I’m Amazing!

These are the words of my very confident and innocent 2 year old. She is just repeating what I say to her when she accomplishes something “amazing” to me. She readily accepts that she is amazing. It’s funny to hear, yet wonderful.

It’s funny because we automatically assume as adults that if someone says that they are amazing that they are being arrogant, but I am not talking about the kind of “amazing” that is arrogant. Not in the entitlement way. I am talking about the kind of amazing that says I actually have some self worth. I am loved. I am accepted. I am ok. This is a healthy kind of amazing…not a delusional one…right? Perhaps. Let’s investigate.

So…the question is…at what age do we stop believing that we are amazing?

Most likely it is as soon as we are aware of not just ourselves but others – how we add up, compare and contrast on a sliding scale of perceived good to bad. Sadly, my oldest daughter already doubts that she is amazing. I saw this happen somewhere between Kindergarten and 1st grade.

And then I think of myself and I know I stopped believing I was amazing at probably 3 or 4 when my mom was having severe mental break downs and calling me terrible names as she shouted out at voices that didn’t really exist and blaming me for things that were not even visible.

We are robbed of our innocence as soon as awareness is conceived that we are a burden, full of flaws, or are not as good as someone else.

It makes me think back to the garden of Eden. If you believe, great, if you don’t then entertain the thought anyway. The idea is this whole concept and awareness of good and evil. Adam and Eve only knew good. Innocence. They didn’t have the burden of even knowing right from wrong – if they were doing good or bad. They had one simple command. Don’t eat that freaking fruit!

Well…any parent knows – don’t tell a kid what they CAN’T do! Forgive me – I am not suggesting that God is not a good parent, but come on…He was a first timer here. Looking back I can just see God thinking…yes…I should have not even mentioned that fruit – then they probably never would have even thought about it!

But this is my limited perspective of God…my silly way of looking at things just for fun. But the truth is that God is all knowing. He knew what He was doing from day one. That is hard to understand in itself. But that is for a different conversation.

What I want to stick with for this post is this idea of awareness. It wasn’t until they finally gave in to that irresistible forbidden fruit – that they were even aware of right and wrong, good and evil. And how harsh was their payment. I mean I think I am being hard on my child for giving her a time out – but banishing them from the garden of Eden forever?! Wow…that is some hard core parenting right there.

Adam and Eve knew at that very moment…they were no longer amazing.

An even deeper question. I wonder if they even felt loved anymore? And is that really the bigger issue at hand? Is what my youngest, innocent daughter saying is that she is loved? Is what my oldest daughter and me and everyone else that doesn’t feel “amazing” is saying is that we don’t feel loved? Maybe…maybe not. Maybe sometimes…

I guess – it is just the natural order of things. I guess we can’t really think of ourselves as amazing. But wouldn’t it be good to think of ourselves as loved and wanted. Are these two concepts tied together?

I mean, isn’t it strange how when you love someone, you want so much for them to feel amazing? Don’t you want your kids or your friends to know how thankful you are they are in your life? Doesn’t it just break your heart to see a beautiful friend or daughter tearing herself apart and down because she knows without a shadow of a doubt that she is NOT amazing.

It’s such a strange phenomenon – how you could desire that for someone else so much, yet at the same time not be able to apply it or accept it for yourself.

Innocence and self worth is strange…It’s like what is acceptable and wonderful for kids is taboo for grown ups. Something as innocent as saying “I’m amazing” is really cute and wonderful to hear from a 2 year old…not so great to hear from a 32 year old. This age/time continuum applies to all kinds of things though, doesn’t it?

For instance…Seeing my two year old walk around the house in nothing but a diaper, cowgirl boots that are too big for her and a cowgirl hat is absolutley adorable and cute. It is picture worthy! It is innocent and sweet.

But me walking around the house in nothing but boots, undies and a hat…that would be down right strange and unacceptable. (well…this would depend on the circumstances perhaps – come on, spank me cowboy…but I am digressing now…) The point is that it is not so innocent and sweet anymore – it has become something very different – just because of age and awareness.

Alrighty then…I want you to go the mirror and say to yourself, “I’m smart enough, I’m good enough, and dogonit…people like me!” ~ Stuart Smalley/Al Franken (SNL). Or think about Ron Burgandy and how is “Kind of a big deal”.

See? It becomes funny. How can anyone be serious and say that stuff? Let alone believe it.

Getting back to the taboo thing and how age changes things…When I think of grown adults who actually believe they are amazing…I don’t really find them amazing at all. I find them dull, egocentric, selfish and not amazing. Take Paris Hilton for instance, the poor easy target that she is. Now that is a girl that has some self esteem to the extreme. But she is not doing anything positive with it! I wonder if Paris Hilton really knows “love”?

