Random thoughts about weirdness

I’m weird.  I admit this.  I accept this. I embrace it.  Hell, I enjoy my weirdness.

I label myself with the title weird because this is how I think some people view me.  What seems “weird” to them is just who I am. I say what I feel, I won’t lie about it, and I won’t tell you something because I think you want to hear it.  I don’t have much of a filter.  I love meeting new people and, if I think you are fun, I will tell you and ask you everything I’ve ever wanted to know about you within 30 seconds of meeting you.  I love my family and friends with a passion and will do whatever to protect them.  I love to have fun.  If I see an empty laundry cart at a hotel and I think I can get away with it and won’t damage it, I will jump in it and ride it up and down the hallways.  I want to go everywhere and see everything.

I’m intense. This can be overwhelming to some people and I should apologize for it if it makes them uncomfortable, but I can’t.  This is me.  Accept it.  Embrace it or don’t embrace it.  Doesn’t much matter to me.  I’m not changing and if you are waiting for that to happen, well don’t hold your breath.  I’m 40 and I’m really comfortable in my own skin.

Now, for the best part.  My kids are weird.  They let their weirdness shine wherever we are and I look at this as a testament to good parenting. They are comfortable enough with themselves to let the weird out in front of anyone.  Honestly, I think it’s because they don’t know any different.  Mommy doesn’t much filter the stuff she says or the things she does, so why should they?

So, if you see me in the grocery store dancing up and down the aisles, if we run into each other at Walmart and I am calling to my children using our secret signal, if I meet you and ask you where you grew up, if you have any pets and if you want to get together and watch scary movies, I’m not sorry.  It’s me.

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The Un-Decision

A few days ago would have been my 15th wedding anniversary to my first husband.  Keywords in that sentence: would, have and first.  My marriage didn’t last.  In fact, it was over in record time.  Okay, not Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries time, but, when you expect it to last forever, two years seems like a really short time to be married.

I think about my first marriage every October 28th.  Not because I long for what once was. <insert laughing> My marriage sucked.  My relationship sucked.  There was nothing that would cause longing in me.  I think about it because I am truly amazed at how far I’ve come in the last 13 years.

Thirteen years ago a decision was made.  A decision to end my marriage.  It was the best decision that was ever made for me.  That’s right, I didn’t make it.  My first husband and the woman he was sleeping with for six months of our two-year marriage decided they loved each other and wanted to be together.

Okay, it was not that cut and dry.  I caught them cheating.  He left and after months of indecision about the state of our marriage, he decided to leave me and pursue a relationship with her.

I fought for my marriage.  As insane as it seems, I wanted to stay in that miserable relationship.  I was not one who gave up easily.  I wanted to make it work so I wouldn’t be a statistic.  Granted, this is not a great reason to stay in a relationship but it was my reason and I was sticking with it.

Alas, it was not solely my decision and he chose otherwise.  It’s what I have started to refer to as my un-decision.  A decision for which I had no choice but to accept the consequences. It was this decision that turned out to be the best decision of my life.

I had spent eight long years in a relationship in which I felt like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole.  I was emotionally and verbally abused.  I was too weak to make the change I knew I needed to make.  

His decision for me led me to the three greatest decisions of my life. Decisions I chose this time.  They are, in order of appearance: Kevin, Maddie, and Jane.  Without being forced out of my first marriage, I never would have had the chance to start a relationship with someone who truly accepts me and my special brand of craziness.  Without him, I would never had the joy of giving birth to the two most precious gifts God has ever bestowed upon me.  All of these wonderful things started with the un-decision.

So on October 28th, I choose to celebrate the un-decision.  As a type A, control freak, I am not one who likes to give up decision-making.  I long to believe that I am in control of my life at all times. This vastly differs from what I know to be true.  Yet, I hang on to the illusion that I know what I’m doing.  

For the most part I do.  I make little, inconsequential decisions every day.  I make big decisions sometimes.  And other times, they are made for me. I’ve learned to embrace it.  For the best moments of my life could come from someone else deciding something for me.   And at the end of the day I have learned how to cope, adapt, persevere.  I’ve learned to be okay with whatever happens.

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Words, words, words

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So, a couple of weeks ago my 5th grader came home excited about a lesson she learned in art class about graffiti.  She was really enthusiastic about the project and told me all about a video the teacher showed her in class about tagging.  I was excited because it’s rare my child comes home happy about anything she did in school.

I thought nothing more about it.  Until…..I recieved an automated call from the school district informing me that they were aware that the video shown contained a few “bad” words and they were handling the matter internally.  Interesting.  I asked my 5th grader what “bad” words were in the video and she told me, “the a word.” My initial thought was that the video was full of F bombs.  That would probably warrant a few parent calls.  But ass, really?  

