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Archive for February, 2010

Well maybe sometimes trust and being naive do go hand in hand. Me personally, I’d rather be naive and trust freely than to start worrying about people’s possible motives.

cuteicon
(Photo courtesy of Miguel de Luis )

In my 40 years on this earth because of my inherent trust of people, I have been labeled many things. My favorite so called insult is being called a salesman’s dream. I actually like that one because being married to someone who is in sales, I like to think I am his dream. I have also been labelled gullible and of course I have been called naive.

The label I have been most tagged with is being too trusting. I don’t see that as a defect in me. I am actually proud of that trait. Give me someone who is too trusting over someone who is cynical any day of the week.

So why is trust so important? Because it helps us see the best in people. It helps us believe the best of the world.

My husband is a bit more skeptical than me. He would probably beg to differ and just call it being realistic. When I relate certain events or conversations to him, he is usually the one to pull my head out of the clouds and try and help me plant my feet on the ground. Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he doesn’t.

Sometimes my husband manages to convince me that maybe there is a hidden interest somewhere or that maybe the person’s motives weren’t all that altruistic. Other times I prove him wrong. We both read people well but in different aspects. He reads people’s body language and motives well. I read people’s emotions well. Neither of us are foolproof though.

Why is the issue of trust on my mind? Because without trust you start to doubt everyone and everything. I am a natural truster. I wear my heart on the sleeve. What you see is what you get.

Having recently joined the blogging community, I am still learning the ropes. I have been on a mothering forum for about three years but blogland is a little different than the community I am used to online. People blog because they have something to share with the world. For some it is about their everyday lives, for others it is about a bigger message. While I personally do blog for myself, I also want people to read what I write. If not I would not be online.

Rosie the Blogger
(Photo courtesy of Mike Licht )

Blogging like everything else in life is about networking and who you know. One way of getting new readers is to read and comment on other people’s blogs. I had a hard time with myself because I do think I am authentic and only want to comment on things that either make me laugh or touch me, not just to get someone else to my blog. Here and there I found myself commenting on things that I would not normally comment on. That’s when I caught myself, because I also started to wonder whether or not others are commenting on my posts for the wrong reasons. I started to lose my trust and my ability to judge people and their authenticity. If I could get sucked into this so easily, so can lots of others.

So I have decided to be true to myself. To find and follow the blogs that make me happy, that make me think or the blogs whose authors I feel I have a connection to.

I want to continue to be a trusting person even if it means that sometimes I continue to be naive.

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That is a quote that has always resonated with me. I don’t know who said it but I think it is one of the all time best quotes. It is simple but has so much wisdom to it.

"... a happy journey" for the Chinese president
(Photo courtesy of FutureAtlas.com )

Yet like many things in this life, even if you believe that something is true, it does not always mean that it is easy to internalize, achieve and live it. Happiness in your day to day life, in my opinion, is one of the most elusive things in this world.

There are many people who would say they are happy people or that they are happy with their lives, but I think (actually I know) that I can count on one hand the amount of people whom I have met who are happy everyday no matter what life brings them. What I mean is that they have a happy outlook on life and their joy of life radiates from them. I am not saying that these people don’t ever cry or even feel moments of despair when they are faced with something difficult. All I am saying is that their general day to day outlook is one of finding joy in every day and in all that life sends their way. These are the people I admire and the type of life I wish to aspire to.

I believe that the biggest barrier we have to happiness is the belief that we will be happy when….. We will be happy when we are thin. We will be happy when we are rich. We will be happy when we are successful. We will be happy when this stressful period of time at work is over. The list goes on and on and is different for everyone else.

I am not saying that things might not be easier for someone financially strapped if they came into a load of money, or that someone may not feel more confident and happy with themselves after they lose fifty pounds. I am not saying that changing jobs to something less stressful that gives you more satisfaction won’t make it easier to be happy.

That is true. All that I am saying is, why waste all that time waiting for something to be better in order for you to be happy? Find the happiness in the journey itself. Find the happiness in the little things.

A simple example is all the preparations for holidays. For me it is the Jewish holidays, for others it can be their religious holidays or secular holidays. There are some holidays that can be a logistic nightmare, not to mention time consuming and tiring. Tonight the Jewish holiday of Purim started. For this holiday we need costumes for the kids, we need to prepare food parcels to give out, we get together with family or friends for a festive meal and we go in the evening and in the morning to Synagogue to read the Scroll of Esther. The preparations for it require thought, time and money and for me personally, the costumes drive me nuts. Not so much for the little kids, but as the kids gets older they get pickier and pickier and harder to please.

