Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Letter to my Conservative Friends -- All 4 of you


Dear super conservative/religious friends (there are 4 of you I can think of off hand), 

The election is in 2 days, and I know you will vote yes to keep the definition of marriage between a woman and a man.  If you voted no, it wouldn't affect you.  In fact, it wouldn't affect me much either, not yet anyway.  


I don't anticipate change your "yes vote" to a "no vote," but I want you to hear me out.


These are the things I have learned from you in the last 28 years:

1. Jesus is an important dude.  He is your number one.
2. We may disagree on politics, but I've never doubted your love for me.
3. You've accepted me for me.
3a. at least on the surface.
4. We should love everyone.  Jesus did.  
5. Family is the second most important thing (behind God).


3 of the 4 of you (my conservative friends) are married to opposite sex partners.  I've never been married, so I have a few questions for you:

1. What do you love most about your partner?
2. When did you know you were in love and that this person was your soulmate?
3. Why did you decide to get married?  
4. What makes your marriage work?  
5. What's the best thing about your marriage?


For the naysayers or those who don't "get it" when I talk about why the marriage amendment is important to me, consider this:

1. What if someone told you that you couldn't marry the person you love?
2. What if everywhere you went, there were billboards, yard signs, television and radio ads, and people telling you that the way you love is wrong, a sin, gross, or not as equal love to theirs?
2a. Or lets say even less blatant things... such as the constant reminders of the normalcy of heterosexual relationships.  (i.e. "his and hers" everything).
3. Have you ever been scared to hold the hand of your partner in public?
4. Have you ever been scared to talk about your partner at work, because if you out yourself, you have no idea how people will react or treat you differently?
5. Have you ever been harassed by someone (a stranger, an acquaintance, a family member) when you were with your partner?


Here is why I am voting no:

1. Because I was taught (by you, by my mom, by school, and by society) that everyone is equal. 
1a. I realize that not every is treated equally, but that doesn't mean we are not equal.
2. Because someday, I want to experience the happiness of standing up in front of my family and friends marrying the person that I love -- just like you did or will do one day.
3. Because I want to have a family- you know- a beautiful wife and kids.  If one of us gets hurt, I want the other to be able to make medical decisions.  
4. Because I want my kids to know that they will grow up in a loving household, with two hot moms,  in a community that does not and never did discriminate.


I've been wanting to do more for the "Vote No" campaign, but I'm terrified.  I fear that I am not strong enough to call random people and ask them to please not limit my freedom to marry.  I worry that I will cry as I feel my heart break to hear someone who's never met me-- tell me that my love isn't valid enough to be called marriage.  

You taught me those basic rules-- treat others how you want to be treated-- don't lie-- do your best-- and so on.  You've taught me the power of God and how important He is to you.  You've taught me the importance of loving one another and the blessing of community and family.

I want that love, that community and that family.  I have that, from a lot of people, but it wrenches at my heart that I don't have it from you.  I cry as I write this, because I think about how much I love each of you, and how yes, we can disagree from time to time... but this time, it's personal.  I feel like when you vote yes on Tuesday, you're telling me that you don't support me and my right to be happy and be in love like you have been.  It hurts so bad.  I wish it wasn't true.  


All my love,
asha.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Allergies


Most days, I have stomach aches.  They are more uncomfortable than painful, but I will say that after feeling like crap days on end...it can take it's emotional toll.

Yesterday I took some enzymes at lunch.  I went to an apple orchard afterwords and wasn't feeling well.  I sat outside for a bit, and when it was time to go, I was super itchy!  My legs, my arms, my back, my head, everywhere itched!  When I got home (to the lodge), I stripped and was still itchy.  The only thing that provided some relief, was a shower with tea tree oil soap and some lotion. 

At dinner, the same person who gave me enzymes asked how they worked.  "It made me itchy" I told her.  Not quite the reaction she was prepared for.  I took some again at dinner to see if it was indeed these pills I was having an allergic reaction.

Last night, I had one of the best dinners I've ever had...and at 26 dollars, it needed to be good.  I had lobster bisque soup, followed by the best seafood pasta I've ever had.  I took the enzymes, and again, a few hours later was itchy all over my body!

I took a picture of the enzymes bottle (label) in case someone on the internet reads this and can tell me what may have caused the reaction.  I've never been allergic to anything, my whole life!  When I go to the doctors office and they say, "Are you allergic to anything?" I reply with "I'm allergic to bullshit."  

I'm hoping to figure out something about these stomach aches, but I now know that taking enzymes is not the right answer for me.  




Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rebounds

Little kids rebound better than Rebekah Bronson.

I'm hanging out with two little ones this weekend and its amazing to me that at one moment they are sad/crying/being kids...and within 30 seconds they can be happy/smiling/on top of the world!

In this way, I wish I were like a little kid. I wish I was able to forgive easier, and get over bad moods faster.

We can learn a lot from kids. We can learn what it's like to do as you want without embarrassment. We can learn to cry and giggle within 30 seconds. We can learn to ask the questions that grown ups are too passive or scared to ask.

Tomorrow I'm going to try and start embracing more of these playful and free-spirited expressions and ways of living.

Friday, October 19, 2012

17 minutes.

