Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Retrospective

I honestly can't say that I'm sad to be parting ways with this year.  It's true.  Ugh.  

I looked back at last year's 'wrap up' post and remembered what a crappy time 2011 was in so many ways, how I was relishing a new start.  If I had known then what I know now, I would have gone into total hiding to try and escape having to deal with what was to come.... however futile that attempt may have been, it would have been instinctual, that's what self preservation is.   The upside?  I'm still here.  I'm smarter, faster and stronger.  That's what having your ass kicked repeatedly will do to those tenacious enough to just ride it out in between firing off defensive punches.

Look, it was certainly not all bad.  Because I'm getting older and my memory is beginning to run together, this post is being created strictly so that I can remember exactly what went down, not to wax poetic about it.

1.  I started my new job.  I love my job, and it's the first time since 2004 (when I was still doing hair) that I could genuinely say that.  That, in and of itself, is a great accomplishment.  Leaving behind a perfectly respectable and financially sound job with killer awesome hours and TONS of vacation time (all summer and any holidays that kids get) may seem crazy to some, but even as I sit here at work for the first time EVER in my working career on a New Year's Eve, I wouldn't trade my decision for anything.   So good on me for taking the risk and making the change.  Just patted myself on the back.

2.  I took trips.  I went to New Orleans.  I went to Nashville, which is now in my top five favorite US cities, took a small weekend getaway mother/son trip to Chattanooga with The Kid and went to NYC solo and had a great time.  I suggest that everyone travel alone at some point in their life.  It's good for you and you will experience your destination in a way unlike any other.  Honestly, it's become one of my favorite ways to travel. 

3.  I made new friends.  Now, this is notable for a couple of reasons.  Mainly because it goes hand in hand with the fact that I re-learned how to enjoy having a social life.  After so many years of spending all of my time being a wife and mom, I admittedly lost the inclination to willingly put myself in social situations more than a couple of times a year, anything more than that caused me an inordinate amount of stress and I was far more content home with a book or movie.  I still love that, but feel like a much more well rounded person now that it's not solely how I spend my time.    Meeting new people does come along with the territory of leaving your house, and I'm incredibly pleased to have broadened my very small circle of friends with more quality individuals.   I still come close to being a borderline loner/introvert when left to my own devices, but there are a few more people in my world worth bucking that inclination for.   I have allowed the right people to become closer to me and it's paid off.  I've become a bit more emotionally and physically accessible.  This makes me truly happy.

Then there was all of the horrible stuff.  If you know me, then you know all about it and I certainly don't need to recap it all here.  If you don't have a clue as to what I'm talking about, then you missed it and I'm still not going to recap it.   I'm glad that with age, I have gained the ability to learn from the bad instead of letting myself drown in it for too long.    I have learned that avoidance of troubles is only going to compound said troubles, so you may as well take the bull by the horns and deal sooner than later.  The longer you wait, the harder it will be to find any resolution.   Procrastination = BAD

This year reminded me that even when you haven't done anything to warrant drama, horrible times and big trouble, you can't control what the people around you are going to thrust you into.  When you love someone, sometimes their actions inadvertently take you along for their hell ride and you suffer along with them, even if you aren't the one that went looking for it.  Fair?  Hell, no.  Real life?  Yep. 
I've made it through what seemed unthinkable in many ways, and rather than it kill me, drive me insane or ruin me forever, I'm just a bit worse for the wear and a whole lot smarter and capable.   So, that's something.

I'm incredibly unforgiving and hold a grudge forever.  It's genetic, I'm telling you.  This year has made me ponder when it's appropriate to forgive.  Sometimes it's the right thing.  Sometimes, if you stomp your foot and refuse genuine sentiments of remorse and a desire to make things right when it's coupled by a pattern of action supporting these wishes, you just end up shooting your own foot off.  No one wins.  Regrets happen down the road.  It's all avoidable.  I'll continue to try and find that balance.  When you're an all or nothing sort of gal like I am, this can be the hardest thing to do.

I've learned to stop ignoring what my brain is trying to tell me.  I've pinpointed that as the root of so many problems.  My instincts always scream at me about people, and in a misguided attempt at being more open minded, more forgiving, less suspicious, judgmental and harsh, I ended up not listening to myself and that has been the direct cause of so many issues.   In the end, I'm usually right about folks.  Trust me, getting rid of people you've let have access to you after they've been in your life for a while can be trickier than shutting them out straightaway.  It's just not worth it.   Go with your gut, even if it makes you look like a jerk.  I'd rather be perceived that way than feeling stupid later and having to kick myself repeatedly. 

People with nothing positive to offer, who don't share fundamental attributes and perspectives can take a hike.  I'm a nurturer by nature (I know that can be hard to see if you don't know me incredibly well), but I'm not Captain Save a Ho.  I don't respond well to passive aggressive behavior, guilt trips and attempted manipulation by others.  It makes me mean, and I can be meaner than just about anyone I know if push comes to shove.  You'd think that with all that meanness flowing through my veins, I wouldn't allow others to treat me badly.  That's admittedly been a problem for me my entire life, and every year I become more adept at learning when to say that enough is enough.  No matter how much you care about someone and want them in your life, it's not worth bending on the standard of treatment you know you deserve.  I'm getting there.  I'll always be a work in progress, but aren't we all? 

So, just like any other year, it's been a totally mixed bag.  I have no idea what's coming to me in 2013, and I have begun to learn to have fewer expectations.  Life's a roller coaster.  Sometimes you just have to throw your hands in the air and give in to the experience instead of attempting to control everything.  Not only is that an exhausting way to live, it's just not entirely attainable.  I'm trying hard to be done with that mindset.

Thank you to the people who have made me laugh, comforted me when I cried and put up with me in general.  I hope that I've done right by the folks that I truly value and consider friends, because you're the only ones I really try with.... you're the ones that are worth it.  

New Year's Resolutions?   Um, no.  Except maybe cursing more creatively.  That's not a bad goal.  

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Years Resolutions and Lame Excuses: A Rant

What the hell is going on?   I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.   I checked my calendar twice this morning.  Let me explain.

So, I'm always relieved to be done with the holidays and relish going back to my structured life.  Upon pulling into my gym parking lot the day after Xmas, I was suprised to see it full.  The gym was packed with unfamiliar faces (I know everyone's face that has my gym schedule, I see them almost every day), but I lied to myself and said that it was evening regulars that were off of work making use of their morning.  When I went back today, there was no denying it any longer.  They were already here, ruining everything ahead of schedule.

In the seven years that I've been regularly going to my gym, I've become well versed regarding the phenomenon of New Years Resolutioners (we can shorten that to NYR) barging into my gym and taking up space.  It only usually lasts no more than six to nine weeks, then things go back to normal.   I was fully prepared for the same thing to happen this year, but had allotted myself another week of peace in the one place I go only for myself.  I was wrong.  They crept up on me.   Well played, assholes.

You may wonder why I feel contempt for these people.  After all, I'm genuinely fully supportive of anyone embarking on a path to bettering their physical fitness.  These people, though.  I can't with them.

Listen, I know that it takes guts to step outside of your comfort zone and go into a gym if you haven't been to one before.  They are intimidating, you don't know where to start, ect.  Trust me, I've been there.  Everyone, regardless of their current state of physical fitness, has had to start somewhere.  I don't take that step lightly and applaud folks for doing it.  But for the love of all that is right, familiarize yourself with gym etiquette.  Quickly.  Most of it is common sense, really.

*Don't slam your weights down, that's not necessary.  It doesn't make you cool.
*Wipe down your damn equipment after using it.  I realize you are not breaking a sweat, but just get used to doing it, anyway.
*DO NOT hold a cell phone conversation while sitting on a piece of equipment when someone is waiting to use it.  Matter of fact, don't talk on your stupid phone at all, people don't care about what you're saying, yet we are all forced to hear one side of it.
* Don't stare, not at me, not at anyone else.  I don't care why you're staring.  Know how it's rude to stare at folks on the subway?  Well, it's rude to stare at folks anywhere, so it applies here, too.  Don't do that.
* Don't try to strike up conversations with people at the gym.  Just don't.  People are there to do work, not chit chat or give you free advice.
* If you are on a piece of cardio equipment next to your buddy, keep your banter quiet.  If I can hear you over the blasting of my music from my earbuds, you are definitely talking too loudly.  Besides, no one cares about your kids or your new Vera Bradley bag.   People are turning around and giving you dirty looks for a reason.  Also,  you must particularly be an idiot if you're talking about SOMEONE NEAR YOU, LIKE ME.  I CAN HEAR YOU, BITCH.  Geez.

You can spot a NYR a mile away.  They come into the gym in brand spanking new workout gear from head to toe, which is fine.  The women have done their hair and make-up (which makes me want to drop to my knees and scream to the heavens, "WHY?".... but whatever)  and usually stick together in groups of two.   They wander around the gym like the Walking Dead in their shiny new clothes and two coats of mascara, smacking their gum and fiddling with their cool new water bottle, giggling with their friends like seven year olds at the hip abductor machines before finally settling on a piece of cardio equipment.  No surprises there.  If you want to do cardio between the months of January and March, you may as well go run in the parking lot.  The newbies are gonna be monopolizing that area.  You're totally screwed.

