Sunday, June 12, 2016

Orlando. My heart is broken. Our world is broken.

This morning, as many of us did, I woke up and read the horrifying news about the mass shooting in Orlando. A shooter open fired in a gay nightclub, killing 50 and injuring at least 53. I won't say his name. We don't need to know his name.

I waited to hear what happened. Will this be declared an act of "terrorism", or brushed off as a failure on the part of our broken mental health system? Was he the enemy or home grown? Are we in further danger? Is our country under attack?

Why do we need to wait to have the news media frame this? It was terrorism. He was a terrorist. Yes, we are in danger, and whether or not it was homegrown, or sponsored by an actual group, our country is very much under attack.

It's under attack by the news media, telling us that only brown people can be terrorists, and thus, promoting Islamophobia and racism. It's under attack by judges, who slap rapists who brutally assault unconscious women on the wrist.

Our country has taught people to victim blame.

And victim blame.


Senseless acts of violence occur and the first thought for some is that they "deserved" it.  That disgusts me. The current political state of our country disgusts me.

We are FAILING our people. We can do so much better than this, America.

I leave you with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr's letter from a Birmingham Jail.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Happy Mother's Day to my body.

I stood in the bathroom mirror this morning, brushing my teeth and admiring my own form. Usually, I take these moments to push out my stomach, grab my fat and try to envision what I'd look like if someone took a scalpel and removed the excess skin from my stomach. I look at my legs and tell myself that I will start running tomorrow. And push ups. I should do pushups to combat these flabby arms. But today, the day after Mother's Day, I kept my shirt in place, put my hands on my hips and had a moment of gratitude.

My body has held the three most important things in my life. It was their home for nine months each, bending and contorting to accommodate their growth, wrapping them tight and keeping them safe before my arms could hold them. It grew them strong and bold and perfect. My body gave me three spectacular, miraculous gifts.

For the last eleven years straight, I've stood in that mirror, thought about what my body looked like before I had children, and wished that I could go back. I had a flat(ter) stomach, my thighs and arms were small, I fit skinny jeans like a glove. I loved my body for it's physical attributes and, of course, society has reinforced that I am now less than for my current body shape.

But you know what? I AM MORE THAN. I'm more than happy to have changed, not only physically, but as a person. Sleepless nights and being a shoulder for my childrens' tears have made me stronger than I ever thought I was. I am a mother first, before anything else in my life, and no matter what else I do, being a mother will always be my proudest accomplishment. My body gave me that and I don't want to go back, because going back would undo the things that have made me, me.

Yesterday, my kids took the time to celebrate me, and so today, I take the time to celebrate my arm flab and my saddle bags. They mean I've been so busy loving my children and enjoying my life, that I haven't had time to focus on what society thinks it needs from me. I have watched my children grow from tiny versions of myself to brilliant, hilarious, magical little people and I wouldn't give back a second of that to have worked on my abs.

My life is full and my body is perfect. It's mine and the love on my childrens' faces prove that I've worked hard for it.

Happy Mother's Day, body. You've given me more joy than I could have ever imagined.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Thank you, Alanis Morissette.

Alanis Morissette provided the soundtrack to my early teen years.

From her angsty power ballad, "You Outta Know", to "Ironic", and "One hand in my pocket", the album, Jagged Little Pill, was amazing.

You can't belt out, "I hope you're thinking of me when you fuck her," without feeling just a little badass.

After that album, she moved onto work that, although catchy, didn't necessarily resonate with my frame of mine. One of her songs, "Thank You", went right over my head. It was one of those tunes that I heard on autopilot and hummed along to, but didn't necessarily relate to, so I didn't seek it out.

After not hearing it since then, I listened to "Thank You" this morning and found it resonating with me in a way that it never has before. Every lyric had meaning and I understood. I'm in the place that she must have been when she wrote it, having moved past my angst and onto a sense of gratitude for my life.

I'm 32 and I've learned many lessons the hard way. I no longer default to the snap judgment and rash behavior of youth and have begun to really contemplate my own actions and failures.

How bout getting off of these antibiotics
How bout stopping eating when I'm full up
How bout them transparent dangling carrots
How bout that ever elusive "could have"

Not using things as crutches. Appreciating where you are in life. Not allowing the "could haves" to overtake your thought processes.

