What if?

What if I’m not the person you think I am?

What if I’m not the person I want to be?

What if I can’t be?

Real Feminism

If you could OD on a podcast, it would have happened to me today. I started the day in a pretty shitty place mentally. It was one of those “everything I try to do sucks” kind of days, so I dropped everything and decided to put my whole heart and soul into cleaning the house. Sounds weird, I know, but that’s what I do when I need to escape, I clean.
What can you do while you dust and put things away? Listen to podcasts! And Aubrey Marcus has just really spoke to my soul lately. The second one I listened to today was this one, The Wild Woman and the Wild Man with Christine Hassler.

It blew my mind. There’s power here. I highly recommend you listen to the whole thing. It’s an hour you will not regret. The next couple of paragraphs won’t really make sense unless you do.

Listening to the feminine version of the poem, I can relate. It’s that feeling when I’m angry or sad and my husband walks away from me. My logical mind knows what he’s doing, and I understand it. He doesn’t want to see me upset because he can’t figure out how to fix it for me. But no one can be happy and satisfied all the time. In those moments, when I’m reactive or stressed, I desperately want to scream and at the same time know the person I love most won’t run away, that maybe he’d even like to see that side of me. The side that stands up and insists that I get what I want right now. When the ugly or hard side shows, I want to know I don’t have to hide it from him for fear of losing his love or respect.

And then he read the masculine version…and I broke down in tears. I wanted to yell out, “I’m here! I’ll love that!” It was powerful and touching. I wish more men were able to embrace that side of themselves, but I have a feeling we’ve killed that in them in the past couple of generations. It breaks my heart.

I’m desparately searching the internet for those poems so I can read them over and over again!

I wrote this yesterday and woke up this morning still thinking about that poem. I searched again and found it HERE. I must have already read it four times since I got up today. I really hope he posts his version. I’d love to have them side by side in my journal.

It takes courage and strength to be in a wild persons life. Luckily, I have that partner. But am I that woman? I have felt that call in my soul, but I’ve lived in a tame way, usually out of fear. That isn’t negative, it’s honesty. You can have a wild heart and live tame for a time. Eventually, if I continue to live honestly, I’ll answer that call. I think it has already begun. My only wish is that I had listened earlier, but then, would I be where I am? In this magical place?

Men and women are not enemies, we are allies, partners. One does not need to be weak to make the other strong. We walk along side each other toward common goals. We do not need each other, we want each other. We move in and out of each others lives. We create together.

It’s a lot to think about on a Wednesday morning.

Survival

“Whenever you suffer pain, keep in mind that it’s nothing to be ashamed of and that it can’t degrade your guiding intelligence, nor keep it from acting rationally and for the common good. And in most cases you should be helped by the saying of Epicurus, that pain is never unbearable or unending, so you can remember these limits and not add to them in your imagination. Remember too that many common annoyances are pain in disguise, such as sleepiness, fever and loss of appetite. When they start to get you down, tell yourself you are giving in to pain.” — Marcus Aurelius

I never understood this idea until this past weekend when I had a chance to practice it. Funny how that works, I read and study constantly and sometimes I wonder why. Most of the time I don’t even have an agenda for my reading. My books, articles, and podcasts seem to come at random. But then, there I am moving through life, and I recognize a situation and think, “This is what they were talking about!”

I was in a situation this past weekend. What that was isn’t important, but let’s just say it was a typical family get-together. Anyway, there I was, sitting amongst some of my relatives in a restaurant when I began to grow uncomfortable. Too many people I didn’t know, too much being nice, uncomfortable clothes, I really didn’t know what it was. I needed a break, so I excused myself and went outside for air. I texted my husband and we went back and forth a few times. In the past I wouldn’t have gone in the first place or, if I did go, I’d have had an exit strategy, but this time I didn’t have my usual escape plans. I took a deep breath and went back inside.

