Together

27 06 2011

It’s so funny how The Universe works. I’ve been living the same essential situation over and over again recently in various forms and events, each time with different people involved – sometimes just as a witness and not an active participant at all. But at the core, they have such striking similarities. One element involved is my own sense of self being nurtured (or, sometimes, simply shocked into awakeness) and guided through a period of growth. My sense of what is right and wrong. My sense of being able to see when I am less than in control of a situation I am involved in. My sense of gaining control in a firm and loving and open-minded way. And you know what? Growth hurts. It’s really damn painful.

But one thing that just keeps coming up over and over again is the tendency our society has to keep Ugly Shit private. I just can’t be so sure that’s the right thing to do. I feel like we are meant to be surrounded by our fellow women in times of trial. I feel like we need each other around for support, to offer guidance and advice and other points of view, to witness things that are being said. Guidance and support speak for themselves, but I want to add in that I think having a witness is so important to keeping people careful of the emotions involved, and also simply in keeping things moving along. A witness, even just sitting quietly, helps to keep Shit from getting stagnant.

Of course none of this flies because it makes people feel uncomfortable and we still have this leftover Victorian etiquette shit where we daren’t make people uncomfortable. The thing is, though, is that Life is often really fucking uncomfortable. Physically and emotionally. And so when people complain about things being said publicly making then feel uncomfortable, I kind of want to scream, “TOO DAMN BAD!”

Society has steered us so wrong in so many places, and I can’t help but wonder if this is one of those things. By shoving us into privacy we lose out on the chance to connect more fully with our fellow women. We miss out on the opportunity to LEARN from each other. We really, deeply hurt ourselves by not allowing ourselves to be that open in front of our friends, our sisters. It makes my heart ache for all the loss we bring upon ourselves.

I am curious to hear what you think on this. Is there an angle I’m not seeing here? I keep running this all through in my mind but I keep coming back to this: Working through Shit publicly, surrounded by loving people, seems so much more desirable to me, even if it is uncomfortable. The alternative, as far as I can see, is surface-comfort, but so much more loss at deeper levels.





this is why i am tired

13 05 2011

Last week:
Tuesday, 5:30PM~ Someone FROM THE FREAKING TODAY SHOW called me and asked me to FLY TO NEW YORK the following Thursday TO BE ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. LIVE. ZOMGWTFPOLARBEAR!!1!!! *dies and is ded*
Tuesday, 8:30PM~ (These Today Show people keep crazy hours) I get an email asking if I can come sooner so I can film a spot in addition to the live show.
Wednesday, some point in the day which I have now forgotten~ I’m told I won’t be flying there after all, rather they’ll BE COMING TO MY HOUSE TO FILM ME HERE AND PUT MY LIVING ROOM ON NATIONAL TV. OMGWTF! *faints* (Slightly lesser response there, see?)
Wednesday, all day~ I run around scrubbing the house and kids, spending my last $20 on a haircut, driving the kids to their various appointments normal to Wednesdays, hunting down moms who want to participate in the story and who meet the requirements of the Today Show staff, finishing up some loose ends requested by the Today Show, talking to my web host about making sure the servers can handle all the traffic, and generally stressing out a little bit.
Thursday, two hours before news crews arrive~ I get a call saying no one is coming. *sigh* *dies. and is ded* The foreign news was too much that week to have room for a story on mama-bellies. Which made sense. I had wondered why they’d picked the week Osama Bin Laden was killed to invite me to New York. But it was also Mother’s Day so I thought that might have something to do with it.
Friday~ Recover.
Saturday~ Clean off the entire patio.
Sunday~ Be in pain from Saturday. Also celebrate Mother’s Day.
Monday~ Attempt to get back to regularly scheduled programming.  Fail. Look over the paperwork that needs to be done this month and turned into the county office. I haven’t mentioned this here yet, but we’re on food stamps. SPOILER ALERT! I’ve been meaning to blog about it but just haven’t found the time. Refer back to this entry for an example of why. Anyway. Discover the paperwork was actually due last week while I was not in New York. Do the math and realize I had exactly two days to get it completed and mailed and received since it arrived over a week after it was dated. The government is full of lying liars who lie. Call the office to see what can be done. Don’t get through. Spend ALL DAY LONG trying to get through. Feel foggy. Feel bitchy. Not all of this is from having to deal with the government. Part of it is a major case of PMS.
Tuesday~ SPEND ALL DAY LONG TRYING TO GET THROUGH. Feel even more PMSy.
Wednesday~ FINALLY GET THROUGH!! And remain on hold for one hour and forty minutes. No shit. ONE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES. Finally give up because Elliott needs to be at an appointment. Feel menstrual. Very, very menstrual. ETA: Oh shit I forgot the bit about how my bank called me at 8am to ask me if I’d spent $6,000 that morning on clothes and how, no, they didn’t think so but wanted to double check and how they’d cancel my debit card and how I’ll get a new one sometime before the world ends. *sigh*  And so now I am partying like it’s 1999 and writing checks for everything. Yes.  I am that person in line.  Blame the criminals.
Thursday~ Call again, speak to an operator, explain my case, get put on hold FOR FORTY MINUTES MORE. Get hung up on. Menstruate more. (Sorry, male readers.)
Friday~ OH GLORY BE. Friday the 13th is here to make up for my Week o’ Thursdays. I not only get through and don’t even get put on hold, but I get my problem solved (turns out I actually had until Thursday and would have known that HAD I BEEN ABLE TO GET THROUGH) and spend exactly zero minutes in the office waiting for the paperwork I was told I’d have to wait for. WIN. Celebrate with Frappy Hour and some Doctor.

