Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 264

I'm swiping another idea from a friend's blog today. A fellow knitter, Ann, is always posting a Tuesday Ten in her blog. Here's my version.

Ten things I believe:

1) There is, generally, more wisdom to be found books that used to be written for children than in books written today for adults. For evidence, I point to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Anne of Green Gables and Little Women.
2) The power of single words or simple sentences is far too often underestimated. They have more ability to create and destroy than anything else I can think of.
3) If you hurt someone, it is your responsibility to try and make amends somehow. The idea of relying on a deity or some other external figure to fix it is just passing the buck.
4) The practice of genderizing colors, music, activities, literature, etc., is really abhorrent.
5) Lennon was right. All we really do need is love. Starting with oneself is the hardest but most important step in that.
6) No one ever made better fried chicken than Gladys McGuire and no one ever will.
7) Someone who treats animals and children with disdain is someone who is damaged inside. Everyone doesn't have to love all animals or want to be a parent but basic kindness should always be able to extend itself to the smallest among us.
8) Everyone should read to their children. Every day, if possible. Even when they've become strong readers themselves.
9) The truest families are the ones we create for ourselves.
10) Most adults don't play enough. I will always have to acknowledge the wisdom of regressing to childhood and playing periodically. It feeds us just as nature, the beauty of music, art, and literature do.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 260

I'm fairly tired and it's not even ten yet. So, I'm not feeling like putting together a bunch of wisdom in this post. But, I do like to recycle the wisdom where I find, especially when it comes from a musical. So, I'm going to fall back on something from Oklahoma! for this blog rather than just giving a random list. Aunt Eller in that one said, "You have to take the good on one side and and the bad on the other and say, 'All right then to both of ya!' "

Good stuff:
1) I get to leave work a half hour early which means more time in Munchkinland this weekend.
2) I'm starting to take ever larger steps to decluttering my life and the apartment which means that certain things that needed to be moved out and certain strings that needed cut are being taken care of. It's not huge steps but not baby steps either. I need a new term for those kinds of steps in the direction of assertiveness.
3) I finished Emma's cape and I think it's adorable. I just hope it'll fit her and that she likes it.
4) I finally broke down and bought a digital camera. Not so fancy but I like it and I think it'll make putting pics from various happenings in life/knitted objects/the munchkins online much easier.
5) I've been enjoying being more involved with BASL lately. As an organization, it's a really positive one and I think that there's a lot of potential building there.
6) Sort of connected to #5-It seems that I've both been more social (or maybe just social with different people or different groups of people)lately and finding more time to be home and to pursue some interests I had been neglecting. So, more reading is getting done as well as more knitting. I'd let feeding those interests fall by the wayside over the last few months and it's good to reconnect with those aspects of myself.

Really there's not much to list under this heading, just a few small things here and there mainly. I've had some days recently when I wished I could discuss things with Rachel but I've done okay. Not great-I can't claim that because one day in particular was really tough. And it left me wondering just what it is about friendships and relationships that is so damn difficult sometimes. And, what's so tough about communication and honesty? I know that we all have our fears and, I'm certainly not the person to claim title for best at either thing. I have to own up to having been blatantly dishonest with a very good friend on one occasion in particular out of fear over the reaction honesty might have gotten me. But, with that exception, I try to be honest as I can be. Well, okay, I do get a certain kick out of being cryptic. But I don't like secrets, being deceived or being mocked behind my back. And, the past few days seems to have been hitting on all of them, in one way or another and to one degree or another. Well, some of the above were lessened after conversation. But, some of it wasn't. And all of it has left a bad taste in my mouth and has me wondering just who I can trust completely anymore.

Overall, I feel pretty okay at the moment. I've just been hitting some bumps lately. But, to go back to being positive, I pat myself on the back for not melting down over them. *And*, I am looking forward to my weekend with the kids. It's going to be good. I think, based on Emma's recent phone call, that they need some time with me just like I need some time with them.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 255

Today was BASL's Swingin' Social and it went really well. Lots of people that don't always get to make the events and even a newbie joined us. It was a pretty successful event and, actually, the whole weekend was good. So wiped out now, basically but I can't seem to fall asleep without getting some thoughts out of my head first.

Sometimes I just don't feel like I know where I fit with everyone or what my purpose in this mixed-up bag that life is. I believe in my own worth and appeal in an intellectual, logical sense. The sense that all of us are valuable and worthwhile, I mean. Sometimes I don't know exactly how that value could be measured in a non-esoteric, every person is special, sense or what my actual contributions to this world/life are. I'm surrounded by artists, activists, parents, workers for social justice in different forms... And, I really do wonder just what I offer that makes me friend-worthy. Seeing it myself and knowing that it's perceived by others are two different things. I always want a scorecard or a system of measurement to use and evaluate these things. "Well, I see you're an A on friendship and listening ability but just a B on the interesting factor. I'll have to sleep on it before I decide what level to award you." I'm not trying to express anger or sadness (although I could understand that interpretation of this post) but to give voice to some of the perplexedness I feel when faced with questions like "What do people always love about you." Mostly I fall back on 'nice' or 'funny' for those but I do think and hope that there's more being seen in my character than just those two terms.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 252

From a friend's Facebook page: "Is "tough love" an oxymoron, or isn't it?"

It's always seemed odd to me that we have embraced this concept so whole-heartedly in modern life. In an age of self-disclosure writ large, (witness the phenomenon of blogs, talk shows, etc.) we seem to have also adopted a tough guy approach to interpersonal relationships. Just about the worst thing one can be these days is too needy or co-dependent or lacking independence. And, most of the time, I find this a very healthy approach. Of course we should be responsible for our own emotions! Of course independence is valuable and should be encouraged. And, in terms of the idea of 'tough love,' I think what most people mean is that they want to be assertive of their boundaries and needs. When it comes right down to it, that's what I did when the time to end my marriage arrived. For, ultimately, being with someone who doesn't respect your individuality at all is the height of unhealthiness.

