Philosophical phonderings phrom Phoenix

Well, Tempe, actually, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to use the “word” phrom.  And really, it’s just the next town over.  Though I’m sure my friends in Tempe would take umbrage to such a flippant dismissal of the differences, as I’m wont to do when airline pilots tell me that we’re landing in Fayetteville, (city 25 miles south of more than 70,000 people) instead of in a former pasture in Highfill, AR (population just under 600).

Yesterday ended a series of travel adventures, some for work, some about but not for work, and others for fun, and all I have to say is thank goodness.  It seems this happens every year around this time; I have trips left and right, and the result is that home, couch and dog take on a rosy glow.

Speaking of rosy glow, I was visiting ASU-Gammage, a Frank Lloyd Wright designed performing arts center that was large, round and orange.  But interesting, that’s for sure.

The conference was about marketing, and there is always immense comfort in hanging out with other marketing folks.  They understand, frankly, that the statement made by the Gammage CEO (in jest) – “You all know that, if a show is a success, it’s a great show, and if it’s a failure, it’s your fault” – isn’t entirely untrue.  I’d also add that everyone in the entire world thinks they know how to market something, and it’s one of the great tests of a marketer’s personal fortitude if he/she can graciously accept every idea and “I just want to help” that gets tossed out.  I’m not very good at this, I will admit, but I’m trying. It just feels GOOD to sit with others who know exactly how you feel.  

What doesn’t feel so good is our insatiable need to share our great ideas, to prove to the room that we are smart and know what we doing.  I can handle that for about 2-3 hours, then I start to fade off.  I start to do things like idly browsing the photos on my cell phone, looking for those I can delete since I have over 1000 on there and I can’t update my aps.

And here we arrive at the most remarkable thing that happened to me on this trip, and it had absolutely nothing to do with work. 

While browsing my photos, I came across this photo of myself.

The odyssey of this photo is interesting, at least to me.  It’s from my brother’s wedding in July, and until two days ago, I couldn’t bring myself to post it, because all I saw in it was a curly haired gal who had her hair straightened and now wonders if everyone will say “gee, Jodi should straighten her hair more, she’d look so much better if she did,” or a fat, single spinster at her younger brother’s wedding.  No doubt it will hurt some people to hear me say that, but it’s how I felt. 

Then the other night as I came upon the photo, I saw it with different eyes. I’m not sure what happened, but my attitude about myself has changed lately.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been able to fit into some old jeans, and notice some of my clothes hanging a little looser.  Maybe it’s finally getting some clarity on some things in my life that were weighing on me.  Or maybe it’s finally figuring out how to be proud of who I am while also striving to improve.  I think that is really, really hard, because how can you “love yourself” when everything you are doing implies that who you currently are (physically, at least) isn’t ok? 

The other night, when I saw this photo, I found myself thinking “What the hell, Jodi?  This was a beautiful night, a happy memory.  So you’re not as skinny as you want to be.  Get over it, and keep working on it.” But I also saw what a pretty picture this is, really, with the ocean and the colors. And I also found myself saying “You know what? I don’t look half bad.  Am I bigger than I want to be?  Sure.  But I’ve always been bigger than I want to be, and it shouldn’t keep me from sharing a decent photo, for crying out loud.”  So up it went onto facebook, and the kind and complimentary comments came after.  Genuine or not, they did warm my heart, and give me even more incentive to keep working and struggling, so that maybe after the next wedding, I won’t have to wait months to post a photo of myself.  

So a shout out to the dogged marketers at the conference for a bunch of great marketing ideas (I was listening even as I was photo-browsing), and for the discovery of this photo.  If I hadn’t tuned you out, I would have missed this great insight into myself.  And for those who prefer the straight hair, tough luck; within 2 hours of this photo my hair was curling again.  🙂

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