Forever Never The Dancer

In my head, I am a dancer. I breathe music. I have a playlist for just about everything. Shower? Do you want happy or sad? Cooking? Want get down or fancy-shmancy? Sex? Well….I’ll let you figure that one out. The point is, I love music and how it makes me feel….especially when it moves through my body.

Currently, on the last day of 2014, I am sitting at a wedding reception with some of the best reception music I have heard in forever. The bass is tingling my spine, my stomach has that loud music ache to it and the vibrations are tickling my feet through the floor…yet I stay seated in my chair. My body is pleading for me to get up and go but my brain is in severe protest.

I stay seated because I feel as though people will stare or make fun but really…who cares? Right? Dancing is a person’s way of self expression, of freedom…Right?

Perhaps I am far from free. Actually, that’s exactly how that sounds. I am a prisoner of my own stupid self. Today. While snooping through my grandma’s closet, I found a book about Buddhism with my grandfather’s scribblings in it. He asked himself (basically) why he allowed outside forces effect his inner being. I wonder that, too, Dad. Why do we allow ourselves to be prisoners? Good question. Perhaps I will figure it out sitting in another party chair watching everyone else party…maybe one day I will actually party too.

~SM

Warning! Warning! Undies Are Rolling Down Yo’ Belly

Picture it: Black leggings, black knee high leather boots, black sweater, make-up on, lips glossed….undies rolling. It has happened to me plenty of times. I look fab and feel fab only to have my underwear slowly roll down my belly and slip to a stop under the gut. Can you say mood ruin-er?

This, ladies, is a warning. Your undies are saying “warning! warning! your ass is getting fat!” Any time your undergarments start oozing out flesh or wedging in uncomfy places or rolling down your gut, this is a warning that you are, indeed, getting fatter. So…here…I will admit that I am getting fatter.

I have been training for the Tri for a few of months. I cannot say I can actually complete it with out dying, but I can say my body is more than ready for better nutrition. Young Gun threw down the weight loss gauntlet a few weeks ago and he’s already getting slimmer (in the waist anyway–and currently I hate him so hard right now). Over the past few days I have laid on Mommy’s couch eating cake for breakfast and cookies for lunch. I am deathly afraid of stepping on that scale, but I have got to put my too-small-for-me big girl panties on and hop to it.

No more games (yes…I have muttered those words before). No more excuses (yup…those too). No more slipping and getting lazy (mmhm…this too). Not only do I have a triathlon to finish training for, but I also have a marathon to train for and a friggin weight loss challenge with a young cat to complete. I have no more room for failure. Besides…I am sick of rolling up my underwear.

I will do what I have to do. Eat what I have to eat. Run what I have to run. Lift what I have to lift. I will get to wherever my body wants to take me. The pressure I feel is good pressure. I’m not worried. I am, however, a little annoyed that Young Gun is trying to beat me. There is no way I can let him win…him or my underwear…

~SM 

What’s Next?

Gathered in the living room with old friends and tiny new ones (one of which was sky diving off a Huggies box; the other chasing the Boy), I posed the question: What’s next? With the end of the year looming it was a very viable question. We have seen one another through relationships, marriages, kids, twenty-something antics, job changes, and geographical changes. Most of us are close to 40–some of us just a sneeze away–and at this stage in life, doesn’t one wonder what’s next?

Columbo said what’s next for him is retirement. Having spent about 20 years in law enforcement, he is looking forward to slowing down and spending time with the Huggies box dare-devil and Speedy. Ralph (the newly wed) said he wanted to enjoy life outside of working. He wanted to travel, enjoy his new bride, and explore speaking and teaching.  The Boy would be off to college shortly. The Girl would be close behind. Watching the kids play, the Boy 14, the Girl 12, Huggies 2, Speedy 4, it was clear to see what was next for them: growing.

It had me thinking what was next for me. These first 15 – 20 years have whirled passed. One moment I was graduating high school and the next I was getting a divorce. One moment I was pregnant for the first time and the next I was buying bras and explaining menstrual cycles. The time flew by–flashed by really–and, at the end of it all, I do not feel as if I have accomplished much.

So…what is next? It is sad to say I have no clue. The thought of teaching (not kids…I don’t like kids) has been tugging at my mind. Everyone keeps bringing up the Magazine and to be honest, I have been missing it too. Writing (of course) an NY Best Selling novel (well, several NY Best Selling novels) is floating around as well. But all of those are unicorns. Mystical creatures only captured on black velvet canvas and sold in flea markets. What is next?

