Thursday, August 3, 2017

it's ok to be a quitter

"you're like a frog with a lighter under you ass."

that's what my brother told me 6 years ago when i left my corporate job.

i'm sure he'd say the same thing to me today if i told him i left my non-corporate job too.

because i did.

i turned in my resignation today. tomorrow will be my last day at work.

this is a hard one. i've been with the company five years. i'm good at what i do. i like half the people i work with. i appreciate that it's a small woman owned business. i appreciate that it's a recession proof job. i appreciate that they paid me well, i had 401k, benefits.

i did not appreciate the hatred and bigotry and prejudice.

i've listened to it for years.

i've tolerated it. i've complained to friends about it. but i didn't stand up against it.

i dismissed it as just how the industry is. it's blue collar. it's old school small town white men. they have their opinions. me saying anything to them is just going to cause a rift in the office, i can take it. i'm tough. water off a ducks back. be the bigger person. it's not like they're directly attacking me. they don't even know i'm bi. they must have forgotten i'm a single mom. they must not realize. they don't know that what they're saying is offensive to someone they work with and sit next to every day.

i ignored the inappropriate jokes. i brushed off the sexual harassment. what was i going to do? that guys are the guys. most of them have been there forever, skilled workers are scarce, nothing is going to change, so just get over it.

i've looked for other jobs in the past. i've thought about leaving. i always just decided i could deal with it. you know. it's fine. i'm just being too sensitive. that's just the way the industrial field is. i'm not going to make waves. i'm not going to be "that" person.

but then last week, a brand new co-worker, someone who's only been with the company part time for a very short while, felt comfortable enough, in the office, in front of the owner to say "i'm prejudice. i'm not afraid to say it."

just bold faced out there.

and i hit my wall. 

it wasn't directed at me. it was a shotgun blast at whatever situation she was frustrated about. but the bigger issue is that she felt comfortable to say it. just bold faced drop it.

THAT got to me.

that means that the whole environment is that way. even still being new, she felt comfortable enough, felt like she was in a group of people where she could just drop something like that. flat out, bold faced, I'M PREJUDICE.

and i can't be a part of that. i can't be in an environment like that. i don't want to be associated with that mindset. i don't want to be around it, and i shouldn't have to listen to it, even if they don't know I'M the one they're talking about.

people are so emboldened lately, they don't care WHO is listening. they don't care if they offend someone. HOW COULD THEY? everyone else HAS to share their opinion.

i shouldn't have to hear about how they would never, ever allow their family to be around someone gay.

SORRY ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS PARTY. HOPE I DIDN'T GET MY BI COOTIES ON YOU.

i shouldn't have to hear about how single moms are single handedly destroying the government by milking the system and cheating to get more money than a hard working regular person.

oh really. i'm just ROLLING in all my single mom/government wealth. LOOK AT ME SCROOGE MCDUCK INTO MY PILE OF SINGLE MOM MONEY. make it rain food stamps bitches!!

oh wait. i put myself through college. i worked since i was 17. i only took assistance for a very short time after leaving an abusive marriage. AND IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER ANYWAY BECAUSE BEING A SINGLE PARENT IS FUCKING HARD AND MAYBE A LITTLE HELP ISN'T THE WORST THING ON EARTH.

it's really fucking hard for me to say. really fucking hard. but i deserve better.

fuck i hate even saying that. i feel like an elitist whiny little bitch saying that.

but really. is it too much to ask for coworkers that respect me and don't talk shit about the core of me? is it too much to want to be in a work environment where i know my coworkers have respect for other people? ESPECIALLY IN THE SERVICE INDUSTRY? do i want to worry about sending a worker to a clients house because they might say something? and i know that's not on me, it's not my company, but it is, because i work there. and i want to be able to tell people where i work without having to apologize.

i don't expect my coworkers to share all my opinions. i don't expect them to agree with me on every topic. or really, considering the group, any topic. but i do expect respect. i do expect to not have to listen to hate all the time. i won't shove my ideas down your throat if you don't loudly proclaim yours across the office, agreed?

and so i meditated on it this week. i wrote about it. i sorted all the different sides. i asked what would happen if i left? what would happen if i stayed? what fears went with it? were they rational? were they reasonable? was it something i could overcome? 

and you know what? i already did once. i already jumped. and it was rough. and i didn't handle it in the most responsible way. but i made it here.

and isn't that part of growing up? learning from what you did before and doing it better the second time?

and isn't this the year of the reboot anyway?
 
i'm so endlessly fortunate to have this opportunity. i have the safety net to be able to step away again. seven years later and my dad is still taking care of me. helping made hard decisions just a little easier. allowing me a way to learn and grow and be a better person.

i can hear him you know.

i can hear my dad talking to me.