I have 17 minutes till I can post this blog for it to count for today.  Went on a haunted pub crawl... Quote of the night  from a 48 year old lady on the pub crawl bus--- "don't drive too fast, we're playing quarters on the floor."

Keeping it real.   Will write more tomorrow.  Lots to tell.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Type A


I like to classify my sister and my ladyfriend as "Type A" people.  Me... I'm more "relaxed, I just go with the flow."  Hmmm... or am I?

I don't go to sleep at the same time each night (unless "late" is a time), nor do I wake up at the same time.  Sometimes I sleep in pajamas, other times my clothes, and when I'm feeling hot (which could mean several things)... I'll sleep in my birthday suit.

Aside from the regular stuff like teeth brushing, there are a few things I must do before I go to sleep each night.  I will say that there's no "order" for these things, but still, they are adding up and sometimes can feel like more of a nuisance than anything.


Before I go to bed each night I must:

1. Do physical therapy.  I'm usually so tired by this point that I try and talk myself out of it, and occasionally will succeed, but other nights, I'll do my exercises.  

2. If I'm sleeping at my house, I turn on the space heater (in the fall, winter, and spring) or the window fan (in the summer).  I like to fall asleep with noise.  White noise, that is.  I also will usually crank the electric mattress pad on my bed, so that when I get in, it's already toasty warm.  Yes, I realize I am completely spoiled (and wasting resources) by doing this.

3. I fill out "The Chart."  I made this chart about 4 years ago, and minus one "bad week" when I left it blank, I fill it out every night.  I believe I've written about the chart before, so I won't go into many details.  It usually takes a couple of minutes to fill out, as sometimes it's hard to remember the things I did that day.



4. I fill out a budget sheet.  I track everything that I spent for the day.  Today, all I bought was lunch, at the co-op, so I would write "Lunch- 7.50."  If it's lunch, I write lunch.  If it's groceries, I'll write groceries.  Ideally, I should be saving money by buying groceries rather than lunches.

5. If me and the lady are having a sleepover, we both fill out "the book."  The book is this little blue notebook that each night, we take a few minutes to write one thing we appreciate about the other, and one or more things we are grateful for-for that day.  It's nice to get a compliment, or to know that my partner appreciates me, even if we may not have had the best day.  It's also nice to have to really be intentional in thinking about what things I am thankful for.  It's easy to go the whole day without paying attention to the little things, so taking time at the end of the day to reflect has helped me to realize how awesome my life really is.

6. When I can't fall asleep, I read Walden.  I've been reading that book for the last couple of years and haven't made it past the first couple of pages.  I'm not sure why I can't get into it (cuz the preface of the story sounds amazing).  Regardless, it knocks me out like NyQuil, but without the hangover.

7. Music-- sometimes I'll go to sleep with it on.  Other times, I won't.  It's pretty random on if I do or not.  I try not to listen to really fast/awesome music before I go to bed, because then I'll be up dancing around or will feel inclined to get my guitar and play for a while.  Have you ever heard the phrase "Wikipedia is my crack cocaine?"  Well, music is my drug of choice.  I can get lost in music so easily, whether it's listening to music, or just writing my own stuff.  


So there it is...my nightly routine.  The chart is funny-- I showed it to my friend Steve one time, and he said "Holy Sh!t you talk about your sister being Type A?  Look at you!"  Maybe he's right.  Maybe I am type A.  That's fine, I suppose.  I guess maybe that's part of growing up-- learning how to be more organized and scheduled.  Or perhaps it just means I'm getting rigid and losing my honey-badger/free as a bird/ride the wave attitude.  I suppose I'd prefer the latter.  



 


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Baby Blanket


I don't remember if I had a baby blanket, but I'd be willing to bet I did.  

It's one of those things that you carry with you when you are scared.  It's one of those things you tote along side you when you don't want to feel alone.

I'm 28 now.  No time for baby blankets.

Instead, my material security (literally) comes in the form of old t-shirts and pajama shirts.

When my grampa died, I got some of his clothes.  Included in this new wardrobe was an oversized shirt with fishing lures on it that read "women want me, fish fear me."  Yes, my uncle was confused when I claimed it, as we all we cleaned and organized the last of my grandparents stuff, but I didn't care.  I wanted that shirt. I wanted the comfort it resembled.  I wanted the safety it emanated.

I got several other shirts of my grampa's, including 3 pajama shirts.  I'm not quite sure how he fit in them, but apparently he made it work.  My gramma sewed pockets into all of his PJ shirts.  When I got them after he died, there were cough drops and kleenex's in the pockets.  It was gross...but also kind of adorable.

When I feel sad, or alone, I often hold on to something that reminds me of my grampa.  I'll put on one of his old shirts, or cuddle up with the pillow that came from his and my gramma's house.  For a long time, all of those things still kind of smelled like my grandparents.  My grampa didn't smell particularly good... but I associate the smell of him with being safe and being unconditionally loved.  

When I feel alone now days, I put on one of my grampa's shirts.  It's my silent way of saying "Hey, I need you."  The cool thing is that he always shows up.  

In one way or another, I'm never really alone.  It's good to remind myself of that sometimes.  