It's all so off putting.  Some of you may not understand why, and the best way that I know how to explain it to you is simply because we all know that ninety five percent of them will be gone by mid February.  We'll never see them again.  Enter all of the lame excuses.  "I wasn't seeing results."  "It's too hard."  "I have back problems."  "I don't have time to work out."  "I don't know what I'm doing at the gym."

To this I say, BULLSHIT.  All of it is garbage.  Why don't you just say what the truth really is?
I don't want to do this.  I'm a quitter.  Boom.  That is the truth, and either of those statements I can  accept easily.  But anything else that you may say, it's an excuse.  Period.

If you don't ever become comfortable in the gym and feel like you don't know what you're doing, then utilize the class schedule. Lots of gyms have complimentary orientation sessions where someone will teach you how to use the equipment and what it's for.  If they don't, or if you aren't seeing results, hire a trainer, at least for four sessions or so, to give you basic education on what you should be doing to meet your personal goals.  They money is worth it.  Don't want to spend the money?  Then pick up a damn book.  Watch a YouTube video. Download a stupid workout app onto your smart phone.   Educate yourself if you don't want to pay for someone to educate you.  This is a society where people want everything spoon fed to them.  I hate that.

Perhaps the gym legitimately isn't for you.  That's fine.  Great, now you know.  Find something physical to do outside of a gym, and remember next year what you learned so that this exact situation doesn't repeat itself.  You probably shouldn't have spent so much money at Sports Authority on your clothes, though.

You have an injury, bad joints, are you just really out of shape?  There is not one person on this planet that can't do some sort of appropriate exercise that can fit into their ability level, it just takes some creativity, guidance, education and a desire to actually meet a goal plus the perseverance to find something that you can begin to enjoy doing.  I don't want to hear anything stating otherwise, cause as I said, it's horse shit.    So is saying that you don't have time.  Everyone has time if it's important enough to them.  It hurts?  It's supposed to hurt, but it's never going to get better if you just quit.

Look, maybe I just have a terrible personality, but I still don't buy that I'm not right.  I don't know how trainers do it, I'd be screaming in people's faces constantly... my trainer has no mercy on me and I appreciate that, but I've grown to see that I must obviously be the minority.  I have always been surrounded by people who decide they want to be my new 'workout partner' and then dump me after two days because they say I'm awful to be with in the gym.  The truth is, they're probably right.  I have no tolerance for complaining, wasting time, being a baby, constantly repeating 'I can't do it',  flat out refusing to work out certain body parts, and most of all, wishy washy attitudes which leads to giving up.  Ugh!  I work better alone, anyway.   No loss to me.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.  No one forced you to start working out, so just stop if you want to (cause ultimately, I don't care one way or the other if you exercise, it's not my business), but save the lip service.  Also, save the insulting commentary.  "We can't all be naturally thin."  "Wish I had your motivation."  "Wish I liked to work out as much as you do."  Ultimately, throwing those statements out to me takes away from my own struggles, in general it somehow insinuates that others have it easier than you do.   Again, total crap.  More excuses.

Guess what?  I gain five pounds in a week if I don't watch it, and when you're five foot two, that shit shows.  Not only do I NOT have superhuman motivation, I have to solely motivate myself, because I'm largely surrounded by people who don't care at all about being healthy, exercising or eating well.  I screw up and fall off of the wagon constantly, no one is there to raise a brow when I inhale a box of cookies, instead they practically shove them into my mouth, so it's up to me alone to put myself on track.  It hurts me just as much to get back into the gym after a hiatus as it does you.  Think I love my workouts?  Then you've never seen me puke into a trash can after a hard training session.   Also, I hate running more than just about anything, but I do it anyway.

I hate mental weakness, lack of drive and bullshit.  I do not expect people to have my same priorities, I don't give a shit if you never exercise a day in your life.  I don't care how anyone else chooses to live their life.  It's only when stupid things like temporary New Years Resolutions drive people to inconvenience my already established routine that it is a blip on my radar.   You want to succeed in any endeavor of your choosing?  How about you make a decision, research what the best path towards your goal is, make a sensible plan of action and then stop talking and start doing. Talkers are the epitome of lame and spin their wheels forever whilst giving everyone a headache.  Doers tend to get what they want.  Simple.  I'm not talking about fitness.  I'm talking about life.

And why the hell would you want to wait until New Years to 'resolve' to do something, anyhow?  It's basically stacking the odds against you.  Don't believe me?   When's the last time you heard someone talk about their New Year's Resolution in June?   Yeah, that's what I thought.

End of rant.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Human Growth and Development

I've been up since before five and have to be at the gym ready to spar at nine thirty.  This is obscene for a Saturday.  Also, I've realized that while I effortlessly write here, when I am given a very specific topic, try to curb my tangents of personal opinion and observation (and the use of the word 'fuck') so as to be taken more seriously while meeting a deadline, it's an entirely different animal.  I think it's what's keeping me up at night.  The only cure is to just spew out random stories to try to get the juices flowing.  As a result, you get a dose of silly.   But y'all should be used to that from me by now.

So, Monday something crazy came over me and I had so much coffee through the course of the day that by the time I got home from work I felt just a little bit like a speed freak that had been on a seven day bender.  All I could really focus on was trying not to throw up, so when The Kid sauntered into my room after brushing his teeth for bed, my memory of what was happening that day didn't serve to prepare me for what was about to come out of his mouth.

The Kid is extremely intelligent, staggeringly so.  The flip side of this is that he is very young for his age emotionally in some ways.  I almost hate to say that because I think that in reality, he's exactly where a ten year old should be, because I don't expose him to things that are not age appropriate, unlike lots of his peers. He's innocent and I'm ok with that.  There will be plenty of time for the loss of that in life, after all.  So when the following came out of his mouth, I almost threw up coffee right then and there……

"So Mom, do you know why it's absolutely ridiculous and scientifically incorrect for boys to call their erections BONERS?"……. (at this point I look at him splayed across my bed, looking at me like he was just discussing the weather and I immediately felt like I was taking crazy pills)  "Because men don't have bones in their penis.  Makes no sense."

Wait.  What?  It took me a moment to remember that this was the week that there was a nurse from the county coming to give them their 'human growth and development' class over a couple of days, boys in one room, girls in another.  I literally spent the next twenty minutes staring at him while I listened to him repeat, verbatim, what this woman had said to them that day.  He's like a tape recorder.   He described in great detail the process of puberty, went on to give me laundry list of 'slang terms' that were not necessary to use and expressed furrowed brow concern at being able to remember all of the technical terms for this stuff.   At one point he said something about a shaman and I had to wonder what that had to do with wet dreams, which he is incredibly concerned about because  'he'd hate to have to explain that he didn't actually pee the bed, it was something WAY more grown up than that.'
"Oh, you mean semen?  It's not shaman, it's semen that I think you're talking about", I finally said after figuring out what the breakdown in communication was and doing my very, very best to not laugh in this child's little face.

"Yes, that's right.  Wait, how do you know that?  Did you take this class in school?"
Oh, boy.  Time for bed, Kid.   He obliged, but not before wrinkling his nose and telling me that the following day was going to be awful, because they were going to be discussing girl parts.  Apparently someone in his class had already brought up boobs, but that you'd have to be blind to not know about boobs.  There was more and he was not sure he even cared to listen to it.

The next morning I felt like an alcoholic, only able to control my coffee overdose jitters by partaking in the hair of the dog.  As I watched him eat his waffles, he turned to me and asked if he could refrain from wearing sneakers to school.  I said no and asked him why.  "So that when I throw up in my shoes after that class it will be easier to hose them off, I should wear Crocs."   He's nothing if not pragmatic, bless his heart.   I shuffled him into the car and was having internal dialogue about how funny the next round of stories was going to be when all of the sudden he let out a shriek as we rounded the corner out of our neighborhood.

Me:  Stop yelling, what's the matter?  If you forgot your homework you'll have to explain that to your teacher.  I'm not going back.  Responsibility to the responsible.
Kid:  I've got to get my Abraham Lincoln hat!!!!  I HAVE TO.  (he was Zombie Lincoln for Halloween)
Me:  No you don't, that's ridiculous.  What are you even going on about?
Kid:  The nurse specifically said that when we walked into that room to discuss girl parts, we  had better be wearing our mature hats.  Everyone knows that there's no one more mature than Honest Abe.

This is my life.  At this point you can't help but laugh right in their face, which was met with a healthy dose of indignation and borderline side eye.

