Tell Your Tale- Submit a Story to The Blogging Mama Today!

Well here we are once again with a new and exciting development on The Blogging Mama!

Hold on to your hats ladies and gents because this is a doozy.

The Blogging Mama is calling for writers!

I am officially looking for fresh and fantastic content for the blog.

From funny facts to amusing antidotes.

Parenting predicaments and tantalizing tales,

Short stories that will wow!

Whether you are already a blogger looking for a new platform that will link to your site…

Or

Just wanting to tell your story.

The Blogging Mama is the place for you!

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We all have some great stories whether they are fiction, fact, funny or filled with excitement. Since starting The Blogging Mama I’ve had so many people tell me their stories of parenting- wondering if I needed some new material.

Well the time has come friends, send me your stories for publication and I will be happy to publish them on The Blogging Mama along with a short bio and a picture (optional) of the writer. And again if you are currently a blogger I will be very happy to link to your site. Great for advertising!

Remember The Blogging Mama is not limited to just parenting tales (however we do like those a lot!)

Feel free to submit all kinds of creative works- Paintings, poetry, photography, etc. (Again not limited to words beginning with P).

So as they say let’s get this monkey dancing! *People say that…I swear I’ve heard people say that…*

Go forth and prosper by emailing submissions to lyndzeerae@hotmail.com Or Private Message your submission to The Blogging Mama Facebook page. Head subject line with “BM Submissions”- and yes I know how it looks. Filled with anticipation in this new endeavor, The Blogging Mama

why i write

How starting to not give a shit changed my life forever

Okay I’m already lying I still give a shit. I give a lot of shits actually- just not the same shits I gave before.

Once upon a time I was so worried about what other people thought of me I would go so far as to not even post certain things on Facebook in fear that the readers of my feed would think me unusual. I was on a constant people pleasing mission, bending over backwards for other human beings. People I was not even close with. People I didn’t even enjoy the company of! I wanted absolutely everyone in the entirety of the human race to love me. Plain and simple.

When in conversation and a topic I did not agree with came up I would nod my head and agree in a mindless, spineless and spiritless fashion. I felt as though my opinion was not valid. My voice just never seemed important enough to speak up over the crowd. I gave myself no credit when it came to my freethinking mind.

I reflect back upon it now and feel saddened for all the years of wasted time.

And when I say ‘wasted’ I mean it. I misused so much time. Hours upon hours I would lay awake at night dwelling over something someone had said to me that hurt my feelings. My mind constantly reeling over why that person might not like me and what I could do to change myself if they didn’t.

Today as I write this I realize how far-reaching it all sounds. The story doesn’t sound tangible…Who in their right mind would go to such lengths to please everyone?

It didn’t seem so drastic back then though. I never realized what I was doing and I certainly didn’t think I was harming anyone. But in reality I was damaging the most important person- myself.  I inadvertently put my own feelings and well-being on the back burner so to speak. I craved that cheap thrill of a pat on the back and the words ‘good job’ slung at me in a half-hearted way. I was forever searching for that approval; those meaningless words that for no reason other than my own inflated ego told me that I was doing right. In truth I was doing right by all the wrong people.

Time can do some very beautiful things to a person though. It gives us knowledge, strength, confidence and ability. And time does all of this in the slyest of ways- gradually and unbeknownst to us.

So there I was once giving all kinds of shits about all sorts of idiotic things. The clothes I wore and whether a pair of pants gave me a muffin top because God forbid that my fat insult the eyesight of someone walking behind me. I wrote with a bias hand always censoring the words I placed to paper, in fear I would offend some stranger I may never meet. I tread lightly in situations I was unsure of, promising not to rock the proverbial boat because people do not like boat rockers and I wanted all the people to love me. All of the people.

And that was the first thing when it came to giving a shit that time had taught me…Somebody will always dislike you. Sometimes people will go as far to say they hate you. And more times than not these people and their negative feelings are unavoidable, but they are also unquestionably commonplace. Rather than getting all up in arms about such an ordinary, everyday undertaking I was beginning to find catty remarks and rude comments just plain boring.   Slowly but surely I came to the conclusion that I may as well be myself because if people were going to find things to loath about me they should probably be loathing me for my true traits rather than my tip toeing alter-ego. It is an utterly exhausting task to constantly worry about what others are thinking of you. EXHAUSTING I tell you! So I decided it was time to throw in the towel when it came to my shit giving ways.

And this is how my journey into shitlessgiving began. Yep…Going with that.

I won’t tell you that it is stress-free dropping all the shits one used to give. Quite easily it was a way of life that I lived for far too long. And sometimes I still find myself hovering skeptically over the publish button. Sometimes confidence still fails me and I worry my voice is not good enough. Sometimes I am still burdened with the falsity that I am not good enough.

But in these times of uncertainty I remind myself of all of the wonderful shits I still have to give.

I give a shit about my work. I give a shit about feminism and equality for the sexes. I give many shits about creativity and moving forward into the unknown. Of course I give a ton of shits about my amazingly selfless family who have helped me so much along the way. And for my friends, the people I know I can always count on. And most importantly I give the most shits about my wonderful husband and our two beautiful children.

When it comes time to really sit back and think about the greatness that this life has to give it is then that we can truly realize what shits are not worth stressing over.

And that is how starting to not give a shit changed my life forever.

Iced Tea

A few days ago the children and I were on our weekly park hopping expedition…Park Hopping, if you were wondering is a marvelous activity in which we tour all around town looking for new parks to discover. We have found big parks and little parks. Parks that are hidden in the midst of tall houses and parks in plain view from the long and narrow walking paths we travel.

So as we were engaging in our park uncovering adventures we came across a young man sat behind a large red cooler with a cardboard sign attached to it. The sign read, “Ice Tea.” I wanted to correct the kid and tell him that it is actually properly pronounced, ‘Iced Tea’ but I was concerned that may come off a bit assholeish. Plus the kid was like 7.

So instead the children and I slowed down and stopped at his ‘Ice tea’ stand for a quick refresher.

As soon as this 7 year old entrepreneur realized we were actually going to stop, his look of boredom and dreariness quickly transformed. A new child sat before me as I arrived in front of his makeshift kiosk with a bright smile and a cheery, “Hello what can I get for you.”

“Hello good sir, I see you are selling iced tea.” I really put some good enunciation on the ‘iced’ part too. What the hell is wrong with me?

“Yeah a dollar a cup.” Wow a little steep I’d say but who am I to argue with the small child selling beverages on the side of the road. So I bought 3 glasses of literally the worst iced tea I had ever drank in my entire life. The kids and I sipped it sparingly.

“Yummy, good stuff.” I blurted out to no one in particular. Lars and Sophie just stared up at me with a blank, what-are-you-talking-about look. The kid on the other hand must have decided the comment was meant for him and responds with,

“Ya well everyone else thinks it crap.” I’m not going to lie, I was definitely taken aback by this small persons candor.

“Oh yeah? That’s…Rude of them to say.” What the hell is one supposed to answer back to that?

“I dunno, I don’t think it’s very good either.” He flings back nonchalantly.

Hmmm.

“Well, why are you selling it then?” I don’t know why I continue to pursue this ridiculous conversation with the boy, but I do.

“I didn’t want it to go to waste.” That is some solid logic I will give him that.

