I'm so pleased to host Samantha Simons, friend and sister extraordinaire, to share this piece with you. When I first read Playing with Paper Dolls, I knew I wanted to post it here. I hope you enjoy this humor-softened view of how we, as women, often view ourselves as much as I did.
Interesting, but as I was flipping through Body + Soul while eating my cold, meager plate of pre-cooked, plain chicken, broccoli and carrots, I saw an article on tossing out your perceived limitations and not continually conforming to the "you" that you think "looks best" and is "safe." Hmmm.
As soon as I saw the picture chosen for the article it hit me, how often so many of us try to be like paper dolls. We have our little two-dimensional version of ourselves, hanging out in our skivvies, just waiting to be contorted into one of the many "outfits" that lay in a pile. For example, today my fibrous replica first donned the messy morning hair complete with cup of seasonal peppermint java that, almost as quickly as you can blink, swapped out for mom on the go in a cute cami and jeans (only took 3 tries to find jeans that buttoned! or, uh, the tabs reached around to her back), rushing the little darlings off with 8am dentist appointments, then dropping off the elder at school. Oh, but I only had mere moments to swing by my little folder of fun accessories to snag a notebook, planner and big fat "I'm a navy spouse/FRG board member" label and dart off to a planning meeting. With the meeting complete I drove a block home to don the apron (and pearls of course because doesn't every perfect domestic do that?!) for a few hours of mopping, dishes, laundry...only to see the clock ticking by. Quickly the apron was traded for reading glasses as the artistic paper girl (a little soggy and starting to rip from sweat and the stress of the day) plunked down in the computer chair to work hard for a client. Too much work drives a paper girl to wrinkles; out goes the mom-gear and into workout clothes, lest we forget the earlier paper jeans incident. Are they even cute in paper? Luckily the real thing had a padded seat, fit for a one hour session on the mag trainer. By 2:30 pm she's losing her crispness and slugs to the school, with the junior paper boy on her shoulders, to escort the big paper boy home. No one really needs the rest of this picture, eh? If you guess that pretty miss paper girl has a few torn edges by this point...you're right. Luckily, once she's tucked away in her folder of fun for the night, she's somehow magically renewed into a fresh doll to start the next day.
Sometimes I honest to God feel this way. Like I'm constantly trying to wear the right hat(s) (or in paper girl's case, outfits), at the risk of neglecting that favorite outfit tucked into the back, pulled out if there's the right occasion (read:time). Don't read my ramblings wrong...I'm not complaining AT ALL! My life is more blessed than I ever could have imagined. I'm madly in love with the same man I met over 10 years ago, my two paper boys are not perfect, but that's part of their charm and they have helped shape me as much as I think I'm shaping them, Andy's career that is, in essence, our LIFE, has provided us more than most will have the opportunity to experience. But it serves as a little reminder that no matter how many outfits your doll might wear every day, be it one or a dozen, deep down under those folded tabs (whoa, has my ass been bare the whole time?!), she's the SAME MISS PAPER GIRL! She can wear whatever outfit she wants tucked in that folder of fun. So, my dears...don't let your favorite expression of you get pushed to the bottom of the pile...bring it out and show it off!
More on this later...the article also tells you how you can seek out the characteristics of the "ideal you" - like trying on the perfect outfit...and not get locked into "types" and "labels."
(If this sounds dumb...blame it on the J. Lohr Riesling, it's smoothness tends to coerce me! ;)