Sometimes you have to consult your partners to find the perfect Lego.
Sometimes you have to consult your partners to find the perfect Lego.
I’m always grateful when this day comes.
It’s a reminder.
Let your Freak Flag fly, give 100 percent, empty the tank, and wake up on Monday morning feeling blessed and ready to rock.
Even if you’re having a rough one, Shark Week sets you straight.
I actually started my week living like it was Shark Week without even knowing it.
The events of this weekend just sent me straight to Tony-Robbins-state-of-mind. For the fifth year in row I competed in the TinMan Triathlon and despite the 71-year old IronMan chick leaving me in the dust, it was the best one yet.
I ran and swam my fastest times ever, and despite Devil’s Canyon trying to break down the cyclist in me, I kept at it and managed to get to the top of that mountain and let me tell you … my quads were feeling like Tina Turner’s.
I raised the volume up on my playlists and just kept going. Once I crossed the finish line, I heard my inner voice … you did it. And I smiled. After battling the dry heat, the agony and pain of my butt during that long bike ride, and the near drowning incident in the water because some chick kept hitting me mid-stroke and some dude almost kicked me in the face, after all that I had made it. It felt good, like Rocky-at-the-top-of-those-steps-good.
And I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it while I was running, while I was biking uphill, and when I was on my last lap. Every part of it felt good, because I was trying. Then my kids did their mini-triathlon and their efforts made me so proud, I was having a parent moment right there at the finish line. While I was high-fiving them, I realized I had come in second place for my division and I couldn’t believe it.
I was so busy celebrating my kids’ finish, especially since it was my daughter’s first time, that I didn’t hear them call my name. I had done something I never thought would happen. I wasn’t aiming for that, I was just trying to do better than last year. I was just trying, giving it all I had. Emptying the tank. That’s all. I didn’t think there be an extra reward. But there was …
For the first time in five years I placed second.
I smiled again.
I realized … I guess this is what it feels like … this is what it feels like to live every week like it’s Shark Week, with or without the medal.
I was glad for the reminder.
I used to think it was bullshit.
Not that I don’t help people. I do. I enjoy it. But I never really did it to get something out of it. I did it because I wanted to help. I genuinely did it just for the other person.
But it wasn’t until recently that I realized that helping others would make me feel better about myself when I was feeling pretty crappy.
A couple of weeks ago an organization I was involved with at school had a women’s conference. All these college girls in leadership roles came down to my city to participate in workshops, team buildings skills, and Q&A panels.
Now I wasn’t the typical alumni. Most that graduated are suit-and-tie successful, working in nonprofits, schools, and business sectors. Stuff where you have an office, an assistant, and a business card. I tried to rally some of them up to go, because they’re pretty awesome women who would have blown their minds, but no one could or wanted to go.
So I went on my own.
I wasn’t sure what I could contribute seeing how my path wasn’t and isn’t a straight connect-the-dots-A-to-B story of success.
But when I went I heard similar stories from the young women there, uncertainty scared them, the future worried them even if they were prepared, finding connections, jobs and the “real world” after college concerned them.
I realized … they were scared of failure.
I was like, man. I got this! I felt like I was on Jeopardy and my category was up. Failure for 300 please.
I know everything there is to know about failure. I fail at least once a week.
So with this alumni panel speaking words of here’s the path to success, here are all the steps I took that led to success with no problem, I spoke of failure. I spoke of how it WILL happen, no matter how much you study or how hard you prepare, you are going to fail, and if someone tells you it hasn’t happened to them … they’re lying.
I continued with my speech …
Failure happens. Nobody ever told me that. Good people, hard working people, smart people, they fail. And you shouldn’t be scared of that.
It’s gonna happen, and you’re gonna think that you’re the only one because no one is going to talk about it. But they do fail. We’re out there. Everywhere. People who fail.
You just have to get up.
That was the key. Not giving up.
I mentioned that a lot of my failures make for great stories. Just have to find the funny in the not-so-funny situations.
I was asked the night before to read one of my stories, or something that had been published during the workshop. Funny enough, there was failure in it. The amusing first love, coming-of-age story that turns out all right after failure. And the thing is, that was the first time I had read my work aloud to others.
It was trip.
I was talking about failures and ended up having a small success up on that podium. It felt good to have them respond so well to my piece, but it felt even better to know that I was able to give them something of myself that might one day help them out.
You know the day when failure happens and they feel every bit of awful in every part of their heart and spirit, and they’re chugging on that Two-Buck-Chuck wine bottle from Trader Joe’s or scraping the bottom of that Dryer’s Chocolate Chip Ice Cream tub. When they’re at that low point, I hope they remember my story, or mini-speech on the alumni panel, and I hope it makes them feel better.
It might. I had a feeling when I left, that I had made an impact on a few of them. Having my experiences with failures help someone out … dude that definitely felt good.
Buen Camino friends!
On quiet nights like this I miss seeing his briefcase by the door, his white butcher coat and shirt laying on the armrest, and the smell of the coffeemaker percolating the night’s brew. Night time coffee and HBO on a Saturday night. That was him.
Tonight it’s quiet, no briefcase, no white coat, no baseball caps, no coffee percolating and no HBO talk. Just me and some laundry.
I passed by the CVS the other day and saw all the Star Wars Father’s Day cards, I saw the funny ones with pets, the ones with fishing poles, golf clubs, and cartoons. I still read them, but it hurt. It hurts to buy cards he’s not going to read or keep in his briefcase. It hurts missing out on conversations about life and Father’s Day dinners.
At times like this when breathing becomes hard because you miss someone so much, I find comfort in storytelling. Story remembering, really. I try to write as much as I can now so that my kids will be able to see how I saw my father and how I felt. So that my kids will know their grandfather had a good heart, that he had problems too, but that he tried. He tried and he kept his heart in tact during the process.
He suffered the loss of his Dad too, just when he was 10, and his life couldn’t have been easy, but he tried his best. He battled depression during my youth and adulthood, and often felt like giving up, but he still tried.
Adventures. Staycations. HBO marathons. Superbowl games. Boxing matches. Supermarket trips. Baskin-Robbins outings. Movie discussions. Costco adventures. Theater excursions. Joke telling stories. And talks. Lots of talks.
Sometimes the missing out is the worst part … my kids missing out on him, missing out on creating their own adventures with grandpa. So I’m hoping the storytelling will create a good picture. I’m hoping they’ll get to know him through my stories and through their grandpa’s adventurous and humorous spirit that lives inside of them.
He liked Westerns. He liked Clint Eastwood. So I found it interesting that Clint would be on TV the night before Father’s Day.
I found it comforting to know that I was watching one of his favorites, while folding laundry in the night time quiet. I figured he might be having a cup of coffee. Black. Two sugars. And remembering stories about me, remembering my dreams, remembering my laugh, remembering all the Father’s Day cards in his Samsonite briefcase, remembering how he introduced me to Clint Eastwood.
Clint Eastwood … he turned out to be all right.
Happy Father’s Day …
Find a lot of natural stuff hiking in California …
I’m not a big fan but they seem to love it. They can’t get enough of it.
They … the masses. They post all kinds of stuff. What they eat and where they’ve been
And for the most part I’m pretty indifferent … that was until today …
Today I hated it.
There he was in portrait-style picture trying to look like a Gap commercial with his new family. Wife. Pregnant wife. And a daughter.
I couldn’t believe it..
The Facebook had made a suggestion … you know … a you might know this person type of deal and I couldn’t believe it.
I mean I wasn’t even the one who married him, but I was still so upset by it. You see one of my friends had recently split up with this dude, about four or five years ago. They had no kids and just split up their assets and even though it wasn’t a shouting-match-I-hate-you-forever kind of divorce, it was still a divorce. One that left her feeling horrible and sad and I was sad for my friend. I saw her go through such a hard time and I’m sure I didn’t see everything, but what I saw was pretty rough.
She has someone in her life now and I imagine that because of that her ex is in her past, a past that she’s forgotten and doesn’t like to rehash. She’s in a good place, she seems happy. So I didn’t tell her about this virtual encounter. I didn’t tell her that he remarried, or that he started a family.
I didn’t know if it was going to bother her, I mean it bothered me and I wasn’t even married to the dude. I was so burned out by it.I couldn’t believe why I was so upset and angry. I guess in part it was because I knew my friend, I knew how much she loved him and wanted the marriage to work. I knew the heartache, and I guess I was so upset because he seemed to replace her so easily. Married with one kid and another on the way in four years?
I debated on telling her this recent Facebook discovery and why I hated Facebook so much, but I thought better of it. I thought it was best to leave her past in the past. I didn’t want angry, sad, or weird feelings clouding her current state. I don’t know, maybe she already knew. Maybe she had run into them and kept it to herself because the blow was pretty big. Or maybe she didn’t even care, because she’s moved on too.
I don’t know why the death of love and the beginning of his beginning bothered me so much. I guess it was because I knew about her dream, I was aware of the future she wanted. I guess I learned that loyalty is a big thing with me. I was loyal to my friend, why couldn’t he be?
I guess I just wanted my friend to have that love without having to have gone through such a painful time. To me it was just hard to believe how quickly he had replaced her, how he seemed so happy in that happily-ever-after photo he had posted on his Facebook profile.
But then again not everything on Facebook is as it seems.
Some people say that they sneak up on you, that you have no idea where they came from.
Dude, so not true on my account.
I have knowledge of all there whereabouts. I knew exactly when they showed up and why. I wasn’t surprised. Weirded out, maybe. Worried a little? Yeah, maybe at first. But as more started trickling in I thought … dude it’s becoming an epidemic. I might need to purchase a bottle Nice N’ Easy.
I’m sticking to the salt and pepper look of my long curls.
I earned one this week. A couple actually. Sadness, happiness, and concern all at once.
I had a parent moment as my youngest graduated preschool this past week. I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. I mean I knew it was important, but didn’t think it would give me pause. I saw all the Facebook posts from people about their kids moving up a grade or graduating and I thought … hmph that’s cool. But nothing registered.
Then as I saw my own, walking down the aisle in her purple cap and gown, it hit me. She’s going to be walking down that aisle at age 18 soon. She’s going to be heading off to college before I know it, and then life.
I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want it going fast. Did it go fast?
People say it goes by fast, but so far I’m feeling every day. Thus the gray hairs. I notice them. It happened when my son graduated as well. I got a little parent-y. I thought it was a one-time thing, but nope. It hit me again. And I needed a moment. Some time to bottle it up in a mason jar and close that lid tight.
I thought about how far she’s come, how she curls the J in her name, how she scales that rock climbing wall with no problem now, how she brings something to show-and-tell and says that’s it’s fragile, how she has friends and talks about her adventures, how she shares or high-fives her friends to make for an awesome moment, how she paints more than just snakes now, there are houses and trees and rainbows and sun, and me in those pictures, how she runs faster now and is able to reach the pedals on the mini bikes.
I look at how far she’s come and I see the gray hairs on my head and I know that so far … so far I’ve done good job. I earned a couple more, but they’re worth it.
Just when you’re feeling tired …
Just when you’re feeling emotionally exhausted …
Just when you’re all out of grace …
You walk into the frozen yogurt place you don’t want to walk into, but you do it anyway because promised your kids you would and then bam! The universe gives you a little sign, a little help, a little wink to let you know … to remind you of the little things that can make people happy. Little things that can make you smile. Little things that can make you chuckle. Little things that can create a happiness spark that will eventually snowball into something bigger.
Signs. They’re everywhere. Just got to remember to print this one out and post it on my own door.
The light brown suede couch and the not-so quiet of the night used to be my office. I had no cubicle buddy to share daily struggles of procrastination with, I had no lunch buddy to eat a salad with, I had no chisme girl talk about the dude in the mail room who’s hanging out with the chick from accounting, I had no receptionist transferring my calls, I had no elevator ride up to the 10th floor, I had no White Out or colored post-its in my desk drawer, I had no parking space to fight over, I had no work buddies giving me a pep talk.
I had a light brown suede couch and my inner voice trying to shut down all the real voices who kept telling … why don’t you just get a real job?
I had myself. That’s it. Myself, a feel-good song playlist, and some Ben & Jerry’s.
That was my office.
As writers our offices generally involve suede couches and pajamas. And a lot of doubt.
We get it from ourselves and we get it from people who are supposed to believe in us. Voices are constantly murmuring, resurfacing, and trying to break through that wall we are constantly rebuilding … confidence.
They make this uphill climb an even bigger battle.
But I realized that I have plenty of insecurities … motherhood, career, culinary skills, body images. Doubt always creeps in, but along with all that doubt, I’ve got to have confidence. Any dreamer has got to have more confidence than doubt, on average, otherwise it’s just not gonna happen.
You’ve got to walk on out there like you’re Andre Agassi. He had so much confidence that when he won the coin toss or whatever it is they use to decipher the tennis serve-receive position he was like I’m on defense. Defense! Can you believe that? He was banking on his skills as a defender to win points. He was like give me the best you’ve got, it’s not getting passed me. I’ve got you.
That was him. Agassi was so confident in his game, so confident, that he let them serve. He gave them what people thought was the advantage. But no … it wasn’t. Not with Agassi, defense was his advantage, he could pick up whatever they dished out and break them.
And as dreamers that’s what we’ve got to do. You’ve got doubt, insecurities. Sure. We do. We got people who magnify them, too, people who aren’t cheerleaders in the stands but constant hecklers in your life, jabbing you at any chance they get.
But you can’t fall down that way. Even if you don’t have a desk, an assistant, a corner office, or a fax machine. Even if your office has a tan suede couch and you show up in your Costco sweatpants …
You’ve got to show up like Agassi on the court and be like … I got this.