Thursday, June 09, 2016

My Mom Died, So I Got A Tattoo

Yesterday was June 8th. (Today is June 9th! Come here to learn important things about dates!)

Four years ago, on June 8th, my mom died.

Fast forward to a few years ago when John and I went to Vietnam and then Thailand and tried to get real Buddhist Sak Yant tattoos and the monk totally jacked up the prices so we never got them.

But once you get the idea for a tattoo in your brain, it's pretty hard to get it out.

Ever since I've been toying with a Buddhist tattoo. Now, you're not really supposed to have idols of the Buddha, like Buddha heads and stuff, that's not really a Buddhist thing. So I didn't want THE BUDDHA as a tattoo. And I wasn't looking for some simply symbology, although, that's cool, but truth? I don't know what a lot of that stuff means. I definitely didn't want a Buddhist tat I didn't understand.

In my mother's house, she had a piece of art, a beautiful and graceful hand. For much of my life I never thought that it was anything other than a beautiful hand and in my adult life, I learned that hand was the Buddha's hand. I've loved it ever since. 

One thing for sale in Thailand that is not the Buddha's head or likeness, is the Buddha's hand, it's a thing I like to buy for people and I bought one for myself. It's pretty and it makes me feel peaceful and it reminds me of my mom and my childhood.

A few weeks ago I went out on an adventure with my friend Erica. We were going to a big mindfulness thing, a run, some yoga, and a guided meditation. We were going to yoga and run and meditate and then we were going to drink and get tattoos.

But see? It was freezing that day, almost literally freezing and it had POURED rain the night before. There was no running (for us, we cheated and walked), there was no outdoor yoga (some girls seriously set up their mats right next to huge puddles, we um, didn't) and there was no way we were staying for the meditation. Instead, we went and ate huge breakfasts and got really tired and went home and watched movies and ate Thai food at our respective houses. And it was glorious.

But no tattoos achieved. It wasn't right, neither one of us was feeling it like a tattoo-getter should. All good there though, we had a fun and weird day.

SO, upcoming, June 8th, mom's death day. It's my new New Years, it's the way I measure my life  now because it's so clear where I was that specific day both mentally and physically, I use it as a yardstick now.

And it's a big day for me, some years it's been sad, yesterday it was empowering.

Yesterday I got my mom's Buddha hand tattooed on my body. Oh and I battled "I'm too old," I battled "But you're not really a Buddhist," I battled "THIS IS PERMANENT YOUNG (old) LADY, nice girls don't get tattoos that all the world can see! (I have 3 other tattoos and all of them are relatively hidden, this is my first "out there" tat).

But alas, I did it. At 12:15 on a random (not to me) Wednesday, I GOT ME TAT!

OMG! omg.

I can't believe I did it and I kind of freaking love it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

On Not Having Children

I was talking with a few female, childless friends of mine recently (it even sounds sad, it isn't trust me) and we were talking about how we don't have kids, have chosen not to have kids and how great it is not to have kids.

Sorry, people with kids, but it's so great not having any. Granted, I don't know what it feels like to have kids, but you don't know what it feels like to NOT have any kids.

I have absolutely ZERO worries or fears or needs regarding "legacy." I just never have. My bloodline continuing on- I just don't think about it or worry about it. All the billions of people on or under the earth, I don't think the universe cares about my bloodline and neither do I. Even in my work, I don't feel the need to create work that lasts. My work is something for me to do while I'm here, has nothing to do with when I'm gone.

John and I talked this weekend about luxury and how even though relatively, we are BROKE still. We live in luxury, a beautiful neighborhood, a vibrant (and deadly, ugh) city, enough money to go to dinner and travel some. And I thought, that's part of not having kids for me, I'm TOTALLY going to enjoy my luxury. 

Anyhoo, my lady friends started talking about how tired they are of defending themselves. People's questions, assumptions - how they are told that they'll never "feel that love" or what's wrong with them or what kind of woman doesn't have children?

