Tuesday, August 10, 2010

High School and FaceBook--The Whore(s) Of All The Earth

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the significance of Face Book. Sure, on the surface it seems like a novelty it's as addicting as cocaine and as trivial as the purse you carry--but much the same way cocaine can grab a hold of you and a purse becomes an obsession, not to mention a symbol of who we are (or at least, who we want to portray we are) Face Book is much more than people give it credit for. It took me a long time to get interested in FB and had my dear friend from high school, my long time best friend since birth, not suggested I make an account JUST so I could see what ridiculous losers those people had become (the same people she knew had tormented me unmercifully in high school) well, I might not have ever gotten into it. But, I did. I set up an account with the intention of voyeuristically viewing the pages and photos of the people in H.S. who took it upon themselves to show me what a turd I really was. What I found when I finally "got on" FB? It was like the second coming of the 10 year high school reunion. Girls who had never grown up, still acting the part of the high school bully and boys that had sly talked their way into my pants with the promise of a future together (and instant popularity)--now fat, bald and divorced. So, with the help of my friend I set up an account and in the section entitled "Profile" I listed myself as "Not fat, bald or divorced" essentially claiming victory over my tormentors. Little did I know it was just the beginning.
Through the past year or so I have been actively posting my thoughts and experiences on FB. I have teetered between wanting to keep my posts clean enough for my friends from Utah county, so as not to offend anyone, and really wanting to unleash on a handful of people who made my high school experience an unhappy one. Now it might seem as though I am shirking my personal responsibility in as much as having done many of the things they claimed I did, but that is not at all the case. On the contrary, I have blamed myself for years and taken much more than my share of the responsibility. Yes, I bought the bullshit lies the boys gave me and yes, I fell HARD for the false promises of friendship and loyalty the girls gave. In fact, I can remember one girl I particularly liked coming to my house, accompanied by a long time friend (one I had believed to be my allie) and receiving an earful of hatred and scorn followed by a promise of bodily harm if I EVER looked at her boyfriend. Now at that time I don't believe I had any idea who her boyfriend was, but as all good Shakespearean dramas play out, a self fulfilling prophecy is no good without the prophecy coming true right? It was not long before I ended up in the front seat of that boy's Chevy step side caught up in a moment of unforgettable passion...well, as unforgettably passionate as high school sex can be.
And, therein lies the sum, or at least the majority of my high school experience. My uncontrollable desire to prove people right about me, coupled with a magnetically charged personality--it was a recipe for disaster. Over the years I have discovered, not only do I have a habit of attracting men but their psychotic, jealous girlfriends as well. There I was 16, desperate for friendship and approval--I had a new car and a brand new (fully developed) body which I realized could attract the attention of both the boys AND the girls (and dirty old men--but that is another blog entirely). I had the body of a woman and the brain of a child, not to mention the guts of Evil Canival. Together they brought me much the same misery, excitement, and folly as they do today.
So, fast forward 15 years. Here I am--that same girl--with those same endearing qualities I had in high school--now, living the quintessential "dream" as a 33 year old woman. A fabulous 12 year marriage with a man I could never have wished for with all of my heart (yes, he's really that great) 3 wonderful children, who bring me a sense of true purpose and a beautiful house in the most desirable part of Salt Lake City. However, I feel less accepting and more estranged than ever from the idea of being a "grown up" which brings me back to my original thought--no wonder FB is so addicting for someone like me. I have struggled with the idea of "growing up"--letting go of that moment in time--high school was difficult and sad for me, but it was also how I began to define myself, it was the beginning of my adulthood (in my mind), now looking back it was really only the end of my innocence. So of course after marrying such an amazing man and having these wonderful children I thought I had let it go, I had overcome that experience--I thought that "high school" was over for me, but I was wrong.