"well, that didn't work out so well, did it. what are you going to do now?"

he's been watching me the last 7 years. i've made decisions. i've made mistakes. he's watched it.

and now he's nudging me to try again. it's what parents do. even parents who are gone apparently. they let you try. they let you make mistakes. they watch you plant your ass in the dirt a few times. then they help you get back up, brush the dust off, and come up with a new plan.

so what am i going to do now?

i don't know. i don't even remember what i used to want to be when i grew up. i gave all that up at 17 when i became a mom. taking care of that little person became more important than whatever it used to be i talked about. and then a second little person, and then 19 years later, here we are.

but i think it's about damn time to remember. i think it's time to figure out what i want to be when i grow up.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

*under construction*

well, they say a change will do you good and HOLY FUCK DID IT.

it's been a few months since the move- i'm officially all unpacked and settled (with the exception of maybe 4 boxes).

art is up, furniture is broken in, things are GOOD.

i knew things had been rough for a while. i thought i was mostly ok with occasional bouts of depression. now i'm realizing things were really bad. i was mostly depressed with occasional bouts of BAD depression.

now, in this apartment, things are GOOD.

i am the happiest and healthiest i've been in...i honestly don't even know how long. 5 years? 7 years? 13 years?

i still struggle. i'm still incredibly lonely a lot of the time. like the 4th of july...no plans, no particular place to go or anything to do. it was rough. didn't help when someone compared me to a girl that had to...how did they put it..."...basically forced [people] into hanging out with her today. it's her birthday and she has no friends. similar story to yours."

ACES. so. those thoughts in my head all the time about being a burden on people? not wanting to force them to spend time with me? my hesitation to reach out to people because it will inconvenience them or they won't feel comfortable enough to say no. OH. THOSE ARE ALL REAL AND TRUE. PEOPLE FEEL THAT WAY.

*sigh* well fuck a duck.

BUT. enough with that bullshit. I CAN ENTERTAIN MYSELF JUST FINE.

things have been changing since the move. there's been a shift and i'm still trying to sort it all out.

I'M DIFFERENT.

i'm like...happy.

know what happens when you're happy?

you care about yourself.

you take care of yourself.

i'm eating healthier. working out regularly (30 days and 15 lbs!). meditating. doing things i've always talked myself out of. some of it has to do with money. whomever said money can't buy you happiness was full of shit. IT REALLY CAN. well...it can smooth the way anyway. easier to be happy when you're not struggling and stressing every minute. good shit takes money. better quality clothes that fit and make me like how i look? make me feel more confident on a daily basis? NOT FREE. good quality skin care? NOT FREE. healthier food? better quality cooking ingredients? NOT FREE. things that i love and want in my home? NOT FREE (especially good art!).

there's things that have been put off WAY too long that just...they make a difference. shallow or not, they make a difference. braces for the kiddo that he's waited YEARS for? they take money. braces for me? that i've waited thirty years for? they take money.

and i know, i'm sure i'm missing the grand point that true happiness can be found without all those things...it's who you are inside. it's a million other cliches.

but for me, it's those things. it's being able to not be worried about the car breaking down. not being worried about hot lunch money. not being worried about if either of us gets sick. what happens if i miss work? what happens if he wants to go to summer camp? safety net: secure.

so, that has been GREAT.

the bigger change though has been the little things.

shortly after we moved in, i plugged the tv into some good old fashioned rabbit ears and watched ACTUAL TV for the first time in years. do you know how fucking amazing jeopardy and wheel of fortune are? do you know how much watching a 3 hour block of america ninja warrior and spartan races makes me want to DO something? there's a basic connection of shared experiences...watching the same crappy commercials at the same time as other people. cheering on people from my home town while they're racing (ok, not WHILE...i get the whole production delay. shut up.)

it's one of the most basic things, but i look forward to getting home at night, plugging in the lights on my patio, and watching some good old fashioned TV. not netflix, not amazon prime. regular old TV.

since the move, it feels like i've been plugged back into real people, real life. it feels like i was in a bubble for a long time. i wasn't connected to anything. i would get home from work and lay on my couch waiting to go back to work the next morning.

now i get home from work and we run errand, have dinner, work out, DO THINGS. i've been to movies, concerts, theater, even a 20's themed birthday party where i *gasp* wore red lipstick and a dress.