Mother Theresa on the other extreme was one of the most amazing women of our lifetime. And she definitely did not see herself as amazing. in fact, it wasn’t about her at all. She was motivated out of love for others. Her own desires and “self” was completely removed from the picture. I don’t think she really cared what anyone thought about her. But I do think that she knew and felt loved.

SO – maybe this idea of love and “being amazing” ARE tied togther, but not as I originally thought. Maybe we don’t feel loved from being told we are amazing, but maybe we feel amazing when we are actually loved.

Maybe we can do amazing things when we are not focusing on ourselves at all but instead – by focusing on loving others -we can actually do amazing things.

I’m amazed at how amazingly complicated yet simple this is all becoming.

Tell someone they are amazing today – but more importantly – tell them WHY they are amazing. Because I bet cha it has something to do with how they make you or others feel when they are around. The most amazing people in this world are simply the ones that make you feel loved. Even when you are not amazing.

Sigh…it is hard being so amazing.

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Trees of December

This is an old song I wrote years ago. It says perfectly how I feel today. Though it is February and not December, the idea applies. Sometimes it feels like all our efforts are in vain. Sometimes we look or feel like dead bare trees. But the reality is that the dormant trees are very much alive, working harder than anyone could ever imagine below the surface, getting ready for a glorius spring and green summer.

Even though some may think they are bare and brown and seemingly boring looking – they are actually exposed, vulnerable and, at least to me, very beautiful. They are complicated, but simple and always reaching up.

I like to think about that image when I am feeling down and overlooked. I have to keep reminding myself that every little step counts – and even though I enjoy all the seasons including this one with a ton of snow – that it won’t be winter forever.

Autumn’s come and gone, all the trees are bare.
They reach their strong arms to the sky
But does anyone really care? Is anyone even there?
But they hold their ground…without a sound.
Just the wind blowing through their arms
And they wave so gracefully. They hold their mystery, for the time…

When the spring arrives and they show the glory of the work they’ve done
In the secrecy of the winter.
Just below the surface, the whole time they’ve been busy getting ready
For the splendor they’ll adorn.

Does anybody ever look at the trees in December?
Does anyone see the beauty they behold?
They hold their complicated branches reaching ever towards the gray dark sky.
Even in the dead of the winter.

So are you and I. More than meets the eye.
Underneath the surface we hold secret mysteries…love and injuries.
And we go down deep. More than what is seen.
Yet we fail to recognize our roots are intertwined. We act as if we’re blind…When we…

We judge other trees by their branches…and we cut the things we fear…
May cause trouble down the road.
We step back to see the damage we caused but it’s much too late
and cannot be undone.

Has anybody ever seen the trees in December?
Does anyone see the wisdom they reveal?
In all of their bare majesty we see their branches so clearly
But still, there’s so much below the surface.

Has anybody ever felt like a tree in December?
Screaming out with arms stretched open, wide?
Feeling so misunderstood, looking like some dead, gray wood
Yet still, so alive beneath the surface.

Hanging by a Silly String

This whole “String” theory is very intriguing to me. I just watched a special on Discovery about the Theory of Everything, Stephen Hawking’s brilliant breakthroughs and how it ties (pun intended) into the string theory. Throw in a little theory of relativity, laws of gravity, electromagnetic radiation and the big bang theory and it’s enough to have this closet geek deep in thought for weeks.

They also said that they may have scientific proof that there are actually 6 dimensions in our world…not just the 3 that we are aware of.

Wow. This is really freaky to think about. It actually scares the heck out of me in some ways. I think I would rather be ignorantly bliss.

When I was about 4 I came to the awareness of forever…eternity. I am not sure how or why this revelation came to me at that time, but it messed me up. I had panic attacks about it. I would sit and ponder about how blissfully unaware my soul was before being born…but now that I had been born, I would forever be aware of being “somewhere” for eternity! And that is a long time to have to be aware!

So…what I am saying is…now that I am aware that there might be 6 dimensions…what if I started to experience them? Before I was blissfully ignorant…but now? Or maybe I have and just didn’t “know” what it was. Ok. I am not 4 anymore and I will not have panic attacks, I promise, however it is very interesting – and it still does freak me out a bit.

Could this explain why you can “feel” tension in the room? Does anger and tension disturb the invisible “strings” that are connecting us altogether? How about the opposite – when you can “feel” the presence of joy or calmness. Does this explain how you can “sense” a place is a good or bad place? These strings, like radiation waves – could hold the keys.

This also gives way to the idea of spirits, or energies from some other dimension and time. Animals can sense disturbances of nature and the presence of other dimensions or something.

What if it all actually worked together instead of against each other? This intersection of science and spirit worlds – all crashing together…there’s a big bang right there.

What is also fascinating to me is the fact that Stephen Hawkings was working against time. His own body failing him from a crippling disease – it was a race against a fatal clock for him to figure out the answers. Can you imagine the pressure of trying to define the “Theory of everything” while being aware that you are already on borrowed time? He lived something like 30-40 years beyond what most people with his condition usually live to be.

He basically came to the simple conclusion that everything could have started from nothing by studying black holes. He studied how they sucked up everything and eventually caved in on themselves. Then somehow he figured…what if everything came from an all consuming black hole that imploded and then exploded everything out – all the atoms, strings and everything that make up all the universes. This could help the big bang theory…except there is one glitch. That original black hole had to start from something too…did it not?

There are more questions than answers…all just theories…mathematical, genius, and a whole lot of speculation and creativity.

See how dangerous science can be in the hands of novices like me?

Now if you excuse me, I am going to transport myself upstairs to bed and try to spread happy and positive energy all though my house in hopes that I create happy strings that my girls can feel. And I better do it quick because I’m talking kinda crazy and it feels like my sanity is hanging on by a mere string…a seriously silly string.

New and Improved! Stubble Trouble

I love seeing the same old products continually trying to reinvent themselves to stay “New and Edgy”.

Let’s take the razor for instance. You know, back in the day…you had one single blade. That’s all you really needed as a beginner shaver to remove an ankle and live out the shower scene of psycho. Well, then they came out with double blades. Then triple blades…and now the Quattro.

Is there a razor out there with 5 or 6 blades yet? If not, I am quite sure some monkey brained marketer and new product developer duo is working all hours of the day and night to be the first to release the latest and greatest in limb…I mean hair removal.

I am quite sure that by the time my daughters are old enough to shave their legs that a release form will have to be signed as you make your purchase from a merchant or pharmacist behind the counter. Because the razor will have to be kept under lock and key as it could also be used as weapons of war and destruction. Heck…there might even be a 30 day waiting period and back ground check.

I mean really? 5 and 6 blades? I want to see some REAL marketing come out on these products. Not the cliché pictures of beautiful men and woman caressing their amazingly smooth and attractive bodies and faces. How about people showing off their exposed striated muscles and tendons…that would be a little more realistic.

I want to see Freddy Krueger on one of these commercials. You’d see him come out looking all scary and ominous and then suddenly this 6 blade razor comes out and scares him off as he goes running out of the room screaming like a little girl. Come on! Now, I would buy that razor! In fact if I was a razor company I would create a new sub company called…Krueger blades.

And how about some product responsibility here? Shouldn’t instructions come with these things at this point? I mean a razor with 6 blades is not for everyone. Why use a machine gun when a small pistol could do the job just as effectively. You have to size up your prey here.

They should have razors in clear defined categories so one can gauge where they fall into the hairiness bell curve:

One blade = fine or thin hair, possibly almost bald

Two blades = thin to medium hair, fairly normal

Three blades = thick to course hair, getting into the fringe of pretty hairy

Four blades = Fur

Five blades = Circus star potential

Six blades = You are a freak of nature and should consider NEVER wearing a swim suit in public. Ever. No matter how many blades you shave with. And by the way…did you sign the release form?

You know? Then it would make it fairly easy to figure out the stubble weapon of choice.

It just gets silly I tell you…improving just for the sake of improving. Where does razor technology go from here? Maybe the Laser Razor is next. An in-home answer to laser hair removal…or so they say. Sure…it’s all fun and games until someone disintegrates a limb. I can hear it now “Why me? God…How could this happen?”

Or how about this: The Razonator – the hair and flesh remover…when hair removal is just not enough. It’s the new sensation. The Razonator not only removes the hair follicle, but also the skin containing it, so you can be ASSURED that you will NEVER have to shave again.

Humans. We are seriously ridiculous sometimes. Our antics never fail to entertain.

Watch for a follow up post for New and Improved 2: Cleaning products. Coming soon to my blog near you.

By the way…did I mention that I am working on a new web site. It is going to have my blog on there and a lot more. It will be like my blog…but New and Improved!

The Stalker and the Prey

I guess it’s time to talk about another hard topic. Everywhere I go this week it seems like I am hearing about some kind of stalking incident. So here is my story.

