Professional mom seeking clarity, balance and a well deserved glass of wine.
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You know that moment when you’re cruising down the freeway with a thousand thoughts racing through your brain and, suddenly, a song comes on the radio that instantly transports you to a different place and time. Those thousand of thoughts turn into one memory or one specific moment in time. Any Carpenter’s song takes me right back to the 70’s, when I was a kid, and my parents would harmonize with Karen and Richard Carpenter, whenever their songs came on the car radio. Or when I hear the Doobie Brothers I’m whisked back to elementary school and a time when life felt simple and carefree.
Do smells ever trigger the same kinds of flashbacks for you? When you smell a particular aroma or fragrance and it reminds you of someone or some past experience? My good friend, Cheryl, reminded me once how our hands have such a significant role in our lives. How many things our hands do, touch and create in our lifetime. For some reason, these two ideas melded and it occurred to me how many times I smell something on my hands and it triggers a memory, reminds me of a person or experience.
After I’ve worked in the yard and get a whiff of fresh cut grass and gasoline from the lawnmower, memories of my dad rush over me and I smile every time. I loved helping him do yard work or admire the beautiful flower beds he planted. That memory immediately parlays into another experience of riding on the lawnmower with my Pappaw and a cousin or two in tow. For some reason, it was always a thrill “helping” him mow their giant backyard off highway 67.
The smell of Johnson’s baby shampoo or baby oil reminds me of bathtime when I was little. I always called the front of the tub (since I was older, of course). Warmer and deeper! And, my mom toweling us off and running a comb through our hair, followed by cozy pj’s and the feeling of being squeaky clean and relaxed and loved.
Aqua Net reminds me of my mom’s beauty shop that was built on to our home in Yorktown, Indiana. All the shampoos and sets she did for ladies from church, great-aunts, and friends of friends. Layers and layers of Aqua Net to hold them over until next weeks appointment. I always wondered how they could go a whole week without washing their hair. This still makes me shudder. Yuk!
An odd one is the smell of grape juice. Always reminds me of communion at church. Every time the tray passed I just wanted to slurp up about ten of those little plastic cups full of Welch’s grape juice. One was such a tease. And never enough to completely wash down the bit of cracker that always seemed to get stuck in my throat.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Heaven Scent powder and cologne. All through jr. high and high school that was my go-to elixir to cover up the disgusting smells of puberty.
The smell of tobacco reminds me of Dad popping a quarter into the cigarette machine as we exited a restaurant in the 70’s. I always wanted to pull the handle and listen for the pack to drop. He’d peel back the clear plastic wrapper and, before pulling a cigarette out, he’d tap the pack twice on a table top or the dashboard in the car. What purpose this had I’ll never know.
Youth Dew, a popular Estee Lauder cologne back in the day, will forever remind me of my Mom and my Aunt Barb. I can always smell them hugging me or the scent wafting past my nose as they breezed by to chase a kid or dash into the bathroom before someone else beat them to it.
Crayons make me think of my sister. All the mad coloring we did in the back seat of whatever Buick we had. Hours and hours of filling coloring books with layers and layers of Crayola. And that one time we left a pile of them in the back window of my mom’s car on a very hot Indiana day and they all melted together. I thought mom would kill us. Oops!
And, ever since that time I was sitting in an important meeting and brushed my hand across my nose and was greeted by the smell of shit! (eyes wide open) “Oh my Lord! Why do my fingers smell like shit?” I immediately traced my steps from the morning and remembered I changed the baby’s diaper in a mad rush to exit stage left, get her to the sitters and make it to this oh so important meeting to impress the hell out of this client. And there I sat wondering if anyone else could smell it. Would they hold it against me that I’m a mom and spend my mornings changing diapers and breastfeeding while they were, most likely, at the gym at 5am, followed by a breakfast meeting and definitely don’t have breast pockets covered in a milk stain.
Our hands have been through a lot! Holding, hugging, creating and changing. Clearly, our noses too. Breathing in the smells of life.
What smells trigger a memory for you—instantly teleporting you to another time or place?
Stay sane, my friends.
