I refuse, I refuse, I refuse!

My husband and I went to a holiday cocktail party the other day. One of the dresses I currently own probably would have worked, but most of the people we were mingling with were upper level management type folks. Since the hubs is looking for a new job with said peeps, we decided to go dress hunting to see if we could find a more sophisticated looking cocktail dress.

I say we because, I will tell you, I am not a girly girl. I can put on mascara, but not without scratching my eye at least once. I don’t even own lipstick. I have to hunt down my cherry flavored chapstick if I want to give my lips color. So with my husband home and my girlfriends all at work, he came with me for moral support. I don’t do shopping. I especially don’t do pretty dress shopping for a fancy, but not too elegant, cocktail party at whiskey distillery. The whiskey, by the way, was really good!

Some of the dresses I tried on were a bit more flattering to a woman’s curves than I was use to. We started half-joking about wearing a body suit of some sort underneath to flatten out the lingering loose skin and not-a-six-pack abs that I have. Once we found a few dresses we both liked we looked  for body flattering under garments.

Now here is my disclaimer. I am not what anyone, myself included, would consider overweight, fat, chunky, or any other unflattering description that women use to describe themselves. I workout, not regularly, but often. I eat healthy, but I also enjoy the food and the company I’m with when I eat. I don’t overeat and I don’t do sugar or a ton of fiber-free carbs. Am I as toned as I would like to be? No, but I also don’t workout as regularly as I should to be that toned. Do I still have some flabby areas? Yes. But, again, I have a body that I am comfortable with. I don’t struggle with body image. I’m strong enough to pick up all of my kids, in shape enough to run (okay, jog) a 5k, and I can keep up with the 5 little rascals who run around my house every afternoon.

The first undergarment I tried on was like super tiny panties. My loose skin / tiny amount of flab hung over like a muffin top that would make Martha Stewart’s pastries green. The second one I tried on was like wearing granny-panties underwear that came all the way up to the bottom of my bra. It squished everything out the leg holes. So the third one that I attempted to wear was like a swimsuit that had legs attached. Now imagine it was a swimsuit that was 5 sizes too small. I could barely get the darn thing on, and I’m really not even sure I even had it on correctly. I couldn’t grab enough of the fabric to try and wrestle it around to what I thought might be the correct position.

These undergarments made me cry. Ugly cry. I began to doubt myself and the “shape” that I was in. These undergarments accentuated everything society deems a flaw on the female form. Then, I got angry. I was angry at myself for doubting my comfortableness with my body, and I was angry at society for allowing women to live with the pressure of needing to have a “perfect” body. I have had 3 children and I enjoy food and I refuse, REFUSE!!, to be judged for that.

Let me tell you right here, right now, that you are perfect! You don’t need pounds of makeup to be pretty. Accentuate that beauty that you already have. You don’t need to lose tens or hundreds of pounds to have a perfect body. You are already perfect. And maybe you should lose some for health reasons, but those should be the only reasons. Please, please!, do not let society dictate to you what you think your body should or should not be. It’s not their body, it’s yours for you to do with what you want. Granted, everything we do do to our bodies has consequences, but those consequences are ours, and not for society to dictate.

It took me many minutes before I was ready to checkout with my husband. Once I was able to stop angry crying and tell him what was rolling around in my head, his words were kind and supportive. One of the many reasons I love him so much. They were along the lines of “I know you’ve struggled with the way you’ve viewed your belly in the past, and you’ve worked hard to not let it bother you, but I think this attitude is the healthiest of all”

There are many things to be judged on, but not this. This ceaseless judgement by society about the way we look says a lot about the way we view ourselves individually. I see you, and I will not judge you for the way you look, but for the way you treat others. You are awesome and loved for you!

-Tracye

P.S. For those of you that are looking for determination to make a difference in your health, I strongly recommend Betty Rocker. I love her workout videos, she always has a modification for those of us that can’t always do the move. I also love her encouragement, and the few recipes of hers that I have tried. And, I was not paid to say any of this, she really is awesome in my opinion!

Experience over Stuff

I hate stuff. Not all stuff, just the mindless, meaningless, dust collecting, environment trashing stuff. You know, the stuff that we don’t need, but that we buy anyway so that the person we’re giving said stuff to feels like they got enough. It’s ridiculous and it drives me crazy! My husband and I are working really hard on not getting out family this type of stuff and attempt to pass them off as gifts. So instead we’re focusing more on giving less gifts as well as making sure the gifts we do give are 1. meaningful and 2. experience oriented. To that end here are the gifts we’re giving the kids.