I'll admit that I waited all damn day to hear about 'girl parts'.  When I saw him later that night,  I tried hard to not be like a detective interrogating a suspect.  I tried to play it cool and ask how it went, and he was the epitome of uninterested.  I was told that it was stupid, and that the picture of the naked woman wasn't a real picture but a drawing with reproductive organs and that he couldn't understand why the boys in his class were unhappy about this…. cause he didn't want to see any real pictures of 'eggs' that make babies.   (yep, he used air quotes every time he said egg)

It was really unfulfilling.  I thought I'd get a plethora of funny stories, but all he said was that every time someone asked about sex, the nurse said that she couldn't go there, 'because she works for the county, Mom, the poor woman will lose her job if she doesn't stick to what she's allowed to talk about'.  He was totally unbothered by this, because according to him,  you can go to the library and look up anything you want to, there's no need for anyone to have to tell you and you should do your own research.   Honestly, he's right.   I know grown adults that don't get this concept, but my guy seems to inherently understand.  Makes a mother proud.

The only thing he was interested in telling me was that according to this mystery nurse, the boys were far more mature than the girls group, which apparently couldn't contain themselves throughout the process.  The Kid takes this as scientific evidence that girls are indeed not living up to their reputation for acting more grown up than boys at this age, and that someone should write that down.

And with that, everything went back to normal.  He still sleeps with his stuffed animals, reads textbooks for fun, refuses to wear pants in the house and knows far too much accurate information about rifles for such a tender hearted pacifist…. because his insatiable need to read about war, history and firearms is as curious as it is hearty.  He still is convinced that we will probably have to settle for being next door neighbors when he grows up because his wife may not want to live in my house and he's going to have to make concessions to shut her up.  He still proclaims that I will always be his best friend and is kind enough to become indignant when I suggest gently that he may one day change his mind about such things.

I know all too well that this won't last and while I know that there is life far beyond my being a parent, sometimes it feels like a knife to the gut.  I'm not going to lie, this is the second and last time I'll raise a child and I'm in no hurry for him to grow up.  He's in no hurry, either.  He loves being a kid, which I think is a true testament to his wisdom.  Unlike him, I spent my entire childhood waiting to be an adult and propelled myself into a world I probably wasn't ready for far before the time I should have.   But then again, it's no secret that my son is far smarter than I could ever be in so many ways.  I'd like to take credit, but I think he came to me that way.

Here he comes now.  The nicest thing about being his mom is that he's one of the only people in the world that I'm always happy to see.  I love him.   The end.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Live free, Rebels.

An aquaintance pointed out my tag line here the other day, remarking that it was a scarily accurate yet completely inaccurate description of me.  I ignored the fact that this made little sense and pondered the quote.   "Just your run of the mill reluctantly domesticated bohemian."  Heh.  It was written to be completely tongue in cheek with the just the smallest amount of actual truth to it, so I suppose that if I squeeze my eyes shut hard enough, the person making the original statement may not be crazy after all, just sort of inarticulate.  Go figure!

I consider myself to be utterly pragmatic.  Others tend to see me that way as well.  If the surface is scratched just a bit deeper and I allow myself to show it, the reality is that I actually have an incredibly vivid imagination and like to drown in it on occasion.   You may have picked up on that by some of my writing, I tend to go off on silly tangents and analogies that sound perfectly reasonable in my head.   For example, I used to get picked on in school quite a bit and would daydream about having the ability to beat someone's skull into the pavement effortlessly.   I oftentimes wax poetic about the home that I'm going to turn into my lifelong project, my greatest physical expression of every aspect of things that I love, with different themes and all done to create the most perfect total environment for myself.  I re-read my favorite childhood book 'Ronia the Robber's Daughter' and immediately imagined myself as an adult, running silently through the woods with my animal friends,  utterly deadly with only rudimentary weapons at my disposal.   One of my long time favorites is my lighthouse dream… the one where I reside on a colder and rocky beach, where I live and write my days away in a lighthouse with the company of my dogs and my dashing and magical lover, only breaking to take walks wrapped in a shawl to stare endlessly at the beautiful and angry ocean and can smell the salt water in the air whenever I so desire.

Everyone has dreams and fantasies.  I'm not a special and unique snowflake because of that.  What I find astounding is that so many people, the vast majority of people that I come across, have not found a way to incorporate their dreams into their actual existence, to create their lives to their liking and grab the bull by the horns and make this one chance count.  I've admittedly been consumed in the past with the outcome of all of my decisions (by consumed, I mean relatively paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong choice), but as I've grown older I've realized that it's not about the end game, it's about the actual process.   I believe that this is one of the crucial perspectives that makes us gravitate to certain people in our lives.  Just as I am not able to stomach those that like to complain but refuse to be doers, I am aware that my own way of living is probably very uncomfortable and off putting to those that aren't wired that way.  That's ok.  We aren't all meant to relate.  I can hardly relate to anyone.

I love this, and how true it is.  Everyone I know that lives life in this manner is considered the epitome of rebellious, and that has always been interesting to me.  It's been said since I was very young that I naturally gravitate toward the rebel…. it took me some time to realize that while I never argued this statement as untrue, what I was attracted to was not what folks seemed to immediately assume (well, perhaps it was just a little bit, I do so love a textbook bad boy/girl).  It was the blatant courage in them to live life on their own terms, to make their reality whatever they wanted it to be…. to live free of chains of outside expectation, to make their own rules, to find what they love and commit to never compromising or letting it go just because it would make life financially, socially or emotionally easier.   That is true freedom.  

I believe in being rational.  I don't buy into the 'you can be anything you'd like if you just want it and work hard enough' mentality.  We all have limitations and I'm well aware that in order to be successful in any way, we must take honest inventory of ourselves.  This is precisely what dashed my singing career.  I suck.  I know this.  I sing only for personal pleasure and to sometimes torture others and I move on.   The trick is knowing how to weave your dreams into your reality in every way possible… if I can do it, anyone can.  I just marvel at how little interest so many folks have in even trying.  

Y'all know as well as I do that my paragraph above regarding the products of my imagination are somewhat amusing in a way and on the surface are easy to not take seriously, but I do take them seriously.  I always hated being an easy target and weak, both physically and emotionally, so I started training in a gym. I'm not saying I can beat your ass, but I'm tougher than you may think I am.  I want my greatest achievement to be my home, and I can drywall, paint and lay hardwood floor for a reason…. I like to work with my hands and it'll come in handy.  Perhaps not today or tomorrow, but when the time is right, I'll be up to my ears in a shop vac and paint swatches and I'll be happy.  Though there is a minuscule chance that I will ever run around the woods with coyotes next to me, keeping their disjointed limbs at pace with my feet, I bought a slingshot and I'll be damned if someone is going to tell me that I can't learn to kill something with it.  Laugh if you want to, I do what I want.  Just wait until I master that slingshot and move on to a blowgun.    Oh, I also want to swim with sharks, I can't imagine why that can't happen.  

(side note: This is a small example of how just being yourself is the only filter you need.  Folks are either delighted at me or think I'm an idiot.  Being unapologetic about every aspect of yourself is the far easier way to have the right people around you than spending a ton of time just being polite. What a colossal waste of time that is for everyone involved.)

In terms of my lighthouse fantasy, there is a very good chance that I may never actually live in one.  However, that does not mean that I can't buy that project house closer to the ocean, and until then, visit my beloved sea as much as I can.  There is no reason whatsoever that I cannot create a platform for my writing other than this blog.  People, the wheels are turning and things are happening….. stay tuned for news, for the trifecta of witchy awesomeness are very close to throwing their hat into the ring.  
We create our opportunities, we are the masters of our existence, we thumb our noses at settling for anything…. at least anyone that I personally choose to have in my world does that.  No one else is of consequence, that's the beauty of carefully creating your own life, you make all the rules.  

I have made incredible headway in making my world what I want it to be over the past year.  It's been painful, oftentimes akin to walking through a jungle of hot coals at a snail's pace.  But I don't regret the scars that I've gotten along the way and it's a darn beneficial thing to know how to get back up after being metaphorically plowed over by a steam train.  I don't particularly expect for the next year to be easier.  In fact, it may actually amp up in difficulty before the waters start to settle.  So why am I not laying under my bed eating chocolate in despair and reading only the most tragic excerpts from  'Jane Eyre'?   

Because it's worth it, I know that in the end it will be worth it.  For every terrible experience and unsavory dilemma that I've forced myself to face and power into, I've had a door open to me, giving me a glimpse of what could await on the other side of all the bullshit.  I'm not insinuating that it's been all fun or a walk in the park, it's been quite the opposite more often than I'd care to admit. But good has entered my life in some very unexpected ways and I've smiled more often in the past couple of months than I have in a long time, despite the tornado of issues still whirling around me.
I am a magician in the real world, I'm not afraid to make things happen… there is no shame in going for and getting what you want.  I'm not afraid of the unknown and most of all, I am open to listening to my dreams.  They're only silly to some of you, to me they are my life.  

Here's to the true rebels in life, you're doing it all right in my book.   


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hey Ladies…..

