Monthly Archives: February 2012

For My Daughter

Dear Daughter-

I have sensitively opted not to use your name in this post, as I know the very act of my existence has become a terrible embarrassment to you. That’s okay, because I remember what you were like before hormones ate your soul, and I can’t hold a grudge. I know when you say that you hate me, you don’t really mean you hate me…what you hate is that I have control over all of the little things that make your world go ’round. Your cell phone, the computer, your curfew, your access to facebook (sometimes), your access to FREEDOM. Trust me, you’ll get over it. It only feels like you’re going to die-no teenage girl ever actually expired due to missing out on some monumental social event.

Believe it or not, I remember exactly what it is like to be a fourteen year old girl-thanks to you, it has all come roaring back to life in living color. Yeah, I know, my mom used to say the same thing, and I thought exactly what you are thinking right now; “Yeah, right…you have no idea what it’s like for ME.” Oh, but I do! Some things do not change, no matter how many advances in technology are made. I know how intense everything is in your heart and head right now. Every day is either a fantasy or a tragedy- there is no in between. I know how your heart races when you see that scrawny little skater (or whoever it is this week) with the annoying hair cut that is two inches shorter than you. I know how devastating it is when your “friend” who knows you like him “steals” him from you. I know you feel crushed, beyond help, as if you can never, ever show your face in school again. I know that when one or two girlfriends turn on you, it feels like you don’t have a friend in the world. I get it. Worst of all though, is understanding every bit of what you are going through and knowing I am the last person in the world who you want to talk to about it. I am, after all, just your stupid old mom.

I wish I could fix it for you. If it weren’t totally outrageous and against the law, not to mention humiliating beyond belief for you, there have been many times when I would have done at least mental, if not physical, damage to the people who have hurt you. But that’s not the way things work (thank God, right?) and so I have to sit on my hands and bite my tongue, knowing the same kids who have you in tears today will be over here for a sleep over in two weeks. And while they are here, I have to be nice and kind and never act as if I know any of the rotten things you told me about them.

There is advice I could give you, but you won’t hear it until it plays back in your head ten years down the road. Ah, what the hell, I’ll tell you anyway- That boy you like right now? Chances are, a day will come when he will want you SO BAD, and you will look at him and think-‘what was I thinking?’ When he smiles at you in high school, or at the mall when you are 27, you will smile politely and walk right on by, thinking ‘don’t say anything, don’t say anything, he’ll think I don’t know who he is…’ OR, seeing as how you tend to have better taste in boys than I did back then, he’ll end up liking you after all, you’ll date him for a while, he’ll be a horrible kisser, and you’ll move on.

Those girls that you have such a rough time with? Honey, I hate to say this, but they are just exactly like you- no worse, no better ( well, maybe a little worse.). I know they seem like they have it all together and they are confident and beautiful and they have normal parents. Believe me, when they look at you, they think the exact same thing. When they look in the mirror, they cannot see the beautiful face that the world sees- just like you can’t. All they see is everything that is wrong. On the inside they are just as awkward and miserable and full of anxiety and angst as you are, but they don’t let it show because they are scared to be different. There are like two or three ultra popular, shallow, gorgeous, confident girls in every middle school and high school that are catty, mean and cruel to others without discretion. These girls generally develop thyroid problems within five years of graduation and battle obesity for the rest of their lives. It’s only fair.

But you won’t read this, and even if you did, you wouldn’t believe me. Before you know it, all of this shit will be over and it will be on to bigger and better things. Hopefully, one day you will wake up and realize how wonderful it is to be exactly who you are, and decide to share only that person with the world. That would be the perfect answer for that stupid question you ask me from time to time- “Why’d you even HAVE ME then, if you hate me so much?” There have been moments when I have questioned my ability as a parent, but I have never, ever been sorry you were born. There is no question that I have made a ton of bad decisions in my life, but you, little girl, have never, not even for a second, been one of them. I would have to say that you are one of the best things that has ever happened to me, even in light of the disaster that has been our relationship lately.

I love you more than you would ever guess right now- maybe even a little more than you love yourself. I have always loved you this much, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life, and even after I die ( I don’t know what the rules are concerning love after death, but if it is possible, I plan to keep going). I am aware that I get on your nerves constantly. Everything I say is upsetting, everything I do designed to steal joy from your life. This should mellow out soon, I’m betting. By the time you are thirty or so, I will be at least tolerable, if not a welcome sight. Some day, you may count me among your best of friends. But not today. That’s okay, I’m willing to wait.