And the future holds? Well, more of this, but slightly less… manic. Unless the Today Show calls me back like they promised. In the mean time, and for the foreseeable future, we are blaming all our problems on Matt Lauer.

(Dear Today Show and/or Matt Lauer, totally j/k. lolz)





Begone, Scary Monster Eyes and Six-Foot-Tall Spiders!

7 05 2011

Over the years, for a variety of reasons, our patio and back yard fell into disuse. We had too much stuff, I had to focus my energy on the part we had to live in rather than the outsides, the brown widows literally invaded the city in one summer and our back yard stupidly has no access out except through the house which makes removal of spidery yard waste difficult and anxiety-causing. Whatever reasons or excuses, it was unpleasant. And my goal this year has been to transform my home into a place that is pleasant, free of clutter and peaceful. About a month ago I cleaned up the back yard and today I did the patio. While I never took before pictures to spare myself the embarrassment, I did create some shockingly realistic reenactment photos for you. You’re welcome.

Patio – Before:

patio reenactment

At times in the past, the patio’s been so cluttered you could hardly walk in it, let alone enjoy it or want to glance in the direction of it. Much of the extra stuff left with the husband, I tossed some more things I felt we no longer needed, and I chopped down the jungle that had sprung up due to the unusual amount of rain we got this winter. I am pretty sure there were monsters hiding in it, as you can clearly see in the reenactment photograph.

Here’s what it looks like now (which I’m sure is a complete shock to you, what with all my mad photoshop skillz).

Happy Thing: No More Scary Monster Eyes

This is what the shelves look like now. They aren’t pretty (well, there’s a patch I rather fancy, circled for your convenience), but since I don’t have a garage, they are quite necessary. I’m open to ideas for making them less garagey while also not creating extra hiding spaces for those widow jerks (spiders. my neighborhood is not infested with actual widows acting like jerks). The car seat will be tossed as soon as I get my hands on a sledgehammer with which I can destroy it.

shelves

Into the back yard.

Before:

(And I don’t wanna hear from you about how the orange is hard to read. It was too late to change the color. For some reason that made sense at the time.) Three summers ago the brown widows came to my town. These spiders are not native to San Diego and were first sighted and recorded in 2004 and now their range covers nearly the entire county. Those bitches breed like mad. I’ve seen them with four or five egg sacs. And they don’t stay to remote corners the way the black widows do (perhaps because their sheer numbers cause them to run out of space?) so they’ll be in places you frequent far more often than the native black widows. The summer they arrived in my back yard, the population went off like a damn bomb. We pretty much stopped going in the back yard at all. We had some camping chairs out there that became a large metropolis for them. In addition to random trash like that, the Ex Husband also created a few “compost” heaps. He was fond of them and no amount of logic could sway him from piling more leaves and twigs onto them. While they did, indeed, create some new earth, most of it was just a pile of leaves and sticks, even years later.

This is what the back yard looks like now:

And the other side:

geranium & hose

those bitches grow fast

That pepper tree in the corner there? Was definitely NOT there the last time I looked (*cough*three years ago*cough*). Those bitches grow fast. (They are also non-native and invasive. I’m allowed to call ecosystem-imbalancing plants and wildlife bitches.) (I really, really love parenthesis.)

Technically, the Spider Metropolis (i.e. camping chairs) are still in the yard, so these photos were strategically taken. My landlord promises to move them for me by tossing them over a series of fences rather than bringing them through the house. I expect this to happen in 2016. And once they are gone, despite my inclination to put some sort of chair or table out there or on the patio, I have made a firm decision not to. The yards are lovely now and simple. Adding things back there will only create more places for the widows to live (this time I’m referring to actual widows) (haha, kidding!) and be more for me to maintain. Maybe someday, if I prove to be responsible with what I currently have, then I’ll allow myself a bistro set on the patio and maybe some flowers in the back yard. For now, I’ll enjoy my spaces without anything permanent in them.

