Simpler Times; a quest for whimsy and fairytales amidst the modern-day chaos

Maya, my delightful sprite of a daughter, loves stopping by the little free libraries on the sides of the streets, wherever we are. They are a source of new information that carries the potential to make her life a little bit better. You just never know what you may discover! Each time, as she eagerly opens the little door, she is excited as if she were searching for precious gemstones. She loves picking out books for herself as well as for her little brother Mikey. She rarely forgets to choose something for him as well.

This time, with a bit of my help and prodding, “we” chose a few classics. One of them was a children’s adaptation of the book Little Women. Goodness, God knows how much I enjoyed this book and many other classics when I was a kid! I was ecstatic! This was my opportunity to start introducing her to literary works that gave me so much joy, hour upon hour.

I used to hide myself within a story, letting go of all the hardships of life, of all the bullying because I was different, primarily for simply being a girl from another country; a little Ukrainian that dressed funny.

Great stories were a lifeline to me. Adjusting to a different country was fraught with complications and misunderstandings. Mostly, I felt that the kids were afraid of me because I wasn’t born in the States, as if I were an alien in human form.

Needless, to say, books became my best friends. They never threatened me, and I could be wherever and whenever that the books took me.

But I digress, as I often tend to do in my blogs as I travel down the memory lane…

I couldn’t wait to start reading to Maya, 6 and Michael, 3, the story of the Little Women. If you don’t know this book, look it up right now! That afternoon, we proceeded to indulge ourselves in a story that had its setting in a time and place very different to our own, hundreds of years ago…and yet we could connect to it because we all experienced the growing pains every child must go through as they discover their voice, their identity, and their power.

As I looked deep inside myself to process why I was so desperate that Maya would connect with this book… I glimpsed my own desperation to connect to a time that represented simplicity … even though, paradoxically, the book started off by introducing us to Mr. March, the father, who was away at war.

The chaos of the last month, the war in Ukraine has been affecting me personally, as I have family in Ukraine. The emotional stress, on top of the physical stress I’ve been experiencing recently, almost drove me to a breaking point a few days ago. There has been so much information saturating my atmosphere that I had to choose to protect myself from that bombardment on most days. Ergo, the need for simpler times, a desperate craving really, has been brewing within me and was exposed by this children’s book.

Books have magical powers… They connect us with the whimsical, a fairytale-like state. They can bring us back to our inner selves and our deepest desires.

So, what did I learn from this deep dive into my soul? To me, Simpler Times represent not only the connection to whimsy and having the space to imagine and create, but also the dusting off the values that had the ability to carry so much weight in my present state, a prescription for my personal healing. So, as I dive deep into understanding and creating Simpler Times in my current, often chaotic, life, I will be prioritizing the values of Fancy, Freedom, Movement, Exhilaration, Dreams, Easy Beauty, Vision, Sparkle, Delight, Joy, Faith, Belief, Justice, Adventure, Fairy tales and Florals.

As I mine deep within my life for these precious gems, I hope as well, that I find that connection to all the women of passion that came before me, are here now, and will come after me. Women of Vision and Whimsy, women that create magic no matter where they find themselves, no matter the wherever and whenever.

As I build upon what was once discovered, I hope to add to what will once be discovered by generations coming after me. And so I hope and pray, that my children will add that bit of sparkle to the ones around them, as I engage them within a story that was written long ago, hopefully never to be forgotten, always ready to be enjoyed, as what is precious and beautiful must never be lost as it navigates the turbulent times and chaotic events.

Wherever you find simplicity, may it often grace your homes and hearts. Your quest may be different to mine, but passion is what I hope we can agree upon. Without passion, we are not moved.

May you have lots of passion to pursue what you truly need at this moment. May you find your own Simpler Times as you escape into the whimsy and the fairy tale of your own making!

~by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence

Fiercely Feminine

I don’t want to give credit to this horrible pandemic, but even in the midst of the muck and mire I’ve been blessed to learn a lesson or two. 

During this time, although many things have stalled and are standing still, age just keeps creeping up on you. That will never stand still.  It is something I cannot control or manipulate. It just is. Time passes. We get older. I just turned 38. Nearing 40. Almost a midlife crisis on my hands, I slightly fear. 

By this time in my life I thought I would achieve something grand, phenomenal, life altering, life changing for many. 

This is where I assumed in my blissful ignorance, life projects upwards at an exponential degree, where all your efforts are paid off and you reap the benefits of your bloody sweat. 

