A bandaid to hide the pain

What is a bandaid? It’s a little piece of plastic to keep a cut clean while our bodies work at healing the wound. The bandaid doesn’t actually heal the cut and, though we may think it does, it doesn’t remove the pain.

A bandaid solution is really not a solution at all. It’s just a cover to try to slow the bleeding while we work on fixing the actual problem that is causing the bleeding. If we ignore the problem now that we can’t see it under the bandaid, it just festers. We need to remove the bandaid and apply the salve.

I hear that people with healthy emotions (I’m working on joining this group) get very upset when someone they love is hurt or suffering. It can seem like a good idea when someone you love is having a hard time to rush in with a bandaid and distract her from her pain.

But sometimes, the best thing that you can do to help someone you love is to see her pain – acknowledge that it is real – and then sit beside her, on your hands. Empower her. Teach her tools to heal herself. Give her a safe space to try to climb her own mountain.

We derive joy from overcoming challenges. We build confidence from overcoming challenges. To deprive our children from struggling (safely), we are denying them the ability to believe in themselves. When we swoop in to save them constantly, we are teaching them that they need to be saved- that we don’t believe that they can handle this.

When we place a bible in the hands of someone who is suffering, it is a bandaid. Bandaids are not necessarily bad, they are not necessarily helpful either. Religion can provide an easy way to feel less afraid of your pain without even having to look at it. Just wear these clothes, and eat this food and say these words and trust that everything will be okay.

But a cut cannot be healed unless you look at it. Unless you examine it and understand what it needs. Sometimes everything will not be okay. And that is okay.

Some people say that religion is empowering, that it helps them feel safe. But really, I think that waiting for god to save you is extremely disempowering on a very deep level. We must always be preparing to save ourselves. We cannot rely on the lifeguard who may or may not be there, we must learn to swim.

A few hours after my sister-in-law had her c-section, the nurse came in to help her to the bathroom. I went to pull her arm up and the nurse stopped me. The nurse insisted that this new mama could get up on her own…and we waited while she struggled, and we walked beside her to catch her if she fell, but she did it. I thought the nurse was being harsh. But really, she was being terribly kind.

When we are willing to stay even for a moment with uncomfortable energy, we gradually learn not to fear it.

I’m in Vanity Fair!

I am working on a fluff piece about fashion. It will be called something like, “How to dress for your mom body!” or “Ten ways to find your iconic style.” …but it seems my issues run a bit deeper than this season’s teal purse.

Vanity Fair recently did an interview with me about my eclectic style. It didn’t make it into the magazine but here’s the transcript:

Vanity Fair: Tell us about your fashion role models.
Lyla: I try take wardrobe cues from an interview I saw with Meredith Baxter and her wife where they both looked very confident wearing white men’s shirts. Also, I love the style of Nicky on Orange is the New Black. She’s my top style icon. I especially love her hair and makeup.

Vanity Fair: So, your style icons are a 65 year old former actress and a former heroin addict who is in prison?
Lyla: Yup. I also think Carrie Fisher’s kinda fat style was great.

VF: Okay… so tell us what’s in your closet.
Lyla: Well, it’s getting a bit full but here’s what’s in my closet:

  • black leggings (x8)
  • black undershirts (x8)
  • white undershirts (x8)
  • grey cardigans (x2)
  • white linen shirts (x3)
  • several scarves
  • concert t-shirts to sleep in

VF: Wow, what a great capsule wardrobe for a full time mom.
Lyla: Actually, I go to work full time in a ‘business casual’ office each day. This list includes my daily work wardrobe.

VF: Okay…Tell us about your shopping strategy? How do you find your iconic pieces?
Lyla: Well, I absolutely love shopping. So when I need to refresh my wardrobe, I usually start at the dollar store. I pick up new black or white tanks to replace my shrunken/stained shirts. Then I head home ten dollars poorer. Next I sit at work and visit oldnavy.ca and check out the sale section. I’ll order some more black or white tanks and maybe an ill fitting grey cardigan or a new linen mens shirt in a randomly guessed size. Sometimes I’ll splurge on a long sleeve black or white t-shirt.

VF: That’s fascinating. I assume you are living paycheck to paycheck in low-income housing. Good job being resourceful on such a low budget.
Lyla: Actually, I live in a sought after Toronto neighborhood and my kids go to private school.

VF: Okay… So, I hear you like yoga. What do you wear on the yoga mat.
Lyla: See capsule wardrobe above.

VF: …and for a date night?
Lyla: Also, see above. But, sometimes I’ll really dress up and wear a pair of very stretchy jeans that I bought last month at the grocery store. But then I’ll add my brother’s old flip flops to dress it down a bit. (don’t wanna be embarrassingly overdressed.)

VF: Okay… so how about hair and make up. What’s your beauty routine?
Lyla: Well, I’ve made some huge changes in my beauty routine lately. I’ve started washing my hair twice a week with actual shampoo and conditioner. I comb it in the shower and also brush it every day or so. Like I said, I’m trying to get the iconic “Nicky” look but with the impression of better hygiene. Every morning and night, I brush my teeth with baking soda and try to remember to floss. I’ve stopped picking the skin off my lips and bought an organic lip balm. Sometimes I moisturize with coconut oil.

VF: How old are you?
Lyla: 32.

VF: These aren’t the answers we were hoping for. We can’t publish this shit. You make no sense. Here’s a thousand dollars for you to spend on therapy figuring out why you are unable to dress like an adult.


fashion collage of carrie fisher, natasha lyons, and meredith baxter