“You could always add more powder to it to make it a bit stronger.” I offer the kid now feeling a bit sorry for him.

“No I have to spread it thin…” Yes the kid actually said “spread it thin.”

I laughed because that term coming out of a small child’s mouth sounds completely ludicrous. He gave me an odd look that somehow made me feel inferior and then carried on.

“I need to sell a lot of glasses of juice because I need to buy a dog.” This is the moment when my heart melted just a tiny bit.

“Oh well that’s awesome! It’s very fun to have a pet dog.” And I immediately feel bad about laughing at him.

“I don’t need a pet I need a guard.” He says in an unnerving tone.

Huh.

“Why?” Is all I can muster myself to counter with.

“So it can guard my birthday money.” He replies with a roll of the eyes and a shrug as though I should have obviously came to this conclusion on my own.

I told him that was a very smart idea and then bought another three glasses for the road. Now that I look back at the exchange of words this child and I had I wonder if I should have grabbed more information. Like why he was concerned someone was going to steal his birthday money in the first place. Or how he planned to train the dog to guard the infamous birthday money.

But I didn’t, so now we come to this tales end.

Moral of the story: There are 2 reasons to ALWAYS stop at Iced Tea Stands.

  • For the insightful conversation.

And,

  • You never know when a kid will really really needs to make some quick cash to purchase a guard to guard his cash.

It was the most straight forward thing I had heard all day.

My Daughter The Drama Queen

There Sophie was insistently slamming her hand down over and over on the Hideout Hut. You may be asking yourself now what in fact a ‘hideout hut’ is and why was I allowing my daughter to beat it. Have patience people and read on!

We were at the park and my darling daughter was attempting to wriggle her way in to some other children’s play.

“Hey! Hey kid! I’ll have an ice cream sandwich…Did you hear me kid?! An ice cream sandwich!” Yes this is what she was saying. And the tone you are imagining it in right now…Exactly the tone she was using. I’m her mother and even I felt it was pretty unappealing.

The other children were indeed doing their best at ignoring my girl which made me want to throat punch them all but I knew that would be a bad idea. Hey, I had a lot of conflicting emotions happening in that moment. It was a confusing time.

Luckily no throat punching/jail time occurred. Sophie being the brilliant little lady she is must have realized how irritating she was being and decided to shift her attitude.

She gently approached where the children were playing. I am watching from the picnic table on the outer edge of the playground. My heart is soaring with pride as I imagine her politely asking if she can join them in their juvenile performances. I can see my child growing before my eyes and I am humbled and awed at the wonderful little person she is becoming.

Too bad this all played out in the sanctity of my delirious mind.

In reality Sophie gently approached the kids and began screaming in their faces about ice cream sandwiches and it being rude that they didn’t take her order. I was on my way to diffuse the situation when Lars hopped out of nowhere and into the midst of the kerfuffle.

“Sorry about my sister. Come on Soph let’s go play over here.” Then Sophie’s brother took her by the hand and led her towards the swings.

Whether it was the children taking pity on Sophie or wanting to play with Lars and realizing Sophie was a necessary add-on I’m not sure, but they changed their mind and off the whole gang went to play tag.

It wasn’t even 3 minutes (THREE MINUTES!) later that I hear Sophie screaming bloody murder once again. I run towards their general direction to see what has happened. Once again Lars is leading Sophie away from the group. The girl is huffing and puffing about something and stomping her feet in an ornery way.

“What is wrong now!?” I ask throwing my hands up in a notable fashion.

“Those guys were chasing Yarsy (Lars) and I didn’t like it!” She screamed while alligator tears streamed down her devastated face. For a moment I even felt bad for her, then I was impressed that she could act so well, then I was annoyed that she duped me.

“Sophie we were playing tag, I told you that!” Lars tried to rebut.

We all decided to go home. We didn’t need any more park shenanigans bringing us down.

That night when I asked the children to brush their teeth for bed I received the same response I do every night from Sophie.

“Oh Mama my tummy hurts SOOOO bad!” Even though she was running around half naked with a Barbie in one hand and Pinky Pony in the other claiming she had the fastest pony Barbie flying team in the universe, only milliseconds before.

I responded to this by saying, “Fine don’t brush. See if I care when your teeth all turn moldy and black and fall out of your head and then you will look like a little old lady with no teeth! No big deal right!” And yes, I partnered this with the appropriate facial expressions too.

Finally once bedtime came a single tear rolled ever so swiftly down the girl child’s cheek. I asked what was bothering her.

She instantaneously began bawling reciting all of the woes that had overcome her three year old existence this dreadful day. I attempted to console her, but I too was beginning to get a little teary eyed as she was making it all sound so damn unbearable!

Throughout the whole ordeal she kept grabbing my hand and caressing her face with it. Finally I asked what and why she was doing such a thing.

“Because I want you to feel how big my tears are Mama.”

It was then that I realized my daughter is a drama queen. But I can’t for the life of me figure out where she gets it from…

Naked In The Bathroom Mirror

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Naked In the Bathroom Mirror

Recently a girl said to me in a frenzy,

“Do not post those pics on Facebook

I’ve got a muffin top in them.”

I gave her one of these, “Pftt”

And proceeded to ask why she cared.

Now this did not fare well for me

As she looked me up and down, scowled and replied,

“As if you don’t care.”

And maybe once I would have.

Once I would have hated the naked body

That stared back at me from the bathroom mirror.

Maybe I would have resided right alongside this girl

Scrolling fanatically through I-phone photos

Choosing just the right angle so the Facebook and Instagram ogler couldn’t detect

Those double chocolate coco cookies I consumed only minutes before.

Maybe at one time when I gazed upon a picture of myself

All I would see was a double chin, cellulite skin, and a chipped toothed grin.

Maybe I once fixated on being thinner.

I could be trimmer, slimmer, and all around fitter.

Maybe I would fear there would always be a better…

Maybe back then

When I looked at this heinous version of myself

I would have obsessed on how to deliver

A prettier body in my bathroom mirror.

Maybe I stewed over how to wither away those last 30, 20, 10

God forsaken pounds

Because I somehow thought that misplacing that fat

Was the key to my everlasting happiness.

Maybe I needed filters and Photoshop

To perceive my self-worth.

Maybe that legendary number on that proverbial scale

Produced this gale force wind blowing in-

Insecurity and self-doubt.

Or maybe- I was just not supposed to love myself.

I don’t know when it changed

Or why or how or for what cause.

It didn’t seem like something to keep track of I guess.

What I do know is that when I stand

Naked in front of my bathroom mirror-

I fear nothing anymore.

I embrace the pot belly I once scathed

I can eat like a goddamn queen on any given day.

I no longer see the imperfections.

No, they are whitewashed by a chipped toothed grin

While I laugh freely and dance uninhibitedly.

I’ve trashed the scale that once made me feel so damn sickly.

And I will continue to preach loudly about beauty.

All that I know for certain I now am.

And all of that uncertainty beforehand

Now just seems so damn silly.

I feel lighter as the blinders have been removed

And I can unequivocally love

This naked body that stands before me

In my bathroom mirror.

Embrace the good things…They only come once in a while.

