Stay Outta My Shit, White Woman

My fitness pals will tell you there is something about spandex shorts, sports bras, and competition bikinis that have a tendency to send the female brain – and mouth – straight back to middle school. But I am here to tell you, nothing seems to turn some women into high nose mean girls like politics.

19th-amendmentI am beyond over it.

Evidently, according to Andrea Grimes and Jenny Kutner (whom I do not know so I can only presume they don’t know me. As an aside, no one I have talked to knows them either so I am assuming they don’t know them either. Therefore, I can only imagine that out of the roughly 160 million women living in the US, combined, they don’t know most of them either) because their choice in politician didn’t get elected, I am, once again, a failure as a woman. Not just a woman, but a white woman. Are you serious right now?

Thanks ladies. Like I needed. One. More. Damn. Thing.

Look, I am not going to pretend I fully understand the the issues in Texas – I live in Georgia. But, if I may paint with a broad brush for just a moment; Ms. (I hope that is not offensive being it isn’t gender neutral and shit. But what the hell, I’m already an asshole to her so maybe I’ll take to calling her “honey” because hey, I’m hick from the sticks) Grimes asserts that a vote for her candidate meant

a vote for strong public school funding, for Texas Medicaid expansion, for affordable family planning care, for environmental reforms, for access to a full spectrum of reproductive health-care options

while

a vote for Greg Abbott meant a vote for the status quo, for empowering big industry and big political donors, for cutting public school funds and dismantling the Affordable Care Act, for overturning Roe v. Wade

Let me clue you in on something. Based on what I see here, I would have voted for Greg Abbott too.

Here are some things that I know

  1. Politics has become little more than marketing and public relations
  2. If a person has a dog in the hunt, you can usually take the good they say about their side and the bad they say about the other side and cut both levels in half and you are probably now closer to the truth

Taking that into consideration I am going to bet Greg Abbott doesn’t sit in a secret lair throwing little children into a cauldron laughing at sucky schools passing out cigars to his high dollar friends. Maybe he does the latter. I dunno. Know what else, I don’t have a problem with the latter.

If you tell me no other information other than a candidate is pro capitalism, Affordable Care Act opposed, and abortion opposed, I will deduce that their general philosophy on most things are inline with mine. Am I always right? Obviously not. But let me clue these ladies in on something

It is my vote and you do not get to determine whether or not I  fucked it up.

RallyJust because we share common anatomical traits does not mean, nor has ever meant, that we hold the same set of ideas or priorities. When people use terms like “the women vote” and “women issues” my face turns redder than Texas. I mean seriously, what the hell? My vagina makes me compelled to function like a Toy Story LGM? And the most interesting thing about this concept is those women most compelling it forward are the SAME women who will claim they are empowering women.

No ladies, you are not attempting to empower women – you are attempting to empower Women. Like. You.

I’d like to direct your attention to The Constitution. I am beginning to realize how neglected it is. So let’s take a little look see at it – in particular the 19th Amendment which says

 The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

RaidBecause I can’t help myself, I’m going to also add that the vote for this gem in the Senate back in 1919 had been a long fought battle for the Republicans in a Democratic controlled House…right up until the moment President Wilson took us into World War I, a break of a big campaign promise, and the  Democrats took a whalloping in the 1918 midterm.

Now, with Republican control, the 19th Amendment finally made it through the House,  304 to 89.

Don’t worry ladies. The GOP isn’t looking for a thank you card. You’re welcome anyway.

In the Senate the vote was 56 to 25 broken down as

Yay – 36 (R) 20(D)
Nay – 8 (R) 17 (D)

This little piece of work granted each woman her OWN vote. Not the vote of her husband, not the vote of her boss, the vote of her children, her parents, her girlfriends – a vote of her very own. You’ll be interested to know that the 15th Amendment, also a piece of Republican legislation, was ratified earlier in 1870 and protected the right to vote regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Which means that even as a white woman, my vote is still mine.

Which is awesome, because I can guarantee you don’t want me voting in your place any more than I want you voting in mine.

 

An Open Letter to the Recently Elected

Dear recently elected,

I feel the need to be clear. I did not vote for you because I thought you were the most qualified person for the job – I voted for you because you were the most qualified of those who could be elected for the job in that little booth.

While I am only one person, I feel pretty comfortable asserting that you were not voted into office for your stance on any party platform. While the topics concerning gay marriage, weed, guns, abortion, immigration, etc. are all very, very important, I would wager that many in every sexual, religious, racial, financial, stoned demographic are just ready for government to do its damn job. If you need a point of reference for what that is, I direct you to a little thing known as The Constitution. In the name of all that is holy I pray you have heard of it. You’re welcome.

