Ready. I prepared to hit the spider my cats had cornered in the bathroom, and I held a napkin for the clean-up—me, the tired human living with two felines who chase bugs.
Lions, Tigers, and Bears
Even in the middle of the night, my male cat leaps over objects to obtain prey. Like the predators they are, my two lovely beasts will stop at nothing, not even toppling lamps, to reach a moth or “water bug.” I put the last in quotes since exterminators have informed me those large critters are American Roaches.
It was before my coffee, and I expected to see one of the brown American visitors being the latest prey. Until I saw it wasn’t. I’d been rather blasé regarding the event because of my assumption. Seeing changed my attitude. Every inner alarm came on and I was awake. I started grabbing needed supplies and shouting commands like a drill sergeant, “I need paper towels.” I also snatched a shoe I’d slipped off after work last night.
I was ready.
I flew into the bathroom, still freaking out about seeing the massive spider in front of the two cats, and then I looked closer. Dammit! It was a black plastic Halloween spider. My cats had spoofed me.
Picture – me as I was some years ago. I was a chubby lady jogging and hugging through my neighborhood in old running shoes and shorts, a disposable water bottle. I can’t say my pace was worthy of applause. My GPS phone app clocked me at 5 K in 57 minutes. And that’s estimating that my last 30 minutes will be the same as my first, which was not happening. More likely, I’d lean on a tree and watch a few birds fight with the squirrels. By the time I got another mile and a half (about 2.4 K) of running in, I was sweating like it was August in Texas. My calves were burning, and my knees hurt. Not a picture of athletic prowess.
We feel silly when we start. The first step out the door in a strange outfit. But time passes. We practice, we learn. Hopefully, we develop good habits. It’s why we need good training early. I muscled up enough to run a few miles. My calves couldn’t fit into most of the dress boots in the stores. That was fine. I was proud of my legs. I could run up the hills in my neighborhood, and if you saw, you’d understand my satisfaction. Yeah, I felt good.
Aside: Running vs. Jogging.
The two are technically the same. Jogging doesn’t become running at a certain pace. Jogging is just an uncool word for some people.
Why debate the words? Run or jog. Possibly it started in the marathon running group. You don’t jog a marathon. When I looked up the terms in all the online running blogs I could find, no one was sure of the difference between the two. Jogging implies that you are trotting through the neighborhood with no purpose. In the case of running, people mean they are training for a run or a marathon. But that’s speculative.
When I began, with my out-of-date shoes, I felt awkward. So I purchased expensive running gear. Funnily enough, the models displaying running shorts and tanks are 5’10” and 100 pounds. Their BMI is probably 5%. I know, it’s really 14%, and I’m exaggerating, but they are thin girls. Lanky. Anorexic. My BMI is higher. All those chubs on my body are well-earned. It took a lot of cookies and pints of ice cream to build them.
Remember at the end of school? No more summer of lounging. Probably by now, the zeal of the first job is gone. Parenting, hobbies, and vocations are that way. It feels strained. Not quite right. Everyone sees you’re stumbling and fumbling. That makes me smile. Even though I may not run forever or attain a gazelle-like grace, I can stroll about the neighborhood dressed in trendy shorts and bright-colored shoes. And I tried something new.
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National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write #50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave novelists. 798,162 Active novelists367,913 Novels completed #NANOWRITMO
Now- Current day
Be brave and speak up. Squeal like a pig. Do you have a sweat story or funny phrase? I would love to hear it. Share in the comments.
My parents didn’t realize the importance of teaching me, a daughter, to care for myself. They taught me to be kind, thoughtful, and take care of others. My parents and I came from separate sources. It seemed to me as if we were as different as salt water and fresh water.
As society changed for my parent’s generation, they were still swimming in their saltwater tank. From the viewpoint of my culture, saltwater can kill you. Structure. Rules. Binding contracts.
I’ve learned to celebrate discovering my needs, all of them–for comfort, happiness, and safety. It started when I was feeling abandoned. I needed to GIVE and GATHER for myself–not wait and allow resentment to build when another doesn’t come through for me. Being polite wasn’t helpful anymore.
Caring for yourself
Once I was hanging out with a guy at his friend’s house, (boring) which was to be a short visit. After an hour, I NEEDED to eat. I took some initiative and told him I’d be back in a few minutes. I was going to grab a bite to eat (tacos.) It upset him, surprising him a little, but my needs were dire. Blood sugar issues are more important than a man’s ego. Quite honestly, I realize now that I was having a panic attack. But this taco moment is when I realized I had power.
Keep your power. Reclaim any scraps you find along the way–any.
Every breath I take has been taken before
Every note’s been sung………
Who can I sing them all again for? Baba, Baba Baba….
Please don’t give up - please don’t lose that sound
So many people fought to gain that ground
Please don’t give up – please don’t hide your voice
So many people did not have that choice. - Bellow/Unzip The Horizon, lyrics from a song released on April 7, 2018, Moira Smiley
As a second-grader, jealousy gripped me and possibly taught me a lesson. A schoolmate had a Mickey Mouse watch with the gloves of Mickey that turned to show the time. I knew that she was rich. And for a few minutes, I convinced her to let me wear her fantastical watch. It didn’t matter what else happened that day. This girl and I had bonded, and I was wearing her Mickey Mouse watch. If I were persuasive enough, maybe she’d let me wear it home. At times I had guts. Raw desire made me bold.