So, I drank some wine the other night and started thinking about how happy I am when I'm thrifting.  It's the thrill of the hunt and every time I find some small treasure I ride that high for the rest of the day. It had to be tacked on to the list of future things I desire.  I want a project home, one where I can make it my own from the ground up and then live in it forever…. decorator and DIY heaven.   The other thing I want is a place to put all of my thrifting finds, all the clothes, jewelry, bags, shoes and small accent pieces of furniture.  I suppose in order to make that happen I'd have to sell them, so technically that would be considered a store.   It's nice when realization slaps you in the head, at least when it's the fun kind.

I started off with that just to get it off my chest, because this post really has nothing to do with either of those things…. except that two of my friends who became privy to my idea instantly were supportive of it and didn't treat me like I was crazy.  That's sort of nice.  The past year has made me really reflect on the people that I have in my life.

It's no surprise to anyone that knows me or follows me here how difficult the past couple of years have been for various reasons… while I am a very private individual, I do put a lot out there via written word.  Though it goes against the grain of many aspects of my nature, I embrace it.   Specifics don't tend to be all that relevant when sentiments are expressed, so I can retain a bit of anonymity and frustrate people by not giving TOO much (I know I do that, I'd say that I'm sorry, except I'm not).  I recognize the cathartic need to purge and make sense of what's happening inside of my brain and heart and this is the only way that I really know how to do it.  Amidst all of the bad that's swirled around in my existence, I have had no choice but to recognize a strange phenomenon that has evolved over the past year and a half or so.

I'll preface by saying that I have always kept pretty close friends with males, but females and I just have not had a great track record.  I'm not an asshole, obviously I've had female friends in my life, they've simply been few and far between for various reasons.
1.  Females have never really warmed to me much, ever since I can remember.  I could give you a million and one speculations as to why, but it really doesn't matter.
2.  I also take responsibility, because female relationships can be WORK in it's own special way, and I have the sort of nature that makes it perfectly fine for me to just hang out alone rather than deal with someone that is high maintenance.  It's been hard to find someone worth the trouble.

There's more, but those really stand as the main obstacles from my perspective.  At best, I've had one female friend that I'm close to and that's about it.  But this year, along with a shit storm of horrible crap, I also had some fantastic women dropped into my lap.  They just appeared, with no expectations and no drama attached to them, which is good because both of those things make me  pull away in quick order.  Somehow, they were just there one day and I was able to smile and see their real place in my life and heart… some I've known casually for years, others I've just met and connected with instantly.  Obviously, my Wifey is the person I am most bonded with, and our relationship is so perfect that I would have said you were smoking crack if it were to have been suggested that I would actually gain other female friends as well.  But I look around me and have to recognize that it's happened.

I've always touted that I believe that real friendships should occur organically and have been reticent to putting in a vast amount of work with people.  That's probably not a great attribute to have, but again, I've no problem hanging out with myself.  Combine that with a very critical and judgmental personality and you end up with a loner.  Plain and simple.  I have lived the better part of my life functioning just fine and dandy in this manner and I would have laughed in your face if you'd have told me that I was missing out on something.  I have always had my circle of male friends, and still do.  I wouldn't trade them for the world.  I love them fiercely and quite honestly, I wouldn't be me if I didn't have my men around me… I find understanding, protection, love, acceptance, humor and everything that is good in my dynamic with them.  But, I have to begrudgingly admit that there are some things that my ladies understand in a way no one else can.

This was a post recently made on Facebook by my friend (who has a vagina):

"The great are thought to be immune to folly. The moderately wise man knows different. He knows that we are all crazy, but stronger personalities shelter more elaborate grotesqueries. And the strongest men cry in secret and hurt inside the most. In this entire world of sham and fakery, there is no greater truth." - Anton Szandor LaVey ♥

She obviously made this post for her own reasons and this is a favorite personal passage that I've always identified with deeply, but it struck such a chord of resonance in me that I felt like I had been whacked in the gut… dare I say it was a feeling of sisterhood?  At the end of the day, she knows how I feel.  She understands my nature because it is hers as well, and when you have such a distinct nature, that just doesn't happen very often.  She sees what I present to the world and how the world views me and then she giggles and looks right through it, effortlessly.   Like minds don't always connect on a deeper level, but when they do it's a damn beautiful thing.

She's not the only one, either… if you can believe that.  I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know more than one woman who I genuinely like, enjoy, respect and even confide in.   Life keeps throwing curveballs and I have to say that it feels good to have someone in it with you, someone who gets it and places value on you as a person.  At the end of the day, regardless of how confident, rational, strong and capable you think you are, there is true comfort to be found in validation, a kind ear and a thoughtful and insightful word or two.  There is no greater gift I've received than the gift of feeling like I'm allowed to be vulnerable with trust in my heart, knowing that it won't be exploited.

I'm lucky, but also recognize that magic is real…. because this is what I needed and I didn't even know it until I got it.  Not only do I have some damn good looking friends, they're all amazing.  I'm not easy to get close to, but you did it.  I love you for it.
Hey ladies, thanks!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blood, Sweat and Epiphanies

I've been in the mood to make a new blog post, but I can't seem to get my thoughts together enough to not bounce around too much.  Had I written three days ago, you'd have been exposed to my musings on how I have changed my mind about Brussel sprouts because I had them fried.  I would have also gone on a rant about my hatred of pleather.  I'm sure you're thanking me from for refraining from both topics.   You're welcome.

I have a new trainer at my gym.  I went on a hiatus earlier this year out of sheer frustration. I had become so consumed with my ideals of progress and my ridiculous goals that I sort of imploded and had to take a big step back.  All or nothing.  That's me.  I did take up P90X at home over the summer, but I quickly realized that I do my best work in the right environment, and my living room isn't it.

Every time I take a break from the gym I want to punch myself in the face when I return.  You lose it all so fast.... tone, strength, endurance, agility.  Bleh.  I was pretty embarrassed about meeting this big guy and being in such crap shape, but in good trainer form, he lulled me into a false sense of security and was very nice to me until I committed and then he started beating my ass.  I like him.  He doesn't seem like a deep introspective guy, but he's busted out some Yoda shit on me and I've really had to reflect on how much training, especially sparring, will teach you about yourself and how you function in the world.

Fact:  I'm right handed.  We were practicing Muay Thai and roundhouse kicks on the bag this morning.  I was internally beating myself up for being so ineffective despite putting my all into these kicks, my shins were screaming and he was raising a brow at me in a mocking manner.  Then I switched legs and threw a couple out.  He stopped me and exclaimed, "HOT DAMN!  YOU'RE A LEFTIE!"  Well, yeah.  I always knew my left leg had more power to it, but I guess it's not all that common.  "This is great.  You're tiny, you need the element of surprise when you fight.  This may just give it to you."   I was smug and pleased that I seemed to finally do something noteworthy, but the thought stuck with me.

I am not a scholar.  I am not musically inclined (but that doesn't stop me from singing.  Loudly.)  I am not a great artist, but I have always seemed to have the element of surprise on my side.  Once I became comfortable enough with myself to say 'screw it', I began giving time to all of the things that make me happy and come together to form who I ultimately am as a person.  This blog isn't labeled JUXTAPOSE for no reason.  I'm multi-faceted and I don't make sense on paper.  I sit in on PTA meetings with lots of tattoos.  I listen to classical music and punk seamlessly.  I like to watch MMA while wearing a grandma shawl and then fawn over thousand dollar shoes.  I never graduated from high school but I speak three languages and I dare you to call me stupid.  I'm under a buck ten in weight but I will fight you with a big stick in a heart beat.

You get it.  While I have few outstanding and exceptional qualities that stand out alone, I'm glad that the culmination of all of it can throw one for a loop.  We must work with what we have, not just when sparring, but in real life.  Know yourself and take honest inventory.  It's the best thing you can ever do for yourself.

I'm sure Mr. Trainer Man didn't mean to make me become so introspective, but it's not the first time he's doled out some wisdom by accident.  Last week, we were practicing combinations and he became very frustrated with me... he continued saying, "STOP IT!  Don't think so much.  You already know what you're doing, stop THINKING AND DO IT."  I didn't understand what he meant, to be honest.  I didn't think I was thinking, but then he began tapping my face every time he saw me move my lips and I had to concede that he was right.  Not a shocker, really.  I over think everything to death, the options, the possible outcomes, the variations of ideas... blah, blah, blah.  It doesn't ever stop.  Not sure why I assumed it wouldn't filter into that room.

I got quite the talking to about that one.  "When you think too much, you hesitate and that moment is when you leave yourself open to attack.  You have instincts and you have knowledge.  Trust that.  Think until you know, then put it away and let go.  It'll make a difference, and you won't understand it until you know what it feels like."   Now, this man was not speaking in life terms.  He was speaking from a trainer's perspective about when someone is trying to hit you in the face.  But the entire time I drove home, I couldn't help but be struck by the correlation of how this imitates life.

I'm proud to say that today was the day.  I don't know what happened, and I'm not about to over think it, lest I revert to my old ways within 24 hours.  I have tried to meditate, and I suck at it.  Clearing my head has always seemed an impossibility to me, something I hear others boast about but totally elusive to me.  This morning at around nine fifteen, I let my hands fly repeatedly.  There was not a single thought in my mind about what I was doing.  Know what it felt like?  Like when you're dreaming that you can soar through the air.  That emotion, but just with more sweat.  It was damn near close to a ritualistic release, and I know that some of you will understand what that means.

