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Category Archives: parenting

An open letter to my children: Life is a learning process, so learn the good and let go of the rest.

To my beautiful adult babies,

Once upon a time I held you deep inside me.  I cradled you and kept you safe.  I loved you from the second I knew you were.  That hasn’t changed one bit.  I still hold you deep inside my heart, cradled and safe in my love.

I didn’t always do everything right as you grew up, but I tried, and I’m glad.  I always did the best I knew how to at the time.  I wanted to do my best for you.  You brought out the best in me.

I gave you everything, all of me, especially when you were little.  I was always there.  I rarely let you cry because I was right there for you.  Every moment that you looked for me, I was there.  I wasn’t anything for myself, I was only your mother.  I spent every moment doing all I could to help you see how loved, wanted, cared for, and cherished you were.

But because there wasn’t any part of me that was just for me, I allowed abuse to grow.  I turned a blind eye, justified, and felt I had to lie in the bed I’d made.  Because I didn’t nourish me, I didn’t know who I was or how to be, or how to stand up for myself or you.  Because I had become so dependent, because I didn’t believe in myself, I stayed longer than I should have.  Once I saw how far it had gone, how much it was becoming part of how you saw the world, I knew I had to stop it.  For your sake, I found a way to stand up.  Because I love you, I looked for a way to discover me.

I ended a heartless place so that you could have two places that could love you, instead of one that sent the message that abuse was ok.  I love you, so I fought for you.  I can only account for my place, and for my place, I gave you all I had to give; discovering and maintaining only the smallest part of me, for me.  Thankfully, you have also received love from your fathers home.

I gave you everything I could.  I fought for what I feel were injustices toward you.  I fought for continuity, for safety, for fairness.  I held you when you felt the pains that came from the unfairness and purposeful deprivation meant to punish me through you.  I tried to support you and let you feel the freedom to be yourself that I had never felt.  I cried for and with you as the abuses changed but continued.  And I started to search for myself.

I should never have given up all of me.  It made me blind to the beginnings, the place where I could have stopped the abuses before they affected you all so much.  I should have finished school no matter what I was told back then.  I should have gone to College even when you were all little.  I should have not made you so dependent on my being there for everything, instead of helping you know you can stand on your own feet, feeling that you could trust yourself.  I should have maintained enough self that I could have stood up for you when you were little, and stood up for myself from the beginning.

Not everything was bad.  I am grateful for all the love and good that has happened in both homes.  I am grateful that much of the abuse has abated and that you feel loved by both your parents.  I am grateful that you have multiple places you can feel cared for, wanted, and safe.  I am grateful for the many examples you’ve been given over your lives of the good in people.  You have strong characters in your life to draw example from.  It is ok to see the bad, walk away from the bad, and still love the person.  Often the reason I hurt so much is because the pain was being sent from someone I cared about, someone you cared about.  But that doesn’t take away from the good.  You have been given much good along with the abuse.  One does not negate the other.  Appreciate the good, always.

Learn from my mistakes.  When you go into your future, your relationships, maintain YOU.  Remember who you are without anyone else, who you are all by yourself.  Be ok by yourself.  Determine the things that are important to you, and don’t compromise them for your partner.  Get your education, get experience that will help you maintain you.  Those two things, education and experience, are the only things no one can ever take from you, without killing you.  Don’t make anyone dependent on you and don’t be dependent on anyone else.  Make sure that you can survive without anyone’s help.

Build yourself up so that you can be a good person, friend, partner, and parent.  Don’t give up who you are to be in a relationship, add to who you are, and be the kind of partner that adds to who they are.  Don’t accept manipulation, coercion, degradation, belittling, threats, or any form of abuse from anyone, but especially not from the people you love.  Know who you are-so you are not easily swayed by others. Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.  Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with others.

And also learn from the things I did right.  Let everyone be who they are.  Support those you love.  Fight for those you love.  Maintain boundaries for yourself and for others.  Set yourself routines and goals. Get your education and go see the world.  Learn from your mistakes instead of lashing yourself over them.  Recognize your strengths AND your weaknesses.  Listen to people, watch people, and learn from everyone around you.  Try your very best to put aside your ego and think what it must be like in their shoes, think from their perspective.  Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.  Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with others.  (yes, these two are both things I did wrong and things I did right)

Recognize and stay away from abuse and abusive people.  Don’t be an abusive person.  Reflect on yourself and see where you can change things.  It’s not only ok, it’s really important to reinvent yourself as you mature.  Look for the good in people, it’s usually there.  Give a few chances, but not so many that it becomes acceptable.  Know how to walk away with dignity.  Stand up for what you believe in.  Know how to step in with full intention and love.

And, learn from others.  Learn from those you love, those you like, and those you don’t like.  Sometimes we don’t like something in someone else because we’re hiding that same thing from ourselves.  Take a look; see if that’s the case before making a rash decision.  Understand that people will hardly ever see the real you because they are living their own lives, and that’s ok.  First impressions are rarely real and other people’s opinions are only their own.  Get to know someone before making any decisions about them.  Become friends with everyone.  Sit down and have real discussions with people.  Watch others for the sake of learning, not comparing and judging.

You are all adults now and the transition is complete.  Who you continue to become, how you choose to treat yourself and others is on you.  You have good and bad influences from everyone in your life so far.   You get to choose what influences to keep or to let go.  Letting go of a certain trait or way of doing things is not letting go of the person that demonstrated it.  I hope there are things that you choose not to follow my steps in, because I know there are better ways now too.  I hope you see things that you do choose to follow my lead in.

Life as an adult isn’t always easy, in fact, quite possibly, it is rarely easy.  We’re here to learn, we’re here to become the best we can be.  So don’t give up.  You’re better than that; you’re worth more than that.

Being a mom isn’t easy.  I’ve cried and felt like I was ripping apart over your lives at times.  I don’t see that changing, I care as deeply as any mother can.  I’m not the mother of children anymore, I’m the mother of adults.  It’s a weird new universe we exist in now, and I’m excited for what it can bring.  As we all go about living our adult lives, creating our own spaces and ways of being, the most important part of our relationship will be communication.

I’m grateful for the wonderful communication we’ve had most of your lives.  I think we’ve been luckier than most in that department.  It will be even more important now, so make sure you do your part.  We are all each other’s support system, don’t be the weak link in the system.  Let’s stay lucky.

Every day I am grateful that I am your mom.  I was blessed with three wonderful souls to care for.   My love for you is how I have finally come to find and love me.  I am who I am because of each of you.  And I maintain who I am so that you can have a better example than I gave before

Go be the best you can be.  Draw the best from all your resources, let go of the things that harm you and others.  I am proud of the people you are and excited to see who you continue to become.

 

I love you,

Mom

 

 

Hormone 15 – a Mari-ism

Hormone 15 – a Mari-ism

My 15th year was a doozie.  Lots of things.   So many things made that year a humdinging, what-the-heck kind of year.  But it also set my mind to the trying to understand that year.  It made me want to figure out what it is about 15.

