Monthly Archives: July 2013

Rest Until You’re Ready Again.

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I wrote a blog last night. It was really long, and I was really tired. I decided not to post it, but to read it over in the morning…I am very glad I showed some restraint, there, because I surely did not in what I had written. I know you are dying to read it now, but you will just have to wait until either I am dead, or someone hacks my WordPress account. And let me just say, how bored would THAT person have to be? Also, it was a bit hard to read, as I changed the subject about twice a sentence. Yeah, not everything I write is fantastic- unlike this little gem is already proving to be. Ha!

So, let me tell you about my week- the one that just passed. My older daughter got thrown into Juvenile Hall, I have probably removed five years from my life thanks to my blood pressure remaining around stroke levels for a record amount of days due to seething rage and hatred, and, the tattered remains of the “relationship” I was hoping to salvage, were found to be utterly unsalvageable. I say “relationship” because, truly, it has been less than that for longer than I care to admit. Way longer than I was willing to stop pretending. Plus, we do not relate to one another in ANY manner, so how can it be called a relationship? I think what we had was more like a fiascoship, or a nightmareship, or something. Okay, I better stop, or I won’t be able to post this one either.

You know what? I am fucking exhausted. I am tired of working like a crazy person to keep so many things going, for so many people, and getting very little appreciation for it. I am tired of defending myself to selfish teenagers and selfish men who couldn’t make it a day in my shoes. I miss my daughter like crazy, and I wish that she were home, but it would be pretty nice to have her treat me kindly when she didn’t want something from me. I tried as hard as it is possible for me to try to make things work with the little one’s dad, and I know I did. I also know that there are no more ways I can trick myself into thinking I have found a solution, a way for us to soldier on until a more permanent fix is found, down the road.

Here is the deal- I believe in my true heart that the man I spent the past five years of my life with is a really messed up person. I know he reads this, and I’m sorry if this offends him, but he really is. The level of deceit that goes on in his daily routine, and the volume of negative, unhealthy energy he carries around with him is so unusual that I honestly couldn’t come to terms with it. The ONLY thing I have seen him do well is be a dad, and even then, that extends only to our child together. His other kid, who is really a great person, has been mostly out of sight for FIVE years. So I can only wonder how our experience will go. I have never before felt the way I do when I am around him- like I could really harm him, or anyone foolish enough to upset me further than he already has- and I never, ever want to again. I don’t like myself at all when I am near him, ninety percent of the time, and I don’t want to continue to be with someone who I can’t like myself around. My kid, I can’t get rid of ( and I love her, I really don’t want to), but I don’t have to do this anymore.

I know that I need to start making better decisions. I knew this a long time ago, when I kept choosing to stay when, inside, I KNEW it was a bad idea. I didn’t understand how high the stakes would end up being- now we have a kid, and I am older, and I am scarred from all of this shit. Not to mention, I have plenty of my own issues to deal with, aside from this. Ack! I am getting overwhelmed just talking about this, right now…which brings me to my point:

I spend a good portion of my day, every single day of my life, questioning myself, condemning myself, and doubting myself. I worry that I am not a good mother, that my kids will grow to hate me, that I do everything wrong, that I do not love them enough, or let them know how loved they are. I worry about my job, about not liking my job, about losing my job even though I don’t really love it, I worry that I don’t deserve my job. I worry about this relationship bullshit- that he’s right, and it’s me, that I am too harsh. That I have stayed too long, given up too soon, that I am making a mistake. I worry that I will be alone forever, and that I might have to go through this again. And those are just THREE parts of my life! Can you imagine?

I am going to try to be kind to myself. After he leaves, I generally have this wretched feeling of mean-ness and failure, and this is no different. I am not going to allow myself to continue punishing myself for where I am. I didn’t want to be here, but it’s where I am. I need to be okay so that I don’t have to stay here, right? I am NOT going to think about what’s next, nor dwell on what has happened. Today, I am just going to do what I told my toddler to do, yesterday, when she was getting frustrated, trying to learn to hop on one foot-“Rest a minute ’til you calm down- just rest until you’re ready.”

