it's all about ME

Waking up

A year ago I left my job at The Pub and, after our road trip, came home to find a job that would be enough. I had a good amount of money saved in Unemployment and I resolved to use it, giving myself a year to get by and avoid the pressure to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

My year is over.  
My Unemployment insurance ran out. 
And I'm still working part time with no idea what to be when I grow up.

Time to wake up, folks.

strong, powerful girl-folk

7 days: 7 ~ super Anya

Amazing things have been happening at the Wannabe Hippie house. These children of mine? They just keep becoming more and more awesome. The little one has turned seven since last I posted and, not surprisingly, learned to fly shortly thereafter. She's strong and sensitive and lovely and strong willed and smart and difficult and expressive and won't take the world for any less than she deserves. It's amazing to watch her grow these days as each day brings me someone more complex and unexpected.

Pride, logic, guilt, and damn, I need a cookie.

I am, for the most part, exceptionally good at my job. In 2011 we did such good work at the Pub that I more than doubled expected earnings. (Alternately, this could indicate that I am far too conservative at budgeting, but I'm willing to take the win here).

But recently I made a mistake.

A fairly big one.

And damn am I beating myself up over it.

I can look at the numbers, come up with exactly how much this mistake costs the company (about 2% of the extra money made this year) and fully recognize that it is a tiny amount of money to screw up over. I can remind myself that I have made 100 right choices to this one mistake. Nobody was hurt from this mistake. Nobody lost their job over it, either. I can logic my way to a place where I should be clear of guilt. But I don't actually feel relieved of said guilt. Instead, I feel it so deeply I have considered locking the door to my office and crying over this error.

Why do we do this to ourselves? What part of human nature does it serve? I know that I shouldn't strive to dismiss error without introspection, but why does that have to lead to feelings of failure, especially when logic shows me it's not as bad as I feel?

Ultimately, I suspect this is about pride. This mistake hurt mine. I don't like being wrong and when my wrong is not something I can cover up or shift, it's so freaking painful I want to hide. But it's pride. And while I know it is one of the deadly sins (some say the worst of them), I have no idea how to turn it on it's ear and allow myself to simply be wrong without all the damn feelings associated with that wrong.

So dear people who live in my computer, tell me how to stop being upset with myself. Don't logic me, I already have that down and it's not helping. I need something else. I just don't know what it is.

finding your space

It's odd, being out of the loop when you used to be so firmly in it.

My first BlogHer conference, there was no shortage of people to finally meet and squeal at in the hallways. I was deeply into this blogging business at that point and I had connections that kept me from ever feeling truly lonely.

This time, with my return to full time working making it so much harder to keep up on the blogs, I didn't have those AHA moments where I ran into someone I just HAD to talk to every three minutes. There were still a couple of people that I could use as go-to's, people who I would send a text to when I was feeling awkward and find a way to connect. But less so.

Honestly, this conference, I forced myself to walk up to strangers every time I felt alone and simply say, "Hi". In some ways, I think that turned out more productive. Without the safety of a clique of my own, I ended up meeting some fantastic people. And while the big value of a conference like BlogHer is making real life connections to those people living in your computer, I think there is a even deeper value to learning to approach a stranger and walk away with a friend. Damn if it isn't scary, though.

The big thing for me, though, was finally figuring out why I am so silent here. I hinted it at with my last post with the line:

Respect that my children have a personal narrative and it's not always my place to share it

Wannabe Hippie started off as a place to record my transition into motherhood. It was, in essence, a love note to my girls. I wanted them to be able to see what it was like for me, especially considering I'm crap at making Baby Books or Albums or actually printing photos. Sharing their stories during this time was a way of sharing my story. Everything they did could be brought around to who I was at that moment in time.

But that has changed. Lily and Anya are very much their own people now. And while a lot of what they do can relate to my journey as a mother, so much more of it is their own story. Their narrative is rapidly becoming their own and I have to wonder on how much of that I have a claim.

So that begs the question at this stage in my life: what is MY story about? Am I "just a mommy blogger" anymore? Or is there more to what I need to say, regardless of how it pertains to parenting? And when I do write about parenting, how do I move forward with my writing in a way that continues my story without co-opting theirs?

I don't know.

I just know that my respect for the people my children are becoming makes me take pause. It quiets me. And that means that these pages often remain static.

I'm going to do a bit of an experiment and actively track the hours of the week where I do something in service to my story. The timer is running now, for instance. It runs when I pick up the camera and try to capture the whirlwind of this life. It runs when I read a book or eat a meal in my own company. At least, that's the idea. I haven't fully mastered it yet. I'm also considering doing a 168 Hour challenge, where you break down what you are actually doing during a week... really examining how your time is spent. Who knows if I can stay focused that long.

 

figuring out my story

It's odd, being out of the loop when you used to be so firmly in it.

My first BlogHer conference, there was no shortage of people to finally meet and squeal at in the hallways. I was deeply into this blogging business at that point and I had connections that kept me from ever feeling truly lonely.

This time, with my return to full time working making it so much harder to keep up on the blogs, I didn't have those AHA moments where I ran into someone I just HAD to talk to every three minutes. There were still a couple of people that I could use as go-to's, people who I would send a text to when I was feeling awkward and find a way to connect. But less so.

Honestly, this conference, I forced myself to walk up to strangers every time I felt alone and simply say, "Hi". In some ways, I think that turned out more productive. Without the safety of a clique of my own, I ended up meeting some fantastic people. And while the big value of a conference like BlogHer is making real life connections to those people living in your computer, I think there is a even deeper value to learning to approach a stranger and walk away with a friend. Damn if it isn't scary, though.

The big thing for me, though, was finally figuring out why I am so silent here. I hinted it at with my last post with the line:

Respect that my children have a personal narrative and it's not always my place to share it

Wannabe Hippie started off as a place to record my transition into motherhood. It was, in essence, a love note to my girls. I wanted them to be able to see what it was like for me, especially considering I'm crap at making baby books or albums or actually printing photos. Sharing their stories during this time was a way of sharing my story as a mother. Everything they did could be brought around to who I was at that moment in time.

But that has changed. Lily and Anya are very much their own people now with thoughts and experiences outside my own. And while a lot of what they do can relate to my journey as a mother, so much of their narrative is rapidly becoming their own. I have to wonder on how much of that I have a claim.

So that begs the question at this stage in my life: what is MY story about? Am I "just a mommy blogger" anymore? Or is there more to what I need to say, regardless of how it pertains to parenting? And when I do write about parenting, how do I move forward with my writing in a way that continues my story without co-opting theirs?

I don't know.

I just know that my respect for the people my children are becoming makes me take pause. It quiets me. And that means that these pages often remain static.

I'm going to do a bit of an experiment and actively track the hours of the week where I do something in service to my story. The timer is running now, for instance. It runs when I pick up the camera and try to capture the whirlwind of this life. It runs when I read a book or eat a meal in my own company. At least, that's the idea. I haven't fully mastered it yet. I'm also considering doing a 168 Hour challenge, where you break down what you are actually doing during the space of a single week... really examining how your time is spent. Who knows if I can stay focused that long.

Regardless, my story is shifting. I can't wait to see where it lands.

to do (or, what BlogHer inspired so far)

  • Find one single hour of the day to do what feeds me emotionally, intellectually and spiritually 
  • Actively track this time and hold myself to honoring it
  • Stop being so hard on myself
  • Take two days a week and make them internet free.
  • Screw that, just start with one day
  • Buy a pair of absolutely outrageously racy red underwear
  • Produce "Listen to Your Mother" locally
  • Accept that I want to be heard and don't feel guilty about it
  • Honor those topics that I feel passionately about and stop worrying that I'll get sucked into the national debate
  • Get sucked into the national debate, whatever that may be
  • Accept that I am a living, breathing entity that has the right to grow and change
  • Treat WannabeHippie.com like a living, breathing entity that has the right to grow and change
  • Honor my personally story
  • Respect that my children have a personal narrative and it's not always my place to share it
  • Don't be afraid to fail
  • Be afraid to fail
  • Define my next step
  • Forget my next step and take a nap
  • Commit to the you-ness that is you

How the past can redraw your present

My favorite guys from High School

In High School there were really only two boys I fell for, but for each I fell hard. Oddly enough, they became BFF's after I introduced them and to this day, they are dear friends of mine, people I would depend on in a pinch and know would back me up in the ugliest of bar fights.

elaine climbing 1993

These were the guys I climbed rocks and parking structures with, stayed up too late with, got into trouble with, knew all my secrets and loved me anyway. Both are happily married now with little people of their own and working respectable jobs. Elliott is in law enforcement after surviving the the desert and Josh has recently found himself behind a desk, shocked at the dude with the tie staring back at him in the mirror.

