Laid bare

Reveal a shoulder here,

A calf there,

Decolletage abounds…

But nothing ever laid bare.

Always wishing I had the courage

To show my best and darkest bits

To friends or foe alike.

Wanting to be just be me,

For real,

In fullness.

My fears and paranoia,

My crazy ambitions and dreams,

Even the silly thoughts,

The rambling notions…

For all the world to see.

But how can I be thus exposed

When there’s still so much I hide

From myself?

I long to be

Laid bare.

 

 

 

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I’m older than my Dad

No, Peeps, I don’t mean more “mature”.  I probably hit that milestone a decade ago.  The ol’ man wasn’t exactly the picture of adulthood.  I mean that at the ripe old age of 37 years 7 months, I am officially 2 weeks older than my Dad ever had the fortune to become.

This revelation is both liberating and scary.

See, I’ve had this fear, ever since I became aware of my own mortality (probably sometime during college), that I would die young like my Dad.  I railed and rebelled with my psyche about this because I knew that Dad always said he wouldn’t make it to 40 and lo and behold, he was right.  So I’d say insistently that I’m going to live to be 100.

But then in the last few years, I realized that I was not living like someone with designs on being a centenarian.  I was eating wrong, exercising not at all, drinking too much, sleeping too little, and not really enjoying any of it.  I became on one hand, laser focused on changing my ways and on the other, paralyzed by the fear that I’d be suffering Dad’s sorry fate.  I vacillated between depression and determination.  And you know those two emotions rarely exist together well.  So, depression mostly won.

It mostly is still winning.  But I’m trying, Peeps, I’m trying.  I’m using all the tools at my command to turn this ship around.  I could really wrangle a Titanic metaphor, here, but that might be going too far. 😉

Because, like I said,  I have been liberated because of this revelation that I crossed one threshold.  I have officially lived longer than Dad.  Perhaps I’ve broken “the curse”.

The next threshold is August 31 of this year.  The day after Dad died.  The last, and most hopeful, will be December 31 of this year, when I will officially be 38.

I’m anticipating that with each passing day on the calendar, I’ll feel more and more free.

Still, it is scary, because, well…

Wow.  If I have beat the curse, if I have survived longer and better than my father, then I have a debt to pay to fate, to myself, to my family.

I can’t go on being depressed and depressing.

I owe it to  The Powers That Be to use this bonus time well.

Can I do it?  To paraphrase the immortal words of Bob the Builder, “Yes I can!”  I hope.  I really want to.

But until I cross those last two thresholds, I am fighting the feeling that my life is either a) in a holding pattern or b) slipping through my fingers.

To combat this, I pledge to make several steps to invigorate my day-to-day life- being more organized, having a system, carving out time to do what I love.

So, Peeps, keep your fingers crossed.  I say we have a big ol’ bloggin party on NYE!

 

Parenthood fail- TV sucks.

I’m cutting back on TV.

*gasp*

Mostly I’m doing it for my kids.  And not for the more obvious reasons.  They rarely sit still and veg in front of the screen.  They are rarely still in general.

It’s because of commercials.

It started this past Christmas season.  Or was it the one before?  That’s when the deluge of toy commercials flood the airwaves and drive parents across the nation crazy by inspiring cries of “I want that! I want that!”  Ugh.

The first commercial that caught their attention was for their namesake dolls.  It was loud and colorful and kind of adorable, but I thought nothing of it at the time.  I was actually glad that I had an idea of what they’d be asking Santa for.

Since then, they want EVERYTHING the see on TV.  Damn little consumers.

But toy commercials aren’t the reason I’m weaning my family off of TV.

I’m doing it because my daughters, more than once, have uttered such phrases as, “Mommy, we need that toothpaste for whiter, brighter teeth.” or “We really should get that shampoo, Mommy.  Our hair will break less when we brush it.”  But all of that wasn’t as bad as this:

Loopsy, while watching Shirt Tales on the Cartoon Network, came to me and said she needed a certain eye cream so her eyes don’t look squinty.

Now, this goes beyond them parroting selling points from commercials.  This is a commercial – for wrinkle cream – having the power to convince my 4 year old daughter that she’s not beautiful the way she is.

I was flabbergasted.  And flummoxed.  And just, just… sad.

My daughters are beautiful girls.  They are far, far too young for society’s impossible standards of “what is beauty” to be influencing them.  And I can’t help but believe it’s all my fault.  I am failing my children.

