Being Passive Aggressive

So there you have it… the last post I made was ridiculously passive aggressive. A quality that I despise in others and loathe when it comes from myself. Generally, I pride myself on being “aggressive aggressive” as I like to put it.  You want fuck with me? Let’s go. But there are those rare situations when my emotions get the best of me, my brain apparently shuts down and dumb ass shit comes out of my mouth.  or in this case, off of my fingertips.

So what did I do?  I avoided my blog.  ‘Cause every time I opened it up to start to type, I was slapped in the face with my own bad decision. And at a time in my life when I really need to be writing because so much is overwhelming, I avoided the blog AGAIN because of what I put up there. So I guess this is sort of a confessional.  My way of moving past an indiscretion.

So hopefully… more later.

Thought for the day…

Isn’t it funny how sometimes you can be nothing but nice to a person, be the only one that is supportive of their situation, and they still have only horrible things to say about you.  And under a pen name no less.

C’est la vie.

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Budhha

When it all falls apart

I had an amazing childhood.  I mean really, really amazing. Just about perfect. I rarely, if ever, saw my parents fight. My brother and I ran wild in the backyard, which connected to our friends’ yards, through fields and forests (probably not as large as my childhood memories lead me to believe.) We had a pool and our grandparents in the “in-law” apartment downstairs. We had dogs and cats and horses and goats. My cousins were nearby and we saw them weekly.  It was perfection.

Could I point out this event or that event that was less then perfect?  Sure, my dad worked a lot and he missed stuff. I know this because he tells us that now. I never felt like he actually missed anything, I remember him coaching sports and sitting in the crowd for all of my activities. But if he said he missed out on part of our childhood, I’m sure he did. He worked hard.  And let’s face it… at some point growing up, my brother and I were teenagers. So you know there was some ornery times in our house.

But we were THAT family. The one that all our friends wanted to be around. The family that stuck together, even when we moved apart. We were close, always. And geography was nothing more than a technicality to us.

So as I try to cope with the last year, I can’t help but look around and wonder…

What the fuck happened?

It all fell apart.

One Sunday Night.

My brother and his fiancee came to visit. They’ve had some hard times. Stress was building. There was a fight. My parents and my brother, lashing out at each other over years of very clearly unresolved issues. For four hours, I watched and listened and attempted to mediate what I could only hope was a clearing of the slate. A violent storm of words, washing away animosity on both sides that neither knew existed.  I watched in utter shock the words being flung back and forth like arrows with poison tips. We all cried. We hugged and I went home. Leaving my brother and his fiancee at my parents house. Two days later, they left to go back to Connecticut.

And I was so, so wrong.

Nothing was improving, nothing was washed away. Scars were left by words. It became increasingly more clear to me that this was not a clearing of the slate. Putting 1000 miles between them didn’t help the situation. The communication broke down. They weren’t speaking. Where the hell did my family go?

And there I was. In the middle.

Don’t you think this? Don’t you feel that? How are mom and dad. How is your brother. Do you think I was wrong? Were we really out of line? ENOUGH! I finally told them all I was out. You want to know how your son is doing? Pick up the phone and call him. You want to what your parents are thinking? Ask them. And that was that. I removed myself from the triangle.

Sadly, this (and months of therapy) did little to help me heal. My perfect family will never be the same. Everything I knew that I could always depend on was a shattered mess. I fell apart. And nobody knew it. Nobody in my family even bothered to ask how I felt about it all. As if they didn’t even realize that it had affected me.

So now, with nearly a year gone by, I guess everyone is at least speaking. On occasion, the other will be mentioned to me in a passing conversation. Everyone is living their lives. Who knows if anything will ever improve.

I still love my family more than anything, but now it’s with a heavy heart. I took for granted the way we were and I wish I had appreciated more of what we had. Because we will never, ever have that again. Life goes on and these things happen, I know.  My story could be much worse, I know that too.  I wasn’t part of the battle, but I got scarred in the cross fire.