And for the future? I’d like to get a shade built for the patio and, if possible, find a way to cover the items on the shelves (not to mention protect them from heat and sun – even shaded it will get warm out there), add more wind chimes (especially in the tree in the back yard) and possibly someday find a simple way to put fairy lights up around both living areas. For now, though, it just feels good to be neatened up.

As for the house, I still get a thrill of happiness when I walk in and see my lovely living room, neat and clutter-free. Every single day.





I Eat Feet

15 04 2011

10 days without a new post. Have you missed me? I bet you have.

I’ve just been, in no particular order, exhausted, super busy, sick, and watching Dr. Who (and Torchwood – who knew that wasn’t just some boring teen drama on the CW? With a name like that, it’s like they were trying to make me assume it was a spinoff of One Tree Hill). Most of you probably know the reason for my Busy – I’ve finally launched This is a Woman. And now you need to go submit entries cause you love me.

I’ve had various topics in mind to blog, but mostly I can’t remember them. What I can remember right now is how heavy my heart is over my Big Mouth. It seems I just can’t say the right thing to anyone right now. I keep saying things to people and just hurting feelings to various degrees. This is something that’s natural to my personality, but it’s not embraceable like The Flaky because this hurts people I love. Over the years I’ve tried to stifle it, but I’ve found that really just separates me from people because in fear of saying the wrong thing, I say nothing at all. Afraid to hurt or to be embarrassed, I keep a distance.

An example of what it’s like to live in my brain:
Birthdays, baby showers, etc – these are difficult for me when it comes to opening gifts. For one thing I don’t like the bit where everyone looks at me. But also because etiquette is difficult for me. Following a script seems somehow insincere. Saying “thank you” seems almost trite, perfunctory. It makes me uncomfortable to not know how to really get across the depth of my gratitude, and in fact, I am deeply grateful for the smallest idea of a gift. It doesn’t help that I’m awkward about giving hugs or knowing how to share my affection. But, of course, a lack of thanks isn’t really the right answer, either.

That’s just one example of how I am socially stupid. I’ve been really incredibly socially stupid all winter. Sometimes it’s just a little comment, sometimes an awkward thanks, other times I’ve totally and completely fucked up an entire group of people. Awhile back I mentioned there was an issue with our usual Friday afternoon group. I won’t go into details here, but I will say that when I tried to solve the problem by bringing it up to the group, the other person involved rather misunderstood my intent to keep it anonymous, brought the details out in public and it became Internet Drama. While she is the one who brought it out in front of everyone I feel like I really royally fucked up by engaging it. Looking back I should have simply responded by clarifying my intent to keep the names and details private. And now I think a large part of the group feels awkward and afraid to meet together again and I blame myself for not having the presence of mind to end that part of the conversation right away. I was confused because the subject absolutely must be discussed for me and for other families to feel safe at this gathering, and I absolutely feel it’s the right thing to bring it before the group – in an anonymous fashion. I want to apologize to the group for getting entrenched in the details, but, frankly, I’m not sure I won’t say something even worse since that seems to be my speed right now. I feel very blessed that when I say stupid shit to my friends, I know I’m still much loved, but some of these people don’t know me very well and I feel badly that I’ve made them feel awkward when they really may not know me well enough to know my intents.

I talked about this with some good friends today – about how I just can’t seem to say the right thing lately and Karen had a really good way of describing it – I’m tearing down old filters and trying to build new ones, and it’s hard. Learning lessons sucks. I would much rather download it Matrix-style so I don’t have to hurt or offend anyone and so I can remain unembarassed. Still, I guess, at the end of this phase, it will be worthwhile if it allows me to create closer and more authentic relationships with my friends. Just bear with me while I eat my feet in front of you, ok?

And now, The Smiths, accompanying me on this awkward phase of my life. How… kind?





Before/After, Happy Things, and 7 Days Ketchup. PS. This Got Deep

21 03 2011

I mean catsup (spell check wants me to change that to “Datsun”. Seriously). I mean catch up.

After two weeks of intense Spring Cleaning, some friends came to help me move some stuff around the living room. The furniture was not only too heavy for me, but I also don’t know things like How to Put a Computer Back Together. Besides those important details, I wanted to focus on energy. I wanted to change the house to get a different energy flowing. I wanted friends to help me accomplish that. Despite my deep love and craving for ritual and ceremonies, I also am a strong believer in the ritual of Just Doing. In other words, the simple act of these amazing women coming and helping me was a ceremony, their mere acts of love in moving things around for me did plenty of energy cleansing without ever casting a circle or saying a prayer. That’s not to say circles or prayers aren’t necessary – they are – but they aren’t the only way to do spiritual work.

