my chickens continue to teach me so much every day about embracing inner beauty.

when i go out in the morning to feed them, my spontaneous greeting to them is usually something like, “hello, pretty princesses!” or,

“good morning lovely girls!” or,

“time for breakfast, my beautifuls!”.

now, let’s just put something on the table, for all of you who may be wondering: chickens are objectively not that pretty.

yeah, i get it.

i have seen some beautiful fowl in my day- usually roosters, though- but one would be hard pressed to say that my flock meets anyone’s objective standards for beauty. they are quite average as far as chicken specimens go…

…except to me.

and to me, they light up my world.

to me they radiate so much goodness that they really do appear lovely.

but here’s the rub:

they waddle when they walk. they’re ungainly when they run. their skin jiggles where maybe it shouldn’t. their legs are scaly and their eyes are small and beady and their toes are downright ugly. they lose feathers in the most unflattering places at the most unflattering times. and yet…

and yet, they dance with joy when they see me coming- especially if i am bringing food 🙂
they are unselfconscious about their looks, and their feathers keep themselves and each other warm and dry. i have never seen even a glimmer of self-loathing in their eyes, and whatever they do, they do with their whole hearts.

if they are eating, eating is the most important thing in the world.

if they are laying an egg, they are singularly focused.

if they are roosting, that is their only job and they do it with their complete concentration.

if they are taking a dust-bath, they will kick up a storm of dust and then roll around with such unfettered joy you would think that dust was invented just for them and just for that moment.

it’s so interesting that people- and women, i think, are especially prone to this- all have voices in our heads that constantly critique our performance on every act. even the act of simply being often doesn’t measure up to some arbitrary standard that we embraced once-upon-a-time and then just never let go of. and even though this voice doesn’t serve to make us better (and if it was external hopefully none of us would tolerate it), we have that incessant chatter, all day every day, telling us how many ways we don’t measure up.

but my chickens…

they are so…um…faulty.

they are so perfectly faulty.

they are so wacky and weird and wonderful, and they are exactly as they are meant to be.

and i can still embrace them for just being chickens.

because i don’t expect them or want them to be anything else.

and i think somewhere in there is a lesson for me, if only i could be quiet long enough to hear it…


* now i want to add something to this post. i actually wrote this a few days ago, along with several other posts, and before the blow-up with the apparently unfunny post about people and their fashion foibles. i am finding ironic as i give it a final proofread that i wrote this whole spiel about not judging yourself when i clearly just ranted and judged on everyone a few days back.

yes, people- myself included- can seem schizophrenic like that.

we say one thing and do another. we aspire to something and consistently fall short. we say we want something but then do things that take us away from that goal again and again. we are constantly in a pull-push relationship with something or other.

we are all works in progress.

so how in good conscience can i write a post that talks about not listening to those inner voices of criticism when i was just an outer voice of criticism? doesn’t this make me a big huge hypocrite?

not really, and i’ll tell you why i think so (by the way, feel free always to disagree. you are 100% entitled to any opinion at any time. i will, however, reserve the right to trash you if you throw a tantrum instead of having a discussion. luckily blogs are free, so you can start your own if you want. you can even call it ihatejuliebass…):

this post is about not being a slave to the voices that haunt you. it’s not about denying those voices exist.

so, on the one hand, me seeming to knock down other people is not awesome. it would have been better if i had written a post on the glory and beauty of women of the world. but i didn’t.

because people who put on someone else’s costume and then parade around like they have gained some wisdom really tick me off.

i could have written a post on embracing your inner goddess at any age and not paying attention to society’s arbitrary assignment of negative images. i could have told you to have courage and buck trends and express yourself any way you want goshdarnit.

but i didn’t. because i was feeling like people send out vibes whether they want to or not and whether they agree with them or not and whether i agree with them or not- so if you choose to do something, you should have in mind that it will cause other people- rightly or wrongly- to associate you with certain traits or qualities. i didn’t make that up and i’m not endorsing it. i was just throwing it out there.

i thought some of it was angry and some of it was funny and some of it was tongue-in-cheek, but all of it was authentic. and so is this post.

so, just like those women having fat-days in sweat suits need to embrace their inner beauty, so do my dearest friends who wear head wraps.

and just like those ahem-‘seasoned‘ women with their noses pierced need to feel beautiful at any age, so does everyone else.

and just like every woman and every man and every boy and every girl and every blessed chicken that is so darn faulty on this planet- each of us needs to get over the criticism we bombard ourselves with and just be kind for even one additional second.

because even if the only thing we can find about ourselves that is unique and special is that nobody else is as messed up and disastrous in quite the same way as we are, then that is also something to hold on to for now. we are the only one of us that there is, and there has to be something to that. there has to be a unique purpose for that, beyond just tormenting ourselves that our thighs have too much cellulite or our noses are the wrong size.

and that is the chicken post.

so, if my post a few days ago made you feel personally cruddy or attacked, i apologize.

each one of us brings something to the table that is special, and nobody should ever be able to take that from you- especially your own self.

the inner critic is often the most devastating, because that’s the one we can’t get away from, and that’s the one my chickens are teaching me to laugh at.

because if i can find some kindness in my heart for a chicken, i can certainly find some kindness in my heart for myself…

have a great weekend.