Category Archives: rowing

Make Each Moment Yours

Standard

I am so glad to be back here. Typing away. I have been very busy, of late, tending to several things that have either brought me great satisfaction or consternation; sometimes both.

The quote in yoga last week was along the lines of choosing a life for yourself. That no matter how laudable the pursuit, that if it’s not your idea or it doesn’t set your heart on fire, then it’s not for you, and pursuing it may very likely leave you feeling empty.

I have been faced with several situations which fit right up that alley, a few of them lately. Most of them were foisted on to me as a child and then I just learned that fighting someone else’s battle or managing someone else’s business was just the way the world worked, even though I was rarely the benefactor, nor did my life advance much because of my involvement.

When one parent is unavailable for one reason or another, the other parent will likely enlist a child to either manage the deficit or solve the problem, sometimes both. If that scenario rolls out enough times, the boundaries get blurred so much that it’s like wiping Crisco on a windshield. The only way to cut through and see what’s going on is to eliminate all the smears. If you’re in a situation where that simply didn’t ever really happen, then the wipers just glide over the haze and the boundaries are never really established or even imagined. You can’t see what isn’t clear.

That’s how a lot of my life went for many years. I took on way too much because I thought I was there to solve everyone’s problems. Adult responsibilities were abdicated on to me (I can’t speak for anyone else so I don’t) and slipped and slid through the Crisco.

The boundaries and responsibilities aren’t vetted and established until someone with a clear mission in mind and a strong sense of advocacy comes along and wipes down the glass with a really firm hand, soapy water and a brand-new squeegee. There it all is, laid out before you: what’s yours and what’s not yours.

Suddenly you are lost. The sun is too bright. The air is too cold, clear. The ground is too stable. The items are to large. The items are too small. The items look totally different than they used to. The items don’t fit anymore. The items aren’t familiar. You want your old items back: at least they were predictable in their unpredictability. You want the grime and the haze. You miss the instability it all assured: at least you could count on the crazy. You miss the confusion because now, you aren’t a fixer or the blame or the cause or the cure. You are just … you. Responsible only for your Self and the choices you make, and you’ve made all along for your life.

Yikes.

So you get used to that after a while. Sometimes you even enjoy it, this not having to apologize for the weather if it rains on a picnic day; or if the store is out of the requested ice cream; or if there are no close-enough parking spots outside the movie theater / restaurant / boutique / bookstore / psychiatrist…

I used to feel responsible for stuff like that. When you grow up with a parent who says you’re the reason s/he gets up every day, then the algebra would also dictate that you’re the reason s/he DOESN’T get up every day… It’s a double-edged sword.

The relevance any of this has to my current life is that I’ve recently attended to some things and made a few choices that have not always been “mine.” I have not always chosen them with My Interest in Mind. I chose them because it felt socially appropriate, or I wanted to Be Someone to someone else, or because the void existed and I didn’t have enough guts to say “no.” PTA vice president, PTA president, Sports Club President, rowing partner.

Always a recipe for disaster: following through on someone else’s plan because you don’t want to let them down. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I DONE THAT?!

IMG_4704.JPG
That’s me on the left.

You learn who you are real quick when you’re in a tiny boat with another person in the middle of a river committed to a six-mile row, three miles of which are dedicated to competition. The good news is that we came in second. The could-be-better news is that I likely lost my patience and sacrificed an otherwise amiable friendship because I wanted to stick to my commitment and see my way through the race because I was not going to let any static take me under: either I was jumping out or we were going on.

My therapist would tell me that blending personalities in a confining space (be it a racing shell, a marriage, a dorm room or an airline cabin) is a tricky endeavor no matter the context. That blending is ok as long as respect is shared and the work is doled out fairly. In a rowing shell, it’s possible to not do your share of the work, but it’s unlikely if you make good time (and we made good time, we could’ve gone a little faster, but seeing as how we’d only been together six times previous, I’m pleased with how things turned out). It’s also possible to confuse your perception of the work due to stress or in my case a conscious effort to counter the stress load borne and expressed by the other person in the boat.

