Saturday, February 4, 2012

Never Give Up

My entire life I have been surrounded by what I consider ordinary things and events. I thought the people around me were what made my life extraordinary. I live my life and do my thing and that's just how it is. I'm not so naive to think that everyone lives their dreams like me, but sometimes I feel I live a small life. Clearly, I was wrong.
I was having a conversation with my friend in which she described me as brave and bold and she wished she could be like me. She called me a risk-taker. A go-getter. As I laughed and tried not to spew soda out my nose, I asked what the hell did she mean by that?
She wistfully sat down her drink and spoke with her hands as she is wont to do.
"You have traveled. You live in a different place than where you came from. You're a dancer and a singer. You inspire young people everyday. All that is brave. I could never do those things. Not in a million years."
"Yeah, but do you want to do those things?"
"Of course, I did. But what if I failed at it? What if I wasn't good enough? What would happen then?"
I thought for a minute. "You just go for it. Win some, lose some. You work for what you want."
"See? That's what I mean. Brave."
I blinked twice trying to absorb that the woman she sees and the one my mirror reflects are the same person.
Yes. I do all those things she says. I have traveled. A lot. I loved it.
I do live far from where I hale.
I was a professional dancer and singer and now I teach that trade at a performing arts school. I hope I am as inspiring as she says. I lead a group of Girl Scouts in my hippie footsteps trying to teach them to save the planet and be strong and independent all at once.
But now I'm a mom and a wife and lug around 30 more pounds than I would like to. I sit on Twitter far too long everyday and spend lots of time cooking (Since I am my grandmother's granddaughter and you know, just in case Bobby Flay calls for a throwdown.)
She took a drink and said "And you wrote a book. You're so creative. I could never do that."
I looked at her with round eyes as if she had suddenly sprouted a second and third head.
All the other stuff I could see her thinking of assets. I wanted it, I went for it, I did it.
But this thing...this last mention of accomplishments felt the furthest from that word it could be...instead, it feels like failure.
Yes. I wrote the book. I have written many books. I have edited, revised, cried, laughed, typed until cross-eyed, took critiques and did all that again and yet they still sit lonely in my computer. I wrote the dreaded query letter. Or letters I should say. I have submitted with a nervous and shaky hand.
Over and over and over.
I have felt that instant panic of 'what did I just leave out?' followed quickly by the complete and utter revulsion for everything I've just written and whooshed into cyberspace.
I have waited, with racing heart, until the emails came only to find the rejections waiting.
Each one telling you almost, but not for me and that if you just send it on to the next agent, they are sure it will fit them. It's as if every one of us trying to get a deal is pulling a slot machine lever. You pull, hear the ring, watch the wheels. One cherry. Two cherries. Then the third wheel stops half way between banana and cherry, you're so damn close you know if you pull it one more time...thus begins the cycle. It's vicious but it keeps you coming back for more.
So you keep at it. More rejections.
Each one encouraging. Each one telling me to keep at it. Each one telling me no.

I have felt that sting of pride where you think "Your loss, not mine." which of course is quickly replaced with the self doubt of "Clearly, I have no talent."
I, of course, brushed off my friend's statement with clever self-deprecation and a little laugh at my own expense, but it made me wonder...why do I do it? Were the other things I accomplished this hard? I don't know if they were or not. Maybe this isn't what I should be doing. It ate at me. I spent more time away from the computer and more time talking myself into the fact that it would never happen. I was ready to give up.

Fast forward to parent-teacher conference: I'm sitting across from my fifth grader's teacher, a lovely woman who adores my child. "I understand you wrote a book."
My mouth fell open. "Well...I, yeah...I guess. I'm looking for an agent?" I thought to myself, why did that come out a question? I am...aren't I?
"Well, your son is very proud of you. When he scores well in writing he says he gets it from you."
My eyes grew wet with what would turn into tears as soon as I got into my car. I had no idea. I thought I had tried not to tell people so that if I failed, few would know. I thought my kids weren't paying attention to my triumphs of sending it out and the heartaches of the getting the big N-O. I thought I was alone in it. My family and my students support me of course, but say it out loud to someone.
"I wrote a book."
You either get a look of awe, (awkward) asked for your published title,(which of course you don't have) or the most common...the look of "Uh-huh. Sure you did." (In which case, you quickly blather like an idiot to defend your novel that only exists in your house and heart but nowhere else in the world) - And so you don't say it a lot. Or at least I didn't.
I'm a dancer for crying out loud!
But now I realize that is not what I should be worrying about. The failure is not the worst that could happen.
If I want this, and make no mistake, I truly do, then I have put myself out there. The succeeding isn't the part that matters, it's the risk of doing it at all. The guts to go for it is the part my kids and students are seeing and if I fail, it doesn't matter....IT WOULD ONLY MATTER IF I GAVE UP.
My friend was right after all. My risk taking inspires at least my son and that is plenty for me.

