Why Elle King shocked with ‘It’s Different for Girls’

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About six years ago I moved to the charming city of Charleston, South Carolina. For those unfamiliar with the area, Charleston has all the enchantment of an old city (cobblestone streets, picturesque buildings, etc.) combined with the beauty of the water (we’re about ten minutes away from the beach) and excellent cuisine (so many good restaurants). However, a significant flaw about the area which I discovered pretty quickly was that every person I knew loved country music.

Not me.

Six years later, I humbly admit (is it actually humble if you say it’s humble?) that I have come to enjoy country music quite a lot and listen to it frequently. I’m not really sure how the conversion happened, but here we are.

A song that came out a few months ago that especially caught my attention was one by Dierks Bentley featuring Elle King called ‘It’s Different for Girls’ (which incidentally was nominated for a Grammy this weekend). The reason why it shocked me is pretty obvious when you listen to the lyrics:

“It’s different for girls, nobody said it was fair: When love disappears, they can’t pretend it was never there.”

The song goes on to describe the differences between how men and women cope with break-ups:

“A guy gets drunk with his friends and he might hook up. Fast forward through the pain, pushing back when the tears come on…it’s different for girls.”

My first thought when I had heard the song was: “this is going to get a lot of backlash.”

In today’s hook-up culture that especially encourages women to put themselves out there and not get too attached, this song contradicts the popular notion that women can and should pursue casual encounters with men, becoming both physically and emotionally intimate without any commitment.

Not only that, but even more surprising was Ms. King agreeing with him, echoing the song’s controversial message with her lines:

“She don’t sleep all day and leave the house a wreck. She don’t have the luxury to let herself go…”

This is coming from the woman who is behind the hits: Ex’s and Oh’s and ‘America’s Sweetheart,’ both of which have very different perspectives from this country tune.

While I certainly am an advocate of all people being created equal, I do see where Dierks is coming from; after all, though men and women are equal, we are also different.

This is especially evident in our relationality (the importance we place on our relationships) and the way closeness with another person affects us deeply. We largely define ourselves by our relationships: with our family, our friends and our boyfriends/husbands.

That is not to say that men are unaffected by intimacy, rather because of the way we are made, even ‘casual’ intimacy (physical or emotional) touches women deeply, whether we want it to or not.

Part of that is due to a chemical called oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’ that is released after having sex, having a baby and even during more casual physical contact. This hormone is called the ‘love hormone’ because it creates a feeling of affection and trust in the person it is attached to.

Think of having a baby, how incredible of a miracle that is, the level of attachment that exists between mother and child. You don’t have to have experienced it personally to know that there is nothing more powerful than the love of a mother for her child. Safe to say, oxytocin is a powerful hormone. And in the right context, it’s an amazing thing. Oxytocin bonds people. So, even when you’re mad at your husband or frustrated with your daughter, there’s a deeper connection that goes beyond how you feel for them at the moment…it’s a chemical, biological bond.

However the trouble starts with the words we hear in Dierks Bentley and Elle King’s song.

We can’t just “fast forward through the pain, pushing back when the tears come on.”

We don’t say “it’s okay, I never loved him anyway.”

We might try; we might go out, drink too much, go home with another guy, max our credit cards, tell our friends we’re ‘over it’…but the truth lies in the tears that come when we’re alone, the unwanted memories, and the longing for the phone to ring.

Not only are we sad the person is gone, we’re frustrated that we aren’t okay about it. Days, weeks, months go by; we should be over it but we’re not. Why? Because we’re physically wired so that intimacy matters; is has a deep impact on our lives.

This is actually a pretty cool thing because we’re made to love and be loved; and love by definition has two components: exclusivity and permanency.

Therefore, anything less than that, for example  a one night stand or a five year marriage that ends in divorce…isn’t going to cut it. It’s not supposed to.

So what does this mean for us?

Emotionally, psychologically and physically we’re made for more…and that is what we should look for. Not a fling, not a rebound, not a guy who doesn’t know what he wants or isn’t ‘ready’ to commit. That is going to end in heartbreak, it’s not what we are made for.

Love is ultimately a gift of self…how can we give ourselves to someone who isn’t going to stick around? It’s similar to pouring money into an investment that is going to fail…not a smart decision.

We have to start expecting more from our relationships. There’s a lot of cynicism out there because of the high divorce rate and fewer and fewer people committing to each other for the long-term…it’s up to us to turn that around.

Romantic love can start from a healthy friendship, it can grow and flourish when we push through the fear and risk encountering someone and becoming close to them, not just using them for a more favorable relationship status or fleeting pleasure. But it starts with our expectations. If we expect a healthy, committed relationship, that is what we will attract. Of course this is harder to come by than a hook up but I think good things are worth waiting for.

As women we should honor ourselves by only accepting the kind of love we were made for…not anything less. I suspect more often than not, men respect that. They may not be able to always come through for us, but one day one will…and that’s all you need.

