Since They Were Born

Posted on May 7, 2015

Each of my daughters has been exactly who she was since I felt her first flutter in my belly. One responded to music, one loved it when I was driving, the other seemed to throw “Go mom” high fives whenever I swore. Today they are very bit as much distinctly who they are as ever.

 

Watching The Voice elimination shows brings all their stuff to the fore in stark contrast—elation, horror, ‘it is what it is’.

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I do what I can to quell their nerves, calm their agitated hearts, and, honestly, devour their wholly, unapologetic “this is who I am-ness”. I envy their ability to be undiluted versions of themselves, but that’s for another day.

Today I wanted to share a post I wrote over at The Mid. If you aren’t familiar with the site, go! It’s a very fun, witty, snarky, tear-jerking, pop-culture loving site, that understands that we have grown up but can still recall with eery detail what it felt like to watch the first season of the Real World. They have been and continue to be ardent supporters of people speaking their truth.

Obviously I am drawn to stories that involve how girls are treated in this world or how they navigate through it, but I also feel like we don’t talk much about the path we take to raising them(in my car girls, but also boys), which means allowing them to explore—from music to their moods, to one day their sexuality and their dreams.

I don’t have the answers, but I have my experience, which in this case is about the silence that fills the space that was once occupied by fixing it and making it all better. This leg of the journey is about my daughter learning she can do it, not that I can.

I hope you’ll go and read it and let me know what you think.

Or let me know what you are doing.

Or wondering.

Or anything, because honestly, at the end of the day (and the beginning and middle) we’re all just trying to do the right thing.

Thank you.

Read my post on The Mid.

Wedgies and Leaks

Posted on April 28, 2015

Bear with me as I muster the courage to post what I am about to post. I’ve been talking about body quite a bit lately.

Mine.

My daughters’.

Other women’s.

I inhale the words of other women about their bodies.

Why?

I think I do it because so much changes from day to day, but even as I grow wiser and more accepting, the nagging voice, as Rebecca Woolf says, lingers for decades whispering the same cruel refrain of not being good enough. I want to know if others have it, or if I am somehow defective.

This is why I want to post about underwear. They are an every day thing and there is no way to put them on without being naked. How they fit can color my feelings.

If you are a guy and this means nothing to you, I suggest you go and read this post, because it’s beautiful and important, but honestly, in a way it’s kind of about underwear too.

Have you ever slipped on a pair of underwear and spent the rest of the day wondering if you put them on backwards because of how they kept sneaking up in back? It’s one thing if you buy a boy short or a cheeky brief and you know they are going there, but if you grab a regular pair of everyday underwear and they try to play peek-a-boo in that maddening way that has you picking and fidgeting, well, it’s no good

I have found two brands that make underthings that fit—on the cheek and on the waist, no overflow, no riding up and a tank top that doesn’t roll up my torso to my armpits. I understand that we are all shaped differently, but for me, these have been wonderful. I have purchased things, very happily, from both companies and I have also received products as gifts. That being said, I am not being compensated for this post, I just really want to share something that has worked for me, also, both companies were founded by women. Roar!

To break the ice, here I am trying unsuccessfully to capture an image of myself in the tank top. Dazzling photography skills, no? I did it in the kitchen no less. Alas, much to Sean’s chagrin, I do not cook in my skivvies.

 

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Seriously though, Commando, located in beloved Vermont, makes underthings that feel as if they are made of gossamer and confidence. This tank top, which is called the Whisper Weight Tank Top, is divine. It is on the spendy side at $48, but it is more like a favorite bra than a knockabout tank top. I have worn it under dresses, see-through blouses, and cardigans that I  wanted to wear as shirts. It is nearly invisible, doesn’t bind or sneak up, and generally feels slinky and amazing. I have wildly muscular arms and shoulders and the arm holes are large enough; the neckline is just right. Every time I wear it, I genuinely consider it a treat because all day long it stretches against my skin in the most amazing way.

 

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I discovered Commando when my mom sent me a pair of stockings. I have, for as long as I can remember, been unable to wear tights and pantyhose without getting a stomach ache from the pressure on my waist. Now that just about all you can find on the shelves are super, control top, things have only gotten worse. I end up cutting the waist bands and then trimming off what I can so that they don’t create crazy lumps and bumps of shriveled, unraveling material under my dress. It doesn’t work. The pair my mom sent me went right up my waist and sat, no digging, no pinching, no mid-evening tummy ache and bloating. I was SOLD, I had no idea how amazing the underwear would be.

These black underwear defy description. Do you see how pretty they are?

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The scalloped front doesn’t roll down, the smooth back does not nip into my 40+ skin and make big lumps. I always though the muffin top thing was a lie, but that and bra band rolls are real things that happen as your skin gets inexplicably looser. I wore these underwear on the flights with Fin to the West Coast. They felt so good, I made sure they were clean for the flight home. It’s a rare pair of underwear that can go with you through three airports as you carry all the luggage and, at times, your 6 year old, a 2.5 hour drive, and that awkward pacing nightmare at the baggage claim without feeling like they ought to be thrown away when you finally get home. These did!

I have talked about Dear Kate products before. As I think back to when I started having my period, the idea that I might have been able to wear underwear intended to take care of the oops factor, makes me excited to share them with my girls. Now, having delivered three babies, the oops factor doesn’t come just once a month. When I first bought my Dear Kate underwear I kept them in a corner of my drawer for certain times of the month, now I understand how comfortable and unbulky they are, I wear them whenever I want to feel a little old school glamour. Is it just me that thinks pale lavender and black seems Marilyn Monroesque?

