From Goofy to Beautiful

I promise that the next post won’t be political at all. In fact, it will be both metaphorically and literally superficial. But not today.

The night before the march I still hadn’t gotten around to choosing what to say on the other side of my sign. Then I was chatting with my sister who wasn’t going to a march, and she seemed pretty bummed about missing it. On impulse I said that I’d do something to bring her with me. I had noticed that one of our neighbors had been taking names to bring along to DC. Really, the idea felt slightly too hokey for me and my personality. But then it came to mind when my sister sounded sad, and since I told her that I’d bring her, I had to find a way.

I ended up putting it on Facebook, and next thing you know I had a huge list of names of people who were not going to be marching in person but wanted to “join the march” in spirit (if you click on the picture, you can see it better). There was such a big response that I was adding names for the rest of the evening and again in the morning, and when people on the bus saw it, some of them asked me to add their friends’ names and took pictures to share. I ended up “carrying” more than fifty extra people with me through the march.

And somewhere along the line, it stopped feeling hokey and felt meaningful. It was such an easy thing to do, and yet people were so grateful to be included. And I felt honored to carry them with me.

I’ve started another season of Girls’ Circles with WGGS, and after hearing about the idea from some other muses, my partner and I have decided we’re going to start each circle with some affirmations. On our first meeting, the girls liked the idea, and we talked about words that they thought described them–or that they wish that they believed describe them. After long discussion, we came up with a list to say at the beginning, as in “I am strong. . . .” Having each described ourselves, we end it by looking at each other and saying “. . . and so are you.”

The first time we said it, it was a little awkward, which we acknowledged. And I said, “This might feel a little goofy and embarrassing, but we’re going to keep saying these words until it stops feeling goofy and embarrassing and it starts feeling good.” And you know what? It’s started feeling good already.

I feel like, in both of these situations, I’m expanding the comfort zone a little bit. In the same way, I’ve made more political phone calls in the last couple of weeks then in all my other years combined. And I hate making phone calls. And I’ve talked to people who hate making phone calls, or don’t feel informed enough to make phone calls, and that’s frustrating. Because it’s not just good for the country; it’s good for the person making the calls (Daily Action makes it as painless as possible).

I try to remind myself that doing uncomfortable things can be good for me. Around the house, when the girls are doing something that feels stressful or new or uncomfortable, I remind them of my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quote (“Do one thing every day that scares you”) and that feeling scared, stressed, or uncomfortable leads to growth. More than that, I sing out, “You’re growing! You’re blossoming!” And of course I’m acting over-the-top and silly there. But it’s true.

They are growing. They are blossoming. And so am I.

One Comment

  1. Big Sister

    You know that old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” Well, it is a crock. And the inverse is true, words can empower. Words are powerful. Positive affirmations can change behavior. You are on to something wonderful. (And I appreciate you carrying me to the march!)

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