Thursday, May 21, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Friday, May 08, 2009
Look we have all heard that saying, "it's not what's on the outside that counts but what's on the inside that matters". Yeah, yeah, yeah...we have heard this a thousand times. We have told others this same thing to make them feel better about themselves. Hell, we have tossed this back and forth in our own minds trying to lift our selves up! But what we really want, if we are honest, is to look great in a bikini, look hot in a summer dress, wear our jeans so well it causes us to faint, and look at our naked bodies thinking, "if I weren't so modest, this body should be in Play Boy". What we want is to look and feel beautiful and desired. What we want is to feel so good about ourselves that our imperfections don't distract us from the truth of who we are. The question is, how do we get there? How do we really arrive at the place where we feel so great about ourselves and are not just bandaging our esteem up with quip phrases that sound good but mean NOTHING?!
It obviously is not in the 30 pounds we have to lose. It is not in the beauty of our faces or bodies. Nor is it in the brilliance of our minds. There are strikingly gorgeous models who need to inject themselves with drugs, just to get on the run way in order to swagger with a contrived sense of esteem and confidence. There are people who are more beautiful than I could ever hope to be, who still hate themselves and feel worthless. There are those who are smarter than any IQ test would ever qualify me as, who still feel without value. So, what I have learned is that no matter the scenario that I can paint that is perfect and shinny...even there, if I have not assessed my sense of self-esteem correctly...I will lack it. I will still feel less than beautiful, smart or sexy.
We all know that comparing ourselves to one another is damaging and fruitless...but, we DO IT. We all know that when we compare only one of two things occurs, 1) we find ourselves better than what we are comparing ourselves to or 2) we find ourselves less that what we are comparing ourselves to...both are bad. We compare ourselves in attempt to derive a sense of where we are on the spectrum of value. This is inane and fruitless. Instead of looking outward to see my value, maybe I should look within at my unique parts and revel in them. After all, they are mine and mine alone. For some reason the moment I heard Rabbi Shmuley say, "that true self esteem is derived from knowing you have something that no one else had", I could access that and revel in this truth. I. Am. Me. No one else can be me. You. Are. You. No one else can be you!
I found myself walking into rooms with my head held a bit higher knowing that I was the only ME in the room and therefore had something special to bring. And, everyone else in the room had something unique about them as well...nothing I needed to compare myself to...just enjoy. Look, I still want to look smoking in a bikini and divine in a pair of True Religions...but I no longer have to live in limbo waiting to achieve these things before I feel good about myself right now; before I esteem me, CHA! And, I don't have to feel bad about myself, because you look so much better than I in your jeans...besides, I got this little special pill called, CHA-NESS. So what's your pill? And, are you taking it regularly? I know I am...
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Strong women of the Y, strut your tail feathers...
Yesterday I cried my eyes out. For nothing in particular...just, a general, "I need to cry". I have a lot going on within me: I miss my mom, I want to go home and curl up in the bed with her, I want to smell the ocean and play in the sand, I want a cold beer on the beach, I want to hear the sound of freedom and youth in the palm tree branches as they dance in the trade winds, I feel fat, My skin looks bad (like I am 15 years old and in the middle of a break out), I want a new dress to make me feel pretty, I want my thighs to shrink overnight, I have a lot of hopes and dreams and fears and wishes and...my period is about to start.
So I started thinking about this t-shirt slogan, "strong women of the Y, strut your tail feathers", and wondering what a strong woman looks like. What is the landscape of a soul that is "strong"? When I think of strong, I think of immovable and stoic and untouchable spirit and strength. I think of the kind of person that says, "hah" to danger or to mean people. The kind of people that climb mountains each day and wake up with vigor to climb some more! When I envision a strong woman, I see her bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan, changing diapers, wearing heels, looking oh so good, make-up perfect, hair flawless, running in the park after her 3 golden retrievers, training for a marathon while working and parenting full time, writing her memoirs in her spare time (what spare time you ask? I have no idea but she finds it), she is never unruffled, she is on every board, taking every conference call, at every game, her husband thinks she is amazing (as well as everyone who meets her), she knows what she wants when she wants it, she decorates her home in one clean line of decision making, she's doing what she always wanted to do since conception, she always knows the right thing to say and when to say it, she bakes fantastic chocolate chip cookies, does the laundry on time all while hosting the best cocktail parties.
