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Let’s Vacation July 23, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People, Writing.
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I had forgotten how saltwater effects my ears but, for the first time in years, the hearing in my left ear has returned. And so as my children squabble over the television channel, space on the hotel bed, and the hot tub, I can hear every octave of their shrieks and even their mutterings.

It’s currently almost ten o’clock at night and the children are finishing a long day with a dip in the hotel’s indoor pool. Well, two of them are anyway, my fourteen-year old daughter, having espied a good-looking boy with a mohawk in the hot tub, has decided she’d like to swim after all and has gone back to our room to change. After a short period of time she returned clad in her yellow bikini with her hair nicely combed.

My ex and I then began a conversation about the dating ritual and concerns of youngsters. My ex, Ben, referred to the kids (teenagers and all) as “carefree”, to which I replied  “who, in that room, is carefree?” My argument being that a 14-year old girl is extremely sensitive to her expression, hair, laughter, outfit, swimming technique — every nuance of behavior matters. That’s not carefree — that’s all care.

And then Ben says how silly that is because guys that age don’t particularly care about any of that. She’s cute and that’s the be-all, end-all. He says the majority of men, as well, are this way. Good to know, I say.

It was nice, though, that we were all completely unconcerned with all nuances of behavior (other than behaving in a socially acceptable manner, that is) at the beach today. I didn’t even notice other women being particularly concerned with their persons. What I noticed, instead, were the families building poorly constructed sandcastles, flying kites shaped as hawks, and wading deep into the intense waves slamming to shore. The temperatures remained in the nineties, a lovely change from the over-100-degrees for three weeks weather back home, and the breeze remained constant.

My son, upon his first experience with the ocean, deemed it acceptable entertainment in his 6-year old mind with the exception of all that pesky salt in the water and, therefore, perhaps the hotel pool was better. Kids. My 11-year old daughter has outdone herself in remaining positive and atop our non-schedule. Directly after dinner tonight she, my son, and Ben went outside to be free of the arctic air conditioning system of the hole-in-the-wall we found, and my 14-year old and I sat inside, eating ice cream and discussing the benefits of moving to the coast.

We decided it was difficult to judge the benefits because it’s easy to enjoy a vacation spot when you don’t have to work or go to school because then there’s no stress or responsibility really. But if we moved to the coast, the stress and responsibility would simply follow us to the coast and then…would we still enjoy the coast better than home? It was too difficult to decide so we simply finished our ice cream, pondered the intensity of the waves some more, and then stepped out into the ocean air.

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When I Was a Young Warthog May 31, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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Everyone says growing up is hard to do. What they don’t tell you is that you will never stop growing up. As a child I was teased mercilessly for the size of my eyes and the length of my toes. That was over 20-years ago and I still recall how devastating that was. Throughout junior high and high school I was beset with such rebellion against my fellow classmates that I absolutely refused to see myself as anything other than beautiful and strong. My attitude about my capabilities and general awesomeness clung to me until my mid-twenties when, when no longer confronted with hateful kids, fled. I was on my own.

I don’t mean I was on my own because I moved out of my parent’s home, had a job, and was raising a family ‘on my own’ — I mean my self-image, my behaviors, my auto-self-defense mechanisms were all on me. If I felt ugly, I was to blame. If I felt I failed on something, I had only myself to blame. I could no longer look at myself in the mirror and defiantly claim to be better than ‘so and so’ said I was (regardless of its truth)…because, well…because it was no longer necessary to do so.

So instead of telling myself I was good enough, I went about turning my life into what I really wanted it to be…something that wasn’t some obscure reflection of what was popular or anti-popular (as would be more the case with me). Over the years I learned that what I liked was organization and cleanliness…structure. Sure there was time for random activities…sometimes. And everything would be great in my life and I would be happy, as long as that image of my life remained sturdy in my mind.

Today, sometimes it seems life is going just as I mean it to. It’s not some effortless thing when you work hard to make things go the way you mean it to. The house is clean and organized, dinners turn out well, the kids do exceptionally in school, work is smooth. These are the moments in which you can breathe…really breathe. You may even stop and smell the roses. I have these “perfect moments” infrequently, which is not to say few and far between…I actually have them once or twice a week. My problem is I want that feeling just about every day, which is silly. I know. But when everything is humming along its never just a small thing to slam into you, uprooting your level-footing and tossing all deck hands off the side of the ship — it is always something big. Always. 

And this is what I find bothersome. It’s like relationships in which you feel everything is going along all nice and dandy when one day your partner goes off on you. WHAM!  You never see it coming and it throws you off. The bigger the problem, the harder it is to regain your footing and move forward. I hate those moments. I hate reeling. These moments remind me of being a teenager staring at my hated visage in the too-well-lit bathroom mirror. I feel awkward. Unacceptable. Obviously, I prefer sure-footed-ness.

