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– Erika “me. me. me.” Ray

Remember when Oprah had a show?  Remember how she devoted countless hours of programs for woman who couldn’t say, “No” or never took time for themselves?  Remember all those Ah-Ha moments she delivered for millions of women?  Maybe you had one of your own WTF moment thanks to Ms. O.  Maybe you cried when she said, “It’s ok to not please everyone.”  I congratulate you.  I applaud you for getting your very own lightbulb moment.  I hope you claimed it and swam in a sea of indulgence moments.

I never needed Oprah for that wisdom.  I’ve been selfishly selfish for years.  Say No to something?  I do it thrice daily. Take time for me?  Please.  That’s shit’s easy. For example, I purposely take a bath while the boys are awake.  In the beginning of parenthood, Mark used to ask “Why not wait 30 minutes and do it when they’re in bed?”  Easy.  That’s not the point of a hot soak.  A bath is purely selfish and luxurious.  And how do you make it more luxurious?  Take it when your kids are awake.  When someone else is in charge.  That’s damn near Queen-like and that’s my exact point of taking a bath during kid-hour.  Sure it will feel just as nice if I did it after bedtime, but the pleasure of skipping out on responsibility is fantastic.  And I think the world would be more glorious if we all took baths at “irresponsible” times when someone else is in charge.

During November, lots of people focus on gratitude.  For the past two years, I’ve taken a photo or written a post every day in November.  For the entire month, I give Thanks to someone or something.  It’s not that hard (maybe…) and it feels great.  Even during a move when I can’t find my underwear, I’m doing it again.  O+U could have taken the same route.  Different “Thank You’s” from all different voices.  It would have been a month full of gratitude and probably some happy tears.  But we thought we should spend a month on something just as fantastic: us.  We’re being completely and utterly selfish and we’re going to write or photograph us.  Because loving yourself is pretty awesome.  You were either raised by someone who taught that valuable life lesson or you learned it after trial and error.  And if you don’t know it yet, jump on the “You Are Awesome” train.  This month, you’ll get to know each contributor a little better.  Perhaps you’ll relate to one of us better than expected.  And we’ll all realize that this world is smaller and cozier.  Go on and snuggle up with the O+U ladies this November.  And share some of you in the comments.  We’ll have a big fat snuggle fest.

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  1. Rebirth | Overexposed + Underdeveloped

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