I participated in Ali Edwards’ Day in the Life for the first time this year and loved it. I’ve been on a crafting and scrap booking bender lately and I love it. Crafting is happy place therapy for me.
This was an enlightening project for me and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. There was something engaging and very introspective about taking photos and documenting the day, minute by minute. During dull parts of the day I had a fun project to focus on and just doing something different helped me have a better day than normal.
One of the most interesting parts of the project was finding beauty or something worth photographing in so many places. Noticing the trees starting to bloom, feeling the breeze in my hair, even looking at the shiny paint on the cars in the parking lot brought me joy.
I am full of gratitude for the colors in the world around me and the unexpected beauty and richness of my life.
I expected to be dissatisfied or bored with my photos and notes, but instead I saw how full my life is. I was worried that my day would look dull or I would be discouraged when I compared my photos to others who did the project. But actually, I felt less envious of others and was surprisingly happy with how my photos turned out. I did some slight staging of things and I did take and delete lots of selfies- but overall, I think this is a good peek into my life. There is more clutter, more driving, and more sitting in my routine than is reflected here.
By chance, this happened to be an interesting day; I got sent on a fun errand for work, actually had a new recipe planned for dinner, and the house was surprisingly clean. A Day in the Life is such a change of pace -documenting the everyday minutiae instead of big events. It allowed me to be present in my life, to search for the magic in the mundane.
By the end of the day I felt tired and full. I had inhabited my body, not just my brain. My mind was full of words, colors, textures, and light. I felt grateful, humbled to be given so much, and content to live my love-filled life.
I watched a super interesting documentary yesterday called “Women aren’t funny” and it made me feel so frustrated. Women ARE funny… of course, it shouldn’t even be a question. But after watching the documentary, it appears that most people don’t think women are funny. Or if they are funny, they aren’t attractive and/or they had possibly been molested. (Yes. I’m not exaggerating, that is a real theory.) After watching it I looked up podcasts that feature women and subscribed to several that seemed promising. I want to do something to help out all those funny ladies out there who -like me- are hilarious and have a va jay jay. Did you know that those things are not mutually exclusive?!
One of the podcasts that I’ve been enjoying is The Dork Forest and it’s full of funny women and I like hearing about other people’s hobbies and crafty things. On one episode Janeane Garofalo was talking about how hard it is for women to find roles or if roles are available they are looking for a “new girl” someone young and attractive, a new face and body for men to interact with and daydream about. It feed into the frustration leftover from Women Aren’t’ Funny and wound up getting angry. Why in 2015 are we still dealing with these issues!? While on the surface it appears that things are getting better and we are closer to true equality than ever, with just a little digging the truth comes to light. Women are still considered to be secondary to men and to inherently have less worth. It really makes me angry and, very ironically, it makes me feel powerless to affect change.
I’ve decided I don’t really care if I become “that girl.” The annoying one that talks about feminism and brings women’s rights into every conversation. If I continue to try to please people all the time nothing will change. You’ve been warned.
I’ve successfully completed my October Dress Project and I couldn’t be happier. I got a little bored and frustrated at the end, but I stuck it out. I’m not sure if I will do it again, but I learned a few things about myself. It took a bit of bravery for me to participate in something that drew attention to my body and I have to say that I feel a more comfortable in my own skin now. While I did get comments on a few of my outfits- especially the last 4 days when I wore some wackier things- no one really noticed or cared what I wore or how I looked. This is something I need to have tattooed on my forehead or at the very least engraved on my mirror. I am the only one that cares how I look. My husband and my mom think I am beautiful and my friends often have compliments for me. But I am the one that makes a big deal out of my physical appearance. For years I have hated my body, my face, my shape, my height… and the only thing I have gained is depression and bad habits.
Stop the hate, Kate, it’s self-destructive and it benefits no one!
Besides some self-love, the best lesson I learned from my ODP was to stop waiting. In the immortal words of Sound Mound (watch until 3:30, worth every minute), “It’s never too late for now! “ Time to stop waiting and do it now, wear it now, have fun now. When I was a preteen I loved to go crazy with my clothes and accessories. I carried a hot pink Minnie Mouse lunch box, loved to mix and match bright colors and patterns, and always had at least two colors on my braces (usually corresponding to the month of the year: red and green Christmas braces, black and orange for Halloween). One time my teacher asked me in front of the class if I knew I was wearing two different earrings. “Of course,” I laughed! One was a hot pink crescent moon and the other was a blue star. Stars and moons match, right? (Gurl, my style was the bomb in the 90s. Side pony tail with a hot pink and turquoise scrunchie? Wicked! )
Somewhere along the way I stopped having fun and started feeling obligated to be beautiful to look at. I believed that I could be anything I wanted, I could do anything I set my mind to. But I should look good doing it. You can change the world, but there’s no need to look ugly while you go about it. You can be president of the United States, but you better do it while wearing heels and lipstick. I bought into the objectification myth; the myth that being beautiful is the most important and the most POWERFUL thing a woman can be. So often as women we are told that our appearance is our currency. It may be true that you will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, but I’m hunting eagles and the flies are just a nuisance.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to be beautiful or even wrong to take time to look good. But what is wrong is believing that our looks are the best thing we have to offer. For so long I’ve felt that because I am overweight or not the most beautiful girl in the room, I don’t have the right to say what I am thinking or to act on my ideas. I put myself in the place where fat and ugly girls “should” be- the sidekick, the funny friend, not the main character in my own life.
Here’s what I’m learning: when I focus less on my physical flaws I can appreciate everything else I can offer.
When I’m not estimating the weights of the other women in the room, I can brainstorm and share my ideas in a meeting at work. When I’m not making myself feel like I need to be feminine and delicate and not take take up too much space, I can make jokes and laugh loudly and have fun. I’m not here to be a pretty face for you to look at or a curvy body for you to desire. I am here to be myself, to have strong loves and overwhelming emotions that spur me to action, and to be missed when I leave the room.
Renee Engeln says that you cannot chronically monitor your body’s appearance and also be fully present in the world. I’ve decided that participating in my life and the lives of those that I love is worth so much more than looking good all the time. I’m choosing to be present and to be real. And if my soul is so filled with love that joy shines from my eyes, my smile lights up my face, and compassion comes quick and often- I will be gorgeous.
I have been reading some of my old blog posts and I am shocked how by bad things were going. I was really depressed, frighteningly so, but some of my best writing came out of that hard time. I have unmired myself from many of those issues, so I haven’t felt the pressing need to write myself out like I did then. But I have been missing the writing and the catharsis of self expression.
So- I am making a new blog solely focused on my writing. Certainly, motherhood, marriage, depression and other topics will come into play again but they won’t be the focus. I think I will tweak some of my earlier writing and blog posts and add them here after they are cleaned up, but I want this blog to be organized and representative of my creative self. I am working towards becoming a writer that actually writes. I am less of a tortured artist, but hopefully not totally devoid of talent. Thanks for joining me on the journey.