Poor Me…

http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-5-stupidest-habits-you-develop-growing-up-poor/

 I read the above post and thought “Holy crap, that’s me”!

Although I grew up very middle class, I have to admit the choices I’ve made in my life have caused an endless cycle of lean times, and abundant times.  When things are good they are very good, when they are bad…well, they suck.

My kids just may be the “richest” poor people we know.  At least their friends think they’re rich.  Not quite sure how that happened, but maybe it’s because I’ve spared them the grim reality of our finances most of their lives.  They have name brand clothes, some of the latest electronics, a nice apartment.  When the phone gets shut off they just say “mom, did you remember to pay the phone bill?” and chalk it up to me being a flake. (And often times I am.)  To be honest, it’s not really anyone’s business what my finances are.  I can’t remember all the times I’ve not attended some function or other because I didn’t feel like I could afford to and was too embarrassed to just say it (my best friend’s wedding – 20 years later I still can’t quite admit that was why!).  And yeah, it can be frustrating that my kids just don’t grasp that when I say I can’t buy a candy bar right now, I’m being literal.

I’m not sure why it’s such a blow to my pride that I’m poor.  Maybe it’s that no matter how much money I make I just can’t seem to get ahead.  I’ve always worked hard, and it just seems like I should actually “have” something by now.  I was recently reminded by one of my oldest friends “you’ve always been the responsible one”, yet I struggle constantly to make ends meet.  One day, I can’t afford a gallon of milk, and the next day we’re replacing a $600 iPhone…but always following a serious lesson in humility.  Then the universe provides. Not too much of course, but enough, for whatever it is I’m trying to accomplish.  Nope, can’t afford the bed, but I can afford a new tablet.  (It’s that choice thing again, damn that free will!)

After reading this post from John Cheese, though, I had an aha! moment.  I recognized my pattern and it made complete sense.  I realize that in order to break free of the vicious cycle and grow, I need to change my thinking.  Like with all changes, it will require baby steps, one day at a time.  

 

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Get To Work!!!

I hate resumes!

I hate writing them. Or maybe I should say I hate writing them for me, anyone else I can write for. But I have a mental block when it comes to selling myself. Maybe that’s because I’ve worked in government for the past 17 years, and have always let my performance speak for itself, promoting up the ranks. I’ve been promoted to other government agencies. I’ve gone away and come back two years later to be hired by a different agency based on past experience working with those in charge. I’ve been loaned out to other departments. I have a job now.

Having experience is not the issue for me, it’s trying to figure out how to translate that experience.  How are you supposed to sell yourself in a couple of pages to a business that speaks a different language? How do you boil down your experience into only a few bullet points at all?

I write…I’m wordy!

I hate resumes almost as much as I hate interviewing. I get nervous and tongue tied. I forget to tell relevant information, or I give too much information. My resistance to the whole process would lead one to think I don’t have 20 years of experience in human resources (I do)!

But I have a plan, and that plan includes relocating. To relocate, I must have income. To have income, I must have a resume and go on interviews. See my dilemma? Aargh! Where the hell is that fairy godmother when you need her? A simple ZZzzapp of the magic wand, and there I would be in my dream home, in my dream city, with my dream job, sipping margaritas (if I still drank), by an infinity pool with the sunset reflecting golden hues off the turquoise water…

Yeah OK. This is called procrastination. Or maybe I’m looking for some words of encouragement and wisdom. Maybe I’m just hoping for my fairy godmother to chime in with “I have a job for you!” (or the house with a pool to offer up until I get the job)…OK, OK…back to work!

Slave driver!

*sigh*

Falling…Flying

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I know I’ve been quiet lately (and I had started off so well), but please don’t take that to mean I’ve fallen off the edge of the earth!  Life has just been a bit hectic – go, go, go – and sometimes I forget to stop to breathe, much less post my thoughts (this is all pretty new to me after all).

It’s pretty important to breathe.

I’m taking a moment to do that right now.

