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.