Entries Tagged 'Deep thoughts' ↓
January 28th, 2013 — Deep thoughts, Hillary Clinton, Women
Do you think being too nice is a sign of weakness?
I wonder about this often.
I have been accused of being too nice. There could be worse things, of course. And I don’t have any beef with being nice. If folks think that I am, well, that’s something to be proud of, right?
Whatever I am, I am that way and rarely succeed at being something I am not. So there it is, right on my sleeve for the world to see. Nice, I guess.
But, do you think nice is taken seriously? Can nice people be effective ball-busters, respected leaders or rising stars? I wonder.
(Not that I really aim to be some flashy rising star, but it helps make my point so let’s go with it.)
I think about this a lot.
When I think of leaders, I think of women like Hillary Clinton. Did you see her testify before the Senate? Well, I saw the comments afterwards. This woman is perceived as a tough bitch. Hands down. And most women I have ever seen at the helm of anything major, well, they are perceived as tough. And as bitches. And, for that, they make no apologies. Nor should they.
Photo credit: Mashable
But how many “nice” women do you see in similar positions?
It’s an old argument. And we could go on for days about how women HAVE to be tougher or perceived as less feminine to get ahead. And I don’t disagree. I’m just not sure where that leaves me.
Ms. “Nice Guy”.
My office mates joke that I need asshole training. I don’t disagree with that, either. It cracks me up when they say that because I am so unable to be a really believable asshole. Being an asshole, for the most part, just isn’t in my make-up.
But is being nice… weak?
There is part of me that hates to see folks unhappy. Groan, right? Who the hell needs a people-pleaser around to get anything done effectively. Honestly. But it’s not as simple as that. Well, maybe when I was younger it was. But now it’s more about taking the time to consider all sides. And, you know what, I don’t think my way is always the right way. AND I think that feelings matter. I do. Respecting the people around you is cool. I am also OK with doing some grunt work and sparing someone else from doing it.
…Eh. Commendable. But weak.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not THAT nice. I say mean things everyday. I could be a hell of a lot nicer to my husband most mornings. There are too many people to list that would get a phone call from me… if I were nicer and far more thoughtful.
Maybe I pick and choose my nice. For instance, if I were to say I was a good leader at anything, I think it’s in the mom department. (If I do say so myself. *shoulder-dust*) I’m nice to my kids. I’m nice until they push it. Then I stop the nice immediately and get serious. We can go from a loud and lively game of Battleship to game-over and time outs for everyone if the kids get into it. And once it’s over and they have earned another round, I’m back and willing to play.
But, you see, I am confident as a mom. It’s the rest of it that I need to gain traction on and trust that my instincts are right, even if they are nice.
I want to play by my rules, really. I don’t want to push another down to get where I want to go. I don’t want to insist that I deserve better than anyone else. I would rather lift those around me up, stand as an example and cheer loudly for the good guys.
(Oh lordy, in an ideal world. Maybe I’m not that nice. I need to work on all of this more.)
Anyway, these are things people like me think about. At almost 40 and looking back at what I’ve really done with what I have and giving some real consideration to my strengths and weaknesses. With Etta James on Pandora and my stretchiest PJ pants no chocolate in the house.
But don’t you dare call me hormonal. Whatever “nice” I have claimed so sweetly will go south fast.
(And if you love me, and know me well, you can stop laughing at that threat, too. I’m trying here.)
July 18th, 2012 — Birthdays, Deep thoughts, Mothers, Parenting
So, I just had a birthday. And I’ve got a story to share about it. It was kind of a “light-bulb” moment with a slight supernatural twist. Maybe. (You be the judge.) But it was an important moment and birthday gift, to be sure.
Rewind to a few mornings ago, on the day of my birthday. I was sitting in my car and I was feeling pretty great. The kids had been dropped off at camp, and I was about to pick up my husband for a day alone together. (I know! THAT’S a gift right there!) I was alive and healthy and my family was healthy. All was well.
