Monthly Archives: March 2012

inside out, outside in

this week has been hard.  this week has also been great.
I mentioned (cryptically, because that is my way…) a couple weeks ago that I had made a decision about letting go, but I was going to sit with it for a little bit and see what happened before I did any acting or announcing.  And I sat with it… and over the course of two weeks it went all over the place, and sometimes I went with it, and sometimes I just watched it, but I didn’t do anything about it and eventually it got me right back to where I was when I started (essentially).
Maybe you remember that I described a scenario where I met someone and although we had a mutual attraction we weren’t going to get involved romantically.  Well, we didn’t…  and we’ve been on a journey to get to know each other and find a context for our relationship to fit into this entire time.  At least, that’s what’s been happening on the outside.  We spend time together, we have a good time (or not–depending on how much we torture ourselves), we talk, we connect, we try to act like friends even though we are not just friends…  but inside (my head) we have been dating.  …and that was fine until the scenario inside my head (and the fact that it repeatedly failed to play out in reality) started to interfere with my ability to enjoy what was happening on the outside (again, an opportunity to connect with a really fucking amazing person).  Then, I knew I was involved in something that wasn’t working for me anymore.
Now, in any other situation…  I would just label the other person a problem, cut them out, and walk away.  I have done it before–way more than I would like to admit.  But I don’t want to do that this time because: 
  1. I am becoming aware of how powerful my mind is…  if I can create reality that gets me a fabulous new job or home and allows me to find myself at my best more often than not… then I can make this work (dammit!)
  2. There is something there… and I’m not willing to walk away from it.
I can see that what I’ve done is gotten myself into a situation (a-gain) where I am trying to give all of my love to someone who isn’t willing or able (for whatever reason) to give theirs back…  I know that I deserve it all, and I know the only way to prove that to myself and create a reality where I get what I deserve is to stop getting into situations where what I need from the relationship is not available.  So, I know that I have to stop what I am doing (inside my head)… and I’m working on it.  (whines) but it is soooo hard!

yup.
Anyone have any tips for how to “get over” someone while keeping them in your life?  Because that’s the goal right now… to build a relationship with this person based on what is available in the present moment (and nothing more).
I know all people come into our lives for a reason, and I can see clearly that I am being given an opportunity to show myself and the universe that I know what I deserve… and I am going to stop engaging in the self destructive behavior of pursuing a relationship that isn’t available to me… but I really, really, really don’t want that to be all this is.  There IS something there.  I KNOW there is.  I hope I can be patient enough to find out what.
so anyway… that’s what the “letting go” was about.  I’m letting go of something, that was happening completely within the confines of my skull, because it was starting to hurt my heart…
outside of my head this week has been great.  I started my new job which seems like it’s going to be wonderful!  I recovered fully from a very poor food choice on Sunday (binged on Mexican–it even hurt while it was going down and I just kept eating it), I’ve forgiven myself, and haven’t completely gotten off track (although I’ve made some less than perfect choices since).

Although I still haven’t “done” anything my relationship with spiderman and my ability to find fulfillment in my role as his mother has grown tremendously already.  It’s amazing what a little awareness and intention can do!

when I was doing my HR paperwork on Tuesday I can across this portion of the employee manual and inside my head this is what happened: eek!  they have a blogging policy!  of course, I have no reason to be concerned…  I don’t define “work” so any blogging that I do about “work” is free from making any impression on the company I work for.  All is well…
blogger beware
Lastly, bfo is going to start taking on more responsibility as spiderman’s father and take him overnight every other weekend…  starting tomorrow.  it hasn’t even happened yet and i’ve spent a lot of time this week feeling anticipatorily sad about it.  i thought about making plans to distract myself.  i thought about how awful it would be if i was miserable during those plans so i thought about making plans to stay at home and feel sorry for myself instead.  i’m still not sure exactly what i’m doing, but i think it involves e-cigarettes, outlet shopping, palm springs, and maybe an indian casino or two with the angry wombat.
outside of my head: good stuff
inside my head: scary stuff
note to self: stay out of head.