And did I mention that our ritual-less ritual happened to happen on the full moon? Indeed, the SUPERMOON! which was, in fact, incredibly startling even though I’d been waiting weeks for it. Despite the fact that by the time I got to my good camera, the moon was already high enough that the size difference is entirely unnoticeable in this photo, I had to take it anyway, just to mark the occasion.

Happy Thing:  SUPERMOON

Over the last years as I struggled to learn who I am in terms of clutter and mess, I’ve bounced back and forth between trying to Embrace the Mess and trying to Exterminate the Mess. I felt chaotic bouncing back and forth, but it’s taught me what I can and can’t handle. Kid messes? Can totally handle. Messes from art or baking? Yup. Clutter squirreled away in every tiny crevice and corner? I cannot. It saps my sanity and energy. Over these last years I’ve discovered I don’t truly hate cleaning, in fact I find it spiritually cleansing to have clean and organized corners and shelves. The act is cleaning is, in fact, inseparable from the act of spiritual cleaning.  What I do hate is the endless mess that follows me around, taunting me and making it clear I’ll never be done.

In the process of these last weeks, I’ve cleaned dust from nearly every corner. And I don’t mean just a layer of dust. I mean dust cakes. It’s such a metaphor for our marriage. Wipe down the surfaces, ignore the deep shit and pretend it doesn’t exist. But it does. And it grows yuckier by the year.  But now it’s gone and I’m clean. And to be honest I can’t say it will never build up again (by the way, now we are speaking of literal dust. I dropped the metaphor without telling you – sorry about that). I was never taught how to clean and, frankly, it’s something that’s difficult to learn since there aren’t many self-help books that teach what should be obvious to people like: Clean the top of your fridge. Dust off cords once in awhile. Instead I have to figure things out slowly, noticing one thing at a time until I’ve built up a good repertoire of mad cleaning skillz to keep things in order. But I’m at a good beginning place. Things are almost entirely organized now, clutter is practically non-existent, and I’m 13 years ahead of where I was when I first moved out of my mother’s home in terms of knowing how to clean and also in knowing what I want out of a home.

And so here is the before, taken in December, and the after, taken yesterday.

7 Days: Day 6 (Peek Into My Chaos)

7 Days: Day 2 Looking Down on My New Space

I knew it felt cluttered before, but not until I visually compared the two was I able to fully realize how very claustrophobic the house felt before. And, to be clear, this is not the only reason we could no longer live together, but it is relieving – for both of us, I’m sure – to be able to breathe freely in our own very different styles. To be clearer, that second photo is somewhat bare for me. There are a couple pieces of furniture I hope to afford in the future, and something needs to get put up on the walls soon. But the cleanness is just very Happy.

7 Days: Day 3 (Ostara)

And today? Today is Spring. It is the time of new beginnings. Ostara, the Vernal Equinox, is the time when the day and night are perfectly balanced – one of my favorite times of year. I love balance. I thrive in it. It is my sanity, my hold on to Life itself. Today I balanced on giant rocks. Granite which is the very foundation of my home. Which, through countless years of erosion, is gifted to us in small glimpses of the solidness and slow power of Ground. Despite the bitter cold in the air and the morning’s downpour, these rocks radiated with gentle warmth from the sun. They feel of power and strength, the masculinity of Mother Earth exposed. Each time I encounter one I am amazed how spiritually filling it is simply to touch it.

Happy Thing: Sitting on a Sun-Warmed Rock

And so I’ve cleaned out the corners of my home and Spirit, and I’ve balanced myself between outdoors and in. And now let’s enjoy the flowers and the breeze for summer’s on the way, a time of warmth and light and sun and life. Blessings!





Friday Thoughts

18 03 2011

Happy Thing: My Job

This photo was from yesterday’s Happy Thing. I sat there in the morning, checking in at Own Your Beauty, responding to comments and glowing as I read them. Over 1,000 people have read the article I wrote since it was posted Wednesday and as I lifted my mug for a sip of coffee, it occurred to me that while other people were looking at my mug that morning, I was the only one holding it. I don’t know that I can explain how surreal that is. So not only do I love the content of my work, but I think it’s pretty damn exciting to see my story posted on the home page of BlogHer.com, or on USAToday.com. Me. I wrote that. Wow.

Have I mentioned here that USA Today’s website has picked up Own Your Beauty? Cause they totally have. And I’ve even got a bio on there. A year ago I didn’t even know what I wanted to be when I grew up and here I am, a writer. Apparently. I’m loving it completely, but I’m also just in awe at how The Universe works.

~~~~~~~

I read this earlier in the week and it struck me. One of my bigger worries right now is about money. Will I be able to afford to live here at all? If not, then what? I can’t take the kids out of state where it might be cheaper because this is where their dad is. The other option I can think of doesn’t work for me, either. And to top it off, things have been tight this past year, even before the split. We have very little in our savings compared to what the IRS will probably expect come April 15th. And so I’d been taking a lot of deep breaths and reminding myself that even if we have to set up a payment plan with the IRS, we’ll still be alive at the end of it all. And then that last bit of Jen’s post? The addendum at the end about how there are people in the world who have much, much larger troubles in their lives? Some of them won’t be alive when Japan’s put back together. Some of them already aren’t. But some of them will. And for awhile their lives will be a nightmare, but then it will become normal again. A new normal. And they will go on. Because that is what people do and have done for the entire history of people. And that is what I will do, too. One foot in front of the other. That’s all I have to do right now.

