Tuesday, June 24, 2014

the presentation game

When I was pregnant and was asked me what kind of a person I was praying Adelaide would be, I didn’t quite know how to answer. I hadn’t even thought about it. In fact, her “person-ness” was lost on me completely—I was too busy praying that she was actually a real baby and not a psychosomatic issue. Even during the PUSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH part of labor, I was like, “Nope. No way we’ll get a baby out of this deal.” I was convinced it was just a really weird workout that would inevitably NOT result in six-packs abs, which is what I’ve learned to expect from workouts and why I almost always come up with something better to do.

Anyway, what I mean is I’M A PILLAR OF FAITH. Feel free to be inspired. My paranoia and overexposure to weird TLC shows did such a number that the luxury of praying about and dreaming about the person she would become—it was foreign. But then I knew.

I want her to be the kind of girl that lets people relax.

In college I met a girl who let me relax. I’d spent my whole life lamenting and taming the craziness that is my hair. But I met her—this girl with huge, frizzy hair, and honestly, she looked awesome. I’d never seen anyone cooler. She shopped at Anthropologie (I didn’t even know what that was at the time), had tons of friends, and was nice to everyone. She was awesome, and her hair was awesome.

So after that, when I felt the urge to rage against my “lion’s mane,” I decided against it. I decided, this giant hair—this is okay. This is pretty. This is me. 

That was a really cool thing she did, showing me how to be okay with myself. We need to do that for one another. We need to give each other a break. 

Girls need girls who don’t wear makeup every once in a while.

Girls need girls who don’t obsessively diet.

Girls need girls who don’t agonize over missing a workout. 

Girls need girls who laugh in the dressing room on that day when NOTHING FITS (the worst!!!) and say, “Forget this. Let’s look at shoes.” 

Girls need girls who don’t talk calories at the dinner table.

Girls need girls who don’t Instagram every early morning bike ride and trip to the farmer’s market.

Girls need girls who don’t untag the ugly pictures on Facebook.

Girls need girls who wear the wrong outfit sometimes and just own it. (“Haha! I showed up in my prom dress and y’all have on Nike shorts. I’m so weird! Let’s order an appetizer.”)

Girls need girls who can take a compliment—and mean it.

Girls need girls who can give a compliment—and mean it.

Girls need girls who can apologize for the right things (“I’m so sorry I hurt your feelings!”), but don’t apologize for the wrong things (“Sorry that my shirt is all wrinkled!”)

I want Adelaide to be that girl. We really need a girl like that.

The thing is, if I want Adelaide to be that girl, I have to teach her, and that’s easier said than done. I have been patting myself of the back for not untagging myself in this picture my sister lovingly posted on Facebook. I KNOW, it's the least flattering picture ever and not even my fave Instagram filter (Valencia) could save it. But that dumb yellow towel is on my head for about a fourth of my day sometimes, and, Lord help me, I should like even THAT Caroline and not take her too seriously.

Once when I was pregnant and fresh off of an Instagram binge, I put my phone down and wanted to cry. I was feeling the pressure—pressure to make sure Adelaide had cute stuff, an awesome nursery, the best of things. It was a weird new insecurity—like my fear of not wearing the right outfit was projecting itself onto my baby. The whole feeling was totally stupid and annoying. But we have to deal with the dumb sides of ourselves, too. So I put a mental stake in the ground. (Hence the bad Facebook picture.) I decided to make it my goal to be the kind of mom that shows my daughter in word and deed that I MATTER and that SHE MATTERS and that we can DO THINGS THAT MATTER even when we have a giant yellow towel on our head or we ate too many rolls at dinner (I CANNOT STOP EATING THE ROLLS) or find ourselves carrying around a few extra pounds (ROLLS!!!) or accidentally say the wrong thing.

Kinda like that time during sorority recruitment when they had me talk to this girl we really wanted to join our sorority, and I suddenly found myself telling her allllllll about how I shed everywhere (I TOLD YOU, THIS HAIR, IT IS CRAZY) and how it made my roommate grouchy and how she spent hours on her hands and knees swirling it out of our hot pink carpet, and then that girl CUT US the next day and everyone was like “OH NO! WE WANTED HER! WHAT HAPPENED?” and I avoided eye contact with everyone. KINDA LIKE THAT.

Anyway, we’ll take all the help we can get. Will you invite us over when your house is messy? Because then we’ll know it’s okay when our house is messy. Will you talk to us about things that you’re struggling with and not just the things that are going well? Because then we’ll relax and little and share what’s been hard for us, too. (Like not asking for more rolls at dinner. And other stuff that is less stupid.)

P.S. I’ve written about this before, but I keep coming back to it. I think I’m done now.

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