i have a question...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Overheard at Work, vol. CIII

We're zipping through this summer and, man, it's been a grind.

We are finishing up Week 4 tomorrow, which is the halfway mark. I go to sleep before 10:30 these days and wake up around 6:30, am usually on my way to work before 7:30 and home around 6. It's been very nice to have the evenings, but I'm not digging this Daywalker schedule as much as I usually do.

The club feels very full and busy and difficult. The kids are just...everywhere. Still hilarious as ever, though.

Me, to a 13-year-old boy who was trying to crash my Girls' Group: Are you a girl?
Boy: Not yet!

Me, to a 7-year-old boy, rooting around in his mouth for something stuck on his tongue: Whatchoo got there?
Boy: It's not a bug!

Me: What's your name?
Boy: Deandre. And I have special talents.
Me: Like what?
Boy: Twerking.

Colleague A, to teen boy A, during our discussion about identity: So you have selective memory.
Teen Boy B: Like Bruce Jenner.
Teen: Who's Bruce Jenner.
Teen Boy B: Michael Jackson's sister.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I Never Really Gave It Much Thought

I have a spent a fair amount of my life pretty much ignoring my body.

I danced for six years as a kid, mostly ballet, which required just the right amount of concentration and body awareness for me to sort of understand when I was doing things right or doing them wrong, when my form looked pretty and felt good.

I would return home each night and dance through the parlor floor of our brownstone, turning chaine turns from my living room to my kitchen, proudly showing off for my parents.

But that was before puberty. I was knobby-kneed, boyish, short and skinny.

And then I turned thirteen and got boobs (bigger than my friends), rolls where there hadn't been rolls, and thighs that suddenly rubbed together.

Clearly, I wasn't ever going to be a ballerina. And looking lumpy in my leotard at my final recital made me body-self-conscious for the first time.

I danced until graduating from 8th grade and then, 14 and awkward, moved to California, where I promptly stopped.

I hid in boys' polo shirts and baggy jeans.

I refused even to join my parents to walk our dog. Rebelling in a way that didn't get me directly into any trouble.

It wasn't so much that I was ashamed of my body.

I didn't think about it at all.

It was my brain that held all my self-esteem.

My brain was what was going to help me survive my high school years. My brain was what was going to push me to first in my class. My brain was my ticket out.

Sure, there were moments I felt pretty.

Like when I was dancing in my high school plays. Or at my senior prom, which I went to alone. My hair actually held a curl, I rocked a black satin dress with no bra and wore bright red lipstick.

I felt like Angelina Jolie.

I remember, during my sophomore year in college, my friend Clare insisted I buy a scarf that brought out my coloring. I wore it with a brand new denim jacket and suddenly felt pretty again. Confident even.

I spent the next three years of college playing dress up. And in therapy.

Not connecting, exactly, with my body, but at least realizing that sometimes the work is done both outside in AND inside out.

In therapy, I slowly learned to check in with myself. When my stomach hurt. Or I started to panic. Or was eating because I was sad or bored. I began to combine eating different things with wearing different things. I had good days and bad days.

I even made peace with the fact that sometimes men find me attractive.

I let them.

I try to believe them.

And sometimes I really do believe them.

I discovered yoga. I don't remember when. I think it was when I lived in NYC after college. But I loved it. It made me feel noodly and flexible and aware. It made me feel sweaty and tired and strong.

I started doing yoga regularly. I stopped.

I hated and loved shopping.

I had good days and bad days.

I was unhappy in New York City and visited California and felt sexy and amazing and happy all week and decided to move back there. At least for a little while.

I moved to Boston. I worked my ass off. I lost a bunch of weight due to severe anxiety. It didn't make me feel any prettier.

It was just my body. I didn't pay much attention to it.

Gradually, my thinking changed. It hasn't been a sudden revelation. More like a gradual acceptance.

When I look in the mirror, I almost always say to myself, "Well, this is what I look like! And this isn't so bad."

When I take a walk and sweat, I think, "This isn't so bad. I'm stronger than I think!"

When I do yoga, I think, "This feels good. I need to remember this."

And just now, as I took a walk after doing some Pilates and feeding myself a healthy lunch, determined to sweat and get some sunshine on my shoulders, I stopped at a stop light, put my hands on my tight stomach and was pleasantly surprised.

I thought, "My body is amazing."

Friday, July 4, 2014

Overheard at Work, vol. CII

The last few weeks have been a pretty insane whirlwind of end-of-school year events, my 31derful (tip of the hat to S for coining that phrase years ago) birthday weekend, staff training week, and the first week of our summer program, which also happened to align with Beyonce and Jay Z coming to Boston and me staying out until 1:30 AM on a work night.

Needless to say, I'm very grateful for this three-day weekend, and my Circadian rhythm is very confused with these new hours.

7-year-old boy: What's your favorite animal?
Me: Probably a dog.
Boy: Velociraptor.

8-year-old boy: I told you my farts would smell worse!

8-year-old boy, to me: You're a wild strawberry!

Me, regarding a painting: Is this a jellyfish with a hat?
10-year-old girl: Yes.
Me: Why?
Girl: Because it's like you, funny!

8-year-old girl: Do we have any more furry balls?
Colleague A: FURRY BALLS?!...No. We don't have any more pom poms.