At least I’m gonna try…

Watch this:

In some ways, I think we kind of do live forever. I mean, for all that I will ever know, I’m alive. What went before and what comes after me exist outside of my personal eternity. I’m woven into the tapestry, my part of the fabric adding a touch of colour and texture into the greater way of things.

But, you guys, you guys; we must LIVE while we can. It is our one job to live. Burn brightly, hold tightly to what you love. I know it’s a cliché, but I mean it.

Sometimes, I’m utterly overcome with the desire to run and fall head over heels in love with my life. Because it is too far precious a gift to take lightly. And too beautiful to take seriously: After all, none of will get out of life alive. So LIVE it while you can. While you are conscious of the miracle of chances and choices that resulted in your being. Here. Now. Don’t waste a moment. Imagine the end of your life. Imagine what, as an afterthought, you might have done with all those moments you took for granted. I’m not sure who said this, but it’s a gooder: “You are a perishable item: Live accordingly.”

I don’t do this all the time. But I’m more and more aware of it. And I will tell you this:

At least I’m gonna try.

32ee9788975b0f6110b2b23ddd0bb177

 

Picture this (and then pin it).

First, just picture it.

No seriously you guys, you’re really gonna need to actually use your imagination, because I haven’t figured out yet how to add tabs on my blog. I mean, yeah, I have a couple of pages, but I haven’t sorted out the logistics, so anything I post is just added onto the existing post, thus creating The Longest Post in History. But you don’t care about all these details, do you? Nope. You don’t. I don’t blame you. I almost don’t, or at least I don’t care quite enough to do anything about it.

Yet. Just wait. No really, you’re probably gonna have to wait.

See, what I want to do is have this be all awesome and my website. I want a page dedicated to clothes and style and, of course, shoes. I very much enjoy these things (especially shoes) and would like to pull together some style notes. I have many Instagram photos of my lower outfits. It’s hard to take a full-body selfie that captures my outfit, so generally, it’s a photo from my middle down. Hey, you do what you can, right?

On another note, do you know how much I love Pinterest? I do. Hint: It’s a lot. 7,198 pins a lot. Oh, wait—7,199. See? See what happens? What a great site. I love that I can be a hoarder of beautiful things without actually hoarding them. This site has literally changed my life. Or at least my style. I will happily admit that between Pinterest and my trip to France last year, my style has evolved into something that is definitely Bay (and whoever else has pinned my gazillion same pins).

pins

I sort of feel like anyone who has gotten engaged, gotten married, decorated a home or ever done pretty much anything ever, prior to the dawn of Pinterest, should get a redo. Not because I would change my wedding—it was perfect!—but I would do other extra crafty things and it would be amazing. I would paint chevrons on my office walls and add glitter to my bathroom paint. I would bake cake pops and decorate them like miniature pumpkins and I would finally know what to do with my hair.

I love it. Though, one thing I don’t love is the misguided, but probably well-intentioned weight-loss motivation. “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” is lame. Come on. There are lots of good ones, but I wish my Pinterest peeps would just can it with the weight-loss pins and all the “amazing” before and afters.

Now I’m going to go look at my Creatures board. You might want to, too. If you like The Cutest Animals in the World. Or not. Your choice (what’s wrong with you? Look at the cute animals I have pinned!).

 

Oh Fall!

And this is another example of my idea of a perfect day and what I love about autumn, all rolled into one gorgeous photo:

perfect day

Wouldn’t I love to be doing this today! Followed up by some hot chocolate by the fire. Okay, I may be jumping the gun a little, seeing’s how it was close to thirty degrees last week, but still. Still. You guys: woodsmoke, pumpkin-spice and the smell of fall in the air. It’s The Best.

What do you love about fall?

Just go.