So with renewed vigor and a completely different attitude I go forth from here. George Clooney said that an audition was like betting with house money. You are selling you. You go in without the job, you leave without the job. The only thing that can change is that you get the job. I think that's how I'll play it from here on out in regards to getting an agent and a book deal.
I don't have it now, but I can try. I'm not losing anything since I only have something to gain.
And now thankfully I see, I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Home of the Brave

What a sad morning. I woke up and tuned in to see police in riot gear rounding up peaceful protesters out of what I consider the greatest place in the world, New York City. Mayor Bloomberg stated it had become "not a place for protest, but a place for crime."


He may be right. There was a crime, several of them. But not by the protesters. The crime was from the one percent Occupy Wall Street(OWS) is protesting against. In every protest that has been removed and shut down across America its not shops, businesses, government officials or police that have been injured. It has been the protesters. I guess you can usually win if you bring a gun to a knife fight.

Now, having said that, I'll admit there are fanatics on both sides of this fence, but the message still remains: equality, education, liberty. What is so wrong with standing up for what you believe? We only want to be heard. Why move them out? Officials said, "We could not wait around for someone to get killed in the park." So your solution is to march in, in the middle of the night with a surprise raid, in complete riot gear in a tactical military style, under cover of a media blackout, to remove a bunch of people in tents whose biggest weapons are computers and books? That seems the opposite of protecting 'the right to assemble peacefully', at least from an outsiders perspective.

And then to haul them off in handcuffs, throw their belongings into a trash heap where they must come to the dump later and retrieve them and ignore their court order to be allowed back into the park to retrieve their own things seems extreme removal for a group of sleeping people.

Did you then go over a few blocks and remove the tent cities from the Avenues A, B and C? You know the ones where people live day to day and can't afford the computers you just threw in the trash? Those 5000 books you just destroyed would have felt like gold in the hands of the school children in that area.

No, you only removed the ones making a difference.

We all know the line 'if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere' From New York, New York so does that mean that all of remaining cities with movements inside them will follow suit? Although this is not the first protest to be done away with, it is the most important to date. NYPD is supposed to be our heroes. The city watches you. The Nation does...and now the world. I would tread lightly. You're skating a fine line between protector and militant force right now. Watching you remove those people this morning broke my heart quite a lot. I can't imagine what the world thinks of our Democracy.

I don't assume to know what is actually going on in the streets of NYC right now since I am across the country, but I hear the message. I see the actions being taken on both sides.
But mostly...I feel the movement.

I find it interesting that these actions were not taken seriously until OWS made some difference at high government levels. I'm sure most of Wall Street, the House, the Senate, and officials across the nation were mostly thinking 'Damn Hippies. It is 1968 all over?' and then went to argue over a budget they will never agree on. But then something started taking shape. People perked up and started listening. Celebrities came to join the rally cries and it began...the momentum.

Now the very things that make this country great: free speech, free press, free assembly, and mostly free thinking are the very things scaring the hell out of the one percent in charge! The irony is terrific and beautiful and mostly so very terrifying on levels most of those Senators and Reps had never imagined. It is an amazing time to be alive, don't you think?

There is so much misinformation about this entire movement right now. I read two days ago how government officials and others were condemning the celebrities joining the movement. They said 'they were so far out of touch they couldn't see they were the one percent.' But I don't see it that way. The actors and singers and artists who are involved have charities and foundations and try to give back, not just to this but to all different organizations.
Are they wealthy? Sure they are.
Are they out there in the rain with the rest of us? They are that too.
Are they fighting for the same liberties and using that wealth to help others? Absolutely!