I leave the TV on too often- sometimes just for background noise.

I don’t give them enough support or set a strong enough example.

So, I have a plan to break us of the TV habit.

Baby steps.  Cold turkey could be hazardous to our (my) mental health.

We already have stopped letting them fall asleep with the TV as a nightlight.  (stop judging)  They now get their teeth brushed, put on their jammies, get tucked in and it’s prayers, songs, sleepy time.  They have those cute projector night lights and dream catchers.   They aren’t even fazed.  Don’t miss the TV at all.

Next, I have decided to DVR only movies for them, and only movies on Disney Jr or Nick Jr because they are commercial free.  This has caused much whining since they were accustomed to being able to watch My Little Pony or Gaspard & Lisa whenever their little hearts desired.  But, they’ll survive.

Today, I’ve started turning the TV off after breakfast.  We’ll listen to music instead.  And I’ll no longer watch my own shows while they are around or awake.  So, that keeps me away from the TV and off the couch too.  Win/win.

I need to work on my own attitudes about health and beauty.  I thought I was doing pretty well.  I’ve always stressed that Mommy is getting healthy, not getting skinny.  If I wear makeup, I tell them it’s because I like it or it’s fun, not because it makes me pretty or feel good.    I tell them all the time that they have beautiful smiles, pretty eyes, lovely hair, but I also tell them they are smart and funny and important and special and kind.

Ugh.  Seriously, Peeps, if it’s not one thing scaring me about parenthood, it’s another.

*sigh*

Misty Watercolor Memories…

Been thinking a lot lately about memory lately, Peeps.  Memory is a funny thing.

There were two incidents recently in which I realized that I remembered an event differently than the other people involved.

One was involving a time a friend came to visit me in college.  Well, actually she and I have similar memories of this visit, but other people who were there remember something different.  The issue in debate is that a guy that we had later become good friends with was there, but neither of us remember him.  We know there was a guy there we’d never met before, but it baffles both of us that this guy was indeed the same guy we know today.  Follow me? Weird, right?

The second was a conversation with my Mom’s husband about when he met a cousin of mine.  He insists it was at a graduation.  He is adamant that this is true.  Personally, I can’t accurately recall when he met her, but I know that there were no graduation events she would’ve been invited to that he also attended.  I can only surmise he’s remembering my Grandma’s funeral.  I can vaguely recall sharing a ride with him, Mom, Brother, and said cousin.  Neither of us will concede that the other is right.  We both believe that our memories of the event is true.

I saw an episode of Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.  The title was What Makes Us Who We Are?.    In the show, the idea was discussed about how memories can be changed and influenced by our own internal editor or by outside suggestion.  This really fascinated me and, to be honest, made me quite anxious.  What am I remembering incorrectly?  What am I altogether forgetting?

There are some deep, dark fears that I’m not ready to go into at this point, because I still don’t know if they have any base in reality.  For the past 5 to 10 years, I have recalled memories that are weird, have had reactions that don’t make sense, have become aware that there are events that and people who I can’t remember.  But is that so unusual?  We all have things we’ve forgotten, that doesn’t mean they are repressed traumatic events.  We all have strange fears or paranoia, right?

And anyway, since memory is so fluid, what does it matter?  I don’t know that it makes a difference except that I’m just an infinitely curious and incredibly paranoid person.  Haha.  If there is something I’ve forgotten, but I’m safe and sane (relatively- nyuck, nyuck, nyuck), why worry about it now?

Memory is a funny thing.  And magical.  And really, it’s all the past there is, right?  Just memories?

I’m still pondering this one, Peeps.

Thoughts?

Once Was Enough

I am dreaming of fighting with Katniss.  Whether it is over how long it took her to understand that she and the mockingjay were a symbol of rebellion or over how awesome Peeta is, I can no longer recall.

What I do recall (with what I can almost call clarity) is the nagging, needling sensation of a headache beginning behind my left eye.  I shut Panem and their problems out of my head and try to remember if perhaps I’d had too much to drink last night.  Nope.  Just 3 small glasses of wine.  White wine at that.  Nothing to give a big ol’ gal like me a hangover for chrissakes.  I turn over and try to settle back into my dream.

Holy Lord what is happening to my head!  The needles now feel like pinking shears driving into my eye socket.  I hear some rustling around downstairs and decide to venture out in search of ibuprofen.

