The Yellow Pants

Friday, April 15, 2016

I wanted to share a story from my childhood that I had written some time ago and just found in an old notebook.  It made me smile reading it.  

We had just moved from London to Vancouver and I had started at the local public school in the middle of 5th grade.  This was my sixth school since Kindergarten, third language and fourth country.  

I was standing in front of my mother’s bed one morning before school wearing my favorite light yellow pants.  She was still asleep.  The only light was coming from the hallway through her open door.  When she saw me, she scrunched up her face, her eyes barely open and said, "how could you wear that?  You look ridiculous.  Go change."  The funny thing was that when I walked into her room I was so happy with myself and my decision to wear the pants.  I had gone in expecting her to be impressed.  But standing there and seeing her face I felt humiliated.  I looked down to see what she saw -- too tight thin yellow pants around a young girl’s body.  Why didn’t I see that myself?

Every morning I would try the same thing, to pick something out that would make me feel pretty and special.  Something that would make people like me or more importantly admire me.  But that’s not how it would turn out.  I only became more of a misfit because of my attempts at individuality.  The worst was when my 5th grade teacher sat me down one day after school for a talk.  He, in his blue cotton shorts, white polo shirt and Adidas sneakers, telling me that I was trying too hard with my unusual clothing selections.  I sat there wearing my heavy knit sweater with the Heidi-like prairie scene complete with a girl and her braided ponytail a full 3-D separate sewn on piece.  I must have thought it was unique and pretty.  I’m sure my mother spent a great deal of money on it in London, but here in the public school room it looked ridiculous, symbolizing my disconnection my environment.  I was too embarrassed to look him in the eyes so I  keep my face low and nodded my head occasionally to motion my understanding of his comments.  But I didn’t really understand.  I didn’t understand how to do the thing he wanted from me -- to just fit in.

This made me smile because: (1) that sweater was actually awesome and (2) that little girl’s differences and need for creativity and expression eventually lead her to a wonderful life filled with love and beauty. 

No regrets

Friday, February 26, 2016

It’s so hard not looking back and wishing you had done some things differently but life is so much more beautiful when you stay in the present and just look forward.  Get rid of the “I wish I hads” and the “if only I had or hadn’ts” and just concentrate on "I have today and tomorrow and that’s where I’m going to live!"

How to deal with mean people

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A while back a friend said something hurtful to me.  It seemed like such a small thing...just a few passing comments.  And for her, I’m sure, it was a small thing.  A few words that she did not think about beyond the moments that they came out of her mouth.

But for me, it was huge.  It hurt me.  It embarrassed me.  It made me feel insecure.  And then it made me mad because it hurt and embarrassed me and made me feel insecure.  I was so angry for letting it do that.  Angry because I saw myself as a confident and strong woman and if I let it impact me, it meant that I wasn’t that woman.  That anger and those feelings stayed with me and no matter what I did, I couldn’t let them go completely.  

My mission became understanding why this person, or any person, could make me feel so bad and how I could fix it!  I read articles, I talked to people I trusted and admired, and I looked within myself for an answer.  

This is what I realized.  

People are mean sometimes. They are mean for all kinds of reasons.  Usually it’s something to do with their own issues and has nothing to do with you.  No matter how old you are or how confident or secure, it hurts.  Denying that it hurts won’t make it go away.  So what do you do to make it go away?

First thing you do is deal with it.  You look it straight in the eye.  And accept it.  Recognize the pain, the embarrassment, the anger, the sadness and understand that it's OK to feel these things without being weak.   It sucks but it’s part of being a human being.

Then deal with the person that was unkind.  They may seem confident and strong but behind that facade, they are probably wounded and fighting their own battle.  See them not as the lion but as the scared cat that roars to keep itself safe.  

Finally, show compassion for that person by wishing them well.  When you think of them, send them thoughts of health and happiness.  This will release your own hurt feelings.  Just like forgiving someone that has done you wrong.  It helps you release the sadness and anger from your heart.  And replaces that space with compassion.

