An upside down kind of way

Oct112

“No one does that anymore,” my eldest sister replied. The fall day was hotter than summer, some tree leaves green, holding on to bonds of chlorophyll, and I wondered if  maybe even confused. The summer season had brought rain and temperatures a season ahead, while now this mid September morning we walked a park trail, sleeveless and sandal footed, a ‘record breaking temperature day’ with heat warning announcements. Summer was fall, and fall is summer.

An upside down kind of day.

My eldest sister resides in the acronym known as the GTA-Greater Toronto Area. I’d hopped over for a weekend visit when work took me from my mid-Alberta city, to northern Ontario. Lifting off from a one terminal airport and just a quarter of an hour later, I wheeled my camera gear backpack behind me for the longest trek of my trip–the gate to the luggage carousel. I’m thankful at these times that I’m a flats wearing gal, even the laced up running shoe looking kind.

Oh, don’t get me wrong though! I struggle with this as the comparison kicks in, the “I am nots…” Not as professional, not as chic, not as smart. And then, it’s subtle, but there. These women, in there runway dresses, jewels, and beautiful, heeled shoes are better than me. I pass them by, walking the carpet, on the escalator, in my yoga pants and laced  canvas walking shoes, my lips bare and just a touch of mascara (maybe), and hold my head high telling myself, it’s okay to be me. This is who I am, and that is who they are. And I love that their sylin’ so nicely!

I tell myself, we’re all okay, no matter the shoe we wear. But I’m saddened too, as I know, even in mid-life, my struggle to not compare is still there. And as I stand comfortably, waiting for my checked luggage to drop down the carousal shoot, fleeting thoughts not captured cross my mind. Why the need to compare? Why the need to feel less than due to being the girl that picks flats over heels, and bare-faced over foundation, and backpacks over purses? When did this comparison start? And when does it end? I think of another friend who recently left her job at a plastic surgeons office where girls of 16 years old, with volley ball bodies came wanting butt lifts.

“Why?” is all I can ask her.

“I blame the Kardashian’s,” she says.

Ha! I smile. It’s a good, witty answer. But not the answer. I can’t be sure, but possibly the Kardashian’s are victims too, of the comparison. But instead of motivated by another’s look, maybe they are motivated by others needing to look at them.

Comparison in an upside down kind of way.

oct113

Oct11

My sister and I walk, the path curving upwards, wild grasses dotted with wildflowers I do not know the names of are on our left, maple and birch trees on our right. We keep the same pace, a Baby Boomer and a Generation X, the eldest and the youngest, with three in-between. Our parents passed on. We carry different stories of upbringing, but same family. I continue my reminiscence of my best friend, of riding our bikes, at eight years-old, to Nelson Park, where we slid down the bank to Nelson creek, and walked it’s edge and balanced on it’s stones to the other side and back again, in rubber flip flops that sometimes fell into the dark waters, leaving us barefooted and running in the shallow stream to catch them.

“No one does that anymore,” she repeats. “Parents won’t let their kids go alone to those places. It’s a different world.”

I nod. I agree. And saddened. Compared to my childhood days, it is a lot different. With my best friend, along those creek beds, sometimes hours would go by with little words between us as we navigated new stone pathways to cross the waters. Looking back now I can see I could be the introverted, quiet shy blondie, with the nail biting habit, and uneven bangs, without a thought there was anything wrong with me. As a child I dreamed of being free, freer to do whatever I wanted, lacking the wisdom that I was in a freedom. As I grew, and molded, I developed skills to be less shy and work in the, what I saw, dominantly extroverted world. In adulthood, I became free to make my choices, but choices where societal acceptance was a dominating variable.

An upside down kind of free.

Oct115

 

Now I type, at fifty-two, wearing loose lulu lemon jogging pants, a Hawk Nelson t-shirt, and bare-footed. Later I’ll be suiting up, in a skirt and jacket, the expected attire for a professional appointment. But my feet will be in flat-heeled black boots, and my trunk will carry my hikers prepared for creeks along the way. And in that creek, maybe there will be new waters to cross on stones still untouched.

 

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14 thoughts on “An upside down kind of way

  1. I was so tickled to see a new post from you in my email, Lynn. 🙂 I had to smile here, as I often tell myself it’s ok to be me. I am plain and simple. I don’t wear make-up and I like to dress for comfort, not style. Lately, I even forget to put earrings or a watch on. But I tell myself that’s ok. And try not to feel guilty about it or compare myself. Not so easy though, is it? It is sad that so many kids don’t enjoy those fun times in nature anymore. I’m glad I grew up on a farm, and I’m even glad now that we had no TV. I love the memories of outdoors and creative play. Thank you for being honest and for encouraging us to just be ourselves in this upside down world. You are beautiful inside and out just the way you are! Thank you for giving me “a place to breathe” today, not only in your message, but in your awesome photos. I loved imagining myself in each one, especially the last one, sitting on a rock and wiggling my bare feet in the water. 🙂 Love and hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trudy, I’m glad you received some breathing space from my words and pictures! I think our individual comfort styles dictated by us are the best personal stylist we can have. And doesn’t cost us any consulting fees! I hope you get a chance in today, or super soon to wiggle your bare feet in some wild waters (even if just a local creek down the road). hugs back!