And yet...

When does the line between protecting yourself or being assertive and being cruel or disconnected from those around you get crossed? Too often, I think, 'tough love' simply serves as an excuse to be harsh and demanding of those we say we love, a way to ensure that our needs are met even at the expense of someone else's. (This does *not* apply to the source of the question.) What troubles me equally about the concept is that it seems difficult to balance with an idea that I really hold dear: that we are all connected and interdependent in this world. We need each other to get by. We need back up and support networks and friends and family and love, above all. I don't think anyone ever suffers from an excess of love.

So, what's the answer? Is 'tough love' an oxymoron? No, it isn't. It's just a misappropriated, bastardized term far too often. To my way of thinking, we all seek a balance between our own independent, assertive selves and the ability to connect deeply with others in meaningful ways. That beautiful, happy, medium must lie somewhere in the middle as so many things do. Finding it is the Grail of our modern age. Here's to the continued search!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 248

Brick by brick by brick I built them once
Rough though they were, scraping the skin raw
Where some brushed against them,
They were built high and strong
And they served me well.
Let me be the cryptic, the literature buff...
Far more together in appearance then than now.
Brick by brick I took them down only to be reminded
(Perhaps too late)why they were there.
Now the hands that once put the walls up so easily
Are the ones left raw and bleeding.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 242

So, Mia is aggravating me again, leading to internal debate about writing and disclosure and quality of writing. And, yes, I realize the insanity that could be deduced from that sentence. But, I've been told by other creative types (aspirant (as opposed to being fully deserving of it) to the label that I am) that personifying one's muse is fairly common and often helpful. In the interests of getting some of this conflict out, I'm throwing it on here. Basically, the debate goes something like this:

Mia: Nice skirt. You ever going to finish it?
Me: *sighs* It's a cape for Emma. And, yes, it's almost done.
Mia: (leans over my shoulder) It's fucking huge. Kid'll never wear the damn thing. Put it away and write something.
Me: I'm just relaxing. I'll blog later.
Mia: Bitch, you've been saying that for days. That last entry was just sad. That poem? The fucking dentist poem? Subpar. Get off your ass and write. (Looks through journals)
Me: You know I've been thinking a blog post out. But, they've been really negative lately and I'm trying to be a bit more positive and stuff.
Mia: Fuckin' blah blah blah. You're bitchy. Try and hide it all you want-it's gonna show up again soon anyway. Get. off. your. ass. and. write. (Pulls out half-finished story) Look at this shit! You started that 'un in FEBRUARY!
Me: Yeah but it was too revealing. I'd never publish it anyway. And, I decided the narrator was too defensive.
Mia: Fuck publishing! Finish the damn thing! (Kicks me in the shins) At least write a friggin' blog entry so people don't just think you're dead or abandoning writing completely. Write about this weekend or dating or those fuckin' munchkins!
Me: I'm not writing about certain things. I can't get that personal. Who knows who all is reading the blog anymore? Plus...
Mia: Again with that shit? I *know* you get the blog concept. Fuck, even J.C. told you to write about what you were doing and your feelings and all that bullshit. You're still not doing it and you even *agreed* with him! Aw, you're a fuckin' wuss.
Me: FINE. (Puts away knitting and gets laptop)
Mia: (Grins smugly and goes to eat the last of the chips)

So, in order to satisfy the abusive muse who keeps after me...

Things with my mom are still the same. I haven't heard from her and it's actually reducing my stress level greatly. I did have some flashes of guilt last week over being a bad daughter but this last fight was the final straw. There will be no repeats and I'm not caving. Cold? Maybe. Honest? Finally and absolutely. I told her in my last message that she needed to apologize, accept me 100% and adjust her behavior. I blame replaying 'Defying Gravity' over and over but this is much better for me. I've been keeping in touch with Angie and Amy more and that's been good. Might be visiting IL w/Amy near the end of this month. I miss the kids and a weekend away would be good.

On dating? Screw you, Mia, I'm not getting specific. Let's just say it's been very nice and fun. And, given the way things have been changing with some of my friends lately, I'm not sure if I'm entering a new phase here or not. I'm enjoying myself (despite my tendency to want to stomp my feet and throw a minor fit when things change) and working on figuring out exactly how the whole dating 'thing' is supposed to work. *gets jabbed in the neck* Okay, I'm having a good time. And, I'm forcing myself as much as possible not to overthink it and to just ask myself if I'm having fun and happy. Increasingly, that answer is 'yes.'

I have nearly given up on finding a new job. Searches on the net aren't turning anything up and I have little time to look at work now anyway since it seems like someone is *always* in the office, peeking at my computer screen. It's a downer but I'm wondering if I'm not just meant to stay put for a bit in the interests of further moving toward full-fledged adulthood. I want out and I feel increasingly tainted by the job but I feel like I just can't get away to anything else yet.

It's autumn. My favorite time of year. I'm smiling more lately. When you come right down to it, that and my efforts to refocus on more positive things (i.e., driving to work and looking for *anything* to use as a happy thought for the day) are good.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 238

On A Thursday For J.C.

Stupid dentist prodded my teeth into a state of whimpering pain
And vowed to reduce their numbers soon
Seemed fitting for a day that started pleasantly cool
Only to turn steamy halfway through
A Thursday-close enough to the weekend to
Rake your fingernails along its edge
But not close enough to justify
Rumandcokelunch. So, the irritating mess of my mouth
And I will stay put and content ourselves with
Ibuprofen cocktails.