Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I give thanks...


Tis the season, why thanks-giving (in the literal sense) has become a season is kind of sad.  But rather then getting caught up in the politics of why or when we should be giving thanks, I figured I would just take November as motivation to write about thanks-giving and do what I should have been doing all along.

So Today - I will take a moment.   In this moment, I will close my eyes and meditate on just a few of the things that make my life spectacular.  None of the 'despite this' or 'the silver living is...' kind of thanks. True, meaty, simple, down to your toes kind of thanks. This is the thanks that keeps us going, that changes the world.

I am thankful for my babies tummies, so very fun to tickle and blow bubbly kisses onto.  Which leads directly to:

I am thankful for baby giggles!

I am thankful for beautiful weather, most of the time. For the wind, oh I love the wind! I love how the wind smells, feels, everything about the wind is wild and magical!  I do so love the wind.

I am thankful for the ocean. I am thankful that I can see it everyday if I wish.  Sometimes we need to stop and look at the ocean. It keeps our world both big and small all at the same time.  We need that big/smallness to stay grounded.

I am thankful for coffee, that must be high on the list for sure. Though this list is in no way by order of importance, coffee should still be toward the top.  In fact I think I shall go back and add it to the top.  Hold on one sec.....done!   See what I did there?  And you thought I was just going crazy and accidentally left that sitting at the top of this post. Ha! There was purpose all along.

I am thankful for my wonderful vacuum.  Bet you didn't see that coming.  But really people, it is amazing. So amazing that it makes it almost fun to vacuum my living room.  Almost.

I am thankful for yoga pants and comfy-ness.  Because that is how life should be lived.

I am thankful for Daniel Tiger, which allows me to write while my little one is up and jumping about. She does jump a lot...which leads to:

I am thankful for modern medicine! I am also thankful for ancient medicine, like my essential oils that banished my cold yesterday.  Bam! Gone! Amazing.

I am thankful for a wonderful neighborhood for my kids to grow up in.  Friends all around, a wonderful school for them to go to and did I mention the weather? Yeah...we are lucky. And no, I do not take it for granted!

I am thankful for my house, for my family and my beloved friends.  I am thankful for my big comfy bed and even comfier husband - who is not only an amazing hard worker and provider for his family - but is also my very favorite person to be around in the world - and he makes me coffee everyday!  Of course there is a small chance those things could be slightly related...  

I am thankful for helpful kids that are learning how to actually be helpful kids by cleaning my house. And every so often (like yesterday) they do it with very little complaining!  I am thankful for those little things that make me feel like there may be hope, that maybe I am doing ok with this whole parenting thing.

I am thankful for soft blankets and good books.  Soft blankets and good books should always come together.  And coffee too.  But that is just a given right?  I am thankful for fun hat and warms scarves.

I am thankful for Target, and coupons, cartwheel and clearance schedules. I am thankful I can contribute to helping my family save money, even though I don't technically "work" by cutting coupons and waiting for the sale.  It helps me feel needed.  

I am thankful chocolate.  I am tempted to add chocolate up to the top with coffee, but I don't want to over-do that.  Perhaps I'll put it at the bottom, you know - because every good (and bad!) day should end with a little chocolate.

I am thankful for color, for texture, for words, for writing.  I am thankful for smells and shapes, for hot baths and cold ice-cream.  I am thankful for flowers and butterflies and crazy beautiful spiders. For superhero's, super-villains and brand new socks.  I like socks.

I am thankful for baking bread, From the fizz of the yeast to the feel of the dough when it has been kneaded exactly enough. I am thankful for the excitement of the rise, the smell of it baking to the dried bits of dough stuck under my fingernails and the flour on my clothes and counters, and hair and floor and kids! And of course for the butter to put on top!

I am thankful for music, oh I am thankful for music!  For the kind of music that makes you feel down to your toes - for broadway, that shows me how the world should be, people breaking into song whenever they feel like it.  The world would be a better place if we all did that! I am thankful for music without words, to speak for us when we feel lost and cannot speak for ourselves.  Thank you.

I am thankful for running.  For feeling strong muscles, for losing my breath and catching it again. The world is always more vivid after a run.  The colors are brighter, smells are stronger, my head clears up for a moment, the world slows down.  I am thankful.  

I am thankful for baby kisses and my husband's hugs. For long conversations with friends over a cup of hot tea.  I am thankful for grandparents that love my kids as much as I do.  I am thankful for the occasional stolen date-night.  So renewing! I am thankful for papa johns pizza, movies and popcorn.

