Not all bruises are bad #PrettyTough

 In ArtMed, Blog, Guelph

Jane Watson Portrait“She’s pretty tough.”

And I felt my heart swell inside my chest. I was warmed by the feeling of pride from the accomplishment, and the smile that grew on my face went from ear-to-ear.

The comment was made by a male colleague of mine in my master’s program in Binghamton, New York. As part of my acting training program I was taking Shotokan karate. I had just volunteered to demonstrate a form of breathing that made you prepared for taking a hit and staying strong on your feet. The problem was I hadn’t actually taken the breath yet when my 6’4 instructor did a full roundhouse kick to my abdomen. I was lifted off the ground and fell straight down on the mat with a resounding thud. The rapidly vented air from my lungs meant I was completely winded, left gasping for air. I remember my instructor flipping me over and yanking on my greenbelt in an effort to assist my lungs to re-inflate.

Everyone in class stood there with their jaws dropped open as I sputtered and gasped for air. As I stood up, I heard one classmate say, “Is she alright?”  Then I heard it:

“She’s pretty tough.”

I’ve always prided myself on being pretty tough.

I was the girl in grade 8 who asked to join the wrestling team (before there were girl’s wresting teams….so yes, I was asking if I could wrestle with all the guys…) I was the girl who challenged every boy to an arm wrestling match in grade 6 while I still had the chance to best them all. (Which I did :))  I was the girl who wore the same pair of denim overalls for most of grade 6 (seems my daughter is now sporting denim overall…) I was the girl who climbed trees near my parents’ house and built forts outside. I was the girl who asked to be an altar server at my Catholic church before it was an accepted norm (I was rejected of course, because, you know, I was a girl.) I was the girl whose hair was such a chaotic mess that classmates would come up to me and say, “You know Jane, there is such a thing as a brush.” When I tried wearing cosmetic blush the very first time to school, another classmate confronted me and said, “What’s wrong with your face??”  I was the girl who went to an all-girls High School and badgered my teachers until I was allowed to take the technical drawing course and psychology course only offered at the all-boys school across the street. Consequently, I was the only girl in my psychology class and only one of two girls in the drafting class.

Now, I’m a grown up….sorta.

Yes, I am an entrepreneur, mother of 3 beautiful beings and a wife in a grown up marriage. I have a lot of responsibility now. But I like to play laser tag with my husband and teenage boys. I like to push my limits as I did last weekend, which is how I got that lovely bruise on the high ropes course in Collingwood. I was stumbling through some of the more intricate rope challenges, and I fell. And it felt great getting back up again. I had that same feeling in my chest – that feeling of accomplishment.

On my way home from Collingwood I was taking note of my newly bruised body and found myself thinking, “You know, not all bruises are bad.” Of course it’s something we avoid here at ArtMed as much as possible. No one wants a bruise from Botox! And that made me think about all the ways the nature of our business is such a far cry from my nature as a girl growing up. I was most definitely not very feminine as a kid, teenager or woman for that matter.

Mary, like me, is pretty tough. Antique furniture refinisher, MG Convertible rebuilder, rowboat rebuilder, basketball court refurbisher…(more that post on another day!) I often see her skillfully riding her big sit down mower at her cottage, or wielding her gas powered weed wacker, hedge cutters or using one of the many tools in her overflowing tool box which she uses to repair most anything.

Neither Mary nor I anticipated this career path, but it’s a wonderful place to be. Coming from diversified backgrounds gives us a unique perspective, which is what may set us apart from those that typically run medical aesthetic businesses. We didn’t come to it first,  but now that we’re here, it seems to fit us like a pair of well-made gloves.

When I chose the phrase, Look as young as you feel, it rang as authentic and important to me; we are matching that feeling of youthfulness that we all have inside, with the way we wish to appear on the outside. I believe there’s a lot of positive reinforcement in that concept.

This past weekend I started thinking about another way to expand that idea.

Play as young as you feel.

I play the high ropes, I play laser tag, and I run around with water guns, plastic swords, and Nerf guns with my kids because it makes me feel good. We play Euchre (when did they get so good!?) and Exploding Kittens (don’t ask – actually, ask my daughter Blythe, she’ll tell you all about it!)  Playing is also scientifically proven to be incredibly important for creativity and mental health. (Scientific American Mind citation here.)

Then there’s this powerful quote from Picasso:

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

So, I’m going to continue to play as young as I feel, hold onto my creative side for dear life, and endeavor to look as young as I feel in this wonderful crazy industry I find myself in. Because I like looking as young as I feel. I like looking pretty. And I like being tough.

I am pretty tough. #prettytough


Jane Watson
Art Med, Business Director


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