Tag Archives: motherhood

The S-Word

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image courtesy of whatsyourgrief.com

 

Today’s post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt

Sympathy, as defined by thefreedictionary.com:

sym·pa·thy

   (sĭm′pə-thē)

pl. sym·pa·this

1. A feeling of pity or sorrow for the distress of another; commiseration. See Synonyms at pity.

2. often sympathies An expression of such feeling: offered her sympathies to the mourning family.

[Latin sympathīa, natural affinity, fellow feeling, from Greek sumpatheia, from sumpathēs, affected by like feelings : sun-, syn- + pathos, emotion; see kwent(h)- in Indo-European roots.]

Sympathy, as defined by my mother:

“If you’re looking for sympathy, you’ll find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis”

My mother was one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. She had a huge soft heart which was full of love and laughter, so when she told me to “look it up in the dictionary”, I was surprised.

In retrospect, I’m sure I deserved the snarky response. I have no doubt that I tested my mother’s patience on a daily basis, and my brother will be quick to tell you that I managed to give her shingles. I was a bit of a teen age drama queen. Not that I’d ever admit to it. (dammit, I just did, didn’t I?).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – my mother was an amazing woman. Not perfect (is anyone?) but pretty darn close. She was my hero. She taught me a lot. She taught me that strangers are simply friends you haven’t yet met. She taught me the importance of “please” and “thank you” and the difference between “y’all” and “all y’all”*. Mostly she taught me that kindness costs nothing – that sympathy and compassion are not a sign of weakness.

As strange as it sounds, I’m glad that my mother’s not here. She would be heartbroken by the bigotry and hatred that are so prevalent lately. Other than offering sympathy at a time of loss, we seem to have lost the ability to sympathize for anyone who is different from ourselves. The wealthy have no sympathy for the poor, the homeowners turn away from the homeless, and race relations seem to be a thing of the past (Literally. Race relations seem to have returned to those from the 50’s).

We need to remember that being sympathetic to another’s plight doesn’t mean that you are releasing them from accountability for their situation. I have a friend who is always complaining about her health/weight, yet refuses to change her diet or exercise plan. As someone who used to eat ice cream for breakfast (hey, I was ahead of my time, as this study shows) I sympathize with her, even while I hold her responsible for her actions. I have another friend who is always complaining that she’s overwhelmed and sleep deprived, and yet, she’s the first to raise her hand when they call for volunteers, Oh, wait. That’s me. I’m perfectly aware that I need to learn the “n-word” and yet, I refuse to do so (Will you sympathize with me, or should I pick up my dictionary?)

We need to get off our current path of violence and hatred. To do that, we need to learn to sympathize with people we might not agree with – to communicate compassionately.

In a perfect moment of synchronicity, this article from sonima.com on communication dropped into my newsfeed this morning. In it, Sonima’s psychologist and meditation teacher John Rettger offers a 3-step plan and guided meditation for compassionate communication. He instructs that we should do this from a place of empathy, compassion, and authenticity. You can connect to these qualities by taking space to remember what nearly all humans are seeking: To be loved, held with kindness, and accepted.”

Perhaps then, sympathy is not enough. We need to empathize with one another – to support without judgement.

 

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image courtesy of lifehack.org

Or, as Steve Martin says:

“Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes.”

I know we can do this – if we can offer Sympathy for the Devil we can sympathize with ANYONE

*For those of you who are not Southerners, “ya’ll” is singular.  and “all y’all” is plural.

So – tell me – what is your definition of sympathy, and who do you have a hard time sympathizing with?

 

 

 

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My Mother, My Hero

18581815_10210594503636521_5233969730884670004_n[1]I’ve been working on this piece for a while. I meant to post this yesterday, because it was  the 43rd anniversary of my mom’s 36th birthday*, but Life had other plans

A while ago  I talked about how I always wanted to be a superhero.

My aunt responded with this:

You are a superhero … Doing the right thing is not easy sometimes. You’re so like your mother. I wish Mom or Dad was here to tell me the specifics of this story because I was a kid and can’t remember the details.  Anyway It involved your Mom and race relations in the 50’s.  The local newspaper was interviewing students to get their opinions and they interviewed Karen.  I remember Mom and Dad being so proud of her, but concerned for her safety.  So you see…you’re a chip off the old block.  I’m enjoying your writing. Keep it up!

Love, Aunt Sally

I remember that story very well, but I’m not sure where I heard it. My mom was not one to brag. I probably heard it from my grandfather, who loved sharing family stories (I wish I’d been willing to listen). Or maybe mom told me the story when we had one of our many discussions about racism (I would say that I was raised to be colorblind, but evidently colorblindness is the new racism). I couldn’t understand why we were still struggling with racial inequality in the 70’s. It pissed me off, and I frequently came home, ranting and raving about something I’d seen/heard/read. My mother, who grew up in the Deep South in the 50’s and 60’s, would laugh.

This is the way she told the story –

I went to school at the height of the fight for integration. My father  (who was superintendent for the Oklahoma City school district) met with President Kennedy regarding the issue (I wish I had that picture/newspaper clipping, because it was REALLY cool), but I can’t say for certain that that’s why they chose to interview me. They asked me “What do you think of busing/integration?”. I told them “People should be allowed to attend whatever school they’d like to. They should be allowed to come here or stay at their old school, if that’s what they prefer.”

Needless to say, the newspaper quote did not go over well with some (most) of her neighbors in Tecumseh. My mom never knew about the backlash. My grandmother and grandfather handled the calls calmly, responding to suggestions that they “beat some sense into (her)” with “Thank you. We’re taking care of it.” I love this example of “creative truth telling”. They didn’t LIE, exactly. They just never said how they were “taking care of it”.

This, then, was the woman who raised me. My mother. My hero. Don’t get me wrong – my mother wasn’t perfect. She battled inner demons, she smoked and drank too much, she talked too loudly and snorted when she laughed. She didn’t fit in with the Perfect PTA Parents and Suburban Soccer Moms**.  She may not have been perfect, but she taught me many things. My mother taught me:

  • to be kind to everyone you meet.  (well, she tried to, at least. There are some days when the best I can manage is “not hateful”).
  • that there is no such thing as a stranger. She believed that strangers are just friends you haven’t yet met.
  • the importance of family, and showed me that “family” includes both family by blood and family of heart.
  • the value of shared grief (I used to mock her for crying when a friend suffered a loss because I was a lousy know-it-all teen, but I get it now).
  • and the value of shared joy.
  • the importance of keeping a secret
  • and the destructive power of gossip
  • when to speak up when necessary
  • and when to keep quiet
  • to respect others – that I didn’t have to agree with them, but that everyone is entitled to their own opinion (and that yes, opinions are like assholes)

Most importantly, she taught me that (almost) everything about anyone else is “Noneya”. Race, religious belief, sexual orientation – it really is “noneya business” – as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else (An it harm none. I never realized that my mom was a Wiccan).

In a world that’s becoming increasingly divisive, with hate crimes on the rise and people attacking each other for differing opinions, we need more people like her. She may have been “just” a housewife, but she was as much a superhero as any caped crusader.

*While most women remain 27, my mother was eternally 36. “I can’t be 37 yet, because I swore I would get my ears pierced when I turned 37.”

**Holy crap. I AM my mother’s daughter. <shrug> There are worse things I could be.

My other hero was my grandfather, who always reminded me of Atticus Finch

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I’m curious – who is YOUR hero?

Fork, yeah!

thvtmdn5vdI swear. A lot. I didn’t always have a filthy mouth, but, once I started, I swore loudly and often (my parents were so proud). My favorite word started with an f and ended in a k. It wasn’t “fork”, but that’s the word I will use in this post, because I am trying to beat my addiction. I’ve even started a 12 step program. Hello, my name is Tracey, and I’m addicted to four letter words. Like most 12 step programs, the first step is admitting you have a problem and that you’re powerless to stop. The second step is to believe that a power greater than yourself can help you stop (Yeah, right. Even the power of parenthood couldn’t stop me. My daughter’s first sentence was “Bite me jackass”). The third step is…ummm..fuck if I know. Dammit. Back to day one. Hello, my name is Tracey, and I’m addicted to four letter words….

My husband hoped that becoming an accidental mother would change me. After all, mothers are sweet and kind, loving and gentle. Evidently I didn’t get the memo, because the only thing that changed was that I went from being a wife that swore to a mother with a dirty mouth. The good news is that, when people would “slip” and swear in front of my tweenager, she would just shrug and roll her eyes when they apologized (“I’ve heard worse”).