When my oldest son was a teenager, things were a bit of a whirlwind.  I wish I’d had the understanding and the ability to articulate what I know now, but as I tell him every birthday, he’s my guinea pig.  He’s my first go round at being a parent of someone his age.  So most of my parenting has been winging it with him.  However, I noticed and started to pick apart that 15th year of his as well.  Things weren’t great up to that point, but 15, that’s when they hit their fever pitch.

I learned that hormonal changes are far more than armpit and facial hair in our boys.  They may not have periods, but those hormones take hold of our boys and chew them up, same as our girls.  I watched, I took notice.  It’s the science-y part of me; I observe, I question, I contemplate these types of things.  I have learned so much by being his mom.   And I’m pretty lucky for it  🙂

As my daughter came up on 15, I took notice.  Like me, she hit hormone madness with a full speed ahead, hold onto anything not tied down, double-engine train.  The lack of subtlety made it easier to see the stark contrast of “adolescent behavior” pre 15, and smack dab in the middle of head-on 15.

I am grateful that even through their teens, we had a good enough relationship that we could talk about whatever.  They usually turned bright red or did this (especially my daughter)

when I talked to them about sex, but, I’d rather have red, gaggy faces than STD’s, early babies, and naïve meanderings that could end up with emotional trauma.  (yes my kidittos, you’re welcome, btw)

So I was able to talk to her a little and help her understand, a little better than if we weren’t able to talk, the madness that hormones wreak.  It was a more modest, less developed version of the talk I had with my youngest son, but it got most of the main points across.

And so, as I combined my observations with myself, my oldest son, my daughter, other parents and their teenagers, I was able to finally formulate and articulate the “You’re going to be 15 soon” speech.  A speech which I attribute much of the continued success in communication with him to.

And it goes a little something like this:

 Son, you’re going to turn 15 in a few months.

When this happens you won’t like me.  I won’t like you.

It’s ok because we are going to love each other all the way through it.  We’ll be alright, because soon after that, you’ll be 16 and we’ll like each other again.

You see, somewhere around 15, a brand new hormone will hit your body.  One that will change the way you see everything.  One that has plagued humans since the beginning of time and probably threatened our existence more than any other natural cause.  It is the hormone that spawned the saying,

eat their young

 

And here’s why.

Up until this point, the only way you know how to understand and relate to your moods and feelings is by what just happened.  EVERYTHING that affected your mood, happened outside of you.  If someone took your candy away, you got mad.  If someone brought you a present, you got happy.  If your favorite cartoon came on, you felt elated.  If someone said something mean to you, you got hurt.  If everything was just normal, you were just normal.

Your mood and emotion was, and is for the time being, entirely dependent on external events.

That is all about to change.

Don’t worry.  It’s part of life.  We all go through it.  We will survive.

The problem lies in how little we understand it.  So I’m gonna break it down for you.

Once this hormone hits your system, NOTHING, absolutely nothing outside of you will change, but your mood will.

Oh will it change.  Your mood will fluctuate like your vocal chords bud, with no sense of timing, or reason, or care for social circumstance.  Hormone 15 will mercilessly twist your brain up like it’s saltwater taffy on a roller coaster, out at sea, in a hurricane.

Yes, you get to add this to your changing voice, the fact that you stink, your Shaggy-esque hairs, and your extendo-limbs.

And because, so far, your mood has only ever changed by external events, you are going to try and find external events to lay blame on.  There won’t be any.  You’ll look for them anyway and you’ll find a few things that it could be; so you’ll turn all your hormonal driven emotion at whatever that is.  You will get confused and hurt and frustrated as you try to find the thing that made you so ……. whatever emotion you’re feeling.

(Usually the blame will go to me.  I get that now.  So I’m going to be able to handle it a bit better than I did with the last two, you lucky duck you.)

You are going to wake up one morning and hate life.  The sounds of morning that once made you feel happy because you love breakfast, will be heard with hormone-affected ears and you will feel The Hulk want to rage out of you with each clank of a dish.

Your clothes will piss you off.

Your pillow will make you want to cry.

The sky, in whatever state it is in, will frustrate and confuse you.

The smile and hug I am used to, as you leave for school, will be replaced with a scowl, because your inner hormonal demons don’t want to be touched and can’t believe they have to go to school.

All of your friends will be going through the same thing and you will run the gamut of emotional torture, frantic clinging, and bouts of ecstatic wonderment in all that is new in the world, which unmistakably, now you all can see more clearly than any other humans that have ever lived.

Oh, that Hormone 15 is a doozie.  You’re about to get flip-turned upside-down.

The good news is that A) after that first rush year, it calms down, B) you start to figure out how to live in your new body, and C) you start getting so interested in girls you forget about not liking me.

Of course, that’s when we’ll have the next set of talks generally titled, “Respect” and “No babies”.

 

* I got very lucky with my children that I didn’t have to have the Respect and No babies talks before the 15 talk.  I did have a sort of graduated/ age appropriate series of talks with my kidittos…..  In fact my daughter chose to skip one, because she knew it was coming and didn’t want the embarrassment; and instead learned a valuable lesson the harder way.  Which taught me that age appropriate is “while it’s still informative, i.e. before it’s needed”.

 How was my “talk” received?

One morning, my daughter was already in her usual teenage morning huff when my youngest son woke up, within a few weeks of turning 15.  I heard the uncharacteristic banging of doors.  The, (characteristic) yelling at each other about time in the bathroom, but with an added, and new, note in the male voice.

There was a grumbly boy eating his breakfast, hunched over and scowling.  And a frustrated and bordering angry re-entry into the kitchen after being reminded to rinse his dishes.

A refusal to be hurried for his sister and subsequent second argument, followed by a slamming of the front door as he left to go to school.

And then, as he reached the end of the walk, he turned around, still storming.  I watched by the front door, prepared to rationally deal with what was CLEARLY the first day of Hormone 15.  I stood my ground, stuck a smile on my face as he opened the door.

He glared at me as he asked, “This is that hormone thing you talked to me about isn’t it?”  To which I calmly nodded my head.  He grunted, half smiled, and said he’d see me after school.  Then he closed the door and walked back down the path.

Hormones suck.  Being real helps.  Boys and men are just as complicated as girls and women.  Society teaches them not to show it, or to recognize it; to push their complicatedness away and ignore it.  But it’s there.  All teenagers go through these emotionally havoc wreaking, scary, hormonal changes.  I sure wish someone had explained any part of this to me when I was a kid.  But hopefully, I can help other parents and teenagers figure out a good way to get through it.

 

15

 

What do you think?

 

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Maybe, maybe not

So, as I sit and work on my Good-bye Taiwan posts, going through hundreds of pictures, resizing, sorting, deciding, etc…. I’ve had this one thought keep running through my head.

I know that it is non-productive to let a thought sit and fester, so I figure, I’ll just write about it, get it out of my head, and then it will quit pestering me.

