Parenting Seminars

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Making Beautiful a Priority

Something has struck me recently as I find myself in a new consciousness about the impact of my thoughts on my daily sense of wellness.  I have been functioning in a place of disconnect for so long that I didn't even realize I stopped caring.  Or probably more accurately, I created such a psychological wall of denial that I convinced myself I didn't care.  I have known for so long that I was disrespecting my body and ignoring my creative self and so the consequence was a body I didn't like and surroundings that didn't reflect who I really am.  So to make peace with this disconnect, I had to create a story that suggested I didn't care.

Oh and how I can spin a story.  For a few years I pretended I just didn't care about how I looked, the latest fashion trends or tips and techniques for applying makeup.  And then came the stage of feminism.  Declaring that attention to my physical looks and "superficial" fashion or decor purchases was somehow a direct submission to the oppressive culture we are a part of.  And then came the environmental angle.  Reuse, recycle is my mantra.  We can't throw that out, it still has some use.  I know its broken but we can turn it around or use it in another way.  This one makes me feel so righteous too.  I am saving the planet because I'm not throwing away anything and I only shop at consignment and thrift stores. 

One of my favorite themes that seems to run through each phase is a feeling that I don't have the finances to pay for those "luxuries".  This is probably the most damaging in some ways because either I feel like I'm always poor or I feel guilty when I spend money on some basic self care like hair cuts, new clothes, or new shoes.  I'm not talking accessories here.  I'm talking some needed items.  I have about 5 outfits that I rotate through until they are shredded and then buy another set of Target specials.  The guilt from these purchases often drag along with them resentment which leads to poor shopping decisions and bad timing.  Its a horrible cycle really.

But I'm really tired of clothes not fitting.  I'm really tired of the psychological work that is required to step out of the house in clothes that make me feel embarrassed.  Or the hair style/lack of style that makes me feel disheveled and unkempt.  It really is exhausting.  So much so that I try to avoid mirrors most of the time.

I look at my house and am tired of looking at a room full of furniture that looks like a college student collected it from several street corners.  I think there are 4 colors of wood finish in my living room!!!

But here's the trick. I believe women should be heard and not just seen.  I believe women should be valued for all of who they are, not just how they look and I'm not comfortable with the way some women are using their physical appearances to manipulate the sexist world around them.  I also believe in being very thoughtful about my use of materials and how my living makes an impact on our environment.  I do feel good when I'm able to re-use something and it turns into something really ingenious or beautiful.  And the reality is, we are in a tight financial situation right now.  But we haven't always been and more importantly...


Feeling beautiful and creating beauty in my space does not require mass amounts of money, or a submission to a sexist culture or disregard for the environment.

When I type that it seems so obvious and yet, these are the stories in my unconscious.  I have to deal with them!

So this year, I'm on a mission.  I intend to make decisions that include beauty as a quality.  I get to feel beautiful.  I get to look at my home and see beautiful spaces.  I get to feel proud of my consumption decisions and know that I am choosing quality, sustainable materials.

The first thing I've started to do is get my bathroom rejuvenated.  A coat of paint makes a huge difference, don't you think?  I wish you could have seen it before.  Off white walls, oak finish on cabinets, weird stains and splatters on the walls, broken sheetrock from towel racks improperly installed.  A new rug is on the list but that's a pretty small investment.

What?  Isn't this the first thing you think of when I say beauty in the bathroom?  Clean blue walls and white fixtures.  That's clean and fresh to me!

I'll keep posting about how beauty is showing up for me.  What priorities do you make to keep beauty in your life?

1 comment:

Michelle said...

yay for beauty!
I realized that a lot of me was packed away in boxes (from when we moved) that I just hadn't unpacked partly due to having a kid, but also just lethargy. It was so great to unpack some of those things!

Also, I finally bought some clothes that fit me just last week. It's great! Or will be, once long sleeve weather is back:-) Soon I'm sure.

It is hard to think about buying new stuff for the house all the time. I did finally buy new curtains for our bedroom, we had been using some sun-stained ones from our apt. 7 years ago:-)