So, as I was driving along and kind of settling into the groove of my day, I was suddenly caught entirely off guard. On the 80′s station I was listening to (…yeah, yeah, it was my 39th birthday, so they’re relevant tunes for me…), a Stevie Wonder song came on. NOT one of his best, but one my mother used to love.
And it was as if I could hear her say right there next to me, “Oh, I’ve always loved this song.” So, there I was, sitting at a stoplight and hearing the song “I Just Called To Say I Love You” for the first time in many, many years. Of all the songs… really…
The intersection I was sitting at was significant, too. It was there when I got a call on my cell from my mom 3 years prior to wish me happy birthday. I remember that detail because I have replayed so many of our interactions during those weeks in July.
About two weeks after that particular birthday, she passed away.
So, if you know me, you know what I thought about that particular song playing on my birthday at that very intersection.
It was like she was in the car with me. Truly.
And, yeah, I was all kinds of out-of-the-blue emotional. I truly went from 100%, totally FINE and jazzed about having a day for me to just chill out and be grateful for my life… to a muddled, weepy mess at a traffic light.
It’s fine, though. That’s how loss goes. Mourning happens out of the blue sometimes. And, after all this time, I’m actually grateful for it because it means she is present in my heart and she is still so very real in many ways.
Anyway, I learned an important lesson in that quick moment. Maybe some of you have realized this before but it took me 39 years and a bad Stevie Wonder song to figure it out…
Your birthday is not your own. It is your mother’s day, too.
Sure, sure, you came into the world that day. Good for you. Toss the confetti. Being alive is certainly a very good thing. But I can bet you all the coins lost deep in my couch cushions that your mother cares more about your birthday–a day she worked so, so damn hard to get you out of her body and breathing and OK–than she does about her own birthday.
I remember the first birthday I had after my first son was born. It felt so stupidly insignificant. THIS child and HIS life was significant. My job was to live for him now, birthday-shmirthday, behold the golden, blessed child!
(Well, ok, so that’s a “new mom” thing. You get all overwhelmed by that new kid, you think you don’t really matter… but you do, of course. Balance. Love yourself, then love another and all that poppycock… I get it. Now.)
Anyway, I may not have cared about my birthday in the weeks after my son was born but I will tell you who did… my mother. My guess is that, all those years ago, she probably didn’t express it very well. I don’t know how that call went that day, but we had a lifetime of issues we never really made peace with. It’s likely that we may have only talked briefly.
It doesn’t matter. I know she was was thinking of me on that day and all the birthday before and after that. Whatever the baggage, mothers think about their children on their children’s birthdays. Sometimes it’s about the one thing they are even sure of: “I gave birth to someone special on this very day.”
I get it.
Anyway, I had a great birthday. 39, woot!
(And many thanks to my mom for checking in that morning, too.)
September 20th, 2011 — Deep thoughts
“the world owes me nothing
and we owe each other the world.”
This post has been sitting in my head awhile with these Ani lyrics satelliting around the unorganized mess of it all.
I have been thinking a lot about what we deserve and what we don’t. I’ve been thinking about entitlement and some assumption that we are owed something because, well, we exist, dammit. And because I breathe this abundant air and take up this comfortable space, I shall get what I need when I need it. No questions asked.
But I wonder how much of this is me just getting old and smacking my gums about “kids today.” Because “kids today” should appreciate what they have and not complain about it or expect twice as much more.
Of course, maybe it is our fault. We have created a quick-fix culture where diseases are diagnosed by Dr. Google, soothing British voices direct us where to drive until they must recalculate, and college kids can download class notes on the board with one push of a button. Yawn. Of course they can.
I don’t think life is easier, however. Not now. Not when the unemployment rate is over 9% of the population. (It was only 5% when I graduated college in 1997. True story.) I think we are up against challenges our country hasn’t experienced in decades.
Maybe that’s it. Maybe since we get so much less now, we have to fight and scrap for whatever we have. Own it before you actually do, otherwise it’s someone else’s. You snooze, you lose.
“and i wonder if everything i do
i do instead
of something i want to do more.”
