Sunday, February 22, 2015

Getting over my Cinderella Complex

Charlotte: It's because women really just want to be rescued.

Carrie: (voiceover) There it was. The sentence independent single women in their thirties are never supposed to think, let alone say out loud.

Charlotte: I'm sorry but it's true. I've been dating since I was fifteen. I'm exhausted. Where is he?
Miranda: Who? The white knight?
Samantha: That only happens in fairy tales.

Have you ever had the feeling that you should be farther in life or your journey than you currently are? You are doing all the right things, but there is something, some obstacle that is holding you back. You do not consciously know what this obstacle is, but you know that its there?

Yeah well I had been feeling that very strongly during all of 2014. I had been divorced for over a year, I was accepted into Graduate school, I re-structured my inner circle and have nothing but smart business driven people around me, and I have done a lot of work to explore and work towards becoming my authentic self. Financially and emotionally though it seems as though nothing has changed. I have made some positive steps towards a more financially and emotionally strong life, but I am no where near where I feel like I should be. WTF is going on?!?!

I call her Cinderella. The side of my personality that expects someone to come in and rescue me. If I am unhappy I don't have to cheer myself up because someone else will do it. If I am in debt I don't have to work to get out of it because someone else will come along and pay it off. Largely though she tells me that I am not strong enough to take control of my life so just wait because someone else will do it.

 At the end of 2014 I self-diagnosed myself with having a Cinderella complex (I thought this this was an original idea but after I Googled it I found out on Wikipedia that the term Cinderella complex was first described by Colette Dowling, who wrote a book on women's fear of independence – an unconscious desire to be taken care of by others.) I am a smart educated woman who is healthy physically and mentally, I have great friends, and a great family, but yet financially and emotionally I have never been solely responsible for myself and unconsciously I continued to expect someone else to take care of me. 

This makes complete sense! As a child my favorite movie was Cinderella. I have literally watched that move over 30 times (I know because I kept track of it in my journal).Cinderella was intelligentbeautifulfeisty, an animal over (all of which I could relate to), but she was trapped in a life that was unhealthy and the only way that she was able to escape from it was because Prince Charming decided that he loved her and swept her away to his castle. 

Without going into too much Psychoanalysis about my childhood, in many ways I was always taught that it was a man's job to take care of me. I never learned how to be a whole person myself and I was always looking for a partner to "complete me". When I found myself single again, I had to confront some deeply rooted beliefs that I had about myself and my responsibility for my life and I realized that I have never 100% fully taken charge of my money, my thoughts, my emotions and my choices. Because of this I have not progressed as much as I could have. 

I am on currently on the road to recovery. I have realized that the stick my head the in sand approach to my life was not working. No one was coming to my door trying to stick my foot into a glass slipper. I have to become my own Prince Charming. 

I have taken an inventory in the ways that I have let others control my life. I have begun to internalize the message that "I am worthy, I am strong, and I am in control of my life". Good or bad I need to be honest about where I am currently and where I want to be and then have the courage to take the steps to get there. I have learned to be confident enough to say no to the people, beliefs, and situations that do not serve me and to say "Yes!" to the one's that do. My happiness is no one else's responsibility but my own.

Thanks Prince Charming, but I can put on my own damn shoes ;-)

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Friday, February 13, 2015

My Life Outside the Box

In life sometimes you think that you are on the right path. You then look up to realize that you ended up somewhere completely different. It can be scary and it can be frustrating, but it is in these moments that you learn more and grow more than you would have ever imagined.

So it is time for me to do the same. When I started this blog (Beauty Shouldn't Hurt) I was in such a different space in my life. Thinking about that time almost feels like I am looking at the life of a different person. I was living a "perfect" life, but I was not living a life that was authentic to me. I didn't even realize this until the rug was pulled out from under me and I had a very rude and painful awakening about the person that I had become.

As a result of that pain and brokenness, I made the decision to work step by step at figuring out who I was and what I wanted my life to be. I had spent so much time in my life living for others that I completely forgot who I was. So this new blog direction is aimed at that journey.

Recently I have begun to think about all the ways in which I have lived inside of the box. Limited myself based on what I or others have thought it meant to be a women, a mother, a wife, now an ex-wife, a person in their 30's, a friend, a lover, a relative, an African-American, a vegan and any other way that I am labeled. From that exploration I have decided that I wanted this blog to be more about living my authentic self. Living my life based on what makes me happy and what feels true to who I am. Hopefully from my journey you can gain the courage to do the same. If you are already doing so I hope that you will share your stories with me and we can have a wild ride together.

So join me in my journey to develop My Life Outside the Box.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ― C.G. Jung

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

I am one of those people people who really look forward to making goals, reflecting over the previous year, and making plans to have the current year be better than the last.

I know that everyday is a day to start over fresh, but the changing of the year is like a new book instead of just a new page :-)

So as a result of my reflection of this past year and my goals for the upcoming years, I have decided to take a hiatus from my blog. I am currently in my second year of grad school and I have a lot of awesome things that I am working on this year so I know that I will not have the time or focus to continue to write here.

I would love for you to still follow me on
Instagram/Twitter @veganknowitall

and I will continue to be a contributing writer for The Vegan Women

Have a great year!!!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

What's for lunch: Vegan tostadas from Pick me up Café

It never fails to amaze me where good vegan food will show up. I live in a very vegan friendly city (Chicago) and just when I think I have tired vegan food everywhere, I am introduced to a new meal, dessert, or restaurant.

My new surprise is a restaurant call Pick me up Café where they serve vegan tostadas among other vegan offerings. Pick me up Café offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as vegan desserts and with great services, unique decorations, and late night hours this is the perfect place to get your vegan fix.

I will definitely be trying the other vegan goodies on their menu.