The Senators, the Representatives, and everyone else sitting high and mighty on their thrones(which can't really exist, because this is a Democracy right?) deciding what's best for the rest of us can't possibly know the answer to that question. They don't live like us and they encase themselves in a bubble, sitting high above, looking down on all the rest. They are the ones who are out of touch. You deal in hypocrisy, not democracy.

You want to fix some of the economy? How about a pay cut your self? You spent more time this year in Congress deciding your benefits, tax breaks and your raises than you did debating when our soldiers could come home. More time than you spent on education. More time than you did on the starving children. That is not representative of what the people want from you. My local politicians are not out in the streets trying to fix things, they are worrying about getting elected again. I could think of much better use of this time. Fix things now, people will re-elect you for sure. Instead, you are spending millions of dollars on ads, commercials and campaigns to tear down someone else so you can be the lesser of two evils.

When I hear a certain presidential hopeful spent 2 million dollars on an ad campaign I think, 'Wow those People in Joplin, MO and Alabama devastated by tornado, the People all over the Mississippi river basin area washed out by floods, the People in Louisiana who still haven't been given compensation from Katrina and were told the government was out of funds could have used that'- I bet the kids who are meeting in trailers because their school was flattened would have loved that 2 million dollars. The people whose homes still have big X's spray painted on them waiting for demolition in New Orleans would have treasured a little bit of that. It could go for research to cancer and AIDS, feeding and housing the poor, educating adults so they can join the work force and add to our overall gains. And that two million is just one candidate! How many people were forgetting what to say at the Presidential debate the other night? You do the math.

Its as if our Government only wishes to be the most popular house on Frat Row.You're so busy spending all your time trying to fix all the other houses on the street (i.e. every other country's government we are trying to fix currently) but the sink hole is in your own backyard. You delude yourself into thinking you're the most popular, but in reality the only reason the others come to your barbeque is because they don't want you to unleash your crazy on them. That's not respect, that's fear and that is not democracy.

Its said that to change the world you must first begin within. Why can't we be a nation that 'fixes' the rest of the world, not by force, but by leading with example? Lead other countries to a democratic government and a representation of the people, not with war, but by showing that it works here. Not by squashing our freedoms so you have control, but by respecting and upholding our freedoms to show why it works. You want people to look to us and see the land of opportunity, then we need to make it that once more. And here's your chance - give the opportunity back to the people. You can't do that by shutting down peaceful rallies or sit-ins. You can not do it by bashing them in the media and making your selves look even more like pompous jerks.

You have become the bullies, not the solution. You are supposed to be our leaders. You can not lead in that fashion and then get angry when people do as you do and follow your example. If you are intolerant, then you will lead a nation of intolerance. If you are money driven, those are the generations you will raise. If you insist on combining Church and State at all, but especially when it is convenient for you, then that is the nation you will grow - a group of people who are able to twist words, law and even the Constitution for their own selfish gain, not for the good of the People as a whole.

You claim to be for the people, but you don't know what that is. You use the Constitution and the Bible in equal amounts when it suits your purpose. I never knew all my life that the underscore of being a Republican meant you had to be Christian. But apparently, that is part and parcel to the whole thing. What's that? Republicans don't believe that? You can be any religion you want and be on 'our side'?
Really? Oh I see. I just can't run for office and represent the group if I'm something different. Also Democrats are the lesser 'because we actually do let anyone in'? I thought Christianity was excepting all and not judging. I thought division of Church and State was so that the Government couldn't enact laws based on their faith. I don't remember ever reading anywhere in the laws of this country how being gay was grounds for unfair treatment in things such as marriage, rights, and holding high position in commerce and government.
Just like slavery and suffrage movements before them, a small handful of white, God-fearing men hold the cards. How is that representative of a nation that prides itself on being a melting pot of all different colors and creeds?

Why does being gay, being a religion other than Christian, being female or expressing your own opinions become the things that lose you an election? The people you represent are those things! We are outcasts, we are losers, we are struggling, we are poor, we are passionate, we have beliefs, we have our own faith, we fight the glass ceiling and we are never satisfied with just good enough.

That is why we are American - so we can be whoever we want!

And we want our government to reflect that. Right now, it looks like my Grandpa's coffee circle and the little old ladies from church who scare the crap out of me with their judgements and funny hats!