The night that I took this picture I also happened to be using my Spoonk. I love it so much. Sean says it brings out the fight or flight instinct in him and he doesn’t find it quite as relaxing. It does poke you, which is why you’ll note that I am sucking in my stomach, not to look skinny, it was actually a response to the way the little spikes shifted as I lifted my phone to snap this pic. I really need to enlist Sean’s help next time!

A Spoonk will unknot your tensed muscles as you let yourself melt into the pressure and in that moment when you take it out from behind you and lean back into the sheets, you’ll slip off to sleep with a warm feeling on your back and a whoosh as you exhale in the deepest way.

 

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At the end of the day (and the beginning) I think we all deserve the little things that make the day easier, make us feel more confident, or, on the low days, help us to not hate ourselves.

 

Do you have any things that are your secret weapon for feeling good? Will you share them here?

Find Your Elixir

Posted on April 26, 2015

I was scrolling through Facebook ever so gently. Lately that space has become very toxic for me, so I try to move swiftly in order to move over things that are unpleasant in the quickest way. I saw a link from Maggie about how it is our involvement and pursuit of our own happiness that we truly find it. It made me smile. It may not be as simple as believing that you can be happy for everyone, but as I saw the sentiment in black and white on the screen, shared by someone who knows intimately the struggle with mental and emotional swings, I felt hope.

 

This past week I’ve been on the West Coast for a super quick, very important visit to celebrate a career that is ending, opening the door to new things. My stepdad has retired from the theatre where he worked for nearly thirty years, and I worked for many years too, and will fly to Africa Thursday with my sister for a 5+ week experience with Habitat for Humanity.

 

Finley and I flew out late Tuesday and returned home Friday night. Her sisters and Sean stayed back so that the girls could complete the NYS tests, about which I have many feelings, but am going to just say that I am grateful to the teachers for their efforts. We all crammed those days with every bit of “Yes” that we could. All of this time with Finley being my primary focus, I discovered that she is a conduit to joy. It doesn’t occur to her to marinate in anger or freeze in sorrow, each moment is an opportunity to enjoy something.

 

I’ll let snapshots of our time speak for themselves and say just this, I hope that when you find your unique conduit to joy, maybe it’s a child, maybe it’s a pet, or maybe it’s long distance running, that you embrace it. Hold tight to that thing that allows you peace and joy, because it really is up to us to accept the opportunities, embrace the opportunities, and double down on the chance that we really can cultivate our joy.

A bath…

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A dandelion…

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Walking up to the tippy top…FinAwe

 

Getting close enough to feel water on her face…

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Being super spies in the silver metal booth…

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Catnapping on Snoopy in the unexpected din of Newark before dawn…

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I probably can’t be quite as exuberant and constant in my pursuit and openness to joy as Fin, but I am trying. Yesterday I spent time with my team from Trampoline beneath an impossibly blue Adirondack sky, then later we went and sat around a fire with good friends as our kids played with new friends in a swing set and a makeshift baseball field.

 

Today, after chores and things that could have kept me busy straight through bedtime, I slipped away and hiked a mountain with Sean. Our lungs burned and our eyes watered, but beneath it all, our mouths broke into enormous smiles and we felt glad straight through to our feet for this day, this life, and this love.

JoySpark

 

Weekend Breadcrumbs

Posted on April 10, 2015

Rumor has it the weekend is supposed to be glorious and you may rush to be out in the fresh air, but in the even that April gives a capricious wink and conjures up winds and rains, you can tuck into your coziest spot, with a well-loved blanket and mug of whatever flips your switch, and ingest these gorgeous words.

AprilMusings

Gratitude and awareness of blessings is a hard thing to teach, particularly when I still struggle with it myself. I love this essay from Rudri Bhatt Patel, which demonstrates so beautifully how we should never deny our kids an experience because we think it might be beyond their ability to comprehend. I want to follow her lead and do this.

Let me know what you think.

 

This exquisite choreography of emotion and language is from a new-to-me-voice, Jena Schwartz. I can only say go, read it, inhale it, feel the truth envelope you.

 

I think a lot of raising daughters. I have no idea what I’d do with boys. I am so grateful to women like Kim Simon, who are honestly and deliberately raising their sons to know love and respect the big, amazing thing that sex can be. She also deftly addresses responsibility for both partners and parents. I am just in awe of this and really hope that I can do as well with my three.

 

I discovered this next one from Kelly Hoey, a person I follow on professional level for her insight and confidence related to building connections and moving toward goals. The post is about millennial women needing to speak up for themselves. Millennial is a word that gets a lot of my play in my industry, but it has become more real as I have worked with millennials. They are people and, though they aren’t yet as experienced or worldly as we are, their views are every bit as important. I am grateful for Kate’s. When Kelly linked to this post I immediately hoped that it would be received by the women it’s meant for as a gesture of reaching out a hand and saying, “You are important and I want to hear more of what you have to say.”

 

Speaking of women, of all ages, I wrote this post over on Medium to work through some of the feelings I am having of the cyclical waves of fights between women that are sparked by campaigns and headlines. It’s rarely women who pick these fights. I do believe that ultimately we all just want to be happy and even have a genuine hope for others being happy too. I don’t mean to attack companies, I simply want to try and generate the waves we need to attack divisiveness and that there is only so much of a thing—that only certain people can be happy or sexy, that only ________ is real or healthy or sexy.

 

Have you read something amazing? Will you share it in the comments? I am always on the hunt for new writers.

 

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