Your Body Has Always Been Fine

musings

I think about my weight and my size and my fat and my thigh gap and my chicken wings and my double chin. Every day. I think about these things.

I think about the fact that when I was a teenaged I worried about the same things. At a smaller size. At a lower weight. At a thinner face and chin.

I think about how every single day as a women or a teenager and even a preteen has been a self-conscious rage inside myself. A narration of insecurity and hatred field at my body. A constant tune of how I was never good enough.

I also know, that every women feels the same way or has felt the same way. I also know that we rarely discuss the constant mental battering we do. To ourselves, sometimes to others,

Our culture has beaten an ideal into our mind that is impossible. Impossible because it changes all the time. Impossible because it’s manufactured. Impossible because the system is rigged in its favor.

Every day. Think about that. Every day we pick at our lives. Pulling at stitches and scans, sometimes to bleed, sometimes a reminder. We go under the knife more and more for thinner and slimmer and better. We dad and crash diet. We tell our friends to join the cult of Keto or vitamins or CrossFit or no carbs. We buy waist trainers and folds of fabric to hide.

None of this is “new” per se. Humanity has a long history of fashion with its own bindings and stitched to alter our looks. What is new is that we are constantly stewing in a brew of unrealistic ideals. What was once just movies and magazines is a constant pull for our attention. What was once books and parties is 24/7 advertising. We are born and raised in “everything about us is wrong – to be better we must…”

The body I hated at 16 changed at 26 and will continue to. Why couldn’t I love it at either stage? Why must I pick at it now?

I treat myself, and I know others do the same, with so much hatred at every stretch mark and bump. I fuss over numbers that only have meaning because we give meaning to them. We are unreasonably cruel to our existence and experiences.

The truth is that at size 0 or size 24 your body is fine. Your body is this amazing thing that keeps you alive and takes you places. Your body has free thoughts. It can create life. It is a beautiful thing. Yet we are so cruel and so hateful to it

This is joy to say be unhealthy, it is to say, be happy with yourself. Don’t sit in the mirror and hate. Exist and love and be in every moment. All of it is fleeting. When you’re 90 years old and covered in wrinkles, smile that you had experience that gave you the smile lines.

I remember my grandma looking in the mirror and bemoaning her aged skin, her crooked bones, her gray hairs. But I also remember always thinking she was so beautiful with her makeup and perfume and scarves, and most importantly her kindness and love that filled my childhood home.

The choice is yours. See your beauty for what you have, or live a life hating yourself. I’m personally choosing the former.

Embrace The Trainwreck

musings

I often find life to be a confusing ball of shit.

Meaning, I have one idea of how it all should be, and then reality takes a dump on my ideas.

It’s the universe. There are no rules or regularity. We have no control, only perceptions of control. While we can steer the sails on our ship, we also face storms and waves, and giant killer squids. Mostly we survive, sometimes we almost drown. We usually come out as stronger swimmers for the next round.

If anything, at my very wise age of 28 (insert sarcasm symbol), it is that I can either fret about every awkward thing I have done (this list is painfully long) or I can move on and sail to the next day. (I really like the idea of being on a ship, because sailing, and oceans, and mermaids that can be whatever fucking color, because mermaids…)

My life hasn’t been cushioned, instead I usually fall on my ass, dust myself off, and find the next patch of ice I can slip on. I have had to work for 95% of what I have on my own, but I also know that that last 5% has been vital to my survival. I cry a lot, because existential crisis’s are real. but I also laugh until tears run down my face because “A Day Without Laughter is a Day Wasted” ~Charlie Chaplin.

I am messy and insecure. I am overly confident and painfully awkward. But whatever. I can either self help myself into a coma or I can just take everything as it comes. My only real competition is myself and my success is measured on moving forward.

When I TRULY think about all I wanted to achieve by my late 20s, I realize I have done more than I truly thought I would get to. I have things together. The puzzle is a little lop sided, I slammed a few pieces in where they didn’t fit. There are still pieces missing, but it works. There is actually a coherent image of something resembling a normal existence.

I have learned that life is not an immediate success, some people get it right away, but that is so very rare. Instead, and probably for the best, we have to prove ourselves and fight forward, and make things happen. To not is to accept defeat, which is something I simply won’t accept.

All I am saying in this, is that maybe we all should be happier with ourselves and where we are. We should embrace our lives as just are, and accept the chaos as what is. I am the first to jump into learning and growing, but I am also okay with not killing myself with too many projects. I have learned to create boundaries and limits where needed. These are all vital for survival.

Overall, just love yourself and your journey and your mistakes. It’s okay, you are just learning, even at 20 and 40 and 90, you are learning.

Good Habits are Great – But Only if They Serve You

musings

Our society, whether because it’s grabbing for meaning, or because things feel out of control, is full of rules right now. There are rules on a better life, from diet to discipline, to minimalism, and tech purges. There are rules on raising other humans like avoiding NO and sugar and gluten. There are rules on TV and screen time, and how much you need to play, pee, eat, sing, and everything else you can imagine. Maybe it’s a reflection of our regimented tech days, or maybe we hate being out of control.

