What’s So Hard About Motherhood?

“It really isn’t that hard of a job. The baby sleeps for like 2 hours at a time and eats like every 3 hours. It’s like taking care of a Tamagotchi.”

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I heard that come out of the mouth of a 20-something while I was on the balcony at a local club waiting for a band to start, getting a contact high off the pot smoke wafting up from below. I sipped my drink and flared my elbows in my best upper-body manspread to hold my position at the railing and keep the tall, leather-clad boy from wedging himself into the 3-inch spot between me and my neighbor, his date.

It was obviously a first date. He was working hard to engage her, peppering her with questions. A pretty, 22ish-year-old with a “nothing impresses me” aura that had the force of something she’d been honing since she was five, she rewarded his effort by giving him the bare minimum. Still, he tried, asking her what she did for work when she wasn’t studying. That’s when she said she was a nanny and made the comment about baby care being as easy as pushing buttons on an egg-shaped device. Continue reading

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Dirty Mind

There’s something about you, baby
It happens all the time
Whenever I’m around you, baby
I get a dirty mind
It doesn’t matter where we are
It doesn’t matter who’s around
It doesn’t matter, I just want to lay ya down
~ Dirty Mind, Prince

Dirty Mind is my anthem. Surprised? Hey, I know how to pass when I must. Actually, I doubt it surprises those of you who know me because you guys get me. In fact, maybe Dirty Mind is your anthem, too, freaks.

Let me go ahead and warn you, this post is self-indulgent, nostalgic exhibitionism. But that’s what I’m feeling as I savor the deep playlist of Prince songs that’s on in the background right now.

Prince’s death Thursday evoked a powerful reverie for a long closed chapter of my life – my teenage years in the 80s. His music was the soundtrack of my becoming. Rebellious lyrics challenging convention and affirming embracing your sexuality and individuality. There was nothing more appealing to a wild-hearted, stubbornly independent, teenage girl. Continue reading

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Just Say “Yes”

“Yes” is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say “yes”. ~ Stephen Colbert

I’m well into middle age, but here’s my general attitude toward it…

Justin Timberlake

 

A lot of my similarly-aged friends are slowing down, staying in, getting to bed regularly by 9 p.m. BORING. So far, I’m unwilling to go gently into that good night. I crave action. Life’s short enough. I definitely don’t want it to be boring. I need to get my fix of interesting goings-on about town. On this, Atlanta delivers.

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Badassitude

“You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you.” ~ Maria Popova, Creator and Curator of Brain Pickings

I went to a fantastic workshop recently led by Jen Pastiloff. It was in a yoga studio. It involved some yoga, but it wasn’t a yoga workshop. It was a “being human” workshop. Mostly, it was about the willingness to be vulnerable in a room full of strangers and share openly.

I hadn’t heard of Jen when my friend invited me to this writing / yoga workshop, but I like yoga and I like writing so why not? Then I read the workshop description…

“This workshop is NOT your typical yoga workshop nor is it about the asana, although there is some yoga. You do NOT have to have any yoga experience. A writing workshop for struggling writers, to-be writers, and non-writers. A dance party and a sing along. A trust and love circle. A place to make shit happen. A workshop for humans.”

Shit, this sounds like it’s going to be good but also cheesy like the new-age-church-youth-group retreats of my early teen years, I thought. Confession: one of my armoring up habits is resisting doing things that I think seem uncool or might make me look stupid. I hate feeling like I look stupid.

Still, I was intrigued. So, off to the workshop I went having decided to kick my ego aside and try anything asked of me and see what might come of it. I got to the studio where yoga mats were laid out wall-to-wall, directly touching each other – the yoga version of an Italian’s concept of personal space.

Jen started and I’m not even sure what prompted it, but when tears started flowing almost from the get-go I knew I was sufficiently open and in for an emotional ride. Continue reading

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You Can Do Hard Things

“The hard decisions are when you viscerally want to do something and you choose not to do it.” ~Snap Judgement podcast, episode 507 “Lost Cause”

This is a re-post of something I wrote a couple years ago. It’s for a good friend of mine going through a recent break up and grieving the loss of the relationship. She knew the breakup was the right thing, but she loved and liked the person she no longer sees. Still does. Would hang out with her as friends if it weren’t such a painful reminder of what will never be.

