CP4

CP2

CP3

CP1

Image 2
Jacket: Madewell/ Shirt: Levi Strauss {NLA but loving these Polyvore finds}/ Leggings: Target/ Boots: Nordstrom {Hinge}/ Scarf: NLA {other options here & here}/ Hat: Target {Sold out, similar find here / Clutch: Gigi New York/ Glasses and Sunnies: Bonlook Rx/ Polish: OPI {Sweet Heart}/ Face: Makeup Free
Photography: Greg Daniels

This week begins the countdown to my 35th birthday on January 18th. In typical me fashion, I want to be with the people that matter most to me, eating yummy food, and diving into rich conversation. I leave to celebrate in NYC at the end of the week, and promise to give a full recap. I have a few firsts, and a few lasts on the agenda. As I approach my 35th, I can tell you, I honestly have never been more secure in who I am, and excited about life. Life, up to now hasn’t been an easy road, and last year was one of my toughest years to date. It has been no easy walk in the park. Yet, as I reflect back I’m thankful for the road and the journey that has lead me to here. Through brokenness, I have learned wholeness. Through hurt, I have learned healing. Through insecurity, I have learned confidence. Through feeling lost, I have found purpose. I have come to a place of really knowing, not only who I am, but whose I am. I have found true identity, and I have never felt more eager to live. In order for me to truly live I have had to let go of a few things that confidence and a secured self refused to let me keep.

1.) I have let go of people pleasing. As awesome as it sounds to be pleasing to others, it’s impossible to please everyone. In all honestly, it’s the perfect setup to displease and loose yourself. I am now focused on pleasing God’s call and vision for my life, and hope others are inspired in the process.

2.) I have let go of a performance driven, over-achiever mentality. It sounds awesome to be an over-achiever, and is note worthy to the resume accolades. It is important to achieve goals, and master tasks. Yet in the process of performance I forgot “purpose”, and the “why” I was doing something. I have traded in performance based goals, for purposeful goals, and a few silly things in between.

3.) I have let go of the idea of having tons of friends. Again, it sounds awesome to says, “I have tons of friends,” but are they all really true friends? Over the years, I have stretched myself so thin trying to be a friend, and master the “friend” duties to every person programed in my phone. I have traded in the idea of tons of friends for the reality of nurturing my most cherished relationships well.

The aroma of sweet citrus from my oil diffuser {currently diffusing Citrus Bliss from doTerra} and Jonathan Adler candle are flooding my desk area. As I inhale the tangy essence, and conclude this post, I’m reminded of just how sweet and renewing life is. I wouldn’t have planned it this way, but the outcome has created a more fragrant aroma than I imagined possible.
Life isn’t always a walk in the park, but when you seek to find yourself on the journey, you just might discover the juicy, sweet fruit of a lighter life lived on purpose.

I’m Chelsie Birks, and this is My Glossy Life.

woods1

woods2

woods9

woods3

woods6
Jacket: Necessary Clothing NLA {love this on sale option at Macy’s} / Dress: Marshalls {Here is a very similar $10 option} / Boots: Hinge / Hat: Target / Lips: Lip Tar {Hoochie} / Nails: Essie {Romper Room} /

Christmas Day this past year brought a numbers of firsts for me, one of which consisted of going to the movies. The clan of five included my roomie, Alli, my sister Lindsey, and her littles, soooo anything Oscar worthy was out of the question. For the kid’s sake we settled for Into The Woods. Although the movie wasn’t my fave, there are a few things of note:

1.) Dear Meryl, you truly are the best actress alive. You even play a witch with Oscar worthy passion.
2.) Anna Kendrick, you voice!!! Enough said.
3.) These lyrics to the theme song stuck with me long after the credit reel.

Into the woods,
It’s time to go,
I hate to leave,
I have to, though.
Into the woods-
It’s time, and so
I must begin my journey.

The way is clear,
The light is good,
I have no fear.

Into the woods
And down the dell,
The path is straight,
I know it well.
Into the woods,
And who can tell
What’s waiting on the journey?

I sat in my seat, well into my bag of gummy bears, with my heart pounding so hard, it felt as if it was going to burst out of my chest. A dance of notes, and profound words created the perfect serenade for my comfort zone.

It’s time to go. I hate to leave, I have to though…
It’s time, I must begin my journey!!!

If you are like me, your comfort zone is one that is warm, welcoming, and the coziest of places to keep me stuck. The Linus blanket of fear, insecurity, doubt, and mental defeat that holds me in a place called, Never. The perfect mirage of prudent, safe living. For many of us our comfort zones house deep wounds, harmful paralyzing words, shattered dreams, and rooms of other people with whom you bond in the same black hope of never. For some of us, we are most comfortable in pain, and so we settle for it, calling it happiness. We cope in our settled happiness, and create memories there, so hating to leave couldn’t be truer than true. Yet, we have to though…
The perfect mirage of prudent, safe living, isn’t living at all. Comfort zones, are choosing to live lifelessly dying on life support.
We don’t want to die friends, we want to live!! This is what Jesus came for.
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows).” John 10:10 {AMP}

If you feel robbed from, destroyed, and as if you are dying, might I assure you, it IS NOT God! It is the enemy who comes in like a false comforter to attempt to justify all your fears, insecurities, hopelessness, and kill you and your influence.
A few days ago, I was working through some mental detox. I was writing down lies I have believed about myself, and how they have effected my life.
For example: I was told by a number of people in my growing up years to get my head out of the clouds, and to stop being a dreamer. As a result I have believed that those that dream are bad and ultimately hindering their future. As I processed through this, I felt prompted to go to my “old memories” Rubbermaid in the garage.

