“As I saw more beauty in others’ uniqueness, I began to appreciate my own.”
~Sarah Winifred Searle
Following Jackie’s lead, I finally decided to take a go at La Duchesse’s TGBOL prompt for the week* because, hey, quirkiness is something this chick can totally get behind. I like quirk. And, if you like quirk, I’m happy to share mine. I hope you will too.
1/Music: Is it possible to get any quirkier than Disco? My spice and kidlens would shout a resounding No! As a funky fairy child of the far out 70s, I would steal my beautifully hip disco-queen mom’s strappy high heels and boogie my heart out all over the dance floor that was our living room’s shag rug. To this day, my inner Debbie Harry delights in dancing to disco tunes. And yes, I can do the Hustle. Can you dig it?
2/Food: Is sniffing heretofore new foods a quirk? If not, it should be. Look, I’m not ashamed to admit that I have the picky and peculiar eating habits of a fussy four-year-old. So you best believe that I’m not gonna put something in my mouth if it doesn’t pass the sniff test with a thumbs up from my nose. My spice, himself an amateur foodie, oft admonishes, You don’t sniff it, Micki, you eat it. Yeah well, the nose knows.
3/Fashion: I really like fashion. I really love fun. So, fun fashion is like a great big hug from the Universe. However. I’m forty-something. I’m at that age where fun fashion is fine as long as it’s tamed. I’m all for feelin’ fabulous and kickin’ it like you just don’t care, but I have a fairly conservative inner-voice that insists I dress closer to my age. At my age, dressing too fun (funly?) just ends up looking desperate. So for now, it’s simply quirky. Of course, I’m counting down the years until I’m just old enough to be considered beautifully eccentric a la’ Iris. Then I’ll really let my freak flag fly!
4/Speaking with my Hands: Say what? No, I don’t mean using sign language — although I did take an ASL course at our local community college in order to communicate with my wees when they were pre-verbal, but that’s another post. I mean that my hands flap like bathing birds and fly around to illustrate when I speak. I’ve always been this way. My Nonny used to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to speak without my hands. True story: she’d make me sit on my hands to keep me quiet in church. And, thank Heaven for phones that give the time. I cannot bear to admit how many watch faces I unwittingly smashed while conversing over the years.
5/Thinking with my Hands: I’m what you used to call a visual learner and thinker. Not only do I smell in color and love to read words as well as pretty pictures, but just about any time that I’m trying to listen intently to a person, I like to scribble and take notes**. I have pens and notepads everywhere; all around my desk, in my purses, in my car… Without my notes and scribbles, I tend to have to ask you to repeat yourself so that I can clarify what you’ve said. It’s not because I wasn’t listening to what you said [although, your fabulous necklace may have momentarily taken me off track] it’s that I’m not someone who is a quick auditory study. I’m the person who’ll tell you to “take a right on the second street after the QuickieMart” instead of “head west on Elm.”
*TGBOL CHAPTER 6.0 EMBRACE YOUR QUIRKINESS
**Some educators have added read/write to the mix of learning styles. Since I haven’t taught in a brick-and-mortar school for a thousand years, I’m still old school. (pun intended)
What’s your immediate response when someone tells you that you’re beautiful? Do you scoff and shake your head? Do you assume that they’re just paying lip service or trying to butter you up?
Are they stupid or simply mistaken? Are they a liar?
We are compelled to love our neighbors. Encouraged to see the beauty in all things. You are a unique, living creation. So, when I tell you that you are beautiful…
That I post text to encourage y’all to follow me through their site. So, here goes:
Not long ago, I ran across a really nice set of calligraphy markers and thought Holy cow, I still have these? Cool! I’ll use them now. I was so excited that I’d found these amazing markers and was totally stoked to use them. Recent events have reminded me that life is short, so I was grinning from ear to ear as all sorts of imaginative designs went whirling through my head, and I thought Maybe I’ll even frame it! as I got ready to create. (I just love little moments of excitement like this, don’t you?) Yeah well, apparently I bought these prodigious pens back during the second Bush administration because when I finally set these magnificent markers to parchment, the lil’ bastards were as dry as a bone.
I’ve always been in the habit of buying fun and pretty things (especially when they’re on sale). I’ve also always been in the habit of setting these fun and pretty things aside. Of course, I always intend to use everything I buy. I’m not looking for an award in accumulation or anything. But some things are so fun and pretty I dare not use them except, you know, for “special occasions.” Presumably this means that I’ll use them to honor or impress someone who is special. Right? Well, since neither Jessica Lange nor the Adele have offered to visit my home any time soon, my good intentions oft turn into things akin to dried-up ol’ useless marker sticks.
So, what exactly is a special occasion? When is a day truly worthy of Fun and Pretty Things? Aren’t I special enough for these things everyday? If a friend asked me this question, my immediate answer would be a resounding:
Hell yeah, Girlfriend!
Of course you are worthy
ALL day EVERY day.
So why don’t I offer myself the same respect? I was so upset by those damned dehydrated markers that I mentioned my plight to a dear friend of mine.
She shared her sympathies as well as a sad story about a beloved relative she once had who did the same sort of thing I was doing. She said that after this relative had died, she and her mother had gone to clean out and organize this woman’s belongings; and while there, they came across set after set of lovely nightgowns and dressing gowns, still carefully preserved in their original wrapping papers and boxes. Just stacked neatly on a shelf. Waiting for a special occasion. It seemed wasteful; but even worse, it seemed so sad. Didn’t she deem herself worthy of wearing a lovely peignoir? Why hadn’t she wanted to go to bed looking like a million bucks? Oh sure, we all have our own cherished comfy cotton jammies, but do we never have an opportunity to wear something truly delicate and lovely … just for ourselves?
