Thursday, October 26, 2017

"Here I am. . . the Too Much Woman, with my too-tender heart and my too-much emotions."

There is an article going around Facebook about  "The Too Much Woman."  I resonate with this, greatly.  It is me and I am unapologetic.  Why?  Because it's not "too much."  It's enough.  When something is a need, it's never too much. 

This is my existence--my truth in living.  I've never been any less than this type of woman.  And for that article to be a whole viral phenomenon, I'm obviously not the only one.  I dive in headfirst because I am fearless.  It costs me more energy to reign it in than it does to go all out.  I feel deeply and love hard.  And damn me for expecting the same. 

I struggle with believing an all-in style love exists.  But it must, because I'm it.  I'm here and I am the too much-just enough type.  There's got to be someone out there who can rival my force.  Someone worth my time and dedication?  I want enough.  I need enough.  I crave it with a hunger in my gut that radiates throughout my whole body. 

You might try and convince me that I should be that person for myself, and I'll agree.  I love myself with that passion, too.  I'm not needy in that way.  It's because I have such dedication and emotion invested in myself, that I want a love that will compete.  I refuse to give up and I will not settle. 

It will not happen right away.  I understand that and I don't ask that of my future partner.  But when we are there, it will be intense.  There will be lots of attention; your needs will not be neglected.  I give this vibe in all of my relationships when I care for friends and family, too.  I'll make you dinner.  I'll create art for your walls.  I'll answer your texts at 3:00 a.m. because you're awake and need someone to talk with.  I'm the woman who will send you a handwritten letter when you're down.  I'm the mom who stays up all night sewing costumes baking elaborate cakes because my kids deserve something great and I am capable of greatness. 

There's an air of vulnerability in this.  I've been taken advantage of, as most people have in their lives.  It's not a new concept that there are predators in our society.  But I'm stronger for it.  I heal quickly and have a high tolerance for pain. It's a superpower that accompanies feeling things so deeply and intensely.  It's inevitable to gain resilience to withstand the landing when one falls so far and fast. 

Today's subject line quote is from "The Too Much Woman" by Ev'Yan Whitney.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?

My sewing machine is a dick.  It's less than a week before Halloween and it's been jamming worse than the reggae they've been blairing at Toyota lately.  It's mostly due to the fabric of Willow's costume, so I'm made the decision to be a shitty mom and revamp the whole concept.  Instead of her being "Boo" in her monster outfit from "Monster's Inc.," I'm just putting her in a pink tee with purple leggings and pigtails, maybe a Mike Wazowski doll if I can get a hold of one in time.  My nanny, Tara, is dressing as Sully so it should be fairly obvious what we're going for.  I hope. 

I do feel really shitty for taking the super lazy route.  I used to be a Pinterest mom, now I'm an Amazon Prime mom...only with no money.  I know I'm not a bad mom, I just feel like less of a mother.  I mean, I did still save Willow from the horrors of hearing the bus outside our house again this morning.  That's something!

Wanna know what else I'm bad at?  Following through with the no dating thing.  It's been less than a week and I have a date on Friday.  Granted, it's a follow up date from back in July.  So maybe it doesn't count against me on the front of not actively trying to date?  Cut me some slack!  You all are entertained, I'm sure.  At least this guy never tried to mansplain how a fork works.  (Yes, that happened and it was the shortest date I've ever been on).  In fact, it was a rather memorable time and I'm looking forward to recreating it.

Today's subject line quote is Black Phillip, "The Witch."

Sunday, October 22, 2017

"Son, you got a panty on your head."

I wear many hats--the figurative ones.  My hair is too short for literal hair coverage at this point, though the 20's style cloches are probably my favorite thing to buy and never wear.  Regardless, I'm talking about the multiple aspects of myself that I have to take off and put on at different times, the parts of myself that often clash with whatever else I'm wearing or carrying at the time.

My mom hat had a terrible dream last night that left me in tears when I woke.  I had to check on my babies and when Willow woke up, I held her so tightly.  I think we both needed that extended snuggle.  In my nightmare, she went missing.  Nobody could figure out who had seen her last and part of me is still terrified to leave her side this morning, much less send her to daycare this week.

Whatever hat is responsible for self care keeps flying off and making me chase it down the street. I just peeled off the remainder of my gel nail polish, here at my desk, in some sort of anxious fit of boredom and embarrasment of them chipping.  It is a well known fact that I feel naked without nail polish, so I'm not sure what possessed me to think scratched up, bare nails was a brilliant alternative to a couple flaking. 

I'm pretty sure my work hat is just a propellor beanie.

Halloween's got my crafty hat on standby.  I keep procrastinating and now have both Willow's costume to begin, much less finish, as well as an adult Zapp Brannigan circa Futurama that I promised my friend Dan.  I also need to practice my makeup for my costume and make a kickass pumpkin cake for work.  All exciting endeavors, but slightly stressful trying to get it all finished between work and parenting. 

Lately, I've worn a dunce cap in the fact that I'm probably a phone/social media addict.  I'm an obsessive texter and many of you have fallen victim to my incessant communications.  I just get so bored when I'm wearing my stupid work beanie that I reach out, a lot.  A LOT.  So if I've been annoying the shit out of you lately, #sorrynotsorry. 

Finally, my whole point of hat talk is that I think I'm going to hang up my dating hat for a while.  I start school in 3 weeks, so that will help fill whatever void I'm feeling between not dating and retiring from derby.  In the mean time, I'm going to be dating myself.  Focusing on treating myself well and building that relationship.  My most recent blog topic left me pretty raw, as well.  So it might be good to take some time to reflect on those experiences.  I deserve some devoted attention and I'm going to be the one to give it to me.  So wish me luck that this one works out because the breakup will be a bitch.

Today's subject line quote is from "Raising Arizona."

