Living Fearlessly

When tragedy strikes

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I got a glimpse of it on the news, when turning my laptop on and getting my hustle ready for work that morning. I only heard about it through talk throughout work that day, and I hadn’t realized the severity of it all until I got home that afternoon.  Then it hit me, watching the videos, the news reports, and the posts. The same feeling I got with the attacks of September 11th years back and columbine years before that, and so on and so forth.

Again, the world stopped and our hearts shattered, no one doesn’t feel it. The wave of odd emotion, humanistic urge to mourn for those we don’t even know. To feel fear, anger, sorrow, and confusion for a situation that isn’t anywhere near you.

I felt it all, relief, followed by guilt that we were the lucky ones who hadn’t felt worse. My family is still here, we are all safe.

And the questions flooded. How could this happen? How will these people ever go on with their lives? How do I explain this to my children? How do we step foot out our doors in the morning feeling security of the world around us?

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Time keeps moving but it seems to stop on days like these.

It is a terrifying world we live in and getting scarier by the day. Knowing that my husband gets on that stage, just like the ones at the harvest festival in Las Vegas or Arianna Grande in Manchester and many other concerts that have been targeted, is terrifying still. The only thing that can give me peace is the thought that he works on a much smaller scale, for now.

We shouldn’t have to fear a concert. A large group of people coming together for their shared love of music shouldn’t be an invitation for the insane, but a place of harmony. I shouldn’t fear for my husband, or worry if I should take my children to see him play in case someone picks that venue to take their anger and hate out on.

Music should always be a place of peace, a place in time where we can connect, let go of our frustrations, our fears, take a moment to step out of our heads and enjoy. It is devastating to think that we can no longer fully enjoy the heart and soul of what makes us all flow.

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Music should always bring us comfort, it should be home to where we can gather and enjoy. 

My heart goes out to all the families of the victims, and to the musicians, I am sure they carry their share of grief after such a horrific event. No one should fear sharing something they love, but we do, every day. Marathons, festivals, rallies, and so on. We, as humans gather to share, to comfort, to love, and to enjoy.

How do we keep going after so many hits we take as humans? Life is so fragile. Isn’t there a way we can wrap it up and put it up somewhere safe, so it doesn’t break anymore?

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There really isn’t. We can stay safely in our homes, keep hidden from all the scary pieces of the world out there, tucked away safely where no one will hurt us. But that is not life, there is no living in that.

After the many, many thoughts, prayers, tears, and hugs that day, I swore, as I have done many times before, that I will not let fear keep me from sharing what I love. As we have all done in the past, dust ourselves off and go back in.

We risk our lives every morning when we wake up and our feet touch the floor. We also prove to the world that we could survive another day when our feet hit that floor. We shout it from the rooftops every day our eyes open, we will not be afraid!

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This will not stop us from concerts, from running, from music. From love. From gathering, and sharing, spreading our love. Hold tight, my friends, the storm is not over, but we can weather it well, together.

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Battle of the Sexes

The complicated puzzle that is a relationship

What a shit storm this past week has been, the week before school starts for our fifth grader, last year for us in the elementary, sad. The sixth grader has his first year in the high school, so bittersweet.

I have been to open houses, and registration nights, and oh, dance class started also. There has been welcome back picnics, and hair appointments, and back to school shopping, which I like to wait until the day before to scrounge around in a panic to try and get everything ready. It keeps us all on our toes.

Of course, as with most big, strung out weeks, cram packed with all the crap I cannot avoid as a parent, The Husband’s was just as packed with band adventures (it’s like he plans it that way). The latest being a gargantuan of a mobile they planned on cruising around in that weekend, that had a list twice as long as mine to fix before they could get it on the road.

So, on my free nights (because I get a lot of those, right?) my only choice was to help out or be left behind and I didn’t want to spend another evening alone. Which meant, the only night or so I had available was with a paint brush and tape. Trying not to lose my damn mind with my two precious pre-teen and pre-angst angels that were trying their hardest to “help”.

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One part of my bickering angsty clan that was trying their best to drive me absolutely insane while the guys were practicing. I was putting myself in some compromising positions, there is a lot of nooks and cranny’s to a campers interior.

I was exhausted, frustrated, over worked, stressed out and wanted to blow up. I was tired of having to do it all alone, I was sick of being put second, and I wanted to send the worst shit text to The Husband, but I stopped and remembered that this was my choice.  I chose to be with a musician, and that comes with its share of carrying the load so he can travel, play, and record.

Is this fair? No, hell no, and you feel it. The pressure of knowing you’re doing it alone. It was a choice I made when we started dating, a choice consciously made when we got married, and a choice that I knew full well what I was getting into when we had children.

It was a choice we made together, and as much as I wanted to scream and yell, I knew it wouldn’t do any good, they already planned the weekend gig, they were already packing to go. It was pointless, so I took a deep breath and I texted him. I told him I loved him and missed him a lot.

And you know what? He missed me too, he was feeling it too. We live together and barley see each other during these times. It doesn’t just affect me, he is in this too, but this is his life. He could walk away, but neither of us want that for him. For us.