 

I say pestering rather than bothering because, I don’t know that it bothers me so much. It’s just a point of view, and I can fully respect it. It doesn’t hurt me or make me feel bad. Rather it just has me thinking and it keeps coming back, and I’m not being very productive as I ponder it.

So, here it is.

I was told recently, in a nice way, that I am a complicated woman. Maybe, maybe not.

When I was first told that, I agreed. But the more I think about it, the less I think it’s true. I could be wrong. The fact that I keep thinking about it may actually point to the fact that I am.

Here is where my thinking has been taking me; the reason I say, “No, I’m actually quite uncomplicated”.

Now, I, like each of us, am unique. I have my own set of circumstances, filters, patterns, history, etc. My particular rumbled past could very well be seen as complicated. With that I would agree.

But I, the person, am really quite simple. I don’t really understand the rules of all the social games people play. I don’t play them. I see them played out but I never quite have understood why. It doesn’t make any sense to me to act as if you are not interested in someone in order to get them to like you, or to judge another person based on your own past instead of their present.

I am me, plain and simple. I say how I feel when I feel it. I’m fairly incapable of hiding my feelings, though I will try to be happier if I’m feeling down. I live in the moment as the moment plays out. I ask for help when I need it. I give help whenever I can. I don’t judge people by their past or my past.

I am honest with people, I’m not brutal about it, but I am honest. I admit when I see a fault of mine. I try to work on issues in my life. I am open about myself, my past, my hurts, my triumphs, my goals, my hopes, my experiences. I don’t try to hide anything. I face life as it is and try to make the best of it.

I live for the joy. I want to give joy. I want to feel joy. Joy is nowhere inside the twists and turns of the social chaos and drama that most people wander around in.

Maybe what makes me appear to be complicated is that people who are wandering in the social “NESS” can’t figure out my “angle”.

But, that’s the thing, I don’t have an angle. I will share any part of my life with anybody that wants to hear about it. I will joyously be with the people around me, just because they are there with me.

I am not looking to manipulate, coerce, bend, change, or stop anyone from whatever path they are on. I will give advice if asked. I will be a listening board. I will play devil’s advocate in order to help someone else see another side of an issue they’ve asked me about. But I will also say, “I’m just playing this role, I’m not telling you to do this or that, just helping you see other sides”.

It’s not my place to tell anyone what to do. I have had a lot of experiences. I have lived a lot of roles, held a lot of jobs, and gotten a broad spectrum of education. I will happily tell a story about my life if it relates to something I have been asked about in hopes that it will help that person make their decision for their best interest.

I have also been called a “Yes woman”. I love new experiences. I love living in the moment. I love being with people. I am an avid learner. I love hearing people’s stories. I love watching the dynamics of interactions. I say yes to all kinds of new things as well as tried and true things. How else will I know?

I learn so much from my many experiences. Even the ones that don’t turn out the way I think they will, or others think they will. Every experience is a way to learn and grow. Every one.

I was in a short term amorous friendship not long before my change in relationship with Sven. I’m not sure I would have been able to recognize just how right Sven is for me if I hadn’t known this other wonderful man. Does it make me bad that I didn’t choose to stay with this other guy? No. Does it make him not good enough? NO. Just not right for each other. I’ve been in a small number of long term relationships that ended. And I have learned amazing amounts about me, about what I want and don’t want, about my interpersonal relationship skills, where I need improvement, where I need to stop accepting less than, and how to speak up for myself.

I have watched many mothers berate themselves for being bad mothers, when really they’re just normal mothers. We forget so easily that we are also just people. Just women. We don’t get super powers bestowed on us at the moment that baby cries for the first time. We are just fuddling through this the best way we can. I actually (sort of) think that no one should have just one child. It’s the next one that you start to realize that you’re doing just fine, in fact you were probably a little too harsh on them and yourself. I apologize every year to my oldest on his birthday, because he’s my guinea pig. I’ve never been the mother of a child his age before, plain and simple. We’re gonna tackle it head on, hope for the best, and apologize when needed.

I’ve made and lost friends over the years. I’ve held on and been held onto too long. I’ve let go and been let go of too quickly. I’ve been hurt and I’ve hurt others through overlooking. But every experience teaches me. I let go of the negative and keep the lesson.

Through all the life, all the childhood, all the parenthood, all the womanhood, all the new and old experiences, through all this, I live each day one by one. I try to connect experience with new opportunities, but I pretty much just jump in with the best of intentions for myself and everyone with me.

I trust everyone until they give me a reason not to. I like everyone until they give me a reason not to. I think everyone is trying their best and I try to help. I am really, simply, just out there in the world to be. I like to be. I like me.

I don’t think I’m complicated. Maybe I am, but maybe not.

 

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Accountability in Education

Accountability in Education

*though I am writing this mostly about what I’ve noticed in Taiwan, Americans, take note, because the Taiwanese are trying to emulate American educational systems and we are not setting a very good example.

 

Yes, we need more accountability. The problem is that the accountability is being firmly placed in one lap rather than shared amongst all those responsible for a child’s education.

Firstly, and in my estimation most importantly, the accountability for a child’s education has been taken away from the child themselves. It is such a gigantic disservice to a child to not hold them accountable for their own education.

Why should they care if they are educated if they feel no responsibility for it? Why should they feel pride in their education if they barely do anything to receive it?

Some politicians and directors/ board members of educational institutions etc., would contend that there should be more private schools, ask more money for tuitions, create more charter schools, or anything else to charge parents for their child’s education.

HOWEVER, that is NOT putting responsibility on the students. That’s putting it on their parent’s wallets. It creates a crevasse between students whose parents have the financial ability and those who don’t.

How is it fair to a child when the education they are able to receive is dependent on the financial ability of their parents?

They didn’t choose their parent’s lives. They have no say in the financial situation of their parents. It is devastatingly unfair to strengthen or curtail a child’s pursuit of knowledge based on the circumstances of their home. It always has been. It always will be.

All children have potential to be good, upstanding, contributing members of society. They learn how to do that as they grow up. Children spend the majority of their maturing lives in school. So the schools are teaching them, directly and indirectly what kind of society member they can become. If they are taught that they deserve less or deserve more because of their parent’s situations, then they become adult members of society that both directly and indirectly blame their life choices on those of their parents and other adults in their lives, instead of taking responsibility for their own behaviors and actions.

Taking away the child’s accountability for their education harms EVERYONE.

Children are no longer being asked why their grades are failing, teachers are. Why would a child care about their grades if they know that the teacher will be penalized for it and not them?

Instead of trying to learn what is being said in English, they wait for the Chinese translation. They don’t have to earn their grade. They know they will get an 80% or higher even if they sit there and stare at me blankly.

Instead of accountability, they’re being given undue amounts of power.

Kids are by nature manipulative little guys. They have to be. It’s natural. That’s how they get taken care of when they can’t take care of themselves. OK, but they unconsciously (and sometimes consciously) use that in every situation until they mature enough.

Secondly, the school’s Administration and the Department of Education are not accepting any accountability for the programs that are clearly designed to fail students. Schools have become businesses instead of Institutions for education.

