August 31st, 2016
Day 10 the finale.
Today the prompt is: something about me I hope you do and don't notice.
I kinda like this one. I used to hope people noticed so many things about me that if I had tried to write this 20 years ago....it would be a freaking novella of stupidity. Now days though.... I hope people notice my kindness. That's about it. I have other positive traits, surely, but I honestly might not care if you notice them. I don't know when this changed for me or why. Yoga may have helped. Friendships (and non-friendships) definitely helped.Time helped. Age helped! My kids helped. I'm somewhat artistic. I'm well-read. I know a lot about perennial plants. I love my children like no other. I try to be reliable and responsible (sorta). But I really don't mind if you don't notice those things. Awhile back I thought about what the best human traits were and besides humor and loyalty.... Kindness was the one thing I felt was key. It's so easy to be kind. AND it's so fuckin hard to be kind. So I hope you notice that I try hard to be kind.
What I hope you don't notice. Longer list unfortunately. I hope you don't notice that I over indulge. I hope you don't notice I may drink too often. That I live in The Ghetto. (this is what we have christened our 100 year old house...which could be a cool house IF we had money to fix/spruce it up. (You guys won't notice cuz you never come here (with the exception of my sister:) but in life I often hope people don't see it like I see it. I hope people don't notice that I am formally uneducated. I wish I had gone to college...but I did not. I hope you don't notice I can't write! ;)
I hope people don't notice that I am a bit insecure. That I don't EVER have a complete (cool) outfit... Nothing to wear to the ----. Fill in the blank, cuz it happens to me a lot. That I don't give great xmas presents. That I miss my kids more than is probably reasonable. That I am 30 lbs overweight these days, despite a quite physical job AND yoga. (wtf)!! I hope you don't notice how much I wish strangers 'liked' my writing in this group. (really embarrassed about that one). and on and on and on. But I don't need to list any more things, since it is day 10 and no one will remember anything in a month anyway. hah!
Ridiculous, isn't it? Wishing people wouldn't notice things about us? We are who we are.
I loved this 10 day go-round. I loved that friends of mine participated!! I love that I got to read fabulous essays, cuz you know I love reading! The 30 day one was harder. But this one felt right. Ah, life. So magnificent and so insignificant. I hope you notice that I would love to 'meet' you all again in the next writing challenge! Adios, x #500wordsaday
where do you live?
I realized today that I enjoy reading these essays more than writing them! I have always loved reading, for as long as I can remember. I have such a beautiful obsession with books. I guess I love stories. I always wonder about people and what their story is... I always wonder why people live where they do. I love geography and maps and atlases. I am heavily reliant on my trusty GPS system when I make almost any trip...but I am old enough to remember when I had to actually get out a road map and LOOK at it to chart my travels. I live in a tiny town in northern Illinois. I don't particularly love this town, it is small-town minded and sadly lacking in anything cultural (or delicious). So why do I live here? I guess I'm lazy. comfortable. old. We were always gonna move "somewhere else" but the years just kept going and there was always expenses that took precedence. I do like it when people tell me they are living in their 'dream place' whether it is a state or country or actual home but honestly I cannot relate. I am not sure where mine is. One good thing is I am only about 65 miles from the great city of Chicago and it is easy to access the city.
When I read these little stories in 500words my mind automatically forms a sort of picture of the person writing them. and before you know it, I've a tiny story formed. It's like when you ride the train with the same person every day, but you don't know them or anything, you kind of form a story about them. Which of course I do realize is probably NOT who they are or remotely even close...but it's still kind of fun.
I got to see a friend today who is in town for something (he lives in Philly currently but is from Iowa) and it was really lovely to visit and walk around the French Market, a sort of farmers market thing with vendors selling 'french stuff' in the midwest. Of course I had to drive (an hour and 4 minutes,according to GPS) to get to him and the market he was helping his cousin at, and I started thinking about all the different cities and towns full of people that I don't even know exist! Oh crap, I am 58 years old and I haven't experienced SO MANY PLACES. It gives me a bit of a panic feeling. It's enjoyable to read these writings. I learn shit. And I love learning.
I guess I skipped the prompt today. Some of them appeal to me and some days I just don't do them. They're good to have though. I enjoy the continuity in themes when reading. I had forgotten how much freakin time reading (and writing) all these 500words essays takes out of my night though. Totally enjoyable. x #500wordsaday
Authenticity. I like this word.