So I decided to get a new set of calligraphy markers. These are even better than the old (brand new, dammit) ones because not only do they still draw, they’re also double sided. Score! As you can see, they’ve already been used several times.
I’m no longer waiting for a special occasion because today is a special occasion. I encourage you to do the same. Wear that slinky negligee, open that extraordinary bottle of wine. Burn and enjoy those fancy shmansy candles – you know the ones – and sport those ritzy designer shoes. Who cares if you’re just dashing over to Sprouts. You’ll be lookin’ good and feelin’ fabulous. And when you get back home, drag out that awesome fondue set, the one you bought for that lavish dinner party you never got around to hosting, and treat yourself today. What are you waiting for?
I adore Beauty. Beautiful pictures, beautiful people, beautiful films, beautiful stories, beautiful clothes, beautiful music, beautiful anything.
I admire Brilliance. Brains, nerds, geeks, shrewd people, you name it. I admire bright ideas, sage wisdom, anyone who speaks fluent math, and even those who are just quick witted.
I am in awe of Hedy Lamarr, actress, mathematician, and inventor. She was the entire package. She was the only actress to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and be inducted into America’s National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Married six times throughout the course of her life, her autobiography suggests she was flattered, but also frustrated, by the attention she received from the opposite sex. Never content to be just a beautiful face, Ms. Lamarr insisted on being treated with the respect she was entitled to, no easy feat for a woman born ahead of her time.
As I tell my children, “THINK before you speak. Is what you’re about to say True? Helpful? Inspirational? Is it Necessary? And, is it Kind? If not, keep your pie-hole shut.”
Fat people get a lot of negative messages about our bodies every day. One way to fight this is to change the number of positive messages. Unfortunately I’ve found that some people don’t know the difference between an authentic compliment, and saying something really offensive. It’s cool though, I’m here to help.
Allow me to elucidate using personal experience from a meeting to which I wore a sleeveless shirt and a skirt (and where I typically wear pants):
“Look at you, rocking a dress!” (said positively, no hint of sarcasm).
Compliment. Well done. (Yes, it’s technically a skirt and not a dress, but that’s not important right now.)
“Oh (makes pensive face), I didn’t think you wore dresses. I actually think pants suit you better.”
Nope, not a compliment. Not a thing to say at all really. Maybe should have used your inner monologue on this one.
“Wow, I don’t think I’ve seen…
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Amy Schumer prudently uses humor, and One Direction, to make a relevant point.
Let’s face it, we all have bad bod days. By way of comparison, bad hair days are a breeze when compared to bad bod days. For bad hair days, God created ponytails and braids. For exceptionally frustrating bad hair days, some genius invented baseball caps. But, for bad bod days … well, sometimes the remedies have to be a bit bolder.
Of course, the bad bod days always seem to happen on the one day we happily wake from our slumber with excited anticipation of showing off a new fashion find. A day when even Marc Jacobs can’t cure what ails you. Mondays are usually the days that something about my bod enjoys hitting me with a little shock and awe … or some such humiliation.
Bad bod days are those days when it seems that absolutely nothing we do is going to make us feel good about our appearance. Whether it be stubborn eyebrows that refuse to look like anything other than fuzzy caterpillars — or anorexic caterpillars after you’ve desperately plucked most of the little suckers out — or the horrifying blemish that you woke up with that could double as a disturbing third eye.
So what’s to be done with our bad bod days? My first piece of advice is to tell your inner critic to shut the hell up. Stop listening to her. Yes, this is usually easier said than done, but keep this in mind: your IC will always and forever be the Debbie Downer of your confidence party. So for now, kick her sorry butt to the curb. Don’t worry … that bitch’ll be back. Just remind yourself that you don’t have to deal with her today. I call this the Scarlet O’Hara Approach and it works wonders for me and my daughters.
Next, focus on the fabulous. C’mon, friends. We all have at least one part of ourselves that we feel good about. It can be a physical trait. Did you just get a perfect pedi? Throw on your favorite sandals and twinkle your toes for the world to see. Can’t tame that unruly cowlick? I’ve got great news for you! The Bridget Bardot, just-rolled-out-of-bed look is always in style. Or, it can be an inner quality that you find attractive about yourself. Are you a nurturing friend? Do you like to volunteer? Get out there and DO something you’re awesome at and revel in the fact that your body does not define you. It’s your Earth Suit … and it’s malleable.
Thirdly, step … away … from … the … mirror. You know that you are really so much more than the pimple on your chin, so stop looking at it, for goodness’ sake! Take some time to reflect on your inner fabulous self — assuming you aren’t a horrible person, of course.
And, last but not least, I recommend some Radical Self Acceptance. If your IC is still trying to throw nasty comments your way, counter her with caring self-thoughts. Speak to yourself as you would your bestie. You aren’t looking for her flaws because you love her no matter what. Turn that love and acceptance inward. Granted, my BFF actually would be liable to say, “Damn Girl! What’s up with that zit on your face?!” But she would immediately counter her outburst with a “Screw it, it’ll be gone by tomorrow” or at the very least a “Don’t sweat it, Girlfriend. Lunch is on me!”
**If you are having serious challenges to developing and maintaining a positive body image, please start here.