From the time the kids were wee babes Jamie and I have drove older vehicles. Some may refer to them as beaters, beasts, or even pieces of crap (whilst booting the wheel well over and over again because the damn thing broke down for the fifth time that month).

But who’s keeping track right?

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful and I’m not. For the most part these ‘beaters’ have continued to get us to our intended location…

Well except for that time we were driving down the highway and the power steering went due to the serpentine belt busting. Or that other time that I never did make it to work because the car mysteriously forgot how to start its engine.

And then there was all of the minor problems we just simply learned to live with. Like only having one headlight. No the answer was not a simple headlight swap, of course it couldn’t be that easy! It was an error in the control module, this is what I was told at least, and the problem would cost us well over what the van in question was worth. Ever since, we have opted to limit our driving to the daylight hours.

We have learnt to live without passenger side mirrors, windows that roll down and a working radio. The latter is probably the worst since I have nothing to drown out the children’s incessant whining with.

And in turn we have learned to live with funky smells wafting in through the heat vents. Odd and eerie noises when turning the wheel too sharp or slamming on the brakes. We have also come to terms with the unnerving reality that at any moment that two ton piece of metal and iron we are hurling down the road could easily fall to pieces.

But we do what we have to to get from A to B.

It was just recently that husband and I were looking at our financials and came to the invigorating conclusion that we were indeed in the market for a new vehicle. Well, a newer vehicle at least.

So we began our hunt where else? Yes you guessed it, Kijiji. Unfortunately James and I are not big car people and looking at vehicles did not prove easy over a computer screen. I don’t remember the last time we had argued so vehemently with each other. It only made matters worse that we were bickering about what the nicer color between orange and blue is for a car. Or how tall the actual SUV must be in real life. In all honesty the kids probably were thinking their folks had finally gone off the deep end into wacky-land.

So we decided for the sake of our marriage to go into the dealership and look around in person.

And boy howdy I’m glad we did! For two people who were bound and determined to buy privately we had the best experience at the dealership. Our salesman Kevin was spectacular! We were initially looking at a more expensive vehicle but he directed us to a Chevy Equinox that was considerably cheaper and it fit our needs as a family better.

Once we decided to take the plunge and buy the beaut I got to ring the bell that was located in the middle of the store. Everybody looked and clapped and smiled and I was in my absolute glory being the center of attention with all those strangers- even if it was only for a few seconds.

And the aftermath of purchasing my Equinox has been pretty glorious too! Yes this is our first time buying a vehicle and yes we are currently thousands of dollars in debt with car payments…But you know what? Totally worth it.

As I am driving down the road listening to my tunes that are cranked to the max, rolling up and down the windows as I please and smelling nothing but new car smell I think about how fortunate our family is. We are fortunate for our health and happiness foremost but also for how much we as a family unit have evolved in our 6 years together.

We have worked hard to receive the good things in life. The things we can enjoy together. And that I guess is what life is all about.

So next time you see a family cruising around in a Chevy Equinox looking insanely overjoyed to be driving safely down the road, give them a wave.

It may just be my family and we may just be busting out to some Journey…Just because we can.

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Passing Notes

So I’m getting old, there I’ve admitted it! And with age often comes forgetfulness. As of late I’ve been writing little notes to myself and leaving them in various places around the house to remind me of chores I need to get done or grocery items that need picking up.

Last night I wrote myself a note saying “Show and Tell” as I didn’t want to forget to remind Lars in the morning to pick a toy to bring to school for show and tell. I stuck the note on his backpack that was hanging in the closet so I surely wouldn’t miss it in the groggy hours of morning.

I went to bed shortly after and didn’t have another thought about my note.

When I woke up I found that my husband had oh so lovingly added to this impromptu note of mine…Really capturing a truly hidden (even to me, the writer) message.

Talk about reading between the lines.

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The Moms, The Kids, & Other Things

There I was in the canning department of Walmart pondering over what the optimum size of mason jar would be to really get the most bang for my buck. Recently I’ve delved into the art of canning. Yes I’ve become a canner (and I’m not referring to the dance).

I’ve been canning peppers to make spicy pepper jam. I’ve been canning sunberries and rhubarb to make jellies. I’ve even tried my hand at pickles as of late. But most of all I’ve been jarring up loads upon loads of salsa. It all began with my planting far too many tomatoes last spring. I won’t get into the story now, but I can tell you one thing- getting too overzealous with spring seedling will only result in an inglorious mess of vegetation come fall…Like 400 pounds of vegetation!

So here I am with 400 pounds of tomatoes. I sure as hell can’t eat them all so I have been forced to learn how to jar and process them. And hope to god my family members are good with gift baskets of preserves for Christmas presents.

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Anyways I didn’t come here to talk about canning I swear, that’s just actually how my story begins.

Ahem, so there I was in the canning department of Walmart. I am carefully inspecting all of the different options of jars when I hear Lars begin to yell in delight. “Mama, Mama, look it’s a boy from my class!!”
I turn around to find another Mom pushing two kids about the same age as Lars and Sophie in a shopping cart. She too is looking at canning supplies and I feel like for once since I began this insane journey into the preserves world I am not alone!

We introduce ourselves to each other right after she glances into my cart and makes a like comment about being surprised that someone else actually does canning too.

We make a bit of small talk and part our separate ways. For the next half an hour as I wander the store I kick myself for not setting up a play date with her and her boys.

Because somewhere along the lines of life, being ‘asked out on a date’ started to mean a drastically different thing. No longer do I swoon over cute dudes on the beach. I now swoon when the rare opportunity comes along that I may actually have something in common with another mom and the scarce idea that ‘oh my God, maybe we can be friends!’ surfaces in my mind.

There was once a place in time when my hands would get clammy over talking to a perspective date. I would stutter over my words while hopelessly eager that he would ask me out for coffee. In present days I am lucky to say that my search for the perfect (well, almost perfect) man has been wrapped up and tied in a neat and ship-shape bow.

But a search of a different kind has all too soon clamored down upon me!

That is the ongoing pursuit for likeminded mom-friends. So when the occasion to meet someone comes along you can imagine how I automatically revert back to the awkward, tongue twisted, weirdo that I used to be when being placed into high pressured situations like dating.

I won’t lie to you and say I ended up shrugging it off, because really what can you do? I missed an opportunity but I’m sure another will come about soon. No I wasn’t that rational about it all. I stewed in my own defeatism and brooded over whether or not I had just missed a prospect for the best mom-friend in the history of mom-friends. I daydreamed of the two of us canning together, skipping around the kitchen with coffee in hand in, the children playing in a friendly fashion while, “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things” By the Cowsills played gaily in the background.

It was a beautiful dream. But the dream slipped further and further away from me with each time I would run into her in the mass department store and only offer a friendly smile in her direction.

The fear of rejection had consumed me- I guess some things never change. I had to get over my self-absorption and fast. Because if I learnt one thing in kindergarten it was that ‘this’ was definitely not the way to make new friends.

I suppose I was not the only one thinking along these lines because the next thing I knew Lars piped up when once again we ran into our potential new friends and says, “Hey maybe you guys can come over for a play date sometime.”

And so you see, sometimes when you fear you may be teaching your kids terrible lessons in cowardice and timidity really they are the ones to impart a hidden wisdom on you. It made me realize that if risks weren’t taken so many delightful things would never come to fruition. Things such as canned salsa, new fashion trends, preposterously obscure Pinterest attempts…

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Photo credit- Google Images

and of course new friendships.