We already talked about lying and fake happiness. Authentic self. Wonder what it is. I am probably my most authentic self with my kids. How cliché that sounds. But it is true. Let me tell you a tiny bit about my kids. My oldest is 29. He is my most independent, but part of that may be due to his girlfriend. She is his confidant and partner and they are both brilliant nerdy smartypants. After college,he put himself through law school at a top 5 law school and his graduation day was one of my favorite days in the world. He never tells you what outstanding achievements he has accomplished, which may be his finest quality. He is incredibly smart, kind and loving to his brothers and continually makes me feel shocked that he is my kid. He has problems,yes. He is by no means perfect (to anyone besides me). I sometimes go weeks (months??) without talking to him and I hate that. My middle son is 25. He is a beautiful, passionate artist, a dancer/choreographer who has talent I only wish for. He is gay and when he told us, no one cared. I have talked about literally everything under the sun with him. Sometimes his life was difficult for obvious reasons especially in middle school (otherwise known as hell) We have had more fun together than you can imagine. I talk to him pretty much every day. My youngest son is 22 (on Wednesday!!) He is away at college. He insisted on going to expensive far away UCLA when he got in and I was so proud of him. I miss him A LOT because although he was my most challenging growing up, he made me laugh hysterically every single day he lived here. (it's why he's still alive lol) His sense of humor is killer. He is driven and kind and compassionate and crazy wild. I talk to him weekly, sometimes more. I have heart bursting love for all of them.
It is easy to be authentic with all of them. I don't know anyone else that I am always authentic with. I know I am lucky and they are lucky (if that is even the right word...) They're all in ridiculous,shocking student loan debt, all of them. They struggle just like I do and have shitty times. We've gone through it, let me tell ya. As adults, we've had screaming and crying and breakdowns right in front of each other. We've had the worst fights you can imagine at times. We've called each other awful things and laughed about it the following Christmas. But all that is authentic, for sure. My favorite is when one of them calls to tell me they're experiencing something awesome. I can virtually feel it too. That's authentic.
I sometimes wear different hats in different scenarios, I don't know how authentic that is. But with them...I guess I feel most like myself so I can be most myself. x #500wordsaday
just a kid at heart
Day 5. just some thought.
Have you ever thought about deja vu? and nostalgia... I think those concepts are fascinating. I wonder if everyone in the world experiences them. I love sentimental situations. I've no idea why because I am definitely NOT a live-in-the-past kind of person. Sometimes I get angry at friends who won't leave the past behind. (eh, who am I to get angry at them?? It's their (ruined) moment).
But I just love how a certain song or artist can make you feel in that nostalgic way. One of my absolute fave memories is a nostalgia-induced one. Sitting in a car in a town I loved, but don't live in... seat reclined on a summer afternoon waiting for someone or some time. Sort of napping... The breeze, the summer feeling, a radio playing somewhere farish away, a sprinkler going on a lawn...birds, big shady trees, the sounds of kids laughing in only the way it's possible to laugh in SUMMER. All of those sensations combined to suddenly give me a rush of nostalgia. I don't know what else to call it, but I loved it and I love that memory.
I LOVE seeing kids swinging on swingsets. No idea why. I just love it. Marching bands too. My own kids are grown. But I do so enjoy that feeling. It's interesting.
Deja vu.... the illusion of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time. That is the definition. It's a cool feeling too. I don't encounter it all that often, so when it happens, it's special. The human brain is so unbelievably intriguing. How amazing, all the things it does. Thinking is crazy enough... but then all this other stuff...and how differently we all see things.
I feel like my writing in this group is always so 'juvenile'. Perhaps I am a kid! :) I'm not a great story-teller like some of you are. I really love reading the pieces in here though and I feel it's good for me to write, don't know why. I've kept journals for years... more drawing than writing, but still. I started the last writing challenge, the 30 day one here and went to Day 18 posting in the group. I'm happy to say I DID finish the 30 day (only on my blog)... Honestly, I stopped posting in the group for various reasons, one of which I attribute to my own insecurities. But it was a great experience, doing it. Anyway today is a bit random and a bit disconnected... tomorrow I may return to a prompt. I rather like them actually. See ya later. x #439wordsaday.. today :)
I honestly didn't think I was going to follow the prompts!! And yet here I am...
Family is such an amazing and awkward and random idea. At the same time it is pretty clear cut by definition. However, I have never believed family is defined by blood alone. I have so many families. My REAL one as in mother, father, sister, brothers,aunts,uncles,cousins. My OWN, as in husband, kids and cats. My WORK one, as in who I spend 8plus with daily, and my GOLDEN one, as in the people who love and support me unconditionally and are close to me, but may or may not be a part of any of the aforementioned ones.