a REAL artist’s date

I ended up on an artist’s date yesterday evening, and it was a total accident.  I was at work far enough away from home that it didn’t make sense to go home and then drive back in the same direction from whence I came to pickup spiderman from my mom’s.  So, I decided to go buy some new clothes for work (this new environment is just a bit more adult than the last one).  I was an hour and $100 in (don’t worry, that’s the budget I set for myself so we’re all good here) when I realized that I was alone, doing something for myself, had a book in my purse I wanted to start reading, and I still had an hour and a half to spare before I needed to get back on the road. 
My first thought was to sit in my car and read… really.  I’m naturally just THAT exciting.  …and a few moments later when i REALLY recognized the opportunity in front of me an Artist’s date the evening became!
I took myself to Native Foods, and even though I cried on the way there (about something I still intend to tell you about later, I’m just not ready yet) and found myself actively judging all the hipsters as I walked from the car to the restaurant (until I saw myself in the mirror and had to laugh at my own reflection peering back through the thick tortoise shell glasses) I think this may have been the greatest date I’ve ever been on!
Here are a couple reasons why: 
1. 
Lavender Lemonade
2. 
“bacon” “cheese” “burger” with fried pickles atop
3. 
“chili” “cheese” fries
(so, basically reasons 1-3 can collectively be called “vegan gluttony.”  there is definitely such a thing and it is just as disgusting as any other gluttony (minus the dead animals and environmental impact).  in case you’re wondering (because I would be wondering if I were reading this blog that is supposed to be about getting a hot ass)… I didn’t eat it all.  I actually ate all of the “burger,” but the fries are residing in my fridge…  I wanted to eat it all, but I couldn’t have if I had tried (which I didn’t).
4. and finally… the most important reason this was the best date ever!
because who doesn’t want to think about shame on a date with themselves?!
Brene Brown’s book finally came and I cracked it open and dove right in.  My goodness…  I know this is weird but I was reading this book (by balancing my phone and a knife on the pages to keep it open while I gripped the slimy “burger” with two hands), gorging on this ridiculous food, thinking about my own shame and having the time of my life.
I am a special creature.  Yowza.

fulfilling or not?!

it’s time for america’s favorite game… fulfilling or not?!

the topic of tonight’s episode: parenting.

scenario 1: you go to your first day at a new job and after a long day of smiling at people whose names you already forget and trying to figure out a context to fit them into in your head, you head home.  once home (a solid two hours later thanks to the traffic that you’re not complaining about but is definitely a part of your reality for the next couple of months), you shove a peanut butter and jelly sandwich down your throat, print the handouts for a training you’re doing tomorrow (for your old job) to your old office and then go borrow a key to go pick them up.  drive to old office, pickup printed handouts, feel glad you brought your laptop because you had forgotten to print the consent forms, print the consent forms, drive to pickup son from father, drive back to former co-worker’s to return the key, drive home.  realize once home that you left the laptop at the old office.  explain to child that you screwed up, beg him to go pee even though he doesn’t have to, get him in his jammies, tell him what you’re going to do and tell him he’s going to go to sleep in the car (you hope).  get in car.  kid reminds you that you promised a snack.  go back into house and get snack.  drive back to borrow the key again, drive back to office, lug son out of car and into office, grab laptop, drive back to  return the key… son is still awake (it’s 9:15… bedtime is at 8).  son wants to know if you will read the shark book when you get home.  “no.  you’ll be asleep before we get home. do you want me to tell you a story now?”  son says yes.  you don’t really “do” stories… your imagination is not your most developed talent… but you’d do anything for this kid, so you tell a beautiful story about pirates and dragons and an island full of trees bearing anything you could dream of to eat where love is currency (you realize later that you totally stole that last part from someone you adore…  maybe being around people with imagination is a good way to improve your own imagination).  when the story is over son says, scowling in the rear view mirror, in a gravely voice “i want you to read a real story.”  you sigh.

NOT fulfilling

scenario 2: i actually don’t have a scenario to tell you about right now… but what I can tell you is that parenting becomes fulfilling for me when i see it as an opportunity to act out of pure love.  and the best way i know how to do that is through empathy.

i don’t know if altruism really does exist (and i don’t care either) whether we do good because we want to do good or just because it feels good… good gets done.  i am the best parent to spiderman and the best me to myself when i am using my powers of empathy and compassion to experience life from his point of view.

and when i’m here, i see that his point of view is very pure and beautiful.  his communication with the world around him is pretty simple.  it’s always one of a few things: pure emotional release, expression of a need, play, or exploration.  can you imagine if you felt free enough to go through your day fitting every interaction you have with someone else or yourself into one of those four categories?  AND… more importantly, you were surrounded by people who accepted, embraced, and encouraged that.

wouldn’t the world be a nice place to live in that case?

i recently “liked” Janet Lansbury on Facebook, and I get gems like this piece on empathy in my newsfeed daily.  and I read them and I think “YES!” and then I think… how about we replace the words child and/or parent with person.

Let’s try it with the opening line:

Original
“When children feel understood, their loneliness and hurt diminish. When children are understood, their love for their parent is deepened. A parent’s sympathy serves as emotional first aid for bruised feelings. When we genuinely acknowledge a child’s plight and voice her disappointment, she often gathers the strength to face reality.” – Haim Ginott


“Enhanced”
“When people feel understood, their loneliness and hurt diminish. When people are understood, their love for people is deepened. A person’s sympathy serves as emotional first aid for bruised feelings. When we genuinely acknowledge a person’s plight and voice her disappointment, she often gathers the strength to face reality.” – Haim Ginott


Ummmm… HELL yes!  I know I can’t be the only one seeing this.

