Monday, September 28, 2015

Last Minute Panic

I didn't see it coming.  A last minute pole dance recital.  For which I was totally unprepared.  I don't know how to choreograph.  I never freestyle to a song.  I'm not good at transitions.  And I'm painfully timid and performing in front of real live people terrifies me.  Like swimming in shark infested waters kinda terrifying.  So obviously, I had to do it.  As part of my self imposed exposure therapy program.

Why do I do this to myself?

Because I want to be more than the awkward wallflower girl who watches life from the sidelines.   I want to do the things I love without being overcome by a paralyzing fear of being watched doing them.  And exposing my myriad of imperfections in the process.  

So without further ado, here's me exposing myself...
Not like that though.
You know what I mean.

I've firmly decided, I'll like me later,  the next time I perform this and do it perfectly.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Spoiled Brat

Every family has one.  And they're usually the youngest child.  The spoiled brat.  I can say that because I was the youngest spoiled brat of my family.   We get too much, too early and we don't appreciate it.  But in our defense, we don't know better.  We were simply born into this sense of self entitlement.  And if we didn't have it, we wouldn't get any attention at all.  Because there's too many people in line for attention before us.  We have to fight to stand out.  

In theory, it all makes sense.  

But, now that I'm the mother of my very own spoiled brat, it's really just super annoying.  She constantly wants me to watch her do handstands, even though I've seen her do them about a million times.  She's always cracking jokes that are so subtle, but yet extraordinarily witty and dry as hell.  They could almost go unnoticed, but they never do.  Because she's calculated, intelligent and has brilliant comedic timing.   And because of these things she, more than any other of my kids, wields a lot of power.  

Because tyrants are extremely capable.  

They are capable of driving you completely insane.  They use guilt and manipulation because nothing is ever good enough.  So, when we announced our big upcoming travel plans to the kids, she was the first to react.  "Why aren't we going to New Zealand?"   That brazen ingrate was going straight for the jugular.  Because I'm also a spoiled brat, New Zealand was at the top of my travel list, though I never told her that.  She just knew.  


I was more than irate.  "They are $2600 a piece.  Then multiply that number by 6.  And that's why we're not going to New Zealand!"   The nerve!  And that's precisely when I decided that the best way to celebrate our last child leaving the house about ten years from now will be a trip for 2 to New Zealand.  Since I'm a spoiled brat too.  Because I'm also calculating.  And I'm calculating it's going to be a lot cheaper this way.   

Monday, September 21, 2015

Stay In School

If there is one subject in school that translates to every facet of your life it's English.  Or Language Arts or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days.  Not that I'm biased as a writer or anything.  And not that I have a degree that has anything to do with English.  And not that I'm even particularly good at writing.  Definitely not grammar.  Or writing in complete sentences.  Or spelling.  But never mind that, my point is that communication is important.

Stay in school kids.

I may have given this very lecture to my own kids. But, I have no such argument for algebra.  I have never once used algebra, which was a total waste of time and brought down my GPA significantly, not to mention my self esteem.  No, the only math that's essential for everyone to learn is calculating percentages.  For tipping and taxes.  Not to mention recipes.  Put that in schools.  I'd call it Everyday Math.  And there would be a lot of field trips involved.  Going out to lunch, getting haircuts, checking into hotels, river rafting, going to bars and strip clubs.  (Those last two are for educational/tipping calculation purposes only.)    Cause learning who to tip and how to tip would also be included in the mandatory core class. 

How important is this to American culture? 

I think Usher said it best.  "If you dance on a pole, it don't make you a hoe."  Which just may prove my point.  BECAUSE POLE DOES NOT RHYME WITH HOE.  And just because you bleep out "hoe" for radio airplay, we all know exactly what you're saying.  We're American.  We may not be the most literate country in the world, but we know how to read between the lines just fine.  In fact, I think we invented it.  And furthermore, the fact that women can make more stripping than they can with a master's degree is horrifying.  I know this because if I swapped my profession (writing) with my hobby (pole dance) I could actually earn a living.  

And you've just been skool'd by Usher

I think his meaning really comes through in that song. Especially when it's overplayed on every radio station.  Inundating our youth with it's cautionary tale.  Sex sells, substance doesn't.  I offer up E. L. James as further proof of this fact.  The message is clear, stay in school, the world needs you to change it.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Recovering Perfectionist

It was about 5 years ago that a therapist diagnosed me with perfectionism.  Which seemed ludicrous to me being someone so completely and entirely imperfect.   I wasn't even anywhere close to perfect.  And I was consumed with trying to cover my numerous imperfections so no one would discover my intricate myriad of flaws because they'd deem me unlikeable.  And forget about lovable.  Which, as it turns out, just may be the clinical definition of perfectionism.

My name is Marie and I'm a recovering perfectionist.