He was right.  It made me hit harder, move faster and I was elated.  It almost makes me think that I can apply this elsewhere, that it's actually attainable, that suspension of analysis that plagues me on the regular.  Look, I know this all probably sounds trite, but I don't care very much about that... those that get it, get it.  I'm going to continue stepping foot into that building on a regular basis just like I have for the past seven years for self inflicted pain, constantly pitting myself against a person that I never stand a chance of winning against.  But for once, winning doesn't matter to me.  It's the damn journey, growth and internal strength I'm after at this point..... ok, fine.  It's the lowered BMI, a small waist and desire for really nice deltoids, too.  That's not the whole point, though.

I may never be a killing machine, but I can throw a mean elbow and a strong left leg, now I don't even have the chains of thinking about it holding me back.   Today was a good day.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lines Blur

It's been a very strange past couple of weeks, where unexpected things have come into my life and made me reflect more than usual, if that's even possible.  In addition to this, I found myself in such a whirlwind of anger, indignation and fury last night that I have no choice but to purge my lingering thoughts  by….. you guessed it.  That's why I'm here.

Fact: I sometimes don't realize how disconnected I am from pop culture and the world at large until it's thrown right into my face.  Until very recently, I had no idea what YOLO meant.  I mean, it looks really stupid, so while I'm sure I've seen/heard it, it just didn't register.   Once it was explained to me, I was perturbed.  Basically, Carpe Diem wouldn't suffice, so it had to be re-packaged in idiot form.  Great.  I weep for the future and am incredibly glad that I wasn't born later than I was.  But I digress.

I'm not keen on anything that resembles inspirational memes.  They make me feel ill and I only usually share memes that are just offensive or snarky, cause that's just what I do.  This one, however,  is just too true.  While I embraced this idea some time ago, I didn't fully want to examine how much something (and I'm not sure what) was holding me back from keeping this in the forefront of my mind when making decisions about what path I should take once realizing that you ALWAYS have a choice.   Perhaps it's been the mindset that I'm a mother and everything I desire should take a back seat to what I must do for my children, in addition to everyone else I feel a responsibility to.  Maybe it was fear of the unknown.  I'm really good at analyzing myself (make no mistake, I analyze you, too), so I have multiple theories, but none of them made sense enough to dismiss the fact that I was doing myself a great disservice.   If I were to drop dead of a blood clot or shot in the eye tomorrow, I probably would be very disappointed about the things I didn't do.  I already carry around too many regrets.  It would be incredibly foolish to continue to knowingly add to the pile of them.  

If only it were that simple.  People like to pretend that it is, but that's just not the case.  There are grey areas and no one has all the answers.  I am fiercely loyal to my people.  Am I the only one that finds that the lines between chosen loyalty, reluctant obligation and stupid self imposed martyrdom blur to ridiculous levels?  If I am, then I've no problem admitting it.  But I'd wager that I'm not alone in this.  I'm betting that there are lots of folks that are in the same boat, whether they want to admit it or not.  I know it's not popular amongst many of my circles to proclaim anything other than total understanding of everything, but that's delusional and I refuse to play along with that.  (For those of you that didn't realize, no one of reasonable intelligence believes you anyway. So there's that.)

When you are an 'all or nothing' sort of person (my face should be plastered under the definition),  trying to draw reasonable, healthy and balanced lines in the sand can get tricky.  I am intense and extreme.  I either love or hate.  I do or I don't.  I embrace you or you don't exist.  It's tiresome to be me on occasion, but I wouldn't trade places with anyone because while I can frustrate myself, I accept myself fully.  Acceptance, however, is not to be confused with stupidity.  Because I accept my nature, it's my responsibility to make sure that my extremes don't produce snap decisions that could land me and mine in ugly waters.  Been there,  I'm too old to swim with the proverbial sharks born of rash and impulsive moves.   

The result can be a holding pattern, circling while trying to sort out life's messy details by carefully considering all options and choosing the path best for yourself.  As necessary as I now see this phase, I truly recognize that it can be deathly to stay in it longer than intended…. it's not meant to be permanent.  It causes more harm than good and can become a crutch for fear of change or indecision.   So allow yourself time to think, but don't get stuck.  That's what I keep repeating to myself.  Judgement is rampant from all ends.   I don't care if those looking in from the outside don't understand me, it only makes me hold on tighter to those that effortlessly get it.  

Life is so short.  I don't know anyone that isn't looking to be happy.  Sometimes we go about it in questionable ways and hurt others.  Sometimes we sacrifice what we truly want and hurt only ourselves.  Neither is ideal, but no one said living was easy and at the end of the day, someone is always going to end up with the sort end of the stick… I'm now sure that I don't care for it to be me any longer.  I hate that this statement is so easily and oftentimes construed as ugly.  It doesn't always have to be about screwing someone else over or letting them down, it can just be about choosing what is right for yourself.  Selfishness is seen as such a bad thing, but a complete lack of it is inauthentic.  Self interest is necessary for survival in this world.  A fact doesn't have to be comfortable for it to be true… but it seems like the world at large needs a bad guy, and I'm done concerning myself with if I'm unfairly cast in the role.  

I'm just doing the best that I can, and for today, that's enough for me.  No matter what happens, I am certain that by this time next year I'll be smarter than I am today.  Being happier than today would be a good plus, too.   For someone that can be construed as too pragmatic and sometimes callous, as of yet I have not lost the ability to hope for a blissfully happy ending and imagine all of my dreams coming true.  That's something.  It's probably everything.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We are family, and we're having Boots Electric over for cocktails.

I woke up feeling 63% out of sorts this morning.  The following jumble of thoughts thrown down are probably a result of that.  The post will likely have no rhyme or reason, much like my current mood, so just go with it, please.    (Side note #1:  Now would be a good time to alert readers that don't know me well about one of my personality quirks.   Hello, my name is Tania, and I like to make up percentages with absolutely no factual evidence to back them up.  It's just how my brain works.  I put everything into percentages because it makes sense to me.  I am such a professional at this that it was suggested to me yesterday that I enter into the political arena. )

See?  I'm already all over the place.  Anyhow, I was having breakfast with The Kid this morning and trying to figure out what my problem was.  He proceeded to tell me about an incident at school that happened on the playground.  Apparently there was some sort of dramatic altercation between classmates and with eyes as big as saucers, he told me that someone shouted out the 'C' word to a girl.   Whaaaaat?  The Kid is only ten.  Everyone that knows me knows that I curse like a sailor, I have an absolutely filthy mouth.   Even I do not throw out that word haphazardly.  I save it for when I want to be extra offensive, like a secret weapon in my arsenal of vulgarities.   I was a little shocked.

Me: How exactly did this come about???
Kid:  He was just mad, Mom.  Can I tell you what he said, can I say the whole sentence?
Me:  HELL, NO! That's totally inappropriate for you to even repeat.
Kid: You say it all the time.
Me:  You're crazy. I do not.
(this back and forth continues before I realize we are not on the same page.)
Me: It's a bad word, right?  What's the second letter, Kid?
Kid:  R.  Then A.   Then P.   THAT BAD WORD.

Phew.  That was one hell of a communication breakdown to start the day.

I got up to rinse my coffee cup with a shit eating grin on my face.  I had just dodged the bullet that every parent eventually experiences… the one where they realize their kids are not so innocent anymore.   I know that it'll happen sooner than later, but for now, he's still just The Kid…. not The Preteen, not The Jerk…. just The Kid.  And The Kid is pretty amazing 94% of the time.

I attribute part of his awesomeness to being exposed to many different types of people.  While he really has no face time with family other than his parents and the occasional Abuela visit, he does get time with my friends.   My friends come in all shapes, sizes and personalities, but very few of them are what you would consider average.   Even if the The Kid grows up to decide to be a completely conventional suit and tie sort of dude, he's never going to raise a brow at anyone, because he pretty much sees it all and appreciates different ways of life.  I'd like to officially pat myself on the back for that one.

At the end of the day, my friends DO make up my family in every way that counts.  That's good for me, because without them I would be the ultimate lone wolf.  Even a lone wolf is genetically ingrained to be part of a pack.   My own pack, much as I may detach and wander around in solitary fashion at times, is crucial to my survival in this world.

I mean, seriously….. when I'm down, Wifey knows it, and Wifey ALWAYS knows what to do.  I will end up waking up to something like this sent to me via text.

See?  She knows that Jesse Hughes, in all his beauty and raw, strange sexuality, will make everything ok.   While many people don't know this, Wifey knows that genetically combining Jesse Hughes, Vincent Gallo and Elvis Presley and slapping him on top of a motor bike pretty much makes up my dream man.  Not only does she know this, but she appreciates it.  She knows every secret that I carry around and she allows me to be whatever and whoever I need to be.  That's love, how did I get so lucky?  I may not be so extremely bonded with all of my friends (and before y'all start thinking I have some massive social circle, I have about five friends), but I am pleased to say that I have a bigger circle of acquaintances that are just as fun to be around.  For someone that hates almost everyone, this is huge.  

