Ooh Ooh.. Growing Up..

When I was a teenager I thought I knew everything.. I guess most teenagers feel this way. I have a teenage daughter, and I see a lot of myself in her.

Remember when we were fourteen or fifteen and we thought our parents were idiots, totally uncool and basically, had no idea what they were talking about?  Yeah, that’s where I am now.  I find myself repeating a lot of the ideals that were told to me at that fork in the road age.

I remember my first heartbreak.  Ugh.  I was so devastated! I was totally head over heels in love with a boy that lived around the corner.. he was kind of cocky, super cute and really wanted nothing to do with me.. I am not sure why it was this last quality that attracted me most to this boy.  Perhaps it was the fact that my father ignored me for most of my childhood and since I couldn’t get his attention, I could try to get a boy’s attention.

Needless to say, he wanted nothing to do with me.  So I decided to date his older brother.  Yeah, not the best idea.  He was a really nice guy (ack!) and I just didn’t pine for him like I pined for his brother.  Strike one.  I dated the older brother for about three weeks and then the kid I crushed on decided to test my loyalties to his older brother.  He told his brother (I came to find out later) that he was going to flirt with me and that I would ditch older brother.  Younger brother nailed it.   He was pretty smart for a sixteen year old, and I was devastated when he said to me, “I knew you didn’t like my brother, so I tricked you.”  Nice, eh?  However, I did like his older brother.  He was tall and he made me laugh with his Peter Gabriel and Kinks impressions.  But his brother liked me too.

I was so crushed by the “trick” played on me (which was one of a few different boys played on me) that I had enough and decided that it was time to get on with it.  It was time to die.

I went into my room, I put on some Pink Floyd, took the razor blade I got from my dad’s top drawer and slit my wrists.  Extreme, I know.  But no one knew who I was.  No one understood me.  No one got what I was going through.  Certainly not my parents.  They were never really around at that crucial teen stage and it didn’t matter anyway.  I felt it was too late for me. I was screwed.

I still have those scars on my wrists.  They are a haunting reminder of how unhappy I was.  The pictures of me around that time (none of which I am smiling in) are haunting reminders as well. I now use those scars to remind people about depression and suicidal thoughts should they ask.  Not many do.

If I could go back and talk to myself, I would tell me that it was all going to be okay.  That I was going to grow up and be a beautiful woman so smart and too wise.  I would tell myself that everyone goes through  a heartbreak or two and that it is the heartbreaks, failures and things that don’t work out that make us wiser and keep us strong.  It is those things that help us to grow into strong, resilient individuals.  I would tell me to have faith, it will all work out.

It always does.

Picture courtesy of www.weheartit.com

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Suite 101

http://www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/730095

This is the link to my articles on Suite 101…. I am having a hard time trying to market myself.  I am shy by nature and so I always feel like when I am marketing myself I am being pushy.  I was taught that people do not respond to pushy.   I think it is great when others market themselves… I love seeing the new and interesting ways people do this.  Hopefully I leap this shy hurdle soon.

Muscled By Geese

Since I am having a hard time finding pictures online of items, animals, sports teams, musicians, etc., I decided to go out on this beautiful Sunday afternoon to take some pictures.

I didn’t have a huge amount of luck, as I did not travel far.  I get like that.  I don’t really want to be around people sometimes (of course looking like I just stepped off a street corner may have had something to do with that).

I did make myself walk into Starbucks and get a coffee.   I went to the one in Yardley, PA by the lake next to a church.  Both the Starbucks and the church are close to the road.  The lake is overrun with geese and ducks who have no problem approaching someone with a tasty treat.  I ate most of the banana nut bread I purchased.  I looked up to see a pair of eyeballs staring back at me.

About To Get Muscled For My Tasty Treat

Now, a rational person would just chuckle perhaps.  “Aww, look at the adorable geese!”

Not me.

I was bitten by a goose when I was a wee lass.  Now, I am nervous around geese.  And I mean, really.  They have those black hoods that hide their beady eyeballs.  Never trust something or someone you can’t look directly in the eye.

Needless to say, I ate about five morsels of my bread.  The nerves really started to go crazy as the geese approached closer.  There were ducks not too far behind.

