Monday, January 16, 2012

Things I Learned About Myself in 2011

A slightly late, slightly incomplete recap of things I realized in 2011.
  • I wear a lot of pink. I never though of myself as one of those girls who is obsessed with pink, but my friends at school started pointing out all the places there is pink in my life and I had a moment of truth. My favorite cardigan is mauvey-blush. My second-favorite cardigan is fuschia. My wallet is bright pink ostrich skin from South Africa. My fingerless gloves that I wear constantly are an antiquey rose. My Moleskine agenda was orchid pink. I love to use tourmalines and rubies in my jewelry. And on, and on, and on.
  • My fear of parallel parking was totally rooted in not knowing how to do it properly. I never learned in driver's ed back in the day, never lived in a city where parallel parking was necessary, and when I finally had to do it on a frequent basis in Maputo there was always someone around (building guard, parking attendant, etc.) to guide me in at the right angle. Last year I finally learned how to parallel park. I still get nervous, but at least I know what to do to correct a bad start. Before I was just blindly turning the wheel and hoping for the best. I'm amazed I never did any serious damage. :)
  • I love to run. I am addicted to running. I will make running a priority no matter how busy I get with school. I sign up for races and wake up before sunrise to get to the start line. I run in the rain. I run when I'm tired. Running is my miracle cure-all, together with dancing, but I'd always enjoyed dancing whereas running was possibly my #1 most dreaded and despised activity as a child and for most of my adult life. But now I've seen the light, and I doubt I'll ever stop. I'm at the point now where I unabashedly refer to myself as a Runner.
  • The BPM dance music station on Sirius XM is a godsend. Twenty minutes in the car with it at full volume will infuse me with energy and put me in an amazing mood. I have a little dance party in the car every single day. I'm sure I look a little ridiculous, but I don't care.
  • I learned a lot about how to dress for my body type last year. This may seem trivial to some, but I adore figuring out what looks good on me and what styles I should avoid come hell or high water (ahem. cropped pants, anyone?). I have a super long torso and short little legs. I am also blessed in the big-ol' hips/thighs department, have a tiny waist, and broad shoulders. 2011 was the year that I discovered dolman sleeves and horizontal stripes look really flattering on me (as long as the waist of the top is fitted at my waist), as do shorts over similar-colored tights. Who'd have thought... I also came to terms with the fact that I will never, ever look good in skinny jeans no matter how skinny and fit I may be. Ditto for crops or cuffed pants. I also bit the bullet and got rid of most of my dresses and skirts that hit mid-calf because my lifestyle doesn't really involve high heels anymore and they are absolutely necessary to pull off that otherwise dowdy, stump-ifying length.
  • I also got rid of nearly all of my black clothes. Yes, black is classic and elegant, but it just seems too harsh for me. I wear black and feel like I'm in costume, as if I were wearing things out of someone else's wardrobe that are clearly not "me". I still wear black to work out, but somehow that's different.
  • 2011 was a year in which I let go of a lot of obligations. Specifically I gave myself permission to sever ties with some people I didn't want to have a relationship with, be it unfriending someone on facebook, or just putting significantly less effort into the friendships/family ties that added a negative tone to my life. It felt good. I have no regrets.
  • I fully owned the fact that I am compulsive, hyper-organized, competitive, type A and all that jazz. I have control and trust issues. I am known to freak out if my jewelry supplies are messy or the kitchen cabinets aren't organized according to optimum functionality. I feel soothed when I write my schedule in my paper agenda. My favorite thing ever is to write in engagements and doctor's appointments and dance classes for the whole semester or even the year. I like to do my taxes (and I do them on paper!) and find the whole exercise very comforting. I spend much of my free time organizing drawers or my closet or color-coordinating labels in my sketchbook. What's really funny is that because my mom is the most organized person on the face of the earth, I spent most of my life thinking I was a messy, laid back, non-compulsive person because I had her as my example of what it meant to be the opposite. In Mozambique, I started to get a hint at my true colors when, under extreme stress in Chimoio, my default reaction would be to fold and organize my clothes and rearrange things in the pantry according to size and shape. But it took me going to art school to really understand what a compulsive, organized person I really am. :)
  • I'm also increasingly aware of how hard it is for me to be on vacation and relax. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love to do nothing. Few things top a lazy weekend at home with cats and trash tv and sunbathing. But something happens when I'm officially on break. It's like a switch flips and I become a basket case. Having all that free time freaks me out. I don't know what to do with myself, yet I become hyper-aware of all the pending items on my to-do list, of my unmet goals, of the 1,001 things I should or could be doing. I never feel productive enough, yet often am so tired and in desperate need of a break that I can't bring myself to get things done. I think I've become used to the crazy rhythm of school. Life seems normal and I am happy when I have too much on my plate, it seems. Something about the constant get-up-and-go is better than the inertia that results when I step off the wild ride. Go figure...
  • 2011 was a tough year in that I've never worked so hard, but things are starting to come together. What makes it possible is that I have an amazing support base. Rico is, in a word, amazing. I often joke that I hit the husband lottery. My core family is loving and encouraging and kind. The cats are fat and happy. I have good friends. I am in better shape than I've ever been in my entire life. I feel determined, aware of what I want to accomplish going forward, content to work myself to near exhaustion during this period of apprenticeship.


Stefanie S said...

Lovely. Just lovely.

You just go from strength to strength. Smile.

The Blind Observer said...

Thanks for these fascinating insights into your life, you continue to amaze me at just the right moments. ;-)
Keep well...

Mandi said...

Yay, another convert to running! I find it's such a nice balance and outlet, and I always feels so incredible afterwards. Gotta love the runner's high.

Also, it's nice to know that someone other than me get such neurotic joy out of organizing her calendar (and everything else). :)

Lisawhite said...

I wish more people would write blogs like this that are really fun to read. With all the fluff floating around on the internet, it is rare to read a blog like yours instead.