Monday, June 11, 2012

The older I get the more I believe that we, as adults, so often run solely on fear, anxiety, and guilt. By the time we are grown the list of things that are appropriate and inappropriate are stamped on the very forefront of our thought processes and we react with those in mind instead of stopping to take into account our own actual beliefs and feelings.
Well... maybe I should only speak for myself. Maybe the rest of society is happy-go-lucky and feels completely free to behave however it wants as I struggle alone with this concern of how my own behavior affects others or is judged by the world or by a higher being. Yeah... no way.
It's seems to me that it's human nature to want to be good. Obviously that doesn't apply to the entire population but please allow me to speak in generalizations at this point, keeping within the circle of average people. In other words we can collectively agree that I'm not talking about Jeffrey Dahmer or Charles Manson and company in my basic view of how society thinks.
So as I said, I think we all begin wanting to be good. And we learn good behaviors and practices beginning in preschool. Sharing, do unto others. We all know the golden rule and probably most of us think it's the kinder and better way to live. Yet somewhere this idea of learning to be a good person transforms into living up to other peoples beliefs and standards. It happens somewhere in our late teens and early twenties when our relationship with our parents goes from "my house, my rules" to "I want you to be happy and successful, now let me tell you what I think that means and what steps you should take to accomplish it". Of course they mean well. They're our parents and they love us. They want a better life for us. But there in lies basic problem number one. What's better and who gets to decide?
Now, let's not leave out the church. And I won't pick a specific one, deep down they are all very much the same. Regardless of whether I'm catholic and it's okay to have that glass of wine in public at dinner or I'm Southern Baptist and while I can't drink or dance, if I'm male and over 45 I can still smoke on the front steps of the sanctuary, deep down it's all the same: "Here is how you should behave and handle things, and if you can't it's okay as long as you come to us to help you fix what's wrong with you."
And even with religion I will say I think most ideologies have their hearts in the right place. But here is the point of this ramble. The rules have been set and written down and we don't often question if we actually agree. Instead we worry about what each separate entity will think if they find out we bent the rules. And it truly goes way beyond parents and church. For me it does. I'm conditioned to be concerned about what every person I know or even casually meet will think of my behavior and choices. I spend half my life scared to make decisions and the other half feeling as if I need to justify the ones I've made. And don't read this to think I'm miserable. I am beginning to believe we are all so conditioned to think this way, that it rarely occurs to us that it's unpleasant.
But then one day it does. And you realize your insides are all tied up because you cannot decide if it's more important to live the life you want to live or to live the life you are expected to. So then you question that out loud and know that you have to choose the life you want if you have any self respect at all, but you know this is bound to cause a wake that may actually wash people in your life away or change the light in which others see you.
And here, again it comes... fear, anxiety, guilt.  I suppose I see them as forces to be reckoned with and overcome.

Monday, May 21, 2012

You'll notice the slight name change. Yes the big day came and went. And I didn't fall apart.
Nothing fell off or out (which would have definitely been worse, and it CAN happen... I've heard some frightening tales!). I survived with all my imperfections and insecurities intact!
I've spent the last 8 months or so talking about me. It's been wonderful therapy some of the time.
I've been one who could laugh at myself for most of my life, and thank goodness when I came close to forgetting how, I found my voice here and was able to laugh through this too. I'm not really sure how many people have listened to me ramble. It doesn't really matter. I listened to myself. I picked myself up,with a little help some days, and I kept moving forward. But I feel as if I'm at an end to this section of my journey. I'm different than I was last year. I'm different than I was last week. I'm ready to be at a new beginning I think.
"Every new beginning comes from some beginning's end." ~ Seneca
Yes! That's it. That's where I am! I'm ready to put an end to the last beginning and begin the new beginning. The last beginning wasn't mine to begin. Someone started it for me. I was pushed out in the street, right in front of the traffic, and someone said "OK, now run!".
So that's what I did, and I did ok. I fell, got bruised, got lost, but I kept running. Now I'm ready to begin at my own pace, in my own direction. Ready to run because I want to, not because someone pushed me. And ready to not run, for that matter. To stop and "smell the flowers" as cliche as that is. To start in one direction and decide that's far enough and turn to a new one. That's the difference in running because you want to and running because you're being chased.
I've said all of that just to say this, I want to keep writing but I need to find a new path. I want to talk about life in general more and my life less. So while I truly have no plan for what happens next, I felt like I had to begin, if only by announcing my desire to change. This time instead of seeing where life leads me, I will take the leash of my life and pull it forward into this different direction.

