Thursday, September 19, 2013

What is Home?

The New York Times did a wonderful photo series called My Hometown made up of photographs taken by teenagers of their communities. There are a lot of really great photos and it's worth taking a look at all of them. It's interesting to browse them as a whole because it shows how while our life experiences can be so different, there is also something so universal about the human experience. Even though it's not the most beautiful of the shots, this one really got me for some reason. I think it's because it shows how much as parents we want to shelter our kids from pain - even if it's just the disappointment of losing a game. There is so much said on that father's face.

Monday, September 16, 2013

3 Things Worth Watching

Sometimes the best short films aren't traditional shorts at all.

(1) Flying Lotus "Until the Quiet Comes" played at the Sundance Film Festival this year. While it has the feel of an experimental short film, it was originally created as companion piece for an album release. The score is a compilation of music from the album it accompanies. It's an absolutely gorgeous film that effectively makes you want to go out and buy the album but also makes you think and feel.


(2) I find myself getting choked up when I watch commercials, more than I would care to admit. When I was pregnant, I think I cried like a baby every time I saw that ad where the dad loses photos of his newborn son but then realizes they're all saved in the cloud.

Then sometimes there are ads that almost work better as short films than they do at selling products. The fact that this is an ad for a Thai telecommunications company is almost an after thought to me. Try not to get choked up when you watch it. It doesn't matter that conceptually I've seen this story a million times before, it's still done so well that I cried when I watched it on my phone while sitting in my car in a Home Depot parking lot. 

(3) While this last one isn't really a short film either and ironically is actually longer than the other two, it tells an interesting story with very little. It starts off slow, but it's worth sitting through. Both a creepy and beautiful little experiment that melds the facial structures of different family members to shows the process of aging. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In My Skin

I've never been a woman whose been totally comfortable in her own body. I think there was a brief moment, freshman year of college, when I worked out like crazy to get back at an ex-boyfriend and felt pretty good about things. And then for a fleeting second when I graduated college, I remember not feeling too bad about myself. But for most of my life I've been a "t-shirt over the swimsuit" kind of girl. 

Plus, I'm a worrier. I worry about everything. Things that have happened, will happen and hypotheticals that will probably never happen. Before I was pregnant I worried about pregnancy. Truthfully, I didn't have a lot of faith in my body. I had no proof or reason to believe that the process women have been a part of since the beginning of humankind was going to be problematic for me, but I still had my doubts about my ability to pull it off. I worried about being able to get pregnant, about being pregnant and about childbirth. 

Ironically, it was pregnancy that changed things for me. The ship had sailed. I was on a journey and I decided to just accept it and stop trying to steer the ship. I stopped worrying about how I looked and about whether my body would do what it was supposed to do. Instead I enjoyed each new sensation. I was never more aware of my body but I was also never more comfortable in my own skin.

And then the worst thing in the world happened. I got really sick. One minute everything was fine and the next...something was really, really wrong. I had trusted my body to handle things. But it couldn't handle this. And I lost the baby. 

My body felt empty. My soul felt empty. 

Six months later I was pregnant again. I wondered if I'd be able to be so relaxed this time. Going through something like that changes you forever. But it also makes you realize that some things are REALLY out of your control. And in situations like that, stress really doesn't help. So I took a deep breath and set sail again. And this time I marveled at how amazing my body could be. 

Nine months later I had my amazing baby girl. And stretch marks. And a loose pouch of belly that I didn't have before. My feet are a little bigger and my hips feel a little wider than they did before I got pregnant. I haven't lost the baby weight even as I've watched my friends bounce back from their pregnancies. 

Yeah, I would love to lose the weight. But I don't regret the body changes. Instead I embrace them as badges of honor for the battles my body has been through and for all it's handled to bring an amazing person into the world. Even though there are a lot of things I would change, I've never felt more comfortable in my body, even when I was in bikini shape - for that one brief second. 

There is is this great project called The 4th Trimester Body Project. It's a photo documentary
dedicated to embracing the beauty inherent in the change brought to our bodies by motherhood, childbirth and breastfeeding. What a great idea. I'm not feeling quite brave enough to bare all for a book, but I applaud the women who do. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Out with the Old

I've always loved September. More than January it feels like the beginning of a new year. I think of freshly sharpened pencils and new clothes. Maybe because I'm an nerd who liked school and always did my summer reading. I've got no new pencils (or new clothes for that matter) but I did spend two hours on a conference call with an Oscar nominated actress and the director of an all-time top grossing film while in my underwear trying on shoes. It's called multi-tasking.

Closet cleaning is one of those new year / new season things to do. And this whole diet / eating well thing has been going quite well, so I thought I would sort some clothes and see if there were more than the two pairs of jeans I've been wearing to death that might actually fit me. Five pounds isn't life-changing, but truthfully - five pounds is probably the most I've lost at any point in time when I've tried to lose weight in the last few years - and I just lost it in a week!

I'm feeling pretty good about that - so I treated myself by spending six hours (about five hours more than I thought I would) cleaning out my closet. As a mom, you don't really get to spend six hours at home ever doing something like that so it felt a little like an island vacation. And if it meant I needed to take a conference call at the same time - so be it. Thankfully, it wasn't Skype.