Jealous of Boys

Seventh grade. Mr. Helton’s homeroom. He was the class clown and one of the most popular kids in school. I sat in the back row next to my Laotian friend and a girl who lived in a trailer park and once showed me a vile of some kind of powder (I winced at it and tried to ignore her the rest of the school year).

Even with my perm and freckles I was prettier than I ever gave myself credit for. The class clown sometimes acknowledged me but was more interested in the hottest girl in school with her long, shiny black hair, developed perky breasts, and cool mismatched socks.

I don’t know if I had a crush on the class clown or I just wanted to be the class clown. I think it was a bit of both.

He was confident. Kids giggled at his shenanigans. Even Mr. Helton found him amusing. He didn’t have the worry of covering up legs needing to be shaved, the inevitable arrival of a leaky menstrual cycle, or the proper way to curl unruly bangs into the perfect pouf.

I longed for his self-assured attitude and his fearlessness and talent for making people laugh. His tousled blond locks and casual, non-committal clothing required little to no maintenance yet he was gorgeous all the same. His wide, bright smile would surely take him far in life with minimal struggle.

When I look back at that time and the decades afterwards I think I was always jealous of boys. They were good at sports, didn’t have to wear make-up or an outfit that covered up the wobbly bits, didn’t spend hours pining over crushes that would never come into fruition.

For years I said if given the chance to come back in another life I would be Jeff Spicoli of Fast Times at Ridgemont High fame. His laid-back attitude and passion for surfing leaves little time to mull over the monstrosities of the world or the pressure of fitting into some perfect mold.

Now that I’m older and have a boy of my own I realize some of these prejudgements are just that. Not all boys get a free pass to blissfully ignorant-ville.

No, my son doesn’t have to worry about shaving his legs or getting a period. I don’t think he ever brushes his hair. But like me he worries about the world. He doesn’t always have that revered sky-high self confidence, especially when it comes to sports. But he’s miles beyond where I was at his age in seventh grade. He doesn’t seem to care so much what others think of him. He doesn’t slink away shyly in the corners of the classroom. For that I am thankful.

And in all honesty if I were a boy I would not have the experience of everything that goes with the unique ability to grow a human being in my body. That is some pretty fantastical and ever-bonding stuff. I wouldn’t trade that for any of the classroom joke-telling confidence in the world.

But…

It would be really cool to be Spicoli for a day.

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“All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine…”

 

 

 

 

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A Kind of Kindling

All relationships need kindling

It’s too easy to become wrapped up
in the monotony of daily life
and think things will fix themselves
with the drying of the plastic dishes on the counter

But sometimes gotta get out of the kitchen
go to a place where there are no dishes to wash
no routines to keep
a different perspective and air to breathe

We played in the field after dinner
and it was not planned
I saw you smile in the dunes
and make jokes while pedaling the surrey

It wasn’t you and I arguing
or me wishing you were 8 again

We were just ourselves
and there was no animosity
or harsh words or sadness

There are new memories on the beach now
a twinkle in my eye when I look southward
and see the city where we spent a weekend

A much-needed weekend
spontaneous and free

The you and me that always has been
and hopefully always will be.

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A Bird Call, A Meditation Song

A bird call
a meditation song
words spoken to the sea

spinning in the high winter’s sky
where the pelicans fly
and the hawk and dove and osprey

singing their tune
which I cannot translate
yet reminding me to breathe and let be

Uttered forth among ocean waves
these affirmations floating to you
and cascading back to me.

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Bathing In

I need to bathe in the music of the soul

That which is beautiful and free
without sadness

I don’t want to bathe in the bloated belly
of discontentment and sorrow
and hopelessness

There is a light out there
that shines brighter than any
chasm is dark

And it doesn’t blind
but leads and fulfills and carries
when the void does come

Bathe with me in this

Engulf in the sweet luminous sound
of all that is good in this world.

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Communication Disconnect

Where has all this communication at the tips of our fingers brought us?

I’ve always been a proponent of texting. I’ve had six conversations at once doing this. Texting and instant messaging has kept many of my relationships alive, especially with those who live miles and miles away.

But recently I’m becoming a bit annoyed and confused at all this ability to instantly “connect” with others. I’m feeling lonelier than ever.

Texts can be misconstrued. And the fact that everyone has a phone and seems to be on them all the time doesn’t bode well when someone doesn’t text you back in a proper time frame. It leaves a lot of unanswered questions and self over-analyzation.

“Did I say too much? Not enough? Is their phone working properly? Are they dead in a ditch somewhere?”

