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.

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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

I Hate Country Music; Or So I Thought

I always told myself that country music is horrible. From the time that I was very, very little, I detested it and really rallied my mind against it. I honestly have no idea why. It was something that I made a point in letting people know when we discussed music taste. My response to it almost bordered on aggressive. It’s one of those things that I look back on and though I’ve tried to analyze my reasoning, I can’t come up with anything to defend my logic, except for the fact that I was immature and must’ve been trying to fit a mold.

Over time, I started to hate country music less and trend to a more indifferent feeling about it. My parents didn’t listen to country music, but they certainly never taught me to hate it, or hate anything for that matter. The closest thing that played in my house was Gordon Lightfoot, which is more Folk, but certainly has twang-y elements to it.  I’ve basically loved the fundamental instruments in country music all my life, which are no different from rock music, but it’s just a different style and a slightly different structure.

Still, having grown up outside of Philadelphia, I never understood the crowds that flocked to country music concerts in the summer, with cowboy hats and a Budweiser in hand. I’m all about being a patriotic American, and I realize that country music probably depicts the American persona more than any other, but where did these people pick up the taste for it?  Where did they come from?

It wasn’t until I realized my Uncle had a love for country music that I started to think about it in a different way. He was a city kid, grew up loving heavy metal bands in the 80’s and had the style and hair to rival bands like Van Halen in his day. He played in a metal band, loaded up with tattoos and although he never lost his love for a bad rock ballad, he loves country music now too?  As he is a person I respect, good for him, I thought.  Then I met my husband, who is from Iowa; who knew all the country songs when we went to a piano bar early in our relationship. Then I discovered the country station presets in his pick-up truck. He wasn’t wearing cowboy boots or anything, but I must’ve been slow to not see that coming.  I feel kind of sorry now, that he didn’t come out spurs blazing to show his country roots. I always wondered if neglecting his country roots publicly was his way of finding himself in another part of the country or if he was that concerned I’d dislike him for it.  That would be something I’d truly feel sorry for.

As I grow up, I’ve found there’s nothing more important than being open minded. Hell, I can accept most anything else in the world and look on the bright side of most any situation, why can’t I accept country music? Then it happened, crossover music. Though I’m sure it always existed in some form, country has crossed over into mainstream music in a very popular way over the last few years and onto mainstream stations.  There are even bands that I really like that use country elements. I think I might like it. Though don’t tell anyone yet, because I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of commitment just yet. I haven’t bought a country album, but I may have programmed a country station on the second set of presets in my car. We’ll know for sure if it makes the top 10, but its tough competition.

I knew I was lost when I got hooked on the Mumford & Sons album last year and there was a heavy bluegrass and banjo vibe on it.  I’d really love to play banjo, once I get guitar down a little better, but I’ve convinced myself that maybe I’d focus on old Irish music to ease my way into this American genre. I know, none of it makes sense, but at least there’s no longer a deep misunderstanding about something that never truly deserved it.