Monday, January 23, 2012

When I Grow Up...

Well, it's official: when I grow up, I want to be like Julia Child.  Or, at the very least, I want to be like the Julia Child that is depicted in the movie Julie and Julia.  Have you ever seen it?  Such a great movie.  For those who haven't had the good fortune of watching it, here's a little recap:

Julie is a young secretary for a government agency who wants to be a writer.  On a whim, and with the support of her husband who suggested the project, she decides to cook her way through Julia Child's cookbook and blog about the experience.  The movie cuts back and forth between Julie's cooking/blogging experiences and Julia Child's life.  Meryl Streep is amazing as Julia Child, and portrays her as such a fun, energetic, accessible person.

Anyway, after watching the movie, I decided I wanted to know more about this Julia Child person.  Was she really as great as she seemed to be in this movie?  Was her life depicted accurately?  Did she really do all the things the movie said she did?  From what I gathered in my 2 or 3 hours of online research (ok, possibly not the most reliable sources, but when one is home bound due to an overabundance of little screamy munchkins, one takes what is most readily available!), Julia Child seems to have been a person that I would like to emulate. 

I know what you're probably thinking, and while I would like to "master the art of French cooking," that's not really the trait I most admired about her.  Actually, what most impressed me about Julia Child was the fact that she didn't let any of her circumstances keep her from achieving her goals.  Specifically, I was drawn to the fact that this lady was SIX FOOT TWO back in the 1930s, when the average height of a female American was FIVE FOOT FOUR (yes, I researched this information...again, I'm aware that I am a nerd, but weird random facts like this fascinate me).  So, basically, she was gigantic -- almost an entire foot taller than most other people -- and yet she went on to be a famous tv personality with a cooking show. 

Why did this feat strike such a chord with me?  Well, to be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with my height.  I'm not absurdly tall like Julia was in her day...pushing 6' is really just slightly taller than average now a days.  However, I've been this height since 8th grade.  And six feet tall is mighty stretchy for an 8th grader.  My height made me a force to be reckoned with on the volleyball and basketball courts, but also made me vulnerable to lovely nicknames like the "Jolly Green Giant" (obviously every adolescent girl's dream nickname...I know you're jealous.)  As I continue to gather information and refine my goals for my big New Year's Resolutions project, I've done a lot of reflecting on my life, trying to figure out why I have the strengths and weaknesses I currently possess, and trying to determine what pieces of my past and present I need to confront in order to make my future happier.  When I see someone whose traits I admire -- as I did with Julia Child when I watched the movie -- I've been trying to also figure out WHY I find those characteristics so admirable.  What deficit in my own character is causing me to pause and take notice of her particular strengths?

Anywhooo...long story short, or at least slightly shorter, I don't want to let the things that I can't change about my physical appearance keep me from reaching my goals.  Sadly, I have come to the realization that my body will NEVER EVER EVER be the same after carrying two almost 7 pound twins to 35 weeks.  EVER.  It makes me a little sad, I'm not gonna lie.  Sometimes I look in the mirror and don't even recognize the person staring back at me.  Occasionally, on a particularly bad day, I look in the mirror and wonder if I am witnessing an evolutionary miracle, and hippos have begun to walk upright on two legs.  Ok, maybe that's a little extreme.  But you get the idea.  I'm tall.  I've always been tall.  After thirty-something years, I've come to terms with the fact that I will be the tallest person in the room approximately 80% of the time.  People will probably look at me and think, "Wow...she's pretty tall!"  And that's ok with me.  However, I have NOT always been "big and tall."  Alas.  But I've decided that on those awful days when I look in the mirror and feel like Shirley Temple would have been thrilled to unwrap me for Christmas (please tell me you've heard this is by FAR my favorite non-spiritual Christmas song, and you seriously need to look it up if you haven't heard it), I will think of Julia Child and remember how, at six foot two, she boldly took on the cold, often snooty culture of the French and MADE them love her.  She waltzed into a male-dominated, highly respected culinary institute and did whatever it took to make herself successful.  At six foot two, she didn't think to herself, "I'm humongous...what will people think if I do a COOKING show?"  Or, maybe she did.  I don't know.  But I do know this: if that thought ever ran through her head, she silenced it, conquered her fear, and went on to greatness.  So, add this to my list of things to incorporate into my magnum opus of a Resolution project: Someday, I want to be like Julia Child.


F-A-N-G-U-P-O said...

Love it! And I think you're being a little too harsh on yourself. You are BEAUTIFUL inside and out! But, now I'm gonna have to go and watch that movie!

Kalani said...

Thanks Monica. And you should definitely watch seriously made me just adore Julia Child. Who knew? :)

Jana said...

I always hated stake dances where I could look over the crowd and see one other girl as tall as me and no boys!! I was the height I am now when I was twelve and feel you. Except as soon as I started playing volleyball my growth stunted and I was the shortest middle blocker in the universe. I guess it's all relative. Ps I have always thought you are GORGEOUS!! and you are my hero for making two! healthy babies at the SAME time. Amazing!