~~~~~~~

And while we’re on the subject of the disaster in Japan (and, truly, I don’t think the word “disaster” has ever been so true as it is to this particular situation – it’s like watching a movie so ridiculously unbelievable, you change the channel. Only no one can change this one because it’s not a movie), can I just say that, despite all the sheer horror of the thing, it really puts global unity into perspective to me. And technology makes it possible to really understand how close we all are. 8,000 miles away (at least when taking the route Google Maps suggested) there was an earthquake. A massive one. It put our 7.2, 45-second quake last year to SHAME. (Note to Earth: No need to compete, stay calm. We’re proud of you for your 7.2, please do not feel the urge to outdo Japan.) It caused a tsunami that travelled, in one day, to California shores. When it reached us, it was far less destructive than in Japan, or even Hawaii, but it was clearly visible. We are truly connected. It was as though Japan reached out and touched us, quite literally. The wildness of creation, as Madeleine L’Engle put it, is truly incredible. The effects of the quake also fill me with awe – according to CNN, the quake moved the main island of Japan about 8 feet, also shifted the entire axis of the Earth, effectively shortening the day (however minute, it’s impressive). That’s mythical, right there. Of course, this article states that weather patterns can change the length of a day far more than the quake did, and that’s almost more incredible. Oh my how I love my Mother Earth. She is truly wild and amazing.

~~~~~~~

Here in my home, I’ve been making changes. I started with that shoe rack, moved on to the rest of the living room, into the closets, kids’ room, kitchen and my own bedroom. Things are organized and they’ll stay that way. You have no idea how happy I feel about this. I feel clean and uncluttered. Tomorrow some friends are going to come by and help me move the furniture in the living room around and make it a new place with new energies. Speaking of energies, I have this intense desire to keep the windows unblocked. For most of my childhood, the curtains were drawn to prevent people seeing the mess. For most of my marriage the windows were open, but covered by furniture, as was every available inch of wall space. And now I just want them free and unblocked. I want them wide open to clean energy and sunlight and a soft breeze off the ocean. I even plan to start washing the windows soon. (Hey, I’ve washed them once in the 5 1/2 years we’ve lived here, what do you want from me?)

~~~~~~~

The kids still seem to be adjusting well. They’ve spent a couple nights at their dad’s now, and he’s being very flexible with them when they want to come back here. More than I probably would be, even. They don’t seem overly upset and don’t even seem to be acting out much in other ways. I can only imagine this is because there’s been no drama between their parents and they know they can come and go as needed and we will always support them.

I, on the other hand, cried the night they left. Of course Elliott came back home at 9:00 that night so I wasn’t truly alone anyway. The next night I was, though. And I don’t remember the last time I was the only one in a home. Maybe some time when Melissa and I lived together. Surely the amount of times I’ve slept utterly alone in a home have been less than the number of fingers I have (which is the average amount). It felt empty, and I kept panicking when I realized I hadn’t checked on them in awhile. But it also felt good. Like I finally get the chance to find out who I am and how I like to live. I finished lining the cupboards with shelf paper, got some work done and watched some TV. When I woke up the next morning I discovered the two extra pillows had converged on me just like the kids usually do in the night.

~~~~~~~

And then this morning, after a night full of very tedious sleep wherein my mind chattered away endlessly with utterly pointless dreams, I had a Big Important Dream. It began with me outside the home my grandparents owned. The yard was completely dug out, at least a full story into the earth. The walkway to the door, left untouched. A police officer had died in some sort of standoff here at some time in the recent past. I was in the driver’s seat of a car (so much different than my first Blue Whale dream… which, according to a quick search, I never wrote about here – must do that soon) and when I looked into the backseat, I saw myself. Which is just fucked up. So I attacked her/me. I scratched and pinched, anything I could from my position to hurt her. She/I just sat there, terrified. She/I never made a sound. And then I heard a voice – someone was just out of sight – telling me that she/I was my inner self and I should be kinder to her/me. I don’t think I attack myself any more, but I feel it’s pretty clear this is one of those dreams you must take seriously. What are your thoughts?

