Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I stopped "tri" ing, but haven't given up

Holy heck...two posts in one day!

I have the good fortune of working with a very international staff. The nature of the project draws people from all over the world and, while it is nice to be "blessed" in many languages after a sneeze, sometimes things get lost in translation. While I am usually the one helping translate for my esteemed colleagues, this time they made some things abundantly clear for me.

You may remember me stating publicly that I would be training for a triathlon. Not an IronGirl, but Ramblin' Rose. I have spent most of my life on a bike or in athletic shoes. While I am in the water every chance I get, I have never been a strong swimmer. But. I'm always willing to face a challenge head on. I started running first, thinking the biking would be a breeze. I was dreading the swim portion. After arguing with someone one evening, I wisely chose to go running instead of something self-destructive. And, I felt free. I have run almost every day since. I will never be an elite runner, but I am steadily improving. And the running community has been very supportive and encouraging.

While running, I often pass a younger, fitter colleague that is also tri training. And she rocks it. I didn't feel like I was competing with her, but somehow my heart wasn't in it in the same way. A few days ago. another colleague came in with a bib on from a 5K. I asked him how it went. He grimaced and said something I didn't quite catch. But, what he said next really resonated. He said he enjoyed the camaraderie and it was for a good cause, but that he is a swimmer not a runner. He was happy he did it, but he doesn't plan on doing it regularly.

I am all about stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things. Like the day one of my fav teachers sprung hot yoga on us. I live in a place that is like a sauna a good chunk of the year. Why would I go in a room and sweat on purpose? Just not my thing. I love the beach and a good long ride. But I fear I would come to hate swimming and biking if I forced myself to train for a triathlon.

I am a runner. That is clear...even through a language barrier. So, I've revised things a bit. I don't plan to run a marathon, though. I am only half crazy ;)

Thoughts on Coming Out

I have a lot on my mind and heart, which will be revealed in the near future, but suffice it to say I'm often a bundle of anxious energy. Even now, I can't decide whether I should be resting, running or organizing. Or maybe one last beach day? I digress.

As usual, I have neglected my writing. And reading. And all things that fulfill me. My running has improved, but mostly because I can take out my aggression on the pavement. I have been reading/skimming my blog reading list daily. Last night, I came across something on Up Popped a Fox that really helped clarify things for me. The writer mentioned a few things that happened when she "came out." No, that is NOT my big revelation. But, those who know me well know I am a strong ally. And, after reading the post, I realize that sexual orientation is not the only thing that can be closeted.

I have written about it here and I struggle daily with my strained family situation. It is really awful and I take responsibility for a lot of things I did wrong. But, if I had to do it over again, I think what I regret the most is wanting to please everyone at my own expense. I have hidden my beliefs, toned down my personality, and even wished I could change myself to fit into a mold that would make my family love me more. Or a guy to look my way. Or the cool kids to invite me to a party. I didn't see myself as good, pretty, smart, funny, or worthy of love. I was raised to believe not to be boastful, not to put myself out there. That led to years of abuse by others and, worse, my own self loathing.

Somewhere along the way, I gained confidence to be myself. I "came out" and found that people like me just the way I am. I have people in my life that support me, challenge me, and just plain care about me. They listen without judgment. They console and empathize. They compliment me. They not only accept me, but they celebrate me.

I know it is idealistic, but imagine how wonderful it would be if we all celebrated each other instead of seeing differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. I may appear very different than the lovely writer that inspired this post but, after contemplating her thoughts, I realize how very similar we are at heart.

Friday, October 17, 2014

manifesto(ish)

I will admit to being a little "different" as a kid. I preferred to go antiquing; watch old movies and musicals; eat vegetables; read; and dress as literary or  historical figures for Halloween. Even today, I could read _A Tree Grows in Brooklyn_ or watch 'Little House" any day. Or sing show tunes. Or, if I were to have another child she would be Cordelia, a "perfectly elegant name" according to _Anne of Green Gables_. And, especially when I am sick, I want to watch " The Little Princess" or "Pollyanna."

Pollyanna. I had an antique "Glad Game" when I was younger and still, somewhat, play this game today. I am not a super perky person and can even be quite cynical and pouty. But I don't see the need to be unnecessarily so. Being negative and grumpy only makes things worse. I am quite tired of apologizing for my disposition.