Friday, October 20, 2017

Silencing women silences justice

Can we take a minute to talk about the whole #MeToo movement?  Because I want to talk about it, but I can't.  Trauma isn't something you announce to the world.  It makes everyone squirm because it's uncomfortable to think about.  It often makes people defensive because nobody wants to think about themselves being assaulty, but it's easier than you think. Survivors have different reactions and mixed emotions to revisiting the idea of harassment and assault, so navigating it publicly is difficult.  But I feel, just like with mental health advocacy, that the taboo surrounding sexual assault needs to be addressed. 

For me, there is a lot of guilt.  I feel like there is more I could have done to prevent it.  My body betrays my mental state.  It doesn't seem to matter that I've made my intentions clear, because he will take it as an invitation to continue.  "I'm not in the mood/interested/etc." becomes a battle cry to get me to change my mind.  I've been told, "I can't help it, I'm just so attracted to you" by multiple men.  I've been told to be careful with my words because it's a "serious allegation against a man" and that I should be really sure I'm not the one to blame. 

Am I sure?  No.  I never will be.  I'm sure there is more I could do.  Should I never drink alcohol with a date?  Maybe.  Dress more conservatively?  Sure.  Stop hanging out with male friends alone?  Perhaps.  Am I too polite?  Certainly.  And my fight or flight response is actually to freeze.  So often when I'm scared, I get a deer-in-headlights approach to the situation. 

The fact of the matter is, telling the person I'm spending time with (whether on a date or just as friends because it's happened regardless) that I don't want to engage in sexual activity, for whatever reason, should hold merit.  I should not have to justify myself.  I do not believe that I need to continue to hold onto my convictions throughout the night.  It should not be a challenge to get me to let go of whatever reasoning I have.

I should not be nervous to spend time with my male friends and worry about my ability to maintain these relationships, but I am.  There's a broken sense of trust when you don't feel heard.  There's an imbalance of power that makes it hard to accept that I'm an person with an equal voice. 

This has been the most challenging blog I've ever written because I both want to be personal about my experiences and yet not out my aggressors.  Partly because the relationships are complicated, partly because I don't want the backlash of blame. Maybe it wasn't how I recall it?  Maybe it's not as big of a deal as I'm making it out to be?

But the biggest take away from this, is that it is more common than one might think.  I'm constantly dealing with unwanted attention in what should be professional settings.  There have been moments that I'm taken less seriously because of my gender.  And most importantly and even recently, I've been exposed to unwanted sexual advances that have left me uncertain of my own mental state and feeling less than dignified.  And it's occurred multiple times.  That's enough to make me concerned it is more me than them.  And that's terrifying.

Today's subject line quote is from DaShanne Stokes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Courage is knowing what not to fear.

I watched the film Critters last night, for the first time in at least 20 years.  In retrospect, my childhood favorites were all somewhat inappropriate content for my age group.  But I LOVED scary movies as a small child.  When I was four, my favorite movie was Poltergeist.  And to prove how weird I am to a whole 'nother level, I'll admit that my favorite toy was to play with plastic Easter eggs as people.  Kind of like Weebles, but without faces.  I named all of the yellow ones "Carol Ann" because she was blonde. 

So basically, I've been desensitized to all horror, gore, and otherwise spooky happenings.  I do not flinch in movies, I do not jump at haunted houses, and I do not scare easily...ever.  I release spiders back into the wild, unless it's a widow and then I'm fashioning a blow torch out of hairspray and a lighter.  I've faced snakes armed with a plastic sack and a spatula, before.  I even jumped cones my first night on rollerskates.  You. Can't. Scare. Me. 

What're your scariest moments?  What made your heart race?  Movies, television, novels?  That one time you and your gay friends got chased through a cemetary by a bunch of homophobic rednecks?  Wait...that one hjappened to me.  If it's media related, I'll watch it and film my reaction.  I am up for a challenge!  Please scare me this Halloween.

If you can get me to react, I'll give you a prize.  A good one.  Like, I'll make you something one-of-a-kind! 

Today's subject line quote is Plato.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Money won't create success, the freedom to make it will.

Sorry if I've been vague-booking my mood on social media lately.  My confession?  I'm not good with math and my budget is shit.  Unless some financial miracle happens, school will be back to being a daydream.  I've applied for another type of student loan that might cover the rest of the cost of school, but it doesn't change the fact that I'll be taking a pay cut to work part time.  I've got a lot of little things that I could cut out to save some cash, but it's going to be difficult. 

I'm not a couponer.  I don't follow budgets well.  I don't track my spending hardly at all.  I'm basically a 33 year old teenager after getting her first job.  Look at all the monies I have!! I will spend it on Rockstar energy drinks and Amazon Prime!   But in all seriousness, my entire paycheck goes to childcare.  This whole school shindig is supposed to help me establish a real career where I could, potentially, afford to live without being completely dependent on support payments from my ex. 

But, I do live in Hoighty Toighty, CA USA.  Things are fucking expensive here and I'm a spoiled brat who is shitty with money.  I can do this.  Right?  I can totally reign in my inner Millennial and tighten up.  Though my essential bills like medications and electricity are pretty heavy.  I worry about those, too.

I also need to be patient with myself.  I'm working from the ground up and I've already upgraded my job once in the last year.  I was making minimum wage at a grocery store seven months ago and have already negotiated my wages up a dollar past starting pay for my current job.  I've been a stay-at-home mom my entire adult life outside of college until now.  I'm in the same category as a young adult who just moved out of her parent's basement.  I shouldn't expect my life to be together yet.  And sometimes life isn't put-togetherable.  Maybe a career with house and a car and a daily Starbuck's addiction isn't an attainable goal?  Time to shift some expectations and grow up.

Today's subject line quote is from Nelson Mandela. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

I see you shiver with antici...........pation.