With all of my heart,

mom

A Girls Life

There comes a moment in every woman’s life when the naked truth is revealed to us in such a way that everything in our lives, from that moment on, is completely altered. If you are like me, you grew up with fairy-tales; Cinderella, saved from a life of drudgery by a handsome prince (after some help from a chubby fairy godmother and some talking mice, thank you Disney)…Sleeping beauty, restored to life by the kiss of a handsome prince… Snow white and a handsome prince who saves the day…you see where I’m going with this, right? At some point, maybe at twelve, maybe at twenty three or thirty, a little voice inside you went ‘Oh, shit. There are like, negative three handsome princes around here. I guess I better get going.” And being that we are, after all, women, we generally do just that.

What I mean is, we all have a point we reach when we understand our enormous power as women, and the responsibility that comes with that. The first hint of how magical we really are generally happens about the time we grow breasts and men start acting sort of twitchy and getting sweaty around us (or, as was the case for me, when you finally get old and brave enough to buy yourself a padded push-up bra since no fairy godmother seems to be showing up to give you boobs of your own). Not coincidentally, this is usually about the time that men in cars begin to yell things out of windows at us as they go by. Girls travelling in groups (as we tend to do) act disgusted and annoyed by this, but in our teenage hearts, we are thrilled. With the realization of our sexuality, we are powerful little creatures, indeed. Unfortunately, this only goes so far. Even more unfortunately, we are awkward little things, for the most part, and have no idea how to wield this dangerous power-in my head I can’t help seeing a fourteen year old with a light saber, holding it in the crook of her arm while she chats on the phone, destroying everything around her, oblivious. All those fresh baby hormones are sorely wasted on the young, I tell you.

I was in my late twenties when I finally had enough self-esteem to revel in my hotness, and that is not a lie. Prior to that, I may have seemed full of confidence, but I wasn’t , I was just like every other girl who I’ve talked to about this- putting up a big old front to mask my insecurities. In all honesty, when I look back, it’s not the relationships with others that really damaged me at all. It’s the relationship I had with myself. If you are a boy and you are reading this, you need to understand that inside a womanly head, shit is going on that you, in your blessed simplicity, can not even begin to comprehend. Every girl I know, even ( and sometimes, especially) the most beautiful among us, has this little dialogue of self-loathing going on incessantly in her brain. This is the area of the brain that also stores every rotten thing that anyone ever said to you, from your mother to your third grade teacher to some asshole you dated at twenty three who had the nerve to mention your tiny stretch marks. This area is responsible, as well, for promptly erasing, dismissing and down playing every wonderful thing that anyone ever said to you. So when you really need a boost, all you can remember is the crap and you really need to have some awesome girlfriends to remind you how beautiful and wonderful and amazing you are. In case you don’t have one, though, let me assure you, you are beautiful, wonderful and amazing. I know it’s true, and so will you if you think about it for a minute.

Eventually, though, I had had enough with that evil me in my head, putting me down all the time. I think I was thirty when I finally told her to shut the hell up, or find somewhere else to live. She still pipes up every once in a while, but I have learned to say, OUT LOUD, “Shut up!” and that does the trick. It also works really well for keeping people from bothering you, just yelling “Shut up!” at no one, for seemingly no reason. You should try it sometime. Now see, when I was in my twenties, I cared too much about what people thought of me to ever do that. The beauty of one’s 30’s is the ushering in of the time of “I don’t give a fuck.”. Interestingly, this was about the same time that I realized, yeah, I can pretty much handle just about anything in my life by myself so I am going to stop sucking in my stomach now. A brief time of euphoria followed, then I got into a new relationship.

Four years, one baby and scads of growing up later, here I sit, watching my fourteen year old daughter prance around in shameful clothing while her light saber takes out everything in her path…she is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen, and I am not saying that because I am her mom. I see the way people look at her wherever we go. Then I look at her and see that she is nearly crippled with self-consciousness.Every day, there is some new thing she hates about herself. I would never be fourteen again, I don’t care what you paid me. Nor would I return to my twenties, I don’t care how cute my ass was. In my thirties, sure, some of the newness has worn off. I don’t expect a man to step in and save me- but I don’t need to be saved, either. I love my boyfriend, but if he left tomorrow, my life would go on. I’d be sad, but hey- at least I’d get that stupid bicycle out of the living room! I’m more comfortable in my skin than I ever have been before (maybe because there’s more of it!) and I have a confidence that has nothing to do with how I look. Every single thing I do for or to myself today is just icing on the cake- and I can do things with my light saber that would knock your socks off!