I know, I know, women shouldn’t swear/it’s not ladylike. TBH I don’t know what the big deal is. Studies have shown that swearing is good for you and reduces pain. Just recently I posted a popular FB meme as my status. I’ll share it here, ICYMI

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image courtesy of imgarcade.com

There are issues when you’re a woman who loves to swear. Nineteen of them have been identified by the awesome Erin La Rosa from Buzzfeed. Being far from “normal” (FYI normal is just a setting on the dryer), my issue wasn’t one of them. Using the “f-word” was cathartic at first, but, like most gateway drugs, one day it stopped giving me the rush I craved. I tried using other words, but they didn’t have the punch I needed. The logical next step in my progression (regression?) was to link them together in strange and unusual ways, but”I’ll see you next Tuesday you cat-faced mother forking son of a female dog” took too damn long. In searching for a new/better four letter word (one that will express my frustration with my current situation and the increasingly dark and dismaying world climate) I found the perfect word.

HOPE

(hōp)

v. hoped, hop·ing, hopes
v.intr.

1. To wish for a particular event that one considers possible: We are hoping for more financial support.
2. Archaic To have confidence; trust.
v.tr.

To desire and consider possible: I hope that you will join us for dinner. We hope to buy a house in the spring. See Synonyms at expect.

I’ve spoken about hope before. One of my first posts talked about losing and finding hope. the other one talked about fear and the power of Hope. When I picture Hope, I see a rare and delicate flower. It’s a fragile thing, easily lost and hard to find when life gets rough. The good news is that Hope is bioluminescent, allowing you to find it even on the darkest of nights. With a little love and a lot of TLC it will blossom, bloom and grow. I believe the best way to feed Hope is by sharing and spreading love, which is how I came up with an acronym –

Help

One

Person

Every

Day**

Look, it’s getting scary out there. It’s too much. Too much anger. Too much hate. Let’s see if there’s such a thing as too much love**. Hold the door for someone, share a smile, compliment a stranger. Be kind to each other. Play nicely in the sandbox.

And on those days where life beats you down and everyone is being an asshat, swear like a sailor like a woman who loves to curse. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

th5

image courtesy of gurl.com

 

I have a couple of questions (take out your #2 pencils):

  1. Do you swear, and (if so) what’s your favorite four letter word?
  2. What is your favorite story of hope?
  3. How do you “pay it forward“?

*Oops, that’s “HOPED” not “HOPE”. Dammit, I was hoping that this post would be perfect 😉

**there is, and it causes chafing, but that’s a topic for a different post

To Twist or not to Twist, that is the question…

I am several days behind on the Blogging101 “Blogging: Learning the Fundamentals” course. I thought about hitting more than one lesson a day until I’m current. I am tired, fighting a cold and have writer’s block, so it sounds like too much work for today. For now, I will work one lesson at a time. It’s nice back here. I’m so far behind I think I’m first!

Day Two: Make Sure You Love Your Title

I thought about changing my blog’s title when I realized that my blog needed a reboot. I considered it for a nanosecond (not to be confused with nana second, the length of time it takes your grandmother to realize that you are Up To Something).

images7My instincts whispered that I should keep my title, and I ALWAYS listen to my instincts.*

In truth, I could have used a guide to suburbia when I first moved here. There are books about what to expect your first year of marriage, what to do when you’re expecting, how to handle the toddler years, but I couldn’t find one on how to survive suburban soccer moms in minivans or how to avoid joining the PTA PTSA.

The suburbs are scary, even if you have some sort of experience with them. I grew up in a small town (the same small town we live in now), but after a few years in the city I was afraid to buy a house in the suburbs, and not just because the houses all looked alike. 

There were too many perfect parents with perfect children living in perfect houses with perfect yards. TBH I spent the first month looking in the closets and under the bed for my Stepford duplicate.

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The good news is that, with a little bit of detective work, I was able to find my tribe – the suburbanites who don’t quite fit, the parents with a slightly skewed sense of humor, the PTA moms who wear black to back to school night, the parents who go Drink or Treating on Halloween and the suburban soccer moms who drive jeeps instead of minivans.

Suburbia isn’t quite as scary when you twist it to suit you. Trust me.

I like my blog title and tagline, but I am open to suggestions. Let me know if you think of something that would be better suited.

