Sunday, February 27, 2011

Coffee and Nostalgia

I find myself, on this fine Sunday morning, sipping my coffee in my bed and feeling very happy.  I've just returned from our annual Florida vacation.  It was filled with roller coasters, sunshine and lots of family time.  Before you groan and expect to be subjected to only half witty tales of what my kids said or did that plucked at a mother's heartstrings, rest assured that I'm not going there with this post.  Those of you that know me well enough have already been bombarded with cute photos and tales of this and that.

I threw a couple of easy poolside reads into my bag expecting some mindless relaxation.   While wrapped up in a cheesy murder/suspense novel by Tana French, called  "In the Woods" (which had potential to be fun, but ended up sucking the big one due to the stupid ending), I was stopped dead in my tracks by a paragraph.  Of course, it was the words of the deeply disturbed narrator, but it struck me so deeply that I found myself reading it over and over again.

I am not good at noticing when I'm happy, except in retrospect.  My gift, or fatal flaw, is for nostalgia.  I have sometimes been accused of demanding perfection, of rejecting heart's desire as soon as I get close enough that the mysterious impressionistic gloss disperses into plain solid dots, but the truth is less simplistic than that.  I know very well that perfection is made up of frayed, off-struck mundanities.  I suppose you could say my real weakness is a kind of long-sightedness: usually it is only at a distance, and much too late, that I can see the pattern.  

Even as I copy the passage, it really pisses me off that I could never articulate my own personality in the way that this mediocre author did for her own messed up character.  But I'm glad she did, because it gave me much to ponder.   So many people I know tout 'living life to the fullest and in the moment', but truth be told, there aren't as many that are capable of actually doing it.   I'm guilty.  I get so wrapped up in life that I don't stop.    My type A personality sees the lack of this or that far too often, throwing out the beauty of the moment.  Everyone knows I'm uptight, there is simply no denying it.  Sometimes I find it sad that my quest for perfection hinders me in other ways.  Maybe I could change if I were to make a massive effort to do so.   I gotta say, though, I'm not keen on being a self loather, intent on 'fixing' myself.  I embrace both my attributes and my flaws, and over the years I've learned to give myself the gift of truly loving that mixed bag and believing in myself.   It doesn't stop me from wondering what the point of all that drive is, however, if you can only sometimes experience the wonders and joys life gives without pulling the moments out of your memory.

I do that a lot, I pluck moments and eras out of my head and stroke them softly.   Quite often, they are the same ones, worn and frayed around the edges.  Snapshots of days I'll never get back but can't stop revisiting.  Friends that I've lost,  people who I'll never see, much less throw my arms around again.  Family that I'll never share any modicum of closeness with or know again.   Most of all, it's the girl that catches my attention.  Young.  Carefree, naive and fully of youth and folly, too wrapped up in the heady moment to be anything but utterly blissful in my cluelessness regarding the bumpy days to come… blindly happy.  That's just how nostalgia paints me to myself, though.  I'm not so deluded to think I've ever been anything but me.  I've always been me.    Conflicted, critical, constantly striving for a standard in myself and everyone around me that it  is almost impossible to live up to.   There are people that would sagely shake their head in agreement regarding this assessment, sitting way up on their soapbox.  What they don't realize is that I know, too.   I am not the least bit deluded as to who I am and how I can be.  I am self aware.

My week was a great one.  I made nice memories on my trip.  I saw the last Discovery Mission Launch with my family.  I got to spend a week of uninterrupted time with my grown son.  I watched my boys fight and bond.  I laughed and enjoyed myself as I pushed my unrest away as far as I could.  I live in a state of restlessness, my head wanders, I don't relax.   Socialization exhausts me to the core.   Now I sit in my own bed, admiring my fuchsia sheets and watch my cat curled up in a space of sunlight next to me.  I'm utterly content, basking in the beautiful silence.  I drink from my familiar coffee mug and relish not having to speak, relish it to an extend you wouldn't believe.  I'm soaking it all in, vowing to immerse myself in the peacefulness of the moment.   But I know.  I know that no matter how intent I am on appreciating it now, it's only going to be truly perfect when I remember it later.  But the flip side is, I'll be able to keep it that way forever.

