Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Too Much. Not Enough.

   Lately I have been hearing a lot of parents or prospective parents, in respect to their growing and/or future families, express their wishes to have only boys. More specifically, and forwardly that they really, really don't want to raise girls. On one hand, having been an extremely difficult daughter myself, nearly the poster-child for a problem girl, I understand the wariness. Girls are, by nature, a lot. In many different ways. A lot of emotion, a lot of complexity... just A. Lot. But on the other hand this notion is growing more and more infuriating every single time it presents itself to me. For more reasons than I care to delve into in one blog post... if I even could. So I won't. Not all at once, not all right now... but what I will do is provide a personal list of things I love about the female gender. Of girls in general and also of being a woman. The reasons I believe "a lot" is one of the best things a person can be:

  • There is always more to know about a girl/woman. Not only are there infinite layers to be explored, discovered, cherished... but as humans we are always changing, adding to the already vast ocean of things to be learned about a girl. Surprised by. We are walking, living, breathing mystery novels. Most of us, hopefully, without all the grisly and gruesome plot twists.
  • All of that emotion, when handled properly, lends itself to a great amount of authenticity. Honesty. Even bravery. The natural sensitivity inherit in young girls and women alike serves as a constant example of the kind of vulnerability needed in almost any worthwhile endeavor, most especially in relationships. It is what is responsible for much of the connectedness in the world. Connectedness with our art, our craft, with other people, with nature, with things, with our creator... you name it. The ways in which our world views females as weak, may just be the kind of "weakness" (read: vulnerability/sensitivity) that the world needs more of.
  • The desire for and appreciation of beauty. Lets face it, much of the (hu)man-made beauty in the world is the result of women. This is often passed off as a superficial trait. Unnecessary and therefore of little to no real value, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Things that add so much joy to our lives would be overlooked or cease to exist entirely if it weren't for this female inclination. From the care a girl takes into picking out her clothes, to her ability to point out the way the light is shining off of the windows on the side of a building in such a way as to create a temporary work of art. It is all part of what makes the mundane worth doing. Life worth living.
  • The female need to be involved in everything. It may be overwhelming on the surface, but if it's not at least a little bit flattering, then you're looking at it wrong. What's behind this is the need to nurture. We can't provide comfort and care if we don't know what's going on. And we do care. A lot. About a great many people and things. There is no limit to the concern a woman  has. Yes, it is behind worry and coddling and nitpicking... but it is also behind the way a girl picks up on your bad day and drops everything to tend to you. Her ability to detect a need before the one in need knows of it themselves. The way she can genuinely grieve with someone or celebrate in sincere joy.
  • Despite all of the body image issues, and plain old physical body issues.... all of the complexities of a girl coming of age and reconciling her lack of mental maturity with her bodies growing sexual maturity... the female body does things, amazing things. Things like endure childbirth. Pulse with ever changing levels of hormones, cope with cramps and growing pains, stretch and shrink and stretch again, sustain the life of a growing baby both inside and outside of itself. Let us not forget what all these confusing body related issues are proof of... the inhabiting of a truly magnificent, ever changing, incredibly capable vessel.

   ...And there are many many more. Reasons why a lot is not a bad thing. Reasons we should be wary to ever insinuate that a lot means the same as too much. Our world has so many of us, male and female alike, convinced that the female gender as a whole, and as individuals, is and are both too much and not enough. That is the paradox I know I have struggled with my whole life, and it is what I see in the eyes of so many girls and women I interact with in person and online. It is pandemic in our modern world, and I personally, am not okay with it. I am not okay with how pervasive this belief is. So, if you are reading this and you are a women, girl, mother, daughter, sister, friend... you are not too much. You are enough. You are perfectly complex, and you are immeasurably beautiful.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Schizophrenic Style: Tigers Eyes

   I went shopping for summer clothes yesterday since I shrunk out of just about every warm weather article of clothing that I own. It wasn't the first time, and I'm sure it won't be the last, that I realized just how attached I am to the things I dress myself in externally. How attached I am to the image they project. The beauty they convey. And most significantly the edge. Because apparently in my mind it just isn't detectable sans the proper apparel... I am perpetually scared of being seen as simply sweet. Just a girl. Like the No Doubt song I sang along to at the top of my lungs all throughout high school (and admittedly sometimes still to this day).

   You see, I have always subconsciously equated darkness with depth. Edginess with inherit artistry. The flowers with the most fragrant scents inevitably have thorns. Or so I assume... A botanist I am not. Nor am I a gardener. But the fact remains that I, despite my half-hearted efforts, associate certain aesthetics with substance. And I, as a female, as a twenty-something-year-old, as a writer... have, for as long as I can remember, been on guard against the possibility that I may not be taken seriously. As a person.  

   I am perhaps too serious. That is true.

   Maybe, others taking me seriously should be the furthest thing from my mind... but it never is. As a result it seems I sometimes put far too much importance where it doesn't belong. Forget to infuse the whimsy I so love into my day to day countenance... and my closet. I try, at times to be more haphazard and lighthearted... only to remember that trying in those areas is counterproductive to the objective.

   Thinking about ones intentions to break the habit of overthinking things, is, at the very least, a step backwards.

   Today I don't know which way I am walking. I can't read the road signs through these tired tigers eyes.

Friday, June 15, 2012


   I am a believer of the notion that there are people that are naturally hardwired to the negative and others that flow automatically to the positive. Despite society as a whole trending toward the negative, it is often easy to see who has been molded into the negative worldview and who comes by it all on their own. I find it to be far more difficult however to determine accurately who among the positive thinkers are in actuality winning in a battle against their own nature. Maybe it's that I am hardwired to the negative that makes me assume that everyone with a positive attitude comes by it naturally. Or maybe it's that positive that comes as a result of intentional re-framing is sweeter for having seen both sides.

