Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Wearing My Astronaut Shoes

“Today, I’m wearing my astronaut shoes.”
When I was entering first grade, my Mom was a teacher at my elementary school. I attended Badger Mountain Elementary School in Richland, Washington. My Dad was a newspaper editor at The Tri-City Herald. 
I took the bus to school. It was Dad’s responsibility to make sure I got my shoes and socks on real tight before walking to the bus stop. 
He would show me how to tie the knot and ask, “What kind of shoes are you wearing today?”
“Daddy, these are princess shoes!”
Or, maybe, “These are my astronaut shoes.” 
My Dad instilled in me at the very beginning of my explorative years that even if something was in my imagination, I could attain it as a goal or as a career or even a hobby. 
Imagination turns into dreams and dreams turned into stories.
Years later, in middle school and high school, while living in Southern California, Dad would drive me to school. I would proceed to tell him my dreams, my literal dreams from the night before, and my interpretations of them. 
“Daddy, I dream in color,” I would say. “There’s a regular cast, you know, like a sitcom, and sometimes there are guest stars.” Sometimes, there would be credits. 
As a 30-something, I still have an imagination, and I still have dreams. At this moment, the dreams I refer to are the ones in which date back to those early imaginative moments of being a princess, a construction worker was one, and an astronaut.
Each one of those childlike dreams involve something that unites all of us, the desire to create, the desire to learn, and the desire to really enjoy everything that we’re doing. 
These days my dreams are more universal and goal-oriented. Whether it is to write a screenplay, produce a documentary, volunteer for a charity, own a winery, or to just raise a wonderful family, they are my dreams. 
They are about exploring unpaved paths, uneven roads, and in more profound moments, unjustified injustice. 
Today, I am wearing my astronaut shoes. What shoes are you wearing?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It is Better to Give Than to Receive

“It is better to give than to receive.”
I remember being assigned a lesson in 4th or 5th grade, I cannot remember which, where I had to decide which was in fact better. 
In class we read books like “The Giver.”
In 7th or 8th grade, a few years later, I decided that there was so much to be thankful for. People in my life who I could not wait to give back to. 
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for many reasons. One, it usually means I get to be with the ones I love, or I work and am with some of my closest friends. It is also a reminder to the rest of country what gratitude is all about. 
I believe gratitude is an attitude we must hold all year long.
Giving doesn’t always have to be done monetarily. Admittedly, I would like to give money to charitable organizations or to people I see on the streets who I know are starving or dying for a warm blanket. Giving, instead, can be through kind gestures, a simple pay it forward attitude. Start small.

  1. Bring your co-worker a cup of coffee, if you know they will like it.
  2. Send a friend a “just because card.” You know, through the mail. I don’t know about you but I love to get mail and I don’t always like checking my phone to see if someone thought of me today or this week. 
  3. Volunteer at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
  4. Instead of giving the homeless person cash, give them a gift card. 
  5. Pray for someone. 
  6. Show someone a smile. Trust me, it will make you feel good, too. 
There are so many ways we can give back. Seeing that person smile is a gift we may then receive, and it’s simple, and free. 
It really is better to give than to receive.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, may you be blessed and aware of your blessings, on this day, and everyday. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stop Wearing "Cover Clothes"

“I like comfy clothes.”
Ok, so what. I do. 
At 22 I dated a boyfriend who didn’t want me to get into my “comfy clothes.” In fact, he requested that I not be in sweats when he came over at 9:00 p.m. 
Point taken.
Perhaps I can get some sympathy for the fact that I was working an often 3:00 a.m. shift and coming over at 9:00 p.m. was like waking me up. 
When I met my current boyfriend I asked him to never tell me not to wear my comfy clothes. (Maybe that’s why he called me a frump.) It’s about time I give boyfriend a name. His name is Nathan. 
Here’s the thing, being comfortable is not about the design of your clothes. It is not about whether or not they are flannel pajamas (like I happen to be wearing right now) or a work out suit. It’s about whether or not you, and in this case I, feel comfortable with what I’m wearing at all.
“Comfy clothes” as I called them, and still do, and as he (my main man) would sometimes mock me, could in fact be called cover clothes. They cover up everything about yourself that you don’t like, whether it’s the love handles, the pudgy stomach, the skinny legs, the fat ankles, or whatever it is. 
One of the reasons for the frumpy state is that I didn’t like what I felt like and if I didn’t like it, no one else would like it either. That’s even if I knew my boyfriend liked my “sexy legs” as he still calls them. 
Once you realize that the man (or woman, or person) in your life loves you for you and likes things about yourself that you may not like, you get out of your comfy clothes. What do you do?
I have some suggestions, depending on what your frumpiness is:
Go to the gym. 
Eat a well-balanced diet.
Find a friend, and see if you can help each other through your frumpiness. 
Choose health, and choose not to care about the rest. 
So, get out of your cover clothes. Allow yourself to be comfortable. Show some leg. 
Guess what? I like wearing skirts. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What Does Your Face Look Like?

“It’s the way my face looks.”

My Mom would say that to me while I was growing up whenever she would be ironing, reading, cooking, or doing something other than paying immediate attention to me.

The expression on someone’s face is a great way to learn something about you. When you glance over to someone at work you might see the lines in between their eyebrows pressed up that it looks like toothpicks. Or, if you roll over and see the person you love lying next to you, they might look glazed over, peaceful, with the creased reflection of the pillows or the sheets they’ve been sleeping on.

“It’s the way my face looks.”

Sometimes, the look can appear to be dismissive, puzzled, or concerned.

“What’s wrong,” we ask.

“Nothing,” they say.

Then, sometimes, “It’s the way my face looks.”

I’m not good at this, I’ll admit it, I struggle to smile. Yet, I’ll admit it is also one of the best feelings in the world. It immediately sends blood rushing up to my face, increasing my energy, and my mood. It’s a gift I can give someone else, and give myself. It’s also free.

The lesson is to smile more. Then, maybe the next time you look at someone’s face, they’ll be smiling back at you. 
Are you smiling?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Come on, Get the Frump Out of Your Rump

“Stop being a frump.”
No one who is internally trying to be a better person wants to be called a frump. Especially not by the person they are in love with and imagine building a life with.
“You’re such a frump.”
Ok, so at first I thought it was a joke. Then, it was said again, and again, and again. 
When I met my boyfriend of five and a half years* I weighed about 114 lbs. By the time he started to call me a frump I was approaching 130. It’s not a significant amount of weight, but with my height just below 5’2”, it was definitely noticeable.
Do you know what happens when you realize you can’t fit into your skinny jeans anymore? Or, you can’t zip up your hot black dress you bought for the “just because” reason. It stinks. It hurts. I mean, it really hurts because the zipper kind of pinches your skin as you try to force the dress to close on your back. 
Gaining weight made me unhappy with myself. I felt unattractive. If I felt unattractive, I became unattractive. Gretchen Rubin teaches us to “Act the Way I Want To Feel.” Inspired partly by her, we can do this together, and eventually feel and be the way we want. My friend and former colleague, Elyse Miller, gave me some of the tools I needed to take back myself. 
Together, this journey that I’m taking you on is about getting rid of the frump, whether it’s extra weight that makes you feel unattractive, weight you need to gain because you feel too skinny, or an attitude within you that you don’t know how to get out of.

Come on, Get the Frump Out of Your Rump. 

*Noted Boyfriend is now ex-boyfriend

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