ITW

Right on top was the volume of Texas Magazine, in which I made the cover with a fellow dreamer, my first published article, a recording of my heart for ministry for my marketing kit, my vision for helping other dreamers make it, and my interview for the magazine on my career goals. I sat with these memories and I wept. In the midst of fighting my inner dreamer, I gave up on ever really being who the spirit inside told me I would be. This 4.0 student traded in her passion for a “C” stands for complete, keeping me .25 points shy of graduating with honors {another dream of mine}. I developed a career far away from being a dreamer. I found my acceptance in performance, titles, responsibility, and awards. To cope, I helped others accomplish their dreams. I got married {I settled}. I allowed myself to cope in abuse. I got divorced {This story unfolds here}. I lost everything {A primary fear}. I started over. I built and even stronger career. I fell in love again, I experienced heartbreak again. I healed again. I launched a company because that sounds awesome and overly successful, and I made better money last year than I ever have before.
I also drowned my soul, and the very purpose I was put on this planet. I have let years of believing lies, striving, accolades, and status quo’s run my life, and parts of it have felt really awesome. That is what makes it so hard to leave.
But God…
But God placed a calling in my heart on July 29, 1997, and as I looked down at my “old memories” I heard the Lord say, “I’m still there Chels, I didn’t abandon the call. You did, but I’m still here.” Never have I been more thankful for the promise found in this scripture.

“And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5 {NLT}

I don’t know what you have sacrificed to make more money, to look successful, to appear happy, but might I encourage you to examine the authenticity of its comfort and genuine fulfillment and satisfaction? Will you join me in saying,

“Into the woods,
It’s time to go,
I hate to leave,
I have to, though.
Into the woods-
It’s time, and so
I must begin my journey.”

As hard as it is, as tears stream down my cheeks, today, lets just say “no” to false comfort zones, and a loud “yes” to the woods of our futures. I have a feeling that in the same way God parted seas, and held the sun still, and defeated giants before, we will experience the same miracles in simple saying…

Into the woods,
And who can tell
What’s waiting on the journey?

I’m Chelsie Birks, and this is My Glossy Life.

leaving1
Photography: Sarah Halferty Jacket: Theory

Tough Man never beat me as many experience. One push, grip, or hit from “The Hulk” was effective enough. I never had bruises in noticeable places. On one occasion a “simple punch” to my side enabled me from the ability to squat to pee for a week. The unknown of how he would respond to my leaving was my biggest fear, yet I desperately needed to rest up for the day of beauty exhortation.
I pulled out my Blackberry, stared at the number, and hit call…

“E” had been a VIP client at Saks Fifth Avenue, primarily at the Laura Mercier counter. I had been introduced to her a few times, but never really got to know her until her favorite artist was out during VIP event, and we were “forced” to connect. She held keys to a Lexus and was a stay at home wife, recovering post miscarriage and In Vitro. I was the primary source of income, grad student recovering post “misunderstanding”. The two of us were worlds apart except for our opinion on the current news headline following the Terri Schiavo case. We have since laughed at the fact, that this is truly the story that brought us together, the place where we initially found our commonality. Fifteen minutes into our convo, covering topics from Schiavo to our Savior, to satin lip stain, we were fast friends. It wasn’t too long after that first conversation that E came in to replenish necessary beauty essentials for her up and coming mission trip to Austria. She had wrestled back and forth about going on the trip because going would mean three weeks without daily calls, status updates, and check ins. I’m referring to the “daily’s” that came from her fertility team. This roller coaster ride had been several years long with lots of shattered hopes, and frail faith. E really felt lead to trust God and go. I will never forget holding her hands, staring her straight in the eyes, both with quivering lip dead center of the beauty department of Saks, and declaring, you ARE pregnant. E did go on that trip, she believed God, and she was pregnant. When you stand in the gap with someone who believes God to be who He says He is, and to do what He says he can do, you get close and personal pretty quickly. I hadn’t truly opened up to E about the abuse, but the clues were written in red all around me. She never pushed for details, but she always let me know that she was there.
With a near six month old, and fresh responsibilities, ‘being there” was about to be tested. Something deep within me prompted me to call E. I sat in the 7 Eleven parking lot, shaking equally in fear and embarrassment, as I pulled out the Blackberry and dialed E. She answered with a jubilant “hey”, and I shamefully asked if I could come over? E didn’t ask why. She didn’t ask if I was ok. She didn’t ask any questions. With complete compassion she embraced the requested, and affirmed, “you are always welcome.”
I walked through the door of E’s home to all the details that make you feel warm and welcome. From worship music playing in the background, to the smell of freshly baked cookies, to candles burning, to a bedroom prepped just for me, I felt the evidence of her words. I was welcome and I felt seen. E didn’t press for answers, but evidence of the weekender was enough for her to know I would be staying the night. She walked me to my room, where I would find a candle burning on the side table and a card on the bed. She assured me the guest bathroom was mine, with fresh towels, and luxury toiletries for a bubble bath. As I type my eyes flood with tears, reflecting on her lack of questioning. E was sensitive enough to see I couldn’t handle the questioning, so she demonstrated the essence of the gospel instead, and loved me in my mess.
After a thirty minute tub soak, I walked back to fragrant room, crawled under the covers, and opened my card. “WE LOVE YOU!” There was no fluff, no Christianese, no advice. There was a term of endearment that had been paired with sacrificial action. I placed the card close to my heart and sobbed myself to sleep. Only this time the tears were not rooted in pain, but in feeling deeply loved by another. I had taken the scary step to reach out to another and love responded. For the first time in years, I didn’t cry over the absence of Tough Man’s love, but the presence of newfound love. I closed my eyes and I drifted.
To Be Continued…