There have been years that I have been so consumed with the preparations that I neglected what was important and that was getting the kids involved and excited. Sure, it is a lot faster to do things yourself. It is also difficult not to lose it when you are trying to help your kids with costumes and they are hard to please. But if you don’t relax a bit, let things slide and get your kids involved, you lose part of the opportunity to bond with your children and share the meaning and the joy of the holiday with them. After all these years, I still sometimes find myself trying to get it all over with and waiting for the holiday to pass. What a waste of time and what a missed opportunity to find joy and give my kids joy.

I am also not saying that we need to live the status quo or that we can’t have dreams, goals and aspirations. I just think that we sometimes get so caught up in trying to make our dreams, goals and aspirations a reality that we forget to see the joy and the learning in the journey. Sometimes we want something so bad that we forget to take pleasure in the process and in what we already have.

I am in many ways an impatient person. My friends who know me well are probably laughing and saying something like “that is an understatement”! If I think of something or I have an idea, I need to get it done and into action as soon as possible. If I leave things too long, I lose the drive to do it. That may be part of my attention deficit disorder, or it may just be my personality. The cause doesn’t really matter, and I have embraced this as a trait of mine, for good and for bad.

I started blogging because I have a lot of thoughts that I want to share with the world and I am hoping what I say can make a difference in people’s lives. In the two plus weeks I have been blogging, I have gotten a lot of good feedback and some neutral feedback. So far none negative, but I am sure that along the way I may get that as well. It has been tremendously satisfying committing to myself to write everyday. I have also for the most part been happy with the writing and the content.

In the past few days I found myself starting to think, okay, where do I take this from here? I don’t know if it was Heather’s post on her blog Notes from Lapland that got me thinking or whether it is just the way I am. It would seem that I am constantly yearning for more. Again, there is nothing wrong with goals and ambitions. What I think is wrong is my feeling of unrest instead of my feeling of joy and happiness. I am proud of the blog and the fact that I have been writing. So why is it that when I start to think what is next and where can I go from here, that I start feeling unrest and I seem to have lost a bit of my joy in what I am doing.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that today I came across a small inspirational book that was tucked away in the closet and that I found the quote about happiness being a means of travel not a destination. I think it was God’s way of grounding me and reminding me to take pleasure in life and in each step as it comes. I am going to do my best to live like that without giving up my dreams or aspirations.

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(Photo courtesy of Mike Baird )

I think that this world would be an amazing and happy place if we all committed to finding joy in the moment and remembering that what is important is the journey not the destination. We tend to get caught up in events in our lives and lose sight of the things that make us happy. I think that we all need to look at our lives and take the steps to make sure that we travel the journey of life by the means of happiness and not wait for happiness at the end of the road.

Nobody wants to get to the end of the road and find that all along they could have had what they spent a lifetime searching for.

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Thank you. Two small words that can make a tremendous difference in a person’s day. I will even go so far as to say that sometimes those two words can make a difference not just in a person’s day but in their life.

We all know the importance of saying thank you to people and we all know how it feels to be thanked and appreciated. Yet sometimes people we should acknowledge and thank are overlooked. They are even taken for granted if you will.

I know at my place of work in the ER there are quite a few overlooked people. The cleaners (am using the literal translation from Hebrew instead of the word janitor) are among them. For the most part they have a really thankless job.

When I am working and a cleaning person comes to change the garbage bag by my station, I make sure to stop and thank them, acknowledge their presence. Just today I saw an example of how much of an impression a simple few words on my part can make.

I started my shift late. As I walked into the ER one of the aforementioned cleaners stopped me and said hello and asked me how I was today. He is a young guy, probably about 20 years younger than me if I had to guess. I can’t believe I just said that out loud or admitted it….I shouldn’t be old enough to say anyone is 20 years younger than me. When did that happen?

Anyways, back from the tangent. I am Jewish, he is Arab. In his job, he is mostly ignored by everyone else. Obviously the fact that I have made an effort to acknowledge him and his work has stuck with him. His simple greeting meant a lot to me. It also lifted my mood dramatically.