   Don't get me wrong, I always appreciate that jovial mood that flows without prompting on the rare day where things just fall into place. Those brief moments in time when everything suddenly goes your way... or the times when nothing negative seems powerful enough to counteract the sweetness of the life you've been blessed with. But, there is something humbling about the outlook that you had to fight to attain. The gratefulness you had to talk yourself into, but now that it's here it's all the stronger. Stronger because of the intentionality behind it. It could be that, that particular brand of happiness is laced with a sense of pride. A feeling of accomplishment for having gone against the tide.

   This is one of the biggest blessings in my life. A battle that is mine to fight. One that I am sure many, many others share... but still, for each and every one there is something unique in it. Whether the uniqueness be in the obstacle itself or in the reward for overcoming it. Some people share almost identical pain but in their victory over it produce wildly different gifts to share with the world... anything from their smile to a piece of artwork that appears disturbing on the surface but has the power to heal yet another persons pain. Other peoples demons couldn't be more different from each other but in the end their slaying of those demons leads to a similar contribution to society.

   The negative wiring in my brain... the gray filter that hides behind the pupils of my eyes allows me from time to time, to see the flower in the field of weeds. Because they all are the same color to me I am able to pick up on it's other identifying markers rather than dismissing it for it's simplicity. I can sense it's fragrance and am all the more grateful that my impaired vision forced me to look more intently. To overcome my inherent weakness so that I can see something nobody else can see.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Memories of Memorial Day

   As I mentioned in my last post, this spring/summer season has been pretty jam packed... with all kinds of things, but mostly with just being outside. Plain and simple outdoors. Or as Bastian says it "SIDE!!!!" When Memorial Day weekend rolled around and a barbeque was mentioned (as is generally the case) we couldn't pass up the opportunity to set up some water activities my the in-laws back yard and huddle around the youngest member of the family to see his reaction.

   Bastian has made it clear to us from early on that he loves water... his absolute favorite type of playtime is bath time... BUT he is not only very temperamental about the temperature of liquids in general, he is also pretty much a mini replica of his father in all ways, and unless it's 90° outside water activities are out of question for Daddy. It's "too cold". 'It' being the water. All that being said mini Jason proved to love the refreshing chill of streams spraying every which way out of the hopscotch/slip-n-slide hybrid we picked up at Target that afternoon. In fact every time we turned it off in response to what seemed like faded interest he came running back over desperate to get soaked again.This made for quite an exciting afternoon and a very tired kid at the end of the day, not to mention some pretty cool pictures.

   I have to say that the most amazing thing of all about this whole experience was the awe of knowing that someone.... actually many, many someones out there, a few that know me, most who don't, didn't and never will know me... put their lives on the line to defend these precious moments. To defend some unknown families right to gather in their backyard for a lighthearted afternoon of water sports and grilled steaks without fear that someone would come in and steal our land or food. Harm us, maybe even kill us because we don't share their political beliefs, or have the right eye color, or hair color... because we pray, or grow things in our yard that we can consume, or because the females in attendance were wearing shorts that showed our thighs... any number of other things that happen all over the world each and every day. Knowing that so many have died, to protect the way that we live.

   I may be late in saying this in terms of calendar holidays, but there is never, ever a bad time to spread a message of gratitude to those people who make the ultimate sacrifice. There is never a bad time to give thought to all of those military persons who take the biggest risks a person could take in order to provide just a little more security for the rest of us. So for the fact that I can live wherever I want without having to daily defend my living space, buy food from a grocery store and prepare it in my home rather than hunting for each meal hoping that I can fill my stomach from day to day, wear clothes based on what style suits me rather than on what is available and what will best shield me from the elements, have as many children as my husband and I choose, that I can read and write about any topic I take interest in. That I can hop in my car and drive down a street where I know that everybody is going to following roughly the same guidelines of driving, and go where I please without having to get permission... for all of the things that make my life what it is, the huge things and the small things. Thank you. Each and every last one of you.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Home. Again.

   This late spring / early summer has quickly turned into one of those seasons in my life where I am constantly "on". Constantly social. Interacting. Having fun, being busy, enjoying every minute of it, but at the same time feeling the effects of my slowly recharging tank. I am like one of those cell phones that takes ages to charge back up to 100% and is notifying you that it's below 25% again only a few short hours after you unhooked it from the wall, car or computer. That being said, I am totally and completely off the wagon. All of the wagons. And I need to fess up to that fact, for my own conscience, before I can go back to posting deep ponderings, pictures of my recent outfits or anything in between. I have been neglecting both my daily checklist and my Mental Fitness Challenge for several weeks now, and as such my writing and reading has quickly fallen by the wayside. When I have written anything it has been a journal entry which, while cathartic, does nothing to propel me towards my personal goals or get me any closer to fulfilling my calling. So, here I am, back where it all started. This chapter in the book of my life where I became something I had always hoped to be, a writer.

   It's funny how when I talk to people face to face outside this world of blogging and social networking, I feel the need to convince them of the validity of blogging as worthy endeavor, as something more than a hobby, before I confess to being a blogger. But blogging, in a way has saved me. Why should I shy away from associating myself to something that has so profoundly changed how I see myself as a person? Sure, it's just written words on a computer screen, just another voice out the in the vastness of the worldwide web... but to me, it turned me into the person I had always visualized myself as being in my head. Not the exact way I had envisioned it. A different path to the same destination, but still actively starting this blog shifted something in me, internally, from reading "aspiring writer" to plain and simple "writer". And so, naturally, when I get off track in any area of my life, this is the very first place I come. This is the only action step I have found that works to set off the chain reaction of dominoes falling, hopefully into place. A place where I know I belong.

I am home.

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