"Nothing is predestined. The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings." ~Ralph Blum

"Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect."
~Alan Cohen

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I had a full blow meltdown yesterday. Actually, maybe a deflate is a better description because it started Sunday afternoon and I just slowly got lower and lower and lower. So yes... we'll go with deflate. Of course at my age my hormones seem to have taken on a life and nervous system of their own, therefore I never know if  I will take an unpleasant moment in stride and keep on moving and smiling or if I will melt down like a three year old in Baskin Robbins who's sugar cone just hit the floor. And as I think about my behavior yesterday I also have to consider the fact that at 39 years old I'm already at the early stage of menopause, I have 2 elementary age kids, and my husband left me with those kids, 2 dogs, a falling in house and moved far enough away so he's never around to help with much of anything. So I honestly believe I should get credit for not setting things (or people for that matter) on fire most days, but other people seem to think I need to try to be pleasant and think positively so here I am to write it all down and put it in perspective so I can move on. Of course I've probably alienated any male readers I might have had with all this talk of hormones and anything female. My guess is they are either completely disgusted OR shaking their heads dismissively at the idea that this can be a real reason for bad behavior. Oh well, what do men know anyway?!

Okay, enough of that. I'm really not a bitter, man hating, fire starting psychopath who wants to be left alone with her bad mood. A raging hormone some days? Well yes, I am that, but I still want to address my issues. So here we go... my girls are trying to learn to ride their bikes and with help are becoming successful. Unfortunately I can't help them. I'm not strong enough to hold them up. I do have friends that will help when they are around, but it's just taking longer than I would like and my kids aren't happy about it at all. And I feel like it's my fault... "aye there's the rub". I feel like it's all my fault. Every bit of it. I chose to get married, I chose who I married, I chose to have kids and now that my marriage hasn't worked out my kids don't have everything they need all the time and it's all my fault. I said it. I'll say it again. It's all my fault. NO, I feel like it's all my fault. I really know its not. And I also really don't want my husband back. I wasn't happier and really can't imagine that any amount of work could make us happier now. But when things go wrong and my little girls need something I feel like this stupid mess is going to ruin their lives and it's all my fault. That's how I feel. I wish I could make my heart and my brain come together and create some sense of reality between the two of them. I know that in lots of ways I've accomplished more in the last six months that I have in the last 10 years. I know that my daughters are seeing a better version of me now most days than they were before and will become better adults because of it. I know I know I know. I feel I feel I feel. Why is it that feel always wins? And truly I'm a HUGE advocate of saying how you feel and saying it out loud. I am! I think we should always say what we feel without fear. It's very hard to learn but very important to know that our feelings are just that, our feelings. They are not someone else's reaction to them.
Don't be afraid to say I love you, just because someone doesn't say it back doesn't mean you don't feel it. Giving love is actually so much more fulfilling than receiving it. Say it often and to as many people as you can. When you are a toddler you are prompted to tell everyone you love them and blow them kisses, then suddenly at a certain age it becomes tabu and there are strings attached. Love does not have strings.
When something makes you sad say it! Sometimes that's just the release you need to let the sadness out. Sadness is not depression, it isn't permanent. And the inability to constantly smile and pretend the world is your oyster does not make you negative. It makes you human.
Scream when you are angry and if you are angry with someone specific...scream at them. OK, maybe just tell them but get it out in the open. Anger festers and leaves deep scars.
So you see I'm great with the idea of expressing how you feel. It's the actually feeling it I have a really hard time with. I suppose it falls in line with everything else I written about myself in the last 8 months. I don't just feel. I feel and then I tend to spiral, especially if its feeling down. Here I am with my extremes again. And there I certainly was yesterday.

I know this has been a bit of a ramble, but I think I just needed to get it out. Luckily for me I do bounce back and generally quickly. But it seems to me that this is the one thing that does push my meltdowns farther apart. Acknowledging my craziness seems to be what keeps me sane!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Some days I feel like my life has changed a lot since I began this blog and others I don't feel like it has changed at all. Or maybe more exactly I know my life has changed but I don't always feel that I have progressed. While "Almost 40" is getting dangerously closer to just 40, "overweight" seems to be a battle that I will always fight. "Single" has it's good and bad days but I would say good usually takes the lead on that one for now. But "happy"... this is somewhere I said I was yet I'm always searching for what it means as if I can find something better. I read an article this week that maybe gives me some insight on what's stumping this progression.

*"Our culture has come to define happiness as an experience that blows your mind. It's as though we're somehow falling short if we don't routinely feel the way Times Square looks - madly pulsing with a billion watts of Wow!"

