Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Self-Mediation Sans Mirror

4 a.m. My Mac woke me up. Both monitor and hard drive power buttons were glowing and pulsing in the dark. I had fallen asleep on the “big chair” while trying to watch the news. The glowing gave the feeling that aliens had landed in the family room, the dog barked to go outside and now I can't go back to sleep.

I woke up yesterday at 8:30 a.m. and started cleaning the art studio (and basement). I finally finished up last night at 7 p.m. Exhausted but glad to have the top of my table cleaned off and the tile floor mopped and cleaned. (BTW, the best thing to use to clean really dirty vinyl tile floor is “cleaning bubbles”. Spray it on, wait a minute. Be very careful because it makes the floor very slippery, and mop.)

Now with all my treasures and trash safely organized and stored away guarantees that I will never see or find them again. Not sure I should have started the assemblage art craze. It plays too much with the “junk-collector” who lives inside of me and now I can't allow myself to go to the thrift store anymore. No More Space.

Sunday, while I was moving ladders and tidying up the woodpile, cleaning the backyard, weeding and looking like I usually do – a train wreck, I overheard my model-esque neighbor talking to her equally beautiful friend. They were talking about exercise classes they had been attending to get back into “bathing suit” bodies, getting facials and such. I wanted to be jealous. I wanted to yell out to them “why don’t you grab a mower and get to work”, I wanted to tell them they are thin enough and quick worrying their weight and talking about Pilates. But then, that is probably WHY they look so good. With sweat pouring off my brow and dirt underneath my fingers nails. I found myself wondering out loud, "what is wrong with me?" What happened to me as female? There was a time I thought about the way I looked in my bathing suit, I spent 8 hours a week jazzercise, ballet, weight-lifting.

I was doing a little self-meditation sans the mirror as I went back to my yard work. Since we learn our parents, I was wondering if I should blame my mom for being as I am. She was never one to take exercise classes or worry about her looks when I was young. She was worrying about working and putting food on the table, raising a child. My early childhood development was sorely lacking in feminine pursuits of perfect-ness.

Then I thought I could blame my house. How it is always needing something done, leaving little or no time for me to do much in my free time.

Many years ago, I ran into same neighbor. I was covered in house paint, head to fingernail (well, I bit my nails then so let’s just say fingertips). I had been painting some room (I am always painting something), installing and painting molding. She was telling me how busy her Saturday was because she had to get her hair done AND fit in a manicure. I wanted to laugh, or cry, at me, at her. The paradox of the situation. Returning to my painting, I remember thinking then “what is wrong with me?” I later told D how how alien I felt after talking to her. How I hated the way I was always comparing myself to her, her looks, her perfect-ness. He reminded me that I live to do my art in my free time. That getting covered in saw dust was my “thing”. That sewing and gardening were high my priority list and that I was comparing myself to someone who did none of those things, did not know how to start a mower and certainly wouldn't be caught dead with a paintbrush in her hand. And then it all made sense.

But sometimes, when I run into her and I have not changed clothes in two days, or brushed my hair and have paint under my fingernails, That little question pops up in my head. Why am I so different from most of the women I know?


Janet said...

All I can say is you're not that much different from me!

I used to worry and spend lots of time (and money) on how I looked but then I realized that it didn't make me happy...but doing some kind of artsy crafty stuff put a smile on my face. And aren't smiles what makes us pretty!

Joanne S said...

Now, I get my hair "done" and I have beautifully done nails--with red nail polish. I also have dirt under those red nails, blue paint splatters on them and my hair is sometimes just finger combed bedhair.

I paint--pictures and house shutters and rooms; mow the grass; prune bushes; clean out the attic. Wish I knew how to do moulding.

See--that lady next door--she's the weird one--not you! She doesn't know how to do anything. Instead of envy--you should feel sorry for her. I do.

Jan said...

That's why we have we can connect with the many, many people who validate who we are and chime in, *Not to worry! Me, too!*

Kim, everything you wrote? *Not to worry! Me, too!*

kelly said...

amen sista!

Tammy said...

My two cents is your neighbor is too focused on her outside and you work too hard and need a little pampering. Balance, I'd rather be you than her anyday...productive! You have beautiful eyes and this shot shows your beauty. Go get a massage :)

Joelle said...

