Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Superwoman Doesn't Live Here

I recently changed my hair.  For years, I wore it in a super short pixie cut that was easy and convenient for my runner girl lifestyle.  My husband loved it and it was easy, so it remained my signature style for roughly 15 years.  Sure I would grow it out from time to time, but eventually I would get tired of the upkeep and go back to my simple short look.  It was cute, fast and made me feel carefree.  So what the hell was I thinking by letting it grow out to shoulder length this past year?  Oh yeah, I turned 40 and decided it was time for a makeover.  By simply allowing my hair to grow out to a longer length, I had to double everything related to it:  my hair care budget, my number of products, my blow drying time and my morning prep time.  UGH!  I want to go back to bed just thinking about it.

So was it worth it?  Sure, because my guys seem to like this look.  My husband would go along with whatever 'do I choose, but it is the opinion of my boys that really gets my attention.  My hair has a very thick wavy/curly hybrid and coarse texture to it.  Although I occasionally wear it in it's naturally wild state, I also started straightening it most days and it's a lot of work.  After washing my hair, it takes about one hour, start to finish, to completely beat my bushy wavy hair into submission.  So imagine my disappointment when my baby boy walks in on me during one of my marathon hair straightening sessions and says "you look better with it curly".  Huh?  Did he just say that?  Doesn't he realize that I do all this work in an attempt to look good?  So much for that.

I instantly felt defeated.  He waltzed his little 8-year-old self into my bathroom and made me feel like a chump with one simple statement.  How does he do that?  Why does his innocent declaration feel so monumental to me?  He was not being mean or disrespectful.  He just stated his opinion in a nonchalant, matter-of-fact way and walked out.  My kids and I have both reached an interesting point in our development.  I have finally come to a point in my life where B.S. is no longer tolerated and toxic people are quickly shown the door.  I feel stronger because I don't spend valuable energy trying to get people who don't matter to like me.  Although all the chinks in my armor are not completely gone yet, I finally feel good in my own skin.  However, the little people who do matter most to me can walk into my bathroom on any random day and say they don't like my hair and I want to crumble.  I don't consider myself to be especially vain, but his brutal honesty about my disheveled appearance has caused me to check myself in the mirror a time or two.

Why do I let his opinion rule me so much?  Probably because I do want him to think highly of me.  I do want him to feel okay standing next to me.  When I show up to his school to meet his teacher and see his friends, I want to represent him well.  I want him to look up to me with pride.  But isn't that backwards?  As the parent, shouldn't my opinion be law?  Shouldn't he be on a mission to impress me?  My two boys are very different.  My oldest son, who is the miniature spitting image of my husband, gets all his personality traits from me.  We like many of the same things (like running!) and miraculously he still chooses to hang around me without anyone having to offer bribes.  He's a great kid who looks at me like I am Superwoman that gets everything right, but I get the feeling he tells me what I want to hear sometimes.  My suspicion is that he will be the son to look after me when I am really old and unable to chew my own food.  I know my glory time with him is limited because he will be too cool to hang with his old mom in about one year.  My youngest son, however, just calls it like he sees it.  He's not worried about protecting my feelings and self esteem.  He just puts his opinion out there, regardless of the fall out.  Not much bothers him either.  Yeah he is still light years away from adulthood, but I do believe he will continue to have these personality traits later in life.  He is like a little Teflon Don that couldn't care less that his socks don't match most days.

Maybe that is why I value his opinion so much.  It's because these are the exact qualities that I want to have one day.  I want my guys to like my cooking.  I want them to miss me when I'm not around.  I want them to brag on me behind my back.  In order to achieve my own superhero status, I would have to let the minor failures bounce off me and move on without a care.  When people ask for my opinion, I would give them the honesty they deserve instead of the politeness I try to manufacture.  Crap, I can hear how ridiculous that sounds:  When I mature, I want to be more like my 8-year old.  Well, maybe not exactly like him.  I still have better hygiene than him and slightly more money.  Nevertheless, I admire him and look forward to the day when I can have the same nonchalant attitude about petty issues that don't matter in the larger scheme of my earthly existence.  This chic is a long way off from achieving that kind of feat, but my hope is that I will feel content enough with myself in another 20 years or so to finally reach that superwoman status.  That means there will be a lot of screw ups and mistakes made in the meantime, but hopefully no one will be paying attention just yet.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