4 families. Maybe more... But def. 4. Families are the network that gets us through our daily shit, don't you think? I mean some of us are great at navigating it solo, but I am a person who relies heavily on the backing of loved ones. Some of my friends had shit for REAL families. Its just the cards you're dealt. I had a 50/50 for the real one. The REAL one comes with certain obligations and expectations, at least for me..but it is also the one that brought me here into the world, so to speak.
As for my OWN, I am lucky beyond belief. My kids and who they bring into my life are my true heart. My WORK family has (obviously) changed throughout the years with the advent of new jobs and workplaces, new people to spend allllll those hours with. But some of those folks are my greatest assets in life. Some of my very best friends are people I once worked somewhere with.
But the GOLDEN one... that's the family that is hardest to define. I mean here we are in a writing group. We are writing these essays for others to read and interpret however they may. So much of what we do in life, we do for others. From braggy (maybe even lying ;) facebook posts to theatre performances, to authors, dancers, teachers, parents,...everything...we do it for the benefit of others. For someone to see. For someone to enjoy. For someone to learn from us. For someone to notice. Someone to "like" it. Someone to react. Nothing much is done in a vacuum here on earth. Nothing much is done ONLY only for ourselves. At least, that is how I see it.
Family that loves you without ever knowing all that great shit you've done and do, that is the Golden one. They probably know about the bad shit you've done and do, cuz that is when you need them. I've got this one kid who never, and I mean never tells anyone about his stellar accomplishments. He's just that way. He's one of those rare humans who does fantastic things in the world and actually doesn't care if you know about it. (where did he come from?) I aspire to be like that. x #500wordsaday
Happy For a Week straight. That is the 'prompt'. Forget it.
Happiness is definitely a subject I think about a lot. ALOT.
I think the elusive happiness is what everyone is after! My life has been filled with MOMENTS of happiness. I'm pretty fortunate.
I was never planning to get married and have a family. It's rather funny really. I never believed in 'marriage' when I was younger, thought it was the stupidest concept. I'm very common sense oriented... What sense does it make to claim you will be ONLY interested in the SAME ONE person forever?? That's what I thought. And years of history and divorced friends have proven I had a point.... Funny though, and a bit ridiculous.... I'm still married! Things have changed a million times, don't think for a second that this marriage has been blissful for 30 years...NOT even close. But interestingly, it has shown me certain things. He's a decent guy. I think if one of the people in a marriage isn't a decent guy... its more likely to fail. I think our children occupied so many of our years that we didn't notice them passing. We were so in awe of our children and so interested in their personalities, we never really thought much about ourselves. Interesting to look back and realize this. Now our kids are grown and gone or going... and that is how it should be...But it presents an interesting scenario. One in which I wonder.... what now? What do I want to do? What will make me happy? (Where is my Happiness for a week?)
I think I'm a fairly happy person. maybe. kind of. somewhat. in Spring and Summer.
I have millions of Happy things that have happened or are in my life! I see beautiful sights every day. I should be happy. There is no reason I shouldn't. ( WTF is wrong with me?) What even is it that would make me feel HAPPY for a WEEK straight??
Maybe no one is that kind of happy. Maybe happiness truly is fleeting. a minute. a while. a day.
It's a trick question...When were you happy for a week straight? I've been happy for years. But a WEEK straight??? dunno.
Anyway, Life marches on. Time waits for no one. It's a real cliché, that whole LIVE for TODAY thing. But it's also accurate as hell.
I'm happy daily. ..for moments perhaps, but still. At least once a day. That's pretty good, I think.
I am trying to do things these days that I think bring me satisfaction and happiness. Other people play a large part in this... i.e. : friends. I think Friends are keys to happiness..as well as Creativity. Excercise. Health. and Money. I have 3.5 out of the 5. So I can't complain. Just think, though... if everyone was happy. The world would be sane.
a life worth livin'.
In which I write about...HURT. Naaaa. I am actually not gonna write about HURT because I simply see too much of it in the world. People hurt each other far too often, in ways huge and small, and frankly, I'm sick of HURT. Sick and tired of all that HURT. What a weird word, HURT. Just typing it, it looks so odd.
I am going to write about friends and censorship. Today my lovely friend posted a piece here about her personal HURT. Let me tell you, she has been truly HURT. But the point here, is that her post was "taken down for offensive content''. Hmmmm. Imagine living through that ''offensive content'' and coming out on the other side... which she did! and dammit, I hate that her piece was censored like that. Because I love real and free writing. I love being expressive. I love the freedom of speech we supposedly have.