I get that some parents are getting to get upset over this. I’m not judging the other parents.  It’s your decision what to teach your children and what they should be exposed to; however, I’d like those parents to consider that some words are worse than others and it might not be the ones they are thinking about. 

My children have heard me say every “bad” word imaginable.  I have, what would be considered by some as, a filthy mouth. I make no apologies for this.  I love the way a good curse word makes me feel.  If I’m having a bad day, there is nothing like a good fuck to make me feel better.  If I miss the school bus because the kids are being slow, I love to shout shit.

There have been studies done about how cursing when in pain has been shown to relieve the pain and make the person feel better.  I could look these studies up and be more specific but I’m too fucking lazy today.  I truly believe that my children hearing these words from me will not make them any of the following: psychopaths, drug dealers, prostitutes, animal abusers, murderers, bad grade getters, mean girls, or assholes.

I believe that there are far worse words in the english language.  Words that I would never want to hear come from my children’s mouths.  What are those?

  1. Stupid – don’t call anyone stupid especially yourself.  People learn in different ways and at different speeds.  At the end of the day, learning comes easier for others.
  2. Retarded – this is the worst word my children could say to me.  I was blessed with two healthy children at birth.  I know people whose children were not healthy.  They had disabilities at birth.  Do they feel any less blessed by their children?  Absolutely not.  They love their children and see their worth despite the fact that others may not.
  3. C.U.Next.Tuesday…..don’t say this one to me.  This is not just a bad word.  This demeans women.
  4. Any word that classifies someone by race.  Don’t do.  I don’t like being called a cracker so don’t call anyone else something that judges them based on their skin color.

I curse to express myself.  I never curse to make someone else feel bad.  I curse because sometimes saying fuck is better than keeping in my bad mood.  Why some people decided words were bad and offensive is beyond me? I’ve taken the power away from words.  Fuck is just another word. So is ass.

Years from now, if one or both of my children come home and say, “Fuck. Today was a bad day.”  I will look at them and say, “It fucking happens.”

If they come home and call someone retarded. They will lose every privilege known to man.  That is the way I parent.  Don’t judge me or my mouth.

Own It

Last week, we celebrated the 11th birthday of our daughter, Madeline.  She hates it when I call her that.  She thinks it sounds too grown up and I love that about her.  She’s not ready to be so grown up.  It’s rare these days to find children who want to be children.  The race is on to adulthood. To knowledge of the world that I don’t want Maddie to have.

The truth is that Maddie already has knowledge that I wish she didn’t.  She knows pain and despair.  As she blew out the candles on her cake, I thought back to her 10th birthday.  It was, as she describes it, the worst birthday of her life.  Granted, she had only had 10, but she is not exaggerating.

It was, in the days leading up to Maddie’s 10th birthday, that I discovered she had inherited my anxiety disorder.  It was one of the worst days of my life.  In the scheme of things, it may not seem that bad to people who don’t understand anxiety but to someone who has lived it, I knew what she was going through and it broke my heart.

She has always been a nervous child.  When she was very little, she always chose to watch the other children playing before she joined in. She wanted to see what would happen to them before it happened to her.  In first grade, she became worried about having her name moved to red in class. This coming from a child that has never disobeyed me was worrying.

I thought it might be new school jitters but every year it was always something.  She seemed to always be worried about something.  It was not a long sustained kind of worrying.  It was a complete panic attack that lasted a few hours and eventually she got over it.

Then it changed.  She became withdrawn.  Distant.  I could tell she wanted to be present in the moment but something was keeping her from being able to do it.  She didn’t want to talk but looked at me like she desperately wanted to tell me something.

I asked her repeatedly if something was bothering her. She said no.  I asked her if she wanted to talk about it.  She said no.  I finally stopped asking and demanded that she tell me what was going on.

She exploded on me.  It was a mess of tears and sobs.  She had been so worried about everything. She could not get her brain to stop worrying.  It was the same repetitive thoughts over and over again and she didn’t know how to stop it.  

She was me.  

I have suffered from anxiety since my twenties.  I understood the absolute despair that Maddie was going through.  I know how hard it is to be stuck inside of your own head.  It’s like being in the scariest maze and knowing you are never going to be able to find your way out.

We got Maddie help.  She didn’t think it was going to work.  I knew it was.  I’ve been there.  Except I didn’t handle it as well as Maddie.  She handled it with a grace that I didn’t have at 20 much less at 10.

The other night I was lying in bed writing and she came in and climbed in with me. She asked me what I was working on and I told her.  She asked if she could read it and I told her no.  She thought I was joking.  Was it inappropriate, she asked?  I laughed. She knows me. I’m not a June Cleaver kind of mother. I’m the kind of mother who doesn’t sugarcoat life. I tell her like it is. Sometimes I not the most appropriate.  

