Tuesday, February 13, 2018

To BYU or Not to BYU? That is the Question.

As much as I want to pay thousands of dollars to start having that dream again where I'm wandering around campus without pants, and I can't remember where my classes are, I'm just not sure if I want to go back to school. But it is my daughter's dream for us to go to school together. It use to be her dream for us to be roommates too until she married the dreamy Austin Anderson. She also dreams of Big Macs, laundry that folds itself and Lacrosse practices that don't start at 5:30 a.m., but I squirrel.

As terrific as it would be to wander campus with a big map in 20 pt font, I can think of a few problems:

There are so many other things I could be doing, like eating and sleeping and breathing, because I don't remember having time to do those things a bazillion years ago when I went to the BYU.

The major thingy. I think dance--that was my major before--is probably out now that I'm 20 lbs heavier and the only splits I'm doing are the banana kind.

Again, the major thingy. What in the world do I like enough that I want to study exclusively? Do they have a renaissance woman degree? Oh wait, that's motherhood, right?

Clothes. Can I wear stretchy pants? What about pajama pants? Are bras optional?

There's a good chance I might be older than most of my professors. If they ask me to do something I think is stupid, I might say something like, "That's stupid."

But I did some practicing last week. A friend and I went to Hank Smith's New Testament class with our daughters. When I wasn't stretching my neck trying to minimize my neck rolls, I was worried that I was breaking an honor code violation because you know I wasn't actually enrolled, and I had a wee bit of anxiety like the time I attended a full day of classes with my zipper down and thought the modesty police might write me up, but Bro Smith was happy to have us there probably because we brought some spiritual maturity to the class.

So when I wasn't worried about the honor police and my neck rolls and wearing pants, my brain did a little happy dance because it was entertained and it did a little stretch and I didn't want to say the word stupid once. Then later my mouth did a happy dance because we went to the Cannon Center and had a Navajo taco and I've missed those tasty guys.
Me and all my chins so happy to be arriving at that happy place again!

The lovely sight Bro Smith saw while he was teaching.

Can you see the "Y" behind us???

Navajo taco, only mine was bigger and had a pint of guacamole on top.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Mother Nose Best

I was eleven, in the church gym, trying to find my silhouette that I'd made for a mother daughter activity on the wall. I examined the half dozen or so pictures, but not one of them looked like me or at least how I thought I looked.

My friends giggled and "kindly" helped me identify my likeness. "Yours is right there; the one with the big nose."

I was mortified. From that moment, I knew I wasn't as good, wasn't as pretty as the rest of them and I felt embarrassed, almost ashamed, that I had not been aware of this before.

 It was also at that moment that I mounted a continual, relentless effort that ruled my thoughts and actions to shield the world from the unsightly horror that was my nose. During school, I literally kept my nose in a book, or hid by my hand, or my arms by putting my head on my desk. Anything to hide the horror that was my honker. I even took up sleeping on my face thinking that I could force a little bit of it back inside my head. Of course it didn't work, but for years I sported a line--just like a minus sign--across my nose.

I worried that people were staring at my nose. My bigger worry was that they would think I didn't know how ugly it was, so to eliminate any confusion, I made jokes about it.

If this wasn't bad enough, at thirteen I discovered I had chicken lips. This was pointed out to me by my "helpful" Young Women leader who was teaching us how to apply make-up. And I quote, "If you have chicken lips like Jill, you can blah, blah, blah. . ." The rest was kind of lost on me because just like the silhouette nose thingy, I had no idea my lips were offensive too. I had no clue that full lips were what I was supposed to want. Heck, some of my best friends were chickens. Seriously. But that's a different story.

So why am I writing all this? Because 40 years later I finally like who I am. I finally feel beautiful, not because of how I look, but because of how I feel.

I'm throwing out the "b" word because of that Dove commercial where they have the "beautiful" door and the "average" door and women have to choose which one to walk through. Beauty has got to be more than how we look. We all know people who are visually appealing but are "ugly" and plain or average people who are beautiful, glorious in fact. We can choose to be beautiful.

I am writing this because my beautiful daughter, who looks so much like me but is so much better in so many ways said she wanted a nose job. I was crushed. How much of my "nose" paranoia had rubbed off on her?

So my dear "T," forget about your nose, embrace beauty. A nose job might make you look different, but it would also contradict everything that I love about you: your ability to see the beauty in others; your ability to help others see the beauty in themselves; your abundant joy and happiness with life and its many opportunities; your ability to triumph over adversity; your ability to not take life too seriously. If you changed your nose, I'm afraid you wouldn't be able to see past the end of it.

I wasted so many years worrying about my nose, focusing on myself, that I couldn't focus on others. Nobody cares about your nose. They only care about how you make them feel. So, forget your nose (or your hair, or your weight or your crooked teeth--insert whatever insecurities you have here--and leave them here) and be beautiful.