Three days from now on Sunday is the Jewish holiday of Purim. It’s a holiday when we dress up in costumes and we give food baskets to friends and needy people. Many times we also send something to teachers or others.

Last year at my little one’s daycare, I made a modest little food package for each of the caregivers. Many of the other parents did as well. I decided to also make one for the cook because I thought she deserved a thank you as well. The cook was a loving grandmother type who doted on the kids.

When my little one handed her the package she was so touched. Later on, the manager of the nursery told me that none of the other parents had given the cook anything and it had deeply touched her that we remembered her and thought to give her something.

A few weeks back when I had taken my daughter to her nursery, I met up with the guard. Here in Israel at all the schools and nurseries there is a little guard’s booth with a guard. Normally the guard is by his booth at top of the steps while the two nurseries are about ten or so steps down.

This particular morning he was walking out of my little one’s nursery and I was amazed when he said good morning to my daughter and called her by her name. I was really impressed because firstly, I didn’t realize he interacted with the kids but mostly because between the two nurseries he guards there are about 70 children. He actually cared enough about the kids to learn their names.

That incident stuck with me. When I started planning my holiday food baskets I right away said that I want to make one for this guard. He deserves to be acknowledged and thanked. When I mentioned to my three year old that we are going to make a package for Alex she said in a very loud voice “I like Alex! And he likes me!” It was so sweet.

So I put together something small and modest. It is more about the thought then the package. I wrote a card about how I admire his devotion and how nice it is that he loves the kids. And I thanked him.

I attached the card to the package and in the morning I plan on adding a big homemade chocolate chip cookie with his name in chocolate on it. My little daughter is excited about bringing it to him.

I am not going to be there to witness the joy on my daughter’s face when she brings something unexpected to someone she “likes and who likes her”. My husband will have that honor. One thing I do know is that I don’t have to be there or witness it to know how touched the guard will be by a simple thank you.

So next time anyone is feeling down and wants a way to brighten their own day, find a way to thank an overlooked person in your life. It can be a note of thank you, a kind word or a little gift. You decide. Just remember by thanking others we bring joy and gratitude into our own lives.

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P.S.

March 1st 2010-Just wanted to add this sweet picture of my little one handing the parcel to the guard.

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Warning: if you don’t believe that things in life have a purpose or a reason, you may not want to continue reading this.

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Okay, now that my disclaimer is out of the way and only the believers are left I can continue. When I say believers I am referring to those of us who believe that life is not just a random jumble but that life has an order, a sense and a purpose to it.

Of course there are those of us, myself included, who believe in God and are not ashamed to admit it. Okay, I will come right out and say that I am proud to believe in God and higher powers.

I was just reading a blog post yesterday over at Sleep is for the Weak about people being hesitant to talk about religion on blogs, but I think it is fine. Everyone just has to learn to respect each others opinions. Or maybe I am just a new blogger, so I don’t know what I have stepped into yet. Am hoping that my naiveness and belief in people’s goodness will serve me okay.

So anyways, back to coincidences.

I personally don’t believe there is such a thing. It’s always been my motto. I think my friends and family are probably sick of me saying, there is no such thing as a coincidence. Oh well-that’s their problem I guess.

I think you might not always see a connection between things occurring in your life, but many times somewhere along the road, you might have that epiphany as to why something happened. Maybe some horrible event left you stranded somewhere and it was there you met your soul mate. Maybe it was a stranger’s smile that gave you a boost of self confidence on your way to a job interview. Or maybe some random fortune cookie got you thinking and prompted an action by you. There are even sites like this one that has lists of interesting coincidences.

fortune
(Photo courtesy of Robert S. Donovan )

It can be a random comment or it can be something as stressful as a disease that changes your whole perspective on life. About six years ago I was hospitalized with mild hemiparesis. The doctors had no idea what the problem was. Those 10 days were some of the worst in my life. They were racked with fear and worry. (They were also filled with reading 7 books, staying in pj’s all day, not cooking or cleaning and getting served 3 meals a day, but really I was worried.)

It was only a few years later that I realized that my illness or “dis-ease” was the best thing that could have happened to me. (And before someone comments, my kids and husband are also the best things that happened to me, but a different category of best thing).

That hospitalization led me to alternative medicine professionals and others who changed my whole view on life. It has been a process of quite a few years, but it sure as heck was the disease that was the catalyst. Again, no coincidence.

