It’s the last week of month! You know what that means! Well, maybe not, since I still haven’t done the giveaway from last month. BUT if I had then you’d know that the last week of the month is the giveaway week! Because I’m good with the big picture and bad with the small details, the winner of the giveaway that should have happened last month will now be announced along with the winner of this weeks’ givewaway! Read through to the bottom for details!
This week we’re assembling our superhero tools. Don’t blow this week off…you are going to need every tool you have in the weeks to come. All the things that you value most to wear, eat, hear, read, craft, and help you through the day are to be included in your superhero arsenal.
Some of you overachievers already have your tools assembled. I don’t want you to get bored, so here’s a bonus part to this challenge:
DO SOMETHING WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT!
FILM OR PHOTOGRAPH IT!
SHARE IT (either on the freeplaylife facebook page OR by using the hashtag #fplphoto on twitter or instagram)
I’ve gotten some comments about how you still remember old dance routines from high school to songs you still listen to. I’ve heard about silly songs you made up years ago that you still sing. I’ve caught wind of weird and wacky talents that you never show anyone. Rumor has it you might have a kickass Cher impersonation when you Karaoke “Do You Believe In Life After Love”.
I want to see that shit!
And in fact, I’d love for your friends to see that shit. Facebook is always a good forum for such nonsense. I’m really big on this sharing idea because when you allow yourself to shine and be who you are, you give permission for everyone else to do the same. I guarantee that when (or, if!) you assbooked, there were a handful of people who thought you were batshit crazy and then 490850394583 more who laughed and thought differently about their own asses after that. These challenges are designed to rid your life of the haterz and fill them full of the mobs of lovers. Not literally lovers, mind you, but more like the people that love you. Unless you’re single and then I wish for you mobs of lovers and people that love you. Not that I’m excluding you married people from good loving! So I guess I do wish lovers for you, only not so many. As in, just one. I wish for you a mob of lover.
Anyhoo, now I’m all hot and bothered and forgot about the point!
I’ll start fresh with a new point. I’ll share an example of what I mean about doing some performance art with your superhero tools. Last month Naturalist and I got dressed in some superhero garb and hooped around to my superhero song. I’ve got it all here…hoop, long socks, sunglasses, camera, and I’m shimmering with body glitter. What I lack in coordination and ability when I hoop I make up for with happiness and play! I’ve only been hooping for 3 months, so just about everyone is better than I am. That’s kind of the point. The goal is to be good with where you are in life, what you have, and what you can do. Love it in all it’s imperfection! If I can do it, so can you.
Any video or photo uploaded this week will be counted as double when I write your name down for the giveaway. Yes, I promise I will actually do the giveaway this month! Both giveaways, actually!
How to qualify for the giveaway:
leave a comment on any post this week!
post a self portrait or superhero tools photo on twitter or instagram using the tag #fplphoto
post a self portrait or superhero tools photo directly onto the freeplaylife wall
How to qualify for double entry into the giveaway:
post a video of you doing something while wearing your superhero garb or using your tools in some way
write a blog talking about the challenges you’ve done so far with a link to freeplaylife. Leave a comment with a link to it so I know you’ve done so
So there we go. Easy Peasy! Go forth and superhero the shit out of life!
This is the last challenge of February, and it completes the “Superhero” theme of the month. Next week will start a brand new month with a brand new theme and brand new awesome challenges…keeping the ideas that we’ve already worked with but expanding them in a different area of your life.
I’ve asked you to think about yourself as a child and build your own superhero persona because you’ll need both of them along on this journey towards a more authentic, joyful, whimsical life. The idea sounds so frivolous and easy, but it actually will be one of the more growth inducing and challenging efforts you’ll ever undertake. If it weren’t so difficult, we’d all be those things already!
Last week you created your own superhero, and I also shared a picture of my superhero tools:
These are the things that make my heart happy. Not just happy, but whole. I wholeheartedly love these things! As you can see, it doesn’t require much: a hula hoop, some hipster sunglasses, a little sparkly body glitter, long colorful socks, my Canon camera, and my chucks.
This week, think about what your superhero tools are and take a picture of them. If you’re on instagram or twitter you can tag them with #fplphoto so I can find them! If you don’t have a way to share the photo (or, take one…although it boggles my mind that not everyone has the need to take 4385048950 pictures a day like I do!) you can leave a description of your tools in the comments on the blog or on the freeplaylife facebook page!
Figuring out what your tools are can be difficult, because it requires you to have a pretty good understanding of what makes you happy and what you want in your life. Usually I’m too busy mopping floors, folding laundry (or, at least stuffing the clean stuff into piles to maybe be folded if a miracle of organization occurs before they need to be worn again), feeding hungry mouths and administering copious amounts of TLC to my kids to really have time to think about that kind of ‘self actualization’ shit. But I’m here to reinforce the idea that the best way you can fill the needs of your family is to make it a priority to fill your needs also. So as tricky as it is, take some time to think about your superhero tools: the things that you love in your life; either what you wear, listen to, eat, craft, are good at, or use as a hobby.
Don’t blow this challenge off! I know there are some of you that like to lurk along and pick and choose. And that’s cool. I’m all about saving energy and slacking off when the time is right…hitting things hard when they’re worth my time. To those of you like me, let me just say that whether you think this is worth your time or not, IT IS TOTALLY WORTH YOUR TIME. SO DO THIS ONE, BITCHES!
I’m sorry I yelled at you. I hate to yell at you. But sometimes you’re kind of stubborn and ornery. And sometimes I need to emphasize!
I’ll expand on this idea tomorrow, but in the meantime, think about your superhero tools and start compiling them in one place for a photoshoot.
I’m getting ready to head off to Las Fucking Vegas for the weekend, to meet up with some of the best girlfriends ever. (heh, I mistyped that as ‘girlfiends’ and am really tempted to keep it like that…) We live all over the country, so this is going to be a rare treat. Here’s the kicker…do you want to know how I knew many of them were going to be my BFF’s? A majority of them owned rainbow socks before we even knew each other. Rainbow socks! It’s a sign! And sure enough, these women are all like gold to me.
I wouldn’t have known this if I hadn’t found that long bright socks were part of my superhero garb. And in fact, when I put my rainbow socks on not everyone likes them. People can be kind of douchey about it actually. But I’ve reached a nice point in my existence of caring more about what I think and feel than about what other people think and feel. Otherwise, I couldn’t wear even half of my superhero outfit. I remember I was in Colorado, packing to move to So. Cal, and I was losing my mind and couldn’t deal with one. more. thing. So I cut my hair into a boy cut. I started wearing jeans and a tank top. I discovered I loved reflective aviator glasses. I got a tattoo. Tattoo’s, by the way, in my former religion are so verboten that when I came back showing off my newly inked wrist, Golfer (at 8!) was really worried they wouldn’t let me back in church again. I stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the other suburban mothers in the area…but I’d started unschooling by then so sticking out was kind of par for the course. It felt so fantastically me for the first time in my life, regardless of what other people thought.
Yada yada yada, 6 months later I moved to West Hollywood. I had just separated from my then husband. I was feeling confused, alone, sad, and insecure to say the least. I went out for my first walk around the neighborhood with Frito, my small shih tzu. It didn’t take long before I noticed something. For the first time in my whole life, I fit in. Before this, when I “fit in” it was because I was trying to be as normal as possible which didn’t actually feel all that comfortable. But now, after choosing how I wanted to look regardless of how inconspicuous it made me in small town Colorado, I found myself perfectly at ease in urban city Los Angeles. Everywhere I looked…people walking small dogs. Everyone in aviators. Cute hair. Badass tattoos. Jeans and tanks tops galore. I had found my tribe, which was as surprising to this formerly mormon girl as it was to all my newfound friends that happened to be gay.
I know it’s only hair, clothes, external things. But that doesn’t make it superficial. If anything, being outwardly expressive of an inner feeling/passion/creativity is a really empowering way to be authentically you. And ironically, the more you clothe yourself in your style, the more naked you might feel by putting it all out there. It’s vulnerable to show yourself.
