Monthly Archives: July 2012

Madness on the Miniature Golf Course…

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Today is the one week anniversary of the moment I nearly lost my mind on a miniature golf course in Redmond, Washington. It is also the one week anniversary of the moment I came to my senses and decided I needed to dig out of the hole I was in…and I don’t mean a golf hole.

Prior to last Saturday I had hit a pretty serious low for about 3 weeks. In an email to my friend Tanya I said “I don’t know yet but I think I might be depressed. It’s been a while since I’ve been depressed but I’m definitely getting there.”  I was struggling. I was headed down a path to a really dark place. A place I hadn’t been since the summer of 2001. A place I don’t ever want to go back to.

The move to Seattle (on the heels of moving to Denver 10 months before) was finally catching up to me. A move changes EVERYTHING…job, friends, home, etc. and no matter how deeply you know it is the right decision…it is HARD.  In the last year to 18 months I’ve really learned who my true friends are. I also know that some of my dearest friendships are on the brink of not surviving the ever-widening gap in beliefs, life differences, personality differences, etc. Mix in one highly emo poet ex-love-of-my-life waltzing in and out of my life for the last two months and dancing on my pretty fragile emotions…and you get the picture.

Everything was broken..or so it seemed.

On Friday (07/20) I cried all the way to Centralia to pick up my niece. I just fell beaten and sad and alone. By the time I picked her up, I’d slapped a smile on my face and as she always does, she made me laugh and things were slightly better. The next day she and I drove over Lake Washington to go miniature golfing on the east side. It was a lovely warm day and the place was busy.

We laughed our way through the course…mostly because we are TERRIBLE miniature golfers and were maybe 4 holes from finished when some kids from a birthday party started playing tag. Don’t get me wrong…I love a good game of tag but these kids (probably about 9 or 10 years old) were playing tag across all of the putt putt greens and getting in the middle of several different family games. That’s when things went down hill.

First–I just looked at them exasperated and Sierra and I rolled our eyes at each other

Then–I said “Hey guys, could you please go around. We are playing a game here.”

Followed by–“HEY…GO AROUND!”

Finishing with–“HEY!!!! GET OFF THE PUTTING GREEN. YOU ARE RUDE AND ANNOYING!!!!’

In a few words…I lost my shit!

Sierra was not sure who to stare at more. The idiot kids who did not know that they were messing with her bad ass aunt or her batshit crazy aunt who was losing it right there in broad daylight!

The kids having now been basically screeched at ran off the course and back to their yuppie soccer moms standing in a huddle under an air-conditioned tent.

Then it happened. The tipping point.

One of the Mom’s walked out into the middle of the green on the last hole. She didn’t look where she was going. It wasn’t intentional. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time…and like her kids…she wasn’t thinking. I’m pretty sure she thought that since she’d paid for a party at this venue, she owned the joint. In her white shorts over fake tanned legs and her snazzy sun vizor, the lady stopped in the middle of our green, looked out over the next hole and called to one of the kids on the sidewalk in her sweet Mom voice…”Hailey, do you know where Trevor is?”

Picture it…
There I am…club in hand, ball on the green, lined up to take the shot
Sierra is watching me…then watching the mom…then watching me
The kids who had already been yelled at are standing near their mother ON THE GREEN and on the sidewalk watching me…not looking at her…watching ME.

Then I say…okay…yelled…”HEY LADY!!!”
“Yes?” she says quizzically as she slowly turns to acknowledge my existence in her universe.
“MOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I yell with a gesture that indicates that she needs to skedaddle her ass right off the green right away.
She looks at me horrified and grabs her kid’s hand and huffs of the green.

Then it happened…SNAP!…I giggled.

Well…that did not sit well with the Soccer Mom of the Year. She turned around, indignant and said “Do you think something is funny?”
I laughed and said “Well yes…yes I do. I think your kids don’t have any manners and that you and the other mom’s are not supervising them at all. Oh, and I also think I’m over reacting.”
To that she said nothing but if looks could kill, I’d have left the course with at least a flesh wound.