I always thought it was logic. Truthfully, it was about pain. Choices—which option didn’t hurt as much as the other? If I saw a new phone I wanted, I would think the process through in my mind. It cost x amount, and currently, I am in debt xx amount. But in my thinking, it was a smart purchase if I could purchase it immediately or somehow arrange it into my budget. Logic—as I was calling it—was a lie. Peel back a layer, and you see the pain.
As a very young kid, I learned how to earn money from labor. We had a farm. All pecans that fell onto the ground were mine to pick up, and I could sell them by the pound if the hogs didn’t eat them first. Back then, I made about ten dollars. I felt a thrill at having that money. My life also developed a good dose of shame.
Around two years ago, I went to a group meeting to learn how to organize my life. My expectations were too high. And I was clueless on how little the teacher knew. It was far too simple. Don’t hoard, Sort your clothes, and so on. But I was there with people who had five sets of chinaware.
There’s nothing shameful about wanting things.
The teacher, who I knew from therapy sessions, said I had a poverty attitude. I left angry. These people were downsizing and trying to throw their shame onto me. I have no reason to be ashamed. I’ve lived in her world—the money—and like her, I suddenly lost it. So yes, I want things.
Honking is an annoying noise to me, so much so that it took me a full year before I realized the one-year-old car I purchased didn’t have a working horn. Hmmm, darn. My warranty was gone by that time. I’ve had the car for ten years now, and it’s still not repaired.
People honk, and it’s difficult to know, are they telling me, “Hey lady, speed up!” or “Yeah, you can move on into the spot in front of me.” A loud noise is a loud noise. It startles and offends. Honking rarely accomplishes it’s purpose unless the purpose is for the person honking is to yell. In those situations, it is useful. Honk, honk, honk, honk. Just like being downtown in Chicago.
I’m contrasting this to those who complain. My mom complained when I was growing up, and it was difficult for me to learn the difference until more recently. I asked her to voice her concerns to her doctor, which she had spoken so freely to me, and she said she didn’t want to complain. I was baffled. She told me my dad didn’t approve of this behavior, and then I understood a little more. He is the one who keeps things to himself. He is always alright. He would never let the doctor know of his issues because it exposes weakness. So, mom’s complaining to me is her way of telling me she has a problem, but she has no way of getting help.
Voicing an issue is a good thing, in my opinion. Speaking up, and even protesting is a right we should protect with all of our beings. If we don’t want to lose our humanity in this age, we need to wake up and use this time wisely. Speak up. If there’s an issue on your job, or at your apartment complex, or anywhere that is affecting your life, use your right to say something.
This society we live in is built upon these customs. The structure our ancestors chose were laws, rules, and the ability to stand up for ourselves. We sometimes need to request help from others stronger or wiser than we are to speak for us, but the purpose is the same, don’t sit in the mud and complain about being wet and dirty. Find a way, ask for help, holler, cry, kick, and scream if you must, but say something until you are heard and can grab a hand that will pull you out of that mud. But whatever you do, don’t stay there.
I live in an area where complacency is the norm. This is the way it is. We’ve always lived here and don’t you dare think you’re better than anyone else. I’m watching businesses die because of this attitude, and these are ones that could update their equipment, update their ways, and stay in touch with the times, but they refuse. It reminds me of when typewriters were going out, and computers came in. So many talented older women didn’t learn how to use these new pieces of equipment. Modern ways came in and left them behind. I shouldn’t be sad, I guess. I should let it go, but I find it disheartening because this is what I see happening in my government as well. It’s time for a change. I don’t know what it will look like, but the old way isn’t working. We have to speak up.
Say something. If you have opinions and you have ideas, say them. If you are in a position to do something in a local area, use it to your advantage. Make wise decisions. Move forward.
If you’re a person in need, don’t give up hope. This is a day for you. The sun is rising. Decide what you want, even if it seems impossible. Imagine if it were. If you were not sitting in the mud, how would you live?
I love new beginnings. Fresh starts are more enlivening to me than finishing touches. It’s me. The end is just that, the end. It’s over. Done. The toys go away, and everyone goes home.
Infinite all the way for me.
There’s a book that tells of the two types of games people play, the infinite and the finite. Usually, we lean, each to their own, as we say. Mine is endless, but life does not cater to my preference. So with every ending of a book, I start a new one. I have a massive stack of books to read. It continues the adventure.
“In infinite games, a surprise is a reason it continues.”
About beginnings, they always meet resistance. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a military coup or painting your newborn’s nursery, the complexity of the job doesn’t matter. You’ll face obstacles in any game you play. The way you handle those challenges is telling.