How bout me not blaming you for everything
How bout me enjoying the moment for once
How bout how good it feels to finally forgive you
How bout grieving it all one at a time

Taking responsibility for your own actions. Slowing down and enjoying life. Not holding onto grudges. Allowing yourself to grieve losses in a healthy way.

How bout no longer being masochistic
How bout remembering your divinity
How bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out
How bout not equating death with stopping

Not being purposely self destructive. Remembering that you are the Universe. Unapologetically feeling and expressing your emotions. Contemplating life's lessons and the possibility of an afterlife.

The moment I let go of it
Was the moment I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it
Was the moment I touched down

I've learned to let go and let life steer sometimes. You can't always be in control of your situation, and you have to have enough faith in yourself to know that you can handle whatever is coming ahead. Let the reigns go. Let the excuses go. Let the resentments and hatred go. Allow yourself to be flawed and emotional and human.

And more importantly, through making this song, Alanis reached out to connect with the experiences of others. It is so important to know that you are never alone. Some people will be in the boat with you, rowing along and going through the same rapids. Let them hold your hand and together you can ride it out. Some people will be coming up on those same rapids. Be there for them, realize when they need a hand and be a source of comfort when they are ready for it. Some people will have already been there, learned those lessons and maybe even written songs about it. Listen to them with great comfort and know that you are on the path of human experience.

Thank you, Alanis Morissette for sharing this experience with those who are finally coming around this bend.

To those who don't click with this song yet, I'll be here when you're ready.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


"Don't worry. I love you and we'll be together forever."

Those were the words that I said to my high school boyfriend, right before I left for college and promptly cheated on him. I meant it at the time, but somehow, distance and the stress of loneliness led me out of his arms and into the warm bed of someone else.

 It's been, Oh God, I don't even know... 15 years, and I still go over that decision in my head with remorse, not because we were meant to be, or anything like that, but because I plunged a knife right into his loving, trusting back.

My past wrongdoings pop up in my head all the time. Recorded moments that play over and over again, the ghosts of my past jackassedness. I think of all the ways I could have handled myself better to save the feelings of the people that I've hurt along the way, and, as penance, I have committed myself to moments where I lay in bed, over-analyzing situations that I cannot go back and change.

Why did I say those things and act that way to that random waitress two years ago?

That person didn't deserve the way I treated them fifteen years ago, so let's have a random pang of guilt about it while shopping for groceries. 

You were such a bitch. Why were you such a bitch?

I stand in the shower, shampooing my hair and hating myself for that time when I acted erratically and lashed out at friends who didn't deserve it. I drop the kids off at school, my mind wandering off to words that I said that I didn't mean. I can never go back in time, and so, I don't know how to move on. I think about these things so often that I now have a confirmation bias and I only see the bad behavior and not the good. In those moments, I feel like a truly horrible human being.

I honestly want to do the My Name is Earl thing and apologize to everyone I've ever wronged, but I could never track down all the people I've betrayed, insulted or demoralized throughout my entire 32 years on the planet. If I hunted for every person I've rubbed the wrong way, it would engulf my life, instead of just passing thoughts. That would be insane, right? I mean, at this point, I've been so insane in my past that I can smell insane on an idea. At least I recognize it now, instead of just acting with my emotions and going to jail for stalking.

Let's be honest, if I did try to track people down, the apologies wouldn't be for them, they would be for me. They've moved on with their lives and I haven't. All it would do is allow me to unburden myself and that would be selfish of me.

Instead, I have decided that what I need to do is just forgive myself and try to let it go.

Amy, those people have moved on with their lives, and you deserve to move on with yours. The remorse in your heart shows that you are a good person and if you could, you would right those wrongs. But you can't. Those moments happened and they are behind you, but you needed them to happen. You've learned from them and grown from the seeds of those lessons. You are a GOOD person, and even good people make mistakes.

I forgive you.

What do YOU have to forgive yourself for, dear reader?

Friday, March 18, 2016

"Are you pregnant?"

The first time I got asked by a stranger if I was pregnant, I was 19 and 125 lbs. Of course, I wasn't, but I went home and fully examined myself in the mirror, sucking in and pouching out my stomach.

Did I look pregnant? Was I *still* fat?