There I was at the "cross roads" of my own personal development. I found myself asking complex questions like--why don't I feel satisfied? How do I embrace the life I have been blessed with? How can I learn to love and be grateful for this simple, peaceful life of motherhood without losing the "true person" that I am--the "wild child"? Then it dawned on me--maybe that wasn't really who I was, maybe that was only who I was TOLD I was by hostile angry girls and horny, selfish boys. My beliefs about who I was started to unravel. It was not until I discovered FB, started to relive that high school experience that I realized I was NOT the person I believed I was--I was someone much greater then the sum of those awful experiences. I was someone who was ready to cancel out the factors that had been so negative. I was ready to redefine myself. I was someone who could let go of the hurt that went along with being bullied and used and lied to by people that called themselves my "friends". It was time to throw down a glass of wine and start "defriending".
Now, if you asked me today what I think about FB, I would say if used properly, in moderation, it's fun. And if...in the end, I attribute my FaceBook experience to actually helping me overcome some negative core beliefs about myself then really this whole drunken rant begs the question "Why do I refer to FB as the Whore of all the earth"? Well, Bruce R. McConkie said the "Whore of all the earth" was the Catholic Church...but, I like to think that really...it's FaceBook. In the Book of Mormon it says "there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whosoever belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:10-11) I believe that passage is a reference to how easily we can be fooled by something that SEEMS good but leads us away from our true path. Now don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting FB itself is leading us into darkness, I am suggesting the MOTIVATION behind our FB posts--the desire to appear to other people as bigger, better, richer, stronger, somehow...MORE than someone else, is what leads us further away from discovering how truly special we are. In an inaugural speech Nelson Mandela gave, he said "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be?" That quote really struck me--it helped to open my eyes to how mislead, how blinded by popularity I was...how willing to follow a "false prophet" I was when it came to high school.
So, guess what all you hater bitches from high school who wrote "Whore" on my locker and made me eat my lunch in the bathroom? I am taking back the power. I will no longer let your fear of your own inner demons influence the way I see myself. I will let my light shine. I WILL be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous--and now that I am--I will grow exponentially. I will keep working toward my goal, the goal of self actualization--and as I begin to see my inner light shine...I will heal, and...I will wish the same for you.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mermaids Meets Macbeth

Recently, while I was visiting the laser center, I spotted a poster with a picture of a beautiful mermaid. Now, for those of you who don't know me that well, I happen to LOVE LOVE LOVE mermaids. Beautiful, ethereal creatures who are depicted as both saving men from drowning and, at other times "accidentally" squeezing the life out of them as they attempt to pull them to shore...hey, I didn't come up with the idea...I just really like it. Anyhow, I have always loved mermaids and of course, so does Ava Grace. I figured this was a fantastic opportunity to see a live show, close by, with local performers, featuring one of my favorite mystical creatures. I say favorite because I also happen to love unicorns--yes, I really said that (feel free to take a moment and let it sink in).
Anyhow, last week Ava graduated from preschool and I was already missing the daily contact I had with some of my girlfriends so, I decided to make it a double date, a mother/daughter outing for both myself and one of my good friends. She accepted the invite, we got babysitters and met at the Olive Garden (Ava loves that place). My friend and I shared a bottle of cheap wine, a few funny stories and some mediocre pasta, then it was off to the show. Now, right away, I should have known something was not right when we arrived at the address on the poster and it was the Masonic Temple. Apparently the Mason's are into mermaids too. My friend asked how much the tickets cost, I told her it was free as long as we became Masons before the night was over. I mean how hard could it be right...a few simple handshakes, a couple of rituals, declare our belief in the "Supreme Being" and learn the art of making bricks then VOILA!...we're golden. When we arrived we asked the hostess where to pick up our tickets, she pointed to a woman with a ticket box who asked for our names (as if to look up our purchase info) and then to our surprise (and horror)--from memory--she told us we we're in the front row and would find our seats labeled with our names. Not yet sufficiently freaked out we went in to join the other 10 people at the show and found them (our seats) as promised, labeled with our names smack dab in the middle of the front row.
Now, it wasn't long into the performance when I realized this was not a show ABOUT mermaids but actually a performance of the "The Little Mermaid", and...not the familiar Disney version with a sassy crustacean singing about the pleasures of living beneath the sea. In fact, it was quite the opposite, it was the dark and cynical Macbeth style version where Ariel must kill the prince if she wants to become a mermaid again and return to the sea after a failed attempt at love. Uh...OK. My first reaction was...whatchu talkin' bout Willis? Ariel's going to do what? That's not how the story goes. Then I realized, I had never read the Hans Christian Andersen version of the story. At this point, I was a little overwhelmed. In fact, I was quite upset since I had my 5 year old daughter with me AND earlier in the week I had specifically called on the phone to make sure this was a kid friendly performance. "Oh yes, kids love it" (that's what the lady on the phone said). Really? Who's kids--Ozzy Osbourne? Not my kid, that's for sure. I wasn't sure how much more I could handle. I mean, come on people...I had already turned the other cheek when the mermaids came out looking more like Britney Spears meets Morticia Adam's in costumes that were clearly made for an MTV video, NOW I had to be subjected to witnessing an underwater execution by a pissed off merwhore? What next? I couldn't possibly imagine.
Fortunately for my daughter's sake, Hans Christian Andersen viewed woman as being forlorn and passive when it comes to love. So, believing that Ariel would rather parish then kill her Prince, that's exactly what he had her do...she just up and died. "Ugh" that's what I said as her sisters carried the lifeless, heartbroken mermaid off stage. I mean come on...Ariel made a deal with the evil sea witch in order to become human just to be with Prince Eric. She gave up her voice, her charmed life beneath the sea and all of the things she knew in order to take a chance on love and then he falls in love with someone else? I mean REALLY. All of a sudden I was pissed...I thought "that DICK!" I felt myself secretly wishing she had killed him. However, it was at that moment, that strange, disconcerting moment I was overcome with the desire to see a mermaid get medieval on a man, that I happened to look down at my baby girl sitting beside me...softly weeping. I knew instantly what was wrong--she was devastated, heartbroken. She simply could not contain her disappointment about this play not having a "happy ending". That magical, romantic love story that makes it worth sitting through the scary parts of movies like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. That eternal, undying love between a Prince and his chosen one that Disney has fed us for the last 15 years. I was truly caught off guard. I didn't know how to handle this situation. I mean, lets face it, I know how to handle boys. They are simple, straight forward, easy to read creatures that can be physically coerced and verbally assaulted into submission. But I didn't really know how to deal with such emotional pain, such tenderness, such vulnerability. I looked down at her sad little face, I wiped away her tears and kissed her cheek, then I said, "Oh Honey, I know it's sad, but really...she's better off without him". And then it hit me, the anger, the resentment, the homicidal tendencies towards men...good Lord, I was possessed by my late grandmother Geraldine. It was all I could do not to yell out my favorite line from the Hunchback "sanctuary...sanctuary".
I tried to collect myself for Ava's sake and put aside my murderous feelings toward the Prince (that BASTARD). At the end of the performance we got up and left the theater, though, I must admit it was difficult, those Mason's...they don't want to let you out once they've gotten you in the temple. We tip toed down many hallways and what seemed like secret passage ways. We even ended up in what I thought was some kind of hidden Scooby Doo room you can only enter by leaning against the door frame in a special way. At this point, I was sure we had to join "the order" in order to get the hell out of this building. I looked around to see if anyone was doing the secret "exit" handshake when I noticed a dimly lit sign above a stairwell, it said "EXIT". Hallelujah, we've been saved.