So go forth mothers of school age children and ask that mom-friend crush of yours over for a coffee date. I’m sure that in the end you won’t be disappointed.

The Affliction of Mom-Guilt

The pressing guilt I had been experiencing all day didn’t start with the fact that I had slept in. Nor did it stem from when I cut that guy off on 60th street the other day. It wasn’t that itching reminder that I’ve been dropping the proverbial ball with friendships lately or that my healthy eating plan has somehow evolved from rice cakes and cottage cheese to loaded nachos with salsa and sour cream.

It wasn’t any of these things that caused the mind numbing, puffy red eyes under dark shades, anxiety ridden feeling that I had been dealing with all day. No, my guilt today came from quite literally a pair of uncomfortable shorts. Well that and my bad attitude.

After the fifth pair of pants I struggled to get on Lars I began to get a little perturbed. He and I both were tottering on a thin ledge- any abrasive movements would result in a mean fall into the oblivion of meltdowns and waterworks. I knew this, so I tried to stay cool. But it was when we heaved on his last pair of clean shorts and his fingers continued to fiddle with the seams, or the bulk of the pockets, or the button on the fly, or the fly itself- that I snapped.

“WHAT’S WRONG NOW?” I yelled. Yes I yelled. I could begin typing down all of my excuses for yelling at the boy this early morning hour but that would just be futile. Because what it boils down to is that I yelled over something really really dumb. He didn’t answer he just stared at me with a sad blank look.

I dug into his pajama pants drawer threw a pair of sweats his way and told him he could just wear that. I reiterated for the tenth time that we were going to be late for school so, “hurry up”. As I walked out of my son’s room I heard his crying but I didn’t turn back to comfort him.

Selfishness, annoyance, stubbornness and clearly child-like behavior (on my part) stopped me.

Lars walked into the kitchen a few minutes later holding his dad’s hand. “I’ll walk him to school hun.”  Jamie said without a trace of judgment in his voice from my temper tantrum moments before. This only made me feel even more ridiculous.

I knelt down to Lars’ height gave him a hug and once again heard his sadness over our previous debacle. He sobbed deeply into my chest and it was all I could do to keep my own tears at bay. “I’m so sorry I yelled at you Lars that was wrong of me.”

“That’s okay Mama.” He replied between cavernously deep breaths.

I attempted to remind him of the happy notes he gets to look forward to at school, like Library class and gymnastics. And because Lars is the sweet and sensitive soul he is he tried to indulge my efforts with a half-hearted smile.

But when it came down to it, I had single-handedly ruined my son’s morning- a kid who had already been having anxieties about his new venture into elementary school. My outburst did not help, and no amount of happy notes could change that.

And this is how the Mom-guilt began.

I watched the boys walk out the back door towards the school. Quickly I retrieved the laundry basket of dirty clothes and scurried downstairs to the washing room. There I let myself cry. I cried over how stupid I felt. I cried out of anger at myself for allowing him to feel like that over something as trivial as getting dressed. I cried because the guilt had gobbled up any goodness I tried to summon at that exact moment.

After a few minutes in my pool of self-pity and dirty clothes I pulled it together. I did my chores and ran my errands- all the while not able to get Lars out of my mind. I wondered how he was doing as I checked cantaloupes at the grocery store. I revisited the events of our terrible morning in my mind over and over again as I jogged down the path behind our house. And as I quickly walked to his school to pick him up, my anxieties ran high over what I would find when he walked out of those front doors. Imagination can sometimes be an awful thing, especially in times like these. I imagined my boy exiting that school as a fragile and frail little being- ruined by the confrontation we had that fateful morning.

Instead the kid ran out with rosy cheeks and a smile from ear to ear on his face.  As we skipped home he told me about his day and how excited he was for gymnastics that evening. He didn’t mention our morning. It was the farthest thing from his mind.

That’s the thing about guilt, it is an onus made only for remorseful. And it reminds us that when we have a bad day we must always aim for a better tomorrow.

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400 Pounds

“One doesn’t merely fall into the sport of cooking salsa. It is an art. It is a finely tuned process. It is a high stakes game in which the winner takes all and the losers…Well, the losers gets burnt. And in this game of tomatoes and jalapenos- I am goddamn salsa royalty.” -Lindsay Brown

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Preliminary Efforts 101- Space, time and foresight are required in order to create a quality product.

There I was looking smack dab down a row of 96 flourishing plants that needed to be harvested before nightfall. The Frosts were coming and when it came to those guys who knows what the damages could be. So we got to picking. Me and my partner that is.

That's her on the right. Good looking lady for a partner in crime I'd say.
That’s her on the right. Good looking lady for a partner in crime I’d say.

It was her place that we grew the goods. Her soil. Her water. Her plot. My plants though. When I started the 100 and some plants back in the early spring I didn’t think they would all take off.

But it must have been my year (or maybe just the opposite) because every g-darn seed I put in dirt sprouted and ended up producing 30 plus tomatoes. I kept those buggers at my place for as long as I could but that kind of heat takes a toll on a guy. Every day they would grow more and more and more…and more. And more. Soon the small space I had allotted was overgrown with Toms. I needed to find a new location. And fast.

This is how Partner and I came into business together.

We hauled all 100 and some plants out to her farm in one trip. There they would be safe from the grubby fingers of the notorious Clammy-Hand Kid Clan.

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These were 2 youngsters who roamed my side of town. They were known for their devastating effects on anything delicate. A single stroke from the Clammy-Hand Kid Clan and anything treasurable to you would end up being nothing but a pile of stinking rubble. It was too dangerous at my house. I could not provide enough protection for the plants. They had to go.

The transportation of the product was touchy. The roads still had a thin layer of ice on them and the cargo was precious.

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However between the two of us, we finished the job. I realized then that this ‘ol broad might just be a good partner to have after all. She had the know-how and I had the brawns. I could already tell- we were going to make an invincible team.

Growing 101- To produce produce to full capacity, water is a key ingredient.

The sun beat down hot for those 3 months. It was all we could do to keep the plants from shriveling up into nothingness from the extreme heat provided by the season. The air was dry and little to no rain was provided from the heavens. Just another test, it seemed, from the big Salsa Maker in the sky.

It was one particular day that I made my rounds over to our makeshift plot that I saw something that will heinously engrave into my mind’s eye forevermore.

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My plants, my once beautiful plants looked as though they had been smooched by the kiss of death. Every jagged green leaf as far as the eye could see was withered and blasphemous to the eye.

My first instinct was to give my babies some water. “THEY NEED WATER!” I screamed with fervour yet no one was around to hear my cries. Nor was there a water source in the general vicinity. I had to construct a plan. And fast.

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The plan in question was entirely to meticulous and in-depth to get into right now but let me tell you with the help of Partner we quenched those plants of their awful thirst and we did it good.

It took near half a day, but in the end, with aching backs and tear streaked faces we accomplished our task. The plants only growing closer and dearer to our hearts.

Harvesting 101- it sucks.

When Partner called me late that night to tell me she had caught wind that the Frosts were on their way to her neck of the woods my heart pulsated a few too many times. I had seen before what the Frosts were capable of and it wasn’t a pretty picture.

