Monday, July 28, 2014


I'm kinda, two very stressful situations. It's so bad that my stomach gets upset, my entire body clenches and I am perpetually close to tears whenever I find myself in these areas.

 As I processed both situations on the drive home the other night, something profound occurred to me. The things causing the stress are the minority. In both situations, if I list the good things and the negative things about the situations, the good things outnumber the negative.The problem is, the negative things are the "loudest." And it's a shrill, squawking kind of loud...not the sort of thing you can ignore.

But putting it into perspective, it was sort of like that moment in A Bug's Life. You know...when the ants finally realize that even though the grasshoppers are WAY bigger than them, they outnumber the grasshoppers by like...a gazillion to one...and therefore they are stronger and more powerful!!!

And they run the grasshoppers off and they all live happily ever after! However long that is for an ant...

So I walked into one of these situations with a new attitude of "I've got this!" I was ready to turn things around! It took about 30 minutes before my resolve was shattered, my gut was tight and I was blinking fast to stop the downpour.

I'm just not sure what to do! I'd say I was one of those people who don't handle conflict well...but how many people do you know that actually "handle conflict well"?

And the more I think about it, the more I realize how squawkers have taken over! The trolls on blogs, articles, etc are the minority but I've had to stop reading comments because of them. A popular blogger has seriously considered shutting her blog down because of them. Westboro Baptist Church has something like 40 members and most of them family but somehow they have perpetuated the mainstream media's version of the "church". The Tea Party is a minority and yet they can stop the government in its tracks! The lists goes on and on...

If you really, really think about it the good outweighs the bad. There are more moderates out there than we know but they can't be heard over the squawking! So what do we do? What do the positive forces out there do? Do we get louder? Or does that turn us into squawkers? Less problem solvers and more just adding to the din and chaos? How do we handle the situations where there are 14 people in a room and two of them are making life miserable for everyone?

I just don't know. This isn't one of those blogs where I have solutions, ideas or resources. If you do, please share! I just want those of you who think you are alone in the bathroom stall trying to get away from the nasty that I'm in the one next to you.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


After my divorce, the "church" taught me something I hadn't known...nor, to be honest, ever suspected.

I was dangerous.

I must say, this information came as a surprise. I'd never thought of myself as dangerous. At least not to my crazier days, there were times I was a danger to myself. But I couldn't think of any time I'd ever been a danger to anyone else. (I know what you are thinking...but a bowl of ice cream doesn't count as "anyone")

But here was the situation. I was just hitting 30. Divorced. Not unattractive. And a somewhat sympathetic figure as the wronged wife left alone with two young children.

To my shock, I found that I was in a perfect position to cause church going married men to "stumble" (read, lust after the pathetic female) and I must do everything in my power to protect them.

I must be careful how I dressed, how I smiled, how friendly I was...
I must never be alone with a married man in a room, house, building or forest ( one ever said "forest" get the drift). I must never ride alone in a car with a married man.

Because, just by being me I was dangerous and apparently the church going married men could only defend themselves so long before they "stumbled" into sin because of me.

Before I go on, let me tell you that I believe in healthy boundaries. I actually do my best not to be alone in rooms or cars with married men. I am rarely friends with them on Facebook if I'm not also friends with their wife. And basically...just use common sense.

My problem isn't with the boundaries. My problem was with the extremity of the boundaries and the focus. The focus was never about avoiding the "appearance of evil" in Biblical sense or protecting me...or even both me and the married man.

It was about protecting him. From me.

Because apparently he doesn't have responsibility for his own actions after a certain point. He "stumbled" into sin while it seemed I ran into it...pushing the poor hapless male along the way. Guys are supposedly the stronger sex so how is it the female's responsibility to keep them from sinning?

Years ago I allowed my daughter to attend a youth conference that included a talk from an older teenage boy on the way girls should dress. He told the girls that when they showed their bra strap, the guy didn't just think "bra strap" but his mind went down to what the bra strap held. The moral of the story...don't show your bra strap. Incidentally, my son was at the same conference. At no time did he attend a talk from an older teenage girl about what guys wearing tight pants or going shirtless did to girls. He was also never told how to take his thoughts in control when he saw a bra strap.

