Kinder Registration Has Got Me Thinking…

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I started this blog when my daughter began preschool as a way to work through my emotions and also to give myself something to focus on – to sort of take back ownership of my own life, not that I really wanted to. I really like being needed; I enjoy not having to  focus on myself….I take to the role of being  consumed by my child and family. I cherish  this role and quite honestly, it’s a REALLY good way to NOT deal with me. (It, of course comes with its own issues… please see most every blog I’ve posted where I don’t feel I’m worth anything because I am not a Mom/ Millionaire Mogul . Here’s to  feeling worthless but also loving being needed… haha ..Oh Motherhood why are you so complicated?!)

As I sort through the paperwork for Isabella’s kindergarten application, my nerves are running a muck.  The sands are passing quickly through the hourglass of the full time mommy and small part time job days and I’m devastated.  Truly. “Have you thought about going back to work when she’s in school everyday,” I read the text from my sister this morning. My stomach turns at the thought of being in an office everyday again. Oh my God- what am i qualified for at this point?? It’s been 5 years since I sat behind a desk. All I’ve done is raised a human..does THAT count for anything… How does that translate on my LinkedIn profile I wonder…  I strip the beds and start laundry… so much to do… “Really think about what you want to do my Love…you want to get back into acting? You want to write a book? Whatever it is, do it and really focus on it,” my husband says… He’s right. “I know,” I say. He goes to work and I cut and marinate the chicken for dinner then move on to cleaning the bathroom.  I’ll just keep finding things to do I guess….

We could… have another baby? I mean.. we could try. Could that be the answer? Is that where my talent lies? Motherhood? What if THAT is what I am made to do? Make and raise people? Or is this the world’s worst excuse to figuring out what I’m going to be when I grow up? Is this a normal reaction to kindergarten applications?  Anyone? We’ve  just gotten rid of the crib and little toddler bed. My daughter has a big girl room with a double bed and cascading white canopy for God’s sake! We just ordered a damn teepee for her room! I mean- we are moving on over here- well some of us are.

My sister in law and brother in law just welcomed their first child last week and you don’t need a degree in psychology to attribute some of my baby thoughts to that. I mean really…her soft baby skin, the baby gurgle sounds…her little toes… the smell of her head! She’s sweet perfection.  (I had 36 hours of labor and a nasty tear that prevented me from getting in and out of bed without assistance and STILL it was the most magical time of my life.) I loved every minute of those days. And- my Mom was here for a month…could she come again? Wouldn’t that be fun?

Seriously , do other Moms feel this way? Is this the very reason people keep having children? Could it just be that I miss the days of having a baby the same way I miss being in Turks and Caicos with my husband? Do we need another vacation? I mean, maybe…BUT  that could lead to another baby though… let’s be honest. (Wouldn’t be the first time- Thanks for the memories Paris – oh and the kid!)  How do you tell what this feeling really is? If I were on a TV series right now, or on a book tour,  would I wish I were home with a baby instead? Umm…Maybe… probably actually.    I mean if you weigh out all the pros and cons, I can’t say with an overwhelming yes that it’s a perfect idea- there will always be things to worry about…but is it the worst idea?? And why is Isabella asking- no begging– for a baby sister or brother everyday? I’m telling you- this kid is GOOD. I actually feel guilty about it- like I’m depriving her this lifetime sibling bond that both my husband and I have. But since when did we start taking advice from 4 year olds?? She is a wise old soul though…Does she know something we don’t?  Damn it babies- why do you have to be so precious and innocent? Why do you have to come with so much joy and hope and promise??

I seriously don’t know if I should work on my resume or see when I’m ovulating.  Well…I’m going to vacuum and think about it…

Nowruz

For the second year in a row, I prepared for Persian New Year (Nowruz) by making  our version of a haft seen table.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to do one this year but after visiting family the other day and seeing their table, Issy was really excited to “decorate” as well.  After seeing her excitement, I decided we must celebrate this beautiful Persian tradition.