A whole slew of in touch celebrities are lending their name to this fight and others and while they may not have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, at least they are looking ahead and trying to do something about the big picture.

That's what the 1% do not understand about this issue - its not about your bank account...its what you are doing with the money that's there. Its all about intention and desire to help. WE don't want a handout. We want opportunity!

These powerful people who are focused on OWS(Mark Ruffalo), the environment (Ian Somerhalder and the ISF Foundation, Leo DiCaprio) , veterans (Gary Sinise), education(Oprah), ending child hunger(Ellen DeGeneres), fighting AIDS(Sir Elton John), maintaining the arts in schools(Madonna, Sheryl Crow), housing the homeless(Brad Pitt) and youth sports(Mia Hamm, MLB), just to name a few, are using not just their names but all things at this generation's disposal - Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and their wealth - all to get their messages out there. They are raising money. They are standing up for what they believe. They are doing the work that needs to be done.

And they aren't doing it because they think it will be best for their campaign.
They aren't doing it because it will make them popular.
They are doing it because they have the means to make a difference and they are able to do the right thing.

They have been become our Representatives, these hypocrites as you call them, they are the ones we look up to now. They are our astronauts and we hold on to their coat tails to take us somewhere we didn't know this world could go. They are the team leaders of our dreams and desires.

We would do it if we could, but not all of us have those means and followings available to us and now with shutting down these protests, moving away the rallies you, Government, are taking from us the only thing some of us still have - hope.

Without the right to assemble and speak our minds, what makes this place any different from the rest of the world? Short answer - absolutely nothing.

But Occupiers - don't give up. The path must be the right one if its causing this much of a stir. If it meant nothing, they wouldn't try to stop it. Push forward with progress and peace. When they slap us, just turn the other cheek and show them we are still standing. Making a difference is never easy, people are resistant to change - even when its for the better, but it will be worth it in the end. When our children and grandchildren are reading in the History books about how we stood up and made sure the world would be better for them - that's when we'll know we did the right thing.

Home of the Brave indeed!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Written Word - A Tribute