In the days to come you will be tempted to think yourself more than you ought. Don’t. The majority of the population is just waiting, dare I say expecting, for you to eff this up.

You know what pisses you off about people – dishonesty, passing the buck, blatant distraction, assbackward leadership, conniving trickery, stubbornness, weakness, bloated condescension, dishonesty (yes, I know I said it twice) – well, it pisses the rest of us off too – just in case you were wondering how that kind of stuff would go over.

However, I love this country and so I appreciate you. I think this is a new day and you, in light of your newly elected position, deserve a chance to do what you said you were going to do. I will make a choice to have faith in you (as asinine as some might believe that to be).

Congratulations. Don’t eff this up,
~ Me

Testing Assumptions

Show me someone who is humble enough to accept and take responsibility for his or her circumstances and courageous enough to take whatever initiative is necessary to creatively work his or her way through or around these challenges, and I’ll show you the supreme power of choice.
– Stephen Covey

I am currently reading (for the first time if you can believe it) Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In typical April fashion, I also bought the personal workbook.

I Mustache you a QuestionIn another, that-is-so-like-me moment, I bought a new journal to write down the workbook reflections. I hate actually writing in a workbook – what if I want to do it again?

Then I got to the first section – Testing Assumptions – and I thought, “I could just journal in my blog spot.” So that’s what I am going to do. It is perfect for a bunch of difference reasons.

  1. This post saves me from yet another oh-my-gosh-I’ve-been-gone-for-so-long-what-a-shitty-blogger-I-am post. Which would really be ridiculous as I have a confession to make – I’m not a blogger. I am a sales and account manager (transportation specialist) with an awesome company, Averitt Express. That’s what pays the bills. I just happen to have a writing addiction and a profound need to put words into the universe.
  2. I am not a very good journaler. There is something about knowing that I am putting words out into a public space that makes me question them more thoroughly. Sure, there is a bit of censorship that occurs because while I don’t mind being public, I draw the line at being a spectacle. But, what may get lost in “I’m not saying that publicly” is made up for, I think, in the intention and scrutiny that happens when I know I am gonna hit publish.

Yes, “2 reasons” = “bunch”

On to the assumptions…

Have you ever had an experience where you made an assumption too quickly? Describe the experience below.

What was the assumption you made?

Think about some other assumptions you may have made. What will you do this week to work on one of them?

I know this reflection is looking to examine an instance(s) where I projected my beliefs onto another person or situation unfairly and glean lessons from it. But, that isn’t what keeps coming to my mind.

See, I am an eternal optimist and a salesman. I do a pretty good job at following a situation to make sure I understand the particulars of a situation where others are concerned. It’s my job for one; I like finding the best in any given situation for two.

However, I am often making assumptions about myself. Damning assumptions.

  • I assume I am going to fail
  • I assume I have already failed
  • I assume I am not good enough
  • I assume that I am not worthy
  • I assume that folks routinely discuss my faults
  • I assume I give them a wealth of things to discuss
  • I assume I am disliked and judged
  • I assume it is for good reason
  • I assume it is all my fault
  • I assume I am not living up to my potential
  • I assume that I don’t really have potential
  • I assume that I am trying to hard
  • I assume I am not trying hard enough

You get the picture.

The truth is some of the assumptions are true some of the time. That is the truth simply. But the greater truth about these assumptions falls into one of two categories

  1. They are not always true – I do fail/I also succeed…I do not always fulfill my potential/sometimes I exceed it…I am sometimes disliked/I am also deeply loved by some pretty amazing people
  2. They don’t always matter – My give a shit is getting pretty broken when it comes to what small people say about me with their big mouths. Negativity, judgement, and general asshat-atry are serious energy suckers. I am working hard on getting over it.

I am really enjoying rediscovering Byron Katie and her approach to what she calls, The Work. The gist of the process revolves around taking a thought and moving it through 4 questions.

  1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

Who would I be indeed……

 

Turn Around Tuesday ~ John Smoltz ~ Why Not?

Tuesday’s Thought

In truth, my answer to all these questions is the same, and it’s far simpler than many believe: Why Not?

Why not do what you love for as long as you are physically able? Why not take risks, as long as they are calculated? Why not chase what some see as impossible? Why not believe in yourself? Why not dare to be great…even if it means being different?

