Friday, February 4, 2011

Girly Girl

It's official.  I am not now, nor do I ever care to be, a girly girl.  I've spent the last week doing all kinds of girly girl things in preparation for a cruise.  Hair color - check.  Facial - check.  Mani/pedi - check.  Tanning - check.  Yes, I even succumbed to the tanning.  And it was completely out of vanity, I won't even attempt to use the, "I was trying not to burn" excuse.

I've only been in a tanning bed about 3 times in my life, and I hate every minute of it.  I spend the whole time in the bed thinking I can feel the skin cancer beginning it's assault.  The guilt overwhelms me.  I stay out of the sun all summer long, and yet here I am deliberately bombarding myself with UVA and UVB sans sunscreen.  And I'm almost embarrassed to admit why I decided to tan.  Day one of our previous cruise.  Picture time.  We're all smiling, happy, wearing our leis, fruity drink in hand, and my legs are a shade of white I have never seen before on a human being.  I need to wear sunglasses just to look at the picture.  So because of that, I have subjected myself to the possibility of an early death, or maybe some extra premature wrinkles.  At least I waited til the last day of tanning to burn.

I can't say I didn't enjoy the facial and mani/pedi, they just consumed a lot of time.  Time I would have rather spent doing something else.  I am not one to spend a lot of time on my appearance, especially in the morning.  When I'm at work, if I have to be in the hotel lobby at 4:30 am, I get up at 4am.  And that's to leave the room at 4:20.  Some of the flight attendants I work with are amazed by this.  If they have to lobby at 4:30am, they are up by 3am.  That also explains why they always appear perfectly put together, and why my nails are always ragged and I look like I could use some lipstick.

I now have a new respect for the women that walk by me on the street completely polished and put together, looking like they have just spent the day in a spa.  It's because they have.  I used to envy those women, and wonder why I didn't look like them.  Now I realize why I don't look like them.  I just don't want to spend the time or effort it requires.

The most enjoyable part of the week has been my son's reaction to my manicure.  He's probably only seen me wear nail polish about 3 times in his life.  Anywhere we've been for the last 2 days, he asks me to take off my boots and show people my "toe painting."  Maybe I should try to make a little more effort.  But I think after next week I'll be going back to my old ways - plain old ragged nails, pasty white skin, and chapstick.  And that's just fine with me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Catalyst

I just started the second "semester" of my Transformative Writing workshop.  It is the first actual class I have taken to further my writing ability, and it is also helping me with my spiritual evolution.  The first four sessions helped me uncover personal blocks, as well as some issues that are blocking me as a writer.

For example, I realized that every time I presented something for class, I never followed through with the suggested changes from the instructor.  If I was told to work on a certain paragraph of a poem, I would attempt it, and then quickly give up and write another poem instead.  If I was told to explore my relationship with my father, I would dutifully start writing about that, but then suddenly veer off in another direction.  I rarely followed through with what I was supposed to be doing.

I've come up with two excuses for not following directions.  Option one is that I have a very short attention span.  I know this to be true, because I can't stand to revise my writing.  Once it's on the paper I feel like I want to move on to something else, not go back and rehash what I've already written.  Not a good trait if I want to get serious about writing - perfect for the brevity of a blog.  Option two is a little more challenging.  The class, after all, is called Transformative Writing.  The writing assignments have definitely helped me grow and uncover personal issues, and I think when I'm on the brink of a "transformation" I get scared.  I know I'm about to get to the juicy stuff, and I chicken out.  Today, I did not chicken out.

I have been sick all week, and spent most of the day in bed on Sunday.  I should have been sleeping, but instead I decided to write a poem.  A pretty good poem.  I sent it to my instructor, and he suggested probing a bit deeper into a section.  This time, I listened.

I sat down and started having a conversation with myself, and writing it all down on the paper.  What am I afraid of?  Why do I need external praise? Why do I need validation? Why don't I feel good enough? Worthy?  At first the answers didn't come, it was just me writing questions.  As I continued to probe I started to hear the answers in my head, so I wrote those down too.  I continued to write whatever popped into my head until suddenly, out of nowhere, I had my "a-ha" moment.  The reason I have been so critical of myself all of my life.  And I never saw it coming.

I am continually amazed at what my mind will discover on it's own, if I just give it the chance to drift and find it's own rhythm.  I have used this question and answer exercise before, and have always had good results.  I think when I remove my over-thinking rational mind from the process, the true answers become more readily apparent.

Writing is very cathartic and a great catalyst.  I had intended to write great therapist in the last sentence, but wrote catalyst without even realizing it.  I guess it is that too.  As long as I'm writing, I'm transforming and developing.  My personal growth and transformation today feels as if a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.  Hopefully that realization will make me actually listen to my teacher from now on, and not shy away from the hard stuff.  Now if you will excuse me, I have a poem that is awaiting a revision.