Gift or flaw?   I'm not sure, but I accept.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Words escape me

 In conversation with my mother yesterday, she stated to me that my written delivery comes off as very harsh, negative and ugly, which is disappointing to her because I am not so one dimensional.   Honestly, I never really saw myself that way, and despite the fact that I'm adult enough to take her perspective under serious consideration, I still lean towards my same opinion.   I own the fact that my commentary may be blunt, it's really not my style to sugar coat things.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that when I start typing, I can actually say all of the things that I keep bottled up, I can be myself and throw away the roles I'm forced to play in daily life.   However, I wouldn't succeed in my job if I didn't have the ability to utilize good communication and people skills, and I believe that I truly have both.  I put out fires with people that range in age from five to sixty-five.  I placate people who are angry and upset basically from the time I step into the workplace  until I leave in the evening.   There's a reason why I have the job that I do, cause I'm capable of handling it.

I seem to have hurt and angered my share of people at every single turn this week.  This would not be shocking to me if I had set out to do exactly that.  But believe it or not, my intentions in life are  not to attack people I know or make everyone around me upset.  I'm capable of doing both effectively, and the first thing way to achieve that is to hone in on them and name them directly….. never in my life has someone called me passive-aggressive, it is simply not my style.    If I don't throw something directly your way, then you really shouldn't take it personally.   I know that not everyone sees it that way, and I will admit that sensitivity is not my strongest attribute.  Sometimes I don't think before I open my mouth, but if that bothers you, be glad you didn't know me ten years ago.  You'd have run from me screaming, so trust me when I say I HAVE gotten better, and I do try.      However,  I write this blog for ME, so that I can share my thoughts with a group of people that I don't have the luxury of seeing on a regular basis due to the distance between us.  If anyone can read it, be entertained, relate to me in any way or get a chuckle from my perspective, then that is just icing on the cake.  If anyone is horribly offended by me, then they shouldn't delve into my brain any more than on the level they see in day to day interaction and just not visit this page.   I've edited myself here once already, and only because I really saw no other choice.  I will not do it again, as this place is meant to be the one area of my life where I don't have to.  I'm not going to take that away from myself, because I know how much  I need it for my own sanity.    

The past few days have left me reeling.  I've gotten angry, I've felt ganged up on and I've even cried out of sheer frustration.  (Yes, I cry.  Not so much these days, but it happens.)  There is nothing worse for me than finding myself amidst drama that I want no part of, and that is exactly where I've been catapulted.   I have so many thoughts, opinions and feelings floating around in my brain, and they are all screaming at me at the same time… it's really loud in there.  It's all racing around so quickly that I oftentimes don't have the ability to catch full concepts, organize them and articulate them properly.   So this measly post is what I'm ending up with.   I've got about five different topics about the past few days I could try to write about right now, but will wait until my brain tires before using all of my energy to sort them.   Right now it's all just a jumble of sadness and disappointment in my head.     

In closing, I'll just say this.  No one that has become upset with me lately has chosen to directly approach me with it.  I'm not entirely sure why, I'm not a scary monster.   Hell, I'm approachable.  I'm a nice person that does have a heart.  I'm even a great listener.  What I'm seeing is knee jerk reactions to my words, assumptions,  misinterpretation and then actions that make all of it more than what it ever needed to be.   It's all so unnecessary.  If you aren't clear as to what my objective is when I do something, please don't get so defensive, just ask me.  I don't walk around biting people's heads off all day, and I appreciate the opportunity to clarify my intentions and viewpoint.  I don't know, perhaps people just don't feel that I deserve that chance.   Nevertheless, if something I do matters enough to be a real issue in your life, it should matter enough for you to address it with me personally.  That's how I handle conflict, so I can certainly take it in return.   Try it out, you may even be surprised at what I have to say.

Disclaimer:  This was written due to a compilation of crappy events that occurred this week.  The intention behind this post is to gain personal closure over upsetting issues, not to target or attack any particular individual.   Please, no more drama over my blog posts, or anything else.  I know everyone has their problems these days, but I have my own fair share on my plate right now without having to defend myself regarding every single word I write or action that I take.     This stands as the last disclaimer of this nature that I subject my readers to, cause it's seriously going to get redundant.   Also, I've gotten a lot of private communication  about what I say here, so know that you all are more than welcome to comment publicly, even if you don't agree with me.   I'm totally ok with that.   

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Sid

Parenting is the most wonderful, rewarding, horrifying and scary ride anyone will ever take.  I can understand why lots of people choose not to do it.  Me?  I'm all about complicating my life, so at a ridiculously early age, I chose to go ahead with the experience.  Sid is my oldest.  He's often gotten the best of me, often gotten the worst and we've learned and grown up together along the way.  I love him fiercely, and as an aside that's just as important, I like him very much.  I think he likes me too, though we'd both readily admit that hasn't always been the case… for either of us.  Anyone that tells you that teenagers are always likable is an utter liar and should never be trusted.   Same goes for anyone that says that about me.

