Entries from December 2007 ↓

Tone Control

We all know our own flaws, and recognize them in our children, if we have any self-perception.

I was struck by this paragraph in Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesiaby Elizabeth Gilbert, I’m never going to be a wallflower, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take a serious look at my talking habits and alter some aspects for the better – working within my personality.

Yes, I like talking, but perhaps I don’t have to curse so much, and perhaps I don’t always have to go for the cheap laugh, and maybe I don’t need to talk about myself quite so constantly. Or here’s a radical concept – maybe I can stop interrupting others when they are speaking.

Wow, she must have really harnessed the Divine if she can control all that. I would add to that tone. I want to be able to say that I can control the tone of my voice. And that my daughter can control hers.

I know I’ve written about my tone before. My tone turtle idea, making us pay a quarter for every time we use a tone, didn’t work out because she has no quarters and no concept of money. Many of you find my tone amusing – as do I, which is the core of the problem. It gets laughs – I like making people laugh. I find it instantly gratifying and validating.

I often refer to my tone as Angry Turrets Syndrome. Because it feels like something out of my control. The key here is that it feels like Angry Turrets Syndrome – in reality it is something that I need to learn to control. I’ve recently discovered that with much effort and a lot of meditation, praying and practice I can control anything, even the way I feel.Did everyone else already know you can control your feelings? It’s a bit of a 2006-2007 Revelation for me.

It doesn’t matter how I got my tone – let me just say, I come by it honestly. My tone is justified most of the time. My ego needs to know that. I have every right to be upset when I am upset. My ego needs to know that too. But, I choose to give up the tone anyway.

It’s time to give it up. It’s not getting me what I want. When something is ineffective then it’s time to try something else. But, what if I’m not funny anymore?

I’ve got a lot of incentive to change this aspect of my self. My daughter has taken up my tone – for laughs – to be a disobedient little hooligan – to get her way – to push Mommy’s buttons. The other day her friend went home because she didn’t enjoy being treated so rudely. It won’t be long before she becomes brazen enough to use it with teachers and other authority figures.

In 2008 I WILL get control of my tone and I will insist Ainsley get control of hers. I will not beat myself about the head with self-loathing or punishment when I fail. This is an emotional habit. Habits are terribly difficult and painful to break. But, if I can break the habit of smoking, I can break this habitual tone. I will give myself the whole year to do it and I will cut myself some slack in the midst of it. I will be kind to myself and I will expect kindness from others.

I’m going to start with How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talkby Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. I find my tone increases the more frustrated I become with my children and my husband. Perhaps if I have better communication tools I won’t become as frustrated. Does anyone else wonder how you make the OTHER communication partner actually respond the way they’re supposed to when using these books?

Most recently we’ve developed a pattern where I kindly ask her to do something four times and then the fifth time I get angry and raise my voice. Only after I yell does she respond.

You don’t have to yell at me!
Oh, Really? When I asked nicely 4 times you ignored me! Apparently I DO have to yell at you!

This must stop.

Tone is my parenting and personal New Year’s Resolution – what’s yours?

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Blond Ambition II

I’m sorry. I just can not feel like Tracee Sioux with plain brown hair.

It’s the single brown tone that’s making me feel un-me when I look in the mirror. Drab. Dull. Boring. Not on you. Just on me.

None of those words describe me. I’m fun, happy and exciting. My hair should reflect that.

Last night I spent $9.99 for a box of Loreal Chunking Blond Highlights. I put about 10 blond streaks back around my face and feel like myself again. They’re a little orangey – but I do not care.

Ainsley asked for some blond streaks in her dark blond/light brown hair and I couldn’t think of a reason to tell her no.

I can think of lots of reasons other mothers might give their daughters,
You’re too young. You’re hair is perfect like it is. You don’t need lighter blond to be pretty. What will people think if I let my 6-year-old color her hair?

I respect all those reasons as valid and legitimate. But, none of those ring true for me, as I’ve already allowed red streaks and pink streaks – depending on what I was doing to my own hair. Who is a little blond going to hurt? No one. It’s fun. That’s all it is. It’s instantly gratifying to change the color of one’s hair. It’s a hobby. It’s a harmless distraction.

I’m a feminist, but not the natural kind. I think the beauty industry has gotten too extreme and makes many women feel like crap about themselves, I abhor their marketing tactics. But, I am happy when they invent a product that really works.

I use beauty products. I shave my legs, pits and groom my vajayjay. I pluck my eyebrows into a high arch. I wear make-up, apply sun screen and foundation. I get excited about my mascara. I try to control my acne with prescription medication. I’m willing to pay a lot of money for a product that makes melasma vanish and never return. Mind you – I get this stuff on the cheap so I’m not hurting myself financially in this quest for beauty. I got this rotating scrub brush and a chemical peel at a retiring Avon Lady’s garage sale for a quarter.

And I love blond highlights. I’m a feminist who feels her best self with blond-highlights.

In December’s O Magazine I read this quote from Nancy Etkoff, PhD, author of Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty, If we say, “Get rid of the advertisement and tell companies to stop making products, and no one will care about beauty – this is all just a creation that we can wipe away,” we are denying who we are. People do care about how they look. They have adorned themselves since Paleolithic times. This is not a vanity issue or a women’s issue or a United States issue. It is human nature.

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20 Posts All Women Should Read

Earlier in the month I got an email from DJ Nelson saying that my article My Face/Her Face had changed the way she thought about cosmetic surgery.

This is such a compliment.

In fact, the article, she said, made her not want to shave a little bit off the top of her nose after all.

Major compliment.

She went further and included my article on All Diva Media in a post titled: 20Posts All Women Should Read. (Yes, I did take her advice and read them.)

That’s a compliment that netted me hundreds more page views.

I know this sounds a little lame, but it just barely occurred to me that to tell my readers about the article, and link to the it, is not just bragging. It’s reciprocation. Of course I want to reciprocate, I’m just not very good at believing, feeling worthy of or embracing success. But, I’m actively working on that.

So, DJ Nelson, I feel privileged and grateful to have been included. Next time, and hopefully there is a next time, you include any link to me – I will immediately reciprocate.

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Merry Me. Merry You?

I hope your Christmas was as merry as ours:

Ainsley performed in her annual Christmas Pageant. This year they took the show on the road and sang and danced and played instruments at a nursing home.

This is her first dance solo.

We baked cookies for Santa. I don’t know where she gets that attitude.

Barbie upstaged the guitar. Body image was balanced out by juxtaposing Hispanic dark-haired Gabriella of High School Musical with larger than life Tracy Turnblad of Hairspray.

Crush was accounted for with Zac Afron as Troy of High School Musical. Zac does pair with both of them in the respective movies.

Zack and Ainsley got a kitchen – previously owned by The Joneses.

We’re keeping it in Zack’s room because he has more available space.

They equally love it.

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The Argument for Santa

Dreaming is a skill we must teach our children, especially our girls.

Would Hillary Clinton be running for President if she only believed in the Possible?

Would Oprah be Oprah if she didn’t didn’t believe in the impossible?

Would Nancy Pelosi be Speaker of the House if she only focused on what was easily attainable?

Would Meg Whitman be running eBay if she hadn’t learned to dream outside the box?

We must keep teaching our girls that dreams come true. Having Santa fulfill their heart’s desire teaches them not only that they can dream, wish and believe – but that it pays off.

Merry Christmas!

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