I am the kind of person who is spontaneous and maybe sometimes a bit too naive. Most of the time, when it comes to people and emotions, I am a good judge of character. Even more so if it is someone I don’t know at all, or not very well.

So it is not a surprise to me when I suddenly hear or read something from someone and feel that the person was led into my life at the moment for a reason. Sometimes it is the message in their words-written or verbal. Sometimes I am meant to connect with the person and open up to them-both for myself and for them.

I have been chatting on the internet for about 3 years now and have made quite a nice group of online virtual friends. Some of these friends I have spoken to, one I have actually met, and quite a few I correspond with by email or *horror* snail mail. I got to the forum I chat on by accident. I was looking on the site for something else and happened across the forum. Again a “coincidence”. Uh uh! I don’t think so.

I Thank God For You
(Photo courtesy of vistamommy )

It was on this forum that I stumbled onto that I have been helped and helped others. I have made friends. I have come to understand cultures and religions other than my own. Others have come to understand things about my culture and religion.

It was also through some of these friends that I was exposed to the world of blogging. The blogging that has become a source of great satisfaction for me. I have also in just a few weeks in blogland, made quite a few more like minded virtual friends who I really enjoy corresponding with.

Even just yesterday, I happened across a blog I have never read before. With blog reading it is kind of like a blog to blog treasure hunt. You start with one blog you like, click on that blogger’s favorite blogs and then on and on. Focus Susie! You are digressing!

Okay back to the story about this blog. The blog’s author is a single mum named Nicola. The post was one that intuitively sparked something in me and I asked her to contact me by email which she did. Being total strangers, LOL, we of course hit it off right away. The emails that followed were for both of us the exact hit over the head we both needed at this moment. We both have many common views and we both believe that this connection is not a coincidence.

There is a beautiful poem by an anonymous author that goes like this:

A Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or
a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you
will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON . . . It is
usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have
come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you
with guidance and support, to aid you physically,
emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a
godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason
you need them to be.

Then, without any wrong doing on your part, or at an
inconvenient time, this person will say or do something
to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die.
Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realise is that our need has been met, our
desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you
sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON . . .
Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount
of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things
you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional
foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the
person, and put what you have learned to use in all
other relationships and areas of your life. It is said
that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

I believe that even the season and lifetime relationships are for a reason. Every coincidence is like the swell a tiny little a rock makes when it is thrown into the ocean. Everything is connected. I believe everything happens for a reason.

No one is going to convince me that there is such a thing as a mere coincidence. In my book, everything truly does have a reason, even if at times I have no idea what that may be.

So next time something less than pleasant happens to you, instead of bemoaning your fate, think positively. Remember it is no coincidence you are going through this event right now. You never know, you might even be lucky enough to be able to look back and see the blessing it has become.

P.S. You don’t think it is a coincidence you read this today do you? *wink wink*

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Plain blue and pink polyurethane kitchen sponges
(Photo courtesy of Horia Varlan )

Kids really are sponges. They hear everything, they see everything, they feel everything and they store away all that knowledge for the proper time.

Once again I woke up today with a number of different topics whirling around in my head as potentials to write about. In fact I should say I got out of bed, because if you didn’t really sleep, can you wake up?

My 3 1/2 year has been having a dreadful time with sleeping. Actually, I don’t know for sure what she feels about the topic so I will change that to read: her poor sleep deprived parents have been having a dreadful time sleeping because she likes to wake them up every night. I think I can count on one hand how many times she has not woken up at least once a night in the past few months.

We have tried everything. She hated her room, we moved her in with her older sister. That worked well………for one night, maybe two. She wanted a light, we leave on a light. We cut out a nap. We gave her a nap.

But like usual I have digressed. I was just trying to get to the point which was that I ended up sleeping with her from the middle of the night because she was crying and her poor 12-year-old sister needs to be able to sleep so she can actually keep her eyes open at school. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep and when she started making noise already at 6:20am, I started to get annoyed and told her so.

2009_07_24_DSC06228 Dream
(Photo courtesy of Gwydionwilliams )

When the kids all got up, I crawled back into my own bed. Hubby got them out to school, but the little devil child one goes a bit later. She was playing downstairs and hubby came back upstairs to our room to get ready and he tells me that little N told him that Eema (mommy in Hebrew) is angry at her. I replied to him uh huh! and told him the tales of the night past. He was totally behind me on that one even though the little one usually twists him around her little itty bitty finger.

