28 January 2010

Just kidding about that Lawrence Welk thing.....

Apparently, I have morphed into a member of my parent’s generation. Or their parent’s generation.

It’s true.
How do I know?

Earlier today I distinctly heard myself think these words: “They just don’t write songs like that anymore.” Then without passing Go, I proceeded directly to the logical conclusion that later when I got home, if I looked hard enough I could probably find a Lawrence Welk rerun somewhere on cable. If I’m lucky. Not really.

But I did have this telling, generational, elitist, ageist, narrow-minded thought:
“They just don’t write songs like that anymore.”

I was driving in my car listening to Michael Bublè remind me that “The Best is Yet to Come” at the top of my lungs. Soaking up the truth of this energy. Imbibing the words as I drove. Amazing, shiny power. With clarity and certainty he sings, “You think you’ve seen the sun but you ain’t seen it shine!” I believe this. “The Best is Yet to Come.” Indeed.

In 2007, my very first blog post EVER, brimmed with The Best is Yet to Come commentary. My certainty and motivation has dipped some since then. It's waxed and swayed, this way and fro. It will rebound for awhile, getting my hopes all dancy, then I'll slump, leaving me feeling a little bit like the stock market.

How is it that such positive energy is so fleeting? Yet discouraged and defeated can be so consistently in-house? Me constantly trying to sweep it out of the way. Who created this system? It leaves me feeling weak and vulnerable, like I don't have anything to say about it at all. Without power.

How is it I can 'know better' yet fail to 'do better?'

Wow, this blog post certainly took a sharp left turn.

17 January 2010

Asked and Answered

This morning I woke wondering why I keep expecting other people to treat me better than I treat myself. I know the universal truth involved here. I know it intellectually. But in other ways I must still not get it. Because I keep driving full speed off this cliff.

It is crazy to expect other people to treat me any better than I am willing to treat myself. Could someone please make me some flash cards? Please.

This is crazy.

When I find myself irritated with some one's disregard (or worse) in my specific direction, I have to ask myself: Am I treating myself with disregard (or worse)? The answer is often 'Yes.' This is also crazy.

I think we are raised this way. Raised to think there is virtue in self-sacrifice. That I'm a good person because I put other people first. Taking authentically good care of myself only on very few days.

Instead, what's actually true is that if you will sacrifice yourself, other people won't hesitate to do the same. That if I put myself last, I should not be surprised when other people do also.

I am admittedly quick on the trigger when the barrel of my pen is pointed in the direction of the male gender and today is no different. (You've been warned.)

In our world, run by men for thousands of years now, women especially, are trained from very early, to put their own needs last. (Wow, pretty convenient system for approximately half of the population.....)

Even though I am known as a relatively verbal, outspoken, opinionated and bitchy-type person, I still have the most difficult time saying, "Yeah, I really don't feel like putting your needs ahead of my own today. Check with me again tomorrow. Or next week. Or, here's an idea, learn to take care of yourself in a manner that does NOT walk all over my basic needs and rights. And feelings." How 'bout that?

Instead of politely, confidently and yet firmly speaking up for myself, advocating on my own behalf, I get pissed and pissy. What men might consider BITCHY!

My theory here is that women are taught, in a very subtle and insidious manner from birth, that we do not deserve to behave in our own best interest. We are to be compliant and quiet, maybe not literally, as you begin your very mental list of loud, controlling women, but as a cultural, sinister undercurrent of programing. Subliminal encoding. This is the only explanation I can come up with. Women are taught that it is our role as women to 'give' at our own expense. To bend over and take it.

That we'd be selfish and unladylike if we were to say, "Um .... BULLSHIT!" I'm not sure I like our commonly held definition of ladylike. I'll get back to you with some other suggestions on that.

I wonder if I'm brave enough to be selfish and 'unladylike' from here on out. I wonder.

PS: In case you were thinking of writing me here reminding me that 'ladylike' is not exactly how you would have described me on any given day even before now.... Don't! Just keep it to yourself.

13 January 2010

My Painful Pillow Fight

I live life on a cushion. This might not be apparent to the untrained eye.

Because I look as if I'm consistently at the end of my rope, said cushion might be undetectable.

Be not deceived.

I can think of several very basic, trivial ways in which I protect myself this way, so there must be deeper, more profound ways about which I'm in complete denial.
  • My clock radio is set forty-five minute ahead of the actual time. On those mornings when I need my alarm to wake me, I hit the snooze button at least six times.
  • I have money in my checking account that is not reflected in the balance written in my register. My 'invisible' cushion.
  • The clock in my car is set ahead. Sometimes ahead plus one extra hour, depending on what half of the year we are in.
  • I always have a compulsive back up supply of shampoo, tooth paste, toilet paper, chocolate and salsa in my home at all times.
For years I've looked at this behaviour as prudent. I'd blow on my polished nails and sweep them smugly across my chest. Just seems smart to cover my bases with cushions of time, money and provisions. Right?

Well, I don't think so anymore.

It's not being smart; it's being afraid. It's obsessive compulsive base-covering. Plus it's bullshit. Because no matter what my clock or checkbook register may say, I KNOW the truth. I am not fooled and then pleasantly surprised with an extra forty-five minutes of unexpected free time. I know before I even look in the direction of the clock that it's ahead. (Then I'm having to do some speedy quick math in my head to calculate the actual time. That's a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the little 'math in my head' man.)

