Friday, July 31, 2009

It's Been a While

I try to see myself as he sees me, but I have few clues. "You look just as you did five years ago when I left you," he says to me as we stroll hand-in-hand towards the beach.

His smile is approving, so I guess that's a good thing. In fact, if I really think about it and not play coy, he approves of just about everything about me; and those things about me that suck - he just accepts those and moves right along. That afternoon in the beach, I realize this simple little thing, even as I still can't quite wholly believe it: he has always accepted me as I am.

Another day, stuck in traffic on U.S. 1, I tell him how I still struggle with "the damage", that even though it's now not as prevalent as it was even six months ago, it still creeps up on me and knocks the wind out of me at the most unexpected moments (my exact words: "I feel sometimes like I was in a cult."). I tell him about how I think others see me, about that feeling I have that anyone who looks at me can only see all that is wrong and off about me, and he, who has known me so, so long, gives me a look and says, "I hope you don't think that about me."

And I don't. That's the point. He makes it so clear - so undeniably clear, with his actions and his words - not only that he doesn't immediately see or focus on whatever crap I feel so self-conscious about, but also that whatever it is he sees in me, he likes it. A lot. And whatever it is he sees in me, he wants to be around it. A lot. And this is the thing: that I don't have to wonder or guess or doubt, because he makes himself clear.

So much about us is as it ever was. We talk a lot about how our shared past helps us feel comfortable and safe and good together, even as we marvel at the ways we've grown and changed. And here is another key: no matter what's new or different or changed, we still click. There is a distinct connection, and we find that - as we did 16 years ago, as we did six years ago - we still have a world of things to talk about and explore and enjoy together. The ways we've changed and grown, there's nothing threatening or unappealing in them.

I'm repeatedly astounded by the freedom I have to be myself and the way nothing about me is up for his judgment. And more precisely, the way he would never dream of such a thing.

To have him back in my life is a surprise and a blessing I could have never hoped to ever know again. And here I am, knowing it.

We don't know what the future holds, and right now, there is nothing but the present moment and us sharing as much as we can before some big changes take place. And even in the face of this uncertainty, I would have it no other way than as it is right now: the two of us together, my hand in his.

Posted by Tere @ 7/31/2009   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Am Not Me

It's so strange to celebrate a birthday and start a new year (so to speak), and to feel so outside yourself at the same time. That's exactly how I've been feeling for days now, almost like I don't know myself or how to propel myself forward into the giant mass of stuff that's waiting for me to tackle it.

Maybe it's that. Between work and my personal life, I have SO MUCH to do that it's freakishly overwhelming. So much so that it paralyzes me and I feel like a zombie in my own life. I have like five different to-do lists (I should just have two, but I keep starting up new ones whenever I remember something else, and that really doesn't help matters). And every time I take a list and try to check things off, I'm overcome by this intense "I can't handle this shit right now" feeling that it's simply crazy.

I'm trying to take some time off right now. In fact, I'm technically on PTO - yet I'm working, trying to get things off my list, trying to plan and prepare for longer-term tasks. So no wonder I feel like this. Even time to rest and recharge is not really mine to do just that.

Blegh.

Posted by Tere @ 7/29/2009   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On This, My 32nd Birthday

How wonderful that my favorite poet so perfectly describes how I feel:



i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

-- e.e. cummings

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Posted by Tere @ 7/28/2009   | | | links to this post

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why I Love My Friends

I ask; they comply.


I'm a very happy girl.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/26/2009   | | | links to this post

Saturday, July 25, 2009

You Know What'd Be Really Neat?

A massage.

Oh wait, I'm getting one next week!

Whoooo hoooooooooooooooo!

Posted by Tere @ 7/25/2009   | | | links to this post

Thursday, July 23, 2009

At Least they Can't Take my Milk Away

Oh my hell. This week. Has killed me. On a personal level - things going on that I can't publicly discuss but that are quite seriously crappy.

One thing is not at all about me (and I cannot disclose another's personal problems, naturally), but is so incredibly sad and scary and all-around awful that it's deeply affecting me. The other is about a certain part of my life that I'd be stupid to blog about, but is making me feel beyond stressed and defeated and kinda freaked out.