And then there’s that. I wonder how often I sell myself short and hardly demand more. I own a lot of guilt and feel like I should apologize for, well, everything. And I think I am too nice. And someone just looked at me funny, so I obviously need to apologize AGAIN for something I’m not sure I even did but seeing them smile and feel better makes me feel like I didn’t “F” something up at least. (What a hero I am.)
So, maybe it’s my fault.
But I’m a wildly optimistic person and maybe I need to own the value in that more. If the sky is falling, I think that maybe whatever is falling out of it could be useful. And who needed it in the sky ANYWAY. Yay for falling things everywhere!
I like to be happy. It’s in my nature to be happy. NOT a grumpy, stooped over, gum smacking a-hole who wishes folks would care a whole lot less about themselves. Whatever. Really, life is so good after all. And maybe if I simply cut the guilt, get my priorities in order, and let the light shine through — there’s hope that someone else might get it together too.
“i do it for the joy it brings
because i’m a joyful girl
because the world owes me nothing
and we owe each other the world
i do it because it’s the least i can do
i do it because i learned it from you
i do it just because i want to
because I want to”
July 24th, 2011 — Death, Deep thoughts, Grief, Mothers
Somehow it has been two years.
So I wait. For something to hit. And it doesn’t. Or, at least, it hasn’t yet. And maybe it finally just won’t.
Of course something hit last year. Something hit her house, actually. I had asked for a sign. I got one.
But this year, things feel quiet. Two years is a long time. Two years is nothing at all. It doesn’t hurt less, but I’m just very used to having her death right there besides me. This is now normal.
Sometimes, I swear she is standing behind me at work or in the hallway at home, just around the corner. Don’t laugh. I know I have an active imagination, she always said I did. But there is something in the corner of my eye, a sound. I turn, it’s nothing. Shrug. Who knows.
Sometimes, I can hear her voice so exactly in my head that she may as well be speaking right to me. I hear her and I laugh and I think, “Ok, that’s exactly what you would say about that.” I suppose I know her very well. I suppose you can think up any person’s response to an issue if you think hard enough about it. But I suppose it’s a way to keep her here.
Sometimes, she is in my dreams. Maybe 20 years younger than she was when she passed. She is very calm and confident and into some busy project or another. Very much the “mom in charge” that I remember when she was well and strong. Sometimes, in my dreams, I tell her I am so relieved she IS alive and all is well. What a bad dream that must have been. She looks at me like I’m being dramatic again. That OF COURSE she’s fine. She doesn’t offer comfort or affection but her steady “Oh Caroline” is reassuring. I’m relieved and calmed and not upset any longer. Sometimes, I dream that she’s here and she never left, there was never any death at all. And she’s still annoying me as much as she ever was.
Whether my imagination is hard at work filling in this impossible void left in my world, or whether there is something more to it, she isn’t really gone for me. And I am getting used to having her there in a very different way. It’s never enough, but is your mother ever there for you enough, really?
I love this picture of my mother. This is how she was before she passed. Hardly glam, always a bit rumpled, but also trying to trap you in a picture that she will never develop or ever look at again. Her way of saying, “I really like being around you but I don’t know how to say that so I am going to harass you until you all huddle together and, strain a smile and say ‘cheese’”.
Her affection was never traditional so why should I expect anything otherwise in her death.
She called me “Carolyn” more often than she called me “Caroline”. She blamed it on her learning disability. She also called me “Carolvin” — a combo of my brother’s name and mine. She also called me “Boopie” and “Caroley” and (this one was a real favorite of mine, as you can imagine) “Spaceshot”. Because I tuned her out a lot.
I tune her out. Maybe still. Or maybe not.
Just trying to piece together our connection as I did in life. And, this year, there seems to be some peace, some resignation, in that.
I hope you have peace, Mom. More than anything else, that’s what I hope for you.
May 7th, 2011 — Aging, Deep thoughts, Giving respect, Marriage
Every morning, on my way to work, I see this couple. It’s always around the same time, about 7:50am or so. They are an older couple, but not old. I assume they are retired. And they go for a walk together every single morning. But what caught my eye about these two was their earphones. They each wear their own pair. I imagine each set to their own preferred music station or talk show. They aren’t speaking. They are just walking together, with their head phones on, at the same time, everyday, while the rest of us whiz by with children and cups of coffee and phones to our ears and a million things to do on our agendas.
