The Simply Deserved Life

Photo courtesy of Irving Penn for Vogue

The conversation inside of my head as I rode the train from Saint Davids to center city Philadelphia went something like this
“You are what you eat. And you’re going to LA and Miami soon. You’ve been doing so good, don’t go to Chic Fil A for lunch.
It’s cheaper and quicker than Honey Grow though. Honey Grow is a little pricey but technically I can keep the price low if I don’t get a bunch of extras. And they are healthier.
It’s just food Ahyana. Get the nuggets and fries from Chic Fil A.
But I want to be healthy. Honey Grow is Healthy. I deserve to be healthy. “

I got off the train, walked up the steps,  out of suburban Station and into the cold sunny concrete jungle of downtown Philadelphia. I navigated the people, food trucks, cracked sidewalks, flirtatious fellas, and made it to Honey Grow. I placed my order for a delicious and nutritious gluten free stir fry, waited with all of the other hungry center city folk, and scouted a seat by the window that I sent up a few prayers asking God to hold for me while I waited for my food.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Dean

God answered my prayer and I slid into the high top seat by the window. I let out a sigh, grateful for a small break between training and continuing the various work projects begun earlier in the week. I opened my little white and green container and inhaled the wonderful smell of grilled chicken, bok choy, sesame seeds, fried shallots, eggplant, zucchini, red onion, and a lemon miso sauce. “I deserve this,” I said

That thought was followed by a list of things I deserved. Everything from a beautiful navy blue dress I saw at Zara to a caramel milkshake from the Shake Shack to a new handbag, something in the Cole Haan genre. If I deserved so much, why wasn’t I getting it? Wasn’t I deserving of all I believed I deserved, owed to myself, was entitled to? Even as I write this I find myself raising my fist and saying “Heck yes.”

Here’s the thing. I didn’t deserve a dress, milkshake, or handbag. I wanted those things. I wanted them because I knew they’d make me feel good about myself and I do deserve to feel good about myself. However, things are fleeting. The milkshake will be inhaled, I will be annoyed when it is finished swearing the cups need to be bigger for the price I paid. The dress will get a few wears to events I have yet to attend before hanging in back of my closet in the navy blue dress section. The handbag will get less wears than the dress because it will be so expensive I won’t want to wear it but so often anyway. Before it’s all said and done I will “deserve” or want something else to make me feel good.

Photo courtesy of Wire Image

We, you and I, do totally deserve to feel good. However, we also deserve to not base how good we feel on external things, people and circumstances included. We deserve to assess who we are and what we have, void of our weaves, lavish closets or cars, lawyer husbands or in residence boos, Executive Director or Partner titles, $500,000.00 in the bank o $5.00 in the bank. We deserve to look at ourselves in the mirror and be acutely aware of who we are and what we offer. We owe it to ourselves to take stock of everything from the amazing age defying skin our genes have blessed us with, to the strong defined calves we’ve stepped to for the past seven months three times a week for 35 minutes, to the ease with which we can handle a crisis, to how we consistently and creatively solve many of the problems our professional and personal lives toss our way. We deserve to know what we are good at as much as we deserve to feel good. Actually, I find that when we know the good things about ourselves, we tend to feel good.

That also goes for things like love. When we love ourselves and know what we love about ourselves , we tend to feel loved, regardless of if anyone or everyone uttered those words to us in the past 24 hours. When we respect ourselves, we dare others to defy that self respect we have and give us anything less than the respect we deserve and give ourselves. You get the gist.

More than anything, we, you and I, deserve to LIVE. We deserve to be on this planet not as a space filler, an oxygen user, or another number for the census. We deserve rather thoughtful use of the time we have been given to create moments for ourselves that are full of life, vivaciousness, purposefulness, meaningfulness. We owe that to ourselves. Plus, my philosophy is, when we can give ourselves the things we deserve, when others try to offer anything less, we don’t tolerate it. We don’t accept less than what we know we deserve and have thus been giving ourselves. Furthermore, as relational beings, when we give ourselves what we deserve, others who struggle to do the same, see that and have the opportunity to be empowered and strengthened to do likewise. They see us, you and I, modeling healthy and can choose to then do likewise in their on lives. Who doesn’t deserve healthy?

Photo courtesy of Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italy

My hope for you this week is to LIVE the life you deserve. If you deserve grace, let go (I know it’s harder than it sounds, but not impossible) and forgive (forgiveness is a process and it benefits you way more than those being forgiven). If you deserve rest, slow down and take a break. If you deserve laughter visit the Pinterest humor page or pop in a comedic movie and get your laugh on.  LIVE the life you deserve! xxoo

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