This is me. I've always lived in the highs and lows. And to be honest I've thought myself quietly manic often, but to avoid funny shaped jackets I couldn't get out of and less than fun bouncy house like rooms I've never told anyone. And the problem with the manic state is that when you get too high, you always fall.
I always search for the excitement: the first kiss, the most fun night out, the greatest game. Excitement that makes my heart pump makes me feel like I'm happy. Yet there is always the let down. You can only have one first kiss with someone. There is always a point after that great game when your team will lose. And truthfully while I search for the excitement I think I anticipate the fall just as often. So there in my anxiety I sit... waiting. Waiting for the really great or waiting for the really bad.

*A Pueblo Indian chief once told Carl Jung "the whites always want something; they are always uneasy and restless. We don't know what they want. We don't understand them. We think they are all mad."
I don't think we know either, we just think we are supposed to want something all the time. Well and let's move forward a few years... I don'to think it's a "white" problem, but possibly an American problem. And yes, I find myself crazy too.

I'm sure you can imagine what the advice in the article was:
"Live in the moment"
"Be here now"
And I don't disagree with that at all. It is how we all should think and live. Her suggestion to help better find your way to this was to get busy. Do things. Make things. Occupy your mind with calm happiness by occupying your hands. Here I tend to have a problem, who has time to solve their anxiety as well as live in the perpetual moment by doing new arts and crafts? I find often that people who write about making life better have all the time in the world to do so.

But I will say this about living in the moment. I can learn to remind myself that just because a kiss isn't the first, doesn't mean it's not just as wonderful for that person to want to kiss me again. And when they no longer want to, I'll being happy in my memory as well as my ability to move on, that should be my calm happiness. Keeping up with the highs and lows of the football season, not the big game, this is what shall remind me that life, as one of my friends so often reminds me, is a marathon not a sprint.

I think what I heard was to breathe, look around, enjoy the quiet just as much as the fury. Even more. And maybe when looking for my highs, I should measure how far I'm going to fall before the climb.

*from an article by Martha Beck in Feb. 2012 Oprah Magazine

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day... I think I'll wrap myself up in a big red bow and shove myself into my mailbox. If I'm going to belong to anyone this year it is going to be me.
But who came up with this terrible idea anyway? I guess I should check into that before I talk it down, give me a minute...
According to Wikipedia Saint Valentine's Day was originally a day to honor martyred Christians. Really? So how did it get turned into a day of red hearts, balloons, candy, and a general bad feeling about ourselves? In fact: St. Valentine's head was actually preserved and kept at the abby of New Minster in Winchester to be honored. Am I missing the connection? Blood and Guts and Big Red Heart shaped boxes of chocolate?

Now I'm sure you are going to read this, and if you've read anything else I've written it will be easy to decide that I'm bitter about being single so I am completely dismissing Valentine's day as an evil holiday because the only card I will get is from my mother. Please follow my train of thought before you make your decision. Yes I will admit, if someone brought me roses or diamonds on February 14th year after year I would look forward to that day. As I would on March 14th or April 14th or May 14th. You get the point, right? But who decided that there should be just this one day where out loud and in public people should profess their undying love to you in a grandiose and expensive manner starting in about the 4th grade? And if it didn't happen to you then, you were crushed! They should rename it the "St. Self Esteem Crusher for all not so perfect little girls" day. Or how about, "I really liked you until I realized you couldn't buy me something cool now I'm gonna tell all the girls you're a loser" day. Or last but not least, "We were having fun, but I don't want to get you anything so I'm going to break up with you and then call you with regret in mid March" day. It just seems to me that if you love someone, you should show it when you feel it, not when everyone is watching to see how well you show it and how big or shiny it is.

And back to the history of it all. Apparently the Valentines were martyrs for Christianity, killed for their faith by the Roman pagan rulers. And in years to come Chaucer and Shakespeare used St. Valentine's day as a special day of love for their writing. Well at least I think that's what happened, but honestly I couldn't tell you what Chaucer was trying to say, the only reason I was able to get Valentine's out of it was because of the capital letter V. Who reads that gibberish? But I guess my lack of respect for English Literature isn't really the point here. The point is these guys were the precursors to the Hallmark family. They made it up. It means nothing. Like National Doctor's day, March 30th. What?? Do you send your doctor a gift? Flowers? How about a card that says "I'm glad my daughter's tonsillectomy was just enough to buy you that new Mercedes. When we were done paying the bill, we couldn't afford the ice cream we promised her".

