Maybe it’s the shoes…

When I was a freshman in high school and 14 years old my wardrobe consisted of Levi’s, long and short sleeved t-shirts from a surf shop called Freedom, and beige, blue, and dark brown suede sneakers called Docksiders.  The only time I wore a skirt was when I was cheerleading.  I did not, as far as I can recall, own any sort of high-heeled shoes.

In the spring of my freshman year, in gym, forced to somehow manage some semblance of eye hand coordination for the game of tennis, I met a new friend, a year older than I and a grade ahead of me, whose first words to me were, “why do you dress like a boy?”  Yes, we are still dear friends.  I have been friends with her steadily, through thick and thin, for better or worse, and lord knows in my case through richer and poorer, since the first day we met, but I digress…what I am writing about today does not really have to do with friendships it has to do with me, of course, it’s always about me, and how I feel about how I might like to change a bit, or lots,  in the new year.

I have been watching re-runs of Sex In The City, several times a week for the last couple of weeks, and aside from it being a delightful show, it is making me think it is time to reinvent myself, in two specific ways.  First, on the “inside” it is making me aware that I have been “one of those women” who always, every time, through every new boyfriend, puts her friendships aside for a boy.  It is not at all that I stop my friendships, but I certainly stop the level of interaction I had with my friends and focus almost all of my attention on the boy.  Now to be clear, I also give a lot of attention to my job and the wee-ones, so the term “free time” is pretty tight to begin with, then trying to spend what free time I’ve got doing fun things or laughing or kissing, well, you know, we have to choose, and in my case, I generally choose the boy.  I have apologized, in person, through email, in texts, and on the phone even, when it comes up in conversation, that generally starts with the other person saying that they miss me and would like to spend some time with me and that my friendship is missed.  Then I feel guilt.  The good solid lapsed-Catholic kind of guilt.

Second, watching this show is making me think about shoes…pretty shoes, shimmery shoes, high heeled shoes.  All these years later, I dress like a boy most days.  I still have the Levi’s but they have not fit in YEARS, and I look at them, longingly and wonder when I let myself go as they now could not get over my knees.  I am not the kind of girl who ever could afford Manolo’s or Louboutin’s, never in a hundred years, but I could make an effort, when I am NOT working, to look more like a girl.  I am at a point in my life where I own more work boots and sneakers than any other footwear, and I climb ladders and dig holes and rake pine needles.  I am quite sure that when I am not doing those sorts of tasks I could put a bit of effort into me, and look, while nothing like the gals on Sex In The City, at least a better version of me.  I don’t even know if I could walk in pumps at this point in my life, but for fear of my daughter finally making good on her threat to send in my name to What Not To Wear, I think for this new year I am really going to focus on enhancing my female-ness when I am not doing boy work.

After I met that new friend in spring gym class, 31 years ago, I reinvented myself.  My Aunt was a professional woman in banking and she was and still is a world-class shopper.  She took me shopping, lots and lots of shopping, and for the next three years of high school, I dressed, well, every day.  I wore heels and slacks and had handbags that matched my belts and pumps of various heights and lots of boots and skirts and never dressed like a boy again.  In college I did a once a week internship at the Prosecutor’s office for a year and I dressed the part.  Several judges and many attorneys thought I was a lawyer, not a college student putting in a 7 hour day for no pay.  I wore suits, fabulous heels, carried a great bag, and “played” a part.  I walked into the jail to do pre-trial interviews and just kind of pretended I was working and not getting credit for an independent study.

I think I can pretend again, to be something, more or else, than what I am now.  I do love my work, and I love that I can do lots of things that other girls can’t do, but sometimes I feel like THIS is a part I don’t really want to play anymore.  I am not prepared to give up my small business and stop work that pays well and that I love, but I also find myself asking the question, “is this what I want to be doing five years from now?  Climbing ladders, painting trim, pressure washing decks, repairing sheetrock, planting trees?”  I mean, I love it, but is it WHO I am?”  I am sure that buying new shoes won’t make me better in the new year but I think it might make me feel better about myself.  I’m willing to spend some money and try some on for size, just to find out…maybe it is the shoes…to start the next reinvention of me…

