Tag Archives: happy

blaugust #07: the hell with that.

Remember a couple of days back when I wrote that post about taking a daily photograph? I’m still thinking about it. I’ve been spending a fair amount of time lately organizing my photos in Dropbox – a massive task as I have not only all the photos that go with a regular life, but thousands upon thousands of product photographs as well. As I’m going through my regular life photos from my phone, however, I’ve noticed something. I haven’t posted many selfies lately.

I take selfies all the time. I’m in a long distance relationship, and part of staying close is that Phil and I send each other a lot of photos. I don’t tend to post those, or use them for avatars, though; even if it’s an especially nice photograph, those are for us. Where I’ve fallen off is in taking pictures of myself to show what I’m doing or how I’m feeling, and I realized those are few and far between over the past six months. So I started thinking about why that might be. After all, I have probably the best haircut I’ve had in three years right now.

And here is the uncomfortable answer to that question: I am editing myself out of what I post because I’m not comfortable in my own skin right now. It’s been a stressful six months, and I’ve put on about 20 pounds. It’s been a searingly dry, hot summer in Portland, I’ve been drinking too much wine, and my skin looks like it. And last but not least, my hair is going grey. (That one is on purpose, I’m letting it. But it’s very in-between at the moment, and I’ve been hiding that as well.)

So I realized this, and I read that last paragraph over, and my whole body rises up with a very noisy FUCK NO. It took me years to love myself. I was well into my thirties before I stopped hunching and hiding and cringing and wearing the entirely wrong clothes. When I finally woke up and felt the joy of my own body, it was like getting to start all over again. I felt amazing. There is no way I’m going back to being that hidden person.

We all get constant, aggressive messages about how we’re supposed to look and how we’re supposed to feel about ourselves if we don’t look the way we’re supposed to look. It’s so easy to believe those messages. I’m a grown, educated, self-aware woman with very few fucks to give about how I am perceived, and I still fell into the trap of editing myself to myself over the course of a few short months. The hell with that.

So, two things:

  1. On my birthday, in a few weeks, I will start that daily photo project. It will not be of a place. It will be a daily picture of me, posted on Instagram, unedited, regardless of how I feel about myself right then or where the day took me. I will do this for one year.
  2. Some things I believe. I need reminding of these beliefs, because sometimes I get sneakily done out of them.
    • I believe all women are beautiful
    • I believe that the term “age-appropriate” is demeaning and controlling bullshit
    • I believe that when I choose what I wear according only to what I like – clothing, cosmetics, hair color, jewelry – I give myself a power that can’t be achieved any other way
    • I believe in the way my belly shakes when I flip the onions browning in the pan
    • I believe in the power of my chapped, arthritic hands and all the things they can do
    • I believe in the creakingly ancient woman I met on the bus last week, wearing a black dress and black silk stockings and honest to God real pearls and a knitted monkey hat

To show you I mean it, here’s what I look like today.

I look at this picture and I see at least 5 things I’d like to change. My hair is about three different colors. I’ve got a false tooth right in the front of my mouth (this is why I am seldom smiling a proper toothy smile in selfies, but in keeping with this post THE HELL WITH THAT. I got that false front tooth playing a really fun game). I have allergies today, so one eye is puffy and red. And there’s a freckle that could probably do with checking out by a dermatologist.

None of that needs thinking. None of it needs writing. I nearly took it out, but I need to leave the part about the tooth in there, so it stays. But with a reminder: every time we apply these judgments to ourselves, every woman around us quietly takes that in, and applies the same judgments to herself. That is one toxic game of dominoes, and it needs to stop. I don’t take the pictures so I can catalog all the fabulous things about how I look. I take the pictures so I can remember all the amazing things I felt, both good and bad. I’m ditching the editor here by the side of the road, and reclaiming my ability to look at this picture and be reminded – hey, today was a good day. It started out frustrating and unproductive, and then it turned out to be such a relaxed and happy afternoon and night. Look at how happy I am. And seriously, that is a damn good haircut.

(This is my seventh – ! – post for Blaugust.)

what’s next?

It’s been a long time, and I’m trying to remember how this blog thing works. Um…I put words, yes? Right. Let’s see how I do with that.

It’s been three weeks since I got here, and I’m starting to feel like I’m home. The first ten days or so were a blur of holiday celebrations, family, friends, meeting people, exhausted sleep and disorientation. After that was a period of sort of shell-shocked looking at all the new things in my life. But around the middle of last week I started to feel like I had a routine going and some idea of what I need to do to start building my new life and take care of myself and let the wheels grip again.

I’ve lived alone for a long time, and to my delight and gratitude I’m finding that I love sharing this transitional phase of my life with these two people who mean the world to me. They’re incredibly generous to share their home and life with me, without any idea of how long they’ll be stuck with me; and we do have so much fun together. I’ve started to look for an apartment, but it looks like that process might take some time; I’m not anxious about it, though. Typically, I’m a really impatient person (cue pause for my loved ones to smile as they read this), but the past year has given me a tolerance for uncertainty that I’ve never had before. I’ve been living in some level of flux for several months now, and I almost feel like I’m getting good at it. It’s not something I want to do forever, but it’s good for me to exercise those flexibility and portability muscles.