What that all too curious stranger didn't know is that I was in the grips of an eating disorder and had virtually starved myself down to that weight. How could someone who had striven to be so thin still be so far away from being considered "thin" by society? I was already punishing my body with brutal workouts and depriving myself of vital nutrients. I had pushed through the hunger pain to the point of not being hungry for food anymore. I only craved validation. Would I EVER be good enough?

That encounter has been sitting in the back of my mind for years. Of course, I've learned to tell the nagging that the guy was just an asshole, but every once in a while, I still try to figure out what exactly it was that he saw in me, and more importantly, what compelled him to lend his voice to his own thoughts without regard for how I would answer, or how it would make me feel.

I was so happy when I was pregnant. I loved my body. I was one of those women who let people rub her belly in public and accentuated her bump. It was the first time I could use pregnancy as an "excuse" for why my belly was large, and not only did people understand, but I was praised for it.

But pregnancy belly is such a bait and switch. As soon as you pop out the baby, there is this unspoken socially acceptable time frame for which to lose the baby weight. And God help you if you don't lose it by then, because then nosy ass people pop up here and there and ask you when you're due.

I've since had three kids and gained 100 lbs. I know I need to lose the weight, but food is still something that I struggle with. I lean on it for an emotional crutch and spend many nights binge eating for lack of anything else to fill whatever void I'm feeling. And of course, since having children is life changing and, at times, unbelievably stressful, I lean on food to help myself cope with the ups and downs.

This shame of not having accomplished a goal, of not having "returned to normal" is horrible. The shame I've felt for not having lost the baby weight is palpable. So when someone asks me if I'm pregnant, it stings. If you don't know the answer, what makes your curiosity more important than my self esteem?

It's a subtle way of not only body shaming, but also mom shaming someone if they aren't pregnant.

"You didn't lose the weight in time, and now you're just fat and that's so unacceptable to me, that I feel compelled to speak up.", they say.

Sure, people don't actually mean to be mean by asking. They really are just curious. But if the person you are asking isn't pregnant, you could be sending them into a shame spiral. And let's also remember that there are women out there who are trying their hardest to get pregnant. How do you think that makes them feel to say no?

Please, don't ask women if they're pregnant, because if they are, they will share the good news with you. If they don't share the news with you, it's none of your God damned business anyway. Err on the side of caution, because you don't know what spark you're starting inside someone's brain. There are complex issues involved when a woman "looks" pregnant, so please never assume.

And no, I will never be pregnant again, so for now, the best I have cooking are Girl Scout cookie babies, and I guess a mis-aligned timeline and different priorities than you have. This is my body. You are not welcome to comment on it, no matter your intentions.

Friday, March 4, 2016

It Is Well With My Soul.

Last night, I sat on the couch, watching television with Jude, as he sprawled out next to me and tapped his fingers rhythmically on the cushion between us. I reached over, grabbed his hand, and told him to stop. So he laughed and started tapping again.

"Why do you care if I tap on the couch?", he asked.

"I don't know. It's just... Stop doing it."

He started again and I grabbed his hand, pushing it forcefully away from the cushion. The truth is, I didn't know why it was bothering me, only that it was and I wanted him to stop as soon as I told him to. When I didn't get what I wanted, I got frustrated and visibly annoyed, and, Jude, noticing that I was actually getting upset about it, stopped tapping. I got what I wanted, but later felt bad about it.

Why DID I care whether or not he was tapping?

This morning, sitting in the school drop off lane, it was clearly our turn to hurry up and get out of the car. My middle child likes to do things a certain way, which for some reason, includes the need to put her backpack on inside the car before opening the door. It takes an entire eternity to convince her to get out each morning, and each morning, I beg of her to please just open the door and do it outside so I can go. I don't want to be that mom who holds up the line and ends up pissing everyone off, so of course, when she refuses, we butt heads, and I end up being that asshole who holds up the car line anyway. No matter how much I try, she still ends up putting her backpack on first, I yell and gesture like an angry referee and then she sulks. As projected, she got out sulking, and walked away slowly, further and further out of my line of sight, and, as I sat there, I realized that I was waiting for other cars anyway. I could have been patient with her, but I snapped, and in retrospect, felt really bad about it.

Why WASN'T I more patient?

