Friday, March 27, 2015

No Complaints Here

Let's face it. I can be a bit of a whiner.  

"I'm too...."
"Why didn't I....?"
"I hate....."
"I have to....."
"I never...."

Complain, complain, complain. I've been feeling lately like that's really all I do. And that's in spite of me pretty much having absolutely nothing to complain about whatsoever.

I read about Complaint/Restraint via a Fast Company article a month or so ago, and I haven't been able to let it go. What would it be like to really focus on living a life without complaints? Is it possible to completely eliminate complaining all together? 

I'm gonna give it a try.  

For the next 4 weeks, I'm going to focus on the positive & attempt to totally cast out complaints. I'll be chronicling my journey toward a whine-free (but not wine-free, obviously) existence here on Fridays. Will it affect my success at work? My relationships? My will power? Will there be no discernible changes in my life? I don't know, but I'm ready to find out. 

Anyone with me? We can be like a Complainers Anonymous support group for each other. Anyone? Don't mess me up on my first day by making me complain that I have to go it alone....

Friday, March 20, 2015

To Me, You Are Perfect

When I was younger, I used to dream about my Prince Charming, my Mr. Darcy, my one true love. I knew there had to be the perfect man out there that would, swoon, love me just as I am. Romanticized visions of marriage and partnership danced in my head. Even doing the dishes together would be foreplay, I dreamt. Sweet wedded bliss meant a best friend and a lover all at once, no need for anyone else.

And it happened. I have an incredible husband. He loves me for me. Yes, yes, yes. It's everything I thought it could be. (Except for the dishes thing, obviously.) But now, as I get older, I'm understanding something that I didn't before. There is absolutely a need for others. All that time I spent seeking Mr. Right may well have been better spent fostering the relationships that I, stupidly, took for granted. Because who else offers us unconditional acceptance & companionship? Who else loves us just as we are?

Exactly. Our girlfriends. Our friend family. Our urban tribe.

Yes, of course, it makes sense that our focus is usually inward, on our own families, on the partnership that we've created within our own homes. But I will argue that nurturing those female friendships that we've come to depend on is also important. (And this isn't just a way for me to get my husband to agree that I need more Girls Nights Out. I mean, not completely.) They keep us sane, they keep us grounded, they keep us going.

And so today, let's raise a glass to all of the ladies in our lives that make it that much more sparkly. Here's to your hilarity and your drive and your swagger and your beauty and your brilliance. To the way you light up a room as you enter. To your unconditional support even when you disagree with us. Here's to your ability to admit fear & insecurity. Here's to your always knowing the right thing to say. To your bad dancing and mistake-making. To your amazing achievements and unbelievable fortitude. To your companionship and always spot-on advice. To your differing opinions and showing us that there is more than one right way. To your quiet strength and the way you speak up for what you know is right. Here's to always being there for each other. Here's to enduring both sun and rain.

Here's to you, you beautiful sparkling amazing you.

Friday, March 13, 2015

"This Didn't Play Like It Did In My Mind...."

This is how I picture it.
It feels like a short skirt/long jacket, 4 inch heel kind of day.  I do not wobble as I walk into the conference room. I am confident, holding my head high.  I command attention and respect from the start.  My presentation is perfect.  I am articulate.  I am the picture of professionalism.  I answer every question without missing a beat.  I convey my ideas and thoughts accurately. I react calmly to every differing opinion, collaborating effectively and productively.  I deserve a glass of champagne. 

This is how it happens.
It feels like a short skirt/long jacket, 4 inch heel kind of day.  Except it's raining and muddy so jeans and a hoodie are really more practical.  I trip over my rain boots as I walk into conference room, throwing off my confidence as well as my glasses.  My awkwardness commands attention.  My presentation is serviceable.  My face, of course, turns bright red as I begin speaking.  I stumble a bit.  I am the picture of nerves.  I answer every question in a long-winded way, confusing those who asked them further. I attempt to react calmly to differing opinions, but the redness of my face, neck and chest tell a different story.  I need a glass of water. 

This is how I picture it.
I walk into the event like I own it, wearing a little black dress and ass-lifting high heels.  Obviously, my legs look incredible.  I have a glass of wine in my hand, and I'm laughing along with others to the most hilarious story I just told.  He sees me before I see him.  I knew he'd be here, of course, and I'm ready to pick up our light banter, just slightly inappropriate flirting from our last meeting.  He sees me before I see him, and I turn & notice him.  A slow, super sexy smile moves over my red lips, and we begin a conversation that seems to last for days.  Captivating and charming, I am completely in control. 

This is how it happens.
I walk into the event cautiously because my dress is too short and my heels are too high.  Obviously, my legs look a little bit pasty.  I see him before he sees me, and I haven't even had time to have a sip of wine yet.  My face immediately turns red.  Totally & completely red.  He greets me, and I say hello, but I can't quite make eye contact.  I turn to talk to others instead, but the story I begin completely misses.  I laugh nervously and avoid looking at him because there's nothing else to do.  He asks me a question, and I slowly turn my red face toward him.  We begin a conversation that seems to last for 3 minutes.  Nervous and awkward, I am blowing my cover.

This is how I picture it.
I am running and running and running, light on my feet, barely breaking a sweat.  I've got the eye of the tiger and I'm running the world and I'm your teenage dream.  5, 6, 7, 8 miles, this is easy for me. Na na na na na, you can't catch me, fear!

This is how it happens.
I am running and walking and jogging and walking, red-faced and sweaty.  I'm bootylicious and I'm all about that bass and I'm making the rockin' world go round.  1, 2, 3, 4 miles, this isn't easy, nothing will ever be easy again.  Fear and self-doubt, catch me if you can!  Oh, shit.

And yet, and yet, and yet, I'm surprised every time.

Monday, March 9, 2015

No, Really, It's Okay

The statements I am about to make might be startling to some of you.  They might make you uncomfortable. You might not be able to relate.  But I am going to say them anyway.

Sometimes my child is an asshole. 
Sometimes my husband and I long for the days when it was just us.
Sometimes I long for the days when it was just me.
Sometimes I want to go back and make different decisions.
Sometimes I wish we had just used a condom.
Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if Tim and I had just broken up after that big fight right after I moved to Seattle.
Sometimes I want to be somebody other than me.

I know some of you feel the same way as I do, and maybe you've been mommy-shamed or friend-shamed or spouse-shamed for feeling this way - I know I have - but I am here to tell you that it's okay.  It's okay to feel this way.  It has to be okay for us to feel this way.

It's okay to miss your freedom.  It's okay to miss flirting.  It's okay to miss your independence.  It's okay to miss international travel.  It's okay to miss sleeping in.  It's okay to miss being selfish.  It's okay to absolutely delight in your time away from your family.  It's okay to take a Girls/Guys Weekend to Vegas.  It's okay to schedule an Adventure Night (our code name for the otherwise hideously known "Date Night") every week and wish for more.  It's okay to miss the "old days".  It's okay to long for an entire weekend to yourself.  It's okay for you to want it to be about you every once in awhile.  It has to be okay to feel these things.  It has to be okay for us to talk about feeling these things without fear. 

It doesn't mean we don't love our families.  It doesn't mean that we are bad parents or bad partners.  It doesn't mean that we aren't happy with the lives we lead.  It just means that sometimes we're looking over the fence at grass that appears greener. 

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but it has to be okay to check it out every once in awhile.  How else will we know that our own grass, though overgrown & mossy in patches, is still pretty fucking green after all?