It’s Late…

Well, it’s nearly eleven- that’s late for ME, anyway! But, in an effort to be true to my word, I am going to post this (extremely short) blog, because I promised myself that I would be consistent. If I were really being consistent, this blog would have gone up about seventeen hours ago…I was sleeping then. My little one spent a good chunk of the night howling with a tummy ache, pretty much throwing my whole day off due to the sleep I missed. I overruled my alarm, and was about two hours late for everything I wanted to do today. Oh, well.

Sometimes, you just gotta roll with the punches, you know? I actually sat down hours ago to write something deep and meaningful, but unfortunately, I can see the sink overflowing with dishes from where I sit, and it just wasn’t possible to ignore this time. Which is weird, ’cause I can definitely ignore dishes, most of the time.

Anyway, there’s a lot going on in my life, and a lot of stuff I REALLY want to write about…but it’s going to have to wait until tomorrow. I’m going to sleep! Goodnight.

Dilemma

now-what-slideI haven’t felt like writing, the last couple of days. Or, I haven’t felt like writing the stuff I want to write about. Okay, that makes no sense…I guess I don’t feel able to write about the stuff that would make the most sense for me to write about right now, because it is personal, and writing personal stuff has become an issue. Not for me, though- I have no problem with it at all. It’s that, unfortunately, my personal problems nearly always involve at least one other person, and that other person, no matter who it is, gets upset at me for writing about them. My mother thinks I portray her as a horrible person. My best friends somehow interpreted a blog about them as me calling them alcoholics (I re-read this very carefully, and there is no credence to this whatsoever). And of course, the man with whom I share my most recent child…he gets very upset.

The biggest issue he has seems to be that I do not fairly represent his perspective…well, yeah! Most of the writing I have done about him has been in moments of anger, despair, and frustration, and most of the time I was utterly baffled by his behavior. Kind of hard to describe a point of view you are incapable of seeing. Lots of times I wrote as a means to give order and sense to a confusing set of circumstances. Or just to blow off steam. That’s how I always wrote before I had a blog, for the same reasons. I realize that this is a public forum, and if I wasn’t such a praise junky, I’d have made it anonymous and kept my stuff somewhat private…but I am, and here we are.

I resent having to censor myself. Part of me thinks people should just act right and then they’d have nothing to worry about, right? Part of me thinks people are overly-sensitive and not very honest with themselves about what is and is not true about their character. Most of me just feels frustrated that I am worried about speaking my mind, and allowing this to affect my writing, the one thing I have one hundred percent freedom with. A small part of me thinks I would not like someone else writing about me. Ugh.

I could write it out in a private word document, but what would be the fun in that? I am hooked on hitting the “publish” button, then checking my stats every three minutes for the next 24 hours. WordPress has ruined me.

So, I am not going to tell any of you anything. At least not about this, not right now. I will do what the other 98% of the world does when something is eating away at them-keep it to myself, stew, take it out on innocent bystanders. Have some road rage. Take Ativan on a weekend morning, in protest of my insufferable thoughts, and as a flagrant act of passive-aggression. Can’t piss me off if I’m unconscious, that’s my motto. Eh, if only I still had some Ativan…

I’m unhappy. I was so happy just recently, and so this unhappiness is unexpected, and doubly upsetting. I know how to be happy, but I don’t like thinking about what I must do to get there. But the answer has always been the same, I just keep finding new ways to side-step it. I think I am out of ideas. If that is not vague enough to make you want to throw a shoe at me, I don’t know what could be. And I’m sorry. One more thing I just don’t know how to get around right now. Goodnight.

Obamacare: What you think, what you know.

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About a month ago, I was lucky enough to sit in on a monthly “Employee Forum” at the hospital where I work. It’s just another way that my employer makes an effort to keep the lines of communication open, address any fears or rumors, and find out how they can keep their employees happy. I am a lucky girl, I know. All of the top dogs are in attendance at these meetings- the CEO, the heads of every hospital department, and we sit with them, at one big table, and eat lunch. After lunch, we take turns asking any questions we have, or that have been sent with us by the people in our departments. These questions run the gamut from “Can we please get better toilet paper in the public restrooms?” to “Why are we supporting this health care reform act?”