Why not?

~ John Smoltz Atlanta Braves Pitcher (ret.)

A Bit of Encouragement… (FILES) This 25 August, 2002, file photo
If you ask my husband why I do some of the things I do, he will say (with a look that may mean either compliment or criticism), “Because she is bored and she needs something hard to do.”

There is some bit of truth to that. I do tend to find excitement in difficult things that appear to have characteristics that make them possible for me. Notice the qualifier that I put right there? It’s an important one. In other words, I am not beating myself over the head trying to win The Voice (you’re welcome), but have toyed with the idea of Master Chef.

Running Ultra Marathons is hard. Heck, some days running 5 minutes is hard. And I love it not for the difficulty alone, but for the treasures found within the difficulty. There is a power there physically when I realize all my body will do. There are mental wins when I push through doubts. There’s a lot of self realization that happens when you are running 50 miles at a time.

Raising four daughters in a culture such as ours is hard. Working full time trying to make a go in this economy is hard. Working on food issues and being healthy is hard. Participating in civic responsibilities with so many other demands on my time is hard.

But I don’t need to tell y’all any of this. The folks I know do hard stuff everyday. Some of it is the same kind of hard. Others tackle their own mountains – caregivers, wellness fighters, social movers, family dynamics, professional feats, economic acrobatics. Sometimes, getting out of bed and facing the world is a major win for the day.

embrace-the-suckI also know you wouldn’t trade the rewards for the world.

Today I want to encourage you to embrace the rewards that others pass up because you will do the things that others won’t do. And I know that sometimes the hardest part is not the thing, but the questioning doubts of those around you about the thing. Why put yourself through that? Why take that chance? Why bother with the amazing when the regular is easier? Those kinds of questions can bust up the truth we already know. Let me remind you. Because you are capable. You are more than capable – you are meant to be better today than you were yesterday. We have a better version of ourselves waiting in the wings to be cultivated and explored. This is a pretty amazing thought since we are already pretty great people. But that’s why we are great – we aren’t settling. We don’t have to.

The Biggest Mouths

So, I have waited just a little while before weighing in on The Biggest Loser controversy. (See what I did there? I almost reworded that. Then I decided, “What the hell. Let’s throw bad puns to the wall and see what pretty colors it makes!”)

Rachel-300x254If you are not a Biggest Loser fan and somehow missed the February 4th storm, here is a brief synopsis. 24 year old Rachel Frederickson became the 15th Biggest Loser winner weighing in at 105 pounds. Her starting weight of 260 meant that Rachel had lost 155 pounds, 60% of her total body weight, in about 8 months.

Twitterverse exploded. Blogs rang out. Facebook posts abounded. I think petitions were circulated, a posse was rounded up, and an inquisition was launched to investigate whether or not Dolvett had let her eat in the last 6 weeks.

Seriously, the reaction, including that of the show’s participants, was intense.

She was labeled as astonishingly frail, lost too much weight, unhealthy, too skinny, and had an eating disorder.  This, said The They, was what has always been wrong with show. This corruptible and damned piece of reality television. Rachel was ushered in as the Queen Madame of all that was wrong with young girls, body image, healthy living, life balance, and, I think, the crash of the housing market was eventually tied to her as well.

The onslaught was intense. The battery of insults, accusations, and finger wagging coming from The They behind the keyboards was such that I felt the residual heat. My first reaction – which I tend to trust yet investigate – was.

Damn, some folks who don’t know anything sure are saying it with big mouths.

Understand, I am a huge critic of pop culture, media influence, and have expressed general disgust over the handling of what some folks would call “entertainment.” Hell, I have banned The Little Mermaid from my house. There are quite a few pieces of TV production that I would label as dangerous, irresponsible, and down right trash. The Biggest Loser isn’t one of them.

Do I recognize that is only my opinion? It’s a blog, of course I do.

Do I recognize that some folks may have a disposition, challenge, or other personal hurdle that makes a show like The Biggest Loser a trigger point? Of course I do, I have the same kind of shows. For instance, Honey Boo Boo makes me want to slap people and The Bachelor(ette) makes me want to punch them in the throat.  I am the momma of four daughters. I think Honey Boo Boo is an abused child and I hate watching girls go to any length to get a freaking flower. Seriously, you would date a guy that you knew was dating 20 other girls? No, you wouldn’t. But I digress.

