Could I Have Been An Olympian?

As everyone knows, the Olympics are in full swing. Even though I’m a fan of the games, by next week the Olympic theme song that is played throughout the day will likely drive me mad. Two weeks straight of the same ten second piece of orchestrated music at the start, end and every commercial break in between will cause my ear drums to reach for the remote and hit mute. Maybe it’s because I have the games on while I go about my business each day.

Regardless, I love the sense of pride and the dedication from Olympians. There is always a heart wrenching story or significant feat embodied in the spirit of the games.

I grew up as a fish. My parents could not get me out of our pool to eat and my summer attire consisted only of a bathing suit. I dreamed of being a real swimmer with a swim cap and goggles and eventually joined a swim team where I did fairly well. During the summer of ’92, my bathing suit transitioned into a gymnastics leotard and my poor Great-grandmother suffered the “look at me, I’m a gymnast” phase, cartwheels in her rowhome and all, when I stayed at her house during one week of the Olympics that year. Poor Grandmom. She never dared to crush my dreams either, though quite frankly, I don’t remember her appeasing me and saying I’d make it either.

Toddler Mae fashioning summer attire for the rest of her childhood.

I don’t remember really ever trying very hard to be anything I dreamed of. I was the queen of one season sports or clubs. I’m probably not in the memories of any of my teammates or fellow members because I dashed in and out, never leaving behind anything substantial and never hanging in to form real memories. Until recently, I thought it was me. I thought maybe I’m just a flake and like so many things in life, I just never knew was it was to give my all and keep persevering. But it’s not true. I’ve come to only understand recently that my Mom discouraged me. But before a judging finger is pointed her way, I understand and I do not place blame. My Mom had severe anxiety and taking me to events was very trying on her. I don’t believe she held me back from anything that I carried full potential in, but I guess we won’t know. I don’t think I would have been an Olympic swimmer, but I wonder if I had stuck with something now and then, if I could have had a different mindset in life. Maybe I could have fought harder.

Now that I’m an adult, I can’t base the rest of my life on the fact that I played one season of softball or did one year of Girl Scouts. I am in control of my own fate and if I don’t try or stick with things, it’s my fault. It’s time to learn a new mindset.  And maybe because I’m not an athlete, that doesn’t set the baseline for other things. I’ve stuck with the things that really do matter in life; I’m not a complete failure.

I didn’t even mean for this post to go in this direction. It was supposed to be a lighthearted joke about my Gram who used to say constantly, “If my parents had had money to get me singing lessons, I could have been a famous singer”. Gram had not a lick of a voice or an ear for keys, but it was something she dreamed about as she grew up in a family of fourteen children.  I found myself saying to my husband the other night, “If I had been able to stick with swimming, I could have been an Olympic athlete”. We both knew it was wrong, but we laughed anyway.

If you think about it, it is funny how at the still-young age of 29, it is so easy to see dreams that are too late to happen in the faces of young Olympians. I’d like to think that I’ll encourage my future and non-existent children to follow their dreams young and be able to support them along the way, and without trying to make them accomplish mine.

“Oh, you have plenty of time” And Other Lies

I thought I’d be something more successful by now.  I’ve mentioned this before but bear with me, I’ve got a different point today.  I’m not unsuccessful; I’m just not what I want to be, professionally and maybe a little personally.  I’ll be twenty-nine soon, and not that it’s the end of the world and not that I’ll have a little “almost thirty” or “twenty-nine forever” crisis but damn it, I can if I want to.

When I was in high school all my teachers from math to gym said I would be the next Katie Couric.  That’s when Katie was unstoppable and on the Today Show.  That is also when I respected the Today Show and before Kathie Lee had anything to do with it, and before I started to see through major media outlets.  I never felt like my supporters were blowing smoke up my rear and I felt like I had such a bright future.  I had talent and I had zero fear to stop me from getting where I wanted to be.  I also had a psychic who told me I’d work for the BBC.  Well, reality took over and I was too levelheaded to take a career with so much risk.  Fine, I’m ok with that because it’s not like I tried and didn’t succeed.  I just didn’t try.  Eck, not much better.