Two days or two weeks later you finally get a response. And there’s no mention of a hey I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you, excuse excuse excuse.

It’s enough to drive you insane.

Not that I haven’t done the same. And for that I am truly sorry. My excuse is that I was either in the throws of single-working-momdom or I did not know how to respond to you so I just sat on it for a few days hoping the words would eventually reach my brain.

I’m not saying I hate texting. I’m a writer so it’s a lot easier for me in most instances to type out what I want to say rather than find the words straight from my head.

I just don’t know if this ability to connect instantly is helping us or hurting us. I’m half thinking of doing an experiment where I only actually talk to people on the phone.

There are things you can detect from the human voice. Like if they sound distracted, bored, distant, excited, nervous, cheerful. But there are also those empty spots of uncomfortable silence. Or even worse when you talk over each other and can’t hear what the other is saying. And even more people like me who don’t know how to end the conversation without dragging it on and on.

And what about the dying art of letter writing? The last time I received a letter was at least 3 years ago. It came from a friend overseas. And when this friend came to live state side our messages paled in comparison to the lengthy, thought-out detailed letters we’d written.

I guess it boils down to the age-old manners rule of do unto others what you’d prefer done to you. Try not to leave people in the dark. Do your best to communicate. And stay off your phone when you’re actually face to face with someone. And keep your arms from crossing in front of you and your eyes from blinking too much…

What are your thoughts on electronic communication? Is it helping or hurting?

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A Rare Cold Day

It’s a rare cold day here
one meant for staying close in
and keeping the biting breeze out
Or perhaps to face the bite
let it rattle your bones for a bit
then come inside and take a warm sip

There’s tea on the stove
coffee in the carafe
Sun is gleaming on the chilly
palm fronds outside
But my couch is empty
too many cups in the cupboard

January can be an icy stare
smoke-filled rooms with nowhere
to breathe
Resolutions already falling away
A need for connection
but the line is dead

Suit up and carry on
it’s just one more day
one rare cold day
But with the birds flight
south-wind, still
a struggle to let go within.

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The Inevitable Come-down from Christmas and that New Year’s Resolution List

OK so it happened again. There was a definite come-down two days after Christmas for me. Did it happen to you, too? This was a particularly zen holiday so that makes it worse. I didn’t Scrooge one second this year. But since I was a chubby cheeked toddler and all the Christmases in between the come-down creeps in. Like New Year’s morn when your head is pounding and the clock to punch back in at work is ticking furiously.

I know the holidays aren’t great for everyone. But can I wax mystical about mine this year? Just for a minute.

It was so peaceful. None of my perfectionism reared its ugly annoying little sharp-tongued monster head. My son said it was “The best Christmas ever!” He says that every year but for some reason I think he meant it most this time. We saw lots of family and friends and also had quiet time at home. Our usual traditions still intact (although our fave Indian restaurant was closed on Christmas Eve so we had Thai instead. And they gave me a gift of hugging hippo salt and pepper shakers!) Me and my son’s dad, or as I will now call him my co-parent, had a truly lovely time together. Like old friends again. No stress. No high expectations. And the weather was fabulous.

So I had my little come-down pity party after. I had a short cry in the shower. It would have lasted longer if “Cat’s In the Cradle” had shuffled on my iPod.

Now onto the list. There have been years where I was like, “I’m not gonna participate in making that ridiculous resolution list. They all list-fully fall away in a matter of months or even weeks anyhow.”

But in my concerted effort to continue the forward motion of zen, I shall make one this year for sure. So off the top of my clear head here it is.

  • Lower my expectations and put a pillow on top of the mouth of the perfectionism monster.
  • Give gratitude. Every day. And infiltrate this into my son’s brain as well.
  • Have more game nights.
  • Less technology. Or at least stop bringing my phone to the dinner table. And infiltrate this into my son’s brain as well.
  • Write more.
  • Balance work-life. Try to stave off exhaustion and have a dinner party once in awhile.
  • Get to the beach more. Even if just for 30 minutes to watch the sunset.
  • Let go of the things I can’t control, like my son being an almost teenager and not loving all the things I like to do.

So there it is. I’m sure I could add more but I’ll stop now. Eight is my favorite number anyway. The first and the last on the list are definitely the most difficult.

I’ll refer back to this list in times of turmoil. And look back to the zen of Christmas holiday 2016. What are your resolutions? I’d love to know.

And oh yes, I wish you a beautiful 2017. Happy New Year!

 

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