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.

Can I have a guy best friend?

One of my best friends is Cory Copeland. (And he probably thinks this post is all about him now…)
“How can you be best friends with someone you’ve never met?” you may be asking (my parents and sisters wonder this constantly). Well, when you’re awesome and attached to your iPhone like some sort of sick lifeline, it’s not that hard. Our friendship is based on a love of writing, inappropriate comments, and mutual respect. And I know that if ever I need anything, even someone to break me out of prison and smuggle me out of the country, he’d do it. (He just can’t put up bail money. “Starving artist” and all that.)
Cory listens to my wine-induced random musings and laughs at the Pinterest photos I text him, and I tolerate his constant music suggestions and random descents into Southern colloquialisms. (Poor man is Texan. And has an accent no matter what he says.)

But one of my favorite things about our friendship is that Cory is…a guy. And not because I have some secret dream that one day our friendship will turn into some romantic monstrosity reminiscent of a Nicholas Sparks novel. (We’re both cringing.) No, I like that I can get a male perspective on things (I like to ask him embarrassing relationship questions). I like that he sees things in a way that I don’t, has experienced things I haven’t and couldn’t. And I like that he’s relatively drama free. (Relatively being the key word.)

I’ve had people tell me that our friendship won’t last because men and women can’t be friends. That it just doesn’t work because it either ends up in a broken disaster due to unrequited love, or because they try out the romance and crash and burn, or because one of them inevitably ends up dating someone else and awkwardness and/or jealousy ensues. (Cory and I actually wrote a post together about this.)
And I’ve had people say that we should just date because obviously we’re perfect for each other! We are rather similar in a freaky sort of way, so if the friendship works out so well, why not take it to the next level? Why not move into a dating relationship? Why not get married?! (Cory just fainted.)

Why not, why not, why not…

I think that we have a tendency to look at friendships as secondary to romantic relationships. We look at the men or women we are friends with and see the potential for something more. And when you choose to be friends with someone, you are acknowledging, in a small way, that there are parts of this person that you like, that you find appealing. You connect, and that connection can be intoxicating.

And soon we begin to look for more; always more. We see friendships with the opposite sex as leading to something. Friendship is simply a stepping stone to something better. Why else befriend a man or woman if not for the possibility of romance? What other purpose does a friendship with the opposite sex hold? Why go through all the hassle if not for some sort of benefit? (Not those kind of benefits, people.)

When did friendships become such a horrible thing, I wonder. When did the idea of a man only wanting friendship from me become some sort of insult? An affront to my womanhood? I understand the horror of the dreaded friend zone, believe me. I’ve been there many a time. Sometimes those feelings are deep and the rejection can hurt. But I feel as if we’ve romanticized romantic relationships. We’ve made them into this amazing, perfect, wonderful thing. Nothing is better than romance, than a chance at a fairytale happily ever after.

Why settle for friendship when we can have more?

To me, friendships can be better than love, more than romance, and absolutely beautiful. Not that they supersede romance, but perhaps they can offer something different yet wonderful in that particular time in your life. There is something freeing in befriending a person who understands you and cares about you for you, not for the romantic potential they see in you. They see your worth as a person without putting pressure on you to be anything more than that.

Not every man or woman you meet will be a person you end up dating. But to say that they have no place in your life because there is no potential for romance is to deny yourself the chance to grow. Every person we meet has something unique they can teach us. Imagine what we miss out on by cutting ourselves off from the opposite sex? That is half the population, ladies and gentlemen; so many missed opportunities.

It also can lead to a sort of objectification of the opposite sex. They are only good for one thing. And that seems unhealthy to me. Because men and women do not merely offer each other the potential for physical intimacy or romantic love. We are so much more than that, we can connect on so many other levels. We can offer so much more to each other.

Maybe not all male/female friendships can last. But then again, not all female/female or male/male friendships work out either. Certain people come into your life at just the time you need them. And maybe that is only for a short while. Or maybe it’s a lasting friendship meant to go the distance. As we grow and change as people, the relationships we have will evolve as well. And maybe in this moment, having a guy for a best friend or a girl for a best friend is just the friendship you need. Don’t discount a friendship because it isn’t moving towards romance or because everyone says men and women aren’t meant to be friends.

So, befriend people who challenge you, support you, and love you for your past and encourage you in the present. Befriend people who care for you and respect you. Befriend people who see you for the wonderful person you are and not for the things they imagine you can be. But really, pursue friendships with people that you can do life with. Surround yourself with friends who make you happy, because that is the most important thing.

