So Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions – I’ve written about that before – but it is a reflective time of year, and lately I’ve been thinking.  A lot.  Some would say overthinking.  The end result of all this thinking?

A want list.  A very personal, very selfish want list.

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.

1.  Health, or the semblance thereof.  Many of my Bikram Yoga teachers will say, as we are in savasana, to “visualize yourself in perfect health”.  I want that.

2.  Staying with a theme…I have noticed that almost all my Bikram teachers compliment the same things about my practice every time I see them (and I basically see the same teachers every week).   And for whatever reason, those things are the ones that come a bit more easily to me.  In the meantime, I’m over here all like “hey, did you notice I didn’t fall over even ONCE in the balancing series?”  Or “I stayed in Rabbit despite being so far into it that my cleavage inhibited my breathing”!  Crazy, I know.  I want them to notice the things that are so hard for me that I am surprised.

3.  I’ve been thinking a lot about love.  I would like to know that there is someone – maybe more than one – that loves me (whatever love means, anyway) without it being an assumed condition of our relationship.  (For example, I love my family, even when I don’t like them.  Would I love them if they weren’t my family?  Well, some of them, sure.  Would they love me if I weren’t family?  Well, some of them, I think.)  Love, offered with no conditions, is something I want and want to give.  And I think everyone deserves it.  (And before you say it, no, I am not talking about a romance.  Sigh.)

4.  One thing I want I completely control.  2016 will be the year I get the weight back off.  I won’t say “get back to my goal weight” as I’m not sure what that is anymore, but I will be at the right weight for me in the new year.

5.  I also completely control my reactions to the bad behavior of others, and I want to stop letting others’ bad behavior get to me.  Both friends and strangers, in fact.  I may want to talk about it, but it is not going to upset me any more.

6.  I want to remember to be nicer to my cats.  And myself.

And, oh, World Peace.

May your 2016 be the year of getting just what you want.

Not (necessarily) what you deserve. 

 

The Hallmark Effect

With Thanksgiving just past (I hope yours was wonderful), we are now officially in the hell that is supposed to be the best time of the year.  Yes, the Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa/whatever holidays are here.

Holidays are hard.  Just a few possibles…I can think of dozens!:  you may or may not be with your family (and you may or may not want to be); you may be missing those who passed, especially if it’s the first holidays without them; those you are with are not inclusive, or actively disapprove of your choices; you may be unable to meet the expectations of HAPPY that we are told we should feel (yes, that’s the Hallmark effect)…

And it’s the last one that gets me, every.damn.time.  I’ve written before about New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day, and in general, I think you can probably tell how I feel about high expectation holidays, even manufactured ones.

Don’t get me wrong…I love my family and my friends.  I was pleased and lucky to be invited to several “Friendsgiving” feasts, and was made welcome at the one I attended.  I’m looking forward to spending Christmas with my sisters and other relatives, and seeing a few friends.grinch

But even if that were not true, it’s near impossible to say so without accusations of Grinchiness (Dr. Suess has a lot to answer for on that one).  But know that if you are feeling that way, you’re not alone.  In fact, I sometimes want to spend the weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s under my bed, only emerging for (of course) my birthday.

So take some time for yourself, and understand that the holidays don’t have to meet some Hallmark standard of perfection.  Enjoy the time the way YOU want to, even if that is embracing your inner Grinch  – and to hell with expectations.

 

 

Happy Father’s Day

Yes, I know, I know. I’ve told you how much I hate Father’s Day – twice. (If you don’t know, you can read about it here and here.)

But last night and this morning, I had the most beautiful dreams of my mother…she was here, retired, living just down the street, and I woke up smiling.  In the last moment in the last dream, I even got a hug.

imagesSo this is for all the mothers, like mine, who are forced (or choose) to be both mother and father to their children – who make no excuses; who don’t make him a villain even if he is one; who raise daughters (and sons) that know the value of parents even though they only had one – I admire you more than I can say.

 

I Hate Mother’s Day, Part Two

Yes, I know, I’ve written before about hating Mother’s Day, and those reasons still apply.  But really, I hate Mother’s Day because my mother is no longer with us. 

So I’m jealous, especially of my friends who are my age who still have their mothers.   I know, I’m not really supposed to say that, but it’s true.  I’m damn jealous.

