I was at the gym a few days ago when this commercial came on. Maybe it was the hormones, maybe it was the stress of moving, maybe it is me being all “woman-like” but I started to tear up right there at minute 11 on the elliptical.
Shortly after, I went to the weight room and saw a little old lady shuffling her workout mat back to put it away. The woman could barely hold herself up, let alone this large green workout mat. I offered to take the mat and put it away for her. She thanked me.
It wasn’t too long after that I turned on the car and heard the craziness that is now our country. People hating white people and not calling it racism. People lashing out. Others telling people to give is their duty and others fighting being told what to do.
It’s at this point that I realized, regardless of my political affiliate, I’m still not an asshole, no matter who you think I may or may not vote for.
I’m just a little bit sick and gottayam tired of people placing everyone is boxes. Little boxes made of ticky-tacky. I’m tired of hyprocicy. I’m tired of name calling. I’m tired of empty promises. I’m tired of the misunderstanding that spans the isle and I’m tired of people assuming.
I’m a Libertarian. Not an asshole.
I believe less government is a good thing. I want to decide ON MY OWN that McDonalds is not healthy, to select businesses with models I agree with, to let my decision effect and change the world, not the government. I want to see change and I want to see others helping each other, not because Big Boss Man said so, but because we are raised with the core belief to respect human life, however different from you that may be.
I want to see healthy discussion. I want to see honesty. I want to see a world where opinions matter and are not immediately deflected. I want to see my children become people who will accept a large variation of lifestyles not because the government mandates it so, but because I teach them we are different and that is OK. I want them to acknowledge and accept change while understanding core principals. I want them to love people for who they are not who they profess to be.
I want my son to be allowed to be a boy. To play too rough, to jump in puddles, to sleep in the dirt. I want a school system that encourages learning of all types and does not shelter nor prevent any one child from being more than another.
I believe competition is healthy. Striving for something better, to be a part of something more, is a part of growing up.
I believe failure is OK. I believe failing teaches lessons and without failure, there is no growth.
I do not believe it is the governments job to prevent that failure, or that growth.
I’m the kind of girl that will pick up your baby’s sock if he/she kicks it off when you’re walking. All I want in return? A smile and a thank you. I’m the lady that will stop to let you in if I haven’t been cut off six times since two blocks ago. All I request is a nod and a wave. I’m the lady who you are calling a racist, a homophobe, a biggot. All I want is a chance to discuss, ask questions, admit I have no answers.
I am the lady who will see a lesbian couple linking arms and think how awesome love is, and how we all need our very own person, whatever package that comes in. And I do not want to be judged for that thought. I’m the gal who hates being called racist simply because of my skin color. That, alone, is racist, is it not? Determining my opinion of you because of your skin color based on my own skin color, well, that’s just fucked up.
I’m the programmer who is humble enough to shrug. I’m the woman who will admit she needs help. I am the mom who knows my children will not understand or respect every decision I make but who strives to make decisions based solely on the fact that I make them out of love and in the belief they are the best for this minute for my children.
I’m someone who believes in small business, who has faith that the system allows each to rise to their inner potential, who strives to let free market be truly free. I’m the person who is consistently shouting hands off to most all things government. I’m the lady who believes jobs will cure an economy, put strength in people’s hearts and a backbone to this nation.
I am honest to a fault. I am torn by two parties. I am not an asshole.
I’m a Libertarian.
Life is chaotic now. I knew the change was coming but you can never fully prepare for it. It’s like a pregnant mother waiting for the birth of her child. She hears all of you telling her to “sleep while you can” and “Woahboy, your first, hu? Big change is coming!” but those words are simply words. They are not experiences until she is in the midsts of it, and then it is irrelevant.
Words can be meaningless.
Or they can change your world.