I wanted to row in a race this fall. I didn’t get to last year because Mom died and I was overwhelmed with grief. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to this year because I didn’t get on the water very often, so when the chance popped up to row a double with someone as equally interested and dubious of her own performance, I was nervous, but grateful for the chance. Her enthusiasm was contagious.

Ruh-roh…

The thing is (and here’s where we get back to the yoga quote and the lessons I had to unlearn earlier in life by not taking one someone else’s program): just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should.

When things get crazy in my world now, I tend to go quiet. I used to jump in and lose my mind and amplify the craze (i.e., act like an idiot) because it was easier and way more fun than rationality, but those bells can’t be unrung. So now, after years of couch time and a ton of mat time, I just breathe deeply, sit on my hands and do my best to wait.

The first day we sculled in the double I chalked up the chatter to jitters and newness. I thought a few things about some of the drills we did right after warming up and I wondered about the near-constant outflow of commands at me. It had been a while since I’d been coached, and about four years since I’d had a coxswain, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to always be about drills and racing starts and other things so early in our pairing — after all: this was casual; we’d not even discussed a race yet. (We’d discussed plenty else.)

The second day, the chatter continued and I have to tell you: as a yoga person and someone who’s used to being alone a lot in a shell, the talking became unnerving. I didn’t mind talking while we stopped for breathers and breaks, but it wasn’t like that. I decided I could do a race, hopeful that things would ease down.

I also started to fall into a creepy and familiar place, the Crisco. The boundaries were getting blurry and I started to feel responsible for this person’s ease and I also wanted to be liked, be trusted and be considered a help. (Bad move.)

So I talked to my husband. I described the scenarios and conversations. He told me he was getting antsy just hearing about it. He noticed I started ramping up too, taking on the anxiety / jitters I was steeped in in the boat. “You have to get to a place where you’re comfortable, Mol, or this is going to be a disaster.” I noted internally that I felt like I was with my mother when I was in the shell with this partner. She expressed so many verbal observations, too many issues with the rigging, the oar locks, the slides, the water (it was too dark), the position she was rowing, the footstretchers, the boat itself… Ordinarily, I’d consider what I could to make it all better — make it stop, just make it stop! — solve the problem. Be the fixer. But not anymore. Something switched in me and I knew the difference between what was mine and what wasn’t.

The following week, I asked my coach to observe us in a launch, it was great. She was super helpful and really got us to work on some of our stroke habits and errors. She said, “No talking in the boat. When you talk in the boat, you screw everything up; you lose place of your hands, where your breath is, where your blades are, where you are on the slide… just be quiet. Eyes ahead and no talking.”

‘No Talking!’

I WAS SOOOO HAPPY!!!

A funny moment occurred between my partner and me after a row later that week. She expressed her awareness of her chatter and said kindly but without apology that when she gets nervous she talks a lot. “I understand,” I said, because I did understand. “I used to be like that,” I said.

She asked, “Oh? What do you do when you get nervous?” I laughed a little and paused. I said, “I just get nervous. But I don’t talk anymore. I get quiet and try to focus. My nervous chatter is wasted energy,” and I finished to myself, “I still seek a moment to learn to be OK with the silence.” There was no comment.

A couple more days of practice and she made a few more asides about seats we rowed and inquiries about the shell. I took on one request which made sense for safety and fitting concerns and that was taken care of. I also took on another request, despite my better instinct to let it go. I paid for that one. After that, I was out. I realized they weren’t mine. (There was that old Crisco lurking again: solve someone else’s problem.)

I decided ahead of time that regardless of how the event was going to end up, that I was going to hold fast to whatever fraction that belonged to me: that I would make it mine and I would make it good.

The night before the race we had a disagreement because of a late-night email she sent me which I considered an unnecessary distraction / spill over from her continued apprehension about the class in which she registered us and boat we’d rigged and were promised. I was done. I offered to drop out and let her go in a single. I was determined, even at this late juncture that I was still going to brand for me whatever I could of the training and of the moment: the choice was going to be hers because the problem was hers. I had to leave her with her stuff.

This was a big moment for me. I’ve been faced with many of them before and I know this won’t be the last. The more experienced I become with familiar personalities and Crisco moments, the faster I’ll be looking for the squeegee to cut through the muck and show me what’s mine.