If you can do this, though, the quicker you can weed out the douchebags who will always have an opinion about how you look. I joke that having a shaved head is like walking around with a douche detector on my head. A guy I was seeing at the time looked me up and down when I unveiled my head and casually remarked, “So. When are you growing it back out?” And wow, in all the 5 months I knew him, it wasn’t until right then that I realized he was kind of a douche. The more you show yourself, the less amount of time you have to suffer fools. And, on the happy side, the more you show yourself the quicker you connect with other people who value and appreciate your self expression. It’s really a win/win.
I am so much happier in my connections and relationships the more authentic I am with myself. After a lifetime of feeling like I had to hide my true self in order to fit in, it’s fucking awesome to have a supportive network of people around me that encourage and embrace me for who I am…craziness and all. And others welcome me in to their craziness, and that’s when the real party starts.
There’s a post over at Breaking Daylight where she talks about her Superhero path, and what she’s found out about herself on it!
There’s also a post over at Eclectic Reality where she talks about the moment in her life when she started hiding her superhero self (all the way back in high school) and what it’s like for her now that she’s reconnecting to that power again.
And now, you must excuse me…I have packing to do. You better believe that all of us superheroes are stepping out in Vegas with our sparkly, long socked, aviator wearing, hula hooping selves! And we’re going to laugh, and play, and validate the shit out of each other! You are welcome to join along in your own way and in your own costumes and with your own friends. I’ll also be tweeting our debauchery, at least the parts that are fit to share.
Lots of people, me included, got our kids involved and helped them make their own superhero avatar too. I saw all three of my kids avatars next to my own and wished I had a sewing machine and the proper sewing knowledge to make the costumes that we’d chosen for our superheroes. The good thing about being unschoolers is that the “regular” population assumes we’re pretty crazy anyway, so it makes it that much more acceptable to not follow the norm. All I have to do is mouth “we’re unschoolers” and that explains everything. To the people who know what unschooling is, anyway. To the uninitiated then we’re the ones giving them the idea that unschooling = crazy. I love that.
So, yeah. In our street clothes, we look like this:
Even in our street clothes, we stand out. It might have something to do with three shaved heads and a girl with a rainbow mohawk walking around together.
I’m not naturally inclined to stand out like this. And it took me a while before I was OK to have my kids stand out like this. I was born and raised to understand that the most important things to be in life are normal, nice, and acceptable. And here we are walking around looking nothing like normal, nice, and acceptable people.
What made the difference? Finding my own superhero. Realizing that she’s always wanted to rock a shaved head. Realizing that she finds normal really boring and very depressing. I’ve kind of been a superhero in training the last couple years, and the more I listen to what it is that part of me wants, the better I get at making choices for myself. No one can hear that voice or make those choices for me…the path towards superherodom is paved with self reliance.
The superhero in me started seeing and honoring the superhero in everyone around me…including my kids. So when Naturalist said she wanted to shave her head too, I surrendered all my parental fears about her femininity, appearance, and maybe poor choice and allowed her to undertake her own superhero in training path. When Sassy said she wanted a rainbow mohawk (something she’s asked about since she was 2) I did the same. It’s never too early to embark on the path of the superhero!
You’ve never seen a kid so freaking happy about their hair. When it’s not in full mohawk mode, she looks like real life rainbow dash.
I’m not immune to the looks and stares, or to the points or whispers when we all walk by. Before I valued my inner superhero, I wouldn’t have let either daughter change their appearance like that. I would have been more like the people who have come up to tell me, “My daughter wants to shave her head, but I told her I’d kick her butt if she did!” When I asked the woman for more details, she said “well, you know, she’s a Mary Kay rep and she needs to look pretty!”
It’s amazing how clearly spelled out just how narrow our society’s vision of beauty is when you veer away from it in look, appearance, or style. It’s a powerful force, the idea of “normal” and “fitting in”. No one wants to be left out or ostracized, and no one wants that for their kids. It’s why parents pick out clothes for their children instead of letting them assemble something like rainboots with a tutu, checkered shirt and sequined vest. It’s why we are so invested in their hairstyles (I can’t count the number of times moms come up to me saying, “I would never let my kid do that”), fashion, attitudes, manners, sports, hobbies…etc., etc.
The best way we honor our own authentic voice is to follow our individual superhero path. Spiderman could never be Superman who could never be the Hulk.
The best way we honor our kids own authentic voice is to step back and allow them to follow their own individual superhero path.
Yes, they will make mistakes. Yes, so will you.
If what they want has no permanent consequences, then I leave it up to them. Hair, clothes, food, sleep…these are all things that superheroes in training need to figure out. I find ways to support their path while being realistic about the consequences. When Sassy said she wanted a rainbow tattooed across her face I suggested perhaps a marker rainbow would be better for now.
When Naturalist and her teenage mind go clothes shopping, the superhero in me–long socks, aviator glasses, feather earrings and all–recognizes that the superhero in her will need to explore and try lots of things before settling on her superhero outfit. Some of her choices I LOVE, and some I really can’t stand. But it goes both ways. She wasn’t fond of this sparkly number I picked out. And that’s OK. We’ve learned that superheroes don’t dress the same, but they all need an outfit. So we respect that even if we disagree about what makes a good superhero frock.
Respect that the people around you are, like you, superheroes trying to find their own powers. Especially your kids. After all, self reliance is one of the most powerful tools a superhero can equip themselves with. It takes trial and error. It takes courage to follow your inner voice rather than all the outer voices with other ideas…and to allow your child the same benefit. It takes trust in yourself and your kid.
Looking back down the way we’ve come, though, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Superheroes rock, and it’s never to early to start!
I think I’ll make Fat Tuesday an entire week and then skip the giving up of anything I enjoy for 40 days. I’ll see everyone on the flip side of that!
It’s not because I lack the willpower to go without something I love and enjoy for 40 days. I wasn’t raised Catholic, I was raised Mormon. And let me just say, it’s as if the LDS leadership got together back in the day and said, “hey, if those Catholics are proving how faithful and awesome they are by going without for 40 days, imagine how much more awesomer we’ll be by going without for our entire fucking lives!” Except replace “fucking” with “flipping”, ‘cuz we even go without swearing.
So…yeah. I was in a state of perpetual Lent for 36 years. No drinking, no smoking, no sex (except with appropriate marital partner!), no porn, no R rated movies, no swearing…I know what it takes to do without. To lean on God. To sacrifice for a higher idea/spiritual experience. To put off today for an idea of getting something more and maybe better later. Although now that I’ve had whiskey, I don’t know how much better it can get. So even though everything I’ve done since leaving my religion has put me squarely outside of a heavenly sphere I think I’m OK with that. I don’t want to go anywhere that Bourbon isn’t flowing freely like a fountain of fucking awesome.
I don’t mind if other people are religious. I was religiously religious for a long time! But I woke up one morning and realized that even if Heaven had candy trees, all you can eat chocolate dessert buffets every night, the ability to fly & breathe underwater, and nothing but peace and happiness for eternity…it still wouldn’t make up for spending my entire life miserable. And I was. Miserable. So fucking miserable. Probably because I couldn’t say the word fuck when I was fucking unhappy. I couldn’t say certain words to express myself. I couldn’t have some wine to take the pressure off for a few hours. I couldn’t unwind at certain movies. That’s not what drove my unhappiness, but it sure didn’t help. I mean, how was I supposed to know that I do my best cleaning after a whiskey & coke? Or that movies with outrageously inappropriate sexual innuendo would make me laugh so hard? Or that I’m much nicer after 5:30 pm if I’ve had a glass of wine? All these things make my life so much better!
My unhappiness came from not feeling like I could be myself without judgement. Because all those things that I couldn’t do…that God definitely didn’t like? I fucking loved them! Or, I would have, but I felt so badly about it that I never did any of it. I was told that was wrong wrong wrong. It was a quick leap between those things being wrong and ME being wrong wrong wrong for potentially liking them so much.
When I left my childhood faith, my life order switched quickly. Instead of sacrificing “now” in favor of a long term “heaven”, I’m kind of blowing off heaven in favor of an immediate now. Some in my family and friend circles are appalled, I know. You know in the bible when it says that the sinners say “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die”…I don’t see what’s wrong with that. This makes me a sinner in their eyes, I guess. An outcast. But I’ve never felt more connected, more non judgemental, more compassionate, or more profoundly grateful. If now is all I’ve got, then it’s a valuable commodity. Life is rare and precious when it’s taken out of context of something even better coming on down the line at a later date. Without something better, then I feel really responsible to help make the moments I have count.
