Spring Cleaning (A Little Late) Tips.

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It isn’t as bad as the photo above but spring cleaning, cleaning at all in fact is not my forte. As the better half continues to roof our house, I have made it my goal to get rid of anything I don’t need and deep clean my house.

I am not a great house keeper. I’m not quite a hoarder but my home is surface clean only. I figured that I’d focused on heavy duty blogs a bit, let’s lighten it up.

Things you will need:

1. A large container of gasoline.

2. Matches.

3. Good insurance.

What I’ve actually done is systematically gone through every room before I even started and pulled every item I don’t use, don’t need, and is just adding clutter. I ended up with 6 or 7 boxes to transport to the thrift store.

I started by pulling all furniture to the middle of the room and cleaning baseboards, walls, and windows, before my general cleaning.

Once I got to the kitchen I just basically stood in the middle of the room and cried. Removing everything from all cupboards, refrigerator, and shelving sucked. I cleaned the inside and outside of everything before putting everything back.

I don’t actually have any easy tips, I guess the only advice I have is if you’ve not used it in a year, discard it. Buy less, so this doesn’t happen again. Live with less. My plan for the next year. 

My kitchen is done, I have wayyyyy less. I am working on cleaning out my resentments, pains, and self loathing, cleaning my space seems like the next step.

It looks amazing and I’ve noticed a huge weight off my shoulders.

Anyhoo that’s all I got for today.

IQ Insecurities.

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One of my biggest insecurities is that I am not smart enough. I wrote in a blog a couple days ago that I don’t have to be smarter than anyone, and this is true, however I’ve always carried some shame because of my lack of education. Another blog focused on my decision to not be a dumbass, by reading and continued learning regardless of my education. It is important to realize that overcompensating for this perceived flaw isn’t healthy.

This seems to be a recurring theme. I am clearly being too hard on myself. In trying to analyze where this comes from, a few things stand out. I had a partner at one time that found great joy in using uneducated as a cruel term to control me.  “He’s right, I’m stupid, he goes to college, blea blea blea”.  Another incident involving a high school guidance counselor telling me to drop out because I was clearly not smart enough to even pass my remedial math class. The fact that these people still hurt me pisses me off to no end. I’m letting go.

It’s true. Because of my choices and several things beyond my control I left school at a young age. I am not educated in a traditional sense, however, this doesn’t mean I am stupid, it doesn’t measure mine or anyone else’s intelligence.

I have been beyond fortunate to be surrounded by extremely intelligent people who teach me more than my brain can sometimes handle. I like to have friends and acquaintances that are far more intelligent than me, how else would I learn, and what would it say about me if I only choose people of lesser intellect as friends? I’m certain that people who do this do so because feeling superior is one of their values. Just a hypothesis, plus people are smart in their own ways. The ex I spoke of earlier was brilliantly book smart, there was never anything he didn’t know about, but he lacked warmth. He had no clue how to treat people. Emotional intelligence is of value.

There will always be people who pump themselves up by belittling others. There will always be people who think they’re so smart that  they’ve lost the ability to listen and learn from people they deem beneath their intelligence level, I pray I am never this person. There will be others who are smarter, better educated, and have a higher IQ than you. The trick is focusing on the specific gifts you have to offer. 

I don’t need to be a braniac, I just need to be me. It’s important to realize that the people who care for me do so because they like me how I am. I am thankful that so many people are willing to continue my education by simply taking the time to let me learn and talk to me about such a variety of subjects. I am grateful for my smarty pants friends.

Storyteller.

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Like a lot of other kids, I was raised by my grandmother. My mother was 15 years old when she got pregnant, and wholly incapable of doing it on her own. Not only did she face financial challenges, but she had mental health issues that she still struggles with to this day. I am grateful for her sacrifice. It was not easy to hand me over I’m sure.

I miss my grandmother and my father so much lately. I miss their stories most of all. I loved hearing my grandmother explain that she had one outfit yearly while she was in school. She washed and pressed it daily. Her right arm had a horrific twisted scar from her wrist to her elbow and although gruesome, the story she told about being a lucky family by having an electric washer changed her life when her arm got stuck in the wringer. She had 6 siblings and when one got in trouble, no one would admit who’d done the deed, so they all got whipped, they’d line up for this and one after the other get the paddle. So many stories we’re simple ones about being a young woman in the 1950s, she was a genius in painting a picture for me, I could see her walking down the street to Woolworths in her flared dress and hat to buy a lipstick she’d saved for for 2 weeks. I miss hearing those same, and other stories over and over.

My dad had different stories. Stories about the 1960’s. Stories about getting teargassed at concerts. Stories about music, about seeing Led Zeppelin in San Francisco, details about marching in protest, he expressed the empowerment he felt in trying to make a difference in this world. He was a blues guitarist, I got to hear the stories of famous people hed met and played with, what they were like, who they were as people.