We spoke by phone the next morning and agreed to race. We smoothed over what we could. There’s a song “Loving a Person” by Sara Groves which starts out, “Loving a person the way they are isn’t just a small thing, it’s the whole thing …” and it goes on to say “it’s the beauty of seeing things through…” and that was the message for me in this situation. I was going to accept how she was and how things were, but I didn’t have to own what wasn’t mine and I was going to see it all the way through — we’d worked hard to get here in a short amount of time and if parlayed properly, we were both going to be each others’ teachers.

When we pushed off to row the 2.5 miles to the starting line, my further (Crisco) attempts at smoothing things over were received but brushed aside; she made it clear, there would be no group hug. That’s the part about being in a small boat in the middle of a river that teaches you about yourself: just get it done (seeing it through). Sometimes you gel, but not then. It felt pointy and perfunctory for the most part, but I can’t own that. It was never mine. What’s great for me is that I realized it and we had no choice but to work together to get it done. To me, it was a success!

It was a “head race” which is a longer distance and thus is usually following the curves of a river. You’re also racing a clock. The starts are staggered to allow for room on the water. We came in second of three boats. Although we were the first to start, we had our asses handed to us by the boat which started immediately after us. It passed us in the first two minutes but we kept the boat which started after that one where it belonged. I knew we wouldn’t likely win, but I didn’t want to finish last. That was my intention.

And I’ve decided that it has to be this way for all of my life. That if I grew up with dysfunction, that I have to find a way to make it worthy and valuable: mine. That if I have a crappy time at a party or event, that I find something about the occasion that makes it mine, so that it doesn’t belong to anyone else: I wore my favorite shoes or scarf or the weather was gorgeous that night or I heard an old favorite song I’d long forgotten.

So it was with the race: I made mine what I could. The weather was perfect, the water fair and I had a great workout. Are you wondering? The chatter in the boat continued but I just did what I could to listen for “need to know” content and I want to say we kept our spirits up even though we were both pretty raw from the previous night’s discourse.

We made good time, about 25 minutes and docked well “That was very professional!” the dock master said and he was right, she’s a terrific bow seat even though she is convinced she’s terrible at it. I disagreed once and moved on.

So I guess this is a long-winded way of inspiring you to know the difference between what’s yours and what isn’t yours. What’s yours feels good and it fits. What isn’t yours feels forced and might cause you some struggle — but you can always make it yours when you find the beauty in it.

Thank you.

Missives from the Mat 7 — Mission Statements, Tuning In, #Intention, #Neutrality, #Business, #Management

Standard

If you think this post is only about yoga, you’re wrong. This post is about life, intention, and something we all need some help with from time to time: staying focused.

When I was on the retreat (yes, I’m writing about the retreat again as a point of reference), we “tuned in” with a chant every time we did something new or began the day or the session.

The chant was usually “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo.” If we’d already done that and took a break from a lesson but came back to the lesson, we’d do another chant, “Ad Guray Nameh” and that would be for the all-important purpose of: focusing, getting us all BACK on the same page, continuing the tone we set previously, and continuing the intention.

For the purposes of the yoga instruction, it’s not unlike the Pledge of Allegiance that is said in schools across the country. It’s not unlike the oath a witness takes with one hand on the Bible when in court. It’s not unlike “Amen” at church. It’s not unlike “to those about to die, we salute you” in the gladiator days. It’s not unlike singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” before a football, soccer, baseball, hockey game in stadiums and little league fields dotting America. Think: Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day speech.

Y’dig?

Doing all those things Sets The Tone for what we’re all about to do. That’s all it does. It doesn’t change your religion, it doesn’t make a radical shift in your already unique personality, it doesn’t mean you’ve joined a cult. It means you’re simply On Board with what you said you’d be on board with… it’s basically committing: putting your money where your mouth is for the purposes of what you’re about to do. Y’know, “checking your ego at the door.”

So while I was on that retreat, I realized about halfway through it that I hadn’t seen a mission statement for the organization I’d just begun presiding: the high school rowing team’s Board of Directors.

This was a big deal to me because I’m big on communication and intention and orientation: not only knowing what the hell we’re doing, but also WHY we’re doing it, it’s part of my 3 thing (see yesterday’s post).