The other day my Yoga instructor kept telling us to find our Drishti. Drishti, I repeated in my mind. Drishti. I knew she was telling us to find our focus. Our point of concentration. I looked up the meaning and found this definition: “Drishti is the focus of the eyes in meditation. This is the focal point where one’s gaze lies to attain concentration alignment, and inner and outer balance. One actually does this to prevent distractions, but should be looking inwardly and not concentrate on the physical object. This could be the tip of your nose or in between your eyebrows, depending on your yoga pose.” (source)
“This is the focal point where one’s gaze lies to attain concentration alignment, and inner and outer balance. One actually does this to prevent distractions.”
I am a very distracted woman right now. I need to find my Drishti.
With the chaos at home, there is no zen. With the lack of Internet, work is sporadic at best. With the children in unrest, life is constant soothing, meeting their needs, not finding time to put their beds together because WHERE IS THE HARDWARE IT WAS IN THE BOX ZOMG.
Life… lacks Drishti.
So I find this word as powerful as the act itself. “Drishti.” I start planning ways to focus. I find ways to balance. I shift a bit left, a little right, a new list here, a meeting there. I work to re-compartmentalize my life in ways I can find peace and harmony.
And in the mean time, I remind myself words are only words until you are in the middle of the experience, however difficult that may seem.
You probably don’t know the “northwest profile” commercials from Pemco, unless you live here. Or you listen to Seattle Internet Radio in an effort to step up your coolness. Or you’re a seattle northwest wannabe. (Or, rather, soon-to-be Seattle-ites.)
However, if you’re from the Northwest, these profiles sort of hit home.
Really close to home, actually.
As in: Me.
Here she is, ladies and gentlemen, Northwest Profile #39: Runs Barefoot In The Rain Gal.
You can find her on a weekday morning or early on the weekend running along the Burk Gilman or Samamish Trails. She’s got her orange REI rain-repelling super-wicking fast-drying hoodie. She’s listening to acoustic angst folk music counting her miles with her Nike+. It’s fifty and pouring. And? She’s barefoot.
Runs Barefoot (In Vibrams) In The Rain Gal, you’re one of us: A little different.
Hey, remember that time I was all, “OMG WE GOT A HOUSE AND WE GET TO MOVE!”
Fuck that. Moving is hard, yo!
It’s not just the new-ness of the place, or the old-ness of someone else’s dirt, it’s the alone-ness, the “what are we doing-ness” of our lives.
Disrupting the routine is no good, people. NO GOOD AT ALL.
But not having internet? That’s death.
Monday was our scheduled day. “Your rep will be there between 8AM and 5PM Monday, March 22.”
Awesome. I can totally unpack and not have internet for two days in our new house right?
So I unpacked and I paced. I glanced out the window every few minutes. I kept the music low so I could hear the door.
It started to feel really familiar. Akin, if you will, to those last few weeks before I gave birth to my daughter. The “Due Date” was really a range of time. “Any day now” lasted weeks. I walked, I paced, I was uncomfortable, a little lost, stuck in anticipation, unsure. I re-lived those moments as I waited for the Verizon guy. And waited. And waited.
I called my husband and begged for him to do something. Not unlike the phone call at 38 weeks pregnant yelling, “JUST GET HER OUT. GIVE ME AN ORGASM. THEY SAY IT WORKS OHMYGOD JUST DO IT.”
I slowly gave up as the afternoon passed. I knew it wasn’t happening that day. I felt lost and betrayed and alone. I was sure it would be monday. Monday I would have my Internet Baby.
This is the point of the story where you tell me, “Did you just seriously compare waiting for the Verizon dude to having a baby?”
YES. YES I DID. This is how effed up I am in my world without internet people. I HAVE NO PERSPECTIVE.
So if posting here is a bit raw for a while, know it’s because I’m probably typing on my iPhone screen using auto-correct and yelling, “No! I didn’t mean to type stinks, I mean pink! DAMNIT!” And “Ate you going to the car?” translates in to “Are you going to the park?” And so forth.
And in the mean time, I’ll scouring the house for a 3 inch elephant because SOMEBODY will not be able to go on living without it. SOB DRAMA SOB.
See? We’re all sorts of non-perspective in our new, awesome, amazing house right now. Even if it is all those things.
