A Resolution I Can Keep

Mama Kat ButtonA couple of years ago I was really struggling with a mix of changing hormones and over all stinkin’ thinking. I allowed turning 40 to be a burden rather than a time to celebrate. Whenever frustration or disappointment crept in my soul, I foolishly gave it a place to hibernate. The heaviness sat there day in and day out.

At the end of 2012 I started going to a yoga studio, mostly out of peer pressure. My best friend was studying to be a certified yoga instructor and there was a new-found peace about her that I had not seen in many years. She seemed more centered and more in control of her emotions. She just seemed more present. So I went to yoga, off and on, for months. More off than on to be honest. I’d buy a block of time since it was less expensive per session that way, and because I thought maybe by prepaying for something I would be more apt to follow through.

Not so much.

But then one Sunday morning in January of 2013, I dragged myself out and showed up at the studio in all my bed head and morning breath glory. I can still picture myself staring at chipped toe nail polish and feeling very far away. Electric heaters carefully placed around the room helped block out the bitter cold of our Michigan winter, slowly bringing my body to a more comfortable temperature. I began to settle in to the space.

I remembered why I came.

I remembered why I should always come.

With it being the first classes of the new year, our instructor was focused on helping us concentrate on finding a purpose or mantra to carry us through each day. I had never thought to do this before. I  had always given in to the socially acceptable, perhaps socially driven, idea of setting New Year’s Resolutions. Mine was typical: lose weight, be more organized, volunteer, write more. Unfortunately, most of these resolutions would either be abandoned early on or just cause anxiety. But the idea of a one word or phrase to focus on all year seemed possible. A resolution I could actually keep.

I chose the word Joy.

wpid-20150115_125100-1.jpgAnd from that moment on, instead of worrying about the how or why of anything, I just focused on finding the joy in each moment. I even had a leather bracelet made with the word JOY and wore it every day so I could remind myself constantly to find joy. It worked too. I found joy more easily each day and by the end of the year my heart and head was overflowing with joyful memories. It changed the way I looked at everything. The next year I chose the word patience, although I did not make sure to put it in my line of site every day. I realize now that I need a very visual and tangible reminder. I am a list maker, a poster printer, and a task oriented nerd. There were far too many times last year that I lost my patience, perhaps didn’t even look for it in the heat of a moment and got distracted. By the end of last year, I started wearing my joy bracelet and suddenly, I was at peace again.

So this year, I chose the word and phrase Be Present and yes, I just ordered my mantra bracelet to remind me everyday to be the person I know I can be.

Writer’s Workshop: My house shall be a mast

Mama Kat ButtonI love when the jeweler cleans my wedding ring. Its renewed radiance resonates for days. It looks bigger and more brilliant than before and I am reminded of how it glistened in the summer sun after DW placed it on my finger over thirteen years ago. It’s easy to forget the beauty when it is dulled by the grime and dust accumulated day after day.

Recently, I have been painfully reminded how fragile relationships are, especially marriages. My daughters need to understand there are no perfect relationships. There are no knights in shining armor, no “one true loves” or perfect matches. These “fairy-tale” romances do not exist, at least not organically. After all, the word romance itself is based on feelings of exaggeration. It is associated with chivalric love and adventure. What can exist, I think, are two people who commit to loving each other and promise to spend the rest of their days actively courting and pursuing one another. One of the things I most value about my marriage is that we both choose each other. We both take care to affair-proof our relationship.

I’m not a follower of talk-shows, but I found this article by Dr. Phil to be pretty spot on. There is a lot of great advice, but here were my favorite points:

  • Don’t play games in your head. It is a short step from thought to action.
  • Don’t confuse reality with fantasy. We often forget that there’s a difference between falling in love and being in love. You can’t expect a love that grows to be like it was on the first date.
  • If you want to have a good partner, be a good partner. Put 100 percent into your marriage.
  • Work on your marriage every single day, not just during the bad times. Wake up each day and ask yourself, “What can I do today that will make my marriage better?”

There’s also a quote by Kahlil Gibran, from the book The Prophet, that found me this morning:

“Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast. It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.”  – Kahlil Gibran

I can’t help but want to substitute the word marriage for house, because, after all, my relationship with DW is my comfort and my shelter. It is what I call home.

