Friday, March 09, 2012

I am a Woman, hear me.. Aspire.

When I was home from school as a kid, I watched a show in which the happy 3 used to wave goodbye to the children watching: “Bye-bye!” “See you soon!" They never invited me over to play. I guess at the time, in the ‘80s, I wasn’t very popular. Thousands of dollars and years of therapy later, I am over it.

That said, I have that same feeling whenever I have heard some talk show host speaking passionately about the importance of having goals and milestones that you can check off after having achieved them. The camera always pans to the audience, heads bobbing with understanding and recognition of this essential truth. Once again, I feel like the speaker is not addressing me, or people like me, who need to resolve to aspire to something else: dialing it down a little.

Don’t get me wrong—there’s plenty of room for improvement over here. I’m a constant tidier, leave projects undone and get way too anxious when plans change abruptly. I’ve yet to send out any birth announcements (they are now twelve, ten, seven & four) and I can’t tell you how many times a week -one of my friends stop in for a minute -and I scour the walls for a moment looking for just an inkling of inspiration to finally decorate because they all have more ideas than I. They're probably ones who also remember to dust.

I could aspire to improve those things, and I suppose I do. Goals are useful and important, and without them we’d all be sitting in a pile of dirty laundry, and spilled meal leftovers, on our sofas.

But I have a twisted history with self-improvement, one that has included an eating disorder and a highly vocal internal critic who is like Kip in the Napoleon movie—no matter how much she gets, she’s never satisfied. For a long time, I felt that I was never thin enough, easy-going enough or perky enough, and if I didn’t improve in all those areas, I could add lazy and ineffective to my list of faults. Even though I’ve learned to think differently and go easier on myself, perfectionism is my default. I sometimes have to consciously remind myself to cut myself the same slack I cut others without even thinking about it.

I know too many women who use self-improvement as a bludgeon, and aspirations (which on the surface seem positive) as an excuse to be unkind to themselves. I’d like to see people like me resolve to aspire toward aspiring a little less, or at least a little more gently. At the very least, keep your aspirations attainable, and don’t always move the bar a few inches (a few pounds, a few dollars, a few whatevers) out of your reach.

I made a goal 12 years ago to lose those first 55 lbs. Today, I finally achieved this goal.

This year, I’m aspiring to appreciate what I have and what I’m good at (which, happily, is more than things I fail at) even if I don’t always have an effective duster when I need one. I’ll leave that for someone else to achieve.


Colleen said...

Dear Alicia! I want to come back and read your post properly later tonight (I am just on my way out:) but I saw the photo and can not NOT say what amazing and beautiful hair you have!! Stunning, I want it!:) You are beautiful! Inside and out my friend!

my name is kimberley said...

you are so very incredibly beautiful.

Grandma K said...

yes, you are beautiful inside and out!

Way to go on reaching your goal! And it would seem by your honesty that you are truly reaching the goal of accepting yourself and believing this is the person God wants you to be.

Your family and friends are so very blessed to have you in our lives.

By the way, I believe it to be a life time process of dealing with self-criticism, being who I am as I am....
In the 6th decade of life it is still there for me!!! But gradually it is less important as I recognize who I truly as as God's child.

Kmarie said...

This is perfect. I have always thought you were/are very stunning!

Cheyenne said...

ALICIA! You need to get this stuff published so I can march around with this stuff on real pages.

Your writing is so, so good for me.

Yes and amen with needing to dial it down a little. Be kind to yourself, you are cherished and loved....and an inspiration.

You are beautiful, dear friend! That picture is lovely!

just sayin' said...

beautifully said. I understand completely. Blessed to have you in my life! Love.

mikki roo said...

ALICIA! Love this so MUCH! And congrats on the weight loss... so awesome. You are so beautiful, inside & out, and such an inspiration to me.

Anonymous said...

This is beyond great! You are speaking to everyone I am sure - why can't we just accept ourselves for who we are and stop all the constant concerns and questions - Do I measure up? Am I good enough? Beautiful, beautiful picture and congrats on reaching your goal!

Marissa said...

You are such a beautiful woman and your words are gently speaking to me! Thank you for your wisdom.

Sheila said...

This made me smile and be so very very happy that you are my friend. You are fab-u-lous! Love you!!