I threw a piece of bread into the lake.   The geese careened on it like vultures on a carcass.  I stood and watched, sure I was safe for a moment.   The geese swallowed down the sopping bread.  They hissed at each other.  It was a battle of wills until the bread was gone.  A motorcycle roared by, snapping me back to reality.   Geese were staring me down, waiting for more.   My left arm threw small pieces of bread as far as it could muster.

I made a mental note to get back to the gym and high tailed it out of there.

Mireya Mayor: Female Indiana Jones

Her name is Mireya Mayor.  She is a PhD that people call “The Female Indiana Jones.”

She has drunk cow’s blood and eaten raw goat kidney.  Mayor, 37, grew up in Miami, a Cuban “girlie-girl.”  Now a worldly animal expert, she tells of her transformation in her new book, “Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey From NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer.”

In an interview with CNN, Mayor talked about her adventures of bio-diverse animals and dangerous places.

The greater the biodiversity implies the greater the health of the ecosystem.

Her favorite expedition so far has been “Expedition Africa,” where she spent time with Western Lowland Gorillas in Congo and trekked across Tanzania.  “Expedition Africa” is a reality show based on Henry Morton Stanley‘s search for Dr. David Livingstone.

Tarantulas are common in Mayor’s travels.  Tarantulas aren’t big on people, so the best thing to do when near a tarantula is just be aware.  In South America, Mayor amused the locals by letting a tarantula crawl from her hand, up her arm to the top of her head.

Mayor survived a plane crash in the Congo, which changed her disposition on airplanes.  Now a nervous flier, she has trouble falling asleep on airplanes, but she doesn’t let it deter her from her passion.  Since surviving the plane crash, she told CNN, she hopes that she “beat the odds and will never experience another.”

CNN asked Mayor if she enjoyed traveling to domestic places or if she found them boring.

Mayor replied, “Oh, no.  I still like my comforts and I still think that traveling domestically can be a lot of fun.”

Not having been to any cold places yet, Mayor has Antarctica and Alaska in her sights.

Source: CNN.com, Wikipedia

Fear: A Silent Killer

There is a difference between fear and a phobia.  Fear is to be afraid of something.  Phobia is to be irrationally afraid of something.  That’s pretty simple, right?

The number one fear in America is the fear of spiders. Almost 50 percent of women and 10 percent of men have a fear of spiders.   I personally love spiders.  I am awed by them and rescue them from squashation before my co-workers have a shot.

Fear holds us back from so much.  Phobias hold us back as well, but they are irrational and so, only gross amounts of therapy can help us with that.  And most times that doesn’t even work.

Fear of the unknown kills us.   And in unknown, I don’t mean ghosts or extraterrestrials.  I mean the future.  I mean change.  Change affects the future.  We’re so busy trying to maintain the humdrum present; getting the same thing for breakfast everyday, driving the same way to our thankless job everyday and putting on the same after work clothes everyday.  We don’t even recognize that we’re afraid of change until…

One day someone says, “You want to go get sushi for lunch?”  And the mere thought of this is paralyzing.   Sushi?  But, I eat turkey on whole wheat with mustard every day. I hate mustard, but it’s fat-free. This thought is immediate and uncomfortable.

You say, “Thanks, but I brought my lunch.  You know, turkey.”  You feel like a dweeb as soon as the words start falling from your lips, but it’s too late.  You can’t take them back.

Most of us are so comfortable inside the box as we gaze upon the wonders of “what if” that we do not dare disturb the monotony of our world with sushi.

Have you ever talked to someone who incessantly complained about their life?  You offer ideas and feedback and all you get back is constant rebuttals of “why it simply will not work.”

I’m too old.  It’s too hard.  I don’t have enough money.  I’ll fail.  They’ll laugh at me.  Someone already thought of it. I can’t.

All of these statements say one thing.  I am afraid.

What are you afraid of?

Have you ever done something in spite of fear?  Maybe you stood up to your boss.  Maybe you told your spouse that your marriage wasn’t working out.  Maybe you, like me, decided to say “screw it” and submit one final article to a site that turned you down three previous times.   Doesn’t it feel good when you stand up to fear?  How many times have we said, “that wasn’t so bad.”