Bestie and her hubby direct me to the probable locales for my saving grace, but, alas, none is to be found.  As a last resort, I accept the offer of one of Bestie’s prescription pain pills.  It is small and pink of all colors and I doubt it’s going to provide any relief, but I take it anyway.

I trudge back up to the room and slip back into the inflatable air bed.  As soon as I’m in a prone position, it seems the pain intensifies into a throbbing, stabbing, grinding, searing pain.  My eyes water, my throat clenches, I stifle the urge to cry.  Then a whitish light flashes across my eye lid.  I can feel panic rising in my chest.

Is this it?  Am I having a stroke?  Could this be my dying day?

I think about my kids who are asleep in the bed next to mine.  I think about them waking up to find me gone.  Well, there, but really gone.  I think about how grateful I am that Bestie will be there to comfort them.  I start to sob.

My crying must have stirred Loopsy from her slumber.  I hear her rustling and making that sweet waking up noise.  I pull myself out of bed.  I can’t let her see me this upset.  I make it to the bathroom, slam the toilet seat up, and puke up whatever water I’d managed to choke down with the meds.  I am relieved not to see any of that little pink pill come up.  Maybe there is hope for relief after all.

I wipe my face, rinse out my mouth, and make my way back to the bedroom in time to see Loopsy tiptoe out, rubbing her eyes, whining my name.

I gather her up and sit her on my lap to cuddle in bed.  I tell her I didn’t mean to wake her, but I’m not feeling well.

“Mommy has a bad, bad headache, sweet pea.”

She looks up at me with those big green eyes, and nods.  Then she pulls me tighter and gives me one of her trademark hugs.  That girl has a huge capacity for love.  My tears start anew, and I allow them to slide quietly down my face as the throbbing continues.

Soon, Bestie’s elegant black rescue kitty, Izzy, noses her way through the partially opened door.  She rubs herself on my legs, I reach down to pet her chin and she begins to purr.  She hops up next to us and Loopsy and I run our hands down her back, enjoying the peace and solitude of Izzy’s happy rumbles.  I wonder if Izzy knows I’m not well and has come here to provide me comfort.

After a few moments, Loopsy asks if she can go downstairs, and I explain that none of the kids are awake yet, and she should stay with me.  I decide to turn Disney Jr on for her, and after she is settled and satisfied, I crawl next to her and attempt to lie down.  The throbbing doesn’t increase this time, but has not abated.

I’m starting to feel resigned.  That maybe this is my day.  I’m somewhat ashamed to be glad that my final moments are with Lala snoring to my right and Loopsy watching 3rd & Bird to my left.  Another white flash crosses my left eyelid and I drift away.

If I dreamt, I don’t know.  The next thing I remember is hearing the downstairs TV on and Loopsy asking if she can go down with Little K.  I stumble to the hall and call down and ask if it’s ok if I send my kid down.

Bestie, of course, agrees.  I stumble back to bed, feeling slightly less like I’m dying and more like I need to lie down before I fall down.  I am exhausted.  As I drift back to sleep, I feel a pang of guilt.  I was supposed to be helping Bestie with the kids today.  After all, she’d thrown out her back just the night before.

Luscious tendrils of sleep pull me down, down, down, away from the deep, solid ache of my skull, and I have one final coherent thought that I hope she’ll forgive me for adding two more little monkeys to her already full barrel.

Consciousness.  My cranium feels almost bearable again.  I hear little Lala telling someone that she’s from America.  A female voice I don’t recognize laughs in answer. And so do I.

My little girl is so funny.  I am so lucky that I woke up to spend another day laughing with her, getting monster hugs from her sister, being surrounded by the family and friends I love.

I hope I never have another headache like that again in my life.  Once was enough.

Hear that, Powers That Be?  Please?  Pretty please with a cherry on top?

(And Bestie, thank you for taking such good care of me and mine.  I love you.)

 

50 Shades of Scroogy (spoiler alert)

Okay, I know many women that I love and find to be brilliant and wonderful souls loved these books.

It took me nearly 2 months to get through the first book.  I’m usually finished a book in two or three days tops.  I just couldn’t read it.  I forced it down like it was brussell sprouts.

And it’s taken me a while to write an actual review because I couldn’t really put my finger on what bothered me about it.  I’ve given it a lot of thought and come to some conclusions.

