Monday, June 30, 2008

Anti-depressants or anti-vacation?

Okay, here's the deal. My family (dad, mom, bro, sis) has been hanging out on the gulf coast for a week every summer since I was a fetus - literally. The last two years, this tradition has continued, except now it's a mass of my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, my niece and nephew, and my sister, plus us. The thing is, I'm debating whether or not we should go along this year. I have four days to decide - they are leaving this Friday and will be gone for nine days.

Which is the other interesting point - they drive. Two days of driving each way. I actually took my car last year, and I have to say that LD does well with road trips. However, this year it would just be her and me (hubs and I are no longer an item, and no, I do not wish to discuss that right now), and we'd be rotating cars with my brother and my parents.

And my parents are driving me CRAZY.

In addition to all of the stuff that's gone on inside of me over the last three years (and has produced a much more fabulous me), one of the stark realizations I've had is that my family was not as normal and well-functioning as I grew up believing. In fact, we were about as far from fucking normal as a family can get. Well, OK. I won't take that from the TRULY fucked up, but it's fair to say that there was plenty of shit that went down that certainly colored the way I handled my own life. Let's just say that love for me had always come with guilt and strings attached. Metric tons of guilt and more strings than a violin factory. And it should never have been MY guilt to begin with.

The beach would be lovely. I love the whole idea of returning to the one place I don't recall any Family Weirdness and Stress occuring when I was a kid. But I'm wondering how much of my time will be spent with my family all up in my grill about my personal shit, and how come I don't want to do this, or why am I doing that, or when will I just be the little typical suburban mom they all dreamed I would be.

So in case you were wondering, I had pretty much decided that I wouldn't go. But then, my sister (who truly is one of my best friends) had this to say. Are you ready for this???

"You know, though, Mom and Dad won't be around forever. And LD loves Niece and Nephew so much. It'd be really sad if she didn't get to enjoy this vacation."


But she is right - my parents won't be around forever, and I love my bro and sis with every ounce of family love possible. And LD would love to be with her cousins at the beach. But nine fucking days???

Uh, HELP!!!!!!!!

How's this for timing? LD has just come into my office, picked up a large seashell, held it to her ear, and excitedly proclaimed, "The BEACH! I want to go to the beach!"


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hello from Portland!

Well, sort of.

Yesterday I received a piece of GREAT news. So I'm feeling the whole Joseph Campbell "follow your bliss" vibe here lately. Anyway, I got a phone call from a good friend just moments after receiving the news. I was still riding the "CAN I GET A HELL YEAH?" wave and doing fist pumps in my office. Now, said friend was excited for me and all but I detected a HINT of SMART-ASSERY as the friend said, "You know, you should blog that."

I love smart-assery. I can kick some smart-assery, too.

BLOG MOCKERY! HE WHO MOCKS THE BLOG GOES BACK TO THE HOUSE OF PAIN! There is a fun-loving history of such with this person, and it is slightly endearing. So here it is, JB, you lovely smartass. "It is what it is," yeah?

ANYWAY, THE NEWS... one of my introspective-retrospectives will be published in the summer issue (print version) of Hip Mama. TA DA!

Go sign up for a subscription to the print version of this zine for two reasons:
1) because it rocks; and
2) because I fucking said so!

Carry on.

Monday, June 23, 2008

No Longer a Virgin

A RACE virgin that is! Yes, all, I finally managed to get in that all-important first race - the Race for the Cure. I am happy to report that my adrenaline did wonders, and I have beaten the mental block! Because I'm all going on about my BAD SELF, here are some pix:

My friend Michelle was in town from the OC to run with me!
I ran to celebrate a family friend who is a 5 year breast cancer survivor.

Who lined up with the RUNNERS? Who?! ME, bitches!!!


Crossing that line was one of the greatest moments of my life.

For those of you arriving late on the set, it's been a long three or so years for me. I've done a lot of readjusting, a lot of getting real about myself. I started running late last summer, just a little at a time (and I mean a little at a time) just to find a good life-groove. I never thought that I would do this whole "distance running" thing, especially FOR FUN. Totally would have never believed I'd be doing this shit daily.

But I am. Running is my new religion. (Note: OK, maybe supplementary to my original faith).

I'm sure sometime in the future I will write some pithy Chicken-Soupy essay about it because I always do that introspective retrospective shit, you know? OK, just kidding - it's already in the works. Like you didn't know.

I kid you not, kids (heh heh heh)... this running thing has changed my life.


An extra-special shout out to KW and MA for the training dates (I love you girls - you did me wonders) and to SY for cheering me on and enduring my narcissism (we'll do a 5K together SOON!).