A few days ago a father brought his two sons into the shop and arranged to pick up a surprise for his wife on Friday. That particular day I looked and felt like crap. Several people mentioned I looked sick but mostly it was just the exhaustion from moving. Yesterday, I felt much better...but I hadn't gone to any big lengths. My hair was in a pony tail, I wasn't wearing makeup, I was dressed in a shirt that showed no skin and a skirt that comes to my ankles. I tell you this because it's important. Because of what comes next. Because I need you to understand that I was as friendly as my job expects me to be but nothing else and I wasn't dressed in any shape, fashion or form that would cause a man to "stumble". Because when I tell you that two hours later that husband and father called me on the business phone to proposition me, some of you are going to immediately wonder what I did to make him think it was okay. And I know this. I also know that when I hung up the phone shaken and disgusted, the first thing I asked myself was

"What did I do to make him think this was okay?"

I know that when I ranted about it on Facebook, I told people what I was wearing in order to circumvent having to defend myself. And I know that it impacted one of the teenage girls that I love and "mother" that I did so.

I am dangerous. Just by being me, that man thought it was okay to disrespect me, his wife, his boys, himself. Just by doing my job. Just by breathing.

I don't know what to tell you. Maybe, since there is no defense against my lure (even when I haven't waxed my upper lip or pulled out those little hairs on my chin for weeks), what we need to do instead is equip men to take care of themselves in such a way that they learn to control their thoughts and actions.

Maybe we start holding them responsible.

Then maybe, I won't be such a danger. Because, as exciting as being "dangerous" sounds, I don't like it. I don't like being eyed, whistled at on the street or propositioned. I don't like being viewed not only as an object but as an object some man is entitled to have. I don't like seeing women objectified in every source of media and hearing "what can you do?" as people shrug their shoulders.

Here is a hard cold truth for you. The media is controlled by their audience. And they are selling what you are buying. And if you are buying, it is not their fault. But your own.

Stop using the media as a convenient excuse for the fact that women are objectified and treated disrespectfully. Stop pointing the finger at the billboards and women in yoga pants who just want to freaking be comfortable and start pointing the finger at yourself.

Because I am only as "dangerous" as you allow me to be. And people generally "stumble" when they aren't looking where they are going. And I'm tired of being told that being treated this way is somehow my fault.

Friday, July 11, 2014


You guys!!! Last night I took a long hot bath.
And I shaved my the entire leg!
Calves...knees...thighs. BOTH legs!

I realize the effects on my legs will be short lived...but it was positively luxurious!
I could've been washing dishes. Unpacking boxes. Spending time with my lovely kiddos.

But...I'm gonna be honest. The kids liked me a lot better when I got out of the bath. And the dishes got done. And the unpacking is waiting on me. And I really, really needed to chill a bit. Rest, relax, take care of myself.

Because we have to choose to take care of ourselves. We have to choose to value ourselves. And it doesn't have to be anything big. A cruise to the Bahamas is unrealistic at this point...but a bath, book and cup of tea. Totally doable. But it isn't going to come out and grab me and force me to enjoy it. I have to choose to. And even in the midst of enjoying those wonderful, quiet moments...that nagging voice that reminds you of your responsibilities. Shut it up. In that moment, your responsibility is to you. To your sanity. To your peace.

So, choose to rest. Choose to luxuriate in whatever makes you smile and think "ahhh"
Some of you can enjoy a spa day. Some of you just have to deal with a few minutes to put your feet up and channel surf for a minute. And some of you just need to lay down while the infant takes a nap and enjoy the quiet.

If you need permission, here it is. We, as women...we as the entire freaking world...give you permission to take care of yourself.

So what's your favorite way to treat yourself? Share some ideas!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy Interdependence Day

"The landlord of the 'Chat Gris'-by name Brogard-had taken no notice of his guests...and in the meantime it was not for a free citizen to show deference, or even courtesy, to anyone..." 