 


Why Physical Therapy is Important

Three months ago, I had shoulder surgery.  They repaired a torn labrum, and cut a bunch of tendons and put anchors in them.  For the next 6 weeks, I spent my time in an immobilizer.  I wore it every day, even to sleep in.  When I was told I could get rid of the immobilizer, I did.  My arm was essentially stuck.  The ball and socket of my shoulder had calcified, because it wasn't used for 6 weeks.  Soon after, I started Physical Therapy.

Reasons Why I do PT (most nights)...

1. So I can reach top shelf anything.
2. So I can spoon my partner.
3. So I can throw a ball, play hockey, and shoot hoops again.
4. So I can lift weights and get my strength back.
5. So I can play guitar again.
6. So I can rock climb, fish, and play tennis.
7. So I can carry a backpack without pain.
8. So I can get dressed without being so awkward.
9. So I can dance the Macarena.
10. So I can get full range of motion back.
11. So I can be normal again, and do all the things I used to love to do.

11 is the kicker.  I miss being able to do the things I love(d) to do.  I keep these things in mind each (or every other) night when I do my exercises. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Hurried Hungry Post


I rushed home tonight to write a blog before going back out again, because I thought I had made it a goal to write every day this week.  Come to find out... I was more vague.

I often post weekly goals on Facebook on Mondays.  I rarely meet these goals, yet I still think it's good to have them.  See this weeks' below:

Goals for the week:
1. Run 4x
2. Lift weights 3x
3. Brainstorm Halloween costumes for me and my ladyfriend
4. Write a couple of blogs
5. Submit a few resumes for part time gigs
6. Figure out/pay medical bills
7. Study 5x
8. Eat lunch every day
9. Drink 8 glasses of water every day
10. Abs 5x

I accidently missed lunch, and am about 6 cups of water short of my goal.  I didn't study....yet, but there's still time.  Same with an ab workout-- I can do that in a matter of minutes.

There's a lot of updates/photos I want to post on my blog, but I can't tonight, because I need to eat some dinner and accomplish a few of the goals I set.  I'm going to see if I can write each day (or night) this week on the blog.  I feel salty for not having written in 3 months.  

Until tomorrow...

 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

3 Months Later

I'm guilty of not writing in my blog for the last 3 months.  For half of that time, I was in an immobilizer, which made typing (and everything else) tough.  The last 6+ weeks though, I have no excuse.

Each week, I write a list of goals.  One for this following week will be to write in my blog everyday (for the week).  I have a lot of catching up to do.

I tend to write the most when I have a bunch of other things to do.... like now (I need to do school work, write a letter, bring cooking stuff to my partner's house, etc...). 

More tomorrow.... and hopefully I can be a bit more consistant. 



Sunday, July 8, 2012

What I Need


It was probably about a year ago when I wrote a post about "what I need."  In fact, it may have actually been called that, but this time around, it's for different reasons.  Way different.

It's Sunday evening, and I'm sitting at home alone after a wonderful weekend of visiting an old friend... literally old...she's 89.  (See photos).

Ardes and I in front of her garden.  July 8, 2012.  Photo by Laura D. 

Our badass pose.  July 8, 2012.  Photo by Laura D. 

Anyhow... shoulder surgery is on Thursday, and I kid you not... I'm terrified.

But rather than write about how scared I am, I thought it might be good to write a list of needs.  I HATE asking for help...I've spent 28 years pushing "help" away... but I figure if I put it out there ahead of time, maybe it will help me (and you).

Here's what it looks like, by the way.  I have surgery sometime in the morning on Thursday.  I'll find out either tomorrow or Tuesday what the exact time will be.  Then, for 6 weeks I will wear an immobilizer, which until either this Tuesday or Thursday I won't know if that means I can use my hand for anything or not.  I'm getting surgery on my right shoulder, which is my dominant side...so if I can't use my hand (knowing I can't move the rest of my arm), things like writing are going to be hard.  I'm taking Thursday and Friday off, with the plan of returning to work on the following Monday.

------------------------------

What I need from me (because it's only fair to make myself a list if I am going to put one out there for other people) :

-I need to clean my apartment.  It needs to be organized and clean, so that I can feel comfortable and somewhat happy.

-I need to get as much schoolwork done as possible, because the idea of one handed typing for 6 weeks is not appealing (although it is my reality I'm afraid).

-I need to have a daily photo challenge.... I've got my plan for July, and a few ideas for August.  I realized today that this daily photo challenge is a great thing for me, and helps me see the world differently (or more intentionally).  If I can't run, skip, bike, etc... I might as well have an artistic/creative goal to strive towards.

-I need to stock up on food.  Easy to make food, or at least easy to prepare.  Nothing bad for me, or gross... but being mindful that if I'm one handed for a while, I need to be smart when planning meals.  What this might mean is drinking a lot of protein shakes.  Oh, and grilling chicken... I can do that with one hand.

------------------------------

What I need from my friends/family/random-non-creepy-people:

-Immediate needs I foresee are things like help getting dressed, showering, etc.  I've got me a special someone to help out with these needs.  (Hey girl, Heyyyy!)

- I need folks to check in with me.  And not just the first week, but during weeks 5 and 6 too.  I worry that I'm going to be "forgotten" after week one.

- In terms of checking in, that might be something as simple as a phone call, text, or email.

