Monday, February 12, 2018

Swimsuit Shopping: The Original Suidical Ideation

A repost from a couple years ago. Because the dang catalogs are arriving again. And it's all still very relevant. And I miss blogging. 

Swimsuit catalogs are arriving in the mail. And not a moment too soon. YAY swimsuit season. (I mean, it's months and months too soon if you live in Cedar City, Utah. But, I digress. And I also like to pretend like I may get whisked away on a tropical vacation at any time.)  

There's just one teensy, weensy thing: 
I hate buying swimsuits. I hate trying on swimsuits. I hate wearing swimsuits. 

I want to say that the last time I felt good in a swimsuit was about...4 children and two decades ago. (And really I probably was too stupid, young and self-conscious to feel good in a swimsuit even then. Foolish girl.)

My youngest child is 8. I think I might've finally hit my pre-pregnancy weight when he was...maybe 4. (And that was my pre-pregnancy with HIM weight. Not my pre-childbearing weight.) 

I started eating better and exercising more a few years ago. I am [almost] to the point where I {sometimes} feel fairly confident about how I look in (most) clothes. 

Do you know what looking good in clothes does not translate into? That's right. Looking good in a swimsuit. 

The first catalog to arrive was Victoria's Secret. This is the suit I want:

OK. That's a lie. I mean, the swimsuit is cute as heck, but let's be honest: I could give a crap about the suit. What I really want? To LOOK like that in a swimsuit. Any swimsuit. I'm not picky.

I was feeling pretty daring last year and thought maybe I could pull off one of those cute high-waisted numbers like this:

Because I think possibly 2 inches of my stomach might actually be free of PTBW (Post Traumatic Baby Wounds.) THAT specific 2 inches. So I ordered one online. I even got it two sizes bigger than what I normally wear. (Because fool me once, China...) And then it arrived. What they didn't tell you? Apparently that model's torso is exactly 6 inches long. From collarbone to navel. Because that gap was more like 18 inches. (And I DEFINITELY have PTBW on that part of my stomach.) Also, that they don't make this swimsuit in regular people sizes. Because an XL fit my 5'6" 104 lb 13-year-old. EXTRA LARGE!

The DownEast catalog came next. And there's some really cute suits in there too. But again, everything looks cute on a 98 lb 20-year-old. I mean, come on...

Who do they think they're fooling?? Women with thighs like this, do NOT buy swimsuit bottoms like this. Oh, you didn't know those were her thighs? You thought those were two loose threads hanging down? Yeah, me too.

I know exactly what you're thinking. I am setting feminism back 80 years by whining and moaning about how I look in a swimsuit.

Because I should be judging myself on how I nurture, and love, and think, and create.


I wish I was setting women back 80 years.

Because then we'd all be wearing swimsuits like this:

And I'm pretty sure I could ROCK that look.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

She Used to Be Mine

"What does not kill me makes me stronger." So says Nietzsche. And Kelly Clarkson. And countless others. 

I don't know quite how I feel about that. The jury is still out.
What does not kill us makes us...something. Survivors, at least. 

Does it leave us unchanged? Certainly not. Stronger? Better? Sometimes. 
And sometimes sadder. And weaker. And emptier. 

But always different. Altered. Transformed. Never quite the same. 

All of us are changed every day by what we experience ourselves; by what we see others experience. It is impossible to get through this life without change. Without adjusting...adapting.

Sometimes change is good. It can mean growth and metamorphosis. Sometimes change is less positive: dark and confusing.
Almost never is change easy, though. 

And sometimes we long for the person we used to be. A person we remember. But is no longer who we are.

There are things about my old self that I miss. I have thought a lot about it lately. A friend sent me this song a few weeks ago and it perfectly sums up how I have been feeling.

I miss her. That girl who used to be mine. She had fortitude, and hope. Bravery, and determination. Strength. Steadiness. Tenacity. She looked forward with anticipation. Expected the future to bring good things.

She was confident. And proud. And believed in her ability to conquer the world. One day at a time. She could take a hit. And she always got back up.

She is not me. And maybe she's still in there somewhere. Maybe she's gathering strength. Maybe she's the phoenix waiting to rise from the ashes. Maybe.

Or maybe she's gone. Replaced by someone older, perhaps wiser. Or perhaps just tired and a little bit defeated. 

One thing is for sure. I do miss her. And maybe if I'm lucky, I'll get to meet her again. 

The fact that someone wrote these lyrics. And a friend who is struggling with her own difficulties thought of me when she heard me courage to keep going. To try to reclaim what I can. And to make the best of what remains.

Because I know that, even without the girl that I knew, I am still not alone.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What if...