And I was honestly surprised. No one, NO ONE, ever asks me about my decision not to have children. I never get those questions, the only time it happens is when we're traveling and the people in India are terrified for us that we don't have kids, but that's fine, they can be afraid for me. All day long. I'd love for someone to come up to me and question me about it. Bring it. However, no one finds it necessary to do that with me. Maybe I'm too old now to even ask, but I can say, inside of the United States - no one has second-guessed me about having kids.

But I was listening to Rebecca Solnit and she wrote a whole essay about those questions and how to answer them.

And I loved this part:

People lock onto motherhood as a key to feminine identity in part from the belief that children are the best way to fulfill your capacity to love, even though the list of monstrous, ice-hearted mothers is extensive. But there are so many things to love besides one’s own offspring, so many things that need love, so much other work love has to do in the world.
Bam. Way to nail it Solnit. 

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


Anyone who knows me knows that we have been um, sort of um, BROKE AS ALL SHIT.

Broke so broke.

So so SO broke. Brokebrokebrokebrokebroke. (what tv/movie is that from? I can see a woman saying it over and over....)

Well, it's spring, that happens to be a good time for me - winters can be slow (and awesome!), but it all picks up now. And other people I live with have gotten jobs...


I got a little windfall! A little windfall that will just bring us back to stasis and a little to put away for the next time.

Which leads me to this:

As I was walking home from going to the bank to deposit my windfall check, I promised myself, "never again." Never again, I kept saying over and over as I walked, never again and I started to say it out loud, never again, never again...

And then, with all the glory of the universe, that turned into:


But I added something:


I will never go broke again.


I will never go broke again. 

It made me laugh out loud. Mostly because it's truth.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I'm a Barefoot, Eccentric, Old Lady

Man. Prince.

I'm sad pretty honestly.

Anyhoo, April was quite a month. I had 3.5 scary/cool/butscary things happening in April. And I'm a worrier and a planner, so April has been on my radar for awhile now. I've had fear and apprehension about all 3.5.

My fear, in hindsight, was never all that serious. I think it's how I motivate myself actually. I planned really well for all 3.5 of these things and all 3.5 turned out well because of my pre-planning. Actual things fixed because I PLANNED for them to go wrong. My fear led me all scenarios and to figure out answers for each scenario.

And it helped! So. I'm bringing back fear. It's not so bad.

My last of 3.5 things was yesterday and it turned out more beautifully than I could have hoped. My last of the 3.5 turned out the best and they all turned out pretty well.

But today I am WIPED. I feel like I'm sick and I know that I'm not. I had a thing to go to today, a thing I really wanted to go to on this bright sunshiney day and I set out to go there and I couldn't. My feet would not take me there. So I listened. And it is pretty out.

So I slow-walked. I took it so slow today. I wanted the sunshine, I wanted to move, but not hard, not fast.

I've been practicing my barefoot walking. It's what I'm into now, there are some who say it's all about learning to walk barefoot again, as someone who really is into my feet and walking and staying mobile - it makes really logical sense.

When was the last time you tried walking barefoot, like, down the street? And not the concrete, that's not great either, but in the grass on the side?

IT'S HARD. It's really hard. It takes total focus so as not to hurt myself/step in poop/step on a bee/whatever. So it's slow-going now for me in the beginning. And I'm shocked, completely shocked at how I've lost touch with my feet. Seriously. It is odd and uncomfortable to walk barefoot, I'm looking to change that.

But like I said, it's slow-going, so I don't listen to podcasts or music, I'm generally looking down the whole time, I need to keep everything focused on my next step, so the other great thing about it is, it's really quiet. My ears are quiet, my voice, my mind even, because it's focusing hard on what it's doing.

And then afterwards? My feet tingle! It feels SO GOOD. It's like fucking nerves waking up, it is so nice and ....

I took this really nice, quiet, barefoot walk in my neighborhood.

I'm getting old and eccentric maybe.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Suck It In.

The first thing I noticed when I started meditating was the rock that lives in my stomach, the hard little ball of anxiety that feels like the size of a tennis ball. As I would go through relaxing each part of my body, each time I got to the rock in my stomach, it never relaxed, in fact, it got tighter.