Normally, I would end a post like this with some up beat Matthew McConaughey ‘just livin’ conclusion, but this time I am baffled–thus unable to render such a positive wrap up. I am not feeling very positive about this at all. I feel confused, clouded, and slightly annoyed. Have you ever walked into a room, previously knowing why you were going in there to begin with, only to get there and go blank?Your brain grasps for the thing you were searching for only to come back foggy? Well, as of today, that is what feels like is next: unicorns and fog.

~SM

Getting My Shit Together

I have got to get my shit together. I finally snapped out of the cloud of ambiguity and now I am slapping myself for not planning accordingly. There are several items on the List of To Do’s for 2015. Normally, I do not engage in the whole new year’s resolution thing, but I am afraid I will have to give it the ol’ college try (only better than I actually did in college…sigh).

I do not plan on revealing everything on the List of To Do’s here because I am still working on the whole transparency/vulnerability thing (ok…there’s one for the List), but I will reveal two of the most important for (mostly) selfish reasons: accountability.

Numero Uno: I gotta get this fat off of my body. I have been complaining about this forever and the older I get the more I want it gone. Young Gun challenged me to a weight loss duel. I probably should not have taken the challenge, however, I am a sucker for competition. Dude is 11 years younger than me with strength and reflexes like Superman. I, on the other hand, have the strength and reflexes of an old fat cat. Never the less, I took him up on his challenge and now I am adding another ticking clock to my already crowded shelf of ticking time bombs (Half Iron Man 2015, Marathon 2015…should I bother naming more craziness???). The goal: Reach 175lbs by June 30th. Doable, right? You’d think so considering I should know how to do this shit already but, err, uh…my brain/body is revolting.

Numero Dos: I gotta get my finances under control. Luckily, I do not have much debt–hardly any really–but the little I do have, I want it gone. I want to be able to sign on the dotted line in 2020 for the Beach House and pay cash. I want to be able to support the kids financially while they are in college so they don’t pick up the bad habit of being 18 with credit cards. I want to be able to start the Business and the Foundation. Shoot, I want to use my passport before it expires naked! I don’t make much but living takes everything I have. I need to operate on a budget and stick with it, no matter what.

Those are some grown up, important goals, right? I think so, too. Life is what it is, we all know that, but we have to strive to live our best lives or else it will be wasted. My best life is being fit, both physically and financially. Guess I’d better get to workin’ on that. I can’t keep letting life pass me by and I can’t keep living in this fog of numb. I gotta get my ish together–it’s about time. ;P

~SM

I Growed: Best Laid Plans

We have established previously that I am a planner…err…was a planner. I use to have three back up plans for every one. God laughed at about 90% of them. You know what they say: make plans and God laughs. It used to be upsetting when He laughed and I was scrambling—but now….

Our holiday plans were all buttoned up. Go to spot one for Christmas, ship out to spot two for the New Year. Spend days in spot two roaming around, shopping, site seeing, and catching the electric vibe of the City. The kids were excited (more so for the shopping). I was excited (more so for the vibe of the City). And then….God laughed.

Usually, the disappointment would lend to pouting and perhaps a small touch of can’t-get-my-way-depression and (depending on the level of excitement and size of plan) perhaps even a Marlon Brando ‘Stellllllaaaaa’ drop to the knees. However, living this past year with the mantra of not making plans I have come to realize when our plans don’t come through it is because God has something different (and usually better) in mind.

It would have been nice to do and see and go the way it was planned, but this morning when I woke up I made a cup of coffee, swiped a piece of cake and acknowledged God’s hand. He can laugh at all of the plans I make–that’s just fine by me. I will just keep thanking Him for the detour. Now the kids on the other hand…..well…that’s another story for another day 🙂

~SM

Sweats, Cake & A Little Bahumbug Never Hurt Anyone

I used to love Christmas time. The hustle and bustle. The shopping. The whole warm fuzzy feeling floating in the air. *sigh* This year, however, it is looking more and more like just another day.

The weekend after Thanksgiving putting up the Christmas tree was tradition. We would order pizza, I would put on Christmas music and we (and I use that term loosely–the boys would often sneak off and play video games) would decorate the tree/house. This year I didn’t even bother. There is not one light, one piece of garland, one wreath or one bulb hanging anywhere in our home. Oh, and the tree? Fuhgettabotit.

I am not entirely sure if I am doing a disservice to the children or not. They haven’t expressed interest in decorations or Christmas music. They have mostly been worried about what they are receiving (note to self: make them do more service work in 2015). Am I turning into the Grinch? Am I bahumbugging the whole Christmas experience? Will my changed attitude toward it all scar them for the rest of their lives?

