Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Question: Boundaries?

Why is it so easy to set boundaries with groups of children, but not with grown ups?

You'd think the grown-ups would be easier. They're more reasonable and allegedly more mature.

I just went outside twice in the last half hour and read the riot act to the neighborhood kids who were doing stupid and dangerous things on our lawn. I had been alerted by my generally rule-abiding daughter. I had no hesitation to scare the crap out of them and warn them if they didn't shape up, they couldn't come over.

NOBODY else on my street talks to kids that way.

Now let me say, I love kids, and not just my own. I do not want anything bad to happen to any of them. Which is why I was yelling the first place. I happened to read about the tragic death recently of an Emerson undergrad who fell off a roof to his death while making a film. Horrible.

So when I saw three little girls hanging carelessly over the edge of our raised (and I mean RAISED) back deck, I knocked down a chair and a music player to get out the door and raise holy hell in order to stop them.

Anyway, that kind of thing is a no-brainer. Keep safe, be nice, rock on. Pretty simple.

But when it comes to dealing with's so much harder to stand up for yourself. It's been called to my attention on more than one occasion in my life that I am "too nice". That I "give away my power" and try to please people more than myself. Sadly, this is true.

I can't get airlines to give me vouchers in a situation where they would if you asked the right way. I can't get hotels to give me deals when the person right in front of me gets one. I don't know how to be demanding or forceful with other adults. I often apologize in a veiled or overt way when I do something, ANYTHING. Like I need permission to take a whiz. Honestly.

This is something I really need to work on. I believe this is a chronic condition in many, many women. I need to take action.

Because I feel like if I don't, one day I will just blow a gasket in an inappropriate situation and wreak havoc unnecessarily.

I'd like to learn to say what I think and fell WITHOUT APOLOGY, CAVEATS or ENDLESS PARAGRAPHS of JUSTIFICATION. Which is what I do now.

I'll let you know how it's going.

Is that okay with you? (Yes, I'm aware of the irony here.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Comment: The F Word

Do you ever have an experience which, even while you're in it, you swear it will change you deeply? Where you're sure it's going to alter your perception of certain things for the rest of your life? At least, that's what you hope, and think, at the time?

That's where I am now.

When you have a minor medical scare, your life flashes before you. You're reminded that you're mortal, and that as a middle-aged person, your life is, arguably, half over. (or half begun, for you optimists out there) These things happen all the time; scares, concerns, unknowns.

What I tried to do differently this time is not panic at a 300% level, which is what I usually do. I tried to just kind of take things day by day and not flip out. I've spent so much of my life at maximum drama, and frankly, it's exhausting to me and everyone else. So I kept it (relatively) under control. I avoided thinking about writing my own obituary or fearing for my children's future. I rationally thought about odds and statistics and precedents. And then, for now, I was taken off the hook. Sweet relief.

And I was struck by how much fear we all carry around in our lives. Fear and anxiety are our M.O.s, and that has to stop somehow. I already talked last post about how we wait for everything; implicit in that waiting is anxiety and fear. If we weren't stuck waiting, we'd be anticipating, because we'd be looking forward to something positive. We wait for things, often in agony, because we fear the worst possible outcome, which, natch, rarely happens.

Humans sure do fuck with their own heads.

I for one would like to try to live with less fear and anxiety. A tall order, granted.

But one worth striving for.

Because if we're already in mid-life, isn't it time we started trying to enjoy what we have, as opposed to what we don't? Isn't it time to kick fear OUT of our lives for good?

I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Comment: Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

You know in "Oh the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss, there's this part where he talks about "The Waiting Place", and how you really don't want to spend time there?

That's where I am.

It's uncomfortable.

I'm sure you've been there, too. We all go there. It's one of those parts of life we have to deal with, like it or not.

What do we wait for? Exam results, both educational and medical, job offers or rejections, phone calls, gestation, paying for groceries, mail and deliveries, that coveted novel you're in the queue for at the library, life to somehow magically "begin" with the onset of that perfect house, partner, promotion, hair cut, job.

Damn, we wait for a lot.

So how do we make the waiting place a productive one?

I think it's a mindset, really. It's the whole living in the moment thing.

Which I'm kind of waiting to get good at.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Comment: The Power of the Sun

Not to keep flogging a dead horse here (which, by the way, is sick and disturbing and would smell TERRIBLE), but this overcast scene is really OVER.

Yesterday, the sun would come up for five minute increments, and every time it was out, my mood was lifted; every time it fell, so plummeted my mood.

It's not fun to be a slave to the sun; my mental mood ring just kept crashing from black to green, black to green. Enough!

Complaining doesn't serve any purpose, though, does it?

I've long ago sought my light by artificial means, in order to prevent myself from yo-yoing for an entire two seasons.

However, sunlight and artificial light are not the same. And they never will be. One is a pale substitute for the other, no pun intended.

That's about all I've got to say right now. I also smashed my head quite hard on the open door of my cabinet, which did not help my nascent migraine, I have to say.

Here's hoping Little Orphan Annie is right.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Complaint: Oh Come ON!

Okay, it's hilarious. I'm laughing. Ha ha ha.

It's still before noon, so I understand the humor. But if this snow continues past noon, I will no longer be laughing.

Why is it that you can only pull an April Fool's joke before noon? Did I dream that? Or is it just Canadian? And is there really a difference between the two?

I'm also having a memory that my French Canadian neighbour growing up, Sylvie Toulouse, said that in her culture, people put fish on people's windshields. Was this a French-French thing, or a French-Canadian thing? I never found out. But on April 1, there was indeed a paper bag cut-out fish and a note in broken English on our windshield sayings "We hope you are not mad!" (We weren't. I mean, it wasn't a REAL fish.)

I know that happened.

Anyway, this snow is decidedly not funny.

And speaking of feeling foolish, I spent the morning suffering the minor and unpleasant indignities of the American health system. Nothing like wearing paper sheets, gowns that don't tie properly, getting your boobs smashed to the thickness of a placemat, and ultrasound wands probing the depths of your body, and, I'd add, your soul.

But hey, at least I'm writing about it!

I hate getting mammograms. I mean, they are always scary. I had a scare a few years ago and it turned out not to be a big thing, but now every time I go, I feel sort of dreadful and queasy. And then they don't TELL you anything! They said they'll send a letter, or call you, but they add, "Don't panic if we call you"! That's like saying, "Don't PEE!", after you've downed 32 ounces of water at 8:30 in the morning for a pelvic ultrasound.

I need some chocolate. I'm sure that will help.

In the meantime, I'm hoping to start Script Frenzy today, which is like National Novel Writing Month, only scripty, not novelly.

Wish me luck!