Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Big Love

I've finally found a way to watch season 3 of Big Love. I love this show, it's a peek into a world that is foreign to me. The idea of really believing in something is a notion I find enviable. And believe or not, there is something very enticing about the notion of sister wives, and that whole concubine way of life that is appealing. I'm not exactly certain I could share a man's affections, but I could probably get on board with the group mothering and having other like-minded women there to share life with.

But that's not what this is about. And spoiler alert: if you haven't begun season 3, I may be blowing things for you. But I'm pretty sure that (A) there's no one actually reading this, and (B) I'm late enough to this rodeo that I won't ruin anything.

At any rate: Sarah Hendrickson is pregnant. Daughter of devout, polygamist Mormons, high school senior, bright, beautiful, her whole life ahead of her. And she can kiss her future good bye. She's only just found out, so at this point I'm mostly just speculating. Hell, for all intents and purposes, I'm projecting. But here's how I see it: She's a disappointment, she's a disgrace. She's cast her parents in terrible light. Chances are good that her potential just took a free fall. I look at her and think "What if she had been dealt another card? Something other than the dreaded 'early pregnancy' card? What could she have become?"

You see, there are times that I feel I was dealt that card.

It's not exactly a secret: I got pregnant, out of wedlock, when I was 22 years old. I had just graduated from college when it happened. To be exact, I found out the very day I was offered my first real job.

It's not like I was promiscuous. I really and truly wasn't. Obviously I wasn't virtuous until I got married, but still. Let's put it this way: there wasn't any possible way that I could have become a teenage statistic. If you catch my drift. wink wink

So looking back, I kind of think that way: I was dealt a card. The early pregnancy, change your life card. At the time, I felt like I was being punished: I had done something wrong and I had to pay the consequences. Now that I've had 18 years to think about it, I wonder: What about all those girls? How come they didn't have to pay the consequences?? Was I stupider than the other girls? 18 years and 3 other children later, I realize that no, I wasn't stupider, I wasn't being punished for doing something wrong. However, I am FERTILE. Women who have difficulty conceiving aren't being punished. It's unfortunate, and I'm certain maddening for them, but it's not punishment. I find it telling that I can feel such empathy and pain for women who have problems conceiving, but I can't issue myself any forgiveness for my own physical shortcomings. Wait. Scratch that. Couldn't. I can now. I've had time to think about it, to feel my shame, to repent, to question, to grieve, to be angry, to think more and finally to forgive.

But I often wonder: What would it have been like if I had been dealt some other card?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The movie is dark and twisty, but I think there's a genius to the phrase.

I feel unburdened today. I feel free, and the weight that's been lifted is so great that I feel as though I could burst. I don't know if it's happiness, per se... I think it's an immense feeling of relief.

It's no longer my fault.
It's no longer my responsibility.
I no longer feel the need to buffer, apologize, explain, excuse, plead, justify, sacrifice or worry.
I have not burned bridges.
I have not hurt feelings.
I have acted maturely and given it my all when I really didn't want to.

I am done and I am moving on and I am relieved.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


"Turn to face the strain." That's how the Bowie lyrics go, and it seems relatively fitting. Changes most certainly can be fun, but the big ones require a lot of soul searching, and quite frankly, an awful lot of faith. And I have to say, I'm kind of struggling with that today.

A set of weird circumstances have brought on a move for me. This, in itself, would not be something I would have chosen for myself. It has the potential for being a good thing, and I'm enjoying some of the benefits of the move to be sure, but there are plenty of parts of my former life that I miss. Things that I took for granted would always be there. Things that I truly enjoyed. They're not gone, but I have to work and hope that everything falls into place to get to enjoy them again.

And the initial change - the move - has had a snowball effect. I'm on the cusp of changing jobs. And when is this not scarey? Ok, I guess for lots of people getting a new job is a really happy occasion, and in many ways this IS a happy-maker. But it's still scarey. I have a dozen devil-I-don't-know questions that I'm worrying about:

Will the money be there?
(Commission based jobs can be lucrative and challenging, and you have a sense of empowerment because you get monitary rewards for doing a good job. But in slow times, the wrong location, a bad economy it can be a be struggle)

Will the insurance be acceptable and affordable?
(Now that I'm 40-sih I find that parts are starting to fail, and the warrantee is more important than ever. Buying group health with a bunch of older, chubby, smoking men scares me. Hello high premiums.)

Will the location be okay?
Will I like my new coworkers?
Will I like the new customers?

But the last year has been no cake walk. A pressure-filled environment. A downward-trending economy in an already recessed city. Down-sizing. More hours. More demands. More accountability. More events. More stress. More grasping at straws.