I'm not saying I'm against holidays, but they should be real. And if they aren't they should be like National Fried Chicken day, something that almost anyone has the off chance of being able to enjoy. Not something that is bound to at one point in your life or another make you sit alone in a dark room with a gallon of ice cream wondering why you didn't get those flowers from that secret admirer that you know exists somewhere in commercial, flower candy, and jewelry ridden fantasy land!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Humanity ~
the quality of being humane; kindness; benevolence.
I've thought so much about kindness over the last year and what it means to me, but a bigger question is what does it mean to the world.
I think of this today, on Martin Luther King, Jr. day.

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I read an interview today with a man that spent time with Dr. King. His name was Grady Butler and he said, "King's impact transcended race...
Humanity was his concern. He just happened to be an African-American. He just wanted to serve humanity and help somebody, and I think that was his legacy."

I copy these quotes because it is true. Our own need for kindness, to give or receive, means very little if we do not concern ourselves with the need of a much greater kindness in the world today. Dr. King understood this at a level that most of us do not.
In his day he was fighting a battle of black and white so it seemed, but what he had to say transcends to a much larger picture now. If we do not quickly change our thoughts from government and finance to kindness and humanity we will fall, just as the Greeks and Romans did. We must look outward. Our ideas of the Christian nation are only valid if we live to love our Muslim brothers. Our desire to keep our nation free is only just if we allow those that want to join our nation to be free when they arrive. The forefathers of this nation came here for religious freedom yet we have never truly  respected that "freedom". We came to the America's to be free yet we took our nation from its existing inhabitants, and brought slaves to help us build the country into the "Land of the Free". And now we make our President spend the first 2 years of his presidency proving he is an American citizen because he doesn't come in a light skinned package. Companies add to their millions by sponsoring reality shows like "Teenage Moms","Mob Wives", "Housewives of Beverly Hills", and "Jersey Shore" but they pull out of "Muslim Nation". I know which group of people I want as neighbors, and if you and I disagree I don't want you as a neighbor either. I mean really, if you choose Snooky over a family that loves each other, contributes to society, and takes care of themselves just because they are Muslim, I truly have no use for you.

"Common sense is the genius of humanity."
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I have worked on kindness in my own life. I have allowed people in that I would not have chosen, I have continued to love a family that I can no longer call mine. I have put my own pain aside so that my children will feel and see love. I see kindness in those around me. My mother has never taken more than she gives and never asks for anything. I have friends that do things for others that can make me smile and feel warmth just by knowing how they have spent their day. But our work toward humanity needs to be so much more.

"The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity."
~Leo Tolstoy  
Choosing to be kind to those around us can be easy. Choosing to give in our comfort zone is not much of a sacrifice. We must broaden our scope. We must stand up as Dr. King did and say enough is enough! Understanding humanity is understanding that we are ALL human. Our skin color, our religion, our economic stature... they mean nothing without understanding that we are all the same basic structures. It matters not what God you believe in. If you believe in a God then you believe we were all create by that God. So if you cannot love your God's creatures then do you serve your God? Whomever he might be?
"Hell is an outrage on humanity. When you tell me that your deity made you in his image, I reply that he must have been very ugly."
~Victor Hugo

It is an unfortunate quote that rings true. I hope that we will fight to prove it wrong.
I hope that my children are allowed to grow old in a land of freedom and opportunity, but more so in a universe of grace and human spirit...and for them, that must begin with me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Christmas Prayer

Dear God,
I thank You for the blessings in my life. I ask that You teach me to sing them to the mountain tops so that the grumbles of day to day circumstance may be drowned by its joyful ringing.
I pray for the gift of forgiveness and the ability to forgive so that my heart will rise up to meet each day and each person I meet with a love and kindness that sets afire the chill of anger and regret in its brilliant glow.
I thank You for the gift of my children. I pray that I will teach them to be wise and caring and kind. I pray they will understand that it is what you give in life that makes it full, not what you get. I ask that You give them the keys to their own souls, so that they own them and nourish them with no expectations or desire for someone else to be the force that fuels their dreams. Therefore may all of their relationships be kindred and true, never one sided.
I thank You for my mistakes and hardships. I pray that I will learn from them and use them for change, not dwell on them and use them as excuses.
I thank You for my tender heart, though easily scarred and broken. I pray that I never harden and forget how to feel. Please always remind me that more of my life scars are from a game played hard and well than from a fall or a break, therefore I can never be afraid to jump up and play the game again. If I quit not only will I lose, I will cease to exist.
I thank You for this time of year, for Your gift, for what it says to us all about love and sacrifice. I pray that I will take it out in the world with me and find ways to sacrifice for others. May my life be fueled by the love that I have to give, not that I expect to receive.

"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
  ~Melody Beattie