I’m Chelsie Birks, and I LOVE YOU! You matter, you are valued, and you ARE worth it. Darkness falls, but joy cometh my precious friends.

22
Sep

Image 3

Image 4

Image 1

Image 8

Image 5

Image 7

Image 2

Image

Image 6
Dress: Billabong/ Sandals: old {similar here}/ Sunnies: Bonlook Rx/ Bag: Marc Jacobs Watch: Michael Kors

Photo Notes: Going bare-faced is something that has taken lots of therapy and self talk with the mirror for me as a recovering reject. I am, now, to a place that I’m so secure in who I am, I’ll dare-to-bare over brunch in the likes of uptown Dallas or the Rooftop of NYC’s finest any day. Yet I still get insecure. Letting you look at me, and actually see me, can be daunting. Perhaps a small dose of what these victims feel on an hourly basis. The purity of white was a must. This was my favorite dress of the summer. Oh might she find purity, emotionally, and mentally in a way never thought possible. Might she learn to let true love, not lust, in. Might our efforts evoke a movement that rescues her.

When I was nominated by my friends, Kendall and Andrea to post a makeup-free picture of myself for Rescue Her, to bring awareness and support for human trafficking, I was happy to oblige. I’m not unfamiliar or disconnected to the issue. With involvement in organization such as Not For Sale, A21 Campaign, and now Rescue Her, I have a deep conviction to, not only, give voice to this horrific crime, but to continue to take action.
A few things to know about human sex trafficking:

* The United Nations estimate that over 30 million people worldwide are trafficked for forced labor, sexual exploitation or organ harvesting.
* $32 billion is made every year off the bodies of women and young girls in sex trafficking.
* 80% of victims are female and 50% are children, the large majority forced into the commercial sex trade.
* The average victim trapped in the sex trade is forced to have sex 20 times a day.
* More than 2/3 of sex trafficked children suffer additional abuse at the hands of their traffickers.
* Trafficked children are significantly more likely to develop mental health problems, abuse substances, engage in prostitution as adults, and either commit or be victimized by violent crimes later in life.
* An estimated 2.5 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multi-billion dollar commercial sex industry.
* In America, victims of pimp- controlled sex trafficking are commonly forced to meet quotas of $500 to $1,000 a night! * Victims working a truck stop typically earn $5 – $100 per sex act. All earnings are confiscated by the pimp.

I had just sat down with one of Dallas’ most eligible for the best filet mignon and choice pinot. On paper he has it all, as a philanthropist, humbly giving, and as a friend, loyal and true. The conversation was certain to be as rich as the food. In the middle of starters and pallet cleaning, he asked me about charity work. He was curious about issues that were heavy on my heart. If you follow my writing, you know that domestic violence research was a front runner, closely followed by human sex trafficking. It was the later that caused the Dallas dream to grab the black cloth napkin, mid oyster indulgence, and beg my pardon.
He was shocked I would have such a passion for people willingly choosing to sell their bodies for money. Tragically this is the view of many, and their primary reason for not wanting to support research efforts for this devastating crime. It is my response to the poorly educated, I would like to share.
In my fifteen years as a makeup artist, I have been approached by two, willing, strippers for makeup help and consultation. In the last year I have been approached by five different human trafficking organization to help their rescued victims learn the need for personal hygiene, skin care, and basic beauty upkeep. Many of these victims avoid personal hygiene because it was what lead to the next occurrence of shear rape, if you want my honest opinion. Many of them have never experienced non sexual touch, and are completely unaware of how to respond to it. In my most devastating experience, I was asked to work with a very specific group of girls between the ages of 18-24. Each of these girls had been trafficked in their toddler years. None of them knew their birthday, or the name given to them at birth. There were 20 girls in the room. Their stories, their experiences, were haunting, and deserving of much more than an assumption of willingness over gourmet delicacies.
Round two and a dish of oysters later, I asked what lead to the success? Here was a man that had put real action behind his vision, and it was paying off. Unfortunately, McDreamy knows me all to well to know the question was far more than casual questioning from a blonde twirling her locks, and sipping grapes. The question was totally loaded, and strategically asked to bring the tapas topics all too close for comfort. He explained he always knew he wanted to be a leader. He always wanted to create possibility in the impossible. He was thankful for parents that helped make that possible, and for determination to secure proper education. While twirling a fresh strand of hair, I leaned in close, in response. I was just wandering how many of these girls had dreams of being a leader? How many of them wanted to see possibility in the midst of the impossible? How many of them are hoping that we see her? That we are that possible in the midst of the impossible.
Regardless of your feelings of gourmet on the half shell, might the facts of the above cause us to grab our napkin mid enjoyment, and utter a bit more than I beg your pardon. Might you be lead to share, talk, donate, and shout from the bar to STOP. Stop looking at her, and please see her. Stop ignoring her, stop and please willingly rescue her.
I’m Chelsie Birks and this is My Glossy Life. She is _________ and we are her chance at a Glossy Life.

