Photo: I grill so hard. I don’t really mean to show off, but I’m feeling really proud of these beauties. Major and The Husband absolutely love scallops. I only got one because of their greed! Super unfair!
When the promised warmth finally arrives, everyone has to have an extremely honest and intimate moment with themselves in the mirror. It’s probably one of the last fully personal, visceral things that we do that isn’t shared with anyone else. That first warm day look in the mirror, with the bulky clothes gone, the structure of cold-weather clothes gone, you have a moment with yourself that is extraordinarily pure. This is you. This is what you look like right now.
I know that there are naked moments during the winter time. But if you live in my kind of house, or with a person who keeps the thermostat as low as my husband does during the winter, the moments between the lava-hot shower, radiator-warmed bathrobe, and laid-out warm pajamas are extremely short. Not a lot time for birthday-suit examination. You give yourself a once over to make sure nothing extraordinary is happening, but otherwise, nakedness is brief and uncomfortable.
So that first day of good weather, when we all emerge to put on the thinner fabric, the outfit that exposes more, we come face to face with whoever we are. We see the results of the last few months in undeniable clarity.
There are plenty of folk who spent their winter doing the “right” things. They got on that bike, they got on that treadmill, they did that thing with the bar, they flipped tires with friends… those people have emerged into this season of warmth and long days with well-earned smiles and swagger. I don’t take anything away from them. If you did the work, you should reap that reward. Others of us had winters that weren’t so dedicated. There are plenty of reasons why (including that home gyms aren’t always attainable, and personal trainers cost money we don’t all have… and pizza is freaking delicious). Some people say that’s just making up excuses, and I think that’s an asshole attitude. I live in a place where some have the luxury of time to dedicate to this, other people have the drive to make the time for this, and yet others can’t afford to do even that. Time is too full, to precious, to assigned to other tasks.
I wasn’t as disciplined as I wanted to be, but I surprised myself with plenty of positive choices these last few months. I found a sincere love for (good, thoughtfully prepared) vegetarian cuisine, I significantly changed my relationship with sugar (except for cake day. Cake day doesn’t count), I let Piyo kick my ass when I could handle it, I spent time on our elliptical when I couldn’t. I found a love for certain types of tea. I couldn’t, however, shake my need for that daily beer. The result isn’t total transformation. You aren’t going to see me in a classic television side-by-side. But when I put on my spring clothes and took a look in the mirror on Tuesday, I saw a person I liked. I’m not a model, but I like myself when I look in the mirror.
As much as I dislike being cold and the cold-season months, I really do like my cold-weather wardrobe. I like my peacoat, I like the dresses I’ve acquired. Leggings and slips and infrastructure give me the lines and silhouette I’m always looking for. But the warmth will strip that away. What will be left is me, dressed differently. I will have to learn to reevaluate myself, relocating my infinite beauty in real time. That’s not a bad thing, but the result is important: I’ve gotta learn to like myself every time I take a gander. Even if I’m standing next to certifiably goregeous people, I’ve got to find the liking for myself. Every time. No excuses.
My Quiet Thoughts this Friday are on the gift of simply looking in the mirror and liking myself. There are so many people (of all genders!) we know or encounter who straight-up don’t like themselves. Lord knows, on any given day, I’m one of them! There are too many images of what is supposed to be perfect. That “perfection” seems to have a spectrum of its own, but whatever part of the spectrum you’re looking at during any given time is still something unattainable. It’s all unattainable because it’s all just not who we are. “Perfection” is someone else’s fantasy. So when the brain is constantly being trained to compare perfect imagery with flawed reality… I really think that even the most fleeting moment of looking in the mirror and seeing someone you like is a gift.
In this time when all our bodies are out and exposed to the sun and each other, take this transition time to retrain your eye, Dear Reader. Relocate the infinite beauty I remind you of every single week. It doesn’t diminish with the season. If anything, it morphs and evolves, finding a new glow in the strong sunlight. Choose not to hide. Don’t let the stripping down be a reason to strip away. You love yourself regardless (and if you don’t, you should, and that’s a different blog post), but make sure you’re always choosing to like yourself as well.
It’s a Friday with a warmish rain falling. Color emerges from the ground and some of the more eager trees are beginning to put on a new wardrobe of their own. A new scheme of color has been slow to introduce itself, but the searching eye can find glimpses and, in so doing, find a bit of hope.
Fridays are for wishes, Dear Reader. That’s just the way it is around here. On this Friday, I wish you more than one shade of green. New green is a fun shade because it is brief and brilliant, lasting only a short time before transitioning into deeper, more established hue. Look for it and revel in it this weekend, Dear Reader. Let it inspire you to take on brighter shades of your own. I wish you poetry this weekend. Set words to this time of change. Visit with the words of an established pro, but then give yourself the opportunity to write a few of your own. I wish you a little time with a cause that you care about. When was the last time you did some volunteering, Dear Reader? Even if you can’t do something this weekend, try to put some time on the calendar in the near future. Don’t forget that your talents and time are important, Dear Reader. There is certainly someone who would appreciate your help. I wish you something sweet and fresh. How about strawberry shortcake? It’s totally the season for that! I wish you something savory and silky, too. Something in a really good sauce. How about some curry or something? (Clearly I’m just projecting my cravings right now!). Whatever you choose to consume, bonus points if you make it yourself. Extra bonus points if you have excellent company to share it with.
As always, I wish you the deep and unabating knowledge that you are profoundly loved. You are loved, Dear Reader, and you are admired near and far. What you do in this world matters. You are the shining light against the darkness of a world gone mad. So walk with your head held high and find reasons to like yourself. The only way we’ll ever get to see your infinite beauty is if you let us all see it, Dear Reader. So what are you waiting for? Get into something cute and walk on!
Until Monday, take care.