As I told my cousin, on our way to dinner last night, this last question made me a little nervous- it was asked in the voice of one who was not at ALL of a mind to support this whole “Obamacare” bologna. The summarized answer he received was this: “We have already seen a good deal of benefit from the parts of this initiative that have been implemented, FOR our community of PATIENTS. We recognize that it is not a perfect plan, but if we wait until it is perfect, we will be waiting forever.” In other words, my employer has decided, as a whole, that we can get behind what supports our community, because we, ultimately, are all about caring for our community. And we are willing to work with what we are given, focusing on the positive.

Another, very enlightening, fact that was presented to us was this: 70% of people, when asked if they support the healthcare reform from our current President, vehemently say NO! Yet, when those same 70% are asked whether or not they support the individual key points set forth within the act, they overwhelmingly are in support of those ideas…hmm. What this tells me is that there is an enormous amount of fear and misinformation surrounding this thing, and public education for EVERYONE needs to be undertaken to stop the circulation of far-fetched horror stories. At the end of the day, some people are not going to like it, maybe…but it is designed to make health care accessible for everyone, not a luxury for the lucky. I STRONGLY believe that everyone, no matter what their situation, deserves the help they need to care for themselves, period. They deserve to have one doctor who knows them, and follows them, and is therefore able to make the correct conclusions about this persons appropriate care.

Under this act:

Dependents can remain on their parents insurance plan until age 26: No one is saying they have to, or even that they should- but they can, that is all. Which has made a huge difference in millions of lives, already.

Your insurance cannot drop you if you get sick, or because you made a mistake on your paperwork: My daycare provider just told me that she lost her insurance coverage because, after getting cancer, her premiums skyrocketed, basically making it impossible for her, a self employed person, to afford.  They may not have dropped her, but they definitely impeded her ability to stay insured.

You cannot be denied coverage for preexisting conditions, nor can your children; Say for instance your company changes insurance companies- the new company cannot exclude you because you have health issues, or if your children do.

I think the people who are really running scared right now are the insurance companies- and they should be! The structure of the big insurance companies is being threatened with exposure, and the end result is that the general public will learn how messed up the whole system really is. Why is it that insurance is so expensive that most people can’t purchase it for themselves- so expensive that many businesses can’t purchase it for their employees? When the majority of people ARE NOT sick, or injured, or spending a great deal of time hospitalized? Why is it so hard to get a claim paid? What about the denials and BS explanations for why perfectly reasonable things are not being paid?

Here’s the deal, guys, and this is the truth- People with insurance are much more likely to have a primary care doctor, and use him. People that are using that doctor are going to have routine blood work and tests done. Those tests are going to detect illnesses such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many things much sooner, making treatment easier, and often preventing any need for hospitalization, or greatly reducing the number of hospital days…which reduces the financial impact on the insurer, which reduces the financial impact for EVERYONE.

Here’s another thing- people with insurance do not have to go to the ER for ear infections, colds, breast lumps, eye infections, stomach aches, migraines, bronchitis, chronic illnesses and refills of prescriptions. Right now, this is what they do, and they do it every single day, hundreds of times a day, just where I work alone. We see every one of them, because they are humans who deserve to be well. But when they cannot pay for their treatment, what do you think happens? The prices for services begin to rise for all of the folks who do have insurance.

This is not an easy dilemma, and perhaps it is a flawed initiative. But concentrating on keeping people well by providing them insurance and physician care to avoid illness, and making insurance companies be responsible, accountable, and humane, seems like a good start. We need to take a page out of my employers book, and work with what we are given. And if that is not good enough for you- this is America, after all. Educate yourself and make some changes!

The Best Advice You Will Never Hear

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Let me point out now, the title says “The best advice you will never hear“. It doesn’t say anything about whether or not you had been told once, twice, thirty seven thousand times, before those little grains of wisdom finally revealed themselves to be true. Most of the human beings that I know, and certainly the one that I am, do not put a whole lot of stock in the wisdom generously shared with us by others. Never mind that, nine times out of ten, the people who have that wisdom KNOW what they are talking about- we want to figure it out the same way that they usually had to- the hard way. What is the hard way, you ask? The hard way is the exact thing that I am talking about, here- it’s the path we choose when we ignore everything our mom’s, dad’s, teacher’s, and the surgeon general have told us, and we continue doggedly on our way, until finally, disaster, heartbreak and complicated consequences that last indefinitely force us to see our errors. This is when we usually remember those words of advice given to us, long before, and think- “Whoa. Boy, were they right.”