Here’s hoping time really does heal all wounds.

Finding the Good Life.

The “good life” is your life. Whatever you choose.

What should I write? It’s a question I frequently throw out to trusted friends or sometimes just at dinner to rile up the conversation. It’s usually met with the same response

Er… I dunno. Whatever you want.

Helpful guys, thanks.

But when I was getting antsy to write this time, my usual question was answered with a not so usual response.

“Write about how there are so many people, including myself, that live their lives struggling, advancing in work, getting married, running in the rat race. Denying the true feeling that they have had for ever about their lives. They are a gypsy soul that wants to wander the world, have no place to hang their hat, love strong, say YES, die whenever but not from sickness.”

And at first, I could not figure out how to answer that text. But then I realized that I did know how to respond. I felt it, I understood. I could relate. I did it. Fuck, I LIVED it. All of it, every line.

I got married, because that’s what people do. Because I mistook loving someone for being deeply, truly and madly IN love with them. Then I got divorced and did it all again. Even the divorce part. Next my biological clock started ticking so loudly in my ears, I went BABY CRAZY. For four years, I listened to my biological clock pounding in my head, in spite of not having someone in my life that I would want to share a child or have a family with. Then, one day, I realized I’m not even really sure that I want kids.

And then I thought about it. Not kids, necessarily, but life.

I actually took the time to think about my life. And what do I want? What happened to all the things that I knew I wanted to do? I wanted to see Europe. All of it. Mountains and beaches and museums and cafes. I wanted to lay on the grass and stare at the Eiffel tower. I wanted to climb to the very top of Greece and look down to the ocean, see its stucco facade in all of it’s blue and white glory and watch the old men lead donkeys up and down the windy roads. I wanted to ride a gondola in Venice and smell the retchid loss of dignity the city has suffered going from a beautiful mystery to a city drowning in it’s own sewers.

And I was spoiled, blessed. I watched the wave riders from the beach in Bali. I walked for hours on the Great Wall of China. I toured the Great Ocean road in Southern Australia and gawked, open-mouthed and stunned at the raw beauty of Aboriginal paintings. The spark of wander lust was fueled; like someone recklessly splashing lighter fluid on the bonfire. It remained a fire that glowed, sometimes brightly, sometimes just an ember.

But as it does, if you let it, life happened. I got a job and found myself in a career. A year, then five and then a decade passed. My mind occasionally wandering back to a lust for travel. But the occasional longing to roam, well it’s the longing that confirms that I want it and need it. I need to GO.

I miss the feeling of standing in the customs line, my gut tight with knots, strangely and unnecessarily nervous. The same way that my muscles clench mildly during date. Knowing what I want, but not what to say to go about getting exactly that. Not sure if my hunger will be immediately satiated, or if I’ll need to justify it.

No place to hang my hat? Yeah. Been there. Lived in my car. Literally. A Ford Escort. A shower curtain rod hung between the two back windows to hang my work clothes. Everything else in the trunk. Missing my dog, knowing she was safe and loved and more cared for than I could provide after leaving her with a family friend. Crashing each night with a different friend or colleague. Do I long for that life again? I was going to say no, but unexpectedly, the idea makes my heart flutter with inexplicable excitement, my pulse and energy level rising in unison at the mere thought. And reminiscing about my unfulfilled desire to see the world, well, I could just sell the house, sell the car, buy an old VW bus and live in the vehicle again. An unexpected notion that has me surprised and titillated by unexplored possibilities…fascinating.

Love strong? Me? No.

Did you believe me? Yeah, neither do my friends. I fall in love. Hard and fast. As Sugarland puts it,” I’m slow to trust and I’m quick to love.” I love in a way that is strong and deep and I don’t want to let go. I don’t protect my heart. I don’t build walls or put up fences. I believe in being reckless with my heart, but not with other people’s. And I believe that there is peace in knowing that love is going to be gone someday and you only get more if you give it away.

