When I was young, I shaved my legs every day; EVERY day. Spring, Summer, Autumn, AND Winter; every day. The media told me that having smooth, moisturized, soft legs was an important part of being pretty – and as a teenager and young person I bought into it. I believed the myth of beauty society fed me.
As I came into adulthood, I still shaved – though not with the same frequency. I spent a great deal of my time as a young adult sick and in pain… pretty just wasn’t as important when you hurt so bad that you can’t get up and down stairs without dissolving into tears. But I still shaved and moisturized. It was part of being a girl. We couldn’t have people thinking I actually grew hair on my legs.
Then I became a Mom. And yes, even then I shaved my legs. By then it was just one of those chores you do. Going swimming? Better shave. Wearing shorts or a skirt? Better shave. Just part of the self-grooming routine. Something I didn’t think about. Something I did in a rather robotic fashion, another member of the trained masses.
I want my daughter to grow up knowing these things are choices – even if we don’t always feel they are. Not all Women shave. In some parts of the world it would seem odd to do so. My daughter believed this until she was three. Then one day she laughed, astonished, at the ridiculous notion that a Woman could choose not to shave. That was the day I stopped shaving my legs.
Lily-Ann has other Women in her life who are non-shavers, my sister for one. But clearly this was something she needed to see with more frequency. It may seem like a small thing, but I needed her to know that we have a choice. We don’t have to shave. We don’t have to buy into the view of beauty that the media is selling, we can choose something different.
I may be the odd Woman out here in North America, sporting hairy legs all year long – without shame and, quite frankly, with a little pride. And yes, it may seem like a strange thing to take a stand on… but I couldn’t let my daughter grow up thinking she has no choice, that she has to go along with whatever ideals society sets before her.
She has options and choices. We all do.
Sure, I could have kept on shaving – but she shocked me out of it. Sometimes, that’s what we need. Something to shock us out of that robotic state we get lulled into. Something to bring us back into personhood. A sudden splash of cold water, a bucketfull dumped on us while we lay half asleep, lounging in the sun. Something to remind us we’re alive, and we have the right to make these seemingly small, seemingly insignificant, choices for ourselves. And sometimes, those small choices end up being some of the biggest.
I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. I’m sure it’s the weather… we’ve been breaking records left and right for the cold and snow, records that go back as far as they’ve been recording temperatures here in Saskatchewan – and that’s 120 years of recorded cold and snow levels.
It’s not unheard of to have a freak snowfall in April… but we’re not talking about an odd, one-off, Spring snow. We’re talking about a Winter that appears to be never-ending. We still have over a foot of snow covering most of the yard (and three feet in some corners).
I have seeds awaiting planting. And I’m dying to be spending time with my hands in the good dark earth. I need to put on a pair of clam diggers, and get out in the sunshine. This weather is just making me feel like curling up into a ball and never emerging from my bed.
Normally I spend my birthday outside, having a picnic or bbq. Heck, on several occasions I’ve spent it on the beach. Never in my now 36 years have I been kept indoors by snow.
In spite of the weather though, I had the best birthday I’ve had in a very long while. Lily-Ann insisted that she and her Daddy go to great efforts to make the day special – and I am so grateful that she did. I love Damon, but he’s never been one to make a fuss or do anything to make someone feel important on their day… which means I’d gotten rather used to having crummy birthdays. LOL If I’d had one of those along with this crummy weather? I’m not sure I would have gotten out of bed.
My girl really did make me feel so special. She got her Daddy up in the morning and the two of them made me breakfast in bed – something I’ve never had in my adult life. Then we all watched a couple episodes of Friendship is Magic before heading out to build-a-bear… where Lily-Ann and I picked out, and put together, and chose clothing for a Pinkie Pie stuffy. Whom is now sitting beside my bed being super cute. On our way home we all got smoothies, then vegged for a while before Supper.
My parents had bought me a gift card for Persephone Theater, and with it I bought tickets for Damon and I to see Ride the Cyclone – a musical about a group of dead teenagers. It was very well written, and had us laughing all the way through. Some fabulous performances as well. It was a great way to wrap up a wonderful birthday.
So. I’m 36. I wish it actually looked like Spring, but I had a lovely birthday just the same. Yep. That sums it up pretty well.
As of yesterday afternoon, my Power of SHe project has made it’s way onto facebook. This? This is your official invitation.
For those of you who’ve been following this blog for some time know all about the Power of SHe, for those who don’t, here’s the press bio for my little art instillation: The Power of SHe is about how we, as self-identified Women, define ourselves in light of how society and the media seek to define and confine us.
I’ve been working on the Power of SHe for some time now. It’s been exhibited twice, and continues to grow. I believe it is a very important body of work, and something we desperately need. So I hope you’ll join us as the journey continues. The more the merrier. Let’s force a shift from art project to movement. We can make change happen!
The girl had a playdate today with her bestie Parker. They played with Zhu Zhu Pets, had monster pancakes for lunch, played with the Light Bright, made things with the Fazoodles, played with My Little Ponies, got dressed up as royals, played Skylanders, and had just started to play Littlest Pet Shop when his Mom came by to pick him up. It was a great afternoon.
Oh! And I can’t forget… they made some plans for their future too. You see, they plan to get married, and they have now decided that they should have 100 swimming pools and 100 horses. Important things for any couple to have.
Tonight we started the girl’s bedtime routine at 6:30… which seems crazy early. But it takes us about an hour from start to finish. Normally we start getting ready for bed at 7:30 with the intent of being in bed for 8:30. Tonight was a lot better.