The two of us  braved the crowds at the Persian market this Sunday where she learned the Farsi word ,  bebakhshid, which means “excuse me“, a necessary phrase during last minute  Nowruz shopping. She said it over and over with such pleasure that I didn’t once get annoyed that we were in shopping cart gridlock.  Shame on me for only knowing 4 words in Farsi after 10 years with my husband;  but between my apparent stellar pronunciation of bebakhshid and my little one who is literally a mini version of her Dad, everyone spoke Farsi to me! (Oh my goodness am I passing as Persian ??? How exciting!)  It was Issy , I’m sure, because usually after I say Salam, my whiteness is a dead giveaway!

So what is the Haft Seen table that we made all about? It literally means seven S’s and everything on the table symbolizes something. As Issy helped me find bowls and plates, we went over the meanings. The table has to have 7 items that begin with the letter “S”.

The main items are :

  1. Somagh (sumac) – This symbolizes the color of sunrise
  2. Serkeh (vinegar) – This symbolizes age and patience
  3. Senjed (dried fruit from the lotus tree)  Senjed symbolizes love
  4. Samanoo (sweet pudding) This symbolizes affluence
  5. Sabzeh (sprouts) Sprouts are the symbol of rebirth
  6. Sib (apple) The apple is for health and beauty
  7. Sir (garlic) This symbolizes medicine

There are other things you can add to the table as well. Last year for example, we had a goldfish (mahi) , which symbolizes life, (I decided against one this year as the poor thing fought for its life as soon as we transferred it from the bag to the bowl  and barely made it to the New Year). This year we also had an egg, (tokhmeh morgh) for fertility,  a candle (sham) for enlightenment, and a mirror (aayne) for light and reflection. We also included the Quran, a hyacinth (sonbol), a Spring flower, and coins , (sekkeh)  which symbolizes wealth and prosperity. I absolutely loved working on this with Issy !

Nowruz marks the end of the old year and beginning of a New Year coinciding with the Spring equinox.  Happy New Year ! Happy Spring! Here’s to New beginnings!

 

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Christmas Cards and Coupon Codes

It’s that time of year again…you’ve finally recovered from Thanksgiving and you’re already receiving Holiday cards in the mail. Did you do yours yet? Did you already do your ethereal forest photo shoot with angels riding on freaking unicorns and sprinkling your family  with snowflakes while little elves serve you hot chocolate ?  No?  You didn’t? Me neither. Everyone knows you need to to be finished with that by Halloween if you want to use it for your card!  You have to edit and face tune and switch your kid’s head  out from another photo shoot all together to create the perfect photo to match your perfect social media feed right?  But if you’re like me, you’ve waited too long and now you’re up to the wee hours of the morning trying to get your card order in before the sale ends in 3 hours and 7 minutes that’s flashing on your computer screen as you keep entering coupon codes that have “already been applied” to your $200 (are you effing kidding me) order ….codes that “cannot be combined with another offer”.  The truth is, there will be another sale the next day and about 4 coupons in your e-mail tomorrow!  (or your  Supermom Boss Babe Sister will log into your account and miraculously get your bill reduced by half because she’s some sort of on line/deal getting whiz or has a secret life on the dark web for all I know…)

For me, I stopped trying to do photo shoots with Issy. I used to dress her up like a doll and prop her up on a boppy and literally do nothing but snap away and have hundreds, or… you know …15 shots to choose from . But after 2 years, she wouldn’t  sit still and I found I  needed a production team to support me to make her pose and smile. For the second year in a row, I have opted for the Santa photo. Yep… Before I had a child, I vowed I wouldn’t support the myth of Santa with the over commercialization of Christmas and instead focus on the season of giving and sprinkle in some baby Jesus knowledge here and there, but that’s about as easy as trying to keep your kid away from tons of processed sugar and a love for blue icing, (go ahead… try to be that way when you’re at a birthday party every Saturday for all eternity)   Also, God knows we need to be able to use Santa to threaten our kids with no toys or we will never get through the end of the year!  “Santa is Watching” has replaced “I’m calling Daddy” as the new power play move when I  find myself in a deadlock during daily child parent negotiations  for the month of December. Santa is how teeth get brushed, veggies get eaten, and toys get put away. Once “Santa is Watching” starts to lose it power, then you move onto Elf on the Shelf and fill your Instagram and Facebook feeds with your creatively staged scenes. (I’m talking about you my dear sister…) If that’s the case, you likely have a Christmas Card with a photo in a forest with unicorns…I’m not quite there yet, but …there’s always next year!