(Here is a picture I took of them with my phone the other day. It’s not great, but you get the idea…)
So what is it about this couple?
Well. They seem to me like some very obvious, probably overly romantic, analogy on marriage.
I think young couples, newly married or recently moved in, have these notions about how they should be. How they have to share every little thing. And when your loved one doesn’t like that song as much as you did, when your partner doesn’t find that TV show, that style of home, that idea of a weekend away as fantastic as you do… you question.
Are we meant to be after all? How can we be this different?
I am ten years into my marriage right now. And this couple seems to stand for everything I understand about relationships. And here’s where the far too obvious analogy comes in.
Forgive me if I seem kind of Yoda about this. Just take it for what it’s worth.
As long as you are both still walking down the same road together… as long as you both WANT to be walking down the same road together… as long as you make sure to keep walking down the same road together, every single day… as long as you keep going in that same direction, together, with positive momentum, you can each listen to any old damn radio station you want.
Same path, but room to BE.
Because same path doesn’t mean same everything else.
However same path means: hey that’s COOL she likes to listen to that other radio show. Respect for the other radio show even if you would never, ever listen to it. And if one chooses to take a different direction than you would prefer, let it go, stay with them, don’t keep score, at least you are still on that same path. And if he isn’t all that chatty while you’re on the path, chill out, he doesn’t feel like talking, but he’s still choosing to BE on that same path with you every single fracking morning.
Same path, different people.
Because you don’t want to lose who you are. You don’t want them to lose who they are. But you have to make it a priority to move forward together.
I told you this was practically cartoon frying pan over the head obvious.
But I would add one more thing about this whole same path, different radio station analogy. At the end of the day, take off your headphones, and check in with each other. Ask about the other person’s radio show. Find out if their favorite song came on. Listen. Really really try to care about the song, even if you kind of don’t. Focus on the give, not the take.
So. Ready to do this?
Because, you know: “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Morningside Yoda out.
August 16th, 2010 — Bloggers, BlogHer Conference, Deep thoughts, Identity crisis
I promised a second BlogHer post. You know the one where I tell all of you what I learned there? So I think I’ll start by sharing the questions that I had rattling around in my brain when I arrived. Not that there are clean answers to anything. But understanding the question is the only way to figure out an answer, right?
So here we go.
- Can I really justify being at this fancy shmancy blogging conference?
- Is blogging just a hobby or a real professional gig?
- Can bloggers who write (rather than strictly review) succeed as writers? And I mean as real, legitimate writers?
- How are bloggers really perceived by the outside world? Are they considered writers? Or as people who just write their opinions about products and what their kid just did in his pants?
- How much skill is involved to succeed as a writer? Or is it more about persistence? Or luck? Or perception?
- How much change can a blogger affect by writing? Is writing blog posts about something you feel passionate about enough? Or should you practice what you write more often, so to speak.
- Do companies ever want to engage with bloggers because of their writing? Or do they want us for our readership? Or both?
- How much do bloggers need to brand themselves? Is branding yourself the only way to create a perception that you are kind of a big deal? Does the writing ever speak for itself?
- Does blogging spoil a writer? Is posting everything she thinks a bad idea (rather than work on an idea, expand on it, edit it, perfect it and submit it to something real)?
- If a blog post falls in the forest, does it make any noise if no one is there to hear it? In other words, is blogging ultimately about readership and outreach?
- Can bloggers succeed without being their own PR and legal rep? Or will we all be taken advantage of and wind up blogging for pennies in dingy basements never to see the light of a real, true, “I can pay my bills now” paycheck?
- Does blogging ever give you enough return on your investment? Is it worth all of the hard work?
- Which leads me back to my first question: what am I doing here?
BlogHer had every assortment of panel to sit in on and learn from. And so many amazing people were crammed into those rooms to attempt to answer some of these questions. Conversations were had in hallways, over meals at outdoor cafes, while recharging laptops, rumbling through town in taxis, up in hotel rooms sprawled out on beds and on top of cheeseburger shaped furniture.