Check this piece, by Janet herself, out.  Even though the word “wait” turns my stomach, the essence of the writing is that the Beatles had it right when they encouraged us to “let it be.”  Imagine if we didn’t only encourage parents to love their children through empathy, patience, understanding, awareness of readiness, knowledge of capacity, etc. etc. etc. but we taught one another to love each other (and ourselves!) in the same ways.

Developing these stories in my head and turning them into reality in my life… and the opportunity to live with a boy whose daily interaction with the world is a model of such pure love and from whom I can learn so much about life are the elements that make parenting fulfilling (that’s the real scenario 2: totally fulfilling).

just the two of us (3.22.2012-4.20.2012)

i’m four days in to this new “month” and already i find myself judging my progress.  primarily because i haven’t done anything yet.  i warned spiderman about a week ago that he was going to experience a drastic reduction in his “screen time” (i didn’t use those words with him, by the way) and although he whined about it at the time the next day he reminded me that he “wasn’t going to watch any shows today.”  Now, that isn’t what I had said, i had mentioned something about it being next week and I was going to keep reminding him to get him used to the idea over time, but I took advantage of his misunderstanding and didn’t turn on the TV and then took advantage of his misunderstanding the next day (that this was a one-time thing) and did turn it on…  it appears i am not quite ready to commit to this “reduction in screen time” myself.

this morning, i stopped at trader joe’s on the way to dropping spiderman off at school… on the way there i was dreaming up a clever facebook status update for the morning (come on, don’t tell me you don’t do this too…)  today is my day off between jobs and i am cramming as much self care into it as possible. i am getting a facial and a massage, going to therapy, making a week’s worth of delicious healthy meals to have on hand, and just enjoying my time with myself…  and last night i did something (with food) that was very classical self-loathing (i’ll tell you about in a few days after i’ve gotten over it) and have recommitted this morning to radical self love, so i decided that i would say something like “the day (lifetime?) of radical self love begins now.”

Then I parked my car and chose/experienced all of the following:

  1. Left kid in car–FAIL
  2. Kid was in the car watching netflix on iPhone–FAIL
  3. Was braless, in same clothes i slept in, hair a mess, with yesterday’s mascara smeared under my eyes–FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL
  4. They weren’t open yet–FAIL
  5. I was there to buy chocolate brownie CLIF kidz bars because that’s what spiderman is addicted to having for breakfast–FAIL
  6. and then when I got past all of that and the checker asked “what are you up to today” my answer was something along the lines of “just dropping the kid off at school and then it’s my day off.”  it was one of those things you say when you’re braless and unkempt in trader joe’s and you really don’t want to be noticed by other human beings (sometimes i wish i had an invisibility cloak)–FAIL.  Geez, why didn’t I try out my facebook status update on him?  Why wasn’t my response “radical self love.”  I would have loved to see the awkward facial expression… I live for that shit.
And then I started to realize how much I had already started to misinterpret this month’s focus.  I call this month “just the two of us (being the parent i want to be)” and while that can be interpreted in all sorts of healthy ways, I have been reading it as “just the two of us (being the parent i want to be—who is PERFECT all the time because she must be capable of being so and anything less than that would be an aberration).  Even beyond that unfortunate misinterpretation is the way I’ve been trying to fit this month into the entire fulfillment project…  In my head I’ve been trying to make this all about the kid.  After two months of being incredibly self absorbed I figure I’ve recharged enough to give myself completely to him.  But this month can’t be all about spiderman (which it hasn’t been so far, which is why i feel guilt/shame/regret and am looking for things to call failures), this month has to be about me… just like all of the other months.  This month can’t be an experiment to see if I can ensure my child’s happiness and good fortune by being the perfect mother, this month has to be about experimenting with my role as mother to see if I can find fulfillment in that.
…and now ladies and gentlemen, we have found the core issue…  
You mean there is a question about whether or not motherhood fulfills me?  Um… yes.
Isn’t it supposed to be the most important part of who I am?  That’s what I hear… 
Aren’t I supposed to love and be eternally grateful for every moment of it?  (sigh) Affirmative.
Aren’t I always supposed to say and believe things like “oh, it’s so worth it”? Uh huh.
It’s certainly one of the most important things I do, but not the most important part of who I am.  I do not love nor am I grateful for every moment of it (that’s what we’re going to work on though…  i can choose to love it and be grateful for it).  And not only have I never said “it’s so worth it” (because I think we do each other a disservice by spouting such generalized untruths), but I have only believed it in a few fleeting moments nearly five years into it.  
i hope that if spiderman ever reads this he’ll forgive me for my honesty.  what’s true is that i love my son more than i ever knew it was possible to love another person.  it’s also true that the most joyous moments i have experienced in life are connected to my relationship with him.  from the moment he existed within my body, and then even more so when he came out of it i have felt fiercely protective of him and fully accept that by creating him i am responsible for his care.  and just like anything else i do… i’m going to do my best.
what’s also true is that these past (almost) five years have been the most challenging of my life.  and me feeling this way… is not okay.  and now i’m going to talk about it… which is also not okay.
Now, don’t get me wrong.  It is “okay” to feel it and even talk about it in some spaces, with some people, but in general… the program we’ve inherited from our society tells us that we are supposed to love being mothers.
So this month is going to be about choosing to find fulfillment in my role as spiderman’s mother.  In general, and especially lately, I get a fair bit (of fulfillment) from it… but that’s fairly new and I’ve got some old stories in my head and old experiences to process that I’ll probably be writing about.  I’ll also be writing about some of my parenting philosophies as I try to examine them and why I take ownership of them and where there is room to continue growing…
I experience a certain tension of parenting that is ever present in my mind:   I am aware that the choices I make as his parent are important, yet I am also aware that I do not get to take credit for or claim responsibility for the results…  That being said, there are a few things that I want to accomplish this month, and here they are: 
  • Reduce the screen time (all screens).  Get down to no more than an hour on weekdays and no more than two hours on weekends.  (why? I use it as a crutch the entertain or engage him when I have something else I’d rather be doing…  it’s frying his brain…  his temperament is greatly affected by the amount of screen time he has…)
  • Change the way we eat.  Eat meals together–at a table–just us and the food.  (why? because it seems important… I don’t know why. I’ll figure it out.)
  • Encourage his independence, autonomy, and self responsibility (why?  the kid never went through the “i do it myself” stage and has always been in the “you do it for me” mode.  this is dangerous for both of us.)
  • Teach him what I’ve learned.  Let’s see if meditation, physical activity, healthy eating, and making art are effective in helping him feel fulfilled too (why? because i said so)
The day (lifetime?) of radical self love begins now.