I cannot deny that the last few years haven't been all rainbows and unicorns. I have made some missteps, had some unfortunate occurrences thrown at me, and am still struggling. But I do not spend every day wallowing in self pity. I have grown quite strong. realized value in good relationships, learned to count my blessings; and have attempted to find something good in every day.

In essence, I play the "Glad Game."

I try not to make this is a space where I spew hatred on those that have wronged me and there are some things and people I hold close to my heart. But, as the saying goes, "you catch more flies with honey." I simply have no use for negativity. I am all about sharing joy and love. Celebration, and encouragement. Empathy and support.

It's not a contest. My choosing happiness does not mean I don't care or that I am not hurting. I don't negate your feelings. I welcome everyone to join me in peace and harmony. It sure beats being miserable.

I am very thankful for things and people that sustain me. And I will not be dragged down by those that don't.

Just call me Pollyanna.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Church Alone?

I have resisted the urge not to post amusing stories about my wild child so that he a) doesn't hate me as a teen and b) the handful of you that read this don't stop because...well, we all know people don't often find funny stories about other people's kids funny. Sully makes me laugh constantly, but his antics yesterday...geez. Could. Not. Stop. Laughing.

As many kids do at his age -- for me it was Grease 2 -- he will watch the same movie over and over. This week it's Home Alone. He seems intrigued by the fact that lil Kevin McAllister can not only fight bad guys but also survive for days without any parental guidance. Hold that thought.

As many of you know, my former spouse and I disagree on many things. We are both, however, pretty reluctant churchgoers. He does a lot with his Methodist parish, but doesn't attend services. I'm a  recovering Catholic turned "Whiskeypalian." You know, rituals without guilt (thanks, Robin Williams). I am all about the pew aerobics; thees and thines; and, yes, we serve real wine. But, I also got dirty looks when I unknowingly walked in on a lesson about of the creation of the solar system and started singing the "Big Bang Theory" theme song. Anyway, you get the picture.

With that in mind, we all have enjoyed attending a few Presbyterian churches. Yep, the "frozen chosen." We have been to several events at a particular church but never a service. Our little Presbyterian knows the drill: kids are called to a brief sermon and then attend kids' church while parents get some quiet time. Right before going to the altar, Sully asked if we could go sit in the balcony. I whispered "next time" and ushered him to the front. After the sermon, he smiled as he whizzed by...following some little girls (as usual). After a longish service, I went back to the vestibule to pick up some information.

As I am putting papers into my bag, I hear a little voice say "Hi, Mommy. Where was kids' church?" I respond "uhh...didn't you go the room where I helped with Vacation Church School?" Nope. He didn't go at all. Instead, he walked up to the balcony and remained there for the entire service.

Aside from obvious safety concerns, I was both mortified and proud. My independent boy made a decision to do what he wanted in regard to church. And my little Kevin McAllister did so without fuss, as nobody stopped the service to complain about his behavior. And, holy heck, on the day before his first day of kindergarten and he is already cutting class!

So, don't hate me. I just had to share this funny little story. Happy Monday, y'all.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Cross the Bridge

I've written before about my adoration of the Ravenel Bridge. Not only is it great exercise to walk 5 miles, but I also get to witness a beautiful sunrise every morning. It also has become my thinking place...or where I sometimes go to escape my thoughts. You may think I have always found this to be my happy spot. But you'd be wrong.

When I moved away at 17 -- unwillingly -- I always saw the Cooper River Bridges (bonus points if you pronounced "Cooper" correctly!) as a symbol of home. Growing up, I learned how my grandfather had worked on the Grace Memorial (aka "old bridge") and knew all too well that my mother became a 21-year-old widow with three small children when her late husband's tanker jackknifed at the base of the Silas Pearman (aka "new bridge"). I recall being homesick in college when I would see Hootie and the Blowfish's "Time" video, which featured the bridges.

The bridges were so much a part of me that I literally wept at the thought of them being replaced. I was okay with the idea of an alternative with the construction of the Mark Clark Expressway, but I still wanted the option of going over the spans and smelling the pluff mud. Or the paper mill(!). I thought the new bridge to be ugly and, most of all, found the concept of change uncomfortable.

Maybe it is selective memory, but I don't recall when I decided to give the bridge a chance. Was it on a trip to my beloved Sullivan's Island? Or the lovely waterfront park underneath? Or maybe I was just swayed by the pedestrian walkway? I may never remember what it was that allowed me to fall in love with the bridge. I am just happy I gave in to to resistance and have gained so much pleasure from the experience.