The lack of the mission statement (to me) highlighted many of the previous Boards’ struggles: dysfunctional behavior, personal agendas, bias, the lack of neutrality, and a host of other really random, toxic and odd behaviors befitting an entire season of “The Office.”

So for the two days I was home between the vegan yoga retreat I’d closed and the bacon beach bacchus I was about to experience, I’d decided to come up with a mission statement. I had based it on the PTA mission statement I used as my e-mail signature and posted on my bulletin board during my tenure.

Having that verbiage kept me impartial, it helped me to remember, at the time, that my clients were people who couldn’t open their own milk in the cafeteria, or who couldn’t yet tie their own shoes, or who needed to ask permission and then get a buddy to go to the bathroom with them. I’d often reminded the past principal of her clients during one of our many heated exchanges and I often got the sense that she didn’t like that reminder.

So for the rowing team, I needed to keep my eye on the prize here as well. Who are my clients as the president of the board of directors that oversees and manages the high school rowing team?

Are my clients the parents? No.

Are my clients the coaches? No.

Are my clients the other officers? No.

My clients are the at-times gangly, pimpled, awkward, loud, self-conscious, diamonds in the rough we call high school students.

So when I’d proposed my mission statement to the other officers on the Board, I began with a simple relative comment, “All of you were informed that I was on a yoga teacher training retreat for basically 20 days, in total. If you’re at all familiar with yoga, you might know that many classes begin with a chant, ‘om’ before the work begins.” I got a couple weird stares, and a couple self-conscious snorts from some of my fellow officers… that was about them, not me, so I ignored them.

I continued, “I’m not here to make you do that. I have no expectations that any meeting ever will begin with ‘om.’ The purpose of saying ‘om’ at the start of a yoga practice, group or solo, is to ‘tune in’ to get everyone / your spirit on the vibrational level of what you’re about to do. I won’t go into the energy and the vibrational effects of chanting because that’s not what this organization is about, but what I am here to do is to create a mission statement to do the very simple-sounding yet difficult act of creating neutrality and inspiring all of us to work in the best interest of the rowers, not our children who happen to be rowers, but all rowers. Capiche?”

The awkward glances and snorts were replaced with seating shifts, focused eyes, throat clearing and “great idea.”

So the mission statement I’d created for the rowing Board is open for discussion, editing, critique, and intention with the other officers. We will vote on it at the next meeting after everyone gets a chance to process it and think of how it might need any changes. I’m pumped. One of my goals all along, in all of my life actually (as it’s becoming stunningly clear to me every day) is to clear the lines of communication; to encourage people to be more aware of the words they say and more importantly, to hear the words other people say.

I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: 95% of all communication is nonverbal. That means eye rolls (contempt), shoulder shrugs (frustration), pursed lips (conflict, fear of speaking), pursed lips with puffed cheeks (‘you’re full of it and here it comes…’) dead stares (anger), fast nods (agreement, but rushing, ‘get on with it’).

I was speaking to my husband about this mission statement stuff this morning and we agreed that we should create mission statements for ourselves, on a personal level, to make sure we are honoring our own personal growth which will naturally affect the growth of the organizations we serve: our children, our colleagues, our neighbors, our friends, people in traffic with us, people in the coffee shop with us, people on retreat with us, our families of origin and … our Selves. Maybe when we get all that done, we can come up with a mission statement for our little team here at the house.

So, do you (at business, at home, on the street, in the car, at the water cooler, on the couch with your kid, in the bed with your lover, in the mirror with yourSelf ) have a mission statement?

What is your mission in life? To be world-class selfish or to be world-class awesome?

Mine is to be world-class awesome. As soon as I finalize it, I’ll share it.

Thank you.

Three Things Thursday 5 — Water: Boathouse, Beauty and Breathing

Standard

Aoomaigaaaad.

I started a post detailing and lamenting my situation with my parents, their ambitions to age in place, and their requests for consults and professionals (which I delivered) despite their patent and wholesale inaction, and total avoidance of meaningful change to make any of it possible. You can’t make a fish climb a tree. The gist of the post was about need for boundaries and how they help everything, which they do, but it was too much and I am too close to the subject matter to make it digestible. Let’s just say this: it’s FUBAR.