I suppose it really isn’t that serious. I am just completely over the whole gift giving thing. There is more to life than stuff, and aren’t we suppose to be celebrating Jesus anyway? People have run out to the stores, spent money, and purchased crap. When the lights of the World finally go out that 55″ flat screen won’t really make a difference. I suppose (instead of being a Grinch) I could focus on creating new traditions. Travel, service work, experiencing something new–those could be worthy Christmas traditions. I will be sure to work on that for next year–this year, however, I think I will take my chances with sweat pants, cake, the couch and a little ba-hum-bug.

~SM

The (Parental) Hair Debate

I have always been against people telling me what to do with my hair. It’s. Just. Hair. It’s hair! Cut it and it will grow back. Color it and it will grow out. Shave it and it will come back. Braid it and they can come out. Hair is hair is hair. It’s hair. So when the Ex and I had a debate about the Girl’s hair last night, I could not help but to get a little pissed.

First things first, I have never been a parent before. Second things second, I have never been a divorced parent before. I am flying by the seat of my pants and have been doing so for the last 14 years. So far, the children are not (a) thieves, (b) murderers, (c) gangsters (d) whores (e) rapists and/or (f) on Maury with any of the above. Of course they lack more to be desired, but they are teenagers. Spoiled teenagers with a large side of attitude and ungratefulness, but that can be easily fixed (ask the Boy who I wrestle to the ground and show who’s boss when it is needed). All of that being said, there is something to this parenting game I have learned over this 14 year stint: allow expression.

I am a free spirit and I parent sorta accordingly. You want to wear stripes and polka dots with monkey slippers? Go for it. You want to paint your room and draw on the walls? Have at it. I. Don’t. Care. Express yourself in the safest, most benign manner, and it can save the world from frustrated angry individuals (imo). Of course there are somethings I fight: sagging pants, odd body piercings, skank wear, certain music, R-rated movies, and personal bubble popping. Other than that, life is a coloring book with blank pictures–I encourage coloring outside the lines. The Ex obviously feels differently.

The Girl wanted to get her hair done, and I obliged. I preferred her in an afro, but she preferred herself in some sort of relaxed style. Fine. Your hair. Not mine. This time she asked if she could get it colored. I obliged. The Girl ended up with beautiful burgundy red highlights. Instead of him gushing over her hair, boosting her self-esteem, he proceeded to debate with me over her hair being colored. “She’s 12!” He says. “She doesn’t need color in her hair. I am her father and I have a say in something that big. Blah blah blah.” Is it that big of a deal, really?

Hair, clothes, nail polish, art work, tattoos even–is all an extension of the person and their need for expression. Everything has a limit and maturity date. The Girl has suffered quite a bit at the hands of adults and mother nature. She has had her home sold, her family changed, major surgery, and puberty knocking at her door in a 12 month span. The least I can do, as her mother/supporter/cheerleader, is allow her to test life and move outside of the lines…just a little bit. He had a point. She is 12. Which, for me, is all the more reason to allow her to express herself safely. She is an artist at heart–always has been–why not allow her to move within that? If you made it to the end of this long post, riddle me this: Was I wrong for allowing her to do it? Was I wrong for not telling him? Should her hair be a joint adult decision? I am curious to know.

~SM

Goal Oriented

At some point, a person has to get serious about their life. We are given a numbered amount of days, and, if I do say so myself, I am desperately in a race against time not to waste whatever is left.

Late last night I lay on the couch, lights dim, television dark, and music low. In the excitement of getting The Me back, I had strayed away from the stolen quiet moments. Hushing the excited chatter of the New Shiny Twin, a thought passed that had more depth than what I was going to wear the next day: What was I working toward? Even Shiny Twin had to sit still and mull it over, too.

I have always been a list-plan-a-b-c person. Now, that doesn’t mean I always followed said lists and plans, but I spent the time at least writing them out. Calendars, schedules, budgets….you name it I probably have a notebook for it. Recently, I made a conscious effort to stop the planning and just live moment to moment. It has been nice…it has aided in The Transformation actually but it’s time to get back to planning for something.

I lay on the couch in the semi-quiet, realizing I had no goals to work toward. I had focus items (i.e. get kids into a good school next year, get kids through school this year, manage to not Why-Did-I-Get-Married-Jill-Scott-dinner-table The Ex…you know…important stuff) but not goals for myself. Young Gun called me out with a weight loss challenge, Brooklyn charged me with the whole 26.2 thing, I threw down the triathlon gauntlet on my own dumb self, but don’t I need more?

