Who knew a consecutive string of 365 days could be responsible for so much anguish in the world! 2016 killed people, I hear. Politicians and media are at their all-time suckage level. And worst of all – the Dab.
I have thoughts.
First, Liberia. I’m writing a piece with a friend, and I’ve had to do some research on Liberia. We may have a president with awful hair who is appalling and embarrassing and maybe even evil. And we may have lost some people (who we never met) (most who were old) (who we stopped paying attention to almost completely until we binged watched/listened immediately after the news of their passing to show our love and devotion). But guys. Please. We have homes with plumbing and cool air and heat and refrigeration and best of all Netflix! We can walk out of our homes with our Netflix (without getting shot) and get in our car (without getting bombed) and drive to work (where we earn a decent paycheck) and hang out with friends (without getting Ebola) and go out at night (without being raped)…What a great year it’s been for US…Yay!! If this has been your Worst Year Ever, you’re still one of the luckiest people on Earth.
The beauty of being American is, our politicians and media only affect you if you let them. So you’re the one at an all-time suckage level if they bother you. Plus, frown-lines, guys…don’t want ’em.
Second, guess what. Guess who made 2016 an embarrassment. We did. Maybe our ancestors contributed to our lineage of bad decision-making skills, so we can blame them a little, but we mostly did this to ourselves. We gave the Kardashians an inch (big inch) and Donald Trump took a mile (big mile. the biggest mile. tremendous miles.) We let news anchors fuel our thinking and GIFs and memes guide our emotions. We’ve kinda been the weakest generation. And our diplomas and degrees don’t mean much if we get our information from Twitter and mass media.
So just flip the freaking calendar…it’s just another day on Earth. People aren’t going to stop dying (especially if they keep getting old and/or shooting heroin). Nobody decent is ever going to want to run for office again now that they see how that all works. And the Dab will be replaced by something. even. dumber.
I’m going to do the splits in 2017. The center ones. And I’m going to continue to gauge my happiness by the world around me. The one I actually live in, the people I actually care about, and the life that’s actually treated me and mine very well lately, thank you very much.
This entry was posted in arts, confidence, creativity, Decisions, Dreams, family, Fear, friends, hippies, Independence, Learning, Life lessons, Loss, Marriage, Media, mid-life, Mission Statement, politics, rebel, Social Media, Teaching, Trust, Uncategorized, writing and tagged Donald Trump, Liberia, netflix.
One thing my boss learned about me in my final weeks at my job is that I’m a tightly-wound ball of loose, fun, colorful, frazzled yarn. Or maybe I’m a loosely-braided ball of really hard, tough wire. I don’t know…Who knows?!?! She looked at me with great sympathy and said, “It must be really stressful being you – you’re a walking contradiction of OCD and ADD.”
I was known as the free-spirit, the hippy, the rule-breaker, the “what box?” person in our office of 16. So it seemed strange to her when I melted down in my office and busted out with the admission that my house was in disarray because of the reno, my treadmill was out of commission, and it made me feel like my whole life was falling apart. Okay now that does sound dramatic. However, I thrive on structure and schedules and to-do lists, yet I operate in un-structured spontaneous irreverent ways. I finally realized that the lists and order are coping mechanisms I’ve developed to survive in the real world.
This got me thinking…Is there any part of me that is wholly and completely any one certain way? (These things are probably not unique to ENFPs, and certainly not unique to me…just a little self-realization at 40, that’s all.)
Political views: With regards to taxes, government-involvement, economic policy, domestic and global protection…completely Republican. With regards to personal decisions …completely Democrat. I realize this pretty much makes me a Libertarian, which pretty much makes me screwed.
Religious views: My dad, grandfather, and uncle are/were Southern Baptist ministers. I was raised in the church and am so thankful for it. I like believing in the things the Bible teaches. I like the way I feel/am/behave when I leave church. I think a lot of the world’s problems would be solved if more people knew and followed Jesus. I don’t believe everyone else has got it all wrong and are doomed to hell. I don’t believe science had no part in this. I don’t believe we should look any differently at people who don’t believe like we do. I don’t believe what Christianity is taught to be, in most cases, was what was intended. And even if I’m still afraid to be so brash as to claim that any parts of the Bible are wrong, humans are. All the time. And we’re the ones trying to read/teach/impose it. Language and metaphors and translations and interpretations are real actual things. Jenn Hatmaker says it best in her book, For the Love…”If it isn’t also true for a poor, single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.” Fact check, mic drop.
Career: I need someone to tell me exactly what to do, and then I want to do it completely differently and them not get mad. Good thing I’m going to be a teacher again.
Homosexuality: If you’re going to use the Bible for reference to claim something as a sin, you have to use the same Bible as your reference that God created everyone in His image. Never met a gay person who was faking it. Never met a gay person who hadn’t tried to be straight. I have lots of friends who are gay. Some of them are the very best at showing God’s love – why should I care who they show it to?
Gun control: Guns should be controlled, but if I want one, please sell me one. I don’t care about privacy when it comes to this topic. I believe in lots of regulations here. But I think the sudden surge in taboo-izing guns is part of the problem. I want to be the one to decide who gets to buy guns and who doesn’t. I think that might help.