My body has a funny reaction to stress. You’ve heard of “fight or flight?” Well, I have “Fight/Flight or Sleep” with the latter having a weighted pull. I spent most of college sleeping. I never made it through an “All nighter.” Hell, I hardly make it through an “All Day-er.”
I find myself walking around our new house looking at things I want to fix. I walk around the empty house in circles. Living Room - Dining Room - Kitchen - Family Room - Den - Living Room - Dining Room and so on… I wander and pretend that I’m calculating the next step, the next priority, but really, I’m sleep walking in an effort to shut out the ToDo list.
And then I curl up on the floor and go to sleep oh.my.god. in the middle of the kitchen between the cabinets I want to stain and the refrigerator we need to move OH.MY.GOD.
I’m comforted by the sounds of laughter from the children digging in the dirt outside and my husband’s whistling as he measures for the brackets in the garage. It’s a lullaby to me, the sound of my head spinning with THINGS.TO.DO and the sound of my family being in our new space.
The children don’t really get it yet. They ask, “Can we come back to play here tomorrow?!” “Yes! You can come here and play EVERY SINGLE DAY for the rest of your lives!” My five year old’s eyes bulge. “It’s true! Our stuff will be here soon! THIS is our new house!”
Then they ask again, “Can we go back tomorrow?”
Yes. We can.
I remember my dad giving me words of wisdom when my parents packed our family up in the station wagon and left sunny Houston and my 12 year old boyfriend (dude, my FIRST BOYFRIEND) and brought us all to this place with trees and wet and cold. I remember my dad telling me, as I bawled in the McDonald’s parking lot somewhere in New Mexico, that “home is where your shit is.”
Profound, my dad.
I try to explain this to Mr. Flinger when he’s perplexed at the children, “THIS is our new house!” He beams with pride. They look confused. “Are we going home now?” they ask. They want their lovies. They want their toys. They want their shit.
Saturday our shit follows us to our new house. Saturday we get the U-haul and, with a little help from some pretty awesome people who wouldn’t let us hire movers, we take our entire lives’ belongings and stuff them in to a new place.
And then, then it will be home.
And I will have a bed to curl up on and rock myself to sleep with the sound of the to.do.list.oh.my.god.
In a good way.
But for now I’ll go pack those boxes and the childrens’ closets and the rest of the kitchen and the oh.my.god… zzzzzZZZZzzzzzz
Funny thing: Buying a house. It’s not like buying a new shirt or a new car. It’s more like going to the dentist, having a tooth pulled, and being told all you need is “the gas” and you’ll remember nothing.
(Incidentally, I did that last week, too.)
Or maybe it’s more like courting a lady; A lady who plays hard to get and toys with your emotion. She gets you all hot and bothered and then backs away and it requires three cold showers to get back to thinking of anything except her, only to have her email you with some great news and get the process started all over again.
Or maybe it’s like buying a house.
I don’t know.
At any rate, our house is officially ours. We’ve stepped inside only three times total since October 11, the day we made the offer, but stepping inside last night felt wildly familiar. The smell is familiar. The house has memories of ours in it already, memories we have not even made.
Last night we started making our fresh new memories with some of our favorite people.
The house is already home to our first pizza picnic. It’s home to our first hosted dinner. It’s home to the first playdate with our children and their best friends.It’s home to hide and seek and laughter. It’s home to friends helping with house-repairs and it’s home to that time we had no heat and tried to build a fire only to find out we suck at building fires.
It’s home. Already? It is home.
In the haste of Monday Morning, we forgot my daughter’s sleeping bag for her Kindergarten rest time. Having the luxury of working close to her school, I ran it over at lunch time and decided to stay for a few minutes to see what life is like for her in her mini chairs eating the lunch we packed with the friend she always talks about.
One four year old sitting to my right started quizzing me immediately. “What’s your name? Where do you work? Why are you here? Are you the one that named her? Did you pick out her clothes today?” I answered some politely and ignored others to talk to my own daughter who was quietly eating and singing a song from their morning music class. My daughter’s teachers came over to tell me what a glorious job she’s doing.
