Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Caution: Changing Priorities

On Monday I had the day off. Mark and I drove to Plymouth. It's about 45 minutes away. I love driving to Plymouth but I don't love Plymouth. It lacks the character of the other places we go in the UK. It was bombed heavily during the war and when they rebuilt it it was designed by 60s designers. It's ugly. They are trying very hard to regenerate it, but it's still ugly in places.

Still, a day out is a day out so I was loving the never-ending sunshine, uninterrupted time with my honey, the chance to people watch, and the opportunity to buy things from shops instead of from the internet! As it is summer, everywhere around us is crowded. Plymouth was no exception and we got stuck in some traffic jams. One-way systems are probably good for traffic flow when there isn't much, but on Monday we just seemed to sit a lot.

As we sat and waited at one intersection I noticed a traffic sign. It was bright red with white letters and it said: "Caution Changing Priorities." I have no idea what it means in a traffic jam, but it made me laugh out loud. I wished I could steal it and wear it around my neck! In the past few months I have changed so much. I am beginning to see small twinkling lights at the end of some of my tunnels. But in the process of moving towards these lights I have had to change some of the ways that I am thinking.

I think I have learned that in order to stop emotionally eating and in order to get outside and do some exercise and in order to be in love equally my priorities have had to change. We spend so much of our lives trying to be good and make other people happy. We try very hard not to be selfish or to appear self-absorbed. But in trying to be 'good' to everyone else we end up beating the hell out of ourselves. We ignore our own needs. We eat when we should be crying, we sit when we should be dancing, and we bite our tongues and swallow the words that would allow us to feel our own integrity. The saddest part of all of this is that by ignoring ourselves we make ourselves miserable and so we also fail at making everyone else around us happy. We become bitchy and tight and pinched. We sigh like martyrs and shut down the sparkling, full sides of ourselves. Eventually we forget.

So I would like to market a line of necklaces. They will be bright red pendants that read: 'Caution Changing Priorities.' We could put them on as a symbol to ourselves and to others that we are beginning to pay attention to ourselves. It would let people know that we were about to let go; about to begin to put ourselves and our needs before the needs of everyone else. We could smile and gently tell them that by taking care of ourselves that we are going to be much better mothers/ daughters/ sisters/ lovers/ partners, because we are going to be happier, more relaxed, and more in tune with who we are. We are not going to forget them, we are going to adore them - because we can finally adore ourselves.

"Caution: Changing Priorities..." It could be a revolution!

20 comments:

liz elayne said...

i love that word "caution" at the beginning. it would be like a gentle nudge to the people around us to step back and remember they are dealing with a person.

i love the way you took this literal sign and created this post. very cool.

and i do think it would make a very cool t-shirt. very cool.

Jennifer said...

so excellent! love this entry today. Perfect!

Colleen said...

Sign me up! I need one of those pendants. Too bad my girls can't read just yet. Do I smell a self help book in the works. :o)

Becca said...

Such an insightful post. I think the "Caution Changing Priorities" club memership would overflow. Pretty soon there would be a sea of "red pendant ladies" wandering the world. Great idea, very well written post!

la vie en rose said...

amen!!! i love this. i'm all for the necklaces! bring it on! let the revolution begin!

M said...

This is brilliant!! I'm so with you on this one! Put me down on the list for a necklace, or maybe we can make t-shirts to wear when we're exercising?!!
You are making big strides and its amazing getting to be a part of it, well done beautiful!!

Jamie said...

What a fantastic idea! I would so buy one! They make me feel like anything could happen!

Anonymous said...

There are a group of senior ladies around here that call themselves the 'red hat club' or something like that. They show up at restaurants and various events wearing red hats. They have no cause, espouse no theology they just do collectively what you suggest for an individual. They are just enjoying themselves for themselves.

ruby said...

i love this idea! i came here through M's site and i'm so glad i did...seems like a lot of us are thinking along the same lines lately...

Colorsonmymind said...

Oh my...this really hit home.

So much I have been shoving food down, trying to believe I can get through without it but pulled to it.

The week after my IVF transfer when I was taking it easy, meditating and napping when the little one napped-I felt so good. I am havingf such a hard tiome taking that step-dropping the overeating.

It is right there in my face and I love that I know I am not alone.

Please keep writing about this...how you are dealing with it-it has so helped me.

XOXO

susanlavonne said...

your finger in on my pulse, so to speak :-) so much truth told so eloquently!
sign me up for whatever garb becomes available! it's either that or have your post tatooed on my thigh (sadly, it would fit)

Jessie said...

Isn't it nice when the signs we find in life are actually LITERAL. Takes the guess work out of it. heh! ;)

Laini Taylor said...

Meg, I love that! It's hilarious on a traffic signal and it seems somehow very English to me. Like some polite euphemism or something! Also love the necklace idea -- and everything you said here about selfishness. I think selfishness is a vastly undervalued... virtue. Yes, I think selfishness in the right quantities is a virtue. Not to the point of ignoring the well-being of others, but knowing how to take our OWN well-being into account is so important, and something women have been taught NOT to do. Like the 1950s image of the mother popping up from the table so often to see to her family's needs that she never got to eat any dinner herself. I say rubbish to that. The people around us need to rely on themselves as well -- we have our roles: daughter, wife, friend, aunt, mother, whatever, but our most important role is: ME. SELF. And if that part is miserable and undervalued, all the other parts will be too. Great post, Meg!

kerry said...

this is such a wonderful post for me to stumble upon today. thank you for your comment on my blog the other day. and thank you for writing this. your 2nd paragraph is so true, so difficult to say and stand by, to not brush off as a less than crucial issue. i'm hoping you'll write more about this and your own effort to make those changes. i think it could be life-changing and i only hope to get to a place where i can try to take a few first steps in that same direction.

Madeleine said...

i remember you telling us this the other day. it's brilliant.
right behind you, girl.

it was soooo lovely to meet you the other day. you live in such a beautiful place, and it was great to see it for ourselves.
Susannah and i are desperate to move to your neck of the woods now. (plus Torin really fell in love with Hope too)

lots of love

tara dawn said...

"We spend so much of our lives trying to be good and make other people happy. We try very hard not to be selfish or to appear self-absorbed. But in trying to be 'good' to everyone else we end up beating the hell out of ourselves. We ignore our own needs."....Amen sister! I'm working on this myself these days, but still so much work to do in this area...glad to be reminded I am not alone.
And as for the necklaces, count me in honey! I would wear that every day!
Missing you and sending so much love,
TD

Amber said...

This is a wonderful post, Megg. It speaks to the voice of my heart lately. I am making lots of changes, and in need of making others... and I am needing to remember "me" in order to make things work.

Thanks for creating Sunday Scribble with Laini, and for your visit to my blog the other day! It was nice to see you. ;)

:)

paris parfait said...

Brilliant post and wonderful insights. Thank you!

Alexandra S said...

WOnderful post AGAIN Megg! I would like such a necklace. I'd like to see it on a big billboard plastered across my living room too. Those two words speak very much to me right now, shufting into more productivity, releasing a lot of what needs to be on its way from my life. I've missed your posts while I was away. I need to get all my notes together and ship them off to you which I do promise to do-I wish so much you could have come to the conference but there will be more!

Marilyn said...

YES! Make those necklaces! I'll wear one! (Hey, how about t-shirts...I'd LOVE one of those.) :)