No More Mrs. Nice Guy

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Denise chose: Can a person be too nice?

I was thinking about the practicality of niceties while driving earlier today. The fact that so many of us tread lightly when it comes to forking over the dreaded “NO” word, apologizing profusedly when we feel we’re letting someone down. It’s a burden I am well-acquainted with, considering I’m one of those people. You know, the ones who feel guilty when we can’t be everything to everyone.

The first word that sprang to my mind in response to this blog topic was fear. When someone is overly nice, it’s out of fear. Fear of being rejected, fear of letting someone down and dealing with that impending guilt. Fear of someone else’s disappointment. I know a lot about this topic because I’ve lived this topic for many years. Childhood taught me that sweetness was a a lot more attractive than meanness, and I rolled right along with that snowball. Soon, I lost control of myself. I couldn’t say no to anyone, and when others would ask me for my opinion, I’d make sure the response I gave was tailor-made to make that person feel good. Even at the risk of hurting myself and keeping my true feelings locked up tight.

I never want to hurt someone, period. I take my relationships with others seriously. Even when I felt the warning pangs in my gut that would tell me I shouldn’t do something, I’d do it anyway because it was pleasing the other person. (Those who are overly nice are usually people pleasers, too. The two go hand-in-hand). I’d continue on with unhealthy relationships out of sheer necessity. I’d bend over backwards and do whatever it took to hold onto someone. Often, I wasn’t being real with them, or myself.

I read an article regarding this topic on Psychology Today. Here’s a checklist to help you determine if you are “too nice”:

  • Do you have a hard time saying “no” to others’ requests, even when they’re unreasonable?
  • Do you often find yourself under-appreciated and taken for granted?
  • Do you believe you’re being taken advantage of at work or in your personal relationships?
  • Do you let people give you thankless tasks they don’t want to do themselves?
  • Do you often go along with what others say and want, even if you feel differently deep down?
  • Does your kindness and self-giving often go unreciprocated?
  • Are you afraid of being rejected if you don’t go along with certain people’s whims and demands?
  • Do you take care of others first and yourself last?

Like the article mentions, being a nice person is a healthy way to be. Most people don’t want to live life as a curmudgeon. However, living a life where you overdo it to please others and don’t feel you can be honest with yourself or your loved ones can be an incredibly detrimental experience.

So, how did I learn how to say “when”?

The biggest factor for me was my maturity. I wanted everyone to like me in my younger years. Now-the older I get, the less I care. I just don’t have the time to devote to worrying about pleasing everyone every second of every day. I do the best I can with what I’ve got, and if it’s not enough? Shrug.

I’m learning how to say “no”. It might not be as firm as I’d like it to be, and I still have hiccups. Totally a learning curve.

I have a voice and it doesn’t always sound like everyone else’s. That’s OK.

Setting boundaries is healthy, and it doesn’t mean I’m not being agreeable. It means I’m doing what works for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t turned into a grouch. Not yet, anyway. I consider myself to be a fairly nice person. I am there for my friends and loved ones. I do what I can to help someone in need, yet I don’t fade off into the background and forget that I’m still there, too. At times, it can feel as though I’m walking a very fine line between being nice, and being “too nice”. It’s still a work in progress for me.

Now it’s your turn: What are your thoughts on being “too nice”?

 

 

 

 

Sleepwalkers. This Ain’t No Stephen King Story.

Jon Tesh was on the radio during my drive home from yoga practice the other day. I was tempted to change the station to something more upbeat and loud (think classic rock or hip hop, yo) but this was during Tesh’s health segment. He had implored his listeners to stay right where they were, especially the ones who suffered from sleep issues. I was curious, since I’m one of those listeners.

After a few minutes of random advertisements (mostly auto dealerships), Tesh was back on the radio, and was sharing various foods that boost the mood. When he talked about the benefits of drinking tart cherry juice, and the effects it has on individuals who have a hard time sleeping, my ears perked up. I’ve tried a lot of get-sleep quick tips and pills, relaxation techniques and routines. Nothing has worked for me permanently, and I’ve decided it’s just my lot in life to exist on less sleep than the rest of the world. Could cherry juice really be the answer?

I have more to worry about than my own sleep woes. My eldest son is entering into the “no sleep” zone. Unfortunately, I think he’s followed in my genetic foot steps where lullabies are concerned, and he’ll tell me about his 2am wake-ups and how he just can’t get back to sleep. He’s also a sleepwalker. Not this kind of sleepwalker:

Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers

This kind:

I was doing the same thing when I was his age. I can’t tell you how many times I’d find myself out of my bed, and somewhere that made no sense.

