Choice Is King – My New Years Post 2017

 

It’s a New Year. I wonder how many articles, blogs or puff pieces have started with those four words. It is true none the less and here we are fatter, thinner, richer, poorer, wiser or as the real case may be, dumber. What ever little New Years resolution we did or did not live up to, we have arrived at the beginning of one fresh, unspoiled, hopeful year and left that begging, harsh no good tramp of 2016 in our dust. This year will be the BEST. YEAR. EVER!

At least that’s our plans.

But as Judith Vorst helped Alexander discover in his ‘terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”, life has a way of taking all your plans, looking at us dead in the eye as if to say, ” Oh THIS is your plan? Ha! You stupid, stupid girl (or preferred identity )…”. Then she crumples up all our plans and does a hat dance on top of our hard thought out goals. And life can do a pretty good hat dance too, she’s quite agile.

What are we left with as we stare longingly down at all our dreams laying broken on the ground? Our choices.

As good old Albus Dumbledore said to Harry in The Chamber of Secrets, “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.” This statement seems contrite and very “easy for you to say” in the face of an uncertain future, joblessness, death of a friend, depression or anything that is less than a perfect life. We as humans have come to expect that nothing bad should happen. This is the future dammit! Long past are the days of famine and misfortune. We have dentists, doctors and take out Chinese food! We demand that life gives us the best and that we rise to the top like cream.

Dr. Seuss put it best in Oh The Places You’ll Go! A book that at any chance I get, I buy and give to small children, teenagers and adults alike. It is the best self help and life guidance you will ever get. He writes (excuse the long excerpt):

“You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.”

We live in an alternate reality called Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or even this here blog. We judge ourselves and our lives and how it should all be sailing by the people online. It doesn’t stop there, commercials and life styles of the rich and famous reinforce these thoughts. We are so surrounded by all of these perfect pictures of how life is supposed to go ( at least in our heads) that when we are thrown a curve ball or bite down on a lemon, we crumble.

Back to that Choice bit. We have a decision to make when life fails to live up to our expectations. We can shake our fists in the air, blaming the economy, the boss, the wife, the president, the parents, etc and so forth, No matter whose fault it is, if any is to be assigned, in the end it’s our fault if we choose to lay down and just grumble. Our other choice is to pull up our big girl panties and get on with it. That doesn’t mean we can’t grieve or get angry. It means to choose each day how much you are going to let a situation or failed resolve to affect the rest of your day. How much power will you give it? Some days will be harder, you will fail and that’s okay. You can start again the next day or even the next hour. The right choice isn’t always the easy ( or the most attractive, lucrative or fun)one.

I write these words to encourage anyone who is still reading  this and also to encourage myself. Like many of you, it’s been a hell of a year. I don’t think 2017 will be a magic elixir that will make 2016 seem worth it. I do believe that if I set my will and work hard towards my goals and choose each day what I’m going to give power to and how I will react, that my days will be better and I will be better for it, not just better but happier. Happiness isn’t a feeling, like love, it is a chosen path.

What ever your resolve this year, get thinner, establish a better routine, not eat so many muffins (me), if shit blows up, just remember to choose where to point that fan.

Be happier this year folks.

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.