Monday, September 26, 2016

Balance

Stumbling my way through life, I'm doing my best to find balance. There are days when my work schedule gets so grueling and the kids have so many obligations that I get exhausted and discouraged. I feel like I'm working just to pay bills and die. I'm working to afford a life that's slowly passing me by because I'm too busy to be an active participant in it. It's like being an onlooker amid my own existence. It shouldn't feel that way. I recently read a quote that says "You can't pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first". I'm trying to do this for both myself and my family.

In my line of work, I meet many ladies. The atmosphere in the way I work with clients is a bit different than hair stylists, nail techs, etc. I first make them lie down -- (reminiscent of a therapy session), take away their phones, and then their eyesight. One of two things will happen; we will talk or they will sleep. More often than not, they open up. The conversations I have had with clients have spanned from casual to deeply personal. They've shared things with me I doubt they've said to their closest confidant and I've temporarily lost myself and said things I should've never divulged to a client. My professionalism is present in the pride in my work and doing what I say I will, (within reason), but I am human and sometimes I blur the lines when clients begin to feel like friends. I can usually assess who can handle the truth that I don't exist only within those walls and sometimes outside of them I occasionally want to strangle my husband or secretly loathe another mother at my kids' school. When I can get that rapport with someone, beautiful things can happen. When it does, it didn't feel like work, I enjoyed an hour of conversation that felt like it should've happened over a glass of wine. Other girls in the industry have mentioned that they have clients who come in and say they come 1/2 for the lashes and 1/2 for the conversation.

Each client is very different and has a story all her own. Each one is from different walks of life, have different backgrounds, careers, experiences, beliefs, hopes, fears, and dreams. I get a new perspective on just about everything every single day and it's weird what sticks out to me. Lately, I've realized my family and I don't take enough vacations. My clients are frequently leaving and coming back from trips. It's not from a place of judgement but I notice they've been on three vacations this year and I haven't been anywhere since a quickie, single-day, trip to Hot Springs at the beginning of the year. I think they're onto something. I don't think the destinations even need to be somewhere particularly exotic. I think you just have to schedule some time every few months to get out of town and recharge.

I have a client who survived breast cancer. She now travels the world. She has beautifully worded how she sees it differently now. In her words, "If not now, when?". Did I survive breast cancer? No. Do I completely understand her meaning? Yes. She just reiterated what I already know; live today because you aren't guaranteed tomorrow. I told her I wanted to travel like that, she said "Then make it work".

I listen to the tales of amazing trips taken to coveted destinations but also of hidden little treasures tucked away in a nowhere town you'd only know about through word of mouth. I began to ask myself what these woman know that I don't about finding this balance; this intricate dance of work and play.


That's how the Breckenridge Christmas trip came to be. I had several clients taking trips like this and I always just assumed it was something I could only hear about and not experience for myself. But the bigger questions is, why did I think that way? I should've been googling resorts instead of assuming. I decided the way I think had to change. I had to first change how I fear closing down at work for a few days and I had to change thinking certain experiences aren't in the cards for me. Why didn't it dawn on me sooner to plan? Strategize? Or is this just me....growing up? If a trip is crazy expensive, than the plan is that we eat out one or two times less that week and the money goes into savings. If we do that for several months leading up to the trip and then go have an amazing trip we'll remember forever, did we really "miss" those dinners out? One more slightly edited quote, "At your funeral, is anyone going to get up and say 'She had a really expensive couch and great purses"? No.... But they might say, "She traveled. She lived. She was happy".

So there's us, living and waiting till Christmas. Watching videos of the sleigh ride we're going to take the kids on and getting so excited but...... that's still a ways off. I told Jason I don't want to miss the leaves turning in the Ozarks in fall this year. In that moment, a trip I would've considered and quickly vetoed out of dread of doing the work to make it happen became a trip I decided to make happen. I decided we'll go to Eureka Springs to enjoy the beauty of our homeland and make it extra fun by staying at the Crescent Hotel. The kids have been youtubing videos and coming up to me with huge eyes and asking "Mom, is it REALLY haunted?". I just shrug and say "Maybe it is and maybe it isn't". Their faces light up with excitment. Absolutely the best idea ever!
It's amazing how just one little mini-getaway will get me through to a big getaway. My mood is better, I have something to look forward to that's in the near future. I feel really responsbile and in control of my own happiness. I am taking control of my life. There's something to these little time outs!


The little trip to Eureka doesn't have to be extravagant. I just want to see the beauty of the hills, slow the pace down for a couple of days, and watch my kids experience The Crescent. I won't make obligations to meet up with friends or family who really don't care if they see me or my kids or not, so why bother? Why add the headache. Admitting no one gives a crap is the most freeing thing I ever did! I swear! Then, in December, I get to experience something completely foreign and stunning WITH them. I'm guessing it's going to outdo any purse I ever bought.

