Archive for June, 2010
There are several things missing these days.
I am holding one person responsible.
There’s a little pink pig that oinks when you put him in the back of his farmer’s tractor MIA.
There is a cordless phone, one of just two phones in our house, MIA.
There is a grey hooded sweatshirt, mommy’s favortie hoodie, MIA.
There are countless water bottle tops (you know the ones that go on the top of aluminum, refillable water bottles) MIA.
I could get on my belly and slide through the house trying to find each missing item but that just seems like way too much of a commitment for this tired mom. So, instead, I’m looking forward to the wonderful surprise of finding these things in very random places in the coming weeks. Hopefully, I do not find them by sitting on them because the only one comfortable enough to sit on is the hoodie.
By Wednesday at 5 pm (and hopefully well before 5pm), I will have finished the final proofread of Beautiful You’s 432 pages. I then sent it back to my editor who gets the final edits in and then the book is off to the printing press. I wish I could see that part of the process. I just know that somewhere between final proofreads and October 5th, the book gets printed and shipped everywhere. How that happens? Well, it’s like magic right now in my mind.
In the meantime, I am working on preparing press items for the book’s release. Just last week, I wrote 3 different tip sheets from the book (these get included in press kits and can be stand alone stories) and a Q&A. Soon, I’ll be organizing blog tours, making book trailers, booking events, and updating the website/ blog. You’ll see some tweaks around here as I go and I hope to have all those things done by early to mid-September. Since I have many more pages to revisit before 5 pm on Wednesday, I’ll make today’s entry short and just wrap up with one of the questions from the Q&A.
- What is radical self-acceptance?
For me, it’s the notion that I am not fundamentally wrong because of my history or physical body. It’s the realization that I am fundamentally right because I exist, I am and what I am is neither my history nor my body. It’s the choice to recognize my humanity just as I recognize and respect the humanity of others.
What does radical self-acceptance mean to you?
I have a stack of journals that span my collegiate years that I have never opened since I wrote the last page in them and then put them away. I was such an earnest and tender girl then and I fear that rereading my thoughts during that time might just break my heart a little and so I don’t. Except for Sunday night, I just walked over to the place where they live, pulled them out, and started reading them before I even knew what I was doing. Sure enough, there was plenty to choke me up and touch my heart and, well, overwhelm my senses.
And then there was this, on a back page of a journal I kept throughout 1995, a journal that has this Helen Keller quote on the cover: “Avoding Danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” A journal where I wrote that my philosophy was ” Do not be concerned with how things leave you. Be concerned with how you leave things.” And followed that up with “Youth is that time where you dream that dream, believe in it, and take it to fruition. It can take a long time to become young. But the moment that one loosens up, dreams big, chooses uncertainty, believes in his or her own personal magic, and acts in the name of love is when one becomes young. This truth can be seen in a boy of 16 or a woman of 80.” In that journal was this short little list titled Dream List/ Things I Want to Do. On that list, you find 6 things. Clearly I only visited that page once becuase that’s a list I could have made miles long, even then.
I look at that list now and both marvel and feel zero surprise over the first thing that I wrote on it as a 21 year old girl. Adopt a child. I had wanted to adopt since I was in seventh grade (well, I didn’t want to adopt as a seventh grader; it was in seventh grade that I knew that was the way that I would become a parent in this world) and so it’s no surprise that given the task of writing that list, that was the first thing that came to mind.
The rest of the list is totally who I was at 21, too– filled with earnest desire to see the world.
Number 2 on the list: see whales in their natural environment (scratched that off a few years ago off the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine). Whales are still one of my favorite creatures.
Travel with a band. I was the concert booker at my college for several years which was perfect for my love of music. I loved the music life so much that I often dreamed about hopping in the van of one of the bands I booked and not looking back. The practical me, instead, signed a contract to teach right out of college. I only have two regrets from my youth and one of them is that I started life so immediately after college. I wish I had hopped in the back of the van with one of those bands. Don’t bother reminding me of this regret when Happy hits 22. The kid will not get in the back of anyone’s van.
Drive across the country. Also, never fully did (sure, I took long road trips but what I was imagining here was the epic trip to the West Coast and back) and wish I had. Again, I was way too responsible about being gainfully employed at all times and always working, reading, or preparing for work. Wish I’d taken the time to go west in the Freshcort with the fabulous AC. These days, BF talks all the time about retiring to an RV and I have zero interest. But put me in an old car with very few amenities, and I’ll drive cross-country with you in a minute.
Publish a book. Check. Back then, I would have sworn that if I were a writer it would be poetry or fiction. I was terrified to write non-fiction. Two non-fiction books later, I do find myself these days really thinking about fiction.