1.  I’m really fed up with the whole bad boy/good girl bullshit.  I blogged about this before, as a warning to Lala & Loopsy.  Seriously, women of the world, if a man TELLS you flat out that he’s bad news, guess what?  He’s BAD NEWS!  If you think that you’ll be the one to change him, you’re kidding yourself.  Why do you want a fixer-upper man anyway?  Blech.

2.  Ana Steele is a hypocrite.  She clearly enjoys everything Christian exposes her to.  Clearly.  But then she whines about it.  He stalks her, oops, I mean shows up uninvited, buys her expensive gifts that make her uncomfortable, asserts control over her diet and health care and exercise habits, etc, etc.  She is annoyed, but as soon as she is with him, she’s completely swept away and forgets she’s annoyed.  That is, until he leaves and she remembers again.  Ugh.  Girlfriend, please!  You LOVE it.  All the control, the gifts, the red room of pain…  You just don’t want to admit it.  Enjoy yourself.  Give in if you want.  Why fight it?  If it really bothers you, walk the fuck away.  There are other fish in the sea, kid.  Fish that don’t want to do you because you look like his crack whore mother.

3.  Oh yeah, Christian’s a nutcase.  I don’t mean because he’s into domination/submission.  Kink is kink, everybody has their own flavor..  I mean because he doesn’t try to heal his wounds, but wallows in his 50 Shades of Crazypants Mommy Issues.  (This isn’t really delved into in the first book, but I’ve heard about it in the other two).  And he knows Ana is a fresh faced virgin, never even had a boyfriend before, and he’s apparently much older and wiser, a successful business tycoon.  Yet he still thinks its okay to try to force her into his madness.  A man his age, especially one who knows from the get-go that he’s “no good for her” should just freakin walk away!!!  There are plenty of loony toons his own age, in his own “lifestyle” to play his games with.

4.  There is no story.  At least in Book One.  They meet, they screw, they break up.  Huh.  That’s all ya got?  No one grows or changes.  There is no big revelation, no a-ha moment.  Ana is basically the same insecure wishy washy chick on the last page as she was on the first page.  Except instead of being frustrated that her hair won’t do what she wants, she’s frustrated that Christian won’t be who she wants.  *sigh*  Wah.

5.  I get that the extravagance of his gifts and all of that is appealing.  Who doesn’t want some rich, handsome man to buy them a car, a laptop, a blackberry, take her to the best restaurants, drink the best wines, take helicopter rides, go gliding as the sunrises…  I get that the sex scenes are tantalizing in their own way.  Most people don’t regularly indulge in that behavior, so reading about Ana & Christian lets them experience it safely.  But really, all in all, I just don’t get why peeps love these books.

I won’t be reading the other two books.  I prefer to imagine this epilogue:

Ana never hears from Christian again.  She returns all the gifts, except for the books, just as a reminder of her first love affair.

She gets therapy to work out the mess that was left in her soul from her brief, passionate, hazardous experience.

She also gets that dream job in publishing, meets a mature, loving, generous man (One who freely gives her his heart and affection).  They fall honestly in love (note I don’t say madly, I mean, come on now).  She decides to finally sell those rare first edition books to pay for their wedding.  They get married and have babies and grow older together, being the best of friends, and the most equal of lovers.

One day, she’s at a street fair with one of her daughters. They are at a used book stand, and out of habit, Ana looks for an early edition of whatever that book was.

“Mommy, there’s a creepy man staring at you across the street…”

Ana peeks up from the old copy of Northanger Abbey she’s been perusing and locks eyes with Christian Grey for the first time in 15 years.  Her heart flutters a bit and she smiles.

He takes a step towards her, off the curb and barely misses being hit by a cab.  He gets his bearings, heart beating, looks up and Ana is gone…

Ana walks over to where her husband and their other children have been watching some musicians perform.

“See anything interesting, babe?”  He asks

“Nah.  Not a thing.”  She replies, taking his hand and kissing his cheek.

Mother Nature, I sincerely apologize

Induced by estrogen or progesterone or some other gosh-for-saken hormone, I suggested a while back that our beloved environmental matriarch take a long walk off of a short pier.

Well, in the wake of Friday’s storms, true evidence of her might and wonder, I digress.

Mother Nature, you ARE woman.  I heard you roar.  I am in awe.

(related note: Thanks to BGE for getting our power back on in 2 days instead of the projected 7 to 10 days.  We are very grateful for your hard work in this crazy heat.)