Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"I'm not pretty."

I greeted two middle school girls at my youth group outing last Saturday:
"Hey, what's up guys?"
"I'm sad!"
"Why are you sad?"
"Because I'm not pretty!"
"What in the world? That's totally untrue!"
"Well everyone talks about how [other person] is so hot, but nobody ever says anything about me! That means I'm not pretty!"
At this point I'm kind of dumbfounded: "Well, that's stupid! They need to quit! You are beautiful!"

When I heard this adorable pre-teen girl say "I'm not pretty", it broke my heart. Not just because it isn't true, but because she thinks it is very true. And because I recognized her sadness, her low self-esteem, and her longing for someone to tell her she was pretty. I've felt that many times before. How sad that she did not see and believe the truth, that she is beautiful and fun and talented and loved!

I had forgotten all about that conversation.

Until this afternoon when I was having lunch with a friend and I heard the words "I don't think I'm hot" come out of my mouth.


The scene from Saturday flooded back to me. I just did it too! Even as an adult, blissfully far removed from middle school, who has generally great self-esteem and is a passionate believer in the Body Positive Movement - I just said those words too!

I pondered this on my way back to work. Will I believe stupid lies about myself and how I think I compare to conventional beauty standards, and spread those lies? Or will I believe what my friends believe, which is that I am beautiful and fun and talented and loved? I texted my friend and took back my words from earlier.

Today, I made a resolution: I will not say those words any more. I cannot resolve to never think them, because we all have bad days and we all have bad thoughts. But when a bad thought comes up, instead of verbalizing it, I want to learn to say "No, that thought is not a true one or a kind one. I choose not to believe it. Instead, I choose to believe that I am perfect and beautiful and worthy exactly the way I am."

Kindness is contagious. And negativity is the same. I want to be an example to everyone in my life, whether they are in middle school or are middle aged, of a person who is kind to herself and happy in her skin.

Friday, December 19, 2014


At the beginning of this year, I set 12 goals for myself.  Since life has tended to be more routine and repetitive than it used to be, I wanted this year to have something to show for itself.  And oh.  It does. Here's the proof.

Perform a piece on the flute.  2.1.2014, for my grandmom's 80th birthday party. I'm proud to say this piece was written by my older brother, PJ Cornell. 

Have a slumber party with girls from YP Austin.  2.28-3.2.14, at Middle Creek Ranch.  AND another one tonight!!!  How special am I to get to hang out with these girls, who keep me young and make me love the Lord more.

Buy a crock pot and food processor.  Check.  So boring, but hey.  Life isn't all sparkles and sleepovers.  Food processor was actually a gift, even better.

Take a fun vacation.  6.13-17.14, to Los Angeles with my buddies Joanna and Deyla.  Trip hashtag #chocolatericemilk.  We had such a wonderful time, mostly eating and singing TLC songs.

Read 6 New York Times Bestsellers.  Done and more!  I read a lot this year, mostly via audiobook.  16 year old Lydia rolled her eyes at audiobooks.  28 year old Lydia can't get enough.  I loved reading new books and catching up on some oldies but goodies.

Take a roadtrip to visit a friend, 1.19-20.14 and 9.5-7.14, Houston both times.  Some of the bests live in Houston. :)

Pay off credit card debt.  This is my only fail.  But I'm taking it down in 2015.

Finish and frame my needwork project - still in progress!! 13 days left!  This has been so therapeutic and I'm so excited about it. Here are some pics of the various stages, that last one is from last night.  I'm so close!

Go apple-picking in New England, 9.20.14.  I didn't make it to New England sadly.  But I discovered an apple orchard in my own little corner in Mason, TX.  A tiny little quaint town, the kind where folks say "y'all aren't from around here" and read the newspaper all day in their antique store.

Care for my spirit, soul, and body.  This one is harder to pin down and describe concisely, but I've certainly made progress.  I participated in a study at UT called the Texas Body Project, focused on women's body image, and it made a significant different about the way I view and talk about my own and others' shape and size.  Here is an excerpt from one of my assignments, a letter to an adolescent girl:

"The true beauty of a person is in her virtues, in her attitude, in her confidence. How much more attractive is a woman with a contagious smile and a love for life than one who is so anxious to maintain her slender figure and flawless skin that she cares for little else!"

I believe this.  I want to live by this.

Another assignment involved these pictures, with the hope that I could be an inspiration and example that gumption is beautiful. :)

Have a tea party, 12.13.14.  Oh we had so much fun and watched all 199 minutes of Anne of Green Gables.  It just seemed right.

Babysit for friends, 6.11.14.  I thought this would happen more than it did, which makes me sad.  But I successfully enabled one date night for Sam and Vanessa.

I'm closing this year with a sense of content, accomplishment and joy.  I lived a full and happy year!

There were other big things that happened too.  I got a promotion at work.  I was a homeless vagabond for the summer, and then moved to a new house with new roomies.  My dear grandmother Vinson passed away on 10.14.14, and celebrating her life surrounded by my family was bittersweet and special and hard and joyful.  And I believe I've grown in the Lord a full year's worth.

Much more in 2015.