Say YES? God, yes. Yes. Let’s do it, let’s go there, let’s try that. Yes, I trust you. Yes, I want you. Yes I know that you can, and very well might, break my heart, but yes to anything might ask. Let’ do it. YES.

I’m not ready to die though. In fact, I feel as though I could live forever. Surviving on the ebb and flow of the ocean. Stealing subtle intensities from the sky with each deep breath. Absorbing the suns energy like a plant and thriving on that.

I’ll say it again, just in case, I don’t want to die yet. I’m not ready. There’s too much life to live. Too much to see and do. Too many friends left to embrace. Too much love to give and accept.

Before I go, I want to dig in the dirt. and know that a tree will grow because I planted it. I don’t need to watch it grow. I have faith that the sun and sky and earth will watch over it for me.

I want to play in the surf, knowing that while I’m nowhere near “home” the waves could carry me there if I let them. If I could just be swallowed by the oceans and rivers for only a moment, to have them deposit me where they believe that I should land, maybe this crazy world would make sense.

I want to watch the sun until it becomes an eclipse. I want to spend my time seeing it rise and set and fight with the moon until they learn to compromise and share the calender.

But if I were taken from this world today I could rest easily. For I know that I have loved and been loved. I know that I’ve explored and experienced life. To it’s fullest? Not yet. But thankfully, I believe I still have time.

“I go where the wind blows. You can’t tame a wild rose. Welcome to my crazy life.”

*originally posted to elephant journal June 2012.

Welcome to my bubble.

I live in a bubble.  And probably you do to.  In our lives, it seems we surround ourselves with people who pretty much think and act the same way we do.  Not exactly the same, of course, because how boring would that be?  But incredibly similar.  I have my friends who I see all the time, who pretty much know me and share a good amount of my basic beliefs.  We are health conscious, open to debates and generally, try to be mindful.  We discuss the finer points of vegan versus local diets.  We practice yoga and go running.  We have little dinner parties and hang out in the wine bar.


But I am quite frequently reminded that I live in a bubble with these people.



Today I saw a picture for an anti-fur ad. And I thought “Really?  People still wear fur?” I mean, at this point, hasn’t everyone seen the pictures with the baby seals?  They’re horrifying.

You know what else shocks me, smoking.  What the fuck?  Why are you still smoking?   Why is anyone still smoking?  It’s killing you and the planet and let’s face, hundreds if not thousands of migrant tobacco workers.

The other day, on a way to party, a friend and I made a quick stop in Wal Mart, somewhere that I generally refuse to shop.  and you know what I saw? Tasteycakes.  Who is eating this crap?  Somebody apparently.  Somebody way, way outside of my my bubble.

I realized that I get so used to living in my bubble, that I frequently forget about life outside the bubble.  I bet if you think about it, you’ll realize it too.  Weird, right?  Just a quick thought for the day.


The Game

Can I just start this post by saying… What the fuck?

I hate the game. I’ve enjoyed single life and carelessly living it for a while. But I have to say recently, my interest has been piqued. Could there be someone out there who is funny enough, charming enough, well rounded and open minded enough to make me consider performing a dirty four letter word. Oh c’mon. Get your mind out of the gutter. Date. The word I was thinking of was date. Why not, this could be fun right?

Oh fuck, was I wrong.

Dating is not fun. I’ve been so unconcerned with dating that I forgot. Not fun. And now that I’ve been doing it, I know why I never did.

Now let me clarify a couple things. First, I’ve never really dated before. Weird, right? I sort of just fell into relationships and stuck with them. I don’t actually remember having a dating phase before these past several months. Second, I’m not actually dating anyone right at this moment. And I’m pretty sure I know why. I hate The Game. A special kind of hate. The kind that should be reserved for the devil and Osama bin Laden and running sprint intervals. Playing The Game has now made the short list of things that I really, truly, deeply hate. And it’s a really short list, I just listed everything on it.

