“I am woman, hear me roar…” ~ Helen Reddy

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Photo by Nadine Wuchenauer on Pexels.com

So, I’m very confused.  Yes, I know it’s not a new state for me to be in so maybe I should have said that I’m confused even more than usual.  However, that’s a very confusing sentence and I’m confused about whether or not I should have stuck a comma in there somewhere, but anyhoot, confused is what I am.  😀

Answer me this:  why are we constantly being bombarded by ‘motivational quotes’ and people’s posts that say we’re all beautiful and wonderful and talented and special, etc. but then when we say it about ourselves, we’re called narcissistic?  In other words, I’m supposed to ‘think’ I’m all of these incredible things, but if I say that I’m any of these things well then by golly, I’m being conceited.  Really peeps, does that make sense to you?

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When did it become such a bad thing to say good things about ourselves?  I always give compliments to people and I mean every one of them I say.  I tell my students how amazingly wonderful they are (which they really are…funny thing:  every single semester for 25 years I have gotten the BEST students in the college in my classroom 😃)…I tell my son how incredibly talented he is (his photos blow me away 😮), I tell ma how beautiful she is (and she is…except for the way she does the sides of her hair…”Ma: for the love of all that is holy, don’t comb them back, just scrunchy them and let ’em go.  Just sayin’ 🙄), and the list goes on.  But if I compliment myself?

Look at what we say to people who do:  “Well, you must think a lot of yourself!”  “You’re full of yourself, aren’t ya?”  “Who do you think you are?”  “Don’t get above your raisin!”  “Remember, pride goeth before a fall!”  “Gee…you’re so self-centered!”  And on and on and on.

What the hell?  So, let me get this straight:  I’m supposed to take in the messages that I’m beautiful in my own way, understand that I have talents and things to offer, feel good about myself and have high self-esteem, but if I SAY any of these things are true, I’m pretty much looked at as an egotistical maniac?  Okey Dokey.

C’mon peeps.  I’m here to tell you something you might never have heard before.  Are you ready?  It’s OK to have pride in yourself and to talk positively about yourself and feel good about yourself.  So there.  Got it?

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I’ll start it:  I’m beautiful.  Well wait a sec…let me rephrase that:  I’m a 6 out of 10 after I take my shower, wash my face with micellar water (the freaking best thing ever…I’m going to buy stock in Garnier 😳), blow dry my shampooed/conditioned/twice rinsed/gelled hair…curl it up with my curling iron…apply my ‘blur’ moisturizer to lessen the looks of my laugh lines (a.k.a. wrinkles)…put my mascara on with a double coat and then use my eyelash curler which looks like a little S & M device…put oil absorbing powder on my face since I’m a shiny person…put on my all day lipstick (L’oreal  #50)…slather gloss over that…pick out my clothes and make sure I have something on that’s dark because I’m a ‘winter’😳…and there.  I’m beautiful.  Sorta.  🙄 (Now…I’ll bet you each a donut that ma writes a comment to me on FB saying how beautiful I am just because she’s so freaking sweet ♥).

So please Pinterest, quit telling me I am every time I open your app.  I’m average (or a tad under) but I’m OK with that.  I’m ok saying I look ok instead of saying I look like crap when someone compliments me:  “Hey Kristi…looking good!” (I heard that once…a LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG time ago but I digress).  “Hey, thanks!”  So many of us women will say:  “Aww, no I don’t!  I didn’t get much sleep last night!”  Or, they’ll point out specific things.  “My hair just won’t do anything today!”  It’s almost a given to counteract a compliment instead of agreeing with it.  BUT, we’re told that we ARE beautiful so what are we to do?

Another one:  I’m talented.  Not in the way I want to be:  on stage singing and dancing with Taron while he whirls me across the floor at Carnegie Hall, but in other ways.  Like, I’m a talented professor.   “OMG, Kristi…quit bragging!”