Institution: noun: an organization, establishment, foundation, society, or the like, devoted to the promotion of a particular cause or program, especially one of a public, educational, or charitable character.

Schools are fundamentally necessary to pass on and continue the educational advances of mankind. They are instruments of the proverbial “Village” to nurture and develop our young into well-functioning, creative, and contributing members of society.

They are NOT supposed to be money making machines that churn out masses of simple minded, cookie-cutter, semi-educated sheeple for the other money making machines to feed off of.

But…………

Thirdly, parents are more concerned about the grades the child gets than whether or not they are actually learning.

This sends me back to the 80% or higher no matter what the child does. Schools will not allow teachers to give grades based on actual learning. They have to be based on what the parents will “accept”.

It can be argued that an 80% is considered a very low grade to Taiwanese students and parents, but it’s an unrealistic consideration universally.

There’s very little accountability from the parents on ensuring that their child is doing their part in learning. They don’t want the students to have a lot of homework. They won’t “accept” homework they don’t understand.

The way the word ‘accept’ is used here in Taiwan is a whole other blog…… oi.

They want to see mastery without the work involved. The ‘work’ is supposed to be done in class, by the teacher. If they don’t know what is happening in class, they assume nothing is. They can’t “accept” that the child could be at fault. And it cannot be pointed out that the child might be having difficulty learning due to a disability. Disabilities are entirely ignored.

Unlike American schools where disabilities are integrated but still given extra support, here in Taiwan the kids are all thrown together and the class has to be toned as close to the least able as possible.

I’m all for equal educational and social opportunities, but the extra support is necessary to fulfill that. I taught a First Grade class with a wonderful young boy that was disabled. The class loved him being there. But he had a support tech with him to help him as needed. She was invaluable in both his education and that of all the other students. The class moved along at a consistent pace because she was dedicated to his needs and made sure he got the extra instruction or practice needed to keep up. Everyone benefitted.

His disabilities were not ignored, they were observed. His needs were not overlooked, they were given consideration. It’s a big difference.

And again, these kids, who could really excel with proper support, are underserved because they are still given that 80% without any help to have earned it.

Finally, we get to teachers. Sadly, too many foreign teachers here are just in it for the paycheck. Not all, so don’t get your knickers in a twist, but too many.

It’s far too easy to not care if the children are educated because no one else does. . It is sadly far too true here.

We don’t dedicate ourselves to ensuring there is understanding, practice and mastery. We have a pace we have to keep. We have students of all levels in the same class. We have unrealistic expectations.

Many, many of us put in a lot. But we are also here short-term and it shows up in our efforts.

We could really make a change for the better if we chose to, but we don’t. Yes, I am including me in all this. I have not made myself as accountable for my student’s education this year as I should have. I listened to all the people at the school instead of sticking to what I know would work.

With all the accountability for a child’s education being placed in the laps of teachers, many teachers are shrugging it off and justifying it through blaming the system, which shrugs it off as cultural differences.

Unfortunately, the ones who are being harmed by all of us adults not being accountable or responsible are the children we are supposed to be helping.

So what do we do?

We start holding the children accountable. They need real consequences and real rewards for taking responsibility for their own education.

We need to help them discover how this education we are providing will impact their future, and how their role in learning impacts what they learn.

We need to hold the Administrations and the Department of Education accountable for the amount of time students have to learn, for the quality of materials, and for understanding that language is inexplicably tied to culture and though we, as adults, need to respect the culture we are choosing to live in, they, as educators, need to respect that teaching English cannot be done using Taiwanese methods.

And we need to take accountability for educating these children, for preparing them for their future. We are their glimpse and we need to make it a good one.

 

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Thank you Mama

Thank you Mama

I got to talk to my mama today!

Jean Dominguez you’re the best!  Thank you for teaching me so much.  Thank you for being such a great example.

You’ve shown me how to let go and move on.  You’ve shown me how to find the good in people.  You’ve shown me how to meet and be with people for the person they are with and to me, and not their past or mine.

You’ve shown me how strong I am.  You’ve shown me how to face life as it really is.  You’ve shown me how to go after my dreams.

Through your example, hopefully my children, my friends, and the people I meet along the way will also benefit from your shining example.

YOU are proof that the world needs people to shine and not shrink, embrace themselves for the people they are and not hide from their own greatness.

The saying “Everything happens for a reason” is great, and the reason is usually to learn.  I’m so grateful to be a learner!

Thank you MAMA

 

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Life is about relationships/interactions

The topic, as suggested in a comment,

I think life is all about relationships/interactions , no matter how brief or seeming insignificant they may seem at the moment.

I’m not sure I think life is ALL about relationships and interactions, but I would definitely say 85% of it is.

The other 15% I think has to be completely about self.  Simply and solely about self.  The 85% is about self and others, but, that 15% is really important.  Without it, how we interact with others wouldn’t be the same.

That said, our relationships and interactions are extremely important.  They shape who we are, how we think, and react.  They help us decide how and when to begin acting instead of reacting.  They teach us how to be us.

Every face we see, every action we notice, every person that accidentally brushes us, they all mold us.  How many happy faces do we see each day vs how many angry or sad ones.  How many people do we see sitting quietly or animatedly reciting something to the person next to them.  I think these glimpses into other peoples lives help shape our lives.   We instinctively make decisions and judgments and run scenarios through our heads about it.

Once upon a time a long time ago, some one told me, “Never talk about something you don’t have personal experience about.  If you haven’t been part of an event you can’t really know what it’s about.”   I can’t really remember what spurred it on, but I’m sure I made some hasty decision about something and got called out on it.   I was young, maybe 10 or 11, but that has stuck with me.  HARD.  It made a profound, subconscious effect that I still can’t shake even though it can actually cause problems.

Cause problems you ask?  How can that cause problems?  Quite frankly, people can get thrown off because apparently it can sound as if I only want to talk about myself.   This is really not the case, I’m just thoroughly unable to talk about a subject I haven’t had something to do with in case I get the whole thing wrong.

Now, I have learned how to talk about subjects I have only experienced through reading, watching, etc, so it’s getting better, but the point is that, that one brief moment made a HUGE impact.

I have met so many people along my path, that I have only known briefly, that really have significantly impacted my life, in ways they will never know.

For example, for a short time I was training a couple in their home.  I had some car issues come up and was strapped for cash to get them fixed.  Never ever expecting it, this couple gave me a check to help fix the car problems on their last appointment.  All this happened at a very personally difficult time.  A friend was able to help me fix the car myself, saving hundreds of dollars.  After a singularly difficult evening with the personal issues I had at the time, I made a split second decision to buy a ticket to San Diego and go meditate at my Ocean.

I needed to clear my head, figure out how to get through what was happening, and how to take the next steps.  I needed my ocean to do that.  Living in New Mexico, thousands of miles from ANY ocean, was difficult.  I needed to sit by the ocean and hear the sounds, smell the smells, and let her work her magic on my crazy life.

