moms

Hey, You Have Hay On Your Gucci!

I was lucky enough to be one of the parents chaperoning my kid’s class field trip to the pumpkin patch yesterday. It was a beautiful day, perfect weather for hay rides and apple cider. As you know, pumpkins patches are not held in malls. They can be messy places, typically held on farms with dirt, hay, goats, feces, and chickens…you know. When choosing your outfit for this adventure, you’ll want to opt for things that conjure these words:

comfortable, easy, can get dirty, low-maintenance, not my nicest.

You get the idea. A lot of the moms did just that, but just as many dressed like it was date night, and by date night I mean walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes.

Why? Please tell me why on a day you know you’ll be sitting on hay and helping your child feed goats would you choose skin-tight hot pants, high heeled boots (Let that sink in a minute. Heels. In dirt), a silk blouse, your best bling jewelry, more make-up than I wore on my wedding day, a designer purse the size of a VW Bug, and enough perfume to turn away livestock? WHY.

I think there's hay stuck to my ass

I think there’s hay stuck to my ass

These are questions I genuinely want answers to:

*Was this their one chance to dress up and they’re just goin’ for it, balls-to-the-wall? Cuz if that’s it, I kind of respect that. But I don’t think that’s it.
*Do they dress like this all the time? Like even to the grocery store?
*Do they look down on “jeans/t-shirt” moms?
*I have to know what’s in the giant purse. I think there’s a dead body in there. Cuz it would fit.
*Do they smell their own perfume? Seriously. Wassup with the perfume?

Okay. Off my soapbox. *bows gracefully*

So I’m at the pumpkin patch with this other “jeans/t-shirt” mom who I really like. I’ve only chatted with her once, but I’m kind of enamored with her cuz she’s a big time runner, and I suck at running. Anyway, she’s super laid-back and cool. When she sees me she jumps next to me all happy and rubs her shoulder into mine. I was surprised cuz most people who I’ve only met once-ish don’t get cozy so quickly, but I tend to be super hesitant with touching and personal space so what the hell do I know. I have to say, while it was out of my comfort zone, it was endearing.

Later in the day, she’s telling a story and to demonstrate something she throws her arm around my neck. Again, I was flattered that she felt chummy enough to do this. I was in NO WAY offended or put off, it just got my attention because I’m so….I guess….not the touch-y type. With good friends, of course, I’ll link arms and hug and stuff, but I’m talking newer people. I’m certainly not a “hugger” unless genuinely inspired.

*before you get a visual of the hubs chasing me around like PePe le Pew, I do not have trouble with THAT kind of physicality thankyouverymuch*

This made me really think about how profound social cues are. Her behavior told me things about her. Things like: she’s confident; approachable; friendly; she really likes me; we’re friends. That’s interesting to me. It made me wonder what my posture tells people? Do I come off less approachable than I think? I feel like a friendly, harmless Labrador just (desperately) waiting for someone to play with…but maybe I look more like an uppity poodle. I’m not suggesting I go touch all over people – that would be so far out of character for me I would implode. But perhaps standing six feet away with my arms crossed sends a mixed message.

I’m very animated and friendly when I do, finally, talk so maybe that makes up for what I lack in positive social cues. I really don’t know. I sort of wish I could watch a tape of me at a social function and see how I act, but then again, there’s not enough alcohol in the world to undo the trauma of seeing myself on video.

Okay, so this was really two posts in one, but the events were intertwined so eff it. I’m efficient today, whatcanisay? And I wasn’t even drinking when I wrote this! Oh, wine counts? I was so drinking.

what kind of dog are you?

what kind of dog are you?

I gotsta know: How do you feel about personal space? Are you touchy feely? Do you like it when others are? What do think your posture tell others about you? If you were a dog, which breed would you be? Oh, and if overdressers drive you bananas, lemme hear about it! I LOVE your comments!

Sticks and Stones aren’t Shit Compared to Words.

A lovely, insightful comment on my last post got the ole noodle crankin’, and you know what happens next: I have to write it or it won’t leave my head.

Growing up, my room was right across from my mom’s and I could hear everything she said. Under the same societal pressures to be “perfect” we all are, she was always frustrated with her weight, a perpetual dieter. She never met an exercise craze she didn’t try, but I do remember the emphasis being more on weight than fitness. When she was getting ready I would hear her mumble (or sometimes yell) things like:

“I’m too fat and ugly to wear this in public.”

“I’m such a fat cow.”

“My ass looks like a bull-dozer in these pants.”

We’ve all done it. It’s just crap you say when you’re frustrated, tossing that third pair of *shrunken* jeans across the room.

Of course, when a young girl hears her mother say things like that, her mother who she thinks is beautiful and perfect, she does one thing:

She adopts that same self-criticism.

Her words became my inner dialogue, and my weight became my measurement of self-worth. It’s vicious and ugly to hear those things in your head. It stops you in your tracks. I had zero awareness of body issues and – in an instant – became so hyper sensitive to them I remember skipping school because I thought my body was unacceptable. I was a size 8. But I was curvy. I hated my curves and saw them as fat. I wanted to look like those no-booby-stick girls that walk the runway, because yeah, on top of everything else, this was the 80’s and I had media pressure to be a waif.

I remember once my mom joking and saying it looked like I had gained 10 pounds over the summer.

BLAM!

That stung. I was twelve, so my zoom lens on a comment like that was about 1,000X. That began the era of giant shirts to hide my body. The takeaway: never make an inference IN ANY WAY to a young girl’s weight.

Between girls being nasty to me in school, and the pressure to find a place, any-freakin-place, to fit in, I didn’t have a chance in hell. Not when I started out-of-the-gate with such negative inner dialogue and a horrible self-image.

*I just wish someone had warned her*

That’s why I wrote this. Because my mom had no idea her words were doing damage. She would never want that.

All of us make mistakes. Hell, I’ll probably make four today. But if this post reaches even one person who might be saying these types of things within earshot of a youngin’, whether it be about their nose, their value on this earth, or their weight….well, that would be everything.

**Happy ending. It took  thirty twenty a handful of years and the Frankenstein of patch jobs, but my self-image is intact and healthy. Oh, I still hear the negative voices. The difference is now, I don’t believe them. I have perspective on what true beauty is. And my diet and exercise goals are based on fitness and feeling comfortable more than a size on a tag. My therapist probably drives a Range Rover to her lake house, but who cares, right? Thank God for therapy.

What about you? Do you remember hearing anyone talk like that when you were little? How did it make you feel? Was weight, beauty, or perfection over-emphasized in your house? Please share. I value and look forward to your comments!