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Why?  I’m a really fucking great teacher (sorry ma, but remember that I said how sweet you are 😳).  It’s what I’ve wanted to be all of my life and I’m very very proud of going from being a high school ‘D’ student who barely graduated, to a Professor who earned her Master’s Degree while being a full-time mama to a 1 year old son and maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA.  School is my thing, peeps, and I’m really good at it.  📚

Is that bad for me to say?  Why?  Aren’t we supposed to have pride in what we do?  You know, I was a really fucking great waitress too while I was in college.  I didn’t have the boobs to help me get better tips, but my service was great.  Hello!  I’m bipolar and being a manic waitress is awesome!  Water glasses were filled immediately…I could handle 10 tables at once…I was quick to bring extra ranch dressing (everyone always wants more ranch…Hmmm.), etc.

And on another note…why is it wrong to be self-centered at times?  My sweetie neighbors are wonderful.  WONDERFUL.  (R, if you’re reading this, I have another succulent cutting for you 🌵).  The guy has been working hours and hours restoring a car and he’s an amazingly talented man…the car will be perfect!  We were yakking over the fence the other night and he said he felt selfish restoring this car for himself because of all the time it was taking.  I said:  C, it’s not selfish to do what you want!  To work on something that’s so important to you.

And it’s not!  What’s selfish about pursuing things you want to do?  Eating what you want to eat?  Saying no to commitments you don’t want to go too?  I’m not saying you should be so self-absorbed that you are shutting out other people, but I’m tired of treating others better than myself.  Tired of allowing them the leeway I don’t give myself.  Guess what?  I’m going to start being a bit more selfish.  And I think that’s healthy!

Look my sweetie grasshoppers, I’m not saying you should be an egotistical asshole.  But I do think you should have pride and self-assurance and a sense of being pleased about who you are and what you have accomplished.  I think it’s OK to be your own cheerleader.  To be your own support.  To be your own fan.  (I bought a fan the other day and was blown away by the price.  Get it?  I’m funny too! 🙄).

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I saw this quote on Pinterest:  “The more you like yourself, the more other people don’t.”  What the fuck?  You told me to love myself!  That I’m wonderful!  BUT, if I LIKE myself, others won’t?  So, using my deductive reasoning skills: if I actually LOVE myself, others will hate me.  Right?  Sheesh.

Why are we like this?  Why do we preach to others about how important it is to build up a high self-esteem and feel worthy and have pride in ourselves, but then put people down when they achieve it and show it?  I’m done doing that.

Look, I’m 53 years old (blech 👵) and it’s time I started saying I’m a pretty cool person.  No, I don’t think I’m awesome or amazing or the ‘best’.  But I do think I have a lot to offer…have some talent…have some things about me that are pretty boss (like my use of groovy slang and emojis) and by golly, it’s time to be proud of who I am.  For all of us to be proud of who we are.  Out loud.  🎺

Kristi xoxo

 

“I feel pretty… Oh, so pretty…” ~ West Side Story

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So, I know you won’t believe this when I tell you but I am absolutely speechless.  Yes, it’s one of the very few times in my life that I simply don’t know what to say and I’m trying right now to sort out my thoughts and figure this whole thing out.  (Ma and O…don’t get too excited, I’m sure my normal speaking ability will be back very soon…probably by the time you read this).

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Anyhoot, I’ve been reading articles concerning the image we have of ourselves and come to find out that because we (women mostly, but men as well) use filters so often on our selfies before posting them to social media, our brains get ‘used’ to seeing that more perfect version of ourselves and we then judge ourselves much more harshly when we see our unedited selves in the mirror.  You know, this really just makes sense though, doesn’t it?  When I see my son, I don’t necessarily see the ‘man’ in front of me…I see the boy he’s been throughout his life and his face is a composite of all of those images.  I see what I’ve been ‘used’ to seeing throughout the years.