I was stalked in college. It was a crazy, surreal time of life. It ended in him going to jail – and technically my name wasn’t even on the court case title. It was “Ohio Bell” vs. “This guy”. Apparently the huge stack of filed papers documenting countless times that he attacked me or followed me or nearly ran my car off the road just wasn’t enough to put him away. But when I finally had the phone tapped and he called 100+ times in a period of 3 hours or something…that was all she wrote.

At the time it was happening I somehow refused to let myself think about the worst case scenario that happened this week where another woman was shot and killed by her stalker. But I can assure you that I was terrified and lived in a constant state of fear.

The look in his eyes sometimes while he was in the pursuit of stalking me was down right freaky. He would follow me no matter who I was with too. As his antics increased, I made sure I was never alone. But it didn’t matter. And the unlucky people that were with me to see that look in his eyes confirmed that it was like some kind of evil.

I did have a restraining order issued against him but he would constantly ignore it. It did at least give me the right to call 911 at any point that he violated it. The crazy thing was that he wasn’t afraid to get caught. Sometimes he would actually WAIT for the police to arrive to carry him away. Was this a cry for help? Did he want someone to save him? Did he want me to try to save him? What was it?

He was probably mentally unstable. That is all I can figure. But I do hope that he found the help he needed and is fully reformed. He obviously had some kind of underlying unaddressed issues.

He sufficiently messed me up in the head for a significant amount of time. It is a really strange feeling to think you are being watched, listened in on, spied on – at any given moment – for months. I would be so careful to be aware and sneaky and I would think I was in the clear and then suddenly – out of nowhere…he would come flying at me on foot or by car. It was truly bizarre.

And then there was the manipulation. When my stalker would call or see me he would verbally abuse me and say awful things about my appearance, my character, and just mentally and emotionally tear me apart. That was probably the hardest part. The physical part was terrifying in it’s own right, but the verbal and mental abuse gets inside your head like a poison.

To make matters worse his parents got into the scene to defend him because they felt like their family name was becoming tarnished by this whole embarrassing incident. They hired a big shot lawyer to try to attack MY character and claim that I was the one causing the whole mess! In the phone tap I had not only harassing calls from him, but also from his mom! ?? It was more than I could process and take.

Another thing that struck me was a few times when I was being attacked…no one helped. One time in particular he was beating me up and throwing me down some concrete stairs in my apartment complex and a few people actually opened their doors to “see” what was going on, and quietly closed their doors again and pretended they didn’t see anything! This made me feel like I was in a Twilight Zone episode even more. I realize now they may have been afraid for their own safety…but seriously…how do you do that? At least call 911 folks!

My college roommates started fearing the situation…they contemplated moving out. That is when I finally cancelled my enrollment, packed up and headed back home. That sucked. Letting someone win like that, but at that point, I had no life and it was seriously impacting others. I had been reduced to a scared, jittery rabbit, had to be escorted by campus police everywhere, and my roommates were rightly exhausted with the drama.

I do have to say that the investigator that was assigned to my case, was really nice and I give him a lot of credit. Even though Ohio Bell was on legal documents he was my real hero. He provided a lot of detailed supporting evidence that helped Ohio Bell’s case. I wish I remembered his name. I remember thinking I would like to thank him. I don’t remember if I ever did. I was such a mess.

It took some time to stop looking over my shoulder once it ended. Moving to a different city helped quite a bit, but your mind can play tricks on you when you are scared and for awhile anyone that looked remotely like him or had a car like his scared me to death. It was a very strange power that he held over me…that I apparently “allowed” him to hold over me. I would actually start physically shaking so bad sometimes that I could hardly walk right and my teeth would uncontrollably chatter like I was freezing to death when it warm outside. Weird.

I used to be afraid that one day he would just snap and find me again. I thought he might blame for his criminal record or something. I almost hesitated getting a FB account and creating a blog with my real name and all that. But at some point you just have to stop being the prey. And it has been like 17 years now…so I figure I am probably safe.

I mean…people will find you if they really want to find you. No matter how elusive you try to be. I could live the rest of my life in hiding, under some false sense of captivity…of I can choose to live a normal life like everyone else.

I am glad this is so far removed from me now that I rarely even think about it. The emotions are gone. The fear is gone. The only reason I am reflecting about it now is because of the young woman in the news.

They are going to go after the official that didn’t issue a restraining order. She definitely should have been granted a restraining order, but I hope it doesn’t detract from the real issue. The person who didn’t issue the restraining order didn’t kill this girl…the stalker did. A piece of paper doesn’t stop someone with a gun.

My heart goes out to the family members and young husband left behind to pick up the pieces.

Floral Homicide

I can hardly believe what is happening! Again this year – Just the same as last year and the year before.

