It’s Ok To Be a Girl

I usually consider myself to privately be girlie, but every now and then it sneaks out; like when I play dance around the house to girlie music (secretly) or peruse the make-up department for an hour.  Lately it happens more and more.  I don’t know if I subconsciously pretended to not be so feminine or if I am just a late bloomer, both of which are highly possible.  My greatest girlfriends are the same way.  We can challenge the best of the men out there on most any topic with fervor.  There are times however, that I just want to be a girl and find its ok to cry at the commercials about the doggies in the animal shelters.  Damn you, Sarah McLachlan and Pedigree commercials!

Today was unexpectantly one of those days.  It was a lazy Sunday, with no plans.  As my husband and I woke up, we laughed about a line from the movie “I Love You Man”.  Pretty much anything with Jason Segel or Paul Rudd is hilarious, and after stumbling around the house I was pleasantly surprised to find it on TV today.  So “daily dose of laughter” could be definitely checked off the list.  Humor is incredibly important in a world that is far too serious.  (“Slappin’ the bass mon!”) This was followed by some manly portions of Texas BBQ for dinner and a trip to Home Depot.  I hate that I love that store sometimes.

Hubby took a nap and I flipped through the channels because I didn’t feel like writing yet.  I stumbled upon “P.S. I Love You”.  You can gag if you want to.  I’m not the biggest Hilary Swank fan, but I love this movie and embarrassingly own it…and the soundtrack.  But that’s it; I’m not rocking any chick flick posters or anything.  Unless there is one of Gerard Butler out there, then I might consider owning that.  Still, I know that I have to be in a particular mood to watch it.  I have to be ok with crying.  And cry I did.  Something else you should know, I don’t cry in front of other people.  Somewhere deep, I perceive it as weak, though I’m really not sure why.  My parents never raised me to think that, but I inherently try to be much too strong until I break.

So of course I know the movie and I know what will happen.  It still upsets me and I’m certain it’s because I draw on personal emotions since I don’t truly care that Hilary’s character is a widow.  I realize she’s an actress getting paid a healthy wage.  But I’m quite fond of my husband and he is amazingly clever.  He’s the type that upon impending death, would arrange for flowers, cakes, letters and trips after he’s long and gone.  I think it affects me as much as “Father of the Bride” does because I’m close to my Dad.  Ugh, sometimes I hate being a girl.

So every now and then, since no one else can see me cry, I’ll watch these and let it out and then get on with my day.  I think I’ve made strides to let my solitary emotional release diminish slightly, and let them take place in front of my husband, but he’s keen on being emotionless.  Usually we get by, by teasing each other when it comes to these things.  Sure, it probably sounds pretty immature.  Sometimes it would probably be best just to comfort and accept that cheesy movies can make us relate to a part of our lives we rarely think about.  It’s hard sometimes to admit we’re not the super strong person we thought we were or pretended to be.  So now I will scrub the tear residue from my contacts and drift off to sleep, and hope that I never have to actually know what it’s like to receive letters from my dead husband.

Photos courtesy of Dreamworks and Warner Bros.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

Clonmacnoise: Founded 545-548 AD

The buildings and monuments shown however, appear to range from the 10th-17th centuries, with most falling earlier in this time period.

This day was bitter cold, but it was impossible to leave and refrain from taking shots through surviving stone towers, churches and crosses, either into other structures or through to the River Shannon, in Ireland.  These were taken with a simple camera and frozen fingers, I hope you can still mentally capture the beauty of a place that holds so much history.  It is the sight of worship and battle.

What Are We Working For?

Leisure

By William Henry Davies

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

This is feeling appropriate tonight, as I finally sit down at the computer at midnight to capture any logical thoughts that might have managed to survive the last eighteen hours.  In the end, I’m left with my forehead resting in my hands and thinking about how fast time goes and why we spend so much of it doing things we despise.  I realize we must all be grown-ups and responsible to a certain degree, but this cannot be what life was intended for; mundane and unsatisfactory work to pay for the “just in case” possibilities of life and every other nickel and dime expense.  I know that soon enough I’ll be making strides away from life as I know it today, to reach for something more fulfilling but sometimes it’s not easy to question how much time we’ve missed by being responsible and by simply not living.  Makes me admire hippies a little bit.  I know I can’t let go that much, but maybe there is a happy medium.

Photo courtesy of www.llgc.org.uk

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

As an amateur photographer, I’m hoping these convey contrast properly, particularly with respect to lighting.  I took these inside a photography school in Philadelphia.  It was an old warehouse that was refurbished and converted into spaces for artists and their expressive institutions.