My escape was blocked, and, in the past, my next behavior would have been to get angry or “piss on” whatever was going on, but I realized something as I sat there, I could choose to just “be there” like the Stoics said. This isn’t unbearable, and I could just let it happen and do nothing, not react. So, I tried something new, something I’d learned from the Marcus Aurelius. I just played along and watched. I let it all wash over me and away. I came home and described everything that happened to my husband, complaining as I went, and then went to bed.

The next morning, I realized that I’d learned something. I hadn’t left and made people feel awkward. I hadn’t lashed out and made people feel angry. I had listened and learned instead. I realized it was only me that felt any pain. It was only in my head that a tragedy was occurring. There was no need to make everyone else feel it. They are not bad people doing bad things, they are just different. We only have different tastes, that’s all.

I’ve been rather estranged from my family the past ten or so years. It’s been difficult, but I think things are changing. I think I’m finally growing up. Maybe the next one will be more fun. I’m hoping so. Family is too important to lose over anxiety and differences of opinion.

Window Into Our World

I’ll be re-sharing some of my favorite posts from my old blog from time to time. This one is from a couple of years ago, but I felt it really captured my feelings still.

I have to record the most awesome motocross weekend ever, from the Mom’s point of view anyway!

This series the boys have upped the ante so to speak and moved to the “expert” track. This alone was a feat of strength. They’ve been riding motocross for about a year now and weren’t really winning all that much on the “amateur” track but they figured, why waste time mastering the smaller track when they could be losing and gaining experience on the same track the pro’s use. The reaction from their friends was enough to spur them on. They were all excited and amazed that they would even try it. So there we were lined up for our first moto on the big track. That’s when I got nervous. What if they shouldn’t be there? What if they embarrassed themselves? What if they crashed? The gate dropped and those “novice” riders came roaring down the track with my boys in the back. My stomach dropped. We were way out of our league. The second gate dropped and the next race started and they began to catch up to my boys. Watching Jake ride was inspiring though. He looked like he was having the time of his life. Every jump was loose and every turn and slide was controlled. He wasn’t THAT far behind. But Tom looked like he was in fear of his very life. Stiff and rigid as he made every turn and each jump he just rolled it. He never made the last lap before they ended the race. I had to hold back tears the whole time.

There is some back story here. Three weeks ago we had a friend come and give them some tips and they rode the main track at another place. They were flying and very happy, ready for the “big time”. One week later, we went for another practice, this time on the main track we were going to race at next. They didn’t do so well here. I think they were intimidated by the fast riders on a Wednesday morning and lost faith in themselves. During the last round, Tom crashed, not a bad one by motocross standards but a good one for him. It was over a jump and he left the bike and came flying down the jump without it, landing on his back, rolling hard. He strained his back and fractured his wrist. We decided to baby that wrist to give it time to heal before the next race. Maybe that wasn’t a good idea because he didn’t ride those two weeks, he only did some strength training. We knew going there this weekend that he wouldn’t do well in the race for several reasons. The combination of the new track and level, and the fact that he was still healing from his injury and hadn’t ridden in awhile was pretty much cutting out all hopes of racing well. Jake on the other hand was ready. He’d been practicing and working out and was mentally ready for this race. And he did amazingly well. I’ve never seen him more confident. I feel bad that the focus leaned toward Tom and his problems when Jake had put in just as much work. But as always, the squeaky wheel, right? We kept praising Jake as much as we could without making Tom feel too bad. It felt strange because for the last year, it has been the other way around!

Back to this weekend’s race. Friday evening Tom comes down with a sore throat and a stuffy nose. He felt pretty crappy on Saturday morning as we finished loading up and headed for the track. What else can go wrong?

Saturday was a decent day of practice. The weather was perfect. The track wasn’t too crowded. But Tom wasn’t feeling it. In hindsight, you could feel his tension building but I thought it was just his cold keeping him low key. We registered for the next day’s race after practice and were encouraged by the TWMX staff about moving to the big track. Our usual after Race Day Eve rituals commenced.