This is not the first time by any means where she has correctly interpreted emotions of the people around her and put them into words. Her siblings are adept at that as well.

It is not only the emotions they learn about and pick up. They hear our words, our stories, they see the way we act. They sense who we like and who we don’t. They sponge everything up. This can be potentially really embarrassing for their parents. Right now my mind has blacked out specific embarrassing examples (defense mechanism I think), but I know they have caused me to squirm many a time.

It was that incident this morning with my little one as well as a blog post and an article I read this morning that led me to write about this topic today.

Children learn from the way we treat ourselves and think about ourselves. This morning I was reading this parenting article by Dara Squires. She was talking about how her 3 year old daughter was already internalizing messages about how she was not beautiful enough. It is a good article and that example was just a part of the whole article.

Then I read this blog post by a single mother and her kids reactions to a big decision going on in their lives. Again, it was evident to me how much kids understand and perceive from things going on around them

My point is that kids absorb everything. They absorb things you don’t even think they notice. They know when their parents are fighting even if they never see them argue. They know when you are unhappy, excited , sad….. They seem to know everything-except how to do their chores without being asked but yet again I digress.

As parents, we need to remember that. We need to be up front about our feelings. When kids ask if you are upset or sad and you say no everything is fine, they know you are lying. They then don’t exactly know how to reconcile the difference between what they are seeing and what you are saying. It is confusing.

I am not suggesting we tell them our whole life story. I am just saying it is okay to admit we are not perfect and something is troubling us but we are working it out.

We also have to watch how we talk. That of course is obvious to all us parents who have had the kids all of a sudden blurt out curse words or inappropriate phrases in front of other people. Not too charming!

Most of all I think we have to work on ourselves and live our life the best way we possibly can. If we are judgmental with ourselves whether it be about our bodies or our skills, our children learn from example. The same goes for us being judgmental about others.

Our children learn what they live. There is an amazing poem by Dorothy Law Nolte called Children Learn What They Live. It is amazing and I highly recommend everyone read it and remember to live by it. The link to it is here.

Our kids are sponges. They absorb everything both good and bad. That can be bad news at times, but if we remember they are always watching and learning, then we can make sure they do learn positive things by examples we set for them. I know easier said then done, but definitely something to strive for.

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Anatomy of a Blogger, from Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers
(Photo courtesy of Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com )

Today like every day, there are quite a number of subjects bouncing around in my head waiting for me to write about them. The inside of my brain sounds like my kids arguing with each other. You know what I mean: Me, I want to, I was first, let me…..There has been a very heated battle going on in my head as to which topic deserves to see the light of day today.

The decision as to which thoughts to put into words now and which to leave for another day has not been easy. I probably would have wrestled with my thoughts a bit longer, but I am working the evening shift tonight and I am going to need to leave to work in a little while. In the end it was the thought about work that made the decision for me.

Why do you ask? Because thinking about work right now causes some type of visceral unpleasant reaction in me.

Btw-this is not complaining and I am not looking for sympathy. I am working things through for myself and just wanted to share my insights about how the body reacts to the emotional. Sometimes we see the physical before we even realize the emotional.

So yes my body is talking to me, but it is even deeper than that. Like usual, I am going to have to digress a bit in order to get to the point. So here is some background first.

As you might know from reading this blog I am an ER nurse. I have been a nurse for close to 20 years. Sure I have not always worked and I have definitely not always worked full-time. I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to have 2 years off from work twice and I have gone on maternity leave a few times. I have even had two, or maybe it was three summers off.

Emergency
(Photo courtesy of Taber Andrew Bain )

I think those breaks are the reasons I have actually managed to stay at this job for so long. Where I work, there are even those who joke that they get pregnant in order to have time off from the job and not lose their positions. That’s how mentally and physically draining the work is.

So yes it is about the place I work but it is not just about the place I work. I think I have finally come to grips with the truth that nursing is not my life’s calling. Sure I am good at it, but if I am honest I probably would not say I am great at it. From an emotional point of view I do feel I am great at my job, but from a clinical point of view, I have much to learn. That is probably because I am not enthusiastic enough about my profession so I don’t make the effort to advance my professional education.

In short, I just feel that this was not the way I was meant to make an impact on the world. Everyone is here for a reason and I know I am meant to help people. I just now know that nursing is not the way I am supposed to do it.