Then Sierra and I had to walk by the birthday tent to return our balls and clubs. 10 angry cross-armed moms in visors (okay…they may not have all had on visors) were standing outside protecting their young as if I was going to eat them. And the whispers….oh the glorious whispers!!

And I giggled…again.

Which made them whisper more.

You can imagine the cycle we fell into. 🙂

Here’s the thing. Imagine that for probably 2 weeks…oh heck…make it 2 months a rubber band in the center of me was getting stretched and twister tighter and tighter and tighter. This is a tension and sensation that I’ve lived with on and off since I was about 5. At its simplest it is always stretched slightly…never fully limp. But at its worst it gets wound tighter and tighter until even the wound up rubber band begins to wind on itself.

In the moment when I yelled the words “HEY LADY!!!!!!” I snapped. Fortunately snapping for me always involves laughter and not crazy violence. With one laugh, the rubber band broke. And suddenly everything was funnier.

Life hadn’t changed. The things that are problematic still are. The bad relationships are still bad. The doubts are still there. The uncertainly is alive and well. But what had changed is that the tension loosened.

In that moment, I knew I couldn’t stay on the road to the dark place. I had to walk back out the way I’d come. I’ve done it before. I could do it again.

The next day I read a book on gratitude and decided that I needed to change my focus. And I’ve done that. Little has changed. Nothing is intrinsically different.

I am different.

I’ve survived yet another difficult season. Today I will breathe gratitude in and breathe pain/suffering/bitterness out. Today I will choose to not yell at rude people and will instead try to offer love. After all…soccer moms in stupid visors need love too! 🙂

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Are we getting meaner?

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This week I’ve been really focused on gratitude and it has been a huge blessing. Unfortunately a side affect of laser focus on love is that unkindness gets amplified when you hear it, see it, etc. It has left me wondering…Are we getting meaner?

  • After getting some encouragement on FB, a friend lashed out a another friend with some demeaning and misogynistic words that were hurtful to more than just the recipient.
  • The comments I’m hearing on the story of the 3 year old who has been denied entrance to a Christian school in NM is hurtful…particularly because the comments are from people who claim to love Jesus
  • I overheard a co-worker telling another coworker that a third person’s idea was “stupid” and I looked around to make sure that the 3rd person wasn’t anywhere that she could hear and be crushed.
  • I was asked yesterday “How long do you think you can keep up this gratitude stuff? You are bound to crash eventually.” Uh…thanks!?
  • The words of hate that people use to speak about our president or his opponent are so rough that my ears find it shocking.
  • I was reading a blog today and one commenter told another that he hoped her mom got cancer. He didn’t like her comment…OBVIOUSLY. But was that sort of completely unrelated meanness necessary? Uh..No…it wasn’t!

I firmly believe that we should speak the truth and do it with as few words as possible and as soon as the pertinent situation allows. However, I also believe that we need to remember that there are PEOPLE on the other side of the honesty who can get hurt. We need to speak the truth with love, kindness, and grace.

I’ve been guilty of meanness over the years. I have a quick whit and an even faster tongue. And what can seem funny or “honest” can easily become pure meanness. I’m not perfect but I’m learning to slow down and think…and then speak.

How about instead of talking about how you’d have blown the shooter in Aurora’s brains out, that you find something else to do with your time that benefits those who are hurting or in need of compassion? And how about instead of sniping back at someone, you speak some truth in love…and if you can’t…walk away? How about mind your own business instead of having to weigh in when you don’t have anything nice to say? (Oooo…I like that one the most!) 😉

Practice some gratitude…let meanness leave you…and BE THE CHANGE!

Be Blessed my Friends!
L

The Peace of Gratitude…

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For the last 2 days I’ve been trying something new. I have been answering the question “What do I love?”

I jot down (either in a notebook or via the notes on my phone to be copied into the notebook later)  things that make me smile, laugh, bring me joy, make me feel grateful or inspire more love. The person who I got the idea from suggested using all your doodling time to make lists of things you love including music, books, movies, colors, designers, artists, etc. She also suggested really LOOKING for things that you love in your day and that make you feel grateful.