The first time my kid went on a sleep-induced journey, I didn’t get to bear witness to the theatrics. Long story short, he used the garbage can in the kitchen as a toilet, thinking in his own subconscious mind that it was a toilet. He found his way back to bed, and no one saw him again the rest of the night. He’s steered clear of the garbage can since that first fateful night, but the sleepwalking is still in full swing. And my boy still complains about the late night wake-ups.

I knew it was time to share my own bedtime routines that help promote a restful night. Armed with an artillery of tips and now the added Tesh tart cherry juice remedy, I sat my son down and told him that it was high time we came up with a plan.

Big Guy’s Night Time Sleep-All Routine

1. Go to bed around the same time every night, and wake up around the same time every day. I had to explain to him the importance of setting his own internal clock. If he goes to bed and wakes up around the same time every day, his body will get used to being sleepy when it needs to be, and he’ll wake up more restful when he needs to start his day. I know this won’t work out too well when he’s a teenager, and wants to live like the vampires do, but I think this will work for now. We can always revisit the list later.

2. Don’t look at the clock. Turn it so it’s facing away from you. An insomniac who watches a clock is like a chef waiting for a pot of water to boil. It does nothing but cause anxiety. I never have a clock facing me when I’m in bed. That’s not to say I never look at the time, but I know if I glance that way, bright red numbers won’t be glaring back at me, reminding me of my sleep deprivation.

3. Read a boring book before bed. Nothing that’s super exciting. Something that is relaxing and calming. He asked if he could read a Minecraft book, and I told him that should be fine. Provided there are no endermans or the elusive Herobrine.

4. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, read a boring book. I told my boy he could get up, turn on the light and read more of his boring book. “Even if it’s at 2 in the morning, mom?” Yes, even if it’s at 2 in the morning. If he’s awake and tossing and turning, might as well do something that might relax him and get him back into sleepy-time mode.

5. The magic cherry juice. This is a new one for me. I’ve never tried cherry juice, and we both decided we’d embark on the cherry juice journey together. Why not? It might work because of it’s melatonin properties, or it might work because of the power of suggestion. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to try it. Cherry juice has a lot of added health benefits and is known to be one of the top antioxidants out there.

On my latest grocery trip, I purchased a bottle of pure tart cherry juice. It has to be tart, because tart cherries contain the highest levels of melatonin. You mix two tablespoons with either water, or juice. My son chose apple juice, and I followed suit. It was pretty tasty! We did this roughly an hour before his bedtime, and he’s been following the new bedtime routine for a few days now. I think it’s too soon to say whether it’s helping or not, but it will be interesting to see what the outcome is. If he’ll sleep better, and whether this will cut down on the sleepwalking.

As for me? I had another rough night where sleep was concerned, and this was after drinking the cherry juice. However, it wasn’t the cherry juice’s fault. There was a bit of a storm going on outside, and I can never sleep through one of those. Something hit the bedroom window shortly after 4am, and I knew I was screwed.

Any sleep solutions or remedies you can recommend? What works for you? Have you tried cherry juice, and if so, any results you can share?

 

I Don’t Know What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Tracey chose: Write about something no one would ever guess about you.

People have this “put together” impression of me. I live by my planner, and I schedule everything months in advance. I follow training schedules and I look as though I’ve got it all figured out.

That’s not entirely true.

Planners and to-do lists give me the sense of accomplishment and control. In reality, I feel lost and have no clue.

I don’t know what I want to do with my life, or the direction on which to steer it.

Hey, there are certainties. I knew at a young age that I wanted to be a mother someday. I’d have two children, boy and girl. One named Michael, the other Michelle. (Give me a break, I was only eight at the time when I picked out those generic names). I went through various phases as most adolescents do. I planned on being an actress, a singer, a dancer, a teacher. A writer. I never had a solid career in mind, though. I was never “career-oriented”. We were given aptitude tests in high school, determining the best careers individually and I never took it seriously.  I brushed it off and figured I’d let the universe decide for me.

These two seem to know what they want to do. They call this their "electronic center", and wanted me to pay "money" to use their electronics.

These two seem to know what they want to do. They call this their “electronic center”, and wanted me to pay “money” to use their electronics.

This year, I’ll be 36. I’m a happily married mother of two boys (sorry, Michelle) and yes, I’ll always be a parent. I’ll always strive to be a good mother for my boys and I want marital bliss with my husband, but I still have no clue as to what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve enjoyed the various jobs I’ve held in my life. Most have been in an office environment, and I did really well. I thought my property management stint would only last a couple of years before I found my “real” job, yet I did that for over a decade! I’ve had some unlucky breaks as well, and just when I thought I’d found the career of a lifetime, it was completely the opposite.

Overall, my experiences in the work place have been fun and brought fulfillment, but most I never viewed as a life-long career. They were the stepping stones that would lead me to my career, and it hasn’t happened.

