Monday, April 29, 2013

My Beauty Does Not Come From My Hair

Recently I talked about how much I needed to acknowledge the ways I am beautiful in order to model that for my daughter.  There was all kinds of talk about how as women, our beauty blossoms from our strength, or sense of humor, or intellect.

After all, how can I possibly tell this little person- or even the women that learn to dance from me- to do as I say, not as I do?  "See how lovely you are!! But don't mind me as I compare myself to impossible photoshopped beauty and decide I come up short."

So, in my medieval group, a group of people are arranging a Locks for Love drive, and will be cutting/collecting the hair at an upcoming event.  My hair grows very slowly, and after five years, it is only at my shoulders.  But I had Drew measure it from the longest point, and it is long enough- if I cut it basically from my scalp.

I've decided to make the commitment, but I am absolutely terrified.  My vanity is bucking against my decision!! So my mantra for the last few days has been, "My beauty does not come from my hair.  My beauty does not come from my hair."  My compassion is what is pretty.  My kindness is my charm.

Yet for all my cheerleading of other women, I find myself overcome by insecurity.  I'm not going to change my mind, though.  I just need to keep repeating my mantra.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mini Me

While it is a huge responsibility knowing that Alice is watching a learning to be an adult from me, it's also very fun sometimes.  She likes to belly dance with me when I do my drills in the morning, and her little shimmies and snake arms are the cutest! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I am beautiful because...

One of the things I find very important to teach the women who learn belly dance from me is one of the things I find very important for Alice to learn, and that is that women are beautiful.  And I am a firm believer that true beauty shines from the inside out.  Kindness is beautiful.  Sauciness is beautiful.  Intelligence is beautiful. Confidence is beautiful.  If a woman is shallow, or self-serving, or otherwise a jerk, no amount of highlights or spray tan or squats can make up for it.

Yesterday, a campaign by Dove was making its rounds on Facebook, and while there were a few legitimate concerns (like the lack of diversity in the featured women), the point was still very poignant.  We as women allow the photoshopped media to distort our view of ourselves, and- I was going to say are overly critical, but I think I would say we manufacture flaws that are nonexistent in our physical appearance.  Or at the very least, we magnify them in our minds.  I often say I wish my female friends would see themselves the way I see them.  When I look at the women with whom I am close, I think the mischievousness in their eyes, or the defiant tilt of their chin, or the way they toss their head back to laugh is what is the most beautiful thing about them.

When I first got Alice I had no idea how much being a mother to a daughter was going to be about facing my own demons and insecurities.  I'm pretty quick to ra-ra other women, but I'm just as guilty of zeroing in on my "flaws" as the next woman.  Now that a person is learning to be an adult from me, I really need to quit that.

Alice is affectionate.  Alice is silly.  Alice is way too smart for my own good.  She also has bright blue eyes and and infectious giggle and can dance like a (three year old) rock star. She is amazingly beautiful because of these things.

I smile sincerely.  I am smarter than I let on.  I am good at hearing what people are saying even if it's not what words are coming out their mouths.  I work hard to be healthy.  I have a crooked smile. I don't take myself too seriously.  I am beautiful because of these things.

What about you?  Tell me why you're beautiful.  Please.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Monkey See

Now that I have a tiny version of myself, I am so much more aware of everything I do and say.  I knew motherhood would be a huge responsiblity, but of course I never imagined I would feel this kind of weight.

Thankfully, when Alice joins me on some of my more tedious but necessary pursuits, I am encouraged by her cuteness.  Every morning I have the struggle with myself over doing my exercises and belly dance drills.  I'll be honest here.  I hate them.  I HATE exercising, and drills are booorrriiing. However, I like being healthy.  I like being a good dancer.  I like the way my depression is contained by the onslaught of endorphins.  But, I also like snuggling under my covers and sleeping longer.  I like sitting on my butt and vegging.

Yet, Alice, like all toddlers, wants to be like her parents and mimics what I do.  When I'm doing sit-ups, she tries to do them, too.  When I'm doing yoga, she gets into downward facing dog right next to me.  Today I was drilling shaabi, and she hopped along, too.  And said, "Look!  I'm just like Mommy!"  It is very gratifying knowing I am instilling habits in my daughter that will last her whole life.  Habits that are good for her health.  Of course, yesterday after doing some tiring housework, I collapsed on the couch and declared that I needed to sit on my butt for a while.  Alice ran to the couch shouting, "I wanna sit on my butt, too!"  There's that reminder that she is watching *everything* I do, not just the things I want.

I pray every day that I will be a good role model for her.  She's an amazing girl.  She deserves a Mommy who will do everything she can to be amazing, too.