So I am taking steps to correct that. I have started blogging about things that are important to me. I am looking into going back to school and I even have a vision of what I want to do with my life. It is not a quick fix and I know I have to be patient and head in the right direction one step at a time.

In the meantime, I still need to make a salary. Five kids and a house is not cheap. I am okay with working. I am even okay working in nursing until I am skilled in something else that makes me happier.

Which brings me back to work. I am not happy with where I am working right now. Whew-I came out and said it. I am not happy working where I am right now.

Sometimes it is the work itself. We rotate departments within the ER. Sometimes we do triage, sometimes walk in, sometimes surgical/orthopedic/trauma and sometimes internal medicine. I do not like traumas. I can work them, but do not enjoy it. On any given day, any of the departments can be horrible to work in. Depends on your luck.

Sometimes it is the stress and the fact that we are understaffed. We are there to help people and sometimes we are just trying to tread water to even see all the patients. For someone who likes to talk to the patients and hear them, it is a terrible feeling.

Sometimes it is the co-workers and the boss. Enough said I think.

I think however a big part of my dissatisfaction is that I don’t have a set schedule and I work shifts as well as morning hours.

I work half time because my husband travels a lot. I am Sabbath observant, so I have a deal where I don’t work on Sabbath or holidays that are like Sabbath. I do however get stuck with a lot of Friday shifts and Saturday night shifts.

Here in Israel, Friday is the day off. Sunday is a work day. It is also the day to get all the cooking and errands done especially if you are Sabbath observant because there is no cooking on the Sabbath, just warming up.

On the one hand it is good because hubby is almost always home. On the other hand I find the preparations for the Sabbath even more stressful because I don’t have Friday free. I also have to worry about what my work schedule is going to be around all the holidays. It is not pleasant or easy.

For the past few days, I have been physically ill. I have been horribly nauseas (again, NO I am not pregnant) and I have had terrible stomach pain. I very much believe in the mind body connection. (BTW that’s a story for another day about how I came to believe).

It was not however until a good friend pointed out to me that maybe my body was talking to me and maybe it was even about my job, that I actually started putting the two together. I had an unpleasant episode with my boss last week and it was after that episode that I had decided to myself that I needed to look into other options in my hospital.

I haven’t moved all these years because I do like the changing fast pace of the work. I also don’t work on the Sabbath which is not available in all wards. Last but not least, sometimes what you know is easier than moving. I also don’t want to go over my boss’s head until I have some idea of what is out there. Not an easy dance. So I have been dragging my feet.

So I haven’t been listening to myself and my body has decided to do something about it and give me a really unpleasant reminder that I am not happy at work and that I deserve to be.

I even tried making a call today to inquire what was available in the oncology units and clinics. No answer. I guess I better get looking for something else. I don’t think I can handle much more nausea or stomach pain.

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Princess Bel Air -01
( Photo courtesy of Akaporn Bhothisuwan )

Dressing for yourself was a topic I was going to write about on Saturday night, but after I had gotten an unexpected surprise, I abandoned that topic for the one I ended up writing about.

It is interesting how life is. When there is a topic that needs discussing, reminders keep popping up at you and urging you to talk about it. Urging you to share your views. The final catalyst for me sitting down and writing about this topic today was this post by Ellie (my virtual friend of many years) at Insomniac Mummy.

The lesson to myself about dressing for yourself first popped into my head on Saturday when I was walking home from Synagogue hand in hand with my husband. I have a lost a bit of weight recently, but I am still not as fit as I would like to be. I say fit and not thin because all I really want is to feel good in my clothing and look good in them.

Now to digress and give some background before my epiphany.

Much to my mother’s chagrin, I don’t really have a sense of style or much taste in clothing. Generally that doesn’t bother me as long as I think I look good and I feel comfortable in what I am wearing.

So what is the problem? My sense of style or rather my lack of a sense of style is problematic when it comes to the shopping. I don’t have the eye my mother or my sister (middle sister, cause youngest one is as clueless as me) have where they can tell before trying something on whether it would look good on them. So instead I suffer search through the racks and the piles hoping to find something that I like and that will also look good on me. Needless to say I spend many hours wandering aimlessly shopping in way too many stores.

Clothes barn
(Photo courtesy of Christian Guthier ) Btw-this photo is not me although it can be mistaken for me.

