Rebellion

We were just girls. Girls who thought we knew better than all the adults who came before us. We made decisions based on our limited experience and we thought we were invincible. Except we were not invincible and the slightest hint of trouble made our shaky foundation crumble beneath our feet. It was all the end of the world. Our life as we knew it was over. We were certain we would never survive the calamity currently victimizing us. Funny, I only remember a few of those tragedies now.

I always knew music was the path of revolution. Everclear sang about absent fathers. Alanis spoke of boyfriends who had betrayed us. Jewel spoke of the heartache we most identified with. The Violent Femmes reminded us of our permanent record. Live, Candlebox, and Nirvana. So many talented voices managed to explain our angst so much better than we ever would.

Now my music is playing in restaurants at four in the afternoon. No one bats an eye when Alanis talks about blow jobs in the theater. Ben Folds talking about abortion is just not shocking anymore.

When did my revolution and rebellion cease to be shocking?

Perhaps the real answer is our rebellion was not so unique. Our parents and grandparents had their voices too. Maybe it is just normal adolescent development to assume the world is inherently against you and no one will ever know as much or understand as much as you.

We were brilliant. We thought we had the answers to all of humanity’s problems. We drank coffee and smoked cigarettes while pontificating the solutions for the problems of the world. If only someone would listen to us. We were never going to be like the generation before us. We were special.

Now I am approaching middle age. I know more now than ever how little I know about the world. Sometimes I wish I could rebel just a little again. I wish I knew half as much with the certainty I possessed as a teenager. I wish I had anthems the same way I did as a kid.

Rebellion

Girl Friend Code

If only we were lucky enough to have warning signs detailing the road work and the distance we would have to travel to get passed it in our regular life.

Oh, I forgot. We DO have these warning signs. We have friends and family who are able to view our lives a little more objectively. They are the voice of reason when emotions cloud our judgement.

I was dating this guy recently. He was handsome, smart, and charming. He said all the right things. He managed to be attentive without making me feel stifled. He went out of his way to make me feel beautiful and smart. I was ignoring the indicators of potential problems.

He complained about his (dead-end) job. He was supposedly working on his master’s degree. Except he was not actually working on it. He talked about not “needing” money to be happy. The relationship was moving FAST. I was a little overwhelmed by all of this. My head was spinning. He was so good-looking. I ignored those things making me nervous and focused on the good stuff.

He called when he said he would. He made me laugh. He seemed to have read all the right books. He was so good-looking. He told me how much he liked me. He pointed out the reasons I was unique. He found my kryptonite. He made me feel special.

Then one day he called with a complaint about parking tickets and a boot on his car. Hmmm. How many parking tickets have you not paid? Once again I just sat on my concerns until later in the day when he texted me from a different phone number because his cell phone service had not been paid.

Sigh.

It’s okay to be having financial problems. I get it. I have struggled with money for most of my life. The part that made me nervous was his insistence of these things being no big deal. Then, he got defensive and mildly aggressive. I stopped talking to him at this point.

I had several girl friends who were not as enamored by this fella as I had been. They had not voiced their concerns until I voiced mine. Everyone wanted to avoid being the negative bitch. The problem is I count on my women friends to tell me when I am not using my brain. I chose them to serve that role in my life.

I find myself not being completely honest when I don’t like the guy a friend is dating. I think we all do it.

At some point we have to make sure we stand up for our female friends. Dating is dangerous. I was imagining what Nancy Grace would have to say about my death and who would portray me in the Lifetime movie before I was ready to break contact with this dude.

I was not hurt, nor was I actually in danger. I was still very much in the getting to know you stage with this man. I dodged a bullet.

So, what is the best way to live up to The Girl Friend Code? What are the absolute traits we have to help our friends avoid? How do we help our lovely, strong, capable friends avoid being a headline? Any suggestions?

Girl Friend Code

Opinions. 


I am full of opinions and ideas about life. Who’s life does not matter. My life, your life, some random stranger’s life. I am the queen of having some idea about how things should be going. 

However, I am frequently reminded of how my ideas about your life are simply my opinion. You don’t have to listen. Better yet, maybe I should keep my mouth shut. 

Oh, and just so you know… I feel the same way about your opinions. 

