As I have been making changes in my life, I have noticed a lot of my relationships changing. As new attitudes and interests have emerged the people in my life have been altered as well. I like to believe it all happens for a reason but when friends drift away, I can’t help but feel guilty, like maybe I didn’t give enough. One of my biggest pet peeves is flakiness and I have to admit I can be pretty flaky. I have been known to forget things, overschedule myself, and get so caught up in the day to day of my life that I lose touch with people I shouldn’t lose touch with. One of those people is one of my oldest friends, Laurie. Laurie and I met in 7th grade, but became close in 9th grade. At a time when I lost all of my friends (which is another blog for another day) she stepped up and became my best friend. She hung out with Heather and me in high school, was also on the soccer team and went on those ski trips. We were in a youth choir together, sang duets in church, and went on many beach trips together. We called ourselves L squared. We stayed friends over the years even though we went to different colleges and married guys who moved us out of state. Laurie was a bridesmaid in my wedding and I was one in hers. We were pregnant at the same time with both of our children.
When I was writing my best friends blog last week I thought about Laurie the whole time. I thought about how she’s one of those people that I have nearly let drift out of my life. I wanted to squeeze her into the blog, but realized that in two years we have barely spoken. I took a short trip to Charlotte last year and I didn’t call Laurie. We were busy and we weren’t there very long, but I should have called. This year during my visit we had to cancel our playdate because my girls both had fevers. I have been reflecting a lot on who I was and who I want to be and all the people in my life along the way. I don’t want to lose touch with those who were such an integral part of my life for so long and Laurie is one of those.
Okay so I am late to the game with this blog post. I thought about writing it three weeks ago, but didn’t. Since then my friend Renee wrote about him on her blog and there was an article in our local newspaper about him. So here is my story about Tallahassee’s Bikini Bicyclist.
Every Saturday we go to Cabo’s. It is my favorite restaurant in town and since Saturday is “kids eat free” day we get an added bonus of four people eating for the price of two. Anyway, on May 29th (I know the exact date b/c I left for NC the next day) we were sitting in the corner booth by the window when I noticed the people next to me pointing and laughing. I looked out the window and there waiting at the stop sign was the bikini bicyclist only on that day he was not wearing a speedo, but a thong instead. I didn’t know what to think, I was sitting in a restaurant looking out the window at a man in his fifties riding a bicycle in a thong. I’m not even sure if Mark saw him or not. I didn’t want to draw any attention to him. I wasn’t sure how to explain it to the girls, so I let them stay busy coloring while waiting for their lunch.
I am sure at some point, after the initial shock wore off (this was my first time seeing him), I went into judgmental mode. But before I could get too caught up in thoughts of how indecent he was or wondering what problem he had with clothes, I stopped and looked around the restaurant. Almost every adult in the place had noticed him by now. Many people were out of their seats and looking out the window. The one thing they all had in common was smiles. For a moment people had stopped what they were doing, gotten out of their heads for a little bit, put down their cell phones and sandwiches just to enjoy the scenery.
I’m not really sure why this man chooses to ride his bicycle around town in bikinis or thongs. But what I did learn that day is the value he brings to our community. For the brief moment you come in contact with him, you become present and you can’t help but smile!
Here’s the link to the original story written about him on the Facebook page. You can also become a fan on Facebook through that link.
Today’s Sunday Quotes are in memory of the people that we lost this week. I also want to send my sympathies to the family of Ryan Puckett.
“Honesty is the most single most important factor having a direct bearing on the final success of an individual, corporation, or product.” -Ed McMahon
“God gave women intuition and femininity. Used properly, the combination easily jumbles the brain of any man I’ve ever met. ” -Farrah Fawcett
“In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.” -Michael Jackson
I have a brand new poem that I just wrote. I think a lot of love relationships are based in fear. Fear of being alone, fear of not being enough, or fear of not getting enough. I know in the past I have “loved” out of fear (and maybe to some degree still do). So today I wrote this poem.
Love Without Fear….
is a subtle glance; across the room; a feeling of home
is without tabs; or scorecards; locked up for later
is a kiss; with awareness; given and felt
is without what if’s; or plans for; what will be
is knowing; that all is; as it should be
is without demands; or madness; in need of change
is complete; and whole; and with me now
So for the past two days, despite more important news happening in the world, the headline that keeps jumping out at me is the news about the SC governor and his affair. Since I don’t live in SC and am not a Republican, I was not even aware of him until the headlines took over my Comcast homepage. I do not condone his behavior but I do think that he is just human like the rest of us.
I think that we all have voids and we find our own ways to fill them in. Some people look to other people to give them what they are missing, some look to food, or shopping, alcohol, or drugs. Some people become obsessed with their appearance and spend hours in the gym or pay thousands for surgery. Some people become workaholics and put in more hours nurturing their careers than they do their children. Their happiness is always in the hands of some outside force.
For me I think there were several things that I used to fill voids. For starters I was a clingy girlfriend and wife. I used to get so worried if Mark forgot to call or came home a little late. I’d begin to panic thinking of how I’d survive without him, that somehow my happiness was dependent on him being there to take care of me. When I was able to abandon that attitude I could then see what I really want out of my marriage, which is so much more than security. These days I give freely out of love instead of fear.
I’ve talked before about my old TV habits. The time in my life when my TV watching peaked coincided with the time in my life when my loneliness peaked. I used the TV to fill in the space that was there when I moved away from my family and friends. I also turned to food for comfort and have spent most of my ten years of marriage (actually longer than that) yo-yo dieting. I went from a size 10 up to a 16 and down to a 4 and back to a 10 then back to a 16 and now I’m an 8. I am healthy and happy where I am right now. Food isn’t comfort for me anymore, it’s nourishment. If I get a little smaller…great…but my worth is not measured by the number in my pants.
Anyway, we are all here for something and we’re all searching for the “more” we are meant to find. I believe that “more” is union with God (and for those of you who don’t believe in God we could also say union with Self). Until we get there we’ll probably keep asking for the next better thing and using our vices to fill in the voids. There are a few vices I have left to let go of, including a very strong attachment to coffee and the internet! But one thing I remind myself daily is that the best answers for my life come from within me. I do not need to look outside of myself for love and happiness, I need only go within.
I’m writing this on Tuesday evening. Today I found out that someone I went to high school with lost his battle with cancer. He left behind a beautiful wife and a toddler. Last year a young father in Tallahassee died in a car accident, leaving behind his pregnant wife and 2 daughters. In January 2008 my sorority sister, Susie, lost her battle with cancer as well. At the time of her death her daughter was 3 and her son was 5.
Death is something that is supposed to happen to the elderly. It’s something that should come as a kind of reward for putting in your time, working hard, watching the generations beneath you grow, and meeting your goals. When it happens to people my age or younger we pay attention. When it happens to people who have young children and are seemingly just building their lives we stop and take stock.
That is what I am doing in this post. I am so grateful for my life. I am grateful for my husband and daughters and the way that we take care of each other. I am so proud of what Mark has acheived in the years we’ve been together and that his accomplishments have allowed me the opportunity to stay home with our daughters. Not only have I been available to my girls but I have also learned to be available to myself. I’m not sure that this would have happened if I was still in the classroom teaching. I am grateful for writing and learning. I love that when I walk into Border’s and inhale the scent of the books something comes alive inside of me. I am thankful for my friends, the ones I’ve re-connected with, the ones I’ve always had, and the newest ones. I am grateful for the family I grew up with, my precious loving mother, hard-working and honest father, my organized and faith-filled oldest sister, and my caring, doting, and forgiving older sister. I have learned and am still learning so much from them. I am grateful for my spirituality. I am glad that I did my own searching and found God in my own way.
There is so much to be thankful for that this post could go on for days. I’m sure I will revisit gratitude in the future. What I know today is that life is precious. It is great to have dreams and fantasies about our futures. I definitely believe in putting in time planting those seeds. But like plants need water and sunlight, I think our dreams need to be nurtured with gratitude for what we already have. I believe that the more time we spend being grateful, the more things arrive for us to be grateful for.
What are you grateful for? If you have it, take the time to comment!
I read this blog from time to time (warning..do not click on the link if you are anti-atheist). I appreciate his writing and although he does not share my beliefs, I greatly respect the fact that he has done true searching and discovering to come to his own conclusions about God. There was something he said in his latest entry that jumped out at me. This is what he wrote….
“Real friendship isn’t something you choose to do, it’s something you cannot chose not to do. And that sort of friendship takes time measured in years and decades, not months.”
In this post I want to write about 3 friends who totally fit this description.
Heather is the first of these. We met when we were in Ms. Gilliam’s class in 6th grade but became real friends when we were 15 and in the 10th grade. We played on the soccer team together, went on beach trips and church ski trips, hung out with the same crowd of crazy teenage dropouts and simultaneously fell in love with two of them. We were together almost all the time…except for when we were lost in boyfriend abyss. We lost touch briefly as I moved into the dorms and Heather moved in with her fiance. Heather always checked in though, she never let me get too far away. I’ll leave out the messy details, but eventually Heather joined me in the dorms and in my sorority! I got the honor of being my best friend’s “pledge mommy.” After college graduation, Heather went on to law school and I moved to Ohio then to Texas and finally to Florida. Through it all we kept in touch from a far.
Amy is next. Amy and I were on the yearbook staff together for 3 years in high school. It was by chance we both ended up on a tour of UNCC with our mothers and decided that day we would be roommates. Freshman year was one of the best years of my life and it had more to do with Amy than anything else. We were so close, it was like we were sisters (which included the fighting…but it’s nice to have a friend you can fight with and then move on to have a stronger friendship). The funniest thing I remember about that year is the way that Amy would leave the dorm room and then call me as soon as she got to work to talk some more. We went through so much together that year. The following year we pledged Zeta. I have to admit that due to the distance we haven’t talked as much as we should over the years, but when the most life changing things were going on with her…I knew about them and she knows about mine. Right now Amy is expecting twins!