I'm a planner now. I plan longterm and divide what I could take from today to put into tomorrow. I am so thankful for these lessons I've learned from the women I interact with daily. I love their tales of travel but I don't want to just hear about them anymore. I want to live them for myself. I have taken a cue from them and realized they are taking time out and if they can, I can.

In fact, I see most everything that way now. If anyone can, I can. I can travel and I can expand my career. I just have to slowly and methodically plan. Slow and steady wins the race. I'm storing my nuts, that's all. I owe my family a nice life. I also owe myself breaks so I can continue to give that to them without doing it with underlying bitterness. Don't be mislead, I'm still an angry little troll, stuck in rushhour traffic but in between my profanity-ladened tirades, I take a breath and picture myself looking out onto the beautifully-colored hills of the Ozarks in just a few more weeks. It's then that the tension eases and I might even break and allow a car with their blinker on over into my lane. That's balance. I deserve it. We all do.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Two Years


I can’t tell you the last time I blogged. I guess I either lost a passion for it or I’ve just gotten too busy.  With hell week here and a day off to gather my thoughts, let’s see what falls out, shall we? Hell week is what mom and I refer to as the week we celebrate Ryan’s birthday and then the anniversary of his passing a week later. It is filled with memories, tears, and a time to reflect on the distance we’ve put between ourselves and 2 years ago as we stood in a hospital unable to wrap out brains and hearts around what had just happened. I do weird things like look at the last post or selfie before Ryan died. I look at myself and try to remember who she was. I guess you could say she was naïve. I no longer recognize her. I can’t relate to her at all. She didn’t know what I know now. I guess in a way she died, too. Who stands in her place was born out of necessity. I like to think of her as Misty “A.R.” (After Ryan).


The last 2 years, mom and I have drowned ourselves in busy work. If we stay busy we’re safe. When we slow down, that’s when the pain seeps in. We’ve kept ourselves busy to the point of exhaustion. We started the foundation and I focused on building my business. Mom says when you’re busy giving, you don’t have time to be thinking about what you’re lacking. I wanted to be successful as a distraction but also because I needed to be successful to do things I realized have to be done. Because I know life is fleeting, there are places to go and memories to create before it’s my time to go. I don’t know when my time is up but I know I want to live while I’m here. To play hard you have to work hard.



There are key moments in life that change everything about you. It could be a birth, it could be a death. And sometimes out of death comes a birth. My family has had to change the way we do everything to prevent ourselves from wallowing. In fact, I’ve changed how I do things by changing the way I think about things.

This is what I know now…


My circle is small and I’m okay with that. I know the difference between an acquaintance and a friend. I know the difference between someone who listens and someone who waits to talk.



“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” – Josephine Hart



Just because someone is your family doesn’t mean they’ll even send you a condolence via facebook messenger or show up to the funeral.



The loss didn’t turn me into a saint. I’m colder. If you couldn’t bother to send me a kind word, don’t come looking for mine when you experience your tragedy. And you will, eventually. I know it hurts, you don’t have to tell me. My compassion is engineered to meet yours. I’m not above it, make no mistake.



People will take time out for a 5 minute quiz to see which Kardashian they are but won’t type in a code when buying from Amazon to donate a profit to our charity that costs them nothing. You can put blood, sweat, and tears into something to unveil it to those around you all proud-like and go “TA DA!!!!!!!!” only to hear crickets. I will press forward. Strangers will support you before those closest to you.



I take the chances. Hesitation and second-guessing don’t do anything. In life, you’ll only regret the chances you didn’t take. For years I saw people accomplishing things I admired and wondered what they knew that I didn’t. I don’t think they knew any more than I did; they just did the work. A dream, a plan, a strong work ethic, and a leap.



I no longer play the “maybe I’ll do that or go there someday” game. No…. I’ll go this year. I’ll get a new Rubbermaid tub and put a new fund into to make that memory. When I’m gone, those who love me will always have that.

  

I don’t hang around in situations that make me miserable. Whether it’s a person or an experience that’s making me feel that way, I eliminate it. Life’s too short for unnecessary grief. I can spot an unhappy person from a mile away. I have my own demons. I won’t bear the burden of anyone else’s.



I don’t need validation. I don’t need you to think I’m pretty, skinny, smart, or successful. Why? ‘Cause who gives a shit, that’s why.



I can make it through days now without tears. Then again, sometimes I will be doing something as mundane as driving home from work or folding laundry and bust out into tears. There’s no rhyme or reason to the outburst. They come when they come. Some days 2 years feels like 2 years. Some days it feels like yesterday. This is just where I am now. In some ways I’m better, in some ways I’m icier, in some ways I’m more giving, in some ways I’m more selfish. It depends on the day. It’s just how I’ve evolved. I had to find my place in a world without Ryan. I’ve had relationships destroyed and new ones take their place. I wonder how he would’ve dealt with all the things mom and I have had to deal with since he died. Had the shoe been on the other foot and it would’ve been me, how would he have handled it? Would he have been more graceful and diplomatic? Would have grieved as hard? Would he have made scenes and become a completely different person like me? I think he would’ve snapped a little just like we did. Those questions can’t be answered and he’s not here to reassure me or tell me where I made a misstep. I feel like if he could come back for just one day he’d most certainly ask, “Where’s my sister? Did she live through it!?!?”



I try to picture Ryan’s reaction if Jason and I both died and he came to collect my things and people I’d known a few months got there first and he had to badger them to hand over my phone, house keys, wallet, laptop, and had already cleaned out all my personal possessions because they assumed he didn't have a relationship with me. I have a pretty good idea of what would’ve happened. I knew an entire life. They didn’t even know a full year and assumed such a bold role. Experiencing that loss and then seeing posted pictures flipping us off and calling us vermin, there are just no words for. I still see tagged things of them and wonder how anyone could associate with someone who would do that to a grieving family. I guess it doesn’t really matter now, though…. It’s over even though it will haunt me forever. I guess I’m not above that, either.



I have to go on. Misty “A.R.” is still evolving but I wish he could meet her. These two years have been hell; a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I still pass his guitars and strum them with my fingertips. I still agonize that he won’t see my kids grow up.



Yes, 2 years. 2 years since my world came to a halt. 2 years since I realized nothing is certain except one thing; you control nothing. Am I better? No. I’m just different. I can now answer the question “Do you have any brothers or sisters?” without a lump in my throat. He’s still in everything I do. The truest quote I’ve ever read is this: “It’s been said ‘time heals all wounds’. I do not agree. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” – Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Two Years


I can’t tell you the last time I blogged. I guess I either lost a passion for it or I’ve just gotten too busy.  With hell week here and a day off to gather my thoughts, let’s see what falls out, shall we? Hell week is what mom and I refer to as the week we celebrate Ryan’s birthday and then the anniversary of his passing a week later. It is filled with memories, tears, and a time to reflect on the distance we’ve put between ourselves and 2 years ago as we stood in a hospital unable to wrap out brains and hearts around what had just happened. I do weird things like look at the last post or selfie before Ryan died. I look at myself and try to remember who she was. I guess you could say she was naïve. I no longer recognize her. I can’t relate to her at all. She didn’t know what I know now. I guess in a way she died, too. Who stands in her place was born out of necessity. I like to think of her as Misty “A.R.” (After Ryan).


The last 2 years, mom and I have drowned ourselves in busy work. If we stay busy we’re safe. When we slow down, that’s when the pain seeps in. We’ve kept ourselves busy to the point of exhaustion. We started the foundation and I focused on building my business. Mom says when you’re busy giving, you don’t have time to be thinking about what you’re lacking. I wanted to be successful as a distraction but also because I needed to be successful to do things I realized have to be done. Because I know life is fleeting, there are places to go and memories to create before it’s my time to go. I don’t know when my time is up but I know I want to live while I’m here. To play hard you have to work hard.



There are key moments in life that change everything about you. It could be a birth, it could be a death. And sometimes out of death comes a birth. My family has had to change the way we do everything to prevent ourselves from wallowing. In fact, I’ve changed how I do things by changing the way I think about things.

This is what I know now…


My circle is small and I’m okay with that. I know the difference between an acquaintance and a friend. I know the difference between someone who listens and someone who waits to talk.



“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” – Josephine Hart



Just because someone is your family doesn’t mean they’ll even send you a condolence via facebook messenger or show up to the funeral.



The loss didn’t turn me into a saint. I’m colder. If you couldn’t bother to send me a kind word, don’t come looking for mine when you experience your tragedy. And you will, eventually. I know it hurts, you don’t have to tell me. My compassion is engineered to meet yours. I’m not above it, make no mistake.



People will take time out for a 5 minute quiz to see which Kardashian they are but won’t type in a code when buying from Amazon to donate a profit to our charity that costs them nothing. You can put blood, sweat, and tears into something to unveil it to those around you all proud-like and go “TA DA!!!!!!!!” only to hear crickets. I will press forward. Strangers will support you before those closest to you.



I take the chances. Hesitation and second-guessing don’t do anything. In life, you’ll only regret the chances you didn’t take. For years I saw people accomplishing things I admired and wondered what they knew that I didn’t. I don’t think they knew any more than I did; they just did the work. A dream, a plan, a strong work ethic, and a leap.



I no longer play the “maybe I’ll do that or go there someday” game. No…. I’ll go this year. I’ll get a new Rubbermaid tub and put a new fund into to make that memory. When I’m gone, those who love me will always have that.

  

I don’t hang around in situations that make me miserable. Whether it’s a person or an experience that’s making me feel that way, I eliminate it. Life’s too short for unnecessary grief. I can spot an unhappy person from a mile away. I have my own demons. I won’t bear the burden of anyone else’s.



I don’t need validation. I don’t need you to think I’m pretty, skinny, smart, or successful. Why? ‘Cause who gives a shit, that’s why.



I can make it through days now without tears. Then again, sometimes I will be doing something as mundane as driving home from work or folding laundry and bust out into tears. There’s no rhyme or reason to the outburst. They come when they come. Some days 2 years feels like 2 years. Some days it feels like yesterday. This is just where I am now. In some ways I’m better, in some ways I’m icier, in some ways I’m more giving, in some ways I’m more selfish. It depends on the day. It’s just how I’ve evolved. I had to find my place in a world without Ryan. I’ve had relationships destroyed and new ones take their place. I wonder how he would’ve dealt with all the things mom and I have had to deal with since he died. Had the shoe been on the other foot and it would’ve been me, how would he have handled it? Would he have been more graceful and diplomatic? Would have grieved as hard? Would he have made scenes and become a completely different person like me? I think he would’ve snapped a little just like we did. Those questions can’t be answered and he’s not here to reassure me or tell me where I made a misstep. I feel like if he could come back for just one day he’d most certainly ask, “Where’s my sister? Did she live through it!?!?”



I try to picture Ryan’s reaction if Jason and I both died and he came to collect my things and people I’d known a few months got there first and he had to badger them to hand over my phone, house keys, wallet, laptop, and had already cleaned out all my personal possessions because they assumed he didn't have a relationship with me. I have a pretty good idea of what would’ve happened. I knew an entire life. They didn’t even know a full year and assumed such a bold role. Experiencing that loss and then seeing posted pictures flipping us off and calling us vermin, there are just no words for. I still see tagged things of them and wonder how anyone could associate with someone who would do that to a grieving family. I guess it doesn’t really matter now, though…. It’s over even though it will haunt me forever. I guess I’m not above that, either.



I have to go on. Misty “A.R.” is still evolving but I wish he could meet her. These two years have been hell; a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I still pass his guitars and strum them with my fingertips. I still agonize that he won’t see my kids grow up.



Yes, 2 years. 2 years since my world came to a halt. 2 years since I realized nothing is certain except one thing; you control nothing. Am I better? No. I’m just different. I can now answer the question “Do you have any brothers or sisters?” without a lump in my throat. He’s still in everything I do. The truest quote I’ve ever read is this: “It’s been said ‘time heals all wounds’. I do not agree. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” – Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Don't Shit Where You Beat

I'm an Instagram junkie, well truth be told, a social media junkie in general. When I was a stay-at-homer, it was my only means of social interaction but since I pursued esthetics, I find Instagram very useful career-wise. You can utilize hashtags and get your work and questions out there to possible business connections or potential clients. I cruise the hashtags related to topics dear to my heart. I tend to favor #mua, #makeup, #muaproblems, etc. I love to look at other artist's work and get a feel for new looks and techniques. I love the artists that come at you with an air of "There's more than one way to skin a cat"; not "This is my way and the ONLY way." I scroll through photo after and photo and gag on the amazing work by talented artists and feel motivated to step up my game. From time to time, I glance down at the caption and realize it's an artist belittling the work of their peers, or obviously people they "think" aren't on their level. There's an entire group of mua(s) bagging on what they refer to as a stupid trend they hope passes soon in reference to contouring. I can't understand why you wouldn't want wearable photoshop but that's just me. The entire purpose is to pull forward your best features and push back the not-so-desirable. They argue that it's only meant for drag queens with manly features but that's not the case. Drag makeup isn't buffed out quite as much and is intended for the stage, which is why you'll never see a queen out at your local Starbucks at high-noon in a full beat, clutching a white chocolate mocha. For a woman, if its done subtly and blended appropriately, the results can be stunning and entirely change the look of your face. What's interesting to me, is that most often you will find that the very "trends" that some mua(s) dislike are the very thing your client is going to plop down in your chair and ask for because they see it on TV and think they look beautiful because they do. Do I look the same without it? NO and I mean NO. You know when you're asked for Kim Kardashian's "natural look" that the only "natural" thing about it as that you can expect it to take an hour to execute that beat. You should do it and save the derogatory statements for the cocktail hour with your girlfriends later. I talk mad trash but not where my money is concerned. Your money is affected by your very public Instagram, just sayin'.