I'm addicted to words. I love it. In books, in movies, in songs, in a cafe with my best friend sharing coffee and highly caloric treats. I love hearing the way it sounds when my babies say 'Watch me, Mama' or my husband says 'I love you' or the way I can still remember my grandma's voice as she passed on her wonderful wisdom.
The lyrics to a song can touch me like none other sometimes. A passage in a story can bring on the most vivid scene in my head, building the house its speaks of or the person it describes right before my eyes. In a movie, certain words become catchphrases, iconic to the point where they take on a life of their own.
But they all start at the same place - the page. Perhaps on a computer or maybe an idea jotted down on a scrap of paper. A name or sentence written on a crumpled napkin and shoved in a purse to grow its own story later. The page takes all kinds.
But its on this page that lies my true addiction - the written word.
My babies and I go to the library once a week. They don't ask to go for ice cream or to the movies on Fridays when they get home from school, but instead pack their bag of books and off we go. If something else has to be done then, like yesterday, then Saturday mornings are all about that followed by a trip to the book store. Today was no exception.
I just love the smell that a library has. Nothing compares to it, not even a bookstore can truly compete. The quiet interior housing millions of words, thousands of stories, all guarded by three or four trustworthy people who love these stories like I do. Mention a book to them and they know it. They are passionate with love or hate for it and what are we fired up about? Words.
In writing my books, I find myself getting caught up in the words. I want to describe each thing with flowing overwrought beauty or hideousness. There can't be enough words sometimes. You carefully craft your story, hold the characters close to your heart, they live and breathe within you and yet the first thing you have to tell about the book - word count.
And that's the thing - they do count! Every. Single. Word.
I am surrounded by words in my world. I have music coming out my ears, and not that it all has lyrics, but the vast majority - yes, and each one means something. I am, of course addicted to Twitter and Facebook, and the words that people write there. I have posters and paintings and books filled with quotes and sayings and memories put into words, a lifetime worth of words that have made of my life. I also have a vast collection of books in my home - all of us in my family being the big readers we are. I have magazines and far too many subscriptions that come in every month. I have scripts from plays I've done as well as ones I haven't. I have collections of musings by people I admire, just hoping I might learn something from their words. I just can't turn it away. Words you can carry with you when you go.
Think about the last time someone said something to you that was hurtful. Had they slapped you, you would be healed and forgotten the feeling...but the words, they remain. They are powerful. More powerful sometimes than we would even like them to be. Leaders are born with the right words and taken down just as easily with the wrong ones.
But the greatest of all these is a book, the ultimate written word. I love the feel of the paper between my fingers, the crisp, yet gentle sound of a page turning, the way you smile like an idiot and cry like a fool over these simple things printed within, with ink on pieces of mashed trees - words.
I'm not saying that a Nook or an iPad or a collection of eBooks aren't the way to probably is. And it would be much easier than hauling the three or four books I'm always reading, the five magazines I'm halfway through and the two or three notebooks with a slew of pens and pencils for the moments inspiration grabs me to make my own written words. I get it, but I can't do it.
When I first got my iPhone I downloaded some books. It was nice to have when the kids were running late from an activity or there was a line where ever I might be, but it just wasn't the same. The Great Gatsby is great to me not just for the story, but also for the yellowed color of the aged pages, the way the spine is broken in no less than seven places, the way the cover will fall off at any minute despite the scotch tape that litters it. It's the eyes staring out from a blue sky. It's not just the story or the words, its the experience, an old friend if you will.
It gets you through the moment of something or maybe its your first love of reading. I have my copy of The Westing Game from the sixth grade. I loaned it to my son. He fell in love with the little mystery just like I did and when we went to purchase a copy all his own we were both more than a little disappointed it didn't have the same cool cover as mine. I thumbed through it and the words were the same but the pages were white and new and hadn't been read ten times by a blonde headed aspiring dancer in the summer between 6th and 7th grade because her parents split up and she moved to a new town and those characters were her closest friends.
No, nothing can ever replace opening a book and being able to hold an entire universe in your hands.
Every time I get a postcard with one of my magazines telling me to subscribe online I cringe a bit. I love the glossy pages, the way the ink smears on my fingers due to the steam of the water when I'm reading in the bath. The movie reviews in EW come with a smartphone icon to view the trailer online and promise more of the story. But what if I want to read the story myself? Right there? Yes, I can read it online, but I can't pick up the computer and plop it down on the table in front of my husband and say "You gotta read this!" And the irony that you will read this on the computer and not by hard copy is not lost on me.
As a now aspiring writer, it's a scary thing that my love affair with the written word with one day be obsolete in the way I know it. I won't have one or two books that are out of print, but they all will be. My shelves will not be filled with stories but relics as well. Relics of a time when you could spend a Saturday afternoon at the library or bookstore and find those other kindred spirits. We'll all be in our own space, talking through virtual chat rooms or worse, not talking at all.
I know eventually I'll succumb and get myself an eReader. I know every eBook saves trees and makes my inner hippie dance around with flowers in her hair. I know there will come a day when we no longer print books. I know there will be a generation someday too soon that will have never held a textbook in their classroom. They will be able to type in the topic and a brain inside the machine in front of them will find what they need and they will never have to flip through the pages of encyclopedias. They will never know that smell of knowledge that a book can hold. They will no longer carry bags of heavy books to and from school but only a cover for their laptop.
But for now, I look over at my son, grinning ear to ear at his library book on this Saturday afternoon and I think...someday, but not yet.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The value of need

