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What Are You Afraid Of?

I was going through some old writing and I found some pretty powerful words I wrote shortly after the little was born.

What am I afraid of?
I’m afraid of not fitting in.
I’m afraid of not being accepted.
I’m afraid of not being loved.
I’m afraid people will think I’m a bad mother.
I’m afraid I will be a bad mother.
I’m afraid everyone will think I’m a fraud.
I’m afraid I won’t measure up.
I’m afraid people will hate me.
I’m afraid people will make fun of me.

That person is feeling less and less like me these days.

We all have fears, insecurities and excess baggage. On some level those that choose to create want a space to feel safe. Creativity takes nurturing.

I think we’re all wanting social acceptance to some degree. I love people, but I’ve also always been the type that was willing to step away and be by myself for a bit. You don’t have to like me for me to feel my own worth. I know all the ways I’m socially awkward and imperfect (I’ve lived with these things my whole life). This doesn’t mean I love people any less.

I’ve started to view these things as an asset instead of a liability. For me, this has meant figuring out what self-acceptance is and what it is to be truly self-confident. I can’t do or be anyone but me. It’s unclear to me whether this newfound self-awareness is something I chose for myself or whether it has an innate nature to it. Was I building this self all along through each misstep and choice or have I just finally reached an age where I can truly settle into who I really am as a person?

At the end of the day, all I can say is that it feels good to have grown in to the woman I am today.

The Post Where I Get Pissed

Star Wars Dot Gif

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my underlying anger as of late. Despite the fact that humans are social animals it can feel like each individual is in their own universe, sometimes even speaking their own language with little regard for communication and connection with those outside that universe.

As for the five and under set, I can attest to this being by and large the way they interact with the world developmentally.

Anger management issues aside, I’ve come to depend on two things while I face these harsh realities:

  1. Going Against the Grain Can Get You There Faster: I’ve started to explore the fringe places (especially those on the internet). I actually have this sense that the younger generation has already caught on to this trend(through limited, but powerful case study) and I applaud them. There’s no doubt that going with the flow can be just as important as going against the grain, but in this case I find that people on the outside edges can actually help me gain a better sense of who I am in the world. We are inundated with information that comes in 24 hour cycles. MOST of it can’t be processed by the human brain in that amount of time. We pretend that it can or we take other people’s word for it. I need this space to form my own opinions based on evidence I’ve collected. In many ways I need to be able to stand in my own belief system with my feet firmly planted on the ground.
  2. Play Matters: Honestly? I’m loving irreverent humor right now. Also, I’ve declared Mitch Hedberg as my spirit animal for 2017. I just can’t…keep taking things so goddamn seriously. I know there are important issues to attend to, but really I think I’ll just eat a gallon of ice cream in my pajamas and wait for Spring to do her thang before I throw my hat back into the ring. This is of course all a pipe dream because I’m pretty sure I’m booked from now until sometime mid-July, but it’s a nice thought. Ultimately, there has to be a way to disengage from all this constraint to rejuvenate my soul and help me reconnect with renewed purpose. I think one of the key ways we can do this is through play. I play with ideas in the same way I play with my kids. I play with social media in the same way I use it as a useful tool to connect with friends and family or advance my career. Sometimes I just crack wise, both as a way to amuse myself, but also as a way of getting closer to the “truth” (or my own truth) about any given situation. This is why unadulterated goof off time can actually be the best prescription when life feels all “adulty.” What one might deem as a colossal waste of time can actually have a powerful effect on centering us and give us new insight when we go back into problem-solving mode.
  3. I won’t let anger cast me aside and cause me to hide under a rock. The first step in dealing with strong emotion is acknowledging that you have it.

Goals Vs Resolutions

Goals are defined as “something that somebody wants to achieve”; resolutions are defined as “firmness of mind or purpose.”

I’m trying to process both these definitions. My goals for 2017 are clearly defined and growing. My resolutions are experimental (I’m mainly focused on improving my health in 2017).