I’m really feeling the indecision. My youngest is starting preschool this year. That’s a few hours here and there in the week, but in another two years he’ll be in school full-time. What then? I’m a doer. I won’t be able to stay home and find nearly enough to sustain me. I have a nice balance right now between my home and my family, but when everyone is either at work or in school for 7+ hours in the day, what will I do with myself?

This has parlayed into my current frame of mind. I’ve been trying new things and discovering uncharted territory when it comes to who I am, and what I want in life. Maybe these new influences will open up new doors, or maybe it’s another way to bide my time. I’m trying not to dwell on what I don’t know, and focus on what I do know. I know I’m enjoying the time I get with my children. I plan on working in the yard this year with my husband, and we’re doing some major renovations. I’ve never done anything like this before, or even had a garden for that matter! I’m really excited, and I’m interested in seeing what I’ll learn about myself through gardening. There are a few areas in my home that needs tending. It’s about time I removed that terrible fruit border in the kitchen, and replaced it with something I actually like. The yoga competition at the end of the year- I can already see the difference in how I feel, mentally as well as physically. It’s through my yoga practice that I’ve learned to slow down, take deep breaths, and relax.

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A definite work in progress

Maybe knowing what you want to be when you grow up is more a state a mind, anyway.

I’d love to hear your views: Have you always known what you wanted to be when you grew up? Or, are you still searching, too?

 

My Thoughts on First World Problems

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Melissa chose: First World Problems (all the little things that people complain about while living with all these advantages that other countries might not have.)

When I think of first world problems, I am reminded of the documentary, Babies.

The film follows the lives of four babies, from birth to their first birthday. Two of the babies are from rural areas in Namibia and Mongolia. The other two live in Tokyo, Japan and San Francisco.

I love how the film compared the different lifestyles for each family. While the babies in Japan and the U.S. had all of the “comforts” we engage in (technology, electricity, living in homes that are built within solid foundations), the babies in Namibia and Mongolia did not appear to be lacking for anything. A huge part of me was drawn to the closeness and pureness I witnessed between mother and child, especially within the Namibia family. The children were well-fed and healthy. The women weren’t ashamed of the way they looked, and clothing was optional. It wasn’t considered an embarrassment to breast-feed right there in front of the rest of the group, because it’s natural and part of life. There were no computers, laptops, or tablets. Nature was the entertainment. Children were encouraged to play with each other, and embark on adventures on their own. There was no “Mom, what can I do to entertain myself?”, because the mothers had a job to do, and in essence, so do their offspring.

While I appreciate and value the modern comforts I have surrounding me, there are many times I long to live a simpler life. The thing is, these rural area families have no idea what they are missing, but that’s the point. They are the ones that we are watching, not the other way around. When we cram one more fact inside our brains found on wiki, or try to fit another item into our hectic schedules, they are working their bodies, minds and souls to live and survive. Yeah, it sounds like hard work, but there must be something so fulfilling in that. To know that the toil you’ve put into something reaps the benefits to encompass your whole world!

What I love the most was that no matter how the babies were raised (modern comforts or not), all of them are just fine. Towards the end of the movie, you watch those fantastic first-steps that will take each child into the rest of their lives, however that might be. Even with the vast differences between us and our cultures, it’s really not as different as we think it is, and I think that’s the biggest lesson here. That encourages me not to complain as much when my computer isn’t working or that damn internet has cut out yet again. Maybe that’s a signal for me to unplug, and embark on an adventure all my own.

runninggrass

 

 

I’ll Never Tell….

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

 

This week, I wanted to know about secrets. Are you good at keeping secrets? Describe a time you were able to keep a secret, and another time where you were unable to. What were the outcomes in both scenarios?

I’d say I do fairly well at keeping secrets, a craft I’ve honed over the years. I’m often the one who becomes the secret moderator between two parties, receiving e-mails or phone calls from the feuding individuals and neither party ever knows or finds out. I can stay neutral, and don’t say much to give myself away, instead directing them toward reconciliation by communicating with each other. I don’t want to be in the middle.

That doesn’t mean I started out this way. It took a lot of time, effort, and grief to get me where I am today. It was hard keeping my mouth shut in my younger years, especially among a close group of friends. Gossip spreads like wildfire, and I was either on the incoming end or the receiving. With adulthood, I decided the “loose lips sink ships” mentality was hurting me more than it hurt anyone else, and I developed this steel trap!