XoX,
Chelsie

leaving1
Jeans: Citizens of Humanity/ Jacket: Theory/ Tank: Helmut Lang/ Shoes: Enzo Angiolini/ Jewelry: Forever21/ Lipgloss: NARS {Babe}
Photography: Sarah Halferty

Notes: When I visioned this shoot, I saw myself back at the very apartment where I walked away for the final time. I wanted my wardrobe to speak to being lost in him, trapped so to speak. I saw boyfriend jeans, boyfriend jacket, the shoes I wore to our vow renewal. He called me baby, so NARS lipgloss in Babe, a wet, sheer, orange, was a must. I wanted to wear anything that created the feeling of “wearing him”,a prison, all finished with the symbolism found in a shredded, heart necklace. I saw the set with open door and lots of light. I wanted exposure. Although the journey was just beginning, someone else finally knew. The abuse had been exposed.
Not only had it been exposed, I had left on my own for the first time. This image captures perfectly the feeling of hearing the deadbolt click, and bid me farewell.

Part 1
Part 2

Tough Man was of masculine stature. I would need more than two hands to count the number of times he was stopped and asked for his autograph. By “his” I mean that of Vin Diesel. Same bald head, same features, same full lips, and yes, Tough Man was stacked. The two looked very much alike. His nickname by many was “The Hulk.”
Yes, “The Hulk” arranged his view, with puffed veins and clinched jaw, and we locked eyes. I froze in the doorway just staring in trembling fear of his unknown move. He cleared his throat with a dry cough, sniffed, puffed his lips out as if kissing the air, and refocused on Pre Game stats. All the normal signs and evidence letting me know I was in for days of ignorance therapy. I was in the clear. I closed the door behind me, and before I could even make it to the stairs, I was bid farewell by the locking of the double deadbolt.
Looking back now, the evidence to the truth of Tough Man’s final words to me, were apparent all along. It would just take me awhile, and unfortunately, a lot more pain before I built enough courage to truly leave.
I tossed the luxury weekender in the backseat of my 2000 VW Passat, and I drove, and I drove, and I drove. Noon turned to two, two turned to four, and four turned to six. Six hours and an empty gas tank later, I pulled into the 7Eleven not five minutes from the house. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be gone this many hours, but this was the first time I left without being told to get the hell out. He hadn’t called, he hadn’t checked in, and I knew it probably wouldn’t be good to go home. The unknown consequences scared me more. I had to make a decision, and checking into a motel wasn’t an option. Those were the days shortly after my first year of grad school. Tough Man was inspired by my drive to advance my education, and decided to do the same. Money was tighter than tight, and I was already going to hear about the unnecessary gas expense. I had isolated myself from most of my friendships to keep the abuse hidden, so there wasn’t exactly a laundry list of people to call. I wasn’t really prepared to sleep in my car that night, as I normally would. My favorite spot, the place I felt the most safe and hidden, was discovered by Grapevine Police Department the last time I was kicked out. The officer was kind, but firm, and promised me a ticket the next time I was found at 3:00AM in a secure zone.
Daylight was fading fast, I had a PA (Public Appearance) the next day from one of the top makeup brands. Driving four hours to my parents wasn’t really an option, and I wasn’t even close to ready to share with them, or anyone, of the fear, pain, and shame found in what had become my routine lifestyle. I needed a shower, a real one. The kind of shower where I get to use a fluffy, home washed, Downey smelling towel, and take as long as I need. Not the type of shower where I paid by the quarter hour, locker room style. I had become pretty close to Jennie and Randy that had a crappy little stop off HWY 10. I had discovered them two years earlier, when I was welcomed home one night after work to my belongings in the front yard of the apartment. To this day, I still don’t know what I did. Anyhow, whatever I did, awarded me four days of motel Passat, bathroom not included. By day two of long work days, I needed a shower. I felt prompted in my spirit to take a different drive to my “safe place.” That’s where I saw the sign for “hot showers and daily stay rates.” I pulled into the parking lot, and mustered up every ounce of dignity I had to walk through the office door and ask the mousey brown-haired woman about purchasing a shower. My eyes were full of tears, and my lip was quivering, not out of fear, but out of total embarrassment. I was humiliated.