Of course, it’s easier said than done.  And takes some practice.  But it works.  Kindness always helps.  Kindness to others and yourself.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I miss writing.  Life has gotten in the way.  I miss playing with words.  I miss connecting with them.  That’s really what I love about words.  They help us connect to each other in a different way.  A way that is sometimes more powerful than talking face to face.  Words on a page allow for such freedom and courage.  Two things that we can’t always muster in our daily communications with each other.

So here’s to writing more, even if it’s for no other purpose than to show a little freedom or courage once in a while.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I’m struck by hard it is to be kind to people that are not kind in return but yet how rewarding it is nonetheless.

Kindness is so underrated.  It’s probably one of the most important things you can learn in your life.  The simple act of being kind.  For some it comes more naturally than others.  But we can all be kind.  It’s a choice we make, or don’t make.  It certainly the harder road to take sometimes but in the end, it’s definitely the better one.

Some people belittle or disregard the practice of it but I’ve seen how powerful it can be in all aspects of life.

From über successful people at the very top of the corporate or government ladder to the moms at the park, it’s what sets people apart.

I look at truly kind people with such admiration and awe.  I want to be like them.  Live like them.  See the world like them.

Kindness is easy when you’re happy and everything is going your way, but when life challenges you or people are hurtful or cold or cruel towards you, then being kind becomes more of choice, more of a skill, more of challenge in itself.

During those harder times, I do my best to make that choice not only because I think it is the right thing to do but because I know that it’s a choice I won’t regret later.

There have been many times throughout my life that I haven’t made that choice.  I’ve been cold to the person that has been cold to me, I’ve snubbed the person that has snubbed me and I’ve thrown back the anger and negatively that has been thrust upon me by others.  And like many other bad and toxic habits, in the moment, it has felt great doing those things.  Revenge, vindication, in-you-faceness!  

But later on, there is always regret because it didn’t accomplish anything and just added to the negativity.  And sometimes, it made things even worse.

Those experiences showed me that it doesn’t make you a stronger tougher person when you fight back....what makes you a stronger person is when you’re kind back.  When in the face of unkindness you still choose kindness.

That’s the kind of strong person I want to be.  

Mommy alone in the house

Thursday, September 4, 2014

There are a lot of posts about how excited moms are that their kids are back at school but I feel a little sad and don’t have the same urge to celebrate.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the silence and the time to do all the things that I need to do for our life and our house but it’s also a little lonely.  I forget how lonely it is to be a stay-at-home mom.  And it’s not that I don’t have friends to hang out with during the day, thankfully, there are really great women that I can call and hang out with but there is a part of me that still finds staying home just lonely.

My summer is filled with my family around, and not just my kids and husband but my parents and siblings.  I see cousins and old childhood friends.  And then we come back home and my husband goes off to work and the kids go off to school and I’m here in the house tasked with the exciting chores that go along with that.

It usually takes me weeks to get back to feeling normal in my new routine.  I’m reorganizing my office, doing the hundreds of scheduling things for the kids and our family, and generally going through a long list of to-dos.

But my goal is to be done with that soon and start to chip away at my own goals.  Write more of my memoir (the one that I may never publish but love getting down on paper) and getting my painting room/studio together.  A room with a window and lots of colors.

Can’t wait!

September is my January...Renew, review and reinvigorate

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September always tends to be a time when I review my life and what I’m doing with it.  

It’s a busy time getting our lives back to the routine of school, sports and a many other to-dos that are part of our school year.  But it’s also the time when we take inventory of our life and our goals and how we feel about where we are and how much we've accomplished in the last year in terms of our own benchmarks.

It’s not an easy thing to do.  I always ask myself if I’m really happier doing “this” than anything else. And then I think about the options and decide that for now this is good.  This makes sense to me.  But that doesn’t mean that I can’t make adjustments to help enrich the parts that I can enrich, the parts that are lacking something.  

But that adjustment takes work and courage.  Thankfully, September seems to be the time when we have some renewed energy for this task.  Kids are out of the house and we have a moment to reflect and decide what we need.

So let’s renew our spirit and efforts and go forward with the changes that we can make to bring a little more happiness and fulfillment into our lives.