Last night was the final bout of the season for the Monterey Bay Derby Dames and it was a very bittersweet night for me.  The event was themed Rocky Horror Roller Derby, so there were maid costumes and booty shorts with corsets a plenty.  Yours truly rocked the latter with some thigh high boots and fishnets (that have seen better days since I last wore them for my Harley Quinn costume last Halloween). 

It was a great game.  I'm only hella jealous to not have been on the track with my teammates, blocking against Spacey Lords.  This was supposed to be my bout.  This was the one we were all convinced I'd have passed my 27 laps in 5 minutes and be out there, using my magnificently large ass to my advantage.  Despite attempting my time trial multiple times per week, attending back to back practices, and scrimmaging sometimes for a total of 10 hours of skating per week, I still didn't make it over that plateau.  And it looks like I'll have to wait another year or so to get back to it, since my school schedule won't allow me to practice with the Dames any longer. 

Going to cosmetology school is an exciting new endeavor and I'm thrilled to be taking this opportunity for myself.  But, taking it at the expense of derby is heartbreaking.  Derby empowered me.  I regained (if not gathered for the first time in my life) a sense of confidence and badassery.  When I got my peacock tattoo, I told myself "If you can do this, you can do anything."  And I was right.  Derby saved my soul in the sense that I had spirit again.  There was something just for me that sparked the passion deep down in my guts.  I'm terrified what my life will be like without it, but I'm hoping hair design will give me that buzz as well. Derby is beautiful.  Everyone on the track is a combination of both fierce and agile. It's like performing a brutal dance.  I hope to dance again in the future.

In the mean time, I'll be volunteering with the league as an NSO (Non-Skating Official) and doing all the social events I possibly can.  Like how I sacrificed sleeping in order to go to the midnight showing of Rocky Horror at Paper Wing Theater last night after the bout.  It was amazingly fun and so worth the bags under my eyes this morning at work.  The cast was spectacular!  But honestly?  The star of the evening was, no doubt, my chest.

It was overheard during the game that bets were being taken on whether or not I'd have a wardrobe malfunction.  I did not, so I made 1 out of 5 guys richer.  You're welcome!  All my friends wanted to poke them.  Dr. Frankenfurter wanted to kiss them.  Strangers either stared at them or made really intense eye contact.  My teammates just randomly shouted "Booooobs!" at me all night long.  It was fun to be a spectacle, even more fun to be something I'm not usually.  It's not like I'm letting the ladies hang out with me at work.  I don't go to parent meetings with a baby butt on full display, either.  So it was nice to get out there and be sexy for an evening. 

Overall, it was a good night.  Even if I had some major feels about not participating in the bout and my decision to pursue adulthood over derby, it was a fun night.

Today's subject line quote is (obviously) from Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Friday, October 6, 2017

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.

My patience isn't fabulous.  I'm not even one of those people who can do Christmas shopping early because I will immediately contact that person with, "LOOK WHAT I JUST GOT YOU!! ISN'T IT GREAT??"  So I usually buy everything online the week of and have it shipped directly.  So the fact that I have so many things up in the air right now, is a little excruciating. 

So many loose ends with school are keeping me up at night.  Plus the final details of my financial situation via the divorce is stressing me out.  They go hand-in-hand because if I can't afford to go to school...then I can' know, go to school.  And if I can't go to school, I'll be stuck in a dead end career.  My life will forever be asking if people need to make appointments and making less moulah than people who ask if they want fries with that. Which I've done, it's hard and shitty.  I'm doing far less physical labor now, but my skill set is more refined. 

And dating is fine line between being adorable and annoying to someone and I'm not sure how to balance that tightrope.  That's all I'm going to say about that particular topic.

Basically, send me things to distract me.  I need memes!  Tell me funny stories about your life.  What's something you've found entertaining in the last week or so?  Anything so that I don't dwell on the things that are on my mind right now. 

Today's subject line quote is from Leo Tolstoy.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

There's many a man has hair than wit.

Most of you all know I like to reinvent my look every few months.  It keeps me interested in life.  A good portion of the time it's hair color.  I've been described as Tonks from Harry Potter because my hair is like a cheap, 90's mood ring.    I've had every hair color there is, even green (thanks to the bleaching process after my blue-galaxy inspired 'do).  It was sort of rainbow after that.  It looked like a unicorn wretched on my locks.  

Lately, I've been sporting a blackish hue.  I'm already over it.  Honestly, I'm tired of my hair alltogether.  I had the WORST haircut experience months ago and it's still growing out from that butchery.  I looked longingly at Cersei Lannister's hair cut in Game of Thrones after this disaster.  I have dreams about my hair being long again.  They are so comforting, like a warm hug.  I miss my long hair so much!  Here's a picture of how hot I was:

Sometimes I wake up from those dreams all excited to style my lushious hair and then look in the mirror and just sigh heavily.  This is taking FOR...EEEVVV.....EEERRR.  I feel like I'm in hair purgatory. 

Today's subject line quote is from William Shakespeare.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

I get stressed easily.  On the outside, I think I handle it super well.  On the inside?  I'm Michael Bay caliber explosions.  The worst is that I'm also spoiled so there's really no reason for me to even get stressed in the first place.  My life is coming together in a way I never felt possible while the people I love around me are struggling and it makes me realize how petty I can be. 

In the wake of the Puerto Rico and Las Vegas tragedies, I feel like I should be doing more to give back.  I've been skating by in my community.  Thoughts and prayers aren't going to help but I don't have the funds to donate at the moment.  I suppose I shouldn't feel too detached because I have given two small loans to friends in the last 6 months.  But I do.  I feel like I need to do more than just share memes and infographics on social media.  But how do I be more proactive?  How do I make a difference? 