I hate being out of control. So I make up rules. Absurd rules that make no sense, like in what order I need to wash clothes, or make the beds, or vacuum the house. None of these are based on any needs or service to me. If I wash darks first there is still hot water for lights because the darks need only warm water. If I vacuum the upstairs first, it’s not like the carpet gnomes will report me. None of these mental “rules” make sense, they just exist because somewhere I got it in my head that I needed to do things in a specific way.

I bet you, if you analyzed your life, you have all kinds of rules you follow without even knowing. Maybe you wash your face and THEN brush your teeth, when in fact it would be better to brush your teeth to then remove any residue with face washing. Perhaps you always have a cookie with lunch, when in fact you don’t need the cookie or you could have the cookie whenever you want, maybe for breakfast even! Live wild, it’s invigorating.

To add to the mental notes you have all kinds of people telling you what to do to improve your life. They tell you how to eat, what makeup to wear, how to scoop cat litter, what car you should get, how to make yourself healthier, how yo exercise, how to destress, how to make more money….you get the idea. Everyone has a solution to something, and everyone thinks they’re right.

News Flash, they’re probably wrong.

They may be wrong because SCIENCE. They may be wrong because their goal is to just sell you something without you having any real need. They may be wrong because their methods really only work well for baby boomers, or people in their 30s. They may also just be full of shit. THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE FULL OF SHIT THAT WANT TO MAKE MONEY OFF OF YOU OR MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP OR SIMPLY THINK THEY’RE AMAZING WHEN REALLY THEY’RE NOT BUT THEY….you get the idea.

The truth is that at any time at least 70 different things want you to follow that trail, that ad, that video, that “alternative fact”. They want you to follow that lead into the land where you share a credit card number or buy into, at least emotionally, some doctrine.

Sometimes these things REALLY work, like Marie Kondo’s methods have helped thousands, if not millions. Kondo’s ideas have greatly improved my home and I love the tips, but I modified them to suit our household needs. I won’t follow her like she’s a god, but I will take what serves me and my family.

On the other hand I tried bullet journaling and freehand journaling and stencil journaling. I got so frustrated and pissed off with having another thing to do “on my list” that I gave it up. Nothing about it served me and my creative needs. However, my best friend finds it extremely soothing and cathartic, and she will most likely continue to journal until the day she dies.

For another example, a friend of mine bought her cat a wheel (like a cat hamster wheel-but for cars) and she was so excited to have this for her cat. Her cat HATED it, would not touch it, and the friend was out $300 for this internet contraption that some cats loved. It has been passed onto a second friend who is trying to convince their cat that the wheel is fun. (Here is a good tip: cats are assholes, and they won’t like anything you buy that’s expensive unless it’s YOUR bed, YOUR couch, and definitely the scratching post you bought for them. Give them cat nip, a box, and a wadded up receipt and you will have a happy cat, I promise.)

The point is, that when you are trying to “self-help” take time to explore what might actually bring you joy and what is a waste of time. Even if your best friend thrives, don’t expect the method to work the same for you.

Natural Born Control Freak

musings, Travel

I am a natural born stubborn control freak. STUBBORN. CONTROL. FREAK.

I am so stubborn that when I was a toddler I would get angry that I wouldn’t get my way and I would hold my breath until I passed out. My mom would ignore me, my grandma thought I was dying and would fuss over me. I gave up the stunt after I realized it wouldn’t get me very far.

I am so stubborn that I will be mid discussion with my husband and be looking up articles that validate my opinion and information I am sharing. This “discussion” has been known to go on for days…I can blame him, but it’s really my doing.

When I planned my first trip to Europe in 2010 I literally planned everything down to the hour and half hour. This included each museum, how to walk, where to eat, how long it took on the train/public transportation. It was planned to the wire. Then an Icelandic Volcano blew up and ruined the plan and I had to adjust everything.

Going into college I had a straight and narrow plan on getting my BA, getting my MA and getting the dream job. I would work my ass off and ta-da I would have it and in no time I could be at Conde Nast or the Times and one day I would move abroad and work for the Guardian.

 I thought a lot of things.

Life likes to shit on these thoughts and dreams.

It’s not that the universe, or life, or God, or Goddess, or Cat (whatever you’re into man) wants you to suffer, it’s that the universe is chaotic and nothing is promised. You can do everything the way you think you should, and it will all go to hell regardless. It’s just our existence on this blue marble.

I like to think I am a recovering control freak, but I think I am still more control freak than recovering. I will probably never be someone that can just show up on a rip with no plan or preconceived notions. Instead, I will show up with a folder of details, receipts, and schedules that I will refer to all week. I will have a mind full of facts and ideas and images and expectations as to what I should be experiencing on said trip. I will be well informed on food choices and activity prices, shoe and age requirements, cultural norms and common sayings. In many respects I am over prepared, in other respects I have spent a disgusting amount of time preparing myself for things that won’t go any set way.