- I have a feeling I'm going to have a hard time not being able to run around/work out.  I'd really love to hang out with people who want to do fun/relaxing things, such as watch movies, cook dinners, read, and just chill.  I don't need to do anything too wild.  And truth be told, I often appreciate low key days/evenings.

- I'll probably need help with things like folding my laundry.  I imagine as soon as I wont be able to do laundry, because I've got one good arm, I'll really want to fold EVERYTHING!  You know how that works, right?  I can't be the only one who does things like that.

- Does anyone like to type papers?  I don't want you to write it for me...but if there's a way I can find someone to type while I talk, that would be dope.  I will certainly have time to get school work done while I am recovering...and like the laundry thing, I have a feeling that as soon as I can't type, I'll really want to type and finish my papers.

- I'm going to need people to know that I hate asking for help, I'll push back, I'll probably be a bitch on occasion.... but deep down, I might really need to be taken care of for a while.

- I'm not fat, nor do I really worry about gaining weight, but being strong and healthy is important to me.  I'm mentioning this for 2 reasons.  1. I need to make sure I'm eating well, and might need some help with this.  I LOVE to cook, and I like to eat good food, but it maybe a pain to do it alone, so if you also like to cook, come over (or ask me over) so we can eat together!  2. I worry sometimes that I'll end up drinking too much beer when I'm in recovery.  As of now, I don't think I drink too much, but I also for the most part am pretty active.  I think during this 6 week period, the less I drink, the better, both for my physical and my emotional health.  What this means is, I may need some extra support not to just walk over to the bar and sulk over an IPA because I "can't do anything else with my busted shoulder."

- I need you to acknowledge that this is scary and hard for me.  That as tough and badass as I appear and really am... deep down, there's a part of me that really needs to be loved and cared for.

- That said, I can't put this "take care of me" thing on just a few people.  Really...that's how people will get pissed at me and pushed away.  

-If you know me even a little bit... now (after surgery) would be a good time to check in.  Legit... if we're not good friends now, we may end up being if we connect in the coming weeks.

- Movie suggestions.  Especially movies streaming on Netflix.  I have a feeling I'm going to be watching quite a few movies while I'm recovering.

- I'm also super open to ideas for exercise that won't hurt the healing process.  All I know of so far, is MAYBE being able to ride a stationary recumbent bike.  And maybe leg press.  No running, no lunges or squats... none of that.  I worry I'll go stir crazy, so if you can think of ways I can get out that physical release, let me know (....and for those of you who read that as sex, yes...I plan to have lots of it...so please give me other ideas...i.e. walking).

- I may need some help with errands.  I'm not exactly sure.  I don't know what driving is going to look like for me.  My plan is to be driving within a day or two of surgery... but doing things like carrying groceries in, that I might need help with.

------------------------------

This list is getting long.  Honestly, I think what I most need, is to know that I'm not going to be completely alone.  I need people to check in, to love me, to care about me, to know that I'm gonna push back and say everything is okay--when it may or may not be.  I have a feeling the first week after surgery, people will look out for me and take care of me.  It's weeks 2-6 that I worry about.

So...I guess that's it.  I'm gonna need help, and it's gonna be hard for me to ask.  So I'm putting it out there on the internet...in hopes that someday, you (whoever you are) may check in some day.

PS Cash gifts are always a good "pick me up" after surgery too.  Just sayin!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

One Month



Damn, not even a month.  I'm scheduled to have surgery on my shoulder on July 12th.  I decided this yesterday, and I'm freaking out.  Okay....maybe not freaking out, but I'm one small step behind freaking out.  

This weekend is Gramma's Half Marathon.  I ran it a few years ago, and was supposed to run it again this year, but I've gotten myself injured.  Shoulder, you ask?  No... my mother fucking knee.  I tried to run 9 miles the other day, as I figured this half marathon is soon approaching and might as well cram some last minute miles in.  It didn't work.  I ran 4.5 miles, stopped at my friend's parents house for some water and then continued on.  After a block or so from my friends folks....my leg, a sharp pain, it was awful.  I kept running, because I figured I could just "run it off." 

I had to stop a few times while trying to run home.  I hate stopping when I'm running (unless I'm completely winded).  I didn't know anyone's phone number, and I needed a ride home.  I'd seen my mom driving (right about when my knee started hurting), but I didn't know where she was heading, so I couldn't call her.  I ended up running/limping/hobbling to my 10th grade student spanish teacher's house and getting a ride home from her.  It was sweet of her to help me out, but also left me feeling sad that I couldn't finish my run because the pain was so bad.

I ran last night, less than 3 miles, and was in a bit of pain.  For those familiar with a half marathon, that's 13.1 miles.  It's doable, but not worth the pain.  I figure if after a week long break (since that awful run), that running 3 miles last night hurts me.... there's no way I can run a half marathon this weekend.  I'm bummed.

So, back to this shoulder surgery thing.  I have about a month until it happens.  I'm going to have to wear a sling/immobilizer for about 6 weeks...even when I'm sleeping!  The only time I get to take it off is when I shower.  I asked the surgeon if I could run with the sling/immobilizer, and he said no.  I asked if I could bike, and he said yes, on a stationary recumbent bike.  I asked if I could do lunges and squats.  He said no.  I'm sorry, but WTF am I supposed to do?  I already know that I'm gonna gain weight and get super moody if I can't run around and be active.  (Weight gain and moodiness are two separate things).  I've long identified as an athlete, and to not be one for a while is gonna be hard.  Running around, lifting things, throwing things...that's how I release my energy.  It's going to be a true test to see what happens when I can't do any of those things.