~~~~~~~

And now I will get up off my arse and go do some more prep in this house before tomorrow comes. I’m going to enjoy my open windows and my newly open spaces in my rooms. And then maybe I’ll play some Wii with the kids. It’s gonna be a lovely day.





Shit That Scares Me (Rated S for Scary)

14 03 2011

FYI – Don’t click on any links in the entry if you are a chicken like me.  In fact, it’s probably better not to read it at all.

I’ve been rewatching Firefly this week at Sonja’s suggestion since rumor has it that Netflix is going to remove all Joss Wheadon stuff (how cruel, really). I’d like to watch Buffy, actually, but there’s just way too much there to see in a month. Firefly seemed more doable since the assholes at Fox canceled it after only one season. And mostly Firefly makes for excellent watching, but the Reavers scare the everlovin’ SHIT out of me (note to self: never click that link again). Seriously. They’re right up there with that episode of Unsolved Mysteries about Roswell that I saw when I was a kid. Except that Firefly, thank God, doesn’t stick with me once the episode is over. I can leave the Reavers behind and go about my life with the lights out (I mean, when appropriate). Except for one small moment the other day when Elliott inexplicably threw a fork across the dinner table in a fit of silliness or five-year-old weirdness and for a split second, before I figured out the attack had come from a cuddly, giggling boy, I had the rather pointless urge to duck under the table while one word flashed across my mind: REAVERS. And then I recovered.

But there have been things that I haven’t been able to shake so easily. The aforementioned Unsolved Mysteries terrorized me for YEARS and scarred me to this day. Around the same time, you found the book Communion everywhere with that damn creepy alien face on it (note to self: never Google that book again). I can’t tolerate alien stories. Ever. Unless they are cute like ET. Also, I had no problem with ID4 for God knows what reason (the reason may very well have been Jeff Goldblum running around in a tank top) (another possible reason is that it was a terrible movie). But Signs? It took me years to sleep well after that one. YEARS.

There was a time in my life where I thought I was grown up enough to watch scary movies. I’d successfully made it through some classics like Halloween and The Exorcist so we watched The Mothman Prophecies. In all honesty I think I fell asleep during that one, but it didn’t matter because by that point I was already traumatized. So I resorted to Googling which often sheds light on something and makes it less scary. It didn’t. Because it turns out it’s not just a movie. I became convinced that I’d see the damn Mothman peeking in my windows (note to self: close blinds) signalling some terrible destruction (holy shit my phone just buzzed and I think I peed a little). It took me about six months to fully recover from that and then, of course, we watched Signs. And, for the record, the only reason I watched that one was because a certain bff (*cough*Melissa*cough*) promised that it ended sweetly, just like The Sixth Sense did. If by “sweetly” she meant “No, actually the aliens are real and really do want to kill us all.” Then, yes. It did.  To this day I refuse to even consider watching a Shayamalan movie until I know how it ends.

I think the reason that movie scared me so much was because it was so realistic. Here was a family – they didn’t know they were in a scary movie – just living their lives. Well, I am just living MY life and who’s to say I’m not in a scary movie, too? See? And, yes, I realize water was a great defense against the bad guys in that movie, but that was a MOVIE. When the real evil aliens come we’ll have to start from scratch and by then it’ll be too late.

I’m not sure which is more frightening – these movies or my logic.

Thank God I’m cute.

You know what else scares me? Bloody Mary. Now, I realize she only comes when you call her, but I am afraid that someday the temptation will be too much for me and on some midnight trip to pee I’ll lose control (please see above comment about me being cute), turn around, say her name three times, and… See her? Die? I don’t remember what comes next but I know it would be just awful. (SERIOUSLY my phone won’t stop buzzing and freaking me out. Must cut back on Words with Friends.)

I won’t even consider watching movies like Paranormal Activity (look it up yourself, I ain’t Googling THAT link for you) because realistic evil ghosts are just as frightening as realistic evil aliens. I can’t even tolerate the commercials for that one, no matter how terrible everyone says it was.

And so, despite the fact that I can watch Firefly with few side effects, I consider Reavers to be possibly the most frightening and evil thing I’ve ever heard of. So. Good work, Joss?

Now I think I will go and turn on every light in the house, close all the blinds, and watch about 6 hours of the Brady Bunch to wash my brain. Sweet dreams, y’all!

 

URGENT UPDATE:  I just remembered another big fear – 2012.  Seriously that shit freaks me out.  My only consolation is that hopefully I’ll die quickly.  Or, you know, that it will turn out to be a big, fun repeat of Y2K (which did not, for the record, freak me out in the least).  But whenever my mind turns to that direction, I stick my figurative fingers in my figurative ears and “LA LA LA LA LA” as loud as I can.  Strangely the movie of the same name?  Not scary at all.  In fact, it’s on my list of Best Terrible Movies Ever.  And not just because it stars my husband, John Cusack.  Because it is truly, wonderfully, terrible.  It’s exactly like The Day After Tomorrow but with fewer wolves and more Bible stories.