I still talk to God…it’s hard to stop praying if you’ve been taught to do it since birth. But instead of doing it out of fear and obligation, I do it to shoot the shit. I do it meaningfully, less like a prayer and more like those heartfelt talks that only seem to happen at dive bars at 3 am.
So, anyway, all that to say that my lifetime of Lent makes me exempt from any more time spent giving up something that makes me happy now. It means I don’t have extreme binges like Fat Tuesday, or an obsession with getting the next 40 days over with so I can do cool shit again. Instead, I remain content in the moment, neither wishing for it to go faster or slower.
I guess, in solidarity, I’ll do more drinking this week of my fat tuesday. And for the next month I’ll give up self loathing, shame, and guilt. How’s that? Anyone else on board?
Bitches! We have 2 weeks left to establish our superhero status. You are a superhero…have been since birth…but now’s your chance to really claim it this year. So far this month we’ve found our theme song and discovered a little more what our superhero garb is. Even if you’re still not sure about either of those things, the point is you’re on the lookout. As long as you’re aware of what you’re looking to find, things have a way of finding you out!
This week, challenge #6, is all about superhero tools.
Spiderman has his sticky strong web.
Thor has his mighty big hammer.
He Man has his hefty sword.
Batman has lots of things all over…fancy belt, cool car…he’s tricked out.
Wonder Woman has her lasso of truth. (wtf is that shit?!? I’ve always thought she got robbed, even when I was 9 and watching the Justice League. A lasso? That makes people tell her the truth?! Lame!)
What do you have to help you along on this journey through life?
What are the tools that helps your superhero ass out?
What does your superhero look like?
I’ve thought about this question for the last 2 years. It’s taken me about that long to figure it out, but I’ve never been accused of being a quick study. Do you want to see what my tools are? The things that keep me going on this freeplaylife path of awesome?
All I need:
badass Hula Hoop
hipster sunglasses (or some sweet aviator shades, but my last pair just broke)
long patterned socks
For whatever reason, my psyche has attached more than a surface meaning to these items. These give me a ridiculous amount of joy in my life, which I didn’t know until I started asking myself “what do you want? what makes you happy?” The same questions you’re asking yourself. If you don’t have the answers, like I didn’t at first, then do what I did: explore. push past your own comfort boundaries. say yes to experiences you’d normally say no to.
The year I spent in WeHo was a whirlwind of new sights and sounds. Mom’s night out up there in the big city consisted of drum circles, luchador wrestling , burlesque performances, tandem yoga on the beach, bar crawls, and back alley musical concerts. I’d never done any of that, but opened my life up in an attitude of yes and so decided to just jump in and try. I even took regular pole dancing classes that a friend offered. I didn’t continue with the pole when I moved down to the OC, but it’s where I learned about body glitter and that goes with me everywhere!
Your superhero tools will be things that you do just for you. They are the things that soothe you after a stressful day. They will fill you up with a happiness independent of what you’re doing, where you are, what has happened. They’re almost like security blankets, or a calm in the storm. Maybe you garden after a long day? Knit? Drink wine? Sing? Sew? Scrapbook? Take pictures? Draw/paint? Do yoga? Your tools would then be knitting needles, garden tools, a wine glass, a microphone, needles or yarn, scissors, a camera, and/or charcoal pencils/paintbrushes.
I hoop. I’ll talk more about it this week. But, my superhero tool is my hoop. When I’m hooping, time melts away. Stress melts away. I feel like I step into a protective bubble of awesome. I tap in to this thing called “flow” that is like floating down a peaceful river. This is what your tool(s) will help you feel like. Please note, your level of ability with your tool of choice can be craptacularly terrible and it still counts. It’s not how well you do with it, but just that you do it! If you feel pulled to sing, no matter what your voice sounds like, then sing. If you find calm and happy while drawing, then no matter how basic you are, just draw.
Some of you will automatically know what your tools are. Some of you, like me, won’t have a clue at first. Finding your superhero tool is a bit like falling in love…that crazy kind of overwhelming happiness that puts a spring in your step and gives you something to think about almost obsessively. You can’t wait to get your hands on it, and hate to leave when you have to.
Don’t settle for anything less than that. Things that make you feel like that are transformative catalysts that lead to powerful personal growth. And that’s what we’re after this year. Whimsy! Patience! Joy! Acceptance! Understanding! Awesome!
Remember how we assbooked? Now it’s time for superherobooking. Make your superhero and then make that your profile picture. Unlike all those other puny superheroes in the comic books, we aren’t going to hide ourself behind a disguise. We’re going to show people what we’re made of.
My superhero looks like this:
Her name is Octohoopa.
I laugh every time I see her, especially after commenting on friends pages on facebook.
When you make yours and have it up as a profile picture, give a shout out on the freeplaylife facebook page so I can check your badass superhero out!
“what does dressing like a superhero, compiling a playlist of songs, talking about what I want, remembering who I was, and showing my ass to the free world have to do with anything?! I didn’t sign up for this!”
It’s true no one really signed up for this little experiment, I kinda blog blitzed you with it. I also might have said if you didn’t do this you “were dead to me”, and that was kind of harsh. But since the beginning of January, over 500 people have signed up and joined in…ass picture and all! I think what people–you–are responding to is that I really really don’t want this to be a self help “thing”. I want it to be a celebration, bitches! I realized last year, after reading lots and lots of messages from people asking how to have the kind of attitude and life I talk about here at freeplaylife, that there isn’t a magical formula. And the answer is so simple it will shock and awe you.
You already are freeplaylife. All the fun, whimsy, patience, excitement, joy, and positivity is already part of you. Have you ever held a newborn baby in your arms? Maybe your own child? And in that moment, you realized how complete and perfect they were. Just laying there, not doing shit. Maybe hiccuping. Eyes unfocused, legs not able to walk, hands not able to draw or write or paint, mouth unable to talk…and yet, they are perfectly who they are supposed to be. That is you. Just, bigger now.
It’s not about what you do or don’t do. What you look like or don’t look like. You are a bigger picture than your details. To paraphrase the distinguished Ke$ha, you R who U R!
In fact, being ‘freeplaylife’ is so much a part of you that I don’t want you to change who you are at all, ever. What I want in these challenges is to help you remember who that is. What you want. How you feel. What makes you happy. How to get that for yourself. These challenges are geared towards helping you step out of the cycles of shame, grief, fear, and doubt that so often distort the lenses that you use to see yourself and the world around you. You are the key to unlocking the cages that are holding you back. Respect it!
When you can do this for yourself, it will be natural for you to encourage that in the people around you. Your relationships will take on extra depth and compassion. Patience and joy will flow. You will find a wellspring of awesome at your fingertips.
This whole year is going to be full of funny, silly, and ridiculous. I’ve found this is the best way to access the profound, deep, dark, difficult parts of ourselves we’d rather leave hidden. Those are the parts that keep you resistant to a powerfully positive life. Anyone who assbooked realized how true that is. So ridiculous to put a picture of your ass on facebook…and yet so much more than that. Hitting the ‘share’ button was probably really intense, because underneath the silly is the question…do I accept myself? Am I ashamed of myself? Do I want others to really see me? Can I do this?
It’s the feeling of riding a roller coaster…there’s no way you would get on top of a building and leap off just for the thrill, the only thing that makes it tolerable is how safely fun it is in an amusement park.
Consider your life is the amusement park, and get ready to go on some rides!
**These challenges are designed for anyone to join in at any time from where we’re at. Start on the current week, then take some time to look back at past challenges to work on as the mood strikes! Thanks to everyone who is sharing this 52 weeks challenge on twitter and facebook as well as uploading self portraits with the tag #fplphoto !**
Can clothes really lead to enlightenment? Does what we wear affect how we feel? Is it possible to get tired of Madonna singing this song?
Yes, yes, and no.
Literally, maybe not. Like, clothes don’t literally take us to nirvana. Unless you’re talking about wearing these fierce pair of Steve Madden heels which manage to be both sky high AND as comfortable as sneakers. But when approached from a certain state of mind, clothes are to our outside body what fruits and veggies are to our inner body…nourishing and a real energy boost. When you are wearing something that speaks to you, like my rainbow socks do to me, then you carry that feeling with you into the rest of your day.