But as of right now, from a casual observer’s perspective, I am just simply ordinary. And that frightens me. I’ve never wanted to be ordinary, I always attempted to stand out growing up, even through some crazy outfit choices… One of the greatest compliments I’ve received was sometime in middle school, when a girl that sought to hurt me said, “You are so weird.” Goodness, I treasure those words until now! The worst thing you can tell me is that I am just like everyone else, retiring, blending in, scared to make a wrong move, causing me to stand out in the firing line of eager criticism. 

And so, in the last few months, amidst the debris of many non starts and failed enterprises, as I’ve taken stock of my achievements over the years, I found myself re-evaluating my standing in the world and my conditioning and perceptions, and I’ve decided to dig deep and find the true core of myself. I needed to talk to my most inner being and find out what I truly wanted and valued at this time in my life. Perhaps I had to let go of certain aspirations that only deceived me or distracted me from the truly valuable in my life. 

I was happy and uncomfortable to find out that I was willing to burn everything on the altar of Motherhood. 

Growing up, mothers around me, in my Slavic, super fundamentalist culture, were second class citizens, put aside by culture to serve the men and children, servants of no importance but of performance in the home. If they didn’t think for themselves, even better. Men looked down upon them. It was horrible. It was everything I didn’t want to be. These women had very little self-worth, and as girl growing up in that society, I felt I had no value or place there. The only reason I went to the University was because I had scholarships, and everything was paid for and as an acceptable excuse- in case my husband dies and I have to work outside the home. God forbid. 

Perhaps I am sharing too much, but I believe if you understand where I’ve been, you will understand where I’m going. 

So here I am, coming to terms that I could possibly be happy and content to be just a mother to my 3 and 6 year old and just a wife to my loving husband. That I could be…just that. That I don’t have to be anything outside of the role I am playing right now to be happy. That I don’t need all those accolades and acceptance of my intelligence and uniqueness from anyone else, not even my parents. I love them, but they are who they are, and I cannot mold them into whom I would prefer them to be. I cannot stretch their limitations, as I cannot do the same with my own. 

And guess what? I realized that one can find happiness in being a housewife. Yep, that blew my mind as well. Grass is always greener on the other side. When we couldn’t participate in one world, years ago, we wanted it. And now, thank God, some are lucky to have that choice. 

I am blessed to be a housewife. To have that time to look after my sweet home and my sweet kids and my almost always sweet husband. And you know, to start becoming a little vain again. 

I want to feel like a woman. Fiercely Feminine. 

I want to give myself the permission to be unapologetically immersed in this phase in my life, haters be damned. They can laugh at the joy I experience of looking after my home (when I can- hey I am not going to spend too much time at the expense of blissing out with my kids!), my struggling attempts to carve out time for spa moments at home, with eager attempts to hold onto my beauty and fashion faux pas. I want to look after my kids with deeper compassion and to be a better friend to my husband with unconditional love. 

I want to find that joy in looking after myself again. To carve out more time for makeup and hair tutorials and actually using a body balm to keep the rest of my skin glistening even if no one else sees it, just for me! All these things I’ve done in my less attached years, before I got married and had kids. 

I want to be grand just for me.

And so, after giving myself permission to stop seeking, but to enjoy what I’ve already found, I’ve become in touch with that next level of bliss that I innately craved. I now spend a little more intentional time with my kids, not because I feel I have to, but because it is something I really love to do. I love my kids and there is nothing I would prefer more than to be with them, playing, learning about the world and seeing the wonder of it all through their eyes. 

And I am writing again! Just because it is something I always loved to do. It is not a waste of time, but pure delight … pure blissful delight. 

By this time in my life, I thought I would achieve something grand, phenomenal, life altering, life changing for many…

And I have. Perhaps not life changing for many, but life changing for the ones around me… as I am now able to be truly, unapologetically me. 

And that is unapologetically, delightfully, blissfully Fiercely Feminine! 

Here’s to all the Mothers and Wives out there! 

Please enjoy a 25 % off discount on any of my oils and books in celebration of my latest creation, Fiercely Feminine! A scent to which you can bliss out all day long, and when they ask you what that scent is, you can say, “It’s me, baby. All woman.”

Use code FIERCELYFEMININE on most items in the shop, or on https://www.etsy.com/listing/1142069129/fiercely-feminine-for-facehairbody-oil.

~by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence