Monthly Archives: August 2011

Clarification (and Confidence)

Listening to music wasn’t just an opportunity to think about boys.  Actually, I’m not sure listening to music was ever about the boys.  It was about me.  Listening to music was introspective.

A chance to think about myself and my place in the world.  My relationships and my self-concept.  Listening to music gave me a chance to process events in my life and establish my identity.  Though, apparently, my identity required maintenance.

This is not a new concept for me.

Many, many years ago I was sitting in a psychology class.  A guest speaker was brought in who was somewhere in the process of gender reassignment.  I was blown away.  Up until that moment, I had honestly thought that all ‘the gays’ (and I still thought in those terms) were in California.  I had never questioned the far-right rhetoric.  For the longest time, I sat in that class, looking at the speaker, with my jaw hanging open.  I just didn’t suspect that anyone outside of the Fox News image of the ‘good American’ could be in MY home state.  As I sat there, confronted with the idea that ‘those people’ were REAL people, I realized that I knew nothing.  “I need to get out more” just kept running through my head.  Shortly after that class, I applied for AmeriCorps.

When I began AmeriCorps, I began by getting on an airplane (which I had done exactly two times – to DC on a field trip, and home from DC on that same field trip), flying to a city I’d never seen, thousands of miles from any place I’d even seen before, hoping that someone I’d never met would be at the airport to direct me.  My team consisted of 5 girls just like me, two guys I did not at ALL understand, and one guy who was (!!!) bisexual!  Hallelujah!  The holy grail of the ‘others’!  Turns out, most of my lessons learned that year were taught by the people I was serving, not those I served with.  (I feel like there’s a spiritual lesson here that I haven’t really pulled through yet)  But while learning about all of these people who were different than me, and while living with the people I was working with and working for, I began forming my own ideas.  Slowly, those ideas built up into something more.  A capable, independent woman.

After AmeriCorps, I moved to Denver.  With no job, almost no savings, no help, no furniture, and only 2 acquaintances.  I held my head high.  My confidence was not ill-founded.  When I walked down the street (because I didn’t have a car) I carried a sense of self.

Over the next few years, my objective measure of independence fluxuated.  Sometimes I was unemployed or getting married or otherwise changing.  My confidence in my own abilities would ebb and flow or wax and wane.  And always, always, I could regain my status within my own estimation if I took a walk listening to the right tunes.  Not a wandering amble through a park, but walking to take care of business.  Getting somewhere.  With every step.  That would always bring back some chutspa.  In the past, I attributed this to the walking, but now I think it might be tied more to the music.

The beat pushed my footsteps, my mood, and my confidence.  The beat spurred me on.

We all know that confidence is tied to sexuality.  And certainly motherhood has brought me into new realms of insecurity.  Previously unheard of levels of questioning.  I suppose we could simplify the whole thing by saying that music gives me confidence (borrow much?) and that confidence is tied to sexuality.  But that’s just not sexy.

It’s true though that motherhood has affected my sexuality through my confidence.  Which is strange.  I’m not insecure in my parenting, I’m not insecure in my body, but somehow I wind up insecure as a new mother.  I know I’m an excellent mother.  But I question individual decisions.  The little ones.  But those must add up.  I question my decisions in an attempt to better myself.  Eventually, I was questioning my own worth.  Questioning my intuition led to undermining my self-confidence.

And without a regular influx of confidence borrowed from the right artists, I was letting my levels get lower and lower.

I’d come up with an ending for this post, but I’ve already had to stop to feed the baby three times, and I really want to go curl up with my husband instead.

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Music & My Va-Va-VOOM

My sensual self has always been closely tied to music.  Listening, singing, dancing have all helped me find the part of me that is confident in my sultry skin.  And the more music I listen to on a daily basis, the more connected I am to my physical manifestation.

 

Cheesy boy bands, empowered feministas, soft folk lyricists, more strong rockin’ women, and then my line of preferred auditory inputs took a serious turn.

 

I now listen to kids songs.  Almost exclusively.

 

I haven’t heard new music in two years.  When my husband plays a song I don’t know, I feel so disconnected.  And I don’t know any of them.  The constant disconnection to something that has always been so close to my heart (physical?  metaphorical?  I’m not sure.) deadens my nerve endings a bit.  I respond that much colder, or that much more slowly.
This could just be a season in my life.  Something that will pass with time.  The music I’ve enjoyed in the past is brimming with things I just don’t want my daughters to hear or repeat – so it doesn’t get played when they’re around.  When they nap, I find myself either desperately struggling to keep them asleep or contentedly immersing myself in the silence.  By the time they’re in bed, I’m just not much for dancing or singing aloud.
Could I just have grown past the music?  Matured right out of part of my identity?  I lost my single, independent self when I got married.  Lost more of my independence and my arrogance when I had my eldest.  By now, I laugh I about how different I am from the person I once was, but I’m not sure I’m happy about any of the individual changes.
Maybe some.  The return to being responsible for another person is fine.  Letting go of selfishness is certainly not a problem.  But what of that energy?  The vibrant pulse of life that built in my chest when my hips moved to a drum beat?  I don’t want that to go away.

 

I’ve never even bothered to load music on my computer.  I never seem to listen to it, so what’s the point?

 

Maybe it’s time for a really solid playlist.  Some old favorite artists (minus the boy bands) and classic songs.  With a little work and patience I should be able to find songs that are appropriate for my kids to hear right?  Without withering into a mushy pile of corporate wuss tunes?

 

Yet another project for this winter.  The long, cold, dark, dreariness that I will not let into my heart.

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Visual Aids

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My Path

I think about ‘two roads diverged in a yellow wood’ and I’m not thinking about the beginning of the path anymore.  The end.  When I can see the end, and the light up ahead, but there are roots and rocks and whatever else between me and that end.

Sometimes I’m at that point with my daughter.  When she’s tired.  I know she needs sleep.  Sleep is the end; the answer.  But to get there, she’s got to release all the pent up frustration and disappointment and negative emotion that she’s built up over the last few hours.  And that comes out as crying.

I could put her down and let her cry herself to sleep.  Metaphorically putting her down and walking to the end of the path and waiting for her to get herself to the end to join me.

I could try to find a way for her to avoid crying.  See if there is another way through the woods that might avoid the rocks and roots in front of me.  Unlikely, but worth a look I suppose.

Or I could just walk with her.  Hold her hand over the roots, and scramble with her, if necessary, up the rocks.  Practically, this involves wearing her for a few minutes while she blows through that steam.  While she releases all that junk she’s carrying.  Who hasn’t had a day that just needed a good cry at the end?

I’m not interested in discussing the merits of leaving my child to cry on her own.  That is not something I’m willing to do.  But I am willing to help her when she really needs to cry.  I understand that feeling.  I can stay with her, snuggling, till she takes that shaky breath and relaxes.  I feel all that tension just evaporate and her slumber becomes a victory we can share together.  Because we walked together.

I guess I’m just not much of a quitter.  I wont quit on the journey, or her, or my goals.  That just doesn’t work for me.

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Adventure! Day Two


Start
: Anchorage

Plan: See Anchorage Zoo.

Increase our knowledge and wonder at the Imaginarium.

Visit tourist-y sites.

Camp.

Some of that clearly had to be scratched due to rain and other non-negotiable events.

Revised Itinerary: 5am- Enough tossing and turning on a soggy sleeping bag.  Find breakfast.

Dry sleeping bags.

Enjoy Imaginarium.

Walk in a mall.  (novel!  We have no mall to speak of in Fairbanks.)

Visit touris-y places.

Playground time.

Cook dinner & air out tent, sleeping mats, etc.

Find the Bauers’ RV and bed down there.

Evidence:

 

Total mileage: not much

End: Anchorage

Notes:  We had a rolicking good time.  I still would have liked to take the girls to the zoo, but our (mostly) indoor day was great.  We even got to greet Papa, then Nana, Nunki, Aunt Nae, and Aunt Hannah.  Life is good.

Verdict: Success.

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Adventure! Day One


Start
: Fairbanks

Plan: Drive South on Parks Highway to Talkeetna.

Enjoy Talkeetna.

Drive South on Parks Highway to Anchorage.

Make camp.

Enjoy camping.

Evidence:

Total mileage: 382 miles

End: Anchorage

Epilogue:  Though the drive had complications when the kiddos got tired, I felt the day would be recorded as a success.  I was wrong, and right.  Wrong = the drizzle of the day turned to rain and our tent flooded.  Right = it was a little hilarious.

Verdict: Success.

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Project 365 – August 12, 2011

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