I never saw that couple again, but, that trip was the pivotal moment in an extremely important time in my life.

I’ve always been a people watcher.  My parents were hardly an example of how to parent.  In fact growing up the best examples I had for parenting were the TV parents.  I began running away early, I knew it wasn’t healthy for me to be there.  Most of my early teen years were spent in several institutions, so really after about 12 or so, I didn’t have any example of parenting.

It has been all the many amazing, terrible, wonderful, average parents out there, that I’ve watched and asked, and read about, that helped me become a good parent.  All the interactions with other parents helped shape the parent I was becoming.  I never shied away from asking or listening to advice.  I would gauge it against what I knew or had seen or had tried already.

Every parent I saw, every where I went, great, terrible, and everything in between, knowingly or oblivious, helped me decide how to act during situations with my children as they came up.  Hells bells I screwed stuff up!  And yet, I know that in spite of their dad’s influence, I raised three really great kids.

I have lived in so many places……  and I have met people who changed my life in every one.  The neighbors in WA that came to look after me when Cori was born.  My old housemates when the ex and I were first married.  The couple we shared Christmas with in CT.  The teacher in NJ.  The many people at the dinners we attended at Princeton.  The other wives from the submarine days.  The dear friends I’ve made that have stayed my friends for so many years, and the momentary friends that helped me understand me and my world better.  The woman who taught me to belly dance in order to avoid being put on bed rest.  The guy who drove me to get my tire fixed.  The guy who told me to “just open the lid and pour it in”.  My classmates in college and university.  My amazing amazing instructors and professors.  The new friends I am making as I go around the world.

The guy who told me I had a nice smile.  The lady who stopped and picked up something I had dropped and gave it back to me.  The girl who moved over on the bus so I could sit down.  The man who politely gave me directions.  The woman who stared in amazement as I asked for directions from two black boys without reservation.  The girl confidently reading a book by herself at a crowded restaurant who still gives me strength to do things by myself even today.

I could go on with this list for HOURS!

These seemingly insignificant interactions shape how I choose to behave.  I try to make sure there is room on the bus.  I try to help people smile.  I return things to their owners.  I share anything I can.  I try to be gracious.  I try to be a good friend.

I know that I can be someone’s example of how to be polite, or unafraid, or unbiased because so many people have been mine.

Every interaction you have affects your life.  Large or small, they affect who you become, they affect how you see the world.  These interactions, no matter how fleeting can later become the thing you look back on and think about the most.

That 15%  of self is important because

You decide if it’s for negative or positive.

You decide if you are going to harp or heed.

You decide if you move backward, stay in limbo, or move forward.

You decide if you are going to blame or learn.

But once those decisions are made:

Life really is about the relationships and interactions you have with the inhabitants of planet Earth.

 

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41 things to do before you’re 41

First a little rant

There’s been a lot of craze about the 23 things to do except get married blog.  I have mixed feelings.

I started college after my children were older.  I have seen the countless girls that go to college to find a husband, with their degree being a secondary consideration, (though they will say and possibly believe otherwise).  There are astounding social boundaries put around these young high school and college girls to marry right away.

I think the blog was written with a need to break free, by someone trying to let loose of boundaries that are far more commonplace than we’d like to acknowledge.

That’s fair.

I also think it was written with a little too much severity towards those that choose to get married earlier in life rather than later.  It’s true you shouldn’t do it just because it’s the norm, just because there’s pressure in the ideal that you’re only whole when you’re with someone. 

That does NOT mean that there is an age boundary in which to or not to get married exists.  Marriage should be about love, commitment, and hope.  

I know lots of women that have married at a young age and have been happily married for decades.  I know young women now that truly have found someone special and perfect for them and they are happy.  They didn’t choose to get married because of societal pressures.  And that’s also fair.

My list will not include marriage at all, because hopefully along the way, each of us will find that someone, and whether or not it’s our choice to create a (joyous) legally binding contract with them, is a matter of personal taste.

And Now for My List

And so, at 41, this list includes things I wish I had done, things I have done and hope that everyone does, and things that just belong on the list.

1)   Stop worrying about what others say or do.  

If you can end each day able to say you did your best with what you knew and what you had, then nothing anybody says or does changes that.  It’s none of your business, even if they are trying to make your business their business, it’s their enterprise in futility unless you engage.  So don’t.

2)   Find a hobby.

Or three.  Do something on a regular basis that just makes your soul sing.  I love to make art.  I don’t do it nearly enough.  But when I do, it’s like something else takes over me and I sit back and enjoy watching my soul dance to the song that plays in the background.  Find that something and do it, often.

3)    Grow a plant.

There is one kind of plant that will grow for you.  As a general brown thumb I know there are also lots of plants that won’t grow, but keep looking until you find that one that has the same rhythm as you, then talk to it every day.  Yep, it’s ok if you look stupid talking to your plant.  It will do you both good, so do it any way.

4)    Travel.

A)   It doesn’t have to be around the world.  I never realized until I started travelling out of the US, how few Americans travel within our country!  Or how many people I’ve met who have done little to no travelling inside their own countries!  Yes, it’s completely, totally, amazingly awesome to see other countries, but don’t let it stop you from seeing your own.   America is really a whole lot of little countries.  I’ve been to all 49 Continental states, and I can tell you from experience that no region is like another other than national pride stuff.

B)   Go to as many countries as you can.  When they say life changing, they are not kidding.  Do it.  Go somewhere at least once.  It’s worth the sacrifices to get there.

5)    Do something so outside of your comfort zone that the people you know and love would never believe it was you except you brought photographic evidence.

Take one giant leap out of your imposed boundaries.  And take pictures of all of it.  Then, try something else too.  Why stop at once?

6)    Believe in yourself.  Love yourself.

  • If even for just one day, every single time you hear those self-doubts creeping in – push them back and stand tall.  Believe in you.  It’s always amazing to me to find out how many people believe in me, but yet I still find it hard to believe in myself.  But I’m starting to.  And so should you.
  • Love yourself.  I feel as though this should have happened long before 41, so put this high on your list.  Look at and learn from, then let go of the negatives in your past.  Be who you are today with the understanding that it is what it is at this point.  Let yourself relish in all you’ve overcome and accomplished to be who you are today and then love yourself.

7)    Be a self promoter.

Maybe not the pushy lobbyist type, but when you talk to yourself or to others, talk about your good points.  Leave your bad points out of general conversation.  Accept compliments graciously and give them freely.  Don’t talk bad about others because it makes you look bad.  Self-promote your positivity and positive will float back to you.

8)    Don’t hunt for your special someone.

It really is true that love comes along when you least expect it.  So stop looking, wishing, waiting etc.  Just live your great life and one day BAM.  My BAM hasn’t happened yet, and I’m 41.  But I’m not out there with my love harpoon; I’m just living my life. I have shared and learned about love along the way.  And I am learning to love me.

(*if you already have a special someone, you can hunt for them.  Hunt for their dinner, hunt for their socks, or make them dress up and then hunt them down, that’s ok)

9)    Complete a 30 day challenge.

