do we tell our stories?

It takes a lot out of me when I write. Well, some pieces take more than others. Sometimes I write something and I sit back with a smile on my face. Yes, I say to myself, that is lovely. (Forgetting for a brief moment that not everyone might feel the same way.) But then there are pieces that leave me empty when I’ve finished them, drained of emotion because writing the words cost me something. After writing such a piece, I sit back exhausted, feeling vulnerable and exposed. Should I even publish this, I ask myself. Is there a reason to tell this story?

I’m a rather private person. I’m slow to open up, even slower to trust. There are things about myself I’m hesitant to share. To tell my secrets, my struggles, my hopes and fears in some ways gives others power over me; the power to hurt me or judge me. As if I’m standing in the middle of a crowd naked, the secrets and struggles of my heart written in black ink on my pale skin for all to see.

And for me, that is what writing is like. Every time I sit down to write in honesty and transparency, I’m revealing something about myself. I’m giving something up, and that is never easy. I’m sharing a piece of myself that perhaps no one else is aware of. To write is to lay my soul bare with my heart on my sleeve, and some days I wonder why I do it. What is the point of it all?

Why do we tell our stories, I wonder.

What is it that compels us to share such intimate ideas and details with strangers? Because I’m not sure it’s enough to say, “I write because I have to.” Not that it isn’t true, per se. There is something within me that begs to be unleashed, words that need to be set free. For me, writing is like breathing. I simply have to. There is no other choice before me.

But I don’t think that’s why we tell our stories. I don’t think that is why we are willing to open up and give people the chance to shut us down. I don’t think we share our stories because we have to. There’s more to it, I believe. I think we share them because there is a voice inside of us that whispers, “The world needs to hear this. This story is bigger than you. There is power in your story.”

I think we tell our stories because we are the only ones who can. We are the only ones who have been where we’ve been, seen what we’ve seen, felt what we’ve felt. Our experiences are ours alone, there is something powerful and beautiful in that. No one sees the world exactly from the place you do. Your past is a gorgeous story. And you are the only one who can share it with the world.

Because, just maybe, there is one person out there who needs to hear where you’ve been and how you’ve come through. Maybe they need to hear that you survived the storm, so they can have hope that they will survive their own. Life often feels like being in the midst of a war, with the world and with yourself, and perhaps someone else needs to hear your words of triumph in that battle.

I don’t tell my stories for me. I already know them and live them everyday. I’m well acquainted with them because they are a part of me. No, I tell my story for that one person out there who is meant to hear it. I write for the person who is struggling, who has lost hope or is just lost. I write for that one email I get that says, “I thought I was the only one.” Because you are never the only one. You are never alone. And you should never have to battle through your struggles without an encouraging word in the lonely darkness. You should never feel isolated or adrift in the world you live in. No one should. Ever. And our stories are what allow us to meet each other in the middle.

A quote I adore reads —

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out and taken yours.

The History Boys

And that’s what writing should be, I think; what storytelling should be about. It should be for the moment when we can wrap someone else in our words and make them feel lighter, perhaps as if they are coming home. We should tell our stories to heal, to strengthen, to empower. Because in telling our own stories, we give each other the courage to keep going through this messy life. We give others the courage and will to share their own. By sharing our stories we share something beautiful. And each story is a thing of beauty. It is gorgeous and lovely, just like the person who has lived it, and it deserves to be shared.

I believe the world could use more beautiful things.

And I believe that each of us has the potential to share something more amazing and wonderful than we could ever imagine.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.

When I believed I was ugly. (for So Worth Loving)

Today I had the absolute privilege to share my first post for the amazing So Worth Loving, a lifestyle and community and movement I am in love with. It was perhaps the hardest piece I’ve written, but it was completely worth it. It was healing.

So, please take a look at “When I believed I was ugly” and pass it along!

Excerpt…

I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME I LOOKED IN THE MIRROR AND THOUGHT TO MYSELF, “I’M UGLY.”

It wasn’t a grand moment or a show-stopping epiphany. No, it was a whisper that echoed through my being. Standing in my empty dorm room, I could barely meet my own eyes. I looked at myself and saw a body that shouldn’t be mine. There was too much of it, more than I knew how to carry with confidence. I stared at my reflection and felt shame rush over my skin. “This isn’t what a woman should look like,” I chastised myself. “No one could love someone who looks like this.”