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They take the picture, you pick your package, and get a USB. That’s the way to go!

 

Then Your Sister helps you make this for a good price while caring for 3 kids and making dinner…

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Thanks Elizabeth!

 

Letting Go is Hard, Especially When it Comes to Wiping

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So ….here’s the thing, my daughter is 4. It’s time for her to wipe herself. Intellectually, I get it. But in my life, I don’t. I can’t . It’s too much. Everytime she’s in the bathroom, I will hear, “MOMMY I’M DOOOONE.” This is my cue to drop whatever I’m doing, for there is a butt that needs wiping. During one of these requests for my presence, my husband said to me, “Vaness don’t you think it’s time she learns how to wipe herself?” (Cut to me imagining a poop smeared bathroom) “Ehhh..I dunno…I just don’t think it’s time..” I KNEW he was right. She was beyond ready. I, however, was not.

Potty training is actually made up of several components, (that I know of) . There’s peeing on the potty, pooping on the potty, accident free sleeps, and independent wiping,   I had not considered independent wiping when we rejoiced after every poop on the potty. I thought once I stopped celebrating a poop with a toy, we had arrived at the end of potty training but damn you wiping! ( What comes next… independent trips to public restrooms?? Gulp!)

So, I listened to my husband and we started  to really teach her how to wipe as opposed to me getting frustrated and jumping in Every. Single. Time. I’ve been enabling her for far too long. We taught her the importance of wiping in the right direction and how we must NEVER wipe our backside and then our frontside.  I explained how to keep wiping until she got a clean wipe.  (Also, full disclosure, I use the flushable, wipes,ok ? I realize any plumber will say they are not really “flushable”. My apologies to all the plumbers everywhere . I’m sorry,  but they make it a little easier. Maybe Elon Musk can find a way to power a city with the use of flushable wipes because God knows I’m using them and I know I’m not alone!  The wipes help! Everyone knows this. ) Now of course one of the most important parts of wiping is hand washing. Obviously, regardless of who wipes, any trip to the potty ends with hand washing. But if she’s going to be the Queen of this throne and take on all the responsibility that comes with it, this was a good time to drive some points home.  I’ve lost count of how many times I said, “Get them nice and soapy..sing Happy Birthday to be sure you are taking enough time and don’t just stand there and let the water fall into your hands! Scrub them,”  and  “… if you don’t clean off  the germs, you will get poop everywhere and we will all get sick and need to go to the hospital…” (My parenting style is full of let’s keep it real moments and fear tactics. I’m not ashamed.)

So the day came  where I said ,”Issy, I think this time you can wipe yourself.” She felt ready and I looked forward to being the proud mother of an independent wiper and detailed hand washer. I won’t hear “MOOOOM, I’m DOOOONE” anymore! And I was right; I DIDN’T hear “MOOOOM, I’M DOOOOONE”; I heard MOOOOM, I have POOP ON MY HAND!” Sweet. Baby. Jesus. My worst nightmare. I imagined the poop germs everywhere and we’d all catch some horrible stomach bug. I thought of that infamous scene from Bridesmaids in the dress shop …We are all going to get sick …There won’t be enough toilets in the house for all of us and one of us will have to be sitting on the sink like Melissa McCarthy’s character!!!! I ran into the bathroom and indeed the poop was all over her hand. It’s like she started to wipe too early! Her hand was covered, her butt was covered! It was too soon! Too soon to wipe!! She wasn’t ready!  Admittedly, I didn’t handle myself well. I did not remain calm and tell her it was alright. I did the opposite. After I wiped her hands I said, “don’t touch anything” and moved on to her little tush.  (As you know-The WORST thing to say to a kid is DON’T do something because then all they want to do is what you said NOT to!!!) She was  touching her face… her hair and I YELLED at her. I’m certain I must have said something like “You’re going to get sick!” Stop touching your God Damn face DAMN IT! ” Yea…not my proudest moment. Why did her first attempt have to be THIS poop. Why not a few little pebbles? She could’ve done that in one wipe! But this- not this. Why can’t she be genuinely concerned about spreading germs?  I ended up wiping her and throwing her in the shower. I traumatized the poor child to the point that she lost all interest in wiping. (Stay tuned for my book: DON’T DO WHAT I DO:  A Practical guide  of How NOT to Handle Almost Every Situation in Parenting. )