So, with these two things, it's been one crappy week.

The funny thing is, when life gets like this, I automatically turn to the things that give me most comfort: a snuggle with Max; my favorite magazine; a big, extremely cold glass of chocolate milk; the sympathetic ears of my awesome friends; the arms of a very special someone (and no, I'm not at all ready to discuss that!).

Three times this week I've had these huge, ice cold glasses of milk. Each time, I've sat there frowning, worrying, thinking about these unfortunate things and feeling completely helpless.

As I've sat here with my fourth glass of the week, I remembered some info I'd received from the Milk Council, and my thoughts wandered to this: milk is a great source of comfort for me. When I'm down, when I'm tired, when it's late and I need a snack but want to be healthy: milk, milk, milk.

As a child, milk was a staple in our home. In hindsight, yeah, it must have been because it's super healthy and good for you and not so expensive; but to us, it was just yummy goodness (except my oldest sister, who I think dislikes milk, yet her fridge always has at least three or four cartons of milk). The more I think of it, the more I'm feeling like we're one milky family!

So, with my son, the legacy continues. He has two to three glasses of milk a day, and whenever he's tired, it's the first thing he asks for: lechita. We've had these cute moments at the end of the day, where I get my own glass and he asks for some, and we end up sharing it. Sweet, I tell you.

Anyway. I took advantage of having this neat site called to my attention and perused it, and it's funny to see all this info and recipes and tips about something that so much a part of my life but have never given much thought to. Well, other than the milk mustache, because I want my own 'stache photo spread, damnit! This, at the heels of my telling a new friend that I have the habit of researching everything, including, apparently, milk! Ha!

No, seriously. I like sharing stuff like this, and totally think you need to check this out for yourself.

So, a rough week ends with me chugging on my milk. I'm still feeling some worry about the things I first mentioned, but will raise my glass and hope for a happy resolution to both.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/23/2009   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Your "Only in Miami" Moment of the Week


It seems that whenever I'm chatting/emailing with a friend who doesn't live here, I always say at some point something about how Miami is a vortex of insanity, that things that happen here don't happen anywhere else, etc. It's one of the reasons I both love and hate this town.

Finally this week, something happened to help bring my point to vivid life. Behold:

Shark Stops Traffic In Miami
Miami Police Dealing With Mystery Surrounding Shark In Street

POSTED: Tuesday, July 21, 2009
UPDATED: 9:37 am EDT July 22, 2009

MIAMI, Fla. -- Miami Police were called to a truly bizarre scene at Northwest Fifth Street and Fourth avenue Tuesday night: a 6-foot nurse shark in the middle of the road.

Renaldo Martinez, an employee at Garcia's Fish Market, said two men on bicycles brought the shark to him on Monday and tried to sell it to him for $10.


Check out the video.

This was the top news story last night.

Reports say the shark even took a ride in our MetroMover, a train system that gets people around the downtown Miami area.

Sweet.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/22/2009   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Please Add to the Wish List....

... this fabulous book of the month club that I want to belong to. When you join, you get one book a month (I think each one is a surprise, which is a total bonus). But the thing about this BOM club is that it's self-published books in a variety of topics. Sweet! Love this so much!

I also remembered that I very badly need one of those mattress covers that's BOTH waterproof and for people with allergies, but the only one I've seen at Target is one that you zip around the entire mattress, and I can atest to the fact that it's a POS. I washed it once and it was ruined. So, yeah. I need one. My allergies are bad and there's nothing dry about living with a small child.

That's all (for now!).

p.s. Found another pair of sandals. On clearance. Could not resist. Somebody stop me. Pictures of all the new shoes to come soon.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/21/2009   | | | links to this post

Monday, July 20, 2009

Interpretive Art

My feelings these last few days can best be expressed by the painting I just drew up:


Yes, it's been that bad.

Turns out there's no strep around here, but there is some mysterious virus, one that's caused a rash/outbreak of some kind. Fun stuff, really. I might know more details tomorrow.

Ay.

I need a break. The kid does, too.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/20/2009   | | | links to this post

Friday, July 17, 2009

This Week Has Been All Wrong

Why has it been such a slow week? Time usually seems to fly, more or less, for me, but something about this week has made it torturously slow. And while this promises to be a very good weekend, it's not like it's jam-packed with super extra awesome activities that I've just been dying for. So I can't even say that it's felt slow due to heightened anticipation. It's just been a long-ass week.

