The Confederate Flag Controversy: The Opinion of a White Southern Girl

I don’t care if it stays up or comes down or gets ripped to shreds or gets flown around Disney ¬†World. It’s a flag.

I know the Confederate flag is more than just fabric and it represents so many different things to so many different people. To tell you the truth, I’ve never thought much about the Confederate flag. I obviously know what it means, according to me any way, and why we have it, but I’ve probably never had a conversation about it.

Now, it’s all I see online, on television, all over social media. It’s all we’ve talked about for days. And I get the debate. I understand why people want it down. I understand why people want it up.

I heard a man say the Confederate flag represents racism to him. That makes me want to take it down forever. But, another man said it’s special to him because the people who fought to have it up, race aside.

Again, I am not taking aside. I’m here to take a totally different side of doing away with the entire argument.

As many have pointed out, this has been a discussion/argument for years now, but no one has ever done anything about it.

Now that nine innocent people have been killed, we see the opportunity to act. While tragedy usually does provoke movement, and it’s great that so many people want something good to come out of something so horrendous, I think we’ve got it all wrong.

The person who killed nine innocent people said he wanted to start another Civil War, and by the entire country arguing over a flag, he is getting exactly what he wanted. He is hearing and seeing all this knowing his plan has come to fruition.

We have been divided yet again. People are saying racism is still an issue, and unfortunately that is probably true. But it’s not just about skin color. There are so many prejudices people face every single day. We have GOT TO STOP bashing each other and showing hatred for people who are different from us and feel a certain way.

I have friends who are different colors, different religions, come from different backgrounds, different incomes, different educations, and different beliefs. We are friends because we always love each other even when we disagree. We just love.

I’m a white, southern girl born and raised in Alabama. But I know there are people who think differently than me and speak differently than me and that makes them intriguing and beautiful to me. I hate for anyone to feel discriminated against because of a flag. I also know some people will say it doesn’t represent anything negative. I am taking a stand to not take a stand in the fight.

I am discriminated against far too often for being a woman, being white, being from Alabama, being blonde… etc. There will always be something you are judged for, and that’s just life. You can’t please everyone and everyone won’t always love you, but you have to love them anyway.

Instead of giving a murderer what he wants and going to war over a fight that could just be a discussion, let’s show him that Americans come together in a time of tragedy.

The issue can be addressed, and all opinions can be presented, argued, discussed, etc. without being harsh. Instead, it is bringing out the worst in people.

Lives were taken in a place those people felt safe. Their families will never see them again and they are gone forever. But their legacies do live, and while I did not know them at all, I can almost bet they would hate to know people were being so cruel to one another.

If you want the flag down, you have the right to say it. If you want it up, you have the right to say that, too. Feel free to speak your mind and discuss the issue, but please don’t feel free to be close-minded and hateful toward anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

Instead of arguing over the symbol, we need to prove we are not a racist country. We need to prove we are the melting pot of love we started as.

The bottom line is, if the Confederate flag comes down, or if the Confederate flag stays up, we have an American flag that represents the freedom, love, and determination of our country, and I think we can all agree – that flag ain’t comin’ down.

The Day I Decided To Try Hot Yoga

I walked into the room and it smelled like feet.

Sweaty feet.

I had complained about the heat outside all day, and here I was walking into a room even hotter, willingly, and I’d be in it for 90 minutes. No escape.

But I was all in. I’m no good at yoga at all. I was the world’s least flexible cheerleader, so contorting my body is not my forte. But I love the way yoga makes me feel when I’m finished, and I love trying things I’m no good at and getting just even a little better.

The instructor was the epitome of what you would think a yoga instructor should be – calm, tall, lean, bull hoop nose ring. Before the class started, she welcomed the “new girl” – me.

Great, everyone will be watching me. Now, I can’t mess up.

That’s how we sometimes walk through life – worried that everyone is watching and all our moves have to be graceful and beautiful and perfect. And the reality is, when we start moving and the heat kicks in, we will just be doing the best we can, sweating with messy hair the whole time.

And sometimes, life will be really hot and smell like feet, but we just have to get past it and ignore the smell.

The walls were all mirrored, so no matter where I looked, there I was. For most of the positions, our focal point was supposed to be our own eyes in the mirror.

Instead of looking around or looking down, we just needed to look into our own eyes to stay balanced and centered. It was very hard to do because my eyes were small and far away and hard to focus on, but every time I did it, I was more peaceful.

But sometimes, I would watch the girls in front of me, trying to make sure I was doing the poses correctly. I would end up just trying to keep up with them and comparing myself to them and feeling bad when I couldn’t stretch quite as far as they could. I would feel like everyone was watching me be not-so-great and just kind of average while someone else was soaring.

Then it hit me as more sweat rolled into my eyes – No one was watching me. They were all focused on themselves and their own struggles and strengths, and they had their own thoughts going on in their heads that didn’t concern me or anyone else failing or excelling.

After each round of poses was completed twice, we would lie down and rest. Just as soon as I would get rested, the instructor would intensely say, “Sit up,” and then she would spout off the instructions: “Toes and heels together, arms above the head, thumbs crossed, reach your toes, double exhale.” It was surprising and a little overwhelming each time. I was just never ready, but I had to do it to get to the next pose.

Isn’t that how life hits us? We get comfortable and rested, and then boom! We get instructions shouted at us and we have to sit up and get uncomfortable again before we can move on to the next step and reach comfort again. It’s a cycle, and we have to stay calm and focused and be ready for surprises or it will keep sneaking up on us. We have to find comfort no matter the situation or what we are being told to do.

When I would mess up, I would breathe in, wipe the sweat off, and just try again, or I would modify the pose instead of straining myself to do something my body couldn’t do. That’s the trick – we have to wipe off the sweat and take a moment for ourselves, then we have to keep going. Even if what we are doing isn’t the most perfect move, it’s the best move we can make.

At times – a lot of times – I wanted to quit and walk out of that awfully hot room. I felt weak and I just wanted to lay down (in a tub of ice). But the energy around me kept me going, the instructor’s voice kept me going, the voice in my head kept me going.

Just when I really thought I couldn’t do it for one more second, when I was only 2 poses away from completing all 26, the instructor said, “Get out of your head. Put the negative thoughts away…only positive energy.” And suddenly, I had a renewed strength.

God is telling us that every day. He is telling us to put those thoughts away and just be. He renews the strength so you can finish the day. And you can finish it better than ever.

I know my mind was supposed to rest and be silent during the hottest yoga session on earth, but I had so many things revealed to me as I was bent up like a pretzel in a 100-degree, mirrored-wall room. Sometimes, when we aim to still our minds, we can hear things loud and clear that we normally can’t hear because of our own voices.

Basically, it was hot, I sweated more than I ever have even on the hottest day of the year, I wanted to quit, and I was unsure of myself so many times, but I finished. I finished and I felt so amazing when I was done. And the women who I thought would look down on me – they came to me to tell me how well I had done. They said they would have never known it was my first time.

Chances are, no one is looking down on you and talking about how terribly you’re doing life. If they are, they aren’t focused on their own lives, and they’ll lose their own balance.

Do the best you can with what you have. Rid your mind of the negativity and the comparisons, and focus on your own eyes. Then, you’ll see yourself for the really cool person you really are that is way more flexible with this whole life thing than you ever even knew.

So, roll your mat out, embrace the heat and the weird smell, and reach as far as you possibly can.

Before hot yoga...and after

Before hot yoga…and after