If there is even a chance you don’t know what I’m talking about, consider yourself lucky. or let me explain “The Game” as best I can. See apparently as some point as a group, single people collectively decided that communication was risky venture, only to be entered into by the very, very brave and trained professionals (i.e. our therapists.) So instead of communicating simple things like, “I think you’re great” we now have to play this little game. Because calling someone and saying “I think you’re great” is apparently not a nice thing, it’s a desperate thing. Because people hate to hear that I guess. So here are the rules to The Game, as I understand them.

1. Never appear available. What? Isn’t the point to find someone else who is also available? Being available = bad. Uh, ok, good to know.

2. Never appear interested. People say “it’s a cat and mouse game, he needs a reason to chase you.” Again, what? It’s not a fucking cat and mouse game. If the mouse walks up to the cat, the cat isn’t bored. Cat still eats mouse. Definitely NOT the same game. In this game, showing interest directly translates to being desperate.

3. Never be the first one to “reach out.” (I started to write “call” there, but let’s face, do we call anyone anymore?) Again, what? Why is this a problem? I love it when people call me. I love it when people text me. I love it when it people send me a Facebook message. Apparently it relates back to #2. Which is risky. People get confused when they go from thinking you might be interested to knowing your’re interested.

And here’s the worst part… everyone is doing it. Why? Why are we so afraid to reach out and say hello? Why are we so incapable of honest communication? Why can’t we just say “Hey, love to see you again” when we actually want to see someone again? (and for the record, it’s also ok to not say it if you don’t actually want to see someone again.)

So here’s the thing, much like running sprint intervals, I don’t generally do things I hate. And I hate the game. I’m not playing.

You know that phrase, don’t hate the player, hate the game? I fucking hate both.

Dating? Yeah, that was short lived.

I’m returning to a single, carefree life. Maybe I’ll fall into another relationship and it will just work. Maybe I’m meant to keep being single and crazy for a while (more stories with which to entertain you crazy people…) Maybe my brother and his fiancee will make some babies and I can drift happily into becoming the single, wild and crazy aunt. (I hope they’re reading this, because this plan really only works if they have babies.)

Man, that felt good to get off my chest. Time for a cocktail.

Being Happy

I live my life according to the serenity prayer. I don’t really know when this happened, and it was by no means a conscious decision to do it. But I realized during a conversation with my brother that doing so is not just how I get by, but how I find happiness.  Let’s face it, for most of us, life is just not that hard. I count my blessings every day. I have a stable job, a roof over my head, lots of friends, a loving family, a couple of adorable, four legged kids and the time and tools to sit around and blog about life. Of course, like everyone, I could certainly find something wrong with my life if I wanted to and do on rare occasion. Sometimes I get caught up in the could have, should have and would have of it all.  But the truth is the past is the past and it cannot be changed.  It’s just a fact.

Now, I’ve stated in previous posts, my faith is a little scattered, so I found it both amusing and somewhat scary that my happiness is the result of living life by a common christian prayer.  So let’s not think too much about it as a prayer and just break it down.  And I’m going backwards, because it just makes more sense to me…

The wisdom to know the difference.  I started at the end because this is really the big one.  Because here’s the thing…. There is very little in life that cannot be changed.  It’s not always going to be easy and it’s not always going to be comfortable, but it is possible.  Remember that not choosing, is still a choice you’ve made.

The courage to change the things I can.  I read (and stole) a twitter post once that said ‘If you don’t like something, change it.  If you don’t have time to change it, turn off the tv.’  And this is so very, very true.  So much time is wasted doing nothing, so now it’s time to shut up and do something.

The serenity to accept the things I cannot change.  There are some things that just cannot be changed.  Learn to live with those things.  There is really nothing else to do here but deal.  You have to find a way to accept the things that cannot be changed, which again, are really few and far between.  Don’t let it fuck up your day (or week or life for that matter.)

So find happiness.  It’s yours for the taking and chances are, the good life is already yours.  It’s just waiting for you to open your eyes and realize it.