Add to the equation the fact that here in Israel they don’t know what petite sizes are. Petite sizes are non existent. As in not a single petite size anywhere. Anyone who knows me in real life probably just sputtered their drink all over the screen because NO I do not look petite. Funny though, it seems my torso is short and that means petite shirts hang better and look better on me. They fall in the right place so that my hips don’t look as wide as they really are. By the way-that was a tip my mother taught me about myself that I never in a million years would have figured out on my own.

To be honest though, even when I am visiting the States and I shop there where petite sizing is in abundance, I still get overwhelmed.

Comfort is also a big issue for me. I am not one for feeling physically uncomfortable in my clothing. I can’t stand the feel of wool. I will put up with certain types of pantyhose if I have to, but the minute I can I will be peeling them right off.

ASSets
(Photo courtesy of Pam and Frank ) These pantyhose btw are great at reducing fat bulges. Too much info eh?

So why did I just explain all of that in this long winded digression? It was my explanation of why, although my closet is full of clothing, I never seem to find anything to wear. Because having clothing that fit you requires shopping.

Another part of the problem is that unfortunately I have yoyo-ed in weight for many years. So some of my stuff is too big, some too small. I also have the annoying (to my husband) habit of getting rid of my “fat” clothing when I lose weight. Every time I have done this I have of course whole heartedly stated that no way was I ever going to gain weight again. At this point my husband just nods as he rolls his eyes when I make that statement. That’s not to say that he doesn’t wish for me to succeed, of course he does.

Your weight indicates your health
( Photo courtesy of Ben Ostrowsky )

So my closet is right now full of all different sizes clothing. Some of the shirts look good on me, some of the skirts do, some of the pants (for you Brits trousers) do, but amazingly even when I try to pair a shirt that looks good on me with a skirt that looks good on me the result is less than appealing.

So back to Saturday. I wrecked went through my whole closet and amazingly enough came up with a skirt and shirt combo that I thought looked good on me. I didn’t see any rolls of fat too evident and overall I thought I looked nice. It was a skirt I hadn’t worn in ages because up till now I hadn’t fit back into it.

By the way I need to digress again and take a minute and ponder why it is that people feel the need to buy clothing 2 sizes too small and completely unflattering? It is one thing if you have gained weight and are just trying to shove your body into clothing that doesn’t fit (been there , done that too many times). It is yet another when you think skin tight clothing, 2 sizes too small on a “generous” body is attractive. Hmm, but then again maybe they are just dressing for themselves. Or maybe no one ever cared enough to give them some guidance.

Okay now that I finished being judgmental and got that out of my system…back to the story.

So I went to meet hubby at the Synagogue and we walked home together. Generally I know right away if he likes what I am wearing because I will get a nice comment and an appreciative smile. I also usually know if he doesn’t like what I am wearing because I can see it on his face and he will tell me. So on this particular day it was neutral. So I asked. He said it was okay-not his favorite. I was okay with that.

Had this been a year or two back, that might have really given my self esteem a hit. What I have learned only relatively recently is that if I am okay with something, I don’t need someone else’s approval to make me feel okay about myself.

Sure everyone wants to look good and everyone wants other people to think they look good as well. So the question is: are you dressing for yourself or are you dressing for other people and what they think looks good on you?

Even deeper of a question: are you dressing for what you think that other people think looks good on you? That last question was a bit of a brain teaser but basically many times we have whole conversations with other people in our minds and we don’t ever really ask them their opinion. We assume they are thinking a certain way, in our minds we respond to that, then in our minds they respond to what we responded to….and so it goes.

Sometimes we are correct in our assumptions that we make about what others are thinking. Many other times we are dead wrong. Sometimes we just have to ask opinions (from people you trust and who are honest and not hurtful).

I am not saying never to take into account what someone who loves you says. Sure I would rather wear something my husband likes on me-as long as I like it as well. But sometimes whether because of a lack of other choices or because I actually really like an outfit, I might wear something my husband or someone else doesn’t like. In that case, too bad. (Sorry hun, I still love you loads.) I liked it and I have to dress first and foremost to please myself. If I happen to be silly enough to ask for an opinion, then by all means I am fair game.

I think basically like everything in life, dressing for yourself comes down to working on your self confidence. Something which is a never ending journey, but the good news is that we get better at it as the time goes by.

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