WHAT???

maybe it's the move, maybe it's summer, maybe it's me, maybe it's all of it.

but I LIKE IT. and i'm committing myself to the next year of keeping it going. i'll have braces for one year, so i'm considering myself under construction for that year. i'm being refreshed and updated. i'm committing to working out. going out. meditation. self care.

and then, if i can do one year, why not make it two? the last 3 months have been SO. GREAT. imagine a whole year? 2 years? i'm gunning for it.

i kinda like this happy/healthy thing.

it's weird.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

rebooting is cool, right?

everyone in hollywood is rebooting everything they can now days.

everything is being refreshed, reworked. newer script, better production, bigger budgets.

the stories you love, ENHANCED!

so. basically. i'm super trendy.

reboot: she was a single mom, struggling to get by, stressed out raising teenagers in an ever changing world. she was doing all the things she was "supposed" to do, NOW she's doing the things she WANTS to do.

chaos! drama! tears! painfully deep insights you wish you could pretend you didn't notice! emotional eating to the max! teenage eye rolling SO EXTREME you'll swear his eyes will get stuck in his head!

rated R for language.



well, it's all done. the house has sold, passed inspection, met appraisal value, and it's all over but the signing. 

the apartment is secured, deposit paid, rental insurance acquired.

boxes are packed, furniture sold/given away, rental truck reserved.

HERE WE GO: REBOOT TIME.

the teenager said about six times last night "I can't wait to see the new apartment!"

he's excited. i'm nervous. and sad. and...relieved?

is that the right word?

it's a strange moment for me. moving is nothing new. i've moved 14 times since being out on my own. but this is the longest we've ever stayed anywhere- 6 years. and we *thought* we'd be there forever. our house. OURS. owned outright.

but it just isn't us.

the teenager surprised me the other night- "i'd move all the time if we could."

gypsy blood runs deep.

trust kid- if moving wasn't such a pain in the ass, if jobs weren't required for living, if i could get over my emotional attachment to ridiculously large furniture, i'd move all the time.

living in an airstream and just...going...sounds AMAZING. just GO. throw a dart at a map. it hold a certain appeal for sure.

i'm trying to take the time in all the chaos to appreciate the house for what it's been. i did a final firepit in the back yard this weekend with friends and after everyone left, i took a moment to sit on the back deck and just...look. look at what i'd created, remember the last summer of book club, bbq's, conversations, dinners alfresco with the kiddo. i took the time to appreciate the work that got it to the point of being a place i enjoyed. the twinkle lights, the fire pit area, the calm feeling sitting out there provided. and i KNOW, i know that's not gone forever. i can recreate that wherever i go. yes, it will be smaller, but i can still create a space that has the same feeling, the lights, the calm. it won't be the EXACT SAME, but that's ok.

i took time last night to really appreciate- it's been a good house, despite all the stress and heartache. all the projects that went sideways, all the small things that have been a thorn in my side, all the project that never got started...it was still a damn good house. it was everything i could have ever picked. covered front porch, big back deck, fenced yards, old school architecture, the turret. it is everything. EVERYTHING i could have picked for a house. and it was mine. i got a chance to try it.

remember the honda element? same thing. the car i wanted. i did my research, i picked it out. it was mine. i got a chance to try it.

in the end, neither worked for me, and that's ok. they served their purpose. my dad provided me a chance to TRY. how many people can say that?

i've been through...well...a few emotions. this is the house my dad gave me. this is what i was "supposed" to do. this was the "correct" step. the "adult" decision.

i've battled letting that go. i've battled the guilt and the feelings of failure.

IT'S OK. i didn't fail. i tried. it didn't work for me. that's not a failure. that's learning. that's growing. that's experience. none of that is failure. my dad wouldn't be ashamed or mad. he knew i was a quirky duck. he knew i didn't fit the "supposed to" mold. that's why my brother exists. he's the round peg in the round hole. he knew what career he wanted when he was a kid. he's had his future planned since...forever. he's happy and content in a planned, routine life, structured.

i never fit that. dad wanted me to be a nurse. i can't handle blood. injuries gross me out. do. not. talk to me about surgery unless you want to see what i had for breakfast.

dad wanted me to settle down and have a good corporate career. i don't do well as a cog in a machine. i like a job where i make a difference.

dad was annoyed by tattoos and colored hair.

but, at the end of all of it, he loved me, he respected me decisions, he learned to trust my abilities. he was always nervous seeing what new apartment i had rented, but always came back a few weeks later proud and impressed by how i could make any place home. i scared him, but i think it was more as a parent not wanting harm for his daughter than actual fear of what would happen.

i know right now he'd be shaking his head and asking WHY???? and ARE YOU SURE?? a hundred times, but he'd also be there to help pack the truck and cursing a blue streak helping me assemble new furniture.