Were my questions answered?
Um. Well. Here are the conclusions I’ve come to. For what they’re worth.
- Blogging can be just a hobby. But it can definitely work to your advantage in your profession, whatever that might be. It’s up to you.
- No one will hand you a writing career on a silver platter, no matter how many posts a week you crank out.
- Blogging for and about stuff is most certainly not the same as blogging for the sake of writing. But both are blogging. And that’s ok.
- Yes, perception (yours, your reader’s, the non blogging world’s) absolutely matters.
- Writers get better by writing. So keep writing. Where ever, whenever. Writers also get better by reading so don’t forget to read and connect with other writers.
- Companies really really like your readership. But. They might like the magic you write to make that readership come to you in the first place too. And they hope you can spin a spell about their stuff with your words. That is valuable. If you want it to be.
- The number of comments or size of your readership is most certainly not an accurate reflection on the quality of your writing. At least that’s what they keep telling me.
- Bloggers CAN affect change just by writing. They really, truly, without a doubt can. (And I adore all the women who tackled me to say so after I asked that question at a panel.)
- Decide what you want from blogging. Then decide if pushing your own “brand” will then get you what you want. Bloggers blog for many different reasons so how you approach blogging does not need to be the same.
- People should read your posts and hear your voice. Because blogging is not just about your writing but most importantly about conversations, connecting and reaching out to an important community.
- Yes blogging is worth it for the friendship, the growth, the self-evaluation, the support, for so so much we just can’t put a price tag on. But is it worth it for the money? Um. No.
- Yes writers can make money writing. Or so I hear.
So what am I doing here?
My blog is my home. It is my most comfy chair, with my most comfy blanket thrown over top, with a cup of cocoa, a really good movie on and my cat curled at my feet. I love it here. I’m not going anywhere. It is here where I will practice this concept of “writing” – I’ll kick it around, try it on, spin it in front of a mirror and see how it looks.
As for writing as a profession, I’ll just keep plugging away at other venues and see where it takes me – one itty bitty paycheck at a time.
So was being at BlogHer worth it? Yes, I think so. It’s breath-taking to be part of something so incredible with such a powerful voice. And I adored seeing all of my friends. It was as if my twitter stream had come to life – all of those avatars had grown legs and were passing me left and right in the hallway. It was kind of great. Plus I think justifying anything empowering for me – when I give myself so little most of the time – is totally ok.
Sure, I still kind of struggle with my blogging identity. But that’s ok too. Because the minute I get too comfortable I won’t challenge myself, I won’t grow, I won’t get better at any of it.
So, one more time, what am I doing here?
I writing. And connecting. It’s as simple as that.
May 1st, 2010 — Deep thoughts, Family, Florida, Grief, Growing up, Hope
I don’t claim to be much of a gardener. But by no means should that imply that I don’t love to garden. I’m not sure how it happened actually. I fought it for years, but it’s joy lay deep below, patient and waiting.
As a child, my mother had a garden plot a few blocks from our home. She piled my brother, myself and her garden tools into her station wagon and hauled us all over there. We didn’t particularly like going. We were bored. I would wander down the mulched paths in between stringed off gardens boasting lovely heads of lettuce, squash and snap peas lost in whichever fantasy I had currently replaying in my mind. My mother would call me back, and could I bring the wheel barrow over while I’m at it.
I remember the year she had grown so many tomatoes. Heaps and heaps of them. She was given a book about “Too Many Tomatoes” and set to canning. I remember the smell of vine ripened tomatoes and then stewing tomatoes. I didn’t even like tomatoes. There were just so many of them which she found very amusing and clucked on about daily. *Shrug* I was six. What did all of those tomatoes really matter.
When I finally moved into my first apartment with a little bit of land, I never expected to consider gardening. But as the cold months finally passed and green buds piqued the trees, something unfurled within. As if some gene which I had no control over had finally matured itself and pushed through. Maybe I should go pick up a few bulbs? Maybe a trowel. Maybe some better soil.