Sunday morning we woke up to rain, as was expected. We waited for them to cancel the race, but they didn’t. It wasn’t a heavy rain so the track wasn’t flooded, just muddy, and it was supposed to start letting up at 8am just as practice was starting. By the time the races started it was looking nice. We got the schedule…the last race of the day! And the waiting began.

Both the boys took turns riding over to the track and watching, seeing where they were in the line of races. Tom always takes so much longer to come back because he stops and talks to people. The combination of his friendly and outgoing nature and his cool vintage pit bike leads him to conversations with people all along the track and pits. It’s fun to watch him. He introduces his brother and drags him along to talk with people sometimes, but Jake is much more comfortable at his camp or riding. The high point of his socializing is to joke and tell the rider next to him at the gate to slow down a bit and not make him look so bad! His sense of humor catches you off guard because he’s usually so quiet.

So there we were, the first moto in the books and it didn’t look good at all for Tom. Jake was happily sipping his cool sports drink and eating a hot dog while Tom was silently freaking out. It’s hard when your kids are going through something like this. I wanted so much to help but really didn’t know how. Talking about it, going over what happened, seemed to be making it worse. I felt like talking it out would be helpful (for me) but then I thought maybe just putting it behind him would be better, look to the next one. He was going on about the mud and not feeling well. Maybe he had the suspension set wrong. What was he doing wrong? But we could tell it was fear. He didn’t see it. He wasn’t jumping and speeding because he was afraid of crashing again. He needed to put THAT behind him. What do you do? I went to congratulate Jake on his performance and then looked at Facebook to occupy myself and give him space.

We had about an hour before the next moto, so Jake went to see how things were going at the track and I suggested to Tom that he meditate, clear his mind of anxiety. He agreed and settled into deep breathing. And then we headed back for the next round.

We got there a bit early this time so we had about a half an hour to stand around and watch. Jake was chomping at the bit to get out there. He just loves being out on the track! He said that the running and climbing as cross training is really working because the moto’s aren’t wiping him out anymore. He could have done that for hours. And it was so awesome to see him so proud of the work he put into it. Tom needed more time alone. I held his bike while he stood at that fence and watched the other races take off. A Dad of a friend of his came up and talked to him for a bit and I watched him relax. He needs to know people think he can do this. That little bit of fame pushes him on. That man was a gift from God.

When we got to the gate, he swept, packed down the dirt, got ready. He said he was going to just ride to finish and not fall, focus on not falling. His breathing was short. He already looked stiff. In a moment of inspiration I told him to not focus on that. No, is what I said. Remember the breathing, roll your shoulders back, open up the chest, shake out your arms, legs, and head. Focus on your confidence. You CAN do this. You have landed this a thousand times. You’re all alone, look out ahead, and have fun. He shook his head yes and the starter took his place. I ran off to the side with Dan. I highly doubted it would help. He was pretty scared. The gate dropped and both the boys were out there in the middle of the pack. Jake was a bit behind. They rounded corners and made the jumps just like that first practice. It was amazing. I couldn’t help but yell out, “That’s my boy! That’s what they LOVE!” You could see it in their riding. You could feel it as they passed by. My heart soared with them.

Now…before you go thinking that they had magically went faster and moved up in the ranks of riders, they were still in last place. They did significantly faster laps, but so did everyone else. The track was more dried out and most usually do better on their second moto. It was the attitude that was different. They were matched in their joy and excitement of making the laps. Now they just have to work on speed. That will come with practice.

After the race, they always get back to camp first. They are on bikes and we’re walking. But as we walked up, the attitude at camp was WAY better than the last time. Jake was already packing up bikes and tools. He used to have to take a good long rest before he even started to move after a race. Tom was all thumbs up, running over to us. He was almost crying. He hugged me and told me it worked and I’m the best mom for helping him. And then I almost cried! Dan was so proud of us. It was a pretty awesome moment. We all talked about how great it was and loaded up, got dressed, put away all that muddy gear, and headed for home!