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*I almost said that with a straight face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Accidental Mother – Redux

thutbowvp4I am trying to get into the habit of writing on a regular basis. It’s so hot that my brain has melted and I can’t think of anything new to say –  but I HAVE managed a revision of one of my first posts. I also came up with a word other than “revised” for the title (guess the heat hasn’t completely melted my brain).

re·dux

[rēˈdəks, ˈrēˈdəks]

ADJECTIVE

  1. brought back; revived:
    “the 1980s were far more than just the ’50s redux”
 ORIGIN
late 19th cent.: from Latin, from reducere ‘bring back.’
 THE ACCIDENTAL MOTHER -REDUX

Some women are born to be mothers. You see them at the park. They lounge on benches or under a tree, talking and laughing with the other perfect parents. They are seemingly oblivious to the activity in the sandbox, but at the smallest cry, their heads whip toward the playground. They can tell at a glance whether the cry requires attention or pretended indifference. Their hair is perfectly coiffed** and colored, their nails manicured and painted, their clothing stylish and unstained. Their bags are stuffed with small Tupperware containers (carefully color coded for each child) filled with vegetables, cheese and fruit. These are the women who spent their childhood playing with dolls, parading up and down the street in their mothers’ high heels, pushing their “babies” through the neighborhood in a pink or blue stroller.

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They spent hours bathing, feeding, changing and burping their dolls, treating their “offspring” with the utmost care and respect. These girls grew up to become perfect older siblings. They were excited by the idea of being a big sister and wanted nothing more than to help feed/bathe/change/burp the baby. They paraded up and down the street, pushing “their” baby in a pink or blue stroller, their mothers’ heels left at home for fear they would trip and hurt their baby brother or sister.

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I am not one of them. I decided at an early age that dolls are creepy and weird. The dolls that well-meaning friends and family members gave me were re-gifted or donated to Goodwill. Dolls that were “too nice to donate” were relegated to a special shelf or corner of the closet, where they were left to gather dust and cobwebs. The ones that I found especially creepy (i.e. my mother’s Raggedy Anne doll) were stuffed into the bottom of my toy box and buried beneath blocks, balls and mismatched socks.  I joined the other girls in their neighborhood parade, but my stroller was filled with stuffed animal “babies”, and my feet were clad in tennis shoes or cowboy boots. I grew up to become an indifferent big sister. Actually, I was an angry big sister. I wanted a puppy or a pony, but my parents brought home a brother. It made me mad. If I had to have a sibling, I wanted a sister. I refused to let his sex keep me from playing dress up and having tea parties with him, but my favorite game to play with my brother was Hide and DON’T Seek.

I went into marriage knowing that I didn’t want to have children. It’s not that I hated children, per se. I liked children. I liked cats and dogs too. They were fun to pet and snuggle with, but they were so much more enjoyable when they belong to someone else.

My husband went into our marriage thinking that he would like to have kids “someday”, but (by plying him with romantic vacations and football-filled Sundays) I managed to convince him that being an uncle was a better choice. We loved being DINKS*, and laughed when our friends told us that we were “missing out.”

Then I had an accident. No, not an “oops, it broke” accident, an I-turned-my-sedan-into-a-compact car accident. I was taken to the hospital in a neck brace, and my car was taken to the scrapyard…along with my birth control pills. I didn’t worry. I remembered my friend’s fertility struggles and her doctor’s explanation that “If you’ve been on birth control for years, it’s hard to get pregnant.”

She needs a new doctor.

My friends assured me that pregnancy would be easy, and that parenthood was the most amazing thing they’d ever done.

I need new friends.

Pregnancy was rough, and not just physically (the smell of meat cooking could chase me from the house), and emotionally (FYI, Budweiser commercials can bring a pregnant woman to tears, especially when she’s craving a beer).

There were just too many damn choices to be made. Who do you tell first? (side note to newly pregnant women – men get pissy when they find out via social media)  What do you name the baby? (I wanted to name my boy either Justin Case or Justin Time. My friends were relieved when I had a girl) How do you decorate the nursery? What type of crib/carseat/stroller/diapers should you buy? How do you want have the baby? Yes, you have a choice. You can have a doctor and a C-section, or a midwife and a birthing room – you can even have a baby in a bathtub! After hearing labor horror stories from (I assume) well-meaning friends, family and strangers, I decided not to have the baby. At nine months, it wasn’t really an option, but that’s what I decided (side note to mathematicians – in what type of math does forty weeks equal nine months?).

