The more things change, the more things stay the same … thoughts from this time – 7 years ago…
This is going to be my year. And no, this is not a resolution, this is a lifestyle change. To think it will all change at once is foolish, but over the past year I have been slowly laying groundwork and reevaluating certain priorities.
One big step in ridding myself of negative influences has been my employment switch. The new job may not turn out to be all it’s cracked up to be, only time will tell, but regardless of that I will always have the fact that I looked out for myself and at least tried.
I really have to stop being so afraid of failure. I’ve taken a lot of chances this past year. Reconnecting with old friends, looking to better my career, trying to come to an understanding with my family, traveling abroad in a time of terrorism and uncertainty. None of those are safe or easy things. Some are big and some are small, but all it takes is a chance, and look where it’s gotten me so far: I have reconnected with my friends, and they didn’t reject me, I got a new job and got an offer from every interview, my family is a work in progress… every family is, but I think it’s getting better. We had a great time traveling and had no problems whatsoever, despite a bomb scare on the very flight we were scheduled for not two weeks before.
I think fear is healthy, but it shouldn’t be paralyzing. There are many times when I avoid activities or events because they’re unknown or uncomfortable and I’m afraid I’ll end up looking stupid or embarrassed or somehow fail. I’ve come to peace with that… I will look stupid, it’s what I do. It’s part of my charm.
Yes, I’m a dork, have always been a dork, will always be a dork, but you know what? The best friends are dork friends. They don’t judge you by your hairstyle or the size of your jeans. They don’t get jealous when something good happens to you, they get excited. They’ll be supportive, even if they might not agree with you. And at the end of the day, they’ll just be there ready to talk, or not talk; whatever you may need.
I’m sure there will be many times when I feel defeated and hopeless. Too tired to care or try anymore and discouraged to the point that I want to crawl in to a dark little hole and never be seen again. It’s hard not to be a self conscious little girl when you’re insecure and afraid. Hopefully I will be encouraged to not give up and have support when I need it. If I remember to listen to myself, that will be half the battle.
There will always be things I need to work on; it’s a fact of life. But I’ve been feeling more centered than I have in a long time, and much of that comes from being true to myself. Rekindling interests of the past, reconnecting with old relationships and the only people I felt ever really knew me, and sometimes just plain putting my foot down and not living my life by someone else’s rules and expectations. If I’m happy but someone else is disappointed in me, that’s their problem, not mine.
That settles it! I’m going to be a roller derby girl. If not now, when?
Some of my girls like conflict, I admit it. We… They … thrive on being able to best an opponent, no matter what gender, age or size. My dames dig damage. The rest of the world doesn’t always agree.
It’s not proper. It’s not ladylike. Don’t let them know that you’re stronger, faster, smarter. They don’t like that. Don’t talk that way. Don’t like those things…. it’s not appropriate.
Things that aren’t lady like are the best kinds of things. It’s no fun being a lady, I’ve had to do it a lot. No one says “Remember that time I knew what the shrimp fork was?” though they might fondly remember “Remember that time I ripped apart that entire chicken* with my bare hands?” Carnage is awesome.
Some of us are drawn to opposition, conflict and the like. Not because we want it, but because we’re not scared. It’s encouraged for boys to be brave. Why shouldn’t we be? Because it’s not ladylike….
I make a horrible damsel, it’s true. My hair isn’t long enough, I don’t wear dresses and I tend not to trip awkwardly when running away from things. IF I bother to run away. If a conflict can’t be neatly sidestepped, I’m more than happy to meet it head on. This tactic has had mixed results over the years but I rarely regret not running away. Bullies don’t know what to do with that, even as adults. It’s not always a matter of physical confrontation, but of self esteem and emotional control. You can’t make me cry. You can’t make me run. Your. Move.
“Princess” culture has never been my thing, despite being raised to know when to be a lady. Even as a kid, I wanted the princess’s horse, screw the girl in glass heels. (They’d hurt terribly anyhow. No wonder damsels trip.) What the modern self proclaimed ‘princesses’ fails to realize, is what the life of a REAL princess would entail. Extensive schooling, extensive training on etiquette, trivia, sewing, philanthropy, dance, strategy, arranged marriages for political gain…. it’s not all tutu’s an bon bon’s.