It’s funny to look back on life and realize I did live my dream; every gritty, heart wrenching, wretched detail infused with all the glitz and glamour.  I just didn’t know it at the time. (But oh the stories I can tell – and plan to!)

But now I’m ready to pick up where I left off.  I’m on the verge of stepping off into the abyss of a new (old) dream and following my heart to where I left it so many years ago.  It’s a little exciting, a little scary, and finally a little like finding myself again – that old friend I thought was lost forever.

One of my favorite quotes is by Victoria Moran, who said “It’s acceptable to want the moon.  You just have to be able to let go of your fear of flying.”  Fear can be a great motivator in small doses, but sometimes when it’s incapacitating you just have to stare it in the face and let go.  I think I’ve found my wings.

Now breathe.

Jump.

Soar.

 

 

 

Mini Confessions of a Random Nature

demon tattoo (1)

My Demon – Jason Adams, Fine Line Design Photo – Mallory Peck

Embracing sobriety and learning how to live without drowning emotions, good or bad, in a bottle – or three – of vodka requires honesty, openness, and willingness.  The ability to look at oneself objectively, see the pieces that aren’t so great, and strike a balance with the ones that are.

So in the vein of honesty, I have some confessions to make.  I’m not revealing the secrets of the universe here.  I’m mostly just musing out loud (on the computer – whatever).  If you’re reading this, you just happen to be along for the ride.  Which is cool.

I am a natural redhead, yet I dye my hair redder.  I have to dye my eyebrows too.

On a dare, I will do things I really absolutely do not want to do, at all.  Like pulling a Linda Hamilton (Terminator) move, cocking a really large shotgun, before firing said shotgun at a tin can.  Three times.  Pretty sure I missed.  I hate guns with a passion.  I take no pleasure whatsoever in aiming at an inanimate object and pulling the trigger.  I take less pleasure in the immediate black, purple and blue bicep I will likely sport for a week, and did, after pulling said trigger.  Three times.  In a row.  C’mon even I can admit when Linda did it, it was totally bad ass!  The thought of shooting a living, breathing majestic animal for sport (or at all) makes me sick to my stomach, however, and I have never dated, much less had sex with someone who hunts.  Not that it’s ever been an issue.  Just saying.

I have, however, run over a bear.  (Seriously, who does that?)  This was not on purpose, honestly, I had no choice.  I was driving along a narrow stretch of road on Highway 199 in Northern California, sheer cliffs on one side, huge drop off into the canyon on the other when out of the corner of my eye I saw a large black shape walking along the side of the mountain.  Before my brain had time to register the thought “that is a freaking huge dog”, it had jumped in front of my Pathfinder.  With cars behind me and coming toward me in the other lane all I could do was keep going.  For like three miles before I could pull over and freak out.  Apparently it did get up and run off the other side of the road, according to the guy behind me who also pulled over to make sure I was ok.  I was not.  At least not until 20 miles later when I got to my mom’s and she poured me a really large glass of wine to help stop my shaking.  My son and his cousin were in the backseat playing on their Gameboys.  They didn’t even notice it had happened.  True story.

If the same situation occurred today I would not be able to have a glass of wine to calm me because I am an alcoholic.  I have no idea whether a cigarette would “do it” in that circumstance, even though it does at other times.  Like when my daughter pisses me off.  Which happens often.  How are you supposed to not get pissed off at a ridiculously stubborn 14 year old who thinks she has to have the last word, and will not back down or shut her mouth?  Especially if you are a control freak and want the last word yourself sometimes.  (It’s a character defect, I’m working on it.)

Smoking sucks.  It is a disgusting habit that I will quit.  Someday.  When I’m ready.

It’s possible to love someone with your entire heart, and not like them very much, at all.  Sometimes.

It’s also possible to not like someone at all and still be attracted to them.  Not necessarily in a sexual way.  More like a sick fascination with sticking around to find out what completely fucked up thing they’ll do next.  Not that I’ve done that.  No not me.