I also thought I’d be a mom by now, and more than to just my pug.  It’s pretty common for my generation that I’m not one at this age, and most of my friends aren’t moms yet but by the end of the year I’ll have been married five years, so the clock seems a little different to me.  I’m not waiting to meet Mr. Right.  I already found him.  “Oh, you have plenty of time” they say.  “Why are you rushing things?  There’s so much life ahead of you.”  Really?  Do these particular people, who are almost everyone, by the way, really believe that there is always plenty of time?  Did they not just tell me how fast time goes and how they can’t believe this, that or the other never happened or happened too fast?  Don’t lie to me, Continue reading

Such Odd Things to Be Grateful For

I fell asleep with my computer last night.  It was not quite romantic.  I did wake up in the middle of the night, however, with a great idea for a topic.  Supposedly.  I noted it on my phone, but it was so vague; “Grateful for odd things”.  Although, I am grateful for odd things, I think most people are.  It’s the simple things in life that really make a difference.  Although I don’t know what examples I may have had while I slept, I was able to coherently think of some of my own today.

And so, I give you, odd but significant things I am grateful for.

  • My husband isn’t a video game addict.  Hell, he doesn’t drink or gamble in excess or zone out into any sports on TV (that’s more me).  He does watch cartoons, but not if we’re home together, because we have a lot in common and that is not one of them.  Its not cartoons that bothers me, because I’ll watch Bugs Bunny or SpongeBob myself, but these cheesy Anime ones.  He watches them in fast forward too, which leads me to believe that are just as enjoyable as I think they are.  Regardless, I am grateful that he is unlike the many men I know our age who ignore the world around them, as they lose all reality to the outside world with controller in hand.  So, thank you honey.
  • My Aunt recently brought to my attention that I should be happy for my chubby cheeks.  “Look at Sally Field.”, she says, “She’s got fat and cologen in her face because of her cheeks and she’ll never look hallowed out.”  Of course, she continued with things what sounded like back-handed compliments, but I realized she was right.  Not only will my cheeks be beneficial as I age, they give my friends great humor.  My cheeks were (ok, are) big enough that when I smile, they push up my eyes quite a bit.  Although I’m of Irish/German descent, they often claim I’m in fact Asian.  This doesn’t bother me because it is not offensive, but simply odd.  Regardless, I’m grateful to you, chubby cheeks.
  • I’ve always been on the thin or appropriate weight for my height.  I also have a stomach that is very picky.  I hate that.  But, it is the reason that I don’t eat unhealthy or unnatural things.  Thus, I keep my figure.  I think it’s a good idea to turn every annoying negative into a positive.  It also saves us money because we don’t buy take-out very often, so well done finicky stomach!
  • I’m just shy of 5’9, but I have small feet.  Sometimes I am as small as a 7 shoe, but mainly 7 ½.  I feel gangly as it is; have long legs, long arms and a long torso, so this makes me feel that I’m petite in some way.  And I’m grateful for that.  Although, I do believe it aids in my klutziness.  We are convinced that my feet are not big enough to keep me sturdy, which is why I topple.  This is not medically or scientifically based, but it seems good enough of a reason to me.

I am grateful for so many “real” things, and some of these are really just silly.  But I imagine one day, if these all didn’t collide (cue time travel music); I could look like a skeleton droopy face with big feet, obese and married to a World of Warcraft addict.  Ah, but now everything will be perfect.

This is probably my most bizarre post.  Bear with me, it’s been a long week.

Tattoos Are Permanent

The title is an obvious statement and one which people often don’t keep in mind when getting a tattoo.  The worst is seeing “trendy” tattoos and waiting for an entire generation to have a less than appealing version of it as we age.  As someone with two tattoos, both small but one in an obvious place, getting more is something that makes me both very cautious and very eager.