Often people say things like, “They are my rock and my anchor” when describing their closest friends or partner. However, anchors are heavy and cumbersome, aren’t they? They are large weights tied by chains that keep us from moving. The whole purpose of an anchor is so that you can’t drift, but that also means that when you have dropped anchor, you can’t go anywhere. You are confined to the same spot, your view does not change. Opportunities for growth would be limited. I don’t want to be DW’s anchor. I would never want to be what keeps him from reaching his full potential.

The idea of our relationship, our marriage, being more like a mast is much more fulfilling. In fact, it feels almost enlightening. Together we can be tall and strong; together we can hold each other upright, letting the air fill our sails and carry us anywhere we want to go. A mast towers into the sky, a backbone like structure, rising above the deck of a ship to support the yards, booms and rigging.

I want my house to be a mast, not an anchor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes, you just have to walk away

I’m trying to be more honest, but people are making it very hard to refrain from those little white lies. There really are only two things I can do now if I feel threatened to tell an untruth.

  1. Laugh out loud
  2. Politely walk away

Both of which will undoubtedly cause embarrassment to the other party I am currently engaged. But on the bright side, I won’t have compromised my integrity, right? I have found myself in this uncomfortable situation twice this week.

Tuesday I had the unexpected pleasure of being approached by an elderly gentlemen that I know as an acquaintance. Without warning, he confronted me about my haircut.

“What did you do?” he asked.

“When?” I answered perplexed.

“What did you do to your hair?” he asked more insistently.

“Oh! I got a haircut.”

“I can see that, but why?”

“Because I wanted something different,” I answered curtly.

“Well, I hope you like it,” he huffed, “because I think women should have long hair.”

I just smiled politely as he excused himself.

Yesterday, I ordered food at our grocery store’s prepared counter. It was a rushed evening of drop-off and pick-up, with minimal time for meal preparation in between. Rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes and coleslaw from the local market was a good solution. The woman helping me was very friendly and engaged in delightful conversation. Unfortunately, the longer she talked, the more she touched her glasses. And then her hair. And then, Oh-my-gawd, her nose. It seemed ridiculous that she even bothered to put those damn plastic gloves on if she was going to do everything from fix her hair to scratch her butt. I really am clueless as to what she was talking about at that moment because I just wanted her to quickly release my food from being held hostage.

“Is there anything else I can help you with?” she sweetly asked.

“Um, no,” I mumbled taking my plastic containers of contamination.

if only people could read my mind
if only people could read my mind

In both situations, my brain was pummeled with inappropriate responses or little white lies to help alleviate the stress of the situation. However, I decided to take a more honest approach.

Laugh it off.

Walk away.

Even if I was only laughing on the inside.

Mama Kat Button
          Prompt #5             What made you laugh this week?

Ten years of hair

Mama Kat ButtonYesterday I had the unexpected opportunity to take a long hot shower and go on a dinner date with DW. It felt good to clean up a little and have a reason to put something on other than a pair of sweat pants. I also decided to actually dry and style my hair rather than put it in the usual wet knot on top of my head. But as I stood in front of the mirror, it struck me that I really needed a bang trim.

Immediately.

Thank goodness for Pinterest. Scrolling through many saved tutorials and pictures, I found the most perfect bang trimming explanation. In fact, I decided to cut spectacular thick, fringy bangs that would look breathtakingly sexy. DW would certainly be in awe of my splendor and money-saving decision.

I should never be trusted with a pair of scissors, especially when I am home alone and have unscheduled time on my hands.

And Pinterest is evil.

It was not sexy and ended up costing a lot of money today to have it fixed. And yet, when DW came home, he politely said, “You look great“.

Gawd love him.

My hair and I have always had a love/hate relationship. In fact, there have been so many changes in color and style, that during my brother’s rehearsal dinner slide-show, one of his friends  said,

Those were really great pictures, but I’m surprised your mom would include so many pictures of ex-girlfriends,”

To which my brother responded,

Those weren’t girl friends. Those were all pictures of my sister.”

This is what I looked like when DW met me in 2001, a reddish brown with blond highlights.
This is what I looked like when DW met me in 2001, a reddish-brown with blond highlights.

I was a little curious to see exactly how many changes I have had in just the last 10 years, actually. After finding a mere ELEVEN different haircuts and colors, I decided it was time to put my search to rest. There is undoubtedly an immense number, maybe even enough to put together my own hair design book of ideas. I can’t even imagine if I were to dig all the way back to my high school years. No wonder my brother’s friend was so confused. I think my own family gets confused.

You’ll have to wait a little while for an updated picture of my newest hairstyle. I need to get used to it, and maybe put some makeup on. Good thing my husband didn’t marry me for my hair.