Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's the end of the year as we know it and I feel fine

Well kids, it's that time of the year again. A time when we all make a list of all the things we are or aren't going to do this year. As much as I like lists, I never make resolution lists. It always seems like a waste. Am I going to go to the gym everyday because I resolved to do so? No, I've been resolving to do so for years and it never seems to stick.

Instead of resolutions, I like to plan to do a few things/goals/activities (or just one) that I'd like to try or try to do more often this year. I don't really consider these resolutions since it's not a huge deal if I don't do them and frankly, none of them make me feel bad about myself (which resolutions typically do). I've always felt that resolutions were invented so that we'd all feel guilty about something all the time and then hate ourselves a bit more because we didn't meet the expectation of the resolution. Why do that to yourself? I'm certainly not going to and hopefully, the things I decide on this year will be fun and exciting. Anything we try to do should empower us and that's the point of what I do every year.

Last year, my list included seeing more live music (I sort of did this but only once I moved back to Virginia), writing more (DONE), going bowling more often (I went once but with strangers so I'll consider that a draw), helping Anita Smallin make National Postcard Writing Month happen (we'll just have to try harder this year), and to be the leading lady of my own life.

It's the last one that I'd like to focus on today. Here is what I wrote last year:

Be more like Kate Winslet’s character in The Holiday. I love this movie and I identify with Kate’s character the most. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when her next-door neighbor (the fantastic Eli Wallach) tells her to be the leading lady of her own life. He recommends all these wonderful classic movies that have leading ladies who are extraordinarily independent and awesome. The women and eventually Kate, have gumption and moxie. That’s what I will strive to do this year. 

This, Island readers, is what I will do this year because I only did a so-so job last year. I've often felt like the sidekick in my own life. If I had to pick the characters I most identify with on my favorite tv show, Gilmore Girls, it would be Lane and Sookie. Lane and Sookie are Lorelei and Rory's sidekicks (when Lorelei and Rory aren't busy being each other's sidekicks). I get it, they're not Gilmores but you know what? They're awesome and they deserve leading lady status as much as those Gilmores. I've always felt like Lane (mostly) - quirky, way into music no one else likes, and an introvert (not shy, just not an engager).

Sidekicks wait. They go on "adventures" with friends, wait for others to make things happen. You know what happens when you wait for others? Nothing - you sit at home watching Hallmark movies and thinking about all the things that you could be doing.

Back in March, I wrote about being labeled "pretty, funny, or smart" by a teacher of mine as it related to the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke incident about contraceptives. I've been thinking about that particular post again lately because I've had a series of conversations (mostly with other women) that lead me to believe that we still think that you can only be one of these things. I am tired of thinking that being independent and smart and quirky are somehow bad things and relegate us to sidekick status. That the capacity to do things by yourself or alone (not be lonely) is somehow a bad thing. It is not. That because I'm independent and quirky and smart and do things by myself, no guy will ever love me (which someone told me recently - apparently I'm intimidating and quirkiness has been taken over by hipsters so it's not attractive and I should dial down the quirkiness) and that I am only my job because clearly that's all anyone ever is. You know, if you're not a mom (because then I would be mom first, career second - apparently). Are you kidding me? Is this still where we are for women and girls?

It's unfortunate that so much of our lives are spent not liking anything about ourselves. Or we spend so much time trying to be something for other people. Why do we do that to ourselves? I feel like since I entered my 30s I have truly liked who I am, what I look like, and what I do with my life (career, hobbies, etc.). It's fascinating to me that it took me until I hit 30 to really feel that way.  I just want to be happy and enjoy my life and stop trying so hard to be things I'm not. I want to be like the 3rd grader who dresses as a different historical figures that she likes (male or female) because she has fun doing it and is learning something at the same time. Because she is being the leading lady (in a lot of ways) of her own life.

So my plan for 2013: be the leading lady of my own life.

I will leave you with the wise words of the poet/rocker Liz Phair. Because we all are extraordinary.

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PS - Thanks for reading in 2012! I hope that you come back in 2013. I promise more lazy movie weekends (we haven't talked about The Warriors or Moonrise Kingdom yet and we need to) and there will be another Bad Shakespeare/Island of Misfit Toys crossover at some point (I may or may not talk about superheroes-you won't want to miss that). And don't forget about Paris in June-it's going to be amazing.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

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