Think about it, we take a selfie…determine that we need to fix it since it looks too real…and then post the ‘perfected’ image online.  Later, we wash up, look in the mirror, and think blech.  Then, we start to get down about ourselves since we’re so far from the perfect version everyone is clicking the like button for.  So, next time we make sure to filter just as well if not a tad bit more, because those likes just feel so damn good to us, even though it’s creating yet a more unattainable image of our own face that in reality, there’s no way we can match.  Then we want to feel better and get some validation so snap, filter, post, and get the love.  The cycle becomes a vicious one and we are now seeing tons of research showing that it’s a dangerous one as well.

Take a look-see at this (Forbes, March 23rd, 2020):

“In 2018, researchers discovered 55% of surgeons are now seen by patients looking to improve their appearance for selfies (up from 42% in 2015) and that the pervasive nature of filtered images regularly trigger body dysmorphia.”

Paul Nassif (Hollywood plastic surgeon on Botched said this:  “Public thinking has changed.  More people are embracing fillers and botox to recreate the effect of filters and other photo editing apps.  It’s becoming very normal.”

Now read that again, grasshoppers.  People are wanting plastic surgery to LOOK BETTER FOR SELFIES POSTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA.  Selfies!  Are you kidding me?  Social media is becoming so strong of an influence in our lives that we’ll go under the knife or needle to look good on our feed?  A FEED ON A SCREEN THAT’S SUPPOSED TO BE FILLED WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO LOVE YOU?  (Get ready ma…) but are you fucking kidding me?

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Little too much editing there, John

No, it’s not a joke.  First, let me admit to you that of course I’ve used filters!  When they first came out they were a God send…right?  My zits (yes, I’m 50+ years old and still have zits 🙄) and wrinkles could be hidden and I had the face I have always dreamed about.  Clear, smooth skin and looking like I had had a glamour make-over from the 90’s (but better…no big hair and denim jackets with bandanas).  I loved it!  I would feel so good about myself when others would say “Wow…looking good, Kristi!”  Until I’d take a shower, look in the mirror right after, and think ‘why in the hell can’t I look more like the pics I take?’  I’ll tell you why…because I was posting the perfect me…not the real me.  And some of them were REALLY bad perfects!  Like when the filter looked super on my face, but then every other part of me looked ‘real’ and things didn’t match up, but I liked seeing my skin flawless to the point I had no pores and was ready for a mag cover.

Filtered me and ma…REAL me and ma.

Did you know that millennials will take about 25,700 selfies in their life and that 1:5 kids want to grow up to be social media influencers (thank God they have a great career in mind as opposed to being a doctor or educator 🙄)?  And think about the selfies…what if that millennial put a dollar in the bank for every selfie?  That’s a nice little nest egg to build up.  P.S.  Did you know that in 2015, more people died taking selfies than from shark attacks?  And, since 2011, there have been 259 deaths which are now called ‘selfiecides’?  (Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care)  SELFIECIDES, grasshoppers…people putting them in positions where they are risking their life for a picture of themselves.  I can’t find the right words for this…so…(dammit, sorry ma again) what the fuck?  Are we that freaking narcissistic it’s worth our lives to get “the” shot that garners so much attention?

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From Boudoir Alaska

There’s also a new ‘disorder’, if you will, being called “Snapchat Dysmorphia” which is filtered pics causing negative effects on a person’s self-esteem and body image.  Then this can literally trigger the much more serious Body Dysmorphic Disorder…an actual mental illness that the The Mayo Clinic describes as this:  the BDD person INTENSELY focuses on how they look and their body image…checking themselves in the mirror repeatedly, constantly grooming themselves for hours everyday and then seeking reassurance, all of which is causing significant distress and an inability to function in everyday life.  The perceived flaw(s) (remember…they are perceived and not real…what they see in the mirror or in selfies isn’t the reality of the image there).  Sometimes it’s a certain body part the person intensely and obsessively focuses on, like their nose or lips, and others might have a more general issue with their body.

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Darcy Silva (90 Day Fiance) with multiple plastic surgeries

OK…let’s get this straight:  a ‘disorder’ that originates from SOCIAL MEDIA SELFIES and can literally trigger a mental illness which can lead the person to get multiple plastic surgeries, avoid crowds and gatherings because they feel so ugly, and spend so much time obsessing over their flaw that their relationships and work suffer.  This is bad, peeps.