I listened to a podcast forecasting the events and mood of 2017. I rarely live my life according to astrology, but if a bright idea strikes me, I’ll write it down. You never know, it might contain some truth. I’m shortening it a bit and probably corrupting the message, but this is how I heard it. Please forgive my näivete. Here’s the link ->Gordon White. Talking Astrology in 2017
Jack Sparrow is a trickster. He’s light-footed, has few rules, disregards society’s constraints, has a unique style. I find it interesting that movies put the trickster as the hero. We cheer for him.
Riddle me this Mr. Joker.
The good guy, Mr. Stiff Shirt, becomes the villain. He’s followed the rules, climbed the corporate brigadier ladder, and no dirty pirate is going to steal his girl. Or naval vessel. Inconceivable!
We cheer BECAUSE Jack breaks the rules. And our collars are feeling a little tight around our necks. We feel restricted. We’ve piled up debt, carried too many responsibilities, forgotten to laugh, and restrained our anger. Becoming a light-footed trickster is mighty tempting. Running off to Colorado in a camping trailer is also.
Captain Jack Sparrow is a con artist, but we still love him. Impossible for long term commitments, yes. But we can hardly hate him. I’d invite him over for a beer. Just lock up the valuables.
An exclamation of disbelief. Impossible to comprehend or grasp fully. So unlikely or surprising as to have been thought impossible; unbelievable.“Inconceivable!” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” #inconceivable #the princess bride #exclamation #gadzooks #disbelief #surprise
I look back at work I wrote a year ago, and I don’t recognize it as my own. Yes, I know the piece. I wrote it. The characters are mine, and the art is authentic, but sometimes as if another person works through me.
I DO ME
Flow is the place we aspire to be. It’s a surfer’s dream. To lose the struggle and only know exhilaration and glory, man! That’s the ideal. We all want that, don’t we? Then why do I white knuckle it?
Losing control is not a feeling I enjoy. When I was younger, the coasting downhill on my bike was good. Not flying through the air and losing my sense of direction. But in my fear I find release. There’s a comfort—An “Oh dear gawd I’m going to die—Okay maybe not.” And relief that I didn’t. All is alright. It’s a time when I learned to let go of me.
The greatest benefit of being a solo performer is that it is seriously frightening, but at the same time very empowering. It’s just you and the audience. All the weight is on you to deliver the songs.
Some of the things I’ve done which scared the shit out of me, I leaped into them fully, feet first. I had an idea and started. Once I painted my kitchen cabinets. Yes, I researched the hows. I bought supplies. But I had no experience. I took the first step, then the second. Sometime in the middle, I realized there was no turning back. I was committed. I would finish this project. It’s at these junctures when you turn the music loud and get to work.
The flip side of survival and the fear of failure is thriving. Thriving shouldn’t be difficult. How is it so difficult to win? To succeed? Well, the difficulty is when you have achieved, what’s next? You’ve met your goal. Do you coast or do you keep pedaling?
Keep pedaling. This is why slow growth is better than the lottery winning. If you’ve slowly grown a business you got there and grew into your success. Lucky breaks give you false hope.
We are good at striving. Making changes, adjusting, sacrificing, but actual thriving seems so dull sometimes. Oh, yeah we all have the fantasy of buying an island and not having to work for a living, but how long would it be before we would want more? A month? Six months? A year maybe? Somewhere in that time, you start feeling the itchy feet. The need to contribute is too great. Building something even if it’s only a garden is a rewarding experience.
This is it. I’m doing it. A Solo journey. Not Hans, although there could be an adventure. I’ve been feeling an itch to travel since before last year’s trip to France. Thank you to my kids by the way. That was a fantastic vacation. I want more!
My greatest fantasy would be to round up all of my friends and hang out in one location, but that doesn’t work well in real life. And I, oh, I don’t venture out alone. The introvert in me doesn’t even like the grocery store. Exercise outside with people? No, I do my walks early in the morning. Airports? People? Are you kidding me? Someone had better be getting married.
It’s not easy being single and I’ve been alone for quite a while. Hook-ups and two-month flings don’t count. Emotional support, backup for decisions, help with finances, hugs in the middle of the night, or just someone to share a stupid joke, these are the things couples have.
I’ve tried to make each relationship work, but it’s been square pegs and round holes. I guess people who wish to enjoy my company will do so, and they will be at ease. And maybe I have to first be at ease with myself. So I’m going to learn to be alone. Small excursions are first. Eventually, I will venture further. I have always wanted to travel.
Loneliness is an abyss. It will swallow you if you let it. Consume you. At times its grasp is comforting. Waiting for someone to be your friend while you soak in that loneliness is the torment of an unforgiving inferno.
Alpha males are not accustomed to being called out. That feeling of being vulnerable is something non-alpha females and men know too well. We fear the dark alleys. It already scares us to be accused, which is why we avoid scrutiny.
We sit when we want to stand. We let others speak, and we are screaming inside. Our truths are valuable. They sound flimsy when we say them because they are weak and pale from being underused.
Learn to bristle. Fight back. Resist a little. Say things like, “I’m not sure.” Even better, “I want more out of life.”
We won’t become Alphas, but we don’t need to be anyone’s bitch either.
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