The Toms were still all green. How nice it would have been to let them ripen on the vine. A dream that would never come to fruition (pun completely intended). We had to get them out of there. Green tomatoes would be a hell of a lot better than the putrid mushy black things they`d be transformed into if the fucking Frosts got their dastardly grips around them. We needed to harvest. And fast.

The next day it began. Partner and I picked. We picked the Cherry’s, the Beefsteak, the Roma’s and the odd varieties we couldn’t put our finger on. We picked until our fingers bled. We hauled and we covered so that the green tomatoes would soon ripen into their sought out red.

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In the end we saved over 400 pounds of Toms from the Frosts. And that is something to feel good about.

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Cooking 101- with an abundant supply of raw product ones demand will rise considerably.

What the hell were we supposed to do with 400 hundred fucking pounds of tomatoes? I played with the idea of consuming it all as raw product but knew after considerable trial and error that was not going to fly.

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Partner showed up at my house one early morning with provisions and we spent the day cooking- her the teacher, I the pupil. There was some difference of opinions on how to carry out the process but in the end she won. She always wins.

It only took one day to get me hooked. There I was swimming in a sea of tomatoes- green, yellow, orange, and yes some even ripened red. I had more raw product than I could handle.

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But I knew as well as my red stained hands I would try my damnedest to use it before having to freeze my precious Toms. A tiptoeing knowledge that eventually these little green globes of deliciousness would end up rotting was constantly on the outer edge of my mind, so I needed to make use of them. And fast.

Partner and I went separate ways at this time. I was elbows deep in the experimental phase of salsa creation whereas she preferred the cookbook method. It had been fun while it lasted, but it was time for me to spread my wings. I needed to venture out in this big ‘ol salsa world alone and now was the time to do it.

With each newfangled batch I made a creeping sensation that I could do better would come over me. Piquancy was my forte and I would go to the ends of the earth to get that perfect spice in my salsa. I carried out trials with different peppers, resulting in nearly losing an eyeball and having to dip my face in a shallow dish of milk for several hours to heal my burning membranes.

There has been up’s and downs in this salsa making business but I will never give in. I have discovered it must be my lot in life to find the perfect blend of tomatoes, peppers and onions to create the tastiest salsa ever made.

And so help me God, I will.

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Sweet Caroline

As Jamie and I stood in line at our towns community center waiting to sign the babes up for the wonderful new after-school activity of gymnastics I daydreamed of Lars becoming a world class Olympic gymnast. This was our first experience with extra curricular progams and the possibilities seemed endless! It wasn’t until I did the math in my head and realized that we would be dishing out 400 bones for ten measly classes that I began to wonder if a gymnast would be such a lucrative career anyways…But on second thought, at that rate, I’m sure it is!

However because I’m a parent and this is what we do I sucked it up, wrote a cheque and before I knew it the kids and I were walking into their very first class.

Sophie’s class was first and ran for an hour. I figured Lars and I could handle sitting through it so we decided to stay and watch. I figured wrong.

The poor kid was so bored he began talking in tongues to the other parents who sat around us. There he was using a strange and perplexing dialect as he belted out the SpongeBob Squarepants theme song. There were some solemn looks of concern from the fellow Moms who sat nearest us. I had come unprepared and as a newbie after-school program Mom this was my first learning lesson.

I managed to keep him quiet and calm for the last half an hour by telling him a story I was making up off the top of my head. The first time in- well, ever- that my wacky story telling abilities have come in handy. As I was spouting off non-sensible gibberish about Pokémon and Sonic the Hedgehog I mentally made note that I would HAVE to take Sophie home for his hour and half class that was next.

There was only one glitch in my otherwise perfect escape plan. As I nudged Lars to go up to the front of the gymnasium to meet his teacher he looked at me with the same weary look I’ve seen every morning I drop him off at his kindergarten class. Nervousness.

Tears began to well up in his eyes and his feet become amazingly cemented to the spot in which he stood. The crazy, outgoing and oh so funny kid who I had just been dealing with moments ago vanished. In his stead there was a meek little boy who was clearly overwhelmed. In a wavering voice as he pushed back tears with the palms of his hands he whispered, “Mama please don’t leave me. I want you to watch.”

Well I sure as hell don’t have a heart filled with malice so “No” was not an option. As the words ventured into my earlobe I knew immediately the next hour and a half was going to be tricky.

What I had- A little girl who as soon as she leapt off the gym floor was asking to leave, saying she was starving to death and SO BORED.

What I did not have- snacks, toys, a purse with odds and ends in it. Anything really.

I could see the expert after school program Mom’s looking at me and shaking their head as Sophie lay on the floor screaming 5 minutes into our stay. And in all honesty I would have probably Mom-judged me too.

I was ready to throw the towel in and ditch the kid for a cocktail when a woman approached me. She slyly gave me a few toys she had stashed in her purse and a sweet that looked as though it had been living there for a while. But it wasn’t my place to be picky- we all know the saying.

I gave the goods to the girl and she immediately settled. I turned my glance towards the woman once more and it was as if she had an omnipotent glow about her. She was my saviour. My After school program saviour.

After introducing myself and thanking her a-probably-creepy amount of times she told me her name was Caroline. It was about that time Sophie started acting up and Caroline dug in her purse of goodies to pull out a sparkly pipe cleaner for my girl to play with. A DAMN PIPE CLEANER! This woman is amazing! It took everything in me not to start serenading my new friend with the lyrics to “Sweet Caroline”.

After class I thanked Caroline again and assured her I would come more prepared next time. She just shrugged and humbly laughed then added, “It happens to all of us!”

I realized then that if more of us Moms were willing to lend a helping hand like Caroline rather than judge and criticize, this parenting thing would be a whole lot easier and less stressful. I know that next time I see a fellow parent struggling I will be one of the first people to offer assistance.

Seeking The Oomph

 

 

Today I want to write about my Oomph. Now don’t get ahead of yourself people, “Oomph” isn’t some weirdo code word for my lady parts or some other uncomfortable thing that I would probably write about. No, “Oomph” is something much more important.

I once thought my Oomph was the crazy and ridiculous things I would do in the spur of the moment to attract any kind of attention I could. The actions that would make a passerby take a second look. The way I dressed or the insane misadventures I would get myself into.  Now that I am older (and I hope a bit wiser) I know this to be untrue.

I have been asked so many times in my life why I write. Why do I stay up far past bedtime to write an article or wake up before the sun rises to complete a poem that came to me in the wee hours of the morning?

Each time I reply with a similarly equal answer- because I have to.

I write for myself. I write for the calm, for the challenge, the emotions it brings and the inner solitude those emotions create. I write to exercise my imagination. I write to achieve the goals that constantly float in my always wandering mind.

Secondly I write for the voice- a singing in the depths of my soul. It resides in a place deep down, a place that is cramped and lonely. Recently I’ve come to the understanding I must set this voice free of that place. I want this voice to be heard because it has many beautiful, funny, heartfelt, and glorious things to say. I’ve hid it away for so many years because I was afraid of criticism and censorship. And undoubtedly some will hate the words this voice will warble- but now as confidence washes over me, that will only make me sing louder.

I write for the one person who actually hears the words.