(always sniff your hands before a big meeting)
I confess, as a mom, I don’t always know what in the hell I’m doing!
There is no manual (that I’m aware of) and no one pulls you aside during pregnancy and gives you the 411 on the proper protocol for all those situations you’re going to encounter once your baby arrives and hits the terrible 2’s. Your parenting skills will, most likely, be a blend of your parent’s style and your own enlightened approach.
Sure, growing up, you gave your mom some trouble. She didn’t always know what to do with you. But you’re confident that you won’t make the same mistakes she did. You feel absolutely positive that you will do it better. You won’t yell as much or be as critical. You’ll let your kid stay up late and eat breakfast for dinner or dessert first. And you definitely won’t spank them because you’ll be friends with your child and you’ll talk through situations rather than resort to striking them.
Uh huh! Sure!
Child Psychology Schmology
Fast forward seventeen years and two kids later and I’m vexed with the dilemma of a strong-willed 9-year old and child psychology is not working. So, I spank and, well, the effects are the opposite of my intention. My intention is to get her attention and correct the behavior. Ding! Ding! Ding! “Houston, it’s a no-go!” It turns into a knockdown, drag out, anger fest that ends with me throwing her across the room. (ok, that was just in my mind) But, spanking doesn’t work, for either of us, and I’m at a loss as to how to parent this kid when she’s “spinning” (think Linda Blair). Literally, I think I’ve actually seen her head spin.
95% of the time she’s the loveliest little girl you’ve ever met and, in a nano-second, she can spiral into Sybil over the silliest of things. Seriously! Her hair has a “poof” in it and, good God, it’s the end of the world, and she wishes she were dead. I know, it sounds absolutely ridiculous and dramatic and I should be able to put the kibosh on it. Now, if you have no children, I know what you’re thinking. “Take charge woman, you’re the mother! She will mind you because you’re the parent. Ground her and lock her in her room and throw away the key.”
While good in theory, it plays out much differently in the heat of the moment in Parentland and highly dependent on the kid you’re parenting. Complex personalities are the free gift with purchase. And, if you’re really lucky, you also have a teenager who’s at the ready to critique your parenting efforts at every turn. (insert eye rolling and comments here)
It’s perplexing as hell when you take a stand, address the behavior, use some good old child psychology and expect immediate obedience. Then, you spank, to get their attention, and you’re left feeling a bit ridiculous striking them into submission and they’re left angrier, confused and unable to contain themselves. It’s just stupid!
I’m not completely opposed to spanking. I’m just questioning its usefulness and effectiveness as a parenting tool. Looking back, I don’t know that it ever worked well for my mom either. The aftermath of a spanking left me mad and crying in my room, pulling my hair out in frustration, and my sister unphased with her head in my mom’s lap uttering, “I love you, let’s play!”
Oh Lord, maybe my kid is more like me than I care to remember or admit!
I’ll keep experimenting until I find the right mix of discipline, love, and effectiveness for this particular kid. In the meantime, there’s “purse wine!”
Have a strong-willed child? Any tips or tricks you care to share? I’m all ears.
Stay sane, my friends.
With so many Top Ten lists filling up your inbox, inspiring you with the greatest gifts for the foodie or gardener in your life, it’s easy to get lost in the commercial side of giving (and receiving). A little end of the year reflection has reminded me that some of the greatest gifts of all don’t necessarily come in a box or gift bag and they’re the kind of gifts that give back all year long. Bonus — you can even give them to yourself.
Freedom: of speech, to choose, to love, to learn, to vote, to wear Saturday panties on Monday
Time: 24 glorious hours each day to make a difference, try something new, mend a fence, tear down a wall, create, explore, stop and smell the roses, call your mother
Nature: sunshine, trees, animals, fresh air, a great hiking trail, ten-minute walkabout at lunchtime, a walk around the block that turns into 3 hours to keep from killing your family
Smiling: the instant pick-me-up or lift-you-up (and, it’s portable)
Water: free-flowing from a faucet or dispenser or reclycled plastic bottle…and you don’t have to walk five miles to get it
Learning: reading an inspiring email, writing a blog post, thinking about anothers point of view, listening to new ideas, sharing solutions, expanding your mind, creating new neural pathways
Love: (again, portable and always inside you) a wink, a handshake, a giant bear hug, a pinch on the ass (to someone you know, please), a crucial conversation, a pat on the back, an approving nod, a lending hand or a shoulder to cry on, a tender kiss or a passionate caress
Empathy: walk a mile in someone elses shoes, not only listen but hear and understand
Health: waking up each day, eyes to see, ears to hear, a nose to breathe it all in, hands to shape, legs to move about
Reset button: push it any time, anywhere, as many times as you like to start again, start over, keep your outside voice inside, say you’re sorry, ask for forgiveness
It may sound corny, but when you stop and think about all these amazing gifts, it’s really like Christmas every day of the year! Certainly shifts my gifting mindset.
What’s on your greatest gift list?
Stay sane, my friends.
Watching the Country Music Awards is an annual ritual we’ve come to enjoy at the Confessions house — especially betting against 9 Going on 19, whose name will be called when the envelope is opened or who has the biggest penis (just kidding).
After a long day of thinkery and clients and traffic and cooking (or cleaning up), it feels like a small reward to slow down, sink back into the couch with a glass of wine (I know, you’re shocked) and take in all the humor, fashion, performances, acceptance speeches, commemorations of performers past and sizes of country music. BRICK TO THE HEAD
Yes, I said SIZES! It dawned on me that while I was bantering with my kid, laughing at Brad and Carrie and moving to the music of some of my favorite performers, my inner mean girl was on over-drive and judging her ass off. This was the tape rolling in my head:
“Wow, Garth and Trisha have put on some weight; looks like they fell off the diet wagon!”
“Damn, Tim and Faith need to eat a sandwich…somebody has taken fitness a little too far!”
“I think Miranda is heavier…must be from the stress of the divorce. Does she have a tiny double chin?”
“Man, the girls of Little Big Town look fantastic! Weren’t they a little heavier before?”
“Brad’s wife Kim looks a little better than when she was on “Two and a Half Men”; she was a scarecrow with boobs on that show!”
“Brooks and Dunn look good; Ronnie is so skinny! I wonder if it’s his body type or he works at it really hard?!”
Seriously, my inner mean girl is pathetic! Who thinks about stupid stuff like this?! Does size even matter? Obviously, I have body issues of my own. Is that where these thoughts come from — this obsession with size? Does it matter if Miranda Lambert is a size 4 or a size 12? No! She has the most beautiful voice and that is why I love her. So, why do I feel compelled to think about or comment on how big or small she is?
Is this something we all do or am I alone on an island here and going straight to hell in a hand basket?
I teach my daughters to see people for their essence, their heart and their mind — not their skin color or religion or bad fashion choices. (heh heh) So, clearly, I need to practice what I’m preaching.
I believe that society and the media have a huge hand in influencing us when it comes to our beliefs about body image and what’s acceptable and desirable. It starts when we’re little…playing with perfect “unrealistically proportioned” Barbie and perfect “weird plastic penis” Ken put us right on the train to Dysmorphia City. Would it make a difference if kids played with Mike and Molly dolls instead? Maybe. But, shutting out all the other news, magazines, movies and references to the Kardashians is nearly impossible.
Is size an indicator of something important?
If someone is heavy does it mean they are lazy or dumb or indulgent or any other negative thing? When someone is thin are they necessarily active and healthy, smart and conscientious? Pretty sure the answer to both is a resounding NO!
I’m well aware that this obsession with size is not a new question or issue. Major brands have taken a stab at dismantling our dysfunctional belief system, like the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. And yet there will always be those who see the “glass is half empty”: “the campaign has been called a lot of things, from a “game changer” and “a breath of fresh air”, to “hypocritical”, “sexist”, and “sneaky”. Baby steps!
You know what they say after you’ve had a baby…it took you nine months to put on the weight, so give yourself time to take it off. This size issue feels the same. It’s taken a hundred years (I’m narrowing it down here) to create our current belief system around size and I really hope it doesn’t take that long for us to change our mindset and become more realistic and less judgemental.
I’m committing to practicing what I preach and seeing people for who they are on the inside (myself included). Inner Mean Girl…you’ve been warned! STFU
Are you light years ahead of me or do you ever struggle with judging yourself or others based on size? Does size really matter?
Stay sane, my friends.
As a parent, you get to choose how you’ll raise your kids. After all, you made them. And, when you’re all hot and bothered and gettin’ busy making them, no one pulls you aside and reminds you that you are about to become a human easy bake oven, milk machine, sleep-deprived caregiver, professional laundress, chief cook and bottle washer, semi-professional photographer, taxi-driver, bow-maker, athletic supporter, therapist, investigator, referee, disciplinarian, hygiene Nazi, nurse practitioner, professional wine lover and, ultimately a crazed fan who would fight to the death to protect your little creation like a mobster protecting his money.
My personal experience is heavily colored by the fact that I am someones daughter and by my current title of Mother of Two Daughters. And, with all those titles and responsibilities and rabbits that I’ve pulled from a hat I believe the most important job we may ever have, raising daughters, is that of role model. (yes, scares me too)
In this day and age society and the media definitely impact their views and feelings about being a girl. But, ultimately, who do they spend the most time with? Us — their parental units. The ones who gave them life. They watch and absorb how we speak, how we dress, what we believe in, how we treat others, how we handle conflict and celebration, what we read, if we read, how we love or loathe ourselves, how we embrace or eschew our sexuality, how we interact with the opposite sex, how we handle money, our work ethic or lack of, how we treat people who are different than us and, bottom line, what it means to be a human being on this planet.
I know, it’s a huge responsibility! (I have started a therapy fund for each daughter)
Raising daughters, what I do know is this – they are extraordinary, intelligent, strong, powerful, capable human beings who can accomplish anything they choose to do or create or become. I hope that if they learn anything from watching me and the other amazing women in their lives it’s this:
…playing with Barbies and trucks is cool.
…”hitting like a girl” is a compliment!
…the choice to do decide what to do with your own body is your right and it’s worth fighting for.
…you can be anything you choose — no limits!
…you are worthy of love and respect and equal opportunity.
…you have a voice, use it!
…happiness is inside you — no boyfriend or mate or job or amount of money will replace that.
…you are beautiful inside and out, just the way you are, today.
…you are your own worst critic.
…you can be brave for five minutes longer. (thanks V)
…forgive yourself and move the fuck on.
…being tall is not weird!
…you can be good at math and art and sports — nerd, dreamer, jock…lose the labels.
…respect everyone, even if you don’t agree with them.
…never be afraid to speak up!
…being a strong, decisive, powerful woman who speaks her mind does not translate into bitch, cunt or feminazi
…always use your manners, they never get old.
…take care of your body, your mind and your heart — they are the only ones you’ll ever have.
…it is not necessary to alter your body; wrinkles and natural breasts are beautiful!
…embrace being female; it’s who you are.
…just love the shit out of yourself, because you deserve it!
Raising daughters? What would you add?
Stay sane my friends.
When my sister and I were kids we used to make fun of mom saying she had everything in her purse but the kitchen sink. Once again, the past comes back to bite me in the ass like a giant butt-munching mosquito.
It never ceases to amaze me every time I peer into my purse the shit I find there. Why is it that a mom’s purse becomes the receptacle for all abandonded articles that no one wants to carry, hold, eat, put away or throw away?! I’ve written about this before and, clearly, I have failed to set a stable perimeter around my purse. It has been compromised!
Here’s a small list of my favorite purse shit (part of the reason why I drink):
mismatched dirty socks
an ecclectic mix of crumbs
underwear (not mine)
jumbo pack of empty Starbucks gift cards
dried booger-covered Kleenex
Burger King crown (that we HAD to have)
baby doll head
glue for fake fingernails
iPads, Pods, Phones, Tunes (F-off Steve Jobs)
sticky Tylenol bottle
Luckily, no actual shit has ever been found. Please feel free to add your own shit to this list.
Stay sane my friends.
P.S. I appreciate you taking time to read this blog. Don’t forget to subscribe, like, comment and/or share with a mom who needs a good laugh today! xo
You’ve probably seen her — decked out from head to toe in team schwag. She’s the first to volunteer to be the team mom. She’s the odd one who has a snack duty template at the ready in Excel. She packs a mean SUV and she shuttles her kids from one field to the next with the skill of an Indy car driver. She’s committed the rule book to memory and could go head to head with any “Blue” out there. She’s never without her backpack — you know, that oversized beast of a bag that contains enough medical supplies, feminine products, Advil, blankets and cocktail mixers to triage the wounded and then throw a small party. You know her…she’s a softball motha!
Little did I know, when my 5-1/2 year old daughter decided to attend a tryout one early Saturday morning, that I was destined to become one of her ranks. I was a complete novice. I watched in amazement as she and her counterparts volunteered to be Team Mom, handling uniforms, snack detail, opening day costumes, first aid, scorekeeping and, damn, if they couldn’t also make a mean bow. If this wasn’t intimidating enough, at the end of the season All-Stars happened. Let me just say, I was certain they were all certifiable for giving up every weekend all summer to cart their kids to some godforsaken field in the middle of Armpit, CA in pursuit of softball hardware (aka: a giant plastic trophy drenched in shiny golden something or other that would eventually become a dust bunny playground). Thank God my daughter didn’t make All-Stars that year because I was ready for a motha of a break.
Then, a short twelve months later, she did make All-Stars. Good-bye summer! If that wasn’t enough, after a whopping 45 days off it would then be time to sign up for Fall ball. (break over)
It’s all well and good when your kid shows promise in this sport until you realize that to take her skills to the next level you’ll need to make the jump to travel ball. We took the leap in 10’s and I can tell you, travel ball makes All-Stars look like a walk in the park. (really should have appreciated how good I had it then)
With travel ball comes a whole new set of rules, parents, coaches, egos, equipment, lessons and, well, ‘travel.’ I thought two out-of-town tournaments was bad in rec ball…ha ha ha foolish girl! Little did I know I was about to embark on a cavalcade tour of every softball field from here to east of the Mississippi. (A word to the wise…bring your own toilet paper)
Rec Ball parents tend to get overly excited and fiercely competitive during games and tournaments. Funny, but it’s usually more about them than the kids. And sadly, bad behavior, bad language and poor parental sportsmanship is more common than not. Don’t get me wrong, not all parents are like this…but there are quite a few. In travel ball a strong coach sets clear boundaries and parents are no longer in charge. And, if you can’t follow these new rules, you can take your kid and go! NEXT!
GLOVES AND STICKS
If I had a nickel for every pair of cleats, socks, uni’s, Under Armor, eye black, sliders, gloves, sets of catchers gear, bow nets, balls, bags, wagons from Costco, coolers, Gatorade, Subway and, don’t get me started on bats — Mr. Confessions and I would be living in a mansion in Beverly Hills. Maybe not, but you get me. Who’d a thunk that gloves and sticks would be so expensive?!
FEES UP THE WAZOO
I remember the first time I heard that a teammate was taking “catching lessons.” I laughed and thought, “This is a thing?” Several thousand dollars later, I can confirm that, yes, this is a thing. Admitedly, valuable and essential, along with hitting lessons and conditioning fees and team fees and various other fees one encounters when one’s child plays travel ball.
After twelve years as a softball motha, I joined the ranks and, to many of my friends, am considered certifiably crazy. This travel ball thing becomes a lifestyle and, for many, the entire family participates. Siblings, grandparents, pets — we look like a travelling band of gypsies, especially when someone realizes we’re at the wrong field and everyone turns their car around to race to the right one. Because you spend so much time at the field, you end up taking care of a lot of regular life stuff that others take for granted. A small list of things I never thought I’d do at a softball field: breastfeed, change a diaper on a picnic table, do my nails, balance my checkbook, sleep, Christmas shop on Amazon, scare away the homeless, have an anxiety attack, craft an important client presentation, have a client phone meeting taking notes in purple crayon, argue with my spouse, cry, jerry-rig a visor with a paperclip and laugh until I’m completely out of breath. And, I certainly never thought vacations would include scrubbing uniform pants and God awful smelling socks in the hotel laundry room or that sitting in the hallway drinking beers with other motha’s would replace after-dinner entertainment.