I am thankful for fun conversations with my ever growing kids - they are becoming such amazing young people!  How did that happen?  I am thankful I get to watch all the growing-ness.  The easy stuff and the hard stuff.  I am thankful for it all.

I am thankful for you - my beloved readers. You help me to feel real when the world is full of haze. Thank you.

I am thankful for the many memories I have collected, such treasure. The best. I am thankful that I am always be growing, always becoming, always learning. I am thankful that tomorrow is always a new day, no mistakes, just exciting new possibilities! And coffee, tomorrow always has coffee! Did I mentioned yet that I am thankful for coffee?

And to end, because Daniel Tiger is just about over - I am thankful for turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes!   Because in two days it is thanksgiving.  And for some weird reason we think we can only have this meal on the last Thursday of November. And it is one of my favorites, and it will be absolutely amazing.  I can't wait!

I hope to always be thankful, not just in November - though I think there is great purpose to being reminded everywhere we go to take a moment to say thanks, even just for one month of the year. Let us be thankful, in everything we do.  Not just the 'despite this' or 'let us try to see the silver lining' thanks.  But REAL, deep, raw, magnificent in it's beauty and simplicity - thanks.    


Sunday, November 16, 2014

I am the anti-OCD

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.                     -  Madeleine L'Engle
I will warn you now.  This post has no real purpose. It is the ramblings of a lost literary lunatic. Proceed with only the utmost in patience.

It has now been 6 months since I have sat down and written a story.   Since I had just started my journey to become a "real author" 8 or so months before that, it seems like not that big a deal to take a break.  And I suppose it is not.  I have always known that writing is my "once kids are all in school" career.   
But I do miss it...
Funny how the 'missing it' shows up. For instance, I find myself looking up fun "writing quotes" on pinterest, not a very valuable way to spend my time.  Truly!  But fully interrupt-able, unlike writing where I really need at least 2 hours where I know I shall not be bothered or I get very upset.  Yeah, three kids = not going to happen in my house until at LEAST 9:30 at night.  And since I get up every morning at 6...that means starting something like writing after 9:30 is not really an option either.
So I am on hold...waiting.  It feels sometimes like I took that part of me that was free to jump about, and stuffed it down deep inside of myself. Rather like how my kids stuff their jacket into their backpack every morning.  
I do have this blog as an outlet, and I thank each and every one of you deeply for reading and responding to my ramblings.  I truly cannot tell you the void it fills in my life, to know that my words are being read by someone.  It is like taking a fresh gulp of air after swimming the length of the pool for the first time.  So very sweet, so very life-giving! 
I have often wondered if there is something truly wrong with my brain - and lately I have felt this monstrously.  You see - every bit of human behavior that I emulate, I have had to learn by consciously watching others, taking mental notes and mimicking that behavior as best as I can.  Nothing about being a human person feels natural to me.  Perhaps I should have been a koala instead, those are fuzzy and cuddly looking - everyone likes koala's.... see?

Who wouldn't love that!   

I on the other hand, am not fuzzy or cuddly. I'm the anti-cuddly really. 
Perhaps everyone feels this way (the human thing...not the koala thing.  I am certain everyone at some point has wanted to be a koala. It seems weird to even ask that question!) Perhaps we are all aliens in our own skin.  Not made for this world? Honestly, I have never asked anyone if they feel like that before. I think I should start asking...questions are good. They make us feel less alone. 

Do you think it will catch on?  Instead of simply saying "how are you?" every time we see someone.  We could ask "on a scale of person to koala, how human do you feel today?" It could bring the world together in ways we cannot even imagine! 
Or maybe it really is just me, perhaps I alone didn't get the memo - the whole instinct thing on how to act in what human social setting. (I have been informed that stating "you may now call me master!" Is not, in fact, appropriate...especially not at church!) So I watch, constantly.  I watch how people walk, how they move their lips when they speak, how they sit, what specific body positions they use when they are eager, upset, angry, happy, uncomfortable, etc.  And I log that away to use when I feel I am supposed to emulate that emotion.  I also file away personality traits I do not want to emulate. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I get it very wrong. Always learning.  I have specific memories as a child, choosing what personality I wanted to have. Reading a story, or watching someone and practicing the look, the stance, the sentence until I got it right.  It wasn't about fitting in - I didn't care so much about that. It was just about collecting, like a personality enthusiast. 