I am going to list a few of my favorites, really universal advice that is true for pretty much everyone, always.

1. My personal favorite, the golden rule: ” Do unto others as you would have done to you.”  This is just the crux of life, in a tiny little phrase. You will never regret treating another human being with kindness and respect. Even if they end up being ruthless and spiteful, or just cranky and rude, once you’ve washed your hands of them and the situation, YOU get to look back and know you handled yourself in a respectable, gracious way. Your side of the street is clean (another good one, by the way, “keep your side of the street clean.”) and you have nothing to feel ashamed of. On the other hand, going around being rude, being dishonest, and treating people like crap- no matter what THEY did…that’s going to weigh on you somewhere down the line, I promise.

2. Beauty is only skin deep, or, as my grandma would say “pretty is as pretty does.” This is especially important to understand when you are young, and the way I grasped it, finally, was when a boy I liked chose another girl, in my opinion much less attractive…but she was nice. She was nice, and smart, and not a big hot mess, which could not be said about me at that time. We have all been enamored of someone, only to find out, sometimes right away and others, eventually, that they may be great looking but that just isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to sustain anything, and it isn’t a sustainable thing, either. Beauty fades. Find out what else you have to offer the world.

3. Be yourself. This one seems like a no brainer, right? But think about how many times you have tried to be or act a certain way to make people that mattered to you think you were good enough for them…lots, right? The truth is, anyone who really loves you in your life, knows you- the REAL you, and accepts you as is. The easiest way to figure out who ought to be in your life is to relax and be yourself. You can save yourself a lot of time and worry by letting things run their natural course.

4. Children learn by what you do, not what you say. Anyone who has a two year old knows this is not exactly correct- they also learn what you say, a fact that was blatantly thrown in my face yesterday when I heard my little one call her older sister an asshole. Oopsie. Clearly, I have some more implementing of this advice to do in my life. Also, you can never start too young with them. If you want your kids to be polite, to enjoy school, to clean up after themselves, well, guess what? That means you have to have manners, you have to be willing to involve yourself in their classrooms, homework, and projects, and you have to keep your house clean. I did none of those things with my teen, and I will do ALL of them with my toddler-because I learned the hard way it was true.

5.Life is what you make it. Truer words were never spoken. Your perspective, opinion, and attitude about things has everything to do with exactly how happy you are at this very moment, and at every other moment in time. No one else is responsible for your happiness but you. Maybe you had a shitty childhood- lots of us did- but it’s up to you to decide to leave that shit behind you, and move on. In life, your heart will get broken, you will be treated unfairly, you will get knocked on your ass more times than you will even be able to count…and you are the only one to decide to learn from it, to let go, change direction, become better. Or, carry around a chip on your shoulder, be angry, lash out at others, choose defeat. It’s totally up to you. And when you are ready to understand THAT advice, it may be the turning point in your life.

There are so many other really great, wise old sayings, quotes, and cliches, I could go on and on…but I won’t! I’d rather hear from others what their favorites are, and why. Can’t wait to hear back!

What is So Hard About Writing?

You read a lot of stuff about the hard, lonely, lifestyle of writers. The cruel silence of the Muse, the rejection of your work- the end product of months of your blood, sweat, and tears, mind you, by faceless agents who probably barely glance at the first page of your carefully formatted manuscript before tossing it in the can…or, more likely, the faceless agent’s faceless assistant barely glanced at it, before hitting “delete”. You hear a lot about these things, and how hard it is to attain success, to get an agent, to break into that big, beautiful, wonderful world of the published author…which is right down the street from the gated community of the Best Seller’s List Estates.