Which brings me to my next point.... I'm gonna need help people, so listen up.  I HATE asking for help.  I hate being vulnerable, and weak, and all that business... I want to be strong, take care of others, take care of myself.... but with only one working arm for 6 months, I may need to rely on my friends a bit.  

I'm just putting that thought and that energy out in the world now.... so y'all have a heads up.  Pretty people...you can be in charge of showering me.  Fast computer people...you can do my school work for me.  Funny people... you can come over and make me laugh.  Patient people... you can listen when I complain and support me with positive thoughts and energy.  Everyone else...cash donations are fine :)

But in all seriousness... I'm terrified of this surgery.  It's not a big deal...the actual surgery, it's the recovery period that is going to suck, and the need to have other people help me out.  

I have a month before all this happens.  I have to get a lot done, including: 

Schoolwork
Camping
Playing
Living
Batting cages
Flapping my arms around like a bird
Photography

I'm sure there's more...but I think for now my priority has to be schoolwork.  I know as soon as I'm in this immobilizer... I'll want to do my work, but not be able to, because I'll be typing with only my left hand.  That said, I need to get as much done as possible, now!  That means a little less playing, and a little more working.  

Totally recovery for my shoulder is supposed to be around 6 months.  That includes 6 weeks in a sling/immobilzer, 3 months of physical therapy/light movement, and a few more months of resting it.  It's gonna be a wicked long 6 months...but if I ever want to throw overhand again, or be able to lay in bed without my shoulder falling out of the socket, I have to get this surgery and rehab it like crazy.  

The next 4 weeks are going to be fun....as I gotta get all this energy and movement out of my system.  Oh yeah, and get my school stuff done too.  If you have ideas, for the next month, or the following 6 months after that, let me know!  

PS if you or anyone you know want's to run gramma's half this weekend, hit me up ASAP.


Yes, I look white.  No, it's not intentional.  This photo was not taken for the blog, but the blog did need a photo.  Self Portrait: 06.14.2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bad Dreams, Good Lessons


Last winter, I had a heart to heart with a friend of mine, in which I told him that I often feel like I'm waiting for something bad to happen, so that I am forced to make positive changes in my life.  I of course don't want anything bad to happen, but it just happens to work out that when someone in my life leaves...I go into flight or fight response (?) and get all excited about getting my life together and "being somebody."  My friend said to have my own funeral.  He said, take all the negative things about you, and bury them.  Brilliant, I thought!

Last night I dreamed that a dear friend died.  She was killed, but I didn't get the details.  It was heart wrenching.  I woke up several times, after crying in my dreams.  And then each time, I would go back to sleep, only to cry more.  "I miss her, I should have called her, I love her and her family."  I felt so many regrets.  It's weird, because in real life, I was actually going to call her yesterday.  In my dream, I remembered this, and thought "I should have called her yesterday, and now I'm a day too late."  

Have you ever had those feelings after someone dies?  The feeling that maybe you should have told that person how much you loved them, how important they were in your life, how much you appreciated and valued their friendship?  Have you ever had regrets about not saying those things, or not making the effort to reach out?  I have, on occasion.

This morning once I finally woke up and got out of bed, I realized that it's not too late to call my friend, which brings me to my next point.

Stopping by.  I recently learned that a newish friend is a "stopper-by-er" meaning that she likes when people just stop by for a visit, unexpected.  I like that too!  In all the calendars I carry (two of them), and how organized and timed my life actually is... I really appreciate the spontaneity in life.  

There's a quote that says: “The best things in life are unexpected, because there were no expectations.” -Eli Khamarov.  I like this, because I often do find that some of the things that bring me the greatest joy are those unplanned events/meetings/adventures.  I want more of that in my life.

I've been realizing more and more how blessed I am.  I have really good people in my life.  And while I think I sometimes do a good job of letting people know that I love them and care for them, it never hurts to say it again.  

It's memorial day weekend...a time to remember the people we lost in war, but also in general, I think.  Additionally, it's a time to remember and acknowledge the people that are still here with us.  A simple phone call, or stopping by a friends house may be all that it takes.  


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

That Gut-Checking-Midwestern-Woman



Occasionally, I'm out and about and see a woman who I get that "feeling in the gut."  There can be 2 kinds of feelings.... one is a "Oooh damn, she's hot."  The other is, "Ohhh damn, she's sweet."  Now, a note to the hot women who are also sweet...I'm not saying you can't have one and not the other...just stick with me on this.

There's a certain woman who gives me that feeling of innocence, of good intent, of "man, she's worked hard and has this innocent look to her, or this very intentional look" or something like that.  I can't really explain it.  It's this feeling in me that I get, of this woman is doing her best...I should really be doing my best. 

In my head, and I guess in my experience, she's a middle age (in her 60's) white lady who might be a bit on the round side, and she does cute shit like wear socks with sandals (which if you're my age...not so cute....when you're middle age, kinda cute).  She's the lady that when you look at her, she just looks like she has some really good intentions.