The four year old didn’t stop.
And at this point I turned in to one myself thinking, “Hushit! I’m trying to listen to teachers brag about my daughter you little blabbermouth.”
I am SO mature.
Her teachers told me how great she is doing in reading and writing and the knack for language my daughter has. She’s creative! Expressive! Self Confident! And the only one in school that can speak Spanish with the correct accent and all the kids look up to her.
Both literally and figuratively since she IS the tallest one in Kindergarten.
The four year old continued, “Why are you here? Why don’t you look like her? Why is one eye bigger than the other one?”
I stopped trying to ignore her and looked right at her.
She almost gloated.
Kids are like dogs, they know our sensitivities. And the lunge for them.
“No, really, why is that eye bigger? What did you do?”
“I don’t know” I replied, honestly. “It’s my pirate eye. RRrrRRRRR”
At this point her sister, sitting next to her, gets up and looks directly at me as she whispers something in her ear.
The four year old looks at me and says, “Whatever. You’re weird.”
And then I decided that little shit will never hang out with my daughter in my house.
It was at this time I realized how harsh school kids still are. My daughter’s sandwich is different because I make homemade bread. “Why is your sandwich ugly,” she asked. My daughter is tall and clumsy from her long body, one that girls will hate one day, but now can mock, “she’s too tall,” the four year old declared.
Little four year old bully.
My daughter is comfortable there. She is strong and confident and flourishing. Even though she doesn’t turn six until October, her teachers are confident she will do well starting first grade this fall. She is a leader, a gentle spirit, a love of many boys. She includes new children in to her play and creates art hourly with hearts and flowers of her family.
She’s well adjusted and happy.
I’m unsure now what to do.
Yesterday I learned two very conflicting lessons: On the one hand, my daughter is growing and excelling and “ready to move on” and on the other hand there are going to be twice or three times as many bullies when she enters first grade in a glass three times the size she’s in now, in the luxury of her private Kindergarten. I have the option to hold her back academically, giving her another year in this space she is excelling in, or I allow her to move on to continue to be pushed as she reads at a 2nd grade level and strives to challenge herself.
I realized I can’t comfort her against a bully. But her environment gives her the power to let it wash over her back.
I wish I had the same power. I wish I knew the answer of what the best choice for her is. I wish I could see the future to know if she would struggle too much with peer pressure in her teens being one of the younger students or if she’d grow too bored if I held her back and open her up to idle time and temptations to stray.
I wish I knew what to do. Either way we have to choose soon.
The future starts next week in registration.
What would you do?
What’s that expression? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Think I’m pregnant three times I might as well jump off something very very high.
Is that right?
If you’re not following me on twitter (which, why not?*) you may have missed the part where my daughter’s teacher congratulated me on being pregnant yesterday. I replied, as I have before, “Oh, no, not pregnant” and she stumbled and said, “Oh, I probably look pregnant, too, uh…” and it was awkward, as it always is, and then I went home and cried, like I always do.
Because she’s not in the wrong to think it simply based on appearance.
Here’s the thing: I recently described my body to the doctor as one of those puzzles where you match the head, torso and legs only my torso completely doesn’t match. It’s all round and flabby while the arms are strong and my legs are lean.
I’m a broken puzzle, y’all.
I work out. I cut back on sugar. I endulge sometimes because I believe in having a life-style, not a diet, but I try to drink lots of water, eat lots of veggies and pick the right thing more times than not.
And yet, these abs, y’all. THESE ABS. They are stretched in ways they hang like last year’s coat in my childrens’ closet.
I see it at Yoga. I am strong and powerful. I’ve been told I have a “beautiful practice” and yet I look like no yogi in the room. Instead, I lay over my flabby abs in Pigon and stare at disdain for the stomach that used to hold a shape. I tell myself not to hate it because it grew the children I adore and love and who love me regardless of how I feel about my abs.