Goals are the things we seek to achieve in life. They are the tangible things we can point to and say “I did that, I accomplished that or I made that happen.”

Resolutions are different. Resolutions are less concrete. They speak to the type of animals we want to be in the world.

More than anything I still struggle with balance in my waking life. I know I’m not alone in this. I’m pleased with so much of what 2016 was, but I know there’s still a lot of work to do. I feel scattered. I want to reign things in.

In doing so I’ve started reading Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) with the confidence that there must be a natural rhythm and order to all I want to accomplish in 2017.

2017 Has Me

I was born 10 days late and I’ve always felt like I was running behind in life. 2017 is not much different, except that I’m wanting so very much to keep up with the pace life has thrown at me (and in a joyful way).

The winter malaise runs deep this year and I’m working hard to carve a path. I feel stuck in it, like the soggy mud as the snow melts mid-afternoon: you can barely make it back to your shelter in one piece and the beauty of the fresh, pristine morning snow is nearly forgotten (except in a text or a tweet or a post). All you can think now is “Wow, was going out in this really worth it?”

Deep down I know it was and is and will remain so. It’s just the getting there that’s the deep struggle.

So, cheers to 2017.

Weekly Round Up

Things I Love This Week:

★Baby’s First Audition –

Baby’s First Audition from alex on Vimeo.

I want that bebe!!!

Louis CK: Live at the Beacon Theater – This little “experiment” of Louis C.K.’s is so awesome and the special is definitely worth the $5. He’s even released a statement on what he’s doing with all the money he’s made(currently at $1 million). Transparency…it’s my favorite part of “free” markets!!!

Braid – I know this game is from 2008, but I got back into playing the xbox and can’t get enough of it. I love puzzle games and the graphics in this are just a feast for the eyes. I am super excited for Jonathan Blow’s newest creation, The Witness, and can only assume that is why I’m re-hooked on this game.

Peggle – I beat this game this week. I suck at it, but I beat it. I became obsessed about it. I thought I beat it early on, but then they had all these add-on levels that had me yelling “BULLSHIT!!!” Oh peggle, you’re everything I love (and hate) about pin-ball, Plinko and maybe a little Snood.

Serenading Unicorn – A friend posted this on another friend’s facebook the other day and I was immediately hooked. And jonesin’ for some juicy fruit. Hell Yeah!

Gettin’ Crafty Wit It! – Creature Mod

First, watch this:

My husband and I LOVE Robot Chicken. We grew up playing with toys like Transformers & Rainbow Brite, watching Saturday morning cartoons and munchin’ on over-sugared cereals. These insanely funny shorts always seem to leave us in stitches.

So, when I saw this plushie over at Perpetual Kid I knew I just had to get it for him:

Hrm. He’s missing something…Hey, wait, I know…

It would have been better to crochet the ENITRE thing, but I have yet to acquire those skills and I’m already running seriously behind this Christmas. Regardless, I’m pleased with how this little mod turned out. A small project like this always teaches me something new about stitches or how to improve upon projects in the future.

In the coming year I’d love to get better at both knit and crochet. Next Christmas it would be awesome to place some handmade amigurumi under the tree for Gabe. Perhaps a challenge is in order so that I keep up on projects and make the most of my time. I SMELL A CROCHET-A-LONG COMING ON.

So, listen kids. Don’t forget to pick up your very own box of The Creature with the Black Macaroons. “…Why not turn those chills into THRILLS?!!! Dip them in a lagoon of milk as part of this nutritious breakfast.”

Weekly Roundup

This week has been tough. My husband was out of town the entire week, leaving me alone with a baby, two cats and two dogs. For some reason I was ill-prepared and bummed most of the week.

I think I’m just feeling empty in general. Gabe is by far the awesomest thing I did in 2011. I don’t know how to feel about all this motherhood stuff. I love my son dearly, but I’m not the confident mother I thought I’d be. So often I feel like a fish out of water and I cannot IMAGINE doing this on my own. Kudos to all the single moms out there, making it happen.

