Friday, August 11, 2017

Spoonies



Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

Camp ~ Heat ~ Dust ~ Chance ~ Mountain ~ Shopping

They were submitted by: http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

_________________________________________________________

I have a chronic illness.

I've not really talked much about it publicly except a few mentions on facebook here and there, but the last year and a half has been tough physically following the year before being pretty tough mentally. I didn't quite expect my 30s to be so full of change. We're supposed to be more or less settled and maintaining by mid-adulthood, yeah? But I suppose that's the thing about life--rarely is it ever predictable.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a new lifetime partner of mine. There won't be a day when I'm without it, so living with it instead of in spite of it is a necessity. It started with a virus, something I mistook for a normal sinus infection. But I've had a year and a half of a constant fever, swollen glands, extreme joint and muscle pains and fatigue that words fail to describe. Some days I have to absolutely focus on breathing because I barely have the energy to do it.

What the fuck are you supposed to do when breathing is a chore?

I have yet to really figure out a rhythm. I overdo it some days, A LOT of days, and pay for it the next. I don't know how to admit I can't do something. It's never been in me to say "can't" when it comes to something I want done. I don't know how to redefine my parameters. I've always been the kind of person who had a million things going on each day rather than barely managing to dust and get the shopping done. Every activity, even basic shit like brushing my teeth, is a mountain to climb especially in the peak heat of the South Georgia summer. Mentally I know there are days when I should camp out on the couch or in bed. I know I need to take breaks. I know my energy level is limited in ways I don't even understand yet. But it's a constant battle not to succumb to depression from having to give up and let the cfs win more days than not.


Every day I wake up there's a chance my battery will already be at 5 or 10%. On my best days, it's at 50. I'm getting better at recognizing how good or bad it will be when I wake up--it's more the admitting I need a day to recuperate part that I struggle with especially since it's not easy to get people to understand that this is more than being tired. It's more than needing to rest. Rest doesn't help. It's a real and serious condition that I have enough trouble understanding myself. A little support would be nice and certainly goes a long way to helping me feel okay with the fact that this is my life now and forever.

Someone I absolutely adore with cfs herself sent me a spoon necklace recently. Spoon Theory (link here) is an attempt at explaining to others what it's like to have one of the extreme fatigue disorders, and it's one of the best explanations I have seen. Think of your energy levels in spoonfuls. A person without a fatigue disorder has an unlimited amount of spoons--a person without one can rest and recharge. A person with chronic fatigue syndrome, for example, may only wake up with 12 spoonfuls. Every activity uses up a spoon. Taking a shower, getting dressed for the day, making breakfast...each activity, even those that seem insignificant, takes a spoon from your total. How do you manage to do everything that needs done for the day? Every single action must be weighed in terms of importance, and anything outside of those 12 spoons for the day borrows from the next creating an endless cycle of depletion until a person barely has the energy to breathe.

Every life comes with battles and complications along with the good. I've faced my fair share of trials already and always managed to come out on top. I hope this newest battle won't be an exception to that norm. I may not always have the energy to complete everything I want to get done, but I make up for it in personal strength.

CFS won't be the thing that bests me.



__________________________________________________

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/08/a-stinger-free-life-use-your-words.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-tragic-triangle-uyw.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2017/08/from-over-there.html
The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/08/use-your-words-memorial.html

Friday, August 4, 2017

Perfect Mediocrity

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

My “Secret Subject” is:

If you were named a Nobel Peace Prize winner what would it be for?

It was submitted by: http://theblogging911.com/blog

_________________________________________


I am perfectly aware that unless Nobel prizes are suddenly given out for mediocrity, I won't be winning one. That's not to say I have zero confidence in my ability to do things well. I have a pretty well rounded skillset and tend to do alright at anything I put my mind to except being a social creature. I know what I can do just as well as I know my limitations, and a Nobel prize just isn't in the cards for me nor would I want to taint its meaning by celebrating my lackluster performance in any of the given categories.