It has been a long road, but I feel like I am just now starting to be ok with my oddities. I have always been proud of my uniqueness - but was not entirely sure that it ever came across as anything more than arrogance, and that has never been my intent. Now that I hesitantly call myself a writer, it finally feels like there may be purpose to all this. 

I have never really been very good at much in my life aside from writing. Simple things, like driving, simple DIY projects around the house or french-braiding takes every ounce of my being in constant focus for more hours than I can count in order to moderately master. I am not sure why I have these roadblocks (no pun intended!) but that is how my life has generally been. Again - perhaps it is this way for everyone. We should really talk more about this as human persons! 

 I have worked very hard and I have become ok at things. Like singing, I am ok at singing. But I could never make a living at it. Years of classical training and my voice is still too harsh, it is not pretty. I can be loud, you will hear me! I can belt out some broadway tunes with ease. But you may wish you couldn't hear me...because my voice has an edge to it, like a blade. 

Or acting - I can memorize lines and play a role, but there is a good chance it will look a lot like the last 5-6 roles I played - I am not as diverse as I would like to be.  I enjoy it tremendously, but I'll never move beyond local theater. 

I don't say these things to fish for compliments. I loath pressured compliments with all of my being. I will not give them, and when I receive them it makes my flesh crawl. So PLEASE just don't.  I am ok, I promise.  I do not need you to become defensive for my sake. It will make us both feel awkward.
I think one of my problems is, I just don't feel emotions very deeply. I have them, don't get me wrong...but there is usually a cloud between me and them, so it is all kinda fuzzy and awkward on this end. I don't have very much empathy, especially not for those going through emotional stress.  I simply can't relate - I can fake it, but I can't relate. Sure I get angry, upset, happy, frustrated, etc - but it often feels rather surreal- like I am playing a part. Or watching a play, not really real. The only real emotional response I feel, sometimes every moment of everyday is that I want to run.  Run away, to run home.  

I am not a fan of hugs from anyone but my husband and children. This freaks people out - especially church people. I don't like being touched at all, so hugging breaks all the "personal space bubble" rules.  I have taken online "do you have aspergers" tests, just out of curiosity.  (The internet doesn't think I have aspergers, but it is pretty sure I may have a mild sensory disorder.) 
I say the wrong thing, I offend on accident - sorry to everyone by the way!  I'll just present my blanket apology here. I didn't mean it that way.  I promise!  My ears buzz at me a lot, so that means I am very sensitive to sound,  If the tone (literally) of something is off, on a recording or video - I can't handle it. If my children are all talking at the same time or there is music on while I am trying to focus, anything that pulls me in separate directions in the auditory sense, I fall apart.  For this reason, driving can be extremely stressful for me.  So please, don't take offence when I rarely come to see you if you are more than a 30 minutes drive away.  Sometimes I can handle it, and sometimes I really can't.  And since anxiety attacks while driving can equal death - If I am not feeling up to it, I don't take the risk! 

I have spoken previously about the auto-immune skin condition I dealt with while pregnant with my first child (google Pemphigoid Gestationis if you dare).  My time when it was active damaged my skin. because of this I don't respond correctly to heat, cold, or to various degrees of moisture in the air, which leaves me moderate to severely itchy. All. The. Time.  Mosquito bites? Not a problem. I have so much resistance to itch built up. But it means that I often feel like crawling out of my skin, just because I am tired of dealing with it all the time.  
To add to that - my rebellious thyroid brings with it something called a goiter.  And while I can often keep it under control using essential oils and generally trying to distress - that is not always effective, which results in the feeling like there is always something stuck in my throat, like a pill that refuses to go down all the way. 

I am crass, I am blunt.  I am a rebel in almost every sense of the word.  I HATE being predictable, I enjoy shocking people. I am incredibly lonely, I hate being around people for more than a short amount of time, but spending time with friends keeps me alive.  I hate being a stay at home mom, but couldn't imagine missing out on being with my kids all day. I often forget to return texts and when I decide I don't want to buy something at target after all, I just deposit it on the closest shelf (gasp, I 

I am a broken person. But you know what? I think we really all are in one way shape or form.  I can list off my brokenness, I bet you can too.  But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter.  
Because you know what?  These things may make me who I am - but they don't define me as a person.  Do you know who I am?  I am a writer.  And a damn good one too.  I am a mom, the best I can be (some days better than others!) I am not the pile of dirty dishes, I am not the over-stressed breakdown I had last night.  I am not the whole of all my parts.  I have value despite being broken.  In fact, the broken parts make me more human then I ever think I will feel.  This pain has purpose, there is joy in the journey.  