The truth is, at least for me, I find NOTHING hard about writing. I enjoy the hell out of it- the more I do it, the more I long to be doing it, and nothing else beside it. When I read about how “hard” it is for writers, I can’t help but wonder if maybe they aren’t doing what they ought to be with their lives…Because the saying I heard was “Do what you love.” NOT “Do what you wish you could do, but can’t, until it makes you so crazy and full of despair that you contemplate putting your head in the oven.” Yeah, I guess that quote didn’t catch on. I LOVE WRITING. Even if it all adds up to nothing in the end, even if the only attention I ever garner is a record breaking day of readers on my blog, and the only record broken is my own, I would still love and enjoy it.

What is hard for me about writing is not being able to write. Not lacking the ability or the ideas, but having them bursting forth like some kind of broken water line, and having no choice but to walk out the door and go to work because that is the way it is. My reality is this: If I don’t stop writing right now, at 7:31, and get the hell out of here, I will be late, I will be written up for being late, and a whole chain of events will be started that could ultimately lead to the unemployment line (another stupid cliche that is no longer relevant, huh?) and the poorhouse (I am full of them today.). This is not just an example, I really have to get the fuck out of here. I’ll be back.

Okay, so, it is now nearly nine o’clock at night. I am tired. I am full. I have an entire day’s worth of wear and tear on my formerly crisp and brilliant mind. In some houses, that might not add up to much, but around here, it’s a LOT. I have a teenager, a toddler, a dog, a bunch of cats, and a full time job. Throw in a trip to the grocery store and the assembling of dinner, and that doesn’t leave a lot of time for the stories in my head to be transcribed, does it?

Sigh…but, I will make time. Even though I  won’t think it’s enough until it is the only thing I need to spend my day doing, I will make time. Because if I don’t, it will never, ever get to be the full time job I am hoping to make it. For now, though, I am tapped out. I am going to crawl in bed and wait to hear my daughter pounding on the door, having lost her house key..again. It will happen the second I start dozing off. That’s just the way it goes.

Happy Weekend, everybody.

 

 

Arrivals, Departures…

my-children-poem-parents-quote-daughter-son-quotes-family-love-you-quotes-pic-picturesI will try to remember the distance between us- even when you are sitting right there beside me in the car, you are somewhere else, entirely. The world rushing past you is not the one that rushes past me. For you, it is a place you have inhabited but not yet made your own.

I know that this journey is ending…it’s not over just yet, but it’s ending. I know you have roads of your own to explore, hours and years that will take you miles and miles away from this place. I hope you will be my companion, sometimes, ride for a while on the passenger side…I hope you will always think of me when you think about home.

It seems like we’d only just started- but somehow, it’s been all of these years. When you were still small, I thought I had forever, but now, here we are-just like nothing. As quick as can be, you’re grown up, now. You’re the most precious thing entrusted to me, long before I was ever trustworthy…but we sailed, anyway, didn’t we? Together, we made it through storms and rough waters, and eventually, I learned to steer this ship into calmer waters. Now suddenly, I can see land ahead- your destination, darling. I can’t go with you, even though I want to. I can’t hold you here, and I can’t go on with you. I did my job, I got you here safely- now I have to let you go, soon.

I have time, still. So little, it seems almost nothing…and the part that you’ll share with me, even less. The landscape is nothing but change, now. I will try to allow you to savor the first, awesome bits of your freedom. I remember so clearly that anticipation, that feeling that anything, really, could happen. It’s wonderful, being so wild and alive, and with nothing but a wide open road there before you. I want you to have it. It is everything, for a minute, and it never can happen again. I can’t shelter you, protect you, and set you free to live your life, too. And I want you to live.

I wish I could tell you how profoundly you have shaped me. All this time that I spent tending you has completely changed me. It is as if you were a natural extension of me, of my life- a friend I picked up along the way. I have no idea how I will go on without you. It’s been the two of us, always, at the core of things, really, and I don’t remember at all what it’s like without you sharing my space, my home, my life. I know I am being sappy, but none of this is exaggeration- it doesn’t even come near to describing my feelings. I love you. I love no one more.

I look at you, I watch who you are becoming, and I know in my heart you’ll be fine. You have something about you that makes me confident of that. I think you are smart, I think you are quick, and I see you observing what’s laid out before you, adjusting your understanding accordingly. I know you are learning. Much of your life is yours now, and I think you are navigating it just fine…I take no credit for any of the wonderful things you are becoming, either. You are your own girl, through and through.