A long time ago, a good friend of mine had major surgery, and asked that I not tell anyone else. This was a hard request, considering we were part of a tight-knit group of girlfriends and nothing was ever mum between us. I did it, though. When someone would ask where our missing friend was, I would suggest they call and speak with our missing friend directly. If they asked why she hadn’t been around, or if everything was all right, I’d shrug and change the subject, or say something along the lines of, “I’m sure she’ll fill us in eventually.” My other friends were getting really frustrated, but I wouldn’t budge. I was asked to keep a secret, and I was going to honor that. I’m fairly certain my recovering friend told everyone a week later anyway, but the news hadn’t come from my lips.

A friend of mine has two lovely daughters who I’ve known for over a decade. The eldest did a ton of babysitting for me in her teen years. One night, while driving her home after babysitting, she told me that she had gone to a party with some of her friends and had a wine cooler at the party. She carried the wine cooler around with her the entire time, sipping on it slowly. I got the impression that she really wanted to tell a grown-up about the incident, yet didn’t want her mom to know and had begged me not to mention it. Now, you’d have to know this girl’s personality. She was 17 at the time, very responsible. No smoking, no drinking, no drugs. Excelled at school. A good head on her shoulders. I recall smiling a bit when she told me about her experience, because I was comparing myself at her age, and how vastly different the two of us were. If only I had been as level-headed and stopped at one drink when I was her age! Anyway, I told her I wouldn’t mention anything to her mother but I warned her to be careful. If she ever needed someone to pick her up, etc. You know the score.

That was it. She’s still level-headed, has a college degree and is doing well in her life today. I have to admit: I leaked the secret out to her mom roughly 7 years later. We were embarking on the proverbial “teens today” conversation, and I had to share. I figured it was a cute anecdotal story and I’d far surpassed the statute of limitations on the secret, no harm done.

On the flip side: As a divorced kid growing up between two non-amicable parents, I was a product of my environment. My parents were young themselves, and if my mom told me something she’d wanted kept private, I’d turn around and blab it to my dad the first chance I got. If my dad retaliated, I’d always tell my mom what was said. I didn’t mean to stir up trouble. I just wanted everyone to like me and accept me, and I felt like they were expecting me to give them the goods. You know, be the informant. Sure, that was asking a lot from a kid, and I probably should have learned to keep my trap door shut, but it is what it is. A lot of awkward years in the 80′s.

And in the 90′s. My girlfriends and I were always talking. And talking. We couldn’t shut up about ourselves, our lives or about other people and their lives.  With maturity comes the ability to reflect and to be quiet, and I hadn’t figured that out when I was a teen. I carried a lot of bad habits over from my youth, and bad habits are really hard to shake, especially for someone who seeks approval and acceptance.

It’s important to keep secrets, but I do have a couple of caveats. If it’s a secret that might be harmful to myself or to someone else, I can break the code of silence at my discretion. If my friend’s daughter had given me any indication that she was putting herself in danger on a consistent basis vs. a one night wine cooler at a random party, I would have had to renege on my promise. Also, unless someone specifically tells me “not to tell my husband”, assume I’m going to let him in on the secret. I have a really hard time keeping anything from him, but if someone has asked me to keep quiet (even from him) he’ll understand when he asks me “what’s up” and I have to say, “I can’t talk about it, ___________ has asked me not to.” Although to be fair, he’s even better at keeping secrets than I am.

I’ve learned a lot about the world of secrets, the most important aspect involving respect. The more respect you have for the person who has asked for your discretion, the more you’ll stick to your guns and refrain from blabbing.

As for my deepest, darkest secrets?

SHHH…. I’ll never tell.

Do you do well at keeping secrets?

“Honey, I’m Home!” Benson Theater’s “The Shining” Review… And A Little Artwork Thrown In There, Too

If it’s anything Stephen King related, you know I’m there. In a heartbeat.

The story goes a little something like this: Benson Theater, located in the historic community of Benson, was built in 1923 for all things vaudeville. It’s currently closed and needs renovated. The Benson Theater Project is raising funds in order to see to it that this theater is back up and running, and that’s where The Shining comes into play (no pun intended). Artistic director Jason Levering had the brilliant idea of putting on a benefit performance. He knew it would have to be unique, something that would draw a lot of attention, a show that had never been seen before. As a huge King fan, he considered The Shining, which King had originally conceived as a play with five acts, but it became King’s first hardcover bestseller instead. It was perfect, and Levering sent a query to King’s literary and film agents, who sought approval from King. King approved. (I like to think that he approved because he’s so incredibly bad ass, but that’s just me.) Levering and his team got to work, and opening weekend was March 21st and 22nd. I’m glad I purchased tickets when I did, because the three showings sold out. 

I had the privilege of watching Saturday’s 2pm matinee with my husband. It was held in downtown Omaha, at the Sokol building. I’d never been there before, but I’ve often driven by the brick building, which touts concerts for the 20-somethings.

