The She-Woman-Woman-Haters Club

I love being a woman
I love the feminine spirit
The sexy
The tenderness
The clothing
The dance between feminine and masculine energies
I do love being a woman

But damn can we be bitches sometimes.

One time i was riding in a car with this woman (girl? I’m never sure when to say what) who i had met a few months earlier.   I had sort of followed her work and found her to be fairly inspirational. We had been through similar experiences. And she was one of those woo woo people i secretly aspired to be. We somehow got on the topic of talents, things we were good at.  She said that she could sing, but that it wasn’t something she wanted to pursue because she’d have to take voice lessons and so on to get really good.  And then i thought about all of the things that i, as a relatively right brained creative person, could do.  So i said, “There are lots of things i *could* be good at, but i just don’t care to pursue them.”  (e.g., that one time i learned a song on a banjo, that one time i painted a decent picture, that one time i sang a decent solo in church, that one time i drew a charcoal picture of a yoga model, that one time i learned to play the theme song from Titanic on the piano… the theme here being, once i figure out i *could* do something if I wanted, it looses its appeal. Now this for me, saying i *could* be good at a some stuff in life, was a huge leap from my former self-flagellation. Speaking kindly about myself has, thankfully, become second nature.  But she responded, in a mocking tone, something to the effect of: “Ohhhhh it must be soooo hard being good at so many things.” And then she laughed.  And then i laugh. But I was mortified.  Red heat reached my cheeks.  I tried to explain myself, to recover from whatever i had just done, although i wasn’t quite sure what that was.  This exchange haunted me for months, 5 months to be exact.
The hamster wheel that begins to run when we feel a moment of hot shame.
“What could i have said differently?”
“She’s stupid.”
“I’m stupid.”
“Was i being egotistical?”
“I didn’t think i was bragging, but maybe i don’t know myself.”
“I’m actually not very good at very many things.”

This was followed by all of the different scenarios that could have played out:

“OH, I didn’t properly self-loathe, thats why she thought i was bragging.”

For months I agonized over this.  Why i was so bothered by it?  And why she said it in the first place?  And then one day, in a white burst of clarity, it dawned on me: what happened in that car, my friend, is what’s been happening between women probably since the dawn of time.  When we see success or confidence in another women, we feel inferior (whether consciously or subconsciously). And we laugh. We dismiss. We scorn. We make fun. We snarl our faces. We think of all the reasons why that woman is justifiably the worst.  Embedded patriarchy has done such of a fine job of keeping women small and quiet, that even we women think we should remain so.  I realized that, because of the respect i had for this woman’s work and her message about body love and women power, i felt safe enough to say acknowledge i had a bit of womanly power myself.  I also now realize that no matter how long we fight against this tendency, we are still all very human.  She responded in a very human way.

I once went dancing with my sweet friend Heather.  We were at a particularly small bar, the dance floor slightly bigger than my dining room table. So if you were on it, you were seen by the entire bar.  On this floor was was a girl.  Wild blonde curly hair, dressed in a  full leopard print body suit that was perfectly cut so you could see her youthful breast protruding out.  And to beat it all she was wearing a fucking fannie pack! Her hips swayed to the beat in ways that i can do only in my wildest dancing fantasies.  She was stunning.  I couldn’t stop watching her.  And neither could the men in the room. But my first reaction wasn’t that of awestruck goddess appreciation. My first reaction was mild to moderate disgust.

“Who does she think she is?”
“Attention seeker.”
“Good luck with that body kid, you’re going to look like the rest of us in about 10 years.”
“How do think a gurddle is going to look with that outfit in a few years, huh?”
“You must have had a lot to drink to move like that.”