But I am missing the skill portion of this gardening gene. And so my first garden was a catastrophe. Bulbs had been placed too close together, enormous plants grew on too small a plot of land and then one flower took over like a weed and spread everywhere. Things were leaning, nothing matched, hopeful flowers were strangled and started dying. I forgot to water. What’s the difference between and annual and a perennial, I had no idea.
Years have passed and I have my own home now. Usually I tend to my small garden of children so I spend less time heeding my temptation to grow much outside. But I try every few months to make an effort with my garden. It is a Florida garden however with extreme heat and humidity and then occasional damaging freezes. We have horrid sandy topsoil which is regularly overturned and dug through by a local armadillo. And then there are hoards of fire ants ready to strike any flip-flopped foot that happens to misstep. I don’t know the names of what grows here so growing any of it is some version of garden Russian roulette. But I dig a hole, plant one in there and certainly try. Sure, only about 50% of what I have put in has had lived on with much success, but I try.
Today I put in sod. Last year our backyard was bulldozed suffered at the hand of a wild boar and five of her babies. The weeds whooped and hollered as they crowded in and took over. But today my husband and I trucked in slab after slab of sod and threw together a patch work of grass which we hope will make its mark and regain the upper hand. As we stood there coated in dirt and sweat, watering and stomping at the ground, I felt good. The dirt felt good. The soil and water and all of it combined in a muddy green grassy mass smelled divine. I am growing something.
A few weeks ago, I tentatively planted a tomato plant in a pot on my back porch. Because, you guessed it, I like tomatoes now. I adore them. I wish I could ask my mother how she did it but I would bet the care and the organic mulch and the specific zone she lived in had everything to do with it. Nevertheless, I am trying it. And so now I go out onto my porch everyday and stare at my plant. Would you believe one of those lovely papery tomato flowers bestowed a small gift the other day? Yes, a small green tomato has shown itself. I hardly have too many tomatoes – but I have one. One and maybe another as I tentatively water it’s soil and will the next papery flower to produce a friend.
There is a magic in growing. A small, dry seed can become something real and green, stalked and hardy. Soil and all of it’s rich substance anchors the potential of food and beauty and shade. Water. Have you ever seen what a good soaking rain will do to a garden? It all stretches to the sky and reaches and reaches. It greens and buds and flowers and creates fruit and color and hope.
Clearly, there is also therapy in gardening and growing. We lose ourselves, find our thoughts and enjoy this quiet peace while tending and tending and tending until it exhausts us. We place our attention on something which doesn’t take anything away. We find creativity in growth and life while reigning in and respecting all the possibilities of the natural world.
It is certainly no coincidence. I have snuck back into my garden because it offers a careful promise of life and hope. A promise I tend to, hoping my love of gardening which was passed on to me might actually heal me.
Its a phenomenon to be sure.
And again, it’s not one I claim to have much of a handle on. Don’t expect bright swaying trellises of bougainvillea and enormous bushels of Birds of Paradise or hearty fruit trees weighed down with orange treasures or even a lawn that grows one type of grass (as much as I lust for all of this). But you might expect a small tray of sunflowers poking their way up on the sunny side of the house. Or one clump of Bird of Paradise make a respectable run for it in the front yard. And a fairly successful patch of petunias keeping my mailbox company.
Oh yes and one small green tomato, which smells exactly like my mother’s garden plot. You’ll find me next to it, staring it down and finding pride in it’s possibility. I’m here remembering my mother and hoping to find all the same amusement and joy she plucked out of her own garden. And also, like my mother from 30 years prior overwhelmed by her harvest, I am here clucking on about my one dear tomato daily. Because this first tomato does matter.
Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of Magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places.
- The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
January 27th, 2009 — Blog love, Deep thoughts, Destinies, Guilt and motherhood, Identity crisis, Panicking, Reality check, Self-analysis, Signs, Spirituality, Working moms
As much as I try to deny it, my children are growing up. (Damn.) My sweet little two year old C. is going to be three this summer. I have even begun the process of enrolling him in school part time this fall. Its hard to believe that in a mere nine months, I won’t have a child home with me full time.
