society

365 Days of Momma, Check In #2

So as I mentioned this week has been a busy one, but it started out in an incredibly positive manner.  On Monday, my partner in Mommy-hood and sister-in-law (Aunty Moonshine) and I went and had our Beautiful You photo shoots with Laura and her team at Linden Photography.  We had an amazing day of being pampered and playing in front of the camera.  The pictures that I have seen of the two of us, before and after shots on the Linden Photography facebook page, are amazing.  This project that Laura is doing is all about being able to see yourself in a different light… being able to recognize the you that every one else sees when they look at you.  Laura, Lori, and Victoria are an amazing team, and between the three I have never felt so comfortable in front of the camera.  The purpose of this selfie project, 365 Days of Momma, is something similar… yes it is to help me (and hopefully other Mom’s out there) become more comfortable not only behind the camera, but also in front of it.  It is also to create a memoir (of sorts) for Liam when he gets older.  Over the last few weeks the journey so far has turned it into more.

I have a confession… I only pretend to have high self esteem.  You see, I have always been of the “fake it until you make it” train of thought when it comes to putting myself out there.  I am shy by nature, and if you and I had met ten years ago you probably wouldn’t recognize me… mostly because you wouldn’t notice me since my top priority would be to fade into the background.  I have made a conscious effort over the last 10 years to “fake” my confidence and put myself out there until it has (almost) become second nature for me.  Now I only have a slight hesitation prior to introducing myself to the new person in the room.  Would I rather hang out in the background still? Absolutely.  I won’t though.

I, and I suspect many other people out there, constantly feel like others are judging me based on my looks and my competency in whatever I am trying to do.  The fact of the matter is that (for the most part) that is just not true.  Yes, some people are exceptionally judgmental, but it is not my job to make everyone in the world happy.  I am not a supermodel, therefore it is not my job to look drop dead gorgeous every second of the day.  It is, however, my job to be the best Momma I can possibly be to Liam, his Sis-co (The Bean), and the puppy brothers.  It is my job to be the best wife I can be to my husband.  It is my job to be the best nurse I can be for my patients, and the best advocate I can be for them as well.  It is my job to be the best supervisor I can be for my LNA’s and the new nurses I work with, and to guide them to the best solutions they can find for the problems that come up during the course of a shift.  It is my job to be an active and engaged family member to not only the family I was born into, but also my family of choice (my close friends – the besties know who they are – and my husband’s family).  I don’t have to be perfect, but I do have to care and try. Being fully engaged in life is really all that any one person can ever do.

This whole rant was brought on by the fact that a text message my husband sent me the other day made me cry in the grocery store (stupid hormones,  they have STILL not fully recovered from having Liam and now I cry over everything).  They were good, happy tears, but thanks to the Irish/Scottish super fair skin and rosacea I have (thanks Mom) it doesn’t matter if my tears are happy tears or sad tears… my face gets super-blotchy either way.  I was texting the hubs while grocery shopping about the photo shoot and how the pictures were online on the facebook page and he should check them out.  my husband respond very simply with a “you don’t need any makeup , you are the most beautiful woman I know”, and I started leaking.  It is not that my husband never tells me I am beautiful… it is not even that I think I am ugly… I really only have a few areas about myself that I just don’t like (a number that seems to double in pictures), but hearing it is hard and that is certainly something worth pondering.

Because I am who I am I did just that, and this is what I came up with.  From a very early age women are bombarded with images of what an ideal woman should look like.  Very few women actually look like this ideal… in today’s society the rest achieve it through the power of Photoshop.  I started leaking when my husband told me I was the most beautiful woman he knows because somewhere in my mind there is ingrained this ideal of what a perfect woman should look like and I know that not only do I not look like that, but also that I never will.  My nose is largish. I have this strange extra flap of skin on my abdomen from having my stomach stretch so much.  I can’t remember the last time my thighs didn’t touch… maybe Junior High School?  My arms are in no way shape or form toned… even when I do work out they never make it there.  I don’t have a six pack, four pack, or even a two pack… and I never will.  I am soft and curvy.  Sometimes clothing doesn’t fit me right because of the way I am built.  I am certainly not that perfect size zero.  I am average.