It has caused me to think about what censorship is. (oh no she's thinking about stuff again...) But really. We talk about FREEDOM of this and that. FREEDOM to say and do what we want (including hurting others? yep) and yet... when we really talk about that hurtful shit... we are 'censored '?
I am often baffled by the sad hurtful stupidity conducted by my country and other counties....and How much 'freedom' do I really have to talk about it, I wonder. I am nobody in the big picture. I am not an important or wealthy or influential person. So therefore, I probably have more freedom than some. But, hey, here was my friend...also a non- prominent or significant person in the public eye... and she was censored. For language, most likely. For language. Language that was screamed at her throughout her formative years. I know many people, maybe some of you, have similar stories...How is it alright that people can scream obscenities at their innocent beautiful children and yet... we cannot talk about this without being OFFENSIVE? It is baffling.
I am so fortunate to have friends. Friends, all kinds and varieties of them get me through life. My kids are friends. People who I've met only recently and connect with instantly are friends. People I've known for years, worked with, or lived with are friends. Friends are the antidote to hurt! Because, what is life without friends?
I'm so thankful. I'm so lucky. I'm so blessed. Because even though everyone experiences HURT... those of us who experience FRIENDS... are so rewarded with a life worth living. x #500wordsaday
Day 01 of a nice little 10 day writing experiment.
I looked at Kirk's writing prompts and decided to take a different spin on them. Rather than write about times (or a time) I lied, I wonder about the actual definition of a lie. Obviously, when things are THIS or THAT we can tell if something is a lie or a truth. But so much of life is a bit of a gray area, don't you think? Personal interpretation can seem dishonest to someone. And that makes me wonder about how differently everyone sees the world anyway. I am often perplexed when someone I like interprets something completely differently (they're usually wrong :) than I do. How is it possible?
I think it's a great thing that we are all different... but how in the world, for instance, does someone believe that a certain ethnicity or culture or color or sexual preference makes a person "bad" or lesser of a person than themselves? This is only one of the things that baffles me. There are many. Thinking about lies leads me to thinking about true differences. We all lie. Probably multiple times a day. Simple lies that are mostly told to avoid hurt feelings (or more serious problems) are common. People who say 'I NEVER lie' are big liars. Facebook is a great apparatus for telling lies. People can freely lie about others on social media without the fear of owning up or reproach they might face if face to face. It's quite disturbing, really. The more we know, the more competently we can decide what is real and what is not, I suppose. The opposite of lies is truth. But sometimes a thing can be true to one and not another.
I used to wonder if my kids were lying to me sometimes when they were younger. We like to think not, but then in retrospect it's probably true that I WANTED to hear "I am being safe and I dont sex-text strangers and No, there are no drugs involved" than something...else. At 16. So if there was lying done in an instance such as that...Am I better off with the lie? What if he had said "Well actually, mom, I just had sex with a girl I don't really know and it was amazing, and yeah we always smoke pot and drink cheap liquor before we go to the...." You get the picture.
Here's some truth about my day. I took the day off today! (I didn't even have to lie to anyone to get that) And I took my kid to the airport. Going to the airport always makes me feel a variety of mixed feelings. I happen to love airports. Weird, I know. He's going to take care of some business and see some friends in NY for a few days before he leaves the country for 8 months. Yep. THAT trip to the airport will be wrought with OTHER feelings, believe me. I'll save that essay for another time. X #500wordsaday
It was bound to happen....
Well. Today I experienced my first 'return' on a custom sign. I had so many feelings about it. (why doesn't she like it?... what does that mean?...I have failed....It's too bright?...wtf....what can I do to fix it? ) I went from sad to mad to frustrated to sad again and then... I realized... It was bound to happen sooner or later.
Custom signs are a tough thing for me because I tend to spend waaaaaay too much time on them, and over analyze every little thing about them. In the end, I barely make any money on them since I second guess the decisions and artwork and then usually re- do them (2,3,5 times) before I even deliver. No one really knows that but me. (and now, you ;)
I do believe every step in this art-making and selling process is a huge learning experience. I've learned something from this one too.
Of course I want my customers to LOVE their purchase. That is my no. 1 goal. Always. Custom work has a risk factor. They just might not love it. They just might have "pictured" something else. I think perhaps the one important thing I learned from this experience is... I need to charge more money for custom work.
I can fix this to their liking.( maybe). Or I can refund them and sell this one elsewhere. There are plenty of options here. But I did learn a valuable lesson. And that's what I will take away from this.
I love learning things, you know. I never stop. And this experience is no different.