I just wanted to tell you, I get it. I forget sometimes, but then I remember, and it’s like I’m your age, right there beside you. But just for a moment, enough to remind me- just so that I can be mindful of you. I don’t want to steal this joy from you, I just want to guide you a little. And tell you how loved you are, and how important. I realize the clock is counting down the last, impossibly short years of your childhood. I hope you know it’s been the very, very best time of my life.

Thank you.

Some Days, It Gets To You

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I’m just going to come right out and say it- I really despise getting older, some days. I would probably despise it every day if I remembered it was happening, but most of the time, I have other stuff going on, and I forget about it. Thank God. Because if I were this acutely aware of my downhill slide all the time, I would probably need Prozac or whatever they give people for depression at the moment. It’s just not a lot of fun, at all. It sucks, quite frankly, and all the time I wasted on being in denial about the aging process ever happening to me would have been better spent panhandling the small fortune necessary to buy those expensive, totally confusing, anti-aging creams and potions lining three aisles of every respectable store in America. The ones I guess I was supposed to start using back in my twenties, when I hadn’t even grasped the concept of face-wash, for Pete’s sake. I was behind before I ever showed up at the race.

Anyway, I know that some women handle this much more gracefully than I am-especially today-and I admire you, I really do, for your ability to adjust. I thought I would definitely be one of your kind. I remember watching my mother moaning at herself in the mirror as she pulled at every bit of skin that wasn’t quite as firm as it’d been…she would say things like “You have no idea how HORRIBLE it is, getting older.” to me, and I would be filled with dread, bleak depression, and…disgust that she cared so much. I swore I would never, ever care that much about my dumb old face. Easy to say when you are a twenty four year old who couldn’t produce a line on her face without a pen if her life depended on it.

Just like in a million other ways, I am the exact same as my mother in this terrible panic over my visible aging. I know how shallow and vain I am sounding right now, and I don’t care- I really fucking liked being pretty, being young, and being confident in my ability to turn heads when I wanted to. I REALLY liked it, like, I had no idea how much. And the sad, stupid thing is, I never truly believed it would be any different! I figured that somehow, I would get older, but not look older. Or I would just be one of those rare, striking, attractive older women you see here and there. Instead, I feel like all the spackle and effort in the world wouldn’t help me much today. All my best tricks aren’t even elevating me from this funky, frumpy swill pit I’m in.

The other issue is that I am FAT right now, and for the foreseeable future as well, if I don’t start doing something to reverse and repair it. But I am too busy moping around, wishing I had my old metabolism, still. Rather than take a walk, I sulk in my room, scowling down at my stomach as if it crawled up my legs and attached itself there while I slept. Nope, months…okay, honestly, years of sore neglect in the fitness area have finally won, outlasting my bodies firmity and taking up residence in a layer of blubber that is spreading as I type this. By the time I get up, another inch will be added to my hips, and I will eat a bag of frito’s and a slice of s’mores cake in despair.

So, I am not having the most fabulous day today, clearly. I am very sorry for being the opposite of motivational- unless of course you are a twenty year old who still has time to start slathering emollients on herself three to five times a day. If that’s the case, good for you. May your chin and your neck be two things forevermore. I will be on damage control from here on out, with this gravity stricken flesh pod of mine. Damn you, nature! Damn it all.

I am somewhat kidding, you know, but not really enough to avoid being sad- I realize that. Like I said, days like today, when I feel gross and my reflection in the mirror looks unfamiliar, are few and far between. Most of the time, I am running through my life completely unaware of how I look, and feeling as young as I always have. I am young, for Pete’s sake! 38 is NOT old. But it truly is the beginning, at least for me, of changes that aren’t all that exciting. Would I want to be twenty again, the way that I was? Hell, no. But I sure do wish I would have appreciated how lovely my ass was, I’ll admit that much.

In closing, I will share with you a thought that came to me earlier, when all of this started- Middle age is WAY worse than the big deal everyone makes over puberty! At least with puberty, there’s a chance you’ll come out the other side better…middle age does not make that promise, friends. This is as good as it gets.

