August 8, 2012

All Kinds of Awesome

 A few weeks ago, I was ready to ring the bell. Big deadlines, covering for other editors, working around limited child care, a big camping/festival/selling weekend to get ready for and Jacob off the farm for a few days, leaving Willa and I to harvest (with our apprentices and some friend help) and then deliver veggies to 50 families in two cities, 2 hours apart.

It was all enough to a) strip me down to the very last shred of my strength and b) remind me of how strong I actually can be, even on a shred.

By Friday, harvest day, I was frazzled. I had to be out to the field early so I quickly woke the babe, got breakfast in both of us, slapped on one of my trusty, so threadbare-it's-almost-see-through farm shirts, my hat and dirty boots and dropped Willa off at daycare before zooming out for harvest. As I drove back into town from the morning, the logistics of the next two days of delivery and travel rambling through my head, I caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror.

And, whoa Nellie. What a sight.  Dirty, sweaty, frazzled. Haggard even. I was covered, head to toe, in sweat and mud and stress.

As luck would have it, I'd recently run into an old friend, who, of course, looked fabulous, just when I looked like a hot mess.

And the truth is, I look like am a hot mess most days.

I don't notice, really, until I see someone looking fabulous. Stylish. Put together. Clean. You know -- how I looked before the mud and dirt and beet juice on my shirt and no time for mascara or concealer or, let's admit it, showers even.

I like to think I don't care -- that I have more important things to think about and more important values to live up to.

But, I do care sometimes. And, it affects my self worth. Looking haggard can contribute to feeling haggard. And lately, I've both looked and felt pretty haggard.

I thought about it a lot on my early morning drive to Helena to deliver that Saturday and by the time I got there, I'd pretty much convinced myself that, judging by how much I'd -- what's the phrase? -- let myself go, I was hanging by the thread of one of my threadbare farm shirts.

I waver, pretty drastically, between being a strong, I-don't-care-what-I-look-like farm girl and a self-conscious, let's say medium-maitenence girl who doesn't feel quite right without a little foundation to cover up her old acne scars. I've never been pretty enough to be a pretty girl and never felt strong enough to hang with the real tough-as-nails farm girls out there. So I waffle somewhere in the middle, never quite knowing where I fit in. Why? I wonder, do I feel the need to be one or the other?

But, back to the big, hard week: I pulled it off by myself, even with Willa in tow, editing, writing, singing Muffin Man! at the top of my lungs over and over, chopping the tops off of kohrabi and lugging huge coolers of beets and cabbage and zucchini (you can't imagine how heavy those coolers were) in and out of our beat-up Chevy. Customers were happy at both deliveries and I was proud to pull every last head of cabbage out of those coolers.

At the final delivery, once everyone was gone, I started to load back up and noticed an old man walking by the pickup for a second time, gawking a little at a (what I saw as) frazzled farmer/mom in an already coffee-stained white tank top and muddy shorts awkwardly trying to push coolers almost as long as her into her truck.

He stopped for a moment and then kept walking, turning back to shout:

"I thought for a second you might need some help. But you look like you're pretty tough."

That's right old man. I am pretty tough. 

And pretty awesome.

Here's the thing I want to model for my daughter:

There are all kinds of awesome.

I may not be the prettiest or the strongest, but by God, I am pretty strong and even pretty pretty and I do awesome things every single day.

Once in awhile, we have to be the ones to tell ourselves that.


By the way, it's amazing what a little bit of self confidence can do for a girl. She'll think she can do just about anything...

  Like you know, hop on a mechanical bull at the State Fair.

And be perfectly happy getting bucked off.


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