Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
"In your world, everyone else is allowed to go about their happy little way without a care in the world, while you worry and fret over the details of every birthday, holiday and anything in between. As if that isn’t challenge enough, you then berate yourself for days or weeks afterward for not doing a better job, or for not doing it all with a stress free smile and a happy-go-lucky attitude. I’m not sure what memo you got that said Super Woman was a real life hero, but I am happy to announce and debunk the theory that as women we have to be able to do it all, have it all, arrange it all, cook it all, clean it all, and magically make everyone else around us, enjoy it all with a smile plastered on our wary faces, every hair perfectly in place and nails brightly done."
In short I was giving her permission to be less than perfect. In all honesty, I wasn't just talking to her, I was talking to myself. I have got to lighten up and let my little tics quit stressing me out. I know in my heart of hearts that the kids do not care if the presents under the tree are color coordinated and decorated with handmade bows and artfully arranged like Martha Stewart's house. I know in my heart that they do not count the number of gifts each person receives to make sure each one got the same number of gifts, or that they mentally keep a running tally of how much each gift cost and the sum of each person's gift. I know that they are too old to really believe in Santa Clause and wouldn't care if there were no unwrapped "Santa" gifts laid out with each child's stocking on Christmas morning. I am the one making myself miserable by standards I can't possibly obtain in the way I imagine. So why do I stress about it? In part, I believe I still see the kids as three little faces excited about Christmas morning, instead of adults with adult stresses like jobs, bills and other adult worries. Instead of the pitter patter of little feet running down the stairs on Christmas morning (which was ALWAYS my favorite part), there is just the sound of large feet lumbering down the stairs with "I wanna sleep till noon" enthusiasm. I'm a mom, with adult children who is trying to create the magic of Christmas that only a small child can bring. Am I hinting for grand babies? No, I certainly am not. I'm simply trying to wrap my mind around the new normal at our house on Christmas morning or whenever we can get everyone in the same place at the same time to have Christmas at all. It's all part of the mid-life crisis crap (can I say that on a blog without being judged?), and probably just another thing I should silently endure like every other woman who is at the same point in her life journey. But no, if I think it, feel it, or do it, I'm going to blog it because maybe, just maybe I'm not alone in my hysterical delusions of grandeur. During our conversation the other day, my friend said "This makes me a horrible person." I scoffed and assured her it certainly did not; it made her normal, and those too proud to admit their struggles were the weird ones, or giving them the benefit of doubt maybe they just don't have a blog from which they can share the craziness of a woman's mind.
Friday, November 16, 2012
unusually close to these people who waited with me. Just a few short weeks ago, I didn't know any of them and even though we didn't really seem to interact much during practice, a bond had slowly formed that now knitted us together in a very unique way.
My mid-life crisis isn't just about my kids being gone, It's about looking around and seeing how narrow my circle of influence has become. I've surrounded myself with the relationships that I'm most comfy-cozy in and neglected (even refused) to develop any new relationships. I wrap
my close-knit friends around me like a child does a favorite blanket; they make me feel safe, secure and loved. I haven't been interested in knitting new edges to that well-worn blanket because of the time, energy, and the risk of rejection that is ever present. So When I walked into the
audition, I walked in for the purpose of not only expanding myself, but also of knitting some
new scratchy, not so comfy edges to my well-worn blanket. When we walked onto the stage last night, I was pretty proud. Not of myself, but of the newest yarn that had been added to the edges of my blanket. It was definitely different in color and texture as the existing blanket, but the contrast adds an interesting dimension to what has been such a predictable life.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
I just have to wonder about first impressions. A few weeks ago, being in full throttle mid-life crisis mode, I went to our local theater and auditioned for a play. Much like the mud running, it just sounded like a good way to distract myself from this awkward stage I've found myself in. Luckily for me, I was the only person to show up for auditions that night and was given a part in the upcoming dinner theater which begins this week. I tried taping myself saying my lines, but I couldn't stand the sound of my voice so I lock myself in my room during lunch and after work, and say my lines out loud. Even with no one around, I still get embarrassed. This week we started rehearsals in the banquet room the play will be held at. The director keeps telling me I have to project my voice, he said.... and I quote.... "You are just so soft-spoken." Those were his EXACT words. The very first thought I was.... "What planet is he from?" The second thought I was.... "What planet is he from?" I mean really!? I have never (NEVER) had anyone describe me as "soft spoken" and I just knew he had misspoken, but he reiterated it several times, and it was just such a sweet thing to say, but something that I feel is terribly inaccurate. I was actually shocked speechless (I know, imagine right?) and honestly felt a little bad that he would feel silly once he gets to know me better. Until then though, I will unleash the drama beast inside of me and try to come at this acting thing with guns blazing. When all is said and done (very loudly), I'll tuck my soft-spoken self back into my shell and continue on my quiet way, because maybe I am... Maybe I am a little.... soft- spoken.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Sunday, November 4, 2012
