Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Big Stuff

This has been a big summer for me.

It has been a big summer for my art, working on an incredibly fulfilling and fun collaborative theatre piece and challenging my fears with Karaoke and Pecha Kucha. It has been big career-wise, with my first grant award, my first residency and the beginnings of my first entrepreneurial venture. And it has been a big summer socially, ringing in a big birthday with a very big group of new friends at my very big birthday bash.

But it has also been big in other ways…in much less metaphoric ways… in a great big backside kind of way.

Yes kiddos, my butt has gotten huge. And this really should be no concern of anyone else except for the fact that yesterday; right before a meeting, I busted my pants wide open…right in the crotch.

In all fairness, these pants were jeans and a good five years old but still it was quite the wake up call that with all these big activities and projects, I haven’t left a whole lot of time for things like sleep and exercise and food not wrapped in paper and eaten in transit.

Yes, baby has got a little extra back these days and I have to say… I am feelin’ pretty damn good about it.

No, I am not advocating my personal chubbification but even with a little extra junk in the trunk I am feeling better than I have in years. I think it has something to do with taking control of my choices and validating myself rather than relying on someone to do it for me. In the years I lived in LA, I always, always felt fat. No matter what I did, no matter how much I starved myself, I felt ugly and worthless. I dated a guy for a while that never once told me I was pretty. I used to get sick about it. I thought it meant I was a troll when really he just wasn’t a compliment-giving kind of guy (still totally unacceptable and not to be tolerated – just for the record.) But really it had nothing to do with him or the heft of my thighs. It was about that self-confidence. And not to get all Tyra, spewing clich├ęs about beauty coming from the inside but….

On the day that my big ol’ butt broke my big ol’ pants, I had a doughnut for lunch. A doughnut. And not because I wanted junk food to sooth my aching soul or because I was speeding through meetings but because I really wanted a doughnut and because it really, really made me happy.

For years I have struggled with self-confidence and self-perception and fretting over the external is just a bi-product of that. People (teachers, counselors, family) have always said, “You need to work on finding things to build your self-confidence.” But really people, how the hell does one go about that? I mean if, it is so simple wouldn’t everyone be working on it as a full time job?

Well, I may be no Tony Robins but have developed a theory as of late. Sometimes I think it is simple as just doing things that make you happy. If being with someone makes you happy, be with them and don’t freak out about it. If being with them doesn’t make you happy, don’t. If finding time to do yoga and swimming makes you happy, do it. If this week you would just rather curl up with a good book, do that instead. Don’t just do it because it is easy or convenient or adversely because you feel like it is what you should do.

Do it because it is going to make you truly happy. Like that warm in the tummy I just had a doughnut and I don’t care how many calories are in it because you only get one ride on the merry-go-round and that long-john was worth savoring bite by bite.

Yeah, I get that we can’t be happy all the time but life is too short to not take pleasure in the daily grind. And if something isn’t working, that misery we often create for ourselves (and by we, I mean me) is usually a pretty sure indicator that we might want to head in a different path.

I think it is taking ownership of the little moments that we desire, the ones that make us who we are, that gives us the confidence to shine. Owning our choice to prefer yoga to weightlifting, French film to action movies, football to anything else possibly happening on a Sunday in November. It is not about doing different things to make ourselves happy. It is about being excited about owning the things that do.

So right now, I am going to relish a doughnut for lunch every now and then because it makes me really, really happy – but just one, not the whole box - and then I am going drag my ass out of bed in the morning to run because I know the outcome will make me happy too.

…Okay so maybe that was a little Tyra but at least you didn’t have to watch my head bob up and down as you read it.

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