It doesn’t matter what your choice of challenge is, but complete a full 30 day, every day, challenge that pushes you out of your comfortable zone.  It doesn’t have to push you out of your comfort zone, but at least your comfortable zone.  Ie, reading a poem everyday isn’t out of my comfort zone, but it’s not something I’m used to so it would be out of my comfortable zone, whereas making my bed every morning is well within my comfort and comfortable zone, I just don’t always do it.  Be courageous, pull up your gumption, exercise your will power for 30 days.  Then see how much easier it can be to take on the little tasks of life!

10)    Go to college.

You don’t have to take on a full degree program if you can’t afford it, but take a class every year.  Even if it’s a how to fix stuff around your house class.  Keep learning and interacting with other learners.  It’s important. Just do it.

11)    Read Les Miserables.

Don’t just watch the movies or see the musical; read the book.  It will change your life, you will be amazed.  Yes, the first 200 pages are kind of long and slow, and will make you want to abandon the mission.  But I promise it’s a worthwhile understanding of the characters as they transition into the rest of the story.  Even if it takes you a year to read it.  Read it.

12)   Learn how to ride a scooter, motorbike, motorcycle, etc.

It’s so cool.  It’s fun.  It’s energy efficient.  It’s fun.  And it will help you empathize and be more aware of cyclists on the road.  Did I mention a cool and fun it is??

13)   Be involved in a child’s life for at least one school year.

School is tough.  Give your time to help a child or children get through a school year the most successful they can be.  The reward is priceless.

14)   Get to know a teacher.

If you are not a teacher, get to know one.   Be their friend, listen to their stories.  I would personally suggest not having this be your child’s teacher if you are a parent.  But get to know a teacher and see all that is involved.  Appreciate everything that teachers put into teaching.

15)   Dance.

Just do it.  It doesn’t matter if you’re good or have rhythm, just get out on a dance floor and dance.  If you’re a guy, I sincerely promise that a girl will not care about the moves as much as she will appreciate that you got out there and danced with her.  If you’re a girl, think less, feel more and just dance.

16)   Know how money works. 

Understand what it is and how credit works for and against you.  Figure out how to live within your means.  Appreciate the work involved in making money, and how it depreciates as soon as something is purchased.  Be wise in your purchases.  Understand money.

17)    Wear color.

Put a splash of color in your outfits.  Be bold, love it.  Wear a crazy color and don’t give a rat’s ass what anybody thinks.  You’ll be surprised at how many compliments you get.

18)   Walk around naked. 

I was in my thirties before I felt comfortable walking around naked outside of my bathroom.  I’m not necessarily saying become a nudist, do that if you want to, but be comfortable in your skin.  If you have to make sure all your curtains are closed first, do that, but take command of your home commando style.  It is liberating. 

19)   Make a collaborative art piece.  

Find some people willing to sit down for an hour and take turns putting something new into the piece.  Let each of your own creative inspirations fall onto the same place and see what comes out.  It’s a magical experience.

20) Learn how to do basic car maintenance.

It’s not just a car guy thing, it’s a driver thing.  Know your vehicle, what it sounds like, what it feels like when it’s running well so that you  know when it’s not.  Know how to check your oil and what different colors mean.  Learn where all the basic engine parts are, what they are, and what they do.  Learn how to change a tire, a spark plug and when it needs to go to a mechanic.

21)   Play lots of board and card games.

They’re FUN.  Have fun, play for fun, enjoy the time with the people you play with.  Bring one with you when you travel.  They are great time consumers that keep you interacting with people.  Heck, invite random airport strangers to a game of go fish.

22)   Get to know your neighbors.

Have block parties and bbq’s.  Invite them for dinner or drinks.  My neighbors throughout my life have been such a blessing.  We look out for each other, burglars beware.  Take them a little plate of something and introduce yourself.  We’ve lost a lot of community by not asking for that proverbial cup of sugar.  So go ask for it.

23)   Love the holiday, not the commercialism.

No matter what the holiday is, be about the holiday.  I have spent too much time forgetting about many holidays as I let my bitter emotions get in the way.  Get the stuff you want, when you want, not when the stores dictate.  Give homemade stuff, be with the people, live in the moment of it all.

24)   Be in a theater production.  

Be a tree if that’s all your comfort level can handle, but go be part of a production.  It’s an amazing feeling.  Theater people are amazing people.  Don’t blame me if you start making a habit of it!

25)   Move house at least once.  

It really helps you see how much unnecessary stuff we can accumulate just by being stationary.  At the very, very least, pack up like you were moving and change something in your house.  Make it necessary to box up your life, then make sure you keep what’s necessary, and start sorting through what’s not.

26)  Have an emergency plan and bag.

It may sound crazy but, emergencies by definition rarely have a time frame to prepare for it in.  So be prepared before hand.  How prepared is up to you, a full year of survival food, water, clothing, first aid, etc.;  or a few days worth of basic minimum’s.  Make sure the people you will want to know where they are, know where to look for or find you too.  Nothing makes an emergency more difficult than the fear of not knowing the whereabouts of the people you love.

27)   Climb a tree.

You can hug it once you’re there if you want to, but just find the joy that we used to know and climb a tree.  If you can’t right now, do what it takes to get able to, because it’s just a fun thing to do and you will be so happy.

28)   Make a bucket list.  

Watch the movie, check out The Buried Life guys, and make your own list.  Then look at it every day.  Remind yourself that you have goals so that you can live today in preparation for them.

29)   Kill a mosquito.

Ok this may not sound like the best idea, but it will make me personally really REALLY happy.  Just squash one for me.

30)   Get your face painted.

Just do it, it’s fun, and as an adult you can appreciate how nice a brush feels against your skin in a way you never could as a kid.

31)   Try really hard to learn a new language.

As a still monolingual language learner myself, I am not going to say you have to learn it in order to gain the experience, but try as hard as you can.  It’s so cool to communicate with a stranger in a different language.

32)   Make a silly, just for tonight, bucket list.

I think you can also call it a scavenger hunt or any number of things, but get some friends to help you make a list of some silly things you have to do, get a picture of you doing it, or a signature, or something to show you accomplished it.  IT IS SO MUCH FUN.

33)   Write a blog.

It’s kind of cool to see that people you couldn’t possibly know are reading your thoughts.  Mine started out as a way to keep family and friends, that refused to use facebook, up to date with the happenings of my life.  But it’s become a thing I just do now, just because it feels good to do.  And who knows?  Maybe, you’ll be the next super blogger!

34)   Make your bed first thing every morning.

If the bed is made, even the messiest rooms look better.  And clean rooms look messy if the bed isn’t made.  It gives a sense of accomplishment to the start of the day.  I mean, you’ve barely gotten out of bed and VOILA, instant success.  Who doesn’t want to start their day that way?

35)   Literally laugh out loud.

Don’t hold back, don’t just giggle, laugh.  For that matter, cry out loud, feel peace out loud, be anxious out loud, express yourself.