Note to my brown and black people...I'm not saying that I don't get this same gut-check-innocent feeling around brown and black women....cuz I do.  But this blog I guess is more specific to white women, maybe.  (don't hate...i'm calling it as i'm feeling it at this moment).  

Anyhow, it's like when I see this woman (who can appear in many ways), I don't know exactly what happens.  I think part of me misses my gramma, and part of me misses my mom.  It makes me think of the things I do in my life, the good and the bad.  It makes me want to try harder, not get angry, not get sad, etc.  It makes me want to be happy...like they are.  <-- Are they really happy?  I don't know.

I wanted to post a picture of the person I am describing, but there is no one person...so I did what anyone in my shoes would do.  I went to the online Lane Bryant catalog.  I know white women from the midwest who shop at Lane Bryant...and that's the women I'm talking about (who give me that feeling that I need to quit messing around and really get my life together).  But, to very little surprise, the Lane Bryant ladies didn't capture the image I was looking for.


Lane Bryant

So then I get a little more honest in my google search.  Show me.... "Middle Aged Fat White Lady With Short Hair" which got me to this, which is also not the look I was going for. 

Google Image Search has let me down

One last try... "Midwestern Typical Mom Short Hair."  The first photo that popped up was Laura Bush.  Sorry, but she is definitely not the woman who I'm talking about in this situation.

I don't know why pink Rollberblades are on here

I think the reason that this feeling arises for me when I see (some) middle age, Midwestern, sort of round, socks with sandals, adorned in Lane Bryant outfits... is because it reminds me of my mom and my gramma, two woman who I love, respect and admire so greatly. 

I'm in tears now as I write this, because I can see my mom and her friends initially getting tense as I stereotype a group of (round-white) women.... but in this instance, it's out of love.  When I see people who look like my mom, or who remind me of my gramma...it makes me think of all the bullshit I put them through when I was a kid, and how I wish I could take those things back, and could have been the perfect kid growing up (...like my sister).  But...for better or for worse, I am who I am. 

I was out with my friend Heidi on Sunday, and we were talking about relationships (friendly ones, broken ones, intimate ones, etc), and she said to me, "It's harder to be who you're not."  

My friend is right...it is indeed harder to be someone you are not.  I am me.  I can't change or fix the past, but I certainly can learn from my mistakes and the pain I've caused not only myself but the people that I love.  

As I move forward from here, I wonder what it is that is going to be the true change maker.  I wait and wait and wait for something BIG to happen, something life changing.  I don't need to wait.  I need to act.

I want to thank you (whoever you are) for reading this post.  It didn't go the direction I thought it would, but I appreciate being able to put my words and energy out into the world for people to know the real me.  For better or for worse... thank you for letting me be me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger


Lets hope, huh?

So...it's May 1st today.  It's weird to think that four months have already happened this year.  And minus getting a new job, and meeting some cool people, this year has kind of sucked.

I've been listening to a lot of new music lately....on one playlist...on repeat.  Go figure.  The last week or so, it's been a lot of female pop/rock artists singing "fuck you, i'm a strong woman, i don't need you" kind of stuff.  Like this song... that I am not ashamed to say... I like the video...makes me want to fist pump and dance in the streets.
 


Oh, and there's also this song....which seems all too fucking real sometimes...which reminds me, I want to write a blog about abandonment-- by friends, lovers, mothers, etc.  I don't have it in me tonight...but hopefully sometime soon.


Like I said, today is May 1st.  Time for a good month.  I'm ready for one.  This month is dedicated to getting my ass back on track, in terms of school, working out, and living life as it should be.  

Oh, and as far as my music goes...if you happen to be on spotify, and have cool playlists, let me know?  I'm always looking to expand my music listening experience.  That....and I think learning what people listen to is a super intimate and beautiful way to know someone.


Monday, April 30, 2012

30 Day of Biking Completed!



I did it.  I said.... I DID IT!!  I set out to ride my bike every day in the month of April, and get this....I did it.  Feels kind of good.  It was much less of a physical challenge than it sounds (as some days, I merely rode around the block).  It was however a challenge and test of discipline and time management.  I like challenges like this.... ones that are doable, but can be a true test of creativity and imagination as well.  I didn't write on my blog for about a month, because I felt like I couldn't write without posting photos, but I didn't want to post only some of the bike photos.  So...here they are...all 30 photos of my bike this month.
Day 1 - Fueled by Spontaneity
Day 2 - Fueled by Jameson
Day 3 - Fueled by Friends
Day 4 - Fueled by a Busy Schedule
Day 5 - Fueled by Dreams of Justice

Day 6 - Fueled by Momentum
Day 7 - Fueled by History
Day 8 - Fueled by Desperation
Day 9 - Fueled by Mega Churches in Suburbs
Day 10 - Fueled by Nordeast
Day 11 - Fueled by Extra Innings
Day 12 - Fueled by Pessimism
Day 13 - Fueled by Separation
Day 14 - Fueled by 94.
Day 15 - Fueled by Irritating Commitment and Guilt
Day 16 - Fueled by Vegetarians
Day 17 - Fueled by Memories
Day 18 - Fueled by Tacos
Day 19 - Fueled by Being Different
Day 20 - Fueled by Pedal Pubs for One
Day 21 - Fueled by Rain Delays
Day 22 - Fueled by Earth Day + Clean Air
Day 23 - Fueled by Lost Childhoods
Day 24 - Fueled by Blue Skies
Day 25 - Fueled by Jesus
Day 26 - Fueled by Emptiness
Day 27 - Fueled by Life
Day 28 - Fueled by Deadlines
Day 29 - Fueled by Small Worlds
Day 30 - Fueled by 30 Days of Biking Completed!!