Love my Curves

Recently, I posted this picture on my Facebook page and it seems to have caused quite a stir.

You’ve probably seen this photo elsewhere, it’s sort of making the rounds right now.  In fact, I hesitated to write this post, because this photo is being blogged about quite a bit lately but I had some things to get off my chest.  I figure if you’re bored with this topic already, you can stop reading at any point.

Anyway,  I shared this photo, proclaiming my love of my curves.  And received mixed results.  Fine.

I’ve battled with my weight my entire life.  My weight fluctuates and would skyrocket if I stopped exercising regularly or decided to just eat anything and everything I wanted.  I will never be naturally skinny, the best I’ll be is curvy and athletic.  Which I’ve grown to love.  Not to insult anyone out there, but I love my curves, I really do.  I appreciate my shapely, hourglass figure.  When I learned to do that, I found that my choices in food and exercise started to become more focused around improving my health, moods and general well being and less focused on the size of my jeans.

Apparently, many slender women are upset over this collage, which I totally get.  I cannot speak for the creator of this collage, but for me, implying that slim women are not beautiful was never


my intent when I shared this.  I personally know several beautiful women who are naturally slender.  They eat, drink and enjoy life without obsessively exercising, counting calories or crash dieting.  They run, bike and practice yoga for their health and for fun and for mental release.  They see their own beauty when the look in the mirror as I see it when I look at them.  I don’t look at them and think “Man, she needs to gain some weight and add some curves before she’ll be beautiful.”  Just as they don’t look at me and think “Man, she needs to lose some weight and slim down before she’ll be beautiful.”  (At least, that’s how they make me feel.)  My friend Alicia is one of these women.  She is the lovely little thing pictured at right and she is strong and healthy and beautiful.  And in response to my posting this collage on Facebook, she shared this Sophia Loren quote with me…”Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.”   And goes on to speak of the importance of beaming confidence, sexiness, decidedness, kindness…. in regards to what is really “hot.”

But we’re strong women.  We’ve grown into strong willed, strong minded and strongly opinionated women.  We’ve battled our demons in the closet and in the mirror and we won.  Or at least we’re winning.

But many women, and girls, aren’t winning the battle yet.  Thousands of women are fighting a losing battle with their mirror and themselves.  And part of the reason is because the media is on the other side.  Fighting against them.  Everyday.  Promoting women like Heidi Pratt (top, left) who admits to having at least ten plastic surgeries, including liposuction on her already thin frame.  And Nicole Richie (top, second from left) who, while actually looking quite healthy in this photograph, admits to fighting a lifelong battle with an eating disorder, which she has stated she was only able to overcome due to fear for the life of her then unborn child.  THAT is the problem here.  Not that these women are thin.  That these women are destroying themselves only to look a certain way.  That society is continually beating us with images of rail thin models and actresses, photoshopped beyond recognition to make them thinner, longer and leaner and then marketing to us an unending stream of crash diets and exercise equipment so that we too can completely change our bodies into something more acceptable, because what we have isn’t good enough.  That is what is really terrifying.  And so many young girls and women are trying to look this way.  Trying all sorts of crazy diets and “cleanses” (insert image of eye rolling here) to drop pounds and to look the way that someone else is telling them to.  Or that they believe is the only way to be good enough because it’s what they see everyday, in print ads, commercials and entertainment.  I said I know several naturally lithe women whose frames and builds are the result of genetics and healthy, well-intentioned living.  Unfortunately, I also know several women whose thin frames are the result of severe deprivation and hours of punishing and painful workouts.  It’s estimated that 7 million American women suffer from Anorexia.  SEVEN MILLION.  And 15%-20% of them will die from it.  And for what?  Some ridiculously photoshopped version of perfection?  Woman aren’t suffering from eating disorders in effort to look more like Elizabeth Taylor or Bettie Page.  Women aren’t putting their bodies through torturous workout regimens to look more like Sophia Loren.  They’re trying to look more like Keira Knightly and Mary-Kate Olsen.