Keep your tiara, I’d rather have my soul.
I encourage all girls (and women) to add a little ‘warrior’ to their ‘princess’. Test your limits. See how well you can aim. Don’t be afraid of a friendly tussle. We get older and we forget… how we ran and played and bounced off the ground or tree or rock without a second thought. How we physically interacted with our environment beyond a keyboard and a screen.They are useful extensions for thoughts and ideas but they don’t compare to the feel of rough bark sliding under your fingers, or a cold stream shocking you awake as the water permeates the seals on your ‘water resistant’ shoes.
Learn strategy and how to pick your battles. Life shouldn’t be a constant fight nor a constant retreat. There’s no use ‘playing small’, because the more you do, the smaller you feel. You will be invisible if you act invisible. It’s a super power I’ve seen… or not seen… first hand.
Don’t be afraid to make them think. Make them nervous. Make them wonder… Even if you are wearing a skirt and a smile.
*Cooked. I’m no monster.
What a nightmare. You know about her, right? What… or rather who… she did to get that job? Then what she did to the other guy, throwing him under the bus like that?
Yes, I’ve heard it. From everyone. Twice. Because everyone likes to spin the yarn about the maneater – the one that got one over on them or their buddy. They tear her down over their highballs, in their clubs and run down bars tucked behind their conference centers, but it’s not because of superiority, it’s because they’re scared.
There are two options. Doormat or bitch. What’s a girl to do?
Is it true? The reputation she’s earned, the larger than life profile that leaves seasoned businessmen quaking in their khakis?
I don’t know… the bitch won’t return my calls.
An interview with Matthew, fresh for your review.
Mother Nature is a bitch. Three weeks into my 3rd retirement and where do I find myself on a unusually balmy December morning? Up on our roof. The wind, you see, had ripped a piece of the (2 year old) fasica trim off, mid early winter squall.
Exactly where I expected to be on a random Thursday morning in December. Totally.
I’m not even sure the last time I’ve been up on a roof. The lower roof was no problem, almost like a familiar friend I scaled up it and perched myself on the peak. Easy. How bad could the second part be?
Roof number two… is beyond a 45 degree angle… closer to a 60 for those protractorally inclined. My body met the immediate forces of gravity as I started up. Step.. slide… crawl.. slide… the more of my body I put in contact, the less grip I had. Still, I worked myself over to the edge. My task… my one task… sitting still and holding on to a belligerent piece of sheet metal…
Waiting for the nails to be set, I laid there… feeling my legs quiver trying to brace themselves against something that held no leverage. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t take my hand off the metal hanging over the edge. Couldn’t adjust myself to better fight the forces of nature. Breathing slowly, I concentrate on every muscle, trying not to lose what little grip I have. Ever so slightly… I slide.
Eighteen inches away from a 25 foot drop on to a concrete pad and miscellaneous patio furniture, and there’s nothing I can do but take a deep breath and try to dig my toes in so I don’t go any further.
Mind over matter.
Every part of me wants to freak out. Between bouts of careful deep breathing with my eyes closed, I try and figure out which way will be the best way to roll when the shingles finally give and I can’t catch myself. I calculate the best option is a barrel roll to the right, which would land me on the lower peak if I’m lucky, providing me with something to grab on to, as long as I don’t bounce too hard. I slide a little bit more. I can’t help my but hold my breath.
I can’t move my hand. Can’t flinch. Can’t let go. Struggling now to save myself from an assumed death, only means starting this whole process over again. I sit tight and fight every urge to indulge my high, anxious voice in a chorus of panic.
The next problem presents itself. I can’t hold and make room for the other nails all at the same time. I can’t move without letting go. And I can’t scooch enough to let the man with the hammer get to where he needs to be. My fingers at this point are already bordering on numb, the cold creeping slowly up my arm.
It’s a far less dramatic version of the dangling hero or heroine you see in the movies. And I’m no Sylvester Stallone. But I don’t complain, I just grit my teeth and hang on.