Monday, April 2, 2012

30 Days of Biking


There's this online challenge to ride your bike everyday in the month of April.  I've decided to do it.  You can find out more HERE.

The idea is to ride everyday, and distance doesn't matter.  The part I don't really understand is how you report it.  The instructions say to share it online...but does that mean a quick one liner about where I went?  Or a photo?  Or a big long detailed story?  I'm not sure... 

Yesterday, I went on a ride with my friend G.  We rode to the river and sat by Tony's rock, talking about life, women, men, school, etc.  It was a beautiful day, with a beautiful friend.  I'm not sure if I'll blog about my rides everyday, but the plan is definitely to get on my bike everyday.  We'll see how it goes!

April 1, 2012.  Day 1 of the bike challenge. 

0.03 Percent Update


I spoke with a (teacher) friend about my most recent blog post.  "Do you think I'm a jerk?" I asked her.  She said no.  I asked what she would have done if in my shoes...

I would have said "Well, we better get you signed up for a lot of basketball teams then, because it's going to take a lot of practice to play pro basketball," she told me.  She also told me that to be an "expert" at anything, research says it takes about 20,000 hours of practice.  Wow.  That's a lot of practice.

I saw the kid a few days later, walking with his peers.  "Hey," I hollered out.  "I found the statistics on playing professional basketball."  He and his friends stopped to listen.  "0.03 percent," I told him.  His friends laughed.  "That's less than 1 percent, dude, so it's gonna take some work.  If you're not already, you may want to sign up for a couple of basketball teams, and start thinking about when you can practice.  It takes 20,000 hours to become an expert at something, so consider how you might manage your time.  It may mean working out before school, going to school, doing homework, and then practicing for an additional 3-4 hours."  

"Daaaayum," his friends said, "that's a lot of practice."  "It is, but if you want to play pro ball, you gotta put in the work.  And I'm happy to support you as best I can...you just have to let me know what you need from me."  "Cool," he said, and walked down the hall with his friends.  "20,000 hours, damn bro, you got hella work to do," his friend yelled out.  

I felt okay about this conversation.... I didn't crush the dudes dreams.  I offered a few suggestions, and my support.  That's about all I really can do.  It will be interesting to see what he does in the future.  I wish him all the best.  (<-- and not in the "save the children" kind of way, but in that I hope he follows his dreams and feels supported and cared for). He deserves it. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

0.03 Percent


I walked into a classroom the other day, and there wasn't much going on. 

I sat down and talked to a few kids, who were listening to music or playing on their phones.

"What do you want to be when you grow up" I asked, feeling kind of salty for raising such a generic question.

"A Physical Therapist" one kid said.  "Eeeew," giggled a few.  "You know they have to go 'down there.'"  I assumed "down there" meant penises and vagina's, so I reassured them that Physical Therapy doesn't really have a whole lot to do with below the belt.  (My guess is they were thinking of the physical exams they get which often time include a pap smear, etc).  

"What do you want to be," I asked a kind of roundish (i.e. overweight) young man, slouched in his chair, one headphone in.  "A basketball player," he said, with an uninterested/i-really-don't-give-a-fuck look.

I took a deep breath, because I knew I needed to proceed carefully.  

My first thought was to say, "If I had a dollar for every young black male who told me he wanted to be a professional athlete, I'd have quite a bit of money.... but if I had a dollar for every young black male who told me that AND lived to see/make it happen, I'd be broke." 

"Okay," I said.  "I want you to get online and look up what is the likeliness of that (playing pro ball) actually happening."  I thought if he did the research, maybe he could come to the conclusion that he may want to have a back up plan (i.e. an education, etc).  

I checked in with him a few days later, and he said he couldn't find an answer, and that he looked with his teacher too.  Apparently all they found was final four basketball bracket statistics.  I was impressed that he took the time to look, but disappointed he didn't find an answer.

Upon doing a very quick google search this morning, I came across a probability chart.  If this young man makes it to his senior year of high school and is playing ball, he has (assuming he's good) a 0.03% chance of playing professionally.



According to the Parents United for Public Schools Website, 36 % of African American males in Minnesota  (like the one who told me he wants to be a pro basketball player) will graduate high school.  I'm not as good at math as I used to be, but wouldn't then his 0.03% chance of playing ball be even less, because that number is assuming he makes it through high school. 

I want to have a conversation with this young man, and I'm not sure how to do it.  The odds are not in his favor.  Most, if not all of his teachers are white.  As an Indian female, I don't know how much my words will mean to him either, because I am not in his shoes.  I never have been, nor will I ever pretend to be.

I wish all the best for this young man, who will likely go somewhere if he is challenged in a positive way, and supported by his community (i.e. family, teachers, peers, coaches, etc).  I think it's okay to show him the website with the statistics...and from there, I selfishly hope he makes the choice to really look at his future and take the steps to make it meaningful for him.  