How did that happen?
And where does that leave me?
In 2003, I quit my full time job to be home with my children. And soon, over five years later with two kids in school and a huge gap in my resume, I have to figure out how I am going to help earn more for this family. Times are tough everywhere. We are lucky my husband is even employed. I am an able bodied person, so back to work with me. If this all sounds familiar, it should because I have been stressed about this issue before. Its one I go round in circles about. I think we all do.
But here’s the thing. This past year, some amazing things have happened for me. I am beginning to feel that I need to pay careful attention to whats going on around me. The signs are there. It seems that something real may waiting for me in my future. I know this sounds like I am buying into some new age hocus pocus… *Shrug* Well. I don’t know. Maybe I am. Because I almost feel like the universe – and all that is beyond me - is quietly trying to tell me something. You might remember I have noticed this before. And all of those crazy signs I was talking about then still just keep popping up everywhere.
This way, this way. Over here. Come this way…
So, if we are going to go there, and get all spiritual up on this blog, I think I am going to go ahead and practice a tried and true lesson from the heavens. I have heard that in order to get what you want, you must ask for it. So that’s what I am going to do. I am going push aside those feelings of “I shouldn’t ask for anything, I don’t deserve anything more, I have enough” and just simply ask the powers that be for a little favor.
To all that are listening, whether they be up at the pearly gates or right here next to me as I type this post (cue the inspirational Enya music, switch on the hallowed lights from the heavens) - this is what I hope I can do to earn my keep around here:
I want to write.
(Shocking, I know.)
But I want to be paid to write. And I adore blogging, really I do, and I plan to keep doing it. But am I the next Dooce? I don’t think so. My life is really not interesting enough to have a well paying blog about… err… little ol’ me.
But I would love to write articles, be paid to post on other blogs, write reviews, write editorials in magazines or online… shoot, whatever it is, I just want to write and make some extra scratch for groceries or (eeks, this seems like a lot to ask) maybe even a car payment.
Now if you are a parent blogger, writing from home like I am, I am betting you are having a good laugh right about now. Because this is probably exactly what you want too. You know how great writing is. You can work from home and then be there for your children when they get home from school. You set your own hours and you take on as much work as you can handle. Its kind of ideal, right? Yeah, that’s what I think too.
Well, even if every other parent blogger wants to do what I hope to do, so what. It still can’t hurt to ask, right?
So. To the powers that be. Whoever is out there, up there, over there, right here pushing mystical buttons and pulling heavenly levers… could you just make a note? Maybe tag me and set me aside for something that seems to fit my needs down the road a bit? I’m not asking to be Editor in Chief of Redbook or the next Jen Weiner, I just want to love what I do… and write. Then maybe I can help pay some bills around here and make sure T. is getting his homework done before he turns on the Wii. It’s not too much to ask, right? I hope not.
Anyway. Back I go to stumbling down this path, with no clue where it will take me, uncovering the tiny little signs that are pointing me this way. I know I keep checking myself, questioning my faith in it all, saying “Well, I don’t know, I’ll try it for now but lets not get our hopes up.” But then, right at my feet, another sign will appear. And if I look very, very closely it says the same thing that they all do. It simply says ”write, write, write”. So I am.
January 20th, 2009 — Deep thoughts, Educating myself, Election, Family, Florida, Giving respect, Inauguration, Inspiring people, Obama, Patriotism, Presidency, Reality check
So here I sit, under a blanket, with a cup of tea steaming on the coffee table. My laptop, with about 10 separate windows open (CNN.com, twitter, various blogs, email, etc.), is sitting on, well, my lap. CNN is on the television in front of me and my two year old son is napping (finally).
And Barack Obama is President of the United States.
He’s been president for almost two hours now. And I could not be more grateful.
Someday my sons may ask me where I was the day President Obama was inaugurated. And so I think it seems only right I post today to “archive” it in some way. But I hate to disappoint them. Even though my parents live in the DC area, we are not there. We are home in Florida. Or I am, with C., doing dishes, making dinner and folding laundry. My 5 year old went to school today and my husband went to work and won’t be home until late in the evening. A family trek to DC was not practical or affordable right now. So here we are, its just another day in the neighborhood.