If you were to play gifted student burnout bingo, I would just about hit every square. All throughout school my dad pushed me ridiculously hard to make the grade. If I brought home a perfect score on a test, he said he would be proud when it was 110 instead of a 100. When, with bonus questions, I did bring home 110s, he wanted 120s. It set me on a path of pushing myself to make the grade, obsessing over it. I didn't make a B on a report card until 8th grade, never made a C, and graduated with honors. It took a toll on my motivation and sense of self. Other aspects of my personality took a backseat to me being a brainiac, and I ended up dropping out of college (even though i started college as a high school junior) a couple credits before earning my associate in criminal justice. Burnout was a big factor in that. Growing up poor was a big aspect of it too. College, for me, was never going to be about opportunities and growth and new friendships--it was always going to mean more work for someone already completely and thoroughly exhausted that never really got to be a kid and debt.


When my dad was on his deathbed, I enrolled again, though, pushing to prove myself even harder. Full time student, new mom, wife, full time employee--I tried to do it all. I pushed and pushed even while my marriage fell apart (from a lack of support from him mostly) and earned my bachelor's as a single mom. It wasn't easy, but women are out there doing it every day. I'm not special for doing what needed to be done, and I certainly don't need an award for it. I am able to look back clearly now and see how burying myself in books kept me too busy to be anxious about my world crumbling or to pay attention to the world at large. It was a coping mechanism not a heroic effort.


Im hindsight, when I started grad school, my heart was never in it. It was just something I knew people expected of me. For a person like myself that has rebeled against social expectations my entire life, that could never quite fit into any box much less a traditional one, I don't know why I forced it. I had an idea about being able to help inmates, but the voluntary work I do on that front is more than I could have ever accomplished working for the system that imprisons them. I thought maybe people would take me more seriously if I went the proper course, fought within the system.


People take you seriously, though, when you're genuine and true to who you are. Dressing it up to get a job or a paycheck or a partner is always going to be seen as phony because that's exactly what it is. And when i realized that, I knew I was done. Finally. I won't ever stop learning, but I don't need my brain to be worth 200 grand to realize I have something to add to the world. And I'm getting okay with letting go of the idea that a degree determines worth and that I don't have to be defined by what I get paid to do.


I won't ever accomplish anything remotely worthy of a Nobel prize. Even if there were a sudden category for bucking social norms some person named Moonwillow with facial implants who feeds their cat a vegan diet, has their pubic hair tattooed on, and makes money by popping balloons with their ass cheeks on a livestream would certainly have me beat. And I would gladly let them have it.


I've made and continue to make my mark on this world my own way. And that's enough.

____________________________________




Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/08/in-eye-perspective-secret-subject-swap.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2017/08/governmental-remote-location-sss.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

The Lieber Family Blog http://www.thelieberfamily.com/2017/08/the-trials-and-tribulations-of-keeping.html

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/08/secret-subject-swap-social-media.html

Friday, July 14, 2017

Past, Present, and Fiction

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: mudpie, sunshine, party, windchimes, wet. They were submitted by: http://Bakinginatornado.com

____________________________________



I feel lost more often than ever before these days.

Politics and social issues have been something I poured myself into even when things in my own life were overwhelming (as they often are), but what exactly are you supposed to do when you’ve been bowled over by both?

A lot of people in my generation, folks around their late 20s to late 30s, turn to nostalgia to get them through. I don’t mean we pine for the days of mudpies on sunshine-filled afternoons in a diaper and nothing else while Mom’s windchimes twinkle out their soothing tune in the warm breeze, but we do tend to bury ourselves in the pop culture fandoms of our youth or at least act like kids with pop culture obsessions. I do it just as well and as thoroughly as anyone else when I can, but that’s also becoming problematic. One part of the problem is I’m also the kind of person who has to be doing, producing, or bettering themselves or those around them or I tend to slip into depression. Fictional worlds have always been so much easier to navigate than the one we live in now, but there’s so much in me screaming to help change the world, to leave a mark, to make this reality a better one for my child that I have always been almost obsessive about sociopolitical issues trying to at least reach others via social media about the topics that affect others the most.

