by christina britt lewis
to this day, they remain the most beautiful girls i have ever seen in real life.
i remember their names, their voices, their shoes...
they are the reason my parents pulled me out of public school after fifth grade.
they were cool. they were popular. they were mean.
when i came home from school in tears, my oh so wise mom would say...
the best revenge is a life well-lived.
they were the first of many oppressive people in my life.
we all have those voices in our heads. some of us way more than others. certainly way more than me.
the ones who make us doubt ourselves. the ones who say we can't. the ones who try to keep us down.
sometimes it's the very people who are supposed to teach us to swim who pull us under.
that aches. the pain is deep. we never forget how close we come to drowning.
but what we do with our memories is up to us.
we let our past destroy us or we let our past empower us.
the freedom to choose our response can never be taken from us.
victor frankl, the psychiatrist and holocaust survivor, put it this way...
between stimulus and response there is a space.
in that space is our power to choose our response.
in our response lies our growth and our freedom.
it is a lesson i keep learning,
people who use you to make themselves feel significant never go away.
but i now also see that i owe everything i am to mean girls, authoritarianism, and patriarchy.
they gave me something to overcome, to prove wrong, and to rise up against.
they accidentally taught me how to swim...
so what does all of that have to do with this fun little redesign?
happy you asked.
installation days are not what you see on hgtv.
we don't put a vase on the mantel, a pillow on the sofa, eat a cupcake, and call it a day.
we move furniture, hang art, steam linens, and are lucky if we have time for a granola bar for lunch.
i came home from this one tired, hungry, and knowing i would not be able to move the next day.
tim and i sat in our notsobig backyard and drank cheap wine in ikea chairs.
the shades cole found on the ground after a concert kept the setting sun out of my eyes.
we noticed how big the forsythia has grown from the free cuttings our green thumbed friends gave us.
george, the rescue dog that nobody wanted, took his place on my lap.
i told tim i was bummed that i ripped a big hole in the back of my new shirt from marshall's.
we debated leftover homemade veggie soup or grilled cheese for dinner. or maybe both.
tim took this photo...
then i asked him to take a bunch more.
then he was all annoyed with me for being like that.
then i was all annoyed with him for not understanding why i would be like that.
then he made me laugh.
then i posted the stupid photo.
then we went inside for soup and grilled cheese.
then somebody commented...
why does your life always look so glamorous?
the idea was so preposterous to me that i felt like i was back in middle school.
i asked tim if she was making fun of me.
the look in his eyes was the same as the look in my mom's eyes so many years ago...
the same look people get when they see a baby bird with a broken wing in the grass.
he gently explained that she was not making fun of me. she was complimenting me. he said...
we have a beautiful life. we live very well.
and my memories came flooding back.
the best revenge is a life well-lived.
my mom was right. again.
mean girls, authoritarianism, and patriarchy no longer hold any power over me.
if glamorous means rich, fancy, and manicured, i am not glamorous.
but if glamorous means "full of excitement, adventure, and unusual activity" like the dictionary says,
then i am wicked glamorous.
here is what i have come to know...
you can have birthmarks and be beautiful.
you can have a jaw deformity and a smile people say lights up a room.
you can have just a few friends and have a whole lot of fun.
you can wear inexpensive clothes and look glamorous.
you can break the rules and be successful.
you can leave organized religion and know peace that passes understanding.
you can have an egalitarian relationship and be happily married.
you can be a woman and provide for your family.
you can raise sons who respect women.
you can stop pretending you know the answers and be happier than you ever imagined.
that all might seem super obvious to you, but we all have our own stuff.
your stuff is different than my stuff.
what holds power over you?
what keeps you down?
what do you need to overcome?
when they say...
make your whole entire life shout back...
christina for all