i almost forgot to blog!

Today was my last day at “work.” Next week “work” will mean something else…

It’s tradition at “work” that when someone leaves voluntarily they profess their love before they go with an all staff email. This was my love note to “work.”

“In general, I’m not good at brevity, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I think I’ve gotten it down to one (albeit very long and run-on) sentence:

I’m guessing that most people can note marked differences between who they were at 23 (which is how old I was when I started at MHA) and who they were at almost-32 (now), but I’m certain that most people haven’t had the benefit of being able to credit so much of that shift to a place where the concentration of phenomenal people is as rich as it is at MHALA; my work and my life at this organization (read: getting to share a journey with all of you) absolutely made me who I am today as a colleague, a worker, a team member, a friend, a mother, and frankly–a human being and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have found a place of belonging, a place to learn and grow, and a place to springboard me into the future all at exactly the right times in my life.

(Turns out, I need another sentence) Thank you all for the gifts you’ve given me.”

I meant every word.

This is the outcome of my time at “work” and my send off today: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150627647832199.390125.703812198&type=1&l=762dba9380

I can’t imagine feeling more loved and seen than I do right now.

I’d love to tell you what’s in store for this new month that started yesterday, but I need a few more days of being self absorbed. I’ll tell you on Monday. For now, here’s some pre-reading: http://www.janetlansbury.com/2012/02/what-your-toddler-thinks-of-discipline/

the art of charts

today is the day.  last day of art month (boo!) and time to report on the month’s outcomes (yay!)
i’ll try to follow the same format as last time for the sake of consistency.  and if you need a reminder about what all of this means, here’s the explanation from last month.

1. The conscious choice log.  The following chart represents how many times I used the conscious choice log (a place where I would write down a choice to do a particular behavior–eat, sleep, email, watch tv, etc–and then come back and record the outcomes of that choice in an effort to become aware of how my choices impact the way i feel and interact with the world).

oh yes, you’re seeing that right.  ZERO. 

 yep.  As you may recall, last time I used it once… and this time I used it never.  Honestly, I’m not sure how much to care about this.  I mean, I feel like things are going well (I feel good more often than not), but then again… some of the other outcomes aren’t quite where I want them to be…  I guess I really need to give it a shot to see if it has an effect before I can decide not to do it.  Okay.  Trying again (again).