But that aspect of our nation, even though it has always been hugely flawed and in need of change, has become a circus. And I don’t mean that in the Obama’s-gonna-take-our-guns hyperbolic way. I mean it in the every-other-civilized-nation-on-the-planet-is-laughing-at-us kind of way. We’re divided as a nation. We always have been split more or less along party lines, and those lines tend to divide how we view a presidency and creates the kind of panic that occurs when a Democrat takes office and gun sales go up just in case someone, somewhere takes guns from the average Joe for reasons unknown and unclear. But now we have a situation where there are some who can’t roll with a changing world and want things to be more “simple” like when women were more or less property and minorities weren’t asking for the things they deserve while the rest of us are fighting to exist or fighting for the right for ALL people to have the same rights and a level playing field. That fight becomes exhausting. People get burned out even in better conditions, but the 2016 election cycle and the following ridiculousness has been hugely destructive for a lot of people’s mental well-being.

On top of that, fictional worlds have become too close to reality. Dystopian futures in films and books no longer look like impossible nightmares. Even make-believe hits too close to home for comfort. The Handmaid’s Tale is an all too terrifying peak into the way capitalism abuses those who can do for those who can pay as well as what “traditional values” defined by religion can do to wreck a society and turn it into a terrifying extreme. Idiocracy with its look at an America lacking intelligence, focusing on brands, pushing capitalism over EVERYTHING, and having a celebrity President is just far too close to reality for most people. Corporations pushing their products to “save” the world lead to its impending destruction while the government plays along. Isn’t that where we are? We haven’t reached a point where our individuality is exactly punished as in 1984, but that dystopian landscape is still a little too close for comfort with Fake News being paraded by the President as a valid response to any criticism and so many folks blindly following that. And while dystopian science fiction doesn’t represent the only fandoms in the fictional universe, there’s no escaping commentary that relates in some form or fashion to the world we do live in…

My own personal life is a daily struggle with a chronic disease that leaves me exhausted and compromises my immune system. Sick, beyond exhausted, and often in pain are how I navigate my days, and it’s really no easier for other folks. This generation and the one after it are finding day to day life more difficult than generations before even while technology works to make everyday tasks easier. What we’ve lost in physical work to do things has been more than recovered in the difficulty paying for student loans, inability to buy a home or even save for the future, and a shrinking job market of positions that will actually cover the bills and not leave families absolutely wrecked.

The headlines scream out everyday: Trump Is Incompetent, The GOP Can’t Pass a Bill, Men Are Afraid of Strong Women, Water Is Wet and all you’ll find in the comments are memes and BUTHEREMAILS.

So where does a person turn when fiction is too close to reality, reality is to disturbing to deal with, and personal lives are increasingly harder to navigate?

I don’t really know the answer, so I’m treading water and trying to keep afloat one day at a time. It certainly helps to have a great support network online and in real life, but there’s not a lot of realities, fiction or otherwise, that I and people like me can bury themselves in even partially to help recover from the hard times of the present and attempt to form a positive outlook for the future.

One day at a time, one moment at a time is the best we can do. For now, the little things like puppy slobber, learning to sew (and succeeding), wine with friends, late nights with my favorite person, hot coffee, and sundried sheets are welcome distractions.

________________________________________________


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/07/bewildered-use-your-words.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2017/07/exuberant-vacation.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2017/07/gone.html

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/2017/07/14/july-use-your-words-2/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/07/use-your-words-youth-festival-flooding.html

Friday, July 7, 2017

Two Words

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Mad because of toothpaste and toilet seat lids? Think again.

You are volunteering for a women’s charity. Today one lady tells you about her exhaustion and frustration. She feels all the housework, social activities and kids care are on her shoulders, and all her husband ever does is hang out on the couch, play with his phone and expect her to take care of everything. What are you telling her?

It was submitted by: http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/ 

oh boy was I the right person for this one 

_____________________________________

I am fairly certain if any woman comes to me describing a scenario in which their partner is pulling less than 50% of the labor, both physical and emotional, my brain will be in such a swirl of variations of the word fuck that I will at least be momentarily speechless trying to sort through to find just the right iteration for the extreme fuckery going down at their house

Two more words will probably filter through the f bombs.