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New-ness

A new year is upon us.  With a new year comes obligations, resolutions, or shall I write a sense of purposefulness?  We all, I think we all, set our sights on some goal when a new year comes to us, yet none of my goals for a new me in a new year ever come to fruition.  Do I lose my momentum by January 2nd?  Do I not really mean what I say or think about my future?  Sure, I have had goals at several times in my life and achieved them, but for some reason the ones I make on New Year’s Eve always tend to be pushed to the back burner of my life and simmer there, in my periphery, waiting for my attention.  Do we make these goals just to make ourselves think we can achieve them?  It seems like a waste of breath and thought for me to make some sort of bold announcement to the universe, an expression of my strong desire or will, only to NOT do what I say and think I should like to do.

smart sign

I saw this image on Facebook this morning, and it seemed to sum up most of what I was going to write about today.  So this year I shall think different.  There are a handful of things about me and my life and the way I live that I would like to change.  They are not earth shattering revelations, they are small changes I could make that would in fact simply make my life better.  The ONLY thing stopping me from making these changes is me, ergo the only thing that will make them change is me.  It would be easier if one could blame others, or some external force, but really when any of us make a resolution in the new year it is nobody’s job to be done but our own.

magic eraser

I was irritated about an hour ago, as I scrubbed, with one of the world’s greatest inventions, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, multiple sized fingerprints of lipstick and eyeshadow from multiple heights on my white walls along my stairs…three wee-girls who love to play dress up and apply daring feats of eye liner applications, seem to be unaware of the gleaming stainless steel railing that runs along the stairs and prefer to drag their little hands down the wall, the one with no railing, as they descend from the loft…So I was irritated as I wet and then squeezed out the magic eraser, and as I started scrubbing, different thoughts raced through my head than the usual ones…like, normally I marvel at the miracle of white softness in my hand and wonder what on earth they put in this thing? that makes it work like magic…but today I looked at the little finger prints, hot pink, red, teal, and black and I thought; I bet every 20 of those women in Newtown Connecticut, who also think the magic eraser is the world’s greatest invention, would give ANYTHING in the universe, ANYTHING, to have to wipe away one of those little fingerprints on their walls…one more time.

Blessed and Confused

I sat in the dark of my living room for a bit last night, just in the quiet, and enjoyed all the beautiful decorations and lights, so many twinkling sparking lights and glitter on just about every horizontal surface, and marveled at how much I love my house and my life and how beautiful everything looks this time of year…then I started to cry.

I felt a mix of blessings and confusion.  So many people I know have lost so much, some I know have lost everything, and now only a few hours north of me, 20 families have lost their wee-ones, and I felt drained.  I was thinking of 20 women, probably not much younger than I, who might be sitting in their living rooms right at that moment too, looking at their decorations and I could almost feel an ache in my belly for them, in my heart, in my soul, trying for just a moment to feel what they are feeling right now, as if somehow, FEELING loss would help me accept all that I do have.  I know it may seem silly, but it felt almost like guilt, that there is so much that is good in my world, that at least perhaps recognizing that it could all be taken away from me in an unexpected instant, is at least a way to be truly thankful.  I suppose if nothing else, this fall storm and this horror in the news since Friday is a reminder that we must take nothing for granted at all.

List Making

I have a great love of list making.  I don’t make them often mind you, and find at the grocery store for example, that I frequently don’t get what I intended to get and spend more money than I intended to spend, so I know the importance of lists, I just don’t implement the action.  I like the idea and the order and organization of them mostly.  I don’t make To-Do lists really either about the house, but do make them for new jobs or new customers.  I think I like the mental challenge of having to remember stuff.

Three little girls, about a month ago, sat down in the living room with all the toy and store flyers from the Sunday paper and went about making lists for Santa.  The littlest wee-one pointed out what she wanted while the other two took notes.  I don’t really think they want all of what they asked for, but I think they liked the idea of wanting.

I’ve often said and wrote that I can truly, honestly, count on one hand the number of things I want and don’t have.  I feel pretty lucky.  I’m quite fond of giving, more than getting, and find that making somebody else happy or bringing joy to another is far more rewarding.  That whole “peace on earth, good will to men” concept is so beautiful to me…be kind, be a friend, try to right your wrongs, all of that “feel good” stuff is all that is on my “list.”  I just want to be a better person, a better friend, better daughter, mother, Nana, sister, neighbor, worker, you know, just be better than maybe I was last year, or yesterday for that matter.  I’d like to eat healthier and exercise more and drink less vodka.  I’d like to appreciate the sound of my neighbor’s deranged rooster more, savor the magic orange sky to my west every night after work, marvel at the lavender clouds to my east more often when I awake each day, smile at the drummer boy and hug the wee-ones more.  What I want can’t be bought.