2. This chart shows how close I was to my “best self” over the course of this month by measuring whether or not I felt those “best self” qualifiers.
you can see by the trend line that the month overall has taken a bit of a dip (the last few days have been rough.  i’ve not been at my best), but check this out:
This is how close I’ve been to my “best self” since the project started.  Compared to the roller coaster of last month, this month was consistently “higher.”  I felt like the best version of myself more often than not!  And the trend for the project overall indicates a definite upward trajectory.
3. Finally, just a peek at which of the “best self” qualifiers I was feeling most frequently
I don’t know that this chart tells you much… other than that I felt “airy fairy” every day this month (which I think is pretty significant… feeling connected to my spiritual self is a good indicator that all of my other ducks are in a row or at least have the potential to be). One factor worth noting is that I started regularly meditating again this month. It wasn’t on the agenda but I did it daily until the last several days and I noticed a tremendous difference in the way I interacted with the world… and the slump of the last day or two is something I suspect is related to the lapse of the habit. Meditating, doing the morning pages, not quite nailing the weekly artist’s date but definitely being conscious about spending quality time with myself and doing nice things for myself, and reawakening the creative force I have inside are all things I am so glad I did. Write those down on the list of things to integrate into post FP life. Those things work.

I want to work on some other charts and collect more data, but as you can see… I’m not at my best today. I’m pretty wiped out and am very aware of how much unknown there is in my future. While that’s always true (that the future is unknown) for all of us, I don’t usually notice it and am not as afraid of it as a result. Today I’m choosing to remain in the unknown, but it hurts. I don’t like it.

Last but not least… My ass. A new picture is up over there –> and (drumroll please!)

I weigh the same as I did this time last month… (trumpets start to blare and them fizzle out)

Same weight doesn’t always mean same ass but this isn’t one of those “muscle weighs more than fat moments.” in fact, I think this month’s ass might be a little lumpier than last. I went to bed at 8pm many nights this month because I was sick or otherwise exhausted and while that means I watched a lot less television, my physical activity time was my tv time and I slept through them both. My diet was mostly the same, but without any mini elliptical and leg lifts… Lumpy ass reappeared.

let’s all say it together: “my body is perfect for what i am here to do and learn”

one thing worth noting.  we (and I mean that… i’m not using the “royal we”) had our first stranger like us on facebook this month.  woot!  welcome stranger!

On to the next month!

if loving (myself AND) you is wrong… i don’t want to be right

I’m not sure how many of you have ever tried to “have a relationship with yourself,” but if you have (and maybe even if you haven’t) maybe you can relate to the awkward tension that comes from wanting love from another even though you know you don’t need it to be happy… or even to feel loved.

It is absolutely 100% true that each of us has every single thing we need to be happy (peaceful, enlightened, fulfilled, whatever you want to call it) within us. We need not look outside ourselves for attention, affection, appreciation, or acceptance. At any given moment we can get any of our heart’s needs met by turning our attention within. It’s true. And over the course of the last three months or so I’ve become quite adept at doing so. Lately even when I have wanted to be grumpy I haven’t been able to get there or stay there. My habits have changed enough that when I start to get low the autopilot program that clicks on operates an instinct to grab a journal and write, take a walk, meditate, or do something else nice for myself… It’s a long way from the “eat cheese and feel sorry for self” program I used to operate.

Today was weird. Today, after a few solid weeks of being pretty content on my own and getting most of my needs met by looking within, I was very aware of how much I wanted to come home to a partner… wanted comfort from someone outside of myself.

As I turned the corner to the parking garage entrance at work this morning I became suddenly aware that this was the last Monday I would ever take this turn as part of my morning routine. My eyes were instantly filled with tears and the rest of my experiences for the day followed suit. As I examined my state of mind throughout the day I couldn’t find any tension. I wasn’t necessarily sad, or scared, or angry, or frustrated. I kept waiting to feel afraid or doubtful but it never happened. I was still confident, secure, and excited about my choice to make this life change… I was just… well, emotional. Emotional is the only word I have to describe it. I felt vulnerable and a bit exposed, on the verge of tears more often than not. And I just stayed there in it. And it was okay. It didn’t hurt or anything… (it seemed to make other people a bit uncomfortable but who cares!)

but. it. was. EXHAUSTING!

As I got back into my car to leave for the day all I wanted was to go home to someone else. And that someone else couldn’t be spiderman or chance–trixie’s dog who is here for a slumber party this evening (even though they are both great cuddle partners) because I’m always the caretaker with the kid and the dog.

It wasn’t until the last several months of my marriage that I really wanted a partner. Prior to that it was much more appealing to be in a relationship with someone who wasn’t on the same wavelength as me because I got to maintain an illusion of control by being “in charge” and being the “responsible one.” I was independent and capable so why did I need to be with someone who I would trust with my life? I was taking care of my own life and I had it handled. Better yet, the people in my family needed me. I made myself indispensable by making myself appear invincible. I felt loved by feeling needed.