I've kissed a lot of frogs to find my real friends, and now I sometimes marvel at how lucky I really am.  I always sort of thought that Jim Morrison was a douche on a personal level, but I do like this particular quote:

"Friends can help each other.  A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself- and especially to feel.  Or, not to feel.  Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them.  That's what real love amounts to- letting a person be what he really is."

I'm not exactly easy, or simple, or sane.  I have a plethora of great qualities, mind you, but I'm certainly not for everyone.   My path thus far in life has taught me some valuable things, one of which is that while I am perfectly fine being a solitary creature, quality people who 'get it' make everything so much better.  I've been without that quite a bit and can do it just fine, but why do it when you don't have to?  Much to many people's surprise, I am but a mere mortal.  I am not a machine that pumps out snark 24/7.  While I'm ok with letting folks think that, those that are in the know, they know different.  

I really do now realize that this post has gone off the rails and that some of you think that there is a chance this will wrap up nicely and all tie together.  Well, Happy Wednesday.  It won't.  
I'm just going to leave you with Jesse Hughes.  Because in my world, he makes everything 75% better. So here is your morning shot of beautiful sleaze with a side of fabulous mustache,  a combo that is admittedly my Achilles heel.   OWWWW!
(Seeing as how we live in the age of 'Fifty Shades of Grey', I refuse to apologize for posting a filthy video.  Y'all can keep on wrapping up your super soft core porn in rich suits and elegant lifestyles. I'll keep mine real and dirty.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Say Cheese!

My maternal family comes from Argentina.  My grandfather came from a very small mountain village called Cosquin and had solid Native American blood, there were many children and very little money.  My grandmother's family were Spaniards who made their way south, they were very average middle class, which means that  they were far whiter and more affected, the money situation wasn't all that different.  Once they became engaged, married and eventually had my mother, they carved out a decent life for themselves.  My grandfather made sure that they never wanted for anything, oftentimes working sixteen hours a day without one bit of complaint, but money never became bountiful.

You'd never be able to tell this fact by the plethora of photos I have from those days.  See for yourself.  This is their engagement picture.  They were always impeccably dressed and carried themselves impressively.

You see, I have what I'd estimate at a couple of hundred beautiful photographs very similar to this one, many of them professionally taken, others are incredibly amusing candids which displayed every subject's personality in ways stories could not.  Fact is, someone thought it was very important to do this, and I'm eternally glad that they did.  Anyone that knows me understands that I have close to no solid connection to blood family anymore, most of my maternal family is dead and unfortunately I have little contact with my paternal family.   If I did not have these tangible images, I would feel lost.  I'm absolutely sure of it.  

Which leads me to the here and now.   My parents did a darn good job of documenting my childhood in photos until approximately the age of twelve, which is when I turned into a nasty beast that staunchly refused to pose for a picture.  If I did, it sure looks like I was trying to break the camera with the death lasers that you could practically see shooting out of my eyeballs at the offending photographer.  I continued to avoid cameras until I had kids of my own.  Almost every parent I know feels the need to document the evolvement and growth of their offspring, and I'm no different.  It's just what we do. 

It wasn't until quite a bit of time had gone by before I realized that there were virtually no photographs of me for a block of years.  Some of it was surely the fact that I felt uncomfortable being photographed, the other has to admittedly be that there was no one in my life that felt at all inclined to take my picture.  As a mother, you find yourself taking endless images of your babies, your husband, your friends…. you're like the ghost in the background.  You know you were there, but there is no real evidence of it.  That may not be everyone's experience, but it's definitely how it was for me.  

The moment that I realized this, it must have been around 2006, I started making a concerted effort to take photographs of myself. I knew that if I didn't start, no one else would.  Do not confuse this with the modern day duck-faced teenagers riddling the internet with vain attempts to get attention by taking angled bathroom shots.   I literally panicked at the realization that I probably wouldn't remember what I really looked like at thirty….. shit, I can barely tell you what I ate for dinner last night.   I'd hope that one day someone related to me would care to know as well, just like I hold all of my family photographs dear, so I sucked up the feeling of being a fool taking self images and started snapping away.

Now we are in the age of Facebook, Instagram, smart phones, ect.  It's so easy to grab my iPhone, turn my camera self facing and snap a shot of me at the zoo with my kid, being pissed off in traffic, or giddy at the delight of my day being brightened by a visiting friend.  The world we live in has made it easy to provide a 'my life in pictures' story, and I'm not ashamed to say I do just that.  Why?  It's not because I think I'm beautiful and love taking my own photograph so that I can stare at myself.  That couldn't be further from the truth, believe me on that one.  I do it because I don't want to forget.  I want to remember as much as I can. The important things are critical, the mundane things are just extras that could one day make me smile, laugh or frown, but hopefully trigger a memory that would otherwise be lost forever.  I don't want to disappear completely after I'm gone, either.  That's just raw truth.

So y'all can keep on shaking your heads at my endless stream of photos.  Whether you enjoy them or roll your eyes is not exactly at the forefront of my mind, but I honestly don't mean to be intentionally tiresome.  Promise.   Trust me, I realize that taking pictures and slapping filters on them is an extremely far cry from the artistic and beautifully authentic vintage images that I have in my possession, but I do what I can.   Hopefully someday, someone will be glad that I tried.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bring it, Fall.

I do realize that frustration, sadness and tragedy lends me to write in an attempt to purge emotion and work out my thoughts.  The result tends to be a very one dimensional perspective of my personality.  Granted, I am snarky, blunt and (I hope) amusing at times, but I'm not all bitter kitten.  I have some folks that I'm friendly with that consistently spout anger and I don't know any of them that wear it well, so here I am, making a terribly benign post with not the least bit of the usual emotion driving my writing.   I certainly hope that it doesn't have a melatonin-like effect.   If it does, please do tell me, I can summon rants at will.

As I sit here, right at this very moment, it is sixty four degrees here in Atlanta.  I can only half stifle my cackle of delight at this number.   Fact:  This season brings out the very best in me, if I could, I'd kiss Lady Autumn right on the mouth repeatedly in thanks.  I am at my most genial and energetic.  Thankfully, I live in a state where this pocket of weather has the ability to linger far longer than in other places, and that's lucky not only for me, but for all of the people around me.  I try hard to not be the textbook Dennis Leary asshole that is constantly complaining about the weather, but I suspect that sometimes I become that person.

The closer I get to forty, the more like a ninety year old bird of a woman I become.   I realized this while taking Mother out to lunch last week.  As I found myself enviously eyeballing the new black shawl draped around her  instead of listening to her talk about her doctor's appointment, I realized that I could easily fall into imagining myself yanking it from around her shoulders, then screaming and running down the street waving it through the air like a movie style Native American giving a victory war cry and displaying a freshly scalped trophy.  It was eighty five degrees that day.

What do you want from me?  Knitwear has that effect on me.    Capes, huge sweaters, scarves, jackets…. I am absolutely convinced that wearing them gives a person magical powers.  Pancakes taste better, coffee is more effective and my hair requires less hairspray.  I become less surly, more energetic, ready for travel and more apt to meet up with people socially.  I'll even spend a greater deal of time outside.  I start wistfully pulling out my favorite fantasy:  Breaking away from my quiet spells of writing and drinking tea to walk on a rocky Northern beach in front of my very own  lighthouse to watch the ocean while wrapped in layers of clothing.  My hair doesn't even blow into my mouth and smear lipstick all across my cheek, (because I obviously still wear lipstick despite being a recluse and that's always an issue with wind and long hair).  That's how amazing and perfect this scenario is.

(side note:  The above admission is proof that I am not just a hardened and callous realist.  I am a dreamer approximately 27% of the time.) 

For those of you absolutely shocked at the potential for the vast personality change that the weather can bring out of me, fear not.  It won't last.  Once the colder spells set in, I will start ridiculously shivering every time I step outside, much like a Chihuahua exposed to the harsh element.  I will start lengthening the times spent at home curled up into a ball in a dark corner with my nose in a book while wrapped in seven blankets next to a space heater.  I will once again begin grumbling under my breath, alternating between the complaints of cold and griping about the inevitable tragedy of ending up in a retirement community in Boca Raton just to escape the suffering that settles deep into my bones and tortures me.

My observations tend to have some bite to them, typically.  Seemingly for as long as I can remember, every change of season inspired sadness in me because it reminded me of those that weren't there to see it.  It's nice to be able to recognize the shift now.  I'll hold on to that, because one must white knuckle grip the good things in life.   Amidst all of the craziness in my world these days, the 'transitional period' that just won't seem to wrap up, I need it.   Never underestimate the powerful feeling about being excited about life…. it's a shot of beauty, hope and promise straight into the vein.