*side note* hey dad, i can afford to buy REAL furniture that doesn't need assembled now. no more impossible instruction books and alan wrenches and scraped knuckles.

well...mostly...there may be a few things still in my future...i'll keep my collection of alan wrenches just in case.



SO. here we go. the truck comes tomorrow. well, i go pick up the truck tomorrow.

everything is pared down, packed, ready to go.

here's to the next chapeter.

where did alice go when she left wonderland?

wherever. the. fuck. she. wanted.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

we can't show THAT on television


this is my soap box. i'd stand on it, but that sounds too much like step aerobics and fuck that shit. i'll just casually lean on it, maybe sit down mid rant if i wear myself out.

the big trend right now in...well...fucking EVERYTHING is inclusiveness. media representation of under represented groups.

we need more people of color in the oscars and academy awards.

we need more trans people in tv shows.

we need more women in high power jobs.

we need more plus sized women in fashion.

we need more of...

here's my list: KEEP EXPANDING "NORMAL," THE WORK ISN'T DONE YET.

my teenager went on another rant last night- i'm a bad mom, i'm a sinner, i'm a terrible example. i'm single- why can't i find him a dad? but if i want to have sex i need to rent a hotel room, not do it at home where he might hear. but i shouldn't be having sex with anyone i'm not married to, that's a sin.

then there's my tattoos...one minute he wants to show them off and brag to everyone that i have them, the next minute the old testament is telling him that i need to be stoned to death for "marking my flesh."
 and why does my hair always have to be so weird? why do i have to pick weird cuts and colors?

WHY CAN'T WE BE NORMAL?

aside from the mind boggling amount of shame in those few statements being hurled at me from a fourteen year old, i get the core issue: he wants to be "normal" in his teenage definition of the word.

"normal" is Tool Time- dad, mom, kids, suburban home, yard, everyone clean cut, all problems solved in a half hour. "normal" is the status quo- nothing "unusual," nothing that would make your friends say "it's not like that at our house," or have any reason to tease. "normal" is the cookie cutter...the hollywood casting call: down to the details.
the dad: khaki's, *MAYBE* jeans, tee shirt, no offensive slogans, ever. actually, probably not even a tee shirt. who wears those? polo shirts all the way. sensible, stable job where no one quite knows what he does, but he's gone 8-5, brings home the paycheck, maybe coaches your little league team if there's time. always drives the car when the family goes anywhere, always in control.
the mom: politely dressed, sensible hair cut in a sensible color NEVER from a box or anything outside the standard blonde, brunette, *maybe* a redhead. she might work or talk about "going back to work", but her main job is "domestic engineer" running kids to school and sports and volunteering in the classrooms, always available to drop everything when one of the kids has a crisis.
the kids: probably a boy and a girl, maybe two boys...if you want to be edgy throw a third kid in there. three kids is actually a good split- then you can have the brain, the athletics, the artist. good to keep them all separated. no one has more than one interest. they all have name brand clothes, the latest devices, a large group of friends, a healthy dose of teen angst and "i'm not like you" thrown at the parents before a tidy resolution and hug at the end.

anyone in the real world knows this casting call "normal" doesn't exist outside hollywood and *maybe* a few small towns in kansas.

even hollywood started catching on a long time ago- married with children was not a "normal" house. roseanne had "plus size" before that was an official label. they had poker night and beer and trouble with work. full house pushed the "normal" line with a single parent (even though i never really thought of it as a single parent home with the extra live in help around). grace under fire really pushed the line- a low income single mom who worked, didn't have live in help and even some addiction issues.

"normal" has been pushed.

there is no TV "normal" outside an archaic mindset.

if my teenager bothered to look around himself at church and talk to the other teenagers he would see that probably very few of them have his ideal "normal" house.

and, SPOILER ALERT, "normal" houses still have problems. they have bills to pay. they have bad days. they have arguments and rules. they have addiction problems or cheating scandals or struggle to make ends meet. they have parents telling their teenagers things they don't want to hear. they have fights and grounding and learning curves.

and, hold on to your hats kids, "normal" houses have moms that dye their hair. they have people that get tattoos. they have people that drink. they have people that *GASP* have sex.