So it was only at the end that I started to let go of my role as the one who does it all that I experienced a glimmer of the joy that comes from an authentic partnership. What being loved not only for performing at my highest level feels like, but also for the moments when I’m just me or maybe even less than. Now, we all know I chose the wrong person to trust, but at least I took the risk to try it… and now, especially on days like today I want it.

I want to have another person in my life with whom I trust my life (and I don’t mean my life as in life vs death… you don’t have to take a bullet for me or jump in front of a moving train to be my love. I mean my life… like who i am and what i do and my world view and all that stuff. someone who if i were suddenly unable to speak or move but were still alive could help me live a life i would want because they know me well enough. wow, that was pretty morbid… but hey, that’s what the litmus test for partnership looks like in my head). Someone whose heart I know and understand well enough that even if a choice they make is different from one I would make I can see that their choice comes from a place of pure love (because it does/it would). I want, at the end of a long, emotional day to come home and feel safe about getting wrapped up in the loving arms and words of a true partner (equal parts friend, lover, teacher, student, giver, taker, talker, listener, creator, appreciator… I could probably go on forever) and be able to completely surrender to that with no question of their worth or mine in that moment or who needs each other more or any of that nonsense.

Tonight, I don’t have that (person). And I’m fine. Good even. I can surrender to the love I give myself and I can feel content and warm and satisfied. All of my needs are met, but I still WANT it and I think until recently I would have judged myself for that wanting. I SHOULDN’T want it… I SHOULD be content with what I have. I SHOULD be grateful for what I have. I SHOULD be looking within to get all my needs met.

Guess what? I AM! I am content. I am grateful. And I look within all the damn time… and you know what doesn’t change… I don’t stop wanting to be connected to other people, and I don’t stop wanting to have a partner. And I’m not going to. So there. I deserve it all (and so do you, by the way). I deserve to have someone in my life who is capable of giving me all that I am capable of giving them. As I start to become aware of what I’m really capable of… it becomes nearly impossible not to do it… and I have a pretty enormous capacity for love.

Okay, for the sake of transparency I want you to know that I’m sitting here laughing at myself now.

Today’s post was going to be about song lyrics… Remember how I said I was going to write about how our culture glamorizes the unhealthy aspects of love? Well, I was going to pull lyrics from “favorite love songs” of people in my life and examine whether or not any of the lyrics could really stand up to the “healthy” standard in a therapist’s office.

My hypothesis: no.
My conclusion: and that’s okay.

Love is messy and scary and that’s part of what makes it beautiful and joyous. But as you know sometimes I just let the words flow and this is where they flew and since the conclusion is the same I’m going to skip the song lyrics part (go ahead and look into it yourself if you want. let me know how it goes).

So, I’m going to have a relationship with myself… I am ALREADY having a relationship with myself. And it’s the best relationship I’ve ever had… and I will ALSO have a relationship with a partner (someday), because I can have both. I deserve both. I am open to having both. I will have both. You can too.

On to some business, because you’re dying to know:

  1. I went to the doctor and got diagnosed with a sinus infection, was prescribed an antibiotic, and am actually taking it (usually I don’t go to the doctor, or I do just to make sure I’m not dying and then ignore their recommendation for treatment). I feel better. Thank you.
  2. I have worn real grown up clothes and shoes every day since the sweatpants and crocs incident
  3. I paid the gas bill. No harm done.
  4. The art party was a success! Or at least people tell me it was… I have terrible hosting anxiety and tend to experience a post-event slump. Neither were as bad this time but I’m still a little hesitant to say it was a victory. I’ll work on it.
  5. The end of the art making month is here! remember how eager I was to get the physical body month over with? I don’t feel that way this time. I want to stay in art month forever. It took most of the first three weeks to actually make something but I’ve been cranking the work out and it feels great. plus…
  6. Next month is parenting month… which means I told spiderman he’s going to experience a drastic decrease in his “screen time.” He seemed disappointed, but also excited about the things we’re going to do instead. I’m scared for us both… but mostly for me.
  7. next post: a new set of charts and another ass picture. i know you can’t wait.

someday

I had a plan for something to write about tonight… but I’m just not feeling it.

It’s a shame too, it was going to be quite academic. I even did research (read: asked my friends a question). It’s going to be about how our culture glamorizes the most “unhealthy” aspects of love and discuss how unhealthy those aspects really are (or aren’t) in moderation… another time I suppose.