I secretly have a thing for 6’ tall guys with tattoos and motorcycles…and if they can pull off the GQ look…mmm.    Actually I have a thing for guys that make me feel like a little porcelain doll, which at 5’2 isn’t all that tough.  Shh don’t tell!  I can also appreciate a beautiful woman.  That’s not a thing.

I like a little 5:00 shadow on occasion, but am not at all into the Grizzly Adams look.  It’s a personal choice, not a negative reflection on any particular individual, or society’s movement back to facial hair.  It’s just my opinion folks, I’m allowed to have one.  It never ceases to amazes me how a simple comment on a friend’s social media page can spark such a crap load of controversy!  Really, did my asking said friend I’ve known for 20 years “what’s with the rug on your face” need to ring in the apocalypse?  And yet the negativity and outright hostility left me feeling like “damn, people get a life”!  And while you’re at it learn to spell!

Posting TMI on Facebook is like hanging your dirty underwear from the flagpole in the middle of town for everyone to see.  My daughter hates it when I tell her that.  Makes me want to say it more.

TMI is text language for too much information.  Just in case you don’t speak text.

Nair sucks.  And yet somehow every few months I manage to convince myself that maybe the last time it didn’t work was a fluke and try it again.  It never gets better.

All these years later I still think Nikki Sixx is a god.

We all have our demons.  How we battle those demons, and survive, is part of what makes us who we are.    I’ve chosen to tattoo mine on my shoulder as a reminder that it will always be with me, but I no longer have to let it control me.

I always put my left foot in during the Serenity Prayer.  Only a couple of people know that about me.  But what if the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about?  To me it reinforces that everything we need to know in life, we really did learn in kindergarten!

Walk a Colorful Path

 

Yeah, ok…so I have to say that didn’t quite work out the way I imagined it would – the previous quote that is.

Well to be perfectly honest, none of this is coming out quite like the picture in my head.  Let’s just say for this moment, things aren’t quite living up to my expectations…

Expectations

Such a harmless little word that has the potential of bringing on nirvana:

“This is so much better than I ever dreamed in my wildest imagination!”

Or hell:

“I wasn’t expecting it to be much, but this really sucks!”

I have a habit of having extremely high, unrealistic expectations that are impossible to meet, even for myself.  I always thought I lacked patience, but it’s more like unreasonable frustration when things don’t live up to what I think they should be.  I tend to get lost in my own head if I’m not careful (and sometimes that is just not a nice place to be…dark twisted pathways full of overgrown brambles and creeping vines, gnarled roots and skeletal branches just waiting to reach out and grab the unwary traveler).

High expectations are something I consider a bit of a character flaw.  (Not to be confused with high standards, of course! – but that’s a whole other topic.) Now don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not saying one should not expect anything out of life or given situations/things, I’m simply saying that MY extremely high, completely impossible and unrealistic expectations do not work for ME.  It takes me to that shadowy place where nothing warm and good can reach me, and down the spiral I go!  I become a wild-haired, wild-eyed nightmare when I’m in that place, and believe me, it isn’t pretty – at all.

In the past year or so, I’ve learned to be aware of when my expectations start getting out of control, and I’m walking that fine line of reality and being in my shadow garden.  (hmm…that’s kind of an interesting term…)  So when I realize what I’m doing, I have to stop myself, and just breathe for a moment…clear the shadows and drink in the colors all around me.  Then I can keep going, a little more open minded.

So now my ADD is now kicking in and I’m getting a bit “preachy” (oops!) here are a few more choice words/phrases:

Technologically challenged – another way of saying “I have no idea how the hell to make this silly thing I’m trying to do work!” (or nice for “aaarrrgh you’re fucking killing me here!!!”)

Frustration – “any idiot can make this work, why can’t I???”

Determination – “dammit I will make this work if it’s the last thing I do!!!”

Optimism – “it’s going to work this time!”

So before I go back to playing with the imagery piece of things let’s try it again:

“Life is the journey, not the destination…walk a colorful path!”