Finally, the glorious sound of nail meeting wood rings in my ears. I can let go. And I can find my way down the roof in a controlled manner, if I’m lucky. Down is actually harder than up, but once I make it to the center of the roof, my heart rate takes a little rest. Every muscle in my legs is trembling by the time I make it to the ladder, and it takes a concerted effort not to tremble right off of it.
I make it to the bottom before the ladder reaches a sonic vibration mode. It’s hard to look calm, cool and collected when you’re involuntarily shaking like a leaf. I quickly add ‘roof work’ to the list of things I never want to have to do again. Ever.
Once the quivering of my body subsided, with the help of a cool beer and the sofa, the silver lining appeared…
I didn’t want to fling myself off the roof.
At least that’s something.
Definitely going to be looking more in to this!
Today’s Daily Mail has an article regarding Amazon’s statement that a quarter of the company’s 100 bestselling books are by indie authors. The figures pertain to the USA, however it is believed that similar statistics apply as regards the United Kingdom. There are, perhaps not surprisingly a lot of sour grapes in the comments following on from the article, to the effect that all indie works are of inferior quality and “real” authors are published by established publishing houses. In reality there are, of course poor quality works in the indie sector and that of traditional publishing. The article provides hope for all us self-published authors and those considering self-publishing. For the article please visit http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2518546/Amazon-reveal-quarter-100-Kindle-books-written-self-published-indie-authors.html
I almost laughed as my boss handed me my walking papers. “Not enough work,” he said. “Effective immediately,” he shoved a box at me.
Yeah, I know. I’ve heard that before. Two times before actually. This layoff was the least impressive to date. The last time I had to find a job in this market, it took me 6 months, and someone had to die for there to be an opening.
The market has not improved since then.
That same week, reports rolled in from my friends. Laid off. Laid off. Laid off. Five of us in a week. Lord have mercy. This doesn’t even account for other personal disasters. November is a hell of a month.
I can do anything and nothing all at the same time. All of the project lists I’ve been staring at and revising for the past year can now come to fruition. And I have no income. I can finally ride my horse and get back into shape! And I have no health insurance. Forgive me if I don’t want to tempt fate.
I come home to my spouse, ready with a hug. He’s home mid-day because he was already laid off earlier in the week. Second time in my life this double hit has happened. First time with this spouse. Things have a way of going in cycles. We meet up with my parents and do what any good family does: We drink.
It’s Monday morning now, and I’m watching the coffee pot bubble and brew. The coffee pot I bought during my last layoff, because I finally had time to make myself a pot in the morning. The $15 has been well worth it. There are a million things I could be, should be doing, and I have no idea where to start. I’m on borrowed time, never knowing when the next shoe is going to drop, never knowing when the next opportunity is going pop up.
At least this time I’m fairly sure I won’t end up in my parents basement. Small victories.
Why not try for the long shots? There is nothing to lose. Realize what an enviable position that is. Nothing to lose is the best opportunity. You can take any chance you could possibly want to. There’s no one to answer to but yourself. The worst thing that can happen is someone won’t reply.
So few people have these type of chances… Opportunities. From an early age we get trapped… hemmed in… on a path… on a schedule… before we know who we are or what we really want from our life. Slaves to industry and commerce… SUV’s… big TV’s… stuff stuff stuff. Not many people get a chance to start over; to wipe the slate clean. Sure, it can be scary starting from the bottom… especially when you think you should be so much further head. But sometimes dead ends are what you need to point you in the right direction. At least that way you know where you’re coming from and what you hope to find.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself and your life. It’s a natural drive we all have, but sometimes our head gets in the way of our hearts. “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” Fear gets us nowhere. Being afraid to try does not result in happiness. Hesitation makes us weak. Reach out to the instincts that you have, the feelings in your heart that you don’t question. If you feel you’re destined for something better, don’t fight it, embrace it. But don’t sit idly by.
What’s the best that you can arrive at? What is it that you want? A job? A career? A big salary? A modest means and a happy home? How do you want to feel at the end of the day? What do you hope you can do for people and for yourself? DO you want to learn something new each day or do you want to do the same thing over and over, knowing that your task is done and done well? You have to ask yourself these things. Think back on your life and think of things that have made you feel this way. Or, alternately, haven’t. Sometimes starting with the things you don’t want is easier than defining the things you do. It’s unfortunate but true.
