Jan 14, 2012

Getting Outta My Head

I'm a little lost. Not entirely. Things look kind of familiar. That spot over there. Those people, there's something familiar about them. I swear I have seen his face before.

But not really. I think, and I don't want to admit this, this whole anniversary might be having a bit of a delayed effect. Not in the sense that I am sorry for the way things are exactly. Just in the sense that I haven't quite accepted the boat I am in. I don't leave my house a lot, except when I have to. I don't.....know where to go. Or what to do. I feel a bit lost, and I was hoping that by now I would know what being me was supposed to look like.

You spend such a large chunk of your life perfecting and molding the role that you are supposed to play. You orchestrate your environment to optimize what will best support the illusion of the life you are currently attempting to live. When that's flipped over and throw into the mud, the best you can hope for is that somebody will laugh with you and try and help you stand up.

But, what happens if everyone you know helps define the old life? Not in a negative way, mind you. Not at all. But, when like 95% of your friends are married, for example....before that was fine. Perfect. Now sometimes, and it's not anyone's fault whatsoever, you realize that what you are expected to do now is in stark contrast with those around you. It's like....you won't be 100% if you aren't in their same shoes.

So, maybe you start befriending your single friends a little bit more. But they have their lives. They don't need more friends. They don't need some chick coming in and messing up their flow. I TOTALLY get that. I have one foot in each camp, and it's just kind of exhausting to live up to the expectations of both sometimes.

I also know that this is 100% in my head. And I have GOT to get out of my own head. My friends love me. It doesn't matter that I am single, or that I am 30 instead of 25, or that I have a child, or that I am not the vocalist I have always wanted to grow up to be. And for that, I will always be grateful. I don't HAVE to be anything, except for who I am. But it's a little bit frustrating when you don't know who that person is. It's pretty easy to pretend like you know the chick across the room. That is, until you are put face to face with her. Nobody's gonna hold my hand through that one.

It'll be fine. It WILL be. It's just another hurdle. Time to hike my shorts up and try not to fall on my ass.

Jan 11, 2012

Fourth Semester

And so......it begins. I am closing in on the end of this program. Just two more semesters.

I'm kinda scared, actually. Being in school has become my identity for the last 2+ years. It will have taken me almost 3 years by the time I am done. The thing about school is that while you have a place you have to be most days of the week, you also then go home and have twice as many (or more) hours of studying. Well, when I'm just working.....what the heck am I gonna do with myself? I have a funny feeling my life won't be any less hectic.

I was originally planning on immediately returning back to school. There are so many different factors that could alter that plan. And, I might just need a break. Being in school creates a horrible void in your ability to have any kind of social life. Forget dating, unless the other person can be understanding about the fact that I don't have a lot of time to give them. Which will be a change for me, that's for sure. I am so used to not having too much of a life outside of my partner. Eh, I don't need to worry about that yet. But, I do know that I hope whatever may happen with someone in the future is the total opposite of what happened before.

Sorry. I'm not feeling very articulate today. I've got some more thinking to do. 

Jan 9, 2012

The Ties That Bind

I have 290 Facebook friends. I have my Facebook friends divided up into lists, so that if I want to filter whose messages to read I can. I also have a 'restricted' list for those people that I am friendly with, but perhaps don't need to see every detail of my life. I even have a very short blocked list, but that's another issue all together.

If I was to sit back, and go down that list of friends, there are less than 20 people that I would consider close friends. I am only really socially interactive with less than 20 of 290 friends that I have on Facebook. And those people, are individuals that I don't communicate solely through Facebook with. I am only tied closely to 16 people.

It's an interesting concept, this social media construction. I think my biggest problem with Facebook is that it gives me a false sense of 'family'. I have several friends whose postings I follow religiously. And comment on their postings quite often. But, if I was to take away Facebook, would we ever see each other? There are a few of them I haven't ever even met in person.

I think I utilize tools like Facebook to give myself an easy way out. If I comment enough on your stuff will it make you feel like we are friends, and forget about the fact that we haven't seen each other in over a year?  Perhaps it's the now hectic lives we lead, overflowing with obligations and distractions, that has caused us to feel like a connection created in a virtual world could ever substitute for real human interaction.

Facebook has it's uses as well, for example; public figures can utilize it to stay in contact with their many supporters or fans. It's a valid platform for such a cause. In a world where we have become instantly globally connected with the boot of a modem it can serve as a fantastic free marketing tool. Announcing events, scheduling get-together's, allowing your fans to see the more human side of you as well. We like to feel connected.

But is that connection? Last year, when I had less than a day to pack my belongings and leave my house, I sat on the floor of my bathroom and cried. I sobbed like I never had. You know why? It wasn't because I had just got the most shocking news of my life, it wasn't because my world had just been turned upside down, and it wasn't because I had stubbed my toe on the bathtub. It was because in that moment I realized that I had an extremely short list of people that I felt safe enough to call. I had 4 people locally at that time that I felt like I could call for help. And none of them were family. (I will say, however, two of them truly are exactly LIKE family, even if we don't share a bloodline).