My time is precious and it's about to become even more scarce as I embark on these new pathways.  So how do people do it?  How are there such truly great people in this world?  How can I be one?  I think my grace period of "You've got a lot going on right now." is coming to an end.  Why is this even bothering me so much?  I just feel like a really terrible person for having my shit together finally.

Today's subject line quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Here's the thing: Chilis is the new golf course. It's where the business happens.

Ever have a time in your life when everything just falls into place and feels so completely right that your organs could just burst from the inside out spewing happiness and rainbows all over the unsuspecting masses of seemingly depressed people because they obviously have less joy in their life than you do right now?  No?  Just me then? 

I've honestly never had that feeling either--before now.  I typically get the slightest tingle of happy in my bones and I freak the fuck out and make up some sort of psuedo crisis.  I go looking for drama.  Drama is my cozy blanket and cup of coffee on a rainy day.  So have I now grown up enough to embrace the delightfulness?  Move over chaos!  Stability is the new sherrif in town.

Granted, I get this sort of euphoria every Fall.  The suburban, yoga-pant wearing, white girl in me can't help but squeal when pumpkin spice flavored scarves come back into fashion.  October makes me giddy in the way that my two-year-old lights up when she sees...pretty much anything.  She's typically the most genuinely happy kid on the planet.  But you should have seen us at the county fair.  I freakin' LOVE goats!  I will talk to them for hours because they make the best sounds.  It's simply another beautiful aspect of my Autumnal love of life.  But this feels a little more substantial than a Fall tease.

For those of you following along at home, my cosmotology school tour went really well.  I think I might actually do this!  There's one catch...I'll have to put roller derby on the backburner for about a year.  I can still be involved in the league, but practices aren't in the cards.  I'll be too busy learning to do perms for old ladies and ombres for basic bitches.  I have two weeks to decide, get my work on board with me going part-time, convincing my nanny and kids that this is going to be a similar schedule change, and work out my budget so that I can still feed my morning latte addiction.

And for those of you waiting for a date update, I never made it to Ikea.  I was so excited to get to Modesto that I skipped the stop in Palo Alto and went straight over.  I'm not going to divulge many details because there's a .0098% chance he's going to read this and then freak out that I want to turn us into a modern day Brady Bunch.  But, we had the best time  That's an inside joke.  We have those.  Jealous?  Also, our song is "Angry White Boy Polka" by Weird Al.  Super Jealous?  You know you are.

Today's subject line quote is from The Office, Season 2: Episode 7, "The Client."  

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ikea products should come free with Happy Meals

I turned 33 this year and I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  STILL.  When the fuck does that actually happen?  I'm working toward it.  In fact, I've been setting up appointments to tour cosmetology schools lately.  I have one tomorrow morning, in fact--followed by a trip to Ikea and then a date.  How does one dress for that trifecta?  I'm going to have to pull out some fashionista genius for this one.

So why cosmetology school?  My career as the best receptionist in Monterey is making me dead inside.  It's too much down time.  On a daily basis, I doodle with colored pencils on post-it notes, read ebooks and comics, write articles and poetry, plan fake parties on Pinterest, and play "How much like a sex operator can I sound like over the phone without creeping out my coworkers."  Good times.  But seriously, I need more.  As an artist, I need more to do with my hands.  I had that outlet with cake decorating, but then they started utilizing my meat slicing skills via the deli and I was OUT.  Not only was it gross, it was terrifying.  As someone who watched too many horror films as a kid which somebody gets their fingers mangled in the garbage disposal, conquering the slicers was a nightmare come true. 

I still take the occasional cake order out of my house to keep me happy.  So no doubt, I'll strap on my skates and roll around the kitchen while I'm baking for my friends and family.  If you ever want a birthday cake, hit me up.  My chocolate chip cookies are also notoriously delectable.  Baking is in my top 5 favorite things of all time, along with my kids, lattes, the arts, and derby.  I need more excuses to bake...for other I don't get fatter.  I haven't made the devil's food cupcakes with bacon icing in a loooong time.  Who wants one?  Bueller?

Wish me luck on all the things tomorrow!  Becoming a cosmetologist would make me a professional artist again.  I'd get to use my hands on a daily basis and not only create art out of hair and makeup designs, but I'd be helping people feel better about themselves.  As someone who takes self care very seriously to counteract depressive episodes, I can honestly say that it can be life saving.  And my date is super hot and a doctor of psychology.  And IKEA!!

Today's subject line quotes is from Steve Fowler.

Monday, July 31, 2017

“The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.”

Since starting my new job as a receptionist, back in March, I've found myself with a lot of down time at work.  Between phone calls and paperwork, I have free reign of the desk and interwebs as long as it doesn't interfere with customer interactions.  With that, I've run out of internet.  It's all been explored...there is no more.  So I've been researching new hobby ideas that would be good to do at my desk.  That's when I ran across this gem:  Top 75 Best Hobbies for Men.

Okay?  What in the holy, fucking hell makes any of these seemingly simple hobbies to be gender specific to testosterone factories?  There isn't a single one on that list that was limiting to penis-definitive actions.  Do my ovaries produce a force field, preventing me from rock climbing?  Clearly I produce too much estrogen for composing electronic music, as well.  And don't get me started on how my vulva gets in the way of volunteering!  Sheesh, I definitely hate it when I'm helping my community and I just can't get it right without those important testes when serving soup to the homeless.  And my personal worst?  I shouldn't be writing this blog.  It's forbidden to my kind!  

For those of you who are probably thinking, "It's just an innocent article? What's wrong with listing more masculine hobbies for manfolk?"  There's a more threatening issue taking root in our society.  My kids will be the first to tell you that, "There are no such thing as boy things and girl things, just things."  In planting the idea that there are activities, colors, clothing, or toys that are too feminine for men and boys, we are also growing the notion that females are somehow less.  I am not less than my male counterparts.  I am not the weaker sex.  And I mean that literally; I have lifted and carried things one handed that my male coworkers have complained about being too heavy.  I am tougher than most people I know.  I've endured pain in extreme levels, both mentally and physically.  I am the most resilient person that I know.  It is not fair to label me according to my gender identity.  