In a world where your business card extends far passed a cardboard rectangle embossed with your logo, everything you do and say regarding your field will trickle out to possible future clientele and even worse, previous clients. It's entirely possible that someone has come to you and asked you for the very look you're now trashing. Of course, you do what the client asks for but what if you did it to appease them and they later see how you really felt about it? Picture it: "Oh look there's Suzie's Instagram! I love her work, she was so funny, and oooooh…….. Ouch." They're never coming back and I don't blame them. Your working situation will also be bad with fellow artists who don't want to work with you or recommend you because you have a stank attitude and will possibly later dog out their work.

In my opinion, within any industry, when you feel you have nothing left to learn from another experienced professional or even a novice, you're stagnated. When you've gotten too big for your britches and there's nothing left to learn, I guess the next logical move is to slam others. It always turns into a female version of a pissing contest as to who has been in the industry longer. I'll be the first to admit that I'm fresh and I have a lot to learn. I welcome advice and want every opportunity to grow at my craft and become as good as I can be. I loathe the attitude that you can't learn anything from anybody and everyone else in your field is the enemy or competition. I have had the opportunity to work alongside some of the best artists out there and it was the most humbling experience of my life. I watched Lori Taylor apply eyeshadow on a patron at The Makeup Show Dallas with the same awe and concentration others might reserve for their favorite baseball player at bat. 


I love to see people passionate about what they do and I hate to see anyone tearing anyone down within a community and forgive me, but the beauty industry seems to be one of the worst for it. I'm so over the cattiness and want to wish everyone all the best.  We need to build each other up and I'll be the first to tell someone when something is on point. I will then hope they're willing to tell me how to get there, myself. I know my attributes and I know my flaws and there is always more to learn. There is always someone else you could stand to be kind to that may have an opportunity for you later. There's is always someone that knows something you don't. Being able to show your view on it without being an asshat is an art-form in and of itself. Basically, just don't be a dick in general. Referring to people as "fresh" or "green" is going to hurt a lot more when they surpass you because they had an openness and willingness to listen, learn, and rise. Some people let their haters become their motivators so I'd be careful. If you ever wonder where that Jane Doe went that asked for the smokey eye and contour, you might refer to your post about basic bitches who contour. To anyone who's ever felt deterred from posts like that just remember that you had a purpose before anyone had an opinion. In the words of Chris Crocker, "It's a hair flip, girl, and you cool again".

Monday, December 29, 2014

Buy The Headdress

In all honesty, I've never really seen much of myself in my kids. Drew is a carbon copy of Jason, Reid is another version of Ryan, and Lily has always been just like my mother. I'm familiar with each of these personalities already so there was no adjusting, getting to know or understand them. We just sailed right along. Ryan and Reid had a connection. Reid told Ryan he loved him every hour on the hour and Ryan looked at him and interacted with him like he knew they shared that something. We talked about it several times. It's the way they look out their eyes, it's their bone structure, and facial expressions. It's their light, their energy. I knew from the time Reid was born that Ryan would have something special with him. He loved all my children but he saw himself in Reid and so do we. It was a real connection. He's funny, sparkly, charming, and knows it.

Drew is his daddy from the top of his head to the tip of toes. He looks like him, sounds like him, and has a pompous way of making a point just like his father. It's a very, "You've given your theory and now I'll tell you why you're wrong", type of arrogance. Neither of them could speak a word if you tied their hands behind their backs. Grown folks love Drew as they always did his father when he was that age. He's respectful, well-spoken, and will discuss topics and issues well beyond his years with an astute awareness. He's a history buff, has a million dollar vocabulary, and has taken me to school many times. You have to be on your toes around here with these two. Jason and I have agreed not to inundate our children with our beliefs; who we are took decades to form. My journey is not Drew's journey. I will never tell him who to be and what to think. When and if he asks, I share my take on things but always follow up by reminding him these are simply my findings. I will let him make his own choices and decide what is best for him. I think sometimes parents forget their children's lives are theirs. We can guide them but manipulating them into who you want or expect them to be is unfair. I'll let them find their way and I'll be proud because I'm their mother. End of story. 

