Social Media and Who I Want You to Think I Am.

We all do it. We take that picture, look at it, delete it, take another and even another before we finally decide it is post-worthy. What is Post Worthy? It is the ideal picture, the one that shows us laughing carelessly and having a great time. It’s the one that shows us in love. It’s the one that portrays us as the ideal parent as we roll in the fall leaves smiling. This is what I want you to see. The ideal. The perfect. The lie.

Here’s a shocker: We all want the world to see us as perfect. We want to see how many ‘likes’ on facebook we can get for our nonchalant selfie that we want you to think we didn’t take ourselves but we did, because we are hella good at editing (sorta). I stopped trying to take selfies. Number one, every time I did, I either looked pissed off or my eyes looked wonky. Number two, who has time to take twenty photos of themselves? After three and still not getting the look I want, I start to feel dumb. What am I, a 13 year old girl again?! I am 35 years old, that’s too damn old to be doing the same things my teenage daughter does in the bathroom mirror (for 45 minutes no less!).

Here’s another shocker: Not everyone who posts how in love they are with their significant other is really feeling that way, it’s another ruse. I’m not saying there aren’t those who do, whose love will stand the test of time, but I am saying I have seen more people post some really romantic, I’m talking Shakespeare shit, only to see in a few weeks that their love ended in a flame of Pabst Blue Ribbon, Jaeger Bombs and some ho named Jessica, and the lady of love scorned is “going to beat her face in the next time she sees her so she best watch it!”

Social Media is more about presenting this Identity of who you want to be, or who you want people to think you are, to the world. Having real, deep friendships, ones that last longer than a couple years and don’t involve back stabbing, are becoming a thing of the past. In my opinion, we are all too involved in trying to look a certain way or present ourselves as a tough guy, to take time to let the wall down and really get to know one another. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and even WordPress provide a certain anonymity. You can be whatever, a yoga posing hippy, a pierced and tattooed rebel, a baby wearing and crunchy mamma or just a good old fashioned asshole. There’s no shame in being any of these things, if that’s who you really are, even if your an asshole, at least you’re genuine..

So, who do I want you to think I am? I don’t know. I will tell you who I am though. I am married to a wonderful man, that being said, we haven’t had a perfect marriage, there have been lots of ups and downs. Times where we wanted to kill one another and times of complete adoration. Am I happily married? Abso-fuckin-lootly. Has it been easy? No. But things worth the time seldom are.

I am also a mom, I became one at age 21. I had no idea what I was doing then and I seldom know now. I thought I would be a natural mom, I wasn’t. Turns out I am pretty bad at this job, but I do love my children fiercely and I know the world is a better place with them in it. Am I getting this parenting thing wrong? YES. Am I doing some shit right? YES. Again, it’s hard and I am not always that good mom you see rolling in the leaves with her kids, in fact, I don’t roll. Especially not in leaves.

I have tattoos and piercings. I am not tough. Not at all. Nor am I trying to be tough, I don’t have anything to prove. I am a nerd most of the time. I am a mystery novel lovin’ lady, but my favorite books are children’s books. I love my British t.v. mysteries, country folk rock and stoner rock equally. I love archeology and I get way too excited when lost items under the sea are found. I do cuss too often but that’s a bad habit that I am trying to break, apparently it’s not going to happen in this blog. Maybe the next one. Sorry Grandma (she is the toughest woman I know, she reads my blogs and hates the cursing but she loves me ).

I have been a good person and a horrible person of equal measure, and if you had to really scale it out, I bet horrible would win.

My point is that the infatuation I see on social media with being perfect is out of hand and it is only encouraged through television, magazines and other media forms. But the worst encourager of this distorted view of beautiful or ideal, is us. We only perpetuate it by falling in line and posting 10,000 selfies or hippy quote that makes us feel good momentarily. Who cares what the world thinks, if you have faith in yourself and at least one good friend(not the one that makes excuses for you, the one who helps you grow), you have won. Faith in yourself is so important. It gets you through when no one else can help you.  I admit my confidence in myself is fickle, some days I have it, others not at all. I have to work at it. It’s not magic. The temptation to post something consciously or subconsciously for the prospect of people ‘liking’ it, is real. I am a victim of it’s game. And, I will always lose, because just like a good drug or alcohol, in the morning I am still left with me.