I'm even extremely fortunate to be cis-gendered.  My body and mind match with regard to being female.  It is incredibly unjust to label people into these categories without thinking that there are people of all types on a spectrum.  There are not just two sexes, assigned by your genitalia at birth.  There are people who are born with XXY chromosomes who are biologically a gender of their own.  

Our society is so preoccupied with labeling, that gender is no exception.  There are racial stereotypes and financial statuses that are more obviously a problem in our communities.  And before you get butthurt and offended that this doesn't apply to you, just remember that the problem with ignorance is that one doesn't often realize what they are doing is considered ignorant.  Nobody does stupid things with the express intent of stupidity.  It's usually, "It seemed like a good idea at the time!"  Right?  So let me educate you on some examples of misogyny.  

1.  Assumptions.  Please do not assume that if there is a male with me, that he is in charge of what-the-fuck-ever I'm doing.  Last night, my parking receipt was directed to my male counterpart even with the reservation in my name and I had been previously working with ME the whole time. I was also in line at Goodwill to donate once, handing over boxes and bags by the carload and the douchecanoe in the back of the truck looked over me at the guy behind me and asked if he wanted the tax voucher.  

2.  Ignoring.  Often when I am standing with a man, I am completely ignored in the interaction...especially sales.  Know who I bought my van from?  It was the first salesman who spoke to me directly.  Out of 3 dealerships, asking questions about MY OWN CAR that I was going to be driving solely, only one person recognized me as a person of authority in the purchase of my vehicle.  
3. Sexualization.  So much to be said here.  It's everywhere.  Photoshopping women in magazines, catcalling, even telling a woman that she needs to smile.  I don't have to smile.  Fuck you.  If I'm in a bad mood, I have every right to look like a grumpy dude.  I'm not less of a person because I don't have pretty smile on my face at all times.

4.  Mansplaining.  I don't understand less because I am a woman.  Please don't over-explain concepts to me because you think I am dumber than a dude.  Just.  Don't.  If you think it might be something I'm unfamiliar with, simply ask, "How familiar are you with 'X'?"  Then reassess your approach accordingly. 

There are too many topics to address within this idea, but I'll leave you with those.  I don't want to overwhelm with all the wordy words.  

Today's subject line quote is from Lucretia Mott.  

Sunday, May 7, 2017

“The first thing I ever learned in roller derby is to fall, and in the author world I believe that same rule applies.”

There's a common phrase in the derby community, "Roller Derby saved my soul."  Women in derby often find themselves in the sport when they need it most.  It's empowering--it takes strength and courage, dedication.  I will have been skating for 2 years this September and have never blogged my soul-saving story.  Probably because it's ongoing.  It doesn't have a clear, Happily Ever After yet because I'm still struggling and pushing towards my derby goals.

For my 30th birthday, I went to a local roller derby bout and it was the most amazing sport I've ever witnessed.  The endurance and agility displayed is unparalleled.  Watching these women, of all sizes and backgrounds, run with skates on their feet and push with their whole bodies to break through the pack?  It was life altering, literally.  I immediately said, "I HAVE to do this."

Something clicked.  I had felt so lost in my marriage and raising 3 kids.  This was on the tail end of my symptomatic stroke and I had never been so anxious and confused as to day-to-day, much less my purpose in life.  I was dying inside from feeling so alone and unimportant--so much so, that my brain convinced my body that I was suffering from some unknown neurological disease.  I was displaying symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, but with no evidence of it on my brain.  I had such bad anxiety and sleep deprivation that my body was rebelling.  Something needed to change.  I wanted to find out what I was made of, who I really was and not what my husband and children made me into.  I loved being a mom, but there had to be more to me than what others needed of me.

I started doing Pinterest workouts geared toward derby players.  I studied the fresh meat websites to know what to expect.  And in late August, a pair of sparkly laced, white, artistic skates landed in lap.  They were leftover from the church rummage sale so they were free and they fit.  It was divine intervention because the following week was tryouts.  Showing up with soft, volleyball pads and a bike helmet and was given a spare set derby acceptable gear to borrow for the night.

The last time I had been on skates was briefly in the gravelly parking lot of my kids' gymnastics studio two days before and before that, middle school.  But I walked through the door of the rink with my stomach in my throat and laced up.  I wanted to faint, or barf, or barf then faint, or even faint then barf unconsciously all over the blue floor.  Instead, I faked the biggest sense of confidence I could muster and actually skated all the skills...except for one.  I had no clue how to stop.

Instead, I just slowly spun in a spiral until I slowed down and hoped nobody noticed I had no clue what I was doing.  It worked.  I was commended for my courage to try all the skills with no prior experience and invited to start derby bootcamp in the following weeks.  Since then, I've assessed out of fresh meat and passed the next level of skills...except one.  This time, I know how to stop but I can't seem to skate fast enough to pass my time trial.  Around the 25ft. track for 27 laps in 5 minutes or less?  What. the. fuck?  Really.  

I've attempted multiple times over the last year and half and I'm still, at least, 20 seconds away. To be honest?  It's about 90% mental by this point.  I've got such fear of the damn thing that I get anxious and my legs won't cooperate.  Once, I fell 5 times during an attempt.  It's like I couldn't feel my legs underneath me any long and down I'd plop with a loud smack on the hard floor.  At least I've trained myself to get back up when I fall.  For a while, I'd quit after the first or second slip.  It's a guaranteed non-pass when you don't even finish.  But, in some way, I was exercising control of the situation.  I only did that poorly because I chose to stop, right?  It's silly, but doing well in derby is so important to me that my stupid, anxious brain pulls crap like that.