Finally there is Kristin. Kristin was in the pledge class with Amy and me. The first time I saw her I was drawn to her and wanted to be her friend. We had our first real conversation over a Marlboro Light outside of our dorms. The rest was history. I dragged Kristin out partying with me, we worked at The Comedy Zone together, she lived for a summer at my parents’ house, went to Disney and Myrtle Beach with the Simpson clan. Actually she became an honorary member of our family for a while there. She’s the godmother to my oldest daughter and the only person who possesses a copy of the first draft of my first novel. (Hopefully there will be a final draft that finds it’s way into print one day.)
This year there has been this force driving me to reconnect with my past. All of the traveling down memory lane with people on Facebook has made me recognize the people that I cannot not have in my life. In April, I spent a weekend in Savannah with Heather, Amy, and Kristin and was reminded of how much I value their presence in my life. It might just be me, but the four of us fit together in a “meant to be” sort of way. They are the kinds of friends that Ronin mentioned in his blog. I’m sure I will be reminded of this for years and decades to come!
Mark and I have been married for 10 years and together for 12. I hear people talk about the “blow-out” fights they have with their spouses, but Mark and I don’t really have those. For the most part it is because we get along, but it is also because Mark prefers the silent treatment. Luckily for us I can only bear that kind of silence for so long until I burst. I think we’ve gone to bed in the midst of a silent treatment a couple of times during our marriage but usually I forced us out of it. I’ve never been very good at accepting that someone is mad at me and just letting it go. I want to know why and then I want to fix it.
My mother-in-law is visiting this week and yesterday she and Mark had a disagreement that had something to do with Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Sounds pretty simple right? Oh, no, simple it was not. I found myself in the midst of silent treatment hell! They didn’t speak to each other from 3pm on Saturday until 10am on Sunday. At several points during those hours I asked Mark to talk to her. Finally when the girls and I were leaving for church he agreed to end the resistance. They talked for an hour and a half. Needless to say after 19 hours of festering, the little argument about doughnuts became much more. That’s the problem with the silent treatment. If you remain silent everytime something hurts you, you’re just filling yourself up with all of this hurt until it just can’t be contained.
I’m not sure yet if everything is better between them. I’m not sure how much was said in the moment of exposion. I do know that in the middle of witnessing the display of stubborness between them I was able to forgive Mark for all the times he’d done it to me. When he gives me the silent treatment it is because that is what he learned and experienced. That was conflict resolution in his house. I kindly pointed this out to him too. I want to be sure that he and I are always vocal about our feelings, especially when they are hurt. I want our girls to learn how vital it is to communicate and the best way they will learn is by watching us.
At the beginning of June, while on our trip to NC, Bella came up to me and told me she loved me. After saying it she asked if she had to love everyone. I told her no she does not, she is allowed to love whomever she wants. She listened carefully to my answer and said, “I don’t actually love you then Mom.”
I spent the rest of the day (possibly two days) trying to get an “I love you” out of her. I’d hug her and tell her I loved her. Eventually I resorted to just asking her, “Bella, do you love me?” I called Mark and had him ask her if she loved him…she said yes. When he asked her if she loved me, she said she didn’t want to talk about it. That became her answer. “Stop talking about it, Mom.” But all the while that she wasn’t saying it, she was still climbing onto my lap, pressing her head against me and getting that glazed- eyes-drunk-baby look that she’s been famous for since our nursing days. I felt her love, I didn’t need to hear the words.
I have been obsessed with those words for as long as I can remember. I LOVE YOU! I was raised to say it and especially to say it to my family. There were certainly people in my family that I wasn’t sure that I loved, people I frankly didn’t even know, but because we shared a bloodline or a name the “I love you’s” were exchanged. I’m quite certain that I have said “I love you” to people that I might not recognize on the street.
I acknowledge there are times that I still throw those words around without any feelings behind them. The “I love you, have a good day” that I give to Mark each morning is often stated like some kind of broken record as I’m fixing the girls breakfast or writing in my journal. There is also the “Goodnight, sweet dreams, I love you” that I say as I am exiting Bella and Callee’s room each night while I’m thinking of my meditation pillow or email inbox. I love them very much but in those moments the words are just words and I am not focused on what should be felt when I say them.
I think Bella’s love crisis is just that. She is trying to understand the connection between the words and the feelings. She is trying to discover the experience of love. I am learning as well from my daughter. I am now making a conscious effort to feel the words when I say them, instead of just saying them. Today when Mark was leaving for work, I got up from my computer gave him a hug and a kiss, looked him in the eyes and said “I love you.” The extra effort was so worth the feelings that bubbled up inside me and the smile on his face!
“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.” -Mark Twain
If you’d like to see proof of this check out this post on Owning Pink. It will require about 6 minutes of your viewing time but it is so worth it.
I also wanted to add another laughter quote passed along from a fellow blogger and tweeter, Jason.
“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” ~e.e. cummings