Oh, it's good to be back. Sorry I have been away so long, but life is sometimes too hectic to bear and I needed a break.
Where to begin?
Ah, yes - the value of need.
I recently lost my grandfather to the awful "C" word. He was the last of the set of four we're all given. I realized in the moment he left us that I had never dealt with losing my dad's parents or of course, my grandma - Grandpa's better half. Numbness hung on me for days. I didn't answer my phone. I tried to smile and not talk about it and yet the tears came anyway.
Even though my mind could not grasp the reality of the situation, my heart would not hold in the pain. It leaked out my eyes when I turned my back. There was the moment I dropped the egg on the counter. Or the time I was waiting at the gas station in line and some jerk pulled in from the other side and cut me off. And my personal favorite, the day I forgot my grocery list. There I was, standing in produce, the young stock boy looking at me surely convinced I was having a breakdown, tears streaming over my reddened cheeks.
I had been to the funeral. I had boxed up he and my grandma's life remnants, a lamp, a purse, a lawnmower, and brought them home. I had said my piece in front of the casket, knees knocking with anxiety and I had cried. I thought I was done.
Then I came home, curled up on my couch and realized what had happened.
I had been there, my strength coming through, for the time it needed to be and now I was...I didn't even know. I felt weak, I felt alone, I felt...needy.
And I hated it.
I went back to not answering the phone, but in typical fashion, life knows when you're down. Sometimes I believe it to be a bully, kicking you when you're low, and this time was no exception. Storm after storm, the rains came and would not leave. It was most assuredly hurricane season.
Then two weeks later, my phone rang. It was a close friend. I slid my finger across the screen and said "hello?"
Her first words were: "I'm here and it's going to be okay."
Halfheartedly I said, "I know."
She stopped me. "No, You are always there for me and when I was scared and down you said it would be okay because there wasn't any other choice, no second option. If it was true then, it's true now."
I felt the tears fall before I knew they were coming. As if she could read my mind she continued, "You're not weak. You're human. And it's okay to need people. That's what we're here for. You have so many people who love you and you are always there for them, now let us be there for you too."
I will never be able to thank her enough, this wonderful woman whom I'm lucky enough to call a friend, for that day. Being a strong woman is to walk a tiny and very hazardous line. Strong women are not allowed to feel like others do. We are supposed to have thick skin and be able to take the callousness of others. We even tell ourselves that and smile even when the jokes hurt and hit too close to home. People think you're wise and you never fall. You never cry. You never need.
But on that day, I learned something more about being strong, something my friend already knew. The irony is that she learned it from me.
True strength is knowing when to ask for help, when to need people and when to fall because you know someone will catch you.
I'm am still not all better, my heart aches everyday with years of loss and hurt I had packed away. The trunks I have carried with me are now open, laying bare my soul and my friends, my family, they stand guard while I sift through the memories. They protect me while I lay my armor down. And I need them to be there.
And I know, because of that need, it won't drive them away but instead, it will bind us together.
Long ago I weeded my life's flowerbed of toxic friends and left only the most beautiful of flowers. Even on days when they appeared withered or have been bitten by an early frost, I can look at them and smile because I know the beauty and joy they bring to my life. I am surrounded by beautiful souls and in this, I have managed to hold on to my grandparents. Their love, their joy, their life - it's celebrated in what I share with these extraordinary people.
So thank you to my friends, my family who let me lean, the friends who hold me up and those who love me when I am the most unmanageable of sorts. My heart could swell to five times it's size and never be big enough to hold all the love I have for you.
Peace, Ang
Listening to: my children's there anything better?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Things I will never understand...

So this week I had a huge disappointment. A friend I trusted, stabbed me right in the back. Actually she was practically hugging me while twisting the knife in my side. I will never understand why people do this. What was the point??
Now she is texting and calling like nothing happened...and it occurred to me, maybe she doesn't know. Perhaps she has no idea I know what happened, or and this is worse, doesn't think she did anything wrong.
No. I know she thinks it was wrong.

Okay - here's what happened, vaguely...A friend called to tell me some news, a dumb rumor really, and promised not to say anything. She said it wasn't her place. She said she didn't want to hurt me. She said she just thought I should know. I didn't ask her not to say anything, it wasn't true anyway, but still she insisted. My skin started to crawl. For the first time with this friend, my warning bells went off. I knew she was embellishing the story, I knew she had called not to protect me as she said, but to see if she could get any more dirt. She wanted gossip and she wanted drama. I had none to give.
Mere moments after she swore up and down she wasn't going to spread the rumor or tell anyone or get in the middle, I happen to be in the right place at the right time (or perhaps ignorance is bliss and it was the wrong place and time) to hear her tell all of it to the exact person she had mentioned by name that she wasn't going to say a word to.
What is wrong with people??? Why would you do that to a friend??? I have been there for her and she for me. I trusted her and of course, I have to wonder, was she like that all along, or is it the place her life is in that has brought about change? If she was like that all along... should I have ever trusted her?
I feel like a chump if these were her true colors all the time. If it's a new thing, I feel sad. But mostly, I feel hurt all over. It really sucks losing a friend, someone you hold dear. Friends are tough to come by. The ones you have you want and need to hold on to.
So disappointing. On so many levels.
In closing, let me say, I have not always done the right thing in friendships, I have hurt people, I have been dumb, but I have never intentionally hurt someone like that. I see no point. I like happy, I like positive, I like my friends to shine. When I'm sad I seek to be lifted, and when they are the ones who are sad I seek to lift. I do not destroy just because I am in the dark. I do not hurt or tear down just to try and build myself up.
If you dig up other's dirt to build your throne...a small shower will wash it away. They will be clean and you will be in the mud.

