Archives for January 2016

January 28, 2016

More Than Just a Pretty Face

I ran a few errands on my way home from the gym yesterday, my last stop being Starbucks to grab a well deserved cup of coffee. On my way out I bumped into an old acquaintance whom I hadn’t seen for a while, we both have daughters the same age, so small talk naturally drifted to our commonality. She asked what Rylee was up to, I gave her the Coles Notes version of school, sports, driving lessons and her a part-time job (the part-time job which costs me more than she makes when I add up all of the time that I lose on drop off and pick-up for the obscure shifts that she works, what we do for our kids).

We chatted on a little more and she told me that her daughter has also decided to look for a job wanting to be a hostess at one of the new eateries in town, it is also one of those places with a staff dress code rating of more mature than high schooler. Having little work experience, she asked her daughter if she was qualified to apply for such a job, her daughter said that she was because she was pretty and liked to talk to people. Slightly, although not completely taken back, the lecture started on how being pretty is not a qualification. They were out shopping, and at this point in the story they were in a menswear store to buy a birthday gift, as they approached the cash register the saleswoman asked my friend’s daughter if she was looking for a job, as they certainly could use someone who looked like her to work there…

I have to say that I certainly do admire such confidence at 16. At that age mine had been destroyed by a mean boy, and took many years for it to return, but even on a good day I can still find something negative to say about myself, which is unfortunate. Our society places a ridiculous amount of emphasis on how you look, and it has gone well beyond the point of teenage girls wearing too much make-up. Our daughters see their role models posting photoshopped and filtered images online, the Kardashian train wreck of contouring, extensions, fillers, botox and implants. And here’s the thing, as wrong as it may be, the reality is that how you look can open, as well as close doors.

Wanting to raise a strong and independent young woman, I remind Rylee often how smart and strong she is and how proud I am of her. I also tell her that she is beautiful, not because I want it to define her, but because I always want her to feel beautiful. Every woman should feel beautiful. I want to build her confidence so that she is always ok with who she is. And that if and when a door closes, or that mean boy or girl comes along she will be able to take it for what it is knowing that she is so much more, and just as important if a door should open because of her grades, experience or a million other reasons, I want to know that what she does when she goes through it, is what counts.

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January 19, 2016

“No” Apologies

Yesterday I tripped and fell. It was quite stupid actually. We had had a pretty busy weekend and Stanley had been cooped up in the house, so I thought that a walk across the ridge where he could do double time scampering up and down the hills along side the trail would be just what he needed. It would also be just what I needed, the view from the ridge spans from Golden Ears Mountain out to Vancouver and south towards White Rock and beyond, it’s pretty spectacular and always a peaceful place to gather my thoughts. I had some things on my mind and 25 minutes in the fresh air would give me plenty of time to mull them over.

I left the house in my usual dog walking attire, my flaid (pronounced flad, a red flannel, plaid jacket, at least two sizes to big for me which I randomly bought at Costco after attending the Celebration of Life of a nice man that I knew whose last request was that all of the Captain Morgans in Pitt Meadows be drunk), my Lululemon Dog Walking pants (I kid you not that’s what they are called, it always makes me smile inside that I walk my dog in my dog walkers) and my dilapidated Uggs, it’s quite a look, but I am always warm. We headed up my street and cut through the new subdivision that is being built. Between the subdivision and the trail there is a wide black topped sidewalk with two gates, the kind that you have to wind your way through, or get off your bike to manoeuvre through. There was a fair amount of construction going on yesterday and both gates were open. Other than the metal gate stopper that sticks out of the sidewalk, there are no other obstructions, just a clear unobstructed pathway to the trail. It was windy out yesterday and Stanley was doing that cute doggie thing that he does with his face in the wind, I smiled as I watched him play, albeit a bit distracted and completely unaware that my right foot was about to catch the metal gate stopper.

One minute I was up, the next down, and down hard. Stanley immediately ran over to me, I’m not sure if he was concerned or just thought that I was sprawled out to play. Totally gobsmacked, I got to my feet as best as I could looking around to see if the man working 20 or so feet away had seen what happened. Fortunately he was still engrossed in his work and I did my best to hold back the tears as I limped back home. The palms of my hands were skinned and bloodied, my knee was throbbing and I needed a hug.

Two thoughts ran through my mind as my daughter was cleaning me up, the first, am I going to be able to move tomorrow, the second, was this a sign? I had been thinking about stepping out of my comfort zone as I was walking, could my falling flat on my face while I was contemplating it be telling me (or screaming) something? Should I take this as an aha moment or was it just another to add to the pile of my klutzy, less than graceful incidents?

I did a body inventory before getting out of bed this morning. Although the palms of my hands were still a little tender they had started to heal, there was no stiffness in my knee and the rest of my body felt pretty damn good. As both Stanley and I were robbed of our walk across the ridge yesterday I made it top priority for this morning. As I approached where I fell yesterday, the gates were closed as they normally are. Stanley took his usual route running around them and up and over the dirt piles, I carefully wound my way through. I was still thinking about yesterday and what all of it meant, or if it meant anything at all. I didn’t make any resolutions this year, but I did make a promise to myself and that was to do more of what I wanted, and that meant saying no things that I didn’t want without apology. 19 days in I have been somewhat successful, but I am finding it hard to say no to someone without saying sorry first, or after, Rome wasn’t built in a day. What has been on my mind for the last few days is something that I really want to do, but as I said also out of my comfort zone. As coincidental or as accidental as falling flat on my face was, if I stopped doing things that I wanted to do which could hurt me or did hurt me, I wouldn’t use a knife, the stove or my flatiron, I likely wouldn’t speak to as many people as I do and may not even be married anymore. And there was my aha moment, since I haven’t taken the leap yet, perhaps slowing down and stepping out instead of wildly jumping off in my usual manner would be the way to do this one, and without apology.

Stanley on the ridge

Stanley on the ridge