Dump. Him.

To me, nothing else really needs to be said, but it’s a much more complex issue than those two words make it seem.

For the longest time, marriage was more or less a business arrangement. Wealthier people arranged marriages that benefited each family. Kings and queens rarely loved one another taking a spouse that would create a needed relationship with another kingdom/country or arranging marriages for their children which would do the same. Average folks needed one person to work and one person to tend to the home and children, and in the vast majority of societies, the responsibilities were split with men working outside farming, or, after industrialization, outside the home and women tending the home. It made sense with women needing time to recover after children and being responsible for breastfeeding children. Women’s labor was never as valued as men’s nor were women treated as equals. But that proved to be a mistake in wars that sent increasing numbers of men off to fight and in need of a larger labor force to supply demand for both soldiers abroad and civilians at home. It was women that worked the factories to meet those needs—the same women still at home taking care of everything that needed doing. Women have fought for the right to vote, the right to own property and work, to study whatever they chose wherever they chose to do it, to exist in this world as more than homemakers and objects to be owned and used. The idea of equality between genders has caused a lot of bloodshed with women powering through anyway knowing how worthy we were of those rights.

We’re still fighting for the ability to exist in spaces without being paid less, to get where we need to go without being hounded on the street, to be believed instead of seen as hysterical, to be partners not caretakers for our partners, and to be appreciated for everything we do, and this situation is still far too common in families today. Women are doing 40% more of the household chores, are less likely to be able to engage in sports or hobbies on any given day, and spend twice as much time physically caring for children on any given day. And, at least in American, most people still feel like that’s the way it should be regardless of who works and how much. Even if both partners are working full time, even though more and more women are the breadwinners for their families, people still generally believe that chores, children, and emotional labor belongs almost solely to women. But why?

Splitting household chores is one of the top factors in whether a couple rates their marriage or relationship a happy one or not. Top 3. More than half of people rate splitting chores as very important to succeeding in a relationship. The less balance there is when it comes to responsibilities the more problematic a person might rate their marriage.

Women run households. They make budgets, plan meals, notice the things the family needs, make schedules, learn, delegate. Women are almost always working to better their households or at least maintain them far more than their male counterparts *even when household chores are evenly split.

I would tell this woman that she does even more than either of them realize, and that if she wants her marriage to work long-term, if she can still envision her happily ever after with this person through the haze of resentment and stress this imbalance has caused, then the first step is counseling. They’re in a pattern, a cycle of sorts. They’re locked in, and it won’t be easy to break through it without help to deconstruct the pattern and take out the parts that don’t work anymore. Simply delegating chores more often without discussing why they’re locked in this pattern in the first place could create more resentment on his side and is honestly where the “nag” trope comes in for women—asking repeatedly for the help they need while their male counterparts feel entitled to more free time and freedom from the workload.

I would absolutely tell her everything she is feeling is valid, that there is absolutely no reason why she should shoulder the brunt of the work while her husband lounges even if he is the sole income earner. Sure, that means the workload is trickier to evenly divide, but that division should still be equal. Child care should always be equal. The emotional, invisible labor should be equal.

And if he refuses counseling?

Boy, bye.

Fucking dump him.

Here are some resources on some of these issues:

http://time.com/2895235/men-housework-women/

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-37941191

https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/the-difference-between-a-happy-marriage-and-miserable-one-chores/273615/

http://time.com/money/4561314/women-work-home-gender-gap/

http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/psyched-in-san-francisco/why-women-are-tired-the-p_b_9619732.html

_________________________________________

Here are the rest of the submissions. Enjoy!

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/07/secret-obligation-secret-subject-swap.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

The Angrivated Mom http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Not That Sarah Michelle http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Food and Life


All people are emotional eaters to some extent. We eat to celebrate new beginnings, to lament break ups, to get over one of the many hiccups of life. We bring food to families who have lost a loved one and eat together to rejoice in the coming birth of a little one. Dinners with new lovers, brunches with friends to relax on lazy Sundays, and power lunches with the boss to work on that ever increasing network are all par for the course for human beings, social creatures that we are. Even alone, we tie food to emotion. Late night Netflix-and-stress-eat sessions and binging to cure boredom are just as intricately woven into our relationships with food as our social eating. Food has come to represent a kaleidoscope of emotions, of life itself.