Today I’m going to write about my bucket list (because that’s not overdone… eesh), because I didn’t have one until a few days ago. I tend to reject popular movements just by virtue of them being popular which normally keeps me comfortably in the badass category but other times I miss out on cool shit. I don’t know which to call this case… I still think calling it a bucket list is kind of ridiculous, but at least you know what I’m talking about when I say it. (I actually call it my “someday” in real life)

For anyone who doesn’t know, a “bucket list” is a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket” which is an unfortunate phrase that means “die.” it makes a bunch of sense… It’s right up there with “bought the farm” and “pushing daisies.”

Anyway… I got to a place where I realized am the last person on earth to create a bucket list because last Saturday at dinner 38 asked me who I am inspired by and it was really tough for me to come up with an answer… eventually we got to Ira glass, but I don’t think he really inspires me as much as I just admire him. It feels a bit much to call that inspiration.

Then later in our conversation when we were talking about going to see the Dalai Lama, 38 said it sounded like something that you can cross off your list of things to do this lifetime (I don’t remember the exact words but that was the gist), and I realized I don’t have one of those lists! Ack!

All this week I have been quite aware that no one inspires me (because I’m just too self absorbed?) and I don’t have a bucket list (because I suck at setting goals because I don’t want to be held accountable to them?). After a few moments (see previous questions in parenthesis) of wondering why that was I decided that I saw both as a problem and I was going to fix those problems.

So I started making a list. So far it has:

  1. Travel to every continent
  2. Go see the Dalai lama
  3. Be in the same room as Ira glass
  4. (speak at TED) i’m putting that in parenthesis because i’m still feeling very sheepish about it.

it’s a work in progress.

and then this morning… it happened… I was inspired. By another person. And that’s a big deal. This is what did it:

And then this (i actually watched them in opposite order, but you don’t have to… this way will probably make more sense)

I’ve been aware that I’m difficult to inspire for several years now and when i think about it I feel like an asshole, so it was quite a relief to have this experience. I feel like just opening myself up to have the experience allowed it to happen.

That basically seems like the answer to life right? Want something? Be open to actually having it. Believe you deserve it. It will happen.

The moment I remember most clearly from Brene’s talk was when she explained that the ONLY difference between people who feel like they experience love in their life and those who don’t is that those who do think they deserve it. That’s the ONLY thing. Wowza.

Repeat after me: I deserve it all.

Mind blown. Inspiration achieved. Bucket List started. Blog post written.

G’nite folks.

ps. I’ve added some new “things I know to be true” on the “rules and other important stuff” page.  you can get to it by clicking on the tab at the top of the page.

pps. I leave you with my favorite moment of the day… a quote from the one and only angry wombat
“i never got the whole ‘have a relationship with yourself thing,’ but you go ahead and have a relationship with yourself.  and tell me all about it.”

no crocs allowed

Juevona Picante recently told me a story about her husband getting irritated with her because she arranged for transportation home from the airport for them from someone they would have to wait 30 minutes for; that bothered him and he wanted to know why she couldn’t be more on top of details. She also mentioned that while on their trip they spontaneously decided to stay in the city one night and see a concert; he had a great time and expressed gratitude to her for being such a fun, flexible wife. She and I both concluded that he didn’t realize that in order to have the fun, flexible wife he wasn’t going to get the detail oriented wife–they just aren’t the same person.

I’m having a bit of that myself. My inner artist has been unleashed and I’m having a great time with her. I’ve stayed up late painting and sketching a few nights and this morning (after taking spiderman to school) I took some sick time because I had a therapy appointment and used it to spray paint the tree branch copper, meditate, and masturbate before I showered and actually faced the world.

Creatively, I’m feeling fulfilled and having a damn good time.

But… without adult supervision I’m also experiencing the following: I’ve had a sinus thing for 16 days and still haven’t gone to the doctor and I think it’s settling into my chest, I forgot to pay the gas bill, I’m exhausted from not sleeping enough, and my house is a mess.

Probably the biggest sign that I’m a different version of myself is that I wore sweatpants to work today. I’m told by my LLC that they didn’t look like sweatpants and she was still willing to go to coffee with me, but she did call me out on the crocs…

I’m not sure if it’s ever okay to wear crocs in public. In fact, if you aren’t in scrubs or are a professional beach volleyball player I’m not sure if it’s okay to wear crocs at all. I used to think mine were okay because they are the “Alice” (http://www.crocs.com/crocs-alice-work/11050,default,pd.html?cid=206&cgid=women-footwear-flats), but the straps broke and I am holding them together with paper clips… and i went out in public in them today… Yep, I’m a different version of myself alright.

and I’m happy.

dude… i am, like, so enlightened right now!

Lately I feel like I just woke up after sleeping through my entire life. I’ve had this feeling before; more than once. This time it’s different because when I’ve had this feeling in the past I’ve been down on myself for all the time I spent “sleeping” and all the times I went back to “sleep” after being “awake.” but this time… I’m awake, happy to be, and comfortably aware that this is the way it was supposed to be.