I suppose this blog is a means to get back to what I’M about, a project on me, if you will. Ever since graduating college I’ve been struggling to find myself. Most people my age define themselves by their work. I’ve been through 4 different careers in the past five years, with the most current one being “mommy.” I grapple with it, not so much because I want to be somewhere else (the thought of a job excites me, but then I think about not being home with Gabe all the time and feel rotten), but because I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

I draw so much energy from other people and yet, I’m extremely frustrated because I’m still failing to define myself on my own terms.

In the end, no one word or title defines me. I am that which cannot be defined, but not in some pretentious or profound way. Just in that, I’m always a work in a progress and never quite satisfied with my own self-made definitions. If I can’t define what makes me, me, then how on earth will I ever be seen as the person I long for people to see?

I just want to be me.

Things I Love This Week:

The Guild – For some reason, I just discovered this last week. I mean, I knew it existed, but I was never into World of Warcraft so I never really thought anything of it. However, I can relate to being socially awkward and having a bunch of friends online. Yeah. I love the concept of this show and the work Felicia Day does for this web series. If you want to know more about the show, I highly recommend checking out the Nerdist interviews of Felicia Day and The Guild.

Louie – I’ve been watching old episodes of Louie from the first and second season. I love him. I love stand-up comics in general (I think I can thank my husband for that) and Louis CK makes me laugh and makes me think. Despite how painful the show is sometimes, every episode just leaves you feeling good; about life. Louis is selling his Louis CK – Live at the Beacon Theater for $5. I know what I’ll be watching this weekend.

You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes – Not just your ordinary comedy podcast, I love how Pete delves into his guests thoughts on three main topics: comedy, religion and sex. I’ve only listened to two thus far, but look forward to catching up and hearing more. It’s been a wonderful way to delve into the minds of comedic writers and see how they tick. Check out the intro to the Sarah Silverman interview. The clip from one of Pete’s shows had me lol-ing. YOU MADE IT WEIRD!!! O.o

Knitting Community: Building Friendships One Stitch At A Time

photo by elitatt

I think craft personality and knitting enthusiast Vickie Howell said it best. As a guest on Wendy Russell’s syndicated show, She’s Crafty, Vickie mentions that she was first drawn to knitting because of the sense of community she found with other knitters.

I felt the same way when I visited my local Stitch ‘n’ Bitch a few weeks ago.

I haven’t gotten out of the house much since Gabe was born. I mean, we go places, but usually the little guy is in tow. I know some families LOVE urban life, but deep down, I’m so over it. Everything feels like a chore when I have to factor in a child, so I rarely take the excursions I used to. I loved walking everywhere BG (before-gabe), but now I feel faced with ridiculous obstacles. (Our stroller doesn’t even fit through the doors of our brownstone apartment building.)

It was nice to get out of the house on my own and feel “normal” again (whatever that means). Not so much normal as familiar, like “yes, I do indeed know how to traverse the city on my own” unlike the feeling of juggling a fussy infant or running into things with my city-friendly-but-still-too-bulky stroller.

Let me just start by saying, I love knitters (and crocheters…and even the occasional cross-stitcher, but I don’t meet them often and honestly it doesn’t really roll off your tongue). The women in this group come from all walks of life and there’s no pretentions or struggles to fit in. We all simply share our love of yarn craft.

Of course I spent plenty of time chatting about my son (he’s never far from my mind, even when he’s not with me) and getting tips and tricks from other moms in the group. Tips like how to make my much loved, but too-quickly-outgrown baby knitting projects go further (Protip: Knit time-consuming, intricate detail separate from the garment you’re working on and attach it after the fact. This way, you can recycle that beautiful knitwork when your child inevitably and quickly grows out of your newest creation).