Peace and good vibes,

mom of the year (AKA She Who Runs As A Goddess)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bad Girl and a Mom

One serendipitous stoplight signaled the end of my identity crisis.

I slammed on my brakes at the white line silently cursing the intersection red-light cameras. I’d missed the left turn arrow by seconds. Milliseconds. Nanoseconds. My Honda Accord recoiled momentarily as the procession of drivers privileged to have a green light passed by my front bumper with mere inches to spare. Lucky bastards, I thought.

Little Diva and I were late returning home from our mother-daughter excursion. The dash clock blurted out 9:15 PM. I knew that this delay in our arrival home meant one thing – bedtime would be more hellacious than usual. As I considered the impending battle of the bedroom, a completely surprising remark came boldly from Little Diva's mouth.

“You’re a bad girl and a mom.”

I sat in a confused silence. Had she actually said what I thought she said? We never used the term “bad girl” at home. I needed to hear it again. “What did you say?” I asked.

“You’re a bad girl and a mom, mommy,” she smiled, as I watched her in the review mirror.

“Is that right?”

“Yes, ma’am. And I love you.”

The light turned green and I chuckled as we headed to the highway. Although I was sure that Little Diva wasn’t entirely knowledgeable about the term “bad girl,” there was truth to the idea, especially the way my life had been changing for the last three years.

Following Little Diva's birth, I spent a great deal of time in varying stages of depression. I sought counseling, wrote in multiple journals, and tried to deal with the silence that always ended in a late-night downward spiral of emptiness. One day last summer, I took a walk to clear my head. During my walk, I asked a lot of hard questions of myself, of my soul, of my beliefs. And something unexplainable happened – I rediscovered who I am.

I realized that my depression was not about the changes of life. The sinking hopelessness I felt was a result of me having changed who I was to fit the world’s expectations of mothers. When I returned from that walk, I resolved to get back to being the only thing that will ever satisfy my soul – me. The other woman that left the house to walk that day has never returned.

I am a bad girl of sorts. Always have been. What does that look like for me? What do I hope “bad girl” means to my daughter? I considered these questions as we headed down the dark highway. From that drive, I now have my own manifesto for bad girl motherhood. I know what it means for me, and what I hope it means to my daughter.

As a bad girl, I live my life unapologetically on the entire page – in the written ink and also in the white space. Sometimes it’s the white space, the place where things are only felt or understood, that matters the most. I honor my sacred space, the place in my soul where I am most at peace with who I am. Honoring that place means I can’t be everything to everyone all of the time – and I shouldn’t be. I respect my body in all of its unique perfection and imperfection. When I make time to love and respect my body, my body is good for my soul.

What else do I know about being a bad girl and a mom? I don’t have to be a part of the Proper Mother Minivan Cult or enroll my child in soccer to be a good mother. I’ll continue to drive my fuel-efficient four-door and allow Little Diva to choose the activities that fit her desires. I shouldn’t force myself into awkward playgroups or hang out at kiddie gyms to be a good mother. I’ll still hang out in bookstores to meet like-minded moms. I won’t wear a coordinated jogging suit complete with designer sunglasses to be a good mother. My jeans with funky t-shirts and Chuck Taylor sneakers or Doc Martens fit me better anyway. My music collection should be a collection of the music that speaks to me and not be replaced by the latest Create-A-Genius collection. Little Diva and I will continue our life-groove to everything from hip-hop and Sarah McLachlan to Ella Fitzgerald and Bach, and all of the indie noise in between.

All of the things that made me the person that I was before motherhood are even more important now that I have a child, especially a daughter. The best gift I can ever give Little Diva is the knowledge that arranging life to satisfy the status quo is not living. I want her to see that real living comes from understanding there are not good choices and bad choices – there are only choices. Her choices and her needs are different from every other person’s needs and choices. She is the only one who can understand the completeness of her soul. No one else can decide what completeness will be for her. And if believing these things makes me a bad girl and a mom, I’m all about it.

As Little Diva and I pulled into our parking space at home that night, I turned to face her and asked, “Do you like that I’m a bad girl and a mom?”

She shook her head intensely. “You’re the best mom in the whole world.”

Enough said.

Thank You

Just wanted to say a sincere thanks to all of you who commented, e-mailed, called, or sent your thoughts via carrier pigeon. I truly appreciate your sympathy.

I've been writing A LOT. In all fairness, I won't say it's GOOD writing; I've just been writing. So I've been keeping busy.

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks and send out a shout to let you know I'm thinking of you all.

Oh, and I've posted some ramblings above for your pleasure/loathing...