A lot of really nasty thoughts came up, which this beautiful girl enjoying herself on the dance floor did not deserve. I think back to all of the times i’ve cut other women down.  Because she was wearing makeup when i didn’t deem it necessary.  Because she was laughing to loudly while i was trying to enjoy a meal.  Because she thought she could pull off that outfit with cellulite on her thighs. Because surely that sexy picture she posted on instagram was for men’s attention. I’m embarrassed to even admit these are my gut reactions—it’s sooooo not enlightened feminist.
Have you heard of the mirror concept: the idea that our thoughts about others are often reflections of our judgements of ourselves? Now this doesn’t necessarily apply to assholes.  Sometimes people are jerks and we have every right to be discerning and make a judgement about their actions.  But i think Momma Brene summed it up so perfectly when she wrote: “When we don’t give ourselves permission to be free, we rarely tolerate that freedom in other.” When i first came across this line in her life changing book The Gifts of Imperfection, it left me with this sinking illumination: “Fuuuucckkkkkkkkk, that’s what i’ve been doing!” We are talking my entire life i’ve been a she-woman-woman-hater.

Side note: When illumination hits, it’s a good time for a big dose of grace, because it’s highly likely that we are about to go into a self-hate spiral: “Oh god, i’m the worst. The actual worst.”
And then it’s also likely that we we will begin to feel a bit pious about it all and start to point out when other women do the thing we just realized we had been guilty of for so long.  (Sorry to all my friends; it was part of learning process.!)

To be honest with you, i don’t have much advice to give on how to fix the she-woman-woman-hater syndrome.  I’m still learning.  I do know that it starts with awareness. (I mean what doesn’t start there?) It took me noticing what and when my opinions of others showed up.  It took me asking myself some good questions like “Karly, what would make you think that?”  “Is there something that you don’t like about this woman, or is it actually something you don’t like about yourself?”  “Hey, Karly, why do you give a shit?”  “How would you feel if someone had an opinion like that of you? Would it be true?”  “Karly, do you feel free enough to ______(wear high heels, laugh uncontrobaly in public, wear lipstick to the grocery store, BE YOU, etc)???”

Amazing things happened when we get curious with ourselves.

So to all of your fellow she-woman-woman-haters, i get it.  I’ve been there.  But lets fight the good fight and become the type of women who build each other up and encourage each other , not tear each other down.  It’s hard work. But it’s worth it.  Because you know, we women really are amazing! And it’s hard enough finding our way in a man’s world without having our own sex as the enemy.

So much love to you, love
Karly

All the Feels…

All the feelings. All the time.
That’s me in a nut shell.
I can use my imagination to create a story line that will rival any 3-year-old’s.
I can make a completely fake scenario in my head that can bring me to my knees in angst.
I can turn on music and be emotionally transported to some far away location that was not even on my radar just moments earlier.
Once i was reminded that, when i was a little girl, i sat in my yard quietly making little bracelets of clover, and I felt so nostalgic that if i would have died right then and there my life would have been complete.
I can be surrounded by a group of happy people and feel instantaneously elated.
After i finished the book White Oleander, i couldn’t eat for days because i was so overcome with sorrow.
When i read the divergent series and Triss died—sorry if that’s a spoiler for ya—i felt like my entire world caved in and i swore off novels forever. I didn’t pick up another book for 2 years.
When i read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, i felt so insanely creative that i started drawing and coloring like a mad women applying to a remedial arts school. I threw my entire portfolio away as soon as i was finished.
When i was about 10 years old, this sweet blonde girl showed up at church and I immediately fell in love with her. She walked into the gym in her jean skirt and my internal commentator, (who sounds just like me) said: “And when she met this girl, she knew that we were going to be best friends forever.” The next week i went to her house only to find out that they were only allowed to listen to gospel cassette tapes, and her crazy-ass mother forced me to eat lima beans and peas despite my adamant protests. I wanted nothing to do with her after that. Best friends for-never. I hated her and whole fam damily.
Oh god, and don’t even get me started on what Ray LaMontagne’s music does to my supple heart.
So what i’m saying is this. All the feelings. All the time. Subject to change with the wind.

Can anyone relate????? ANYONE????