There has been, too, the fact that my boy is sick with strep throat, and he's been very out-of-sorts and exhausted. At the same time, he's also been so sweet and adorable, that it's just extra heart-breaking. I haven't actually felt stressed so much as worried. A kid with a fever in the middle of the night is just never a good thing. There's no resting, no real sleep.

Blegh.

Posted by Tere @ 7/17/2009   | | | links to this post

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The List is Simple this Year

My birthday (no. 32, for those of you keeping track) is less than two weeks away, so of course, it's time for the annual wish list.

Funny, but with all that's happened in my life over this last year-and-a-half, my preoccupation with *things* has significantly diminished. I think it's due to a combination of not having time or energy (or money!) to really focus on things beyond briefly admiring them, plus not feeling the need for anything, plus really just not caring all that much. One of the things I've realized about myself is how unattached to things I am, at least in a general way. I used to regularly feel this anxiety about things, and getting things, or just finding things and building little fantasies around them (researching one random item for weeks, devoting ungodly amounts of time to how it would be afforded and purchased, etc.) - that's surprisingly (thankfully) gone now.

I guess you can say I lived a life where I constantly felt external pressure to want and get and want some more, and care about any of it, or at the very least, stress about it all (and some internal pressure, too, as I've learned enough about myself and my use of shopping to fill the void to know that for a long time that was part of the problem). And it seemed that the more I tried to distance myself from that mindset, the more I rejected things (and labels, and gadgets, and designer goods, and "cool" things, and all that crap), the more the anxiety and pressure built as the ex reacted in the exact opposite way, spinning out of control in a seemingly never-ending quest to amass things on top of things on top of things.

So, I feel relieved that that's not me, nor my life, anymore. It's brought me a sense of peace, and an ability to find some balance between liking and wanting things and choosing wisely what's really worth the effort and expense to me. I mean, let's be realistic: I still like pretty things (lately, it's all these unique pieces of jewelry on Etsy) and keep a wish list of both things I like and need (I actually have two lists, the wants vs. the needs). But there's no anxiety around any of it, if that makes any sense. If I don't ever get the things on the want list, I probably won't even notice (or I haven't so far, not with any of the couple of lists I've already lost). This is good, very good.

Still, sharing the wish list is fun! And my birthday is always and forever a special enough occasion to go a little crazy! (confession: I found two pairs of sandals on clearance and gifted myself both pairs.) This year, I share items from both the want and the need lists.

1. The big item this year: gift certificates (the mall, Visa, Target, whatever). This is both a want and a need. Due to my very awesome weight loss, nothing in my closet fits me (I'm not even exaggerating here - everything is huge; I still look like a hobo all the time). I had a number of clothes altered a few months ago, and even those are big on me now. So, I'd really, really like to buy some new things, specifically clothes for work and a pair of jeans.

2. A day at the spa. Pure want. Pure fantasy. But oh, do I need it!

3. Washer fluid. I really need some; the situation is dire on my windshield. I know, I could totally run down the street and get it myself, but I keep forgetting.

4. A big pack of Twizzlers. I loves them.

5. A pedicure. You could say this is a want; but if you saw my toes (I haven't had one in a year), you might conclude it's really a need.

Chop, chop, people! I might not be buying things, but it's totally o.k. for me to accept gifts!

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Posted by Tere @ 7/16/2009   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This Blog will Self-Destruct Unless You Vote for Me

Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod -- final chance to vote! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is it, people! Last chance to vote for me as Best Local Blog over at Parents Connect.

Go be awesome friends and vote, please? As a birthday present to me? Or because you like me? Or because, I don't know, I am the best local blog?

Please, thank you, and all that polite stuff.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/14/2009   | | | links to this post

Monday, July 13, 2009

The One Where my Boob Pops Out

I wore my black bathing suit on Saturday specifically because it was my safest bet. It's a plain swimsuit with some beading detail, ruched at the sides. Considering that I was spending the better part of the day at a water park, I figured that neither my brand-new two-piece nor my quasi-sexy/revealing monokini were appropriate choices for the outing.