My professional makeup, elegant side sweep, and tailored business suit created mystery to my question, but my red face, glassy eyes, and quivering lip caused the middle-aged woman to refrain from questioning. I had a $5 bill, and asked if that would work? The rates were for rooms including a hot shower, so I needed a bit more. With excitement she explained they took debit/credit cards.
A little side note to those unfamiliar with abuse. purchases are one of the easiest ways to track a location, so the last thing I wanted to do was give Tough Man a traceable transaction to my whereabouts. I looked her dead in the face, and I lied, explaining the $5 cash was all I had. To this day I appreciate her reading between the lines. She looked at me with compassion and a smile, knowing there was more to the story. She walked around the counter, and handed me a key to room 113. She handed me a travel size of Perell shampoo and a bar of Irish Spring. She said her name was Jennie, and that her and her son, Randy ran the place. My imagination never allowed me to sleep a night on one of their beds. I did, however, appreciate the numerous showers and cheap toiletries, gifted at no charge. There was never a time, I didn’t, randomly and inconveniently, walk through their door with glassy eyes, and quivering lip, to a warm smile and humble acts of service. They didn’t know why I randomly appeared in a tailored business suit, and the need for a shower away from home, nor did they ever ask. All they knew was that something wasn’t alright, and they wanted to be a part of creating a little stability for the mystery girl. The new routine for the unpredictable had become their shower for hygiene, and the Passat for sleep. My location wasn’t traceable, and the PD hadn’t discovered me in a secure zone.
The gas pump jolted, signaling the tank was full. I hung up the pump, pulled the Passat out of the way, and for the first time all day, broke into hysterical tears in the 7 Eleven parking lot on Glade and 121. I had escaped into mental numbness, and in giving the day’s earlier events an ounce of thought, brought forth full emotion to feeling less loved than a stray dog. Tomorrow’s event couldn’t handle such feelings. I needed to be on and confident, with freshly-applied, trend-setting makeup, and a pocket full of feel-good tricks. As reliable as the back seat leathers were, they were no match for the rest I needed for an “A-game ready” arrival. It was now 6:11PM and the sun was quickly fading. Evening was turning into night and I was running out of options.
I wrestled between calling Tough Man, and playing off the events, by asking if he wanted his favorite dipped cone. In the moment it seemed easier to suck it up, find a way back in, so that I could take my best shot at gaining my beauty sleep. The fact that I had walked out without being kicked out kept running through my mind. Was He going to be more mad? Was he going to rage when I got home? Would I be hurt or bruised in a way that would keep me from being able to show up to the most important work event of the year? Tough Man never beat me as many experience. One push, grip, or hit from “The Hulk” was effective enough. I never had bruises in noticeable places. On one occasion a “simple punch” to my side enabled me from the ability to squat to pee for a week. The unknown of how he would respond to my leaving was my biggest fear, yet I desperately needed to rest up for the day of beauty exhortation.
I pulled out my Blackberry, stared at the number, and hit call…
To be continued…
I’m Chelsie Birks, and this is My Glossy Life.

light1
It’s black, pitch black.
You long for answers, directions, or any sign showing, “this is the way.”
The place ahead seems a mystery with nothing to behold.
Purpose, passion, and dreams torment this place of unknown abyss.
You are lost, or so you feel.
Crippled in a place of nowhere.
Haunted by somewhere.
You beg for horizon ahead, any glimpse of forward.
Your eyes remain blind to what feels like ahead.
While comforting warmth begins to caress the unseen.
A heated romance of pursuit.
No hope of light ahead.
You feel its beam invade from behind.
Where you are remains a mystery, yet the fear of the unseen begins to drown.
Barely positioned in the unknown, you begin to skip on the beams of light’s found hope.
Pursuit takes hand and you dance in the middle of nowhere.
Nowhere fades to the music of our waltz.
Melodies of somewhere takes light.
A magical journey takes path.
A path only revealed through romancing His embrace in a place called here.

light2

light3
Photography: Shaina Hedlund

Life is uncertain, yet I am certain of the One who holds my uncertain life. If you feel discouraged today, forgotten, lost, or unseen, might I encourage you today. In the middle of pitch black uncertainty, welcome the embrace of your loving pursuer. Begin to skip in the middle of nowhere,and dance with your Creator in the perfectly planned place of “here.”
In doing so, I promise, He will light your path, because He promise He would.