Santa can’t bring me anything that is on my list, it is just my own obligation to myself, and I’d like very much to think that on Christmas morning when I hear the squeals and laughter of three little wee-ones sitting on the floor in front of my tree, tearing apart all the holiday wrapping, those sounds and smiles will be my cue that it’s time to get on with the business of checking off my list.

Friend Finder.com

It’s just a computer program, Facebook, isn’t it?  Yet I hear people, often say with deep feeling, “I hate it” or “I love it” and we don’t really hear people say that about Adobe, or Norton, or, well, you get my drift…Facebook may just be a computer program but it did change my world.  My world that was sort of content in my aloneness, my world that was sort of content in my solo life, my world that was sort of content in my isolation, my world was changed because of a computer program.  That’s not an insignificant statement.

I have heard people say that there ought to be a civil suit someday against young Mark Z. because of all the cheating that has gone on, all the marriages that have broken up, all the inappropriate pictures that have been shared, all the splits and fights and awful that has come from those who found “something else” all because of Facebook…but I, silver lining seeker that I am, have found so much wonderful, that it seems young Mark Z. really pretty much changed my life.  To be clear, a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad relationship came into my life because of this website, but that’s gone now.  We silver lining seekers tend to dwell on the bad for only so long and then move our thoughts on to the positive, the beautiful, the splendid.

I have a handful of women in my life now, some “real” friends, meaning those I actually can see and touch and hear, and some “cyber” friends, meaning those who I can’t or don’t, but their value to me as friends is equally significant.  I TREASURE these soul-sisters, these kindred spirits I now have found, who I would not have found if it were not for this cyber space that is now part of most of our lives.  Before this site I had two really good girlfriends and a neighbor with whom I shared time.  Now I have more women in my life, who I really can call friends, than I ever had before, even in my youth and teens.  I have reconnected with grade school friends and high school friends and found, joyfully,that we have so much common ground as adults even if in our adolescence we seldom spoke.  My “alone-ness” is a thing of the past, even when I am here in my office, at my computer, alone.  I am connected to the world in a way I never was before.

In mid  June, one quiet night after work, on my computer screen in a section of “people I might know” was a picture of a man with a little girl with whom, according to Facebook, I shared 41 mutual friends.  “Who the heck is this?” thought I, that we went to the same high school at the same time and know all these same people and I have no idea who this person is…So I wrote this person a message with my friendly joyful tone, that I thought it was so funny that I had no idea on earth who he was and yet we know all these same people.  We wrote each other a couple of notes and planned three times to meet, each time I chickened out.  I was shy, a wall-flower, lacked self-confidence, busy with the wee-ones…those were my excuses, but they were also the truth.  The first time, I went in late June to see him play drums with a band he was in and I felt like a teenager again…the energy the laughter, seeing so many people out on a Wednesday night excited with the anticipation of another fun summer ahead of them.  I loved his energy, his enthusiasm, and oh my God he was an amazing drummer…but I did not have the courage to walk up to him and say hello.

At the end of June he was playing at a mutual friend’s wedding but I had to babysit, so I did not go.  I wanted to meet him but “life” seemed to be getting in the way.  On the 4th of July, the third invitation to meet, I was supposed to go see him play again.  He invited me, through this cyber space site, and I was frankly too tired after taking the wee-ones to the fireworks.  It was hot, I was showered and content under my ceiling fan in bed with a book.  He wrote me and asked me why I was not there…then he texted me, why was I not coming?  I told the truth.  I could not stand the thought of putting contacts in my eyes and I was not about to meet this beautiful drummer boy in my humble dorkiness of glasses and no make up…and then after his show was over, my cell phone rang and I first heard the voice that is now the voice I want to hear every single day.  A few hours later he came over for a drink and I first saw the smile that I now want to see every single day.  And there I was, at home, with no make up on, I was just simply me. And now, all these days later, I am thankful, that because of this cyber space world, this “evil” Facebook, I have a best friend, another wee-one in my world,  and more soul-sisters  than I ever could have possibly dreamed.  I have never felt less alone, even when I am here, in this house, all by myself.