Monthly Archives: January 2015
Maybe it’s the new year, maybe it’s just Eric Carle and his fantastic books, maybe it’s just a little too much down time. But whatever it is, the photography project “We.Women” resonated with me and had me questioning “What do I see?”
The project looks at women striped down to their underwear looking at themselves in the mirror. The reaction ranged from not being able to look in the mirror to standing proud.
I tried to think about what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I thought about the morning. Did I even look in the mirror? It is quite early, but the bathroom isn’t that big. While brushing my teeth I must see myself. What do I think about while brushing my teeth? I think about nothing, I check Facebook. So I guess I don’t shy away from the mirror, but I certainly am not paying attention. I thought about the rest of my routine. I know at some point during the day I must actually look in the mirror. What do I think about when I look in the mirror? I started to think about getting ready for a date night. Those nights I study myself. I hate the outfit, I go through two or three, I change my hair, but then…Viola… I look pretty. But then again with an hour plus to get ready, it makes it much easier. I still have no idea how I see myself in the mirror day-to-day.
This bothered me. I know what I want to see. I want to see a strong, confident woman who is attractive. Ok, ok I really wanted to see Kate Hudson looking back at me, but there are no magic wands so I WILL take myself. But was I taking myself every morning and actually being confident in the girl looking back, or was I ducking her gaze, or was I simply not happy with her.
So now I would need to spend the next few days trying to figure out what I actually saw. I started to worry that the sheer knowledge of paying attention to my reflection, and knowing what I wanted to see would skew what I actually saw. It didn’t. The joy of being a working mom is that I can’t hold on to those thoughts for too long. By the next morning I had completely forgotten what I planned to do, and I had nothing fun to report from this experiment. Thankfully about one minute into my routine the following day I remembered. So I looked up while brushing my teeth.
Now let me set the scene. It’s 5:30 a.m., I’m freezing, I’m brushing my teeth, and I have not, nor will I shower for the day. In fact I haven’t showered since yesterday morning. To say the least I was not red carpet worthy. So I looked in the mirror.
I saw a tired woman. I saw the red on the check that I was sleeping on, I saw crazy bed head. I tamed my hair, kind of. I removed yesterday’s mascara that was all over my eyes. And still I just stared. Granted I wasn’t in my undies. I was in my husband’s nasty sweat pants that are oh so cozy and old, and an oversized Green Bay Packer’s shirt. I think the undies would have been way more attractive. But what I saw was me. Just me. I wasn’t ashamed. I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t scared. I was just me. And now I was running late.
As I quickly continued to get ready I tried to pay attention every time I caught myself in the mirror. I noticed I’ve gotten older, bigger, I slouched a hell of a lot more. I wished I had more time to shower, to do my hair, to do full make up, but I’m not trading that time for more sleep, so I don’t. So I’ll take what I saw- an everyday working mom on the run. The experiment was a bust. What was I going to write about?
The day went on, and I felt old, and ugly, and fat, and I found myself slouching. I decided that I would start getting up earlier to spend more time getting ready. That I would make an effort to do my hair, and stand up straight, and my mother’s voice started taking over in my head. And it all started with my morning. And again did I really want to write about this, even though clearly the experiment wasn’t a bust? I want to stop the cycle of us beating ourselves up, but I was doing just that. And well, then, I found another reason to beat myself up. So you get my point here. And the night ended in tears, and that I need a career change, and that I need to go the gym. And let’s just chalk it up to we all have these days. And we do. The power is to get up the next morning and move on. And I did. The next morning I focused on the positive in the mirror- it was an effort, but I did it. I put on my go-to outfit and felt strong and confident and had a good day. And I haven’t gotten up earlier to do my hair once. I put all of this out of my mind, and tried to figure out what to write about.
Then Sunday morning I woke up- still in those sweats, and the Packer’s shirt- and I hit the ground running to relax with my family. I got up and I quickly brushed my teeth, wished people happy birthday and checked to see what friends did last night, and then I got the laundry together, and I changed a diaper and I fed my daughter, and the next thing I know it’s 11 and my daughter wants to go outside. (Yes quite the run on sentence, but well, quite the run on morning) So I bundle her and I up and I am halfway down the street before I realize I’m still in my sweats and have not brushed my hair.
The point I am trying to make is that it is more important to live our lives than to worry about what we look like doing it. Of course I worry about my appearance, and of course I get hung up on my body. I mean I write about fashion, and body confidence every week. And still I find when I stare in that mirror for too long I find more and more things to beat myself up about- see above. I get hung up on those things and then I spend time focusing on that instead of living. So maybe that is why I like checking Facebook in the morning. Or maybe Facebook in the morning is a result of it being my only real-time to indulge. But I really do believe how you look can change your whole outlook on life. That being in clothes that make you feel good will- well- make you feel good which perpetuates the circle. Again see above. I believe that you don’t need the perfect Kate Hudson look and figure to become that strong, confident woman, that it can all happen by finding something that makes you feel pretty. However at the very end of the day it’s more important to live and enjoy life.