Sometimes I will scroll through Facebook, the newspaper, WordPress and find an article that in that exact moment catches my eye and after reading it I feel somehow changed. This is the beauty of the written word, and it is truly magnificent. To be moved in such a way by the prose that a complete stranger wrote is utterly outstanding! If anything I write- past, present or future- can claim these types of feelings in even one other human being I will feel prosperous in my endeavour as a writer. 

And finally I write for my children. Yes I may write embarrassing tales of their not-so-easy potty training days and the weird and wonderful things that they say and do on a daily basis but they give me such great material how can I resist?

In all honesty I owe my so-far writing career to them. Those beautiful little beings inspired me to begin writing again after a long and saddening dry spell. They were the ones who allowed me to once again find my true Oomph. And for that, I’m not sure I can ever repay them.  

But I can say this much, I will do everything in my power to help Lars and Sophie discover their own niche. The thing that energizes and uplifts them into the people they were always meant to be.

Whether it is mountain climbing, accounting, miming, marine biology, or something I cannot even fathom within the limitations of my own mind. I will do all that is in my power to help them achieve it.

But this is no great feat it is simply called parenting.

I want them to know that following a dream is never a wasted undertaking. There will be trials to overcome and tribulations to conquer, but if the dream is something worth chasing anything can be attained.

I want my children to understand the importance of finding oneself. To venture into unknown territory, despite the misgivings and naysayers. To acknowledge that standing still for the sake of fear has never fared well for anyone.

I hope to teach them how to summon up the audacity to take a leap of faith. The boldness to walk blindly into a room when one has nowhere else to go but onward. Because this kind of hunger rejuvenates the soul. It feeds that small part of our mind that propels us.

It’s called Oomph; and it is what transforms us into the beautiful individuals we are.

What I desire most for these beautiful little people in my life is that they are both given the opportunity to discover theirs and live with that passion favourably for the rest of their days.  

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WALMART- the conflicting emotions of the first days of school

Well my friends the title of this post says it all.

There are three types of parents frantically running around Walmart right now. I’m serious right now, as we speak.

These individuals are as stated:

A) The veteran parents who have already been through the kindergarten first day of school bit.

The parents who are excited for this upcoming school year.

The parents who are happily void of any sentimentality whatsoever. 

These are the people who are scooting from the school supply aisle to the kids shoe department with a demented smile plastered upon their face in anticipation for the upcoming year.

 

They know the joys of child free days and they are not afraid to show you their delight.

They are the parents who understand that full school days equal insane amounts of productivity. 

Full school days mean clean homes…Well, cleaner homes for longer periods of time!

Side note- RIP Mr. Williams, you will be forever missed.

Or possibly even a peaceful coffee date with friends.

And of course we cannot forget the most important reason to get excited for the children’s leave to school…

The prospect to engage in the elusive mid-day quickie. 

2) Unfortunately we can’t all be blissfully contented with the idea of our babes venturing into the new and quite frankly frightening world of school. 

The second group of Walmart patrons I speak of do not have the excited bounce in their step as the first group did.

No these folk are the sentimental bastards.

The thought of their little Jimmy/Joni going off and growing up is literally tearing them apart inside. They mope their way towards the snack aisle to find some peanut free fare with a dejected look strewn heavily across their face.   

They know is it ridiculous to be getting so emotional over something they knew was coming for the last five years…But it is just so hard to pull it together. 

Because the first day of school means one thing…Those sweet little muffins that they once swaddled into those perfectly delectable baby bundles are growing up…

Into gross, smelly, sticky (and not sticky in the adorable child way), back-talking teenagers. 

And it is infuriating and terrifying all at the same time. 

There is nothing we can do to save this second group.

We can only stand idly by as they struggle through their torture alone.

 

C) Finally the last group. These are the people who are not so cut and dry as the previous two groups.

They are the conflicted.

They peruse the department store aimlessly with an inner turmoil that eats slowly away at them.

Always moving. Always changing. 

Of course on the one hand they can completely see group A’s point of view. There are definite perks to all day absences of the little humans. 

But…On the flip side, they can understand group 2’s dilemma as well.

Those tiny walking, talking, rocking humanoids are the fruit of their loins! 

And sometimes it is hard to accept they are growing up.

Because nothing good can come from them growing up, right? 

wait…what?

Whatever the case the battle within group C whirls as they double check the school supply list that is grasped tightly in their left hand. 

At one point a single tear rolls down the cheek of a father passing by a rack of infant jumpers…

At another a woman in the produce section shouts out in a burst of unbridled joy, “Yes I am free on Monday Morning! ITS SEPTEMBER HALLELUJAH PRAISE THE LORD!”

And so you see, it is a crazy time at the local one stop shop. There are those who are happy, sad, conflicted and yes also very confused. 

What a thought provoking time to be an observer of the human condition. 

Nope…No moral to this post. 

Speaking Out- To The Girls

 

 

For as long as I can remember I have been a “tip-toer”- silently skirting around all of the awkward and unpleasant moments of the past. I figured that if I didn’t acknowledge those sometimes dark memories then at some point they would become, in a sense erased.

But I realized somewhere along the line that all of the misshaped adventures that I’ve endured over the years have in reality brought me to this magnificent place I am today.

Everything does indeed happen for a reason- it must.

So why fight it? Why feign ignorance to the idiocy that was your past? Why discredit the embarrassment? Why remove the pain?

All of it, no matter how harsh or weird or uncomfortable it was has contributed to a much bigger picture. Piece by piece, it has built you into the person you are today.

And this is a beautiful gift.

Not something to use as a crutch, but somthing to commemorate. Something to appreciate.

I wrote this piece for the girls. The girls who still shudder at the bad memories of the past. The ones who hold on to the hurtful commentary from years ago. I wrote this for myself, my daughter, my mother and every other woman whom I care so deeply about. I wrote it for the girls I have yet to meet, the girls I may never meet.

I wrote it for every woman, because no woman deserves to be disappointed by her past. It is a beautiful thing, and I want every girl young and old to know that.

So with that said, “Cheers to the girls.”

 

A Humble Request from your Friendly neighborhood Blogging Mama

“Hate is an epidemic that is quickly stifling out the good and virtuous characteristics of existence; the faucets I should have never strayed away from. It divides families. It causes chaos. It asphyxiates creativity and suppresses exploration.”

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Hello Friends!
 
Above is an excerpt from a recent post I’ve had published with an online magazine called Elephant Journal. It is accompanied by many more scrumptiously tantalizing words as well as a Spoken Word poetry piece I’d love to share with you all. 
 
I wrote this piece in hopes of changing my own perspective. I realized I did not want my kids to follow in my footstep and have hatred and malice on the forefronts of their life. I didn’t want to see them hating on people for no apparent reason, or simply to ‘fit in’. But I knew I would have to change my own ways before instilling in them this philosophy- because self admittedly I used to thrive on all of these kinds of bad feelings. So I began writing about the aspects I would like to see changed within myself…And low and behold it began make an impact. 
 
I sent my finished work to Elephant Journal (as their overall philosophy is much to the same degree as what I speak about in this article) and they quickly decided to post it to their site. I was SO EXCITED! Now it is up and running, but I still have the grueling job of getting it out there for people to read! 
 