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

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.

Am I worth it?

I had the lovely pleasure of chatting with my favorite New Zealand friend yesterday morning. Granted it was about 6am my time, so I’m not sure how scintillating my conversation was. Nevertheless, it was a lovely chat, with Micaela being her blunt and endearing self while I listened to her rather perceptive comments on my love life (or lack thereof).

She posed an idea that I hadn’t quite considered, though in retrospect it seemed a bit obvious. But we’re often blind to the glaring realities of our own lives, I think. Which only serves to illustrate the value in friendship, relationships, and fellowship. With no attempt at sugarcoating (woman after my own heart), she suggested that I intentionally place myself in the friend zone with men, because I don’t believe I’m worth more than friendship.

Huh.

Really, I should stop befriending people who know me better than I know myself.

The thing of it was, I couldn’t really deny the truth that lingered around her words, typed out in black and white for me to see. I couldn’t say she was wrong. I couldn’t come to my own defense and laugh off her insinuation. I couldn’t do any of those things, because the longer I stared at the words, the more I wondered how true they may be.

Do I really think that little of myself to intentionally sabotage any potential relationships by placing myself in a platonic male/female friendship with no chance for romance to slide in and catch me off guard?

Do I actually believe I’m so undeserving of a great romance that I end the possibility before there even is a possibility?

Do I truly consider myself unworthy of any relationship with a man that is a bit more than friendship and deeper than infatuation?

Have I become that girl?

Her words made me pause as they sunk into the cracks around my heart, a heart I’ve guarded viciously from the men that have come in and out of my life. I don’t trust them and I don’t trust myself. I fall too quickly and I’ve been hurt before. More times than I care to remember. It’s embarrassing how quickly men seem to lose interest; I’m not worth the chance in their eyes. It chips away at my heart a little more with each vanishing possibility. How many times am I supposed to give a man the power to hurt me? How long before there is no more of my heart left to give?

My method of coping is cowardly. I wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t been painted so vividly for me. Because instead of gathering courage against the hurt, I gave in. Or perhaps I gave up. I stopped trying to be seen as the romantic woman. I stopped trying to win a man’s heart. I settled instead for winning his laughter, his respect, his confidence. I chose to be friends with men, closing off any chance for something more, something deeper – a romantic love. I use friendship as a barrier. I have for years. Because one day I told myself that was easier, safer. If I didn’t let them close, they couldn’t hurt me.

I didn’t want to give a man the chance to tell me no, so I said no for him.

I cut myself down. I belittled my worth. I convinced myself I’m not the sort of woman a man falls in love with. And maybe even today, as I write this, a part of me still believes that. It’s hard to let go of the lies we’ve told ourselves. After enough time passes, the lies become so familiar they must be true. I believed my lies. I believed I wasn’t worthy or deserving. I believed I would have to always settle for less. I believed that was safer. I believed it was all I was good for.

Besides, why take the risk when I’ve already played out the conclusion, time and time again?
Well, because…

By taking a risk you are acknowledging you are worth it, even if the feelings aren’t returned.
Because it means you’re stating how you see yourself instead of settling for how others see you.
Because otherwise you will never know how they really feel.
Because life without risk isn’t really life.
Because romance can be better than friendship.
Because if you get rejected, you will be okay and it isn’t the end of the world.

Smart girl, this Micaela.

My inability to take a chance has nothing to do with the men in my life and everything to do with how I see myself. Honestly, if someone told me, at this moment, that I was a lovely young woman who would find an amazing man some day, I’m not sure I would believe them. I can’t imagine it, because for far too long, I’ve told myself I don’t deserve it; I’m not worthy of it; I’ll never find it.

I let my insecurities dictate the path my life will take. I let them hold me back. I let them cloud my vision and bewilder my heart, until I can’t recognize anything but the insecurities I’ve failed to overcome. I’ve only lived half a life. I’ve forgotten that I am strong enough to overcome my fears.

My value as a woman isn’t dependent on a man being attracted to me. My worth as a woman isn’t defined by a man’s interest in me. I don’t have to be pursued to be good enough or woman enough. My value, my worth as a woman is intrinsic. It isn’t something someone gives to me, and it’s not something a man justifies.

It’s already there. I need only to recognize and accept it.

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