There are three excellent pieces of wisdom that are serving me well right now. The first was a farewell from a friend in Chicago: “It’s going to be great, but it might take a minute.” The second was from one of my oldest and dearest friends, when I wrote to her just after Christmas that I was alternating between panic and joy on a minute-by-minute basis: “I know those feelings of panicky joy. Lean into them. Being off kilter can be quite amazing.” And the last was not directly a piece of advice, but something profoundly useful that came up in conversation: “I love being the stupidest person in the room. The newest employee, the worst musician. There’s no pressure and everything to learn.” I am, right now, the stupidest person in the room in almost every sense. New place, new life, no job and no home, a totally new awareness of my roles and possibilities. The feeling that I have everything to learn, and no one except myself to impress, is very freeing. (That being said, I still have fairly high standards for impressing myself and I have to keep working at it. But my point, I hope, is clear.)

Two days ago, Shana and I went and got my jewelry supplies out of my shipping container. She loves me. She spent hours clearing a space for me to work in her studio. Last night I made several new designs with vintage glass. I think my entire being breathed a sigh of relief. It’s been over a month since I made anything new, and many months since I made anything with glass. I’ve been itching to get back to it, and it felt so great to hold my work in my hands again. I look forward to being back to full time designing soon; look for new pieces to appear at both Leaves of Glass and urban legend in the next week.

In other news, surprising to no one, Portland is beautiful. The natural landscape is very similar to what I grew up with in Vermont, but on a larger scale. Taller trees, and real  mountains. Seriously, very large mountains. We drove to Seattle last week to see the King Tut exhibit, and I got my first in-person look at Mount St. Helens. I wasn’t expecting to see it, and it’s a breathtakingly iconic sight. I lost my head for a little while, thinking about the history of that mountain and its unmistakable shape. I was practically on tiptoe in the front seat of the car and Shana said, “You can’t take your eyes off it, can you?” No, I can’t. That’s going to stay with me for a while. I feel like I should be taking more pictures, but I’m too gobstruck half the time to think of pictures. I’m just soaking it all up.

There are so many new things to absorb and think about, and I’ve not been doing a very good job keeping up with anything online. My blog, my shops and my social networking are all a bit of a shambles, but I’ll start surfacing more often now, I think. Things are returning to a whole new kind of normal. I’m leaning into my off-kilter. I’m happy. Wish me luck, and I’ll keep you posted.

sunny.

I’ve had a couple of really great days. I’m being productive and feeling happy (these things are almost always related). There’s basically no narrative to this, but in the spirit of my June project I wanted to post about what I’m currently doing.

  • I’ve worked on and completed a client project that I enjoyed immensely.
  • I found out that urban legend will be featured in a magazine I love in a couple of months.
  • I successfully took photographs of my bead collection for said magazine (always an iffy venture for me).
  • I started something fun that has nothing to do with work or moving, and plenty of welcome potential for distraction.
  • I recolored the streak of red in my hair and am having a really cute, bed-heady hair day.
  • I dyed a bunch of beads, and now I have two colors that I have a hard time finding. THIS IS A VERY BIG DEAL TO ME.
  • I’ve made several new things, and photographed them. There will be a shop update at urban legend later today.
  • I’ve packed most of my bookshelf and recorded the contents of each box in Goodreads so I know what I’m looking for when I unpack months from now.
  • I’ve had an idea for something entirely new to make. It will be some time before I can actually start working on it, but I’m thrilled to have a completely new idea.
  • I’m reading Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, which is full of sprawling, dirty life and big, beautiful ideas about sprawling, dirty life.
  • Shana and I watched Thor by phone and made things, which is one of my favorite things to do.
  • Later tonight, I’ll go out with friends for dinner and a movie.
  • I’m feeling really happy. Did I say that already?

nerd sunday

I had the nicest morning. I got up early and went to meet my lovely friends for breakfast at Marmalade. We all enjoyed breakfast nerdistry (I had a butternut squash & leek crepe, with dried cherry chicken sausage in a red wine reduction and scrambled eggs), and each of our separate nerdistries involving stamps, babies, ceramics, comic books, beads, craft shows, letterpress, letter writing, boobs, girl scouts, the history of punch, absent friends, and small business chatter. After that, I got a massage and had some Pacific-Northwest-and-the-wearing-of-tights nerd chat with my wonderful massage therapist. Then I went to the comic book store, and geeked out over Unwritten, jack-o-lanterns, small business branding, Swamp Thing, Sweet Tooth, and John Carpenter’s The Thing (I missed a screening they did last night. Boo.). To top off my morning, I went to the liquor store and engaged in some heavy enthusiasm over a case of vintage ports that the wine nerd just scored.

The rush of enthusiasm endorphins will sustain me for a while. I’m reminded of Wil Wheaton talking about John Green’s quote about being a nerd. It’s been blogged and tweeted and tumblr’d several thousand times, but one more won’t hurt. Watch it again, and enjoy liking stuff. I’m gonna drink my tea and watch The Thing on Netflix.

crush month: day 31


This was a tough one. There are a lot of options for a crush on the very last day of a year, while visiting your childhood stomping grounds in New England. For a while there, I was even considering having a crush on the conversation with my siblings wherein we discussed what I should do for a crush. But then Bethany reminded me of something we saw early this morning while we were driving to Woodstock to go shopping (Gillinghams!), and it was clearly the crush month winner. The Maple Grove Bakery hearse. Yes, indeed, you read that right. As we were turning off of I89 to drive through Quechee, we were behind a hearse with a giant cardboard sign in the back window that read “Maple Grove Bakery.” It’s a pastry delivery hearse. We weren’t swift enough with the cameras to get a picture, but I googled it when we got home and found the picture above. This is the actual vehicle, but the picture was taken by the previous owner and was on her website with the information that it’s now the delivery vehicle for Maple Grove. Only awesome.


Happy New Year, all! For my next blogging project, something more ambitious, at which I may or may not succeed. Stay tuned…