In an age where young black males are targeted, gunned down, and left behind in the classroom, I feel it's important to continue the conversation about education, racism, opportunity and achievement gaps.... but in doing so, making sure that the voices of those who are most affected are leading the conversations.  

I'm left wondering how I can help ensure that is happening, or if that's even what should be done?  

Meanwhile, I'm in my own set of shoes, fighting my own race/gender/sexuality/economic/educational battles...

Wearing a hoodie in honor, remembrance, and hope for Trayvon Martin and the future.  03.21.2012. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Today Looked Like


Most weeks, I try to make a list of goals.  Usually...I fall a bit short of reaching them, but still, I start with good intentions.  

These are this weeks goals (as posted on facebook yesterday morning):

1. workout/run 5 times
2. do some kind of ab/core workout 6 times
3. meditate twice
4. write/journal everyday
5. eat well (3 meals + snacks)
6. have a conversation with a stranger
6a. make them laugh
7. sign up for a race happening between now and june 16


Here's an update on the progress:

1. Took yesterday off, but had an awesome 5.5 mile run tonight after work.
2.  Did an ab workout after my run tonight.... but the yoga mat I was laying on had little shards of glass in it.  Ouch!
3. I suppose running doesn't count...although it could.
4. Wrote yesterday.  Will do again tonight.
5. The fish I planned to eat tonight...went bad.  Shoot!  I did get lots of protein throughout the day though.
6. Not yet, but was kinda chummy with one of the teachers at school.  Ha!
6a. Smiled and waved at everyone I ran past tonight.  Got lots of smiles in return.  It was nice.
7. Sure did!  I just registered for the Get in Gear 10k.


Not a bad day.... in fact, it was pretty rad.  Work was good, got to talk to a lot of kids, had a great meeting, a kick ass run, and a failed dinner.  

This morning, I decided that I wanted to be really intentional with my day, and I did that by being compassionate and patient with everyone that I interacted with.  I realized last night, when my sister was harping on my ass...that we really don't know what a person is going through at any given moment.  When someone is a jerk to you at the store or on the road...perhaps their friend just died, or they just got dumped, or just failed an exam.  You never know, unless you ask.  

I was kind of annoying on my run tonight, waving kinda goofy like at all these runners I crossed paths with.  But I took it on as a challenge.  How many people can ignore me/not smile, when I have an open heart, a big smile, a wave, and good intentions?  Not very many.

It's interesting how the day can really change just by being intentional.  Little decisions, like swapping whiskey for water, or going for my run tonight despite not having a buddy to run with...those small choices made for a great day. 

Here's to many more days filled with intention, smiles, hard work, and love...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 14, 2012 22:14


It’s closing in on the end of my 27th year.  I feel like I’m unprepared for this transition.  I’ve been wicked busy, in a good way, I think… but unprepared nonetheless. 

Each year, I feel like I need to write about where I’ve been, what I’ve done, what I’ve not done, and what I need yet to do.

27 was a hard year.  A really hard year.  I had a lot of people in my life leave – either through death or through their own fuck ups (or mine). 

I started working out, fairly hard.  I got stronger than I’ve ever been.  It was nice, until I got injured.  I fucked up my shoulder five times in five months.  It’s been horrible. 

All I want to do is play.

I’m about to be 28.  I can’t just “play” anymore. 

Legit.  I need to grow up.

Side note—I made it.  I made it to my 28th birthday.  That is…assuming I live another 1.75 hours, which should be the case.  I’m home safe.

I need to make a list of things for my 28th year.  I want it to be different than other years.  I feel like so many of my years have been so similar.  Same shit, same story, same hurt… I need to make a change.

I feel very unprepared.  I feel unprepared for my birthday—which really, why does my birthday matter?  I feel like my anniversary of being in America is a bigger deal than my birth.  I mean, how long have I had to fuck it up here?  Jeez…that’s quick pessimistic.

28 years ago, my mom gave birth to me.  The other day, I had a pretty intense conversation with an Indian lady who is the mom to a player on my hockey team.  She was telling me that if I went back to India, to find my mom, I could essentially ruin her life (my moms life, that is), because maybe she didn’t tell her family about having a kid out of marriage. 

Which I guess maybe this is the first year that I’ve thought about it… but I doubt that my birth mom has forgotten about the day she gave birth to me.  Maybe she is good with dates like I am.  You know, the important ones.  I’ve never thought about it, but maybe every February 15th, maybe she thinks about me.  Maybe she wonders where I am, what I’m doing, if I’m alive, okay, etc…

Every year, for the past several years, I’ve tried to think more about my friends and my family and my community when it comes to my birthday.  I’ve tried to keep my own self out of it…at least publicly.  I’ve been so concerned with trying to please others and make this whole thing not about me… that I’ve forgotten about where I come from.

Maybe it’s contradictory, but I feel like I need to check my own shit and give some thanks to my biological mom.  She’s probably having a harder time than me on this day. 

I need to take responsibility for my own self.  I’m about to be 28.  I have a lot of work to do.  I need to decide what I’m willing to let go of, what I’m willing to embrace, and where I want to go from here.  Maybe this time, I will take it seriously.