As I have alluded to in this space, the last few years have not been easy. I am at a point now where there is a lot at stake and some major decisions will need to be made. I may fear the unknown, but at least I know that change may lead to something even better. And, though the view may be different, home is still where the heart is.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lesson From My Own Little Yogi

“You can always take child’s pose.”

I have heard those words spoken so many times in yoga class but have never heeded. I always think of yoga as part of my fitness regimen and, although it goes against so much of the non-competitive yoga credo, I always seem to push through my (physical and emotional) pain.

This past Saturday, I found myself in my beloved Winston-Salem with my “wild child.” A new studio in my former neighborhood was offering community yoga and kirtan. Sullivan has been to yoga many times and has a strong interest in music (instruments especially) so we opted to go. I was a little concerned, however, because he just started a new daycare program in advance of kindergarten starting next month. He is busier during the day and has no nap. Add a lot of other issues brewing in our family and you have one discombobulated five-year-old.

Sullivan started out well, but I told him he could go sit on the bench outside if he got tired. About halfway through the class he whispered that he was done. Instead of leaving, I suggested he lie his head down on the blanket and rest. He very quietly and respectfully complied. Side note – love that kid!
At the end of class, the teacher commended Sullivan. At first, I was apologetic. After all, he petered out quickly. But he didn’t interrupt anyone’s practice and was quite social with some friends who had also attended. We left before the kirtan got fully underway and I tried my hardest to stay in my zen state.

It wasn’t until the next day, however, that I learned quite a lesson from this yoga class. Sullivan – of his own accord -- proceeded to show his dad how to sit in lotus. He then did a beautiful down dog and standing split. What I didn’t realize the day prior is that Sullivan had not taken a long, early savasana. Instead, he had absorbed most everything. He was not only reverent but also observant. He took it all in and applied it later…when he needed it.

I then understood what my yoga teachers have been trying to tell me. I don’t always need to push myself to the limit. Sometimes being contemplative and strategic is a much better option. So today, I am taking a break. I went to the beach, spent time enjoying things I love, read, and rested. I hope this makes me rejuvenated for all the things I need to accomplish. I don’t need to be on the go all the time, as that may not help me be successful in the long run.


Sometimes I just need to take child’s pose. Namaste y'all.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I still don't shop at Hobby Lobby

I realize that my POV on this issue may not be popular amoung my friends -- neither the more liberal nor conservative -- as my lawless libertarian beliefs rarely are. But, as usual, I feel the need to write them out as a way to process.

Unless you've been under a rock, you are likely aware there was a weighty decision leveraged by SCOTUS regarding Hobby Lobby's desire to not cover certain medications and procedures for their employees. "Conservatives" laud this as a victory, while "liberals" act like it's the end of the world.

First, let me say there is often a difference between my personal beliefs and what I believe should be legislated. I tend to believe that people should be able to do as they please, as long as nobody is being hurt. Why do we continue to lock up people for prostitution and pot possession? I don't partake, but I don't have a problem with people doing either. Abortion? I am personally against. So I won't have one. Simple as that.

The way I look at this decision, it is very similar to a few years ago when it was decided that the Boy Scouts of America organization was within their rights to exclude gay members. Now everyone knows I am a big-time straight ally. I have very strong beliefs about equal rights for the LBGTQ community and have done numerous things to push for those rights. But, if BSA members feel differently, who am I to tell them who to accept? Legislation will not change people's minds. I can guarantee you, however, I have VOCIFEROUSLY made a point NOT to support them, their causes, or their events. Don't agree with Hobby Lobby? Don't shop there. Don't work there. Same for Chick-fil-a or any other company whose policies are not in line with yours. I am happy to live in a country where I have the right to choose.

I personally see this as a victory. Right now, there are companies operating in states that do not yet recognize same sex marriage but extend those benefits to their employees. Because they are private companies, they can! So, I don't see this as much as a religious or conservative argument, rather it is a proclamation that private industry can decide their own policies just as they decide their hours, dress code, or what snacks to have in the break room. I'm personally glad I can eat a cupcake or bag of chips without government intrusion!

This is yet another reason I happily don't fall in the typical conservative/Republican or liberal/Democrat mold. It pains me to hear people say they want prayer in school but they really mean Christian prayer. Or people can talk about my right to birth control and abortion, but I can't defend myself by owning a gun.

Enough political talk for today. Carry on.