So I am reaching out to you, my friends, to pop on over by following the link below and take a look at my work. 
 
If you enjoy it please go ahead and share on your Facebook and/or Twitter account (if you have one) or any other social media site you prefer. The more publicity I receive on this post the better, so would you help a Mama out pretty please? And if you have somebody specifically you think would enjoy the piece please feel free to reblog! 
 
 
And Thanks a million!! 
 
Over and out for now,
The Blogging Mama!!!
 
 
 

 

Giving up the Nostalgic Mama Bit

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Recently I’ve noticed a shift in mine and my son’s relationship. It seems that the days of couch cuddles and kissy monster attacks are fading while fist bumps and high fives are quick on the rise. Justly so this realization is getting me a bit down.

I remember the first time Lars (at the time- age 2) cut his arm on some debris he found on the deck. The bright red blood that trickled down his forearm was enough to give me a nervous breakdown. Like most kids he didn’t feel the hurt until he saw that blood and then it somehow turned into complete and utter agony! I bandaged him while holding my own worry at bay. I hugged his little body close to mine, showing him I will always been there. And at the time, he embraced the gesture affectionately.

Nowadays when the kid gets a cut or scrape he screams bloody murder for about 10 seconds and when I go to hug him (the magical thing I used to do to take away the pain) he pushes me away and says, “I just need a Band-Aid Mom!” In a voice that makes me want to throw my own tantrum.

I try not to take offense.

“He is not my baby anymore, let him grow, let him be a kid.” This is the mantra I continue to tell myself but still have a difficult time coming to terms with. A small part of me wants to swaddle that 5 year old body into his Lego Movie duvet cover and rock him back and forth until I force the kid into submission.

“Mama knows best Larsy”…Is the heinously creepy sing-song slogan that emerges in my head each time I think of this scenario. It then occurs to me that I am not a psycho path and should indeed just let my son mature at this horribly speedy rate.

So like every other frenzied mother on the face of this earth, I have bit my tongue and stood idly by while my baby boy transforms into a- well- boy, before my eyes.

A few days ago Jamie and I took the children to the water park. The main attraction was the enormous waves that filled the pool at designated times. Sophie being the freaky dare devil she is hopped straight onto Daddy’s back and off they went into deeper waters to brave the surfs.

Lars on the other hand has always been a bit more reserved when it comes to the unknown. So he and I hung back in the shallow waters still enjoying the mammoth whitecaps that came upon us.

At one point I noticed that his adorable little feet were having a very hard time staying anchored to the pools floor so I stealthily made my way towards him and grabbed his hand. He must have not noticed at first because he allowed our embrace to stick for a few seconds before vehemently pulling away saying, “Mom! I can do it.” Again in the same voice which makes me want to curl up into the fetal position with a twitchy eye while bawling in a fit about it ‘just not being fair’. Or something to the same extent.

But instead I held it together and let go of his sweet little hand (or ‘hany’ as I use to call it before he was too cool to care about what I called his limbs).

Because as parents we all have to let go at some point or another. Even when we really really don’t want to. And although we may have to do this to appease our growing children, it does not mean we have to stop looking out for them.

It was this thought that crossed my mind when I watched a huge wave come up on my 5 year old son and completely engulf his entire body, knocking him over beneath the water. Without thinking I reached my hand down to find his and pulled him up.

The boy looked at me once he stopped sputtering out water and said, “Thanks Mama, I owe you one.” And I laughed and hugged him and he hugged me back.

Although it is inevitable that he will mature and grow, this is nothing to be sad about. It is something to rejoice! He is becoming a spectacular young man, with a brilliant personality. He is becoming his own person and isn’t that what this parenting thing is all about?

Maybe it is time for me to change my focus. Instead of becoming overly nostalgic -because a little nostalgia is good for the soul- for moments past I will look forward to the memories that have not yet been made.

While resting easy knowing that no matter how old they get, every once in a while the kids may just need a helping hand from their loving mama.

Peeling Back The Layers

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. ― Frank Zappa

It is inevitable in life to experience moments of despair. Moments when we wonder how to possibly move forward. There will be times when hope is distant. So distant that not even that faraway place that houses all the fantastical things in our mind can hold it. We will search and search for anything that resembles a glimmer of the optimism we once had, but to no avail.

We will feel defeated, overwhelmed and whitewashed. Playing back the events in our brain of how we came to be in this appalling place, but never quite being able to put a finger on it.

 

THE EDGE, there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. ― Hunter S. Thompson

 

Our neighbors, friends, and family will be perusing around happily and we only wish we could get a taste of how that feels. It is as though something has come along and eagerly sucked out the very spirit that is us.

And we want it back.

We want that life-force of crazed happiness back in our soul. We want to once again walk into a room jam-packed full of people and not give a flying fuck about what any one person thinks of us. We want to feel the breeze of confidence over our bare throat as we hold our head up high.

 

If you wanna fly you got to give up the shit that weighs you down. ― Toni Morrison

 

And one day we will realize it is all a matter of perspective.

We will succeed because we yearn to. We will smile because our beautiful lips crave it. We will laugh for the pure joy of it and cry to relieve the soul in that same instant. We will find the hope to move forward because it is the only perceivable direction to go.

Self-discovery can be messy. It takes peeling back the layers of hard truths to get to know the person we truly want to be. It means removing the old ‘safe ways’ and going out on a limb once in a while. It involves learning how to embrace adversity  rather than cowering from it.  To onlookers the process may seem ugly. Too candid, too barefaced and perhaps distasteful to some. But with each layer we remove our soul becomes lighter, freer and uncluttered.

The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty. ― Roland Tiangco

 

We will begin to smile not only sometimes but all of the time. We will remove the bad moments of the past because we are knowledgeable enough to understand that these retentions only hold us back in a prison of resentment and mistrust.

We will begin to fully comprehend that nourishing the relationships that give back to us is more important than wrestling with the ones that only gobble up all of our magnificent energy. And we can now decipher which of the relationships in our lives fit into these two categories. We realize that many things are simpler than what we’ve made them out to be in the past.

And finally, we can appreciate this simplicity.

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. ― Friedrich Nietzsche

To The Girls

Cheers!

Here’s to the tears that roll down her wasted face

To those droplets of fear and pain and life and loss

That release into a torrent stream of uncertainty.

Here’s to the notes of self-doubt

When a “more important” voice interrupts hers.

To cries of insecurity,

For all the times she’s been called too skinny or too fat

Here’s to whispers of diffidence

From when she discovered that criticism was a real thing.

To every god damn teacher who told her

It wasn’t realistic to follow her dreams.

To every freaky dude in dim light hiding in a club corner-

Grabbing her ass while telling her she’s only ‘kind of’ pretty

To the boyfriends; the not-yet-men

Who once said she could never do better than them.

To the rumor creators- the truth takers

The breakers of promises and trust

Here’s to it all!

To the moments of wonder,

To the moments of what if.

To the difference between

Comfort and bliss.

Here’s to the pipedreams

Those shapeless ideas

Which floated gently into her psyche

Later realizing…They were insanely unlikely.

To being called flighty!

Here’s to every individual who has made her feel

Uncomfortably. Subtly depriving her

Of that usual bubbly redundancy.

To everyone who has fucked her up

To those who have destructively sucked her dry

To all the moments that have gone awry

Cheers to the fall.