Fear kills our spirit.  It robs of us finding out whether or not we should truly be afraid in the first place. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”.   I never really understood what in Hades ol’ FDR meant by that until I decided to leave my husband of seven years.  And it hit me.  Fear should be the only thing I fear.  Fear held me back.  Fear kept  me isolated.  Fear does these same things to you.

Fear kills us for as long as we let it.


What Does Music Do For You?

I love music.  My grandmother frequently told me an interesting story about me as a baby.  When I was about three or six months old, I was lying in my cradle, crying.  She picked me up, she put me down, she fed me, she changed my diaper.  Still I fussed and cried.  At her wit’s end, she wound up a tiny Fisher Price music box and tossed it in the cradle.   To her amazement (and relief) I stopped crying.  Since I was just a wee lass, I can’t say that I remember this.   However, I know it to be true.

At my grandmother’s, there was an organ that once belonged to my mother.  I would sit at it every chance I got and play whatever songs were in the sheet music book.  I got bored with that easily.  To resolve my boredom, I began sitting under the organ and reaching up to play the songs without looking.

Music has always been my outlet.  I have tried my hand at a few instruments.  I played the flute in grade school but didn’t like it.  I switched to the violin, and played that for four years.  I gave up the violin.   I went into junior high school and none of the cool kids had instruments.

Eventually, I wound up lying in front of the clock radio in the back bedroom with pen and a notebook.  As I listened to the radio, I would write down the songs that came on.  I once did this for an entire weekend only getting up to eat or pee.  Hot hits played twice an hour, semi-hot hits played once every sixty to ninety minutes and the rest was up for grabs.  I must have had 30 pages of songs.  Yes, I was that dorky.

As I progressed into early adolescence, I found that I could release any emotion I was feeling by listening to music.   If I wanted to stay sad, I’d put on some Pink Floyd.  If I wanted to be happy, I’d pop in some 80’s pop or rock.

Since I had trouble speaking my mind as a young girl or showing emotion, I found that Def Leppard or Simple Minds could do a better job.  I would tape record songs and push rewind and play at least thirty times so I could write down the lyrics and eventually sing along.

Somewhere around the transition from junior high to high school, I discovered heavier rock and eventually heavy metal.   Little angels sang in my head the first time I heard Judas Priest singing “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.”  It turned out those little angels were the voice of metal god Rob Halford.

I am still hooked.  I went through a brief rap phase, I went through a briefer country phase but still there were some songs that I truly loved from both genres and I have them on my ipod.   I suppose they are my guilty pleasures.   Hell, I even tap my fingers sometime to muzak when I am on hold.  I know, I know… so sad.  But so true.

What does music do for you?

Do The Worst First…Save The Best For Last…

I’ve given this a lot of thought.  Never the go-getter type, I have gone through life  on a lackadaisical kind of cloud.  Sometimes that cloud is puffy and white, other times pink and fuzzy.. still other times dark and foreboding.

We all need different textured clouds in a rainbow of colors.

I finally decided I am going to do what I want for whatever it takes.  A loaded statement, I know.

Hear me out.

This does not mean I will tread blindly on others while hoisting myself to the top of the proverbial ladder.   Quite the opposite.  The more I give, the more I receive.  That’s sacrifice.

I could have blown off this blog entry and took a nap like I wanted to.  It is Sunday afternoon, after all.  I always take a nap on Sunday afternoon.  I most likely still will.   But I have to prioritize.

Something I have learned over the years.  Get the big stuff out of the way first.   Kind of like a reward system, if I get the big stuff out of the way, then the smaller tasks are almost like a treat.

I learned this when I was seven and my mother used to make brussels sprouts for dinner.  I hate brussels sprouts.   At first I used to eat all the yummy stuff and save the grossness for last.   I dreaded eating those bitter, green balls.   Even more, I dreaded sitting at the kitchen table for two hours wishing them into dematerialization while my mother glared at me.

I had an idea.  I would eat the disgusting brussels sprouts first… then I would eat the meat and save the best for last: mashed potatoes.  Dinner done and still time to go outside and play.. bonus!

Since then, I’ve really tried to follow that self-imposed law.  Unfun stuff first.  Fun stuff last.   Chores, then writing.  Food shopping, then relax.  Work, then play.  Dinner, then dessert…

It makes things much more meaningful.