Lily has been like raising my own mother. She shares all of her traits to the point my husband calls her "Little Shells". She was an extremely serious baby. She cried constantly and spent the first year of her life on my hip. If I put her down, she went into hysterics. She didn't coo, she didn't smile, and she fussed constantly. The pediatrician noted that she wasn't playful. I had Reid almost exactly two years after Lily. Lily did not talk and was always late on all of her milestones. When I had Reid, she completely regressed. Her doctor watched her closely and I waited for them to tell me she was on the autism spectrum but he never did. I was so scared when she started school. A mother knows and she just wasn't ready. She wasn't speaking like the other kids and her social skills were awkward. She wouldn't approach or engage with the other kids. She had stayed at home with me so I began to think I had hindered her rather than nurtured her at that point. I would talk at length with my mother about it and she assured me she was the same way and she would grow out of it. Lily cried at school a lot. Her teachers have talked to me about it many times and I'm never sure what answer they're looking for from me. She cries easily, that's all. Mom said she cried so much when she was little they just got used to it. Lily finally had a male teacher who wouldn't cater to her tears. She grew a lot that year and the teary episodes began to fade away. She went into speech therapy and began making friends. Her talent began to emerge and Lily has become an amazing artist. It is her passion. Her personality began to blossom and she's super aware of what goes on around her, seriously smart, and goofy. Lily is a goodie two-shoes and that is a bonafide Shelley trait. My mother will follow the rules to the letter. Over Christmas I gave my mom my discount card for Ulta. She presented it to the cashier and said, "This is my daughters and she gave it to me. Is it okay if I use it?" In my mind I was like, "Mother!!!!! HUSH!" GAH! This morning Reid came to me having a meltdown because he couldn't find his super smash brothers game. I saw Lily get up, go off somewhere, and return with it. I asked her where it was. She told me he was getting up in the night to play it so she took it away from him, hid it, and made him go back to bed. I was speechless. Classic, "Little Shells".


Afterwards, I went off to load the dishwasher and was in the middle of thinking about my kid's funny personalities. They're all so different and I know exactly where parts of who they are come from. I was in the middle of thinking how they aren't much like me when Lily came back downstairs in a costume. She had on bunny ears, unicorn stompeez, sparkly wrist cuffs from a previous Cleopatra Halloween costume, and layers of costume jewelry. She sat down and began to draw and I realized…….THAT'S ME! My mother has an entire album of me in the weirdest ensembles you can imagine. I love costumes and will parade around in something just for my own enjoyment even now. Seriously, ask my husband. I've loved it since I was a kid and its never lost its luster for me and I hope it never will. I'm all for a cheap thrill and if it comes in the form of a feather face mask from Earthbound, what's the harm in that? When I'm old and gray and someone out of my mind, I hope my grandkids will being me feathery hats, sparkly costume jewelry, and fuzzy faux stoles. I'll still love it. Age shouldn't have a limit on the silly little things we enjoy. I saw a list yesterday of "100 things I will teach my daughter". My list will be different but it will include, if you like that bizarre headdress and you want it for no reason but to play in it, BUY IT. BUY THE HEADDRESS! She enjoys her little costume and that's me in there. I may be in there in the smallest forms but that's me. I'm weird and I think differently than other people. Sometimes sensible is boring and sometimes fitting in, to me, feels mediocre at best. I let her wear those little consumes out because she's proud of them and its fun. She thinks she looks stunning and to me, she does. I let her wear it because eventually society will tell her she can't anymore. Do it before it stops being cute 'cause if I could still wear get-ups like that and get away with it, I totally would. People and age have a way of killing your spirit, but I love that I see some of mine within her. I'm glad I caught a glimpse of myself. I brought good stuff to the table, too. The love of a good get-up; that's from momma.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's Not Really About The Food


Growing up, I never thought I would be the type to be a little Suzie homemaker. It took a while to morph into the domestic engineer I’ve become. Sometimes I hate admitting that I’m somewhat of a cliché. The beauty part is, I don’t mind it. Sometimes I’m genuinely the happiest in the simplest moments. I like being in the kitchen, making special goodies for my family. I put love into all of it. Here’s the kicker, I’m a total feminist. My mother never told me to grow up, get married, and bake. She never told me who to be or what she thought would make me the happiest. I think sometimes she waited with bated breath as to who I’d become. I was kind of a wild card. After Jason and I got married, it became pretty clear to me that I wasn’t much of a cook. Before the internet, it took a lot of phone calls home to grannies to get recipes and they NEVER have an exact measurement; it’s pinches of this and dashes of that. Weird things I didn’t even know what they were.  “What the hell is hog jowl?”  As time went on, I developed a passion for it. It makes me feel good when my kids ask for that one special dish or baked good. I love watching Jason chow down and say, “That was good, momma.” He paid his dues. He choked down many a burnt meal without complaint in the beginning.