I very specifically wore the bathing suit that all but guaranteed minimal wedgies and other unfortunate mishaps.

So what a surprise to find that in my plain, sturdy, reliable bathing suit, I suffered a wardrobe malfunction, one of epic proportions. How epic?

My entire boob came out.

And not on some tube slide where it was just me, or underwater just as I shot out of a slide. No, it was in the big wave pool, as I stood surrounded by hoards of people - including children - that my boob had to go and pop out.

The fault, of course, is my own. For whatever reason, I decided it'd be fun to stand at the point where the waves broke (which was fun, because you get tossed and pushed and it decently mimics the ocean), a point at which the waves broke hard enough to push my suit aside. Initially, I kept checking and would see that nothing was amiss. My boob popped out at the moment where I finally stopped checking, convinced that both my bathing suit and my boobs could withstand the force of the water.

Clearly, I was wrong. I noticed the mishap instantly (I hope), but not before I freaked out and just stared down without actually doing anything. It was probably like .5 seconds of exposed boobage, but my, those were a long .5 seconds! Worse still, I was with a couple of friends who may or may not have seen anything. And the reason I don't know for sure is that while these are great, great peeps, they're also males, and to talk about this situation would pretty much make our lovely friendship collapse. I'm sure of it. Or at least, it would require a couple of drinks before stepping into that territory.

(Me: So, uh, guys, remember the wave pool at Rapids?

Guys: Yeah.

Me: Remember when we were at the blue line where the waves broke?

Guys: Yeah.

Me: The waves were pretty hard there. I was getting tossed about quite a bit. Oh, and my boob popped out.

Guys: *crickets chirpping*

Me: Sorry if you saw anything. And sorry I'm bringing it up. It's just that I'd rather address it than have it be, like, this big, festering thing between us. But I mean, we're all adults, we can acknowledge this, right? So my boob popped out. So you saw it. Big deal, right? It wasn't intentional on anyone's part. Really, this is, like, nothing. And anyway... (on and on and on)

Guys: *nervously eye each other while crickets continue to chirp*)


And we can never look each other in the eye again.

And yet, even with all this embarrassment, I still had no qualms sharing this story that very night with a group of total strangers, female and male alike.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/13/2009   | | | links to this post

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hello & Welcome

Hello! This is my official welcome to the whole new bunch of readers who have found their way here through a wide variety of sources, most especially through Wide Lawns and Narrow Minds. I'm so glad you're here! Between, between and drink a chair!

I'm not one to obsess about my readership, but it's really very cool to see visitors from all over the globe, or from more countries than usual. Usually, I see the large amount of Canadian readers and I'm like, "awesome!" (but the Canadians and I, we just adore each other, so it makes sense); or I notice that chunk of regular readers in Asia (India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines), and I'm like, "WTF? What do they see in me or this blog?" - but otherwise, I don't make much of my traffic stats.

However, there's been a marked increase in visitors, and you all are from all over the place, and I find both things worth recognizing and celebrating.

So - YAY!!!

For those of you who decide to stick around and make this one of your regular reads: I love you! For those of you who won't be back: WHY?? What can I do to make you loooovvveeee mmmeeeeee????

I kid. Sort-of.

Seriously, welcome newbies. Glad to have you here. Stick around; read the primer to get yourselves acquainted; or just jump right in if you prefer. Lord knows I'm repetitious enough that you'll get the gist of me and my life soon enough. Leave a comment if something inspires you to contribute, or drop me a line via email. It's all good.

Mainly, I'm glad you're here; and I hope you stick around.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/11/2009   | | | links to this post

Friday, July 10, 2009

Laptop Trauma

I'm not yet at that desperate point where I need a new laptop, but I'm getting there. My current one is four years old, which makes is ancient and useless by today's standards.