It’s no different for me. Candy is usually my go-to when I’m feeling a little down. A gummy bear has never let me down, and taffy is a close friend of mine. But comfort food is something else entirely. To need comfort is to be more than a little down. It’s not just a stressful day with the kids or a bad day on the job or a fight with a partner. To reach for comfort food is a bad week, a bad month, a bad year…it’s wanting to feel alive in a way that the day to day routine tends to dampen. When you reach for food in comfort, you want the combination of flavors on your tongue and the fullness of your belly to take you home, to let you time travel, or maybe to let you remember that life doesn’t have to be all aches and pains. Finding the goodness in the world isn’t ever as simple as eating a crab cake, but fuck if that crab cake doesn’t help remind you that in little moments life can be spectacular.

For me, it’s more than eating, though. To find comfort in food, it has to be something I get in the kitchen and make myself--a recipe of my own perfected over time or even something I’m trying for the first time that brings together just the right combination of textures and flavors. I love to cook, to create, to take an idea I’ve found online, in a show, or in a book and make it mine. Cheesecakes are my go-to dessert specialty, and I fucking excel at it. There’s absolutely no reason for me to even pretend to be modest about it either. Haha. But, those aren’t necessarily what I would consider comfort food. Something savory that is a little on the simple side and definitely has a more than healthy portion of carbs and cheese aligns more closely with what I would call comforting, and the first thing I think of when I hear the phrase or feel the need for something particular to soothe my rough spots is shepherd’s pie.

Typically sheperd’s pie is some kind of veggie mixed with ground beef and mashed potatoes. And when my mom fixed it for my brother and I as kids, it was ground beef, mashed potatoes, and cheese on top. But, of course, like everything else, I do things a little differently. We rarely eat beef around here, but it works with this recipe as does ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer. The key is to use what you love when it comes to both the meat, the type of potato, and the style of cheese, but the goal is to create an umami bomb in your mouth which is what this recipe does 110%.

What you’ll need:

1 rotisserie chicken preferably garlic butter but any will work as will 2 lbs of ground beef, turkey, or chicken.

1 can cream of mushroom

About a cup and ½ of mushrooms (this can be skipped and still be delicious)

1 can of French onion soup

5 lb bag of red potatoes

1 block of extra sharp cheddar (adding some havarti to this is also so good and colby jack also makes a good sub)

2 cloves of garlic or a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic (what I use)

Onion powder

Rosemary

Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp butter

1 large can or 2 small cans of French style green beans (or any canned or frozen vegetable)

I have picky eaters at my house, but fresh onions and peppers are also a good addition if you don’t have to worry about that.

Milk, cream, or sour cream for mashing potatoes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F

To prepare, peel your potatoes and add them to a large pot of water. Add 2 chicken bouillon cubes to the water or use half and half broth and water. You can also add extra garlic to the water. Turn the potatoes on high heat and boil until basically falling apart.

Grate the entire block of cheese (or used shredded if that’s easier).

Add your butter to a large pan on medium heat. When pan is coated well, add mushrooms and garlic to sautee.

Before mushrooms are done add onion powder, rosemary, Worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste. Begin pulling chicken from bones and adding to the mushrooms. Add your green beans Sautee until mushrooms are done, the green beans are getting soft, and flavors are mixed well. If you’re using ground beef, turkey, or chicken you will need to strain the grease from the meat. With rotisserie chicken, this isn’t necessary. (if you are using fresh onions and peppers you would add them in this step)

Add the entire can of cream of mushroom (fat free can be used without affecting the flavor). Add French onion soup to taste (I add the whole thing) and turn heat down to low.

Mash your potatoes. I aways use butter and milk like my mom did, but this is a personal preference. Do whatever works for you. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Coat the bottom of a large clear glass pan with the chicken and vegetable mixture. Add a layer of potatoes on top of this.

Put the pan in the oven and heat until your potatoes are getting stiff. You don’t want them browning just yet, but close. It takes not quite 10 minutes in my oven, but I’m terrible about remembering to preheat and my oven is wonky. Everyone’s is different right?

Add your cheese and put it back in the oven until melted and enjoy.

___________________________________

This is part of Sunday Confessions hosted by the gorgeous More Than Cheese and Beer. Sunday Confessions is a weekly blog challenge. We get a simple prompt and each post our take on it on Sunday (or during the week if need be). There's no need to sign up early. Just join in the fun by linking up below! Thanks for reading. Oh and this week our prompt was Comfort Food. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

First Date Jitters

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: cats, candy, turkey, aquarium, rose, coins. 

They were submitted by: http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

Short fiction! Though it's not out of the realm of possibility. I just wanted to write something sweet instead of the dark fiction I tend to go for. Got to flex those creative wings.

__________________________________________________________________

I stand in front of the aquarium, more nervous than I think I have ever been in my entire life, waiting for Jean. My anxiousness manifests as pacing and knuckle popping. Occasionally, I realize how intense I must look and force myself to still, reaching my hand in my pocket to rub the two coins together I brought. They’re ordinary, these coins, but not at the same time. I mean, I could spend them. But I also spent hours and hours and more hours perfecting a few coin tricks with them from a book I found at the thrift shop 2 blocks from my apartment.

Yeah, yeah…I’m the kind of girl (woman?) who thinks a few coin tricks are more romantic than a rose or a bouquet of wild flowers. Flowers die, but magic is eternal or some shit. Plus, it’s effort, right?

That’s what I’ve been telling myself over these hours spent practicing until I have calluses in a few places anyway.

I also brought pull n peel cherry Twizzlers as a backup in my bag. At the very least, I know this girl loves candy, and she did mention once these are her favorite. If I can’t impress her with my amateur magic hour (I don’t even have a top hat for fuck’s sake), then I can at least win her over with a sugar rush and attention to detail.

And, yes, I have daydreamed about eating a string of Twizzler Lady-and-the-Tramp style with her. Because I am, admittedly, a little bit of a creep. That touch of creepiness isn’t why I’m so nervous, though. I’m not THAT big a creep. Truthfully, there is a part of me that thinks she will, of course, be disappointed with who I am really versus who I am online or in text or on the phone. I’m better in writing, I think. At least at first.

We met on a dating site. I was mostly there as a joke. I’m fresh out of a long term relationship with a guy that was better off my friend than my partner, and even though the split was amicable, it was hard. And it’s difficult to face this change. I didn’t want to be with another man, not now, and I’m so far out of practice flirting with women I feel like some sort of alien wearing a human suit whenever I attempt to approach them. Plus, we all know how those things go—dating sites--especially when you list that you’re interested in men and women. At some point you feel like adding a neon ticker across your profile that reads “NO I DON’T WANT TO BE PART OF YOUR THREESOME EVEN IF YOU INSIST YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS REALLY INTERESTED IN ONE.” We both know she’s not, and more than likely, you’re just testing the waters to see what kind of bite you get.

I had a little blurb on my profile about being a cat and dog person meaning I am probably the most loyal asshole you could ever meet, and that’s how we bonded—lots of shared stories about the dumb shit our cats have done. Then it was sharing pics of our pets via text, late night conversations about politics and movies. I never had one of those moments where I had to ask her “you haven’t seen THAT?!?!” which, for me, is usually the way 90% of my crushes go, and, if I’m being wholly honest, the way quite a bit of them ended too.

Nick Hornby had it right—it is, at least early on, more about what you like than what you’re like.

But I like what she likes and what she’s like which is 2 for 2, and I am definitely pretty smitten.

She’s late, but I expected that. Both of us are chronically late for nearly everything, but I couldn’t stand being in the house any longer, and actually made it here on time. I know who I’m looking for. We exchanged a lot of photos of ourselves, seen each other’s social media stuff. But I still feel her before I notice her in the crowd of people walking my way. Something gripped me and made me look her way, catching her eyes.

My heart leaps to my throat, and for a moment I’m sure I will run, but then she smiles.

I melt. Completely.

She makes her way over to me with a small backpack in tow.

“I packed a picnic if you want to walk a few blocks to that new park after we’re done here, “ she says. “I made a turkey and cheese on wheat with a little mustard and fuck the mayo for you.”

She’s perfect.

__________________________________________


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/06/i-got-gyped-use-your-words.html

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/2017/06/chocolate-flourless-gluten-free-mug.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com

On the Border http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2017/06/barbeque-and-spirits.html

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Part-time Working Hockey Mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/06/use-your-words-cherry-storm.html

Friday, June 9, 2017

Oh What A Day

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Inspired by Seinfeld's "Festivus", create your own holiday. How would you celebrate it and get others to join in?

It was submitted by: http://shannonbutler.org

__________________________________


I have a friend who is pretty religious. He’s Muslim. I’m not. Actually, I’m not religious at all. I hesitate to use “atheist,” but that hesitation is mostly because of the fuckery associated with the label more so than it not actually applying to my fundamental beliefs. This friend knows this about me and has taken great pains to try to change it. I don’t seek out the debate, but I find myself always trying to defend why I believe what I do, and what is most irritating is that I often end up feeling like this person doesn’t buy that I have ever learned a thing about religion or that I even believe what I say I do. To him, it seems that this belief system I have is more akin to me being a rebellious teenager raging at her daddy and yelling “I hate you!” every time she doesn’t get her way. I’m not resentful over the life I’ve had because it hasn’t been easy, and I’m not the kind of person who makes unfounded decisions based on emotion alone. He, the friend, knows that about me when it comes to anything else, but in this context, about a creator, he just can’t wrap his head around my lack of religion. I despise not being heard. I don’t mind explaining how I arrived at this point and what I do believe, but if I tell you this is who I am, don’t tell me you know me better than I know myself.

BUT, I get it in a way. I do. He loves me, and he doesn’t want my soul to suffer for eternity due to what he believes is a rash decision I made because I was abused as a kid. His intention is good, but that really doesn’t change how frustrating and fucking annoying it is to constantly have to defend my ability to be systematic and rational. It doesn’t change the fact that I would much rather people accept me as I am unless I somehow demonstrate that I want or need to change. And it doesn’t change the fact that I somehow have to prove I have thoroughly researched religion in order to be understood by someone (or many someones throughout my life) who was handed their belief system from birth and never questioned it.

I don’t care what someone believes as long as they’re a good person and are true to the core values of the religion. I’ve had friends of all beliefs, and I never try to force Richard Dawkins down their throat. What I want is the same respect.

I think a lot of misconception about other people’s beliefs, religion or otherwise, hinges on this idea people have that if someone is different than them, they’re an idiot, that they don't know what they're talking about and weren't taught better. Don’t get me wrong—I fully and perfectly understand that many beliefs are rooted firmly in ignorance and hatred, and I don’t mean those. But a lot of the time differences in beliefs don’t necessarily equate to differences in VALUES nor does it mean that anyone is an idiot in need of enlightenment.

Except Trump. Trump is definitely a fucking idiot.

Perhaps a national holiday giving people time off work to explore a belief system other than their own would help so many of us. Atheists already host an Ask an Atheist day which is a good step maybe, but the Internet affords a kind of free-for-all anonymity that ends up ruining every.fucking.thing. Workshops with panels of volunteers who want to talk about their beliefs, speeches, banquets, dinners, bake sales…there are so many ways this could happen that would open up the narrow culture most people tend to have.

Personally, I would be find with Get Your Head Out of Your Ass Day, but I highly doubt that would fly with the general public, and Coexistence Day is a little too flower-child to pass either Ask Me About My Religion day might work, and I’d be fine with it even without a religion.

And if that plan were to fall through, we can always attempt my real dream—Halloween for adults who dress up and trick or treat in friends’ neighborhoods asking for booze and a little weed depending on where you live. Sounds much better than the sad 10% candy tax I get off Evan’s haul each year.

___________________________________________


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Part-time Working Hockey Mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

Climaxed http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com