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Sometimes we do get to spend time together. I love watching him do his thing and that makes it all worth it.

The main thing that softened the blow and warmed my heart this past week also, was throughout the chaos of it all was that he was adamant about making sure he was there to take our son to pick out his first instrument for sixth grade band. He wanted to share that moment with him, and I understood that he can’t do all of it, but he tries his hardest to be there for the moments that most count.

In our many years of all our trials I have observed that most men want support, and most women want reassurance. And that there isn’t too much of a difference in these two marital securities. Men want to know that at the end of the day, they have someone cheering them on. When I first approached this theory, I thought it literally meant be his cheerleader.

Ok, I cheered in high school, I can do this. And I texted him throughout the day with “I am so proud of you” and “I appreciate everything you do” until he asked me to stop. That wasn’t what he wanted and let’s be honest it can make the best attention whore feel uncomfortable.

After stepping back and reevaluating I realized one thing in all the books I have read and seminars I have taking about the male/female brain (my work in early childhood education has given me a lot of time to study brain development, and I totally nerd out on it), is that men are doers, they don’t need to be showered with words and affection. They need a foot rub, or joining in on their most favorite activity. In our case, going to see them play, helping set up the merch table, understanding that what they do is hard on them also.

Women need words, we like to talk, talk about our day, talk about our feelings, talk about every aspect of our lives and how they work and who is where and why we are mad and so on and so on and so on…  we like to listen too, we want to understand and be understood. That is what makes a relationship tick for us.

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Let’s face it, males and females don’t necessarily fit, that is why it takes work, support, and dedication.

What we all want is companion, and what we get is confusion. You see, the battle of the sexes is real. Misunderstanding of what each other needs is the struggle, but if we remember to work together, our love becomes easier when we remember we are on the same team.

 

 

 

Dropping it Like it’s Hot

and other wisdoms I have learned in my thirties

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It’s my birthday month! I am not super into my birthday, at this age it’s like, whatever. There is something about waking up that morning, though, you still get that warm fuzzy feeling left over from your childhood. The “it’s my birthday” feeling. Then knowing (or hoping) your husband will roll over and wish you a happy birthday, or you go downstairs and your children will remember, or that text from your mom, and anticipating all the Facebook wishes. It always feels good, to know you’re remembered, especially when you are the absolute worst at giving out birthday wishes (guilty).

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With my two most excellent sisters who threw me the best Gatsby (30th) birthday a girl could ask for! 

I think it is safe to say I am officially into my mid-thirties… no significant number but ebbing in at the mids for sure. OK, I am thirty-four, but seriously, I don’t care. There is no shame in my age game. I am not a ‘still twenty-nine’ gal, I wear my thirties like a badge of honor. Everyone should! It is a beautiful decade from what I have seen of it so far. Thirty and flirty is true, flirt with life in your thirties, you should, you deserve it, you made it through your twenties.

Your twenties suck, let’s be honest. Sure, you’re having fun, you still have your friends and have energy to go drop it like it’s hot, but I like to describe your twenties like the junior high of your adulthood. You think your top shit, just out of elementary, a bad ass adult, but your awkward, and you don’t know what you want out of life nor do you know what life wants out of you. You don’t see it until you hit thirty then you look back and realize you were awkward, you didn’t know what you were doing, and you made a lot of mistakes. At least this was my experience.

You will keep making mistakes, don’t get me wrong, but you will just be a little less awkward at it in your thirties. My experience is a little different being that I started as a younger mom, so during my awkward, uncomfortable, middle school stage of adulting I threw in parenting, which makes you question even being a functioning human being all together. But I survived and got out alive, children still intact, and The Husband and I just barely holding on and white knuckling through the twenties.

Now in my thirties, I have been on this ride a few times, we have visited the proverbial Cedar Point quite a lot and even though the rides are always fun, we know most (MOST, we are still talking about life here) of the dips and turns, or at least which way to lean when you see them coming up around the bend and when to pose for the camera as your flying by. So, I thought, with all my wisdom in my old age I would pass on some of the most important things I have learned in my thirties to you.

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Sharing my womanly wisdom with all of you. You can thank me later. 

The most important is that you can still drop it like it’s hot past thirty, it just might not be as easy to bring it back up. I promise you, though, you will still look as good doing it as you did in your twenties. The best part about this is that in your thirties you stop caring so much about how good you look doing it, it’s fun and you don’t give a shit anymore.

Speaking of dropping it like it’s hot: this one is dropping it to a more serious note. Learn to wear your heart on your sleeve. I spent most of my twenties being emotionally constipated. I always watched what I said on social media because I didn’t want people to think I was crazy, or too loving, or that I had feelings. I never wanted to show any PDA because I didn’t want to make people uncomfortable, nor did I ever want ANYONE to see me cry. Heaven forbid I have emotions.

Now, I have realized that, well, once again, I don’t care anymore. If I love someone, or appreciate them, I am going to let them know. If I am sad I am going to cry. If I am happy I am going to cry. If I really like a song on the radio I am probably going to cry (you cry a lot in your thirties, but its good cries). I laugh harder, I hug tighter, and yes, I post all my emotions online and stopped giving a flying flit. And you know what? I am happier, and I think everyone around me likes me more.

