So I found this Tumblr post from a year ago about not making resolutions for 2016, and I think it still holds true… and I did make it through 2016 feeling the same way. Here it is with some current thoughts
In the past I’d make a resolution…usually relating to losing weight or some superficial crap. I’ve spent 40 years never feeling “enough”, feeling like I’d never match expectations, never be who I thought others wanted me to be… and yes a lot of those expectations for “fitting in” came from my family.. then middle school bullies, and later living in the 2nd most superficial city in the world. But in 2015 I started a quest to just BE… it was a tiny step that is turning into a leap in 2016… not as a resolution but as a need to stay alive and happy. So I’m stating here and now the expectations I will never meet, not because they are so hard, but because they are not ME
“Perfect Mom”…no I don’t always put my child first, no I don’t make him the center of my universe, no my identity is not wrapped up into being his parent. Those are rarely expected of men, so why should they be for me. My child is loved, fed meals, he’s happy… and he’s my friend. We have lots in common and have fun doing things together. That’s far more important to me that ever attending a damned parents meeting or being a super-mom. So in 2016 I was a great mom…. just don’t ask the teenager! We played together, we laughed together, we cried together (okay maybe it was just me crying), and we grew as a family that is pretty well bonded. I look at those “perfect” moms and I don’t see the joy in their eyes of just BEING with their child engaged in their child’s interests and I wouldn’t change a thing. So no I don’t go to school meetings, I don’t know every kid and parent in my kid’s activities, but I KNOW my kid and love him more now than yesterday and not as much as tomorrow. So F ‘Em.
“Attractive” This one I struggle with the most… I always I have. I’m never going to be any where near what society has been told is “atractive”. I struggle with weight “issues”. I’ve lost 50lbs, and gained them all back. I’ve been 125,135,155, and 185 lbs (everything above 125 is in the “obese” category for my height… which just screams fucking ridiculous for me!) Know what…. I’m the same person at all those weights. That the lesson I’m working on learning right now. No I may not please the visual sense… but fuck it, I’m me. F ‘Em. I felt truly fat shamed for the first time a week or so ago, and that let to the realization that I still have a bully in my life…. but F’Em. Nope not perfect, yep gained more weight. Sorry, not a babe. Know what I became in 2016- HAPPY (for the most part)
“what are you reading and enjoying” NOTHING! I get asked this all day everyday at the shop and I lie through my teeth. Honestly it’s been 6 months since I’ve read a book. Caveat: I’ve had to FORCE myself to read my one bookclub book every month… and hated it and the books. I’ve started to read plenty of books. I rarely got past page 20. I just have other places I’m focusing right now. I think there is this pressure both by book shoppers and within the bookselling community to be a perfect reader and I’m calling out it’s BULLSHIT. I don’t have to read, like, or want to read what is being placed in front of me to be effective at my job. The pressure to be the perfect reader can be intense and can make those of us that struggle at reading feel inadequate. I read maybe 4 books in 2016 for pure 100% pleasure. Does that make my any less of a reader? The fact that they weren’t on any lists as great literature doesn’t make me any less of a reader either. So again F’Em. I’m tired of all the judging in the book world. Who gives a flying fig if you are reading a national book award winner or blog posts about issues you are passionate about… you are reading and opening up your mind to new ideas, people, places, things. So again, F’Em
“nerdiness” I’ve spent the better part of 35 years (since hitting middle school) hiding it. It’s something I deeply regret.I think it’s part of the reason I have so few friends. If I had been my authentic self I’d have felt more secure making friends. The few times I’ve let my nerdiness show I’ve made fabulous friends (not that I’ve kept in touch with them after moving). 2015 was one of those times. Thanks to an online show I’ve started embracing my nerdy side again… and have made some great online friends. I’ve also worked hard on an IRL friendship that just makes me smile! Let’s face it I don’t fit into the mold this little Mayberry of a town wants to fit in…. and I’m trying so hard to bust out of it… it’s hard because I’m a 40+ year old business owner in a small town… but I’ve come to realize that those that truly WANT to know me, will. The others will just get the benefit of my old theatre/acting day (SMILE & NOD). Know what I did in 2016… i came fully out of the nerd closet and opened a GEEK store. It is still an oddity to lots of the over 30 crowd that someone my age isn’t into the same things a woman over 40 with a teenager should be… but (say it with me) F’Em. I have fun… and lots of it. I’ve met wonderful kind people from all over the world who honestly care more about me, my family and our well-being than people who have been stepping foot in our store for the last 11 years. I’d take the nerd world over Mayberry any day of the week, so F’Em. I am finally secure in MY OWN interests that I don’t hide it anymore. I can be a traditional business owner in suit when I need to be… but why??? Why must society judge so much. Why must a woman in a tight skirt and heels be taken more seriously than one in stretchy pants and a Harry Potter cardigan. You know what F ‘EM
Thanks to #CriticalRole & #Geek&Sundry I know that there are others out there like me… and it is through them I’m gaining the power to like myself for me and not some construct society wants me to be or expects of a 40 year old mother.
So my take-away is – F ‘EM. If it doesn’t make you happy. If it makes you feel like a fraud. If you’re doing it only to fit in to some societal mold- DON’T DO IT. In 2016 we saw what years of festering hatred and racism did (is doing) to our country. It ate at these people for years and now it’s bubbled to the surface. Imagine what authenticity, love, kindness and hope could do if we let them bubble to the surface . Stop hiding your true self behind societal “norms”. We HAVE to let the good stuff bubble up this year to stomp out all the bad that came up in 2016. One way to do that is to say F’EM. Be yourself, embrace yourself… the good, the bad, the ugly. Then look around… if you kept yourself bound up others are too. Love your neighbor, love strangers. We’ve all got shit we’re dealing with and pushing down. 2017 should be the year of honesty and hugs. I’m calling it now… 2016 was the year of hate for many, so WE need to make 2017 the year of LOVE (and the year where we all say “F’Em, I’m gonna be ME”)