Now, I'm jumping rope twice a day, practicing with the team 6 hours a week, and mentally prepping myself every chance I get.  My next chance to get rostered is a month away and I want it so badly I can taste it in the back of my throat, a bitter taste of jealousy against my teammates who have already begun bouting.  When I started skating, I was fearless.  I had nothing to lose and just beat the shit out of myself to do my best.  Now?  I've lost that confidence and it's showing.  I've plateaued instead of climbing the last 30 feet to the top of that derby mountain.

So, what can I do to get out of my head?  What do you all do to overcome mental blocks, if you have any?  I'm desperate to push past this feeling of inadequacy.

Today's subject line quotes is from Elizabeth J. Kolodziej

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

"Stars are the scars of the universe."

Change:  to make the form, nature, content, future content, etc. of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.  That's what this whole post is about, change--a change in self, change in content of this blog, and change to how the world perceives me.  A big one is coming for me next week and it will be with me the rest of my life. Most importantly, this change is symbolic of hope.  In a way, this change itself is hope.  It's a choice to remind myself to choose hope, that I have options and there is something beautiful within my core that I can share with the world.  And instead of hiding it away, I'm choosing to literally wear it on my sleeve.  

I'm getting a new tattoo.  It isn't some flash art on my shoulder or a random image.  This tattoo will not just be part of my skin, it's going to be part of my soul and I'm displaying it on my left wrist.  It's likely obvious now that there is some symbolism to be discussed with my decision and its placement.  So, now, I'll share my greatest victories and most shameful defeats--all rolled up into one tightly wound package.  

First, let me give you some facts from  

  • Each year, 1 in 5 females and 1 in 7 males engage in self injury
  • 90 percent of people who engage in self harm begin during their teen or pre-adolescent years
  • Nearly 50 percent of those who engage in self injury activities have been sexually abused
  • Females comprise 60 percent of those who engage in self injurious behavior
  • About 50 percent of those who engage in self mutilation begin around age 14 and carry on into their 20s
  • Many of those who self injure report learning how to do so from friends or pro self injury websites
  • Approximately two million cases are reported annually in the U.S.
I have not shared my experience with self-harm on quite such a public platform before. I've only shared it briefly with a small handful of closely trusted individuals.  I have, however, worked with multiple therapists over the last decade who have helped me to process my feelings in a healthier way.  For me, it's like an addiction.  The urge is often there, even if the action isn't followed through.  I have to be careful about what situations I put myself into which might trigger these urges:  such as drinking or not taking my medications (which also ties into relapses of my eating disorder, but that's a whole different post for another time).

Please know that I'm sharing this, not for attention, but for solidarity.  Suicidal ideation and self-mutilation are commonly experienced, but rarely discussed. I've overcome my addiction, but it's always with me.  I have burn scars on the inside of my left wrist.  After next week, there will be no evidence, but instead, a beautiful reminder of how hard I've worked and that the elegance of the whole universe is within me, ready to spill out.  

The design is the outline of a raven superimposed on a nebula.  Ravens are intelligent, dark creatures who often mimic in their surroundings and represent rebirth and wisdom in some cultures.  I've always felt connected to these amazing birds, so to have the vastness and allure of outer space inside of what is essentially me gives me great hope.  It will be a perfect reminder that I've chosen to share my grace and style, that I've absorbed the pain for the last time and transformed it into art.

Here are some images that I brought to my artist to help give a sense of what my design should encompass:

Raven Silhouette Royalty Free Stock Vector Art Illustration
  14 Galaxy-Inspired Tattoos That Are Out of This World via Brit + Co. Galaxy Tattoo #ArmTattoos, #ColourTattoo, #UnisexThis is the Carina Nebula, an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases. It lies within our own Milky Way galaxy, about 6,500-10,000 light-years from Earth. Like many nebulae, it is a star-forming region, and contains two of the most massive and luminous stars in our galaxy, along with multiple O-type stars. Our galaxy itself is estimated to contain 200-400 billion stars, and roughly ten times as many planets.raven tattoo by santaroosa on deviantART inspiration for finishing my sparrow style phoenix.

Today's subject line quotes is by Ricky MayeBarefoot Christianity.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do."

I used to be a good mom.  Like, a really good mom--the kind that would make other moms want to barf a little because I was so Pinterest perfect.  It never felt like I was, but in hindsight, I had it pretty figured out.  Now that I'm a solo parent?  Not so much with the shit being together.  My shit is scattered to the ends of the universe.  And sometimes it's lost in the abyss.  In fact, I lost my shit just this morning!

It's no secret that Ivy is a wee bit of a spitfire.  All my kids are in some way or another.  Michael has mellowed in the last few years, but ages 2-7 are usually the universe's way of testing my sanity.  I don't pass.  Ivy isn't a morning person.  She's clearly ready to cut a bitch when she wakes up.  And going to bed has never been an easy feat either.  So in the end, she's even crankier for being tired.  Today, I yelled.  I got hella frustrated and let out obscenities under my breath (and a few audibly...let's be real).  I feel terrible, but I had to be strict with her.  I had to let her know that her laissez-faire approach to getting ready in the morning is unacceptable.

I also sent Michael to a jog-a-thon with zero pledges.  I can retroactively fix that, but he was upset that he'd be "jogging for nothing" today.  And it was a brutal, hour long, mandatory event with no rest for the participants.  He was allowed to walk, but I'm surely going to hear about how it ruined his entire life.

Today was just the last events in a series of epic fuck-ups that make me long for the good ole days of yore when I could stay home with the kids and craft all day instead of worry about how I'm going to stay up long enough to finish a load of laundry after work.  I'm figuring it out.  I'm getting by.  But it stings.