I don’t know if that’s really the answer though, starting bedtime at 6:30??? We normally wake up between 8:30 and 9:30, and on occasion sleep as late as 10:00 (though that is really unusual). On days when we’re all just home hanging out that’s no big deal… but when her Dad works that means he only gets a couple of hours with her – and that’s just not enough.
I thought kids were supposed to need less sleep as time went on, not more? Or is there something else going on here that I’m just not aware of. Oy! You’d think I’d just be happy to have a temper tantrum free day – sure there were a couple of little mads, but no fall apart, break down, freak out moments… and THAT is a big deal when you consider the week we’ve had. LOL
I’ve always looked forward to my evening blog post. It’s a time to reflect on the day, gather my thoughts, share what’s on my mind – whether it’s something of huge importance or just a little blurb about my life. Lately though, by the time the girl is asleep in bed beside me, I find I’m too run down and tired to be much in the mood for blogging.
Lily-Ann is a “high need” kid (a term coined by Dr. Sears). She’s never been easy. She’s challenging, but oh so worth it. She’s super bright, creative, head-strong, determined, yet compassionate and full of empathy. Her emotions are always heightened and many would find them exaggerated – a fact that was nailed home in her report card, which came home right before Easter break. And all this would be just fine, if she wasn’t such a chip off the old block.
My emotions tend to get so tied up within whatever she’s feeling that I’m just exhausted by the time I’ve laid down with her to read our nightly chapters. What she feels has always translated directly into what I myself feel. When she’s happy, I’m happy, when she’s upset, I’m upset. I honestly can’t see beyond her pain when she’s hurting – and that includes when she’s in the middle of a temper tantrum… which has been happening on a more and more regular basis in the evenings.
I’m exhausted, and can’t think of anything to write beyond that.
People talk about “the terrible twos”… Lily-Ann was a BREEZE at two, and good-natured trouble at three. At four she was everything I could ever have hoped for – and then some. We’re now at five and a half, and wow! While I still wouldn’t call her terrible, there are times when she brings out the terrible in all of us.
I’ve got all sorts of parenting skills. It comes from a lifetime of parenting those around me. I have multiple siblings who are young enough to be my own children. I’ve been babysitting since I was ten (which seems crazy in retrospect). My family ran a daycare when I was a child and a teen. Parenting just kinda comes naturally. But even I am left with nothing left after an hour of break-downs over everything including something as trivial as a piece of scrap that missed the wastebasket by 1/2 cm.
Now, I know this will pass. Every child goes through phases where things are just more than they can handle. However, while we’re in the middle of this particular tempest? Blogging isn’t exactly my priority.
And hey! Advice, ideas, suggestions, and pats on the back are ALL appreciated just now. I know, as parents, this is something we’ve all faced (or are going to face) at some point.
Okay. Yeah. I’ve been a really bad blogger lately. Well, maybe not by most standards. After all, there are MANY bloggers who post once a week or even less frequently. But for me? This is bad.
I don’t know if it’s the weather, or just the physical exhaustion after working so hard getting Breaking the Silence up and running then following it up with a very physically demanding photo shoot… Whatever it is? It’s kicking my ass. I’m just done. So I am VERY grateful that the Easter break is now upon us. Not having to worry about our regular schedule, and getting the girl off to school, should help a great deal. And even better? The next couple of days we’re actually supposed to see plus temperatures!
I am so done with this cold and all this snow. I am dying for it all to melt away. I want to cultivate the ground. This house has a nice big garden space (that was unused for who knows how long) and I’m just itching to get out there and plant something. I have so many plans for the outdoor space here, and this extended Winter is making me a little itchy… seriously. I’m so irritable I’ve definitely got a case of cabin fever… Spring just cannot get here fast enough.
Tonight I have to direct you towards another url. As I’ve already chronicled this particular misadventure on my photography website. I do promise though, the many photographs of our frosty day are well worth the visit. I know you’ll laugh as much as we did as we battled the environment to get these important shots.
And a big thank you to Jamie for not only volunteering as my assistant today, but for capturing the entire thing with her iPhone. LMAO
Well, we’re here! The sixteenth annual Breaking the Silence conference at the University of Saskatchewan is tomorrow! There is still time to register – though not much. So if you haven’t done so, get’r done! There really is no time left. Get your registration done tonight! All the details are here: http://www.usask.ca/education/breaking-the-silence/index.php
And because you asked for it, I’ll be doing my session on understanding sex, gender, and orientation TWICE. That means you’ve got an extra opportunity to get in on this discussion if you missed it last year. And even if you did get in last year, because I conduct it as a discussion, it will never be the same as where we go is truly directed by YOU.
Okay… now for a few fun pictures.
It was 80′s day at Kid kid’s school today. Normally I’m all for spirit days and getting dressed up. But an 80′s day? Two thirds of everything that the cool kids are wearing these days are totally 80′s inspired – which means every day is 80′s day. Seriously, every item the girl wore was out of her usual wardrobe.
That said… the 80′s were about excess… so we loaded on the bangles, we loaded on the belts, we loaded on the hair spray… and we added slouch socks – because that’s one style that didn’t make it back. And because it’s Thursday, that meant that I had to get dressed up too, after all I couldn’t spend the afternoon at school and NOT take part in 80′s day. LOL So I found the perfect jacket (and stuffed socks under my bra straps to mimic shoulder pads), pulled on some black leggings, a gold lamé skirt, and again with the slouch socks. Then we did our hair and make-up… everything in excess! It was great.