Let’s face it, if Bettie Page and Marilyn Monroe were working actresses today, would they be working?  Seems doubtful.  Many sources claim that Marilyn was a size 12-16, and Bettie Page was close to the same.  Off the top of my head, I can think of one actress who fits into that range… Christina Hendricks.  And she’s gorgeous.  But one actress of hundreds is not enough to undo the societal mindset caused by an overabundance of images of skeletal women.  (On the upside, Ms. Hendricks was voted the most beautiful woman in the world by a poll of females for Esquire magazine in 2010.) And if it takes a collage like the one above to remind the world that shapely women are hot too and that having curves is also beautiful, I’m going to share it.

One of my favorite bloggers, Kate Fields Bartolotta posted about this same photo recently and stated that we should do away with the term “real women.”  But I disagree.  I want to be a real woman.  What we need to do is not insinuate that you need to look a certain way to be real women.  Let’s learn celebrate real women.  Woman who embrace who they are, be it slender, straight, athletic and curvy.  Be it witty, shy, flirtatious or obnoxious.  Woman who encourage other woman to be the best, healthiest and most beautiful versions of themselves.  Woman who see perfection in uniqueness.

I am a real woman.  and I’d rather be real than photoshopped.

me - not photoshopped

Special thanks to Alicia for letting me use her image.  xoxo

Being an Artist

“What is art that gets left unseen?”

Well what an interesting question I was presented with.  I was being gently encouraged to share my own “artwork” online.  Which led to my thinking, what is art?  I never considered myself an “artist” before.  But I do like to play with charcoal and paint.  I’m a little out of practice, but pretty good with a camera.  Is the product of my playtime considered art?

I’m not so sure.

Some of it is really bad.  Some of it is really great.  I could maybe consider some of my photographs art, especially some of the old stuff, from when I never left the house without my camera (and, ahem, film).  In fact, here is one of my favorites.


But it’s not so much the photographs that make me question if I should be called an artist, I think some of them are actually quite good.  It’s more of my playtime “art” that really gets me wondering if I should even call it that.  Nobody would buy my paintings and charcoal drawings.  I’ve posted a photo of a painting here.  And there is a charcoal drawing you can see in this post.  But is that what makes art?  That someone is willing to purchase it?  I don’t think so, because I personally wouldn’t pay a dime for anything out of Picasso’s cubism collection.  And I’m pretty sure that we all agree that Picasso was an artist.

And then I have another issue with calling myself an artist.  I have friends who I truly consider to be artists.  The beautiful young lady who had shared a photo of an amazing pencil drawing online, prompting the above referenced conversation. That was a gorgeous piece.  In town, there are two brothers I know whose work will literally take your breath away.  Some dark, some light, all incredible.  Artwork so good that they both have made careers of it. And I have an old friend who seems to be able to capture just the most amazing images when he points his lens somewhere, anywhere.  These people are artists.  To call myself an artist seems to be a leap when compared the work they produce.  But why?  Seems silly, right?  Is it the end product that really matters?  Or is it simply the act?

“Art makes the world a better place.”  Same young lady.  Same conversation.  So … does it?  Does my relatively poor excuse for a painting make anybody’s world a better place?  Well, yeah.  Mine.  It makes my world a better place.  It gets me out of my crazy, loud brain for a few hours.  It makes be smile when I go back and look at it. and it makes me smile when I share it with friends. and if my world is a better place, I’m more inclined to make other’s worlds better too. Pay it forward.  Smile more.  Share the good energy left behind by letting myself go and not judging myself quite so harshly for a little while.  Energy is contagious.  Good and bad.  And playing with paint makes me smile and creates more positive energy in my little world.   So, at least for now, I’ll call it art.  So I guess that makes be an artist.

What about you guys?  Do you play?  What’s your favorite medium?  Do you consider yourself an artist?