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Your Face/My Face July 6, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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Several days ago I took my children to the local water park. It was a hot day filled with an over-abundance of roiling heat, noisy children, and a crush of bodies. The water park provides a lap pool, which I utilize, and a pool for small children — both indoors. Outside there is a lengthy lazy river pool, a children’s water playground, and four ridiculously tall, curving slides. After my children abandoned me to one of the aforementioned delights, I sat on my towel and grabbed my latest read: Discovering Roswell. I slipped my finger between the pages held by my bookmark and took one last glance around the water park, searching for the familiar blonde heads of my children. I didn’t see them but wasn’t alarmed and, instead, my attention was diverted by something else.

Women.

Anyone who has ever gone to a water park, local swimming pool, the lake, or the beach, has seen women aplenty running amok in their swim suits. Because stores vie for the most sales during the swim suit season there are plenty of colors, designs, and patterns. Such variation. But, again, this is not what truly caught my attention. I noticed the swim suits, sure, but what I really took note of was the behavior exhibited by these women.

For instance the smiling brunette with the long legs and bright red bikini providing standard coverage. Her legs dredged through the calf-high kiddy playground as she moved from one side to the next where she met some alarmingly attractive man. The man isn’t the point. Or maybe he is. Amid the joyful screaming of the children, the multitude of water-spraying canons, the heat, the crush of bodies — the brunette moved confidently. Her arms swung at her sides as though forgotten and they certainly weren’t used to cover this spot or that spot — some seemingly flawed portion of her body only she could see. (as is the way). She was confident.

Then there was the tiny, big-breasted blonde lying in the shallow side of the kiddie playground with her arms stretched behind her to prop her body forward as she sunbathed. This one wore practically nothing but the practically-nothing was white and cute. She knew it. It’s possible no one paid her any attention whatsoever but judging by the way she held her body — stiffly with unnatural angles caused by her legs and head (meant to show to the best advantage) — she thought everyone was watching her.

Someone was watching her. An overweight woman with long red hair curled up into a bun on the very top of her head. The red-haired woman chose not to wear sunglasses that day and her squint only emphasized the other creases in her face. The bathing suit she chose was probably suitable, probably respectable, but it didn’t look right on her at all. The plain brown one piece was covered with baggy beige shorts, meant to provide additional covering where the woman deemed necessary. She glanced at the woman in white and then pretended not to glance down at herself before moving away to some shady spot where her towel waited for her.

There were more of them but instead of my minute inspection of each and every one I began to sort of…catalog them. The ones who wore skirts with their suits. The ones who wore one-pieces versus two-pieces. The ones whose arms behaved like darting shields to cover bits of their bodies as they walked. The ones who walked as though they wore a business suit and had no fear.

And then I thought. How different would we be, self-consciously, if everyone looked exactly the same? If each of the women in that water park had the exact same face and the only real concern we had for whether anyone liked us or not, was related only to our personality? You would know if you were liked, or loved even, just for being you. And only for that reason. There’s a kind of security in such an idea. I appreciate individuality and uniqueness in people and especially in myself. But I wonder how different we would be, how different our relationships would be, if the only thing to be seen was what you couldn’t see?

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up… May 9, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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I can’t tell you how many times I bemoaned the fact I was a child, when I was a child, nor how many times I was told to appreciate being a child while I could.

Phewy! Phewy I say! Who would ever want to be a kid? You can’t drive anywhere, go wherever you want, eat whatever, do whatever, or say whatever you want. Forget seeing childhood as a gift…I wanted to be an adult every day. It wasn’t even one of these things where the situation had to be me not getting my way in order¬†for me to throw out my bottom lip, cross my arms over my chest, and make claims to being an adult someday. (said in my head, of course, because I didn’t need to be smacked for giving my parents lip).

Why is it that from a young age we immediately want to be the King of the Castle? Feel the need to be in charge and do things our own way? Are we born with some explosive independence that, from minute one, is fighting to get out? For eighteen years (some less than that) we live with our parents. Why, for the love of god, would we be born with independence? What a laugh someone must be having up there.

Babies turn their head away from the spoon when you try to feed them something they don’t want. Toddlers insist on picking out their own clothes…man, to have such a fashion opinion at 4. Incredible. When they ask you for help on their homework and you point out a couple of things, all the sudden “okay, I can do the rest on my own.” Not that I’d complain about this one, but…really. I feel used. ūüėČ

As a kid I was even okay with the idea of having to hold down a job…figured I’d look snazzy in a suit anyway. And I was smart and capable (and slightly delusional).¬†I tell my kids the same thing my parents told me…appreciate being a kid while¬†you can. Seriously. Do you think you’ll have another opportunity with a built-in exuse for laziness? I would never, ever say that school is easy — the curriculum may not be all that¬†tough but let’s face it…kids are jerks. So no, school isn’t easy. But it isn’t like working. It isn’t like having to work to feed yourself and other people; to pay bills. I imagine it must be pretty darn cool to have someone else buy everything you need, make your dinner, and fold your laundry. OH! And this 3-month summer vacation? Say adios to that. Unless you work for the ISD.¬†And while we’re making a list of all the things you’ll lose once you become an adult…might as well add the¬†guilt-free pleasure of naps.

Today I am 32-years old and now that I understand what all those old stodgy people were telling me when I was a snot-nosed kid, I make sure to sing along every time the Toys R Us¬†commercial comes on. For a minute I can pretend I’m five-years old, riding my rocking horse and really mean it when I sing I don’t wanna grow up…