In spite of my decision, at one week past my due date, I showed up at the hospital to have my labor induced – my OB was going on vacation the following week and he “wanted to have (your) baby”. My husband and I were ready to Become Parents – or so we thought.  We were turned away by the triage nurse.

“We’re really busy right now, I’m so sorry. Could you come back in a couple of hours?”

It was a perfect Southern California evening – 76 degrees with a light breeze off the ocean – so we spent some time walking (or, in my case, waddling) down Main Street looking in shop windows. Every display seemed to feature products meant for our baby (“OMG look at those shoes! They’re so tiny!”).  The people we passed nodded and smiled at my swollen belly.

“When is your baby due?”

“Last week. I’m being induced tonight. We were supposed to be admitted at 3:00, but they were too busy. We’re headed back at five.” I’m sure that this was more information than anyone wanted, but evidently the hormones surging through my bloodstream thought that strangers needed to know ALL THE DETAILS.

We returned to the hospital at 5:00, as requested.

“We’re really busy right now.” This time the nurse was not apologetic. Apparently the fact that my doctor wanted to induce me irritated her. “Come back at 7:00.”

I groaned. My feet hurt, my back hurt, and I was tired of being pregnant. Waddling down Main Street for a second time was out of the question. My husband smiled apologetically at Grumpy Triage Nurse and steered me out to the car. He drove down to the beach, thinking the waves would relax me. The only thing they relaxed was my bladder.

“I need to pee!”

We headed back to the hospital so I could relieve my bladder and wait. Fortunately, Grumpy was gone. The triage nurse took pity on the pregnant girl and started the admitting process.

They say that you forget the pain of childbirth, and it must be true, because I don’t remember much. I remember being uncomfortable, and feeling better when I walked the halls or stood in the shower. I remember my husband falling asleep during Jay Leno’s monologue, as I squirmed and panted beside him (for some odd reason, people have decided that breathing can replace medication in controlling pain. Trust me, it can’t). I remember the doctor coming into the room around 2:00 AM. His smile didn’t reach his eyes.

“Your baby is in distress. We need to do a Caesarian section immediately.”

The rest is a blur, memories distorted by time, pain and panic. I remember seeing my dad and stepmother as I was being wheeled to the operating room. I remember gripping my husband’s hand so tightly his fingers turned white. I remember waiting a lifetime before we heard our daughter’s first cry. I also remember the way my heart expanded to ten times its normal size when they laid her in my arms. Mostly I remember the feeling of panic that arose when I signed my discharge paperwork and realized that I was going to have to take this tiny baby home, even though I wasn’t a natural born mother.

I needn’t have panicked. The many choices and sleep deprivation that come with pregnancy helped prepare me for motherhood. My friends may have lied about pregnancy being easy, but they were right about parenthood being amazing. As strange as it sounds, my husband and I will be eternally grateful for my car accident, and for the little girl who stole our hearts and changed our lives when I became an accidental mother.

meandlna

*DINKS – Dual Income, No Kids

** Special shout-out to Rachel, who reminded me that the word is not “quaffed”

 

I’m Batman*

wp-1456365441728.jpegOk, I’m not REALLY Batman. For one, I drive a Volvo, which is a Good Car, but it is nowhere close to being as cool as the Batmobile. Secondly, I tried saying “I’m Batman” in a gravely voice, but it sounded silly and made me cough. Lastly,  I don’t have a mask or any cool toys. Well, that’s not exactly true. In the spirit of full disclosure (and if I can’t tell strangers all my secrets, who can I tell?) I have toys, but I can’t talk about them on a family friendly blog 😉

I would like to be a superhero, but I am too old and broken to wear the costumes that female superheroes wear. Even if I were younger and in better shape, I find it highly unlikely that I would be able to run, jump, and battle bad guys without having some sort of costume issue (BTW, one of my favorite scenes in Deadpool was Colossus’ reaction to  Angel Dust’s costume malfunction during their battle).

When I was younger, I wanted to be Catwoman. More precisely, I wanted to be Earth Kitt as Catwoman.

 

My dream ended when my mother pointed out that, as a pasty pale blue eyed brunette, my chances of growing up to be a stunning African American woman were slim to none. I have, however, grown up to be a pasty pale redhead, which is almost as good.