Today I’ve baked all day. I get the warm and fuzzies when it’s just us here at the house and I take a moment to step back and let my blessings wash over me. The kids laughing and playing, the dogs running through ripping the house apart are all little pieces that make this ours. Life can be brutal. It can chew you up and spit you out. A lot can happen in a year and this year has been brutal. I try to find the joy in the things I always have. It took a while to find that joy again at all and then there’s a weird pang of guilt when I do. Is it okay to laugh? Is it okay to have any Christmas spirit? I admit, I think I over-decorated this year to compensate. I can’t seem to find my happy medium yet. But cooking and baking, I can usually always find joy in. I just focus on what I’m making and know that it’s how I show my family I love them. They can all be holed up in their rooms but once the smell of something baking wafts up their rooms, out they come. Lily loves to help me cook. She asks if I’ll teach her. I absolutely will. I want my kids to look back and remember coming home from school to special treats. I take pride in my home and my family and I’m a lot more of a big dorky square than I ever imagined I’d be. We’re a little unorthodox around here with our sense of humor and shenanigans but we’re fun. We have to keep things fun or else it would be boring as hell. Let’s face it; this whole parent/marriage thing isn’t exactly a riot unless you put some effort into it. You gotta shake it up.

I see moments with my children when I realize I’ve taught them well. I see Drew interact with adults and he’s polite, respectful, and well-spoken. He holds doors and makes eye contact. They’re good kids and we did that. I’ll start work soon but no matter how busy or stressful life gets, I hope I always enjoy making our house a home. Jason’s guy friends tease him that he’s spoiled. He jokes by going to a light switch, turns it on and says, “Look at that! Came right on!” Get it? He paid the light bill? *eye roll* If you didn’t really know him or his sense of humor, one might misconstrue that he’s a misogynistic asshole. He’s just obnoxious, is all.

They are my life. They are my everything. I want their childhood to be filled with happy, warm memories. Some of my most fond memories as a child were not at expensive theme parks or events, they were in my jammies laughing at the weird language mom, Ryan, and I spoke. Every family has their own communication and way of interacting. A lot of it gets passed down to the way you raise your kids. A lot of habits that were acquired growing up, have trickled down with my kids. They are extremely close. I want them that way. They are forever. They will have each other’s backs when no one else does. If I’m lucky enough to go first, they are left to take care of one another. They are the mark I’ve left. I want them to appreciate each other and hopefully appreciate everything I’d tried to do for them. I fail all the time but God I’ve tried to be something for them. Even if it came in the form of cupcakes, movie/snuggle night, too many pets, cleaning up after them, telling them they’re beautiful, and a wicked sense of humor. I hope I’m irreplaceable to them and I hope no one ever makes anything that tastes quite as good as mom’s does. It’s more than cooking or baking. It’s way deeper than that.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It's Just Stuff



So I have this theory, and you may have to bear with me as I get there. I, along with the world, watch every year as Black Friday rolls around. We watch on the news as they give us the horrendous stories of people trampling each other like it’s the running of the bulls to fetch high definition televisions at bargain prices. Our jaws drop as we watch people act like animals and wrestle strangers to ground for the latest gadgets and electronics; all this is done out of the spirit of giving. Keep in mind I never exclude myself from my blogs. This isn’t judgment, its mere observation and something I’ve been thinking about. I’m guilty of overspending on the holidays. I spend to buy my loved ones gifts to bring a smile to their faces for that glimmering moment. I do my shopping at a different time because I’m willing to pay full price to avoid cooling my heels in the clink at Christmas time. I don’t do well in crowded situations. I get volatile. A trip the store puts me at risk for jail time on even the calmest of days.

I wonder why these things, these possessions, got so powerful. When did they get so important that we’re willing to act like heathens to have them? What purpose do they serve? I think they’re filling voids. They filling the spaces of human interaction we’ve lost as technology has advanced. In the place of people, we’ve put in high tech devices that give us entertainment and hold the judgment.

Yesterday, as I snooped through online sites, to find that perfect gift I’d like for myself, I began to wonder why I thought that overpriced pair of Tory Burch slippers was something I really needed. Is some woman going to pass by me and look down to the see the gold emblem on my feet and think, “Wow, she’s somebody. She’s something.”? Or is it to trick myself into thinking that when I look down at my feet? I already have black slippers, I don’t need another pair. What am I trying to accomplish here?

We get these things and we cherish them for a time and before you know it, that bluetooth speaker system we so coveted is something we’ll eventually call a piece of crap when it malfunctions in a way we don’t understand because we’re too lazy to read the instructions. Next year, it’ll need to be bigger and better. Yeah, that’ll fix it. That’ll make everything perfect. “This is too hard. Push two buttons in succession? Can’t they just make something that’ll read my thoughts? Piece o’ crap!”