When I wore the clothes of a younger woman I always thought life would get simpler and smoother the older I became. It’s like that assumption that pimples go away once you turn 20 and are safely away from being a ‘teen’. Pimples don’t go away and life doesn’t get simpler. What does happen is you gain insight and maturity — things that will enable you to deal with the crap that comes your way. It doesn’t get easier. You get stronger.

Just Like Life May 28, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in Everyone's A Critic, My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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I have just finished watching a film called “I Capture the Castle” starring various actors I know of and some I do not. The movie was a bit of a slow story about finding love, turning away from love, and all the angst, desire, and heartbreak made capable by love. Has there ever existed love that did not also bring heartache? Love loves misery. Or it fights it. Or it finds it. In a world of 7-billion people and days and weeks filled with dozens of acquaintances, friends, and strangers…how do we find love? In a single week I may, may, see one man whom I find attractive enough for a second glance and that does not mean that I am hung up on looks…when I say attractive, I mean he is attractive to me. I do not look for the tall, dark, and handsome man…I look for one with an ease in his step, a careless smile, a spark of intelligence and wit in his eye. I notice his lips, the fall of his hair, and the way he holds his arms at his side as he walks. And sometimes…sometimes I see a man who catches my eye.

But I do not approach. Mostly, because I am at an age and stage in my life where the sheer idea of dating exhausts me. The effort that goes into the meeting, the flirting, the discovery of his past, the learning of his life, the hectic scheduling between work and children and school — why would I? When it does not work out in the end. I would have spent weeks, perhaps months, getting to know someone. I will end up either caring for him when he cares not at all for me, or I will come to dislike him greatly. I have been told I am too young to be so cynical about love and…the truth is…I am not cynical about love. I believe, wholeheartedly, that people find someone who will stand beside them in life, holding their hand, holding them up, and never ever letting them fall on their face unless they themselves are also on the ground and incapable of holding one up. I believe he makes her laugh with his charming manners and makes her meals of such exquisiteness for only one purpose: to see the light in her eyes. This man would not hurt his love.

No. I am not cynical about love. I am cynical about loyalty. The man I’ve mentioned is difficult to come by, the diamond in the rough, and just shy of impossible to find. At my age. At any age.

In the movie, there are two sisters and two brothers who find themselves at a chance meeting and fall for each other. Who falls for whom? Well, you might ask and I spent most of the movie wondering myself. One sister was proposed to by a brother very much in love with her, though it turned out that (even though she accepted his proposal) she was in love with his brother. And the other sister was in love with the brother who proposed. This is a story built on truth and, in fact, could very well be based on a true story. In the end the two that were madly in love with each other married and went away, leaving two very unhappy and lonely people to go their separate ways.

There was an ending to the movie…but not a happy one. Just like life.

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up… May 9, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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I can’t tell you how many times I bemoaned the fact I was a child, when I was a child, nor how many times I was told to appreciate being a child while I could.

Phewy! Phewy I say! Who would ever want to be a kid? You can’t drive anywhere, go wherever you want, eat whatever, do whatever, or say whatever you want. Forget seeing childhood as a gift…I wanted to be an adult every day. It wasn’t even one of these things where the situation had to be me not getting my way in order for me to throw out my bottom lip, cross my arms over my chest, and make claims to being an adult someday. (said in my head, of course, because I didn’t need to be smacked for giving my parents lip).

Why is it that from a young age we immediately want to be the King of the Castle? Feel the need to be in charge and do things our own way? Are we born with some explosive independence that, from minute one, is fighting to get out? For eighteen years (some less than that) we live with our parents. Why, for the love of god, would we be born with independence? What a laugh someone must be having up there.

Babies turn their head away from the spoon when you try to feed them something they don’t want. Toddlers insist on picking out their own clothes…man, to have such a fashion opinion at 4. Incredible. When they ask you for help on their homework and you point out a couple of things, all the sudden “okay, I can do the rest on my own.” Not that I’d complain about this one, but…really. I feel used. 😉

As a kid I was even okay with the idea of having to hold down a job…figured I’d look snazzy in a suit anyway. And I was smart and capable (and slightly delusional). I tell my kids the same thing my parents told me…appreciate being a kid while you can. Seriously. Do you think you’ll have another opportunity with a built-in exuse for laziness? I would never, ever say that school is easy — the curriculum may not be all that tough but let’s face it…kids are jerks. So no, school isn’t easy. But it isn’t like working. It isn’t like having to work to feed yourself and other people; to pay bills. I imagine it must be pretty darn cool to have someone else buy everything you need, make your dinner, and fold your laundry. OH! And this 3-month summer vacation? Say adios to that. Unless you work for the ISD. And while we’re making a list of all the things you’ll lose once you become an adult…might as well add the guilt-free pleasure of naps.

Today I am 32-years old and now that I understand what all those old stodgy people were telling me when I was a snot-nosed kid, I make sure to sing along every time the Toys R Us commercial comes on. For a minute I can pretend I’m five-years old, riding my rocking horse and really mean it when I sing I don’t wanna grow up…