It doesn’t matter what you ‘feel like’ you should have… What matters is what you truly want. For example, do you envy people with smiling children because you want smiling children for yourself, or because you just feel like you should… because that’s what people do… that’s how people show progress and stability. Is it the symbolism or the true yearning? Never feel obligated to live your life like everyone else. Life isn’t a kit of parts. It doesn’t make you magically happy when you have what the person next to you has. And chances are, the people that look so happy, really aren’t. It’s easier to fake being happy than deal with the truth and the pain in your heart. I’d rather be around someone who is miserable but honest, any day of the week.
Maybe the sky isn’t the limit, but we must resist the tendency to sell ourselves short. To play it safe out of fear and panic. To convince ourselves that the known evil is better than the unknown trap possibly lurking around the bend.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
I try to go in to life and new situations assuming that I can do something until proven otherwise. I can learn. I want to learn. I might not know how to do something…yet. But the knowledge will come. It’s no harder to assume that you can do something than it is to assume that you can’t.
Maybe sometimes the learning curve doesn’t align with the demand, but the knowledge will come. It always does. Sometimes you have to dust yourself off… it’s a rare thing to be perfect. And who would want to be? Insecurity is your worst enemy. The fear of looking foolish, of failing, of falling flat on your face. Of stepping on the ice and falling right through. There are lumps and bumps and bruises to be taken to be sure. Trials and tribulations exist for a reason… and everyone goes through them, despite the glossy facades they put on.
Don’t let yourself be your own worst enemy. Do not count yourself out before you even try. Do not judge yourself as a lesser person, just so you can beat someone else to the punch. Hurting yourself before someone else can hurt you gets you nowhere. Likewise, hurting someone else before they can hurt you does not make you better than them.
Maybe we don’t all have the divine calling we felt in our youth… or maybe they aren’t meant to culminate the way we imagined and planned. But if you feel it in your heart, it’s there, and it’s real. Hiding it… ignoring it… avoiding it… it doesn’t work. Fighting your own nature only causes conflict and pain. Learning to harness our gifts is a lifelong process. Sometimes there are sparks of insight, moments of clear and perfect intuition. Sometimes the skies are cloudy and gray for a long, long time… but they never stay that way. hold on to the sparks, and the flickers and the beams of light. Keep them close and keep them true.
And with that… my well has run dry…
I’m working on a theory: Women like 2 things. Sex and murder.
The first one isn’t much of a theory, I’ll admit. I think 50 Shades of Somethinorother nailed that just fine. <pun intended> Murder, carnage, fascination with sharp pointy things and a cathartic righting of wrongs… that’s what they really want. They’ll take sex, but let’s be honest, they ‘d just as soon nudge you when you’re a step too close to the woodchipper.
It’s an escape, a release of a whole other kind, to gleefully banter about how to plan the perfect ‘accident,’ and practice the batting of eyelashes. I’d like to say it’s innocent enough, but it depends how much I feel like obscuring the truth.
The girls I knew yesterday, and the women I know today, all express these darker tendencies. Birds of a feather? Perhaps. Or maybe, truly, it’s part of a larger truth that the male marketing media has long denied.
Dames dig damage.
Talk to a woman, any woman, no matter how happy, or well rounded, or comfortable she may be, and see how long it takes her to utter the words “I could have killed him.” Red handkerchief in with the delicates? One swig of milk left in the jug? That bag of garbage left to ferment and walk itself out to the curb? The co-worker who constantly farts in your cubicle?
It doesn’t take much. And that’s just the daily grind. Think of the conversations that happen in the thick of relationship turmoil. I might need a poll for scientific accuracy, but I’m not sure I’ve ever met a woman who didn’t relate to and admire “Thelma & Louise” just a little bit. Women are hardwired for protection. Never mistake a nurturing spirit for weakness.
And for your own good, put the seat down.
To the State Cop who has been lingering near my house: They’re just planting beds, I swear.