Dreaming Away a Gray Morning…

courtesy of brokensavy.xanga.com
courtesy of brokensavy.xanga.com

If you ask me, daydreaming is a pastime that is sorely undervalued. It seems to me I was scolded for it as a child, and as an adult, it is hard to allow yourself to just sit there, gazing off into space as your head just floats off to wherever it does…There is always something else more important you could be doing, right? That vague sort of guilt at your criminal idleness, when, for GOD’s SAKE, there are dishes that need to be done, you deadbeat!

But you know what? I am putting my foot down, and objecting to all of that crap drilled into me throughout my life, by teachers, by parents, by bosses and, eventually, my own inner critic. Daydreaming was one of the most beautiful parts of my childhood- the elaborate, ongoing games of pretend that I played, the worlds and characters assembled from my own imagination, captivated me to no end. I’m not sure how my little neighborhood friends felt about the roles I forced them to play day after day, but if they had any complaints, I certainly don’t remember. Not that it would have mattered- it was my world, my rules. I never said I was the nicest kid on the block, just the bossiest one with the big imagination.

Through the years, my daydreaming evolved organically into writing- you can only facilitate games of pretend for so long, you know. But even apart from the writing, I think these daydreams of mine have served another, very useful, purpose. Way before “The Secret” ever hit the scene, before I knew anything about “visualization” or any of that stuff, I was imagining my life into being. I am not saying that everything I ever dreamed up, I also manifested into being (thank God! My favorite game of pretend was called “adoption”, where I was an orphaned child adopted by people so rich they owned Hawaii…think “Annie”, with an island, and a kitchen sort of like what the Jetson’s had.), but all of that speculating on my life did allow me to take note of the things I really did like the idea of. Some things fell to the wayside, but some became goals.

About a year ago, I was sorting through some old notebooks. One of them lay open on the bed, and Devon and I were talking about all the stuff I had written…he asked me what this particular thing was, so I grabbed it, scanned through it, and laughed, handing it to him. It was a list I had scribbled out several years earlier, when I was still in Nevada. My goals were listed, small but specific- 1) Pass my CCA exam; 2) Get a fabulous, great paying job at a hospital in Monterey; 3) Move back to the coast, near the ocean, in a cute place with two bedrooms…I think there were more things on the list, but you get the idea. The most striking thing about them was that I had put a timeframe at the top, like “By this time next year”. Somehow, three out of the five things, at least, had happened.

Right now, I am picturing myself in that house again- the big old Craftsman in Santa Cruz somewhere, preferably near downtown. I can see the wide, grand looking staircase just past the front door with the glass panels. I can see the polished hardwood floors, and the big, beautiful rugs that lay on top of them, here and there. I know the kitchen is warm and bright and full of light, and the living room is cool and calm and dark when the day is warm. I see my study with it’s big, oversized, gleaming wood surface right in the center of the room, littered with the debris of a writers’ life- reference books and scribbled notes, a cup of coffee, a jar full of pens. The window behind me overlooks a sunny backyard, full of flowers and leafy things, grassy parts for kids, shady parts for grown ups…

If nothing ever comes of this vision, who will it have hurt to have dreamed it? This scene in my head pushes me forward when I feel like doing nothing, but I could be writing. It gives me a purpose, and something big to work towards. It is the closest thing to stillness I can achieve, daydreaming. And I think it’s something that everyone should spend a little more time doing. What would it hurt?

Shifting Gears, Changing Lanes

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This will not, contrary to what the title so misleadingly suggests, be a blog about driving. Nope, sorry, no cars will be mentioned beyond this sentence. Besides which, it’s been so long since I’ve driven a stick-shift, I’m not even sure I could shift gears if I needed to. Nope, I’m talking about the internal, metaphorical shifting of gears and changing of lanes that we go through as human beings on the road of our lives- sometimes we do this intentionally, sometimes we do it without even noticing (Like when you pull into your driveway and have absolutely no recollection of the drive home whatsoever.), and sometimes we do it because we have no choice- some other “driver” runs you off the road, or you find yourself unable to get around one road block or another. Sometimes you just can’t stand the stretch of highway you are on anymore. So you put on your blinker (although what this would be, metaphorically, I have no idea) and you get the hell out of there.