We left the Temple of Doom and went into the parking lot to find our car. Ava had recovered from the trauma and asked if we could get an ice cream. "Of course" I said. I looked at her beautiful little face...the window to her sweet soul and tried to just love her, in all of her tenderness and vulnerability, just simply love her and be there with her in that moment. I tried not to think about what the future might hold for her, what kind of heartaches might be in store for my precious Ava, but I couldn't help it. As we headed to Baskin Robin's I knew in my heart this would probably be the first of many trips to the ice cream store where I would try to help my heartbroken daughter drowned her sorrows in a bowl of rocky road. Unless of course the trauma of the mermaid show coupled with her genetic predisposition had her turning out more like Grandma Geraldine...then I would probably be trying to prevent a Macbeth style execution of a high school boyfriend. Either way, she can count on me to be there, loving her unconditionally every step of the way.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Celebrity Worship...Really!?!

Tonight I decided to address a topic I feel is really not very important but rather a peculiar phenomenon I can't seem to figure out. Ryan calls it "celebrity worship". I call it the "male hairdresser syndrome". It goes like this--people assume that because you are a celebrity you are "special" you are some how better then the average Joe. And, that for some unknown reason, you deserve special privileges that ordinary people don't--like getting stuff you can well afford (for free no less) simply by attending some special event and accidentally showing your panties to a paparazzi. Really? You have a billion dollars but you can't remember to keep your legs together when exiting a vehicle? Ugh.
Let me use the example of the male hairdresser to further illuminate this idea. When I was attending hair school I noticed that many women would request the male hairdressing students and then treat them like hair Gods. Granted, sometimes the boys were good--but frequently they were little more then the semi attractive kid from your high school who was too lame to do anything else but women's hair. I believe the idol worship has something to do with the rarity of the male hairdresser...well, at least the straight male hairdresser. I have to tell myself it simply MUST be this--otherwise why the hell would you continue to go to a hairdresser who is pompous, inconsiderate and rude AND actually has the nerve to burn you with a curling iron and then blame it on you. Yeah...Mom, I'm calling you out.
Well, enough about the "male hairdresser syndrome", back to celebrity worship. This week People magazine named Ashton Kutcher one of the world's 100 most influential people. Really People magazine? Really!?! When I think of Ashton Kutcher I think of, first and foremost, that dreadful movie "Dude, Where's My Car?" Second, I visualize one of the world's top 100 pieces of boy-ass scored by a women who is old enough to be his own mother. I can't help but wonder if his recent climb to the 100 most influential people list isn't a frightening coincidence with the fact that he "tweets" more then a 14 year old girl and posts super lame videos of himself on Facebook every 15 minutes. I mean really--come on Ashton--the only other crowd posting videos and pictures of themselves more frequently than you are the "Emo's".
Nightline did a piece about him tonight and asked "Ashton, why do you think you have you become such a success in the entrepreneurial world?" His answer, "Because I see the top companies out there losing 100's of millions of dollars every year, and I know how to stop it" to which Diane Sawyer, after almost falling out of her chair, mumbled a truly inquisitive "Really?" His response, "I know...but I'm not gonna do anything about it...YET" Brilliant Ashton, brilliant. Way to keep us on the edge of our seats. Congratulations my friend, you have transcended your previous status as a mediocre actor limited to playing the dim witted kid barely able to graduate high school to a financial wizard (at least that's how those 14 year old girls hanging on your every "tweet" see you).
I guess celebrity worship has something to do with the fact that we pay them (celebs) a shit load of money and then expect nothing from them in return. Maybe that is why we get so much enjoyment out of watching them crash and burn. Their train wreck is our only redemption once we realize what complete morons WE are for awarding this type of entitled idiot to be at the top of our social hierarchy. What is the message we are sending young girls (and boys for that matter) when we let hypocritical hillbillies like Carrie Prejean represent the ultra liberal state of California in the Miss USA pageant? After letting the world know she was openly against gay marriage (even though she IS representing California) she went on to write a book about the lack of respect for women and their bodies and the need to treat them like holy temples. Ironically, shortly after the release of the book she appeared in a sex tape--apparently someone WAS worshipping Carrie Prejean's body like a holy temple.