I'm trying to not delete this passage out of fear that it's just not interesting.  Whether it is or not, I'm going to leave it.  If anyone wants to capitalize on hanging with  the Autumn Tania (probably the best version of me), you'll find it less difficult than normal, given the drug like effect of the weather.   Only, that is, after I've completed the quest to find the perfect tall boot for the season, the elusive leather jacket I've been searching for since 2010 and some vintage sweater hunting.   Shopping is my crystal meth.  You know this and I'm not sorry.

((As a small side note, I'm trying to begin revamping this blog since I seem to be paying more attention to it.  If you have a blog that you'd like linked to mine, feel free to let me know.  I was annoyed to realize that I've been away from here for so long that many of my links are no longer even functioning. I think I'm finally ready to give this much neglected page some attention.))

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Y'all did it now. Rant time.

My kid came into the bedroom at ten thirty last night screaming, crying and with a face that resembled a bruised tomato. (He's a ginger and had a fever, what do you want?)  Then he proceeded to puke for two solid minutes, at least he made it to the toilet. I had to be a good mom and hold his hair, so I was holding back the puke reflex myself.  Fact: No one vomits alone when I'm around.  SO GROSS.   Anyway, after he calmed down he proceeded to tell me about his feverish nightmare.  He said that he came home and asked me who won the Presidential election and that I said it was Mitt Romney.  Though we do not discuss politics with him at ten years of age, this was apparently horrifying enough for him to wake up hysterical.  So, that was sort of funny.   What's not funny is that he's sick and I had to miss work today.

Did I mention that Wifey is in NYC without me?  While I won't expound on my apparent co-dependant relationship and the effect that this fact is having on my emotional well being, rest assured that despite the constant text messages and conversations, the distance is messing with me.  Throw that into the mix of being quarantined with Fever Boy and toss in the fact that I've had two huge cups of strong coffee and a giant Red Bull in an attempt to be productive and clean my dresser drawers.  The result?  I'm about to say too much again.  Cause when I'm crazy and over-caffeinated, I give even less of a shit than usual.  Let me get some things off of my chest.  So without further ado, I bring to you my list of grievances, in no particular order.

1.  I'm sick and tired of Women Weight Wars.  Listen, if I were to go online and scoff at heavier women, I'd be a right asshole.  Why is it, then, that there seems to be a surge of women who feel totally within their right to openly degrade, insult and make fun of thin women… right to their fucking face?  I'm sick of it.  If I say that I'm trying to eat clean, don't make fun of me and say I'm going to disappear and that no one likes a protruding ribcage.   First of all, being fit isn't the same as being anorexic.  Second, it's not my fault I don't have tits.  My ribcage is always going to stick out.  Don't be a dick about it.   Also, please stop posting memes about how 'real men like curvy women.'   I'm quite sure that's true in many instances, men like big boobs and a stacked ass.  I happen to have neither, thanks for the reminder.  But do the world a favor and stop lumping yourself in with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Page if you're just overweight.  There's a difference there, too.  
Just stop it.

2.   I don't put myself out there often.  I'm socially awkward,  thus I don't seek out lots of new relationships/friendships.   If I've ever made a modicum of an effort with you, then you're probably genuinely a person that I'd like to spend some of my rare free time with.  If I've gone so far to ask you to specifically hang out with me and you've blown me off, don't ever expect me to ask you again.  Much as I may think I could like someone, I will never chase them.  I just won't, I'll shut down and assume that you probably can't deal with hanging with me.  I'm judgmental, have incredibly high standards and will probably insist on some sort of intelligent conversation thrown into the fun.  I'm not a dumb ass who is only interested in getting shit faced five nights a week.  There's a time and place for everything.  But I digress in my random rant.  As a textbook introvert, it takes incredible gumption for me to pull my nose out of my book and put myself out there for someone I find drawn to.  Don't expect me to repeat it incessantly.  The ball will now forever be in your court.  I assure you that you've missed the boat on me making it easy and reaching out, know that I'm completely content with never doing it again.   That's the beauty of being 94% self sufficient.  I only need my animals and a select few.  So there.

3.  This whole PMA (positive mental attitude) movement makes me want to hurl.  Good for you and your 'glass half full' bullshit.  Do what legitimately works for you, but don't get all superior about it.  If you really naturally had that mindset, you wouldn't have to fucking tattoo it on your body to remind yourself how to react to things.  Know what works for me?  Some people call it negativity, but that's not true. I call it a realistic world view.  No, you CAN'T be anything you want to be if you just work hard enough.  I hate it when people tell kids this and I detest it even more when adults delude themselves with the same crap.   Good thing I didn't want to be a WNBA player and have parents that fed me that shit.  I'd have surely put a bullet in my head when I stopped growing at five foot two inches.    I could go on and on with this crap, but I'll just end with this.  Take your PMA crap and your inspirational quotes and shove them where the sun don't shine.  This cantankerous broad doesn't want to hear it 24/7.  

There you go.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it.  I've got a closet to clean.   

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mommy Wars

 I'm recovering from a weirdo massive headache and fever combination that I was struck with yesterday and am still a bit foggy.  This probably isn't the best time to make a blog post, but since I live on the edge, I'll do it anyhow.  Plus, since there's a 94% chance that I'm going to insult a ton of people, this is a good excuse.  "I know not of what I speak, I'm still sort of sick."   Heh.

I made a Facebook post last week about how I really wish that I had more friends that are mothers, but that there are many reasons why I don't.  I got replies that implied that I was about to go on the attack.  That's possibly a valid assumption for those that know me casually, but I don't hatefully go after people with this blog, I simply feel that writing things down is the healthiest way to vent.  It avoids direct and random freak outs on the public at large, which could result in my being punched in the face.  After 30 years of age, you're just not as physically resilient as you used to be… regardless of how fearless you are about being hit.  Fact.

I am a judgmental person, and I'm not sorry.  When it comes to parenting, I admittedly tend to border on self righteous about my views.  Maybe it's because I've spent years dealing with the children of many parents and have seen it all.  I feel that has given me a unique perspective about the direct correlation between how folks parent, the effect it has on their kids, and how it has an impact on the way other people see those kids because of it.  Maybe it's just how I'm wired.  I don't honestly know, but I either way, I'm not likely to ever change.  So without further ado, here goes.

I don't always dislike children, but when I do, it's usually because their parents aren't doing their job."

(This is not universally true.  There are some great parents I know who realize that their kids have behavior issues, they do everything in their power to address it and find strategies to help their kids succeed.   I am NOT talking about this group of people. None of us got handed a guide book after delivering our babies and the majority of the folks I know love their children desperately and just do the very best they can do.)

I am your quintessential loner and have never envisioned myself even considering being a part of a mom's playgroup, even as a new mom… it's just not me.  That doesn't mean that I don't see the value in having other people in your same boat to share your trials and tribulations of parenting with.  After all, it's the hardest job anyone will ever do.  You really do need support and reinforcements.  Since I don't usually connect organically with most folks I meet, and since I'm also reticent to lots of socializing, finding other parents to pal around with was always recognized as an uphill battle.  What I did not take into consideration in the beginning was how much of a divide different parenting styles could be in a friendship.  Whoa, let me tell you.  It singlehandedly overshadows any of my other obstacles in finding other moms to have as friends.  Let me break down some classics that are easily recognizable.

1)  The "Laid Back" Parent: We all know them.  You agree to go out to dinner with a family for the first time.  Ten minutes into the meal, their kids are running around the restaurant, throwing food,  siblings hitting each other, screaming, being disrespectful to their parents, ect.  The parents are drinking their sweet tea and completely disregarding the fact that everyone is put out with their children and it's not even a blip on their radar.   It's happened to most of us.  I am instantly mortified when I find myself in this sort of company.  If my son decided to lose his mind and act like this in public, he would immediately been removed from said place and taken directly home to be dealt with.  Inappropriate actions have consequences just like good behavior is always praised and recognized in my home.

Some people think I'm too rigid.  But they don't consider the elephant in the room.  When you allow your kids to act in this manner, you are doing them a great disservice.  Why?  Because EVERYONE HATES THEM and it's YOUR FAULT.   This has been weighing on me for a while and it feels damn good to say it.

2)  The "Screamer"Parent:  This species of parent is the loudest and usually the most ineffective.  They can usually be found in their natural habitat, like a Wal Mart or Winn Dixie.   Sometimes though, their skills of disguise will make you befriend one before you realize what you've gotten yourself into.  It's only when you finally hang out with them in their home (or yours) that you see the truth.  Usually it will go like this:  The child(ren) are typically wild, that's already established, but in an attempt to not be too judgmental, you go against your instincts and assume it's a phase.  While attempting to have an adult conversation, you find yourself distracted by inappropriate behavior by one of the kids.  You look at the parent and may see irritation, but no action.  The behavior continues, the parent finally says, "Stop it."  They are ignored, blatantly.  This is when your eyebrow raises slightly.  Then the child just continues to push the envelope and you see the parental explosion when it's three seconds too late to back away safely.  The parent proceeds to scream wildly (now you know where the kids get it from), sometimes they curse at their kids, threaten to beat the shit out of them, possibly smack them on the butt if they can catch the offending child, blah blah blah.