Teach and travel in Africa. Well, half of that has been done (thanks to item #1 on the list), and there is still the possibility that maybe the other half of that item on the list will happen one day.
On the other side of that page was a “happy” list that I started (likely on the same day): s’mores, crickets chirping (I still love the racket of insects on a summer night), hugs that last, calls from old friends (I guess that’s the equivalent of a surprise Friend request on Facebook these days?), wild flowers, colorful leaves, pleasure reading, mixed tapes (today’s IPod playlists), walking on the beach at night, lazy Saturdays with best friends (my college roommate and I used to go buy an angelfood cake at the local grocery and eat it for breakfast and lunch on said lazy Saturdays), good cries, dolphins at sea, gooey chocolate chip cookies, the sound of children at play.
I’m not sure how much of this journal I will go back and read– it was the year that I lost my first student to murder and her obituary and my raw, raw feelings about it are there. It was the year that a girl I mentored was actively trying to get pregnant so that someone would love her. It was the year that I was working with gangs and at a school for extremely violent youth. So it was an intense time, but it was also the time that most shaped me. And it was a time that stripped everything else away, leaving me with clarity about the simple things that made me happy and the things that would bring me joy in the future.
In a few months, Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance hits bookshelves. And in those months, I’ll be making all sorts of plans to make sure that the book lands in the hands of women of all ages who could use a good dose of self-care. And something I want to do is prepare a few very cool video book trailers for BY.
I loved, loved, loved doing the book trailers for Hijas with the help of my very capable friend Erin Lane Beam (spot Erin in book trailer # 2 with the sign ‘what if we told our daugthers and sons’). Here they are if you missed out on them the first time:
I have ideas for the Beautiful You trailers and need your help!
The first trailer I am organizing is a trailer that will feature photos of girls and women in the midst of doing something that brings them joy– dancing, playing the tambourine, kicking a soccer ball, walking on the beach, laughing with friends, dining with friends, cooking, cuddling a loved one, petting a dog, teaching a class, playing an instrument, painting, throwing pottery, etc. There is no way that I can capture everything that could possibly be featured in this trailer on this list, but you get the idea, right? Girls, women, expressing joy. Got it? Are you ready to be one of my video stars?
Alright, here are the instructions for those of you who would like to be a part of the trailer (AND PLEASE WANT TO BE A PART OF IT)… send me a Jpeg at firstname.lastname@example.org of your photo. In the Message line write Photo for Beautiful You Trailer. In the text of the email, tell me what I’ll find in the photo (My roommate and I on the side of the road picking flowers or My daughter Sally eating fresh strawberries at the farmer’s market or I’m washing my dog and laughing as I get wet.). Those tag lines will help me later when I am organizing photos for the video. By sending me your photo, you are consenting to being a part of the book trailer and also acknowledging that you know that I will not be running names in the credits for photos (because that could be a really long credit reel).
And, yes, you can absolutely send me more than one photo– please send each in a separate email, though.
The video trailer will be ready by the end of September at the latest and you can absolutely send in out to all of your loved ones when the time comes.
Let me know if you have any questions and THANKS SO MUCH for helping me out!
I went on a little trip last week and piled the things I needed for departure day on the bed. Then I looked at them. Geez, do you think I am partial to colors in the teal, aqua, peacock family?
This is not a newsflash to me. I just didn’t realize that I was making it so apparent to other people.
When I got back home, Happy helped me unpack my suitcase. For months, I’ve been in awe of Happy’s crazy photographic memory. One night we went to dinner at a place that we never go by in our normal day to day existence and about 7 miles from our house. Weeks later, I needed to drive by that restaurant in order to drop something off at a friend’s. Happy was in the back seat and when we drove by the restaurant (which was on the opposite side of the car as Happy), Happy screamed, “eat.” Dude, we’ve been there once. Weeks ago. And here is the latest example of Happy’s crazy memory. I never do my hair. Seriously, I got my hair straightened because of my lack of hair doing. When I “do” my hair during the week, it’s at the gym while Happy is being cared for in their child watch program. I cannot recall the last time that Happy MIGHT have seen me do my hair. So imagine my surprise when Happy yanked my flat iron out of my luggage (which I packed but did not use while on vacation), held it up to his head, and said, “OW.” The sound effects? All him.