My friend: “Jesus, this sucks!”

Me: “I know, but give yourself some credit. You dug down and found the courage to do the hard, right thing. That, my friend, is what dignified maturity and true self-care look like – actively walking away from something you want because deep down, you know it isn’t right or good for you.”

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“We grow in our capacity to do the right thing each time we do the right thing.” ~ Meditations From The Mat

Author, Barbara Kingsolver, instead of rescuing her children when they were young and struggling with something would tell them “You can do hard things.” Then she would stand back and watch them work through their struggle and find their own way. When they reached adulthood and faced a tough situation, her children said they often reminded themselves they could do hard things. It helped them persevere through whatever was in front of them.

“I can do hard things” has become a mantra for me. It’s applicable in myriad ways to varying degrees throughout a week or perhaps a day, depending on what I’m facing. The human condition is challenging. Occasionally something crops up that takes me by surprise, hammering away at one of my core fears. In a flash, those fears — known, understood, and generally settled like a thin layer of fine silt on the bottom of a stream bed — can get stirred up as if some mischievous kid just came along and dragged a stick through the middle of it sending everything that had been resting quietly into an opaque, obscuring cloud of brown. Continue reading

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The Courage To Forgive

I’m writing a book for my daughters with my thoughts on certain things in life they will deal with before it’s all said and done. Some of those things will be amazing, fun, and exciting. Some will be tough, maybe even excruciating, and will require them to drill down into their grit and courage to get through. Forgiveness falls into the latter category. Here are my thoughts on the topic.

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“My son and I wrote a book together called “Some Assembly Required,” and he said something in there: If someone forgives you, they have found the willingness to feel awful again, and to re-experience the injury you did to them. And then to find something greater than themselves that lets them say ‘Goodbye, let’s be done. And I hear your apology, your contrition, and I forgive you.’ That to me is so amazing. Maybe the most amazing thing is when somebody forgives me for a serious injury I’ve done them.” ~ Anne Lamott, author, from her Facebook post on 12/02/2014

Anne Lamott says Earth is “forgiveness school”. Human interaction is complicated and messy, and at some point in your life chances are you will need to forgive others or yourself, probably both. Forgiveness is the kindest, most generous thing you can do. It is also probably one of the hardest, depending on the size and intensity of the injury involved. But attempting to get there is worth the effort because forgiveness liberates and heals. You will know this with certainty when someone forgives you for an injury you’ve done them.

Forgiveness requires deciding to intentionally find compassion for the wounded, fallible, insecure human in each of us that causes us to do stupid, hurtful things in a selfish pursuit. If you can connect with the common humanity between you and the other person involved in your hurt, you will find peace.

Forgiveness is no favor. We do it for ourselves alone so we can move on with our lives. Otherwise, holding onto resentment and refusing to forgive ensures remaining emotionally stuck in the part of your life when the injury occurred. Righteous, all-consuming anger and blame is a giant, impenetrable wall that also confoundingly manages to devour life energy like a black hole. It corrodes from the inside. The only way to fully live is to forgive, let go of the pain, and move on (whether the person remains in your life or not). Continue reading

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Love is…

“I am not full of virtues and noble qualities. I love. That is all. But I love strongly, exclusively and steadfastly.” ~ Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin (a.k.a. George Sand), quote from the ’91 film Impromptu

On February 12th, I reunited with Steve after his week-long, cross-country drive. We were in Athens to celebrate his birthday and see the Drive-By Truckers. We were three rows from the stage with Steve pressed up behind me, his arms wrapped around me, my hands on top of his, and his cheek resting on my hair. He bent forward and I turned so he could kiss me. It was tender, intimate, public. It reminded me of our early days together, and made me glad for how often these moments still happen 25 years into our relationship. Leaning back against him, I thought I love this man. I love this man. I. Love. This. Man.

Steve and I both agree with Dan Savage’s notion that there’s no such thing as “The One”, or, as Tim Minchin says… if we hadn’t found each other, we each probably would’ve ended up with someone else.

Still, Steve’s as close to being my “One” as is possible. I like the way John Mayer sums it up in Another Kind of Green with the lyric you’re not the perfect hand but I don’t hit on nineteen. Regardless, he is the love of my life, as much so today as it was when the certainty of it first dawned on me.

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