Cheers to crawling dejectedly out from the hole she fell into

Cheers to tears of embarrassment and fear

Cheers to the sadness…That somehow brought her here

Because objectively- she now sees, she is where she needs to be.

And she is here because of those dicks in dim lit bars

The scars from rude remarks

The determination from being told NO

The ridiculous saying ‘bro’s before hoes’

She is here thanks to the sideways glances

And most of all the nervous laughter, she began to hear

When deciding their opinions- Didn’t. Fucking. Matter.

And all too soon the old vision shattered

And then it happened-

Happy, Free, Welcome, Pleased

She arrived here

And I cannot think of anything greater to deserve

Cheers

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The Bashing Has Got To Stop

“Oh my god if I ever look like that, just put me out of my misery and shoot me.”

“It’s a rare land whale, seldom seen in such parts.”

“It is just disgusting, how can they even let themselves get to that point?”

This is the conversation I half listened to as I watched my none-the-wiser children play joyfully at the beach park.

Let’s not beat around the bush here, we all have judged at one time or another. Whether it be the fat lady at the beach, the skinny albino looking kid who has no friends at school or the old woman who lives next door and always talks to her cat like he is an infant child. If we’ve seen it then more than likely we’ve talked about it to someone else in a mocking nature.

But what I hope happens to me also is true for every other person who has impulsively judged another. Although I may have participated in the gossip game and unkind dialogue, in my heart of hearts there is a struggle surfacing. And it is this struggle that I hope will begin to make an irreversible change in the way we treat others.

This person who is clearly in ear shot of our mindless jibber jabber has feelings too. They are a human being no different than me. What gives me the right to judge them so brazenly? And what would happen if the tables were turned on me?

“Oh my god did you see the ego on that one? Betcha it needs some serious stroking! How pathetic.”

“That is downright the ugliest personality I’ve ever seen.”

“What personality? No wonder she compensates with selfies and selfishness.”

It is entirely possible. And yet still in this day and age it is the people with the physical differences that don’t match up to todays ‘beauty standards’ that have to listen to the off colored comments and rude innuendos.

I am sick of it and want no part of it any longer. Now when I see this type of banter from near and far all it makes me think of is how unhappy these people must be with themselves. So much to the point that they pick apart complete strangers for no other reason than to provide a small bit of self-satisfaction- “At least I am better than them.”

I decided to walk away from the conversation completely. Maybe I should have said something to them. Maybe I should have stood up for their objective mark.

I admit, I didn’t.

Instead I walked over to the kids playing on the jungle gym. I watched as children of all sorts weaved in and out of their play.

Kids with missing front teeth, kids with straggly hair (that was Sophie), little kids, big kids, kids of different skin colors and kids who didn’t speak English. And the entire time I watched these children interacting not one of them at one point ever leaned cattily over to another and said, “I can’t believe we are playing with ‘ol freckles, like can you say ew?” or, “Please just shoot me if I ever look like that kid who has no front teeth.”

Yeah, sounds pretty ridiculous coming from a child right?! This is how we sound when we come down on others who do not add up to our aesthetic tastes.

Children have become the roles models and we the pupils in life’s lesson plan on how we should treat our fellow human being.

And there is a disastrous yet subtle element brewing in this equation. That is that the children don’t know they are the role models. They still believe that our actions and words never fail. They never falter. These children will see us behaving in this sick and twisted way towards our neighbors, friends, the stranger walking ahead of us and soon it will become a learnt behavior. Some say that children are the worst for being cruel and mean. I would rebut that with the idea that those children must have learned the unkind behavior from somewhere and usually that somewhere stems from home.

One day our beautiful babes who today play catch with the overweight kid or talk openly with the child about her prosthetic arm will be the ones sniggering behind their backs. A meanness will surface in them and we will wonder where it came from. We will wonder where our lovely little sally went. Where our polite and courteous Gordy has gone.

And we will only have ourselves to blame.

I’ve heard it called ‘fat bashing’ but in reality it is simply marginalization due to difference. And for the sake of this next generation and all those to follow it has got to end. Now.

An Inner Makeover

As the stark white stucco ceiling stares down at me this morning I feel somehow changed. The kids giggle vigorously in the rooms adjacent to mine as notes of “mama” drifts about.  Husband sleeps soundly next to me, his lips are parted in the most tranquil kind of way. He takes even breaths in and out, in and out. Beautiful is the word I want to use to describe this moment. Beautiful and ending.

Soon the children will barge into the bedroom asking for cereal and bananas. Soon the crisp morning air will turn into a clammy heat. And soon I will be thrust back into the fast paced life of parenthood. But for now I will take in this moment to lay here and reflect. I won’t worry about the day to come, I will be mindful of this lovely moment in time that I’ve been given.  

Recently I’ve carried myself in a very unflattering way, I wholeheartedly admit this. I have been on this health kick. I’m eating properly, no longer fueling my body with processed junk. I’ve quit smoking. I’ve thrown away my scale because I choose not to have my emotions run rampant over a number. I’ve been making positive changes physically, but somehow have neglected to look inward to the places that sometimes need the most care.  

In the last few weeks I look at myself and see these positive changes and it makes me ecstatic. Yet now as I lay here in my bed reflecting back upon myself I cringe at the way I have treated the people I love. Boasting of my superiority over not obsessing with scales and weight. Arrogantly spitting swagger about how much I love my ‘new self’. I have gone as far as saying some truly ignorant and downright mean things to someone I love dearly. Possibly hurting them irreversibly only to feed my need for attention and drama.

And it makes me wonder, is it possible to love yourself too much? Possibly I’ve hyper inflated my ego just enough to tarnish the sanctity of the soul. Confidence has never been a thing I’ve had in bushels so perchance this newfound self-assurance is just a delusion I’ve made myself believe through repetition and recurrence.

In any case I can see the ugliness of self-absorption submerging through this seemingly healthy body. And I don’t like it.

The kids have now made their way to the bedroom. They cuddle in between Jamie and I, and are surprisingly quiet as I am overcome with a gratifying air in the room. These moments of clarification usually come at the least expected times. They come without warning. They come bearing hard truths that we do not want to face. They come to explain all the things we desperately seek but previously did not have the courage to except.

I am thankful to have had this moment. It will help me become the person I want to be. Because I want to be humble, and reserved, and know when to express my feelings in my work rather than aggressing those around me. I want to know when to ignore the remarks of others. How to let go of negativity and not dwell on moments of the past. I want to be accountable for my actions. I want to be better.

“Mama, can you get us some cereal?” Lars asks me, stopping the tears of revelation that are welling up in my eyes.

“And a ‘nana!?”  Sophie adds in with anticipation.

“Yeah guys, let’s go get some breakfast.” I say as the three of us quietly hobble out of the bed.

I will continue on this journey of healthy living, because in truth it does make me feel great and there is no crime in that. But I will also begin thinking of the inner health of my mind and soul- knowing these entities are just as important as the body.

This life may not be a perfect one, but it is ours. By making these positive changes I will be trailblazing a path of mindfulness and good for my children to follow in. And that idea fills me with a happiness that in unexplainable.

And I will start by happily pouring a bowl of cereal and ‘nana’s for my two wonderful children.

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