Massive floral homicides are taking place all across the country. All in the name of this ridiculous, misinterpreted, over sensationalized holiday headed up by cult leader St. Valentines.

Most people see a beautiful bouquet of flowers. For some reason I see pristine beauty cut in it’s prime to sit in a vase to be admired or worse, ignored, as it withers and dies a slow public death.

There are plenty of animal activists…but where are the floral advocates? Who will step in and take action for these poor, voiceless beauties? They are raised in massive greenhouses, many of them never see the real sun or light of day. They just sit there.

Raised from just seedlings, they are just reaching their prime and then – WHACK! Chop, chop and they’re goners! No germinating for these poor souls. No birds and bees coming along to spread along their pollen and legacies.

So I am hereby proclaiming this National “don’t kill any flowers” day.

Yes…perhaps I am being extreme, but hey…someone has to do it.

And by so doing, that means that everyone would have to find a different way to show their valentine how much they cared about them. Instead of a cliché floral homicide route, people would be forced to do some other jester of kindness instead of escaping so easily with a quick last minute over the counter purchase thinking they have done their yearly Valentine obligatory duty.

Yes…this means people would have to be creative. Do something out of the ordinary. Something really special. Something from the heart instead of a going-through-the-motions check list purchase.

I heard that a few husbands cleaned the house for their wives. Now…THAT is a great Valentines gift. A massage, a new favorite CD, a special date night of choice…all these are so much better than giving the gift of floral death.

Ok. I have a small confession to make. I have two bouquets sitting on my kitchen table. One was from work (a perk of working for a flower/gourmet food company) and one is from a well meaning guy friend, who also took me to a great place for dinner. And guess what? I appreciated the gesture. Darn it.

I guess there is always next year to protest. I have all year to make my dastardly plans. I better start now.

Simply Profound

It’s all about perspective…

Isn’t it though?

Sometimes knowledge, experience, and wisdom gives insight and advantage.

But sometimes it holds you back…or prevents you from seeing things in simplistic terms. Sometimes we get so set in our complicated grown up ways and what we know (or think we know)…it messes up our perspective and prevents us from seeing answers that may be right in front of us.

After I discovered my ex-husband was having an affair and he moved out, I was in a state of shock and devastation. I mean our daughter wasn’t even one yet. I was still a hormonal mess and then to find out that he had been having an affair for a year or more – I was a depressed, rejected, shell of a person for awhile.

I lost all sight of perspective until one day when my oldest daughter says, “Mommy? Why are you so sad? Now we aren’t locked in his high tower anymore.”

Wow. I am still amazed at her insight. That was a turning point for me. Right then and there I realized she was right. What I thought was love, was not love. It was control, manipulation, and conquest.

She was 6 at the time. She didn’t have all the knowledge, experiences, confusion and complication in her head like I did. She could see things as they were. I had been so caught up in the details…trying to piece things together…still working off emotions, that I had lost sight of the bigger issue and reality. Her perspective was simple and profound. It was a wakeup call for me.

Yes. Sometimes too much knowledge can prevent you from seeing the bigger picture.

Sometimes knowledge limits your ability to think outside the box. There is a group leadership activity where you stand in a circle facing inward, cross your hands and hold hands with both people beside you. Then you try to figure out how to get everyone in the circle to face outward while never letting go of each other hands.

A study showed that adults usually take 5 minutes or longer to solve this puzzle…and some groups never actually figure it out. Give this same exercise to kids, ages 5-7 and they figure it out on average in a matter of 30 seconds.

There are a lot of psychological factors that play into that. But the bottom line is that we overcomplicate and over think things as adults. We lose our simplistic perspective that allows us to think and react on the fly. As adults we hesitate, second guess, analyze…ugh!

Sometimes knowledge just makes us boring. We see the same things day after day, year after year and you can run the risk of going through the motions. Nothing seems new. Our perspective is old and worn out. If you’re lucky…someone will come along and wake you up.

My 2 year old did this for me and a group of folks the other day. We were at my BFF’s house for the super bowl, so of course, there was plenty of munchies and stuff all over. My little one starts asking for W’s. “I want a dubbayou, mommy”. (Let’s refrain from past president jokes here). She asked over and over. We were all stumped.

Until she finally lunged across the table towards a bowl of colorful candies…she was asking for M&M’s!
HA! We all cracked up, yet realized…it’s all about perspective. Let’s just say we all have a favorite new candy now. We were all so set in our ways – none of us got it. She had a simpler point of view…which somehow I think is profound.

Mmm…I gotta go. I am craving some W’s.