We’re directed to the front, right near the stage. There are fold out chairs practically on top of one another, and I sit next to a man whose lap I nearly acquaint myself with for the next few hours. We are packed in like sardines, but no one cares. Our primary focus is on the stage, which isn’t elaborate. Three doors, one on each side of the stage, and one located center stage. A desk. Thuds and creaking sounds are coming up from all around us, dark and brooding. King-style. As the lights slowly dim, the first two characters come out and take their places. Mr. Ullman (played by Billy St. John), who is the proprietor of the Overlook hotel, and Jack (Marc Erickson) who has been appointed as caretaker of the hotel. From there, I really feel that I got my money’s worth- which was $30 per ticket. Stellar acting, even from Christopher Levering, who plays Danny. He’s never acted before, and this was his breakout role. He was more than believable as a frightened, traumatized kid, and even brought me close to tears in one particular scene, the one where he braves his father.

We sat in the right-hand corner of the room, which was where the boiler was located. Jack’s job is to tend to the boiler twice a day, and whenever he did, a mist of smoke would emit from the metal piping. The scenes that include “REDRUM” are showcased in red, digitally thrown above room 217 and over by the boiler. A phantom tree sits lurking off stage left, and moves mechanically. I appreciated that the acting wasn’t limited to the stage alone. The actors used the crowd, the front of the stage, the sides and even the balcony to perfection. Although there were a few mic glitches for Jack (some static), and there was a pause too long at one point during the show, I was impressed with the job the actors and stage crew had taken on. It was no surprise that everyone received a standing ovation. It was more than deserved!

 

Stephen King has authorized more showings, if the first three proved to be a success. I’m really hoping this isn’t the last we’ll see of Jack, Wendy and Danny!

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Earlier in the week I accompanied a friend to Corky Canvas, located in midtown Omaha. She was on her fifth trip to the little space that boasts “Paint-Drink-Enjoy”, but this was my first time, and I’m no artist! We’d chosen a night that was booked solid, and the two long tables had a multitude of easels and canvas. Paper plates for paint (you pump the colors, and they tell you how many pumps you need) and cups full of water. Two brushes, a big one and a little one. No fancy brush names. A full-service bar with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. I chose a tasty moscato. We had a cute female instructor who walked us step-by-step through the painting process, and although I stuck to her guidelines for the most part, I wanted to do my own thing. The instructor used white for the sun, while I used yellow. I incorporated more green in my work of art. It looked nothing like hers when I was done, but I didn’t care! It was a fun time, and it felt good to be creative! There was positive energy with everyone in the room, and when it was all over, a kind lady who had brought food in a basket (she hadn’t known food wasn’t allowed during the painting session) was given the green light to bust out her crackers and hummus, edemame, and turkey balls. She shared with my friend and I, as well as the friends she’d brought along for the ride. The employees were awesome and let us sit and chat for a bit while they cleaned up, and too soon it was time to head home, hands covered in blue and white paint. My shirt got a little splatter too, but it was totally worth it!

My son’s painting, on display right now at the Lied Center:

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I don’t know where he gets this artistic talent. Certainly not from his mother.

The Drawbacks To Being A Bad A**

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Denise chose: Be careful what you wish for.

I had a hard time with this particular topic, considering how many times I’ve wanted something so badly, only to see the end result blow up magnanimously in my face. So many moments to choose from! (careers, husbands, relationships, friendships, hobbies) What I kept coming back to, though, was a time in my life where I decided to stray from my normal routine, and re-invent myself as a bad ass.

Case in point: Tattoos. I like ‘em. Friends of mine were sporting major ink once they hit 18, and I envied them, but I never had the courage to get one.  For years, I imagined myself sporting a cute little flower on my lower abdomen, right below the jean line. I know, looking back it was a totally cheesy choice of tattoo, but it’s what I wanted.

When I was 22, a good friend of mine was on the verge of getting her own tattoo. She’s Brazilian, free-spirited, and had balls of steel. Big ones. She showed me a sketch of what she wanted in a tat, and it was ginormous, in my eyes, anyway. Her horoscope sign (Gemini) was smack dab in the middle of her lower back, with curling vines and floral patterns extending clear out to the sides of her hips. Watching the tattoo artist apply that to her body scared the crap out of me. Her face would contort into frustrated pain while I held her hands, and she’d squeeze tightly to them. She would inhale and exhale in deep, cleansing breaths, and grimace the closer the needle got to her hips. Her flesh was most tender there. I decided there was no way I’d get a tattoo, not after witnessing my friend being tortured!