The problems have been adding up. First, the *top* part of the laptop cracked at the hinges, and it wouldn't stay open. Got that fixed under warranty. Then, the CD drive stopped shutting properly, and now it just hangs half-open, useless. For that, the warranty had just expired. Then, the wireless capabilities seemed to have burned out. This one is a great mystery - as it just stopped working from literally one moment to the next, and the three people who have tried to help fix it have all been stumped. It's neither the ISP nor the routers (we've tried connecting other ones, and the problem persists), it's just something in the machine, apparently. Finally, it's become painfully slow. I could've sworn that I bought this model because it had a good processor, and possibly, that it was upgraded (or was that the memory? Who knows?). I suspect that I just have too many videos and pictures and music for it to keep up. It's actually not so, so awful, but it's bad.

I think I've reached my breaking point because lately, programs constantly freeze and/or crash (SpyBot cannot detect anything besides regular adware). I can't run iTunes and Picasa at the same time because it's like the machine can't handle it and I swear it starts crying and whimpering on me. Also, when I close the top for a bit while I step away from the computer, and then return and open it, the screen is stuck on "preparing to standby" (even those I just closed the top with programs running and that's never been a problem before) - and it just stays there, making me have to reboot all the damn time.

I don't know if I should pay someone to come out and fix everything, or if I should bring out my Best Buy card and just start over. In getting a tech to come out here, I feel like, if they can fix everything, I'm still going to have to buy more power or speed or whatever they sell for these things, and in the end I'm on borrowed time. And if they can't fix it, I'm out, what? a couple hundred bucks? And still need to get a new laptop? That doesn't appeal to me, nor do I even have the budget for that.

But just the thought of shopping for something new makes me nervous. I don't know what to get, and I feel like I can't trust the salesguy who's just out to sell whatever he's told to sell or they need to unload or costs a lot of money. As it is, I'm an easy mark; I can't even hide my ignorance. So the guy could tell me I need to buy the little green gnome that keeps all the cogs oiled, and I'd believe him. And then there's the fear that I'll get a good deal but end up with either a crappy machine, or a crappy machine that can't even meet my needs, just because I couldn't choose wisely.

I think I need someone to hold my hand through this, an all-knowing computer wizard who wants to help and protect me. It's like when celebrities latch on to some guru or spiritual leader of some kind, and they like, drag the person around, seeking personal advice for every little thing -- what kind of water should I drink so that I'm pure? Do these sunglasses make me look more, or less, holy and in touch with the people? -- I need my own computer guru who will tell me what to do, then stay there with me the whole time, patting my hand, assuring me it will all be o.k.

You think I kid, but I don't. Some things are so far beyond my knowledge base that I get very insecure and need thorough guidance. Deciding what to do about the dying laptop and possibly selecting a new one is one of those things.

I can feel the clock ticking on this one and hope I can make a move before this thing explodes on me. Ay, damn it.

Posted by Tere @ 7/10/2009   | | | links to this post

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Bathrooms Fascinate Me

Months ago, a dear friend and I had a lovely dinner at one of the ritzy hotels in the Miami Brickell area. The hotel was impressive, but what left me breathless was the bathroom.

For real.

It was splendid. White marble countertops, perfect lighting, completely private stalls, awesome marble (or granite) floors. It was like entering a fuzzy oasis of peace. My friend and I were both so fascinated that we just hung out in there, touching everything, "ooohh"ing and "aaahhh"ing at the magnificence of it all.

Then, I pulled my camera out.




I couldn't help it. I wanted to move into that bathroom. I haven't been so smitten with anything in a long time. All these months later, and I'm still thinking about it, yearning to go back.

And then, I did what seemed the natural thing to do. I forever captured me in that heaven of a bathroom.


What? You mean you never take pictures of yourself in the bathroom?!

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Posted by Tere @ 7/09/2009   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

He Slays Me Even As He Breaks Me

As has become the norm around here lately, it was a rough afternoon today with Max. I couldn't put off some errands we needed to take care of, so even though I knew it was a bad idea to drag this kid around after a full day of camp (he's tired, cranky and a total pain in the ass), I went ahead and dragged his butt to Westchester to get these things done.

(So hey, funny story! This guy at one of the stores I went to? Was totally digging me - I mean, so clearly that even I could not fail to notice it. It was hilarious. Laid it on a little too thick ("your smile has made my week" - ahahahahaha), but at least he wasn't lecherous. Strangely enough, the episode made me aware of my generally fatalistic attitude about men, and left me thinking quite a bit about this.)

Anyway.