So, in closing I feel it is important to remember that when looking back at our own childhood and remembering innocence lost, at least in comparison to what we experience in today's world--we really shouldn't blame our off spring, the next generation if you will, for the decline of society when what we offered them for role models were Michael Vic, Paris Hilton and Spencer Pratt. Oh and don't forget to include the "Donald" he was the person Carrie Prejean referred to as her role model whom she was "overjoyed to have meet-ed" (yeah...her words--not mine).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Well, I did it. I have finally overcome my writer's block just in time to share my thoughts about...mom's, and mom's special day. After a certain sister in law blasted me publicly, (well, on Facebook--but still--that's pretty public) about not being a good mother, I've been deep in thought about the significance of being a mom. I decided to look at that comment. I felt it didn't apply and let it go. Maybe it's because it's Mother's Day--the holy grail of days when it comes to being nice to mom--but I feel pretty confident that the techniques I use are good. It appears to me that they have been effective in creating 3 healthy, imaginative, lively children with relatively well developed emotional vocabularies and a pretty strong sense of who they are, and what they want out of life. After my fantastic Mother's Day dinner, right before bed I asked Ava Grace if she wanted to get rid of an old stuffy I saw laying on the floor. She said "No, when I grow up and live here and have a daughter I will give it to her. Then you can tell her about buying it for me at Disneyland." I said "Ok".
I wanted to spend my Mother's Day at home with just my kids and their dad. Our festivities included a delicious bar-b-que and 3 lovely handmade cards. While I sat in the sun drinking a glass of wine enjoying my wonderful husband, my oldest son built a lean-to in the backyard with a mattress on top for resting...and pondering deep thoughts. He was very proud of his accomplishment and marveled, as did we all, at his ability to make such an elaborate design with parts harvested only from an old porch swing. He was proud of himself and I was proud of him. I was also proud of myself for teaching that child how to take pride in his achievements and feel good about something he had made. That same child pitched an awful first inning at his game on Friday and though heartbroken and tearful he stuck it out until they called the "mercy rule" and ended the inning because he had walked in 6 runs. I was proud of him then too. In fact I was overjoyed at his ability to walk off the field like a man and collect himself. He allowed himself a brief moment to put his head in my chest and let a few tears go, then he stood up, put on his batting helmet and picked up a bat. He was over it. He had throw his first "loser" inning, his team was 6 runs in the hole and his ego had taken a serious blow but he gave himself a moment to feel the pain, then he moved on. Later in that same game he went on to pull three outs in a row, almost single handedly, in the last inning and secure a victory for his team. I was so proud of him. I was proud of his team too. Proud that they could love him just the same as they always do and congratulate him on a job well done on first base, putting behind them the first inning tragedy that had only an hour earlier befallen the whole team and cost them 6 runs. I was sure their mom's were proud too.
All of my children are good and special as I am sure each mother believes about her children. My mom used to say "Every crow thinks her babies are the blackest." I agree. I think that someone accusing me of being anything other than a fantastic mother, especially when they don't really know me says more about them and less about me. I have learned how to let people be whoever they are regardless of how stupid they are AND still be the person I am, (sometimes equally as stupid I'm sure). I try hard not to judge people because my honest belief is that people do the best they can with the resources they have. I believe it was Maya Angelou who said "When we know better we do better".
My mother is always trying to do better. I think she is a fantastic mother, sure she is not perfect. In fact just the other day I accused her of being a hypochondriac and you know what she did? She got sick. I mean come on. Really Mom? When she thinks she can help, she does. She always tries to anticipate the needs of others. She does what she thinks is best for people and sometimes it's wrong but she tries hard and she comes from a place of love. She is genuine. She has done well raising 3 wonderful children of her own and just like everybody in the whole world--we have issues and we are not perfect. My brother and sister and I are smart loving social people who like to be with people and have a good time. We are very different. We all have different interests but we are good people. We work on improving ourselves and strive to become better--better parents, better sons and daughters and better friends. How many people can say they look at themselves honestly and try to change the things they don't like? I have done many, MANY things I am not proud of and would not do again. However, I had to do them once to know that I didn't want to do them again. One of those things was religion. If I didn't at least give it a try how would I have know it was not right for me? And you know who was there loving and supporting me and NOT judging me? My mom (there were a few other's but the only get an honorable mention cause it's not Father's Day or Husband's Day...it's Mother's Day).
I am grown now, I don't live with my mom any more and our relationship has changed significantly, but--somethings will never change. Last time she was here visiting I told her "Just when you thought you were out of hot water...I reproduced. I can't torment you in the same way I did when I was a kid so I did the next best thing...I made more kids." She laughed, just like she always does when I tease her. She's a good woman. I'm a good woman. I am confidant my daughter will grown up to become a good woman and someday she will have a daughter of her own and she will teach her how to become a good woman. I want to teach Ava how to really love someone. How to accept and support them through all the seasons of their life.
Someone once asked me what I wanted my legacy to be. I was speechless. It's hard to fathom anything beyond this life when you don't believe in anything BUT this life. I couldn't answer him...but I can now. I want my legacy to be that I was a good woman--that I was strong and loyal. That I was brave and smart and funny. That when I loved someone...they knew it. And, that I was a mother, and a damn good one. And mothers never stop loving us and helping us. And even after I am dead and gone I will still be helping, still working, still contributing to making the world a more beautiful place for my children...only now it is because I am in the ground helping the flowers grow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The "Jesus Fish"

As some of you might know, I have had a long and sorted past with religion. When I was a child I read the book "The Diary of Anne Frank" after which I decided it was my destiny to become a Jew. However, this first religious "revelation" was short lived. Soon after I began my investigation into Judaism I decided to sever my affiliation with this group because of the fact that they claim responsibility for the death of Jesus. Apparently, I neglected to investigate the less hated group "Jews for Jesus" before I made my decision. Anyhow, I decided something slightly less controversial might be safer--especially since I was only 9 years old at the time. I had a friend who was a Mormon and she seemed happy and close with her family. I have always struggled to make connections so I felt if joining this church was the answer, by all means, I'm in. I was immediately baptized and initiated into the Mormon faith by my new extended family "the ward". Soon after my conversion I attended "girls camp", were, I accidentally peed in my pants after fearing I was lost in the woods. I was certain I had stumbled into the ecotone, that place where wilderness and civilization overlap, that place where a hungry grizzly bear might just be waiting to make a meal out of a new Mormon convert. After girls camp I returned to civilization where I regularly attended church with my mother, my new Mormon friend, and her family. Shortly after my return from girls camp I watched my new Mormon friend's father put her brothers head through the front door window. Naturally, my interest in church began to suffer. I decided to re-evaluate my life's direction and focus on my dream of becoming the first dancing veterinarian in outer space.
It was many years until I returned to my religious studies and when I did, it was with a small group of born again Christians who owned a boarding school run by religious zealots. I was fascinated by the women's loyalty to their husbands and found it...refreshing. I have an opinionated, strong willed mother who often fought with my equally opinionated, strong willed father making for a not very peaceful home life. I was drawn to these humble, obedient women and wanted to learn the secret to the harmonious live style they seemed to be living. However, I began to question the motives of my new "religious mentors" when they said I would go to hell if I didn't vacuum regularly, do my chores and be mindlessly obedient to the staff at the boarding school. I felt unrest. I felt a disconnect. And, I felt spiritually lost. I began to read books about Buddhism, Hinduism, and other middle eastern philosophies. I found them intriguing and couldn't wait to share what I had read with the other students. Big mistake...big, huge. This was the breaking point for the people who ran the boarding school. It was bad enough that I was reading it myself but to teach these controversial alternative philosophies to the other students was completely unacceptable. They asked me to leave the school and offered a high school diploma as incentive. I took it and ran.