That is right… average.  In this country there will always be a million more “me”s than there will me a million supermodels.  The perfect form that is continuously pushed on us by society is not in any way shape or form realistic.  Most of the time it is not even realistic for the person who is modeling it!  I wrote less than a week ago that I was going to take time to really conquer my fears of being photographed by each thing that really bugs me, and I will.  I still think that getting over my hypercritical attitude towards myself in photographs is an extremely important thing for my personal growth I also think that something more could come out of this project… self acceptance.

 

AND after all the seriousness above I will leave you with a fun selfie of Liam and I tonight right before his bedtime 🙂

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The Selfie Project, An Introduction

Last week I had a long conversation with our family photographer, Laura at Linden Photography, about women and their (generalized) lack of self confidence when it comes to having their photographs taken. It was an awesome conversation, the kind that keeps you thinking for a long time after.  It also really brought into focus the fact that I am almost always the person behind the camera.  18 or 20 years from now when Liam hopefully has some sort of interest in his early childhood and is looking at all of these pictures I have taken he will see a ton of him with his Grammies, Grampies, Da, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins… what he won’t see a ton of are pictures with me.  Part of that is because I am typically the person behind the camera, the one capturing the action.  Another reason is because I am also the person in charge of editing… and I usually hate the way I look in pictures.  That is right I used the H word.

Laura has teamed up with a local makeup artist and has created a day of pampering and empowerment for women that includes a makeover and portrait session.  She is encouraging women to come in groups, bring their mother, sister, best friend, third cousin twice removed that you happen to be very close to, and allow themselves to relax, enjoy the moment, and remember how awesome they are.  Every single woman is beautiful in their own way, but we all have our hang ups.  These hang ups are reinforced by a society obsessed with perfection and unrealistic ideals.  They are then repeated to our children over and over again without us even being aware of it.  I can not even begin to count the number of times this week that I have thought to myself, “I really need to lose some weight, I am so fat!”.  The reality of the situation is that I am actually pretty well balanced with my weight… but I can’t seem to get out of the endless loop of thinking because my thighs touch and my stomach is somewhat rounded I do not look good enough.  The fact of the matter is, I do.

I look like a Mom.  Sometimes I look a little over tired, sometimes my face is shiny, sometimes my gray hair is exceptionally noticeable, and sometimes you can see that roll of extra skin through my shirt.  All of these things are parts that make up the whole, and all in all I am pretty okay with who I am.  If there are bags under my eyes it’s probably because I had just put in a 16 hour day of playing the roll of Mom and the roll of nurse.  If my face is shiny it might be because I just spent an hour helping someone’s loved one in a critical moment, assessing and treating within my scope of practice or holding their hand and helping to comfort them as they embark on their next journey.  If you can see that roll of skin through my shirt its because I just worked 4 ten hour shifts in a row without a break and forgot to hydrate the entire time until my nurse-y partner gently reminds me that coffee is not the only beverage in the world.

I am not perfect, and never will be… but I am me.  So The Selfie Project is this: for the next 365 days I am going to take a selfie a day, most of them will include Liam… but they may occasionally guest star some other people in my life.  This visual road map of the next year will be preserved for Liam when he gets older and will hopefully help me build up more acceptance in the way that I look in pictures (note: I originally typed “on film”… that would be me showing my age).  Liam deserves to have a record of me, good days and bad, to look back on because I am proud of who I am and I hope some day he will be too.

I encourage anyone and everyone to steal this idea for their own blogs, and if someone else had the idea first and I am inadvertently taking it, sorry, my inspiration came from a different place.  I am going to start off with a bang today and post three selfies (shiny pre-shower skin and all), then I am going to email Laura to set up my own day of pampering!