So, you see my dilemma...I am nothing like this. I have only now just figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I am sensitive and sporadic. I am creative and honest. I cry in public if the feeling hits me. I struggle for recipes to make my family dinner. I wash the laundry and wish that it would find its way into drawers in an organized fashion. I think out loud (often talking to myself). I play a song I like over and over again, and again and again. I put on workout clothes and never make it to the gym. I have to wear Spanx to keep all my stuff in place. I have a few wayward chin hairs that seem to always pop up. I mean to do things that I never get to (or get to so much later it hurts). I create art in a flash. I am moved by images. I speak from truth. I encourage others to be who they are and shine. I hold my daughter and feel the urge to eat her whole (her entire being is delicious to me). I write every day...something. I am always excited when something goes well for another. I still dream (the kind of dreams you dream before you started believing dreams don't come true). I put my eye on something and I go all out for it (sometimes falling flat on my face). I don't take compliments well and often try to deflect it with humor. I love heels, but they hurt me after a while. I hate talking on the phone and no one ever wants a conference call with me (whew!). I love making people feel better about themselves (funny...it makes me feel better about myself). I love stories (telling them and hearing them). I think of a new thing to be when I grow up almost daily. I sing in the shower (it's the only place where I think I sound good~even if I don't). I love thinking. I pee with the bathroom door open. I don't own proper pajamas because I sleep naked. And, I am more comfortable with being me than I have ever been (this has snuck up on me...and, I am totally enjoying it).
So, as I contemplate strong women and who they are, and who I am, I am overcome with this possibility: I too may be a strong woman. Oh, I look nothing like how I originally pictured her to be. I am so much more "not together" than she. I still feel awkward in so many of my "adult" moments where I want to say the right thing with the right inflection in my voice (but don't quite cut it). But living has taught me one thing, I am never alone in how I feel. So if these are my assumptions of a strong woman and the realities of my being...maybe she too has parts to her that are not as together as perceived by all who know her. Maybe she feels similarly displaced (maybe not). Maybe it has nothing to do with what you do that makes you a strong woman. Maybe it has nothing to do with how you look. Maybe it has nothing to do with "bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan". Maybe it has nothing to do with how many pots you have on the many burners of your life. Maybe it has nothing to do with how many organizations you lead and how much respect you command from the generals and presidents. Maybe...just maybe, it has nothing to do with running the world (all before 5pm)...being everything to everyone. No one can do it all. Even when it looks like they can, they can't. This expectation, this picture I have constructed of a strong woman is the stuff of myths and fables. No one can live a myth and to put that charge over myself is ridiculous.
All I can do is be me, commit to growing and work with the limitations of my being...while honoring me. So, maybe being a strong woman has nothing to do with doing and everything to do with being: being who you ARE and loving her. Thus, every strong woman looks different...she has different habits, different items on her to do lists, different commitments, different desires...none more important than the others, just different. Some are quirky (like me), some are corporate, some have tans, some are pale, some have long flowy hair and look fantastic all the time, some have a bit of a rat's nest atop, some are bald, some walk, some sit, some cook, some order out, some drink wine, some eat chocolate (who am I kidding, we all eat chocolate), some bake, some taste, some are single, some are married, some want kids, some want to visit with yours, some write, some talk, some dance, some swing...
Some do many different things, but we ALL are endeavoring to be who we were born to be. To. Be!
As long as I am being me...I. Am. Strong ~no matter how weak I feel. So, I guess the t-shirt was talking about me...