As technology and these devices we have to have are advancing, our ability for human interaction has been obliterated. Every time I make a trip home, people make false appointments with me. The people who chirp the loudest are the least likely you’ll hear from once you’re there. We don’t want to see people anymore. We don’t want to deal with it. Why when we can be flies on the wall of other’s lives, play video games, or watch our favorite shows in our pjs? We can attend that fabulous party on “Real Housewives” without having to get dressed up or foot the bill. They’re prettier, wealthier, and more glamorous. Why go anywhere when you can snoop through Facebook during the commercials, to boot. It’s a bevy of distraction; distraction with zero effort.

While recently home, I got to see Sasha Loomis. We hadn’t seen each other since high school so there was a lot to catch up on. She told me she wanted to have a marriage like mine. I laughed and told her I hoped I didn’t project the perfect marriage image on Facebook. I hope people realize it’s real and I love him but I do think about smothering him roughly about once a month but there’s no one else whose murder I’d rather plot. She knew me well enough to laugh and not call the police. We all know that Facebook is a world of make-believe; a world where we can alter, revamp, edit, omit the bad, and exaggerate the good. Everyone is operating as their representative and we’re all full of shit. There was once a study done that said that a high percentage of people actually felt more depressed after logging into Facebook. “[So & so] is more traveled, has more friends, blah, blah, blah”. You don’t know what [so & so] deals with that doesn’t get posted but man we sure cling to that device that tells us an edited version or whatever story we’d like to make up to go along with it. Meanwhile we’re sitting at the dinner table with people who we do know their real story, all too happy to ignore them for virtual strangers, acquaintances, and friends we once had until we were given the option to do the bare minimum in the relationship to prevent them from completely abandoning us. We don’t see each other, we don’t call each other, on special occasions we can simply text or write on their walls. It’s a tragedy, really. We’ve completely opted out of social interaction, willingly. Hell, we prefer it. We’re bad friends, we’re bad people. Have you ever known you should’ve given a damn about someone or a situation and you almost did but then your show came on? For that hour it was you, Nene Leakes an’em and nothing else mattered.

We ignore each other and then it just festers. It’s a chain reaction. They ignore, so you ignore, and eventually we’re all just going to be making our lonely, narcissistic, passive-aggressive points from the comfort of our well-stocked pedestals of distraction. We can drift off and fade away in a world of our choosing. We can delete her or him, hide that annoying political poster, and go shopping all without leaving the house. Clothes have gotten completely overrated. I once had a friend who lost a boyfriend to World of Warcraft. It took a mere 6 months for him to become a rumpled pile of laundry sitting in a chair where a guy once was. I’d go to her place and there he’d be in that same chair with his headphones on. He didn’t work, he didn’t socialize, and he barely spoke. Once I thought he’d actually said something to me but I realized he was only speaking into the mic to whatever lifeless opponent was on the other end. I took my friend to lunch and because I loved her, it was time for the “you need to dump him” speech. “Molly, you in danger, girl.” As she explained the game, I realized what it was all about. In this 2D world he could be 7 feet tall, muscular, and king of the monkey people. (Okay so I don’t totally get the game but you can feel what I’m puttin’ down…) Why face his mediocre existence when he can be invincible in another realm? The “other world” had killed him. It was too late for him. He reminded me of that Asian kid I once saw on the news that just dropped dead in front of his screen from a bowel obstruction because he’d been playing his game and hadn’t pooped in weeks. Let that soak in. That’s some heavy shit, total pun intended.

We’re provided a safe distance with technology. We buy crap to fill the void where relationships and support should be. Relationships can come and go but that Netflix series has at least 5 more seasons. It’s like the modern day Stockholm Syndrome. It serves as a filter for which we aren’t seeing things clearly anymore. We’re looking at life through a screen. We have total perception issues. We’re not touching anyone, we’re not seeing anyone. We’re just buying shit and shutting the world out. So it begs the question, did we stop talking to people because Siri started talking to us or did we start talking to Siri because no one else was talking to us? Was it the chicken or the egg? I don’t know.

I guess my whole point in this weird trip through my head is that remember when you’re out buying gifts to remember the people you’re buying them for. Remember the same gift you’re buying them may be the same thing they’ll be engrossed in around the time they stop taking your phone calls. See each other, touch each other… You can’t take the stuff with you. Trust me, I now have a house full of stuff that isn’t mine. Remember to give them a hug and your time along with that pretty box with a bow on it. We worship things now and we’ve lost ourselves to it. We’re like drones in front of our phones and devices. They’re all designed to keep you connected but all they do is disconnect. People have never had to try less to maintain a connection with people and we’re even failing at that. It’s cold out there and I don’t mean the weather. Let’s hope those mega pixel flat screens generate enough heat to keep us warm…