But, The Biggest Loser has just wrapped up its 15th season. 300 participants have appeared on the show in the past 10 years.  Some of the past winners have had starting BMI’s in the 60s. Yes, BMI, 60s. The show does not promote surgeries, supplements, fat burners, or the like. In fact, we saw what happened earlier in the season when Jillian committed what was called “an unprecedented violation.” She gave them caffeine pills. Even that is not allowed.

biggest-loser-then-and-now15 seasons, 300 contestants, certified trainers, nutritionist, therapists, medical doctors. The Biggest Loser’s cardinal sin, as far as I can tell, is that there is a cash payout.

Now I do wish there were some aspects of the show that were different – most notably the grotesque product placement. I wish they were able to make their marketing budget by promoting local produce, farmers markets, and the like. But hey, it is a business. I am sure the folks who participate in sponsorships and product sales to supplement their fitness businesses understand that.

Outside of the show format itself, what Rachel has accomplished isn’t the big bag of evil it is being portrayed as. At 105 pounds she is, by the guidelines, underweight. By THREE WHOLE pounds. I can lose and gain three pounds with water pills and few beers. So what if she cut the last couple of days leading up to the competition to win a quarter mil?? Boxers do it. MMA fighters do it. Body builders do it. Wrestlers do it. Lots of healthy, strong, athletes cut to make weight and/or appearance.

But it isn’t healthy said The They – neither was being 260 pounds and living off pizza.

And I look at the things they said about her again – astonishingly frail, lost too much weight, unhealthy, too skinny – and thought “double standard”

I hate that. Quite frankly, most people do. Wanna see a facebook post blow up? Go to a female body builders page (which I love, by the way), find a pose picture and tell her she is too big, too muscley and looks like a man.

Let me look at the overweight They who criticized her and call them astonishingly fat, ask about the big meat wrapped around the big bones, grossly unhealthy, and tell them the buffet line is closed. I would never be allowed to say that about people. Why? Because it is wrong, it is ugly, and it is hurtful.

It didn’t sound any better when The They said it.

But I think the angle that pissed me off the most was the accusations that she had daddy issues, low self esteem, and, ultimately, she must have an eating disorder. Rachel became the poster child for what it looks like to have an unhealthy relationship with a dinner plate.

Except no one – NO ONE – knew that to be true. In fact, it still isn’t true. And it doesn’t matter how many times The They say it – it is not fact that Rachel has any type of mental challenge in the area of nutrition at all.

But her name still came out of people’s mouths like they knew her. And seriously, I hate that.  The same “feel good, don’t judge me if you don’t know me, everyone has their own journey” They suddenly had some personal hotline into the life and motivation of a woman they had never met.

Never met. As in, don’t know, haven’t shared a meal with, no access to schedule, no conversation. In short, no clue about her, where she comes from or what she’s doing.

I bought People magazine because she was on the cover. Don’t judge. I wanted to know what she said. And here it is.

I am proud of my journey and excited for this new life…I’ve never felt better. I keep saying it: I am healthy.

Then rock on baby girl. Rock. On.

The Village doesn’t get my kids until it becomes way less fishy

This article was originally written in September 2007. I am reposting it now as I will make a brief reference to it in an upcoming blog post. And, I kinda wanted Amy to know she wasn’t totally alone.

Topic of parenting came up.  Surprise, I know.  But, the topic was “Make a Difference.”  Really, what did you think I would write about?

family

Rosa, whom I adore, says there is greatness in “it take a village.”  Rosa is right.  Except, when the village is corrupt, you have to know when to tell the village to get out of your house.

Now understand I am not going to claim some moral high ground about what I do and don’t allow in my house.  I like the Sopranos.  I watch it – after the kids go to bed.  Understand I am not telling you how to raise your kids.  I am telling you that I have four daughters – if you think that’s a walk in the park, I invite you to the beauty of my chaos.

Times have changed.  Yes they have.  I love hearing people say that things really aren’t that different from when we were growing up. Are you kidding?  Lohan, Spears, and Hilton make it different.  Why? Because they are not the exception, they are the norm.  Madonna was a shocker.  Girls wanted to be like her because it was rebellious.

Today this is not rebellion – it is not being different or expressing yourself.  Girls understanding their place as sexual beings is the way it is supposed to be.  The media no longer objectifies them – we have come so far that we have taught our children to objectify themselves!  It has become so common that we don’t even notice it when it happens.