"All the concepts about stepping out of your comfort zone mean nothing, until you DECIDE that your purpose, vision and goals are more important than your self-imposed limitations." *Robert White*
My husband and I participated in The Ultimate Mud Warrior Race this weekend. Personally I choose to scratch the word Race out and replace it with Finish because for me that's what it's all about. You might say I'm trying to get over myself... literally. My greatest obstacle in life has been my limited belief in myself and the fear of everything outside my bubble world. As I've watched my kids set out on their life adventures, I've seen them accomplish things that would (and have) scared me stiff. I've come to realize that believing in yourself is the toughest challenge you can face. That being said, the day was slated to be a beautiful fall day and apparently Murphy didn't get the memo about my race entry, therefore he failed to show up. The morning was beautiful as planned, but a tad nippy at 9 a.m., but not the cold, drizzly 47 degrees as the run/race we did last
month. I had watched the construction of the course online and was excited about the level of obstacles and the intriguing route the race would take. Of course it wouldn't be a mud race without water (and lots of it), and mud there was. Part of the race included sand, which is exactly like swimming in glue when you are really tired. All obstacles had an alternate path if you didn't feel up to the challenge, but hey, that's what this is all about. Not far into the course we came to the under/over cable lake crossing. This challenge consisted of a
lake bordered by cliffs. Cables ran from one side of the lake to the other, one cable to walk on, one cable to hold, and a very muddy cold lake lay way beneath the cables (did I mention cold). Racers stood in line to cross, but those who wanted to opt out could simply do 10 push-ups and take the alternate path. My husband suffered a bad shoulder injury a couple of years ago and opted out, I made the decision to stay. I stood in line with the other racers for probably 40 minutes. That's a long time to stand in the shade (did I mention cold) and watch people creep their way across the cables, many falling to their wet reward below. I wouldn't say I was nervous, I would say I was pensive. 35 minutes into the wait, there were only 2 othersin front of me. I looked out across the lake. On the other side was a clearing where the ones who had crossed, as well as many spectators stood watching the daring ones. Teammates stood shouting instructions to friends and everyone cheered for
those who had fallen to the icy waters below. Each racer had their own method to the madness of crossing. Some walked the cable like a tight rope, some scooted sideways, all struggled. As each racer reached midpoint in the crossing, the next racer stepped onto the cable and usually there was a racer just finishing. The first step wasn't too bad for the one entering, but this is where the one in the middle began to struggle forcontrol. I watched those in the middle fight the line. The cable would begin to sway sending part of their body one way, part of their body the other way. the trick was to get your body back in line so you could continue to inch your way across. I gritted my teeth as I watched the racers bobble and bop, swing and sway. I started to ask myself.... "Is this really worth it? In the great scheme of things, what does it matter if I do this or not? Just drop and give em 10 and go around and be done with it." Then I thought of all the times I didn't push myself to do the difficult. I thought about all of the risks my daughter has taken while in the Navy, and the things my son has face on his mission trips and in starting a business. I knew this wasn't important to anyone, but me. This wasn't a challenge of fear, failure, or danger, it was a
challenge of inner courage, and inner belief in myself. I needed to do this. I stepped out on the line and focused (and focus is a big deal for me) all of my energy on doing this. I had decided the side step slip/slide/scoot route would probably work best. Carefully I slide my leg and arm to the side, balanced, then brought the other side together. When the cable began to swing, I spread my legs out to maintain balance and then brought them back in when the line steadied. 3/4 way across, the cable began to jump and swing as the other racer stepped onto the line. I did not come this far to fail! I fought the line with everything I had. I tried trapping the line behind my
shoulders and holding with my neck, which actually worked really well, until it didn't anymore. After what seemed like forever, something that happened at the beginning of the cable jerked the cable from under my feet and my hand could no longer hold on. I plummeted to the murky water beneath, and came up gasping for air. When I made it to shore, my husband's feet appeared, and he reached down to help me up. I was so dizzy from the swaying, I couldn't get my balance and it took a few seconds for me to be able to stand. I was so disappointed and exhausted! It wouldn't have taken much to send me in tears. The woman who was on the cable at the same time (and who fell at the same time), apologized as she walked past, but I
was too exhausted to respond. As my husband and I walked through the woods, I honestly doubted I could finish the race. I had used so much mental and physical energy on the cable, I wasn't sure I had anything left for the rest of the course. My husband walked with me and showered me with accolades. When we came out of the woods, we faced a mountain, or actually mountains of sand. I still didn't know if I could finish, but I was willing to try. Little by little, obstacle by obstacle, I marched on and the haze of disappointment faded, the
chill disappeared and the end was clearly in sight. Crossing the finish line was made sweeter by the decision I made at the precipice of the lake. Much like every other thing in life, most of the battle was in my mind. I may have fallen from the cable, but I didn't fall out of the race. More importantly, I conquered a hurdle of self-imposed limitations, stepped out of my comfort zone and lived to blog about it. That is a very big deal to me! Warrior on Mudders.