I was 22 when my parents handed me the key (and car payment) to their 1992 Ford Escort. The freshcort, who went through a series of names– Shmello (short for Marshmellow since it was white) in its younger years and Rattle and Hum in its older years, served me well until BF pried it from my hands. “Look,” he said (just a few years ago. I got serious use out of the freshcort. And I still say that car had the best air conditioning of any car I’ve ever ridden in), “we can afford a car now. That might not be the case in a few years. Let’s go ahead and get a car for you now.” And so practical me went to the car store and got herself a new car. Not the 1966 Ford Bronco I was dreaming of because that doesn’t seem to qualify in the “practical car, may one day have a family” category (and they certainly didn’t have airconditioning back in 1966 which is a bit of a lifetime requirement for any girl who grew up in Columbia, South Carolina), but a little sedan that they didn’t even have in the color I wanted. For the first week that I had the new car, I parked it far, far away from everything and walked around it to make sure it was still in perfect shape each time I returned to it. Because not only am I a helicopter bag owner, I am a helicopter new car owner, too. You can imagine what made me stop parking it far, far away and walking around the car every time I returned to it, right? A ding. A ding that I discovered on Day 5 of new car ownership. A ding that made me so sad when I saw it that I stuck my finger in it to be sure it was true, but, ultimately, a ding that probably saved me from exhibiting even more degrees of my crazy if it hadn’t happened.
Seems the Go Ahead, Enjoy It post and the column it came from in the Charlotte Observer has resonated with a lot of people (I’ve been stopped on the street and at the post office about it) and so I thought I’d share some of the fun thoughts about it and pictures of the inspiring bag.
Mary said: Thank you for your wonderful article featured in today’s Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC)! It spoke directly to my heart about all the “nice things” I have kept packed away for what is quickly becoming decades. Fine china that I NEVER recall using–and quite frankly don’t like any more–I finally packed up and plan to re-sell. Lead crystal that I did finally start using EVERY DAY! Fancy stainless steel that I need to use more EVERY DAY! Fine jewelry that I am starting to wear again after too many years sitting in the jewelry box all wrapped up safe and secure. I encourage all my guests to use the “nice glasses” in the cabinet because that’s what they’re for: to enjoy! Thank you for reminding us that these special possessions are only special when we use them.
Polly said: This is a great thing to think about. Yes, I need to delight, to live, experience and let the beautiful Italian journal that I’ve had for two years, get all used up with interesting, grimy, challenging, inspiring, messy ideas and ink and smears. I’m going for the delight angle too…thanks for reminding me. Makes so much sense.
Suezette said: Ohhh-I have a pair of sexy red heels that have barely touched the flithy street. I’m breaking them out of the box and sporting them this weekend with my love!
Post pics of the bag – with it on your arm and while you are out and about! I’ll send you pics with my hot shoes on too!!!!
Jenny said: What a great point, Rosie! I recently noticed that I had let some truffle oil go bad because I never thought I had an occasion special enough to use it. Isn’t that awful?
This article made me laugh, and Suzette, you enjoy your red heels! I have AWFUL feet and have had bunion surgery; somehow this doesn’t stop me from buying to-die-for heels that I just Can Not Wear because they hurt me so badly. I can’t even donate them later because I love them so much. I look at them in my closet, pout, and curse the foot gods.
Here’s to using your truffle oil, wearing your heels, carrying your favorite bags, and realizing what you just should not buy!
Love, love, love these comments. And I love the idea of our naming what we are just going to enjoy this summer without worrying about ruining it.
So, now it is your turn. Share with us what you are going to go ahead and enjoy this summer or even send me photos of it (email@example.com) and I’ll post them on here. Here’s to a summer of living in delight!
A weekly feature I used to do here on the blog was “A Body Warrior to Meet.” And I miss it. It featured women of all ages and backgrounds celebrating their body, beauty, and identity. With Beautiful You soon to be published, I feel like it’s a great time to bring A Body Warrior to Meet back. So, would you like to be A Body Warrior to Meet?
If so, answer the questions below in an e-mail (send to firstname.lastname@example.org) and provide me with a jpeg image of you. I’ll only use your first name as an identifying characteristic (no age, city, etc). When your week comes up, I’ll send you an e-mail to let you know to check it out. And if you were a Body Warrior to Meet a few years ago, you are welcome to be one again (it’ll be interesting for you to see how your answers have changed over time). Thanks so much for considering!
What I love about myself:
My biggest challenge in accepting my body and beauty:
My biggest support in learning to appreciate myself:
Why I am strong:
Why I am beautiful:
What women must know:
I made a little summer resolution this week and wrote about it for last week’s Charlotte Observer Style section. You can check it out below (do you need to make this resolution, too):
“You should get it,” my husband told me.
I shook my head no. I couldn’t even fathom the idea of buying something so impractical at that price.
“I can’t,” I told him. “I just can’t spend that money on it.”