When I decided to focus on buying/wearing things that I connect to, I notice that it really does make a difference. Especially because I need to supplement my closet with second hand store and Target items that are more functional that inspirational. But when I pair them with something I love, like my octopus necklace or favorite pair of socks, then they get elevated to a happier level. My life has been elevated to a happier level, actually, once I found a fashion sense that spoke to me.
It took me a while to get myself to my own fashion statement. Like I mentioned before, I let my mom dress me well into college. And then once I had young kids I didn’t have time to care about it, which was just fine with me since it was so intimidating anyway. So there I was, 36 years old, before I found the magical connection to loving clothes and using them as a powerful form of self expression.
Here’s the thing…it takes a strongly developed sense of self to have a really strongly developed sense of style. The beautifully fun thing is that one can lead to the other, and if getting to know yourself is a struggle then do it the other way around. Find what you like to put on yourself and you will quickly find it connects to something you learn about yourself on the inside.
Don’t get frustrated, start small. Many of you took your ass out shopping for new panties before you did all the assbooking. Perfect! Etsy has so many little trinkets to wear for between $15-25 dollars…a camera ring. An animal necklace. Symbol earrings. Cute patterned tights. Instead of freaking out about not being able to put a whole outfit together without panicking, start with a specific body part and find something for it. Cute gloves, a headband, a belt…anything! I started with a skull bikini, which was one of the first things I bought because I loved it and it spoke to me.
Then, the rainbow socks. Then long socks in general, which I discovered look really nice with cute shorts or a lacy flowing dress. And then it built upon itself from there. You can see the combination in most of the pins I’ve put up on pinterest. And then, a year later…BAM! My very own style. It’s just as easy to pull on a pair of leggings, long socks, and flowy dress and feel *myself* as it is to pull on sweats, a t shirt, flip flops** and feel *meh*. **not that there’s anything wrong with this, if it’s your style. LOL. I’m just saying, it’s not my style and I feel *meh* about wearing that particular ensemble!
Ask a friend whose sense of style you admire more about how they pick things out. Ask them to be a personal shopper when you go out to treat yourself to something! I realize getting a brand new wardrobe overnight is unrealistic, but start with an article at a time. And remember, pinning inspirational clothes/accessories to pinterest is totally free but just as capable at developing at ‘style’!
This challenge is about taking your life and elevating it up a notch or 10. Going from ordinary to extraordinary. You, my dear bitches are already uberextraordinary, so there’s no reason why your clothes shouldn’t be too!
When I say the “art of dress up”, I don’t mean “dressing up” because that connotes getting all fancy for some fabulous affair, and how often does that happen?!
OK, actually, strike that. I totally mean dressing up. The art of dressing up where the person getting all fancy is you, and the fabulous affair is your fucking life!
If your life isn’t the most fabulous, awesome, fancy affair ever, then what is?! What more is there than life? Even as messy, loud, crazy, and stinky as it can get.
Playing dress up isn’t anything new. 2 year olds use anything and everything to wrap up in and play pretend…blankets, bubble wrap, toilet paper, the cat… 4 year olds could make every day Halloween with all the specialty dress up clothes available…princess, animal, wizard, flapper, astronaut, etc. etc. 6 year olds select quite interesting outfit choices for their school/daily life…
It gets trickier as we get older, because we’re expected to grow out of silly things like that, but our need to dress up…try new things out…doesn’t go away. And it shouldn’t! Dressing up is like trying out new possibilities. It’s a way to experience something without committing to it. A tattoo is permanent, but fishnets and high heels are just for the night! It’s also a great way to self express and embrace a kind of creativity that becomes art on our bodies. Our entire attitude can change depending on if we’re wearing something tight and restrictive versus flowy and soft.
This week’s challenge (don’t forget to set up a pinterest category for your superhero outfit(s)!) is designed to plug you back in to that free spirited, energetic, devil may care self that found it totally appropriate to go grocery shopping in a mask, witch hat, polka dotted shirt and matching (not really matching) striped pants. Or, of course, the little girl that used to eat pb&j’s in a freaking princess dress.
It’s not about image, it’s not about cost, it’s not about what other people will think, it’s not about practicality, it’s not about size or shape or weight. It’s about you, bitches. It’s about fancy and imagination and dreams and joy and feel and interest and love and pizzaz!
The world doesn’t need heroes. The world needs strong women who self express. To self express you need three things: to know your self, to know what you want to express, and then to break out of your shell and actually express it! When you do this for yourself, you can so easily support and encourage it from the people around you. This makes for amazingly awesome connections as a mom, friend, daughter, wife, and person.
Look around you. This is your life. Not what it will be if you lose 15 pounds, not what it was 5 years ago when you were happy, not next week when you get a haircut or 3 days ago when someone finally recognized something you did. Your fancy life is happening right now. Show up for it. Dress up for it! Surround yourself with happy, even in the things you wear.
Make a pinterest category for things to put on your body that inspire you. Look in your closet and donate anything that doesn’t inspire you or give you happy feelings–even when accessorized. I guarantee that it will inspire and give happy feelings to someone else, and then you will have given a gift from something that would have gone unworn and unloved. Look in your dresser drawers and donate anything that doesn’t scream “I’M A FUCKING SUPERHERO AND I LOVE THIS! IT’S SOOOOO ME!”. You will receive the gift of uncluttering your life and making space for something awesome. Before you buy anything to wear, think about it. Does it match up with your dreamy pinterest wish list? Does it make you tingly inside? Does it fit in with your superhero persona? If not, pass on it and wait for that certain something to appear.
Hello, and welcome to a new week’s challenge! I don’t know about you guys, but I really look forward to Monday’s now. Before, this day was just another boring start to a regular week of stuff. Now? I know that I’ll post a challenge and then you all will take it and run with it, and that leads to some pretty silly shenanigans. Like, assbooking. I never know what you guys are going to come up with next!
For all those that are new to freeplaylife, welcome aboard and come join our party. Ride this crazy train, bitches! Its destination is the best year of our lives, regardless of what issues we’ve got going on. Because a good year doesn’t depend on what’s going on around us, but what’s going on inside us! I’ve devised a series of 52 weeks of challenges to help us get to that goal of awesome.
For this week we will be expanding our superhero repertoire. You already know you are one thanks to digging around in your past and seeing how badass you’ve always been. You have the theme song/soundtrack, thanks to last week. But you need more. MORE! Now that you have some groovy tunes to shake your ass too, you need a little something something extra.
You need a superhero costume.
Relax, I’m not talking spandex or lycra here. Unless that’s what you like. I’m talking more practical, but still literal. What do you literally have on right now? Are you crazy in love with a majority of the things surrounding your body, or did you just put them on because you bought them when they were the closest things to you in Target and all the kids started screaming for pop tarts?
Something happens to our fashion when we have small mouths to feed and kids running around everywhere. Our budget decreases. Our time to shop alone decreases. Our inclination to get anything we like decreases when we think about all the potential encounters with spit up/leaky diapers/vomit/markers/errant and exuberant scissors. Our energy decreases due to being on call 24/7. Our bodies change, so what we thought we liked just doesn’t look the same anymore. Our priorities shift…what we wear isn’t as important as a plethora of new concerns like, are the hot dogs cut up small enough for the 4 year old and why is there 10 pounds of flour all over the kitchen floor.
So what to do? What to do?! Luckily, there’s pinterest for that. Start a board for everything you see that you would love to put on or around you. Here’s mine! Start a pinning frenzy. This is for inspiration and pure fun. Pin things even if you don’t think they would look good on you. Pin things even if you think they would be too expensive. Pin things even if you think it might be “too young” or “too old” looking. Pin the ridiculous, the crazy, the colorful, the loud! Pin the funny, the extreme, the too fancy!
This isn’t about spending more money on what you wear. It’s about maximizing your purchasing when you spend money anyway. You are going to buy clothes/shoes/accesories. When you do, make it mindful instead of a rushed grab on your way to the next errand! This is a chance to get back in touch with the girl that used to spend hours making and then coloring outfits with Fashion Plates. Or, actually, a chance to get to know that girl for the first time. I personally never played with Fashion Plates, even though I know I had it when I was 9. Instead, I let my mom dress me all the way through college. True Story. It’s only been in the last 2 years that I’ve explored this side of my badass superhero alter ego, and it was waaaaay overdue.