I told her no, it was appropriate, but I didn’t like for people to read some of the things I wrote.  Why, she asked?  Maddie got an award in fourth grade for asking the most questions. Because I don’t think they are very good, I said.  

Why do you care, she asked?  I didn’t know how to respond.  She had stumped me.  I thought for a minute and answered her with the truth.  Because I’m afraid. I’m afraid it’s horrible.  I’m afraid people won’t get it.  I’m afraid people will think I’m stupid or weird or dramatic.

She looked me right in the eyes and said, “I don’t think you should care.  They’re your words.”

In that moment, it was not about what I could teach her.  It was about what she taught me. I asked her if one day I could write about her journey with anxiety.  She didn’t hesitate before she said sure.  Maybe it will help someone.  
She doesn’t care what others think.  She’s not afraid of her own story.  And now with her strength pushing me forward maybe I won’t care either. I write all the time.  Mostly in my head.  And now I’m going to stop putting those thoughts on paper and then using my pen name to publish them.  I’m going to put them out their for the world to see.  Maybe most people will think my random musings are weird or stupid.  I don’t care.  Well, I’m trying not to care.  Maybe it will help someone. These are my words and I’m not afraid to own them.

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Crushing It

His name was….wait. I’m not telling. Some of you know him.  It was 8th grade and I thought this boy hung the moon and made the sun rise and set by his mere presence on the planet.  I had it bad. I loved everything about him.  The way he smiled.  How his hair fell in front of his eyes when he put his head down during class.  I was crushing hard.

Fast forward 30 some years and I can’t even remember his name.  Wait, that’s a lie.  I do.  And thanks to Facebook, I now know where he lives, what he does for a living, who he married and what his children look like.  

What I know from my days of crushing on him was that I lived in a perpetual state of existence that vacillated between exhilaration and devastation.  Every move he made, every word he spoke I dissected as if it all had some sort of relation to my place in the world.  It never occurred to me that nothing he did had any intended effect on me because he never thought about me.  His thoughts and actions were not meant to send me shooting towards the heavens so I could float on clouds and then send me crashing down to earth in a fiery blaze.

Alas, that’s what a crush does.   Crushes do exactly what they say they are going to do.  They crush you.  I generally think there are three types of crushes: younger, older and the “this just sucks” type of crush.  When you’re younger and you find that first crush, it’s all so innocent.  Most of the time you just admire them from a distance.  Circling around them like blue birds waiting to dress Cinderella.  You want to be in their presence.

There’s little contact.  Except in your head.  In your head, you play out every chance meeting, what you’ll say, what you’ll wear, how you’ll smile.  Most of the time, this doesn’t happen as you planned or at all.  One day, he’ll get a girlfriend or you’ll hear through the grapevine that he’s crushing on someone else and the fall from heaven occurs.

This is how crushes worked when I was in middle and high school. I can’t fathom what it’s like in today’s age of snapchat, twitter, facebook, kiki or whatever that shit is called.  You have immediate access to your crush all the time.  

And with that immediate access can come immediate devastation. Take for example a story I heard from one of my younger friends.  They were crushing on someone and had been enjoying what could be construed as flirting via snapchat.  Things were going well.

He sends her a snapchat asking her to get together.  Great.  Only she can’t. She politely declines and they exchange a few more flirty snaps.  Twenty minutes later, she gets a snapchat from her crush asking her to come over.  Say what?  

This is where she thinks he’s made some mistake and he has. He didn’t mean to send it to her. He’s going down his list of girls he knows are crushing on him and seeing which one is going to come over and make him happy.  Total devastation brought to you by your crush.  

Crushing in your 20s is hard.  When the crush knows you’ve got it bad and they use it for their own gain.  Horrible.  

The last type of crush is the “this just sucks” crush.  This is when you have a crush and you find our your crush has a crush on you and for whatever reason you can’t be together.  Wrong place, wrong time.  You get to endure the ache of what might have been.

This is the worst type.  Hands down.  There’s nothing like sitting around wondering what it would be like to cuddle up with them at night or to wake up to their face in the morning.  To wonder if being with them would have been as fantastic as you imagined it all those times in your head.  To be able to say everything you’re feeling.

So, this is what I want my kids to know, crushes are horrible.  I mean like kick you in the teeth horrible. They will make you feel miserable in the end.  But one day, it will all work out. You crush on them.  They crush on you.  The timing is right and everyone lives happily ever after.  Well, ever after anyway.

I found this quote on Instagram the other day and it really made me think.  Lies.  This is filled with lies. Sometimes you are thinking about someone you can’t have and maybe there’s a reason for that.  Maybe it’s the universe’s way of keeping you from getting crushed far worse than having a crush.

