Almost any time I get a coupon that would truly be of value to me, I have just enough time to lose track of it. The coupons that have a permanent home in the pits of my handbag are the ones for 25 cents off your purchase of $10 of powdered creamer (srsly, how are they still MAKING this stuff). Plus what kind of a discount is that?!
Last weekend was different. Maybe I’m responsible, maybe it was just some good ol’ fashioned luck. I received this $20 off $50 coupon for Old Navy last month which is actually a pretty good deal. If you do the math, it’s definitely more of a savings than the 25 cents to $10 ratio. I got three pairs of jogging pants, two pairs of flip flops, and a compression bra (not a cheap item to say the least) all for $33 after the coupon was applied. The pair of jogging pants pictured here were just $3.97 (!!!).
When I saw this pair initially, I didn’t see the writing on the leg. In fact, it wasn’t until I was at the checkout that I noticed. As I drove home, I did what I always do. I over-thought it. This phrase on this pant leg is either super profound, super wrong, or at the very least a total marketing ploy.
Many of you have heard me go OFF on Nike for their “Man up or shut up” tee that I ran into about two years ago now. Perhaps my rant on masculinity and about the voice of men is better for another day because there’s hardly enough space and time for me to really delve into it here. But that being said, I’m not a good person to try to market to. Though, if you know of anyone who needs to hire for Mel Gibson’s position on What Women Want, I think I’d be the best at that so pass my info along! My problem with marketing is that I’m over-sensitive, I take things too literally, and I am constantly looking to see how the male gaze is trying to take advantage of women and/or use sex to sell whatever non-sex related thing they are trying to put on the shelves. By “constantly looking” I mean “assume men are pigs and out to get women and constantly argue about that tension.” I’m trying to get better about it. Really.
So I drive home and for twenty minutes I sit in a quandary.
Don’t they know that your body NEEDS rest. Maybe they’re not saying “never rest.” You know you’re right, they’re probably just saying that rest and run don’t go together (side note: for most, this would be the point of “full circle” but I keep going). I wonder if all people have the same mentality when they run. Does everyone else have to distract themselves while they run, so that they think about anything but how much energy they are exerting? Are there people who have taken this “rest later” business too seriously? To a fault? Please note that at this point in the drive I was (and still am) aware of how crazy I was sounding to even myself.
What I realized is that there’s no one message that works or applies to everyone for running. And same goes for every other human obstacle or condition. We have all come to think about things in life in different ways based on our genetic makeup, our life experiences and primary family relationships. We can’t easily separate ourselves from this. This applies to holidays with the family. Birthdays. How we work. How we deal with conflict, grief, depression, and unrest. We all come AT it differently, we all seek different resolves.
I wish I could count the different messages that I’ve accumulated over the course of my life that help me to frame my world. I’m curious about how these things are internalized and how these messages actually spur me on. Do women and men who grew up with parents who told them to just “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” have more diligence and persistence in their relationships and work? What have been the long-term results of these kinds of messages?
But how many (besides me) have had to stop dead in their tracks because one of their life mantras (ie. Don’t worry, be happy!) was actual bullshit and was creating more harm than anything else? How many lessons have I had to un-learn because what I thought or what I believed to be the “key” was really actually this theoretical glass door that I kept– bumping– into–.
And how do people choose new mantras. Who are the people that invest in their own created ideas about how to go about life. How many of us internalize new mantras that close friends seem to have had success with? There are SO many different messages that I observe every day that it’s overwhelming.
I guess at the end of the day I can’t hate the man who wears a “Man up or shut up tee” because I can only hope he knows he doesn’t have to be this stoic because society says so. I can’t choose the messages that culture tells others about what reality is. If there’s something I believe strongly enough about, I realize that I have the freedom to demonstrate that reality in only the most loving way I know how. Which, of course, would depend on the situation.