I fell for the old brickwork, the old glass windows and the beauty of the building which was restored out of a previously abandoned warehouse that at one time drew squatters and taggers.  The neighborhood isn’t great, but it appears the building has been respected since the rehab.  How they purposely refurbished the building around the graffiti reminds me of the new life it has taken on.  It encompasses the contrast between the stages of life this building and this area has seen over time; new to decrepit to repurposed.

“10 More Reasons Why I Need Somebody New…Just Like You”

I quote the words of the lead Red Hot Chili Pepper himself, Anthony Kiedis in the song “Can’t Stop”, and I use them because this blogging experience has started to affect my life in a way I didn’t expect. I can’t wait to meet more bloggers that cross my path and there’s really no stopping now.

There are people who write to write and people who write and get inspired by other writers in the process. At first, I must admit that I feared I was the first, trying to just write, make my postaday goal and maybe finding people who could relate to what I had to say. That last part didn’t really seem crucial. In the process, I’ve found people that I relate to, and more importantly, people who are encouraging and whom I’m learning from.

I’ve learned to let go of “stuff”, and that it’s memories will still exist even if I clear items physically from my life with 365trinkets. I’ve learned to never give up and keep learning with The World’s Latest Bloomer, inspiring me to pick up the guitar in addition to other ideas and joys that I’ve left behind. There are countless photographers that share beautiful visions, ready for us to view as we wake up each morning.  And then there’s a very dear friend of mine, who takes the time to read my blog out of support and has suggested giving Tai Chi a shot, after he read about my woes with yoga.

Throughout this writing process, which has been consistent for only 1.75 months, I’ve learned that strangers can be supportive and wonderful, without even realizing how they affect other people. It’s easy to let myself down, but it’s ten times more difficult when there are people who are encouraging me to move forward and get what I want out life. This may be the cheesiest blog, but it’s true none the less.

I can’t wait to continue discovering the people who are making a difference in their own lives, and to learn from them. In the process, I hope that I can be someone to encourage others somewhere along the way. When all is said and done, just keep blogging.

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

My Life is Like My Eyebrows

As I got ready to leave the house the other day, I did a quick check in the mirror.

“Geez, when is the last time I plucked my eyebrows?”

They’re horrendous.  There is barely even evidence that two exist.

I started thinking about how often this happens.  I realized how many correlations there are between my eyebrows and my life.  These aren’t exactly highlights of my existence, but it’s the truth none the less.

  • I neglect my eyebrows until they are so horrible, that I need to spend thirty minutes to pluck and fix them up, only to repeat the cycle all over again later; no matter how many times I promise myself that I won’t wait so long next time.  I take care of everything in my life timely and appropriately, but myself.  I neglect myself like I neglect my eyebrows, putting us both off and taking care of others until it’s so obvious that I need some personal attention that I become my own hassle to fix.  It’s painful.  For both of us.
  • My eyebrows are naturally pretty wild.  Wild doesn’t fit well in most of the environments I find myself in, so my eyebrows and I fix ourselves up to fit in.  We trim up; conform to get ourselves in shape.  Who said a unibrow isn’t sexy anyway?  I bet French women could pull it off.  Who said two was fashionable?  I kid, of course.
  • Thick.  No matter how thin I’ve ever been, no matter how much I wished for my Mom’s eyebrows instead of my Dad’s, my eyebrows and I are thick.  My Mom told me that she plucked her eyebrows when she was twelve and they stayed that way, she never had to touch them again.  I might as well have caterpillars above my eyes.  And even at 120 pounds, I was dense, just never quite light as a feather.
  • Dark.  I’m pretty positive, and I produce optimistic outlooks for almost every situation typically, but I also think there’s a dark side.  My eyebrows and I are dark.  Sure we lighten up when it’s bright and sunny, but we know that deep down, we’re a little different and sometimes I think things I shouldn’t.  Nothing illegal, but definitely embarrassing.
  • Long.  I see girls with cute little eyebrows, made up of short little feathery hairs.  We’ve already determined that my eyebrows and I are thick, but we are also long.  Long limbs, long eyebrow hairs.  Part of what makes keeping the brows and I in shape, is dealing with the awkward combination of our qualities.  Sure, trim a little here, trim a little there, and then pluck.  Sounds simple.  Not so.  Every time I pick a hair to go, I have to think, “If this hair goes, will a little bald spot be left behind?”  Being long limbed and having these long eyebrow hairs is awkward.  Nothing quite fits and the slightest wrong movement and I look like a goofy and ungroomed idiot.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the brows have good qualities, as I know I do but every now and then, who doesn’t need a critical evaluation?  If I can figure out a way to maintain consistent care, instead of “all or nothing”, we’d be a happy pair.  Yes, that’s a joke, a pair of eyebrows instead of one.  Did I tell you my eyebrows also can’t tell jokes?  Funny, neither can I.

Picture courtesy of http://www.televisionwithoutpity.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.