Here is what I know…

Once you start looking for things you love, you can’t miss them. You suddenly see things differently. I no longer settle on finding something about someone else to judge but purposefully look for something lovely about them…and not just physical characteristics. This is also really helping me with my noisy brain. Just giving my subconscious (AKA NOISY) brain something to do while I’m doing the things on my schedule is really providing me with the right amount of activity and distraction.

I hope some of these amazing quotes about gratitude will inspire you!

  • Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust
  • We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. – Thornton Wilder
  • At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. -Albert Schweitzer
  • Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.- Oprah Winfrey
  • He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. – Epictetus

Seattle: Come Rain or Come Shine–2 Months…Where are the words?

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I’ve been in Seattle two months.

I know my friends have wondered why I haven’t blogged more since moving here. I’m not sure my explanation will make sense…but I’ll try.

Perhaps my tendency towards the verbose is somehow linked to sunshine? Nah…that’s not it. (Come on…You knew I’d make a rain joke right?)

Denver was a hard move. Seattle has been a hard move. Hard in each of these sentences practically needs a separate definition. And somewhere along the lines I’ve lost my words.

Recently I’ve realized that since moving here, I speak almost no words each day. When I try to write, I edit myself over and over and over and find that despite a deep love of words, I use as few as possible. Odd for the girl for whom the sewing together of words has always been like breathing. I have a strange anxiety when my phone rings that I won’t be able to hold up my side of a conversation…even with people I love dearly. I find I use all my words with a few friends via email and have a few simple text conversations a week. Even when I was a child without words…I wrote words. Yet for the first time since learning that letters make words, we seem to have had a parting of ways.

I live in the most literate city in the United States…and words escape me. 

What does a writer…a writer who is alone in the world with little more than a pen for company…do when her words disappear?  I’ll let you know when I find out.

I’ve started the Gratitude Journal page on this blog in hopes that just sharing something each day will stir something in me that has gone missing. We’ll see.

To be clear…I’m fine. Nothing is broken. I have good and bad days, as people in transition are wont to do. But those who know me can confirm that the sheer strength of my will and a relationship with The Divine helps me get up every single day and find my smile…and on good days a laugh.

Until the words come again…love to you my friends!

Strength

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She wore white leather sandals with flower cutouts and buckles on the outside. Her tan feet were already dirty in the sandals as she crossed the dirt lot with the boys. These same feet are even dirtier after the five boys hold her down and make her cry.

She is right when her 4 year old mind says “These boys aren’t being nice.”

They talk roughly to her. Hold her down. Hurt her body. Damage her spirit.

Years later she will remember the white shoes and the chipped bubblegum pink polish on her tiny toes. She will remember that it was    hot on the little dirt mound out in the middle of the field where the Flea Market is held every Wednesday. She will remember that the boys didn’t look her in the eyes. Not even her brother.

She will remember that when they are done they turn their backs on her and begin walking back towards the houses. But the youngest boy will hang back slightly looking over his shoulder to make sure she is going to follow.

And she will remember that with a grace far beyond her years she stood up, smoothed her clothes, and lifted her chin high for the walk back to the house.

She still often stands up, smooths her clothes, and lifts her chin as she takes on a new challenge. She lifts her chin to the meanness of the world. She lifts her chin in defiance when anyone suggests she is not good enough. She lifts her chin when she fears rejections, pain, or heartbreak.

She knows she cannot be broken by even the worst that you can offer. She knows because she survived before.

Her one moment of weakness comes any time she fastens the buckle on a shoe that faces out. In that one moment she wishes for a different story. But as she straightens her legs to survey her shoes, she remembers that she bought these shoes. Her feet are clean and her pedicure is immaculate. She smiles at this life. The life she chooses. The life where she determines who is in and who is out. The life that is hers.

She remembers that even though the world is mean…she is loveable, lovely, and loved.

Then…once more…she stands up, smooths her clothes, and lifts her chin.