Max was indeed difficult. While it was nothing out of the ordinary for a typical, rambunctious boy his age (you know, touching things, ignoring me), it annoyed and embarrassed me. Days like today always make me feel so overwhelmed and alone and unsure of what to do to handle things better. It seems lately like nothing works.

And so by the time we got home, I was beyond exhausted and honestly just wanted bedtime to come. I felt defeated, and mad at him for continuing his crappy behavior, and mad at myself for feeling so unable to do anything effective about it.

Eventually, we settled into bed. We did our routine, and while he was still a little all over the place, things were better by then. We read, we talked, and finally, I explained that it was time to stop talking and go to sleep.

At that point, my boy began to kiss my face. He kissed my nose, then my cheeks, followed by my ears and eyes and forehead and chin and mouth. He did it a few times, giggling each time as he said, "And now... your chin! And now... your forehead!" When he was done he placed his hand on my cheek and sighed, "Mommy, you're so beautiful." (He says this a lot, and it never fails to thrill me.)

It's like this so much: the moments where he pushes every button and drives me insane are punctuated with his sweetness and affection. The bi-polar nature of it all is as maddening as the experiences themselves.

This kid slays me. His exuberance, silliness and charm fill my life with endless joy. But his willfulness, force of character and defiance break me.

Repeatedly, I am both broken and elated. And lately, I feel like something has to give.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/08/2009   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sometimes, I Have the Urge to Recap and Summarize

I wonder if other writers who share life stories (via blog, website, whatever) ever feel the compulsion to revisit *big* stories and provide an update or some kind of summary.

I know I feel this from time to time, with stories I share about Max and whatever challenge we go through that is prolonged or takes time to work out. And I definitely feel it in regards to all the changes we've been through this last year-and-a-half.

At the same time, what do I say? "Praise be, I'm healed!"?? Life goes on, and I'm a lucky girl because my life is good. Even though May/June had some things in them that shocked me, or frightened me, or stressed me out, in the end, some of those things are but blips in my radar, and others (the car accident, to be specific) have their resolution and the story ends.

What I've noticed about myself in these last few years (and having a blog that I know is widely read has totally forced me to think about and face this) is that there's a marked difference between the way I write about something here and the way it plays out in real life. What I mean is, here I stress and over-analyze and the problem seems to loom large and impossible. But in real life, I'll still stress and feel crappy, but the problem is not always that big. Specifically, I don't spend all day thinking about it, nor does it totally consume me. Some things, yeah, they weigh heavy and come in and out of my mind; but for the most part, things get magnified here in a way that they're not in my life. At the same time, that's one of the purposes of this blog: to let me magnify things so I can get the hell over them.

I noticed this change, this shift from seriously over-analyzing and obsessing (trust me, whatever over-analyzing and obsessing I do now is nothing compared to how I used to be) after I had my son. Initially, things changed for practical reasons: with a new, itty bitty baby and all that came with him, there was just no time or energy to treat things as I used to. I remember thinking, the first few times I rolled these thoughts in my head, that I'd spent my life over-analyzing because I obviously had nothing better to do. Motherhood (and then, motherhood plus full-time job; and then, motherhood plus full-time job plus extremely stressful marriage) took away any time or energy I'd once had to navel-gaze so intently.

But there were other factors, too. For one, I think I grew up some and matured more. Also, this new-found mental freedom was the result of all the work I'd put into my therapy. And all in all, this was a win for me. Whatever the reasons, in the end, what's mattered to me are the changes I've seen in myself and how I live my life. This is a process that's been years in the works, and it continues.

So, there is indeed a marked difference in how the things that happen in my life affect me in reality vs. how they come across in here, but to me, it's understandable. The consequence of this, though, is that when I see people I know in my personal life whom I know read this blog, I always feel awkward. I always think that they must feel awkward, too, thinking about all they've read here and thinking that I must be such a sad mess, but I don't know how to address it. I always have an urge to acknowledge the elephant in the room and be like, "Hey, I'm not as insane as I come across in my blog. I swear. Really. See me right here? Not insane!" But that, I think, would just make things worse. And the truth is, the moment passes. I feel the awkwardness, but it goes away within minutes, and it never seems worth it to make anything of it.