Example: Lead actress from High School Musical  decides she’s going to take some bra and panty pictures and send them via email (huh?) to her boyfriend.  They become public (shock!).  Now, I understand she wasn’t naked, is of legal age, and few people outside of the HSM demographic know who she is.  That makes it ok, right? Wrong!  The persona that she portrays is that of a high school girl.  The HSM soundtrack was the number one selling album last year.  Your preteen daughters can dress up like her for Halloween, theme their birthday party, and probably recite the words from the movie.  She was set up in the public as the girl that all other girls should want to be like.

Example:  Music CD’s marketed for children.  These albums take popular songs and have kids singing them.  This makes them kid friendly right?  Wrong!  Just because kids are singing Girlfriend, Irreplaceable, and Lips of an Angel does not make the lyrics any different. They are still the types of songs I can only listen to when my kids aren’t in the car.

Example: Little Mermaid.  This fish has been banned from my home and my kids know it.  Why?  Let me break down the story for you.  Little fish Ariel is turning 16 – that’s right 16.  On the dawn of her birthday party she flounces off to a place her father has forbidden her to go.  During the course of things, she sees this guy (sees not meets) that is obviously not 16.  She falls madly in love (remember being 16).  But, she’s a mermaid and this guy lives on the land.  No problem, evil squid offers to give her legs if Ariel will give up her beautiful singing voice.  It’s a good trade according to the evil squid – Ariel can use her “body language” and if the guy kisses her within three days, she can have her voice back.  So, little fish runs away from home after giving up all her talents to chase after some older guy she has never even met.  The body language thing works, he kisses her, they get married and everybody is okay with this.  Are you kidding me?

Could I go on?  You bet.  Little girls who are dying to own pants with “sweetness” written across the bottom.  Clapped for when they nail they latest dance moves that look a whole lot like pole dancing.  Giggled at when they cop some attitude and use very grown up phrases to disrespect their parent’s friends.  Allowed to use terms like “boyfriend” and “dating” before they even hit middle school.  You bet I could go on.

I love the “it takes a village” in theory.  The accountability, the diversity, the help is wonderful.  But the village has traded it’s one idiot for a marketful and many of us have become so complacent and the methods so common, we don’t even notice it.

I don’t know what the answer is for the village.  Maybe you can offer some suggestions.  For the moment, all I can do attempt to keep it and its fish off my doorstep.

Balance is the New Skinny (and BOTH are overrated)

Since my last post I still haven’t been to the gym (10 days now) or on a run (2 weeks, but who’s counting). I have cancelled a huge race, I have nothing on the calendar, and I don’t know when I will decide to sign up for something else.

Why?

Because I have other shit going on right now.

Life is doing what it always does – changing.

And standing in my kitchen yesterday doing yet another load of dishes, mentally planning an amazingly long Saturday,  attempting to prioritize a million and one things into what I would like to do, what I have to do, and what is required for basic survival (because, let’s face it, that is probably the only thing really going to get done today), I began to once again feel like an utter failure.

bitchfaceI had once again demonstrated that, as a woman, I was lacking. I had lost my “balance.” Which is awesome, because really, who doesn’t need One. More. Thing. to feel inadequate about.

Screw that. I put on my bitchface (evidently this is the new “big girl panties”) sometime ago and made a beautiful discovery.

I. Am. A. Good. Person.

In fact, I am pretty effing cool. Sure, I have my flaws, my points of weaknesses, my low points in history, current errors in judgement that I need to tender apologies for, and areas in which I can learn and grow. But, overall,

I. Am. A. Good. Person.

So, while I am open to improvement and growth, I will not entertain ideas of lacking. I am working really hard to be comfortable in my own skin. I decided standing right there in that kitchen, “balance” was just as likely to be the culprit as my moral fortitude. It deserved to be judged for merit as intensely as I did. And damnit, I chose to let “balance” go first.”

Mark-of-the-mindI have come to realize I have been looking for balance my whole life. Learning to walk, ride a bike, skateboard – balance has been the purposed goal, the need for accomplishment.

One of my most scarring childhood failures was my inability to ever do a cartwheel. To this day, I have never been able to do one. As a little girl, this can be devastating. For me, it was.

Now in adulthood, womanhood, most particularly, motherhood, we are taught that balance is key. You have to find it, own it, wrestle into your masterful submission, then take pictures of that shit in action so that you can instagram it and post it on pinterest like the grown up version of a girl scout badge sash.