I mentioned on Friday that a lot is happening and I owe you a story about that, but I want to mention (so I don’t forget) that I have something to tell you about today too. Remind me, please. On with the show!

Friday’s story: I got a new job. Which is exciting in most cases but has been so much more than just that to me. Here’s why.

I’ve been at my current job since 2003… That’s nearly 9 years and it’s my entire adult “career.” The place I work is the kind of place where people have more than “just a job.” it’s a progressive and exciting agency that makes tremendous impact on the lives of the people we serve and the mental health system at large. I have learned so much about myself and become so much of myself because of my work there. It wasn’t until I started working there that I finally found people of like mind with whom I truly felt like I belonged (by the way, I’ve found many more since… but at 23 it really was the first time).

A lot of the culture where I work is similar to being a member of a family… and like all families we have our issues. I’ve had conflicts with people, I’ve felt dissatisfied before, I even left once (about 3 years in for less than 30 days), and shortly before things blew up with bfo I realized that I had made a huge error in viewing my work as the place where I would get all of my worth and other emotional needs met. When I distanced myself emotionally from my work (I still did my job as best I could, but I stopped expecting to get all of my emotional needs met and stopped spending all of my emotional energy there) I found that I had energy to spare and was suddenly able to enjoy the roles (of mother and wife) I had in my family (that I had previously resented for sucking the life out of me). I found happiness. For the first time. Yep. Just about 6 months ago.

Anyway, you know what happened with that wife role, and this whole year is really about getting my worth from myself (and not any outside role. Although lately I am hitting that motherhood role out of the park! …if I do say so myself)

The other thing that happened when I took some emotional distance from my work, found happiness, and committed to learning more about myself and how to love her is that I started to ask myself what I wanted. Among all of the things I will explore in this FP I also decided that I wanted a change of scenery. Now, I can’t go far… spiderman and bfo have a relationship to maintain and I’m not going to get in the way of that… but Los Angeles is a short drive away (on a weekend, at least) and I decided that’s where I wanted to live.

I also decided that I didn’t want to commute 1.5 hours each way (short becomes long when everyone else is doing it too). It wouldn’t work for me and the kind of life I want to have… So, I started to look for a job in LA.

And I found one.

Then came the time to tell my “family” I was leaving. It wasn’t because I was unhappy with them, it was because of something I wanted for me… but still when I was met with questions about what they could do to keep me I lingered in doubt all of a sudden. I began to second guess myself… if they valued me so much, was I making a mistake by leaving?

This moment of doubt felt very familiar and I found myself asking when I had felt this way before… hmmmmmm

And then it hit me. I had been here before. And not long ago. I had chosen to walk away from a prominent relationship in my life after much pleading to stay when I left my marriage the first time… and then I let myself get lured back into a comfortable space (where i felt secure in someone else’s love for me) instead of sticking with the challenge of the unknown.

And then it was clear. Now, my marriage and my job are very different, but in either case I needed to choose to honor myself first. Last time I was faced with the choice between myself and someone I loved, I chose them. I wasn’t going to do that again. I decided to go for me… and that was the right choice.

And I’ve felt great about it ever since.

So… Yay! This feeling of being awake is so peaceful and thrilling all at once. I have found myself feeling quite in love with life… that, as a persistent state of being (rather than a temporary hormonal high), is new to me. I like it.

Okay, this has gone on pretty long and I’ve got to get to some business so let’s get on with the teaser.

I made a decision today… about letting go. And I’ll tell you about it soon, but first I’m going to sit with it for a while to see how it feels and if it evolves. And that’s it. That’s what I wanted to tell you. I made a decision and I’m not going to act on it… that’s a big deal for me. Yes, I want a trophy.

Business: The art party is Saturday. If you’re local and you didn’t get an invite (and you want to come) it’s because I don’t know you read this (you should post a comment every once in a while). I’d be happy to send you an invite, let me know… No stalkers please (unless you’re cute).

By the way, I’m pretty sure the whole cast of the blog will be there. It will be like meeting celebrities. That’s my sales pitch. Take it or leave it.

More business: I didn’t do an artist’s date last week…  I didn’t have time.  I also didn’t have time to eat much… and I lost 3pounds (and I was having my period… when I always gain at least 3 pounds even if I’m being 100% faithful to my eating and exercise routine, so we’re going to say I lost 6 pounds this week).  Sorry, inner artist.  I’ll take a 3 pound weight loss over a date with you anytime.  Maybe I’ll catch you next week?

Off to be even more awake than usual because I forgot to ask for decaf coffee this afternoon. Oops.