But I know its not. Something has changed. A subtle but deeply felt shift just happened, and we were all moved by it. Our country is now somehow altered with the swearing in of this single man. Hope is an extraordinarily powerful thing and the meaning of an event like today’s inauguation can be felt in every office, work place, and living room nationwide. Even in the far reaches of boring old suburbia, even in a little ol’ living room like mine.
As the crowds gathered on the Mall this morning and I gathered my robe around me while I watched, I suddenly figured something out. You know this whole concept of change that Obama has been going on about? Yeah, well, I have realized that “change” – or making it happen, rather – is something that we all must to own. It’s no longer Obama’s line anymore. Once he was sworn in, change has become an action that we are all responsible for. We can fix these issues if we all harness the energy of the people on that mall today and commit to making a significant difference in our communities, from where ever we stand. Even if we stand in a spot far from DC, maybe even at the edge of a cookie cutter community in Florida, in a home with stew simmering in the crock pot and a child napping in the front room.
So back to my point. What was I doing when Obama was sworn in? Well, as Aretha Franklin began singing, I noticed a certain… odor… in my living room. And it wasn’t the stew. C. looked at me sheepishly – and I knew. Yup. I spent Obama’s swearing in changing a very full and fairly horrifying poopy diaper. Afterwards, I let C. “air” out some and left him pantsless. The poor child has had horrible diaper rash. And I dragged out his potty too which he graciously peed in for me – twice – while I caught snippets of Obama’s speech.
That’s where I was when Obama became President of the United States. I was at the helm of my current and very humbling profession, doing what I do best right now, being a mom.
(And you can’t say *I* wasn’t “changing” something during that very pivotal and historic moment in history, correct?)
So here is my two year old, only minutes after Obama officially became president, standing on our back porch: pantsless and patriotic.
January 16th, 2009 — Bush, Deep thoughts, Economy, Karma, Miracles, Obama, One of those moments, Panicking, Presidency, Reality check, Signs
Last night curled under a blanket, my husband and I sat and watched the stunning footage of flight 1549 bob in the Hudson. While watching smiling passengers step off the ferries that rescued each and every one of them, my husband said something to me.
“Its a strange karma, symbolic thing, don’t you think?”
“How do you mean?”
“In Bush’s first year as President, we witnessed the worst plane catastrophe in history. And now… we are witnessing the most miraculous plane catastrophe in history, happening only hours before Bush says his final farewells to the public.”
I looked at him. “Wow. You’re right.” He absolutely had a point.
I don’t cry at the drop of a hat usually but everytime I see yesterday’s plane footage, I feel tears threaten. And I know that this entire country has been awed by this miracle, we are all equally emotional. But it seems to represent some level of hope for me also. It seems as if a message is being sent. It seems the impossible can happen. We can survive this mess.
And as for Bush’s farewell, seeing him go is simply anti-climactic. I thought I would cheer the day. I thought I would be over the moon. But I’m not. I am left puzzeled by his rationalizing, heroic “I made the tough choices, even if they weren’t the popular choices” sense of self. Honestly, he seems sadly delusional. If he really believes he did right by us, well, there is nothing left to say. Except, “Goodbye”.
Tuesday will represent the beginning of a new era for this country. But do I expect Obama to stand in front of the nation, tap his magic wand on day one and make everything all better? Hell no. I am worried for him. Really worried. And I am concerned about all the hope we have inside us. I know that he is an amazing leader, but this situation our country finds itself in could be an impossibility for any leader.
And yet, yesterday, everyone got out of that plane. Everyone, including one infant, is alive today. The impossible happened.
So this morning, I am taking a deep breath, I am watching out the window of my television as our nation dips and bobs over its troubles. I am holding my family close. And I will brace myself. But flight 1549 has inspired me. Just as our President elect has. It seems the impossible can happen and perhaps there will be a way out. So here I sit, clinging desperately onto a concept which has kept this country afloat before. That perplexing and amazing concept called: hope.