So,while I'm contemplating going through my early mid-life crisis, he decides to move out.  I immediately wanted to curl into the fetal position and begin creating scenarios of him dead in the street, dead in his new place, dead on the highway.  Then I decided I was being morbid and just imagined him incarcerated for life, possibly featured on  "Lockup: Raw".    As a legal adult, he can do what he pleases and has enough of my DNA for me to be sure that nothing I say is ever going to stop him from what he decides.    I generally like to pull the authority card and talk/argue circles around people until they are confused enough to just throw their hands in the air, but this was tricky.  I'm glad I didn't. 

Truth be told, we were at a crossroad.   I could be supportive of the fact he's working, wants to be independent and start his own life.   Hmmm.  On the other hand, I could always guilt him, fake health problems,  bribe him with lasagna,  then cut him off for not listening to my rational reasons as to why he's not ready and never see him again. (What do you want?  I'm Latin.  It's our way.)   For once in my life I gave up the control and chose properly.    I'm pleased to say that after three weeks he's still alive, working and not in prison.  I'm patting myself on the back for having done something right.  Laugh if you will, but these days as a parent, any small victory is worth celebrating.  

We spent the day together, my boy and I.  We ate lunch at the The Vortex  (which he's never been able to get into due to his age, and boy, did that burn him up beyond belief ) and as we noshed on fried zucchini,  I sat and listened to him discuss the stress of roommates, bills and cleaning duties.  So surreal, it was all very grown up.  Then we shot over to Memorial Tattoo, where he had his hideous first attempt at a tattoo fixed by the wonderful Jason Kelly. (Seriously, y'all,  this business is run by good people and full of  great artists.  If you haven't been, go.)   After that,  he miraculously reverted to neediness, so I took pity and bought the skinny kid some groceries.  Don't judge me, he's really that skinny and after all, I'm the mothering type.  And yeah, it really was just an excuse to see the inside of his new residence.   THAT, however, is another blog altogether.   Neat freaks should never visit such places. 

So now I can rest a bit easier tonight, even though he's not with me.  Because after all,  it's a comfort  to know that a year ago he was 170% dipshit.  Now he's only 40%.   That is a vast improvement and I think he'll make it after all.    

And to think I'll have to do it all over again with the next one.  Phew.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Who am I, part two. Cause disclaimers are always wise.

So now that I've overcome the intimidation of spewing my thoughts for anyone to see, I thought it may be a smart move to get some information out of the way.   Since I'm a smart lady,  I'm acting on the notion.

Here are a list of reasons that you may NOT want to read this.  Boy, I sure do know how to market myself, eh?

1.  I curse like a sailor.  If you know me, you know I say the word 'fuck' a whole lot.  It'll probably seep in here.
2.  I bash religion, society, the government and people in general.  Again, it'll probably find its way here.
3.  I personally think I'm a hoot, but there are some people that don't appreciate my style.  (Hello?  Ever heard of DRY humor?)   If that's you, only read my stuff to fulfill your masochistic tendencies.    Truth be told, if it's uncertain whether I'm joking, I'm probably not.   I just smile to soften the blow.

Fact is, I'm not for everyone.  It's ok with me, so by default, it should be ok with you.  So to the folks that like to listen to me, thanks.  I now have a place to share my perspective with you.  I can't say that I'll be making massively introspective posts here on a daily basis, cause I'm mentally reverting to a fear of commitment as I reach middle age, but we'll see how it goes.    You may end up enduring rants on proper gym etiquette, bad parenting, ignorant members of society and possibly some truly heartfelt perspectives on life.  But that's the fun of it, right?   With me, you just never know what you're going to get.   

Hmmm. Who am I?

I suppose it's best to kick it off explaining that question. I've been toying with the idea of a blog for ages. I've given in out of courtesy to those around me, who find it harder and harder to look interested in my random musings. So here they will be dumped, for a chronicle of my life that you can either choose to hitch a ride with or pass on completely. Either way, I'm still talking. ;)

I am not a genius or a scholar, I'm the grown up version of your quintessential wild child. You won't find intellectual essays or philosophical rants on this blog. I'm grounded in real life, trying to age gracefully as I find my evolving place in the world around me. I'm a mother trying to raise solid men, an employee trying hard to not be infuriated with the decline of our educational system, and a women trying to find the right setting for the filter planted over her mouth… which prefers to give raw and unadulterated commentary on the world of suburbia she lives in. Take all this, read between the lines, and you may just get a glimpse as to what makes me tick. Just in case you wondered.