Uggg- Sometimes sitting down to write is like when I used to walk into a record store to buy music. You have all these albums you want then when you walk in you can't even think of one thing. I had all these posts I wanted to write but now sitting here I can't think of one of them. I need to get on a schedule where I write everyday even if it's blather because at least then the good stuff wont get lost. Okay so I'm talking to you like you are part of some sort of inner monologue in my head (PSYCHO?) but here goes.
As promised the post about Braedon and Kaitlyn. Who are they you ask? Truth be told I don't really even know but this is how it all went down. I took my fam in the last days of summer break to the lake for a nice relaxing day at the beach. It was all perfect and wonderful and totally relaxing until these teenagers showed up. They were not really obnoxious so much but I found myself glued to them like watching a train wreck. I just couldn't turn away. I kept reminiscing about my own teen years and then my mind would float off and day-dream about what Char and Jude would be like as teens.
Kaitlyn and her little friend whose name I never heard, came first. They very carefully and calculatedly picked a spot and begin laying themselves out ever so perfectly for view by the near-by life guard whom they knew from school. So much care and time went into this it was mesmerizing. I remember what it felt like to be that girl who tried so hard to get that boys attention. Kaitlyn was sort of built like I was in high school although to her credit she had much more self confidence than I had then. Already pretty tan from the summer of beaching it, and long dark hair that she literally flipped about 2000 times while arranging herself neatly on her towel and applying oil or lotion of some kind. She was "curvy"- "built"-"thick" as some might put it. Not fat at all in my opinion. She was bigger than the other very waif-ish girl. She had big boobs, and a big but. This is what I looked like in school but back then I thought I was fat. Hid behind my clothes instead of wearing them. Hated my own body each time I glimpsed it in the mirror and would NEVER have worn a bikini like Kaitlyn was, or shown myself so confidently on the beach like she was. That is why I started looking at her in the first place. I felt pride in her for not being self loathing, and a tiny bit of jealousy for having confidence in HIGH SCHOOL for goodness sakes. Then from behind us came a very loud very large group of testosterone filled teen boys. About 12 of them to be sure. They were all sweaty and goofy and all of them had one thing in common. They thought they were totally cool. Obviously the cool kids,obviously the varsity team of something. They knew Kaitlyn and waif girl.They knew them well. The cool kids group. One boy stood out from the others. Not because he was cuter, or in any way superior but there was just something about him. The other boys kept calling his name. Braedon this and Brady that.. Hey over here Brady, Hey wanna play volleyball? All the guys wanted to be him or be his friend and Kaitlyn wanted to date him. It was obvious from the hair flipping. I just could not look away from this group. Frumpy old lady gawking on. It was shameful and I felt all pervy but, still I could not look away.
I found myself wondering why they so held on to my attention. In part it was a desperate feeling of my own fleeting youth. I don't feel OLD yet but way past this stage for sure and in a way, in that moment, wanting it back. Wanting to be that young again and have my whole life in front of me. Wanting to be that naive. But mostly it was this intangible need to know why they were so confident and how in the hell do I instill that in my own kids? I sure as heck did not have it as a teen. I don't want Charley to hate her body and I don't want Jude or Finn to be that guy always hoping Brady will play catch with him. I want them to BE Braedon and Kaitlyn. Is that vain? I am not so much caught up in that they will be sought after and "popular" but that they will be looked up to for the right things. Confidence, Poise, Kindness, and Loyalty- topping the list.
When my husband plopped down beside me he could clearly see I was in a far off place with my thoughts. He asked and instantly I began to tell him about this one.. very small very insignificant day that I went swimming. It was at a pool in an apartment complex where a friend lived. My mom and I went. I was wearing a new bikini I had bought with my step mom. It was cool, at least I thought so. It was black on bottom and black and white on top. I was tan and I had long blond highlighted hair. I was nervous, but I felt good, felt like I looked good and felt somewhat comfortable in my own skin. I think I was 15 maybe? A boy I had known since the fifth grade and whom I had a severe crush on came up to me. I had no idea he was working there part time as a pool guy. He sat down on the edge of the pool next to me. We were talking and laughing, we had been friends a while. I felt good, I was flipping my own hair I am sure. I was Kaitlyn. That moment was fleeting and would be the last time I ever wore a bikini and the last time I ever felt like that again. I looked over at my mother and she made a gesture. At first I had no idea what she was saying. I was leaning against the wall and had my elbows propped back on the wall and feet floating out. Trying to be coy, trying to impress Jason in anyway I could. She was motioning to me that I should not lean back like that as it made my stomach look fat all pushed out that way. She came over to tell me since I did not understand her sign language. She whispered it to me. I remember feeling like I'd been stung by 10,000 bees. Hot and embarrassed. I wanted to die. I mostly wanted out of the bikini. I put on my t-shirt and sat out on a lounge chair until it was time to leave. I never wore it again. It became a symbol to be of my own self loathing. One insignificant day, one tiny remark that I am sure was never meant to inflict the kind of damage that it did. No one had ever told Kaitlyn she looked "thick" in that suit she had on. She looked so cute to me. She looked happy and she looked confident. She loved herself and truthfully that made me a bit jealous.
Everyday I wonder if something I might say to one of my kids might be the equivalent of this "bikini comment". Everyday I ask myself if this one seemingly insignificant thing I said to them might be the thing that makes them feel less than the spectacular and beautiful beings they are. I'd like to tell you by the end of this post that I have the answer and that I know the right thing to do to make it all turn out well for them in the end. I can't. because I dont know. I struggle everyday on these things and sometimes am taken aback at the weight my words carry.
or maybe Mother = complete self loathing.....
What goes into making a Kaitlyn and a Braedon? Lots of hugs and kisses, lots of speeches about self worth? I fear it's some of that but more the example I set in how I treat myself. I wish I was Kaitlyn. So confident, so flirtly, so young, so naive. Instead I am me. Jaded a bit, getting older, but hoping beyond all hope I can muster enough confidence in my own mothering skills to teach my kids to love themselves and hoping to get back to where I love ME a little more.
ummmmm... and no that does not mean I'll be wearing a bikini any time soon.