Have you eaten here before? What did you like?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I'm Getting my Masters!!!

Guess who got accepted in the Masters Program in Humane Education from the Institute of Humane Education? That's right this lady!!

This is an awesome accredited program that looks at the interconnection between animal and environmental protection and human rights. It gives us the skills to think critically about these issues and help people to become changemakers! And the best part is that it is a distance learning program through Valparaiso University, which means that any student in any country can obtain this degree and still work full time as need be.

I just began classes in August and it is a two year program if taken full term (you can also take it part time). You can get your Masters of Arts or Education or even a certificate in Humane Education.

I am sooo excited about the material that I am learning and the connections that I am developing with my classmates. It has already began to challenge me and my thoughts as well as my habits and I am look forward to sharing with you on this journey.

So if I can not post as much as I used I used to you know why.

Feel free though to follow me on Twitter @veganknowitall and follow me on:


Monday, August 11, 2014

My name is Leolin and I am a pizzaholic!

Me @ Blaze Pizza

So I have a problem and I am not ashamed to say it. I LOVE pizza! What is known as the breakfast of college kids everywhere, continues to be my meal of choice as an adult. People ask me all the time how can I eat pizza if I can't eat cheese and I smile and think, "If you only knew." I guess after reading this post you will know and hopefully you'll take me out for a slice as a reward.

I wrote a post called "What's for dinner? (Papa Johns) in 2011 that continues to be one of my most popular posts. I talked about my love for their garden fresh pizza with no cheese extra sauce. Since then I have expanded my pizza options to include Whole Foods, Blaze Pizza, and Dimos and I am always on the lookout more options.

Each of these three options offers their own pros. Whole Foods is convenient, reasonably priced, and allows you to buy their vegan pizza by the slice or as a whole pizza. The locations close to me uses Daiya cheese which is my favorite vegan cheese, but they do not always offer vegan cheese so I would call ahead. The last time I ate there, they did not have a vegan pizza available by the slice, but the very nice employee must have seen the sadness and hunger in my eyes and made made me one.

Philly Cheese-stake and Mac-N-Cheese @Dimos!

Elotes pizza @ Dimos

Dimos offers vegan pizza by the slice, but they do not carry your typical flavors. With flavors like Elotes, Philly cheesesteak and mac-n-cheese be prepared to step outside of your pizza comfort zone. Also for every 10 slices you buy, you receive your 11th for free and the only thing I love better than vegan pizza is free vegan pizza!

Blaze Pizza has locations across the country. What I like is that they only serve personal size pizza's and for a reasonable price you can get your pizza with any topics you like. They offer Daiya cheese as well and at least at the locations close to me, they will offer to change their gloves after handling the meats and cow's cheese. If you are lucky enough to live close to one on the day of their grand opening they give away free pizzas. (There goes that free word again!)

When in doubt you can always make your own pizza at home. Buy a pre-made pizza crust, some pizza sauce, and your favorite topics and make it a pizza and movie night.

Where is your favorite place to eat vegan pizza?


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Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Dear John letter to Zoos and Circuses,

I am writing this letter to let you know that it’s over between us.  I would say that it’s not you it’s me, but I would be lying because it’s totally you.

Oh yes we have had some great times together. I remember taking Mateo to the zoo when he was about a year old. I petted a Llama and got splashed by dolphins at the dolphin show. I loved reading the signs about the animal’s original habitat and learning about conservation actions that are going on worldwide. I noticed that the animals did not seem as happy to see me as I was to see them, but I ignored it thinking that they are safer here than in the wild. The lion’s enclosures did not look as large as it does on Animal Planet, but maybe there was some extra space in the back somewhere.

I even developed some great memories at the petting zoos. Holding baby chicks and feeding the goats food between the gates. I wondered what happened to those baby chicks, because honestly how many can the petting zoo keep? Plus the small enclosures for the goats and pigs didn't look to comfy. And could animals that fly, such as turkeys and chickens, really be happy in a totally enclosed enclosure? I was willing to look past my questions as the saw the smile on my child’s face, because at least he was able to interact with the animals and form a connection between the animals in his farm books and the animal he was seeing in real life, right?

And who could forget seeing the lions perform awesome tricks at the circuses and dreaming of being an animal trainer “when I grow up”. Sure I wondered how you were able to transport large exotic animals such as elephants and lions around the country (Where were the lions roaming?) to perform in show after show, but if the animals were really unhappy or unsafe then someone would have stopped it right?

I was willing to look past all of your shortcoming because of the happy memories and the value that I told myself you offered me, my family, and society, but I am no longer willing to lie to myself. I don’t agree with who you are as a person and therefore I am breaking up with you.

My eyes were first opened when I heard about a documentary called Earthlings. This movie discussed that ways in which animals are abused for food, fashion, entertainment, pets, and medical research. I have watched numerous documentaries in my time as a vegan and after seeing this one I could no longer live in ignorance.

You would be correct in reminding me that I did not make a change right away. My love and enjoyment of you was strong. I mean we have known each other since I was a kid, but the signs keep coming. The signs that showed me you were not all that you pretended to be.

Then there was the documentary Blackfish that tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. This movie explores this multi-billion industry and the pressures and animal cruelty within it that lead up to the horrific deaths of these trainers.  I could not bear to watch this documentary, but I read and heard about this story over and over in the news and I was saddened to learn about animals being abused and stolen from their habitats for my enjoyment.  PETA even has a whole campaign against Ringling Brothers. And there was even a great article written in the Library Voice.

So no more! When I want to enjoy the company of animals I will visit my favorite sanctuary The Farm Sanctuary where the animals here were saved from a life of pain as well as the numerous sanctuary’s that exist around country. And if I wanted to experience something more exotic, well then I’ll just stick to my son’s animal books.