©2020 THE SMILE PROJECT

Be Both - Res 41

October 22, 2017

Intro:

The New Year had me thinking a lot about goals, values, ambitions, motivations, life, and how excited I was to wear my new fuzzy socks. With all the talk of “look how far you’ve come in a year” and “can you believe that was only 1 year ago” I found myself even more reflective and nearly bubbling over with blog ideas – two of which involved writing about goals and values. 

 

At my old job, we had a list of working norms – kind of like guiding values – and each day at our morning huddle, we would say what working norm we were focusing on that day. I loved that idea. I mean, obviously, in theory, you were living into every positive attribute every day you walked into the office, but how nice it was to really put your heart and soul behind one guiding value each week. 

 

For this reason, I’ve decided to dedicate a new series of “Res” posts to my own kind of working norms – my own mini-resolutions. You don’t have to buy into any of these. You don’t have to make your own. But maybe at some point, it’ll make you think about what it would look like to radically change your life one week at a time.

 

Res 41: Be Both

Growing up with two older brothers and a neighborhood full of boys, I clung to my Converse with everything in me. I wore my hats backwards and convinced myself that I could do anything the older kids could do. I didn’t last long as Brownie (the precursor to Girls Scouts), likely because it cut into my tree climbing time. I didn’t make it too far as a dancer, similarly because it interfered with the time I would have spent perfecting my Pokemon deck.

 

I was a punky kid with an unstoppable spirit for doing the opposite of what people expected. In fourth grade, I picked the trombone to be different from all the girls in my class who were playing the flute. I seemed intent on tiny acts of rebellion and I lived for my tomboy reputation.

 

Because of this, I was continually repulsed my anything I deemed “too girly.” I had no interest in Barbie or Bratz dolls. I didn’t understand the point of makeup and the last (maybe only) time I had a manicure was a friend’s birthday party. All of my girlfriends were requesting French Manicures and beautiful glittery colors. I proudly strolled out of the salon with “green on this finger, blue on this finger, red on the thumb…”

 

Growing up, I put myself in a box. I was the sporty tomboy and that was that. There was no wiggle room there. No space for Mr. Rogers or Disney princess. I was all Power Rangers – all the time.

 

I’ve held onto some of those sentiments, whether I realized it or not, as I’ve grown older. I still love my Converse, but now I see that just because they may be the perfect go-to for some quick errands around the neighborhood, sometimes, you need to break out the high heels.  

 

I went home last weekend and sat at the kitchen table with my mom as we gave ourselves matching red manicures. I shook my hands emphatically, willing them to dry faster. Throughout the rest of the weekend, I found myself looking at the color on my fingertips. I couldn’t remember the last time I had painted my nails, but it felt kind of fun to see them in a different shade.

 

I returned to New York City, slightly chipped nails and all, and was lacing my sneakers for a run. As I stepped outside and tapped the button on my stopwatch, my eyes caught something else – red nails.

 

Resolution #41: Be Both

That’s when I realized something simple and profound – I could be both. I looked at the red nails that symbolized everything I shied away from as a young woman. I looked at the stop watch that has seen me through hundreds – no, thousands – of miles and represents so much of what I’ve place identity and self in.

 

And I realized I could be both. I could twirl in a sundress and later run through the rain, splattering mud up to my knees. I could be charm and chaos. I could have polished nails and messy hair and I could stop defining myself by antiquated stereotypes.

 

I’m not a punky tomboy or a put-together poster child for peace. I’m a sunflower sneaker, sweaty running visor concoction of light and love. Let go of whatever you are telling yourself you have to be. Say goodbye to molds that you were never born to fit into. You’re just you – and that’s enough.

 

Love always,

Liz

 

 

 

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