Opinions. 

Why I Love My Mom


My mother is a bit old fashioned in a lot of ways. She does not appreciate the fine art of rainbow colored hair, piercings, or tattoos. She prefers her music to have a little less angst and a little more twang. She insists we don’t say “f**k” on Facebook. 

I am her daughter. 

My poor mother. She has this tomboy of a girl who loves tattoos and secretly wants purple hair. The girl who would wear a baseball cap more often than not. The girl who just got two big tattoos and has one more even larger one in mind. 

She does not understand, and yet she is trying to find a way to love them. She acknowledges I am part of a different generation where body art is acceptable and not so much an act of rebellion. For me, it is an expression of ownership of my body. It is an act of self- love. It really has nothing to do with anyone else’s ideas or prescriptions for healthy living. It is just me owning my skin. 

I consider my mother’s feelings when I choose to do things. I knew she would not like the tattoos I chose to adorn my skin. I did not get defensive or expect her to jump up and down with glee, I know better than expect this. 

She surprised me. She even managed to make a joke about the compass between my shoulder blades. Today she even said they were pretty. This is a big step for her. I know I can follow my own path. I am secure in the knowledge that I am loved for being exactly who I am. So many people are not lucky in this way. They are chastised and judged by the people who are supposed to love them unconditionally. 

I don’t have to worry about my family shunning me. I have been raised with the expectation to live my life on my terms. I don’t have to worry about being excommunicated from my tribe. My heart is safe to travel and explore because I will always have a safe harbor to return to. 

I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I have permission to push boundaries and to seek my own path. 

I love my mother. She is one of my best friends. She celebrates my quirks and my successes. She worries about me when I am struggling. She tries to comprehend my interests. Sometimes, she can only tolerate them a little, but she tries. 

The freedom associated with unconditional love is profound. It allows me to be brave and to follow my dreams. I feel like I can accomplish anything I set my mind to achieve. 

I am indeed a lucky girl. Thanks Mom. I appreciate your love. 

Why I Love My Mom

California Dreams


My view of the Saratoga Hills from my friend’s patio. It’s amazing how the hills appear to change hues throughout the day depending on the traffic, sunlight, and winds. 

This vista holds a magic I hope haunts my dreams forever. When I see these beautiful sights my heart longs for a way to capture the beauty so I can take it with me when I leave. I have not mastered my camera and in fact left it in Massachusetts. My iPhone camera is pitifully inept at giving me a worthy image. 

So, I have to stare at the distance and commit it to memory. I won’t succeed in memorizing the details, I will only be left with the feeling I get when I remember these hills and the changing blue of the sky. 

The quiet solitude of traveling gives me plenty of time to focus on my future daydream’s screenplay. I know the location. I can alter the light to suit my mood. I can remember it however I want to at that moment. 

Eventually I need to learn how to use my camera. There must be a way to capture the colors and emotions I feel when I stare at the landscape. I need to learn to convey the emotions coursing through me. I want to find the words to describe the smell of eucalyptus when I drove through the hills with the sunroof open and the windows down. 

Everything was brand new and as old as the world all at the same time. I was traveling a road completely unknown to me. Every bend was the chance for a surprise postcard image to jump out at me. 

I love seeing new things. I love experiencing the country. I can’t wait until I am able to view the world this way. I may never figure out how to record my experiences adequately. I guess I will have to relive them in my dreams. 

California Dreams

Finding My Way


Today was Tattoo day! I got two new beautiful works of art. 

I could go into a bunch of deep bullshit about the compass and how it will help me to always find my way. I could also explain how it represents my new life goal of finding adventure. I could even tell you how it represents my new bravery and all sorts of other nonsense. 

Let’s be honest, I simply wanted something to represent travel and adventure. I googled it. I saw something which left me feeling happy when I saw it. It’s not all that deep after all. 

Most importantly, I love it. I think it is beautiful and I am so proud to have it on my body. I feel like it is the perfect tattoo for me. I wanted something bold and feminine. I wanted a pretty tattoo.

I think it hit the mark perfectly. I wanted the word “adventure” under the compass in typewriter font. It looked superfluous though. All I needed was the image. Sometimes words are not necessary. 

