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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.

Your Face/My Face July 6, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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Several days ago I took my children to the local water park. It was a hot day filled with an over-abundance of roiling heat, noisy children, and a crush of bodies. The water park provides a lap pool, which I utilize, and a pool for small children — both indoors. Outside there is a lengthy lazy river pool, a children’s water playground, and four ridiculously tall, curving slides. After my children abandoned me to one of the aforementioned delights, I sat on my towel and grabbed my latest read: Discovering Roswell. I slipped my finger between the pages held by my bookmark and took one last glance around the water park, searching for the familiar blonde heads of my children. I didn’t see them but wasn’t alarmed and, instead, my attention was diverted by something else.

Women.

Anyone who has ever gone to a water park, local swimming pool, the lake, or the beach, has seen women aplenty running amok in their swim suits. Because stores vie for the most sales during the swim suit season there are plenty of colors, designs, and patterns. Such variation. But, again, this is not what truly caught my attention. I noticed the swim suits, sure, but what I really took note of was the behavior exhibited by these women.

For instance the smiling brunette with the long legs and bright red bikini providing standard coverage. Her legs dredged through the calf-high kiddy playground as she moved from one side to the next where she met some alarmingly attractive man. The man isn’t the point. Or maybe he is. Amid the joyful screaming of the children, the multitude of water-spraying canons, the heat, the crush of bodies — the brunette moved confidently. Her arms swung at her sides as though forgotten and they certainly weren’t used to cover this spot or that spot — some seemingly flawed portion of her body only she could see. (as is the way). She was confident.

Then there was the tiny, big-breasted blonde lying in the shallow side of the kiddie playground with her arms stretched behind her to prop her body forward as she sunbathed. This one wore practically nothing but the practically-nothing was white and cute. She knew it. It’s possible no one paid her any attention whatsoever but judging by the way she held her body — stiffly with unnatural angles caused by her legs and head (meant to show to the best advantage) — she thought everyone was watching her.

Someone was watching her. An overweight woman with long red hair curled up into a bun on the very top of her head. The red-haired woman chose not to wear sunglasses that day and her squint only emphasized the other creases in her face. The bathing suit she chose was probably suitable, probably respectable, but it didn’t look right on her at all. The plain brown one piece was covered with baggy beige shorts, meant to provide additional covering where the woman deemed necessary. She glanced at the woman in white and then pretended not to glance down at herself before moving away to some shady spot where her towel waited for her.

There were more of them but instead of my minute inspection of each and every one I began to sort of…catalog them. The ones who wore skirts with their suits. The ones who wore one-pieces versus two-pieces. The ones whose arms behaved like darting shields to cover bits of their bodies as they walked. The ones who walked as though they wore a business suit and had no fear.

And then I thought. How different would we be, self-consciously, if everyone looked exactly the same? If each of the women in that water park had the exact same face and the only real concern we had for whether anyone liked us or not, was related only to our personality? You would know if you were liked, or loved even, just for being you. And only for that reason. There’s a kind of security in such an idea. I appreciate individuality and uniqueness in people and especially in myself. But I wonder how different we would be, how different our relationships would be, if the only thing to be seen was what you couldn’t see?

Dear You… May 19, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Writing.
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Dear You,

Today I told you I was bored. Exceedingly bored…so full of disinterest I had begun to compare myself to an elderly person just waiting for “it all” to end. I told you I couldn’t find a spark…that little fluttery thing to ignite my interest. Every day is the same thing, all day. Ho-freakin-hum.

You told me to find something that excites me, some event to entertain — to relieve the boredom. As I drove home, I put serious thought into it.

What, for the LOVE of God, would I find entertaining?

The question is harder than it seems. When the boredom creates a feeling of lethargy from the top of your head to your toenails…how do you convince your blood to boil…your heart to beat a little lot faster?

You suggested sex, which of course is an obvious thing to get the ole heart going and, as you are a man, completely predictable that this would be the first suggestion offered. But aside from that…what?