Just when you’ve gotten to the point where you can do this softball thing with your eyes closed, the college recruiting process starts. Sadly, many colleges start looking at softball players in 7th and 8th grade. For real! I had no idea what this was all about. Thank God for other softball motha’s who can get you up to speed, and quick.
I deemed this new phase “time squared.” You’re time at lessons, practices, friendlies, tournaments and showcases is now compounded with the additional time spent on your kids personal website, recruiting profile, one pager, updating schedules and emailing college coaches. But, only if your goal is a college softball scholarship. Granted, this is all “supposed” to be your kids responsibility. With all the AP and honors classes, extra cirricular school activities, mountains of homework, trips to the chiropractor, practices, lessons, and games my hats off to them if they can pull this all off alone.
FOR THE LOVE OF SOFTBALL
I have to admit, for all of the aforementioned ramblings, the money and time and stress and lack of tropical family vacations, once she’s off to college I am going to miss this crazy life. I couldn’t imagine never having met all the phenomenal friends we’ve made along the way. When they say it takes a village, in softball, it truly does.
Once she’s gone to school, I know I will wake up on Saturday mornings at zero dark thirty, ready to throw on my clothes, pack up the cooler and get to the field on time, only to realize that I don’t. Remembering that she’s playing on a field across the country in front of softball motha’s she doesn’t know and I have the day/weekend/summer to myself. Tears stream down my face as I write this because for all the lost weekends (as we so fondly refer to them) and time and expense and travel, I wouldn’t trade any of it. I consider it time well spent! Watching my daughter and her teammates play the game they love is one of the greatest joys of my crazy life. I can’t imagine not living like a softball motha!
All other mothers of athletes, I salute you!
Stay sane, my friends.
While heading up the escalator at the Hollywood Bowl, my Super Friend turned to me and asked a peculiar question. “Do you think you’re an introvert or an extravert?” I laughed and replied, “Well, extravert!” (like, duh) She paused and smiled and, as if peering deep into my soul, said, “You sure about that?” Apparently, she’d just finished reading a book on the subject and discovered she was an introvert. Shocked, I replied, “You, an introvert?” Just when you think you know someone…or yourself, for that matter.
She asked me, “Are you stimulated by social interaction or solitude?” My eyes grew wide and we mouthed the answer together, “SOLITUDE!” Do you prefer to be with people or alone? “ALONE doesn’t suck!” Wait a minute! Am I? Could it be?
Is it possible to traverse the ‘personality lines’ from one state to the other or can you exist in both states at the same time ie: introverted extravert?! For some reason, further investigation felt absolutely necessary.
Introvert from Birth
Growing up I always thought of myself as an introvert—a little shy, not the first one to volunteer for anything, perfectly happy to sit at home and read while my polar opposite sister ran the neighborhood like a confident little mafia ring-leader. I was this way until my twenties and something changed.
Fast forward to twenty-something. I was constantly seeking something to do and someone to do it with. I was energized by having plans every weekend and people to hang out with—a true source of greater happiness and contentment, or so I thought. Making up for lost time? Who knows. I’m pretty sure I drove Mr. Confessions crazy, since he was known as the introvert in our relationship and, I, continuously packed our calendar to satiate my social needs.
Fast forward to 32 and post baby number 1—my how things change. Walking the aisles of Target alone and in complete silence was now my bliss. Quiet, unneeded, peaceful. No stimulation necessary. (Except for the caffeinated kind…and wine)
And, then sports kicked in and don’t get me started on life as a softball mom. Weekends haven’t been our own for the last seven years. Then right under our noses entire summers got sucked into the travel softball vortex as well. A weekend without plans or softball has become equivalent to finding the holy grail!
Where do you fall on the spectrum—intro, extra or an eclectic combo of vertness?
