I whispered to my husband, “Shit. Guess what? John Prine’s twin brother is in a wheelchair. I can’t possibly ask him to shut the fuck up now, because then I’ll be known as the bitch who shushed the guy in the wheelchair, right? But, I mean people in wheelchairs can be assholes, too, right? I shouldn’t say anything, should I? Or, should I?”
My husband nodded, concurring with all points.
So, we sat quietly for the remainder of the show, and listened to the worst singer of all time perform one of the best singer of all time’s songs.
We had friends over for dinner this past Thursday.
It was a lovely evening, so we decided to hang out in the backyard for some post-dinner libations and whatnot.
Walking in and out of the house several times that night, I repeatedly stepped over a mammoth slug, who was sliming his way across our porch.
Reader information: From here on out, the slug will be referred to as Stanley. Just Stanley. *jazz hands*
Upon completing my third trip to grab another round of beverages, I noticed that the others hadn’t been nearly as cautious as I’d been with Stanley’s personal space.
Someone had stepped on him, rather than over him, smooshing nothing but his head.
Being that he didn’t have a head anymore, I was sure Stanley’s passing would come in seconds.
But, with each trip to the kitchen or the bathroom, it became clear that Stanley wasn’t about to let anything break his stride. Oh no, he got to keep on movin’.
Only he couldn’t.
Move, that is.
Because the-blob-formally-known-as-his-head was in the way.
His body kept trying to crawl, but he wasn’t getting anywhere. It was like he was on a miniature slug-treadmill, only without an iPod.
First of all, let me just tell you that I HATE slugs.
But, despite my disdain, I couldn’t stop thinking about how sad it all was.
So, as my heartless guests carried on as if there wasn’t a headless being in tremendous pain five feet away from us, I Googled, “Do slugs feel pain,” on my iPhone for twenty minutes, and researched the most effective way to euthanize them.
I knew what had to be done.
House-guests or no house-guests, I simply couldn’t bear to watch Stanley try to keep on movin’ for one more second.
So, while everyone was talking, I quietly got up and walked inside.
In search for a means to Stanley’s end, I looked around the house for several minutes.
Finally, my genius kicked in and I headed straight for the front closet, where I’d stashed the phone books that had been thrown on our porch earlier that week.
Seriously? Still with the phone books?
Three of them to be precise, all slightly varying in their weight and size.
I walked back outside, carrying these three oldest versions of the iPhone.
My husband looked up, not confused at all, but before he could say anything, I blurted out, “Yes. This is what my husband has to put up with on a daily basis.”
With a deafening silence filling the air, I apologized to Stanley, and slowly drew the phone books up over my head.
I brought them down atop Stanley three times.
A harmonious, audible gasp was emitted from my audience of three.
Followed by an, EWWWWWW, as I flipped over the bottom book to inspect my work.
Kevorkian would have beamed with pride.
Confident that Stanley was no longer in pain, and no longer much of anything at all, I placed the phone books aside, nonchalantly walked back to my chair, and sat down.
But, it brought up an interesting, and respectful, discussion on the things we choose to put on the internet, for all to see, and how these things affect our children. And, more importantly, it made me think about how we choose to present ourselves to our children.
How much of us do we let them see?
Are we real people to them, or just mom and dad?
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Friend: I hate that word and adore you. I would honestly like to know when and at what age you think it is appropriate for your precious sons can start saying this word? Like I said … I love and adore you, but this profanity is not what I prefer to use on a daily basis. Let me know your thoughts.
ME: Hmm. interesting question. When they are older, I don’t have a specific age, I guess it’s different for everyone and their own maturity level, if they are respectful to others and aren’t all like, “FUCK YOU MAM I ASKED FOR FRIES WITH MY BURGER NOT FRUIT,” THAT would be unacceptable to me. But, if they stub their toe in our house and mumble “god damn it” or “fuck that hurt,” I wouldn’t be too outraged or upset. To me, it’s just a word. On the other hand, if they call someone STUPID or DUMB, I would be IRATE. I would rather them say motherfucker on a daily basis than use those types of words. Do I make any sense? HA (Not a trick question).
Friend: My oldest is in college and my youngest is a sophomore in high school. Yes..they have heard that word ten fold. They follow me ( as I do them) on all social medias. I just prefer not to say it because I think it is beyond degrading. I just don’t think it is appropriate to use and/or I don’t like to let them see their mom say it over and over again. My opinion, yes. Just curious what you will do when Leo and Luca are on social media. I’m sure things will be totally different then. Maybe it will be no big deal, but I still feel this word is extremely offensive. Please respect my opinion as I do yours.
ME: Of course I respect your opinion! And, obviously, I’m sure it doesn’t need to be said, that I never cuss in front of my boys, minus the occasional SHIT! if a car nearly wrecks into me or something. And, funny, because I just got done saying to my husband that there is not one single thing on my blog that I wouldn’t want my boys to read. Again, to me, it’s simply a word that someone made up. I am so much more fearful of them saying something like “that’s retarded!” or “that’s so gay!” or the other F word that I DO consider awful and offensive..fag. Ugh. It pained me to even type it. So, if I hear my boys as teens, playing basketball outside and one yelled “I just dunked in your fucking face, dude,” I wouldn’t make an issue of it, UNLESS it was used directly like “F you!!” But, if I heard them say, “Quit being such a fag!” or “That’s so retarded, man,” you better believe I would drag them inside by their ears and let them have it! To me, it seems so many people don’t find these words degrading, when they are so much worse than actual “bad” words. My opinion, of course! Good discussion! xo
Friend: You know I love you and think you are insanely talent and creative when it comes to writing. I’m just thinking once you’ve put it out there…it’s out there… and you should have no regrets. I may be old school, but it’s something I don’t want my kids to be able to look back up and see. Just my opinion. Love ya girl!!!
ME: Maybe it IS a generational thing! But, every single thing I have ever written on my blog makes me proud of myself and I stand by it 110%. If, god forbid, I am taken too soon from my boys, they’ll be able to read my words and know that I am a REAL person with REAL flaws, not this strange sparkly version of ourselves we all too often portray to our kids. They will read about how depressed I was when I was pregnant and how I didn’t want to be pregnant and wanted to die or have a miscarriage, but that after seeing their faces I would have done it again in a HEARTBEAT. They will know I had an eating disorder for ten years and that I kicked it’s ass. They will see that I talk about all of this without an ounce of shame and and that it’s doesn’t mean they are weak when they have their own struggles, and they will. It just means they are beautifully flawed like the rest of us. They will know how much I value other people and their feelings and how much I hate discrimination and inequality. They will know I think being compassionate to others, even if they are different, and helping them when they need it is SO, SO important in life. And, then they’ll say, “Man, mom was a potty mouth, huh, dad?” And I am. And that’s just another part of me. If you ask any single one of my friends or family or even my OBGYN, they will tell you that they way I talk on here and on my blog, is exactly how I talk in real life. Of course, I have manners and know when NOT to open my sailor mouth, but this is who I am…good or bad. And, if reading me say “Man, that guy fighting against gay rights is a fucking asshole,” is the worst of it? I am so, SO happy with that. And, I totally respect your opinion and totally adore you. xoxo
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I want my children to know me…to know all of me…not just bits and pieces.
I want them to know about the good, and the not so good times in my life, my mistakes and my triumphs, and how I dealt with it all.
How much of yourselves do you share with your kids? Do you want them to know all of you? Or just the politically correct version of you?
I was up until two in the morning, the night before. I was doubtful that what I’d prepared to present to these young ladies was good enough. Ironic, considering my session was about being confident. But, I guess how much we love ourselves, and how sure we are of ourselves, is fluid, and constantly evolving.
I felt numb and terrified as I walked into room 211 – MY ROOM.
I had the most amazing facilitator, who bent over backwards to make sure I had everything I needed and was prepared.
Thank you, Alberta Duran!
Each time she introduced me, she included some of the things I’ve struggled with – things I was about to share with these young ladies. You’d think hearing a lengthy list of all my “issues” would have made me cringe. Every part of that introduction was filled with all the things I’ve spent so much of my life trying to conceal. But, now? They’re all the things I own and embrace about myself. I was proud to hear every single word about me and my past, spoken loudly for all to hear.
We are all beautifully flawed.
I began each session by explaining that my husband had given me plenty of tips on how to stand up there and portray confidence. And, then I told them that I was completely terrified and not feeling very confident at all, since I’m so used to hiding behind my keyboard. But, I was there anyway, and maybe that is another kind of confidence in itself.
I think I must have apologized a million times to them for the fact that I didn’t wear nearly enough deodorant to mask the smell of my nerves.
I explained to them that they will hear people, again and again, tell them to get it over it, that this is just high school and they won’t care about any of it one day..that none of it would matter. I told them that couldn’t be further from the truth, that every part of it mattered. Their feelings, concerns, and worries ARE REAL, and should be validated. These struggles are no less important than the ones we, as adults, battle.
And I showed them her inspiring and powerful video.
Armed with markers and paint, I asked them if they’d like to give it a try. Because, I sure did.
Enthusiastically, they all jumped at it.
Everyone got up and began painting one another, and myself, with positive affirmations.
I had girls come up to me, with tears, looking down at their feet, explaining to me how they feel now what I had felt then…what I still feel sometimes.
I hugged them so tight…me needing their hugs as much as they needed mine.
I told them I would have hugged them so much tighter if I didn’t smell so awful.
I passed out posts I’ve written on my decade long battle with Bulimia, and others on how hard I’ve always been on myself.
And I begged them to please email me whenever they needed to talk. And, I so hope they do.
There was one girl in particular, that I cannot get out of my head. I won’t share her name here, but I do want to tell her…
You, the one with the big, beautiful, almond shaped eyes, accented with sparkly green eye shadow, I saw you and your beautiful soul in those eyes. And I am in awe of your spirit. You are so, so, SO MUCH more special than you know. You will leave a mark in this world that is bigger than any you could imagine. One day, you too, will see what others see in you. And your journey, no matter how hard at times, will help others through their own. I’m always here for you. ALWAYS. Thank you for YOU.
I am so inspired to start a program like this in school districts here in Houston. It makes no difference what color, size, shape, or socioeconomic status, girls everywhere fight the same beasts and struggle the same struggles.
We all need to work on loving ourselves more.
And, I think that starts by loving and helping others.
Why else are we here?
I can’t wait to do this again.
Only, next time, I’ll be sure to apply extra deodorant, so I can squeeze people tighter.
Thank you so much to all those who worked so hard to make this conference a reality for the young ladies of Edgewood Independent School District. And, very a special thank you to Tamara Casso, who believed I could do this, even when I didn’t.
I’m presenting at all three sessions. Like, I actually have to talk to people in real life without a keyboard to hide behind, you guys.
When I get nervous I tend to talk reallyreallyreallyfast, faster than when I’m not nervous. And, that’s fast. Also? I mumble a lot.
But, rather than standing up before these young girls and feigning total self confidence, I think I’ll choose to open by telling them how terrified and nervous I am to be up in front of them. And, that it’s normal to feel terrified and nervous when trying new things, but it shouldn’t stop them from putting themselves out there, and trying new things.