Thinking is NOT doing

Thanks to my job (which I love and am grateful for) and the fact that I just can’t get up any earlier than I already do, this will be short and sweet. Yesterday, my brain was just feverish with ideas and plans and dreams and all sorts of ways I could make over myself, my friends- indeed, the world! Yet somehow, I found myself still in my pajamas at two o’clock, having done nothing.

This idea of mine is a good one. I think all women, at certain points in their lives, feel unattractive. Whatever the reason may be- gained weight, bad hair cut, just stuck in the hum-drum rhythm of every day life and lost that spark…I think every single chick in the world, or at least in MY world, can empathize with that feeling. I think people will be interested in this. But if I am just dreaming about it and not putting any of these ideas of mine into action, this is going to be a very, very boring blog.

So yesterday, I at least started getting into action. I got my ass up and went to the gym for a couple of hours- I go to Peninsula Wellness Center in Marina, for those of you who are locals, and it’s worth every penny. Just for the steam room alone, I would pay them whatever they asked. I started off slowly, since I haven’t been in  a couple of months-thirty minutes on the treadmill, which went by way faster since I was watching “Law & Order”…then, because I am supposed to be doing NEW stuff that I wouldn’t normally do, I went swimming. My God, that is a workout and a half! But there was no one in the room, hardly, so I was free to thrash about and swim as badly as I wanted to.

Then of course, I hit the steam room. It was so steamy in there I had to call out to make sure I wasn’t about to sit on some poor, unsuspecting woman- which, by the way, I almost did. We ended up making friends, I found out she’s a writer, too, and she is going to get in touch with me today and check out my blog.

I was super sore already by the time I left there, but I stopped for some groceries anyway, since I knew that once my ass hit the couch, it was over…while in the grocery store, I was chatting with another woman, and she gave me her card and asked me to email her! Now listen, I am a super friendly girl, and I talk to people all the time, but this was the first time I had ever had women reach out to me this way- asking for my info, giving me their card. I mean, in all of my life, this was the first time this has ever happened.

This is how I know that what I am doing, women want to hear about. Looking good and feeling good is talked about all the time, but I don’t know how often it is put forth in a way that an average, busy, booked, exhausted, child having, full time working woman can incorporate it easily into her life. And feeling good, looking good…they go hand in hand, it’s something we all really want, no matter how much we pretend not to care.

So girls, I need your help. Please get in touch with me- leave me a message here, on Facebook, on Twitter…hell, email me if you want- I need to know what does it for you. What do you do that makes you feel good? That makes you feel pretty? What do you do to tend to yourself spiritually? How do you indulge yourself? What would you like to do if you had the money, the time, the balls to just do it? Please, please let me know. I want to hear what you have to say. Thanks!

Where To Begin…

It’s 5:01 Tuesday morning, coffee is almost done, and I am sitting here in my pajamas, trying to figure out how I want to start this whole thing, this whole “ME” do-over…I was thinking, you know, that I was talking about the outside of me in my last blog. I was talking about the outside of me. The truth is, though, I don’t think it matters a whole lot what my outsides look like if my insides feel bad, stressed, frantic, angry, unhappy.

So I am going to revise my proposal to include ALL of me, not just the parts that the world sees. I want to work on balance, and happiness, staying positive and being kind. I want to explore the idea of living my life with gusto and saying yes, yes, yes a lot more than I do now…And all of those little things that force me out of my head and into the moment, those tasks that annoy me to no end? Instead of moaning and groaning about them, I’m going to try to do them with a smile. I probably won’t be great at it at first, but I’ll get there…

As far as what I’ve done so far to commit to this project? Well, most of the work has gone on in my head…I’m coming up with ideas about what I want to do. I have, however, started playing this little game in my head called “How can I be kind to myself tomorrow, right now?” What I have discovered is tomorrow me is stoked when I wash my face before I hit the sack (yep, even that wasn’t happening for a while), get the coffee ready on auto brew, and lay my clothes out before I go to bed at night. Gives me more time in the morning to write stuff like this.

By the way? Today is our monthly birthday party at work where we all bring amazing food and eat until we are sick…this is probably not a good idea, but I know I’m going to do it anyway, so here is my promise: Tomorrow I am going to jump into this thing with a fury. Today, it’s a potluck.