The oldest is getting a sewing class from JoAnn’s, the Redwall book series, a music player, and the Wings of Fire book series from Santa. The middle is getting a sipping and painting class, DC Super Hero Girls, 1 still to be determined gift, and the Amulet book series requested from Santa. The youngest is getting a backstage pass to the zoo, a building class, a personalized apron to go with his love of cooking, and Dr. Suess books requested from Santa. They are getting each other a single gift each, and they are getting a few to be shared items from the big man in red, but that’s it.

And what about those pesky extended family gifts you ask? Those are also experiences. For my side of the family (parents, and sister and 2 kids) we are going to Great Wolf Lodge. For my husband’s family (parents, 1 sister and 2 kids) we are also doing a resort type gift, and for his out of town sister we’re doing a dessert experience and I’m making them messy bun hats. Anybody that doesn’t fit into the immediate extended family group doesn’t get a gift. Yes that includes my great grandmother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sorry, not sorry.

The present is the presence of family at the extended family holiday get-together. When my husband’s family did extended family get-togethers the hosting family picked a charity and participating families would gift a donation. My extended family plays games and catches up on each others lives. The one exception is that my aunt usually gets the 18 and under kids a small useful gift like a blanket. I’d much rather ooh and aah over seeing you and enjoy playing games together than pretend to love some ridiculous last-minute gift that will more than likely be re-gifted to a charity cause.

There are lots of experience ideas out there. Please trust me that the gift recipient will remember the experience, especially if it’s an experience they get to do with you, or a gift to help an experience or hobby, much more than a thing you picked up at the last minute. Think of something they like, and send them on their way. I promise it will be worth it.

 

Woah, how time has flown!

You guys, I have been super un-busy and mostly loving it! I’ve had numerous posts that I’ve wanted to write about rolling around in the back of my head. Instead of letting it bother me that I am not getting them written I’ve recognized that it bothers me that they’re not written down and refocused on slowing down and not doing things. That’s not to say I’ve just been sitting on my bottom doing nothing all day, although, let’s be honest, I did take the time to do that for a little while.

Here’s a little back story. My kids and niblings are all in the same school at the same time. I made very lofty goals of taking a week off to relish the lack of running around and then kicking my day into high gear to get lots of things accomplished. These goals included working out on a more regular basis, running a business, writing this blog, and keeping my house immaculate. Can we say over-achiever? Yes, yes we can. And how, you might ask, did these goals fair? Well after the first week of doing nothing I got sick, then the kids got sick, then I made Halloween costumes for a month, then I ate all of the Halloween candy and got really angry at myself for doing so, then the holidays kicked in. In between all of these things I attempted to continue my goals and was my own worst enemy when I didn’t meet said lofty goals.

With all of these things going on my husband is also in the middle of finding a new job. We were told in May that he was going to be laid off coming January, and in November they asked him if he was okay not coming into the office any more. They’ve already found his replacement and the replacement is doing really well, thus he no longer needs to come in on a daily basis, although he is still on call if something should happen. It’s been really nice having him home and we’ve had our fair share of lazing around. But I can only handle so much lazing around, which hasn’t helped tame the negative nelly in the back of my mind yelling at me for not getting things done, either. So after reading Joshua Becker’s post about not giving yourself enough credit and a serious heart to heart with myself, I took a few days to refocus my goals to be more in line with 1 being attainable, and 2 my own goals of living simply.

So really, this is just a long drawn out way to say I’m attempting to get back on track but also being more kind to myself and recognizing that they little steps do in fact count as steps.

 

Squirrel!

Last post I mentioned I was starting Baby Blanket #3. And then I fell off the blogging face of the earth. In reality I got distracted with The Minimalists’ newest challenge of deleting 1,000 photos in 11 days. You guys, I had over 17,000 photos! I still have many, many more to go, but this post gave me the confidence to sit down and just do a few at a time. I found it much easier to go through one month at a time. And once I started deleting by months, I stopped counting how many I actually deleted. I know I did more than just 1,000. You should do it, too! It’s incredible how many “just in case” photos we take, and really, we only need 1 or 2, not 10-20.

The Minimalists “Delete 1,000 Photos in 11 Days”

I also got distracted with the Great American Read being hosted by PBS. It is “a list of 100 best-loved books chosen by the American public and a panel of literary and publishing professionals” (PublishersWeekly, Jan 17, 2018). Of course, being the book lover I am, I had to compare it to my own reading history of books I love; create a checklist so that I could track the books I haven’t read yet (or, let’s be honest, want to read again); and dive down deep into the lovely waters literary imagination. You can find the original list of books here. When you take into account some of the series of books in the list, it becomes a much more daunting list, but still, such a fun activity to tackle. The first book I picked up to read is “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls. I’m about half way through as of today. I figured I would go through all the books we already had before heading to the library for the ones we’re lacking.

 

While I have been distracted, I haven’t been fully lost. Next post will have the squares I have knitted in my spare (haha!) time