So at this realization I set my clock radio to the correct time. It feels good but I still want to keep hitting the snooze button at least six times. (Which has always been crazy since it just isn't good sleep when every nine minutes I know that some Air Supply song is going to be hitting me over the head trying to get me to wake up.)

I reset my car clock. But it's still four minutes fast. Why do I do this? Why can't I just live in real time?

I moved some of my balance into the running total in my checking account register. Some but not all. Call me chicken shit the next time you see me. What am I afraid of? (My left brain is screaming out the answers to these questions but only I can hear it.)

Yesterday someone was reading a passage from a book he found laying on a desk nearby. The point was that either we go through life afraid of what we don't know that's ahead. Or we go through life excited by the unknown to come. Embracing uncertainty. (I think my left brain is now breaking out in hives.)

I should sea kelp.

05 January 2010

And Who I'm Not

(You just knew I wasn't done yet on this topic, didn't you?)

The opposite end of that "This is who I am" thing is the "This is who I am not."

You might say, 'Why go to the negative side?' but I think this may be just as important as the positive.

When my daughter came to the age of full employment, school choices, career decisions I reminded her that when she makes a choice and it turns out to be the wrong one, she needs to be grateful. That learning what isn't the right thing for us is valuable information.

When this happens to me, I try to think "Okay, good to know." "Lesson learned." "No need to continue along that particular path since I've discovered that this is quite obviously the wrong way for me." I'm not as good as practicing this philosophy as I am preaching it, but I'm working on it.

I'm getting better at recognizing when something is "Not who I am." When I'm enjoying a hot cup of tea, I can feel "This is who I am," on a very small tea cup sized scale. When I'm scarfing down a McDonald's cheeseburger between one shift and the next, I know "This is NOT who I am" in an 'over a trillion billion sold' sized scale. I love when it is as obvious as this.

But mostly I find myself struggling with things not so clear-cut. When I need to decide, 'should I do this? Or this?' I wish it was as black and white as eating fast food or not. In fact many times, neither choice is 'Who I am.' But instead, both choices are different forms of 'Not who I am' and it's a matter of selecting the lesser of two evils. This post is fast approaching a depressive tone.

I think it's important to search for this sense throughout our daily life. Our to-do lists. Our mental clipboard of tasks. Is this choice who I am? Does this chore reflect me, who I am? I'm afraid I spend a good deal of energy on things that do not reflect me or what is important to me. This is a crying shame. I intend to work on this with some ferocious determination.

In the mean time, better to dwell on Who I am....

A woman who wiggles her toes on the grainy beach.
A woman who sips warm mint tea by the corner window.
A woman who finds her creative heart in the art of words.
A woman who loves the feel of a smooth stone in her hand.
A woman who prefers the gray skies to the blue.
A woman who revels in solitude.
A woman who values deeply her feminine energy.
A woman who thinks it's good luck when she finds a shiny paperclip on the ground.
A woman who believes in magic.

01 January 2010


Do you remember where you were on 01.01.01? Ten years ago today.

There had been so much made of the calendar turning past 1999 and all current and future computers on the planet riding off into the sunset muttering,
"This is not what we signed up for...."

Ten years ago today I was making my bed. Most of the day, in fact, I spent making my bed.

Let me explain...(like you have any choice since this is my blog and I get to do what ever I want to....*evil laugh*...).

In preparation of another emotionally empty New Years Day, I had spent the week prior to the dreaded beginning of another year purchasing new bedding.
Sheets, blankets, comforter, dust ruffle, shams, little snobby pillows that matched.

Upon waking in the new millennium, I stripped all the old stuff from my bed and in the most ceremonial fashion I could muster all by myself, I spent the day creating my perfect dream bed. (Hey! Floral was in big ten years ago, don't laugh.)

After the bed itself was perfected, I cleaned, organized and prettified the rest of my bedroom for hours.

Dusting old candles that hadn't been lit in ages, cleaning the windows, washing the curtains. I did my best to create the best sanctuary I could.

In general I shared this room with someone completely absent and uninvested in such things. Understandable, I guess. But this type of thing was not the only thing he choose to dismiss regularly as 'too much work.' Aside from creating a comforting home, emotionally speaking, I was on my own, as well.

The computers did not crash as feared. The power grid managed to maintain power. There was no apocalypse or planet-wide prison break out. Yet it was still a pretty sad New Years Day for me. It was my futile attempt at finding peace without. As opposed to within.

Ten years later, I sense a slight shift. Or a continental divide.

A few weeks ago someone told me of
a local Polar Bear Plunge in a near by community. The seed was planted.

Okay from exhibit A and B here, 'plunge' may be a bit of an exaggeration. But STILL!

I wiggled my toes in the sand under the
water of Puget Fricking Sound today!

It was GREAT!

It was cold and slippery. But great is not a big enough word.

Unlike most previous News Years Days, this was emotion filled. Taking off a few layers, approaching the gray water, the first touch. Emotional. I walked down the algae covered stone steps into the water until my toes walked on the sand. The cold took my breath away. Emotional. I looked across the vast sound at the highest tide I'd even seen here. Emotional. I scanned the land in the distance. Emotional. I climbed back into the warmth of the 40 degree air and my eyes filled with tears. I was overwhelmed.
I didn't attend a public 'plunge.'
It was personal.
Today, I did a number of things I've never
done before. (Okay, it appears it was only up to my waist but almost none of you were there so most of you don't know for sure....)

I love this NEW year, don't you?

Mark my words:
Two Thousand Ten. This will be
a very good year.