Insights welcome! So I have purged and now I will move on with my amazing group of family and friends that I can trust. It's moments like this I love you all even more. Peace!

Listen to "Dog Days Are Over" - Florence and the Machine...(or the Glee version!) It'll knock your socks off!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Just a question...

So I have been curious about something. My life is completely different than where it was, or what it was, I guess I should say. And this is a good thing. I like where it is going, I like that it's different than what I thought it would be...or could be even.
So here's my question...When does compromise and change become compromising oneself?

My friends come to me for guidance for many reasons - some I will never understand - but mostly because I'm fair and honest and will tell them what I really think, even if they don't want to hear it. I'm also very open minded and not judgmental. They think I'm strong and know who am I ...but lately I've been wondering who that person is. I feel I'm making the decisions, but am I?

Lately I've been thinking...maybe I am more closed off than I think I am. See, I'm all for being yourself and not losing who you are, even if you become a wife or mother...actually, especially then! I have friends who have become what I refer to as 'crazy-wife-lady' or 'crazy-mom-lady'. You know those people who become so absorbed in the other person's life they are unrecognizable? Yeah, them. It's not limited to theses categories. Some people do it with work or friendships too.

I have always wanted to dance and sing. That's it in a nutshell. There was nothing else for me. Then my hubby came along and then the babies. Now, they are my world. Now I'm not only a dancer...I'm more. It's nice and I like it.

But I still feel like me.

Look, I love my husband. I love my kids. I have no idea what my life would be without them and they are in every thought I think and every action I do. I would gladly step in front of a train if it meant saving them, but I feel that you have to hold on to who you are and the dreams you have to be effective as a wife or mother...or even a worker or a friend.

If you become your significant other...what is left of the person they loved to begin with?
If you become your children by living through their life, then how can you teach them the value of your lessons and the person you are? How can you show them its okay to be different from each other?
And most importantly, when they grow up and move out, or if something happens to your (spouse/friend/job/loved one), God forbid, where will your strength be to heal and be whole again if you've given up all that you are? I don't think one is being selfish by keeping yourself in tact, I think you are actually giving more to all around you.

I also know people change as time passes. That is to be expected and is a good thing.
so, it comes down to this. How much change is too much and when does that compromise in a relationship actually compromise who you are?

Case in point - a friend of mine is getting married - before any of you 'think' you know who it is...I have seven friends who are engaged right now - so good luck! Anyway, for as long as I have known her, almost twenty years, she has wanted a specific wedding. I don't mean down to details, but a certain place, a certain time of year, and a certain song to be the first dance.
Then she met someone, who we all agree would not be our first choice for her, (see...judgmental!) and now they are getting married in a different place, a different time of year, and the song she has always wanted - not even on the list for the reception! I can see all that changing when the moment don't know what your real spouse will mean to you instead of your pretend one - but here's where the waters turn murky. She claims she has always wanted this wedding and since he wants the same thing it's perfect.

Now me and anyone who knows her admits this is not true. So I feel she has cloned herself to be like her fiance to fit into some mold her has for her. Am I wrong here? It seems to me more than a compromise, but compromising.

Another friend has absorbed another's life. She can not separate herself from it and blames the rest of us for not understanding. She doesn't understand how the rest of us mom's can enjoy a minute away from our babies and still call ourselves good mothers. I miss my kids every moment they are not with me, but that is the time I recharge my batteries to give them all I can when we're together. And like any woman in the world today, I feel guilty for a moment when I do something for me. It's in our DNA I think.

Now I come to my point...I'm having the above conversation with a friend of mine, over concern for our friend and as I'm talking, something someone said to me is ringing in my ears. It has been nagging me as a matter of fact.