There's a pain in not feeling good enough to care for my own kids that gives me a burning under the skin.  Sometimes it's a minor discomfort, others it's excruciating. There's a culpability that I don't remember all the responsibilities; there is shame that I choose my own needs at times, even though it's necessary.  It's the "put your own mask on first before aiding a child" sentiment.  However, we all know mothers scoff at the flight attendants when hearing it the first few times. Eventually, after plenty of therapy, it begins to make sense. The guilt never truly dissipates though.

I suppose it's a pretty common tendency to feel this way--the human condition, if you will. Doesn't make it any less demanding on my psyche. I'd wager to say it makes it worse because I know it's okay to drop balls.  I am aware that people aren't perfection and that's what's beautiful about those who truly live.  After all, there's a reason why there are mugs that say "World's Okayest Mom."

Can they fit, "World's Okayest Single Mom Who Sometimes Does Better Than Others And Feels Really Bad About It" on one?  That's not very catchy.  Suggestions welcome.

Today's Subject Line Quote is from Voltaire.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"I'm fine, but I'm bipolar. I'm on seven medications, and I take medication three times a day. This constantly puts me in touch with the illness I have. I'm never quite allowed to be free of that for a day. It's like being a diabetic."

Let's talk about depression.  I know it's everyone's FAVORITE subject, but, it's my blog so don't be a dick.  In all seriousness, it needs to be discussed more.  Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, in a given year. (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun; 62(6): 617-27)   Women experience depression twice as often as men do, and  regardless of racial or ethnic background or economic status. The lifetime prevalence of major depression is 20-26% for women and 8-12% for men. (Journal of the American Medical Association, 1996). So it's chemical and it's prevalent in our society. 

I just had an exchange with a co-worker about my mood change,  "You're in a good mood today.  What happened?"  How do I answer without outting myself?  Better yet, why should I be concerned with anyone knowing that I suffer from a mental illness?  Because, "I'm Bipolar and someimtes adjustments in my medications can be severe on my mood,"  should be a legitimate response.  But, fear takes over and I stumble around trying to come up with a reason why I'm noticably happier today.

Mental illness shouldn't be shameful.  It's a medical condition.  If I was hobbling around on a broken leg, I wouldn't attempt to hide it and hope no one noticed my crutches.  I also wouldn't expect myself to heal immediately and with no symptoms or pain.  So why is it, that when I have a depressive episode, I worry about what people will think?  Sometimes I need help.  I have brain in need of healing, instead of a limb, and my crutches are often words.

I can't always function at full capacity.  However, even talking about it gives me anxiety that I'm burdening people.  This isn't uncommon with mental health.  If brain chemistry was a person, it'd be a sociopathic son-of-a-bitch.  It often skews my perception of the truth and gives me a sense of duality that can be frightening.  What I know to be true and what I feel are often contradicting.  Depression wants me to believe that nobody cares to hear about what's happening, that there is an encumbrance in expressing myself to loved ones.  But I know there are people willing to help and listen. 

So I'm promising myself to be less timid about my experience.  This blog is a fantasic outlet because it doesn't directly put pressure on friends and family regarding how I'm feeling, but allows me to freely relay this reality and inform those who may not understand how someone like myself operates.

I speak for myself.  I can't know how anyone else happens to feel during their expriences, but I hope to capture some of the common sentiments of those who can't come forward.  I want people to understand that the stigma around mental health is not scary.  I've lost friends admitting that I suffer depression.  The sadness of this, is that some people mental illness is dangerous.  There is a fear of instability that I even buy into at times.  However, I just have mood swings, sometimes within the same hour, that are more dynamic than simple joy or sadness.

When I'm depressed, I have trouble waking up.  I'm drained to the point that getting up, even sitting up, is nearly impossible.  I have to rally for a good while--convincing myself that I'm even physically capable.  Sometimes I nap for hours, then go to bed for an extended period.  On my day off, I slept for 15 of 24 hours this week.  I could NOT stay conscious.  If that isn't enough?  There's the mental pain that accompanies the physical symptoms.  Hopelessness, exasperation, loneliness, numbness..the list is ever growing and changing.

So what do we do?  Start small.  Read.  Project Helping is a great place to start.  Or if you are willing, be brave and share your story.  It might inspire someone else who is feeling alone in their battle. It might save a life.

Today's subject line quote is from the late Carrie Fisher.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I can excuse anything but boredom. Boring people don't have to stay that way.

I'm going through a strange phase.  I've never experienced one like it before, either.  Lately, I've been overthinking (no, that's not the unusual part), but as a result, I end up sensoring myself and remaining silent.  It's as if I'm convincing myself that nothing I have to say either 1.) makes sense or 2.) is pure stupidity flavored word vomit.

As a new person at work, I usually jump to introduce myself and tell everyone the minor details of daily Cassidy.  So far, I'm becoming miserly with my self info.  I could withstand interrogation and not give up anything.  That's NEVER been my reality.  "Hi, I'm Cassidy and I can taste metal in my throat when I hear change jingle."  Seriously, that's something I would tell you and is coincidently true.  I spent hours in the car last weekend between my L.A. trip and going to Berkeley for concerts.  I feel like I barely spoke.  Even as I'm writing this, I'm wondering if there is a point. 

Perhaps I'm bored with myself on some level.  I have a fairly regular schedule of redesigning myself and I've been consistent the last few months. (Ignore the super short, awful haircut in this instance.  It was accidental and not a welcomed change.)  The reinvention keeps the depression from settling inm too.  Most of my profiles I've used over the years have drastically different appearances on the user pics.  When I was still using dating sites, that was a frequent observation--my look is different in every picture. 

But, is it just complacency?  Or have I reached a point in my life when I'm literally out of shit to say?  How can I challenge myself?