OH THE HUMANITY.

i get that my teenager wants to be "normal." he wants his idea of how things are supposed to be and apparently i'm not that. i do curse. i do smoke pot. i do have sex. i do have tattoos.

but, i guess, until they have a prime time must see tv show with a mom like me, it will never be good enough.

dragging around to what started out to be the point: why ISN'T there a mom like me on tv? why are tattoos still so taboo? why is colored hair still so strange? why is being single still a stigma?

i say tattoo, what do you picture? sons of anarchy? biker gang? drug home? why can't there be moms in sitcom television with visible tattoos? have you looked around a middle school soccer game lately? the number of parents without SOME kind of mark or piercing is shrinking rapidly.

why can't there be a mom with non-standard hair? would tool time have been any different if jill had purple hilights? or maybe even an all over mermaid hair color? would modern family be ruined if gloria had a vibrant screaming red hair color? or maybe even claire? whaaaaat??

and yes, plus size is getting more representation, but i have yet to see just a regular mom role that's plus sized that's not frumpy. freaks and geeks- remember when they read the diary about how the mom had just given up? that's what any plus sized mom is seen as- someone that's given up.

you hear single mom and what do you picture? MTV teen moms? a shady run down apartment on the bad side of town? someone working a gas station job becuase they never finished high school? honey boo boo with a mom so desperate to find a husband that she'll date a man who abused her kids?

what if...WHAT IF you had a mom that was an educated, single, plus sized, working, tattooed, home owner?

what if _I_ was on your tv?

i mean, obviously _I_ can't be on your tv. maybe a netflix original where they don't have to worry about language sensors so much.

but why not? i'll tell you a secret...the same shit happens to me that happens to other people. death? not selective. teenager issue? again, not an exclusive club. annoying co-workers? i *think* i've heard a few other people mention they have those. trouble in the dating world? UNDISCOVERED TERRITORY.

funny thing how, despite my tattoos, despite my double digit ass, despite my "not found in nature" hair i'm still pretty...normal.

hit me up hollywood. i've got some killer story lines.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

my dirty, shameful, hidden secret

98% of the time if you hear me talking about dating, romance, marriage, relationships, sex, ANYTHING to do with settling down and finding a life partner you would be listening to tales of horror, regret, mind boggling oddities and general, overall, resounding pessimism and bitterness stronger than the darkest, cream filled, dark chocolate valentines day treat.

if you want to know about a date that went wrong? i've got a veritable catalogue of options for you.

want to hear about a romantic trip around the world to reunite with the one that got away? well, i have something that started out that way.

want to hear about sex that even the most seasoned of provocateurs says WHAT THE FUCK to? i got you covered.

there have been countless train wrecks over the years. remember the time i ended up dating a pimp? remember all the times i didn't actually date anyone because i got stood up 7 times in a row by different guys?

but here, after all this time, is my darkest, dirtiest, most shameful secret:

i am a totally hopeless romantic.

it's out.

the darkness has found the light.

now ya'll know.

i adore romantic movies. i've watched one fine day HUNDREDS of times thinking, you know, maybe that could happen. i mean, I HAVE KIDS, and they get sick, and things happen, and maybe i could meet an adorable george clooney with his own kid and it would be a hot mess that turn out to be wonderful.

IT COULD HAPPEN.

it really could happen to (me) you...if i was ever a waitress, a guy would totally split his lottery ticket winnings with me and leave his hot latina wife to be with a boring white girl. IT COULD TOTALLY HAPPEN TO ME.

i have rows of rom-com movies that i've watched over and over. i have had thousands of imaginary relationships in 5 minutes or less after making eye contact with a stranger in the grocery store. i keep making dating profiles and trying to date in the hopes that MAYBE this time it will work.

i, the person who has never had a relationship longer than 23 months (let's be honest, that ONE was an outlier. the REAL duration is 3 months or less), I STILL BELIEVE.

like the 14 year old that still truly believe in santa clause, i still believe in love.

i've seen it. 

i know it's out there.

and there's this stubborn, determined, completely delusional part of myself that still thinks i'll find it.

eventually.

maybe.

i mean, probably not, but, you know, weirder things have happened.

and what is 2017 if not the year of weirder things?

