i love me soft.

A few months ago, I received a phone call from the irresistible Cat Cuevas, learning development specialist, burlesque performer and soul-centered business phenom. She had called to interview me for her book Burlesque and Bequest: Rewriting the Inheritance of Women (read it, you won't be disappointed) and began with what seemed like no-brainer. How would you describe yourself?

For me, the answer felt like a dish whose component parts seem like they shouldn't go together... but do. Buttered popcorn and Reese's Peanut Butter Bites. Grilled cheese sandwiches topped with a layer of sweet grape jelly. Ice cream and french fries. Maple and bacon and donuts. Like sweet and salty, my answer to her question tumbled out as seemingly conflicting qualities. I am focused and chaotic, confident and questioning, Present and always dreaming, logical and emotive. I am messy and organized, clear-headed and confused. An early riser and a night owl. I am strong. I am soft. No longer conflicting, when wrapped into my whole, they are complementary.

There are days when each of these qualities rises to the surface. It is my efficient side that finished my tax return and my inner emotive that drew my bath.  While there are days when I experience the turmoil of clashing forces -- Do I write or create on a day when I should be focusing on finances? Do I take a long shower or fold the laundry? Go on a walk or get down to the business of answering emails? Do I get a J.O.B. or be my own boss? -- I'm aware that, while they serve me in different ways, each of these parts of me deserve to be loved on and appreciated. And, just like with a partner, I'm working on listening to how they want to be loved.

Some days, I want to celebrate my strength. I'll spend the day in workout gear and end the afternoon in a run. I like to sweat and move and work, a tribute to my strength. I do everything quickly. Shower quickly, walk quickly, check off my to-do list with fervor, always standing, always moving. 

Today, however, I am loving on my softness.

I wake up with softness, allowing myself the luxury of a few more minutes of cozy rest. I throw on clothes that make room for my curves, comfy leggings and my favorite Georgetown sweatshirt, similarly softened with time. Rather than watching my usual morning news, I curl up on the couch to finish the final chapter of my book. I sit in silence, drinking my morning cup o' joe. 

Usually, I'm utilitarian in my approach to showers. Get in, use whatever soap you can find, get out, get going. Today, I bring out the good stuff, the shampoo and conditioner that I've been saving. Turning on the faucet, I go slowly, letting the steam fill the room. I feel luxury and softness and only appreciation. I finish with a layer of smooth body butter.

The truth is, today I've got shit to do. A massive (and gratitude-soaked) to-do list, borne of living in the sweet spot of career, relationship, family and wedding planning, grows just above my desk.

But, just for a moment, I'm going to begin my day by worshipping the softness. I'm going to thank my curves and my comfy sweatshirt, going to bask in the last pages of a good book and the sweetness in my morning cup of coffee.

My days often feel like a tug-of-war between wants and needs.

And the reality is that, yep, I've got shit to do. And (almost) all of that stuff is part of the life that I have chosen to live. It's what I give to have a career that I love, a relationship that I cherish deeply, a home that I sit in gratitude for every day, and a body that thanks me back for the care that I give.

There's a whole lot that I don't get to choose. I've got timelines, deadlines, cleaning and shopping and pets to clean up after. But, before all of that, I make the choice to tap into what I want.

Each morning, I make the conscious choice to, even if it's in the smallest way, to acknowledge what I want. I may have business meetings or a long commute, a hard deadline or a list of errands a mile long - all of which need to get done - but, damnit, I'm going to infuse my day with desire.

I might have to don business-casual on a day that I really want to spend its entirety in sweatpants. So, I'll throw on a silky, colorful top over my favorite pair of stretch dress slacks. I may wake up feeling diva-esque on a day that I'm spending on a home improvement project. So, I'll put on a favorite necklace or dramatic make-up, spicing up my workpants and boots. I may not get to choose how long I'll drive for that business meeting during rush-hour, but I can make sure that my iTunes is stocked with my favorite pump-up songs and podcasts. Even in the face of expectation and the rush-rush-rush of a beautifully busy life, I adorn my day with desire.

Some days, I want strength. Others, I wake up desiring dance parties and fashion shows. Some mornings, I'm craving softness. On others, I wake up with the deep desire for grounding. I ask myself the questions: What do I want? What do I need? And how can I, even in the smallest way, respect that desire?

Join the discussion and share how you infuse your day with desire. What do you do when your to-do list stands separate from your wants for the day? What's your favorite way to care for yourself?

Kate McCarthyComment