There’s nothing more I can do for them short of apoplexy-inducing betrayal, so I won’t do anything until they do, and that’s highly unlikely. We will have to stay in crisis-reactive mode as we resigned ourselves to be four years ago. For me to turn myself inside out to help them simply because of a sense of guilt is futile, ego-driven, vain and “fixer”-istic: unhealthy. Consider this: I would be doing & wanting more than they would to improve their situation. That’s toxic.

One of my favorite quotes of all time, by the amazing Marcus Aurelius is this: “The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”

Word.

The good news is that writing the-post-you-will-never-see was excellent catharsis. The bad news is that it kept me up until 2am. I’m ok though. But the birds are chirping outside, the sun is shining and so I am reframing: taking back my brain and changing gears.

Three things for our mind, body and soul. This is really simple and it has nothing to do with aging.

Mind: Boathouses

Rowing season has begun and I’m thrilled to be making a daily trek back to the boathouse to drive my oldest son and up to six of his teammates for practice. They are chatty, funny, smart and polite kids. Their parents should be proud because they’re doing an excellent job raising their children.

Yes, it’s cold as butt, yes. Last week, ice was forming on the hull (body) of the shells (boats) and the wind chills were likely insane, but rowers are insane and my son is thrilled to be back on the water despite his shivering when he returns home. The other night, we had 2″-4″ of rain fall during 38˚ temps and 20mph winds. He came home a boysicle, but he had a huge grin on his face. That’s all that matters. When we got to the boathouse yesterday, it was 15˚ warmer than the day before and the sun was sort of out. This kind of change in the weather enhances the mindset when you’re in the boat to such a degree that the difference can be as apparent as walking compared to crawling.

For me: it’s being back down there, if only for a moment to look down at this and know soon, I too will be back in my racing shell and sculling toward peace; leaving the bipeds and their noise behind.

racingshellOBC

this is my ride.

View from the Bow

this is a view from the Bow

Body: Breathing

So the sun was out yesterday and I went for a nice long walk with The Murph around the ponds after dropping the boys at school.

I used the “panorama” option on my phone to take this. I love the reflection so much. What a glorious morning.

My breathing intensified, my legs warmed up and so did my core. I actually had to unzip my parka, despite the 37˚ outside. I felt alive and “OK” — you know, peaceful, for the first time in a while. I almost wanted to run. I haven’t been able to do this very often because the kids being home. The walk did me some good because I was able to appreciate the …

Soul: Beauty

Of our physical world. No matter where you live: in the mountains or in a city; on the water or on a suburban street: there is beauty everywhere. And this time of year, the days are getting longer, the grass is turning green, trees are starting to bud, and the daffodils are coming up beside their friends the tulips. I saw some totally new ducks at one of the ponds — two pairs of these, they’re called “Hooded Merganser” ducks:

This one apparently has something to say. I will try to get my own pictures of them. I will have to go without The Murph because he scares them. from http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/PHOTO/LARGE/hoodmerg_gregschn.jpg

Isn’t this gorgeous? He was with his wife (male birds are hotter and all birds are monogamous) and another Merganser couple along with some Mallards and Canada Geese. It was really glorious to behold them all. Just doing their thing, y’know: being waterfowl. So, no matter where you live, establish some personal boundaries to take back your space and time for yourself first and get out and breathe to take in the beauty. No matter where you look, it’s there waiting to be appreciated.

I guess the underlying theme is water today. Go drink some, look at it and get in it if you can.

Thank you.

It Was the Year 2013 When Molly…

Standard

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions; they’re gimmicky to me. I started this blog on 1/3/11 because of that.

I am however, giving myself license to do something I’ve never done: plan goals for the next year.

I typically shy away from such commitments because they’re … HELLO!… commitments.

But it’s a new me, fresh out of the box because I’ve had a couple epiphanies and they feel right.

The first epiphany is that I am hereby making myself eat crow: I’m going to go ahead and read / edit / and work my posterior off on my book that I started wrote over the summer during “Camp NaNoWriMo.” I recounted my dilemma with NOvels in my Peevish Penman about NaNoWriMo post: I have a pedantic fixation with the fact that NOvels are supposed to be fiction but I lamented that my first NOvel end up being a thinly veiled memoir and that’s not a NOvel despite the truth that most fiction has some basis in actual events. To add pine needles on a campfire, the plot thickened when my latent issue with memoirs cum NOvel was bolstered by two conversations I had after finishing the book.