I won't lie. I am sad. And worried. Worried that hate and divisiveness are ruining our society, our nation. I am sad that intolerance is being ignored, accepted and-worst of all-embraced.

I am sad because I feel small. And helpless against forces so much stronger, larger and more widespread than my tiny sphere of influence. The momentum alone of these powerful forces makes them feel immutable. Unstoppable. 

I am weak. I cannot fight against them alone and hope to emerge victorious. My voice is tiny. Insignificant amidst a cacophony of fear and hate. My reach is inadequate. My ideas: modest. Uncultivated.

But I cannot live in fear. I refuse to live in antipathy. And I can't help but wonder what could be possible. What if.

What if we could be as critical with our own thoughts and beliefs as we are with those of others?

What if we could admit that biases and prejudices and discrimination exist? And seek to collapse the institutions that perpetrate them. But first to examine ourselves: our own thoughts and behaviors. And to break down our own misconceptions.

What if we had the difficult conversations that need to be had? About equality. And privilege. And wealth. And opportunities. 

What if we did it without getting defensive? Without blaming. Without evading accountability. With only a desire to mend and repair.

What if instead of building walls we built bridges? Of understanding. Of acceptance. Of cooperation. Of genuine unselfish concern.

What if we truly felt responsible for taking care of the people around us? All people. 

What if we showed them respect and validation and understanding?

What if we accepted that people have not lived our lives? Had our experiences. And we seek to understand them instead of insulting them based on our own limited observations.

What if each of in capacity and authority...irrelevant in the general scheme of things...what if we sought to make the world a better place? 

Not the whole world. It's too overwhelming to think of. 
Too tremendous a task to fathom.

No. Not the whole world. Just ours. The tiny one we inhabit. The few people we come in contact with. The limited circle we interact with.

What if we make the changes in ourselves that we want to see around us?

What if we loved? What if we cared?

Can we change the world? I don't know.

But what if we can.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Daughter Dearest

21 years ago today, everything changed for me. A beautiful, enchanting creature came into my life and I suddenly became responsible for someone other than myself.

I was only 21 at the time. I had no idea what I was doing. I still don't. 

I do know that there has been nothing more difficult, magnificent, complex, agonizing, rewarding, daunting or awe-inspiring than these years.

I know that I became the person I am through trying to navigate the often tumultuous, sometimes placid, always challenging waters of parenthood.

Half a lifetime ago, I became a person who learned to:

* Be a safe place at a time when I never felt more vulnerable

* Hold back my own choked sobs while desperately trying to soothe another  

* Put the needs of someone else so far ahead, that hers became mine

* Feign knowledge. And patience. And strength.

* Calm fears with a serenity I seldom felt

* Feel every heartache, every victory, every anguish of someone else more keenly than I felt my own

* Long for the right words to say, but make due with all the wrong ones

* Know that giving up was never an option, even when it's all I wanted to do

And because of it all my life is richer. Fuller. More miraculous and amazing than I ever imagined was possible.

I got someone who loves me for my insufficiencies, my weaknesses, my failings. Who believes in me as much as I believe in her.

Happy birthday, Fantasia. Happy birthday to the girl who changed my world. 

No gift I could offer could compare to what you have given to me. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Those Who Love

Life is fleeting. Death, a certainty. Each of us is but a single one of hundreds of billions who have lived, are living, or will someday live on Earth. 

Knowing this, then, is there anything we can really do to leave the world a better place? 

To make it greater than it would have been without us? 

To truly have an influence that makes a difference? 

I believe we can. And I think we do it through the way we love. Through a commitment to care. To nurture. To comfort. To provide rescue, relief and reprieve. To serve without judging. To give freely and generously with no expectation of return. 

This alone, like the flapping of a butterfly's wings or a stone dropped in a pond, creates the breath of a breeze; ripples that reverberate beyond what we can measure. 

This is how the world is changed.

My oldest daughter lost her beautiful Gramma 'Rina last month. It was too soon. She was far too young. Her time on Earth cut tragically short. There was surely more she had to give. To do. To be. People left to touch. Journeys left to travel.

But while she lived, she loved with her whole heart. With a ferocity far greater than her tiny stature. With a zeal and a power that almost overwhelmed. She loved and she gave. She brought laughter and light to all who knew her. 

She inspired. She elevated. She transformed.

She left behind family and friends who are shocked and shaken, despaired and anguished. Sisters, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and more who will feel the void she left each and every day. 

My daughter is one of those people. I am one of those people.

But I will take comfort in the fact that Marina made a difference. In my life and in the lives of countless others.

She lived. She loved. And the world was changed.