My challenge to myself and to others out there (if anyone reads this) is take time to be yourself, whatever and whoever that is. Posting pictures in and of itself isn’t bad but if it’s filling some void where confidence should be, maybe invest in you for a while. It’s hard work but it pays off.

So, Who do I want you to think I am? In the words of Rhett Butler, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Hopefully you don’t either.

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Good, Old Fashioned, Vampire Violence Brought to You by Hattie

Oh no, not another mother gushing about how amazing her child is! Sorry folks, but I am proud.

My daughter recently took second in a local writing contest here in Galesburg Illinois called, The Big Write. When I first found out about the contest, I asked her if she wanted to enter something. She said she would like to write a poem. Okay, I thought, that works. Since my child has recently become more interested in pop culture and with it pop music, I expected something that might resemble a love song or something flowery. I underestimated my daughter. I should have taken into account her love of ghost and horror stories, her admiration of R.L.Stine and her drawings, going all the way back to her toddler years of grave stones and, hold onto your seat, dead people in suit cases. The latter would be enough to send a regular parent into seizures, thankfully I am not very ‘regular’.  Having been very interested in dead things as a young one myself, I was not overly upset about it. Along with this, my husband and I are both drawn to skeletons of animals and the human skeletal structure, and what some might consider morose. So, why I was surprised when Hattie’s poem was about a blood thirsty vampire, and not the kind that sparkle and fall in love with depressed teenagers, is quite beyond me.

I think it signaled to me how much my little girl is growing up. She is coming into her own. While other girls are day dreaming about Robert Patton, my daughter is writing and keeping the tradition of a good old-fashioned flesh tearing vampire. Though I’d be blind if I didn’t think she picked up on Robert Pattons good looks.

Something else that has blown me away about her recently, is her want to  overcome fears. She has a chance to read her poem at the reception being held for the winners and their friends and family. She told me she would be too afraid and nervous to do so.  Meanwhile, she is looking over a two week summer school course  she will be involved in at Knox College here and deciding which courses she is interested in. She comes across one titled, ‘The Voice’, which is a class designed towards singing and learning how to present yourself on stage in order to sell your song and overcome stage fright. Hattie shows this to me and says, ” I want to do this so I can help myself and my nervousness.” Well hell yeah, we can do that. So though she may not read her poem aloud because of her nerves this time, she has a plan and wants to work to master her fears.

I suppose I have rambled long enough about how kick ass my kid is. So, without further adeiu, I give you Ayin Hattie-Belle Wren’s, “The Vampire’s Bite.

 

The Vampire’s Bite

As I drink the blood of my prey,

I’m happy to live another day.

No stake through the heart, no sunlight to tear me apart.

The sunlight turns me to dust, you see,

I am a vampire, unlike thee.


So, I hope you sleep tight tonight,

all snug in your bed, while I go off for a bite.

For, it might be your neck, it just might.

I’m OOOOOO’TAY!

Today is one of those battle armor days. The kind of day that delivers punch after punch. Each blow is made all the worse because the affliction is being delivered by a small curly headed boy that is no more than 4 years old.

He refuses to pick up his toys. He keeps making up reasons to leave his room. “Mom, I have a question…” as he cans the room for something to ask about. “Mom, when I’m done can I…”, nevermind he has only picked up two of the 50 plus toys he has scattered about.

I think they lied when they coined the phrase “terrible twos”. It should have been”what the hell is this little sprite that has sudddenly become a crazy, CRAZY wild man!!! fours”, but I suppose it doesn’t have the same ring.