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.
I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again:
I will obey your righteous regulations.
I have suffered much, O Lord;
restore my life again as you promised.
Lord, accept my offering of praise,
and teach me your regulations.
My life constantly hangs in the balance,
but I will not stop obeying your instructions.
The wicked have set their traps for me,
but I will not turn from your commandments.
Your laws are my treasure;
they are my heart’s delight.
I am determined to keep your decrees
to the very end.” Psalm 119:105-112 (NLT)

Might we want Him as much as He wants us.
I’m Chelsie Birks, and this is My Glossy Life

XOX,

Chelsie

BND1

BND2

BND4

BND5
Jeans: Citizens of Humanity/ Jacket: Theory/ Tank: Helmut Lang/ Shoes: Enzo Angiolini/ Jewelry: Forever21/ Lipgloss: NARS {Babe}
Photography: Sarah Halferty

Notes: The above images were captured by Sarah as a part of her senior photography thesis project. Her description can be found in part 1, linked below. When I visioned this shoot, I saw myself back at the very apartment where I walked away for the final time. I wanted my wardrobe to speak to being lost in him, trapped so to speak. I saw boyfriend jeans, boyfriend jacket, the shoes I wore to our vow renewal. He called me baby, so NARS lipgloss in Babe, a wet, sheer, orange, was a must. I wanted to wear anything that created the feeling of “wearing him”,a prison, all finished with the symbolism found in a shredded, heart necklace. I saw the set with open door and lots of light. I wanted exposure. Although the journey was just beginning, someone else finally knew. The abuse had been exposed.

Broken Not Destroyed {Part 1: Pages to a Story}

Pastor Robert’s message was really powerful that particular Sunday. He had been teaching on a series about The End: What comes next? Tough Man had made his prejudgements about Gateway Church long before this message, so I was already walking on egg shells in asking him to come with. You see we had already joined and left two churches in almost three years of marriage. We stayed until people started suspecting problems, and Tough Man found every reason not to return. The fact his mother was with us that morning, gave some bit of comfort, as she was never going to deny her youngest, but she was, thankfully, very protective and fond of me. She had heard much over the years, and helped pack my car many a nights that Tough Man made it clear to get the _____ out before he got home. His mood was seldom predictable, and as unhealthy as it was, I appreciated, more times than not, his mother being just across the parking lot. I often referred to her as Mams, and she was the one person that had seen the signs of what Christian girls don’t speak of. Honestly and tragically she had become my best friend.
On the drive home I was sandwiched between Tough Man and Mams in his black Dodge pickup truck. The stride in his step to the truck, locked jaw, and single hand grip on the steering wheel was full evidence he was heated. Mams and I knew that anything could set him off so we opted to remain awkwardly silent unitl the ticking in the air conditioner came. It wasn’t the type of tick that anyone would notice, but it was one I had become obsessively aware of, as it was the sound that would send Tough Man over the edge into a raging war. In an effort to drown out the tick, I resorted to the message from Pastor Robert. As much as I hate to admit this, I knew that Tough Man was already angered by Pastor Robert and his “mega church productions.” I knew that mentioning the service would take his anger off of those “responsible” for “allowing” the noise to continue and place it on someone that couldn’t presently be effected by his escalating rage. I knew wrong. As I mentioned previously, the mood was completely unpredictable. Just as I shared the confirmation the message brought to my salvation, my sunnies were knocked to the floorboard, and blood rushed to the surface of my left check to meet the heat of a fresh slap telling me shut the ____ up. Mams gasped in shock and began pleading for him to stop. He felt encouraged and affirmed in his adrenaline rush, and began driving as if he were under the influence of a spirited bottle and tonic. He had lost complete control to the anger rush and nearly flipped the Dodge on the over pass bridge of 121 and Bedford Road. Tough Man pulled into the covered parking spot that belonged to our 800 sq. ft. apartment, shut the door calmly, and walked up the stairs as if nothing had happened. Mams stood there with me as gigantic tears burned my cheeks, my lips quivered, my body trembled, and I sobbed silently. I was embarrassed, ashamed, humiliated, and terrified all at the same time. I had learned to mask the physical abuse well, thanks to the training I gained from previous years of interview pageant prep, and successful work has a makeup artist, who’s job was to make others look and feel amazing. I understood game on! What I had failed to prepare for was the abusers need to increase the adrenaline rush which often comes from “new” levels of abuse. He had done what I hadn’t prepared for; actually physically harmed me in front of another person, least of which I would ever have assumed to be his mother. I always felt like Tough Man was way too prideful to ever hit me in public, so I was ill prepared on how I would respond.
Mams stood there with tears in her own eyes, having no idea whether to stay or go. The ever lingering question posed to keep Tough Man contained so to speak. Regardless if the abused want to admit it or not, we fall prisoner to the daily cycle of whatever, whenever, why ever, and however. Anything not to be the target of harmful hands and hurtful words. I encouraged Mams to head on home. I had Tough Man and his cycles calculated near flawlessly. I assured her the fit of rage was over, and now for the enduring of hateful words or days of silence. I would know once I saw the way he was positioned on the couch, and if the TV was on or not. Although the less accepted by society, I would have rather taken another hit, than the acceptable form of emotional, metal, and silent abuse that often comes with being the Christian girl that deeply desires to refrain from carrying one more mark of failure or un acceptance. I hugged Mams, and we parted ways in tears. I walked up the stairs, striving with everything in me to contain myself, because we already established what unwanted noises produce. I walked in to Sunday pre game and Tough Man comfortably couched on the middle cushion of the sofa, nursing a Dr. Pepper. I was about to get it, and it was going to be long and painful. I was in for an unknown number of days, maybe weeks, of silence. The type of silence that never acknowledges your existence. The type of silence that refuses to see you or hear you. The type of silence lonelier than any place of alone. It was routine for me to respond in one of two ways depending on my ability to endure Tough Man’s conditional therapy. I would walk to the bedroom and sob myself to sleep on the bed, or I would very casually and calmly grab the keys, and say I’m going for a drive. Neither one ever broke the silent therapy. It was simply my way of giving him the whatever, however space to let the punishment therapy for whatever I did, run its course.
Still in a state of shock, I think, I walked straight to the closet, packed my leather, electric turquoise weekender, gifted to me by Trish McEvoy, and prepared to do my own attempt at the unthinkable. I set the bag out of view as I opened the door wide enough to leave for my “drive.” I was awkward and the bag was obvious. He arranged his view, with puffed veins and clinched jaw, and we locked eyes…
To Be Continued…
I’m Chelsie Birks and this is My Glossy Life.