Golden Rule

25 05 2010

I can’t tolerate having people in my life who don’t treat me with love and respect. I can’t tolerate having people who lie or who won’t take responsibility for their actions and mistakes – particularly when those mistakes effect me. I can’t tolerate people who hurt me without making amends.

I don’t expect people to be perfect. I simply ask that if they screw up, they afford me the respect of apologizing and then learning from their mistake and not repeating it.

This is how I try to treat people, and how I expect to be treated in return.

Unfortunately, this means I lose a lot of people. Especially family.

I admire this respect that I have for myself – that I insist my loved ones treat me well, that I am willing to forgive when apologized to, that I am willing to apologize when I am wrong (even though it’s often very hard for me to admit I’m wrong).

And, yet, I find myself with less and less family. And I wonder what’s wrong with me that I can’t let bygones be bygones like most people I know. I don’t feel I hold grudges – all I ask is that people make amends with me when they’ve hurt me. I usually open up completely when they’ve healed me with the kindness and love that a simple apology gives. But I’m incapable of letting go of hurt when there hasn’t been closure or healing to it. I am incapable of faking it, of pretending everything is OK when it is not. Again, a quality I admire in myself – honesty – but when I look around at others, I just feel broken. Everyone else I see can find a way to love despite hurt, and without apology. I don’t know if this is more right than the way I work, but it certainly is the expected way to handle things in society.

I told this to a close friend the other day and she told me it’s a quality she admires in me and she wishes she had the strength for.

But I still feel broken.





This is Epic

19 03 2010

Ties so much together in so many little ways. Deeply important. I cried the tears of someone long lost, finally come home.

It fits.

“My thoughts turn to something I read once, something the Zen Buddhists believe. They say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well – the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born.

“I think about the woman I have become lately, about the life that I am now living, and about how much I always wanted to be this person and live this life, liberated from the farce of pretending to be anyone other than myself. I think of everything I endured before getting here and wonder if it was me- I mean, this happy and balanced me, who is now dozing on the deck of the small Indonesian fishing boat-who pulled the other, younger, more confused and more struggling me forward during all those hard years. The younger me was the acorn full of potential, but it was the older me, the already-existent oak, who was saying the whole time-‘Yes-grow! Change! Evolve!Come and meet me here, where I already exist in wholeness and maturity! I need you to grow into me!’ And maybe it was this present and fully actualized me who was hovering four years ago over that young married sobbing girl on the bathroom floor, and maybe it was this me who whispered lovingly into that desperate girl’s ear, ‘Go back to bed, Liz…’ Knowing already that everything would be OK, that everything would eventually bring us together here. Right here, right to this moment. Where I was always waiting in peace and contentment, always waiting for her to arrive and join me.”

Copied and pasted from here. Because I am way too lazy to type it myself. But I did read the book myself and it was fabulous in so many, many ways.

I have been thinking deeply lately (who? me?), this time about my One Big Flaw – the One which has guided every single decision, little or big, I have ever made. That flaw is my fear, my inability, to face having someone dislike me in any way. Anyone from the most important people in my life to the stranger on the other side of the street as I walk in a busy city. I need, desperately, to be liked by everyone ever. Practically speaking, this is impossible, and so I am able to realize that in certain situations and shrug it off. But this desire is so innate, so deep, that it literally guides me in every little aspect of my life.

Late last night, I think it was, I thought SO deeply about this that I came full circle and realized that in as much as this has been my One Big Flaw, it is equally my One True Gift. It has forced my eyes and mind wide open, forced me to listen to every view point, forced me to seek knowledge and balance. When I have avoided debates for fear someone might dislike me, that very act, spineless though I always considered it, actually caused me to listen to them and to learn and grow. It made me who I am today.

All of my adult life I’ve felt that I’m just floating along in this river of life, not so much making decisions that lead me to where I am, but ending up in a better place somehow anyway. I used to believe it was God guiding me, but as my beliefs have changed (more correctly: as the Truth as I Feel It has been acknowledged) I have had to admit I don’t know who or what could possibly be guiding me to this better place. Maybe it’s me. Maybe my Me-to-Come is guiding me along, wanting so much for me to be who I can be that I can’t not hear it and follow.

A friend has spoken to me of the Waldorfy belief that children are born asleep and wake up little by little at certain stages of their lives. The more I look around the world, the more I feel that these Waldorf people are on to something. My daughter was born wide awake; we could have real grown-up conversations by the time she was a toddler. My son, on the other hand, is more deeply asleep, I think, than most children are. I have vivid and early memories of my toddlerhood, a few even of my babyhood. Most people I speak to find this strange and impressive, so I wonder if I was born awake and therefore more able to see clearly and remember things. On the other hand, I never consciously heard the call to grow – I just floated along the river, passively. So was I born asleep, not to wake up until the birth of my first child? Or perhaps my ears were just under water.