I dislike chaos and disorganization, I dislike not being able to find things and things that go missing. I dislike the natural chaos of existence and I have done little things to try and shelter myself. I have a hard time committing to anything in a solid way, jobs, friendships, clubs, romances, etc. I WANT to, but I also fear if I come up with something more important to do, or a need, that if I can’t be there I am letting people down, and more importantly myself. This is not to say I don’t take risks, traveling is inherent risk, going to college is risk, my job is constant risk. I risk a lot, but it all is comfortable risk, risk that builds into something better. Emotional risk is something else.

Emotional risk, and inevitable failure, is heartbreak and tears and pain. It is not getting the job(s) you apply for, all 200 of them, and settling for a different field entirely. It is facing that marriage and long partnerships are not all wine and roses but something better, though scarier. It is learning to grow where you are planted, not demanding the perfect climate at the start. It is being vulnerable and real and going with chaos. It is the ultimate lemonade with lemons, no matter how sour they are, and no matter the sugar that is poured in the pitcher. It is daily getting up and trying to be better than the day before.

I am still learning in my recovery, I think each day my walls crumble a little more.

Demolish Your Comfort Zone

musings, Travel

It is said that the life you want is at the end of your comfort zone.

Maybe.

In fact, I think a perfectly happy life is in the comfort zone. That’s the college and the job and the spouse and the 2.5 kids. You retire by 60, you snuggle grandkids, and you die around 75. So it goes. The average. Yet where does one truly grow from that?

Sure you support the standard existence demanded of your kin and ancestors. Nothing wrong with that. Sure you don’t have struggles and strife. Nothing wrong with that.

Yet something is missing.

For many of us we want some sense of fulfillment, maybe it’s to be a great painter or dancers. maybe it’s playing the tuba. Maybe it’s simply being an awesome Girl Scout leader. Whatever it is, so many of us don’t take that first step.

Comfort zones hold us in place. Comfort zones ya we’re safe and happy when we’re missing something to nurture our souls. They are liars, they are the lizard brain self preserving. They are not a voice of true joy.

Beyond comfort zones means fulfillment in other ways. It means risk. It means failure. It means being frightened.

Yet when you push past the fear and confines of what you think your existence should be, there lays so many new opportunities.

The thing is, you will always be scared. You were probably scared when you applied to your job, scared on your first day. You maybe still fear being fired or dialing at a project. All of these are possible. And maybe you are frightened if something else happening, but the truth is that all of it could be okay. All of it could be truly wonderful.

This brings me to exploring the world. I am frightened when I get on a plane, worried about “what if”. But guess what, every plane trip has brought me new and thrilling adventures. I’m frightened to go to a new country. But guess what, each one has offered me something magical.

I’ve been frightened to try new foods, to do new jobs, to go to school, to try different careers. At times I’ve been in tears because I’m so frightened. But once I work it out, I face the fears, I’m ok. Each of these frights has pushed me forward on what has been a pretty awesome journey. I’m scared a lot, I don’t let it stop me.

In fact, my comfort zone is small. It’s my bedroom. My desk at work. My car. That’s about it my “safe” places. Those are sacred places I need, but I also know the in between brings me growth, helps me grow.

So, dear friends, push onwards. For bravery doesn’t mean that you aren’t afraid, it means you do it anyway.

Happy Travels!

“From a proud Gryffindor”

The Busy Bee….Doesn’t Get Her Writing Done

musings, Travel

The hardest part of blogging is that there are only so many hours in a day. There are only so many days in a week, in a year, in a decade. Meaning…. I struggle to spread myself in all of the directions I plan to be spread.

My biggest downfall is being a Queen Bee of busy. I run from work to the gym to home to the grocery store to picking up kids to visiting family to hiking to work to gym to….you all do the cycle. Some of you are single parents trying to make it all work. Some of you are parents of a healthy brood of youngins and some of you just work too damn hard.

We also have a society that demands blood from us at every second of every day. Work 50 hour weeks? oh well…make sure you do your daughter’s costume for the school play BETTER than your Pinterest reference. Have five kids? Well ALL of them better have a laundry list of extracurriculars. Have a job? make sure you do everything 20 times harder than everyone else with no extra pay and no extra benefits….then maybe you’ll get the raise.

Don’t get me wrong, hard work has never intimidated me, and at every job I have had I was quick to move up the ranks and leave my mark. However, if there is one thing I have learned through all of this, is that MY WORK, the work I do for me, is just as important. I have to draw the line on what society demands and what I need from me to be sane and happy. You should too.

I don’t mind the occasional 45 to 50 hour weeks, but I also make sure I take a day off here and there. I schedule myself three day weekends just to have fun. I run away to local towns for a day or two just for something different. So what if the house is messy? So what if my over hasn’t been cleaned in 6 months? The reality is that my time is more precious than playing perfect. My life, and actually living it, is more important than all the laundry being put away.

This is not an easy state of mind, and I stumble, and I make messes, and then I try again. As a “Type A” personality, I often get sidetracked in making sure things are better, organized, neat, clean. When in reality, some of the chaos is what makes us of this universe.

There is a good chance I will always struggle in this, and my lack of writing this month has shown that. However, at the end of the day I have to acknowledge that hard work is great, but sometimes you have to play, and with that is making time for yourself.

Happy Travels!

BusyBee