The things I can't control drive me insane. I've noticed that I try to micro-manage the environments and actions of the people I consider to be in my charge, and when things don't go my way, I get frustrated. I'm sometimes unreasonable that way.

But why? Why am I such a Dictator in these moments? I'm not always like, this. Most of the time, this sort of stuff wouldn't even be on my radar, so why, in these moments, do I feel the need to bark like a general, instead of just letting it roll off my back?

I thought about it, and this weekend is going to be very stressful. Today is going to be very stressful. When I know that I have a lot on my plate, most of which I can't control, I exercise control in the areas I think I can, and I become an irrational pain in the ass. Entire weekend worth of things I can't control = mom tells everyone what to think and do and wear. I play the things I can close to my vest and I let the thoughts of all of the other things I've yet to figure out swallow me whole.

So as I pulled away from the school parking lot, I did what I often do when I feel absolutely terrible about something I can't change at the moment; I turned on The Beatles, "Let it Be", and twisted the volume until I could no longer think about anything but the words.

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Yeah, there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Ah, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah, let it be
Oh, there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

I pulled into our parking lot, sighing and struggling to forgive myself for how I'd behaved. Why does that song have such an effect on me? Why do I feel so much better when I listen to it?

I realized that during the moments where I was belting out the words that I was surrendering to my circumstances. I couldn't go back and fix the things that had already happened, and so I needed to let it be so that I could move on with my day. I looked back, and forgave myself, and so I felt better. It always makes me feel better to consciously acknowledge how tightly I'm gripping and allow myself to just let go.

So how can I bring that sense of calm to how I deal with a situation?

I often refer to biblical verses and hymns, even though I don't consider myself to be religious, or even necessarily spiritual. I find the lessons within the stories to be thought provoking, and I'm nothing if not an over-thinker. I do consider myself to be a deeply philosophical person, which is what motivates me to write, and what is religion, if not organized philosophy?

One of the hymnals that I've come across has inspired thought in me today. There was a man named Horatio Spafford, who wrote a hymn titled, It Is Well With My Soul. Horatio was a business man, who'd lost his only son, and then lost his life savings in the great Chicago Fire. He was supposed to sail to Europe with his family, but had to change travel plans to accommodate a fire related business deal. He told his wife and four daughters to go ahead and he'd meet up with them when his business was through in Chicago, but shortly after setting sail, the ship that his family was on collided into another vessel and sank, killing all four of his daughters. As Horatio traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write this hymn as he passed through where his daughters had died.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

If a man who lost everything could surrender his control and find a way to move forward, surely I can surrender my control to the powers that be at let what happens, happen this weekend. Stress is temporary and the actions that you take moving forward from hardships are what define you. I don't need to tell people to stop tapping, or to put their backpacks on a certain way, I need to be more mindful of my own actions toward others and not projecting my stress onto them.

I'm realizing that what I need to do to move forward is to apply the same logic. I need to surrender to my circumstances, admit that I have no control over what is going to happen, and just learn to let it go. In church, they tell you to surrender your troubles to God. In AA/NA, the first step is to admit that you are powerless. There is a sense of relief when you admit that you can't control what's happening to you.-- So my first step, as a control freak, is to let it be and admit that whatever happens, it is well with my soul. We'll see how this goes.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Slow Torture

I don't know what triggered it, but this morning, I got the urge to listen to Electric Light Orchestra's, "Telephone Line." Instantly, I'm in the back of a Ford Festiva, my chubby cheek pressed against a window, battling slumber.

My mother would frequently listen to ELO on our road trip to my Grandmother's house in the New Jersey suburbs. Well, it was my Grandparent's house, but more than anything, my heart lit up as soon as I knew I'd soon be seeing my Grandma. She was amazing. She is amazing.

My Grandma Bea was always there for me as a kid. She tried so hard to shield me from any hurt I might have been feeling, from anyone and anything that might upset me. She was my security blanket, and when she died, a large part of me died right along with her. I couldn't cry in the room with all of the people at her funeral. I was too raw, the lump in my throat too big to let loose in public. I had to lock myself in the bathroom of the funeral home and sob alone. I couldn't even bring myself to look at her because it couldn't be real. It hurt so much, everything inside of me clung to the hope that any second I'd be waking up, wrapped in sweat drenched sheets.

