Taking care of ourselves also involves just trying to BE ourselves. That’s easier said than done. We see billboards and commercials for thinner, better versions of the people we’d like to be. For the record, I count our own mirrored images as distorted comparisons as well.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 13.8 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures (both surgical and minimally-invasive) were performed in the U.S. in 2011, up 5% since 2010. Also 5.5 million reconstructive plastic surgery procedures were performed last year, up 5%.
My sister and I couldn’t be any more different if we tried. She’s small-boned, very petite, and weighs probably 115 lbs soaking wet. When she’s stressed, the last thing she thinks about is food. I’m tall, bigger-boned, not at all petite, and – well, we don’t need to go there. I’m a stress eater, unless I’m very anxious. Then I don’t eat.
As artists and craftsmen, how often do we compare ourselves to others? Whether you are a writer, knitter, painter, sculptor, mixed media artist, scrapbooker, playwright, actor, or carpenter . . . how many times have you looked at someone else’s work and said, “Why couldn’t I have done that?” OR conversely “I could have done that blindfolded with both hands tied behind my back!”
It takes a very secure person to be happy for another’s success, without reservation. In a book I’m reading, The Sister Knot, the author states it’s almost normal for sisters – or anyone, really – to feel jealous of each other at certain times throughout their lives.
At my meetings, it’s still, after over 1 1/2 years of attendance, difficult for me to share. I worry that I will sound funny. I think my share will seem thrown-together, not cohesive, and not nearly as fluid and confident-sounding as the OTHERS in the group. At a group I went to last Friday, a man shared. He stuttered, stammered, and it was very hard for him to share just a few words. After he spoke, I felt ashamed of myself.
Why do we do that? Why do we bother to compare? There is only one me. There is only one you. As far as writing or projects go (even if they have nothing to do with writing, if you are an artist this applies to you) I’m reminded of a sticker I often turned to during National Novel Writing Month last November. When I got discouraged I would look at it to boost me.
It said, simply, “Your story matters.”
Whatever you do, be it welding, gardening, crocheting, quilting, dog-training, remember that. YOUR STORY MATTERS.
Whatever your size, your eye/hair color, nose/lip shape . . . YOU. MATTER. SO. MUCH. Just the way you are.