My niece Emily is currently in London, having an awesome adventure with a friend as they travel about the UK and Europe for the next couple of months. She’s such a courageous, fun, witty and intelligent girl. I’m immensely proud of her for stepping outside her comfort zone, where she has discovered, literally, the world is waiting for her, full of beauty and thrill, amazing wonderful sights and people.

adventurers

I’m so happy for her for taking this trip, all the more so because I never did pack up my backpack and travel about when I was younger. I still could, I know, but there’s something to be said for hitting the road before you need to think about details like rent, or a mortgage. Or before accruing a hefty amount of student loan debt.

My best friend Jen (from Nova Scotia) called me up one day, many years ago, to say she was packed up and taking off for a summer abroad. I was surprised; I didn’t know she was planning to live/work/travel about the UK and Europe between semesters. I got off the phone and told my mom about Jen’s plans, wondering if mom had known about the pending adventure. She hadn’t.

“Call her back right now.” Mom looked at me squarely. “Tell her you’ll meet her there. Take your savings and just go.”

Just go.

justgo

Oh god, but I wanted to. I’d been craving this adventure since middle school. I’d even deferred my university acceptance and scholarships for a full year to make it happen. My plans had been to work for a few months, then head out and see the world. Have some adventure. See things much bigger than myself.

Then, I met a boy (we all know how that goes) and I put aside my dreams while I was falling in love. I got accepted to attend a performing arts college (I’d auditioned on a whim), so I stayed put. I graduated from the performing arts college and slid effortlessly into my deferred scholarships and first-year university courses. I had part-time jobs to pay my tuition, because I wanted to avoid student loans.

A few years later, I met another boy and we fell in love. We graduated, bought our first home and got married. We both went back to school again, me for an MBA, he for a law degree (and, as you know, training to become an amazing and inspiring leadership coach, while still in law school, because law school is not enough to take on, right?).

I went on other trips and they were amazing: Hawaii, California, Bali and Hong Kong, Brazil and Florida. I beheld spectacular sights and experienced amazing people and cultures.

But my walkabout? I didn’t go. My backpack (which I’d bought) was used for school and then abandoned for a more practical school bag. It was made to hold adventure and dirty clothes, not my textbooks. I chickened out. I had tuition to save and I didn’t know the friend Jen was traveling with; I didn’t want to crash their plans and be a third wheel. Basically, I came up with a load of very reasonable reasons to explain why I simply couldn’t just drop everything and head out. That’s the thing about reasons: They’re very reasonable. That’s their thing. Here’s the dirty little secret your reasonable reasons are hiding: It’s just fear.

Some day I’ll go off and wander with a new backpack. It’ll be different, because that’s what happens. It won’t be worse or better. It’ll be as it is, and that is perfect.

Last year, our trip to France came about from a joking status conversation on Facebook—33 days later, we were in Paris, with our best friends. Seeing the Eiffel Tower had been a dream of mine for roughly ever. It was the most amazing trip of my life.

It was just the beginning. It just gets better, if you allow it. Each and every moment. Look backward with appreciation, not with longing. Regret only lives with you if you invite it in.

Pack it up. Don’t pack it in. Don’t let go of your dreams, but know that, over time, they will change. As will you. Be gentle with yourself and don’t compare what is to what might have been. What might have been is a myth.

jack_dreams

The following is from an article in the New Yorker called The Impossible Decision. This excerpt really struck a chord with me; how about you?

You can guess what these things will be like; you can ask people; you can draw up lists of pros and cons; but, at the end of the day, “without having the experience itself” you “cannot even have an approximate idea as to what it is like to have that experience.” That’s because you won’t just be having the experience; the experience will be changing you. On the other side, you will be a different kind of person. Making such a decision, you will always be uninformed.

Do you have regrets? What’s something you wish you could change? And what will you do to make it happen now?

Well. Some days.

Hey y’all.

It’s been a busy week. Here’s what I’ve got for you:

parisGood thing to remember this week always. And it helps when it’s a gorgeous photo of the most beautiful place on earth.

Love to all you peeps.

What do you do to restore yourself after a trying day/week/month?