I had 6 uncle’s, 3 from each side. I heard stories of bravery from my uncle who was a Marine. I heard stories from all of them.

My grandfather too had stories, how my family moved from Oklahoma during the dust bowl, just to end up in a shack city picking fruit, and spending all of their daily wages at the company store. Unable to get ahead he ended up working in Bakersfield in the oil fields. 

The other day I was telling a friend about my first punk concert in Denver, it was The Damned at Rainbow Music Hall, and how much concerts have changed. I told her about a Corrosion of Conformity show in SLC,  how I stage dived and bruised my cheek on a friend’s spiked jacket. I told her about cruising State Street(now illigal in our city), about the cars, the music, picking up boys, how the paddy wagon cleared us all out at 2 a.m. 

“I love your stories” she told me.

I realized that yes, I too have stories. I can tell people about growing up in the 1970s and 80s. I can talk about the punk scene in Salt Lake and Denver, where my parents lived. I was shuffled back and forth in the summer months and because my dad was a local musician I was always back stage at some punk or metal show. I have some woppers about the absolute debouchery of rock stars, my punk idols, and that time in general.

I am glad I listened to their stories. I am grateful I too am a story teller. It’s surprising to me that i didn’t realize I hold the stories of my generation, just like they did. I hope people find them as interesting as I found my family’s tales.

Social Media #2

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I have been trying my best to limit my time on Facebook and social media in general, but mostly Facebook. I find it a bit more toxic and depressing than my blog and IG is strictly for art and art sales. I post this blog on my FB, and boring stuff I’m doing, I don’t post anything political as a general rule, not because I’m not involved, I just don’t find it very pro active personally. I also don’t feel the need to post every nice thing I do, my business is mine, I don’t need credit. 

I am trying desperately to tone down on ego engaging activity, not always easy. Humans are hardwired to want care, approval, and feeling important is nice. I like people to read my blog,  feedback is one way I’m learning to be a better writer, however the amount of likes I receive on any social media platform is less important. 

I started thinking yesterday about the things I post on FB. Is it important? Is it ego stroking? Am I making any real impact on anything important? Is it time wasting? And just a general perplexity of purpose. I looked back over my posts I came to the conclusion that I mainly post random daily bullshit, kinda like here. Photos of crap I’ve found cleaning, not so witty thoughts, links to this blog. Nothing vital. Everyone uses social media for their own purposes, I’ve got no issues with that, I just want to make sure I spend time nourishing my real relationships.

One thing I noticed that I simply let slide by is the amount of ads and links to ads, links to articles, memes, shared content from outside sources, posts from my personal liked pages, and of course followed news sources.

I started wondering what would my feed look like if I deleted all of my like pages, all reposted links, all memes, all the people I don’t know very well, all shared content, all news sites. I wanted to keep only the things that people personally said. Thoughts, ideas, photos of their life, and blog links to personal writing. 

What I found out is that this takes forever. I spent two hours cleaning fb out, and still didn’t finish. My news feed contained exactly 10 posts from yesterday that people just wrote random thoughts. It was nice actually. 

One thing that’s always bothered me about social media is if you don’t know someone personally, or have only had a few interactions, Facebook is not the way to get to know someone. It is a false intimacy. I have spent time with people who have known me mostly from Facebook and they think they have me pegged, when in reality they haven’t even a basic concept of who I am, what I’m involved in, what lies at my core, my values,  or what I do in my real life.

This is partially my fault because I don’t just lay everything out there for everyone to see. I think it is a mistake to come to any kind of conclusion about the core of who someone is based on Facebook. I have shared more on here about who I am in the last two months than I have ever shared there. If you’re reading my blog you know I’m somewhat agoraphobic, you know I have had trouble with addiction, you know I have survived rape you know I lean toward liberalism, you know I have alopecia…

Clearly some of my closest friends on Facebook know these things, but I guess my point is that I’m going to start really being particular about that form of social media, I want to keep my wall clear of clutter and highlight people’s real thoughts and posts. I plan on doing the same.

Also wayyyyy less time there, and a push to be more active in my real life. 

My Simple Life.

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It has been a particularly crazy May and June this year, between Ireland and my house falling apart within moments of my arrival home I feel like I’ve not had time to think.

Sometimes I forget to step back, breathe, and feel grateful. I am grateful. This year has been, in my opinion, the year I’ve grown more than any other. Maybe it’s age and my mind and body slowing down. My values have changed. 

I’m learning to care less about others opinions, and let go of ego. I really like just living day by day, I’ve also learned that I don’t need to be great, I don’t need to be smarter than anyone else, I’ve spent too much time trying to prove things to people who I could give two shits about. I’m learning not to argue with those who have zero bearing on my life, of course I fall into the trap occasionally, progress not perfection has become my mantra.