Until recently, I thought I was Wonder Woman. I attempted to juggle work, marriage, motherhood,  and social obligations while working 1 1/2 jobs and volunteering as a soccer referee and at school functions. When I wasn’t able to get everything done the way my Inner Perfectionist wanted it done, she told me I’d failed as a human being.  I believed her for a while, but eventually I came to my senses, and decided that Wonder Woman needed a break, or a raise. I also realized that Cosmo magazine has it wrong. You may be able to do/have/be it all, but you can’t do it all at the same time, without giving up sleep, hiring support staff, cloning yourself  or being able to travel through space and time (preferably in the Tardis).

I thought my days of playing superhero were over – and they were, until two weeks ago, when I decided that Enough Was Enough, that ignoring the situation wasn’t making things any better, and that it was time for Someone to speak up. Evidently I am Someone.**

It backfired, of course. It always does. I should have remembered that the person who stands up against evildoers is often misidentified as a criminal (i.e.  Batman, Green Hornet,  or Spiderman). The good news is that, other than for me personally, things have changed for the better. The better news is that I was able to use the situation as a teachable moment for my daughter. I told her that it is important to speak up when injustice is being done, no matter what the repercussions – or that, as Spock told us, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.

I would like to think that my daughter will learn that you don’t have to be bitten by a spider or doused in radioactive waste to be someone’s superhero. Or maybe she’ll be an antihero instead – they have better costumes and a more interesting backstory 😉

*I’d like to send a very special shout out to Suzie Speaks – she really IS Batman.

**I am intentionally being vague, to protect the other people involved in the situation. Names have been changed removed to protect the innocent (and the guilty)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness, Part Duh!

self-forgiveness[1]Last week I talked about the importance of forgiveness. I was hoping that admitting that I am a work in process/learning to listen to Life the first (ok, third) time she whispers would help me get past this life lesson. Re-runs are annoying (although I never get tired of Young Frankenstein). Repeating life lessons are even worse.

This week my daughter took part in the 79th Annual Student Speakers Contest. The Lion’s Club gives high school students the chance to compete for cash prizes and scholarship money while working on their public speaking skills. I cannot say enough about the program, or the group of women who make up the Amber’s Light Lions Club.

We are not supposed to post any information about the contest results until the statewide completion is over, so I can’t tell you how my daughter did. I CAN tell you (at least I think I can) that I made a mistake.

I hate making mistakes.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a perfectionist, or because I have made mistakes that led to serious consequences, but I beat myself up every time. It’s what I’ve always done, and I am very good at it. One could say that when it comes to self-flagellation, I’m a professional.*#

The worst part about Miss Take? She brings along her friends Guilt and Remorse. They are not good houseguests. They come in, make themselves at home, and make a mess of everything. Their negativity chases Self-Confidence away, and she takes Happiness and Joy with her.

I learned this week that the only way to kick the Terrible Trio out of the house is by practicing self-forgiveness. After a lifetime of holding myself to the highest standard, I am learning that it’s important to give myself a break before I break something.

I am learning that Life’s  lessons can be hard, and that the lesson will repeat until I pass the test. Life is a journey, and it’s okay if I make mistakes along the way.  The good news is that, if you listen, you can learn from Miss Take.

I’m trying to listen. I hope you do too.

*One could it, but (since nobody has paid me, yet) it would be a lie

# I am always looking for ways to bring in money that don’t involve MLM. If you know of a way for me to turn pro, let me know (jk)

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P.S. I came across an excellent post on self-forgiveness. Destiny at Practise makes Permanent has a great post on the importance of Self-Compassion. You should take a look.

 

 

 

The Other F-word

Confession[1]I have a confession to make. Seeing that I’m not Catholic and am extremely adverse to sitting in small rooms talking to strange men, I will make my public confession here. As soon as I can work up the nerve. Ok here goes –

I swear. A lot.*

This should come as no surprise to those of you who read my blog. Just last week, I admitted to swearing like a fleet of sailors. It certainly comes as no surprise to my friends and family. I have been swearing since I discovered the power of four letter words while I was in high school. My family and neighbors were regularly…..entertained (for want of a better word) by slamming doors and foul language screamed at the top of my lungs. I am (slightly) embarrassed to admit that my language hasn’t improved much since high school.  I will say, however, that I no longer slam my bedroom door (but only because my door is hollow and refuses to slam in a satisfying manner).

