Monthly Archives: January 2015

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?

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?”

We.Woman

We.Woman by Neringa RK

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.

Sunday morning in my Packer's sweatshirt

Sunday Morning Sweats

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.

Top Weighs to Lose Weight

We already know the tried and true secrets to losing weight, I’m not sharing anything new:

1. Work Out

2. Eat Healthy

Yeah, yeah, yeah!! I say this as I stick a blissfully, yummy thumbprint cookie, that my husband made, in my mouth. We’ve all heard it. We all know it. “Don’t diet, make a life style change”– BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!

But let’s also all face it, I bet all of our New Year’s resolutions are filled with

1. Make it to the gym 5 days a week

2. Add veggies to every meal

3. Cut carbs

4. Etc., etc., etc.,

I love the holidays and part of it for me is the indulgences. And I don’t give myself a hard time about it, I embrace it. I’m not missing out! Let me tell you about my bacon cashews…heaven. Or those thumbprints- and I don’t even like cookies, or at least I didn’t pre baby. And don’t even get me started on the cheese plates or the mashed potatoes. Do you hear my salivating, this is my foody heaven. And just to be clear you will miss out on the glory of all this yumminess if you beat yourself up about it. So I don’t!

The Best Thumbprint Cookies!

Yummy Thumbprint Cookies

But then the first rolls around and reality checks in. Or maybe you did beat yourself up every night and reality never left. And we start making our resolutions.

This WILL be the year that we lose weight. This WILL be the year that we get healthy.

And we feel it to our core, in our bones. And then the 5th or the 12th, or the 30th rolls around and life has caught up. We have work, we have children, we have stress, we abhor working out, and it falls apart. We beat ourselves up again, then let it go, and then beat ourselves up once again. And well, we have all been part of this cycle for far too long.

I’m hate the f#@!ing cycle. But I also hate working out, I love food, and I love my life, and I love me. But still I’d much prefer to be skinny and the real thing is: my body feels like hell. I’m dragging with or without sleep and with our without caffeine. I can feel the extra weight. I can feel that the machine that is me, is in need of repair. I feel it when I carry my daughter up to bed and I lose my breath. I feel it when I should be happy, but I’m depressed. I feel it when I should have the energy to stay up past 10:00, but fall asleep at 9 and because I was too lazy to make dinner and ate Cheetos instead. So I’m not really sure how to reconcile all this.

I say to hell with making resolutions that sound like rules, instead

My resolution is simply stated: I will respect myself. I will listen to my body. I will pay attention to my moods.

Banish the voice that says you don’t deserve it. You do! I do! We all do! I know it’s hard to get that voice out of heads. We cling to it, it must be the truth. IT’S NOT! Force yourself to tell it to shut the f#*! up. If we can at least quiet it, then all these resolutions or rules or whatever we want to call them become easier.

And the rules will still come, and of course they will include the annoying “eat healthy, work out”, but I will do it for different reasons. I will do it out of respect for myself.

My old definition of “respecting” myself by sitting on the couch with a pizza and chips and doing nothing because I deserve it makes me feel blah and guilty. So I’m tossing it out. Not that I won’t do it, I will just call it what it is. A lazy day- and those are ok. I just choose to make those the exception. But respecting myself shouldn’t be the exception that should be the daily. So for the daily I chose to tell the voice to shove it and fill my life with inspiration, things I really want, things I care about, and taking care of me. Doing those things is easy, and simple and can be fun (well most of it).

Don't look for inspiration in signs, see it everywhere

Find Inspiration everywhere, it’s there for the taking

Which brings me to those rules we tend to call resolutions, instead I call them

How to accomplish this simply stated, but not so simply accomplished, resolution of respecting myself and telling that voice I’ve had for 36 years, it’s my turn:

  1. I will add inspiration to my life
    1. I will do my daily al anon readings in Courage to Change and One Day at a Time. Yes I’m a proud member and I find many of the readings are great for any life struggles.
    2. I will hoard cheesy, and not so cheesy inspirational photos, stories, and sayings- Yay Pinterest.
    3. I will be grateful for all that I have. It’s so easy to forget what we already have. But we should focus on it.
  2. I will treat myself with the things I really want
    1. I will take some serious time for myself. I’ll get the baby sitter, I’ll have a date night with my husband, I’ll spend the day with girlfriends, I’ll spend actual time with my daughter, and I will take some plain old me time. (Much better than a pizza any day)
    2. I might even buy a new pair of shoes, or a new bag, or even some new cloths- all within budget of course.
  3. I will focus on the work I truly care about
    1. I will use some of that me time, and write here once a week.
    2. I will embrace the passion of what I do.   There is so much inspiration and gratefulness in styling for me.
  4. And…I will add physical health into my life-Yeah, yeah,yeah- it’s here, you knew it would be.
    1. I will work out when I naturally get up early even if it’s just 10 minutes
    2. I will eat a healthier
    3. And I won’t beat myself up when I have day when I don’t do any of this

Not so scary when looking at it this way, and certainly a lot more fun. I hope all your resolutions are something you can enjoy in some way.   Happy New Year!