 I am quieter. I have nothing to prove. I am working on letting go of anger, victimhood, defining myself through illness. 

I am grateful. My life only includes relationships that are healthy, cutting the poison is easier than I would have guessed.

In a perfect world I would have learned these lessons years ago, but I’m doing my best, growth is growth. 

I remind myself daily of how fortunate I am. My children, my husband, my pets, a few select friends, a nice home, food, clothing, my addiction in check, my health good. What more could I ask for?

My main concern is that even if I live to 100, it’s not enough time to learn everything I want to. Focusing on and cutting out time wasters remains one of my goals. 

I am also grateful for this outlet, writing is so helful. My mind remains, as it always has, overburdened and busy. Blogging quiets the worst of it. I’ve found so much positivity, good advice, and support on this platform…sure there’s the odd ahole smarmy comment, but mostly it’s been positive. Each of us finds a way to heal, this is mine.

Today I am blessed, today I am grateful, today I like myself more than yesterday.

The Labels We Choose.

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I think a lot about the labels we give ourselves, and the labels others have bestowed upon us. I have always been uncomfortable pinholing myself into one label, one group, one thought process, Democrat, Republican, punk rocker, derby girl, anarchist, feminist, rocker etc.

The only label I’ve ever embraced is mother, everything else is a waste of time and not ever completely accurate.

I think that those labels and any others require us to be certain things, to block out the possibility of expanded thought processes, to adhere to some kind of rule set. If I say to you I am X..what does that mean? Do I have to dress a certain way? Do I have to support a certain way of thinking? Do I have to listen to a specific genre of music? Do I have to be staunch in my votes? Do I have to support specific causes? It seems so limiting.

What it comes down to in my thinking is that these labels are a way to belong, to be a part of something and fend off loneliness. Belonging is beyond overrated.

I make jokes about being a Gemini, for example. It’s well known that people born under this sign are difficult and indecisive…(astrology isn’t my bag, just an example) so in that vein of thought do I simply embrace the fact that I’m difficult? Or do I rage against perception and others toxic condemnations? The latter is generally my choice, therefore proving myself and others right. It’s confusing to me how to contort these labels. 

What it really comes down to, at least personally, is fighting the good fight, surprising the surrounding humans by sending a tsunami against their labels and boxes. I think it is important to remember that we also are not our past, we are not our history, our parents, our troubles, and can not possibly be a sum of our experience, but the sum of all the experience of others we come in contact with. The best part of all is we have the ability to change ourselves even daily, which in turn makes any label obsolete.

So, when asked who you are do you say I am an atheist? I am an artist? I am a punker? I am none and all of those things, sometimes at the same time. I implore anyone to think for yourself, reject the status quo, bash your titles and labels into a bloody pulp, reject societal norms, listen to all the music, wear all the things, experience all the people, but for God’s sake don’t let anyone decide what you should be.

Today’s ramble brought to you by Rage against the machine, Johnny Winter, Crystal Gayle, granny panties, pink lipstick, my old t-shirt, and mom jeans.

Clearing out the Garbage.

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I’ve been so overwhelmed and busy I haven’t been writing, and I have to say it’s really impacted my well being. I feel better when I write, more in balance.

I have been working on my roof for a week straight, my body is screaming bloody murder. Everything hurts. My toe nails hurt. I am exhausted. My part is done, the roof has been torn down and all the shingles are in a dumpster, I am completely inept as far as putting the new roof on. 

I have written a bit about how much my trip cleared my mind, brought me peace, and closure on so many things. My mental health is tip top right now so I’ve decided to clean my physical space out as well. It’s time to let things go. I have worked my way through 2 rooms while my better half pounds away above my head. 

I have also been pricing plane tickets to head out on another big trip this next summer.. can’t decide if I want to see what I missed in Ireland or explore some place new. Switzerland looks amazing. Florence Italy maybe? I’m not sure, but I know I will never not travel again. 

Father’s Day Blues.

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Father’s Day sucks. My husband says not to pay any mind to some made up greeting card holiday created by Hallmark. I try.

I celebrate the father my husband is to our kids every day, I feel so thankful and blessed he is there for them. He is involved, and that’s more than I can say for the asshat that helped create me.

My biological father was a terrible person. My mother was 15 when she got pregnant, and he was 18, they married and managed to make it work for 2 months. On my 5th birthday he pulled up in front of the house threw a five dollar bill out the window and drove off. I didn’t hear from him but a couple times after that. The word is that he has something like 6-8 kids he never took care of. I have some issues. Abandonment issues, anger issues, and I spent way too much time wondering what was wrong with me.