There have, of course, been exceptions to this pattern. Last Fall, when my grandmother passed away, I really did find myself in a very sad place, with grief hitting me from all angles, and it did consume me. That was my time to really grieve everything that had happened in my life, to sink as deeply as I needed to and allow myself to go through a lot of pain and agony. It was unbearable, but I needed it.

The silver lining even in that was that it served as another experience for me to learn and grow from. Whatever's come after that has been completely manageable because that was so devastating. Even recent nonsense that threw me for a loop - even that was done and gone once the initial "WTF?" feeling passed and I figured out what I really felt and acted on those feelings.

So.... to summarize. Hahahahahaha.

I really don't know how to look back at the things that took up so much space here and wrap 'em up in a neat bow. I've started some posts where I try to offer a window into what I feel now and why, but it's such a difficult thing to capture. Maybe it's just something that really can't be captured - not in any wholly accurate, complete way.

I guess the best I can say is, it's all good. Doors have been firmly closed and I feel good about it. I've moved on, and I feel good about it. My attitude is good. I'm good.

And the things that lie ahead? They're good, too.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/07/2009   | | | links to this post

We're Just Gonna Chalk It All Up to Hormones, O.k.?

I failed to mention yesterday that I just might be PMSing (I know, TMI, but our relationship can handle it, don't you think?). Because today, I feel better.

I have this habit of getting myopic about my problems and thoughts and whathaveyous. Not that I get that way and stay that way, but I spend a day or two (sometimes a week or two, if it's that big a problem) mired in my fear and dread and stress, unable to think clearly (and this is a big reason why I write). But then, either after I write, or get slapped around by a friend, or I just get to that place where I'm sick of myself and my ineffectiveness, I seem to just get over it. Either I find the courage to talk to someone if that's what I need to do, or I gain some good perspective on the situation, and I can deal with it, or I just get sick of it all and am *done* and shut the door from there. Sometimes, it's all of the above.

Either way, I feel better. PMS-y, to be sure, but better.

Also, in need of a nap.

Posted by Tere @ 7/07/2009   | | | links to this post

Monday, July 06, 2009

It Made Me Dizzy Just to Write This

I have things on my mind. Things that are occupying too much space and making me all frowny and stuff. I know, so very clear and helpful of me, huh?

I've been trying to let go of some stress, things that weigh on me, not so much because of the things themselves, but because there is actually nothing (or very, very little) I can do about them.

Mainly, people, I'm feeling blah and would like to de-blah. On one hand, I think I'm going to have to have some conversations that I don't want to have. And I don't want to have them for fear of what will be said, what I will learn, what the outcomes will be.

There's also this: I'm looking at my life, and I feel a certain anxiety because I want good things to happen, like, NOW, and I'm feeling frustrated by all these roadblocks and issues and general shit that make me feel stuck. Stuck is not good for me. I need to move forward. It's a case of Tere's impatience vs. life. But I also feel like I've been through enough crap and deserve an avalanche of goodness to fall on me.

Sigh. The more I think, the more I write, the clearer it is to me that (regarding some current things in my life) I'm going to have to grab the bull by the horns and ... I don't know... make it see things my way? Hold on tight and pray I'm not thrown off?

My g-d, even analogies and metaphors fail me today. Things are clearly dire around here.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/06/2009   | | | links to this post

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Query

Is it wrong that I want a boyfriend just so that we can take over the couch and spend the entire day there, reading?

Because that's pretty much what I want.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/04/2009   | | | links to this post

Thursday, July 02, 2009

I'll Make You a Mix Tape!

For the last eight or so months, I had Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield on my to-read list. The premise intrigued me, and while it took me a while to finally get to it, I began reading it last week and blew right through it. The book grabbed me and touched this part of me I long ago lost touch with: Tere, the avid mix-tape maker.

I've said all this before, but it's an understatement to say that I love music, or that music has always been a huge part of my life and my identity. I'm not even sure how to adequately explain it. Just take my word for it: music is vital in my life. I need it when I drive, when I cook, when I clean, when I work. If there's no music to be had, I'll sing (badly). Almost every song I love reminds me of someone or something; in many cases, one song may apply to different people in different ways, and I love that.