Local crafting groups not only provide a sense of camaraderie, but also provide a concrete time to actually sit down and work on a project. As one of the knitters remarked, “I’ve knitted more in the last hour and half than I have over the last FIVE years!” Indeed, I almost finished one of the washcloths I was working on for a special someone (I’m knitting these to work on stitches, as I still consider myself a “nooby knitter.”)

There aren’t any more meetups scheduled until 2012, but you can bet come the new year I’ll be there, coffee in hand, to share some time and some crafting with a special group of women.

Check out meetup.com to find your own, local, crafty bunch of people to meet up with.

Online Christmas Shopping

Amazon & I are now BFF.

photo by cogdogblog

This year I did most of my Christmas shopping online. I didn’t plan to do things this way. I had hoped to MAKE most of my gifts. Alas, many of those gifts I’m still working on.

So, people on my NICE list can probably expect beautiful, handmade gifts sometime around Valentine’s Day.

You’re welcome.

Don’t think I’m above blaming this all on the fact that we have an infant in the house. Oh baby, you are my excuse for everything – why I’m constantly running 15 minutes late, why I can’t make that shindig I’m really not interested in going to anyway and why I can’t get Christmas gifts out on time. Scapegoat, thy name is Gabriel.

Anyway, I was stressing about the lack of gifts for my husband, but lo and behold I was able to sit down and knock out ALL his Christmas shopping in just a few short hours. In my pajamas. With a hot cup of coffee and a sleeping baby in the next room.

I swear if my laptop had arms, I’d hug it. (I would also hug my sewing machine & my crockpot).

It far outweighs the alternative. Picture this scenario: packing a diaper bag, loading the kiddo in the car, driving to our ghetto-ass mall, being disgusted with how overcrowded it is (and even more disgusted that other people are disgusted…for pete’s sake, this is nothing new. it happens every year!!! it’s christmas!!!), finding a quiet spot to breastfeed, changing the baby in the DISGUSTING mall bathroom (they’re always cleaning it AND it’s always abysmal) and leave with a grumpy baby, not finding those “perfect” gifts and feeling just a general sense of holiday dispirit.

I know buying local is the thing to do and we make every attempt to patronize local business when we can. Is a healthy mix of the two possible? People who are zealots would probably say no, that small business needs all the help it can get and any purchases from big online retailers takes away from that.

The good news is, sites like etsy.com offer online consumers the opportunity to support local (and non-local) craftsmen and women all from the comfort of their own home.

All in all, online shopping leaves me more time to spend with my family, enjoying all the things that make this season great. I highly recommend it and much prefer it to spending time “on line” at my local mall.

First Post

Blogging is something I’ve wanted to do since I found out it was “a thing.” There have been many reasons I’ve shied away from it, namely; I’m afraid of what people will think; I’m afraid I don’t have anything worthwhile to say and ultimately, I don’t leave enough time to make blogging a priority.

I’m a people pleaser. I’m seeking to change that, but that’s what I am. I envy people that are able to live their truth and deal with the consequences. People that don’t care what others think and don’t buy in to fear mongering by maintaining the status quo and trying to maintain the appearance of something they are not.

The thought of revealing my innermost thoughts (and even the superficial ones) for the entire internet to see scares the crap out of me because sooner or later, you’re going to piss someone off. I’m not sure how I’d handle that.

In addition to being afraid of what people will think, I’m also fearful that I’ll have nothing to say. That deep down I have nothing to contribute and even though I read and revel in blogs all day long, whatever I do have to say pales in comparison.

So, let’s say I get over myself, forget about my fear of being liked and decide that I indeed have something original to contribute…Where in the world will I find the time to blog?

I think, deep down, I waste eons of time on the internet. Add that to my list of things I want to do less of (how interesting then, that I want to start a blog). The way I see it, the computer is the new boob tube. While I can’t argue with the worthwhile-ness of cat in a bag or honey badger antics, I think it will probably come down to spending more productive time on the internet. Checking my twitter and/or facebook feed over and over again is NOT a productive use of my time. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to have to get organized and get serious about time management.

And I am SO doing this.