So today when I am tempted to rock in the corner, banging my head against the wall, I remember Buckwheat from Little Rascals. “I’m OOOOOO’TAY!”

 

8x10_Buckwheat little rascals 2

Don’t burn the beans! AKA Important Shit.

Where to start, without boring you all to death.

I have been away from this blog for a few months or more, with a couple of posts here and there. Writing, my first love, sadly goes to the wayside when there are more pressing and better paying matters to give attention to. For instance, we now own a business here in town with two of our good friends. Then there has been company, the holidays coming up and oh yeah, my daughters surgery.

For those of you familiar with my little lady, Hattie is doing wonderful and has completely knocked this shit out of the park. I have never seen such a determined girl in my life. For those of you unfamiliar, my daughter just underwent back surgery for severe scoliosis. She is handling the  no bending, twisting, lifting,running,jumping and no to everything else that makes being an eleven year old fun rule, splendidly. I have a caught a few twists here and there but other than that she is handing this with a grace I myself am not sure I could muster.

So back to blog-o-sphere I come. Going through this surgery with my daughter has made me reflect on what kind of parent I am and how far from my goal I sit. While she was in surgery and between the conversations with my mom who came with to help me and support the both of us, I realised that I was not the parent I wanted to be. We all fail and strive to be the best and sometimes it takes a little bit of drama to wake us from our parent coma. I haven’t spent the time with my children showing them things, so much as instructing them. Big difference. As a home-schooler, whose very foundation in school is based on less instruction and more showing, explaining and experiencing, that’s pretty damn sad my friends. So now, I re-focus.

This time gave my husband and I time to think. Dale had to stay back here in town while I went o Chicago for the surgery. He stayed for a couple of reasons, the most important being our 4-year-old son. We felt it was better to give him the stability of a parent with him and we also agreed that he didn’t need to be at the hospital during all this.

And it’s strange folks ( I was always told never to start a sentence with ‘and’. Fuck it)…we both reflected on where we wanted to be as parents, without ever communicating it to the other until I was home from Chi-town. It wasn’t just our role as parents but also our role as human beings we pondered. I haven’t painted in years. Why? I honestly am not sure. I guess I became distracted by meaningless and petty bullshit. I also haven’t written a song in ages, when about 6 years ago, I wrote 4 in one year. They aren’t number one hits by all mean but at least I was doing something to help me “work out my salvation daily”, as biblical figure Paul would have said.

To me, it all comes down to distractions. The things that are truly important to us, even something as important as our children, we willingly lay on the back-burner while we do whatever it is we do. My children, my art and my well-being should not ever be found simmering uselessly on the back of life’s stove. The last line was a little to “chicken soup for the soul”, I apologize, please rephrase as you wish.

And it seems I have let loose all that I wished to say and yet again, if you have followed me for any length of time, I am at the end with no good flowing way to tie it all up. Welcome again, dear reader, to my abrupt endings.

Happy Birthday to My Monkey

It’s my boy’s Birthday today! Below, behold is magnificence.

Yep! He’s Awesome.

 

And this is the Birthday sign our Daughter stayed up until 1130 drawing.

 

 

Now Odin, since living in New orleans and attending many parades, thinks all candy or sweets should be thrown at him. So, this morning he was pelted with marshmallows. We also filled the room with balloons for him to awake to, which made him insanely happy.

The rest of the day is yet to come. Glad he’s here .

Do Right.

We all have a moral code that we live by, whether it is one we knowingly strive for or one that we fall to by default. I strive to pass onto my children those things I believe to be right in the hopes that they too will try to the best of their ability to live by them, not for the sake of being good but to act as a compass when everything around them seems futile.

Sometimes, our teachings bite us in the ass.

Dilemmas arise where you have to make a decision whether to listen to what you have said or do an equally right thing. My daughter was faced today with one such predicament. Parenthood is full of surprises.