If I wouldn’t have reconnected with what makes me happy to put on, then I would have missed out on two awesome years of the rainbow socks. And let me tell you, the rainbow socks have seen some seriously epic shit, and if they were to write a tell all it would be a bestseller. I know they’re only inanimate objects, but me + them = magic. They will always be in my life, even if they make me look a little like Pippi Longstocking.
This kind of superhero costuming is a vital part of a freeplaylife. This is coming from a girl who was taught and believed that fashion and looking good was a bit on the sinful side and an obvious sign of conceit and self absorption. Fuck that. We gots to get our groove on, bitches! When you’re shaking your ass to some mighty fine superhero grooves, start thinking about covering it with some mighty fine things that make you look as awesome on the outside as you feel on the inside.
When I’m not shaving my head, cleaning bathrooms, or drunk facebooking, occasionally I read the news. Then, immediately regret it. Last night I didn’t even need to watch the news to be depressed, I was just innocently drunkbooking when the video of the dad that shot his daughters computer posted on all my friends walls. I’d put the video from youtube up here, but I’m very protective of my blog feng shui and don’t want that messing with my vibe. I’ll put a little picture up, just to give an indication of how nasty the video gets, but that’s my limit.
I almost don’t want to even talk about it, I had nightmares of all the batshit crazy people that have ever been in my life, like the ghosts of douchebags past. However, all the comments and blogs being written that support a parents right to treat their child in a demeaning, angry, vindictive, immature, derogatory, mean spirited, violent (at least towards her computer) way…all while holding a lit cigarette in his hand for the love of worst example ever…all these supportive comments sent me over the edge. I just have to put in my .2 cents to try and restore at least a little balance to the universe. This is going to be quick because I don’t want to dwell on this and I have a park day to go to. And you all know what happens if I miss a park day with my unschooled kids–they miss out on being socialized! (bwahahahahha)
Unlike the dad responding to his teenage daughter’s letter on facebook (that was supposed to be private but he snooped around and found it)…I’m not going to name call (asshat and douchebag come to mind). I’m not going to take sides. I’m not going to answer hate and frustration with my own hate and frustration.
Freeplayparenting uses the force. To sum up: Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to douchebaggery and bad relationships. Truthfully, I didn’t watch the whole video because it literally made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack I got so worked up. The pain!!!! So I didn’t see him actually take out a gun and shoot a computer dead. But of course he did. It makes perfect sense. That’s what happens when you walk down the road of one upping a kid of yours, tit for tat. It gets ugly, people. I’m not saying that freeplayparenting releases you from ever having conflict with your children, but what I am saying is that effective parenting leads to connection and a deescalation rather than bullets in computers and shattered trust.
Freeplayparenting is leading by example. You want a respectful, balanced, happy, mature kid? Model that behavior no matter how many buttons they push. You are the adult. It’s tough, I’m not saying you have to be perfectly composed all the time. Vent to your friends. Pull yourself together for your kids.
Freeplayparenting doesn’t take sides. As soon as parenting becomes you versus the child, it’s over. Parenting is so much more effective on common ground. What I wish both the dad and 15 year old girl could see was that they are both feeling exactly the same way. They are both on the same page of frustration, powerlessness, and sadness. When you can find a common ground, then you can find compassion. And parenting with compassion is a good solid place to stand.
Freeplayparenting doesn’t demand respect or make kids earn it. It’s parenting with respect, though. Respect for our shared human existence. Respect for the inherent awesomeness in both parent and child. Age doesn’t have a role to play in it. Parent/child dynamic becomes person to person dynamic, each with their own strengths and weaknesses and wisdom.
Freeplayparenting isn’t about teaching lessons or making a point. It’s not “I’ll show you” or “I bet now you’ll learn” or “you’ll be sorry…” It’s about living a good life. Exploring what makes happiness and what leads to sadness and gently finding a path from one to the other with minimal trauma. It’s about accepting a wide range of emotions in yourself and in your child, and not being threatened by them.
Freeplayparenting is win/win. Negotiating isn’t a bad word. Neither is compromise. I choose connection before rules. Actually, I choose principles over rules anyway, but that’s a post for another time. Kids are constantly in flux. Something that works one day doesn’t work the next. The relationship between kids and adults needs constant tinkering and adjusting.
Freeplayparenting chooses love and joy above all else. This isn’t to say that it’s love and joy all day long, 24/7. There’s conflict and bad behavior from everyone and hard feelings and frustration. We are living in the world, after all. We are flawed human beings, after all. But in the midst of things that are beyond our control there is one thing we are always in charge of…what choices we make and how we respond to the shit that happens on a daily basis. And when my kids throw their shit at me (I’m speaking figuratively but I have had a fare share of my kids shit and other bodily fluids on me) I take a breath and remember that I invited them to my party. I made them. I love them. I work my ass off 24/7 for them. I want them in my life for as long as I’m living it. I choose not to humiliate, degrade, diminish, talk down, disrespect, and alienate them. If I wouldn’t say or treat my best friends how I treat my kids, then I choose another way.
It’s complicated, but simple. I parent not just for today, tomorrow, and 5 years from now. My parenting isn’t a sprint…like, how am I going to get my kids to college. It’s a marathon. How am I going to get my kids to adulthood? How am I going to help them handle big things…death, birth, love, loss, grief, exuberance, dreams and fears? How can I turn this into a lifelong partnership of unconditional support and love?
That’s freeplayparenting. Choose play over guns, people. Simple as that.
Good heavens, I love a good social experiment. And it didn’t get much better than the facebook ass mobbing that happened over this past weekend! I watched them pop up on my feed, and then read the comments and got a lot of personal messages of feedback. So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about both my ass and yours.
The way the reactions went, it’s like most people have never seen an ass before. It’s like, *shock!* and *awe!* I just saw someones actual BUTT on the INTERNET!!! As if the internet is somehow an ass free zone. *snort* riiiiiiiight.
The thing is, we’re exposed to a lot of ass in this culture. A LOT. Asses are used to sell lots of things. Asses are used to draw attention to stuff all the time. Asses are on the TV and on billboards and in magazines. And sure, people may complain about the oversexualization of butts everywhere, but we seem to be somewhat resigned to it. Maybe that’s not the right word. We seem to be somewhat immune to it in a weird way. Like, asses are just a nice body part that fuels consumerism. Acceptable fact.
So when real, unphotoshopped, uncommercialized, unsexualized asses started showing up all over, I loved the honesty and acceptance of it. And I felt a little unhappy that all of a sudden THAT is what created some ruckus. We’re probably exposed to 15 asses a day through various social and print media, but the one ass that stands out is the one of a familiar person on a facebook wall saying, “OMG you guys, I love myself so much just the way I am. Our bodies are amazing!”
I’d rather get that message than the message I get page after page in a magazine saying, “OMG you guys, I love my ass so much but only because I spent money changing it to make it better! Your body is terrible the way it is but can be so much better if you do the same thing I did!”
If I have to look at asses, then I’d rather them be real butts from real people who really love themselves. At last count, over 200 people joined in and loudly…proudly…shared their backsides. I love the way Shannon put it in her blog:
I did a photo shoot of my ass for me. For my own personal growth as a woman who has forgotten how to love every little imperfection that is mine.
I shared the post here and on Facebook cause I want the world to be different. I want the world the big huge world to love every BODY. I want there to be chances for every human being to spend a lifetime loving every part of their physical self.
I want there to be images plastered on main stream media that celebrate our diversity. I want every little girl and boy that is looking outside of themselves for a little reassurance that they are indeed awesome, to potentially stumble across an image that looks like them.
For that to happen we gotta start sharing, posting, talking about and celebrating in crazy out there kinds of ways just what we are carrying around.
For those who think that showing your ass in a nonsexual, noncommercial, playful way is immoral or obscene…well, I think we’re already fighting that war and it’s being won by commercialism and porn. Maybe the problem is people have a hard time telling the difference between obscenity vs. a real human body. To me, the best way to fight back is to show the other side of our bodies. Our human form in it’s natural state. Real and awesome!
