Other random thought. It has been triple digits and it feels like the dog days of summer. Seriously, it’s only mid-May so the weather maker should take note. Our dear dog is ready for summer and was given a “haircut” over the weekend. I feel like I have a new hairless Chihuahua pup or something; he looks nothing like the retriever-weiner we claim him to be. (See before and after shot). It’s the same dog.
The term narcissism derives from Greek mythology. The young and handsome Narcissus became so obsessed with his beauty that he spent countless hours longingly staring at his reflection in a pool of water and fell in love with it. Myth states he eventually turned into the beautiful flower by the same name. I could delve into Freudian terminology but that would be a novel in and of itself.
To an extent narcissism is a healthy trait. You exude confidence and know how your appearance can affect an outcome. I don’t mean this in a sexual way; more in terms of sales or presentation. A slovenly, disheveled presenter will not bring the same respect as a formally suited, easy-on-the-eyes one. Sadly, our culture puts too much emphasis on youth, appearance and beauty. That’s what makes the fitness and fashion industries rake in millions of dollars annually.
Several of my girlfriends have gone to great lengths to preserve their beauty with plastic surgery: liposuction, breast augmentation, laser treatments, face lifts, botox, etc. Even my clinician, whom I adore, shares the names of her people. Family members have permanent make-up tattoos, undergone lap band/ gastric bypass and extensive dermabrasion. I find myself tempted, at times, to go the plastic route; especially looking at my sagging girth. This weekend, after nine months, I finally decided to step onto a scale and confront the reality of my changing figure; just in time for Mother’s Day.
Much to my mortification I realized I need to filter how I view my body. My youngest told his very attractive and curvy cousin, this weekend, that she was fat (which she is not). Though I never talk about people in this way my children hear me tell myself these words every morning. I avoid my full mirrored closets as much as possible, stare endlessly with disgust at my ever -tightening wardrobe and when the boys squish my squishy middle with affection, the words are spoken, unbidden. That makes me the opposite of Narcissus. My name would be Disgustus.
I suppose Mother’s Day is a form of narcissism. My husband orchestrated my sons to do my bidding. In reading Gary Chapman’s Love Languages I discovered that my love language is acts of service. Though gifts, words and physicality are nice, my modality leans towards doing and moving. Thus, my house was cleaned, my car washed, my meals cooked. Gardening had to wait due to the triple digits, though. The boys were not allowed to play any electronic items; no iTouch, computers, gaming consoles or TVs. I wanted a break from the white noise that, normally, permeates my four walls and traded it in for other tones. My middle son played the piano, my youngest read a book to me, the eldest hummed as he created scones for breakfast with tea; all on his own. The hubs sat outside with pet clippers, shaving our dog.
My phone vibrated with texts from my sisters, near and far. I had banned my family from using technology but I sat, Kindle and smartphone in hand, texting furiously back. I see what Ryan Seacrest means; though I am a GenX-er. I was told to relax and enjoy the day and so I continued to read Michael Pollan’s, Cooked:A Natural History of Transformation. Another battle I wage with myself is the process of transforming food. Whereas my other half can be found watching, Good Eats by Alton Brown, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef by Anne Burrell and anything Guy Fieri on the Food Network and creating tasty dishes; I observe and become the sous chef. When I cook I need a theme and a purpose, as if feeding my family is not purpose enough. Most days this is arduous duty.
I found myself purging my cupboards of colorfully wrapped junk. I put my Kindle down to rid myself of all these intensively researched commercial items of high fructose corn syrup. Industrial food corporations like: Nestle, Coca-Cola, etc. invest a lot of time and energy in making these items appealing to our eyes and taste buds. And it totally works! The kids were none the wiser as candy from Valentine’s Day and Easter moved to our trash bins.
I have always known that the transition into the family business would arrive. My journalling allows me to see the cycles and patterns I have gone through in my life since 1999; when I first began. With every move and transition the area in my life that suffers, the most, is my physical appearance. I begin to rely on my local Starbucks, choose to eat out and do not find enough time for more activity. I lean on the specialized food industry, usually fast and the result is the wider girth.
Once I recover from a transition, usually about a year, I fall into a routine. I am able to focus on things that require more of my time: notably putting meals on a table and physical activity. In times of stress I tend to be sedentary relying on: a dessert, a caffeinated beverage or quiet reading time to calm the nerves. I wish I was wired in the reverse. In times of stress I wish I would: go for a run, create fantastic meals and opt for the s-l-0-w. I find that as the years progress I can catch myself, mid-cycle (as I am now) and try to speed it up. Though boring; routine is my friend. I hope this is my last transition for some time. I imagine the next one will be when I send a child to college or a health issue becomes pronounced and I’ll have to deal with age and mortality; once again.
In the end, this all doesn’t matter. Dave snapped the shot of the boys and I at mass, and later in our pool, and made the comment about narcissism. I adore my sons; am excessively preoccupied with their well being. I love to snap photos of them at any opportunity, letting my eyes gaze upon them; seeing how their faces change. Do they look like their Dad or myself? In my household; none of the boys favor my genetics; not really. Does that make me a narcissist? I beg to differ. I prefer to call it being, a proud mother. I always am proud to stand with these three boys at my side. I birthed these little seedlings; my progeny I hope they ripen under God’s guidance to withstand all the seasons and storms life will bring them.