Friday, March 17, 2017

Face Value: Or, the value of pounds and inches

In my effort to continue exploring my value, I thought I would take a few moments to consider my appearance and how I feel about it. As the saying goes, 'Beauty is only skin deep,' but I, at least, find it difficult to go about my day-to-day life without giving some value to how I look. I know it's not the most important part of Self Value, but it's one that makes an immediate impact on people. Before I open my mouth they see me as a Caucasian, average height, blue eyed, blond-ish female, and that can form a great many opinions that have nothing to do with my inner value.

I have never thought of myself as beautiful. Many years ago I told Andrew he was not allowed to tell me so.

I don't even really think of myself as pretty.

To be honest, I often don't think of anyone in such terms, except perhaps my daughter. Interestingly, Ruth has started to say, "I cute," surely something she's heard people say to her (I mean, WE'VE heard people say it to her). When she says this, we usually respond with something like: "Yes, you are cute, Ruth, but that's not the most important thing about being you." Then we list characteristics we think are important such as: being hard-working, caring, helpful, etc.

Personally, I think my eyes are a little too small, as are my ears. Once I learned how to live with my hair I have loved it, although it's changed a lot since Ruth's birth. I like my eye colour, although they're plain blue.

I tend to think about people more in terms of body shape. Does this mean I'm sizeist? Yes, probably. I was a plus-sized child and teenager, and none-to-happy about it. I was teased some, but not intolerably so. I was definitely aware that I was bigger than most of my classmates, and I didn't really know how to change this aspect of myself.

It is difficult to lose weight, and honestly, I did it by accident--mainly, by being stressed in my first year of university and not eating properly (which is also how a lot of people gain weight...I was the opposite). I continued to slim down over many years, then I started aerials.

Aerials completely changed my body. It can be difficult to find shirts that fit me right. I have a tiny chest, and massive shoulders and biceps. More than once I've had to do 'the worst striptease ever' to get out of a shirt in a dressing room. If I was a better seamstress, this would be the perfect time to start making, or at least modifying, my own clothes. I could corner the market of fashionable clothing for muscular women. Alas.

I love my rockin' biceps.

I also have abs. But here's how I describe my stomach: It's a washboard with a couple of light dedicates still on the board.

Why am I saying this? I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad, and I hope I'm not pissing anyone off too much. I'm saying this to demonstrate that even someone who is physically fit still has a lot of body-hate. I still look at other people in the studio and think, my stomach isn't as flat as theirs. Why do I have to love chocolate, and cookies, and ice cream so much? Maybe this is partially to do with my youth. Even though I shed the initial pounds 18 years ago, I still live in fear that I'll let them slowly creep back on.

Here's where I try to circle back to Self Value. I know that my appearance shouldn't matter one wit in how I value myself, but thing is, if I'm not comfortable in my own, fair, freckled skin, how can I have a high Self Value? I suppose I need to go back and reflect upon the statements I made in the fourth paragraph. I don't really think about anyone in terms of beauty, and when Ruth says she's 'cute,' Andrew and I rhyme off various things we think are more important.

So, regardless of what other people think of my Face Value, I value the following about myself: my creativity, my skills in the kitchen, my family, my good health, my skills to multi-task, my ability to be thrown into a project/situation and hit the ground running, and my strength.



Friday, March 3, 2017

Clearing one thing up: the afterward of the afterward

Gentle Reader, it seems that one or two of the commenters in Facebook may have made a slight mis-interpretation of part of my original post about Value. If 1 or 2 people in the comments made this mistake, another 5 or 10 who didn't comment probably also drew similar conclusions.

In my original post I wrote about how motherhood changed my view on my career, and how I want Ruth to know she is valued for who she is--and for her to value me. From this, it seems that a few people may have assumed that part of my 'Value Equation' included: What is the value of motherhood? This wasn't my intention.

I enjoy being a mother far more than I imagined I would have, and this is part of the reason why I'm reluctant to return to a full time career. I want to be present in some of the most formative years of my daughter's life, and so I have her at home with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also want to be available to Ruth if she gets sick at daycare or school and needs to come home early, or be an occasional chaperone on field trips, etc. for sometime yet to come.

However, my not being sure if I want to return to a professional librarian career (full or part time) is related to my uncertainty of what I want to do with my life and not to having a daughter. I think it's fair to say I was never completely happy working as a research librarian. It was okay. I liked the people I worked with, and I didn't feel like my soul was being sucked by some horrid corporate mind-set, but I didn't exactly live and breath for research methods either.

What I meant by bringing up Ruth in my original post was that as she gets older, and she looks at Andrew and sees him as a University Lecturer with a PhD, and looks me and sees an Aerial Instructor (with a MLIS), I hope she doesn't see my choice of career as less valid. They are very different career choices, one fairly traditional and brings in the bulk of our family income, the other not so much--on either count.

Although, as a couple of people pointed out on Facebook, if there's ever a Parent-Career Day Visit Type-Thing at school, kids will probably be way more excited when I explain what I do, compared to most parents.

Does this make sense? Has this cleared up the difference between Value of Career, and Value of Motherhood?

Until next time.