Thursday, April 30, 2015

I Should

I should.  They are two very dangerous words.   Oh they look innocent enough.  But I assure you, they're not.  They're loaded with cultural expectations, unattainable goals and guilt.  Lots and lots of guilt.

How many times a day do you say, "I should...."?

And not just said out loud, but that silent but deadly "should" that lives inside your head.  If you're anything like me (and I'm going to guess you are) the answer is a lot.  I "should" myself through the entire day, every day.  While some of them are completely valid, like I "should" remember to call my dad.  Others, are more outlandish, like I "should" be the perfect mom, sew the kids clothes out of curtains and solve the atrocities in Syria.  

I should stop doing that! 

Dammit...I just did it again!  Or maybe this is my biggest "should" ever.  The one I should actually follow through on.  Because one person can "should" a million things, but one can only "do" so much.  Especially if you're going to do the things you do do well.  

So, you really should give yourself a break.

As for me?  I'll just be over here contemplating that I should have submitted this post to one of those inspirational on-line magazines to get more exposure for my writing.  Dammit....I just did it again!  Oh well, opportunity lost...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Pissed Off

Exhibit A:  Clyde
Hell hath no fury like a dog scorned.  That's how the quote goes, right?  Well, it should.  Because while dogs can be your best friend, they can also be your worst enemy.  Waiting for just the right time to exact their revenge.  Which usually involves bodily fluids.  Unless it's gnawing random objects.

Exhibit B:  Bonnie
Perhaps it's all my fault.  After all, I did name them Bonnie and Clyde.  They are merely carrying on the legend.  What was I thinking?  I mean look at their poor innocent faces.  Do they look like hardened criminals capable of shredding the lids of all the tupperwares?  And yet, they're guilty as charged.  Of that and many other atrocities as well.

The truth is, they have us on a short leash.   They only eat the gourmet salmon dog food.  They demand long hikes off leash with the option to get lost in the woods, threatening never to return.  They get first choice of which kids cozy bed they'll sleep in and often claim the head of the bed and a pillow or two.  And on the rare occasion that we go out and don't return by the curfew they set for us....

they get really pissed off!

All over the floor.  (We've already removed most of the carpet upstairs for this very reason.)  Because they've got us right where they want us.  Wrapped around their paws.  With all the power to make us give in to their demands.  Or suffer the consequences.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Body Shaming

Most everyone who follows me on social media knows I pole dance, because I'm not shy about posting photos or videos.  But, what most don't know is that pole dance is therapy for me.  It's a way for me to conquer my extreme shyness,  social anxiety and fear of heights all while challenging my breakfast to stay down because I'm also prone to motion sickness.  Maybe because I'm thin and look the part, you might think it comes easy to me.  But, I assure you, I'm an uncoordinated 45 year old woman who never had a dance class until the age of 40, and it ain't easy.

But age is nothing but a number.  

Because I pole dance, sometimes people post pole related links on my profile, which I find incredibly inspiring.  It's one of the things I like most about pole, seeing other people achieve what they didn't even know they could do.  But, everything has a flip side.  It was bound to happen sooner or later.  Someone sent me a condescending photo meant to be funny with an overweight woman on a pole.   Except there was nothing funny about it.   But, there was a hell of a lot inspiring about it.  The woman pictured in the photo was both stronger than me and braver than me.

Because weight is nothing but a number.  

Even though our society tells us otherwise.  It's a big, fat lie.  You are not your dress size or your body mass index just the same as you're not your SAT score or your gross earnings in a year.   What defines you is far more intangible, but far more important.  Integrity, compassion, courage, empathy, strength and humility.  And if you have those qualities, you don't need to make anyone feel smaller in order to feel bigger.

Because life isn't about numbers at all, it's about living.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Am I a Narcissist?

I'm a 45 year old woman who has a blog, a memoir (with a picture of me on the cover), I'm on 3 social media sites and I selfie.  And since I'm also consumed with self analysis, I've considered more than a few times whether I'm a narcissist or not.  Because surely, from my first sentence, I look like the poster child.  Which is why I've read more than a few books on the subject.  In addition to my addiction to psychology and sociology books.  So I can tell you, definitively...

Narcissism is more than skin deep.  

Being concerned with one's appearance, isn't a symptom of narcissism.  Because narcissists aren't insecure about how they look.  They know they look great.  They also know that they're smarter than you, and they're arrogant enough to make themselves the center of attention because they are entitled to your constant admiration, even if they haven't done anything to deserve it.  And if you don't give it to them outright?  They'll guilt you or trample your feelings to get it.  Because they don't care about your feelings.  Only their own.  Oh, they'll try to pretend like they care, because they're charmingly manipulative. 

And right about now, you're thinking about the narcissist in your life.