The second tattoo is covering my old tattoo. I was tired of feeling like Lisa Frank had vomited on my leg. So, I chose a flower capable of doing the job. 


I am ecstatic how these turned out. I feel like I have art work to stay with me all the time. They feel like me. 

When I got my first tattoo, I was scared to commit. I really had no business getting one. I chose an awful piece of flash art and it was tiny and not done well. So, in a misguided attempt to salvage my mistake I had a ring of butterflies circling my poor little daisy. I was left with a larger tattoo I hated. 

I have carried this travesty around on my ankle for ten years. I was too afraid to try again. I just knew I would never be happy with it. Then, one day I knew what I wanted. A friend knew a good artist. The rest is evident by my pride in my new work. 

So grateful to Danny Sun and my friend Tracy for introducing him to me. I love my new grownup tattoos. 

Finding My Way

I was born a Ramblin’ Girl


I ramble, meander, stroll, flit, pace, and wander aimlessly. I am frequently so absorbed in whatever random thought happens to lodge itself in my brain to the point I have no idea what is happening around me. The rest of the time I am hyperfocused and distracted (simultaneously, which is weird) by the constant stimuli of the outside world. 

When I take a “holiday” from my medication I become silly and hard to follow. 

One of my more embarrassing quirks is my tendancy to launch into a vague story and as I am wrapping it up realize it has nothing to do with the conversation I have hijacked. The story often concludes with a sheepish apology and explanation of how I don’t know where it came from. These stories are the ones I wish I could write. The problem lies in my inability to convey the passion I feel when I am telling the tale. 

Sometimes I find myself offended by articles and opinion pieces written about ADHD. I want to scream at people because I am not able to convey how unmanageable my life was before I was diagnosed and treated properly. Medications are not a cure-all, but they enable me to utilize tools and learn the skills required for taking care of everyday life. 

These armchair diagnosticians decide their truth must be the truth for everyone. This is dangerous! When we start making broad statements and presenting them as facts applicable to all of humanity we are being assholes. It’s not my place to judge you and it is certainly not your place to judge me. 

I was a mess before I had a diagnosis and found the right medication. I could not hold down a job and I was miserable. I had no idea why I was so incapable. People would tell me to focus and buckle down. I would have people being frustrated that I could not apply myself to anything I did not find fascinating. I tried! I tried so hard. My failures convinced me I was broken, stupid, and worthless. I hated myself. 

Sometimes I still feel inept. What kind of person relies on a pill to be productive? Why can’t I just be a grown-up and do what needs to be done? If only I were a better person, then I could not rely on this pharmaceutical crutch. 

So, I have to talk myself down. Remind myself of my good qualities. ADHD has a lot of gifts too. I can let my mind wander. I see things differently from other people. I can appreciate little details. There are conversations I have because my mind wandered off on a tangent which are actually hilarious and fun. 

We need to be more careful when we judge people and the medical care they receive. Don’t decide because some people abuse these treatments there is no place for them for anyone. Actually, mind your own business. 

I was born a Ramblin’ Girl

Writing and Yoga


I have noticed I spend much of my quiet time thinking about writing. I try to come up with metaphors explaining my thoughts, feelings, and dreams. I start pieces I will never complete simply because I am too lazy to flesh the idea into a coherent finish. 

I judge my writing harshly. There are only a few things that leave me with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Most of it seems to be a physical embodiment of my random thoughts. My agonizing overthinking leads me to hold back at times. 

Grammar and punctuation are my nemesis. Nemeses? Nemesi? 

So I started reading more. I am spending more time daydreaming. I practice. Which is actually a funny term for me to use. I went back to my first yoga class in ages. These funny yogis talk about your practice in hushed, irreverent voices. Apparently it is not just learning to look like everyone else in the room. Nope, they are not looking for clones. It is a personal and spiritual journey. 

I hate yoga. It hurts. I don’t like the quiet room. I can’t ever seem to relax. I wish there was loud music blaring and we were laughing and telling jokes. I would be enthralled if someone yelling out “Hey! Watch this!” were not a faux pas. Everyone is so damned serious! Lighten up. It should be fun and exhilarating. 