Next: it is not selfish to take time to yourself, it is not selfish to put your husband before your children, it is not selfish to not be completely involved in every aspect of your child’s life. You are not a bad mom for saying “I am not signing you up for football because I don’t want to do it”. They are ten, you are the adult. They will not hate you forever and they will probably love you more when you are not completely burnt out and able to enjoy them instead of zombie-ing your way through their childhood, grumbling as you drive them from activity to activity.

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Just say no! 

Tell your children no, hell, tell others no also. Be honest with everyone but be more honest with yourself. If you just don’t want to do it, say that. You can say no, save yourself sanity, and go get a fabulously guilt free massage instead (this happens to be The Husband and my favorite place to go, if you are in the mid-Michigan area). It won’t make you any less of the fabulous thirty-year-old you are, and you are fabulous at thirty, so treat yo’ self, and just say no once in a while.

Lastly and more of being honest with yourself: Are you really ever going to have that bikini body? Does it really matter anymore? No! Are you happy and healthy? Because in your thirties, you don’t care anymore. I was always so worried about plucking, exfoliating, polishing, pulling, tucking, moisturizing, calorie counting, exercising, and covering everything up. Guess what? I don’t care anymore, and it feels amazing!

The only thing I am mad about now is all the time and energy I wasted on worrying about my outters when I should have been focused on my inners. I love every ripple, lump, and jiggle my body has. Every wrinkle and grey hair tells the story of how I have lived, laughed, and loved, and I don’t take an inch of that for granted.

So, remember to wear your thirties with pride, don’t hide your age. Be proud of how far you’ve come, how much you have learned, and how awesome you are!

 

Like A Stone

My Song to Cornell and All The Tortured Souls Alike

The Husband headed out at three o’clock this morning for Nashville, the guys have been planning this trip for quite sometime with a lot of excitement at the potential it could bring. I also took today off of work to get some things done around the house, because the excitement was all too much. That, and I have been putting in crazy overtime lately, have been getting behind on all my chores and the thought of having the house to myself all day was way too appealing. This morning I thought I would wake up, roll out of bed, and cheerfully do some much needed house work. Instead, I rolled over to my phone, checked my Facebook like we used to check the newspaper, and was hit with some heavy news. Front man Chris Cornell had passed late last night, in Detroit, no less (Michigan girl here). So, once I got the kids off to school, I sat with my coffee processing it all, I shouted from my dining room table “Hey, Google, play me some Chris Cornell” She answered like the steadfast computer she is and played me an all-day playlist, from his multiple bands, live, recorded, unplugged all of it. While I cleaned, and brooded, I heard the hauntingly beautiful crooning that was born in the grunge era and pulled us through the past two decades. I don’t usually mourn celebrity deaths, and it might have been with all the excitement of the husband going on the road, or too much coffee and cleaning by myself this morning, but it hit me pretty hard. This man’s voice was incredible, and the worlds music will be a little less, now.

Later in the day, I read an article that they are speculating it was suicide and it reminded me of a conversation the husband and I had a while ago. We were talking about how it seems like all great musicians are depressed. This is the stereotype, right? So many musicians we have met along the way suffer, not all, but many. My personal knowledge of artists, most (remember, I use MOST very strongly, we are not all built the same) that I have met, they seem to think more deeply, or maybe it’s that they put all their deepness in public form, rather than keeping it inside. Who knows? I see these deep tortured souls and I wonder what came first, the chicken or the egg? Is it that, through these deep tortured souls, comes the beauty through their artform; or is it that the art challenges them to become deeper, to think deeper, to process more. Who knows?

I hear terribly unhappy childhood stories, drug use, abuse, how writers drink too much and painters are always depressed. I wonder if there is a majestic part of our brain that holds a creativity that surpasses us novices. Pandora’s box, if you will, that can only be opened when something so tragic happens it breaks open, overwhelming us with the raw emotion that can only be expressed with pictures and words, music, comedy, or theater. I have seen so many people take their pain and anguish and turn it into the most beautiful works of arts, paintings, or music. Being a word girl, I have heard and read sentences of words strung together that have bought me to my knees, and honestly made me envy the gift they have. Are all these people feeling alone, lost, or scared? Maybe not, but maybe so. That Pandora art box at one point in their past was forced open and possessed them to let it flow out of their hands, through their paint brush, or maybe out of their mouths, through the pen or on a set of strings. I understand that your own thoughts haunt you, that you can wish and wish them away but you are still a prisoner in your own head. It seems endless and inconsolable. It can be a blessing, though, your outlet is another’s strength. Your words, and music, and images can be someone else’s journey into something more, something better, something that can take us to places we could never see with our naked eyes. To all the artists with the tortured souls, please remember that on your darkest of days you are always making the world more beautiful and tolerable for us who cannot find expression. When you find yourselves in despair, sing, write, play, paint, draw, laugh, dance, and act. Let your noise be your medicine and our saving grace. From all of us and the world itself: Thank you for you. You are needed, you are wanted, you are requested to take our black and white worlds beyond the shades of grey and bring us color that our own imaginations cannot create.