One of the biggest parts of being a creative writer is expressing who you are.  It is very easy to perfect our niche and allow details to shine through our written works that tell who we are.  People like labeling things, and even ourselves, though many try to dismiss that notion.  Tattoos are a version of that, like putting a permanent sticker on your car, but knowing it’s the car you drive for life.  Also don’t forget that you’re never getting out of that car.  People will judge you on your “decorations” and often decide where to fit you in terms of opportunities that arise.

Tattoos can be expressive in a “wow” way that exudes a look of glowing awe or a “wow” response that hinders more in a “what were they thinking” way.  Your body décor can be appealing and open doors that a plain person may not access or it’ll shut a door in your face.  There are simply open and closed-minded people, and that’s just the way life is.  I suppose it’s a matter of making sure your body art truly depicts who you are and allows room for the opportunities you seek.

I’m often torn between allowing myself to be expressive and artsy or classic and conservative.  I appreciate the notions of each and I’m not quite sure what I am deep down.  Isn’t it ok to be both when the situation feels right?  Do I have to go all in, or does taking myself out of one stereotypical box make me unique?  When I’m out with friends, I don’t wear a watch.  When I’m at work I do, to avoid the distraction of people staring at the tattoo on my wrist.  I’m not ashamed of it and I still don’t regret getting it, but I’m also aware of the snickers I’ve gotten from corporate higher-ups and I don’t need my potential success sidelined by a decision I made when I was 18.

I also worry about what time does to our bodies.  I have an inkling (get it?) to get another piece done, but I do worry that if I choose the wrong location, that time won’t be so kind.  Maybe the conservative side is hindering the artistic one and I should take more of a chance.  Or maybe like many things in life, such as buying a house or finding your spouse, it’ll come to you and you’ll just know.  Same should probably apply to finding something you want to adorn on your skin forever.  If we can’t wait for that to happen, then at least be prepared for the regret later.

Photo courtesy of sodahead.com

You’re pretty for an old lady

“It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before.”
-Jane Austen

My time is coming.  I sure hope I fall into the category that Jane speaks of.  I’d like to think I have a good chance of aging well because of genes.  I think my Mom and her lineage have had pretty admirable wrinkle-free skin, and my Dad’s skin is handsome as well.  I could say the Irish/German/English lineage has done wonders, but that would be a crock.  I’ve seen what Irish wind and weather does to the skin.

I have implemented many of the mainstays that my family has, for years.  Though I’ve tried many fancy new alternatives along the way, I always go back to the same routine.  Simple, tried and true habits are pretty darn effective.

  • ALWAYS remove your make-up at the end of the day.  Seems obvious, people don’t do it.
  • Oil of Olay – every morning and night.
  • Daily sun protection, even if just your hands and face see daylight in the offseason.
  • Dove soap and a soft baby washcloth = softer skin
  • Pat your skin with your towel, no need to tug at it and rub it off
  • Put Vaseline on your hands and wear soft gloves when you go to bed in the winter
  • Lotion on your piggies before you put on your socks
  • Try Witch hazel or something more organic on breakouts, etc.
  • Don’t pick/scratch at yourself.  So hard if you’re a picker.
  • Grandmom said a dab of spit on your mosquito bite stops the itch so you don’t scrape your skin. (It works)
  • Rose salve – miracle for anything that needs fixin’ on the go; lips, cuticles, burns, etc.
  • I know you love your doggie, but don’t let him lick all over your face.  Or anyone for that matter.
  • Let loose…no sleeping in undergarments.
  • Don’t go to sleep with a wet head – after a while you’ll get flakes
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat your vegetables.
  • Take the stairs when the opportunity arises.
  • Do something good for yourself while doing mundane tasks.  (I stretch while I brush my teeth.)
  • Wear sunglasses or a hat in the sun.
  • Don’t eat while standing up.  The fat goes to your legs. – Ok, this is not true, but I was told this as a child and I think it’s hilarious.

I feel as though I’ve lectured you.  But, you’ll have to tell me if you end up going to bed in just gloves.