Via Facebook I got the following message from Josh the other day, "Hey. I need you to call me ASAP. Bad News." I was dialing before I could take the next breath, imaging Elliott's high risk job had come to no good and Josh was about to end a part of me with words you never want to hear. Instead, it was E's mom, who had suddenly passed from a heart attack, despite being one of the most vital women I ever knew. She was an athlete, an organizer, the one there for you even though you broke her sons heart. Even the doctors were scratching their heads at this unexpected death. "Our parents are dying, Lanie. That's just... crazy" Josh was in shock over this loss, as were all who knew her.

A trip to the box of photo albums in our shed revealed this photo of Elliott and I, heading out to his Senior Prom in 1991:

Time Warp

And this photo? It threw my whole life into doubt.

To put it simply: when was the last time someone looked at you like that?

I know my Mister loves me... no question, but can anyone compete with the puppy love of a 17-year-old boy? I know, without a doubt that had Elliott and I stayed together all these years that look would have faded. But the memory of it, the memory of how he'd look over at me in the car or smile whenever I glanced in his direction, it's enough to ruin someone. Memories of what "love" was when I was a teen simultaneously makes me long for those days and feel an intense wave of gratitude for the kind of love I get to have now, with my Mister.

And yet, just thinking about that young love and what it felt like on the tips of my fingers or the edge of my cheek, it makes me wonder what happens to that level of adoration. Can it even be sustained? Would you want it to be? I remember another boy in high School who desperately wanted to date me, but his level of adoration was suffocating and I always refused his attempts. Would that be what this would ultimately feel like? Suffocation under the pressure of such a long term gaze?

What Mark and I have is so complex; it doesn't always make sense and yet, it's lasted for over 15 years. I can easily see it lasting the rest of my life. But with this photo in my eye, I start looking for that gaze in my current life and feeling bitter disappointment when I don't find it. "I don't feel desired" I say and his response is a totally reasonable flabbergasted one. It's not 'till later that I realize I am comparing what I feel now to something I felt 20(!) years ago. Something that didn't last. Something that was full of drama and angst and tears and sometimes really stupid choices.

And yet, it affects me. Memory has a way of doing that, I guess. You only hold on to what you feel you lost and have trouble recognizing all you have gained. That crucible of youth, it burns into you an unrealistic ideal of what love and relationships should be like. My friendships, though dear and vital to my sanity, seem less intense now. But this is a good thing... right?

I wonder though, are there real-live adults still living in the intensity of High School? If so, are they happy? Or is the world too intense? I cannot imagine it, honestly. The quiet, early nights and the stable relationships make for such a beautiful life. I am happy here, most of the time.

But some days, I'll admit it, I just want someone to look at me like that again.

long list of excuses

We're going to ignore the fact that it's been over a month since I've written anything here. Shhhhh. Don't look.

No? We'd rather make a long list of excuses? M'kay:

In the last four weeks, I've had three cases of strep, had my wallet stolen, missed out on an incredible opportunity for the Mister, had pink-eye and thrown about 100 fits. Our downstairs rental is still a mess and vacant as the Mister has been too busy to finish the repairs so that we can actually get it rented. This means we're hemorrhaging money. It's the end of the school year and that, apparently, means that our kids have to start acting up, there's a billion things to do and I'm tired. Also, the baby turned six. We are no longer allowed to call her "the baby".

There's more, but I cannot make my brain wrap around it.

Seriously, I'm starting to think that the Universe is trying to get across a very big lesson. My daughter's fabulous kindergarten teacher says it's, "self-care". She's noticed that I'm not actually doing a damn thing for myself these days (hello, silent blog) and thinks I have to find a way to find time for my own needs.

But here's the thing: everything I can think of that might help costs money & time I don't have, though I bet I could find the time if I wasn't stressed about the money. But that could be a lie. I have a ton of yoga videos in my hulu queue and haven't even looked at them.

So I turn to you, dear reader. What do you do for yourself? I'll take any tips you can throw at me. I need the madness to stop.