Here's the kicker.  It doesn't matter.  The kid doesn't give a shit.  Why?  Because all of that screaming means nothing and the kid knows it.  They don't actually deliver an effective consequence, follow through consistently or make good on their stupid threats in any way.  They just scream, shake their heads and give up as their child carries on doing whatever they want until the whole process starts over again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.   Fantastic!  Now you not only have a headache from the kids, the parents have made it a migraine and the kid is still an asshole despite the big scene that was just made.   This is when you get an imaginary call that your bird died and you have to haul ass out of there before your own child thinks that this is normal or acceptable in any way.   (Yes, we all lose our tempers and freak out during our careers as parents.  Anyone that says they don't is a liar and I'll tell them so.  I am specifically referring to those that do this chronically.  I can't believe I'm even spelling this out.. it's that obvious.)

Again, parents… a disservice is being done here.  Why?  Because EVERYONE HATES YOUR KIDS and it's YOUR FAULT.  In addition,  you have shown a really ugly side of yourself and now no one wants to be your friend, either.   Congratulations.

3) The 'Isn't She Cute?' Parent:  I won't delve into this type with too much detail.  It's self explanatory.  The child talks back to them (or you) rudely and disrespectfully.  The parent says, "Isn't she SO smart?"
The child tears ass through the Target aisle, knocking everything over and the parent says, "She has so much energy, she's surely going to be a great athlete!!!"
The examples go on and on, but at the end of the day all I have to say is this…. That shit isn't cute.  Disrespectful back talking isn't cute, physically hitting others isn't cute,being ugly to other children isn't cute, acting like a savage in public isn't cute, none of it is cute to anyone but YOU.

4) The 'Stripper in Training' Parent:  This category is specifically for parents of little girls, and it may just be the most disgusting and scary.   If your daughter is ten and comes to school dressed like she's about to leave at two fifteen and go work the late afternoon lunch shift at the Pony, please go kill yourself.  Kids should dress as kids and act like children.  Allowing and encouraging 'boyfriends' in elementary school, giving them cell phones and letting them leave the house with their little kid asses hanging out and a face with make-up on it is vile.   That is all.  People don't hate your kid, they feel sorry for them.  They hate YOU.

Seriously, I could go on and on, but enough people probably already think I'm directing this at them and are mad at me.  To that I say, 'Don't be.'  Everyone knows at least five parents in each category, if you see yourself in one that I described, that's not on me.  That's on you.  Besides, what do I know anyway?  It's just my lowly opinion and I never claimed to be an expert.

Fact is, there are a lot of parents who may look at me and then read this and be surprised at how I view things.  Good, I say.  Don't assume anything by the way I look.  I take parenting very seriously and realize that I border on 'old school' in regards to certain opinions… why is that a bad thing?  Older generations as a whole seemed to do a much better job than many nowadays.  Besides, you could do everything to the best of your ability and right and still end up with a teenager or older child that goes off the deep end and takes a totally messed up path.  I know that all too well.  Why not give them every tool available to ensure that they have the skills necessary to be everything they can in this difficult world we live in?  We all mess up no matter how hard we try to do right by our kids.  It's just the parents that so blatantly do a crap job that upset me so.

Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that it's not so easy in this world to find people who have similar world views, lifestyles and passions.  When you're looking for a support system as a mother, it gets even harder.  Much as many wouldn't like to admit it, how people parent their kids matters a whole lot.  I've met more than a handful of women who I like very much on a personal level, but who I simply cannot get very close to because of their familial dynamic, parenting style, and ultimately and sadly, their kids.   I suppose that makes me the bad guy because I can't set those things aside for a friendship, but anyone that knows me knows I'm totally ok with that.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Leave a message… But really, don't do that.

I know, I'm running the risk of making a liar out of myself.  I haven't delved back in to the blogging world with as much gusto as I would have liked when summer arrived.  But if you look back at my last post, I really only provided an estimated percentage of chance, I made no vows or promises.  I have been writing quite a lot this summer, only it's been taking pen to paper and then hiding it in corners of my house so well that sometimes I even forget where I've placed my moleskin journal.  I know that I have used this blog to put myself out there and be more open than I would have initially imagined, but damn.  Trust me, you don't want to read what I've been writing about. (Actually, I'd probably get mass amounts of followers and at least three publishing offers, it has all the elements that inspire folks to come back for another look, much like rubbernecking a car crash.  People are sick and weird… I'd wanna read it)

What I need is a new song challenge of something to make me stop in and jot things down like in the beginning when I was blogging every day.  I'll have to look into that, but for now, brace yourself.  I HAVE NO TRAUMA TO SHARE OR SAD BASTARD POST TO MAKE.  I know it's unlike me lately, as I mainly hop on the blogging train to therapeutically exorcise my internal demons, but it's true.  Since so many of the folks that read this stuff are buddies scattered all over the globe, I will just accept that if you could, you'd pat me on the back in thanks. You're welcome.  The flip side is that I really have nothing deep or important to say.  I'm ok with that.

Anger has been on my mind.  I haven't been hulking out lately or anything, and when I really examine what's going on inside of me, I am finding that in the midst of this shitty transitional period, I'm not as angry as I probably would have once been.  When I mean anger, I mean fury that comes from deep within, powered by reason and strong emotion.  I am not carrying as much of that around recently.  I do, however, still possess a wealth of irrational anger and will probably always be that way.  No, it's not the same thing.  Let me explain.

Irrational anger example:  When Kroger does not have the cream that I like to use for my coffee.  This is not a big deal, but upon realization that this has happened, I immediately black out and envision myself trashing the dairy department and verbally berating the manager to the point of tears when he comes over to investigate what the hell is going on.  Poor guy, he didn't stand a chance.   All of this happens in the course of three seconds in my brain before I regain my composure, shake my head at the fact that I'm irrationally angry over something that isn't important and keep pushing my cart.  See?  Irrational anger is not the same as the real deal.  I am always able to recognize it for what it is, play the scenario out in my head and keep on truckin'.  Real anger inspires well thought out action that results in   some sort of evident damage to the target… it means someone ought to run, though there is no real point because I can wait anyone out.  Told you it was different.

side note:  I'm not crazy.  I'm just more introspective than some people and am more willing to admit what goes on inside my head.  I accept fully the nature of the beast.  Deal with it, cause I'm fine with it.

This brings me to my phone.  Bear with me, it will tie in (I hope).  We've established here before that I don't like talking on the phone for various reasons.  Everyone knows this, but they call me anyhow.  That's fine, because all of these folks KNOW that I only answer the phone for three people and that hence, they've wasted their time.  No irrational anger on this end.  Not yet, anyway.  What throws me into a tailspin is when I get the awful sound notification from my phone telling me that they have left me a voicemail.   Seriously?  Thanks, friend.  You just jacked up my whole world.

In case you don't know this about me, I have voice message phobia.  Don't judge me, or do.  It won't change it. Maybe it's because I've gotten a lot of bad news via telephone or message, I don't know. While I could speculate wildly about the origin of this issue, it really doesn't matter in the end.  When I hear that noise and see that dreaded red circle with a number in it on my iPhone, it just wrecks me.  That stupid circle just sits there, taunting me and not letting me live my life because it's not supposed to be there and I know it won't go away until I listen to the damn thing.

Listen, don't do that.  Please.  Just send me a text and you will likely get an immediate answer because I'm not rude and I don't ignore text messages. (Oops, almost went off on a pet peeve rant.  Maybe some other time.) If it takes me a while to reply, it's for a reason.  Some may say I'm rude because I don't reply to voice mail messages, but it's not true.  You just don't get me.  Truth is, I never listened to it.  I simply hit 'play' and yell "BLAH BLAH BLAH"until I can immediately delete it just to get rid of the notification icon.

It's not because I don't care about what you have to say.  It's because I have an issue, much like diabetes.  You wouldn't get mad at a diabetic for having dietary restrictions, so don't get mad at me for how I cope with my affliction. Ok, maybe it's not exactly the same, but the point is that it's not personal.  It's not you, it's me. Usually in all other cases it's you, but this time it's not.

So in an attempt to avoid irrational anger on my end and hurt feelings on your end, I am going to change my voice mail.  "Hi.  You've reached Tania.  Please do not leave me a message because I will not listen to it.  Text me for a timely reply.  Thanks in advance for your cooperation."  This will be a project of epic proportion, because it takes me all day to record myself speaking and willingly save it for others to hear.  It's an awful process, full of cringing, large doses of wrinkling my nose and feeling shame and remorse that I expose and assault people that I care about with the sound of my voice.  But I'm intent on following through.  It's the only responsible thing to do.

Until then, if you must be a rule breaker and a bad direction follower, call me if you must.  But please, do not leave me a damn message.  You just never know when a bout of irrational anger could tip me right over the edge of sanity, and you don't want to carry that guilt around for the rest of your life, do you?

Thanks in advance for your cooperation.