Humanity is fleeting.  Weird to think in that way, but it is true.  I wonder if that is why the supernatural is so appealing to so many people.  Whether it is in the form of aliens or superhero's, monsters or simply "other-worldly beings" like vampires, fairies or werewolves.  We like edgy, we like the feel of danger. It make us raw, it keeps us human.

I am a rebel.  I love imperfection.  I am the anti-ocd.  Pictures like this?

Make me happy in a way I cannot explain.  I am wrong, I am different.  I cannot, will-not, be like you.  I MUST rebel against the crowd.  I must make a statement that says I am different.  I must say things that make you uncomfortable - or I will explode.  And you know what?  That is ok.

This scares people.  I don't belong.  Nice "normal" people don't know how to react to me.  I get a mix of utter delight and supreme loneliness when I am around nice "normal" people.  You see...I am not meant to be. Some wire somewhere is not connected, that makes people want to smile and nod and back away slowly.  But you know what?  I am ok.

As I write, I have been wondering what the point of this post is, and to be honest I am not entirely sure.  Except - I want you to know...that despite everything that is technically "wrong" with me.  I am ok.  I am truly ok. Even though I probably shouldn't be. I am.

You know what else?  You are ok too.  Despite everything you feel is wrong. You are uniquely you, and you are spectacular!  And that means your teenager, or middle-school kid, or cousin or friend or whatever...you know who I am talking about.  The one that is different and bothers you and you feel like you need to just take them by the shoulders and shake them into reality?  They will be ok too.

We do a lot of preaching in our world.  We have strong opinions about what and who everyone should be. We have rules we like those around us to follow - especially in private conservative groups. There are certain behaviors that are NOT acceptable for really no apparent reason aside from someone somewhere decided it was wrong - and change is scary, so it must be that way from here on out or people get uncomfortable.  But while we are shooting down those who are different, we preach about 'being the real you' and not judging - we tell people to not let others get you down (shake it off right?) while at the same time we simply cannot believe that he/she/they are wearing THAT (just to spite you all, I wear leggings as pants.)  No wonder we are all so confused all the time!

So I guess the purpose of this post is to give you a moment to breath. To give me a moment, because I think I need it.  I need to restructure some of my thinking. It's ok.  THIS part of life, this part of being human is not our responsibility. Let him/her/they be who they were made to be.  Let go of the stress, let go of the burden of holding others to your own ridiculous standard.  It is not your job, it is not my job. We can't force others into our mold.  It wont work, I promise.  And the result will be pain on both ends.  And for those on the other side?  You will be ok.  Spectacular you that you are! You will be ok. We will be ok. We will be fantastic.

I think sometimes we really do need someone to tell us that.  Say it again with me?

It is going to be ok.

Even if it feels dark, never ending.  Even if the routine has made our heads explode. Even if it feels like everything is going wrong, or we can't shake the haze, or it feels like the haze has completely enveloped us.  Even if we are alone in a crowd and it feels like we are invisible.  I see you. You are spectacular.

It is going to be ok.

I am a writer. That means I am wild, imaginative - I am unbridled and rebellious.  It means I say the wrong thing at the very right time. It means I chase the impossible in order to get that high of putting together 5 words that make the most brilliant sentence imaginable. It means I think very highly of myself, it means I think very highly of you.  I have strong opinions, and they change constantly. It means that I have very high highs for no reason what-so-ever. And very low lows that have absolutely nothing to do with you. I can defy logic at least 7 times before breakfast and I could probably live on salt and vinegar potato chips, wine and very good coffee. It means I forget to say things, because I know I will write them down later - so spoken words have very little meaning to me. It means that my brain is very seldom here, and my deepest revenge is writing you as a boring insignificant character in one of my books. Beware!

Being a writer means that if I know you, if I love you, I can give you one supreme promise.  You will never die. I have captured you. You are a part of my story and I am a part of yours, you will live forever. frozen in time, never forgotten. This, this my beloved reader. Is my utmost promise and deepest gift to you. And this is the gift that I so lovingly receive from you.  We are all a part of one big, giant, magnificent story.  

We're all stories in the end. I'll be a story in your head, but that's okay, because we're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? Because it was, you know. It was the best.   - The Doctor