I have a whole lifetime’s worth of family/religion/society that would tell me that picture of me is inappropriate and shameful. I call bullshit. Inappropriate is my girls learning that it’s OK to use your body to sell a soda.
For everyone who played along, I really really thank you. I mean, it was about your ass, but it was about so much more than just an ass.
For everyone who wanted to play along but couldn’t quite go so far as post it all over the internet…find someone to share your ass pictures with. Hahahaha. Seriously. Valentines Day is coming up…I’m sure a boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other would be more than happy to get that pic. Also, I still am engaged in an ongoing ass picture volley with some tried and true best friends. I’ve never sent ass pictures to ANYONE before, but now I do it all the time and vice versa. And I have to say, nothing makes me happier than getting a text from a friend saying “hey! look at my ass today! BAM it rocks these pants!”
All I’m saying is, I hope this doesn’t stop. I hope I see more assbooking. I hope you keep celebrating yourself and your ass. It’s been nice getting to know you!
And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Now that you have some music, what are you going to do with that music? I’ll tell you…you are going to spin some sweet tunes! You are going to freak like a maniac! You are going to get glow sticks and flashlights and stay up late with your kids and your husband/significant other (or, self, in my case! ha…) dancing until you can’t dance anymore.
I’ll know you’re doing this because I’ll see all the selfies you instagram/twitter/facebook (tagged #fplphoto or @freeplaylife) that you take while singing and dancing. Bwahhahahaa, there will be no cheating or slacking off, bitches! I’m watching you! This is good stuff right here. I’ve listened to the songs you’ve added to the freeplaylife facebook wall, and that is some great danceable ass shaking music!
Here’s why it’s important to DO SOMETHING with the music, not just sit and listen to it: there is a connection between body movement and self awareness. And I’ll let you in on something. It was kind of douchey of me to ask you right off the bat, week 1, to start asking for what you wanted/needed. Honestly, 99% of the people walking around you at any one moment have no freaking clue about their own needs. That’s why 99% of the people also carry a heavy burden of un-fun and un-whimsy. And if you are still struggling to define just what it is that makes you tick or how to get it, don’t worry. You’ve spent your whole life being told not to be selfish and to think of other people first. It takes a while to break out of that and go for what you want.
Dancing, or any other physical activity, puts you in your body. It’s a free and joyful self expression that anchors you to your core. It makes you present to your own presence. Do that. Be there. Feel yourself move.
At first you may feel self conscious about moving your body around. Don’t be. You’re a fucking superhero, remember? I never once heard Wonder Woman ask if her shiny leotard made her ass look fat, or complain that running around doing epic shit made her tummy jiggle too much. The more you move in your body, the less spazzy it feels. One thing is certain, kids do this brilliantly. They don’t even have to dance as if no one was watching…they just dance even if everyone is! This summer I was eating dinner by an open and empty dance floor with tons of people walking past, eating, milling about. Live music playing. The only people that ever walked out and started grooving were kids 10 and under. They didn’t care that everyone was watching, in fact they loved it more. Why and when do we ever stop marveling at our own ability to move around in the awesome and amazing body we have?
Extra gold star this week if you happen to take a picture of yourself dancing in your underwear.
And every story needs a song. I’m not sure when it happens, but invariably we discover that somewhere along the line we stopped listening to music for us and started listening to music for babies that makes us want to beat ourselves repeatedly in the face with the nearest bottle/diaper wipes container/sippy cup. I don’t think Barney the purple dinosaur is popular anymore, but I still have traumatic flashbacks anytime I hear the number “3″. (My hat it has 3 corners…anyone remember that?) I weep for what Dora, Diego and Kai-lan have done to the musical taste of generations of our children.
Music is too important to let go of. So let’s put it back into our lives, starting with our own personal theme song. Not just any theme song, though. Your superhero theme song. There’s a difference.
For instance, I could very easily make U2′s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” into my 2012 theme song. However, this song makes me want to find a couple bottles of Irish Whiskey and drink until I cant cry and/or drunk text anymore. That’s not exactly what I’m looking for in my life!
Anything by Pat Benatar is badass and can be included on any playlist anywhere…
Here are some tips to finding your perfect Superhero Theme Song that won’t make you want to crawl into a corner sobbing into a mason jar full of wine:
It makes you want to shake your ass! You know the ass that you love right this very second? Yeah. Shake it like a polaroid picture! It inspires you to do epic shit! whiny, angsty songs have a time and a place…but this isn’t the time or place. You’ve got shit to do! It makes you happy! You know that kind of happy that only music brings? The feeling that starts from deep inside and makes every cell dance? Ya. Listen to more of that! It means something to you. Music is poetry set to music…those are two really powerful tools for personal insight. Use it to their full potential and bring awesome music back into your every day life. It doesn’t have to reflect where you are right now, it can be an attitude or idea that you want to get to. I find that most of my inspirational songs give voice to an emotion, feeling, or strength that I just can’t quite model yet. So the songs model it for me until I can.
Incidentally, the better you know yourself, the better your song will resonate with you. So if you’ve been slacking on any of the challenges (week one, week two, or week three) now’s your chance to get all caught up. The more you see yourself, the more you’ll know what you like and need in your life!
I have a preeteen and a teenager in my house, so I have to fight for my right to groove to my playlist. They roll their eyes, they make disparaging sounds with their mouths, they point and cover their ears when I start up my spotify while I’m cooking. And then I start shaking my ass and singing my songs and who has the last laugh THEN?! Well, they do. I’ve decided being a mom to teens is kinda like being a voluntary laughingstock. But I don’t care because I can’t hear it over my loud music. They can suck it, mama’s got her groove thing going!
My song for 2012 is…
I hoop to this, I cook to it, I dance to it, I wake up to it, I drive to it, I say it in my head. I’ve been a quiet, shy, reserved, anxious person for most of my life (bwahahaha, I am NOT even KIDDING!) because I was more concerned with what other people wanted of me or thought of me. Because of that, no one has really known who I am, least of all me. Now, I gotta set people straight. When other people try to put me in a box that I don’t want to be in, instead of just going with it I have an alarm in my head that sings, “THAT’S NOT MY NAME!” I can’t ignore it!
So, what about you? Have you found your song(s) yet?
I’ve compiled a bunch of mine in a spotify playlist, and I’ve pinned some theme song videos to my pinterest “It’s All About Me, Bitches!” pinterest board.
So what are some songs on your Superhero Theme Song playlist?
Oh, it’s so on, bitches! Three weeks into our adventure towards a whimsical, playful, awesome life and you have already lit up the internets like a firework. Week 3 started off rocky because you all were a little reluctant to delve back in your past to find your inner kid and invite her along to play. But then it ended in a fury of asses gone wild all over facebook and instagram and twitter. And that, my friends, made me cry tears of awesome. By being silly (I’ll show you my ass if you show me yours!) you also found something profound in the form of self acceptance. This kind of profound silliness is at the core of a freeplaylife, as is a wide open love of yourself and everything you bring to the world.
It’s a simply truth that our ability to love and accept others is tied intimately with how well we can love and accept ourselves. So while your goal every day might be to be a better wife/mom/friend/person, if you fail to embrace who you are right at this moment then you’re kind of rowing in a boat with only one paddle. Love your ass, love the world! Not only that, but I’ve seen how contagious love and appreciation is. Because you were brave enough to show your asses all over the internets, you made it OK for other women (and men!) to do the same. Instead of buying into the self loathing that is all over the place, your asses were a shining beacon of self love and unconditional acceptance. What you gave out was mirrored back in hundreds of ways, and it’s only just beginning. That’s what this 52 weeks to a freeplaylife is all about!
So, to recap for all of you just joining us, here are the weekly challenges so far…you can start at the beginning or just jump in right now!:
This new month we’ll focus on claiming our inner superhero. We all have one. We all ARE one. That point isn’t up for dispute, so if you want to disagree with me…well, just shut it. You are a superhero. FACT! Even if you don’t feel like it now, you’ll come around.
A good superhero needs a great theme song. That is your mission this week.
Find a theme song.
Make it something you can really shake your ass too!
Make sure it has a catchy phrase that you can sing in your head when the douchebags try to get you down.
Get it on your iphone/computer/ipad, so you can groove to it any time.