But my friend wouldn’t hear of it. After opening up my big mouth in the past and telling her how much I’d wanted a tat (big mistake), she could care less when I told her I’d changed my mind. I told her I couldn’t afford it, not after my recent separation from my philandering husband. I figured that would be a great excuse, but that didn’t derail her. On my 23rd birthday, I received a card signed by her and other mutual friends of ours, with cold hard cash inside. $60 worth, which was a lot of money to me in those days. “This is for your tattoo.” She looked me steely in the eye, so there would be no argument. What could I say, or do? She dragged me nearly kicking and screaming the following week, and drove me to the tattoo parlor. My heart was beating hard in my chest, and I felt like I’d pass out. When we got to the parlor, I changed my mind on the type of tat I wanted. After everything I’d gone through in my failed marriage, I chose a monarch butterfly. It represented freedom to me. I also changed the location of the tat. I knew I’d want children someday (when, who knew) and putting a tat on my lower abdomen would be a stupid choice, and would likely stretch the damn thing out. Instead, I asked that it be placed on my lower back, right side. If I didn’t want people to see the butterfly, I could hide it. If I wanted to display it, I could do that, too.

Deep down, even through the fear, I knew I wanted that tattoo. It was so unlike me, and during that time in my life I wanted to do anything I could to be different from who I was. A huge transition. As that needle dug into my back and permanently inked something I’d never be able to get rid of, I decided to embrace it, pain and all. It really did hurt, the best of times feeling like someone scraping the skin, the worst of times feeling like someone was sticking a hot poker deep inside.

When it was over, I felt ecstatic! I did it! The tattoo artist gave me instructions on how to care for the tattoo, and my friend had told me she’d used Bag Balm to keep the tat moisturized and healthy. I did the same thing. I noticed quickly that there was something wrong. While hers quickly scabbed over, it seemed my tat took forever to heal, constantly oozing and bleeding. I kept using Bag Balm, I’d cover the butterfly with a bandage, I did everything I could, but it just wasn’t healing. A month had passed, and my friend no longer needed Bag Balm. Her tat looked fabulous, and she sported it often in the summer sun (sunscreen on it) while getting a tan at the pool. I still carried around a stupid-looking gauze pad taped to my tat.

Finally, around six weeks, the tat started to crust over. I figured I must have missed a step or two or not Bag Balmed enough, and that’s why it was taking so long to heal. However, after troubleshooting with random friends who’d also had tats, it suddenly hit me upside the head, and I felt like an idiot.

I am allergic to metal. 

DUH.

I can’t even wear earings! Clip-ons give me rashes, even if they puncture or scratch my skin the tiniest bit. Bracelets give me bumps around the wrist, itchy ones. Rings do, too. What made me think I’d be able to handle getting a tattoo! (not very bad ass of me, is it?)

The tat felt sore and tender for a long time, but had finally healed up enough to be showcased. When I ran into my ex months later, he noticed my butterfly and was shocked beyond belief. Getting tattoed was something we’d wanted to do together, and he couldn’t get over the fact that I’d taken the leap before he did. I felt powerful.

Even though it was a rough go, I loved my tattoo, and I still do.   I’d never get another one, but it’s not something I ever regret adding to my body. It reminds me of my youth, and it still looks great, even 12 years after the fact! I wished for a tat, freaked out, got it anyway, and suffered some setbacks, but that’s okay. You wait around long enough, it’ll all blow over in the end anyway. Sometimes, you’re even left with a nice little memento to remind you of the journey.

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My Lack Of Motivation- And Then There’s a Liebster…

I think Greenday said it best, in Longview:

“I’ve got no motivation/Where is my motivation/No time for the motivation/Smoking my inspiration….”

Although I’ve been hitting the daily grind when it comes to my work out routine, I’m just not feeling it. And because I don’t feel it, I’ve been rather lackluster. As in, I might run on the dreadmill, but I’ll stop at various times because of _____________ (I need water, my shoes feel funny on my feet, my hair isn’t feeling right and I need to adjust the rubber band, you get the idea here). A lot of excuses, because my head just isn’t in the game. Not with running, not with training, not with…. anything.

This parlays into everything else, my blog included. I have nothing inspiring or interesting to share as of late, unless you count the Thursday blog group, and thankfully, I have a topic assigned to me in order to produce a post for the blog group. I’ve been working on a side writing project for two very good friends of mine, and that’s kept me away, but I know I can put forth more effort over here. I know I can do better.

So, I’ve been feeling lackadaisical about my blog, and then I receive a Liebster award from Mission For Fit! (If you’re looking for inspiration, check out her blog- seriously.) She’s working her butt off over there, and there’s so much positivity you can’t help but feel motivated. When you surround yourself around like-minded people, it rubs off on you. Not only that, but some of my fellow Liebster award recipients that she recommended have great fitness blogs themselves, and it’s nothing short of pure inspiration. While I get my mojo back over here, I figured I’d share the wealth, and pay it forward, Liebster-style. Here’s how it works:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you for the Liebster. Well, Mission for Fit, thank you so much for the nomination, and for sending your positive energy my way! It was just what I needed, believe you me.