and so, against reasonable consideration, against any possible logic, against my own deep gut instinct, i'm going to speed dating tonight.

on valentines day.

in a bar.

because...maybe?

i mean, I KNOW. it's not probable. it's not realistic. it's not logical. who actually finds someone to date at a speed dating event?

but...you know...maybe?

and I KNOW. just go. have fun. meet new people. it's out of the house. it's away from real estate stress. it's something new and different. just enjoy the moment for what it is.

but the back of my brain just keeps saying...maybe?

and so i shaved my legs. YES, the post-winter clearcut came early this year.

and i painted my nails.

and i did a face mask.

and i have a gorgeous red dress picked out.

and...maybe?

but i mean, probably not. actually, scratch that. NOT. not likely at all.

but...maybe?





but probably not.

Friday, January 27, 2017

third time's the charm

well, here it is almost february and i'm still trying to recover from the holidays.

i've been in hiding since november-ish and after recently peeking my head out a bit i'm starting to think long term hiding has some serious perks.

the election, of course, was...well...a shit show. i made the choice to step away from several of my core groups as a result. i'm not a political person. i am not nearly educated enough to know the nitty gritty of the actual policies and practices, and i'm not nearly hard line enough one side or the other to be completely unsettled by the results. as the election and the results have continued (and will for some time) to be the primary focus for the world at large, from both directions, i will be hiding in my corner trying to understand the best i can and rewatching old seasons of friends and roseanne and trying to sort out the inner workings of my personal bubble.

but one event alone was not enough to derail the trainwreck of the holiday season. good old fashioned family shit decided to add to the merriment, as is usual for the holidays.

it's been a hard few months. a really hard few months. there's been a hard learning curve, some pretty heavy introspection, and, as a result, some major life changes are happening.

a brief overview: 13 year olds are very impressionable and not equipped with the best communication tools, 18 year olds are angry and use every tool at their disposal to wreak as much havoc and pain as possible, and 60+ year olds are delusional, destructive, and need to just disappear already.

BUT, even in the worst of times, there's an opportunity to learn and grow. and i'm trying. i know it sounds cliche, but damn, weed makes you have some deep thoughts.

i've been attending meditation classes since...i think around september, working through a book learning how to have better compassion for myself and others. between some great strains of 420, some good meditation/teaching, and actually allowing myself (forcing myself) to look at things instead of just stuffing them down inside to stay in survivor mode there's been some really key things that have opened up for me:

teen parenting SUCKS. i did it. i survived. but DAAAAAMN. all the things they prepare you for: being broke, being a statistic, higher probability of minimum wage jobs, higher probability of being on government assistance, higher probability of...fill in the blank. they give you all the statistics. they tell you how hard it will be. they prepare you for dealing with a crying baby and a toddler.

what they DON'T tell you is how to learn how to make mistakes with someone ALWAYS watching. i didn't get my 20's to screw up financially and figure out how to bail myself out without it affecting anyone. if i screwed up financially (which i did, repeatedly) it affected 2 other people. if i miscalculated my checkbook ledger i had to worry about feeding 2 other people until it could get straightened out. if i wanted a night out, i had to budget how it would affect daycare and buying shoes. my kids have had to hear "we can't afford..." more times than any kid should. they've been with me in grocery stores and restaurants when my card didn't go through. they've learned to check your balance before you grocery shop. granted, not all BAD lessons, but not something that kids need to be worrying about.

i didn't get the crappy roommate time in college to learn how to live with someone. i didn't get the wandering from job to job time. i didn't get the crappy relationships, watching friends settle down, wedding season chaos, ANY of the crap you've seen a million times in a million different sitcoms. i had to consider the repercussions of everything. I had to watch for the ripple effect. i made PLENTY of 20-something mistakes. PLENTY of them. but, for me, they weren't just mistakes. they were memories for my kids. they were moments emblazoned into little minds and cemented as mistakes and flaws. my oldest son has a devastatingly low opinion of me, i think partly because he remembers it ALL. he remembers my marriage and divorce. he remembers moving all the time. he remembers all my mistakes and hates me for them. and i know part of that will assuage with time as he grows and makes his own mistakes, but for right now they're weapons. sharp, heavy, devastating weapons.

the hardest part for me is that i'm still making mistakes. i'm still learning. i'm still trying like fuck to figure out this parenting thing. but i don't have anyone to look to for how they did it. i don't have anyone to ask how they handled situations. i don't have parents or grandparents or friends with older kids. the friends i have with similar aged kids are in the same boat trying to figure things out too. and i know there aren't "ANSWERS" to parenting. but there's people that have been through it before. there's people that remember better what it was like for them (i've blocked out probably 75% of my childhood).