Now i know i probably seem like the model of stability to you (ehhh ehmmm), but living with my own self is exhausting. Even a therapist i saw last fall said “you seem like you’re pretty annoyed with yourself…” and she was right. I could never gauge what was happening. I felt split in half. Completely divided. 2 different people contained in one. Like their was a conjoined twin who developed inside of me, fetus in fetu, who had just as much control over my emotional state as i did. Up, down, sideways. But i maintained a calm, cool exterior so very few people really understood the war that was raging inside.

And then last year I had a friend present to me an idea that would sort of change my life. It went something like this “What if you just took note of your emotion? Instead of acting on them or judging them, what if you just noticed and acknowledged them? You’re emotions are not who you are and they don’t have to define you”

WHATTTTTTT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

There was resistance.
There was crying.
There was protest.
There were can’ts and won’ts and “This is just who i am, DAMMIT!”

And then there was considering
And then there was a testing of the waters.
And then there’s was life changing magic that happened.

Feelings are funny little things. They come, they go. They’re up, they’re down. They ebb, and they flow. Sometimes they make complete sense: You loose a parent to cancer and you’re overcome with sadness—that seems right. But what about when you loose a parent to cancer and you’re consumed with fiery rage at everyone around you and it doesn’t seem like it quite fits? When we can’t pinpoint what our feelings are relating to, it can make us feel unstable and question who we are at our core.

There is not an exact science to letting your feelings be.
It takes practice.
It takes time.
It takes kind, gentle grace.
Sweet words to yourself, about yourself.
It takes silence.
It takes stillness.
Sometimes we have to wrap our arms around ourselves and hold tight with the gentle reminder: “You’re going to be okay, love. You’re going to be okay.”

Your feelings do not define you.
Your feelings do not necessarily need immediate action.

So next time a strong emotion comes coursing through you body, try this:
Stop.
Breathe in, deep.
Say “ahhh it seems like i’m feeling incredibly ______ right now. That’s interesting.” “Hello Anger.” “Hello Sadness.” “Hello Rage.” “Oh so it seems like i’m feeling like i want to burn down villages and leave my entire family behind while i travel to a tropical location to live alone in the jungle with the spider monkeys and the jaguars. HMMM…”
Be curious.
Ask yourself good questions: Is this a feeling that keeps showing up for me? Is it related to a certain circumstance? When was the last time i ate? Am i hungry or dehydrated? Is there a big event coming up, or one that has passed, that is stirring the water?
Address your emotions.
Acknowledge them.
Befriend them.

Emotions are not your enemy. They’re clues left by the body.

What are you emotional clues telling you?
Do you ever let your emotions get the best of you?
I would love to hear your thoughts and FEELINGS

Much love to you, love
Karly

Ps. This post does not address how to address those sticky emotions. I HIGHLY suggest a finding qualified therapist that’s a good fit for you. They can help you work miracles inside yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shame Game: Fashionista Wannabe

You might wonder what fashion has to do with vulnerability and shame. After spending a day in the mall, trying on all the fashionable shit i could find, i’m here to tell you it has EVERYTHING to do with vulnerability and shame!
(Video)

I decided to go to the mall and try on the new fashion, which for me means probably anything that’s popped up in the last 10 years. I was pretty sure i wouldn’t buy anything. But i had a day to myself and nothing to do, so off i went in my red Prius, music blaring, per usual.
H&M, forever 21, and Free People. I combed the racks and picked up items that made my eyes widen and my mouth go “ooo” in a bad way. Because today was about learning something.
In all honesty, I like fashion. It’s intrigues me. I admire people who are bold and self assured in what they wear. If there’s one thing i can get behind, it’s going against the grain, and fashion is a perfect way to do that.

Thank God for reminders from my sweet mom though….

Yet always and forever, the thing that holds me back is this shame i have around how my body looks.
“I look awful,” (as you can even hear me say in the video. Those scripts, still there.)
“It looks horrific on me.”
“What if people see that i have rolls?”
“I could never wear that!”
“What if people thought i was just trying to get attention?”
“No one will find me attractive in this.”
“I’m too fat.”
“I could never look as good as she does.”