I can’t love someone who looks like this.

Because that was really what I was telling myself. I saw my body in the mirror. I saw every flaw, every imperfection, every slice of pizza, every handful of chocolate chips. I saw every time a man looked past me. I saw every time the man I cared about said, “I like you, but…” leaving me to fill in the blanks with my own insecurities. I looked at my reflection and assaulted my body with lies….

read more

My hope for you.

To the ladies (but perhaps also the gentlemen),

As you gorgeous darlings start a new year, there are a few things I want to share with you or perhaps just encourage you with. Because I think we can all agree that sometimes it’s a bit hard to be a woman today. We’re told we have to look a certain way, dress a certain way, act a certain way. We are given all these rules and we end up stifled. We become every thing we’re told we should be instead of being who we were meant to be, who we were born to be.

My hope for you, in this bright and shiny new year, is that you can be you. I hope that you can embrace who you are in every possible way. I hope that you can learn to love yourself, to see and truly believe that you are an amazing young woman. I pray that you can smile and be happy this year.

And to that end, I have a few things I’d like you ladies to keep in mind as the days of 2013 start to roll into the past. Nothing fancy or even brilliant, but simple things that we often forget as our lives become busy and our days and nights become routine. But maybe for you, they will brighten your day.

First of all, you are absolutely beautiful. Your body is lovely. Your face is lovely. Your curves (or not) are lovely. Your heart is lovely. Your soul is lovely. Every part of you, the flaws, blemishes, and scars you carry are breathtakingly beautiful. God created woman and saw that she was good. You, my dear, are good. You are wonderfully made, stitched together to be exactly the woman you see in the mirror.

There may be days when you don’t believe this. Some mornings, you might wake up and look at your body and feel disgust. You may hear someone say you aren’t attractive. And you might believe those lies, letting them fester in your heart. You might try everything possible to change, to become better, to become perfect. My dear, you can never be perfect. But you weren’t meant to be. God created you exactly as you are, and you are gorgeous. The lies you hear are exactly that – lies. They are not to be taken to heart or to bring you down.

Also, know that it is okay to be overwhelmed. It is okay to stress. There are certain situations where worrying is unavoidable. But remember that God is in control. He will take care of you always. You need never wonder if you are alone in any moment, because God is with you in everything.

Never feel like crying makes you somehow weak. Never feel as if you have to hide your emotions, the feelings in your heart. You were made to feel, to have sympathy and compassion, and to share that with the broken hearts around you. You are able to feel because you are human. You have a soul. Never believe you have to hide or deny that.

Never settle for less than you deserve. Never feel as if you need to sacrifice what you need for fear that you will never achieve what you truly want. You are worth what you dream and wish for. And you are allowed to ask for it and fight for it. Never let anyone tell you you have to take what you can get. You can have your heart’s desire. Don’t believe you have to compromise.

Remember that it is okay to take risks. Sometimes we need to take a chance to make a better way for ourselves. It may be absolutely scary and might end terribly, but not knowing will always be worse. Because just maybe that one risk is exactly the one you need to take. It may lead you down the path you were meant for.

Eventually, you’re probably going to make a mistake. It may be something small, but it might be something rather life-altering. It could change everything about you and how you live your life. Your mistake may even be accompanied by guilt and shame and regret. But I want you to know that in spite of everything, you are loved. You need never feel shame. You are the child of God who loves unconditionally and bestows grace and mercy. He will take care of you, walk with you through the mistake and onto better days, happier days.

Make friends who care about you, can laugh with you and cry with you. Surround yourself with people who lift you up rather than bring you down. Find people, men and women alike, that you can do life with. That you can you can go on random adventures with, argue with, learn with, and grow with. Allow yourself to be challenged by your friends to be better and never hesitate to do the same. True friendship is when you see the best of someone and the worst of someone and choose to love them because of both. So be intentional with your friendships.

And don’t forget to have fun. Be spontaneous and try new things. Seize the opportunities that present themselves, because they may lead to spectacular ends. Enjoy each day and make the most of them. Love your family and friends with everything you have, because life is short. Forgive and show grace. Smile everyday, and laugh in every moment.

Above all things, love yourself. Love God. And love people.

And remember that you are beautiful.

Most sincerely,
Cassi

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.