 

Wearin’ Mah Princess Pants

I have a dirty little secret, apparently. Or maybe it’s a pretty one. Who knows. All I know is that somewhere along the way, it has become wrong to like Disney princesses, or so I’ve been (repeatedly) told.

Oh yes, I’m on a soapbox. And, oh yes, this soap may smell a little bit pretty.

What’s wrong with a little princess (pun intended)?

Everywhere I look, there’s some article or person telling me that liking Disney princesses further solidifies the objectification of women and our shocking adherence to culturally specific (or non-specific) ideals of beauty. I’ve read that little girls have become negatively impacted by these idealized and impossible to attain concepts of beauty.

The debate rages with some fairly aggressive opinions, as though Disney is a reaper of souls, hell-bent on collecting little girls’ impressionable young minds like the witch in Hansel & Gretel’s gingerbread house collects children for dinner.

Good grief. I like Disney princesses because they are fairytales. Movies and stories I grew up with. They’re familiar and nostalgic and what? I LIKE FAIRYTALES OKAY? LET ME LIKE MY STORIES. GEEZ-AAAAH!

And Disney didn’t make them up (well, not all of them): The Brothers Grimm did (well, some of them). And, just for the record, while I have heard people complain that Disney took all the reality out in the same breath as complaining that the heroes and heroines are too attractive, I will assert that people would have a lot more to complain about if their precious Jennys and Johnnys were aghast at images of Cinderella’s stepsisters looking “more normal” while they CUT OFF THEIR TOES AND HEELS, SHOVING THEIR LITERALLY BLOODY FEET INTO THE GLASS SLIPPER TO FOOL THE PRINCE. Yep, I went there.

It’s a bit confusing to me. I mean, I grew up with these movies and fairytales, which I read in books (the scary originals—egad!). I lived in the ballet world, which is culture, right? So this Sleeping Beauty is okay, but this one isn’t? Guess which one messed with my body image and positive self concept (hint: It isn’t Disney). These movies were interpretations of stories. I don’t roam through my life wondering why I’m not actually a royal (well, maybe I do, but that didn’t start with Disney). Sure, I also wish I could fly, but I’m not in therapy because I’m angry at Peter Pan.

I mean, seriously. Do we honestly have so little to worry about these days that we are now attacking fictional characters? Because, here’s the thing: These are make-believe people. It is very clear to me that they are cartoons. Somebody DREW them. With a pen. I liked to watch these movies when I was little (okay, I watch them now), but I didn’t expect my pets to start conversing with me (at least not in English) and, unless I’m here and I’m wearing mouse ears, I don’t walk down streets expecting to see this:

beautywalks

Two points:

  1. I have noticed that increasingly, we worry that TV, movies and video games are causing people to distort their reality.Just for the record, billions of people have watched cartoons, movies and played video games without misunderstanding that what happened on that screen in front of them was, in fact, The Real World.
  2. While people insist that people are being swayed by the fictional images they see, we are ignoring the fact that we are all responsible for our actions, and when we are children, it is OUR PARENTS/TEACHERS/COMMUNITY, not Disney, who we should be depending on to teach our children real-time, real-life values.

    Maybe if we stopped pointing the finger and blaming others for not doing what we should be taking on and took some responsibility, we wouldn’t let so much rest on screen-based entertainment and we could just let kids enjoy them. Gasp.

The cartoons, movies and video games are ENTERTAINMENT, not babysitters or teachers, though I do think we can learn from them, too. I also think we get to choose how we react (much like with the Dove commercial) and I guess I tend to go with the positive, instead of actively seeking out more crap to be upset about (call me simple; I call me happy). Those people can feel free to keep picking something to be unhappy about, but I’ll go with this:

disney

I can’t help but think that perhaps there are bigger issues with which we could wrestle. Like, oh, I don’t know, WORLD HUNGER/INEQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF FOOD AND WEALTH, FIGHTING IN THE NAME OF RELIGION, LACK OF MEDICAL ACCESS (after all, we can thank greed for the fact that TB is now back with a vengeance)… You know, just to name a few.

