A little over a decade ago, I bought a guitar so I wouldn’t do recreational drugs. When I realized that I wouldn’t just learn through osmosis, I decided to pick it up and teach myself some songs. Mostly Indigo Girls, Patty Griffin and some Dar Williams – you know, the really “bitchin” stuff.
Well, let me be clear about one thing. I use the term “learn” loosely. If by saying learn, I mean that I could actually hold the guitar in my hands and make sounds to accompany my voice, then we are both on the same page. I was no Jimi Hendrix. Or even Taylor Swift for that matter with the 8 open chords I knew how to play at the time.
During one of the indie performances I went to see, a young woman named Kris Delmhorst played, opening for Dar Williams. (I say these names assuming you do not follow Indie folk artists like me. If you do, ROCK on. Totally bitchin!)
I remember hearing those words and feeling crushed. I was 17 years old and I was a pretty determined kid. My parents had agreed that when it came to college, I could go wherever I wanted in the country, because of their desire to give me the best opportunity when it came to education. If I got into a top tier school, would be willing to take on some financial aid and it was generally affordable, they would cut the umbilical cord and let me go.
Somehow, I decided that I was going to go, that I NEEDED to go to the University of Virginia.
My rationale was simple. It was FAR. At least 6 hours far.
It was beautiful. Full of Thomas Jefferson’s vision, architecture and history – the majestic grounds of the school were some of the prettiest I had seen.
I have struggled with food my whole life.
When I was little, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. It was more of a nuisance that interrupted the time I would rather spend playing.
As a pre-teen I abused it and found comfort in it, mistakenly thinking I could fill the empty places in my heart with another bite.
My junior year in High School, I walked away from it and found power in turning my back on the calories and embraced the solace in running.
But I often didn’t know what I was running from.
In college, I mistakenly followed what I jokingly called the “Sorority Girl Diet,” eliminating fat but eating my fill of jelly beans and bagels and ensuring that beer was part of the regimen (at least from Thursday – Saturday nights).
“And I thought of all the bad luck
And the troubles we’ve been through
And how I lost me and you lost you.”
- Don Henley, “The Heart of the Matter”
I always knew that things were not what they seemed in my house, even early as a child.
Ever since I can remember, I remember tension. I remember wanting my family to be anywhere else but at home together because when we were at home, that’s when bad things happened. The fighting, the yelling, the screaming and the endless tears made my heart beat so fast in my tiny chest that I thought I would burst.
I recall being 4 years old and begging for my parents to invite family or friends over, thinking that perhaps they could diffuse that tension. Sometimes it would work and the levity that family and friends would bring to the house would allow everyone to breathe.
But it was not your fault but mine,
And it was your heart on the line,
I really f^%$#ed it up this time.
Didn’t I my dear?Didn’t I my dear.?
- Mumford and Sons, “Little Lion Man”
I have a confession to make and perhaps you will judge me, but I said that this blog was about telling the truth and cutting past the phoniness, so I have to come clean.
I have a really bad habit. I listen to songs with curses in them. If the songs are on when the kids are around the room or if they walk in while I am singing my lungs out, I may NOT turn them off right away. I may not sing louder or turn up the volume.
Most of the time, anyway.
This is distressing to John.
When I got to my college at the University of Virginia as a straight up thug Indian kid from New Jersey, I remember about everybody talking about this guy named Dave Matthews and his upcoming show at the UVA outdoor pavilion called, the Amphitheater.
“Who the f@#! is Dave Matthews and why would I spend 12 dollars to go see him?” I asked in my thug Jersey way.
Yeah, I know. What a dumb. ASS. Twelve freaking dollars.
I have a problem.
Well, to be fair, I have many, but right now I want to speak specifically towards one. I think it would be unfair to burden you with more since this might even be the first time you are visiting my blog.
I like to let the crazy out slowly. Gradually.
So, the problem du jour is my spending problem. I like the color of money. But apparently not enough to save lots of it in our bank accounts. I also don’t feel a need to stare at piles of it on the floor. Instead I make sure our credit cards get a frequent workout and find lots of creative ways to spend that green stuff.
Which I think is a talent.
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I have always been hard on myself and the expectations I place on myself. There are times where I struggle with the realization that the desire to succeed is in fact some form of self-punishment. Punishment in that I create near impossible situations to accomplish.
This causes me a great deal of angst.
I have always lived in the world of “ideally.” I have held myself to an often impossible standard. Some of these standards are driven by societal expectations, others by arbitrary deadlines and confines I place on myself.
Do any of these situations sound like they might be familiar to you?
Sharing a dinner with an amazing beautiful, brilliant and accomplished friend lamenting the fact that she is still single. Because ideally, she would have met her dream man by 30 (not 40) and had the 2.5 kids she always expected to have.
Do you ever feel like your day just kind of ran away from you? I sit here and it’s 11 PM. I know I should be in bed, because I know the trouble I have when my kids get up. I want to stay curled up under the covers and no amount of coffee can make me move from out and under the lovely, comfortable, soft and downy warmth of my bed which all make me want to ….
Sorry – that’s about how easy it is to pass back out in the mornings, so excuse me while I get some coffee.
Well, I feel like whether you are a working mother or a stay at home one (I will include daddies in this too, because I know plenty who fulfill both roles), by the time everything (and I mean EVERYTHING, as if I really did sweep every last bit of rice off the floor) is done and the kids are FINALLY in bed, I feel a little like…