Because we all know at least one.  And you can't ignore them because they're jumping up and down waving their arms, interrupting you when you talk and using you as their personal stepping stone to success.   But perhaps the most annoying thing about narcissists, is they don't recognize themselves as being one.  
Which brings me back to me. 

Written like a true narcissist.  Although,  I was pretty sure I'm not a narcissist, but maybe I was deluding myself.  Maybe I'm THAT much of a narcissist that I don't I am.  After all, in this day and age, we all have some narcissistic tendencies.  So, I took a test, just to be sure.  Revealing I actually have self esteem issues, which is on the opposite side of the spectrum from narcissism.  And oddly, lack of self esteem and narcissism can look similar, especially on social media. 

While both are self-absorbed in different ways, 
 the narcissist's success is based on the failure of others.
And since I'm not successful at all, obviously, I'm not a narcissist.

Today is the anniversary of Columbine when two narcissists shooters took pleasure in killing their classmates. Remembering the victims and their families today.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Most Painful 5 Minutes of My Day

There are five minutes during my day that are excruciatingly painful.  It's not getting up in the morning.  Or beginning my workout.  It's not getting the kids off to school.  Or doing homework with them once they return.  It's not cooking dinner or listening to the kids whine about how much they hate it.  It's sitting quietly at my desk staring at a blank cursor for five whole, long, agonizing minutes without any distractions.

It's excruciating!

But this is my preparation ritual when I'm writing my novel.  There are two kinds of writers:   structured writers, who intricately plan outlining chapters with careful consideration given to character development and plot lines and then there are unstructured writers, who don't intricately plan anything.  I'm the latter.  In fact, the only time I think about writing my book is while I'm actually writing it.  The rest of the time I'm thinking about how to market my first book.  Before deciding, yet again, not to follow through on them.  

Truth is, I can't even force myself to endure the agony everyday.

Because sitting quietly with only your own thoughts to keep you company is challenging and confrontational.  Which is why we check our phones constantly and head to the fridge when we're not even hungry.  Because even if we can silence our surroundings, it's far more arduous to mute our own minds.  
So, we distract ourselves.  

Making excuses while spreading ourselves too thin, doing too much of nothing much and accomplishing little, if anything.  Quelling our creativity,  our productivity and sometimes even our purpose in the process.  I know, because I'm as guilty as anyone else of doing it.   And the part that sucks?  There's no pill that can fix your focus.  Only willpower.

And that's one bitter pill to swallow.

Take the challenge: Turn off the TV, your phone and computer and sit undisturbed for just 5 whole, long, agonizing minutes without any distractions. (If you just can't sit, try a walking meditation sans iPod.)  Do you feel more creative, connected or calmer when it's over?  What do you have to lose?  Besides 5 minutes.  And you can do anything for 5 minutes.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mom Guilt

It happens almost immediately when a woman becomes a mother.  But over the years it accumulates and compounds, making it seem that much more insurmountable.  Like it's your destiny.  The great legacy that moms pass down to their daughters when they become grandmothers.  Mom guilt.

Because moms are supposed to be perfect.

Even though no one is perfect. So,  it's completely irrational.  As grown women, we know this.  We can't be Mother Teresa.  And please note, Mother Teresa technically wasn't even a mother.  Not that I'm trying to bash her saintly reputation, I'm just saying, she didn't have to get an exhausted infant not to cry on an airplane full of angry strangers. Or potty train an obstinate toddler.  Or explain the facts of life to a horrified preteen girl.  She also didn't have sit in the passenger seat of her own car to teach inattentive teenage boys how to drive.  Never mind deciphering the college application process.   

So stop expecting yourself to be Mother Teresa already!

I know it's easier said than done.  Cause I do it everyday.  I have unreasonable expectations of myself as a mother.  I compare myself to other moms who appear to do it so much better than me.  I condemn myself for every tiny thing I do wrong and discount the numerous things I do right.  I go out of my way not to embarrass my kids and it unintentionally happens anyway.  I can't win.  And the thing is, there is no winning.  

Mom guilt is the gift that keeps on giving.
Generation after generation.

The above photo is a cherished picture of me and my mom.  I am the last born child of a family of eight and with the birth of each successive sibling, there were fewer photos of each kid.  So, this is one of about three photos of my childhood.  Granted, back in the old days, black and white film was expensive.  Not to mention getting it developed.  Plus, my mom was way too busy taking me to the emergency room to have something else I shoved in my ear or nose extracted.  Because that's what I did for attention back then.  She probably felt guilty about that.  The way that I do about not having as many photos of my youngest.  And I have a digital camera even, so I don't even have an excuse.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Not so long ago I read the results of a dating survey on the world's sexiest accent.  And I must admit I was intrigued.  And I was positive the winner was Australian.  Or South African.  Because those are at the top of my own personal list.   But no, neither one of my favorites was deemed the most attractive.  Which means, they obviously picked the wrong 11,000 people to survey.  Especially to come up with the number one spot going to...