Do you guys have Spotify yet? You can get a free account, and create a playlist. Add all the songs that you feel best represent you right now. It doesn’t have to be just one. I guarantee one will rise to the surface, but there will probably be a bunch to choose from. You can’t force finding your theme song any more than you can force finding your animal totem. It will come to you this week. So just open your mind, add songs that inspire/connect/speak for and to you.
Last year my song was DMX “Party Up (in here).” I still really really love it, but I’ve moved on in my journey. I’ve gotten better at establishing my boundaries, so I don’t have as much need to be all “fuck you!” to everyone I meet. But if that’s where you’re at, I really recommend this song. It doesn’t get much better than listening to a douchebag try to step all over my boundaries and be thinking in my head “I don’t know who the fuck you think you talkin to but I’m not him, aight slim? So watch what you do!” and my personal favorite, “If I gotsta bring it to you cowards then it’s gonna be quick, aight? All your mens up in the jail before, suck my dick!” ‘Slim’ became my own personal code word for ‘you are a raging douchebag’, and I’d use it as a nickname for people I came across during my day that were disrespecting me. Usually I’d just let myself be walked all over, but last year thanks to this song I would be all, “Hey, Slim, that’s not going to work for me. Can we come up with another solution?” Obviously, last year I was having a really hard time standing up for myself (ha! More like, every year since my birth!) so DMX did it for me. DMX helped my strong superhero come out whenever I’d think of that song.
This year you’re gonna have your own superhero theme song.
So go find it!
I’ll tell you what mine is tomorrow, and share my own spotify playlist of theme songs I’ve chosen from!
Hi there! Let me introduce you to my ass! It’s the one on the left. My younger sister’s ass is on the right.
I told her all about the spontaneous ass mobbing of facebook/instagram/twitter. (check out the #fplphoto hashtag!) I told her how some people dropped trou and bared ass without a second thought. I told her how some people said they would do that, if only their ass was thinner/less dimply/shapelier/better. I told her how I wished every woman could embrace their ass exactly how it was right now.
“Wouldn’t it be hard? To embrace your own ass? It would be easier if every woman could embrace their friends ass, instead.”
My sister, she’s a smartass.
I told her that tons of women were leaving comments comparing their asses to other people’s asses, and it was stopping them from enjoying their own as much.
“Every ass is different!” I yelled quietly. “You can’t ever have someone else’s ass! All we have is what we’ve got! I mean, look at us! We’re from the same mom and dad, and our asses have always been totally different.” I asked her if we could do an impromptu ass photoshoot and she was all in. “With pants? Or without pants?!” she asked.
My sister, she’s a badass.
BOOM. Here’s her ass. It’s mighty mighty. It once almost gave Golfer a concussion when he was 2. True story. She was trying to show me how to do a mean booty shake, and he inadvertently toddled up right as her ass was in rotation and it knocked him back like an explosion. That’s how powerful it is.
BOOM. Here’s my ass. It’s mighty. It’s never almost given someone a concussion, though. But it’s still awesome! It once ran 13 miles straight! It cushions me when I sit down, and can do some amazing things with a hula hoop!
My sister and I, we used to compare our asses. I was jealous that she could fill out her jeans and have such a bounce in her walk.
She was jealous that mine could hide in clothes and be so petite.
But now, we love what we have. We’ve stopped comparing, because that only leads to malcontent and unhappiness. Plus, it’s kind of insulting to something that works it’s ass off for us. If asses had asses, that is. Anyway, we’re happy that we have healthy, joyful asses. Every ass deserves it’s own dance party, so we danced. We shook our groove things and got DOWN with our bad selves!
Can your ass dance? Can it groove? Does it help get you from place to place? Does it cushion you when you sit? Does it feel when someone slaps it for a job well done?
If so, then you have a mighty fine ass. I hope you love it. I hope you don’t try to hide it or ignore it. I hope you have dance parties for it! And…I hope you show it. Have your own ass photoshoot. Embrace what you have. It’s a part of you, and as such, it’s divine!
Asses are like fingerprints…no two are alike. You know how I know this? Because ever since issuing the challenge yesterday I’ve been innassdated with pictures of people’s backsides. I’ve been looking at asses all. day. long. Big, skinny, round, droopy, tan, white…you name it, I’ve seen it. Here’s what I like about you bitches…nowhere did I say you had to take pictures of your BARE ass, but that’s the direction everyone went with this. You sexy minx’s! Rawr!
This started out as a spontaneously silly thing, but I think it has struck a very real, deep, powerful chord of empowerment and acceptance. Body image is a real challenge for any girl/woman growing up in today’s society. Fact! You or me or even a group of us aren’t going to stop the constant stream of commercials/movies/videos/songs that reduces a woman’s worth down to what she looks like. The thing is, we don’t even have to. The key to escaping the mad clutches of a terribly insecure body image isn’t to stop the outside cultural influences (which is impossible anyway!)…it’s just to be aware of them and then to choose to STOP COMPARING OURSELVES TO ANYONE ELSE.
I lived in LA. I saw some shit, man. Some good, some not so good. You can certainly find whatever it is you’re looking for in a city like that! I went to drum circles and burlesque shows and mexican wrestling and hoop dancing groups and anything else that interested me. In all of those places there were badass women of all shapes and sizes working their bodies in amazing ways. I learned a lot about self acceptance from them. Watching burlesque dancers is a totally amazing experience, especially because none of them have a “victoria secret” body. But they celebrate what they have and wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s one thing to look at your body and see all the flaws but kinda like yourself anyway. It’s another thing altogether to look at your body and think, “this thing fucking ROCKS!”
My friend texted me a picture that her husband took of her this morning. She woke up early to sneak in an ass self portrait before anyone woke up. She didn’t know that her husband had woken up and was watching her. In fact, he took his own picture of her taking her ass picture. That’s the one she sent me. I asked if I could share it on my blog because it is fucking FIERCE, and she said OK. Then I told her that in that moment I loved her more than any other person on the planet and she replied back, “I feel the same way about myself when I look at it It’s such a wonderful place to be.” Thanks Christine, for stepping up to your awesome and embracing it one ass cheek at a time.
I want you to love and accept your ass right now, in whatever shape it’s in. I don’t want you to love it after another 10 pounds are lost, I don’t want you to accept it whenever you get lipo, I don’t want you to postpone enjoying having as ass for one more day longer. In the words of 50 Cent, “you a might fine woman now BACK THAT THANG UP!”
I don’t know who to credit this next image to…I found it on pinterest and can’t find the original image. If anyone knows, can you show me? I love this so much:
Your ass is internet worthy right this fucking second.
I swear on a stack of freshly made BLT’s with avocado on top, I fucking love all your self portraits! I love looking through your personal history pins on pinterest.
I know, I know, looking back at the past wasn’t exactly many people’s cup of tea. Some of you have even gone so far as to *gasp* boycott this little challenge.
That’s cool. Go at your own speed. I can’t make anyone do anything, it’s just a suggestion.
But I wouldn’t be a bitch if I didn’t also point out that I have carefully and painstakingly devised each one of these challenges based on my own personal blood,sweat, tears, and experiences…and if you don’t follow along you are totally dead to me. DEAD! I want to look around and see sparkling, happy, tuned in, connected, playful, whimsical, powerful, awesome bitches in this world. This is gonna take a fucking revolution since our culture doesn’t reward sparkling, connected, playful, whimsical, powerful bitches in any form. We gotta fight the power, man! We gotta reclaim ourselves.
To do this, you have to claim all of you. You are doing that by seeing yourself in photos. You are doing that by seeing yourself in the past and present.
And you know what else, bitches who complained about this challenge? I’m taking it up a notch. Oh yes I am. This has developed a bit spontaneously, after a picture that I was planning on blogging here ended up going rogue and posting itself via instagram on my facebook page and then on the feeds of not only my friends but their friends as well. It woulnd’t have been so bad except it was a picture of my ass. Et voila:
you know, it was going to be something about how we need to love ourselves to the core…everything we are…blah blah blah blah. Instead, my ass appeared on facebook without any point of reference. And since it wasn’t supposed to be there, I had no idea until some time had gone by and I logged in again after a while. My friends friends were all like, “dude, why is your friend Tiffani’s ass all over my feed?” As you might imagine a picture of an ass gets a lot of comments from the peanut gallery which continually updates on the feed. So it literally kept showing back up like I was popping and locking it all over facebook. And then one thing led to another…
You know where this is going.