When I was growing up in the 70’s and 80’s (best decade ever!), we didn’t have social media (and gasp…actually survived!).  The ads I saw might have had some ‘airbrushing’ but they weren’t photoshopped and still looked ‘normal’…some wrinkles, freckles, pores (!), etc.  But in 1990, photoshop started being used on the pics we see, and it’s become the norm in ads and pics of celebrities…some estimates say 99.9% of celebs use it for pics they release.  So…the people we look up too for body image, beauty, styles, fashion, trends, etc. aren’t who they appear to be.  But by golly, we want to look like them.

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70’s Ad…stupid but not ‘perfect’

You know, once I started reading about all of this I decided I had enough problems (😳) and was tired of looking in the mirror and saying ‘blech’.  I’ve worked so hard to get strong after my breakdown and have come a long way.  Three years ago this summer (actually beginning around this time), I was incapable of functioning, tried to end my life, and began seriously cutting.  Now I’m on a mood stabilizer, running, doing yoga (and now have ‘guns’!  Hello, tank tops!), living alone and fixing up my house all by myself (including walking around on my roof!), learning new hobbies, doing art, and really starting to see my worth and feel STRONG.  Why would I want to back-pedal and feel bad about myself again because of the expectations I have of how I should look?

So, when I had a pic of myself I wanted to post (which actually is a bit upsetting to think I feel the need for others to periodically see my face…you’ve seen it once, you don’t need to see it again to know who I am for piss sakes 😳) I decided to not use filters ever again.    No more.  I’ve posted the real me.  Yes, I have wrinkles because I’m 53.  I have sun spots because I’ve always been a tomboy and outside a lot.  I have zits and clogged pores (although the oil cleansing method is a god-send), and the list of flaws goes on (I sound like a real catch, huh?).  But here’s the thing, grasshoppers:  what I see in my pic is what I see in the mirror and it’s become much more normal for me now.  It’s me.  I feel so much better about the real me than I previously had, and putting it out there freed me from that weight of perfection.  I no longer wear make-up except for mascara (thanks for the droopy eyelids, ma) and lipstick.  Nothing on my skin…which has actually made it look better in the long run.  I used to never go out without gunk on my skin.  Now I do, all the time, and I feel like I’m just being me.

Peeps, we need to let the girls and women in our lives (and men too!) that they don’t need filters to look good.  They don’t need to erase, plump, blur, straighten, make thinner, make bigger, lighten, darken, or anything else to be beautiful.  They need to learn that being themselves is enough.  Instead of saying how gorgeous they are in their photoshopped pics, we need to tell them how great the editing is, but how they are beautiful already.

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But I know this isn’t going to help much though.  There is too much social media influence in our culture for the younger generations, and they are going through the majority of their growing up years seeing only ‘perfect’ pics (even of their parents) and building the cognitive framework in their mind that flawless is the only option.  How do we knock this down when it’s so well constructed in their minds?  Why are people spending their lives as “influencers” simply showing off their edited looks to sell a product by telling others how it will make them look beautiful too?  Is this really an admirable ‘career’?  Why are we wasting time everyday to take and then edit the perfect pic?  The one we are hoping is ‘it’ on FB or Instagram?  Couldn’t that time be better spent…like playing with our kids, reading a book, volunteering, taking a hike, etc.?

I guess I just worry for these kids and teens right now since I see so many of these concerns in my own college students.  It breaks my heart how these issues are affecting their self-esteem and body image in a way that could potentially trigger BDD or cause anxiety, social phobia, depression, etc.  Is a selfie worth this?  Is pretending?  Grasshoppers…I don’t believe it is.

Kristi xoxo

I’m Gonna Love Me Again” ~ Bernie Taupin

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Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

So, any of you who know me even just a tiddle know how incredibly much I like the film “Rocketman”.  I think I’ve watched it at least 20 times, because the music, and the inspiration of the story is just so damn good.  My favorite song is the final one called “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” by Bernie Taupin, and here are my fave lyrics from it:

Singing, I’m gonna love me again
Check in on my very best friend
Find the wind to fill my sails
Rise above the broken rails
Unbound by any ties that break or bend
I’m free, and don’t you know?
No clown to claim he used to know me then
I’m free, and don’t you know?
And oh-oh-oh, I’m gonna love me again.