and in my learning, and in my mistakes, i'm doing what i can to correct what's happened and prevent what i can going forward.

one of the biggest things that came out of the disaster that was this holiday season was some GREAT (hard) conversations with my 13 year old. we've come up with several things that need worked on. we're learning better ways to talk to each other and be heard. we're working on sorting through actual memories vs things people have told him/are telling him.

one of the biggest things that came out of this is that he doesn't feel safe in our home. there was a litany of reasons, some reasonable, some irrational, but at the end of the day, he doesn't feel safe and that is a HUGE concern. part of it is basic neurosis (which he gets 100% from me): worrying about if there's a fire- there's only one way out: down the stairs. it's like he crawled inside my mind (or maybe i said something once that he heard and hung onto). one of the few things i DO remember from my childhood is laying in bed at night counting the time between the blinks on the smoke detectors. i used to count the flashes and plan over and over and over what i would do if there were a fire, what i would grab, how i would get out. this is, to this day, the reason i will never, ever, no matter what, sleep naked. i am 100% convinced that the ONE TIME i sleep naked the house will burn and i'll be in the streets naked AND homeless. i still lay awake at night and think of how much time i would have to wake up the teenager, how many things i could grab, what's important enough or not to risk grabbing, and how to get outside.

let's not even go into how much of a living nightmare it was to have my dad die in a house fire.

so, i get it. i worry about if someone breaks into the house how would we get away, how would i stop them and protect the kiddo. i worry about...fuck...you name it, i've worried about it.

so, I GET IT. and i thought it was just me. and i can deal with things when it's just me. but when it's my kid? game changer.

so, he finally tells me he feels unsafe in out house.

game changer.

so. time to find a solution: we're selling the house and finding a better, safer feeling place to live.

we've picked out a VERY nice apartment in the valley- closer to work for me, better high school for the kid, all the amenities that you could want, and SAFER. one floor, better exits, better security, newer construction...the list goes on.

we list the house in a week, the last month has been a process of cleaning/purging/repairing/getting ready.

third time's the charm, right?

and, for those playing along at home, yes, i've attempted this before and failed MISERABLY. i've taken that into heavy consideration, and, with the great help of some good 420 and a few quiet evening, have figured out a few things: last time we weren't ready. we didn't have a reason. we didn't have a plan. i didn't get the idea that i don't need to be friends with the realtor, it's a professional relationship. i wanted an ally, someone that was on my side. sure, that would be GREAT, but this is their JOB. this isn't coffee time with a BFF, this is a business transaction. also, they don't need to like my house AS IT IS. sure, it's hard when people look around and criticize paint colors, when they tell me my taste is too eclectic (weird) to sell the house, when they nitpick all the flaws that trust, i'm WELL aware of. they're job is to make it as appealing to as many people as possible. whomever buys it isn't going to live with me. they're not going to keep the same decor. they're not going to get why i think a shower curtain works in a livingroom. and it doesn't matter.

i don't know if the realtor didn't explain it well to me before or if i just didn't listen, but I GET IT NOW. i'm not showing MY house to people, i'm showing A house to people. yeah, a few things up on the walls to make it feel like a HOME are nice, all my knick-knacks and clutter? not so much.

also? this is probably the first time i've really had the time to fully consider a move. we're not moving because we HAVE to. any deadlines are completely mine. i don't have a landlord going into default kicking me out. i don't have a lease expiring, i don't have any of the reasons that we've moved before.

this time WE CHOOSE. we were able to take time, decide what we want in a new place, research, and really, really be picky. i didn't have to take the first thing i found in our price range and make it work. i didn't have to find the only thing affordable in a college town on a single budget. i didn't have to settle in any way. and i'll tell you what, really getting to pick, with no limits on it? WHOLE DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE. also? apartments now are WAY nicer than the last time we looked. the new concept of "communities" is actually really amazing. common spaces, shared gardens, places you can have guests over, allowing painting and decorating and making it your own home...things have really changed. it's pretty amazing.

this is also the first time we haven't been just shoving things in boxes. i'm taking my time really thinning out, deciding what goes and what goes away. i know the floor plan of the new place, the measurements, so i'm able to decorate in my brain and know what will fit and what will make clutter. i'm able to go through cabinets, get rid of things we haven't touched since we moved into this house. i'm able to catalog (dude, there's some AMAZING smart phone apps for cataloging movies and books- do it, even if you're not moving!).