And the list goes on and on. I’ve said things TO myself and ABOUT myself that I would DIE if i ever heard a friend say about herself. And let me point out that i had this exact script, used these same phrases, when i was “skinny.” My body hatred and shame has spanned all waist sizes, and i have a feeling that i’m not the only one with that story. 10 years ago, when i was first married, i was the skinniest and healthiest i’ve probably ever been (physically speaking, mentally i was a damn wreck). And i distinctly remember one time my husband put his arm around me as i lay on my side and he touched my stomach. I tried to suck in and hold it there but i was tired so i threw his hand off of me “because i just feel really fat and self conscious with your hand there.” My body shame kept me from enjoying a moment of connection and love. And that’s precisely what shame about does to us—it shuts us down, keeps us from connecting, blocks those feelings of love and belonging.

The fashion industry has long gotten flack for marketing to women who are not your ordinary women. Sizes and styles not made for women over a size 8. (The average woman is a size 12, and that might even be pushing it a little.) This past year i have done a lot of body work, meaning i’m learning to love my body right where it is. Not when i loose 20lbs, not when my stretch marks are less visible, not when my double chin disappears. Right now. Exactly how it is. I am beautiful, period. This is lifelong work. It’s really hard work that takes constant reminders and check-ins. I have found myself on the floor in front of my mirror crying because i decided that my worth was based on how my eyes perceived my body. Thank God i have surround myself with women who rarely, if ever, shame their bodies (at least out loud). There’s no room in my life for my disordered eating to return. None. I choose to love myself. Today. As is. No matter what the critics, and the commercials, and the latest dieting fads try to tell me.

 

Body love comes from within. It will not be found externally, and if it is, i assure you it will be temporary. I am not speaking as someone who has overcome all her body shame and now runs naked and free in wheat fields happily enjoying the feeling of a jiggling body swaying on the off beat. Nope! But i’m working on it.
Here are a few things that have helped me muster some body love.

1. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO SPEAK POSITIVE WORDS ABOUT THEIR BODIES (And about everything else, but thats another post for another day.)
If you surround yourself with people who shame their bodies—people who say things like “look at her, she’s so skinny,” or “I’m so fat,” people who are constantly talking about their new diet and how much weight they need to loose, people who think they’re not good enough right where they are—then can i suggest you start a movement among your friends to flip the script? Be a rebel. Speak body love and positivity, even if you don’t quite believe it yet. That’s the minimum requirement. But if you really want to up the body love game, get new friends!

2. ASSUME THE TRUTH
Assume that you’re beautiful. Because you are. Just wake up and go: “DAAAMMNNNN, i love how my hair gets all sexy when i sleep on it.” “Stretch marks = love.” Speak whatever love you want to speak to yourself and say it often!

Here’s what i do and it has done wonders for my confidence! I get up. I toss my hair around, or i shower and get ready. I look at myself and i think “You look really good today, Karly!” And then I assume that the rest of that day. I stay away from mirrors and scales. (I was a chronic mirror watcher. Every mirror i passed, i looked in to see how i was doing in the moment.)
So get ready (whatever routine makes you feel beautiful, even if that means staying in your pajamas), look at yourself one last time—and here you can take an index finger to your bum and let it sizzle there because DAMN! you’re hawt!—walk out of the room, and assume you look that good the rest of your day. Even when you go out for the day only to realize you’ve worn your shirt inside out the entire time (yup i just did that.) Rock what you got, girlfriend!

3. TELL SOMEONE
If you have a day or a week or a month thats been heavy laden with shitty feelings about who you are and how you look, tell someone. Brene Brown says that “shame loves to keep us quiet.” Tell a friend or friends that you’re struggling, and i bet that they’ll tell you how amazing you are inside and out and really truly mean it. Speaking shame takes away its power.