The situation was as follows. My daughter is not allowed to chat online. I forbid it. I know some parents see no reason why their child should not speak to other kids online, especially when it’s a well-known place such as Nick.com or Disney. I however, do not. Having been around the world  and  having seen many things, I simply will not trust that it is a 11-year-old girl behind a computer half way across America. So, she is not allowed to chat.

Today she told me that she had been chatting with a “friend” of hers on Nick.com. Through the course of talking with her I found that she chatted because there was a girl being cyber-bullied (ridiculous term no matter how fitting). She wanted to make sure she was okay, having been bullied herself a couple of times. Kids can be the most wicked of creatures and yet sometimes the most generous and surprising.

Though she knew she was not allowed to chat, she wanted to console another girl. So as a parent what does one do? On one hand I was and am angry that she would disregard my instruction, and I don’t mince words with her, she knows my reason for not allowing her to talk online. On the other, I am proud of her for trying to help some one and realizing that it could be a right thing to do.

And here, I can be assured that at least some of what I am trying to pass on to my child is being heard and lived out.

That makes me proud of my daughter.

“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what’s right.”  ~Isaac Asimov

 

Happy Birthday to Hattie, Our First Guinea Pig

My daughter will be 11 on Sunday at precisely 10:56 a.m. How I am able to remember the exact time of her birth, I am not sure. Especially since if asked about Odin’s time of birth, I would mutter, “Sometime after 1?”

I remember going into labor. I had none of the early signs like braxton hics or any of that. I wasn’t dlialated but about a centimeter. I woke up around 11 at night feeling crampish. I realized I was having mild contractions so I timed them. Once I was sure I was in labor (around 12:30) I woke up Dale and in his most supportive voice he said,”This better be the real thing!” Yeah I felt the love. So I proceeded to call my folks who had agreed to take us to the hospital( we had no car at the time). My folks answered, I gave them the news and heard my dad say in the background “I hope this is the real thing!”. Love was radiating everywhere.

So we filed into my parents car and after getting lost a little bit trying to find the emergency room, we finally arrived at the hospital. Now perhaps naively, I assume if you pushed your way through college to become a nurse, you are relatively smart. So imagine my surprise and anger when as I was being wheeled onto an elevator by the Emergency Room nurse and he asks me, “What seems to be the problem?” I wanted answer in my best hic accent ” I got me a real bad belly ache” but I was obviously pregnant and in labor (well obvious to most, except for tweedle-dumb our nurse) and thus couldn’t speak very well.

After a couple hours they finally agreed I was in labor and just before 11 am my daughter was born.

I don’t remember much about the process, they gave me these ‘cocktails” which kept me in a lulled state. I do remember begging Dale not to go pee because I didn’t want him to go anywhere and I also remember briefly yelling at my mom. During the ‘push’ phase, I remember seeing dale give me the thumbs up but then seeing my mom and Dales mom huddled together in a corner with looks of pain and worry on their face. This confused me, I was numb from the waist down and so I couldn’t decide if I should be relieved by the look on my husbands face or worried, judging by my two mothers.

All of that to say, Hattie has grown into a beautiful girl, in and out. She has a ‘go get em’ spirit and isn’t afraid of talking to anyone…at all….ever. We bump heads for sure, mainly because she is so like I was at that age but she has both mine and my husbands stubbornness, which frightens me a bit.

She is inquisitive and very observant of the natural world and of people. No question is off limits with her. She is extremely creative with everything she does, sometimes too creative as it will pull her away from her studies but all in all it serves her well now and I am sure it will continue to serve her well in the future.

Being the guinea pig child, so far she is turning out remarkably well. I don’t think we have ruined her too much. Oh, I’m sure she will go through a “Screw mom and dad” phase and I am sure when she is in her twenty’s she will find everything we did wrong but I am glad that she will have the mind to be able to analyze things and not just go with it because she should or is supposed to. I hope I am raising a free thinker, even if at times it doesn’t gel with my way of thinking or doing things. She has been a blessing and I am glad she was born. Happy Birthday Ayin Hattie-Belle Wren!