36)   Have a heart to heart with people at least a decade younger and older than you for the purpose of hearing their story.

Listen, ask questions, be a receiver, a learner.  None of us know any more truth than what we’ve learned, and there is SO MUCH MORE out there to learn!  Take relationship advice from the younger generations as well as the older generations.  Find out about political views and dance moves.  Vast stores of wonderful thought is out there, be open to it.

37)   Participate in an activity that makes you the master of your body.

Join a sports team, start cycling, train for a marathon, learn how to swim, sign up for an amateur body building competition, start a fitness video challenge, but get out there and discover your weaknesses and strengths.  You’ll find you can do so much more than you thought!

38)   Volunteer.

Help those less fortunate, even if you are in unfortunate circumstances yourself.  There is always a way you can help someone, even if you need help.   Trade services with someone, join a soup kitchen for a month, mow your neighbors lawn for no reason, check with a religious institution if there is any need you can fulfill, read aloud at a local childrens’ library or retirement home.  Be a positive force and positivity will find you.

39)   Have someone else wash your hair.

OH MY GOD does it feel good to have your hair washed for you.  It’s most awesome if you’re both in the shower, just saying, but if right now, the best you got is the local hair dresser, well, honey, pay the $10 bucks and ask for a 15 minute shampooing.

40)   Learn about the sky.

The clouds, the moon, the stars, they are our history, our present, and our future all wrapped in one beautiful eyeful.  You can be just as good a predictor of the weather as any TV weather man with very simple knowledge.  It’s amazing to just watch the clouds, but to have enough knowledge about them to truly be wowed by how remarkable they are is a feeling that is indescribable.

41)   Run/ Walk a marathon.

I haven’t done this yet, but I want to.  So, I can’t give a lot of insight, except it seems to be one of the most commonly suggested things by people I’ve asked what they would put on a list like this.

Bonus)   Hug and Kiss the people you love more.

Be affectionate and caring and say you love them.  It’s funny how living abroad everybody does the cheek kissing.  And it’s wonderful how much of a bond you make with people because they are open, hug and kissy friends.  If you’re one of my friends back home, be prepared, I hug and kiss a lot more now and I LOVE it.

There it is, my list of 41 things to do before 41.  I hope you do them all.  Peace and Love to each of you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A bit of a self binge and purge on relationships

Halloween2013Witchsm

zombieToday I went to school for day three of Halloween week, dressed in my third costume.

kitty

I seem to evoke the celebrity madness in the Taiwanese with my face painting.  They’ve gone mad about it and I have had no less than 50 pictures taken each day.   OK.  I can deal with that.

But for some reason, one comment provoked me…..

butterflyface

“Oh you’re so beautiful, you must make your boyfriend very happy!”.

This bugged me on multiple levels.  The first thought in my mind was, “I don’t think being pretty is the end all for making a boyfriend happy.”  That thought alone has driven many a woman crazy and the beauty/ fitness/ food industries to the bank.  It frustrates me that beauty has to be a deciding factor in whether or not you’re a good girlfriend.

Too many times my apparent “beauty” has brought terrible harm to me.  AND, it didn’t stop a husband from abusing me, a boyfriend to cheat endlessly on me, or any my other relationships to end.  It doesn’t mean a damn thing when it comes to a real relationship.  Period.

That, of course, took me to the next thought….. “I don’t have a boyfriend.”

I wouldn’t mind one, but I don’t need one either.  Which started a whole wave of thoughts….

I like the freedom of going somewhere, reading or watching or listening to something and not needing to run my personal tastes by another person first.  If my room is a mess, I’m the only one that has to look at it.  If my room is clean, I don’t have someone asking, “Hey, have you seen my…?”  I’m not cleaning up after anyone and no one is cleaning up after me.  I don’t have to put the cap on my toothpaste if I don’t want to. I do, but, I don’t have to.  I can leave the door open to the bathroom and not care who might hear me fart or blow my nose.

I don’t have to worry about when or where I want to live next because I’m the only one in the decision.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to make plans with another person only to have them all fall through.  I can go where and when or stay as long as I want.

I don’t have to worry about jealousy and whether or not talking to this friend or that friend is going to cause a problem.  I don’t have to stress about sleeping any damn where I want to on the bed – it’s all mine.  I can wrap the covers around me, move the pillows all over, and get freaking comfortable.

BUT

There are a lot of things I would like about being in a relationship.  I would give up some of my freedom for good-night kisses, or someone to travel with, or someone to read in bed with, or cook with, or watch stupid tv shows with.

I would like the ability to reach over and touch someone I care about.  I would like laying in bed, putting my head on a shoulder and snuggling in, feeling safe and cared about as I fall asleep.  I would like secret glances and pillow talk.

I would like learning about the things that make another person happy and then doing them.  I would like having someone to care for and being cared for.

WHICH BOUNCED ME BACK to the previous list and the realization that I have become quite picky.  Post divorce my plan was to not fall into a rut of dating the same kind of person.  Not one guy I dated looked like, acted like, or loved like any of the others.  I’m pretty glad I did that.

I can honestly say that I have learned a lot about relationships and their many varied attributes because of it.  I know LOTS of women who date the same kind of guy over and over again and wonder why they always end the same way.   Each of mine started and ended very differently.  I’ve had quite a bit of self discovery through it all.

I’m pretty grounded and I have 5 men to thank for that.  I know, 5 whole relationships, that’s not so many these days considering I’ve been divorced for just over 11 years now.  My in-a-relationship year total adds up to 7 years, so I’ve been ‘single’ for four years out of 11.  I think that’s actually pretty good.

I’ve learned how to be confidently by myself.  I like me all by myself.

AND SO

I am now finding that I’m learning how to be picky.  Sort of.

I haven’t been as picky when meeting new men as I should be.  The pickin’s are rather slim around here.   Almost non-existent really.  I’m not a 20-something just out of college.  That makes the pickin barrel less full. I’m not finding the Taiwanese attractive in a relationship way.  The circle gets smaller yet.    You see where I have a tendency to be less picky than I should be.

I have gotten pretty good at noticing the signs of things I don’t want and removing myself.  AND, I have finally realized that I am absolutely worth the chase.

THE THINGS I WANT IN A RELATIONSHIP – not an inclusive or exhaustive list, just what’s coming to mind as I write this.

I want to be chased after.  I want someone who will take the time to text, call, or otherwise let me know that they are interested and have stayed interested.

They need to know that my children are amazing, not baggage.  They are adults that are creating extraordinary lives for themselves that I am joyfully able to watch them unfold into.  They are part of me.  I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for them.  I don’t run their lives, they don’t run mine, but we are intricately entwined.

I am not just a mother; I am a woman.  A real, honest, vulnerable, strong, creative, classy, educated, experienced, easy-going, down-to-earth woman.  I cry, I get mad, I hurt, I take a lot of shit and try to spit out as many rainbows as I can.  I can brood but I laugh way more often.  I giggle, I joke, I sing off-key, I dance, and I enjoy life.  I learn and explore, take chances, and say yes more often than not.