I use the F-word more often than any Responsible Adult should (which is not really a problem, since I admit to being neither), especially now that I am a suburban soccer mom who is raising an impressionable young teen. It is what it is. I find satisfaction in using the word, whether because it still holds shock value, or because I can’t find another word that expresses my feelings of impotency and frustration when dealing with the struggles that come along with this crazy rollercoaster we call life.

I think that I am finally giving it up for another F-word. It’s not a four letter word, but it does share similar qualities. People talk about it all the time, usually in hushed tones. Like my favorite F word, it makes people uncomfortable. Unlike my favorite word, this one’s power comes from something more than shock value.

I’m talking about forgiveness

From Miriam Wesbter:

forgiveness

noun for·give·ness \-ˈgiv-nəs\

Simple Definition of forgiveness

Popularity: Bottom 50% of words
  • : the act of forgiving someone or something

  • : the attitude of someone who is willing to forgive other people

I was amused but not surprised to find that the popularity of forgiveness is less than 50%. It’s a rough one. I would like to be able to say that, as an enlightened and loving being, I am quick to forgive and forget. I would like to be able to say it, but I can’t (well, I CAN, but I would be lying). I have been reminded, repeatedly, that forgiveness is powerful, life-changing, and very important to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

I have learned that, if you refuse to listen, Life will knock you down until you do – so this time, I am listening. I hope you do, too. Don’t forget the most important part of the lesson – forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, it means remembering and letting go

forgiveness[1]

 

*I was overjoyed to find out that Classysassycrazy shares my fondness for four letter words

 

 

Happy Hmmpff Day!

 

voicesHere we are, halfway through the week, and I haven’t posted anything new. I really wanted to blog today, but my asthma flared up, my car broke down, work was crazy, and my daughter needed the computer to work on her speech for the Lion’s Club (yes, I know, the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions – but it’s ok, all my friends are going there)

Instead of writing, I found myself reading other people’s posts and listening to my daughter mutter to herself  – “What does justice mean to me? What does justice mean to me?” (side note to my brother – at least she’s not mumbling “I’ve had my share of beaus….”). In prepping for tomorrow’s piece, I kook a look back at my first post, and thought I’d share it with you (re-blogging is NOT cheating!)

Why do I blog? The voices tell me to!

See you tomorrow

 

 

 

 

The Game of Life

unnamed[1]My 15 year old played The Game of Life the other day*

“It’s really fun – we should get it.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Life is nothing like life. Life is a lot of things, but (mostly) life is a four letter word.

 

Those who know me know that I swear like a sailor, like a shipload of sailors, like a fleet of sailors. For those of you who don’t know me, welcome to my world! I’m Tracey, and I’ll be your guide. I grew up in Camarillo, home to the old and insane.** Being neither, I moved away to seek my fame and fortune in the wilds of Los Angeles (I didn’t find fame or fortune, but I did find a big bear who followed home).  Being both, I returned to Camarillo. I live with two kids (the one I birthed and the one I married) and no cats, because they make me sneeze and wheeze. Plus, they’re cats.

Where was I? Ah yes, swearing. I’ve been a fan of four letter words since I was young and thought I knew it all. Now that I’m not and I don’t, I have learned some brand news ones, which I would love to share with you.

Today’s word is life

From Miriam-Webster

Life noun \ˈlīf\

  • : the ability to grow, change, etc., that separates plants and animals from things like water or rocks
  • : the period of time when a person is alive
  • : the experience of being alive

That’s the dictionary’s definition.

Life is so much more. Like most four letter words, it’s messy and foul, and I often find myself using other four letter words when it doesn’t go the way I want it to. It’s also amazingly beautiful, if you know where to look.

I think I’ve discovered the secret to life – she’s a BITCH (Beautiful, Interesting, Terrifying, Childlike and Hard) who wants us to grow and change. She’s a fierce teacher, who will knock you down if you’re not paying attention. She’s also an amazing companion who can take you for a wild ride, if you let her.

I made the mistake of letting Fear scare me away from living last year. This year, I’m getting in the car, taking the top down, and letting her drive.

I think Vivian Greene put it best:

viviangreene

So, tell me. What life lessons have you learned? Did you choose to learn them the easy way or the hard way?

 

*Ok, it was last month. Time is a wibbly-wobbly, timey wimey thing

** Camarillo used to be home to Camarillo State Hospital (now CSUCI) and Leisure Village (Leisure Village is still there. I live down the street)