The man in the photo at the top of this post is my dad. Tom and my mother met when I was 6 months old. He did his best to fill the bottomless pit of abandonment I felt. He was a good father to me. I adored him, idolized him, did anything and everything to get his attention. He talked to me like I was a human with intelligence. He taught me so much about being an accepting person, that judgement should not live in my heart, he spurned on a passion for music in me that lives to this day. I am so grateful he was in my life. He made me who I am. He was my dad, the only one that counted.

My parents however, we’re addicts. My dad hid it so well that as a child I hadn’t a clue. My childhood was decent, we were hippies, we lived in communes, surrounded by love, peace, and music. My parents fought like devil’s, but I never doubted their love for one another, or for me.

My dad died of an overdose in 1998. I can’t seem to find my way. I am angry. I may always be angry. I miss him so bad. 

My biological father died a few years back of cancer. I felt nothing. I did try to let him know I forgave him for abandoning me, in a phone call, he told me he didn’t need my fucking forgiveness and hung up on me. He couldn’t even give me that. Some people aren’t meant to be parents.

So, here it is, Father’s Day and I am an orphan. Someday I hope to find peace. I am working on it, but today I say Dear Hallmark, kiss my ass.

 

Adjusting to Being Home.

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I miss Ireland. Because I’d never traveled before I am trying so hard not to romanticize my time away, this is proving difficult.

Beautiful architecture, history, perfect temperatures, food without chemicals, friendly people, art, culture, no billboards, castles, good beer, slower pace… seriously what’s to romanticize? Ha.

I am having such trouble adjusting to being home. My routine is all screwed up, I’m finding no joy in my regular habits, I’m eating garbage when I promised myself I wouldn’t. What the hell is wrong with me? Is it normal to go through a depression after traveling?

I feel misplaced. I think I always have. Utah and I don’t fit. I’m a square peg, with no shape that exists hole. In spite of staying at hostles and hotels, Ireland felt like home.

Here is something strange I realized, I have hung art on my walls in my house, but even after 20 years I’ve yet to hang photos of my kids. It’s as if I never feel a kind of settling in, I have a continuous sense of impermanence. I keep telling myself that when I get in my forever house I’ll hang photos. 20 years. 20 damn years. Sounds fairly permanent. 

I moved a lot as a little kid, but I was in the same house from the time I was 8 until I left home at 17. Why I am so unsettled is a mystery.

I miss Ireland. I am so conflicted. I can’t move. We have a successful business, my kids are here, my grandson is here. I am scared to take that risk. What would we do for work? How would we survive? The predictability of our regular paycheck is too comfortable.

One thought would be to buy a little vacation spot somewhere else and spend time there regularly. Maybe I wouldn’t feel like such a Gypsy if I could escape occasionally. We are broke. There has to be a way.

I would be interested in hearing if others have these feeling. I wonder if depression is normal after such adventures.

Did I mention I miss Ireland?

Body Image Reality vs Fantasy.

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I have been sorting through my online photo folders for weeks, trying to get them organized and cut down to a manageable folder. I have approximately one million photos spread between my phone, IG, Facebook and now this app.

The photos span a time period from my birth until now. I am a bit overwhelmed. I can logically delete a tree from God knows where, the hilarious coffee urn photo from 1996, bad memes I have created, and all the online stuff I’ve shared trying to be funny. 

The photos of myself are harder to send to a trash bin. I look at the photos and think I sure do wish I still looked like that, yet at the time any photo was taken I perceived myself as absolutely disgusting, fat, lumpy, and gross. I have always thought of myself as short and fat, not once over the years did I say “looking good!”.

I suppose the only time I perceived myself at a good weight was during the worst of my drug addiction, those photos at 83 lbs. or so are truly disturbing. That period is really the only time in my 48 years that at the time I thought I looked good, and absolutely did not. I looked sickly, malnourished, with sunk in eyes.

How do women go through life like this? Only feeling positive about their bodies in retrospect? It is such a distorted view of reality.

Two photos struck me more than any others. One is a photo of me hiking in Colorado at 15( with high heals, a cigarette, and spandex no less…shut up, it was the 80’s). The other my husband took this week in a new shirt I like. It has been 33 years between the two photos, and snapped me into reality.

I need to start appreciating the here and now. I need to understand that my perception of myself is wrong. I think we all do. 

How can we live daily with such negative self talk about the thing that carries us through this world? The reality of our bodies is so much better than our twisted perception. We are beautiful. 

I am certainly not saying accept being unhealthy, but if you’re eating well, staying active, and living a positive life, chances are you’re looking far better than you think.

It’s time for women to take an objective look at ourselves instead of looking back at photos knowing we were ripping ourselves apart in that time period, and wishing we’d known how good we looked.

Loving myself and the body I have is a struggle. I have concrete evidence that I am wrong with these two photos. My perception is changing. I urge others to change your perception as well. We are perfect, and from now on I will thank this amazing body for carrying me through these years, good and bad. It’s not the mirror that is the liar, it’s ourselves.

6/10/2017 :

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