So, there I was...newly graduated from high school, a budding young adult, searching for my life's true purpose but still reveling from the huge spiritual void I had felt for so many years. I tried filling that void with bad relationships, drugs and alcohol, and naughty exploits that helped me stay afloat financially. I was suffering from severe depression related to a major eating disorder and a recent miscarriage. It was about this time I met my now husband Ryan. He suggested that, (having served a mission for the LDS church and being somewhat of a religious Guru), he observed my problem to be a lack of spirituality and offered to take me to church, to which I said "What the hell?" We were both LDS, the lifestyle of the Mormon religion had at one time appealed to me greatly, and I was a terribly lost soul. I had not been able to quench my religious thirst with any of the holy water I had been consuming for the past several months. So, we began attending church together, fell madly in love (which I called "gaining a testimony") and were then sealed for time and all eternity in the LDS temple. We lived in blissful ignorance for 2 years until I discovered things were not as they appeared. I went to church, I read my B of M (Book of Mormon) and even had a couple kids. I longed to experience what I thought I saw the other women having. A beautifully rewarding and satisfying relationship with their husband, the Lord and their 6 children. However, I knew this was not to be. I knew that I would never be the devout natural Mormon born into the church that I longed to. Equally as devastating was the news that my religious rock Ryan was also suffering. I was crushed when he suggested that he was not nearly as strong in his beliefs as he had originally appeared. Together we struggled to make sense of this awful thing that had happened. We looked in all the wrong directions and asked many people who were not qualified enough to give directions to the bathroom at the zoo let alone advice on finding ourselves spiritually. We were both heart broken and facing a major turning point in our life as a married couple. We offered to blame ourselves. We tried blaming each other. We even tried blaming the kids. Nothing worked, we were inconsolable in our quest to find spirituality both as individuals and together as a couple. We partied out of control and tried to forget about how badly we hurt. We contemplated divorce. However, we decided to take one last trip together. We went to Las Vegas to binge on alcohol and strippers. Well, guess what happened while we were there? I got pregnant. Nine months later we had the most beautiful baby girl either of us had ever seen. She was an angel. She was absolutely precious. She was...our saving Grace. We named her Ava Grace.
Over the next 5 years we would continue to struggle with spirituality. Ryan and I gradually drifted apart in our religious beliefs but grew stronger, much stronger as a couple. We both had learned, from all of the suffering we did together, that the quest for spirituality is one we must make alone. So we have both explored what lies beneath our surface(s). Ryan has struggled to make sense of his life as a born again Mormon. He is still learning how to have a healthy relationship with the Savior that doesn't involve guilt and shame. I on the other hand, have embraced Darwinism. I have rejected all forms of organized religion and come to identify with agnosticism as the only intelligent choice. However, I am still left with the question...what is our life's true purpose? I decided that the next step was to consult a professional. I entered therapy. To my therapist I posed the question how can I embrace a group of people I consider to be less intellectually enlightened? He suggested that I might be spiritually blocked. I had to open myself up, I had to redefine who I considered spiritual, and that my definition of a spiritual person couldn't include stereotypes. I agreed. I left that session feeling hopeful. I walked out of his office, out of the building and into the parking lot where I was abruptly greeted by an awful woman, with awful bleach blond hair and giant fake breasts, in an equally awful pink Toyota Celica. I thought to myself "Ugh" no further explanation necessary. As I walked behind her car I happened to notice something on the trunk. It was the "Jesus fish". I thought to myself, really? REALLY?!? I open myself up to the universe and THIS is what it sends me? I decided it was a sign...a sign from the underworld. I told Ryan this story and he said "Well, if there is an underworld, there must be a God in Heaven because their is balance in all things." I found this thought process intriguing. Here I am paying a therapist, when, meanwhile it is my very own husband who opens my eyes to the endless possibilities that the "Jesus fish" might hold. I call it a disturbing sign from Satan, he calls it a hopeful sign from the Lord. I later told my therapist, I guess that is why we pick people who are our opposite...to help us achieve maximum "enlightenment" or maybe just to torment us spiritually for time and all eternity.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What Do You Want For Your Birthday?