But she was gone. She is gone. And there's nothing I can do about it. I will never hug her again. I will never get another rose shaped tissue that smells just like her, that she'd made to fool me into thinking I could take part of her with me on the car trip home. I'd smell it, my cheek pressed once more against that cold window, secure in that fact that I'd see her again soon.

She was just always going to be there, and even into my twenties, I'd think about the hypothetical of losing her and have to instantly pull my mind away. I knew I'd crumble at even indulging the thought and I figured I'd push the pain off until I absolutely had to deal with it.

This morning, five years later, I'm still dealing with it the best I can, in bits and pieces. I let the pain wash over me for ten minutes after I hear a James Taylor song and I ugly cry into a sink full of dishes. I think about my sister's wedding, knowing that she won't be there, and tears stream down my face while I look at Pinterest idea boards. I reread a card that she sent me, telling me how she considered me, not only a Grand daughter, but also an incredible friend, and my guts wrench.

That's how the grieving process works-- You don't ever get it all out of your system, the pain just keeps sneaking in through cracks of your every day life. Time doesn't make it better, you just get numbed to the idea that that part of your life is over. Until you listen to a song and get that familiar lump.

Nostalgia is wonderful, but during the moments where you open your eyes and can no longer feel the glass against your cheek, it's slow torture.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Babies and Artistic Passion.

While I slept last night, I dreamt that I'd had a baby while I was unconscious. When I awoke, she was starving and no one was feeding her. I asked my family members what her name was and she didn't have one; Her birth certificate was blank. To say that she had been neglected was an understatement. She was invisible to everyone around her, except me; Passers by almost stepped on her.

The only one who seemed to see that she was in need was me. Everyone else treated her like she didn't matter and just went about their regular lives. I scooped her up, tried desperately to tame her wild wailing and instantly found a connection; That bond that made me feel like maybe, just maybe, I could be her savior.

And as she thrived and grew, I finally stepped back and saw that my nourishment had been enough. She was visible and people no longer ignored her presence, but paid deference to her as a life form of her own. She was not only acknowledged, but appreciated and praised by others. I was proud of her; I was proud of myself and the effort and love I'd invested. All of the years of sacrifice, despite the apathy of others, paid off. She had started as something weak, something that could have easily died, but I took ownership of her and made her matter. I raised her up and showed that it'd be impossible to ignore her and the impact she'd have on the world.

When you have a passion, the only one who can nourish it is you. Other people aren't going to give a single shit about the thing that fuels YOU. When you have a talent, a baby, you have to feed it. No one's gonna do that for you. You have to give your projects, your talents, your ideas, the respect that they deserve. You are going to have to defend your passion and the amount of effort you put in, but you have to put that effort in or your dreams are going to die, stagnant and ignored; Invisible to anyone but you, and it will eat you up.

Respect your art. Respect the process. It's fucking IMPORTANT. It matters. Your passions matter. Maybe right now, it's only important to you, but eventually, if you work hard enough, other people will take notice and respect what you've done. And who knows, maybe you'll inspire someone else to pick up their screaming baby, take ownership and push themselves to nurture a passion that would die without discipline and hard work.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Primaries and The Meek

Last night was the New Hampshire primary, and although he didn't win, John Kasich gave a speech that really made me think. He spoke about how we all need to slow down a little bit, give people the benefit of the doubt, and generally, be kinder to each other.

Of course, the commentary afterwards was that his speech wasn't appropriately toned. It was too soft, and was too "chicken soup for the soul."

Trump, however, came on, basically thanked all the smiling assholes standing around him, obviously had nothing prepared and what he said had little relevance, much less respect, to the office of the Presidency.

The commentators ate it up. And I quipped to my husband that it's like he's special just for showing up and they are holding him to a much different standard than the other candidates.

"He tells it like it is."

That's what his supporters say. He makes derogatory comments about the other candidates, tells Megan Kelly that she must be on her period, is racist, loud and absolutely obnoxious, and he wins the New Hampshire primary. Because our backwards western society values dominance, aggression and a sharp tongue.

Our society eats nice people for breakfast. Not just in politics, but in everyday situations. When someone gains from someone else, it's seen as a victory, not a nicety on the part of the "losing" party. The passive person is the lesser. Weaker. There always has to be a winner and a loser.