Asses up, bitches! If you feel you can share and not feel or be exploitive (like, for instance, I love that ass shot of mine. I like the statement, I like how it looks, I’m totally fine with people looking at it…) then join in. I will give you a quick tutorial, as I am now well versed in ass shots. Believe it or not, this is not unique to many fine women photographers that I know on flickr. We’ve been doing silly shit like this since 2009!
HOW TO TAKE PHOTOS OF YOUR OWN ASS: a tasteful tutorial.
*Lie down on your stomach and then face the camera backwards so that you take a shot of your ass top down. You can also do this standing up. This erases any signs of ass sag since you can’t really see any of the problem ass areas if you do it right. This is the perfect way to start out taking ass shots. ie (this is not my ass but I wish it were):
*hold your camera in one hand and swing it around back, snapping pictures the whole time. This is a crap shoot (bwahahaha no pun intended), you wont know what you’ve got until you look through the pictures.
*use your self timer. This is what I did for the picture up above. I manually focused it where I was going to stand, set it on a tripod, and then stood there while it counted down 10 seconds.
*reflection shot. You’ll have to face away from the mirror, then turn around in a saucy little pose while you take a picture. Probably having the camera turned towards the mirror will work best. Kind of like this, except focused on your ass and not your face (and if anyone jokes they can’t tell the difference in this picture, I’ll find and cut you…)
Even if you never make them visible, you owe it to yourself and to your ass to photograph it and love it. Love your ass! I don’t want to hear any talk about “but it’s so dimply” “but it’s so white” “but it’s so big” “but it’s so little” “but it’s so saggy” etc., etc. None of that! It’s a part of you, and as such, it’s simply divine.
If anyone’s ass does join mine on instagram/facebook (bwahahahahha) I will include your name twice in the drawing for every shot between now and Sunday. Think of it as extra credit or something.
At the very least, I hope you realize that I could be a real asshole (*zing!*) with these challenges and be asking you to do some down and dirty shit like an all ass flash mob on facebook. Instead, I’m all, “Let’s pin pictures onto pinterest! Wheeeeee!” I hope that gives you some perspective in time for next weeks challenge…
Howdy, bitches! I’ve been watching many pinterest boards fill up with images and photos all about your lives and the things you remember from the past. As an observer, I see the events without attaching an immediate emotion or judgement…I’ve just been sitting back and watching the show. It’s everything that I’d thought and hoped it would be.
Some of you have messaged me to say that this challenge sucks and you don’t want to be a part of it. And that’s OK to. I get it. BUT. At least connect with the women who ARE doing it and watch their unfolding. Perhaps it’s less intense if you can also react to the challenge without so much emotion and personal involvement!
One reason I made this challenge is because of my own experience in reliving my past, and how freeing it was to finally deal with it instead of ignore it or run from it. I mean, there are obviously some awesomely great things that have happened to me. But as long as I hide myself away from the not so great things, then I can’t fully embrace the positives and I absolutely cannot embrace my present self.
At the meditation retreat, I had 12 hours a day…silent…and my past played in my head like a matinee movie. I couldn’t get away if I’d wanted to. And I did! I wanted to get out of my head very badly.
The things I was remembering about what my life was like growing up were all the things I’d tried to forget. And let me just say, I came from a mom and dad who loved me a great deal. They gave me everything they had, and more. They were determined, sincere, amazing parents. They parented the best they knew how. But even with the best of intentions, sometimes other people’s best doesn’t mean our lives are perfect. So when my life movie played in my head, some things came up I’d been trying to forget. Eventually, though, I couldn’t ignore them and the only way to get through it was to watch the movie as if it weren’t my life. As if it were a story of someone else. I separated the emotion and judgement from the facts. And I let myself remember.
making my mom cry when I wouldn’t listen to her.
making my dad get so angry he’d turn red, talk loudly, and then spit would fly out of his mouth all over me.
being spanked and put into my room for time out.
being disciplined at school for talking too much, not sitting still long enough, running too fast, not finishing my homework.
being in trouble with my teacher for forgetting to wear part of my school uniform that I’d usually left at home (the stupid red sweater!).
my orthodontist lecturing me about wearing my head gear (yes, head gear!) to school like I should have in 7th and 8th grade.
craving the feeling of being close and intimate with my high school boyfriend, and then feeling immoral and like a sinner for liking it so much.
making my then husband upset because I wan’t good enough at cleaning/cooking.
and on and on.
I don’t know, I’ve never typed that out before. Does it seem silly? Trivial> Like, what’s so bad about that?
I uncovered a theme with all of it, though. A current runs through my life like a deep river. And I’d never put a word to it before, until I stopped to recognize it without feeling threatened by it.
Everything I remember brings one emotion up more than anything. For me, it’s shame. Shameful. Sorry. Apologetic. Ashamed.
Mom, I’m sorry I made you cry. Dad, I’m sorry I made you angry. Teachers, friends, and husband, I’m sorry I let you down. I’m so so sorry I couldn’t be better.
When I looked at it like an outside observer, I told myself what any of you would have told me…
You have nothing to be ashamed about. You have nothing to be sorry about. You don’t need to apologize for anything.
It’s not your burden to carry.
I released guilt I hadn’t known I was carrying. I stopped making myself responsible for my mothers tears, or for my fathers anger. I released the judgements of teachers about an energetic and exciteable child they knew nothing about. I stood up for the girl that was smart enough not to wear something as ridiculous as a headgear in fucking middle school. I embraced a teenage girl discovering what love was for the first time and let go of the dogma that encouraged other people to label those feelings as immoral. I stopped carrying the emotional baggage of other people’s expectations for me.
You may have a different theme in your life for dealing with the negatives…a different emotion. Anger? Hate? Greed? Fear? Desperation? Whatever it is, it will be scary. It will keep you from wanting to walk back down the way you came.
Please, don’t be afraid. Please, walk down the path. Don’t react, just observe. See yourself as the child you were, but with the adult understanding you now have. Embrace that child and help her find her way to you.
This connection is vital for the kind of life you want to live and the kind of connections you want to have with your family. In order to have whimsy and play and freedom in your life, you are going to need your inner child along to remind you how it’s done!
Please, go get her. Welcome her into your life. She’s probably carrying a heavy burden, and if you can lighten that up for her, she will lighten your life up for you.
me at 4 and at 35. It took another couple years for us to actually meet.
Pinterest has brought something awesome into my life, and it’s perfect to offer it as a giveaway for one of you lucky badass bitches who has jumped into the Freeplaylife challenge. I am talking about beautiful Lenny & Eva bracelets. You choose from a selection of wide or thin leather cuffs in multiple colors/washes, and then pair it up with a beautiful metal stamped quote.
I love leather cuffs AND quotes AND metal stamped jewelry, so to say that I squealed a little when I saw all three combined into one awesome wearable piece is an understatement.
They have dozens of whimsical and inspiring quotes to choose from…here’s just a few:
I love how completely customizable these are, and how relevant each quote is to the quest we’re on to find a happy place of joy and whimsy in our lives.
I chose an ocean blue leather (to honor the octopus within me, ha!) with the quote “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast” -Alice in Wonderland.
This giveaway is open this week, closing Sunday night.
HOW TO QUALIFY FOR THE GIVEAWAY!
every time you upload a self portrait onto twitter and instagram with the tag #fplphoto, I’ll put your name into a mason jar. Every time you post a photo onto the freeplaylife facebook page, I’ll put your name into a mason jar. Everytime you tweet or facebook something about how you are doing with the weekly challenge and use the tag @freeplaylife, I’ll put your name into a mason jar! At the end of this week I’ll reach in and pull out a name and that person will claim the gift.
Since this week is all about digging into your past, fun self portraits would be pictures of you taken in past years. Pictures of you as a kid. In college. But all self portraits qualify! If you are hesitant to post pictures online, I just want to point out it’s perfectly awesome to take pictures of your feet, from where you stand. No face, but still you in a picture! Just don’t forget to tag them with either #fplphoto or @freeplaylife so I can find them!