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Friendship Defined

If you google the definition of the word friend, the first hit brings this nugget of goodness:

a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

Right off the bat, I’m not happy with this definition.  I’m fine with the knowing and the mutual affection part but let’s stop for a second and ponder that this definition suggests that we are not friends with those we sleep with or share blood with.  

Okay, I know I’m being very literal but for the last few days I’ve been thinking about my definition of friendship and this was not it. Though, I don’t know that I possess the right words to define friendship, I’m going to try.  Over the years I’ve learned what friendship means to me and maybe it’s different from other people’s definitions.

I know that my friends must be non judgmental.  The fact that this was the first part of my definition surprised me.  I didn’t think it was that important but it was the first thing that popped in my head. Maybe because I’m pretty sure that I could be judged a lot based on my past behavior. I screw up.  I need friends that either (a) screw up with me or (b) laugh at me when I’m done.

Let’s say I get so drunk that I fall down at my friend’s birthday party in front of her family after I’ve spilled beer into her birthday cake.  Hypothetically speaking, of course.  I don’t need you lecturing me on public intoxication.  I get I was an asshole.  I’ll apologize and then if you would like to mock me afterwards, feel free.  But no lectures.  I would like to apologize to Katie, hypothetically.

Next character trait required of my friends: loyalty.  Here is where I get really petty and high school like.  I will have your back.  If someone pisses you off at a PTO meeting, please know that if you choose to hold a grudge, I’m right there with you.  Don’t mess with my friends.  I expect the same behavior from you.  I don’t care how petty and unreasonable I am being.  Listen to me, call the other person an assface or a bitch.  All that I ask.

This leads to the third character trait: honesty.  If I am wrong, tell me.  Tell me to get my shit together.  Tell me that I’m being unreasonable and a complete asshole.  Friends don’t let friends be assholes.  Now, some of you may be thinking that I am contradicting myself.  Earlier I told you not to lecture me and now I’m telling you to let me know when I’m being crazy. The difference?  Lectures come from a judgmental, I’m better than you type of place.  Telling me I’m wrong comes from the place inside of you that doesn’t want to see me be that kind of person.

One of the hardest lessons in life has been learning who my true friends are.  I’ve trusted those I’ve shouldn’t.  I’ve believed others had my best interest at heart when they didn’t.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  I’ve learned that if you show me who you are, I should believe you.  

It’s been said that you don’t ever lose friends, you only find out who the true ones are and I believe this.  I’ve seen this in my own life.  It’s taken me a while but I’ve been able to identify those I should spend my time with; who I should give my friendship to.  

That being said….I’m beyond grateful for my friendships.  I’m blessed with a group of kick ass women that empower me, make me laugh until I pee my pants and deal with all of my crazy and still love me despite it and for it.

So, to my ladies, I love you.  To those that I’ve discovered are not true friends, you’re missing out.  Because what I ask for in a friend is what I give.  

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

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And I’m not talking about Christmas.  It’s the week before school starts.  Before you judge me, let me say that I never thought I would be one of those parents who counted down until their kids went back to school.  When my oldest was about 3, I cried when she had to go back to preschool.  I knew she had to go.  Socialization, learning, blah, blah, blah.  But I was genuinely distraught over not being with her.

Fast forward 8 years and another child later, and I’m ready to take them to the bus stop with a sleeping bag and some lunchables and wish them luck. Okay, it’s not that bad.  I really do enjoy the time I get with them.  We’ve made some great memories this summer but mommy needs a break.

Granted, I am writing this after spending a total of 20 hours in a car and five days at the beach with four girls; two, who are on the cusp of being teenagers, one who has her own hashtag on Instagram (#janeisanass) and one who never stops asking questions…..ever.

There’s a certain craziness to summer that I can’t handle after a few weeks.  Life just seems to get away from me.  And I can’t ever seem to get a grip on it.  For one entire week this summer, we had no food in the house.  How does that happen?  I remember thinking I should go to the grocery store but we were too busy.  I’m not sure what I even fed my kids that week.  It was all a blur.

Some mothers love the summer and I can appreciate what they love about it.  No homework or projects.  No early to bed fights with the kids.  No lunch packing.  I get it.  I really do.  But at the end of the day, I thrive on structure and schedules.  It’s the only way I can successfully manage my life.  Three different, random jobs, two kids, a house, a husband, a Chewie, some farm animals and my desire to never stay home to clean, cook or shop for food, apparently, leads to the utter destruction of my sane, productive life.

So while I will miss their smiling faces as we are sitting by the pool, I am going to cherish Thursday when I send them on the bus and off to school.  It’s going to be a much needed respite. A chance to get my life in order and my brain unfrazzled.  At least for six hours…until they get off  the bus and I have to help them complete three different assignments due on the same day while simultaneously studying for a test all while driving them to and from activities.

What’s that cliché?  Oh yeah, the grass is not always greener on the other side.  Sigh.