So, I went back to the drop everything and wait for her to call for me to wipe stage…. Clearly I too was traumatized…I convinced myself  it was just too soon until last week when I picked her up from school.  She ran and jumped into my arms and whispered in my ear, “ Mommy I have poop in my underwear.” She said she thought she got a clean wipe, but all the wiping hurt her little tush. Clearly, my fear of letting her wipe herself  along with my little germaphobe issues are not serving her!  Alas, we are back on the path to independent wiping. This morning when I checked on her in the bathroom, she said,  “Look Mom,  I still love you but I don’t need you to wipe me anymore…I’m a big girl okay?” 

Got it…I’m still going to supervise the hand washing though.

 

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Powering Off

We did a TV and tablet free week in our house and it was one of the best things we’ve ever done. I don’t think I had been honest with myself about the amount of screen time   our daughter was getting .  I had held off on technology with her for so long but once those flood gates opened…it just snowballed.  Because I spend hours with her at the park, I can justify one Peppa Pig turning into 4. ( If she’s spent over 3 hours running  and playing outside, maybe she needs to just chill out..it’s good for her right? Maybe…)
How else can I get anything done? How else do you cook dinner or clean a bathroom, or make a phone call to your insurance company ? Put their face in front of a screen and you can do anything . It’s a magic spell really . Turning off was tough at first but now I prefer it and here’s why.
1.My daughter learned how to play with her toys . She is quite social and enjoys school and spending hours and hours at the park with her friends, but tell her to go in her room and play with her toys and she needs help. “Mommy  come play with me “ is all I would hear when I would say “play with your toys…Mommy is busy” while trying to make dinner. But during no TV week, she knew there was no screen option. She knew that we were all taking a break from TV. If I was in the kitchen cooking, she would come grab pots and pans and set up a” kitchen” on the coffee table.  She actually opened her toy chest and played with the contents inside! Books, puzzles matchbox cars, play doh, dolls, dress up ..Oh MY!
2. She listened better and had less tantrums. By day 3 when I asked her to straighten up her room, instead of being met with resistance, she said, ” Ok Mommy.” She said this in the sweetest voice EVER. When she finished, I went in her room and she ACTUALLY straightened it out. Everything was put away.  This had literally never happened before.  I made a HUGE deal about it and it gave her a great sense of pride. I had tried reward charts with stickers  in the past but she never really cared or responded. This was much more effective.
3.We ate together as a family. This was HUGE for me. Because of our different schedules, eating dinner together never really happened. I was always feeding Issy and then waiting for her to be asleep until my husband and I ate. By doing this, I was also catering to HER specific meal requests. I would say, what do YOU want to eat, (which I fully understand  is something I should not do but I found myself doing it to avoid any issues  with my 4 year old! That’s nuts ! I know but I did it OK, and I’m owning up to it) But when there was no TV, I was cooking for ALL Of us. I was making things like roasted zucchini halves stuffed with turkey and sauteed veggies and there were no other options. She had to eat food with red things and green stuff. At the very least she had to try. Not only did she eat (sometimes it took hours), she wanted to set the table. I love sitting together and hearing her say, “So how was your day?”
4. We went to bed earlier and woke earlier. By 8:30, our daughter was asleep and by 11, so were we.  Without the distraction of TV on in the background during her bedtime routine, we eliminated the ” Whats this show? Who’s that guy? and the ” Please just 5 more minutes” moments that added hours to the routine.  After she was asleep, my husband and I had more time to connect  with each other. (Let’s be honest, there is a very short window of time when I am awake in the evening.)   In the morning without cartoons over breakfast, my daughter was ready to leave for school a half hour earlier. In fact, she couldn’t wait to go! And because I had gone to bed at 11 instead of 1:30, I was more alert and didn’t need too much time “waking up” and parking my kid in front of Nick JR while I guzzled caffeine.
5. I didn’t feel as anxious. I had not realized the negative effects of social media on my life until I turned it off.  I picked up a very nasty habit of scrolling through Instagram and Facebook for no reason. The state of the country is not looking good.  Almost everything we eat, wear, or rub into our bodies is composed of chemicals that are slowly killing us and it’s anyone’s guess which sunscreen is safe to use and which ocean we want the fish we consume to be caught at this point! I can become crippled with fear; it’s too much.  I realize some public radio in the car is the best source for me. This way , I am informed. I know when shit is getting real and I should call my representative and sign some petitions. I also realized I can get some good deals on organic items at Costco so that is  how I’ll handle the deathly chemical situation at this point. I will try my best to save social media scrolling for the end of the day if I so desire. (Also- full disclosure- it’s very hard for me . I was just searching earthquakes after the little one last night and now I am terrified there will be another or the world will just end entirely. See? There is no need for me to be scrolling through  Facebook right now. I should maybe get an earthquake kit together though…)

Now TV is a treat for our little one. (My husband and I still watch TV during the week but considerably less because we are adults damn it.) On the weekends we sit down as a family and have popcorn and watch a movie. It’s an exciting family event . In the same way we must eat in moderation, we have to use technology in moderation. Look, if I have any hope of preventing the future version of my daughter from living with her phone attached to her face, I must do this.  I MUST.  I will always want her to ask how our days were while sitting around the dinner table.

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An Ode to My Mother and What We Really Want for Mother’s Day

As little kids, my siblings and I used to make our Mom breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. I can recall waking up extra early to put a plan in place. We would make a huge mess and eventually place some poorly scrambled eggs and burnt toast on a tray with dandelions we picked from the back yard and stuck in a juice glass. When you say “it’s the thought that counts,” it REALLY was. I’m sure the cold eggs and dry toast we delivered to Mom in bed would not have received a 5 star rating from Yelp. But surely the fact that 3 little kids wanted to do something nice for her to make her feel special is enough to make one weep. But, you can only hope Dad had a back up plan for food! After becoming a Mother, I remember saying to my  Mom, you did SO much for us, and then we WOKE YOU UP for a bad breakfast!?? You must have wanted to say, “Oh you didn’t have to do this…you could have just let me SLEEP..” or, “… Thank you for the cold eggs and blackened toast, you know you could have just sent me to a remote island somewhere and locked me in a hotel suite for a weekend…. But this is sweet too!”

To my Mother who deserves to spend the rest of her life in a first class resort never lifting a finger, you are worth  much more than any gift you have received from me. For every thankless moment of  motherhood, I send you a thousand thank you’s and  for every hour of sleep deprivation I have caused you; from the bottom of my heart I apologize. You are a Saint among us and I’m just honored you still want to speak to me with all the drama I have put you through starting  with your iron deficiency I caused from the womb and the excruciatingly painful and drug free backbone to backbone delivery…  I mean..Mom really… still hanging in there with me since ’75..  Wow… What on earth have I done to deserve you?? You are the most selfless, loving, nurturing soul and if I am only a third of that I know Issy will be just fine.

Truth be told anything my child or husband does for me makes me sob for days because I’m as sensitive as they come. When my husband sends her running into me in the morning exclaiming “Happy Mother’s Day Mommy”, I am a crying fool- no exaggeration. But, look, if you are searching for the perfect gift, the marketing team behind Mother’s Day has a myriad of genius items at a 100% mark up with a 20% coupon code all over the inter webs, but here are a few things that moms REALLY want that even fit even budget of a 2 year old:

1.) We want to be showered with love and appreciation… Literally- like actual KISSES and the words THANK YOU .  When my daughter says thank you when I bring her something  and I don’t have to remind her, my heart melts, especially if she says ,”Thank you Mama.” I mean, I’m putty in her hands! Oh my sweet, polite, grateful child…. what have I done to deserve this gift! Any acknowledgement does not go unnoticed. If you add a few kisses on top of that we are in heaven. Trust me.
2) We want to feel beautiful though we are often covered in boogers. Yesterday after wiping her nose on my long black sweater/shirt /librarian/mom uniform  outfit item, my daughter said, “Mommy, you wear this all the time,”  (She’s right…) But there are also moments when I put on other clothes with buttons or zippers and wear shoes that aren’t my Toms and she says, “Wow Mama you look like a beautiful Princess! “Or when I come out the shower presumably at 11pm and my husband says,” You look really pretty right now.” to which I respond with tear filled eyes, “I DOOOOO? You think I’m pretty??” Once I had my daughter, I just stopped considering myself.  I only buy clothes for her. When I pack lunch for a day at the park, I only pack lunch for her. (It’s not admirable; I’m not trying to prove how amazing and selfless I am …I just became that way). Something happens in motherhood where you just forget to include yourself as someone that needs to be clothed and fed and get a haircut! But letting us know we still got it, reminds us that we too exist and its ok to buy a new shirt sometimes.

3) We  just want time alone every once in a while. We want solitary poops and long quiet showers… We want to enjoy Trader Joe’s and Target by ourselves. We can be more efficient this way and happier really. I used to feel bad when my husband would say, ” I got her , why don’t you go get your nails done or grab coffee..?” I would look around and say,“No its fine…. can you could just entertain her so I can fold these clothes or scrub the shower doors..” HELL NO- NOT ANYMORE. Now I realize that trying to do everything and be a supermom helps NO ONE. You end up feeling angry and resentful and we all know the shower doors can never actually remain clean if the entire household does not use the squeegee anyway, so just go! These moments alone benefit the entire family. If you want a sane mother, love her and let her go free every once in a while.

4) We want to know we are doing a good job. There are an infinite number of milestones children are expected to meet by adulthood in order to be considered functioning members of society. Things like potty training, manners, sleeping through the night, socialization… generally just not being an asshole…these are some of the responsibilities that both parents have to their children, but in many cases, it’s the Mom who feels it’s a reflection on only her if these milestones are not being met by a certain time. I am that Mom. If my daughter doesn’t say “thank you” or “excuse me” or is still waking up at night at 3 1/2( like she is), I immediately think,“Well, you’re not really doing YOUR JOB  woman. You don’t deserve to go to the bathroom alone or certainly not a few hours out with a girlfriend! READ MORE PARENTING BOOKS AND HUFF PO PARENT ARTICLES!!!”  Next time your child acts out or has a tantrum, say something like,“That kid is impossible;  I don’t know how you do it!” or when your child is talking and going on and on moving you closer to insanity after a long day, you could say,  “Wow honey, her language skills are off the chart. I can’t believe she has this vocabulary at this age! I see why you insist on reading books every night.” We just need to know that we aren’t royally screwing up, that’s all.

5) We want Mother’s Day everyday . Look, we don’t need the grand gestures; I mean we will take them on Mother’s Day if you insist, fine. We will accept the flowers and certainly no one is going to object to a spa weekend for heaven’s sake.  But really we just want a “thank you”, or a  “this was delicious”, (even if it really wasn’t) or a “I dunno what I’d do without you” … This goes for Fathers Day too and every Hallmark holiday that exists. Maybe that’s the point of these days to remind us that we need to be good to each other everyday, especially when its not “required”.  Its not about being good to your mother when every commercial and billboard is reminding you to do so. Its about being good to her when she doesn’t have the capacity to be at her best because she hasn’t slept, or eaten a full meal in God knows how long. Its about being grateful to her everyday for putting her life on hold to focus on you and put your needs first before considering what she wanted to do for her life. The beautiful Mothers Day flowers you send will wilt, the special brunch will be devoured,  but love and gratitude are always welcome and enjoyed and you certainly don’t need a coupon code for that.

My adorable siblings and I  who woke up this beautiful woman for burnt toast and cold eggs through the ’80’s

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It’s time to Love my Spanxless Make Up Free Self the Same Way I Love My Smokey Eye Self

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This image is one of my favorite pictures from my most favorite photo shoot.   I mean- it is everything I want to look like…dramatic eye, smooth complexion, windblown hair…  This is…….not what I look like today and even 11 years ago when this was taken, I didn’t look like this in the “before”shot.  I remember my friend and now very successful celebrity make up artist, Jamie Greenberg did my make up for headshots and came with me to the shoot.  Afterwards, we played around and took some other vamped up shots for fun .   She transformed me and achieved this eye with nothing but a Q-tip, an eyeliner pencil, and her finger. This woman is GENIUS.   The photographer, Gabriel Goldberg ,  brilliant and successful as well, has  worked with some of the biggest iconic stars.  I feel so fortunate to have done a few shoots with these two before they became some of the most sought after artists in their fields . This is my “with the right team, you too can look incredibly glamorous “ picture.  This is me with exquisite make up and extraordinary photography with some post-production editing going on.

It’s no secret to those who know me that I  have beaten up my body for as long as I can remember. I have punished it and shamed it and blamed it for ruining much of my adolescence ….like pool parties, and prom dress shopping and then later-  headshots and auditions. It’s all my body’s fault for not being skinny enough and it’s my nose’s fault for not being small enough….Right?   And the thing is, I don’t know why exactly. I was the one putting this pressure on myself. Was it all the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit pictures that adorned my brother’s room? Was I just comparing myself to Elle McPherson and Cindy Crawford every bathing suit season?  Was it the models in my Seventeen Magazine staring at back at me as I flipped through?  WHY?? I had parents who loved me and encouraged me in everything I pursued, be it academics or the arts or even my attempt at sports… I remember my mother giving me countless pep talks (mostly in fitting rooms) telling me I was smart and beautiful and funny….But for some reason, this pressure to look perfect never went away.

Recently, my dear friends from college invited me to do a photo shoot to use for my blog and to help me grow this idea of mine.  They have a flourishing photography business in New York and had some work here in La. (I am so grateful to my husband who convinced me to go out and meet them on a very rainy LA night…sometimes when it rains here, you feel like it’s the apocalypse , really you do) I felt so honored to reconnect with them after all these years . Their very presence breathed life into me. For anyone that has been to drama school- these are some of the people that I went through it with… They have seen my soul torn apart

and left on a rehearsal room floor!

I don’t look glamorous in these shots. That wasn’t the purpose of this particular shoot.  But, in many of them, especially the ones with Issy, I look really happy. Excited.  Positive.  When I first scrolled through the proofs though, I could feel myself getting slightly  disappointed that I didn’t magically look like a super model with my normal everyday make up and a Spanxless frame. But I refused to do that to myself again, I looked at my smile and I could feel my energy come through. I am genuinely filled with joy.  And I decided … I decided-  you will no longer hate yourself. Today you will start loving yourself. If not now at 41, when??? How many more years do you have left to go through life loving and appreciating this vessel that carries your soul??  I am so tired of hating myself.  I am so tired of telling myself I look too fat or too soft  or too pale … Its just- IT’S ENOUGH.  Can I start thanking my body for showing up FOR ME??  Through all of my verbal abuse towards my physical self- bulimia.. crazy diet pills- can I just finally love and accept myself and say thank you. THANK YOU body for generously carrying my soul through this life for 41 years. Thank you for being so strong and carrying my child for 9 months and going through 36 hours of labor… It’s as if I have been the worst boss and all of my organs and flesh are my employees and  despite my terrible attitude, they still show up to work everyday. Imagine that …

I realized, my heart beats every second of everyday of every month of every year for me. Isn’t it time I appreciate that?

 

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

-Buddha

 

One of the proofs of Issy and I from the shoot with my friends from Dirty Sugar Photography

IssymeDS