I'll further confess that it's been at least 10 seconds since the last time I berated myself over doing something seemingly small and insignificantly inexact.  It's been about 10 minutes since I deleted a tweet from Twitter because it had a typo.  And this morning I took about 50 photos of my dog to get just the perfect shot to post to instagram and then I still had to filter it because it wasn't good enough.  And it's been a couple hours since my oldest daughter helped my youngest daughter with her math.  Something I would have done if I was the perfect mom. And could do 5th grade math.  But, alas, I am  not, nor am I smarter than a 5th grader.  That's how stupid I am.  And so begins my extensive list of imperfections providing boundless reasons to berate myself.

Because I still obsess about perfection.  

I still won't start a project if I don't think I can be really, really successful at it.  Which is why I don't commit to many things.  But,  if I do start something new, I will allow it to define me while I work my ass off to finish it.  Like it's the only thing in my life that matters.  And when I finish it, I won't feel accomplished.  Not for a second.  In fact, I'll retroactively nitpick about how I could have done it both better and faster.  And won't take even a second to feel accomplished.  I'll feel empty.  That's when  I'll simply move on to the next thing.   And there's always a 'next thing'.   Because what I have done is never as important as all the other things I haven't.  Nothing I ever do is good enough for me.  This is how I sabotage myself.  Over and over.  Because the only thing I fear more than failure is success.  So I can never win.  

How can I even call myself a recovering perfectionist?    

Because there is one huge thing that's changed over for me over the last 5 years.  Though I still constantly struggle with accepting my imperfections and trying to curb my obsession with fixing them and  I probably always will,  writing is my therapy now.  And because of it,  I don't feel unlovable anymore.  And that's all that really matters.  Unless there's a typo or grammatical error in this post.  Then that's all that really matters...

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Cumulative Effect

When you're a new mother, you think it's not going to happen to you.  No, you're the exception.  You're going to be the perfect mom.  Playing guitar and singing Joni Mitchell songs to lull your baby to sleep.  You're going to snuggle up with them when they watch Disney movies, instead of using it as a babysitter so you can read a book.  But, more likely to go on facebook.   And you're definitely going to be completely rational and eternally patient every time your kid cries, whines, complains, throws a temper tantrum and act like completely and utterly irrational child.  Except, no you're not.

Because you are not the exception.  

Simply put, where there are children at play, there are laws of science at play.  So let me blind you with a little science.  When women become mothers there is a drop in progesterone, estrogen and thyroid levels that occur.  They make you both euphoric and depressed and anxious.  In addition, the thyroid ensures that you will clean your child's plate after they have picked through it no matter how gross and repulsive it is.  It's not your fault you're a crazy person.  It's hormonal.   It's science people!   

And it doesn't get better, in fact, it gets worse. 

 Because the thing that no one tells you about motherhood is the cumulative effect.  Anytime your little bundle of joy makes a misstep in life, your brain will go through the extensive catalog of every past incidence that it has occurred.  The older they are, the greater the frequency, the more pissed off you are at that bouncing baby bundle of woe.  And that's precisely when you go from 0 to 60.  That kid doesn't even have a chance to defend his or her actions.  There is no defense.  Because in your mind you've already had the trial, convicted and sentenced them.  

This is The Cumulative Effect.  

There is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it from happening.  Nothing.  It's terminal.  It's such a horrific affliction, that no one talks about it.  It's not even listed in the DSM-V.  It's also a government cover-up.  Because if women knew about it, many would choose not to have children.  And thus, there would be no one to pay taxes and keep social security afloat and the whole system would collapse.  So, go ahead, sacrifice yourself and your sanity to have kids.  Your family and your country  need you!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I Should've Married a Vet

If you're a regular reader here, you probably already know that my husband is a pediatrician.  Which I must confess is pretty fantastic, because anytime anything is wrong with one of the kids, I simply ask him.  Or more likely,  text him or call him.   Several times before he answers.  Because more than likely he's at work seeing your sick kid when I call him.  But, eventually he does call back and although I have doubted his professional opinion in the past, simply because I'm married to him,  I have learned he's always right.  About medical stuff anyway.  Though I can't help but think...

...I should've married a veterinarian.

Nothing against my husband because he's fantastic really.   It's just that since we got these dogs 3 years ago, I'm constantly at the vet.  And I think at this point the vet must think I have a case of malicious doggy mom Munchausen by Proxy or something.  Cause I always come in with the dogs and some crazy story, but with the same recurrent symptoms.  Plus, I'm just a little too concerned about them.  but seriously, they're dogs and they can't tell me what's wrong with them.   So sometimes I kinda make things up in my head.  Like the time they had the plague. 

