And for once I was SuperMom

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Not So Resolute

New Year's Resolutions are a subject that I usually examine with a fair helping of snark.
Lara, you examine everything with a fair helping of snark.
Yes, I know, but don't most look at resolutions as a time to improve themselves?
I usually just think, 'Ah, another occasion in my life where I can give myself a good ass kicking. Just what I needed.'

I'm also usually a little bit late about it.  Just like I am with advent.  People start posting things about their resolutions, or telling me about new goals that they are launching on.  And I think, 'Oh crap, I just recovered from being all organized about advent, and I really just wanted to sit here and watch the Rose Parade in my pajamas.'
But apparently everyone on the internet is more awesome than me.
And I don't really feel like giving myself a good ass kicking.
I don't want to make unrealistic goals about losing weight.
I don't want to make unrealistic goals about creating awesome Montessori boxes for my preschool age daughter.
I don't want to make unrealistic goals about making art or writing.

But then one of my friends told me that she sat down and made some goals at the beginning of the year and then she achieved them.  So that's kind of a good thing.  I'm not very good at being organized about things.

For a community group that I am in we were asked to come with spiritual goals for the year.  My husband and I had a discussion about it, his question was, 'how are spiritual goals different from the rest of your goals?'  I felt comforted.  During the group when I shared that I didn't particularly have 'spiritual goals' and didn't really want to make them up, it was asserted that no one wanted me to just make some up.

Um, wait, excuse me, Lara, January is almost over.
I know, I know that.  Wait for it.

In that group we talked about how New Year's Resolutions sneak up on everyone.  Apparently the internet lies and everyone just wants to sit around in their pajamas on New Year's Day.  You just make it through Christmas and, then, bam, fix yourself, you sloppy mess.  The thought that maybe all of January should be spent thinking about your past year and if there is anything you want to improve.

Did you read that?  I said 'if.'  That's right, maybe you're not a sloppy mess.
We don't kick our own asses here at this blog.

The other day I jumped off my Spin bike after class.  My eyes hit the mirror, looking at that midsection that has been a source of discontent for as long as I was aware it was there.  I start wishing I'd done an abs class instead.  Then the thought occurred to me that I just exercised to a level that would make some people throw up.  Why wasn't I nicer to myself?  What if I appreciated my body instead of wishing it away?  What if I thanked my body for what it has achieved rather than being frustrated with it for what it is not.  And may never be?  So as I stretched my quads, holding onto the handles I said, 'thank you.'  I almost cried.  Almost cried, right there, in that basement Spinning studio.
Apparently I have some baggage right around here.

This I have taken into this meditation for this January.  A sense of appreciation rather than a sense of destruction.  Maybe instead of beating myself up, and thinking that somehow 2015 will be magical and if I write down a list of things that I don't like about myself that by the time the ball drops on 2016 I will be awesome.
What if I already am awesome?
Okay, I'm not.  But I'm not a sloppy mess.  I guess there is some stuff I'd like to see get done....

For my body:
Be nice to it.  Work out a lot, because it makes my body happy.  Drink more water.  Eat more fruit and vegetables.  Put less poison in it.  Make my husband hug me a lot, because hugging yourself just isn't as fun.

For my children:
Be nice to them.  Pay attention to who they are.  Get them outside more. Squeeze them as much as I can.

For my husband:
Be nice to him.  Tell him how much I appreciate him.  Realize that he has needs to.

For my career:
Be nice to it.  Do more.  Make more art. Write more.  Get my art in a venue.

How are you going to be nice to yourself this year?

Monday, January 19, 2015

More Than Just a Dress

My first day in public wearing pants was January 1st.
My last day wearing a dress was December 31st.
The jeans were a little tight that first day.  I'm not sure if that is because I have grown unaccostumed to denim or because I've spent the last week of December in my kitchen, hiding from my children and eating all the candy that my family sent me.  Which I am sure is a diabolical scheme to make me the chubbiest person in the family.
Or because I spent an entire month in leggings and yoga pants.
In fact the first time I pulled on a pair of leggings in early December I thought, 'I hope this doesn't backfire.'

At some point I realized that I was going to become a rock star to my 'I must wear a dress' five year old daughter.  I inwardly cringe every time my little girl insists on wearing something super pink, sparkly, and girly.  I fight with myself over how often to re-direct her or just give in and buy the copies of Fancy Nancy.  I have realized that her insistence on pink is a form of feminism.  'I am a girl and I will wear pink!'  A celebration and an assertion of what she believes defines female.

A few years ago I was running errands with a friend for her wedding.  When we visited her tailor, he made some off hand comment about women how sad it was that women, 'didn't want to wear foundation garments anymore.'  I felt a little embarrassed for womankind when he said that.  Like we were all collectively losing our classiness.
Now that comment makes me more than a little bit angry.  How would he feel if he was required to pour his portly figure into some Spanx or a bustier.  Uncomfortable?  Would he be in pain?  Probably.  Which is why women don't want to wear 'foundation garments.'
I am thankful that I live in an age wear daily wearing of a corset is not expected.
Where fashion's ideas of what is beautiful is not deforming my body.  Or some fat old tailor's ideas of what a woman's body should look like.

Once you become focused on what a person wears, to cover up or increase their attractiveness you begin to deny them of their humanity.  They become an object to control shape or form rather than an actual person.

Each selfie that I took I was pleasantly surprised that I did look good.  When I caught a reflection of myself out of the corner of my eye I was pleasantly surprised at the form I saw.  Dresses are flattering on women.  Our body shape makes sense in them.  I became a little more gracious to my form.  Everyone has a bit of a muffin top kind of crease when tights or leggings cut into their midsection.  Be nice to yourself.

I didn't find myself counting down the days to wearing pants, maybe because I allowed myself to wear pants in my house.  I actually thought I would incorporate dresses and leggings into my everyday wear.  I haven't.  Jeans and yoga pants are just too damn convenient for my life right now.  A side effect of this challenge is that now that my wardrobe has been opened back up from the three dresses I could wear to all the clothes I have I suddenly feel like I have an insane amount of clothes.  I found myself wandering around the mall with those crazy after Christmas sales, gift cards in hand, thinking, 'but I don't need anything.'  When does that happen?
But the challenge to wear a dress every day of December was not just a clothing challenge

I did find myself thinking about other women.  Hoping that this would all amount to something.  I find myself so powerless in the face of injustice.  The main thing that grieved my heart about leaving Kenya was the loss of ability to personally empower people.  We were able to give our houseworker a job when we left, we were able to send our guard to mechanic school for a hundred dollars, and we can't do that anymore.  That is what I miss.  This challenge gave me a taste of that again.  Of course I have to turn the money over to International Justice Mission and hope for the best, but I do hope for the best.  I do trust them as an organization.

I was able to reach my goal of raising $300 and my team was able to exceed their goal of $1000, and raised $1,100.
While I know that is only just a drop in the bucket, it's more than there was before, and more that I've ever rallied for an organization.
A very good start.