I don’t have a daddy complex.  I don’t have many issues that I haven’t long ago worked out.  I have a lot of not so great stories, but they all come with life lessons and blessings.

I want to be cared for.  I’ve cared for every body in my life, all my life.  I have very rarely been cared for.  My next relationship needs to be with someone who will care for me.

If anything, I have a mommy complex.  I need someone willing to mommy me when needed.  I would say I’m pretty strong and able to take the day to day pretty damn well.  But once in a while, I just want to curl up and lay my head on someone’s lap and have no need to say anything at all because it’s just that comfortable.

I actually enjoying caring for people.  It makes me happy to make someone happy.  I feel good when I help someone feel better.  I want to give and I want to be given.

I want the Renaissance relationship.  I want romance, culture, arts, and experience.

I don’t think it’s asking too much.  I feel like men can sometimes take the easy way out and too terribly often it’s easy for a guy to say, “there’s other girls out there that will take me just like this.”  Because sadly, there are.  We women are so freakishly afraid that there aren’t any guys that will take us, that we give up the whole package while accepting only part in return.

I want to find someone that cares enough about themself and me that they keep the romance going, travels with me, inspires me, lives life to the fullest with me and accepts these same things from me.

I want someone that can disagree with me without needing to argue in anger.  Being with someone that always thinks the same way I do would get incredibly boring.

But disagreeing does not necessitate an anger based argument.  I’m down with arguing a point like lawyers do.  I actually like the learning process that happens when a thought out, rational argument is presented.  I like questioning my thoughts and seeing other points of view.

I will readily admit being wrong when the other side has shown me a new side that helps me see things differently.  I only know what I know right now, but that leaves a lot of not knowing out there.  I listen and take in and churn through what the other side presents.  I try to “walk in the other shoes”.  I want someone who will also do that.   So often angry arguments are really just someone not feeling heard and so they also quit listening.

Until that person comes along and realizes what an amazing catch I am, I am perfectly content to not have a boyfriend that thinks I’m awesome just because I’m pretty.

 

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A blast from the past

A writing assignment I was given at La Cosecha Dual Language Convention.

The first part is in bold and we were to complete the sentence.

I hear –
I feel
I pretend
I rejoice –
I suffer –
I wish –
I imagine –
I dream –
I say –
I believe –
I am –

Write this down and complete it before you read my entry 🙂   Then post yours.

l_9fe7c6ada496cf72c3ee5b99735ebaf4

This was my entry.

I hear – the soft sound of my children catching their breath as I pause before turning the page.
I feel safe and warm with my brood snuggled all around me.
I pretend I may not turn the page; maybe it’s time for goodnight.
I rejoice – as I see their interest and hear them ask for more.
I suffer – when I think how much I wished I had time like this with my mother.
I wish – that each of my children can feel this way one day.
I imagine – being part of the pile as a grandmother; and smile
I dream – great big colorful happy dreams
I say – let’s stay up and read another chapter.
I believe – hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies will make the next chapter even better.
I am – surrounded by love. I am content.

Now its YOUR turn!

Rewrite the bolded phrases and post yours 🙂

 

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Things 7 through12 of 2012

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what things really changed me or helped me or stopped me.  Here is the 2nd set of 6 of 12 things I learned in 2012.

7. Language may change, culture may change, style may change, but wherever you are humans really don’t.

Babies still cry when they want something, toddlers still want toys, school children still hate homework, teenagers still rebel to create their own space, new grown ups still walk the line between wanting to be a kid and dealing with the realities of adulthood, and old grown up still look at the youth with longing, pity, and hope.   Humanity remains no matter the location.

8. I had to begin accepting myself for who I am and that began with remembering that I am not set in stone but what has been carved so far cannot be changed.

Who I Was has great influence over Who I Am but almost none over Who I Become unless Who I Am chooses that to be so.  By accepting Who I Am, with all of my flaws and fabulousness, I have the power to choose what I do, what I learn, and Who I Become.  I choose happiness, I choose the light over the dark, I choose positivity and I choose to try and remember all that I have suppressed.

Those things, those parts of my life that I put into little boxes and have been storing on little shelves in my brain vault, are still influencing my life. I can only choose how they affect me if I can look at them out in the daylight.  I am strong enough, I have enough tools to bring my hidden boxes out of hiding and see what’s inside them.  Who I Become will be a force to be reckoned with.

9.  In order to find my own voice I have begun learning how to be silent.

I’m still learning how effective silence can be, but I have begun to understand that “being in the moment” is a quiet mental process not a need to “make the most of every second like it’s the last second”.

I have goals and plans and desires, but I keep getting in my own way by cluttering the path with mental noise and emotional crack.  I am learning how to create silence inside.  Thank you 2012 for giving me that awareness.

10. Learning a language is fracking tough.

But each time I try it gets a little easier.  Each new set of sounds and meanings make learning the next set a little easier.  The human mind is an amazing thing.

11. Parenting doesn’t ever get easier. 

I don’t know how to do it all right I suppose, but I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job.  I would consider myself a very good parent.  I still screw stuff  up on a regular basis though. I don’t say the right thing, or react the right way.  I ask them to be too grown up, ask them to let me leave.

They’re adults now, and yet still they need me to be mom.  I am here in Taiwan, and it is not easy for them to be without mom.

They will grow and this will stretch them, they will have the chance to be better than ever, every day.  Though this was the right choice, it is hard to be away.  It’s not any easier to let go than it is to hold on.

12.  I am too easily swayed from myself.

This is my biggest, most obvious truth I’ve learned.  I stray from my true self.  I forget to keep watch of where I am at while looking back or at where I want to go.  I’ve heard that you have to be where you are, don’t look back, don’t look ahead.  I don’t believe that.  I think I need to try to keep all 3 places in view.

When I dream, the movements I make are those I am physically able to make when I am awake.  Even when I fly or swim in my dreams I picture myself in movements that I have experienced.  I’ve jumped on a trampoline, I know what it feels like to fly for just a second.  So my brain takes that feeling and extends it indefinitely while I am sleeping. But I can imagine it because I’ve experienced the sensation.

Whenever I try to imagine looking at my past, my present, and my possible futures, I keep finding myself feeling stuck because I picture looking in mirrors or turning my head or some other way of looking at separate things.  This year I began realizing that I need to “see” that all three are one and the same.

I stray from myself because I get caught up at looking at one or the other, the past, the present, the future.  I step out of me almost as I try to figure out how to knot them together.  But they are already together, my problem is that I keep separating them.

I am swayed by others because I give too much control of my here and now to them as I try to figure out my past and future.  I forget to listen to my own voice.  Sometimes I choose not to listen to my own voice because I am scared that I will be the one responsible for the mistakes that could happen.  But, I am still responsible for those mistakes and also for the burden I put on someone else to make the decision for me.

In 2013, I will strive to be true to myself, to look at myself as an ongoing creation that is who it is and has only greatness to look forward to.

I challenge each of you to do the same.

 

 
 
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