4. ASK YOURSELF
“What has hating my body ever done for me?” Really. What has it done? Has it gotten you the body you want? Has hating your body inspired you to do amazing things with it? Has hating your body allowed you to set the kind of example you want to set for your kids? Has hating your body made you look better in your clothes? Helped you shed pounds?

Or…
Has hating your body kept you from doing what you want, wearing what you like, and loving fully? Has it made you attempt a bunch of fad diets only to gain all of the weigh back because you couldn’t keep up? Has it made you hate all the skinny people? Has it kept you on the beach towel and out of the water where spectators might judge how you look in your bathing suit?

If you love and are proud of your body just how it is, and even how it is 20 lbs heavier than you’d like, then KUDOS! But if you’re struggling, or if any part of my story feels like yours, take heart. It’s never too late to love yourself.

When Everything Is Crap

I knew I wanted to write a blog today, but couldn’t bear to think about topics that I deemed acceptable: Positivity. Grace. Kindness. Gratitude. Acceptance. Patience.

I didn’t feel any of those today. In fact, even thinking about these things made me angry. I felt really ugly feelings. Everyone I saw was doing or saying something that I thought was silly or stupid or naïve. The only thing that felt like a good idea was shutting myself off from everyone and everything. When my husband tried to make a joke and brighten the mood I came back with sarcasm, sadness, or nagging.

No one would want to be around me. Not even myself.

What was this? I had been happy and energetic just days ago. Creativity was flowing and I had excitement around projects, including planning to bake my son’s birthday cake, planning his party, planning an anniversary trip with my husband, and connecting with friends.

Now, all of it just looked like stress. Stress I didn’t want. Stress that wasn’t worth any reward that would come from it.

So, I thought about writing a blog, but couldn’t get past this feeling. What was it? Then I remembered a South Park episode that perfectly defined what I was thinking. If you aren’t a South Park fan, it’s OK. I included a clip below:

Stan Has Cynicism

Stan is inundated with things that used to make him happy, like spending time with friends playing a video game, eating ice cream sundaes, and going to the mall. Except now all he sees is shit. Literal shit instead of an ice cream sundae. When he thinks of the mall he thinks of everything there he hates. When he thinks of the video game he only thinks of how the game could be better. Nothing is right, nothing is good, nothing satisfies. A doctor diagnoses him as a “cynical asshole”. Cynicism. That’s what I was feeling. I, too, was a cynical asshole.

Personally, I think that this cynicism I feel, whether it’s about work, friends, or projects, is a shield I put up for protection. I’m scared. Scared of not doing well at work, scared of uncertainty, scared of being rejected by my friends who I am self-conscious around and feel less than, scared of failing at anything I want to accomplish. The cynicism gives me the excuse to stop. Stop trying, stop being vulnerable, stop expressing myself. Unlike some of the other members in this community, I have very little experience with therapy. I don’t really have any profound wisdom about how to deal with it, but I can say that identifying it as a shield I’m using to hide my fear is a huge step that I don’t think I could have done without working on myself through meditation and reading books like The Gifts of Imperfection. There are a few things I learned from reading Brene Brown and from our wise friends Megan and Karly on the Facebook Live the other day that did help pull me out from cynicism:

  1. DO SOMETHING. Cynicism paralyzes. If everything is shit, why do anything? It’s a perfect excuse to not do anything. To wallow in our negativity. It’s the ultimate shield from letting anyone penetrate into our vulnerabilities, our desires, our failures. So, to combat cynicism I actually force myself to DO something, anything, and that helps a lot. Megan explained a fantastic exercise to help with this yesterday during our Facebook Live (if you haven’t seen it, go watch it!)
  2. PLAY. Brene Brown emphasis play as one of the guide posts for practicing wholehearted living. Honestly, play is something I struggle enjoying, probably because it’s impossible to be cynical while playing, especially while playing with toddlers. When I play I have to forget who I am and everything on my to-do list. I have to be 100% present, or my kids notice (very strict play rules in our house). They know when I’m having fun, and they have fun too. Play clears my mind and rejuvenates my soul. There’s nothing that putting on Michael Jackson and dancing with a 4 year old won’t cure, at least temporarily.
  3. MEDITATION. Cynicism sticks me where I am. Meditation helps me get unstuck and get beyond. Meditation reminds me that there is no “I”. There’s no future. There’s no past. There is only now. It reminds me that everyone I know, including me, will be dead someday sooner than I like to think about. These ideas make cynicism feel like a laughable waste of time. I like to think of meditation as giving me the superpower of now.