I’m amazed at my children. They are brave, confident, brilliant, and talented. As much as I dislike motocross, I cannot imagine life without their craziness. Since this is the race weekend from my perspective, I’ll tell you what I learned most, the admiration of two boys that push themselves to the limit of their abilities by sheer will power. I don’t like this sport. I’d love it if they decided that it was enough now and move on to something cheaper and safer. But I see it through their eyes and I’m just as excited as they are. I’m seeing where they could go and what they can do with the skills they are learning. I’m making plans in my mind about races across the country, two brothers and a box truck! I’m seeing factory teams, personal tracks, and watching them on TV and in sports magazines. But I’ll be happy seeing them play at it all their lives, find work that keeps them fed, and wives that support their crazy dreams. I can see them getting bikes for their kids and doing it all over again. Deep sighs for this momma.

Right now, the day after, I’m in awe. I’m relieved that we are home safe, no one came home injured. I’m happy we left the track on a high note for both my babies. I’m thankful that my amazing husband supports this craziness even though I’m sure he’d rather be doing a thousand other things with his time and money. I’m looking forward and planning the next practice day. And I’m terrified of the next race in two weeks. It will never stop scaring the crap out of me every time they head out there, but how can I let my fear get in the way of their joy? I think I’ll make cookies in their honor and just bask in their glory today.

What Do You Fake?

I read that somewhere, in a blog post or book most likely, and it made me pause. I jotted it down in the notes on my phone, thinking that I really needed to explore that more and I was sure I’d forget all about it if I didn’t write it down. I did anyway. Scrolling through my notes, which I use often as reminders when I’m out and about, days later I saw those four words again. “What do you fake?”

It’s a hard question. To answer it honestly would mean that I would stop faking for a moment and my disguise would be lost forever. And not faking it is rarely an option that ends in warm fuzzy feelings.

Sometimes it becomes impossible to tell the difference between what you are faking and what is genuine. But, then again, what does that even mean, to be “genuine”?

I believe myself to be an open book generally. I don’t easily hide how I feel about things. I may be misunderstood at times. I may be misjudged. My actions may be read wrong. I may not explicitly state how I feel or what I think about a topic, but, if asked, I will answer honestly. I try to spare feelings where I can, but if you ask me something specific, I assume you want to know what I think and I love to share.

I don’t believe that I’m overly intelligent. I try to think things through, but I do most things by intuition and not by deep study or calculation. That can get me in trouble. From a missed shot on the pool table to hurting someone’s feelings, intuition doesn’t always get you where you want to go. But it may get you somewhere you need to be.

I’m not very patient. Things that take long stretches of time or effort tend to bore me and I get restless. I shift focus often but usually come back around to the same things in time. Anything that has stuck in my life has insisted on sticking. Plants in my yard are there because they can be neglected at times and come back to life when I have the inclination to give them attention again. That goes for my relationships and art projects as well.

I believe people think I enjoy children. I don’t. It’s not that I don’t like them really. I think they are awesome. They are filled with greatness and should be treated with respect. We should all honor the intact human they are from the moment they are conceived. But…by their parents mostly. Like I said, I have little patience. I think I used up every ounce that I could muster on raising my own kids without too much damage. I’ll leave the rest up to their parents. Babies are excluded…I love them to pieces with their little feet and faces. And toddlers are so much fun. But the rest, with their attitudes and trying people, learning to navigate this world…my patience is thin. That’s honesty. Bring them back to me when they are teens.

I think the older I get, the less I intentionally fake. I used to fake that I was a “good girl,” that I didn’t care what other people think, and that I knew what I was doing. It’s all out the window now.

What about you?

First Post

I’m working on getting this new personal site set up and having a hell of a time making it look just right. I guess everyone goes through that.