Recent Guelph Life Features- CHECK ‘EM OUT!:
(Had to write this fast and post immediately, for, otherwise, it would never have been written…)
You’ve always been so good to me. I see that now.
You gave me legs that ran fast in grade school track, and hips that could ride a horse, wrists that flicked basketballs into nets, bare feet that climbed the tallest trees in our neighbourhood.
It’s you who I should be thanking for following my obsessively choreographed dance moves I saw reflected back to me in my parent’s bay window.
But me and the window reflection were the only audience members. You see, while you did mostly what I asked, you didn’t listen to me for the things I told you were the most important.
I asked you to be skinnier, taller, and more beautiful. I mean, you weren’t terrible, but you certainly weren’t good enough. You embarrassed me. So I had to punish you with shame, starve you, pluck your hairs out, and keep you in on Friday nights. Even wish you away. You were ruining my life.
I remember hours studying Seventeen Magazine, memorizing every detail on how to make your eyes bigger, your hair straighter, your thighs smaller, your legs longer, your boobs bigger. Why didn’t you get it?
My dad, a world explorer, a lover of ideas and culture and history, would look at me and wonder, why all this time spent on that? He’d hold up The National Geographic and say “Look, pyramids!” He didn’t get it either. What did he know?
And remember when tans were in? I sunburned you so badly that you blistered. And you still wouldn’t hold the colour for long.
You didn’t look good in the clothes I liked either, so I had to wear other clothes, big things that covered you up or things with stripes that made you look smaller than you were. A little smoke and mirrors to distract others from seeing the real you.
Don’t blame me, I had to hide you. I was ashamed of you.
It took me to middle age to realize all the harm I put you through. All in the name of some idea of a single perfect body. Somebody else’s body— who probably doesn’t like her body either.
Today, when I saw that funny little poster on “How To Get a Bikini Body,” you called me out. Yes, I got the message. You are already the body for me. I hadn’t noticed that. Oh, how could I have done this to you for so long? I have so much sadness for you. And for me. And for all that lost time, that hurt, that hatred. So much waste.
I’m so sorry I was embarrassed of you, body. I’m sorry I pushed you away. I hope it is not too late for forgiveness. For some reconciliation? I hope you’ll still have me. You really are good just how you are. I love you.
(Just don’t dare go and age on me now. I’ll try to be gentle with you if you do.)
Here is a gift to us. (I wish this video was around when I was a teen. But I’m grateful for having it now.) So beautiful and free– featuring Frazey Ford joined by many women living well in their bodies: Frazey Ford DONE
This is an article I wrote some time ago about the amazing Guelphite, Rita Porter (Coady), who died last year at 104. She was one of the heroes at the front lines during The Depression: a homemaker. This was a time when life literally spun on a dime, when the battle cry was “use it up, wear it out, make do,” and the strategy for war, the handwritten recipe book.
Rita ran a houseful of orphans (her siblings) on Toronto Street in the Ward. Living in the self-help generation of today, this no-complaints piece stands out for me.
Recipes and photos included (thanks to the Guelph Mercury)
My boy and I are lying in bed talking about life. This is such a treasured time for me. He’s growing up so fast, which, right now, feels like growing away. He needs me less, which, yeah, yeah, is a good thing, I know, but not easy for a mom.
Roots and wings, baby, roots and wings: the two essentials in parenting for all species. The wing time is quickly upon us. Teaching the wings part can be hard going for flightless species.
My boy is nine tonight, ten in a few weeks. Some parts of me are becoming gross to him, like my tangled hair. Don’t I brush it? Why am I not wearing my bra? No kisses, mom! And my breath smells. “It never did when I was little.”
I find this stuff cute. It’s not what really bothers me. Though I did gargle before I crawled in for cuddles. (I’ll admit that it is not endearing when I pick at his face and clean out his ears while he’s reading.)
Below is an old blog post from a site for a larger project called One Mile Square. It tells the story of my contributions to a a community art project run by the Musagetes Foundation. I was an artist commissioned to create a local project. I chose to work with Cheryl Turner, a great Guelph woman whom I met at Action Read Literacy where she was learning reading skills.
Cheryl lives with a health condition that affects her day-to-day life in the community and in her own body. Her mom has the same condition.
Together, we decided to explore what makes Cheryl’s day-to-day livable. What does she depend upon for happiness?
Turned out squirrels were a big factor.
We created a video together. Then we created an event to share the video.
Since many of Cheryl’s contacts were through Action Read, we included the gang there in a live ‘bedtime slumber party’ where her colleagues read bedtime stories to children in the community in a public place (we picked the Via Train Station so we could have lots of traffic coming through and new people to engage). We decided to have everyone bring sleeping bags and lie on the floor so they could watch projections of the book pages above on the ceiling as the stories were read to them by adult learners.
Then we screened our video!
See below for the long version of this story originally shared in a blog post on Musagetes home page!