Then we must compare ours with others to make sure we are doing it right with the right ratios. Are we taking enough time for ourselves (because that’s what strong, independent women do), while still making our spawn the center of the universe (because that’s what good mommies do), while personifying the wife of the century to our beloved (because that what good wives do), in between which we go to school, excel at out careers, be vigilant friends, sisters, daughters, nieces, save baby whales, and vow to single handedly destroy big pharma, big government, big business, and big asses.

Seems reasonable. All you need is…balance.

And if you can’t manage it, you are the one lacking because balance has all the answers. It is perfect in its design, ability, motive, and quality. It is the belle of the ball and you are the little ash covered girl beaten into submission by stupid half wits with only mice to help you out.

Nope, I think, for me at least, balance, the illusion of balance, the effectiveness of balance, has gone the way of skinny – shit that has been promoted around me my whole life as the ideal, the way to greatness, that really is completely and totally unattainable and useless.

minionsI have said before, I don’t need skinny. I need strong and comfortable in my own skin. I like to do physical work. I enjoy chopping wood, pushing a lawn mower, building a shed. I like carrying my own boxes, lifting my own children, opening the new jars of jelly. I like the way my muscles look and the way The Dude looks at me still, after 16 years and 4 kids, STILL looks at me. That comes from strong – not skinny.

I like that life can throw some crazy stuff at me and I can adjust. I can rework a schedule, tear down here, build up there. I can totally remove sections knowing that they will be there when I get back and take on less than desirable tasks knowing I won’t have to do them forever.

I don’t need balance. I need confidence.

For about two seconds I let this idea of balance rob my confidence. Okay, maybe 2 minutes. But the verdict is in. April may have some improvements to make, but this is not one of them.

P.S. I AM (barring some crazy development) going to the gym tomorrow. Wish me luck :)

Boots, Malware, Schnitzel, and Monarchs (weird, huh?)

I keep getting this stupid little bug in my browser. It changes my homescreen, my search engine, and randomly opens weird ass tabs with stuff I never looked for, asked for, or searched for. It is irritating.

But everything has a purpose I think. And trying to get to this blog today (and too tired to remove the little bug from the browser), the little bug decided that, while I thought I wanted to actually GO to the blog, what I REALLY wanted was to search Bing for the blog.

Whatever. It’s one more click and I am too tired to give a shit.

And this is the way my little neglected blog showed up on Bing.

Bing results

And I just couldn’t help but be overwhelmed.

Jerry MaguireUnderstand I don’t expect you to follow all of this. I haven’t been on a run in a good many days. I haven’t been to the gym in 5. My brain isn’t the most organized and functional places right now.

But this is also not the 2am, bad pizza, Jerry Maguire epiphany either. Okay, maybe it is – except I have had a full night’s sleep (as relatively as that can be called with 4 children), and a cup of coffee. So, there’s that.

This was not the post I sat down to write. If it was, you would be watching this awesome clip.

Ok, you can watch it anyway – but we will have to come back to it’s point at a later date.

I really wanted to write something this morning – mostly because I haven’t written anything in weeks.

That’s a bullshit reason to do anything, really.

The truth is I really wanted to write what I wanted to write this morning and not some warped version of what I thought I was supposed to write.

It’s why I can’t make money at it. Why my freelancing gigs never work out. Why I have felt the need to reinvent, segment, redesign my online writing space too many times to count anymore.

I just want to write what I want to write.

Sometimes it is about me whether you think it is or isn’t…and some times it

Just. Isn’t. About. Me.

Sometimes it is about you whether you catch that fact or not – and sometimes, it

Just. Isn’t. About. You.

And sometimes there is more to the story and irregardless of schools of thought on internet transparency or openness, my southern upbringing trumps social media guidelines. Tacky is still tacky – virtual or not – and I won’t have it.

And sometimes the story is edited because it just makes for a better damn story. I mean seriously, who wants to read the normal version of how pancakes get made? Or the full conversation between children? No one. Just tell the story as it mostly happened.

And at the end of the day, I just want to write what I want to write. And this search screen, as crazy as it sounds, insisted that I do just that.

The woman in those images works hard, loves life, and has made some pretty positive changes to become a better person.

That woman has a lot of love, a beautiful family full of wonderful children.

That woman has no idea why in the hell a picture of a boot showed up – could it be any more out of place? But, as fate would happen, this woman does have moments of feeling totally and completely wrong for the situation.

And then there is my cute little facebook page. As you are probably aware, when you create a facebook page, you have to choose a page category (i.e. book, music, person). Within that, there are subcategories (i.e. musician, author, politician). And there, at the end of my little search blurb, is my choice – monarch. There is a whole post brewing about that decision. Until then, feel free to speculate.

And then there is the blog link – Tan Toes, Strong Woman. How I thought long and hard over a way to succinctly attempt to describe myself. Have you ever attempted to break yourself down to a bumper sticker? Not part of yourself, not the family, or job, or hobby, or spiritual side of yourself – but your whole self? You should try it…it is very enlightening.

As you can see from the blurb, the tagline I created for my blog is “Life, Love, Faith, Family, Fitness, Fun.” I guess I could have added doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles and wrapped it up with brown paper and a few of my other favorite things.

But don’t you love how in the link, in the big blue letters, the main thing stays the main thing? I haven’t written very often on that blog because, well honestly, I just haven’t felt very healthy. I don’t particularly feel very fit. The whole of it has lost a bit of it fun. And who wants to read about that?

Moreover, doesn’t a detraction from that render the blog “off topic?” Is it a bait and switch for the readers there? I thought so. I didn’t write.

But like the boot, sometimes the out of place is completely appropriate.

And like the monarch, I am the freaking “Queen Bee.” (New readers stick around – that’s a joke more than a bitch statement, I promise. Seriously, I can provide references! While I am feeling a bit bitchy, and there is a tinge of that there, really, you were really just supposed to laugh just then.)

Then, to cap the whole thing off, the rest of the link blurb proves without a doubt that my blog has been infected by some type of malware, which I totally obliterated so that the search would revert back to it’s appropriate Knockaround Guys, 500 self.

Knockaround Guys Search (Sorry, I gotta post that again…indulge me).

And that’s okay too…malware…as is my blog, so should I be. A constant evolution of righting the ship and taking on water. Bailing and sinking. Healing and hurting. Growing and wilting. It is all part and parcel of the beautifully scandalous journey that we take.

And if Jerry Maguire and I wanna write about it in a totally “holy shit” kinda way, then, it is what it is.

Loves.

I am a Person Who Runs

ellen-dory-finding-nemo-2__oPtI think know I have used this Vin Diesel clip from Knockaround Guys before…I will use it again. Truth is, if I could figure out how to use it in every single post, I probably would. I think about this movie clip a lot when I run long. I know most people would assume that Rocky, Scott Jurek, Chris McDougall, or Dory, the Blue Tang fish saver, would be more likely. But no…it is, in fact, this

500 fights, that’s the number I figured when I was a kid.

500 street fights and you could consider yourself a legitimate tough guy.

You need them for experience. To develop leather skin.

So I got started.

Of course along the way you stop thinking about being tough and all that. It stops being the point.

You get past the silliness of it all.

But then, after, you realize that’s what you are.

Running is so much like that. You come up with a goal. That thing that will make you a “real runner.”

And so, you get started.

SavRnR

Savannah Rock ‘n Roll 2012

I saw those folks doing the Inaugural Savannah Rock and Roll marathon. That would make me a real runner. So, I put on my shoes the day after and logged 13.1 on a Monday, alone, with no medal.

I ran that same marathon a year later in under 4 hours. Surely, that makes me a real runner.

I DNF’d a race I could have easily finished. I inflated the serious of a hurt so that folks wouldn’t ask questions. Not real sure where that ranks on the “Are you a real runner” checklist. But I know one thing for certain. I am not the only one who has done it. So, I have owned it, confessed it, and forgiven myself.

Cremator

Cremator 50 mile Ultra 2013

But there is the Cremator, my darling race. That event that feels like home in my heart. It was a turning point, a game changer, if I can use the phrase. So I ran it. It was the best run of my life. I can’t wait to do it again. That must make me a real runner.

I won a race. Little bit of luck to that one as I was not the fastest female out there that day.

But that is how all races go. You run your race because you are really only competing against yourself. You can’t control others. You just do your best and see where that gets you. Certainly that must make me a real runner.

BirthdayHell, my BIRTHDAY party revolved around running. (and beer, but mostly running).

I pick up odd jobs just to keep my race fees from coming out of the family budget. Certainly that makes me a real runner.

I have secured childcare for myself and my crew chief 68 days prior to an event so that we can go freeze our asses off for 24 hours while I run around in circles trying to accumulate 100 miles to get THE Delirium buckle. By God if THAT won’t make me a real runner…

………

The truth is that this isn’t what I sat down to write about.

If I don't write about Mad Marsh...this is all you really need to know...

If I don’t write about Mad Marsh…this is all you really need to know…

I sat down on this morning in a quiet house with an awesome cup of coffee to tell you about some new cool head stuff I learned about during Mad Marsh 50k last weekend. And I still will write about them really soon because, well, I still think they are valuable if not for anyone else but me…and I would like to remember them.

But some where along paragraph 1, I realized something else again (as I think I have realized it a few times). I do, very often, refer to myself as a runner

  • When someone hasn’t seen me since the weight loss and asks, “What are you doing?”
  • When someone who is experiencing mental and emotional challenges and they ask how I cope
  • When The Dude remarks on the youthfulness of my…jeans ;)

The answer is “I am a runner.”

I think that kind of thing can get in some folks’ head (some folks’ = me). And when I have a bad run, or I skip a training day, or I sign up for a ridiculously hard race, I remember all the times I said, “I am a runner.”

And sometimes I feel like a fraud.

The truth is, I am a person who runs. While running may be one of my top five favorite things on the planet, it is still one of a thousand things that I am and do.

We are all runners

We are all runners

To the rising number of people who say to me,

Yeah I am runner too. Well, not like you, but I run.

Let me say this…

I am runner just like you, and you, just like me. Melissa has 1 kid, I have 4, Mrs. Darling has 8. We are all mommas. It’s the same thing. I have doubts and fears and insecurities. I know people who can do things I will never do. They are people who run. I am a person who runs. You are a person who runs.

And we are all just trying to get past the silliness of it all…

No Demons, Just Interesting Spirits

DD mousepad

My new mousepad for my new job :)

Dear Readers,

Forgive me for I have failed to write. It has been 2 months since my last blog post. I am sure you will understand or maybe not have noticed at all. I certainly noticed.

So I set out this morning (again) to write something (again) and I found it hard to be really inspired to write about anything (again). However, when The Dude walked in to grab a cup of joe, I must have looked like I could write something.

“You must be writing.”

“No, I would like to be writing.”

“Oh, well you look like you are writing. You have this inspired look on your face.”

“No such luck,” I explain. “I haven’t been inspired in months.”

He considers this thought for a moment and says something very interesting – especially since he has not yet has his first cup of coffee.

“That’s probably not a bad thing. When you write, you are usually exercising some demon of some kind, sorting through something jacked up in your brain. Maybe it’s ok that you have to try a little harder to get it out. Some of my favorite articles have been those you had to power through.”

I thought about that through my next cup of coffee and some Facebook scrolling. The truth is, he is right – but only partly.

Jedi Emily

My Jedi protector…this is most assuredly a post :)

I do write for nearly the same reason that I run – it feels good in an amazingly painful way. It is hard. Not everyone can do it. It takes practice and dedication. You have to be somewhat consistent.  All these things wrap up into an activity that feeds my appreciation of my own strength and ability. It keeps my mind right. It makes me feel capable. It helps me to be a better person.

It also tends to be very personal, so I tend to be a bit guarded. I am fairly extroverted (I know, you are shocked). To write about the deepest things requires pulling back the veil. While I may not mind this so much for myself, not everyone in my circle would appreciate that. I am hugely respectful of that.

So, pen does not go to paper, as it were, and I leave those things unpublished.

I am not trying to hide, present a white washed front, or create a superficial image – I am simply trying to be respectful. Besides, if an action meant to exercise demons actually reinforces its power, then what was really the point?

I also am not really good at writing (or running) in pieces. This plays hell with my new schedule. If I can’t lace up shoes and run for an hour, or log in and write for an hour, then I really don’t understand the point. I have a hard time accepting the face that 200 words here, 150 word there will eventually produce the post. I am trying to do better.

The truth is there has been a ton of stuff to write about and sort through.

Delirium confirmation

Yes, I agreed to attempt this…February 2014…83 days

  • I have a new job. And when I say new, I mean NEW. It is unlike anything I have ever done before and it has been a real game changer.
  • I have modified my diet and it is not going as well as I would have hoped – I am still searching for balance.
  • I have signed up for a 24 hour race in an attempt to get the ever coveted ultra marathon runner belt buckle. For a multitude of reasons I am scared shitless. I have 83 days to figure it out.
  • My oldest Little is getting a class ring, and college mailers, and ideas about the future.
  • I have modified my training plan and it most assuredly has its pros and its cons. Again, it is about balance. (I am still using the word “plan” very loosely).

So, I will consider different ways to do different things. And maybe I will write about. No, I will write about it because that is what writers do. But maybe it won’t take 2 months.

100 miles...24 hours

100 miles…24 hours