My abs stretched and created life and why I hate them for it is simply because of this one fact:
THERE IS NO MORE LIFE IN IT.
Now it is painful ovulation and one big hazard to anyone wanting to wish me well.
Like the Pioneer Woman, Ree.
Like my daughter’s teacher.
I took a picture of my shirt realizing it’ll be the last time I wear it. I can understand why she thought I was pregnant. I don’t hate her for it. I don’t think she was rude. I think she made a mistake, one I’d probably make myself if I wasn’t all too aware of the hurt it caused.
It’s not her fault I look pregnant. It’s mine.
There is an amazingly powerful denial that happens each morning in the mirror. A denial not strong enough to ignore three separate instances (actually, four, but that’s another story) of false congratulations. Denial I can’t allow to shield me from this one fact: My belly, it is soft. It is soft and round and nothing like the rest of my body.
Now, the choice is mine to decide: What am I going to do about it?**
What would you?
*If you are following me on twitter and I’m not following you back, it’s because SPAM bots have forced me to ignore most everything and all you gotta do is send a lovely “@mrsflinger I AM FOLLOWING YOU AND I AM REAL” and I’ll be sure to follow back.
** Yes yes, not wearing empire waisted shirts/dresses/anything is my first place to start. :: facepalm ::
One of my favorite parts about having children is that sayings you haven’t heard since 1982 become part of daily life again. “You know what? Chicken Butt.” Kids either keep you young or toss you right back in time to create a very large, somewhat over weight ten year old. It’s awesome.
I picture you taunting me as I write this post. “Leslie and Yoga sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage…” Or else you’re just poking your eyes out, “STOP WITH THE YOGA DEAR GOD STOP”
No. You’re not the boss of me.
During this time of transition, we’re all a little wonky. Bat-shit-crazy. Losing our ever loving minds. We’re all bumping in to boxes and searching for things and coming up cussing, “Did you already pack the [insert important item here]?!” HULK SMASH.
It’s like, so totally rad. Not.
I have a tendency to “pile on” as Mr. Flinger says. When things get hard, I make them harder. Deadline at work? Why not try to get four sites done instead of that one big one? Moving and having most of your food in chaos? Why not start a diet and freak out about not losing weight because you’re eating out too often? Worried about paying bills? Why not make a long spreadsheet about how you need to repair the cars before they both die and OMG WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE ONE DAY MOTHER OF ALL MERCY.
See? Piling on.
It just so happens that I’ve also decided to love me some Yoga. Yoga makes the piling on go away. Yoga makes the weight, well, in theory, go away. (I have yet to experience this phenomenon even though I’m sore most every day. I’m working really hard not to pile on right now about why my body hates me so much.)
Seriously, someone stop me. I’m about to post pictures.
OH YES I AM.
I’m trying to find balance. To be OK with a touch of chaos. To reflect on the fact that it always gets done, one way or another, it always gets done.
I’m trying to reach inward, not outward, to find strength. To be a woman capable of keeping the family in harmony when harmony is most impossible.
I’m seeking ideals from new foundations, bringing outside, fresh, new perspectives in; finding quotes comforting and challenging, as much as new poses and the rhythm of the Vinyasa in Yoga class are. “Buddhism holds that everything is in constant flux. Thus the question is whether we are to accept change passively and be swept away by it or whether we are to take the lead and create positive changes on our own initiative. While conservatism and self-protection might be likened to winter, night, and death, the spirit of pioneering and attempting to realize ideals evokes images of spring, morning, and birth.” -Daisaku Ikeda quotes
At the end of the day, I strive to find hope, spring, morning, birth. To focus on the lengthening daylight and the new buds of life. I remind my family that soon, very soon, our lives will become what we always strived for. My daughter reads and talks about first grade. My son asks how to spell words and writes his own two-year-old version. We tackle growth and learning and becoming as one: a family adapting, growing, seeking.
And still, we sit at the dinner table telling very corny knock knock jokes and one-upping each other with “that’s what she said.”
Because some things never change.
(Heh, I said when things get hard.)
18 guests here now.