2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the person who nominated you. (I’ll take care of that in a sec)

3. Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 500 followers. (In just a moment)

4. Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Tag your nominees and let them know you’ve nominated them!

Let’s get this ball rolling!

Here are Mission for Fit‘s questions for me, and my answers. You’ll learn a little more about me…

Who were you named after? For blog purposes, I’ll stick with Momarock and it’s origins. When trying to come up with something quirky for my blog name (and failing miserably) my husband chimed in with “Momarock”, and it stuck. He calls me that on occasion, because he’s under the assumption that I’m capable of anything I set my mind to, that I’m like a rock. Sturdy and strong. He’s too good to me, seriously. 

Who inspired you to blog? Everyone who is a blogger. I’d seen and read plenty, and decided it was time to throw my voice into the mix. 

What stimulus inspires you to write…music, pictures, or events? All of it. I’ve found that I have a story to write every day, but it’s the lack of motivation that’s kept me away. That, and devoting my time to other aspects of my life.

How long do you plan to blog? As long as I can. 

What attracts you to other blogs? The message. It doesn’t matter what sort of writing style someone may have, or how well they write. It’s what they’re trying to say that means the most to me. 

What’s your ethnic background? I’m a little German, a little French, a little Russian… I’m sure there’s more in the mix that I’m not even aware of.

Which life-event was pivotal for you as a person? When my first son was born. I’ll never forget the way he looked in my arms, wide-eyed and innocent. People always told me that having children would change my life, but I never realized how much until he arrived. 

What country would you like to visit? I’m not one for traveling overseas or anything, but I’d love to go to Europe someday.

What’s your favorite food? I’m a total foodie, so that’s a tough one for me. Fruit-wise, I love strawberries. Veggie-wise, it’s broccoli. I love pasta anything, and I have a major sweet tooth. Freshly baked choco-chip cookies with milk- there’s nothing better!

What’s your favorite movie? Why? The Neverending Story. I saw that movie over 50+ times as a kid, and have seen it a few times in more recent years, with my boys. I love it’s message. Never stop believing, never stop dreaming. 

Does this nomination inspire you? Yes, it does. I’m going to make an effort to blog more often, even if it’s an extra day a week. 

Now, I’d like to recommend fellow bloggers for this prestigious award:

Shoes on the Wrong Feet

Rochelle Barlow

Wifemothereventplanner

Bolton Carley’s BS-O-Rama

What A Crock!

Whispering Winds Blog

Yshaia ‘Lycanwolff’ Morris

Bee Tree Studios

Kupon Girl

Forty Shades of Fitness

Mark Razon

Questions for my nominees:

1. What prompted you to start your blog?

2. What are your passions in life?

3. Are you more of a morning, afternoon, or evening blogger? Why?

4. Are you a collector of anything?

5. Do you have any tattoos or piercings? If so, what are they, or where are they located?

6. Do you have any hidden talents?

7. If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?

8. Who is your favorite author?

9. If you could go back in time, what era would you travel to?

10. Do you prefer movie theaters, or the stage?

11. What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

I know this was a lengthy post, and I appreciate that you stuck with me ’till the end of it. Thank you, and thanks again for the nomination!

YOLO, YO

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Tracey chose: YOLO (You Only Live Once)

You might love it or hate it, but you can’t deny it: YOLO is a phenomenon.

Some argue that’s it’s been around for decades. Mae West used to say the phrase, and rapper Drake made it popular. I remember watching a skit on Saturday Night Live with YOLO as it’s theme:

I especially enjoy the YOLO memes:

I can appreciate the fact that we’ve only got this one life to live. I know that if I’m to achieve anything in my life, it’s on me, and this is it. I’ve got this one chance, just like Eminem says in “Lose Yourself”:

“You’ve got this once chance, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime (y0).”

I am big on trying new things and daring to dream the impossible dream, but I do have a few security blankets that I sleep with at night. You know, the stuff that keeps me safe from harm and doing something completely moronic. Here’s where I’ll never YOLO, not ever: I’ll never jump out of a plane. I’m terrified of heights, and no amount of YOLO’ing is going to curb that. In fact, I’d probably do my fair share of POMP’ing (that’s Peeing Out My Pants). Not that skydiving is for morons. I know plenty of people who have done it and are highly intelligent individuals. For me, though, it would be a stupid thing to do. Some of my scariest nightmares involve falling from thousands of feet up, and no one needs to see me POMP’ing. Absolutely no one.