So I drove, lost in thought and completely uncertain how I managed to drive the entire route on auto-pilot, and I thought I was just like Winnie-the-Pooh…think, think, think. And so I did.

I thought about all the things in this world I find pleasure in — like dancing when I vaccuum and finding that perfect scenic spot for a picnic. I thought about playing boardgames with my kids and having coffee with my sisters. I thought about all the times I laugh with my friends or scream on carnival rides. I thought about the movies I see on dates and the photographs I take when I go somewhere to be alone.

I thought about the sound of dozens of different voices laughing over the years. And I thought about you. I thought that perhaps all I really needed today was to hear from you and be reminded of all the pleasure I already have, just in the every-day.

And then I thought I would Google sky-diving.

Won’t You be my Neighbor? May 3, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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Look at me. Squint your eyes. Perfect, now you can’t really see me all that well. Now listen. I am beautiful. I am intelligent. I am funny. I bake some killer cranberry-orange muffins. I love to laugh and wash my car and mow my lawn. When you need a friend I will listen to you and laugh with you, offering a cajoling shoulder. You will love me. Do you want to be my friend? Won’t you be my neighbor?

Hopefully you won’t notice that most of what I’ve said is a lie…but eventually you will notice because lies can only be upheld for so long. Soon you will notice that I don’t laugh all the time. Sometimes I cry and sometimes I am infuriated. Like when your dog craps in my yard. Then I get mad. But I won’t tell you because I want you to like me. Want. No, need. I need you to like me. So I won’t say anything. Did I say my kids are perfect? (damn lies, I can’t keep up!) Oh yeah? I did? Awesome, well…they are. Only, my oldest son is a closet alcoholic and my elementary-age daughter was caught smoking in the school bathroom. But I won’t tell you that. Indeed, you won’t even see the worry on my face because I am so busy laughing at everything you say. Have to keep that joviality in place, dammit!

Ever since my husband left me for that tramp who is half my age, taking everything I had in the bank as well as my hopes and dreams, I haven’t been able to sleep at night. But that’s what concealer is for. Sometimes I drink nyquil to help me pass out. Actually, I drink a lot of nyquil. Nyquil and concealer. What? You want to come over and chat about how your son broke his leg in football and how it has ruined his career chances? Sure, that’s fine (great, even) let me just…um…hide these bottles and open the blinds. I’m a great listener. Did I tell you that when we first met? No, well I should have. It’s a great quality to have. People love me. Everyone but my husband. And my kids. But again, I can’t tell you that because I need someone to love me.

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I know many people like this. People really do talk to me because I really am a great listener and so I see how they are with other people as opposed to what I know about them. It’s confounding. But on some level…I completely understand this inalienable desire to be loved and accepted. But, if you’re not you then they can’t love you…they don’t even know you. And if you let the real you out, if you allow the tears to leave silvery tracks on your cheeks and the weariness to show in your eyes, if you sit beside them and weep just for a minute…and they condemn you for it, then to hell with them. No one needs a fairweather friend. Not everyone has to like you. Not everyone has to like me. Nor will they, ha ha, because I know how to offend and I will never be perfect. I have come to realize there are people around me who expect my jokes, expect my laughter, expect my emotional and mental support to any and all their heartaches and endeavors. But when I have a moment in which I cannot breathe or eat or see…they are at a loss as to how to handle me and instead of doing something, anything, I am abandoned. It makes me angry but I get over it, just as quickly realizing that some people simply cannot handle someone else’s grief. Sobeit.

At the end of the day, we all need someone. Sometimes, several someones. This intrinsic discomfort with isolation is as old as time. We move in packs. We hunt in packs. We live in packs. We need the sound of laughter. The sound of musical crooning. The sound of a murmured ‘I understand’. Because, even though we may not understand exactly, we all understand. If not the situation, we understand the pain. 

The one truly human thing we can do, is not abandon our neighbors.

The End of My Rant