Tonight as I was entertaining my kids with lively stories of the Vietnamese nail ladies, I noticed that one of the dogs got very upset when she heard me imitate an angry Vietnamese woman. We all started to crack up when we realized our dog was a racist (well, everyone except Devin--he's not a night owl so he was snoozing away on the couch with a newly penned green mustache I gave him, yeah, that's what you get for being the first to fall asleep during family night). I continued to mess with the dog and found myself terribly amused by her reaction. I wondered do other people find these kinds of things as amusing as I do? Which brings me to the real question...does my interest in all things ridiculously funny and sometimes a little dangerous make me eternally youthful or just a poser?
For those of you who read my blog and know me on a deeper level you are, I'm sure, familiar with my love of adventure and humor. For those of you who are new to me or my blog, I would describe myself as a seventeen year old boy trapped in a 30 year old woman's body. I frequently tell people if you want to know me ask me what I want for my birthday. I think it's a good way to get to know someone. If you are trying to get to know a person, ask them what they want for their birthday and REALLY listen to their answer . One time a friend of mine said she wanted "track lighting". Well, that's practical, lame, but practical. Another time I asked a friend what do you want for your birthday and she said "Oh, I don't know...nothing". Well, I find this answer particularly upsetting because you see what I asked was what she WANTED not what she wanted ME to get for her. The simple act of asking doesn't mean I have any intention of buying. You could ask for the moon, I am usually asking out of a place of wanting to get to know you better, not plan for a future purchase. You see, if you ask me I would say, what I always say, anything YOU might have wanted when you were 16. I emphasize "you" because I believe everybody had the same basic desires up until about this point. Around 16 people start to see things differently. However, I am basically still a kid at heart. I like remote control cars, binge drinking, hanging out with my friends and having pets. I like "sleeping in", looking good, hand guns and camping. I like dirt bikes and hot rods, I like strippers and "drunk" sex (however, after 3 unplanned children, I am seriously rethinking that one). I like racing down the hill on a skateboard or a big wheel or some other contraption with wheels. I like sitting on the couch, watching T.V. and recovering from an injury. I like Lord of the Rings and LARPing (live action role playing). I like pig Latin and if I could learn to speak "Elvish" I would. I love rollerskating to disco music and dancing all night at a club. I LOVE roller coasters and water slides. Oh, and my most favorite movie EVER...The Breakfast Club. I basically love doing and having all the things I loved when I was 16. In fact, tonight when I was cutting my friends hair I told him it was hard for some people to take me seriously because I lived in a semi-permanent state of "Rumspringa".
However, I also love being a grown up and getting to decide for myself which of these things I do and how frequently I do them. That is really the best part of being a grown up...being able to decide for myself what to do. What I really wonder about is why don't more people like doing the things? Didn't we all find them fun at some point in our lives? Why do we love doing these things so much when we are young and then abandon them as we grown up? Can we not find a way to incorporate some of what we loved as kids into our adult lives? Why does adult life seem so boring and so un-fun for so many adults? Sometimes it seems like life in the adult world is some kind of dysfunctional relationship between Fibromyalga and Alcoholism. We avoid reality whenever possible, we drink too much and deny everything. We're tired all the time, everything "hurts" and we just can't seem to figure out what the hell is making us feel so bad.
Now, I will be the first to admit that someone who considers them self a professional hobbyist and find South Park REALLY amusing isn't going to be the best person to give advice on how to live a balanced life. However, I have to believe that our goal is to find a place somewhere between the world of fantasy that I spend so much time living in and the world of reality that most adults spend so much time and money trying to avoid.
My best advice would be to find something that brings you happiness and satisfaction...and makes you feel good--even if only for a moment. How do we do this? Well, ask yourself "What do I want for my birthday?" and when you answer, make sure to be honest and don't limit yourself something too practical. Let your mind go. Try to recapture something from your youth, something that made you feel good, something that made feel ALIVE. You never know, you may surprise yourself and end up having a fantastic 40th birthday at the local Laser Tag, hey it's better then track lighting.