Do you ever struggle with crippling cynicism? What does it look like to you? How do you combat this feeling and allow yourself to honestly participate in all areas of your life?

The Problem With Receiving

When I pick up my kids from daycare, it always goes the same way. In the car on the ride home I ask my oldest (he’s almost 4) if he had a good day. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I get a yes. More often I get a blank stare or a “hrmph”! and a kick on the back of my seat. If I push it further he will say “I don’t want to talk”. I don’t blame him, he probably is inundated with questions and stimulation all day and just really wants to quietly digest it all. So, on one particularly awful day I decided to mix it up. As we pulled out of the lot, I flipped the script on him. “I had a really bad day today, Jonah”. He instantly looked concerned and interested. He asked why. I said “I made a mistake at work.” He looked confused. “But it was an accident?” “Yes.” He looked unimpressed. “What else happened?” he asked. “I feel like I didn’t do a good job at work today.” “What else?” This next one was hard to explain, but it was the last straw that almost brought me to tears. The icing on the cake of my bad day. “I forgot to bring an umbrella for us and that nice man had to give me one.” It was pouring. Jonah didn’t want to get too wet, so I was in the process of taking off my hoodie (while holding his little brother) to give to him. My plan was to run to the car and get the baby in, then let Jonah use my hoodie to stay a little dry as he got in. As I was doing this one of the Dad’s picking up his daughter at got out of his car with an umbrella. He asked if I needed one. I embarrassingly said yes, but stammered that I’d be fine, we just needed to go a short way. “No,” he said “take this, we get them all the time at work. Keep it.” I thanked him and promised I’d give it to him the next time I saw him. He reassured me it wasn’t necessary, and hurriedly got back in his car to leave. I felt not gratitude, but embarrassment, shame, and a lot of anger at myself for being unprepared. After I told Jonah the third reason why I was having a bad day he looked at me with a lot of confusion. “Why is that bad?” I couldn’t explain, so I said after thinking a few seconds, “I guess it’s not, honey, is it?”

As I was listening to the audiobook of The Gifts Of Imperfection the next day, something Brene Brown said hit me like a ton of bricks. “Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.” Now, that’s an ugly truth if I ever heard one. No one wants to admit that they don’t give with an open heart… I thought I did that? I take pride in being the fixer, the helper, the go-to for any crisis. Could I be judging everyone I helped as harshly as I judged myself for needing help? I don’t think I do this consciously, but rather unconsciously in the process of developing self-worth in the way Brown explains:

“I understand how I derived self-worth from never needing help and always offering it. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into ‘those who offer help’ and ‘those who need help’. The truth is that we are both.”

When someone needs advice, direction, or assistance I put them in the “those who need help” category. No one always wants to be in this category, right? I certainly wanted to be in this category as little as possible. I prided myself in being in the “those who offer help” category. I wanted to be one of those people who have their shit on lock so well that they always have time, energy, and ability to help. When I was offered the umbrella by the Dad at preschool, I was forced to look at myself as smack dab in the middle of the “those who need help” group. I needed help in more ways than one, too. I was (am!) in need of help in other areas too, since I was so overwhelmed with work and family that I was making stupid mistakes and thinking that I was existing on 4 hours of sleep a night just fine. I was not only a member of the “those who need help” group, I could be the exhausted, harried mayor.