I know you're thinking that that's absolutely ridiculous.  That the plague was eradicated years ago.  But, you'd be wrong.  There are deer here in Colorado Springs with the plague.  And elsewhere in Colorado it's been spread to humans who've died from it.  So a couple of weeks ago when I took Bonnie & Clyde to the vet with diarrhea, they sent me home with meds.  But, lying in bed at 3am awoken by dogs scratching at the door to go out and relieve themselves, it hit me.  The vet mentioned  that dogs can get diarrhea from eating deer poop.  So, it was blatantly obvious to me, in the dark of night, that they had the plague.   And they sleep with the kids, so the kids had the plague.  And that we kiss the kids, so we had it too.

Of course we didn't. 

And the dogs got over their diarrhea just like they always do.  But, two weeks later I was back at the vet again to update their shots.  And to get an estimate of having Clyde's eye growth removed because it's doubled in size and is starting to block his eye.   Removing it requires he be knocked out and undergo laser treatment.  Which would cost a few hundred dollars.  These dogs are getting extremely expensive.  But,  if I was married to a vet, this wouldn't cost a thing.  But, I'm married to a pediatrician.  Wait a minute... if my husband can  circumcise a penis, I'm pretty sure he could remove a skin tag from a dog.  Maybe I'm kinda almost married to a vet already...

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Non-Social Life

Although I'm a steadfast introvert, I really do like people.  Really.  A lot in fact.  Just not convention halls full of people.  Or conventions or festivals in general.  I just need to balance my sociability with enough alone time to ponder the meaning of life and contemplate how the world could be. When all of these things are in balance and I'm invited to a very small social event with very good friends early in the evening, cause I'm not a late night person, then I can actually kinda pull off social.  Sorta.  Although these days I don't even have much opportunity anymore.

 Because, I have bequeathed my social life to my kids. 

I know what you're going to say.  "You have to be dead to bequeath something, Marie."  And I would say, "But my social life IS dead!"  So there.  The thing is, I was always the social director for the family.  Trying to find things to keep the masses occupied and entertained.  Until one day, I was abruptly let go.  But the thing is, no one even told me I was fired.  And there was no 2 week grace period or severance package.   Nothing.  As if my years of hard work didn't mean anything.  Like they didn't even happen!   

Now I've got a new job, with more responsibility & less pay.

And what's less than free?  Gas money.  And food waste because you thought all the kids were going to be home for dinner.  But then they're not, cause they have plans with their friends.  So and so's mom will be there in 5 minutes to pick them up.  And you know that fun weekend away at a friend's house in Frisco for Labor Day you planned for the family?  Nope.  Cause now you have to work around your oldest's work schedule.   Oh...and he needs to be picked up at 11pm.  Which I'll be doing in my jammies with a little drool and a crease on my face from falling asleep on the couch.  Again.

I've officially been demoted to chauffeur of my kids' social lives.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Belly Dance vs. Pole Dance

As most of you already know, I began my foray into dance with a belly dance class in Morocco a little over 5 years ago now.  It was a steep learning curve for a 40 year old woman lacking any discernible coordination.  Taking the class in a language I didn't speak just added to the challenge.  Or it was a great excuse for why I was so abominable.  Or both.  When I moved back to the States, I picked up pole dance.  And for a while, I was doing both belly and pole.

But it became apparent, as a writer & busy mom of 4, I was going to have to choose.
How could I possibly make such a choice?
Maybe I should make a list...


Belly:  Classes are on Mondays at 5pm.  And every parent knows this is the witching hour.  
Pole:   Classes can be scheduled days & evenings. So I can pole dance at 9am like a civilized person.


Belly:  Classes can be small or big, depending on how many people show up.  Big classes=big small talk.
Pole:   Classes are maxed at 6 people, including the instructor cause there are only 6 poles.  Less people=embarrassing yourself in front of less people. 


Belly:   Belly dance is more grace and coordination (the things I suck at) not a cardio workout.   
Pole:     Pole works every muscle in your body, plus cardio.  Plus, it gives you cool bruises that make you look tough.  


Belly:   Learn a choreographed routine that will be a minimum of 3.5 minutes long (because belly dance songs are hella long) which translates to a shit ton or choreography to memorize.
Pole:     Learn a choreographed routine that will be about 3.5 minutes long and if you went any longer you might die from a heart attack.  Then make your own routine to perform at the recital or not.  


Belly:  Buy an glitzy outfit and learn how to do elaborate makeup to perform on stage in front of 100 people or so. 
Pole:   Wear whatever you have that's comfortable and perform in a tiny room in front of about 25 people.  


Belly:  Smiling and enjoying yourself is strongly encouraged.
Pole:    Enjoying yourself is strongly encouraged, but smiling isn't mandatory. Plus half the time you're upside down, backwards or both, so no one can even see your face. However, berating your lack of  flexibility and obsessing about a certain trick is completely understood.  

So, obviously, for this introverted, smile averting, tomboy, averse to glitz and prone to making  stupid faces and awkward embarrassing moments, there is a clear winner here.

This pole trick is called miracle.
And it's a miracle I finally got it on film.
And no, it's not photoshopped.


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