And this resonated with me because many times in my life, I've been referred to as weak. I've been told that by doing for others, or giving chance after chance, I'm being naive.

If I offer someone a ride, they are going to rob me. I get burned, time and time again, by someone I love, and I forgive. I give homeless people money, ignoring the whispers about how they may spend it. There I go again, big 'ol dummy, Amy.

The biblical verse, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth", is something that I've been pondering lately. Especially given our modern sense of what it means to be meek.

The definition of the word "meek" has changed substantially since biblical times. When the words, "...the meek shall inherit the earth", were first written, "meek" was used to describe people who exercised a restraint when in power. To be meek meant to consider the needs of all, not just ourselves. It was our job as a people to look for opportunities to be of service to others, and when slighted, to suppress the desire for retribution and forgive.

Now, to be meek means that you lack in courage and back down in a fight. No one wants to be meek. Everyone wants to be the top dog. Everyone for themselves.

What people don't seem to understand is that exercising that meekness, in the form of being kind, does not make you weak. It takes strength and restraint to be kind, especially to those who find victories in your kindness. 

Kind people can be strong. We can be vengeful. We can hold grudges and refuse to extend our hands, but we don't. Kind people just refuse to believe that our society is dominated by corruption. We want to think that we are making a difference in the lives of others. It's what gets us out of bed each day.

To me, personally, there's nothing sadder than living in a world where you think that everyone is out to screw you. When I meet someone, instead of being hesitant to let them in, I presume they have a good heart and are coming from a good place, until I'm proven otherwise. I see people in rose colored glasses, which is both a blessing and a curse.

Kindness and respect are things that are lacking in this world and we need to start celebrating meekness in our culture instead of  applauding power plays and throwing others under the bus.

Make sure to respect the kind people in your life. Take in the message and pass it on. Create some sunshine of your own. Listen to Kasich's message and slow down a bit. Talk to your neighbors. Look people in the eyes. Reserve judgment. He's absolutely right, it's what this world needs. And although I doubt Kasich will win the Republican nomination, because our society seems hell bent on ending the world and electing Trump, maybe he can give a few more speeches and teach Trump some goddamned manners.

Around 7:20 is where his begins discussing how we need to treat each other. Check it out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Disappointment and Astronauts

My 9-year-old daughter, Phoenix, came home from school and told me that she wasn't being included in any games during inside recess. She would ask to play charades, minecraft, board games, etc. but was told by the kids at each table that there wasn't enough space for her to play too. Last night, just her and I went grocery shopping and she told me that she's heard of other people being invited to parties that she wasn't invited to. The kids are leaving her out and it breaks her heart. And so it breaks my heart.

I talked to the teacher yesterday and when I told her what happened, she told Phoenix to make a list of the kids. So, we came home and she made that list within two seconds flat. She knew who the people were and didn't even have to think about it, which made me sad to know that she's obviously spent much time lamenting in her own head about the pain this has caused her. I wish I could take it into myself so she never knows that feeling of not being wanted and accepted.

Thankfully, she has friends. We talked at length about them, and how they are wonderful, beautiful, people. The kinds of kids she gravitates toward are remarkable. They are empathetic, kind, loving. All the things I want for my child and wish I could give her every moment of everyday. It makes my heart sing to know that she has that influence in her life when I, the mom, can't be by her side. She beams when she talks about them. But still, the pain of exclusion echoes constantly in our chats. She fixates on the whys and the whats. She wants to know what to do and it's so hard when the answer is that you just can't do anything at all. Some people just don't like you.

"They're assholes.", I've said. And yes, I gave her permission to say that word to me whenever she wanted, because who doesn't feel just a little better after they swear?

I've experienced this a lot in my life. I love hard and loving and trusting people often leaves you disappointed. I guess I expect a lot. More importantly, as an adult, I still feel that relationship between the things that I've done and the attitudes of others toward me. I wonder what I could have done differently and how, if I had been just a little "cooler" or "calmer" or whateverer, I would have attained that approval I sought. Unfortunately, just like I tell my daughter, I know it's not a cause and effect relationship. Some people are just not going to like you no matter what you do. You can't spend your time and energy on people who aren't going to change their minds.

My friend, Stephanie, sent me a gift for a group exchange.
It's a print of a quote:

I needed to read this today.

And maybe you did too.