Writing is a little like yoga for me. It’s serious. It’s hard. I have no idea what I am actually doing. I want to scream out “whaddya think?” I want people to laugh and to relate to my words. Sometimes I feel like I am just vomiting random ideas into the Internet and they will never mean anything. 

Writing is hard work. I have to make time for it. The solitude is often daunting. I find myself craving feedback even while I am scared to know how much you think it sucks. There must be some middle ground. 

I love writing. I love thinking of different ways to say things. Words bring me immense happiness. So, I’ll keep practicing. I may even try yoga a few more times. If only because eventually I want to break all the rules. 

Writing and Yoga

Turbulence

I have never been on a particularly rough flight. I was mistakenly under the impression turbulence was a random shudder or jolt of the aircraft. Yesterday I had my first experience of “weather” in the air. 
Remember those amusement park rides with the boat that swings back and forth in a continuously enlarging swoop, gaining speed with each pass? The moment the boat shifts direction and your body is still moving with the inertia of flight the other way. The seemingly insufficient safety bar is the only reason you are not launched into oblivion and certain doom. I hate that ride. I hate it almost as much as the Sombrero ride that goes up and down in a circle. It’s the same feeling. The moment of weightlessness before your body is jerked into submission by the mechanical devil seeking to “thrill” you into having a good time. 

The nausea inducing sensation of the body without steady ground to stand on is the worst feeling in the world. I realized during my rough flight I experience this sensation anytime I am anxious. Throw me into a new situation when I do not know the expectations and I am left with a lurching, spinning, falling gut. My mouth fills with bile and I get a cold sweat across my forehead. My hands become clammy and shockingly unsteady. I feel like my knees are going to buckle under the sheer force of gravity. It makes it hard to maintain a cool demeanor. Forget about cracking jokes and being clever. I am reduced to a sweaty, jittery fool. I lose my voice and my confidence. I forget how to pronounce words. I fantasize about a giant hole opening up and sliding down into a wonderland where I can forget all my troubles. I want to give up and find a familiar place. I need someone to hold my hand and tell me I am smart. Anything to ease the incompetence oozing from my pores. 

Yesterday, I sat frozen in my airline seat, trying mightily to stay calm. No one else appeared particularly concerned. The guy next to me was reading. I had the urge to punch him in the nose to see if he bled. I was convinced he was some sort of cyborg. There is no way a human could read George R.R. Martin under these conditions. He is obviously a freak of nature with an iron stomach. 

The gentle swaying back and forth was immensely more uncomfortable than the violent jerks when the plane seemed destined to be thrown out of the sky. Forget freefalling. This plane was going to be batted down out of the air by the invisible fist of an angry God. Apparently I am still religious while in the air. The pilot keep coming on the speaker muttering unintelligible updates about bad winds and weather in the distance. He continued to offer assurances of smooth air in the near, but ever further future. I had decided he must be some sort of sadist, offering me hope in this manner. After about 19 hours of dispair, we found the smooth air. (Amazing since it was a five hour trip.) 

It turns out turbulence is not only experienced while one is strapped into a metal tube hurtling high above humanity. I experience it on a fairly frequent occasion. I am hoping to learn to quell my terror and learn to work through the sensations, all while keeping my wits about me. Perhaps I can even learn to be clever while I force my body to stop trembling and remember to wipe the condensation from my palms before I shake this stranger’s hand. 

Turbulence

Who Knew?


I no longer have to worry if I am too much or not enough. I get to be exactly who I want to be at this moment. It no longer matters how I used to define success. 

Obviously I continue to have to remind myself to be true to me. I get sidetracked easily. I let negativity leach it’s way through my pores. Happiness is a decision I have to make. 

I wonder if there are people who just exist in a peaceful state. I wonder if they spend as much time questioning their own motives as I do. Introspection is exhausting. 

It’s counterintuitive how much work it takes to be comfortable being myself. I suppose I spent too many years imagining what other people must think of me. You want to know the most profound thing I have realized? They don’t think of me. People don’t sit around thinking about my failings unless they directly affect them. This brings me comfort. 

Embarking on my next adventure. California, here I come. Ink, yoga, and friends for the next week. I can’t wait! 

Oh, I need to get some sunblock. Don’t forget the sunblock. 

Who Knew?