Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hold your head up!

This morning was one of those mornings.  You know the kind.  It doesn't matter how many hours you slept.  You feel like you just went to bed.  After a marathon.  And getting run over by a bus.  Your back aches.  Your head aches.  You can't breathe.  And you are late.  So are the kids.

Today wasn't quite that bad for me.  But close enough.

Some mornings I get up a little early and get my shower first thing.  Or not.  Some days I throw on jeans and a t-shirt and go about my day, grabbing a shower late morning or early afternoon.  And, on some days I just stay in my PJ's (long nightshirt or oversized t-shirt) as long as possible.  Either way, I am presentable by 3:00 in the afternoon because I have to get out of the car and actually go in to the school to retrieve Jake.

On those PJ days I pull on a pair of sweatpants, step into my loafers, and pull on a sweatshirt or jacket.  In the winter I add socks and then hunker down in my winter coat.  A down-filled, long coat from Land's End that is rated to -15.  I am comfy.  I am cozy.  No one can tell that my boobs are resting in my lap while I am driving.  

It's not cold enough out now to warrant pulling on a coat warm enough to survive a tundra expedition and big enough to contain a family of four.  So, today I pulled on a zip-up sweatshirt.  I think I need to get a better plan in place for warmer weather.  Perhaps include hoisting the girls up.

But enough about my morning attire today...

As I was driving home I was noticing the women walking from various garages and parking lots to the office buildings (mostly state buildings) near by.  I understand that it is first thing in the morning.  I understand that even the best of us can be a bit grumpy/bitchy before we officially start our day.  But it seemed to me that the women looked a whole lot more miserable than the men.  Why is that?

Then, I noticed the shoes.  I didn't see any really comfortable looking footwear on any of the women.  Sure, some of them wore flats (and I mean true flats not just lower heeled shoes).  But most were wearing heels.  And not looking very happy about it.  They were schlumped over at the shoulders.  They were plodding along.  Most of them were if not completely heads-down in their posture they were definitely not heads-up or walking tall.

I understand what it means to be a working woman.  With kids.  But these women looked defeated.  Before they even start their day.

Like many people I have lived and am living many different lives.  I have been a college student on a large campus in a college town.  I have worn a suit every day, carried a briefcase, and worked in office buildings with lawyers, bankers, and other corporate types.  I have worked the night shift in a large warehouse as co-worker to forklift operators and truck drivers.  I have volunteered at my sons' school public and private.  And, now I am an unemployed, stay-at-home, trying to start my own business woman, wife, and mother.

Maybe I am just selfish.  Because I have always been aware of my own physical comfort as well as my appearance.  I am not tall.  I am not within a mile of my ideal weight.  But I am able to see myself as attractive and take pride in my appearance.  Hell, I can even be a sexy flirt when I feel like it.  But in doing those things I have always made sure to be comfortable.  When I had to wear heels all day I wore tennis shoes when I had to walk outside.  What's the point of squeezing your feet into a pair of heels if you don't stand up straight and tall and take advantage of what that kind of shoe is going to do to your posture?  Heels are designed to alter your natural carriage.  They make you throw your shoulders back, put more arch in your back, and sort of tuck your ass under a bit so that you don't fall flat on your face.  

Let's face it, while there are some heels out there that are more comfortable than others, they are all hard on a woman's body.  Sure, you can get used to wearing them but that doesn't make them good for you or your body.  I love wearing heels.  I only wear them a few times a year now.  In part, because I broke three bones in my foot a dozen years ago.  But, also because I no longer need to as part of my business 'uniform'.  However, even when they were pretty much required attire, I still enjoyed them and more specifically, the effect they had on men.  I don't see the point of wearing clothing that makes you uncomfortable in any way.

Why did I see so many women this morning who looked like they were beaten down?  Why were they schlumping across the streets with their heads down on a slightly overcast yet still beautiful almost-spring morning?

I understand feeling run over.  I have the luxury of staying in my old and beat-up nightshirt past 7 am.  But come on!  If you must go out into the world, HOLD YOUR HEAD UP!!  I know you're tired.  I know your family depends on you to hold it together and it's all you can do (barely) to hold just yourself together.  I know your boss is a misogynist bastard who gives you twice the work and only pays you half.  But nothing is going to improve if you just cringe and put your head down.  So, start with picking your chin up.  Then straighten up.  Even if you are short you can walk to your full height.  Even if you are overweight you can be comfortable in your own skin and your clothes.  Hell, if you want, you can be sexy too.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  So, look in the mirror and find those parts of you that are beautiful.  

Hold your head up high.  Stop looking at your feet and look people in the eyes.  Try to figure out what you want in life, where you want to be and then take steps to get there.  

Why are you miserable?  And, what can I do to help?

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