I know Valentine’s Day can be a sore subject for many of us, but I like to look at it hopefully. True romance is a beautiful gift and when we have the patience and courage to wait for it, we experience firsthand how powerful and wonderful it really is.

After all,

“There is no greater force against evil in the world than the love of a man and woman in marriage.” – Raymond Burke

Elle and Dierks may have caught us off guard with this song. I wouldn’t be surprised if some listeners were offended by their message; but Elle’s contribution adds credibility to what is already scientific fact. She sings from her personal experience as a woman which has taught her that it is different girls. And thank God it is, because our desire for authentic love is what centers us and men and is a reminder of what really matters.

Five lessons I’ve learned from (really) happy people

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If you think about why we do the things that we do, most often we do them because we believe they will make us happy. Somehow eating that brownie, getting that job, starting that relationship, making that friend, etc. will bring us happiness. We want to be content, joyful and at peace so we make decisions we think will bring us those things.

Seeing as it is one of our primary motivators, I think it’s safe to say that experiencing happiness is something we as a society and as individuals place great importance on.

I mean, like big time.

Somehow, though, happiness seems to be pretty elusive to us as well. According to the NY Times, 30 million Americans are currently on anti-depressants.

Yikes.

As someone who is prone to anxiety, I’ve experienced this fruitless search firsthand. Even when things are going really well, I find myself worrying and feeling uneasy with no specific reason to, or for reasons that are not 100% logical (pretty much zero logic involved). Especially recently, having acquired some of the important things that are ‘supposed’ to make you happy, I was finding myself more anxious than ever and unable to justify (logically) why I felt that way.

It got me thinking to what actually makes us happy and why it seems so unattainable to so many of us. To help myself out, I thought of a few people who I believe to be genuinely happy (not just appear to be on Insta) and looked for what some of their common denominators might be. This is what it came down to:

Happiness is a choice. 

It’s easy to think that happiness is something that naturally happens to us when things are aligned just right (i.e. we have the dream job, dream guy, dream house…) But I think the reason that we acquire those things and don’t feel completely happy is that happiness is something we create for ourselves. It’s a mindset that we deserve a good and fulfilling life to serve ourselves and others. My housekeeper who is the smallest, most cheerful woman I’ve ever met, shared with me: “You know who can make you happy? You.”

#truthbomb.

And this is coming from someone who cleans other people’s messes for a living. We need to accept that we are allowed and entitled to live in a state of joy and from there decide to live that way.

Happiness requires consistent self-care.

I know I stress this in pretty much every post I write, but I cantstopwontstop because I know how crucial it is. Even though it’s hard to fully communicate it, being well-rested, well-fed and active are integral to our happiness. Scientific studies show that exercise especially enables people to feel more excitement and enthusiasm. I think eating well (at least in general) is a sign of respect for ourselves that makes self-love and self-confidence concrete; after all, love is a verb right? When we make self-care a priority we are able to better care for others and offer the world the best of who we are.

Happiness takes time.

What is something you know brings you joy? Maybe it’s cooking/baking, writing, reading, walking your dog, going to the beach, painting…whatever it is, you need to make time for it. It’s easy to fill our schedules with things we have to do (work, groceries, washing the dishes) and things other people want to do (coffee with a friend, date night, going out with friends for drinks). While those things are good and necessary, it’s also vital to set aside time to do things that bring us joy and fulfillment. Set aside time in your calendar to bake that cake, write in your journal or just play with your dog (silly as that might seem) and be true to yourself by keeping that date even if another offer comes up. Joy isn’t something that just happens to us or can be given to us by someone else, it’s something we bring to ourselves when we design the life we want.

Happiness is found in your purpose.

Especially at this age (college/recent grad), existential crises are a real thing that can be super scary, like the adult version of the boogie monster. I think few people know what they’re supposed to do and why. I’ve found that it’s more about trusting that where you are is where you’re supposed to be and to do the best that you can now even if it doesn’t seem like the ideal situation. When we push and challenge ourselves in our current situations, it makes finding fulfillment a lot easier. Boredom breeds unhappiness and dissatisfaction which can turn into anxiety and even depression. Find ways to make whatever you’re doing now (even if you’re waitressing) a challenge for yourself; an opportunity to do your absolute best. Your purpose is your present.

Happiness is in your surroundings.

Make an active effort to find beauty in your world. The trees on your drive in to work, the people you interact with, the clothes you wear…fill your room, your office, your car with things that inspire and encourage you. Read blogs (*cough cough*) and books that are uplifting, put pictures on your wall or board (or Pinterest board), change your screensaver…fill your world with good and beautiful things.

Let’s take happiness out of the hands of others and out of the hands of the world and into our own control.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Frederick Keonig

Here’s to choosing happiness and making it our own.

xoxo

Miranda

Joy

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Do you ever find yourself putting off happiness? It sounds like a weird thing to do, (probably because it is), but I also know that it is not uncommon. I’ll feel happy when…I lose weight, graduate from college/high school/, have a boyfriend…the list can get very long. We create our own paradox by wanting to be happy while simultaneously putting specific conditions around it that delay us from achieving it.