My obsession with these labels stems from my beliefs. I always thought being an introvert was something to overcome. At least that’s the societal norm I grew up with. People commented on an introvert in an almost pathetic tone, “Well, she’s just an introvert; bless her heart.” And in movies, the poor introvert would stare off into the distance, silently carrying on a conversation in her own head…painfully shy and alone. Or, put the introvert into a controversial situation and pan over to introvert staring at the ground, seemingly speechless, as if her tongue had been cut out. This personality type was always associated with less than or lacking in some way.
Having experienced periods of each state of “vert” and after deep reflection, I now feel quite confident to don either label with pride! And, for those of you who know me and my libra-ness, this will not surprise you that I cannot be just one or the other. And, after much reflecting I believe the only choice is to own and honor who you are, how you feel and nurture both sides of your person(ality). Be sure to be social, make plans, seek out adventure and have fun. On the flip side, it’s good to slow down, quiet your mind and replenish your reserves regularly. You can be an introverted extravert…and rock that shit!
What’s your state of vertness?
Stay sane, my friends.
I first heard this quote maybe 30 years ago and little did I know back then, this Chuck fella was on to something big.
I think it’s safe to say, whether or not you’ve been on this earth for fifteen or fifty-two years it’s likely that you’ve experienced some form of gain, loss, joy, sadness, love, pain, success or defeat. And there’s a high probability that you weathered each and every storm and eventually found a ray (or two) of sunlight after the clouds cleared. Yet, there are some who might dispute this and claim to never have found the sun; were never able to recover from a death, childhood trauma, a breakup or divorce or life-altering affliction.
To borrow a phrase from Miss Oprah Winfrey, “What I know is this…”
Chuck nailed it! It’s not WHAT happens to you that determines your fate, it’s HOW you deal with it that creates the life you have. It may not always feel like it at the time, but doesn’t everything always seem to work out—in the end. The emotional label you choose to slap on any experience is always up to you. You then get to decide how long you’ll choose to feel that way. Your feelings create your beliefs and your beliefs create your story aka: your life. Funny how it works! Bottom line, no one else makes us feel a particular way; we decide on our own. Perspective is a choice.
Take death, for example. My father died at the young age of forty-five. He was one of the earlier cases of AIDS in the 80’s and watching him slip away in four short months felt very confusing, gut-wrenching and awful. Sure, I had questions and experienced all the typical emotions that accompany such an event. I could choose to feel hurt and betrayed and angry and place blame and, ultimately, all those emotions would do is leave me bitter and sad and stuck. Instead I chose to feel grateful. To this day, I am grateful that I am and forever will be Phil Hiatt’s daughter. I was given the gift of an amazing father for twenty years. Some people never know their dad. His being gay also taught me some major life-changing lessons—to judge less and love more, to always live my truth and never hide, to encourage others to do the same and to appreciate the simple things in life, like holding someones hand or the joy of owning a really fantastic pair of shoes. 😉
Sure, death is a biggy. What about seemingly smaller situations, like finances and the feelings we assign to how much of it or how little we have and why that is. How many people utter the phrase, “If only I was rich—then I’d be happy.” Over the years I’ve experienced times o’ plenty and periods where Top Ramen was a delicacy. Through the tough times, it became clear that I had a choice—feel like a failure and wallow in self pity or stand up, say thank you, put my creative hat on and work hard to change the situation that, more than likely, I had put myself in. HINT: finally learned that self pity equals stuck and any time spent there is wasted.
Today, one of my Superfriends finds it painfully necessary to say goodbye to one of the greatest loves of her life. For the past twelve years her dog Scout has been her mostly companion, trusted friend and protector. They’ve spent hundreds of hours in pediatric wards helping sick children feel better and contributed time, energy and furry kisses to the homeless and hopeless. This day will test her patience, her faith and her resilience. Saying goodbye has got to be one of, if not the hardest, life experiences I can think of. I know she’ll weather this storm and in a very short time, bask in the warm rays that will peak through the clouds to remind her of their walks together around the park, their summer family retreats in Mammoth and the warm smiles that Scout brought out in everyone who ever met him.
Maybe you’re feeling sad or afraid or just stuck today. Consider a new mantra, a fresh perspective and an attitude of gratitude, no matter the circumstances. It may sound PollyAnna or naive, but trust me when I tell you, this shit works. You have the power and control to decide your fate and choose how you want to feel, react or adapt.