Marriage/Family/Divorce: Going to have to make this one a separate post. Stay tuned.
Parenting: I want to give them tons of structure, bedtimes, schedules, rules to follow, expectations to meet, with tons of independence, freedom, and self-expression.
Media: I hate the media. 100% completely. There!!!…I found something without a “but”.
**The Myers-Briggs Personality test categorizes ENFPs (Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception…also known as Campaigners, Champions, Idealists) as constantly contradicting themselves because they genuinely see multiple sides to most situations. Sorry not sorry.
This entry was posted in 40s, ADD, arts, authors, balance, Blended family, busy schedules, career, creativity, Decisions, Dreams, ENFP, family, friends, home decor, Independence, language, Learning, Life lessons, Marriage, mid-life, obsessions, OCD, Parenting, rebel, renovation, Social Media, Step-parenting, students, Teaching, Uncategorized, writing and tagged Jen Hatmaker.
I spent 13 years living in Victoria, Texas, after spending ages 5-21 living in a small town just 25 miles away. Previous to my life in that area, I lived in Kennedale, Burnet (at a boys’ home), and La Porte (another boys’ home) – all in Texas. For brief smidgens of time in early adult-hood, I lived in Plano, Dallas, Vanderbilt, and Bay City.
I ran in various circles in Victoria – from teachers to piano students to church small groups to CAbi parties to volleyball moms to band gigs. Through all of that, I probably had something to do with almost everyone in town at some point. During my later years there, I came to the hard realization that there was no way I was going to be able to keep up with the lifestyle of my peers, and I found myself resenting where my circles had led (too much wine and spending too much money) and regretting the expectations my daughter had established growing up around friends with money and entitlement. She was about to fall off the edge in various ways, and in an attempt to save us both, I moved us here.
I moved to our current city – a suburb of Houston – almost four years ago, and – other than the town where I lived most of my childhood – never had I felt more at home. My husband has been here and involved for more than 13 years, and I do a lot of things with a lot of wonderful people here. Yet, it seems like when I least expect it, my Victoria friends show up in the most extraordinary ways.
I posted an “offer” on Facebook to take old books off anyone’s hands – I need to fill my shelves with great books that freshmen will embrace. I expected my current local acquaintances to chime in and help. Not a peep. Over ten offers from old Victoria friends in less than an hour though. One offered to hook me up with hundreds of books leftover from the Victoria Public Library purge. One offered me whatever I wanted from her school library purge. One drove an hour to meet me to bring me a box of books (and drink mimosas). And at least four others have offered to drop boxes of books off with my daughter for transport to me here. (One of hott husband’s H-town friends also offered books…I don’t want to neglect to mention her 🙂
I know it seems like a small, impersonal thing (books), but it puts a lump in my throat to think about it and feel the outpouring of support these folks show each other – and even me. I miss that. People in Victoria rally together. People in Victoria don’t do anything alone. People in Victoria are some of the most generous people I’ve ever known, and though I once felt like something of an outsider by the inherent “elitism”, I know they balance all of that out with their philanthropy, and then some. It’s a little bit like a cult, but they didn’t disfellowship me even when I moved away and haven’t talked to them in years, and even though I never had to resources to help them in the same way they helped me.
Social media helps maintain bonds that otherwise would fade away with time. I know I gripe about Facebook, but I know in my heart that if I moved to Botswana and was craving Whataburger and one of them found out, somebody would raise enough money to build a Whataburger in my village. I may not be one of them anymore, but I want to return the love and goodwill any way I can, and I will be eternally grateful for the way our lives intersected while they did.
This entry was posted in 40s, authors, balance, books, cleaning, creativity, family, friends, Learning, Life lessons, mid-life, moving, reading, Social Media, students, Teaching, traditions, Uncategorized, writing and tagged Coastal Bend, Texas, Victoria, Whataburger.
The A-Z Challenge was over for most people yesterday…I’m a little behind, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to evaluate progress in the areas I’ve been challenging myself.
A- Acceptance: Took the A-Z Challenge…still with it. Took the new job…still excited!
B – Boys: I’ve stopped trying to understand boys. Boys and girls are not meant to understand each other. I am still trying to educate my boys (the little ones) about girls and mostly how to navigate the differences and not piss off the ones you like.
C – Confidence: Meh. Wearing a short-sleeved shirt today – does that count?
D – Diet: Bummed about this one. Stopped most carbs and alcohol, started Insanity and Workweek Hustle with my FitBit (getting in no less than 10,000 steps a day)…Not a pound lost. Depressed and discouraged, I rage-ate pizza and wings a few times. Even besides that, probably not doing too well with this one – and DEFinitely not doing as well as I know how to (as my skinny gynecologist pointed out when I expressed concern about recent weight gain. Bitch. Jk, I like her.)
E – Expectations: I’m realizing that my internal clock ticks really fast…that’s helped some. I’ve also had a conversation with my hott husband that might have given me more insight than before on how his brain works and why some things don’t happen the way I expect them to. Besides, I would hate it if I knew what went on in my head went on in his too.