Brene Brown suggests that the way to find your happy place in each group is to embrace connection. To give yourself permission to be imperfect, to fall apart, to need advice or assistance.

“If connection is the energy that surges between people, we have to remember that those surges must travel in both directions.”

Easier said than done, though, right? I found the rest of The Gifts of Imperfection incredibly helpful in making progress in this area and overall in striving to embrace my authentic self and live a more wholehearted life.

How do you receive? With an open heart or with judgment (on yourself or others)? I, for one, am going to start practicing giving and receiving from a more honest, open place.

Wanna help?

McDonald’s

I’m sitting at McDonalds writing. Getting shit done. While my kids are entertained. Not by me. Who cares if McDonalds food are made with processed ingredients, when they have an enclosed area where I don’t have to watch my kids? Lets be honest.

Being an introvert (a term I’ve come to resent no matter how truthful), going out of the house is not generally top priority for me. It’s a chore. It’s “UHHHH I have to shower and put a bra on!” and soooo many eye roll emojis. But my kids could not feel more opposite. “Mom can we go somewhere?”
“What? Out? Why? No!”
“Please, Mom, can we just go on a short drive? We don’t even have to go anywhere.”
Staring into my sweet extroverted daughter’s big, ocean-green eyes, I knew she was craving stimulation. She was desperately hoping to play with someone. She recently told me about 2 friends she met at the park and with sad eyes said, “I’ll probably never see them again.” She’s the literal definition of never-met-a-stranger.
I knew I didn’t really have a good reason not to go. I knew the park was out of the questions if I had any intentions of working, because despite its always promising plethora of things to entertain my children, they always still seem to want me to play. But the enclosed play area at McDonalds popped into my head, the way divine and unexpected ideas often do. Why had i never thought of this before?

“Ok, Children. Lets go to McDonalds.”
“What’s McDonalds?”

She asked again what this place was called when we pulled in the parking lot.

I have to say, hearing the question “what is McDonalds?” was sort of a proud mom moments for me. My kids have never eaten McDonalds. Only sad meals for them. Having food allergies keeps us from eating a lot of the go-to fast food places. But I’d still take great pride in our abstinence and pretend that it’s just my unwavering commitment to feed my kids real food–like gluten free pretzels from Aldi. AHHHHH yes, my love. Let me tell you about this money grubbing organization, with their Big Macs, and their pink slime, the germ infested play structures, and their creepy mascot clown. But as quickly as my self-righteousness geysered up I remembered this Facebook post I scrolled past today. A little toddler girl had never been given processed sugar by anyone in her LIFE! (And there were pictures to prove how unsugared she was—but she looked pretty damn normal to me.) And all I could think was: “ugh what assholes!”
And really how different was I, with all my self-righteous “we ain’t never been to McDonalds” fist pumps. And shed and her parents with her sweet little unsugared little body. In the end we all just do what’s best for our families. Maybe you eat sugar and McDonalds everyday but you actually want to play with your kids at the park? We are all just trying, right?

**Later that night as I was laying my kids down, we said our nightly prayers and gratitude. My sweet girl said “thank you God for taking me to McDonalds.” And try as we may, as hard as we can, we might not end up getting credit for it anyway.

Much love,

Karly

P+P- the gathering

“Do it. Just do it. No body cares if it sucks. Most people don’t even care about the great things out there so they most certainly aren’t going to give two shits about your sucky thing.” Side note: “Two shits” has always confused me as a term. Does giving one shit mean you care more or less about the thing? Anyway. This is how I start most of my creative projects. You know, those things where you put actual bits of yourself into something, so on the high probability that you get a critic, it could be potentially devastating… if you’re not all resilient and all. I ask myself: “What the hell do ya got to loose, Karly?!” That’s how I begin.

And that’s how Pigtails and Pantielines was born.

