Gangster Rap and the F*%^ it Phenomenon

After having Wallace, I suffered from a minor identity crisis.  Completely letting go of my physical self was traumatic, albeit expected, but I also parted with some things that weren't anticipated.  I stopped drinking in excess and with college nicknames like "Jamie Barfer" and "Blackout Barker," you know drinking was deeply imbedded in my world.  I cut off my hair and started wearing only vintage men's wear.  This drives my husband crazy (in a bad way) but this clothing fits really well on my postpartum body.  I have grown a really thick layer of skin on the bottom of my feet, which I thought only happened after you turned 70.  I forgot what I enjoy eating because my diet was so drastically different when I was pregnant.  I have discarded all of my padded bras and went from an A to a DD to a (low) A-.  I started caring about what others thought and became self conscious about insignificant things while at the same time, have never felt more confident in who I am.  The letting go and holding on has been confusing but one part of my old self that has recently returned is Gangster Rap and suddenly, I have been revisited by the Fuck It Fairy. 

If you aren't familiar with this particular fairy, that's okay because I made it up as I am a real sucker for a good alliteration.  Although Fuck It Fairy doesn't qualify because technically "It" doesn't start with F, I liked the flow, so threw it in.  I digress, back to Gangster Rap and not giving a Flying Fuck.  A month ago I started listening to rap on solo car rides and gradually my outlook has shifted and my confidence is returning even though, nothing notable has changed.  I still drive a Pruis and wear my dirty hair underneath an over-sized sunhat but somehow, I feel hard.  Maybe it's because my hair is finally grown out but I have got my swagger back.  Rap music has also helped me hone in on what's important.  First, one of my favorite takeaways from rap is the emphasis that is put on family.  Your family members are the only people who will truly be there on your darkest days and while I hope that all of you make some lifelong friendships as well, just know that your blood relatives are you true ride-or-dies.  Rap artists also do a great job at calling out phonies and people who try to bring them down.  This is perhaps one of the most empowering parts about the music because at the end of the day, very few people actually matter.  I mean people matter of course but like really, really matter to the point where we should take their criticisms seriously, that list is very short.  If you've got people around that don't appreciate you, fuck it, doesn't matter, keep it moving.  Find yourself a group of homies and stay loyal to them (thanks MXB).  There is an aspect of rap, the sort of FTW mentality, that I don't completely subscribe to but can definitely get behind in some capacity.  I feel that there are so many things that do matter, that it's not as much FTW as it is FTPSTDM (fuck the petty shit that doesn't matter).  Because right now, we need to stay focused so if I spend any energy on people or things that don't, it's a complete waste.  However, if I spend energy on positive change, it will come, I am working with likeminded people, and being a force of good.  It's also very liberating to limit who and what you care about and feels good to remove a few things from the worry list.  

I must warn you, the liberation that comes from the Gangster Rap Fuck It Phenomenon can be overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of living for yourself without trying to please others, it raises happiness levels immensely.  I used to watch this R. Kelly video when I was in my 20's and my favorite lyric was "what they eat don't make us shit," and I have always felt a special connection to this sentiment.  I have spent a considerable amount of time worrying about others and at the end of the day, none of that matters.  Not giving a fuck is probably the best thing you can do for happiness.  You are more compassionate with yourself and others quit expecting from you.  You'll will still get judged because that's how humans are, but it's your new nonchalance that will take the power away from those haters.  Want to wear pajamas everyday, me too.  Want to eat the cake at the party but can't find a fork, we were made with hands, please dig right in.  Want to indulge in some meat when you claim you're a vegetarian, more power to you, your body is probably telling you exactly what you need.  The point is, if people don't like it, who cares.  You do you.  

I often quote one of my favorite books in moments of social insecurity and as Dr. Seuss would say, "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter."  Love your family, find your people and stop giving a fuck about everything else, it simple doesn't matter.   



Summer Lounge Essentials

Since I spend so many hours working from home, it's essential for me to have a solid line-up of cozy items.  Typically I stay in pajamas, a robe and heavily-lined slippers but now that it's summer, it is time for me to swap out my winter lounge goods for some lighter-weight items.  

Robe | If you aren't already familiar with the offerings from Oddbird Co. I recommend grabbing some coffee and spending time sifting through their entire site.  The creator Ceren has the best eye and has curated a thoughtful shop of Turkish Textiles.  I picked up this robe, which if the perfect weight for summer.  This robe is also so cute, I feel confident wearing it outside to walk my dogs because it can totally be mistaken for a duster.  It's my absolute favorite thing to throw on in the morning and if you're in the market for s lightweight summer robe, this is exactly what you're looking for.  

Panties | On really warm days, when I don't want to wear any clothing, you will find me wearing my matching set from Pansy.  This company sets the bar for organic undergarments and they made everything locally in California.  All of their products are made with organic cotton which breathes very well and is ideal for warmer months.  Additionally, their undergarments are very sturdy so I don't feel like I am just wearing panties.  They almost feel like a two-piece body suit which feels totally appropriate to wear solo on those 100 degree days.  I picked out the high-rise bottoms and the bra both is mauve, and they have been in my rotation ever since.  

Slippers | We live in a house with wood floors, two dogs, a toddler, and at least one construction project in progress at any moment, so slippers are a must.  My normal slippers have a thick lining so when I found the Summer Slipper by Mahabis, I had to try.  This company is brilliant and makes slippers that can be easily converted to casual shoes with a plastic sole that snaps on.  These slippers had made my life easier I am constantly doing small tasks just outside the house.  They also make slippers for kids and I can't wait until I can get Wally a matching pair (because we all know how much I like to match my son).   Mahabis is offering a 15% discount to all of my readers with the code IGXjamie so pop over and take advantage of this great deal.  

Counting to 30

Over the last few months, Wallace has gone full-toddler.  Occasional tantrums have turned into daily meltdowns that often include full-body freak outs, hyper-aggressive behavior, loud screaming, saying "shut up Jamie" (which is particularly painful as it reminds me of how I treated my mother) and shouting demands at me and Bryan.  Meeting these outbursts with a loving reaction has become increasingly more difficult, so I am starting a new practice.  

When Wallace has an intense moment and I find that I want to react by way of F-word, I have started counting to 30.  Growing up, we are told to count to ten but when it comes to finding patience with an insanely wild toddler, ten seconds is not sufficient.  I need 30, and not a rushed one-Mississippi 30, these circumstances require an actual slow-count with deep breaths 30.  I have found that these 30 seconds often set the tone for the entire day.  If I take my time and count, I become calm and change the energy in the room.  After I pause for 30 seconds, the chances of snapping and feeling regret are replaced with an opportunity for communication and possibly even an eruption of laughter.  Because sometimes having a tantrum is downright hilarious.  I grew up in a home where screaming was commonplace so I spent much of my life communicating that way, which has proven not to be the best.  I don't want Wallace to have that same experience and by counting before reacting, I am setting a positive example for communication.  

Toddler meltdowns are the most trying motherhood moments that I have experienced thus far, and each day I work hard to be mindful.  It's these split second choices that are woven together to create how one will remember their childhood.  Do you want your children to think of your home as a yelling house or do you want them remembering a house full of laughter.  Sometimes, 30 seconds can make all of the difference and I hope this inspires you to take the time to count.