So, are we perhaps deluding ourselves into a false sense of connection? What TRULY ties us together? How well do you REALLY know the people whose Facebook pages are littered with things that you have liked, commented on, or re-shared? Do any of them know my favorite color? Do any of them know how many different states and cities I have live in? Do any of them know what my drink at a bar is, what my family is like, or that I am actually a huge nerd that thinks farts are still funny? Well, they might know that last one.

A year ago, in a cruel moment of irony, I realized I had hundreds of people that were total strangers to who I really am, and what I really feel. I am starting to feel less and less like I need hundreds of people to know what I am doing everyday, or what funny thing my kid said. I would rather share those things with people who are actually interested beyond the click of a 'Like' button. But it is a cold bucket of water when you realize how few of your Facebook friends would drop everything they had and rush over to your house at your absolute lowest moment.

I'm actually not entirely disenchanted with Facebook, even though this may come across that way. But, I am a little tired of utilizing it as a cheap fast-food version of a social experience. And, in some ways, I am tired of others proclaiming that we have such an amazing connection when they don't really know a damn thing about me. I mean, I know I post a lot, but there is nothing of true substance there. I think I can count on one hand how many times I have posted anything about my divorce, as an example.

Your social media experience is your own. And I certainly don't mean to prescribe a definition of your interactions, or the benefits or experiences you have gained because of it. And my experiences haven't been bad for the most part either. But, when you are sitting on your bathroom floor staring at a long list of people that you label as friends and you don't know any of them well enough to truly BE a friend......what are they really?

Our jam packed lives have created a need to modernize our friendships, and redefine them in a way that allows us to feel a connection. But the minute you power down that computer, or turn off that Facebook app on your cell phone, those connections become exactly what they are. Two lives joined together by a tiny string. An illusion. A bathroom floor actualization.

I hope that I can try and spend more time creating true connections, and true bonds. Which means that I am probably in for a lot of heartache. This is a world where people are used to being able to anonymously confront or friend one another from the comfort of their own home without having to carry on a conversation face to face. But I want a hug. A real one. And I want to be able to touch, and see, and smell, and experience my friendships. I want the opportunity for some of them to evolve in a way that a virtual world just won't allow. I want to have to become a brave person who is able to speak my mind directly to someone's face. I want to feel a REAL sense of longing to see someone, instead of being satisfied with words on a screen for now. And I'm pretty sure I'll get there. I just have to log out.

Jan 8, 2012

Long Journey to the Middle

Something has come to my attention lately - I think one of the things that has changed for me (or least is a change in progress), is I am not interested in a lack of follow through. Sounds logical, and sort of 'Well.....duh, Funkymama!'. But lately it has been bitch-slapping me in the face and I am, quite honestly, getting really saddened, and irritated, and disheartened by the whole thing.

Why are we all so afraid to get what we want? Why do we all over analyze a situation, try to play it out in our heads and guess what the outcome is? Why, for the love of everything sacred, do we not just take a risk, make a decision and actually have the stones to walk the walk when we have just been talkin' the talk?

Living a life of maybe this will happen, or being scared of that happening is EXACTLY what landed me in the position I now find myself in. It just makes me so tired. Risks are wonderful things. Bearing your soul is a noble action. Deciding that what you want is more important than how it might play out, or not caring what other people might think of you, is a goal we should all strive for. And instead, why does it feel like everyone I know, myself included, is incapable of reaching down and finding the self respect within themselves to let their gut, or their heart, or their feelings be just as involved in the decision making process as their head? It's really hard, that's why.

A false sense of logic plays into so many decisions we are faced with. It's not really logic then. It's more like......social preservation. It's a big shield we can easily hide ourselves behind when we are too scared, or too unsure, or just don't love ourselves enough to be selfish every once in a while. Ya know what? You ARE worth deciding that you deserve something other people don't think you should have because it 'isn't something people should do'.

But worse yet? Worse yet, for me, are the times when we say we want something, proclaim from whatever rooftop we can find ourselves on that we REALLY want something....when we really don't. I just wish there was more honesty in this world. Human interaction is hard enough without adding all those subtle curtains, and shades, and screens to what we say and how we say it.

Be forthcoming. Be honest. Be true to your word. Own your truths, and don't deny your desires (within reason of course). These are the signs of a truly great person. The ones that know what they want, and get it, gracefully dealing with the situations as they unfold. That right there is sexy. And that's the type of person I want to be.