But no: We’re going to take down some colourful cartoon characters, who are, ahem, MAKE BELIEVE. Like Ewoks (no one says I can’t like an Ewok, but they’re not realistic, either. Just sayin’…).

And honestly, I can’t help but sniff out a little bit of hypocrisy: Are those that tell me I’m obliviously ascribing to what society tells me is beautiful really telling me I am wrong for liking them? Oh, tell me more about what I should like instead. So, I can only like what they say is beautiful, as opposed to what other “theys” say? I’M SO CONFUSED: WHOSE DEFINITION OF BEAUTY AM I MEANT TO BELIEVE? Oh, right: Mine. I can also find different things attractive (in case you thought I only find beauty in Disney characters).

What of these angry (annoyed? frustrated?) people who dislike Disney princesses for perpetuating stereotypical concepts (made by, um, us): Do they dislike real-life people who fit that same mold? Are typically attractive people bad for our children’s impressionable young minds? Are they nothing more than their looks? Wouldn’t that be a negative and narrow-minded way to interact with people. How shallow. You see what I’m doing here, right?

Do I think Disney princesses are pretty? Yes. Do I feel miserable because I don’t look like Cinderella? No. Though, I do like her shoes (more to come on that, my friends. I know you can’t hardly wait.). And I wish all animals were my BFFs, like Snow White’s. And sure, maybe my hair would be more organized if a bunch of little birds styled it.

Besides all that, I kind of think each of those princesses embodied some pretty cool traits: Loyalty, Honesty, Optimism, Bravery. I could go on. And don’t get me started on Merida’s makeover and the controversy over how she looks (SHE’S A DRAWING, PEOPLE—RELAX).

You know why cartoonists draw sexy or attractive characters (they do it for the males, too, by the way)? BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT WE, AS CONSUMERS, WANT. It’s a two-way street. We get what we ask for, like so much else in life.

To be honest, all the people I know (girls/women specifically) who really love Disney or did when they were younger, are pretty impressive women. They haven’t sat on their tuffets and cried that they needed a knight in shining armour. They’ve gone out and made this world a better place. So did the Disney princesses, in my opinion. They made me happy, too.

So, I’ve decided that I get to choose what I like, regardless of why. How backwards of me. 😉

Thank you, Disney: I love your stuff. Thanks for making make-believe so fun.

princess

 

 

No news is good news.

Hey, so I couldn’t think of a post on the weekend and was waiting for divine inspiration to descend upon my mind, or at least my keyboard. Clearly it didn’t happen. Oh well, there’s always next week.

Anyway, I have a dirty little secret. A sordid confession. I like to read the news. Actually, that’s not true: I don’t really like it. Not at all. It’s depressing and horrible and makes me feel sad, angry and helpless.

Today, I had to get up from my desk and walk away, after reading about two guys in Britain who used fanatical religious beliefs to fuel a terrible, horrible and shocking act of terrorism, in the name of God and revenge (I’m not providing a link to the story. I am not giving this backwards idea of a vengeful God who needs people to do shitty things to each other more airtime). I was shaking, from fear or from anger or disbelief, or all three, I don’t know.

How can this be our world? How can this be what people do to each other? Why? I mean, WHY? I’m so bloody tired of reading this garbage. It’s bullshit. It’s bad news. It’s bad for me. And it’s bad for you, too. Feeling anxious, stressed and angry is all kind of bad for your body.

people

So, you know what? I’m giving it up. No more reading the news. I have to scan medical news, for work, but no more clicking on the links up top. You know, those stories that get so much airtime, not just online, but on my heart and my mind, as they replay and wreak havoc on my perspective.

If it’s not about a miracle; if it doesn’t make my heart sing, then I’m not clicking on it. I’m done. I’m done with bad news.