On a more serious note- just last night, my husband and I were talking about YOLO, to a degree. He said the closer he gets to the big 4-0, the more he feels his own mortality. It can be downright scary, feeling as though half of your life is over. I’m not sure if I helped (much), but I shared my own philosophy when it comes to having a mid-life crisis, and the logistics of that. See, in essence, none of us know when our time is up. Catch a ride on the interwebs, and you see plenty of proof to back me up. There’s so much negativity, if you know where to look, and it’s just too easy. There is no point in having a mid-life crisis, because where is mid-life for any of us, really? You don’t know what to expect from one day to the next!

But here’s the good news. We have a choice. Life is lived in the manner that we choose to live it, and that’s where YOLO comes into play. I’m not saying you have to jump out of a plane to feel alive. I’m saying that each and every day is truly a gift. Even the ones spent lying on the couch, watching Frasier reruns on Netflix. We get to make those decisions on how we spend our days, and who we get to surround ourselves with, and the type of energy and positivity (or at times, negativity) we want to extend out into the world. It’s special to be alive, and even though we haven’t the faintest idea as to when our time is up on Earth, it only means we should truly appreciate what (and who) we have. Cherish yourself. Cherish your loved ones. Though you’ll never see me plummeting out of the sky, I’m still living my life to the best of my ability, depending on the day, my mood, and what’s going on in my world.

I’m still YOLO’ing. YO. And it feels fantastic! Here’s to another wonderful day, and hopefully, many many more on the horizon.

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Dear Sara: A Letter To Myself (Revisited)

Almost two years ago, I wrote a “Dear Sara” letter to myself, to that sweet, young girl I used to be.

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Melissa has asked that we choose one of three topics: (She was inspired by this article- tragic, yet hauntingly beautiful. )

1. Write a letter to yourself in 10 years from now.

2. Write a letter to yourself from 10 years ago.

3. Write a letter to your current self FROM yourself from 10 years ago.

****

NOT TO BE OPENED UNTIL MARCH 6th, 2024

Hello there. How’s the big 4 5 treating you?

I’m very hopeful, when it comes to us. So much to be thankful for, and my biggest wish is that it’s carried out for you. For us.

Are you still writing? A blog? A book? Anything? It’s so important to you. I know there are days you feel stripped of creativity, but the words are always there, just beneath the surface. Getting rich and being famous has never been the goal, but being heard… there’s the objective. That’s the brass ring, baby, and it’s only set as high as you choose to jump for it. If you’ve squelched your desires, I’m giving you a kick in the pants from a decade away. A reminder that you shouldn’t be afraid to try, or to go for what you want in this life.

How are the kids? By this time, Big Guy should be nearing eighteen! Eighteen! Little guy will be right on his heels, and entering teendom. I hope they know just how important they are, and will always be to you. How instrumental they’ve been in shaping who you are in this life, and how much you love them. My guess is, they hate your guts right now, like teens often do with their parents at that age, but you and I both know how fast it goes by, and life goes in stages and phases. They’ll appreciate you again, and appreciate the relationship you have.

How’s the old ball and chain? (Snicker, snicker). That just doesn’t sound right where the husband is concerned, does it? I mean, you’ve kissed a few frogs (and even married a couple!) before finding your proverbial prince. He’s an amazing man, and you’ll be celebrating your 15th wedding anniversary this year. Did you go on that trip to Hawaii? I sure hope so. I don’t know if you remember, but years ago, someone once told you how totally normal it was to be miserable in a marriage, and that never settled right. You knew that there had to be more, and you found him. He’s not perfect- and neither are you, my dear, but together you come pretty damn close. So, if you’ve stopped holding hands or giving each other much-needed hugs and kisses, you’d better grab that man right now, and don’t let him go. Never let go.

How’s the fitness holding up in your world? Are you still running? Doing yoga? Listen- do what makes you feel good. But don’t stop. Don’t sit and watch the world pass you by; be part of your world. Being active has always been an intricate part to feeling good, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Even if people tell you otherwise, or tell you to slow down and to give up. Something I’m learning in this decade, is to listen to that internal voice, and stop trying to make everyone else happy. You can’t please them all! You’ve got this one life- do you want to live it by doing what everyone else thinks you should do, or doing what fills your heart and your life with joy?

That’s what I thought.

I hope you’re easier on yourself, and that you’ve let some things go. You know what I am referring to, even if no one else does. They don’t have to- I’m speaking directly to you. You’re a good person, and your heart is always in the right place, and you do the best you can. Don’t ever forget that, and don’t ever let anyone else make you feel less than. You’ve had enough of that to last you for one lifetime, and it’s just not worth stressing over, or worrying about.

Take care of yourself, and those you love. Never forget to enjoy the sunshine, and most of all, remember this: It’s okay to be happy. You deserve happiness!

With much love, your friend,

Sara Lea

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