We read Jonathan Livingston Seagull in sixth grade and the concept of it hit me deeply, despite the fact that it is not at all what my belief system held to be true. Years later, I read something by Madeleine L’Engle (who? me?) which, although I did not connect it at the time, reflected this in a Christian light. She said she did not believe that Heaven was to be a big paradise with golden streets and our every need met – rather that it is a place where we continue our work for God, whatever that will be in the next plane. And all of this also somehow reflects the Hindu concept of reincarnation.

And so I wonder if I completed enough work in a past life that I was able to become aware in this one? And if that is true, and the Me-to-Come is calling me… How many lives away is she calling me from?

I don’t find that thought scary, or tedious. The concept that there is that much more work to be done is exciting and motivating! The idea that I may be calling myself from so far beyond is so utterly flooring and amazing and beautiful that it brings me to tears once again at the mere grandness of it all. Since having woken up these last few years, I love life. Even the hard parts. The bits where I am crying in a corner. Even in my darkest times, I feel that this is all progress and progress gets me There. And that? Is exciting.





Recently (and Holiday Crafty)

30 12 2009

Truly, those lyrics from the previous entry speak of any kind of emotional wound. But the song, naturally, speaks to me for certain obvious reasons and a friend reminded me of it last week and I felt pulled to get them recorded. I can’t hear that line of the song without tearing up. But I think this is largely because I am a big ol’ crybaby wholly passionate and tear up any time any emotion happens within 60 yards of me.

Switch topics.

I miss blogging. I miss it deeply. I can’t find the time to get here and so many things I’d like to record here are getting lost to the universe. I don’t mean this in that excuse-making, “I’ll try to post more, I swear!” sort of way that so many bloggers have when they feel responsible to their readers. Rather, it’s that I am just horribly frustrated with my life right now – it seems nothing gets done for all the busy I am having happen right now. And, while I do feel responsible to you, my readers (OMG, what if they all get bored and leave and I never get any more comments???), I remind myself that this blog has always been for me and I simply won’t let guilt rule me any more in my life.

Well, that was disjointed.

Switch topics.

Holiday Craftiness! There wasn’t much this year, actually. I made my APU swap person this mug, thanks to inspiration from my friend Bethany.

gifted cup

gifted cup - top

And we also made these bottles of vanilla. Actually, my daughter made them. But you can read more about that here (and, apparently, Bethany is my muse this holiday season?).

homemade vanilla

While I was painting Shellee’s mug, I also made myself a sun ornament.

the ornament i painted this year

Oh and one more thing – the kids and I worked on Yule candles together with beeswax procured from the Waldorf School store. Five for us, to burn at sundown the night before, and five to share with our friends as the sun rose and Winter began.

the yule candles are burning

and the fire with all the strength it hath

Switch topic.

I spent today scrubbing. As it turns out, you should clean under the fridge every so often. Also, when you worry that brown widows are going to come into your bedroom and infest your house, you should probably be more concerned about the dining room. I tweeted a lot of f-words over that one.

I am on a mission to declutter this place. I’ve spent the last twoish years trying to make peace with clutter and trying to let my issues with it go, and I have come to understand that they aren’t issues, there isn’t peace to be made – this is who I am. Clutter and I do not get along. This is unfortunate for the Husband, but he seems to be taking it all well so far, and I think we are both making an effort to come to some middle ground on this. Or maybe he’s just thinking I will forget in a few days. Time will tell, I guess.

We moved in there four and a half years ago, and I was so in love with it at the time. It had a sweet little patio, a teeny back yard. I had visions for this little apartment. But then I fell into depression and health issues, and then we decided we’d buy a home instead of renting so I sort of gave up on it all and let my visions go, and let the clutter and crud pile up and it’s made me sicker and sicker (emotionally). I need clean. Clean surfaces. Clean under the fridge. Clean in my mind.

Years ago, I learned that This Is My Life – it doesn’t begin at some point in the future. I remember as a teenager waiting for that Last Thing to fall into place which would make my life “perfect” and I kept waiting to enjoy it. And I became conscious of that early on – maybe still in my teens – and so I have tried to live life for each day, despite what may or may not be perfect at this moment.

Yet, I’ve forgotten that for my home. I’ve let it go, while waiting and hoping to move. It hasn’t served me well. And so here I begin afresh, scrubbing, decluttering, making myself sane again. Hopefully.

Switch topic. Sorta.

And so, if I had to pick one word to work on this coming year, I think I would choose “respect.” For myself, for my children, for my husband, for my art, for myself.

And that, I think, just about sums up what’s been going on in my brain recently.








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