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.