Here’s why I was thinking about these words today:  one of my sweetie students wrote me and asked me how you go about loving yourself.  She said she has always heard you can’t love others unless you love yourself which is something she struggles with, and she was scared she’d never be in a relationship  because of that.  So, I’ve been thinking a lot about loving yourself.  How can you learn to do it, and why isn’t that love already there?  Also, is it really true you can’t love anyone else if you don’t love yourself.

I don’t know about you, but my love for myself fluctuates…it waxes and wanes based on what’s happening in my life.  I think it’s much more fragile than the love I have for others.  Much more conditional based on my standards.  Much more unforgiving based on my ideas.  I wonder why that is?  Why it’s such a challenge to love ourselves as openly and non-judgmentally as we do others?  Why is it I can quickly forgive another person and my love never wavers, but I just as quickly berate myself and lose self-love in the same situation?

Maybe some of it, or all of it, has to do with being bipolar.  I’m a ruminator.  An overly sensitive person.  An empath.  But the last 2 of these wonderful qualities (🙄) seem to only be for others.

I can hate myself so easily.  Years and years ago, I had a mutt named Scooter and he was 15 when I had to put him down.  For a few weeks prior to that, his kidneys were failing, he was deaf and going blind, and he had cancer.  Because of all of this, he had a lot of difficulty with bladder control and he was quick to snap at me since he couldn’t hear or see me approach before I touched him.  I had to crate him when I was gone and it was a horrible and stressful time.  One day, out of frustration, I got angry (and I’m not going to tell you specifically what I did…it wasn’t terrible but still wasn’t right) and scolded him too harshly.  It’s literally been 17 years since that time, and I still haven’t forgiven myself for it.  Seventeen years.  If someone else had done it, I would have forgiven them in a heartbeat.  Understood the frustration, the stress, the fear.  But not me.  After little Scooter was gone, I went over it and over it in my head and truly hated myself for making those couple seconds in his life crummy.

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I can think of so many other things I’ve done in my life that I’ve hated myself for, that I would have accepted in others with no loss of love at all.  I’m the first person to say that love isn’t a ‘switch’, if it can be turned on and turned off easily (meaning I love you today, but don’t tomorrow) then that’s not love.  Love is supposed to sustain us through the bad times, not suddenly go away.  It’s supposed to grow during the ‘worse’ while celebrating the ‘better’.  If it doesn’t…if it disappears when there’s a bump in the road…how can that have actually been love?

So, is it really love I have for myself if I do turn it on and off based on my behavior?  My words?  Even my thoughts?  I don’t think so.  When I’m in bad situations, that ‘love’ leaves me at a time I need it the most.  When J cheated on me, I continued to love him.  But I started to hate myself.  What was in ME that compelled him to cheat (I know this thinking is wrong NOW, but that’s what was going on inside my head at the time)?  Was I a bad person?  Ugly person?  When Hubby 3 left, I hated myself.  I would spend hours doing ‘reruns’ in my mind about fights we had and issues we should have worked on, and I criticized myself harshly and was convinced it was my fault he walked out the door (which I have since painted and it looks awesome).

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It’s sad to me how hard we are on ourselves.  My sis is the curvy one in our family and I think she is beautiful…I truly do.  But, she’s so hard on herself when she gains a pound or two.  I guess I’m the same way too though.  We tell other women that no matter what, they have a unique beauty all their own and they are special just the way they are.  Then we look in our own mirrors, and catalog our flaws one by one and say things like “Oh Lord, I hate the way I look”  or “Dammit…if I didn’t have these thighs I’d love myself so much more.”

