Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Face in the Mirror

This morning I looked in the mirror and was frustrated with the woman staring back at me.  She is an older and somewhat heavier version of the woman I keep expecting to see.  I started down that old familiar path, telling myself how I had failed, how I had disappointed myself, how I had let myself down.

Now I know a lot of people who really believe that tough love is the only way to improve, that you have to beat yourself down to build yourself up, but for me, that kind of derisive self-talk has never done anything but fuel my own self-doubt into an overwhelming downward spiral of defeat.   I stared into that mirror, searching for the woman I knew was there under two dress sizes, remembering the story I had read about how we, particularly as women, focus on the flaws and completely overlook the wonderful things which make us who we are.  I know I will get back to where I'd like to be, but it isn't going to happen by next Thursday when I get together with my girlfriends.  It isn't going to happen by the next dinner, or wedding, maybe even the next class reunion so I need to be happy with who and where I am now so that I'm not just living for some far off tomorrow, frustrating and defeating myself at every turn.

I went back to the old “Three Things I Love About Myself” exercise I devised years ago when I got tired of trying to out-flaw the women around me, foolishly arguing about who was the heaviest or the shortest or the most flat-chested.  And I realized as I sat staring at this beautiful, bold, seasoned, intelligent, able bodied, well,  Goddess, that I did have one enormous blemish; my own self-doubt.  My own self-loathing.  So I decided to give myself a mental makeover.  I decided to rid myself of my own self-loathing, a trait which was never beautiful on anyone.  And guess what, it’s the one thing you can get rid of right now!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Death of Service, Part II

It is time for the next installment of Death of Service, the Midwestern saga.  When last we met, I had suffered an assault at the hands of the vicious and judgmental window monitor at the as yet unnamed fast food restaurant, the reigning monarch of burgers let’s just say, only to leave hungry and empty handed.  My next trepidacious attempt took me to a healthier state of fast food but with little improvement on the experience though I did come away with an amusing anecdote.  I walk in this time, no longer trusting the anonymity of the drive thru and walk up to the counter.  As this is one of those sandwich shops where you choose individually each item, there is a plain faced girl behind the ineffectual sneeze guard repeating after each option, “Anything else?  Anything else? Anything else?”, in a zombie-like cadence which would make George Romero jealous.  There are actually three employees visible, though it seems only zombie girl is working.  There is a second ponytailed blonde girl in the back, leaning heavily on a counter writing and talking on her cellphone and a third, this one young man, with a bright Manager badge blazing gloriously from his chest.  He assesses the situation, the two customer to three employee ratio and says loudly, “It’s a good thing I like you guys or you’d all be fired.”

I complete my order, three items at a time to avoid the hypnotizing drone of the zombie girl and suddenly from the back appears a delightfully energized young black woman, smiling ear to ear, who completes my order at the register.  My heart warms a bit as she wishes me a nice day and as I turn to go, she turns to her coworkers and says, “I am just forcing a smile today.”

I haven’t actually moved yet, but apparently the air which fills the gap between us is soundproof.    

I walk away, slightly defeated but with prize in hand.  Tomorrow is another day.  I shall not lose all faith in humanity, though my trust in the fast food industry which sustained me through my youth is faltering.