It was a handcrafted artisan bag, crafted out of silk and dark denim with embroidered tropical birds and flowers that flirted with me in a small boutique in my native Puerto Rico years ago. It sounds awful. I swear it’s not. The price tag, however, was another story. It was a couple hundred dollars. I don’t spend that much on an outfit, so I certainly couldn’t spend it on a bag.
Later, my husband went back.
“You never get excited about anything,” he explained when he gave me the bag. “I just wanted you to have it since you liked it so much.”
In my hands, the bag felt like pressure, kryptonite. Now, I owned this beautiful piece, and it was my job to keep it beautiful. Me, who looks down halfway through the day and can tell from the stains on my clothes what color pen I was using, what I had for lunch and what color lipstick whoever I hugged was wearing.
I smiled and thanked my husband profusely and then carried the bag gingerly back to our hotel room.
“Don’t ruin it,” I told myself. Miraculously, I carried it onto the plane (I couldn’t bear the idea of crushing it in my luggage) and off again without anything landing on the silk. Back home, I slid it back into its protective sleeve and then I shelved it – where it has remained ever since, except for one brave day in 2007 when I took it out for about an hour and then panicked and returned home with it, relieved that it had survived an hour out of the house.
I am as far from a helicopter parent as it comes, and, yet, I am a helicopter bag owner. I live in so much fear of what could happen to this bag that nothing happens to it. No one sees it. It’s a sketch from the theater of the absurd happening in my own house. And the thing is I know there are others like me.
How many of us have a prized possession that we covet so much we just can’t bear to enjoy it because enjoying it might shorten its lifespan? And, yet, the possession itself says so much about us or brings us so much joy that we’re denying ourselves a bit of pleasure with our resistance to it. Maybe it’s something you bought for a special occasion and, yet, the occasion special enough for it has never come.
This summer, I am making a resolution to delight rather than to deny.
Rather than live in fear that I will ruin something, I am going to enjoy what I have.
This past year has been dark for many of us and full of plenty of deprivation. While I certainly can’t go out and buy a handbag anytime soon, I can choose to enjoy what I have because surely dust is far worse for silk than fresh air.
As this post goes live, I am somewhere else for a couple days without BF or Happy. I can do this, go somewhere else for a couple days, because of BF. When it comes to husbands, I did pretty well. When it comes to fathers, well, Happy won the daddy lottery, and I won the partner lottery. From day one, BF has been an equal parent in our parenting venture. We both put the brakes on our careers for months after we returned home from Ethiopia with Happy so that Happy could become the confident, self-assured, attached little boy that he is today.
When we could go back to work, we split the day, each of us working 1/2 a day and hanging with Happy half the day. When BF took a new job in November and I made the choice to dial back my work in order for Happy to primarily be with me instead of a different caretaker, he made a commitment to still do a lot to help parent Happy and that means that he gets Happy up, dressed, ready (you’ve seen those curls, they take mad time and skill and BF is the keeper of those curls), and fed every morning before he leaves for work (while I sit at my desk frantically trying to scratch things off the list before the day starts so that other people aren’t forever waiting for me for information, assignments, etc). He also comes home most days for lunch to eat with us and put Happy down for his nap. And he bathes and puts Happy down most nights. On top of that, he wakes up with Happy every Saturday and Sunday morning so that I can lay in bed for ten more minutes and bemoan how hard it is to wake up at the crack everyday. And he’s funny and sweet and comes home with cupcakes that he now knows not to eat without asking (if he’s purporting that said cupcakes are a gift to me). Happy and I have landed in the honey pot with BF and, for that, we are ever thankful. Happy Father’s Day, BF.
Last week, I was talking to BF about what Happy and I were going to do the next afternoon.
“It’s getting too hot to go to the park in the afternoon,” I observed. We had done a few afternoons in the baby pool where the kid is a wild man so I was thinking about the possibility of hitting a friend’s pool who said we could use it any time during the day. But I was hesitant.
“I’m not sure that I am prepared to go to the pool by myself with Happy yet.”
“Why’s that?” BF asked.
“Because while I am taking off my t-shirt, he’s going to be throwing himself in the pool. Do you remember this kid at the beach last year? I just think this kid needs two chaperones near water.”
So instead of the pool, I opt for safer ground. The splash garden. I figure that I can handle that with Happy. And then we get there. And this is what Happy does.
So, all of a sudden, I have the kid who won’t barge in, who is paralyzed by the new water experience. Funny how as we get older and wiser, fear rises up. Even for a 21 month old.
The next day, I opt for the pool with a girlfriend who is game to help me chaperone. And what does Happy do? Sit me on the steps and climb on my lap so we dabble in the water for the day.
I’ve not given up. We’ll try, try again all summer long. But for now, it looks like one chaperone will be just fine.