Not too long ago, a person told me I had given up my career to move. Now while this is not true, since I still teach dance and choreograph, I still did quit my job and pack up everything and move for my husband's job. I did it willingly, telling people it is what we wanted. What we thought was best. And it was...and still is. But was that the same thing as my friend? Did I become my partner and assume his desires as my own without knowing it? I don't think I did, but then I wonder, have I been to quick to assume these women as weak or lost? Do they think the same thing about me when I tell them I want to be a writer? I want to be a runner. And a baker. And a mom. And a personal trainer. And an actor. And a wife.

Do they think, Wow, you have changed?

I wanted none of those things not too long ago. Now I want to open my world because my life is different. It's open to the possibility of something new. Maybe that's all my friends are doing and I was just slow to get there. sometimes I think that's true, and that it is me...but then at the end of the day...I'm still a dancer. It's still music I turn to. I watch the same movies or read the same books for comfort. I have the same favorite bands and movies and books and foods as I did before I was married. I'm still me.

Now I just love more things. And I suppose that's what it comes down to...being strong enough to hold on to who you are and not being afraid to add to it. Not compromising who you are, but being secure enough to say I like this now because it's important to one I care about but still standing your ground on the big stuff.

So I will change everyday. I will grow everyday, and if someone says "You're different." I'll just smile and say "Thank you."

Peace! Ang

Until we meet again listen to a little John Lennon - Instant Karma and Imagine would be my suggestions.

Saturday, January 1, 2011 year, new me...

So here it is... my blog is back. Again. 2011.
It's a little different than it was before, since I'm a little different than I was before, but better I assure you.

Last year I vowed to write on here everyday, lose a lot of weight, and many other things that all led inevitably to missing days on the blog, cheating on my diet and falsely upbeat passages intent on bringing hope when I, some days, felt none.

Then in March, my world was shaken and my eyes were opened. I am choosing not to go into detail because it is in the past but let's just say I wish there would have been an easier way to learn that lesson. None the less, I'm stronger and better for it. And in the end, I'm thankful for it.

But in the mist of the chaos, I quit blogging and the reason was simple....I was tired.
Lame? Maybe...but let me explain.

See, I am a caregiver. Aside from music, it's what makes me tick. I love my family and my friends, who are my family too. I am a teacher, a doer of things for others and mostly feel I am only worth what I give to others. I do it gladly and willingly expecting nothing in return. The happiness I find in helping is enough.

No, is.

But in the spring, I needed things. I needed to not be there to catch for once, but to be caught. I now realize I had plenty of people to break the fall, but the thing is I couldn't ask. I didn't. It's one of my flaws. It will probably end up being my fatal one. I hate to ask for help.

So instead I just kept giving. No one stopped needing me and things still had to be done, so I went on. And it wore me out.

I realize my friends reading this will be waiting in line to whack me in the head like Gibbs to DiNozzo and one will be ready to do some shin kicking for this little confession. I'm aware and I'm ready for you. But I wouldn't have missed a minute of being there for you. Or my kids. Or my husband.

But at the end of the day, to come here and try to be happy and hopeful, I just had nothing left.
...but I digress.


I am renewed and a little older and a lot wiser.

So this time around, I make no promises save will know if I am happy or sad or overwhelmed. I am basically a happy, positive person. I like to make people smile, but there are days when it's just not real. And now, you will know.

I was in a car riding with a friend of mine this summer. I had a moment when I let it all get to me. I listened to my angry songs and sang loudly as we drove to buy fireworks. She was so relieved that I had days like that too! I couldn't believe it. I guess we all like to know that our friends are messes just like we are. So I'm here to share my messes and my goofs and my triumphs and my happy thoughts.

So some days will be up.
Others will be down.
And won't see me.

But I am going on a journey this year. The journey I wanted to take last year, but the timing was off. God and the universe knew I wasn't ready. But I am. And it will be an adventure and a life well lived.

And I hope you'll go with me. I'll make one more promise. I won't let you down. It will be worth the ride.

So here are the goals: (not resolutions...goals!)
#1 - get healthy and stay that way!
#2 - get the book into print (more on that later)
#3 - The plan!!! (details to come!!!)
#4 - run a marathon ( heard me)

So until you read again, Peace! Ang

P.S. Continually listen to Jar Of Hearts - Christina Perry....Breathtaking. As a side note you can youTube a SYTYCD video to this song that will smash you to bits with beauty.