Lately I’ve noticed a shift in my perspective. During these months of quarantine it’s not surprising that I took more notice of the nuances of my life, but what was surprising was how there were small contradictions that I didn’t really think about before. Without judgment, I started paying more attention to when these patterns popped up in my daily life and I realized that these small moments of contradiction are the very things that make me who I am. To give an example I see myself as a go with the flow, wherever the wind takes me kind of gal, and most that know me would attest that I can get lost in my own little world. But, I also crave routine and structure in some form to keep me anchored to this world.
When I wasn’t working, these two parts of me became shockingly clear. I felt lost without having an outlet for my creativity like I do working as a hairdresser. So I began to look at ways to get creative at home, and while this helped a little, I could feel myself not fully able to be lost in my activity whether it was painting, writing, or yoga. Even though I felt the need to be creative, I also felt unmotivated. My energy throughout the day was so scattered it was disorienting. At this time, my husband was also out of work and finishing out his semester of school from home. To keep up with this new chaotic school schedule he switched up his daily routine to make sure he could still go running every morning before he got into the business of the day.
I decided to go on one of his runs with him, to try to clear my head. Game changer. This is what I had been needing without even realizing it. Us creative types can be scared off by words like “routine” and “discipline” and even “waking up earlier”, but what I realized after completing that run and having the first day in weeks that I felt productive is that I need some sort of loose structure to build out the rest of my day as I choose. When I was working, my days never looked exactly same which appeals to the artist in me, but they also require me to have a certain timeline to follow which allows me to focus my creative energy to make it work for me. It’s just loose enough to let me flow, but tight enough to make sure I’m not just getting lost in things without ever getting a result. BOOM, epiphany moment.
I discovered the beauty of balancing these two seemingly opposite sides of myself through trail running. It seemed to be the ultimate combo of freedom & discipline. I made an appointment with myself each morning to get my butt to the trails by a certain time, and after that I let the trail dictate where it would take me that day, and as I ran I could decide how long I wanted to go based on how I felt in the moment.
Contradiction seems like a bad word. Now more than ever it feels like we live in a world of extremes. I think the bravest thing you can do is own all of what makes you unique. Instead of forcing yourself into the strict black & white, let the world see your wide range of color, and get to know your strengths within this spectrum.
In art you hear the term contrapposto referring to the natural standing position of the human body, with weight leaning on one leg and a shift in the body to counter this, but there is another definition that emerged throughout art history where artists not only made statues in this pose, but they also played with opposites, or contradictions. The word contrapposto means opposite in Italian. These playful opposites that the artist adds into the work become the most interesting parts that keep your eye moving through the piece. Instead of throwing things off, they actually add a balance. I like to think of our unique quirks in the same way.
Owning your contrappostos can be freeing. It doesn’t make you a hypocrite to let all parts of yourself exist. It enriches the world when we allow our points of view to question the way things are. I have began again to look at my life and realign with my intentions. The goal is not to be perfect, but to be curious and honest.
I love minimalism, but I also love to shop. I am happily married, but also need my independence. I love my job, but I won’t allow it to come before my health or my family.
I’m a feminine feminist. I’m a chronic illness warrior & a runner. I believe in god & the power of the universe.
I have white privilege & I support the black lives matter movement. I am straight & I support gay rights, trans rights, and all human rights.
I like to share my life, but also value my privacy. I use eastern & western medicine to help manage my anxiety. I’m quiet, but assertive.
The list goes on and on and on. It’s healthy to challenge other people’s perceptions of you, and to challenge your own perception of yourself.