Sunday, January 18, 2009

Being "Put Together"

This is probably exaggerated by the fact that I recently had a baby and thus have been feeling quite self conscious as of late. The other day, while running at the track, I probably looked much as I usually do -- on or off the track: hair pulled up, no makeup on, glasses, three (now) kids in tow, about 11:00ish. The track treks of late feel like a juggling act, anyway, as the last two times I have gone with kids I have had to nurse upon arriving (Mia unhappy to be moved around so much in her sleep) and haven't been able to finish my mileage goal for the day (Mia being generally unhappy). And I feel a bit self conscious when I get there and she is crying in the otherwise typical-quiet-morning there.

So, as I was making my way around the west end and heading back east in the loop, I found myself thinking something to the effect of, "One of these days maybe I'll actually be a real woman -- or a real mom -- and I'll actually be one those women who is always put together. You know -- makeup in place, cute, everything in full swing without a hitch."

And immediately I stopped myself with a barrage of questions like these:

Is that really what it means to be a woman?

Is that what it means to be "put together?"

I think of other women I know, and particularly, right now I guess, other mothers -- who always seem to have that. They are put together. They are cute. They look unfailingly charming. And sometimes I just wonder how they do it.
Part of it, I suppose, is that I have never really been the type of girl that always has makeup on every day, or can't go out the door without being "put together." I probably don't wear makeup more days than I do.
But really, since when did anything with physical appearance dominate my thoughts of being "put together?"

(Insert: ARGH.)

(Now, lest you think that is what I ultimately really think being put together means, read on.
But still, it bothers me how much the world revolves around physical appearance -- and really all things superficial -- weighting so much on that scale. I think, inadvertently, it affects how we feel about ourselves. And I don't think that's a good thing. Really, ask Scott how long I can talk about this stuff if you get me started. Really.)

This morning, with my baby sleeping on my chest, I finished reading 1776 by David McCullough. Fabulous read. It was one of those moments where, upon closing the book, I lay there thinking about miracles, gratitude, sacrifice, awe and faith. In great causes. In real issues.

I got in the shower afterwards, and couldn't help but think about my whole physical-woman-questioning of the other day. And, once again, felt a great desire to care about and focus on what really matters.

It has nothing to do with what you look like (or don't), what size you are (or aren't), what clothes you wear (or don't), how much money you make (or don't).

It made me more determined for the year to focus on caring about what really matters.

Last night, reading Brooke's blog (go here to read the whole post), I got emotional by reading these lines she'd written about life and single moments:

You do it because you have to.
You help because you can.
You laugh because you need to.
You love because it's all that matters.


All these thoughts made my questions that really matter revolve more around the quality of my love to others, the relationships I hold most dear, how much laughter is around me.
In short, I want to enjoy and care and worry more about what really matters, and less about stuff that really has nothing to do with being "put together." I want to cut stress, slow down, ENJOY.

2009: JOY. True JOY.

Joy like this afternoon as I was laying in bed, enjoying the sunshine streaming in my bedroom,

where it really didn't get much better than this:

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