Monthly Archives: May 2013

Blog Every Day in May: Memory

Day 31: A vivid memory

It is 1998. I am in my senior year of high school, driving home after a long day that included school, crew practice, and community chorus rehearsal. It was probably 10:00 at night.

I am driving my Honda Accord across the Buckman Bridge, a 3-mile-long bridge that crosses the St. Johns River on the south side of Jacksonville. The sunroof is open.

As I come to the top of the span, my favorite song comes on the CD player. I turn the volume to 11 and sing at the top of my lungs.

I am 18 years old and I am invincible, untouchable, on fire.

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Blog Every Day in May: Letting Go

Day 30: React to this term: Letting Go

Intensely difficult.

I tend to wallow in past offenses, to gleefully go over What So-and-So Did To Me, and it’s stupid and it sucks and I need to stop.

I’m getting better.

We all know someone who Just Can’t Let It Go – whatever “it” is. It’s really unattractive, isn’t it? I don’t want people to look at me and only see my hang-ups. And I am not nearly so important that I imagine anyone else cares what So-and-So Did To Me That One Time.

I have found a visualization that works pretty well. I imagine I am standing waist-deep in a river. I take out the thing that’s bothering me, make it tangible. If I’m anxious because my decorating budget is not unlimited, I’ll pull out that perfectly-coordinated throw pillow I saw on Etsy. If I’m upset about my weight, I’ll pull out size-0 pants. I put the item on the surface of the river and let the current carry it away. This usually works pretty well.

 

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Blog Every Day in May: Muzak

Day 29: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories. Use Grooveshark or YouTube to include them in the post

1. “Wanting Memories,” by Sweet Honey in the Rock

I first heard this song as a high schooler at a Presbyterian camp called Montreat. I sang it to Tyler every night when he was a baby. I love, love, love, love it.

2. Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff

Not only is this an amazing piece of music, but I performed it in college, and it always brings back happy chorus memories.

3. Pretty much anything by Jim Steinman, including but not limited to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler and “Making Love Out of Nothing At All” by Air Supply

Because sometimes you need to roll up the windows, turn the volume to 11, and release your inner freak. You know you do it too.

4. “Romeo + Juliet,” originally by the Dire Straits, performed by the Indigo Girls

The first time I heard the Indigo Girls’ version of this song, it literally took my breath away. It remains one of my favorite songs, by one of my favorite bands.

5. “Famous Blue Raincoat,” written by Leonard Cohen, performed by Tori Amos

Again, this gives me shivers.

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Blog Every Day in May: Photos

Day 28: Only pictures.

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Blog Every Day in May: Reading

Day 26: Something you read online. Leave a link and discuss, if you’d like.

Last week, a friend sent me a link to this article, which I’ve now re-read several times just to re-capture the YES YES YES I felt when I first perused it.

“Being in your early thirties is really hard as a woman.  It’s the decade of SO much change in our lives- where in one set of friends you can have one person with three kids, some pregnant, a handful childless, others not even engaged yet and some even ending their marriages.  This diversity in lifestyles and milestones causes a tough dynamic between women that seems to get swept under the table because it’s simply too uncomfortable.”

It’s hard to make, and keep, friends while navigating the slippery sands of one’s thirties. Every milestone becomes a hurdle, and you either leap over it or faceplant right in front of it. If your friendships are to survive, you must be rubber-band flexible.

I think part of the difficulty stems from guilt. If you have single friends who want to be married, it’s hard telling them your boyfriend proposed. If you’ve discovered your attempts at conception have been successful, it’s a little gut-wrenching to tell a friend who has struggled with fertility. Conversely, if you’re the friend with the boyfriend who can’t commit, or the friend who has cried because she got her period AGAIN, it’s legitimately hard to be happy for others.

“It’s hard feeling like the odd girl out.  The only one without a baby saddled on her hip. A great job, husband and house- yes- but not that one thing that seems to bind women together.  It’s only natural for mothers, especially new moms, to spend more time with others going through what they are, but I can’t help but notice how motherhood sometimes draws a line in the sand between those with kids and those without. “

I was the first of my friends to have a baby, and rather than feeling like I had finally joined the Mommy Club, I felt like I’d been kicked out of the Childless Club. My friends were off having adventures, going to bars and staying out late and dating. And I was….not. I enjoyed hearing their stories, but I couldn’t join them very often, if at all. It was lonely. I was envious of their last-minute trips, of their freedom.

I have a group of five college friends, and we have remained close despite an intervening decade and many personal triumphs and tragedies. I don’t think any of our lives turned out the way we imagined when we were in college. We have pursued diverse paths, from the psychology professor to the addiction researcher to the theater manager. Three of us have buried our fathers. I think part of the reason we have remained friends is that, by and large, we are each happy with our own life, and keep the coveting to a minimum.

“It may not be a baby for you.  It may be a ring, or a house, or a job.  There is always something that makes you feel your life in not the one you had hoped or planned for.  That there is something missing, incomplete or off.  And the thing to remember is that it will ALWAYS be this way no matter what age you are. Instead of looking and the boxed left unchecked on our life “to do” list we should be looking at the ones we HAVE checked off.”

I’m making a concerted effort this year to be happier. Part of that is paying attention what is HERE NOW, rather than worrying about tomorrow or taking note of what you feel is missing.

“I am where I need to be.  And I’ll be somewhere else soon enough.”

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Blog Every Day in May: Compliments

Day 25:  Something someone told you about yourself that you’ll never forget (good or bad).

“You are Windy G*ddamn Booher, and you are Not to be F*cked With.”

Perhaps not the most eloquent compliment ever, but it certainly got the job done. And I’ve never forgotten it.

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Blog Every Day in May: The Dark Side

Day 24: Your top 3 worst traits.

I should have asked Jason to guest-post for this one. He gets to see all my worst traits (but still likes to hang out with me, bless his heart).

1. I have an explosive temper, and when I’m angry I tend to say things (OK, scream things) that come back to haunt me. Yes, I have spent the last decade working on this. Yes, it’s better than it used to be. No, I haven’t fixed it. I am generally successful at keeping my anger off Facebook and my blog. If you wouldn’t want it read at your funeral, don’t write it down.

2. I am sometimes paralyzed by a lack of self-esteem. When someone is nice to me, I second-guess it to death. She can’t possibly like me, she’s way too pretty/smart/thin/cool. I get sweaty-palms nervous at the idea of asking someone new to do friend-things, like go to lunch. It’s insane.

3. I worry. I worry about things I can’t control; I worry about things I can control. I over-analyze issues, talk things out with my steering wheel, and generally spend WAY too much time dissecting problems that may or may not be real. Good times.

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