Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Princess Inside

I hate to admit this, but I am a Halloween Bah Humbug. I just do not appreciate the holiday. Maybe this stems from the fact that trick-or-treating was not allowed in my sleepy little town after razor blades were found in candy. Maybe it is because I do not understand the pull of being frightened. I do love to watch toddlers being stuffed into sweet potato costumes, and I admit that I am a Butterfinger gal, but when I go running and have a heart attack because a burly man is hiding in someone's bushes, I am not amused. The burly man was stuffed, but did not appear so out of the corner of my eye. Being a lone female running on a less traveled road with decapitated heads hanging from an oak tree is not my idea of a good time. I think day to day existence can sometimes be scary enough. We live in a culture where we are bombarded by horrific news on a daily basis. After reading a story about a man who tried to commit suicide by setting himself on fire, and a car bomb that killed 100 people, I do not need to need to see someone in a bloody mask or stick my hand in a bowl of "eyeballs." Remember I did admit that I was a Halloween Bah Humbug. The holiday originated over 2000 years ago with the Celts, who thought that spirits would rise and walk the earth. The Celts placed bones around their homes to scare of theses spirits. We still decorate our homes and spend hundreds of dollars on candy. We dress up in costumes and become something or someone we are not. So where am I going in this long rant? All I know is that the world is scary enough, obesity is rampant and we really just need to figure out who we really are, and be that person. I do know that I am a Princess deep inside; I don't need the costume in order to be my true self for one night a year. Yes I will hand out candy, but I will not be dressed up. I will not jump out of the bushes, and I will not decorate my home with body parts. Isn't it almost Christmas anyways? Ho ho ho.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cinderella I am not, or am I?

I just spent two days pouring over different versions of Cinderella for a Children's Literature paper. It is a classic tale, and as girls we are all indoctrinated. If we play nice, whistle while we work (is that Snow White) and look pretty, our prince will come and take us as his bride so that we can live happily ever after. I hate to admit that there is a little Cinderella in me. The feminist in me knows that I can rescue myself, I am going to school, raising a teenager, and almost keeping up with the bills. But someplace, deep inside I want to be rescued. Cinderella is not the only one residing in my subconscious. Meet the wicked step sister. She is the part  that wants me to fail, that feels that I should work twice as hard to live. She is the part that kicks my ass, that tells me it is time to quit, and that I cannot rescue myself. Yesterday the wicked sister took over. She did kick my ass, and I did almost quit school. Because in reality, I do not know how to rescue myself. I do not know how to juggle school and living. I do not know how to pay my bills while taking on a full time school schedule which leaves no time for working. There has to be another sister residing in my pea brain. Where is sister number 3? She is the sister that is balanced, that can accept help from her prince or princess, but also get things done on her own. She is the sister that knows she creates her own happiness, that joy is not something that happens to her, but happens because of her. I don't know where she is, I sure would like to find her. So for now I think that I need to accept that little Cindy in me, as well as the cruel sister. Maybe in accepting what I already possess I will make room for other possibilities. Maybe sister 3 has been there all along. Maybe she is the one that kept me from quitting school when I realized that I only had a month's worth of money left. Maybe she is the one that reminded me that I had a mid semester evaluation to do. Maybe...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Five hours alone with myself

I just ran a marathon. And for once I am kind of speechless. I had heard that you don't know until you try it. There is something about spending 26.2 miles alone with oneself. First, you find out what you are made of, that even when you want to quit at mile 18, or maybe even 15, you can push through. But the negative self talk has to stop. I learned a lot about myself today, that I will hopefully remember once the endorphin high is over. I can push through self - imposed limits. An ex - smoker who was placed last in the 900 meter Presiden't Physical Fitness test in high school can run a marathon. I can cut myself a little slack when I do not achieve the time I wanted, and that I can slow down and allow myself to run. I can allow myself to walk. I can allow myself some added rest. These are big deals for me. I am used to cracking the whip, juggling all sorts of things while standing on one foot and reciting poetry (not really, but you get the idea). But the point of all this is, Oh My God, I Just Ran a Marathon.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

One Scoop of Stress, add the whip cream and nuts

The semester has begun, the work load has increased and I find myself reverting to old patterns of behavior. Mainly, I have forgotten to be grateful for all of the gifts that I have. I have failed to notice each phase of the moon and each sunset. I have even lapsed on the writing of this blog. I have skipped the rituals that bring me joy, and have lost the quiet time spent in meditation. My house has become chaotic and the bills are being shoved into a shoe box. Now I do know the drill. This is my second year at this school. I know to expect more work than I can dream of accomplishing. Yet it caught me off guard. I slipped into the stress, ordered more, embellished it, and now sit wondering why life is so hard. The answer lies in my attitude. I have lost the extreme gratitude that I experienced this summer while writing my book and poetry, sipping tea and exploring characters and metaphor. Gratitude is not something I need to squeeze into this schedule. It is like fitting in meals (I do eat while driving, dangerous), it is nourishing, and I finish feeling full and satiated. What I need is to pay attention to savoring and loving my practice of gratitude as much as I do the pint of Ben and Jerry's in the freezer. If I spent as much time in  gratitude as I do with my head in the freezer, my whole outlook on life would change in an instant.