coral skirt1

coral skirt2

coral skirt3

coral skirt5

coral skirt6
Skirt: NLA {Found this replica for $17}/ Top: Arden b {NLA, loving this crop, and great to take into Fall}/ Shoes: Arden b: NLA {Designer option here/budget option here} Bag: Marc Jacobs/ Watch: Michael Kors/ Jewelry: Glam Revival Sunnies: Coach Lipstick: Nars {Cruising}
Photography: Greg Daniels

Contrary to what followers of style blogs might think, many of us are actually shocked that we have built any kind of following. I certainly fall in line with this group, and in complete and total honesty, I get ultra intimidated being on the captured side of the lens. My photographer, turned mentor extraordinaire, constantly is working with me to become more genuinely confident. Truth be told friends, it’s easy to hide behind the faceless of hidden sunnies and the expressionless. To take of the shades, look at you, and smile, sometimes is much harder than I care to admit. This particular day, I wasn’t feeling it. It was just one of those days the list of things, I didn’t like about myself was longer than the list of things I loved about myself. One thing, I have promised myself, my mentors, and my followers is to Carpe’ diem through it. For accountability sake, MGL holds my feet fast to the pavement to do so, as I care far to much about letting people down. Something that has proven to be effective for me is to think about the opposite of what I’m feeling and what those feelings look like.
I planned to pair this top with its matching skirt, but opted to pair it with this coral number that simple makes me smile when I wear it. There is just something about coral that just oozes happy, and when paired with bright, bold color or prints the party starts.
Unfortunately, tackling insecurity takes a bit more blood, sweat, and tears than the simple pairing of color. Nevertheless, I pulled of the sunnies, stared straight into the camera and smiled. Im Chelsie Birks, and this is My Glossy Life.

27
Aug

house1
Dress: Nastygal {sold out, loving this one}/ Sunnies: Burberry/ Home: Dallas/Ft. Worth

“Lord, I love you. I trust you. I thank you for pursuing me each and everyday. Thank you for working to heal my broken heart. Thank you for finally providing me with a room, with a door that I can somewhat call my own. Lord if I can one day be in a place to have a home a fraction of this one. Strengthen my faith to know its more than possible.” {January 3, 2010 Journal Entry}

I had been out from under the daily chaos that comes with domestic violence for just over six months. I hadn’t missed a single week of therapy. I was becoming emotionally stronger the more I detoxed “chaos” in every since of the word. The more healed my heart became, the more I craved peaceful environments, the pinnacle of sanctuary in coming home.