Perspective really is everything!
How is it showing up in your life? Half full or half empty?
Stay sane, my friends,
Over the course of many years and hundred of visits to my “hair whisperer” I’ve ended up with an array of colors in my hair. It’s become my “norm” and it never ceases to surprise and amaze me when, daily, I get comments and compliments from all ages and walks of life. One particular admirer is the office manager at my chiropractor’s office. For over a year she commented on and admired my mop and finally went and had hers done. It looked amazing! A few magenta streaks mixed with the blonde with undertones of dark burgundy truly complimented her natural skin tone and she looked fantastic. After a recent adjustment, I glanced up and noticed that she changed her hair back to straight blonde. “Hey, I said, you changed your hair back…I thought you loved your new do?!” Her reply shocked the shit out of me:
Wait, what???? I replied, “But, it’s your hair!” She shrugged sheepishly and that was that.
I couldn’t stop thinking about this exchange. Why on earth would her husband care how she wears her own hair?! What else does she do just because it makes HIM happy? What about HER happiness? What about what SHE wants? Why did she cave?
I had to ponder this further…
Is this something I do? I suppose there are some things I do because I know it makes Mr. Confessions happy, like making the bed. I have learned, however, that it is imperative that I am confident and comfortable doing what makes me happy, for me! My happiness matters. My opinion matters. My ideas matter. And, in return, I honor and respect my mates happiness, opinions, ideas and hair choices.
WHY? Who does this really benefit? Is her husband really more comfortable or happier if she’s a straight blonde? It’s not like she tattooed spots all over her face. Sure, Mr. Confessions might be less than thrilled if I shaved my head or decided to pierce my eyebrow, but at least I’m confident that he would respect me and support me because it’s something I wanted to do. He would be ok with my decision because it makes ME happy and it’s my body.
Back in high school I witnessed girls submit to their boyfriends demands—to wear certain clothes, do their hair a certain way and talk (or don’t talk to) certain people—all in the name of said boyfriends happiness. Now, thirty years post high school (yes, thirty, for real) I thought such behavior was ancient history. Now, being privy to As the Teenagers Turn I can sadly say, it is not. How is it remotely possible for a teenage girl, in this day and age, to put her boyfriends happiness before her own? Restricting her own choices and behaviors while negating her own happiness. Aren’t we way past this crap?
All in the name of LOVE?
Since when is love about rules, restrictions, limitations and guilt? I call bullshit! Love isn’t about changing the person you’re with, it’s accepting them AS IS. Lord knows, I’ve learned this the hard way. Mr. Confessions and I have been together so long I think we finally met in the middle and it’s a beautiful place to be. I know many women my age and older have been mislead and sold a bill of goods in the love department—self love included. They stay in less than desirable relationships because it’s better than being alone. They were raised to believe anything is better than being alone. That you are complete once you land a mate. And, as far as self love is concerned, that can be construed as selfish and egotistical, if you even make it past judgement and self-loathing. That love is found on the outside instead of within.
But what really blows my mind is watching teenage girls in 2016 still settling for a love substitute. Succumbing to restrictive and ridiculous directives and pressures placed on them by pimple-faced, immature, wannabe men. Where do these boys get off? Who is teaching them this crap? I know media, music and movies play a huge part, but I have to believe that there is a lack of good role models at home for young men who behave this way. This belief is reinforced over and over with cases like Stanford.
Let’s get all crazy and set the example for young girls! Show them what love really looks like. Teach them to love themselves fully and completely without judgement or the need to be controlled and “loved” by another to feel complete. Encourage all women, young and old, to make choices because it makes THEM happy, not someone else. That choosing YOU isn’t selfish. That confidence is the new sexy and that love means acceptance and support of yourself or someone you choose to share any part of your life with. That if you want to put five different colors in your hair, then DO IT.
What’s your take? Do you find yourself regularly doing things that make your husband/mate happy that aren’t really serving you? Are you with me on the teenage girls could use a love reboot? Love to know your thoughts.
With love, my friends!