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  2. Hi Lynn! Like Trudy, it’s fun to see you writing again. I know you’ve been busy!
    I remember afternoons spent in the backyards of neighbors, playing school, baseball, hopscotch. I wonder how many young children do that anymore?
    I keep telling myself to ‘put on some makeup for Pete’s sake’, but I just never developed the habit. I’d be with you in thinking that everyone else looked better than me, that’s for sure. But I like that you recognized the ‘upside down’ kind of free. I am still the same person. A little mascara and anything else won’t change who I am. And believe me, you are so naturally beautiful, you don’t need it anyway!
    God’s blessings on your journeys, and bring you home safely,
    Ceil

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ceil, so true that a little mascara doesn’t change who we are! And you played baseball? I was terrible at baseball, but not too bad at hopscotch. My hope is that kids still like to play both baseball and hopscotch just for fun. Your pictures radiant and shine a natural beauty, and your words always bring beauty to the world. Thanks for being you!

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  3. Awww, Lynn. I only see you as beautiful. Your face, yes. But even more, your heart and your passion to love God and encourage others. I confess, even at fifty, I still catch myself comparing myself to others. One thing I’ve learned is that it’s okay to be one of those makeup wearing, blue jeans and top (with flats) kind of travelers. It’s how I feel comfortable. I’ve learned to hold my head up, no matter who’s looking. And to remember Who loves me best. That’s what matters most.

    I don’t always live with that mindset, but I’m getting better at doing so more consistently.

    It’s so good to read your words again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeanne, so true! To remember we are loved no matter what our shell is like is experiencing absolute freedom isn’t it? Jesus was showing us the way to that freedom when he said to be like children I think! Have a wonderful weekend being comfortably you.

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  4. In my dreams I am a supermodel. In real life I am just a really, really good looking troll. I think it’s better to be ordinary looking. It keeps you out of trouble.

    Oh…but we compare. Do men do this?

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  5. Thanks for putting that whole comparison thing on the table. How exhausting and defeating when we’re not comfortable in our own skin, when we’ve always got an eye out for what so-and-so might think and say. Maybe one of the perks of aging is more clarity on what really matters.

    And can we ask ourselves if it is well with our soul.

    Weekend blessings to you, friend …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda, that is so true that a perk of aging is ‘clarity on what really matters.’ And that’s a great question to ask ourselves when making decisions: Is it well with my soul? Thanks for that. Weekend blessing back to you.

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  6. Your words are a treat. An upside down kind of way! I love your way of thinking. Our seasons have been mixed up here too. But your thoughts go farther than the seasons. You draw us back to childhood and comparisons of how we look. You catch us looking at ourselves in the glass windows as we walk by but then you point us to freedom. Thank you for drawing me in and teaching me today.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This was beautiful, moving, and encouraging Lynn. I was SO excited to see you wrote a new post! I come over here often to check in. 🙂

    So as i was reading, I kept giggling because (you are gonna LOVE this) when I look at your pics I immediately think how BEAUTIFUL you are, how NATURAL and STYLISH you are!! And then guess what happens? I sink. I sulk. I sigh.

    Because I COMPARE and I wish I could look like you, dress like you, be as naturally beautiful and young looking as you. God’s honest truth.

    It’s like a knee-jerk response- that only lasts a second. It’s like a reflex- and what a TERRIBLE thing it is. BUT I always settle on God’s Truth- that we are each fearfully and wonderfully made- unique and beautiful in our own ways.

    But dang, I wish God gave me a few more things like straight healthy teeth, and smaller hips, and an acne free face to start. lol

    I’m telling you all this because I wanted you to know how much I LOVE your look. It is CLASSY and AUTHENTIC.

    As for your beautiful and insightful words, yes yes yes. And YES. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah, your words are always encouraging and lift my heart Christine! You ARE BEAUTIFUL, and wonderfully made. Sometimes I wish I had as much energy that I see you having, as I can’t seem to get it together to complete all the things I want and think I should be doing around writing. But I thank you for being here, and all that you do for me and others in this writing community.

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  9. Hi Lynn,
    I’m laughing about your shoe wear because you’re the one without aching feet in the airport and probably the envy of all the women in high heels since you are wearing the appropriate travel attire! 🙂 What a lovely day to spend with your sister, enjoying nature (and getting lots of great camera shots, I’m sure!) and I happen to think it takes all of us, with our different preferences and styles to make up this gorgeous and amazing world, and we’re all beautiful in that way, don’t you think?! 🙂 xo

    Liked by 1 person

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