Recently it’s been occurring to me, why can’t I just feel happy now? Why am I procrastinating being happy? How does that even make sense? I think the reason we do this is because we always feel we need a reason to be happy. We feel happy because we got asked out on a date or because we finally got those shoes that are super cute and comfy (plus they were on sale!)…that joy we feel is always preceded by a ‘because’.

But most days we don’t get asked out on dates, or get new shoes or get a raise, so we don’t experience joy because we don’t feel we have reason to. We feel tired because we had to stay up studying the night before or upset because we want to lose ten pounds but it’s so hard…so we put off feeling joy until we have what we consider to be a valid reason.

What if we didn’t need a reason? What if we just felt joy right now? Just because we’re alive and probably have a million things to be grateful for already. I know it can be difficult to  experience joy when we feel there isn’t a ‘good reason’ to do so, it’s illogical!

I’ve begun to challenge myself to feel joyful right now. Even though I’m just sitting at work and nothing special has happened and I have a million things to do and I don’t want to study…I want to feel joyful; because day to day, work, school, this is what makes up our lives. And yes, those special moments that happen are parts of our lives too but why save joy for a handful of rare occasions? If most of our lives will be spent in ordinary days doing ordinary things shouldn’t we try to enjoy them?

It may seem counter-intuitive and I know it hasn’t been easy but it has made a difference. Maybe just once a day this week or even once this week, consider choosing joy. Even if nothing ‘special’ is going on, choose to feel good right now! I believe that those who achieve success are able to make happiness a mindset, not a place to get to.

A helpful hint: it makes it a million times easier to access those feelings of joy and happiness when you are well-rested, nourished and stress-free. Take care of yourself! It makes all the difference in the world, promise. If you need some tips on how to do so check out this article.


 

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Buddha 


 

Good luck!

Miranda

5 ways to improve your school/work week


So it’s October…yay for pumpkin everything! It also means that we’re almost half way through the semester which is exciting/terrifying. As I posted about earlier I really wanted to not stress the semester, to be calm and content. Every semester before this has been a whirlwind of stress and unhappiness throughout which I counted down the days until the weekends, and ultimately, the blissful, incredible, beautiful moment when the semester would end. I realized this summer that the school year is part of my life too, and so I shouldn’t wish it away, I should enjoy it.

So far I have been much more relaxed and content than any previous semester and I am really excited about this. However, I feel that a lot of times it’s easy to get caught up in the race for the weekend, to not even attempt to enjoy the weekdays but dread them and want them to be over. But they’re all part of life! And just because we have to work/go to class, that doesn’t mean they have to be dreary and monotonous.

Here are some things I’ve started to incorporate in my life so that I enjoy my weekdays and my weekends:

Morning routine: Every successful and happy person that has ever lived started their day right consistently. This means a good breakfast and time to get ready for the day mentally and physically without rush rush rushing. My mornings are sacred. I get up a good hour and half before I have to leave for class so that I can have a complete, sit-down breakfast, pray/meditate, get presentable, check up on social media and pack my lunch. Something I’ve been incorporating into this routine is listening to classical music during breakfast. As soon as I get to the kitchen I turn on the Classical station on Pandora and get going. It has been such a luxury and it makes sleepy mornings so much more enjoyable.

Weekly breakfast/lunch/dinner date: We all tend to schedule the majority of our social outings for the weekend, this is obviously because we have more time then. But having a weekly dinner/lunch/breakfast date to look forward to breaks up the week and gives you something fun to do that isn’t on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. My roommates and I aim to have one dinner a week out together and we always have a great time, even if you can’t make it every week try to make it happen!

Dress the way you want to feel: I’ve talked about the perks of looking presentable on a daily basis before so I won’t go too much into this, but if you save all your favorite clothes for the weekends, you’ll get to wear them so much less frequently! Not only that, but if you dress up you  will feel more confident and cheerful throughout the day. As Lilly Pulitzer says:

“Life is a party, dress like it.”

Set goals for each week: Sundays are my days to prepare for the week, I make my meal plan, schedule my days and set a couple goals. They’re never grand-scheme plans like ‘run a marathon’ or ‘lose 20 pounds;’ Instead they are little goals that help me with my bigger ones. This might be, work X amount of hours on my blog, or read X many chapters from whatever book I’m reading. Doing this gives you something to work toward that isn’t school or your job, you’re doing it simply because you want to/know that it is good for you.

SLEEP: Last but certainly not least, aim to get enough sleep every night, not just on the weekends. It can be tempting to cram a ton of work Monday-Friday and muddle through the days in a hazy blur of exhaustion. This not only is extremely unhealthy, it also decreases productivity and level of happiness. Don’t leave sleep for the weekends, make it a point to be alert and fresh every day, I promise this makes a huge difference!

I hope these tips are helpful! I know they’ve helped me a lot to enjoy my weekdays and not just rush through them.

What are some fun things you do during the week?

Happy Wednesday!

xx

miranda kate 3