F – Facebook: This one took for a while, but then I found myself stoplight-scrolling uncontrollably. Today, I’m going to make the conscious effort once again to not look unless I have something I specifically want to find.
G – Grout: Picked it…going with the one that’s the most like taking me on a date…cheap and easy 😉
H – Husbands: Great success in loving without fear. It isn’t as hard of a task as I thought…and it feels so good.
I – Intoxication: Went drink-free for 5 1/2 days. Have had many nights without, a few nights with one (none while home alone), and a couple of nights with two. Probably need to do a 5-day drought every few weeks.
J – Jeri: Called her so she could keep rubbing off on me. Need to do it again soon.
K – Keuka: 57 days on the countdown!
L – Learning: Learned how to delete a row on an inserted table in Word today…so I’d say this one is a success 😉
M – Magazine Perfect: I have forced myself to leave a few things out that are not bothering anyone. I haven’t straightened the pillows on the boys’ playroom couch in over a week.
N – News: This one has been great – not tempted at all. And the couple of times that I’ve caught the news, it’s been glaringly obvious how terrible it is. It’s like eating super-sweet desserts after you’ve given up sugar for a few weeks…bleh.
O – Over-analyzing/Obsessing/Over-observing: Caught myself reading every license plate the other day and then spending way too much brain energy arguing with myself over what year model a particular car was, but otherwise pretty good, maybe?
P – Plans: Kinda had a grip on this one, then had a long discussion with hott husband that made me shift my grip, if that makes sense.
Q – Quixotic: Still me. Still happy about it.
R – Reading: Haven’t read in a few nights. Might put down the pedagogy and pick up a YA novel that I’d want to recommend to my future students.
S – SCR (aka Hott Husband): Love. Him. So. Much.
T – Testing and Treadmills: Too soon.
U – Updates! – Done!
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This one is easy…Already started, in fact.
Watching the news is a horrible way to start your day. Watching the news is a horrible way to end your day. The news is pretty horrible. Don’t get me wrong – I was a news junkie for many years. I like certain news anchors, love obsessing about the weather, and like to feel “in-the-know”. But frankly, all of that was masking a vulgar load of emotional baggage being pumped into my veins and brain and heart. Murders, smash-and-grabs, scandals – every day.
With the onset of our Insanity workouts, I’ve been able to thwart my usual routine of waking up, turning on the news, and drowning my daily vitamins with Spark. I know I don’t have time to be lured into the circuit of stories – it’s a trap…their teases really do work (on me anyway).
I’ve found very quickly that I don’t miss it. None of it affected me, like, at all, anyway. I can look up the weather on my phone. I can make an educated vote in November without knowing how many affairs each candidate was accused of having, how their maid afforded a vacation to Maui, or if they – gasp – took the subway to work this morning.
News on a pro re nata basis only…just like Facebook. All part of the brain cleanse. That is all.
I’m not sure how I feel about Facebook right now. I’m kinda getting over most social media, but Facebook has particularly been bothering me lately.
I have 476 “Friends” on Facebook. I know, we’ve all heard the talk around who’s really your friend, why you have certain people in this category at all, how some of your “friends” wouldn’t even speak to you if they saw you in real life…But that’s not really what’s bothering me.
I’ve recently developed a perceived physical sickness from scrolling ad nauseum. I’m sure it has something to do with staring at a little screen, and probably NOthing to do with my aging eyesight. But it’s even more than that.
I feel physically sickened by knowing so much about so many people – their kids, their jobs, their political and religious affiliations – only the parts they’re proud of, of course – and I don’t know why I need to know all of this, and I honestly wonder if parts of my brain are being overrun by irrelevant bits and pieces about people I may or may not actually care about – along with beautiful scenes in Italy and mouth-watering culinary masterpieces. I certainly don’t need to take up space in the emotion department of my head with car accidents that happened near Lubbock, men being arrested for abusing dogs in rural Indiana, and a football player I’ve never heard of who has been accused of abusing his kids. I love the quippy little smart-ass quotes, but I find myself replacing real human conversation with the recitation of funny things I read. I love seeing pictures of my friends’ kids grow up, and I hope they enjoy the moments that I decide to share, but at times it almost feels like exploitation. Most of the kids featured – mine included…most recent pic was a car-ride-napping pic – didn’t make the choice to have their picture passed around to hundreds of people. And referencing my “Confidence” post, I too often find myself critiquing/judging things that have nothing to do with me or my business.
And I can’t leave the Facebook quizzes off my list – I don’t really need to know what state Facebook thinks you should live in, and I CERTAINLY DON’T NEED TO WASTE MY BRAINCELLS WONDERING WHAT STATE I SHOULD LIVE IN. BUT I DO.
Next Self(ish)-Improvement challenge. No Facebook until Sunday. I know that’s only three-and-a-half days away, but it’s a first step. I want to see how I feel, even though I already know.
This theme I’ve created has kinda turned into a monster. I’ve sort of created 26 years worth of Lents into 26 days. I’m not even Catholic – I don’t need this kind of pressure!! Just kidding – I do.