Last fall I was going through a serious third-life crisis/reckoning/cocooning/loosing my damn mind/ finding my damn mind/discovery/flowering/upheaval/comin’ to the edge/arrival–I could go on all day, folks. My 29th year on earth. Married for nine years. Three young kids. A flailing home-based business. A new-ish city. Almost zero friends. No money. And I was done. Done with it all. Imagine that scene from Game of Thrones where Daenerys Targaryen strolls into the tent of her captors and burns the mother down, people and all, and then she steps out of the ashes beautiful and naked, perfectly plush breast, a queen. That was basically going to be me, although I was pretty realistic about the position of my breasts on my chest. They just didn’t quite recover from breastfeeding three kids the way I’d hoped.

So there I was, still smoldering, not yet ash risen, complaining to a friend about all the things that were wrong in my life. All the ways I was held back. All the things I COULDN’T do. And, after my long rant, he finally asked: “Well Karly, what CAN you do?”

“Ummmmmmmmmm, I could start a meet up group and see if I can actually meet some people that I really connect with.”

“Would you actually do that?”

“UHHH mmmmm, yeah!” (See: paragraph 1 sentence 1 and 2)

Then I got to work creating the most ridiculous set of “guidelines” (see below) and name for these imaginary people that were definitely not going to join. But as it turned out, I wasn’t the only one desperately searching for more.

PIG TAILS AND PANTIELINES: Who we are…

This group is for imperfect moms who are ready to get real, stop bullshitting, pull off those mask of perfectionism, and start connecting with other tribe members, so that we can figure out how not only to survive this thing called motherhood, but to thrive in a world of suppose-ta-bes and supposed-ta-dos. This group gives moms a safe, judgement-free space to laugh, cry, and tell our stories. Because let’s face it, adulting is hard and we all need a safe place, a tribe of like-minded women who support and empower each other.

Group Moto

  • Laughing and crying will happen- We don’t know when and we don’t always know why, but when you’re in a safe space wrestling with the hard shit, both are bound to erupt like Mount St. Helen at some point, all of which will feel like it’s happening at the most inopportune time.
  • We don’t take ourselves too seriously- Who hasn’t forgotten a kids birthday, driven to work with your phone on the roof of the car, substituted breastmilk in your kid’s smoothie because you forgot to grab almond at the store, or strutted around the mall feelings pretty damn good about yourself only to realize your pants are unzipped and your matchy-matchy black outfit is actually a black and dark blue?  Seriously, ladies… we ALL do it!
  • Honesty- Honesty is hard and scary but absolutely critical to creating meaningful, authentic relationships.  And if you are joining this group, that’s what you’re after, right?
  • Confidentiality-  When your soul is lying buck naked in a room full of strangers, it is vital that nobody outside that room finds out about it.  We got your back, girlfriend.
  • Validation- This is PARAMOUNT!  We all come from different backgrounds and have different stories to tell.  And while it’s impossible for everyone to come completely judgement- and prejudice-free, it’s going to be really important for us to recognize our own inclinations towards judgement, and then validate, validate, validate anyway.

 

We want this to be a safe place!

  • No boys allowed- Penis-free zone. Not that we don’t love our guys, but there’s a time and a place, and this is not it!
  • Absolutely no politics allowed—unless we are all in agreement that Donald Trump is a d-bag (but how would we even know that?)
  • LOVE- Love, you guys–this is where it’s at.  We are from all walks of life and we don’t have to like everyone, but we always want to practice love and kindness towards those around us.

There it is. It was some sort of divine gathering. The universe heard our pleas. On that very first meet up, I met some of the most amazing human beings. We got each other. We asked real questions. Gave real answers. And we were feeling empowered and free by the amount of f-bombs we all felt comfortable dropping having just met one another. And that, my friends, is what we hope to offer here. None of us have this thing called life figured out–or this thing called blogging either, for that matter. We are all growing, learning, crying, and laughing together. And while you might not get much in the way of “how-tos” (which is a totally overrated practice in our opinion), we do hope to give you a lot of “me toos!” Because in the end, thats what we are all searching for, a safe place to belong, flaws and all.