What?  I just hear Austin Powers.  Or every drunk guy in Gibraltar.  (There's a lot of them.)  And ewwwwww, it's revolting.  That's not the most shocking though.  The MOST shocking one to me was in the number 2 slot.  


Whaaaaaaatttttttttt?  And which particular American accent are we talking here.  Jersey?  Or even worse, Boston?  What about a southern drawl?  Or Hawaiian?  Because they're completely different.  But, not one of them is "sexy".  Maybe because I am American.  And I've lived enough places to have heard them all and nothing accentuates an accent more than context.  

So with that, here's my accent:

My non-accent just accentuates my goofiness.
What does yours accentuate?

Because I know you're curious, these countries round out the list: 
3.   Irish
4.   Australian 
5.   French 
6.   Italian
7.   Spanish
8.   Scottish 
9.   Latin American
10. Scandinavian

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Reason I Can't Have Nice Things

Photo credit:  An interior designer who's website is no longer registered.
So how am I supposed to credit him or her?  HOW?
It was another weekend spent on a home improvement project.  If it's not the dogs peeing the carpet down to the subfloor, it's the kids putting hot corn cobs directly on the kitchen & dining room tables leaving a permanent ghostly white heat mark.  So there's actually two reasons I can't have nice things.  Kids and dogs.  Oh, wait, there's actually   (Remember that bamboo phone case I had?  I shattered it.  Three times.  And the third time was the charm.  I now have a cork one.  And as you know, cork is a renewable resource, thank god.  Because it's likely I'll find a way to destroy this case too.)

In my 20's I couldn't afford nice things.  In my 30's I had young kids.  And in my 40's I have teenagers who won't stop growing, so they need new shoes almost every month.  So, I'm come to the realization that I'm going to have a beautiful, scratch and fur free, clean, uncluttered living room like the one pictured above.  EVER.  Because, I figure, once the kids have left the nest and the dogs have gone to dog heaven, it'll be time for grand kids.  Or a puppy.  

Those windows though!
Oh my...the lust!

But, even though I envy and fall in lust at first sight with beautiful windows and perfectly polished floors, I know it's just a fantasy.  And an unfulfilling one at that.  Because if I had all that stuff, I'd have to take care of it.  And clean it.  And learn how not to become a klutz.  And at this late stage, I'm not even sure that's possible.  But, I am positive it's not how I want to live my life, consumed with consumables.   Because stuff doesn't make people happy.

Experiences make people happy.

Pfffffffffffffttttttttttt....who needs beautiful windows to look out into the world when you can be out in it yourself?  Because of the settling issues in my house I'd settle for windows that actually close and keep drafts out.  But, regardless,  of whether I ever get them,  I 've been fortunate enough to have more than enough experiences to keep me happy for a lifetime.  Fur tumbleweeds drifting through my  drafty hallway of unmatched and unclaimed socks strewn about and all.  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

One True Relationship Test

Photo credit: Genista / Foter / CC BY-SA

We've all been there.  In a relationship, wondering if it's going to last.  Which, of course, no one can tell you definitively.  Statistically, the relationships that last the longest have partners that are within 2 years of age of each other, the same ethnicity and religion (or lack thereof), with similar levels of education and family backgrounds.  So with this magic mathematical formula, plugging in your sibling in for x works perfectly, although that's perfectly gross. So, in a world full of many, diverse prospective partners, isn't there some kind of test to see if you're truly compatible or not?

There is.

Travel with them.  And not an overnight 5 star resort getaway.  A few days (or more) of traveling outside your comfort zone.  Whether your destination is another country, camping or Alabama.  (Although Alabama really plugs in for x for all 3.)   The place really isn't important.  What's important is that it's a foreign adventure for both of you.  Sure, travel is fun and playful and romantic even.     

But, ultimately, travel is revealing.

Because, although you can plan a vacation, nothing ever goes to plan.  The flight is delayed. Your hotel reservation was lost.  The rental car is a stick and you only drive automatic.  (This would only happen in a foreign country, obviously.)  Or you forgot to pack toilet paper on your camping trip. Whatever it is.   Nothing reveals someone's true character and priorities more than the unexpected.  Especially when the unexpected isn't getting a free upgrade to first class or the penthouse suite.  So...

How well does your relationship road test?   

Now,  if you're wondering whether or not kids are right for you,  plan your next trip and I've got 4 kids available for a trial test.  Absolutely free.  They even have passports.  Just sayin'...


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