On Being Kind – (This Writer’s Soapbox)

As I was scrolling through Facebook earlier I came across a painting Nikki Sixx had shared of himself that had been sent to him by a fan.  It was quite beautiful, yet someone was posting scathing comments that it was fake, Photo Shopped.   Under normal circumstances I try to refrain from posting public comments on Facebook, unless it’s an actual friend who won’t mistake my meaning.  However, I found myself posting a comment to complement the artist. (Who ended up friending me to say thank you – he really is quite talented.)    A couple of hundred comments on this picture later, this same individual was still making negative comments to convince everyone that the artist is a phony, and I found myself wondering why.  So I asked:

“(Name) what difference does it make to you in the grand scheme of things that people appreciate this picture?  There’s room for all kinds in this world.  There is no right or wrong in art any more than there is in music or film or theater.  Who gets to decide what is good and what isn’t?  Who gave them that power?  I prefer to decide for myself which artwork inspires me, rather than be told what I’m supposed to like.  Perhaps you would show some of your work and allow it to be appreciated as well.”

(Yeah, I’ll admit, I was up on my soapbox there for a minute.)

To which this individual responded almost immediately: “Because as an artist I don’t appreciate someone claiming to due original art then deceiving people when it’s faked, Do you like being deceived MIA ??” 

Wow. Really?!

Please note I did not take the liberty of correcting the errors in the post, this person doesn’t claim to be a writer, I’m not his editor, and again, Wow!

This was followed by a couple of posts from other people and a sketch of his own, which generated a new element of criticism from the masses.  Completely not my point.  When I found myself about to post yet another comment, I had to stop myself because I realized what was happening; I was getting sucked into drama and negativity, which I work very hard to avoid.  I frequently ask my teenage daughter (who can’t walk across the room without pausing to type on her IPod) just how it is that she can get involved in so much drama without ever leaving the house!  (She is usually not amused, and her response is always a serious “I don’t know!” followed by an overdramatic sigh.)

Social media is fantastic.  Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (does that still exist?) are amazing tools.  How great is it to be able to just search a name and in an instant reconnect with someone you lost touch with ten, fifteen, twenty-five years ago that lives 3000 miles away! They are a quick and effective marketing strategy that doesn’t cost a fortune, but gets a product out to the masses in seconds.  But there is also etiquette that most people either ignore or were never taught to begin with.  The very basics like spelling (even my teen thinks her friends that misspell every other word are complete idiots, and she does not claim academic excellence herself), punctuation (yes, it has a purpose, at the very least to signify the beginning and end of a thought), and capitalization (are you yelling at me or just lazy?) seem like they should be a given.  But even beyond that there are some common courtesies to posting.  While constructive criticism can be helpful, I don’t believe there’s any excuse for being just plain rude (I guess my mama taught me right).  Nor do I feel it necessary to air your dirty laundry in front of the entire free world.   For my daughter I have likened it to hanging her dirty panties from her school’s flagpole for everyone in town to see.  (She hates the visual, but completely gets the concept – not that she is always mindful of it, but gentle reminders continue to reinforce the idea in her mind.)

I don’t pretend to understand why basic human decency goes out the window with the freedom of anonymity (“I don’t actually know you so I don’t feel the need to be polite”?), or why social media outlets have become a platform for airing opinions that would otherwise have been kept in check (seriously, how does a picture of a bottle of water infused with fruit spark controversy?).  I do, however, agree with the idea that everything we needed to know we learned in kindergarten (at least when it comes to how to treat each other).  Thumper’s mom had it right, “if you can’t say sumthin’ nice, then don’t say nothin’ at all”.