I had some fantastic and life altering experiences this weekend, but I just can't even bring myself to try and describe any of it because every time I write out a sentence, I immediately quit and think it's the dumbest formation of words in English history.  And we have Donald Trump for president, constantly speaking out of his orange, baboon-ass-face hybrid.  How is anything I have to say more ignorant than his ignornant tete-a-tetes with his fellow, priviledged douche canoes (who seem to think they are the only ones living here on Earth).

Maybe later I'll give it a shot.  Right now, I'm blogging at work in the middle of the Toyota showroom.  I love my job.

Today's subject line quote is from Hedy Lamarr.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I have your car towed all the way to your house and all you have for me is LIGHT beer?

I did it.  I'm officially a grown-up, for the first time, at 32.5 years old.  What's the big change?  I got my first (yes, seriously) full-time paid position.  This gal is the new face of Victory Toyota as the newest reception team member.  It's not rocket science, but it is steady work at an almost sustainable pay rate and room for growth.  Well, it might be rocket science.  I haven't actually started working the phone system yet.  It could be a prerequisite for NASA applicants, for all I know.

What I do understand, is that I had a panic attack within 20 minutes of leaving my orientation today.  I've had harder work being a full-time parent, for sure.  Remember....anything from this blog circa 2008-2012?  I should be able to handle 40 hours of answering phones and making coffee.  And yet, I sat in my car breathing heavily as if I had been asked to defuse a bomb in the parking lot.  My best guess?  I want to be a Toys R Us kid.

I'm not just working a part time gig to get me through.  I'm a real adult, supporting 3 kids.  This may be an entry level position, but there's room for growth.  It's very likely that I'll end up in an HR position. So, this is my welcoming party into adulthood.  Do I get a banner?  And cake?  There should always be cake!  Maybe even pony rides...wait...this is an adult party.  Strippers?

So in pure Cassidy fashion, I started off my first day coming of age with a court summons for a lost speeding ticket.  I may be seasoned now, but I'm still a walking disaster.  Some back story:

Dom and I split last year and I moved out and bought a mini van around last April.  Life got in the way of things and I ended up procrastinating my registration in an epic way.  By December, I was pulled over for speeding, my car was towed, and made FIVE trips to the DMV over two days.  The physical ticket for the whole endeavor was in my possession for approximately 5 hours before it was declared dead.  No idea what happened to it, as I don't really care.  It was probably stolen by the Russians, eaten by a child, or maybe it had an epiphany and decided to finish it's degree in marketing.  I wish it the best of luck, wherever the fuck it is.

So today, after work, I get a letter from the Superior Court of California stating that I owe them a ridiculous amount of money and my dignity.  The best part is that a month ago, my boyfriend kindly reminded me to figure this shit out before something of this nature took place.  I checked for my ticket online, it was nowhere in the system, so I was all, "Not my problem!  Whoohoo!"  Like a JACKASS.  I wonder if he'll give me a hearty, "I told you so?"  Regardless, I paid my debt and learned my lessons.  That's what grown-ups do.  We aren't impervious to mistakes, we handle them.

Today's subject line quote is Biff Tannen, Back to the Future.  

Monday, January 2, 2017

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.

In popular theory, 2016 was the year born of the depths of hell, bred of Lucifer and Wet Socks and set loose on the world to watch it consume itself with fear, grief, anger, and some indecipherable emotional standards that, likely,didn't exist previously.  But for me, 2016 was something else entirely.  Don't get me wrong, I'm setting fire to my calendar with a maniacal laugh--just like everyone else with a soul.  My sentiment is simple. This was the year I was created.  I can't help but feel grateful for my existence post self discovery, but like any newborn I've had infancy struggles.

I'm trying not to dwell on said struggles, so I'll just say that if your year was a rabid dog that bit you square in the ass then mine was the Demogorgon from Stranger Things.  

Moving forward, here are some gems that I've learned about myself in the recent months:

* I am not as organized as I once thought.  Perhaps it was the imposition of my ex-husband and his desire for perpetual planning and loathing for chaos, but I am impulsive and generally uncaring about the "how's" as long as it happens.  I have many superpowers, one of which is the ability to procrastinate at a professional level.  Like the time I put off getting my van registered for 10 months and it ended up impounded and I had to go to the DMV a total of 5 times before it was all taken care of.  But it got done, didn't it?

* More years of my life have been spent overweight than disgustingly thin.  I had a period of approximately 2.5 years (not even consecutively) when I was supermodel skinny.  But in my mind, that was my true self.  In reality, I am an average-sized woman.  And that's perfectly fine.  And with that, I've also come to terms with the fact that I am actually attractive, especially since dating again.

* Speaking of which, I'm 32 years old and I have never said "I love you" first.  Ever.  In fact, in every adult relationship I've had, save one, the other party has dropped the love bomb within the first 2 weeks of speaking to each other.  I don't know what that means.  Maybe I just choose emotionally unstable individuals?  Maybe I'm an irresistible love goddess?  Perhaps it was just indigestion and they were all very confused.

* My spacial awareness is only slightly better than that of a Roomba.  I continuously run into doorways and stationary objects.  This is both useful and frightening in roller derby. 

* After a lifetime of struggling, I was finally given a diagnosis in my mental health.  It's an illness and I have to treat it.  It isn't a rough patch and it isn't anything to be ashamed of.  It just is.

* This last one is ridiculously cheesy, but it's the most important.  I am the poster child for resilience.  This year's challenges have been hellish, but I've survived them.  I've broken down and become very familiar with my own mortality, thanks to my self destructive talents.  But I've always picked myself back up and moved forward.  There isn't anything I can't handle--I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

So, bring it 2017.  New life, new challenges as a single mom.  I will not simply survive this year, I'm going to live it.

Today's Subject Line Quote is from Lao Tzu


Follow me. I might lead you somewhere you haven't been.