The first chat left me feeling like a piece of fake moss (that’s pretty bad). Nuances of that conversation can be found here in the post I wrote called “Fear: Eff It.” The second chat revolved around the correct suggestion that most financially successful  memoirs are written by famous people and so why should I bother writing a memoir if I’m not famous? Well? Why should I?

Fake (Kate) Mosshttps://i0.wp.com/24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m23id0cHVv1qmwrnuo1_1280.jpg

Fake (Kate) Moss; man I love the internet… http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m23id0cHVv1qmwrnuo1_1280.jpg

Back to effing the fear… I have re-read the following paragraph more than a few times and I wonder why I am writing this and I realize that it’s not really for me anymore, because I’ve decided. I think I’m writing it for anyone reading this who might need a nudge to keep going.

To all of this I say, “why not?” Who’s life is this? Mine. Who’s book is this? Mine. Is it all fiction? No. Does that matter? No. Is it insightful? HECK to the YEAH. I have things to say and share them in a detached, experienced and observant way that might help a reader shine a light on their own woes, maybe provide that “aha!” moment. Is this asking too much? Lots of people have told me that the candid stuff I write resonates with them and the funny stuff entertains. My writing is “me on paper.” So I’m moving forward.

I hadn’t moved forward until now because I was afraid of failure and I’ve allowed some really crappy excuses (plus some really awesome fake ones too: I’m a cryptologist and a neurosurgeon and I just don’t have time; I am an international secret double agent pirate who needs to drive all her Indy cars to make sure they stay in tip-top shape; all my gold records need to be cataloged for insurance purposes) to get in my way.

I’ve got my own definition of “successful memoir”: one that’s finished. More about the failure thing: I’ve got nothing to lose. I have a great life, husband, kids, home, gig. Will it all suddenly vanish if I resume work on this tome? No. So the exercise for me must be to see it all the way through. It’s about growing the heck up and following through on a plan fercripessakes.  I mean c’mon: who writes 75,000 words and does nothing with them? (Uh… well, I didn’t …)

>cue “Battle Hymn of the Republic”<

Well, that’s not who I am. Anymore. I’m a finisher and a recovering people pleaser and that’s why I’m moving forward. I stopped before because I listened to some people who shared their unsolicited thoughts.

>stop bagpipes. cue silence. cue crickets. cue silent crickets.<

The inverse of those comments were proffered over Thanksgiving, first by my nephew who asked me almost immediately upon seeing me, “Hey Mol, how’s your book coming?” (WHA-??) and some other peeps who asked me, “C’mon: who writes 75,000 words and does nothing with them?! Get on it!” And they got me thinking, and I’m sure the champagne didn’t hurt either, but I countered, “Well, it’s a thinly veiled memoir… and I’m not famous, so why bother … ” and before they could reply, I immediately turned to stick my head in the oven, but the turkey was in the way.

My friend said, “Molly, it’s a different world now; publishing has changed, people are much more candid and open and it’s OK; you don’t have to be a burnt-out rehabbed movie star with a ghost writer to have a fascinating memoir. People need to hear your story, trust me. That’s why it’s telling itself through you…. come out, the oven’s electric.”

Fear. NnnnnNnnnn.

My fear has been about putting myself out there but it’s been muted a little through this tiny blog. Trust me: opening this blog two years ago was a Big Deal for me. I’ve grown through it, I’ve ‘met’ some awesome people through it, I’m really grateful for it and it’s shown me that I’ve got more to offer than 600-3,000 word bits of myself. When 2012 is over, I will have likely almost 10,000 viewings (including the Russian mobsters, Nigerian princes, penile implant dealers and their bots) since I started here on WordPress in May.  That’s a long time. I love it, but it’s time to evolve. To my point, I just read a great post about writing and something called the “pivot point.” I think I’m there.

I’m on the pivot point precipice: I’m ready to go back? jump and look at the stuff I wrote in June and cry over it. My oven is electric too. I am COMMITTED to this and it might take a long time. That’s ok. Nothing good every happened overnight. I just read a great post about not giving up.