So, if I’m hating on myself or at least not totally loving myself, can I not love others?  See, you may disagree, but I believe you can.  No matter how I’m feeling about myself, I still love others.  When I was married to Hubby 2 (keep up…I know how hard it is to remember all of these) I had periods of depression and didn’t like myself as a result of what I couldn’t do.  Hubby also disliked it when I would say how awful I felt…how down…how helpless I was.  It was hard for him to understand the organic basis of depression and in his family, when you aren’t feeling ‘right’, you hear “Get to work…it’ll help!” or “Ignore it…it’ll go away!”  But through it all, I loved him.  Very much.  How I feel about myself might affect my interactions, but I never stop loving.  Ever.

Maybe talking about having to completely love ourselves is unrealistic.  Maybe it’s simply that we should be more LOVING towards ourselves.  Maybe the key is forgiving ourselves like we forgive others.  Letting go of things and consciously catching ourselves when ruminating on them.  Allowing ourselves to make mistakes, with the understanding this is something everyone else does as well.  Talking kindly to ourselves.  Looking at our bodies and saying, “Yes…I have a belly, and thank the Lord I do.  It carried my baby boy!”  Accepting our mental illnesses that cause so many of us to feel shame, self-doubt, less self-worth, more guilt, and feeling we are less than because of them.

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In other words, being as loving to ourselves as we are to others;  I guess I’m just not there yet.  But I’m thinking that might be OK because I see this as a process.  A day by day challenge.  And no matter how ‘loving’ I feel towards myself at any particular time, I still accept me for who I am.  Someone who tries their hardest, does her best to make the world around her just a little bit better, and can’t help but to see only the positive in people.

So, Bernie…I love what you wrote, and I’m working on what you ask.  I’m gonna love myself again.  And again and again and again.  But just understand, it’s a lot harder than we might think.

Kristi xoxo

Learning to Chill.

So, I’m in my 2nd week of working from home.  Last week, I moved all of my on-campus classes to an online learning format, and this week, I’m starting to interact within my classes, while getting my students acclimated to this new way of doing things.

First, I know some people are complaining greatly at having to social distance, and that’s understandable.  It’s boring.  Inconvenient.  Tedious.  But, I just have to remember that it’s keeping me, and my family, away from the virus as much as possible.  And so importantly, that the healthcare workers on the front line…the business owners who have had to shutter their operation…the people that have been laid off indefinitely…those are the ones truly making sacrifices.  Some that will last the rest of their lives.  How sad that is…and how thankful I am to only have to stay home and teach online.  I’m blessed.

Having said that, I’m not good with inactivity.  Being bipolar, I’m used to UPS and DOWNS.  And to be honest, there’s not much in-between for me.  Actually, just not in terms of mood, but for everything.  I either love a food or hate it (beets and iced tea come to mind).  Want to watch a movie 100 times (Rocketman!!), or turn it off after the first 10 minutes.  Decide to buy that shirt the minute I see it, or pass it by with a small ‘blech’.

So activity is the same way.  If I get up and started, I can do so much and feel mega-productive.  But, if I allow myself to laze around a bit, I feel even more lazy and then guilty about being lazy and then feeling guilty about feeling guilty about being lazy.  Yes, it’s a circular trap I find myself in, and it perpetuates itself like rabbits.

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What is ‘lazy’ exactly?  And why does it have such a bad connotation in our society?  It doesn’t matter what word you use to describe it (idle, sluggish, slow, etc.), being lazy goes against what we are told to do:  and that’s to get things done!  Multitasking is the new way we need to go about our days!  Right??  If we aren’t doing at least 2 or 3 things at once, we’re not doing enough; we’re just couch potatoes.  Loafers.  A lazy-bones.   And look on Facebook.  People try to ‘out task’ others by listing all they did that day.  “I got my house re-plastered and painted by 6:00 a.m.  And now I’m getting ready to run a quick half-marathon before finishing the book I’m writing.”  “Oh yeah?  Well, I did all of that as well, except I ran a full marathon, the book I’m finishing is a tome, and I did 23 loads of laundry too.  But whatever.”  Sheesh.  When did it become a status symbol to knock ourselves out so much?