A Fork In The Road

I decided to write a blog because I constantly have so many writing projects in the works (nowhere near completion) that I really needed a sense of accomplishment for myself. Something started, worked on, and posted upon completion. And like every new project, I started out full of enthusiasm, a new sense of purpose. This is that one idea that will completely hold my focus and it will be something great and unique! And then my ADD kicks in…

Yep, I am stereotypical in the extreme with my Attention Deficit Disorder (oh look, shiny object!) One minute I’m plugging away in absolute concentrated bliss and before I can even get the thought out (mind you I type pretty fast) it occurs to me that I should reload MS Office back onto the computer I’ve just had wiped and reset (where did I put that information?). I look for the little card in the stack of books on the bookshelf (which really needs to be put back onto the shelf in some semblance of order), so I have to sort the stack (which won’t fit on the shelf until I move the wireless router). Then I notice the plugs in the surge protector and wonder what that charger fits (it doesn’t look like mine) so I go in my daughter’s room to see if it’s hers. But of course she has clothes over the floor that were on hangers like 5 minutes ago (so of course I need to put them away). Now my son is calling me from the kitchen to ask if he can have a snack (well he’s only 8 so he needs help getting to the snacks that are up high so he can’t just grab them whenever he wants) and then I have to stop and water the plants on the kitchen counter. Oh wait, wasn’t I supposed to be doing something? I sit back down, wondering why I feel so wiped out and staring confusedly at the single sentence (is that all I really typed up?). Glancing around my surroundings, I realize I’ve made a bigger mess than what I started with – Yikes! I’ll deal with it later, I have a blog to work on!

If I could trace a visual color path to my movements, there’d probably be the random bold yellow swirls one could imagine watching a busy little bee flitting around the garden.

My ADD is one of my many quirks, an endearing quality that helps define me and who I am. Right? Ok it’s a flaw. A character defect, if you will. One that I haven’t fully committed to giving up…at this stage I’m told I just need to be aware of my patterns. And this one, oh am I aware! (Please don’t get the idea that this is about ADD, that’s actually the least of my concerns.)

Part of any journey is figuring out the starting point. How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been or what you have to work with along the way? I don’t really look at it as starting a new adventure, so much as choosing which fork in the path to take next. Because of that I think it’s important to stop and evaluate just what it is I’m taking with me and what more I need to leave behind. I’m discovering and assessing all of my “quirks” – good and bad, taking the time to discover who I was in my past, who am I now, and who is it I hope to become. I don’t really know where this path will lead, or what awaits me along the way, but I will greet each step as it comes with arms open wide, in wonder and hope.

Intro To My Colorful Life

Welcome to my world!  Please excuse the mess of new construction, but hey, life is messy so why should starting a brand new blog be any different?!

In the not so distant past I’ve had to walk away from the train wreck of my old life, and start from scratch with almost nothing.  I have a past, and it’s been colorful – sometimes dark and so oppressive I almost couldn’t breathe, frequently shaded by my metaphorical rose-colored glasses, and at times so intensely bright and blinding to the point I had to hide in the shadows just to see.  I’ve had a lot of good times, and some pretty horrific experiences that left me feeling as if I had dragged myself through the bowels of hell by my fingernails.

Yes I have a past, but I’ve learned along my journey that although those experiences have shaped the person i am today, I don’t have to carry it with my like baggage weighting me down.  I don’t have to beat myself up for it, or let it define who I am or where I’m going.

I used to have my life all planned out, knew exactly where I’d end up.  That end was always the goal, the destination.  I never really thought about what it’d be like when I got there, or what I was missing along the way by being so narrow in my vision.  And when I looked around and realized how far off track I was, I lost it and the downward spiral began.

Bottoming out didn’t happen overnight, nor did I just pick myself up, dust off my faded 501s, and start back on my merry way.  It took effort, and patience, and love, and a whole lot of hand-holding along the way.  It took honesty, openness, and the willingness to begin a new path.  I no longer see life through a distorted mirror, I can look at the world around me and see the colors for what they are – bold, bright, and larger than life!  

I have no idea where my path with take me now, or who I’ll become.  I’m okay with that.  Like this site  I’m a work in progress.  I’ve made the choice to live my life in technicolor, and I hope that by sharing my journey, someone else will find the hand they need along the way.