What a liberating concept, huh? That at any time in our lives, when the way things are leave a little (or a lot) to be desired…we can do something else. This applies to pretty much any situation, at any point in time, period. Even as I write these words, I feel the part of me that has been molded by the polite and acceptable rules of society going into a panic.  If it had more control over me (and it sometimes does) it would be destroying all evidence of this entire thought process- that’s how nervous the notion of change makes this predictable, safe, facet of my personality. But that doesn’t make my statement any less true. I know that I can change nearly any aspect of my life, anytime I want to, to any degree I want to, just BECAUSE I want to.

I used to know this well, and take full advantage of it, often, when I was younger. Then I got a little more grown up and realized that I wanted my life to look more like other people’s lives. I wanted a better job, a credit card so that I could rent a car if I needed to, cable TV, and more money. So I did what most people do when they wait what they feel is “too long” to settle down- I panicked, and went after the life I thought I could fit myself into rather than the life that fit me. I chose stability, safety, financial security and the chance to finally make my mother happy over the much riskier, less certain life of pursuing my dreams. Most people would see nothing at all wrong with that- as a matter of fact, it’s probably the norm for about eighty percent of the employed population. We put our dreams in the backseat, the closet, or tucked in a drawer somewhere, and we tend to our families, our bank accounts, our dental appointments, and…everything else, first. We intend to get back to those dreams, once things mellow out, or the kids get a little older, or just as soon as this happens or that stops happening. We may realize, one day, that we have been better at keeping our promises to everyone else then we have to ourselves. Some people dismiss their most cherished hopes for themselves as “kid stuff”, and toss them out.

I don’t want this to be my story. I don’t want to give up, or finally have the right set of circumstances to start being who I really am…only to find that it would have been easier, better, more enjoyable, if only I had started way back when.

I don’t really know how to do it. I mean, I know that what I want to do is write, I know that I am a writer, whether I am known to millions of people, or only to myself- I was a writer the first time I scribbled out a horrible poem at the age of seven or eight. I have been enchanted by words, by the amazing, magical way their arrangement on a page could make the most incredible adventure begin, or bring the hidden, inner life of someone to beautiful light, nearly all of my life. But I am very uncertain about how to navigate the path from here to the best-sellers list. No matter how many books and articles I read on the subject of queries and revision, on genre and agents and submission guidelines, platforms and outlines, I still feel unprepared to take the next step. I am starting to suspect that I will continue to feel this way no matter what.

SO! I’ve decided to just go ahead anyway. I am thirty eight years old, and I don’t want to wait any longer to “feel ready”. Yes, I am not brimming with the confidence of someone either totally prepared or completely, blissfully, ignorant, but I doubt I am the only one who has ever felt this way. I am just not willing to let my fear stop me anymore. I am making some very big changes, and all of them are geared towards helping me get to where I want to be. Because I don’t want to live a pretty okay life anymore, and the strain it is causing me, this weird, pervasive unhappiness that makes me feel like such an ass (oh, poor you, with your incredible job, boo-hoo) is heading me straight for consequences I definitely don’t want.

I have mapped out a plan. Part of that plan is to commit to a minimum of two, but a goal of three, blogs per week. I would also like to get back to my original purpose, at least in part, which was to write about navigating the treacherous waters of being a (gulp!) middle aged woman and learning how young middle age really is. Because it really, really, is. So expect to be hearing a lot more from me. And at least a little more of that particular subject, although I reserve the right to also go off on tangents in totally unrelated subjects.

Change can be alarming, and make you lose your sense of equilibrium. Change can be unwanted and painful, hard to get through. But change can also be an absolute necessity, something you might be willing to give up everything- your job, your money, every comfort in your life- for. Sometimes it is not enough to wait for change to come close enough to you to grab. Sometimes you get up off your ass and start creating change right in the middle of your own kitchen. Which is what I have decided to do. It doesn’t mean I’m not scared half to death of what might happen…I’m just more afraid of what can NEVER happen if I don’t try.