hey sole sister,
This 3-letter conjunction makes me feel free and secure. This word has allowed me the freedom to feel and experience one, two, even seven or one hundred things at one time and listen to my compass a little closer. This pattern of thinking that includes more “ands” and less “buts” is changing me. It is changing my relationships. And it is changing the way I view others.
Both is Beautiful:
There’s a famous story in my family about “that one time Catherine shaved her legs on a camping trip with a bucket of soapy water.” Growing up in the Lenhardt home involved many a camping trip. Horse camping, tent camping, trailer camping, you name it, we did it. I have some of my fondest memories from childhood singing songs around a campfire with my dad playing the guitar, roasting s’mores, being freezing cold in a sleeping bag, waking up with the sun, and dirt absolutely everywhere. I loved it. Fast forward to about the 5th grade when I borrowed my sister’s razor in the bath tub (I know, gross, SUE ME… I was a kid, kids are gross), and I shaved a little part of my 10 year old legs just to see what it was like. And it changed everything. I then asked for permission to begin shaving “cause all the girls at school were too” (I pulled out all the stops to get my way that time). By my surprise, it worked and Mom Permission was granted. This is a right of passage in a young girls prepubescent life. I cut myself many times and the first few weeks of practice would involve an hour long bath/shower situation, which in a family with 4 daughters did not always go well.
Anyway, shortly after I learned how to shave, we went on a camping trip. I packed for the trip and of course included my newest toiletry to come along. About 1-2 days into the camping trip, I made myself a pitcher of warm water on the fire, poured it into a bucket with dish soap, and lathered up to shave my prickly gams. It is nearly two decades later, and this is still a commonly discussed event at family gatherings. Let me outline the “and” in this story. I can be a faithful member of the Lenhardt clan, enjoy camping, AND I can thoroughly enjoy the smoothness of freshly shaved legs.
It’s not camping OR hygiene to me. It’s both, and... That is allowed. That is exciting! You can be a dog person and like cats. You can be a chocolate person and sometimes prefer vanilla. You can be an exercise junkie who sometimes likes to Netflix & chill. You can be a healthy eater who gets fro-yo after eating a salad. We can feel sad and happy at the same time. We can spend money and need to save money. We can need something and feel thankful for what we have. These concepts are not mutually exclusive. They coexist and they are beautiful together.
In what areas do you feel like you are fighting an “or” and might need to consider an “and” instead? Where are you feeling like “if this then that” and instead your inner voice needs to just admit that you are feeling like “if this and if that, what do I do with both?” Together, let's focus on this this week. Let's fight ourselves less and love our complex selves a little more.
Love you, mean it,