If This World Were Mine

If the stars and planets were aligned with the universe working in my favor, some simple changes would make my little world a much happier place.  I wouldn't ask for much.  Just a few minor adjustments could have a major impact on a simple gal like me.  Take a look at my wishlist of how things would change if we lived in a world according to me:

  1. Hairy's Law:  First and most importantly, good hair days would rewarded.  Houston weather can be brutal.  Although I love my hometown, I live in the most humid city in the continental United States.  No matter your style or hair texture, you can probably count your really good hair days on one hand in this town.  We have approximately 2 weeks of beautiful spring-like weather per year.  The other 50 weeks of the year, we spend our days running from one air-conditioned spot to another, making every attempt to avoid the sticky weather with a vengeance.  We spend too much money and time trying to perfect our look for nothing.  Most of us fall prey to the frizzy fairy early in the day and look like dry bushy poodles by the time we get home from work.  If this were my world, ladies that are able to keep their 'dos in check from sun up to sun down would be recognized for their astounding achievement.  A trophy or plaque would be awarded to these mythical non-frizzy beings.
  2. Brownie Points:  Sometimes making the effort to do something constructive is just as massive as the actual task.  Don't you wish that earning brownie points was real?  Showing up to the gym whether you actually workout or not would be worthy of a point or two.  Acknowledging that you need call that old friend whether you do or not would be point worthy.  The intent to pay down your credit card debt even if you never really do would earn you a few brownie points as well.
  3. Hit RESET:  Raise your hand if you have ever started your day on the wrong foot and things kept going down hill with every other step you took.  Sure, we have been there and probably wished like hell that there was a way to hit a RESET button and start the whole day over again.  Aside from eternal youth and instant wealth, having the ability to start over again with a clean slate might be the most sought after alternate reality most of us would choose.  
  4. Sympathy Pounds:  You know how you often find yourself in situations where you spend time with an unhappy friend that needs some cheering up?  We end up taking that friend to dinner, sharing a rich dessert or simply buying them drinks at happy hour in hopes that this kind gesture gives them that little pick-me-up to keep going.  However, that cocktail or dinner ends up leaving us helpful and caring friends with extra pounds in the long run.  If I had my say, these situations would be categorized as "sympathy pounds" and they could be dismissed and not count against our actual weight or the shape of our physique.  Because these extra calories would be consumed out of genuine concern for another person's well being, we could write them off in the same methods that we write off tax deductible purchases.  Sounds like a win-win to me.  
  5. Kiddie Jail:  The debate over corporal punishment would be nonexistent if parents had the ability to sentence their disobedient children to some form of kiddie jail.  Imagine if your kids were out of control and your nerves were so fried that if you did spank them, you would probably knock them into next season.  Regardless of whatever form of punishment we choose, we sometimes are left with a guilty conscience when we question our parenting methods.  But what if kiddie jail existed so parents did not have figure it out for themselves?  Certain offenses could automatically result in their little butts sitting in a kiddie jail cell for talking back, having a messy room or letting their grades slip.  We could assign double concurrent jail sentences for bigger offenses like acting a fool in public or being ungrateful while opening gifts on Christmas morning.  Even bad hygiene could be added to the list of offenses.  Hopefully one day in jail would be enough to teach any child a firm lesson. 

There is plenty I could go on and on about in crafting my perfect world, but they pretty much all relate to me being able to eat and drink whatever I want without consequence, while growing smarter and more youthful as they years progress.  I would even invoke the power of the "evil death stare" so we could unleash on stupid drivers that need to be properly punished.  When I figure out a way to make any of this a real, I promise to share the secrets immediately.  Until then, I can only hope.