we have been in control of this move from the very first minute. that's a whole new experience for me. deciding IF we wanted to move, picking out where, picking out when...it's been really healthy and therapeutic in so many ways.

i realized the other night that i never really took buying the house and moving seriously before. to me, buying a house was exactly the same as renting an apartment. i looked around, found one that would work that we could afford, signed a few papers, and moved in. i didn't have to do the mortgage, the inspections, the closing issues. i just handed over a check and they handed me keys. that was literally it. and as i've said before, i didn't go into buying a house for the right reasons. i bought it because i was "supposed" to. this time i'm doing the process because we WANT to. that's a whole different ball of wax.

i feel prepared this time. i know this is for sure. this is happening. this is intentional, thought out, planned.

it's a big change. something good is coming out of a LOT of bad. i'm kind of getting to hit the reset button on losing my dad. and i am eternally grateful for the opportunity. i'm getting the chance to make better decisions with what his death entrusted to me. i have better tools for processing all the emotions and experiences. i have a little more distance from the initial ground zero, better perspective.

so.

here we go.

third time's the charm.

*pushing button*


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

the morning after

make america great again!

that's what we keep hearing.

you know what?

COOL.

LET'S DO IT.

america's favorite pass-time is pinterest and upcycling, so let's do it! take the old ideas, our new abilities and knowledge, and let's do this shit.

put wood shop and mechanics back in schools with all the CAD tools and drafting tools. encourage kids to create, build, expand.

make art and band and choir required elements again: help them see the beauty in everything around them with new cameras and drawing pads and use communities as their art canvases. help them find their voices in poetry and sound and share that with the WORLD online and in app stores and viral videos.

teach kids home ec- how to make a nutritious meal, help around the house, be independent. let them search pinterest recipes and craft ideas. let them grow local ingredients together, build their own community garden and learn how to use it.

teach kids to THINK and work instead of how to take tests. make the process and the effort the goal instead of the final score. encourage ALL types of learning. implement all the tools and resources available in the classrooms.

make it so kids who want to can go to affordable college and the ones who don't can still make a good living.

make a living wage so one parent can afford to stay home again.

make block parties and community gatherings regular events. teach people to help their neighbors.

AND HEAR ME:

i didn't say teach the white kids. i didn't say help your straight neighbors. i didn't say teach the kids who we think have a shot at making it further.

I DIDN'T QUALIFY ANYTHING.

there's a reason for that.

HELP. ALL. YOUR. NEIGHBORS.

TEACH. ALL. OUR. CHILDREN.

HELP. EVERYONE. SUCCEED.

we have better tools now. we have better knowledge now. we have experience and things that we know work.

i'm stitting here listening to coworkers gloat over how "that woman" lost and all the bullshit that goes with it.

DON'T LET THAT BE THE VOICE.

band together. help each other. make THAT the voice.

what was the main saying in the election? don't be complacent, go out and VOTE!

there's a reason for that- people get used to it being good. they forget how hard thousands of people worked to make things happen. obama didn't just show up to office with all these ideas in his head that he made happen. people had fought, bled, cried for years to get representatives in the house and senate. they had worked at the lower levels to get ideas and referendums and laws in place to pave the way. obama didn't have a magic wand: he had YEARS of people building a platform for him to stand on.

so let's start building another platform.

when kids have only ever know marriage equality, they are going to forget how hard people worked to make it happen and not be prepared to defend it like we will need to now.

when people are always fed and full they forget the fire that an empty belly can stir.

it. sucks.

we're all tired. we've been working FOREVER. many will want to give up.

but we can't.

make it great again. teach kids. build communities. make families thrive again.

BUT DO IT WITH THE NEW TOOLS AND NEW KNOWLEDGE WE HAVE.

DO IT FOR EVERYONE.

now is the time to band together. now is the time to build a new platform.

start today.

the vanessa behan crisis nursery always needs help.

crosswalk for homeless teens always needs volunteers.

odessey support center for LGBTQ kids will never stop needing allies and love and support.

go out and meet your neighbors.

go out and help someone.

go build a link. a link will be come a section. a section will be come a new platform.

it's 4 years. it's high school again. it's a bad john hughes movies that didn't end the way we wanted it to.

we all survived it before, as much as it sucked.

we can survive it again.