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 spent a lot of my time through the morning and afternoon thinking about what I could share for “favourite”. After all, there are so many ways a person could go with such an open ended photography challenge. I thought about it while brushing my teeth, while running errands, while watering the plants… It wasn’t until it was almost time to pick up the girl from kindergarten that I settled on my subject matter. I would share my favourite piece of art.
I’m an art collector. I love original art. Due to lack of funds I often have to be creative to feed this particular passion. Trading and bartering are wonderful things – and something I encourage even in my own line of work. As a photographer I’m happy to trade time and skill with other artists and craftspeople.
My collection includes work by local talent, and those across the globe from me. It includes digital works as well as more traditional pieces. I’ll admit to the inclusion of a print as well – it’s an Emily Carr, and as much as it would thrill my soul to have an original of hers, purchasing one would put us out on the street… where it’s especially difficult a collection.
And through all this variance, and all this beauty? My current favourite piece of art is hanging on my fridge:
An untitled, four part piece, in ink, glitter, and stickers on construction paper by Lily-Ann Smith and her Uncle, Wilson Yandt:
One of my favourite memories from our first month in this house was watching the two of them sitting at her art station shortly after my brother had moved in. I loved listening to the back and forth, the love and genuine sharing. It filled my heart in a huge way. And I think what they created together is beautiful. It is bright, vibrant and full of goodness. There is a real possibility it may end up in a frame before the Winter is out. I think it would break my heart if anything were to happen to it, so while it’s on the fridge now, I think it will be much safer behind glass.
Tomorrows challenge will be much easier. 😉
I’m exhausted. My sister in law, Tabatha, and my niece Eliana and nephew Leandro just left. I got the girl ready for bed, and Damon is in there reading to her. Normally I’m in there too, but this is a book he picked out and is reading to her – and I don’t want to interfere. While it’s not the first time he’s read to her (he had to take over when my TMJ got so bad that it forced me to stop reading out loud) but this is the first book he picked out and bought for her, so it’s kinda special. 🙂
Yesterday’s challenge photo was “letterbox”, which I’m assuming is the same as a “mailbox”. 😉 So here’s ours. It’s dirty, dusty, and dinged up… but it’s cute and charming just like the rest of our new house. And hey! It even had some mail in it when I snapped this picture:
Today’s challenge was to photograph something I wore. Well… I didn’t have to give this one much thought. With my hair badly needing to be washed (it’s super flat and greasy right now, just ask my SiL – whom I’m sure was amazed I’d be seen with it like this) I threw my hat on before heading outside earlier today. I really love my hat. And with the weather unseasonably warm for January (try -10 or -15 when it’s usually -30 or -40) I haven’t been having to wear a super heavy scarf. So I threw on the one my sister Riki and her girlfriend Kate bought me for Christmas, it’s right up my alley and I just love it. Here they are:
Just found your way here and have no idea why I’m sharing pictures of such unusual items? Check out the January challenge list below:
The thing we say to our children now, will impact them for the rest of their lives. Lily-Ann is five now, but one day she’ll be thirty-five and she’ll hear my words reverberate through her mind. What I say to her today will one day become her inner dialogue. It’s a scary and weighty thing.
The one thing I find myself saying, that I try to catch myself on before it slips out, is “How old are you?” in a rather shaming tone. If she’s acting like a nincompoop, using baby talk, whining, or feigning that something is just too hard (when I’ve seen her do it dozens, if not hundreds, of times before) I’ll ask her how old she is. If I catch myself after the fact? I try to goofy it up a bit by wrinkling up my nose and saying in a goofy tone “Are you two? No… you’re three. No, wait, that’s not right…” I hate the idea that my frustrated “how old are you” may one day be what she hears in her head when she feels needy or stressed.
It’s a heavy thing, knowing the small things we say or do – sometimes out of frustration or exhaustion – may one day shape our children’s inner dialogues. I do my best to fill her mind with things like “if you work hard enough, you can do anything” or “be gentle to yourself”… but I’m only human, and, well… chances are I’ll still mess her up.
Being broken is part of the human condition. But I’m doing my best to shape my daughter’s view of herself into something positive. She is strong, she is capable, she is utterly fabulous, and she is deeply and truly loved – THAT is what I want her to remember when she feels weak, when she feels tired, when she feels broken.
One thing I know with assurance is that wishing doesn’t change things. But, those same wishes can inspire us to take action that does. Change happens slowly, gradually, with these sudden AHA moments of hope that cause things to leap forward. It’s not easy, it’s hard work, but it’s so worth doing.
I’ve said it many times before, but here it is again – just for clarity. I know I’m not the one who will change the world, but maybe I’ll inspire those who will. I know things can be better, heck, all I have to do is look at how far society has come just in the last twenty years.
The things members of the acronym community had to face when I was young, seem unspeakable and foreign to the youth of today. The physical punishment and torment, while so fresh in my memory, is a lifetime away for those who are currently discovering their sexual identities. Bullying is still alive and real – but it’s a very different type of attack. And I have hope that it too will fade into a distant memory.
My wish is one for my daughter. And it’s a wish that I hope will spur the action needed to see it come true. I wish that by the time she is old enough to be discovering her sexual identity that it will no longer matter how she identifies. She will be accepted as she is, for who she is, without question. It’s a big wish. But I know it can happen… after all, look how far we’ve come in the last decade, given one more, just imagine where we could be!
I met up with Diane and Katie in one of my favourite “go to” spots. It’s unusual for a client to beat me there, but these two did… and got to watch a wedding shoot that just happened to be scheduled prior to ours. I had a lot of fun working with this adorable mother, daughter team so when Diane asked that I not hand off these edits to another photographer, I was only too happy to oblige. So, here we are. 🙂 Say hello to Katie and Diane:
Sorry for being so brief… just kinda tired today. 😉
I initially planned on sharing a couple stories today… the girlie had her pre-k graduation ceremony today (no, she won’t be in kindergarten next year, she’ll be in pre-k again – so next year this time we’ll have another pre-k graduation). She had a playdate too. I also considered sharing the little tale I shared on FB, which I suppose I still can because it’s short (though I considered telling the elongated version). But instead I’ll share something else, but only after the story I shared on FB. LOL
Today, the girlie said to me that she was going to pretend to be a lichen. But she went on to clarify: “a lichen that grows on trees mom, not the people who turn into werewolves”. I thought it was pretty cute. And if nothing else, I think we can safely say that we’ve provided her with a well rounded education thus far. 🙂
So… early in the evening, I dropped the wee girlie and my husband off at my parents place before heading to a photo shoot. My parents were heading out and asked if we could watch everyone. Well, when I came back after my shoot and was making myself a grilled cheese sandwich the girlie came running into the kitchen and asked me to get my camera to take a picture of her and her Auntie Marie (my sister and Lily-Ann Marie’s namesake).
Firstly, Lily-Ann never asks me to get my camera to take a picture of her. She’s sick of me taking pictures of her. I have to barter to get pictures of her these days.
Second, Lily and Marie are often not even on talking terms. They love one another, but they each have a problem with one another too. With the girlie, it’s the green eyed monster. Marie gets my attention (or my moms) and the girlie doesn’t want to share it. With Marie, the problem is that the girlie is three… and three is chaos.
So, for Lily-Ann to come running into the kitchen asking me to take a photo of the two of them together? That’s big. She further elaborated (when I took too long at the hot stove) “Mom, Marie is outside. I asked her and she said yes. Go get your camera, I need you to take a picture of us.” What else could I do? I turned off the stove and got my camera. But asking me to take ONE picture? Nuh uh.