The second epiphany is more of a sub-epiphany: I’m not sure I’m a good blogger; well, that sounds like a pity party whose invitations are about to be returned… all this means is that I’m not a successful and super-popular blogger and while I whine and moan about that privately to my shoes, I also thank GOD that I’m not super popular because that’s a lot of pressure. A lot of the more happenin’ female bloggers are savvy on current events; others write wildly about their lady parts, shoes, feminism, parenthood or shoes (always with the shoes – hey, I wrote a snarky post about shoes – when I was 5 I was in a fashion show…) and they stick with it.

de pain! de pain!

de pain! de pain!

I chatted about this at the end of October (what is it about the end of months?) because I was gearing up for NaNoWriMo, which I bailed on because of a raging sinus infection (I thought the vise-like headaches were a sign from Mercury). I’ll still blog. I dig you guys. I have a lovely and reliable following of people who I think are getting it: I write entertaining random stuff.

Despite my cleaving, like a capuchin monkey, to the random idea, I know I have a formula and a voice. Everything I write is introspective and humorous as is the tone of my book (which is totally marketable because Mr. Big Bear and Miss Kitty said they’d buy it last week during our tea party under the dining room table as did some people I met on the street [which was probably a way to get me to put down the gun]). But I actually wrote a bit of it with marketing in mind because I know that books need a hook to get published and sell. I’m thinking I could market it through Hay House. (Check me out bein’ all brash and already talking about publishers an’ whatnot…Cedric! hold all my calls!

So not surprisingly, the second? third epiphany is that I’m funny and mindful. I’m not funny-slapstick-laugh-off-your-fanny funny. I’m witty (it’s a curse, believe me), I fancy Tom Wolfe, Dorothy Parker, PJ O’Rourke. I’m Irish and I’m a writer and this is how it’s gonna be. So I’m in… d’ya feel me?

OK OK… stop asking… keep your squirrel pants on.

we can't see his pants.

we can’t see his pants.

The book: It’s about a woman who learns, through the work with her therapist, that she’s the one who has to get her act together and move on. As an adult, while she’s free of  her chaotic childhood, she reacts to very primitive and deep triggers that make her hang on to anger and resentments and maintain maladaptive behaviors and toxic relationships. It’s one thing for her to be in the dark about her stuff and not correct it; it’s quite another for her to have to take ownership of her life and fix it. Once she is aware of her patterns, her interest in growth is fierce but the fight is harder: for the anger and resentments are her reliable friends: they enable her prejudices, to stay the victim and to breed reactivity based on deep fears. All the tools she crafted in her youth (wit, sarcasm, anger, tenacity, brutal honesty, the ability to eat raw meat – just checking to see if you’re still with me) served to seemingly protect her and help her not self-destruct (in the physical sense). But those feelings are prickly vestiges and in order to grow, she has to open her eyes and let some things move through her.  She doesn’t hate her parents anymore, but she  wishes they’d been better parents and her hanging on to that wish is what kept her angry. For my protagonist, being mindful as a mother who grew up with such lacking examples of coping and nurturing left her with no direction. She was “asleep” for many years … this book is about her awakening and recovery.

It’s all fiction. It has nothing to do with my life, see?

So I’m moving forward with the book. And then I’ll write a scathing tell-all about the people who tell people not to follow their dreams. Then I’ll write another one, which is not about therapy and more funny and that will be good too. It doesn’t matter if I doesn’t sell a bazillion copies. It just matters that I do it. If it sold a bazillion dollars worth, maybe I could meet my beloved Vincent D’Onofrio… have him wear a kilt and him do a reading of my scathing tell-all, falsetto. Wow…

I am also hereby avowing to become certified to teach yoga in 2013. I’ve been at this gig for almost 14 years. I created a 31-Day Sun Salute Challenge over on Facebook if you’re game – come join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/108384532662455/

And…. I am going to run jog in a public 5k. I run jog 5ks as a regular distance when I run jog, but I don’t like to do them with other people because of that whole commitment thing. I need to get over that. So I am getting over that.

What do you all have in store for 2013? Or… what does 2013 have in store for you?

Thank you.