I laid back in the bed, happy and tired. We'd had a great day with family and ended the night watching the fireworks display my cousin's children had designed (complete with playlist of patriotic songs). I scrolled through Facebook and smiled at the pictures of kids with sparklers, the patriotic memes declaring gratitude for independence, the American Way, the soldiers who protected it...I grimaced when I read my friends post complaining about late night fireworks waking up his young son. And then I read a post from Unvirtuous Abbey (if you appreciate irreverant humor and thought provoking "prayers" check them out) 

"For soldiers with PTSD whose neighbors decide to let off their own fireworks in their backyards we pray."

I read it and thought "Is that really a thing? I many soldiers with PTSD..."
A lot.

I read through the comments as veterans shared their ways of getting through the night...headphones, ear plugs, loud TVs, loud music, alcohol. I read comments from people complaining they needed to "lighten up" and that people should be allowed to "have a little fun" I mean, after all, its a "free country"

"It took Brogard some few minutes to consider the question. A free citizen does not respond too readily to the wishes of those who happen to require something of him" 

So we celebrate our independence...we thank our soldiers...but we don't appreciate the trauma that the loud booms, pops and explosions put them through. Because we are damned well going to celebrate the freedom you helped protect whether you like it or not!

Oh dear Lord. I hadn't even considered it.

One woman mentioned that her family knew a soldier lived down the street from them. So they asked him before setting off fireworks in their yard. Another mentioned young children and said their subdivision had come together and agreed that no fireworks would be set off after 9:30 for the sake of the babies and the parents...and that everyone had complied.
(Yay! Hope for humanity!)

Here's the America, we love to celebrate our "independence", our freedom, our rights. But we become so enamored with our independence that we forget our interdependence. We are so busy exercising our rights that we forget we might be trampling on the rights of others. 

"...and lounged about, smoking his evil-smelling pipe, sometimes under Marguerite's very nose, as any free-born citizen who was anybody's equal should do." 

The other day I was working at Horizon. I had the inner lobby doors closed because the Community Center in Little Five can be quite a boisterous atmosphere. Close to the end of the show, a young woman opens the lobby door and shouts at me across the room "Can you tell me where so and so is being held?" (In her defense, she wasn't deliberately shouting...she projects naturally...I can relate...I do it, a lot) I turned around and without thinking did the finger to the lips and the "shhhh" And she immediately became angry "DON'T YOU SHUSH ME!" she said. Walking over to her, I quietly tried to explain that we had a show going on and the patrons inside the theatre could hear her. "Well then, you ask me to be quiet, you don't shush me!" she said...getting louder and louder. I finally got her out of the inner lobby and calmed her down. But she left offended...and I was kinda okay with that because I was offended. She felt her rights and dignity had been abused and I felt the same...on my behalf and that of my audience. But later I thought about it and realize that we'd both been so busy defending our "rights" that we hadn't taken time to consider the other. I have no idea why the finger to the lip and the "shhh" was so offensive to her and she had no idea why it wasn't okay for her to be that loud in my lobby. 

"It was distinctly more fitting to his newborn dignity to be as rude as possible; it was a sure sign of servility to meekly reply to civil questions" 

There's this great song on the If/Then original cast recording, "Ain't No Man Manhattan" depicting on each of us is connected, how everyone's life connects, etc. It contains the line "How much you love your life is, what ev'ry life is worth" We need to be as protective of other people's rights and feelings as we want to be our own. Whether we are cutting people off in traffic to get to our destination just a split second sooner, shooting off fireworks, or leaving comments online. Other people matter. The way we treat them matters. And if we give up shooting fireworks in our backyard so that a former soldier struggling with PTSD can have a calmer evening, that is not our rights being infringed upon...that is saying in this instance, someone is more important than our entertainment. If we remember that certain gestures are offensive to certain people, then we are honoring them and/or their culture. If we refrain from the lewd joke, rude comment, or hateful comeback...we are not silencing our voices but becoming the voice of reason.

"And with this parting assertion of his rights as a citizen and a free man, to be as rude as he well pleased, Brogard shuffled out of the room, banging the door after him."

We are interdependent as a nation...we rely on each other, take care of each other and need to continuously lift each other up. Because if we are continuously lifting each other up, then everyone gets to climb. And we are all better for it. And that is something to celebrate.

(All quotes from The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy)