Saturday, September 24, 2016

changes 9.0: late nights in the big city

I'm heading out to a show.

It starts at 10:30pm.

There was a mix up with the tickets.

We were supposed to see the 8pm seating.

I'm always happier with the early option.

I'm not a late night person.

Daylight, early mornings, routines make me much more comfortable.

And yet, hear I am, about to start an evening.

Yes, I know that for many this is on the early side.

But to me it's late. And that's a change I'm working on being ok with.

Not sure it's a good one. We'll see how it goes.

changes 8.0: last minute switch ups

Every Friday I take a kick ass Pilates class - trying my best to never miss it. It's been a constant in my life for awhile and while I have both love and dread relationship with it, the good outweighs the pain in the end. 

Today I raced to class, set up my mat, and a sub walked in. I'd taken her class before and it wasn't what I was looking forward to. Before I even had time to process what to do, I left. 

Walked out. 

Grabbed my bag and skedaddled. 

I didn't want to hurt her feelings so I slipped out as she walked past. 

I then wandered over to my yoga studio, took an hour and a half class, got to hear a stunning version of Little Wing, and dissolved into one of the best shivasanas ever. 

Unexpected change. 

A delightful outcome. 

Not getting caught up in expectations or disappointment. 

Good lesson to hold onto. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

changes 7.0: down an organ

Six years ago, this coming Thanksgiving weekend, I got a text asking if I was serious about being a kidney donor.

Conceptually of course I was.

In the real world I wasn't as sure. 

I freaked out for a day or so and then realized I had to get tested. At least I'd know. I'd either be a match and then figure out next steps, or I wouldn't be and that door would be shut tight. While waiting for results, I wasn't sure what I wanted the outcome to be.

Two weeks after testing I got a voice mail that yes, I was a match. Joy flooded me. I sobbed in the street, thrilled beyond believe. I knew then this was meant to be.

The next six months weren't so much about joy and happiness. There was endless testing, there were complications, delays, stress, anxiety, countless unknowns. We didn't know until day of surgery if my brother even had room for a kidney in his scarred abdomen. And there are no guarantees that a new kidney would work.

It did. 

It still is.

That donation defined me for a long time. It changed me forever. 

I'm down an organ. 

But now I feel exactly the same.

My brother is healthier than he's been since he was a baby. But also settled in to his new status quo. 

Talk about a monumental, life changing, life saving change. 

That now feels like a dream. 

changes 6.0: riding the wave

For as long as I can remember, I worked for straight hair.

Blow drying in steamy bathrooms. Hot ironing before heading out of my bedroom. Bottles of shampoos and conditioners all promising help.

So much of me, my ego, my sense of self was tied up in my straight, at times bordering on perfect hair.

If my hair looked good, I was good.

When my hair was neat, controlled, managed, tamed, that reflected out the parts of me I wanted the world to believe were who I intrinsically was. There was no room for mess, for change, for awkward or volatile or unattractive. I wanted to be in control and have everyone see me that way.

Story of my life.

Inner turmoil masked with straight hair, a big smile, and a powerhouse drive to get things done.

Last summer, I gave up. Gave in. Threw in the towel (or at least straightening tools).

It was a sweltering August day, upper 90s, and as I sweated just holding my hair iron, not able to see myself in the bathroom mirror from the building up of fog, I stopped. The ridiculousness of what I was doing struck me. I unplugged my necessary accessories and walked out.

And then had to acclimate to the messy head I was choosing.

For someone so used to absolute control, wavy hair was an existential crisis. That is not an exaggeration. I stopped looking in mirrors. I apologized for how I looked when running into people. I researched products and techniques and spent more time and money on serums and sprays and beach bounce gel than one person should.

I dreaded having my picture taken. I hated people asking me what was different, assuming it was a polite way of noting I'd looked much better before.

And then, it all stopped.

I stopped caring. It stopped mattering. I left my house without touching my hair - how I woke up was how I spent the day.

And that was freeing. Letting go of expectations, of perfection, of rigidity, of control.

Turns out I was able to let go of those things in other places too. My hair was the way in.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

changes 5.0: fashion choices

Today is a cream puffy skirt with an ornate black pattern printed on it. 

A loose black tank top. 

A grey lace single wrap scarf. 

Weathered Frye boots. 

An ever present nose ring, circle stud earrings, and wrap bracelets. 

Every morning is a fresh palette, an opportunity to put things together I hadn't before. Huge change for me after years dressing in almost uniforms that hid me in crowds and made me as invisible as I wanted to feel. 

Now I embrace funk, eclectic, avant garde, on the edge - within reason. 

But I've asked people to let me know when I go from being a cool dresser to that embarrassing woman on the street. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

changes 4.0: bodies

I spent much, if not most, of my life unhappy with my body.

My hips too wide, freckles apparent on my arms, cellulite mottling my thighs.

Big feet, big nose, big ears.

Bowed legs. Thick eyebrows. Eyes that needed correcting in 4th grade.

Minutes, hours, days, months, years spent trying to lose weight, battling anorexia, working out too hard and beating up on this body I often felt was the enemy.

But now I revere it.

This is my home.

My heart beats with love.

My skin wraps me tight (although slightly less tight in some areas).

My legs walk for miles and get me where I need to go.

My hands knit and bake and hug.

My larger than ever lap held babies who grew into wonderful young adults.

In a world where it's all too easy to feel fat, old, wrinkly, inadequate, I treasure this body. I've learned to give it rest when it needs, to stretch it when it's tight, to heal it through meditation, to appreciate all we've been through together.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

changes 3.0: not caring

One thing I'm finding as I get older, is that I care far less than I used to.

If my hair's a mess, I'm fine.

It my outfit isn't fabulous, it's ok.

If I ask a ridiculous question or say the wrong thing, or look lost, or make a mistake . . . whatever. It's another moment that will pass.

I'm far easier on myself. Far more accepting, tolerant, empathetic. I've been letting go of negativity, self-doubt, and occasionally guilt.

It's a lovely place to not judge myself so harshly and to feel more comfortable in my skin.