I’m learning that lazy isn’t a bad thing after all.  Being slow is OK.  Idle.  I’m tired of tiring myself out all of the time!  I’ve been working since I was 16 years old, and have tired myself out for the great majority of my life.  I cut the grass more times than necessary.  I vacuumed the living room even when it didn’t need it.  There were only a few dishes in the sink, but by golly, I did them, because God forbid they wait until more are added.

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And what did that get me?  Not the martyrdom I wanted.  It got me nothing.  Well, nothing beyond being able to say “Look what I did today.  See…I’m not lazy!”  Does anybody remember what my backyard looked like in 2006?  Or that my rugs were extra fluffy a few years ago?  Or that my dishes still had a bit of yolk on them last week?  Probably not.

I think I know where this came from.  My self-esteem has never been great; as I’ve mentioned, I was always different from other kids and making friends was really hard.  So, I started to believe that to fit in or make friends, I had to DO SOMETHING in order to show my worth.  It wasn’t enough just being me. I had to GIVE.  Sometimes it was an over-abundance of time I gave.  Or presents.  Or money.  Or energy into proving “LOOK AT ME!!  I DID ALL OF THIS FOR YOU!!  NOW DO YOU SEE HOW AWESOME I AM?”

The problem with this is you start to understand it’s never enough.  And you start to feel resentful of the fact YOU feel you have to give.  But where is that resentment directed?  Towards the people YOU feel you have to give too.  So unfair to them.

My mother-in-law from Hubby #2 (my son’s dad) was perfect.  Martha Stewart perfect.  So busy…productive…self-sacrificing along with being a perfect gardener, cook, parent, and believe me, the list goes on.  She’s an amazing woman and I love her so much still, but she was a hard act to follow.  Especially since we lived right next door to her and her accomplishments were seen everyday.  To feel worthy of hubby, I felt I had to keep up.  Do just as much, if not more, to show I was ‘just as good.’  Or even just plain old good.  I’d be exhausted by the end of the day, and not feel any sense of accomplishment.  Just wondering if I did enough and being frazzled about what the next day would bring.

In my last relationship, I knew something was wrong from the start.  I have great intuition and usually trust it.  However, my heart just happens to be so much stronger, and it often prevails in romance.  Because he was still in love with his ex, and was still in touch with her regularly (although I was told I was paranoid when I’d ask him about it), I truly believed that if I did enough…gave enough…proved myself enough, it would be the catalyst for him to love me instead.  So I did.  I gave all I had.

martyr

Literally.  All of my energy and time and emotion and forgiveness and money and gifts and home and everything else you can think of.  And you can see where that got me; after all, I’m writing this as a single woman.  When we broke up (well, when I walked in on him with another woman…I guess that could be considered a break-up), I reminded him of all I did give him.  I fancied the idea that if he remembered all of my sacrifices, he’d realize my value.   He didn’t.  It was all for naught.

Now I’m trying really hard to work on understanding my value comes from me; from just being me.  Not from what I give or what I do.  But for who I am with the person…what I feel for them…what they feel for me.  I don’t have to ‘buy’ my worth; dammit, I’m worthy as I am.

you-are-imperfect-but-worthy-of-love

So I’m learning that it’s OK to be ‘lazy.’  To read on the couch for hours and get lost in a book.  To cuddle with my pooches and nap with my arms around them.  To putz around in my sewing room and take my time making something; not just to get it done and checked off a list, but to enjoy the process of cutting and sewing and creating with the fabric.  To scroll through Facebook and see my past students show off their new baby.  I think these things are more meaningful and more memorable than making sure my check-list is a tad longer than yours.

And with relationships?  Yes, of course I’m still going to give (when my Prince Charming arrives).  But I’m going to give of ‘me’…of who I am.  I’m not going to work and work and work so he can say:  “Wow…I need Kristi because she does this and gives me all of that.” I want him to say:  “Wow…I love Kristi for the woman she simply is.”

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard those words before.

Kristi xoxo