And it was at an early age - nine or so - when I began to make mix tapes. Crudely recorded from the radio, they were mixes of everything from Top 40 (I so love you, Casey Kasem) to classic rock to my own voice singing whatever song I loved at that moment. By junior high, I would call radio stations to make requests then stay frozen by the radio, my fingers ready on the play/record buttons, and make the mix tapes that way. Those would take days or weeks to put together, because there were too many variable out of my control: if I caught a song I wanted at the end, I'd have to wait for it to play again; many DJs ignored my requests, etc.

Getting a radio with a double cassette deck was like heaven opening up for me. Making mix tapes from albums (and not the radio) gave me more control and allowed me to line up the songs as I really wanted them; plus, it cut out the DJ talking over the music.

I don't remember how many mix tapes I made, but I still have almost all of them (I've refused to get rid of my vast cassette collection). In high school, I was making at least one tape a week. I'd take them on the bus and make everyone listen to them, and soon enough, my friends were requesting specific mixes for the ride to school and the ride home ("the metal one with Firehouse and Stryper!"; "the one with U2 and Queen!").

I made mix tapes for friends, for my different moods, to listen to in the shower. When I met someone and clicked with them, they got a tape. When I fell in love, there were many tapes! When my heart would break, there'd be one intense tape to carry me through the pain. (This goes hand-in-hand with song dedications.)

Cassettes gave way to CDs, but I resisted for years. I didn't make my first CD mix (and yes, like Rob Sheffield, I agree that they're "mix tapes" no matter what the medium) until the year 2000. And even then, I made mixes in abundance: my favorite Pearl Jam songs in one convenient CD; my favorite ska songs; the best of The Samples; Indigo Girls mixes ranked from most favorite in one CD to lesser faves in others. Same for Dave Matthews Band. Mixes of awesome girl power songs (but NO Spice Girls); mixes of sweet angsty boy-with-guitar music. I still listen to these mixes (even though now they've been uploaded to my iPod.)

I identified so much with what Sheffield expressed in his book, especially in the way that music relates to love. I don't want to spoil the book (because you music lovers out there should read it), but the main premise deals with his relationship with his wife and the role that music played in that relationship.

But because the book was about both love and music, I couldn't help but reflect on a few personal things. Namely, how I haven't made a mix tape since 2003. That speaks volumes to me. What was it about my relationship with my ex-husband (after we reconciled in 2004), becomming a mother, and the life that followed, that took this away from me? Why did I stop? Where were the mix tapes for him as life moved forward with so many big moments in them? How did I end up with someone who didn't even make mix tapes, or fully appreciate them?

Furthermore, what was it about motherhood and a tumultuous relationship that made me lose so much of myself? I struggle on a near-daily basis with moments where I remember something I loved and gave up, or where I try to remember a time when I had interesting things to discuss, or when I simply felt like an interesting, well-rounded person. Surely, motherhood alone does not do this to someone (and I did have a partner who carried his full load as far as parenting duties). Why did life, from my pregnancy forward, seem like such a struggle on an emotional level? Why did I lose my spark?

I want to make mix tapes again. Granted, I've got my playlists ("Extra super faves", "Fiesta!", "DANCE!", "Good Times") on my iPod, but an equally important element of the mix tape is giving it away. The CD drive on my laptop has been broken for a couple of years, but still, there has to be a way to bring the music back and give it away. Or at least, a way to get back to that part of myself that reveled in the music - in discovering new songs and artists, in listening and memorizing lyrics, in sharing an awesome find with a good friend.

In feeling alive and free in the beat of a perfect song, where everything makes total sense.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/02/2009   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Wherein I Beg for your Vote, for Reasons I Cannot Ascertain

So, remember this?

It looks like the contest is in its final stretch, so here I go, asking for votes.

Please vote for me? Please? Rather than use mother-guilt to remind you of the kind of crazy stressful year I've had, I'll try a new tactic: my birthday is later this month, and while I'd prefer presents (namely, gift certificates so I can buy clothes that actually fit me), I'll be happy if I'm named Best Local Blog.

So how 'bout it? Vote for me!

Please and thanks.

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p.s. The Passion of the Cheetos.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/01/2009   | | | links to this post