I’ve missed my mother every day since June 23, 1995, and every day since August 11, 2012, I’ve missed my Aunt Flora too. 

Sunday will be hard.  It always is.  I’ll be thinking of my mother and my aunts, the four best women I’ve ever known.   And while I’ll be sending some love out to all the mothers I know, I’ll especially be thinking of those who also cannot share this day with their mothers. 

The best mothers I've ever known:  Aunt Lucille, Aunt Anna, Aunt Flora, and my mom

The best mothers I’ve ever known: Aunt Lucille, Aunt Anna, Aunt Flora, and my mom

And just because I can…please read some more about my mother here and especially here.  Or search “mother” and you’ll find there’s a lot I’ve shared with you about her.

Happy Day to all y’all!

What’s In A Name?

Recently, this article about whether married women should give children their surname, or their father’s surname, has been popping up on Facebook.  Any number of my friends posted it, as did I.  Now, obviously I am not married, nor do I have children, but I do carry my father’s name.  Or, as it’s more realistic to think of him, the sperm donor.  I personally never met the man, though there are a few pictures around of infant me in his arms.  Ugh.

My mother very carefully said nothing against my father until she felt I was old enough to understand the shades of gray she seemed to see in the situation.  She was wrong (one of the few times) – I never did see those shades – to me, it was black and white.  I could accept that he wanted a divorce, that he left, even that he had a girlfriend.  However, the absolute rejection of me (and my sisters), including evading child support, made seeing any gray impossible, especially when we were struggling.  Or when I thought I was going to have to leave college as they wanted information from him for financial aid (thank you, Dean Case and Amherst College, for seeing past my snarky comment of “if you can find him, you can take ALL his money as far as I’m concerned”.)

And yet, I carry his name.  I have often thought about changing it, perhaps to my mother’s maiden name.  But then, that’s the name of another man I never knew, though through no fault of his own.  And I can certainly judge his “worthiness” by the children he raised.  So why haven’t  I changed it?  Well, I’ve been working long enough in the same field that many people know me by name, and I’m getting tired of coming up with biting responses to far too personal questions.  And my sisters.  I’m not sure they would like it, as they also carry his name, and I’m not sure they have the same level of resentment that I do.

keep-calm-and-whats-my-name-againIt’s so funny…if I were getting married, the choice to change my name – or not – would be taken for granted.  But as a single woman who thinks of changing my name for my own reasons, I feel like I would have to explain.  I know, I know, that’s my own problem, yet it is a real one.

For now, I’m leaving it alone.  For now.  I’m never really sure what I might do in any given moment, let alone at any time in the future.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Things My Mother Said

We lost my mother on June 23, 1995, and it’s still hard.  But the things she used to say help every day.

Glamour shot.

Glamour shot.

  • “It takes a bore to be bored.”  I cannot recommend this too highly to parents of children with mild ADHD.  It worked (and works) for me.
  • “The distance from our house to theirs is the same as from their house to ours.”  About friends who said I lived “too far away” when we moved to an uncool neighborhood.  The more profound point, of course, was that friends should make equal effort.
  • “Don’t worry about her behavior.  Worry about your own.”  Well, obviously.
  • “Be nice to your sisters/cousins/friends/everyone.”  Again, obviously.  But boy, it’s hard sometimes.  Then I remember how I never met anyone who thought my mother was not nice/kind/a great friend/a wonderful human being.  And of course, they are all right.
  • “I love you.”  I love you, too.
My mother in the article announcing her marriage.

My mother in the article announcing her marriage

  • My mother with my Nono and Nona at the party for my Christening in 1967.

    My mother with my Nono and Nona at the party for my Christening in 1967.

     

My mother and I...1967.

My mother and I…1967.

My mother, my sisters, and I - Matheson Hammock circa 1971.

My mother, my sisters, and I – Matheson Hammock circa 1971.

One of our last photos together...my mother and I at my YSD graduation - May, 1994.

One of our last photos together…my mother and I at my YSD graduation – May, 1994.

Happy Thanksgiving

I am grateful…for my family, my friends, my cats, my home, my work, my play, my yoga…I hope you have much to be grateful for as well.

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