I know that I have a long road to walk on becoming that person. But, I had a really great wonderful friend, lost to this world but always in my heart, give me some really wonderful advice. An email, exchanged a very long time ago, that I have forwarded to all of my different email address over the years, just to preserve it's original form. It actually has nothing to do with my experiences in this last year, but it speaks so fucking loud to me lately that I have opened and read it many times. They said:
I know you're scared Sabbath. I know it's hard to become that person that you want to be. I know it's painful. But right now, in your fragility, decide what you want to be like when this is all over with, for that will be your purest form. Decide the person that you want this experience to mold you into. And maybe you aren't ready to become that person. But you can hold others to that standard. You can decide that you don't want to put up with anything but honesty and speaking your truth. You can decide to be brave, and walk the walk. Because by doing what I know you are about to do tomorrow, that's exactly what you are going to do.  Don't accept less than that from those in your life. If you do, you have just allowed them to win, for them to walk all over you, while you become trampled and stomped by their inability to show you the same respect that you are showing them. Hold the people in your life to a standard and the ones that don't make the cut? Well, they can go to hell. But, by holding those people to a standard of how you want to be treated, it will allow you to actually believe and realize at some point - that you truly are worth that standard. You deserve to be treated with respect, and honesty, and to not simply be talked to, but walked with. No matter how scary it all might be for both of you sometimes.
 He is right. By deciding what you are willing to surround yourself with, you are creating an environment that will mold you into that person. If you allow people to mistreat you, mislead you, walk all over you with their own agendas, you are allowing THAT to be your reality. And I'm just not willing to allow someone's size 10 boots to kick me in the face anymore. I deserve so much more than that. And so do you.

You don't like something? Change it. You want someone to treat you better? Do something about it. Being treated unfairly? Have the self respect to speak up about it. Are you to scared to go after something you might want because of what others might think of you? Stop living your life to please other people. Living each day simply to get closer to the next one is a waste of your precious time on this earth. Worrying about social norms, others expectations of you, or a standard that was set by some small group of popular people that are part of a much larger collective that may not want the same things in life, allows for your life to become someone else's life. You don't have to answer to them. Because the people in this world who cut the new path, aren't usually the popular ones, are they? The popular people are the ones that keep the standards, that demand the cookie cutter mentality that we force ourselves into. It's the dreamers and doers that are the real heroes of this world. It's the walkers, not the talkers. I refuse to be dictated by the talkers anymore.

Surround yourself with walkers, and not talkers, and you might just become one of them. Maybe, one day, you can claim to be one yourself. It starts with that single moment of realizing that you are worth something better than what has been prescribed for you by a nameless collective. Fuck them.

I don't care what they might think, or say, or if going out for the things I want in this world doesn't end well or work out quite like I planned. Truly honest people that are worth your time and energy will move through those defeats with you. The ones lost along the way just aren't strong enough. At the end of this long and winding journey of life, you don't answer to any of those people. You answer to yourself. Don't live a life you are ashamed to answer for. And you, my friend, will become one of the few walkers. Maybe one day, I can look back and have no regrets, and I can truly identify with being a walker. I sure as hell hope so. Because if that day was tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I would still be a talker.

Jan 3, 2012

Approaching One Year

I looked at the date today and realized - in a few more days, it will be the one year anniversary of my separation. January 7th, which also unfortunately happens to be my Brother's birthday, as well as the anniversary of my Grandfather's death, is the day that my life got turned upside down.

I suppose I should be truthful about the fact that despite my obvious emotional upheaval at the time, I cannot begin to express what a blessing it has been. It was extremely hard, but honestly, it was the hard that made it great. As a newly single woman with no job, while being in the middle of a college program, fat, lonely, and depressed, I was pretty sure I wouldn't manage to survive the separation without some obvious scars. Sure, I got some. But hey - chicks dig scars.

My life is exactly where it should be. I am about to start my 4th semester at school, which means that by the end of summer this year I will be graduated. I am pretty sure the Redheaded Wonder is adjusting just fine. I have a cute little apartment. I have amazing friends that never make me feel left out, and always make me feel welcome. I have started to rekindle those 'I sure would like to try that' things. I've lost around 70lbs, and become a healthier (for the most part, LOL) person. I've got a plan. I don't have a man.....but I suppose I should stop thinking of that as a character flaw. ;-) Truth is, I often think that I am too domesticated, to be dating. I know that sounds weird.

The last few months have been particularly challenging. More issues with the ex, and two different surgeries that were completely unrelated, within one month of each other. One of them with a fairly extensive hospital stay of 6 days. I had a lot of alone time (like....a lot), at the hospital. I had a lot of thinking time, and resting time. I guess, I have a hard time being too upset about either one. They were both pretty darn necessary.

I have a few things I need to work on. But, I am not thinking of them as negatives. I could clean up my diet a bit more. I could exercise a lot more. I could study a lot more. I need to bring that fiddle out every day and at least do some scales. Less Facebook, more real books. Less fast food, more homemade foods.  More singing.....like...in front of other people. Yoga. Definitely yoga. I like having goals, and writing these out doesn't make me feel like I have been doing anything wrong, but excited at all the things I could be doing right. That outlook has certainly changed from a year ago, that's for sure.

I think my parents are proud. They tell me they are, and I have no reason to not believe them. More importantly - I am proud of myself. It's been rough. I've made some mistakes. But mostly, I've been doing that whole surviving thing.

Surviving is starting to feel more like living.