I sat trying to sift through the shallow, insignificant life stuff and the important take-time-to-make-a goal-for-it stuff and realized the point of the goal is not about what I want to accomplish…it is about who I want to become. I have yet to drag out the notebook paper and calendar. I have yet to pour over numbers, budgets, and timelines. The goals I have in mind are stuck just outside the foggy barrier in my head, not wanting to reveal themselves just yet. And that is ok…I am not quite ready to handle them just yet anyway. About the only thought I can contend with is that there has to be more….I need to do more….I need to be more. This next phase of my life will be dedicated to that…I suppose that is goal number one: be better because, now, I know better.

~SM

The Difference Is Me

I planned a small stay-cation just for me, right before the Christmas/New Year shebang. I figured the next few weeks would be a whirl wind of work, last minute school stuff, holiday office parties, packing, and traveling–so why not enjoy some Me time. There are tons of places to go near the City…country places, mountain places, suburban places, and city like places. There are an amazing array of restaurants, museums, and attractions. When I mentioned to a friend what I was doing, he wanted to tag along and he had an idea as to where we should go. He gave the name of the area and I choked on my heart. I had a big girl panty choice: (a) run away or (b) push forward. I chose the latter.

Certain songs, commercials, times of year, movies and the like do something awful to the mind of a bruised person. For instance, every time I see the Pandora jewelry commercial I want to throw something at the television. I still can’t seem to force myself to listen to certain songs/artists. Overall, I am operating on about 80% healing, but the other 20% is triggered by small things such as stupid Pandora jewelry commercials or Barry White songs. So, when my friend mentioned we spend the weekend in the same area that the Mistress lives, I immediately went dark. In a five minute span, I had to make a major, life altering choice. I could suggest somewhere else to go, not face it and enjoy myself without worry or stress….OR….I could tell the truth, shame the devil, and push myself past the past. I chose to face it and plan fun time with a friend.

Sure, when making the trek up, I felt like vomiting. Of course I was on the verge of panic attack when I saw the Welcome to… sign. Obviously, as I sit here writing I feel the atmosphere closing in on all sides–the weight almost unbearable…..BUT….the difference in all of this is me and how I perceive it. It is just a place. It is just an area of the state which is a part of the country which is a part of the world. This small blip of a place is nothing compared to the rest of the world, so why would I allow The Him, The Her, The This affect me to the point of physical illness? Why would I allow this to steal my fun and my joy?

On the drive up I had a little bit of time to think and unfortunately all of the things I thought of were about what I saw, heard, and experienced during The End and the development of The Him’s grand relationship. Before I pulled a u-ey in the middle of I-75 and headed back home to hide away, I gave myself a moment to collect The Me and threw on a little Bey and Pink. The only one who can make a difference in this life o’ mine is me. I get to choose what I accept & what I throw away. It is time to grow up and out. Life happens. Love happens. Heartache happens. As Mommy always says about anything I am not the first…and I won’t be the last.

~SM

What The Heck Am I Suppose To Do With That???

Me. Meet Crossroads. Crossroads. Meet Me. I suppose this feeling of slightly lost could be attributed to the new year approaching, the Boy getting older, and the Girl’s new found teenage attitude. There is something brewing in this head/heart/soul of mine and I am uneasy with not being able to put a finger on what to do with it.

As a gift to myself, I purchased Act Like A Success by Steve Harvey. His explanation of the Gift is interesting and makes much sense, however, what is confusing about the Gift is how exactly one is to operate in the gift. I know my gift…the strongest one of them anyway…and it is writing. I can write with my eyes closed. I can write in my sleep. I could probably write standing on my head if my cleavage didn’t smother me first. I. Can. Write. It is my gift. Period. Score one for me (because I actually know that), but–err–what the hell am I suppose to do with it?

I sat at work and took about (5) internet quizzes on gift assessment. Know what all of them said? Artist. Duh. I knew that already. What each quiz failed to explain is what I was suppose to do with that knowledge. Young Gun said I should just have fun with it and explore, but (as I so cheerfully explained to him) I am almost 40…he is not even close so he can explore until his heart is content. My clock is ticking. Yes, yes, I know what some of you are probably thinking: there is no time limit on exploration. I got that. What there is a time limit on is operating in one’s gift and that (for me) is not up for debate.

I am annoyed by not knowing what to do with what was given. I feel like I have been given an engine to put together with no Chilton’s for reference. I suppose I will stop with the internet quizzes (as they are only telling me what I already know) and just continue to float until I get to the per-ordained destination. I am not chasing money. I am not chasing fame. I am not chasing tangible, external power stuff. I am chasing the unabashed freedom that operating fully in the Gift will give. Doesn’t that count for sun’tin?

~SM