I usually get caught with a paintbrush in my hand, and one holding my hair in a bun. And it matters not a wit. Seems like you've got a band of women with your attitude, you're fine!

Amy said...

Different things fulfill different people. There was a time when my looks were extremely important to me. Now I'm happy to take an uninterrupted shower every once in awhile! My time is WAY more important to me these days. Sure we could spend an hour and a half in the gym everyday and an hour or more getting ready for the day but then that would mean less time creating, playing with our kids, enjoying our spouses, doing the things that make us happy.

Being "in bathing suite shape" isn't important. Being healthy is. Keeping a beautiful yard, or in my case, pushing a two year old around the mall in a stroller for two miles is as good an exercise routine as anything.

There is nothing wrong with you! I think your priorities are in perfect order. Just keep doing what you love to do and if you feel like it, take a spa day. You deserve it!

Green Kitchen said...

I luckily got over (for the most part) this kind of comparison when I was in high school because the people I looked up to were four tough and creative hippie-ish sisters. They bought all their clothes at garage sales; had horses and buggies, even a covered wagon; one of them was my art teacher. They wore bikinis even though they had cellulite. Sometimes they were pregnant in their little bathing suits. They never shaved. Strength was more important than grooming. Creativity was always rewarded.

Recently I told a couple of the sisters how much they influenced me. I recounted a day long ago when I tried to show off a new outfit to them, and how NOT impressed they were. I told them about recently running into some old high school friends and how they were talking about getting their hair done, getting manis/pedis, and buying new outfits for our high school reunion. I think the experience had drummed up a bit of the ol' insecurity and I was looking to my mentors for affirmation. Instead of the "us" and "them" conversation I expected, one of the sisters said something like, "One way is not better, just different." She was defending the fancy girls while totally comfortable with her choices. Another lesson learned.

Anonymous said...

Or as Mister Rogers said...I like you...JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!

herself said...

I can tell you what's wrong with you...

You have depth!!! Society has gone mad with superficial non-matters matters and I thank God every day that I care about what I care about.

melba said...

I don't think about my body in a bathing suit...the children want to go to the pond...and that is more important than my vanity. There were women in my playgroup back in May who were obsessing about Weight Watchers and how they didn't want to put on a swimsuit.

You don't seem all that different to me. nad i love seeing your eyes!

The Linda said...

Kimmy, There's absolutely nothing wrong with you and there's actually nothing wrong with that other woman either. Just different priorities.

I've been in your shoes, though, felt the same things you mention, but I DID learn it from my mom. I heard about my not being good enough or not doing what I should or looking like I should my whole life long. I wonder where YOU got it from. Society maybe? and it's constant urging that we look a certain way or act a certain way, etc. etc? Hogwash!

One Crabapple said...

oh Kim I love you

I love that you told this

That you put your thoughts out there and showed me who you really are.

And I know I love you.

I was so glued to this entry

Oh you funny girl. You are not so different.

And the nieghbor next door..she has her issues...believe it !

oh refreshing to have you share these thoughts.

Good for you getting all of that cleaning done. I filed the tip about the scrubbing bubbles because my kitchen floor could use it ! And I was laughing about the mac / aliens having landed bit because I leave mine on and get that crazy breathing glow too. You described it perfectly and I will always think of you with a smile now when I see it.

Love, S.

chronicler said...

Kim, I grew up with a girly mom. She always had matching shoes, dress, purse and makeup. It was important to her to look put together.

We grew up in a different era. We are the ones who learned to pursue life, whatever way we wanted, with whomever we wanted.

I've got peers who are into all different kinds of things. Each of us are different, and unique, and then not all that different at all.

But I hear ya. I too, wish just sometimes, could that girly girl come out and play? Then I go back into the kitchen and get my hands and nails covered in chocolate. That's where the real me is anyway.

liz elayne said...

i love this being that you are. this woman who does not care about that "crap." who knows what life is about. who is wise and beautiful. so very beautiful. who is funny and silly and creative in a way that stops. me. in. my. tracks. yes. thank goodness you aren't like manicure pilates girl next door. phew.