And then there's the boss. Picture Meryl Strep in "The Devil Wears Prada" only without the glamor, height and poise. "Hard to please" is the kind way to phrase it. And even without the move (which brings with it a 94 mile round trip commute) I had been contemplating (read: wishing) for a new job. It's hard to feel like you're really trying every day, and yet every day you're failing. Good things happen, but they're serendipity. Bad things happen, and they happen because I let them. Or so it seems.

I want these changes to work for me. I need them to work for me. But that doesn't mean I'm not terrified.

And then I remind myself:

I am provided for. I have lived at the very brink for a long time, and yet when I get too percariously close to the edge, He's there to yank me back. Whether it's some strange check in the mail that exactly covers the speeding ticket I couldn't afford, or providing me with a new job after 2 years of looking just when the company was closing my location, I have been provided for. So it's hard to think that this oppurtunity appearing just now is coincidence. It feels more like a life preserver being thrown my way. So I'm going to grab ahold and hope for the best.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's begining to look a lot like Christmas...

I know. I know. I don't like it either. But I work retail, and in the retail world, Christmas starts early. As in, I put up the Christmas tree on Halloween. And on November 1st Musak got set to the holiday channel, where it will stay until December 26th. Uh...Woot?

But it's got me thinking Christmas. Not shopping, necessarily (I'm in denial about that), but the other stuff. What makes me happy, what I look forward to, even what I miss.

So here's a totally random list of where my head has been today.

1. Marshmellow World
This is not one of those Christmas songs that I've loved forever. In fact, it didn't appear on my radar until about five years ago, and to be frank, I hated it. And I cannot tell you how or why, but it grew on me. It's goofy, and it has nothing to do with Christmas. But it's catchy. Then one day I looked for the video on youtube, and suddenly it shot up to the number 2 spot on my Christmas music favs. They're just having so much fun, and I can't hear the song now without it putting a smile on my face.

2. Since I mentioned that Marshmellow World shot up to the number 2 spot, I feel compelled to mention that The Vince Guaraldi Trio's Linus and Lucy occupies the top spot. I have other songs that I like for their religious sentiment, but for capturing the season, for making me just plain happy when I hear it, Linus and Lucy is it. It takes me back to a simpler time, when the word "SPECIAL" would rotate across the screen in technicolor to announce a show that was, indeed, special. To a time when taking a bath and putting on one's pajamas seemed the perfectly appropriate way to celebrate something so important.

3. Cookies. I realize that lately I have begun to define myself by what I am not. As in, "I'm not a chocolate person." Or, "I'm not one much for bacon." I'm trying to change this, because it's sounds negative. I'm working on that. I can tell you, however, with much certainty: I AM a cookie person. Especially the homemade variety. Especially the homemade variety that are a little off the beaten path. I haven't had a Springerle in probably a dozen years, but what I wouldn't give... My dad was German and my mom was Irish. She made concessions, and this was one of the things that she learned to make. My brothers and sister didn't really like them, and I think my dad would eat one or two. But me? That was cookie tin I was reaching for. (Not that I wouldn't eat the other cookies. Did I mention that I am a cookie person?)

4. Lights. Camera.
I love photography, and I particularly love creating little happy still lifes. I have to admit that I go for great long stretches without indulging in this love, but come Christmas, everything seems to have photographic potential. This picture is on the old side, and it was shot on film - I know, crazy, right? It looks so much better in real life. I remember getting this set of pictures back and I think my heart skipped a beat. I love the bokeh on this, and how the lights star out. I've worn glasses since I was four, and one of my favorite things was to turn off all the room lights, turn on the tree lights, take off my glasses and stare at the tree. The way the lights look here is what they looked like to me. It has some magical essence to me...

5. Visions of sugarplums...
Only not sugarplums at all. More like treats from Red Envelope, or maybe some handmade treasure from Etsy? And on second thought, I don't know what real sugarplums are, but I'd put QuicKutz's version to good use...

On that note, it's time to settle in for my long winter's nap.

Go ahead and jump

There's a park around here that one of my daughters really loves. She calls it The Wooden Park, and I suppose that makes sense, because it is, indeed, overwhelmingly wooden. It's not right around the corner, and so we don't visit it often. And by "not often" I mean...maybe once a year. This last time we were there, she (being Molly) was hell bent on finally tackling this rope swing. Only she was really quite afraid to actually take that literal leap of faith and jump. Her brother and sister both showed her how "easy" it was and demonstrated how no harm would come of her. There were words of coaxing on my part, phrased carefully as to not imply pressure, nor failure if she chose to climb off the tire and go back to the swings and slides. We knew that she could do it, but that hardly mattered: SHE needed to figure that out for herself.

And so we waited. Casually. Patiently. Empathetically. Because I remember that feeling. The nagging voice that says "What if I fall?", "What if I hurt myself?", "What if I try...and FAIL?"

Pouring over this picture I think about courage. Courage isn't about not being afriad. Courage is about being afraid and overcoming the fear.

This was a triumph for her and a reminder to me: Go ahead and jump.