My friend Staci had this gorgeous 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage home in such a great neighborhood right in the heart of the DFW metroplex. The house was fully bricked, with gorgeous hard wood floors, and to help the time of her fiancé’s year in Saudi Arabia pass, she decided to fully redo the kitchen. It was just before all of this that I called Staci, late, one evening with my 2000 VW Passat full with my belongings, and uncertain where to go that night. Staci being the precious nurturer she is, wondered why I waited to call, and told me to hurry over. I don’t know if it was the 2000 square feet of beautiful home, the guest bedroom with the decorated bed, or her late night hospitality, but I closed the door, crawled onto the bed and sobbed until I had nothing left. I shacked up with Staci for a year. It was the beginning of creating healthy home memories. From tile and quartz samples for the kitchen, to late nights with great wine and DVRed episodes of SYTYCD, I felt home. Staci and her man married quickly upon his return, which meant, I needed to find another place to live. This broke and broken girl had become accustom to vagabond living, and although my heart was healing, the budget was still broken.
Several months earlier, I had been connected to a woman in Christian radio. We had shared rich conversation over lunch several times, and became fast friends. There was something about Laurie’s carefree way of living that I was so drawn to. She lives life in such a carefree way, in meeting her, you would think she has never really gone through anything difficult. Her testimony is, however, quite different. Laurie very sincerely, and with full joy in her heart asked, well told me, “Come live with us.” By “us” she meant, Nana, her elderly mother, Kaylee her “born to entertain, highly theatrical, teenage daughter from her first marriage, Elijah, her eight-year old, snuggle bug of a son, whose father had suddenly passed away when Laurie was 8 months pregnant with him, and lastly, her heart of a servant, husband Joe.
My new room was that of the grand living room to their English tudor home. My bed was the cream, French country styled sofa, and my “wardrobe” was created out of my trusty Rubbermaids that I hid behind the sofa, in an effort to keep the living area to the atrium somewhat show-worthy. It quickly became routine to be part of “fixin” family dinner, for Nana to fold down my sheets each night, for her to ask me each morning what I wanted for breakfast, to all pile in Joe and Laurie’s bed with a movie, to love, and to be loved. I have tears streaming down my face in reflection to my time with these urban family members. It was God’s perfect way of showing me healing love. I had no idea how much I needed the care of an elderly grandmother, who found pleasure in meeting little needs. I had no idea how much I needed to laugh until I cried with Kaylee’s late night audition prep, or the plethora of hysterical “Joeisms”. This home is where I became strong and learned to stand on my own two feet. Crazy doors where opening for my career, and on the day we unloaded the last of my things in my very first home alone, we cried.
I had just landed a solid career position with benefits, expense account, gas card, company car, and stable salary. I revisited a neighborhood I had stayed in, for a short time, right upon leaving my marriage. I had always been drawn to the area, and was hopeful to find one for rent. The day after I accepted the position, I drove by the neighborhood to find a middle-aged gentleman hammering a rent sign in the yard. Within 15 minutes, we negotiated rent, I signed a lease and moved into my first ever house. I loved the layout of the little patio house, but there was nothing “home” about it. Just ask my bestie, Jess, who lived one street over from me for over a year before moving in after getting engaged and selling her home. By the time Jess moved in, 1716 Magnolia Lane had been given lots of love, and truly could have graced the pages of any home magazine. I put so much into this precious little patio home, it seemed only fitting that she be mine. I was in a position, at this point, to buy so I called the landlord and made an offer. Three days later, I had an inspection done, and my perfect little plan of home ownership drifted into the abyss of no return. The work needed in some areas of the home were so pressing they required immediate attention, and required me to move out. In my third home, and three years later, I yet again, sobbed in reflection of warm memories, and the familiar fear of the homeless.
After the holidays this year one of my girlfriends reached out to ask me if I would be interested in their house. She knew that I was looking and needed to pretty quickly establish a new living situation. Her husband had just been accepted to medical school in Virginia and they needed to sell by summer. The home was more than 1716 so I needed to save a bit more. They decided in an effort to save money, they would move into her parents home, and I would immediately move in and rent until I had my down payment.
On August 18, 2014 on an overcast evening, I closed on the home I had asked God to give me the faith to believe for just four years earlier. God being the loving Daddy, and provider He is, did more than give me a fraction of the home I was asking for. He blessed me with THE home I was really wanting a fraction of.
After popping the cork, and a toast of congratulations, I walked back into the same familiar guest room, closed the door, crawled on the bed, sobbed, and wrote out this journal entry.

“Lord, I love you. I trust you. I thank you for pursuing me each and everyday. Thank you for working to heal my broken heart. Thank you for finally providing me with far more than just a room, with a door that I can call my own. Thank you that you do not bless in fractions, but in fullness and in wholeness. Thank God, that your plans are good. They are always for good. Lord bless this home, fill it with your presence. Might you continue to use this home as a legacy for healing others. Use this very room as the foundation for others to experience the same peace I have in coming home {again}.”
I’m Chelsie Birks, and this is My Glossy Life

26
Aug

simple2

simple5

simple4

simple3

simple6
Photography: Greg Daniels

Lately, I have found myself drawn to budget-friendly, label-less style. The more I interact with my viewers, the more and more I realize the need to inspire you to create your own style. I have found myself pulling away a bit more from the pool of perfectly styled, photoshopped, and branded, toward looks that create more of a feeling in the images. It is such a desire of mine that my readers find the inspiration and encouragement they are looking for.
When I put this look together, it was all about creating something that made a simple statement. A get ready in 5 minutes type of look. The best trick for this type of look are great hats, so I started there. I had just spotted this maxi dress on the clearance rack at Marshall’s for $10. The style of this maxi has such versatility and could really be styled up, or in this case down. I grabbed my trusty Cynthia Vincent for Target wedges, whose two page ad is still one of my favorites. My Rayban aviators, and minimalist jewelry seemed to complete the look perfectly.
As you look to build your own since of style don’t believe the lie that I have for years. The best styles do not have to be designer, and they often can be created from the rejected rack of the clearanced.
I’m Chelsie Birks, and this is My Glossy Life.