Now, 16 months later, a whole year and a half, that rock in my stomach is still there, as tight and as apparent as ever. Now I don't even try to relax it,  I learn to just let it be there and to know that it's there.

Until I started meditating though, I didn't think about my stomach rock, I'm not even really sure I knew it was there before. But lest we get confused, that is not to say that I wasn't paying attention to my "abs" although, now it's "core." From maybe the time I was 12, I've been aware of my stomach, isn't that the age when that happens? And I see now that since I was 12 years old, I've been holding in my stomach.

It starts because you can hold in your stomach and it looks so much different when you do. I think as young teen girls, we start "sucking it in." The problem is, at 45, I'm still doing it. 

You do it too right? For so many reasons, maybe now it's not teen fear of a tiny bit of tummy hanging, but now, we're engaging our core, firing up our abs, we're doing the good work. Pulling our bellybuttons to our spine, yes? But I still feel like, at least for me, it's still about how it looks physically.

But it wasn't until I read my Nutritional Movement (you guys, she tells you NOT to run, don't you want to check it??) and reading that to hold in your stomach like that is really dangerous. Your organs and all those things in there need that space - that's the whole point! If you're holding in your stomach in one, two, three inches, that is that much more crowded it gets in there.

It's really not good for you. 

And to do weird ab exercises that only work one way your abs work for like, what, 5 minutes a day, 2 or 3 days a week? Not that helpful.

So now my girl Katie is telling me I should relax my fucking abs.

And it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Seriously, and I quit smoking.

It is frightening to me and to the me that used to be a teenager and a 20-year-old, then 30 then 40, that I literally cannot relax my stomach. I can do it for maybe 30 seconds until I forget and it all clenches back up again. Sometimes I can't even tell if it's relaxed or if I'm just forcing it.

I honestly cannot tell if my stomach is relaxed or not.

And 30 years really, 30 years of actively trying to hold it in. And all of the mental bullshit that comes with that and the fear of "letting my stomach hang out." JESUS CHRIST, I'm so tired of it all.

Relax. Your. Crack. Hixx.

You're hurting yourself now, not helping.

Chill OUT. 

Tell me, can you relax your abs, stomach area, core?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cockblocking Responsibility

When I was 20, I totally thought I was going to have kids. By about 22, I was pretty sure I wasn't.

It's such a big decision. And to actively choose not to, it's hard you know? Because, this is what you  do. Go to college. Buy house. Have kids.

I dropped out of college. Twice. The SAME COLLEGE. Twice. And I rent. Like a boss.

I was talking to John about a possible business partnership and as soon as the realization of responsibility came up, my stomach got sick. I got tight, aggravated and felt put upon. As we were talking about this I said something that I think sums up everything about who I am in one sentence:

"I just want to be able to change my mind whenever I want without affecting anyone."


I was taken back to when I was 10. Greeley School. Winnetka, IL. We were singing "Sailing," yes, that one, and we were all on stage and my music teacher handed ME the triangle and had me stand in front of everyone and hit it like, 10 times at specific times.

I hated it. I remember now thinking, "I don't want to be responsible for this triangle. Or this song, or getting the timing right. Someone else should do it." And it wasn't that I didn't care. I did. I liked singing Sailing just fine, I just don't want to be responsible for the fucking triangle.

Team sports? No thanks! GUH. Is there anything worse than being responsible for someone else's goal, point, basket? BLECH. I can't think of a bigger hell.

Everytime I try to work with someone else on a project, a project that's half mine or whatever, I get upset and sad and trapped. I'll happily help you with your project, as long as I'm just the volunteer and have no responsibility and it's really your project and on your head. And I'm great running my own projects and having people help me, that's lovely!Thank goodness for all of the help people have given me.

And don't think for one second sometimes even the dog (my precious, perfect, wonderful and spectacular dog) doesn't sometimes get lumped into "responsibility." I think it's actually amazing I have a dog at all. It's the most responsibility for someone else I've ever had. Even my husband admitted he sees this very clearly in me and knew when he married me he couldn't get in they way of my choices and that he has his own version of letting me alone. He also keeps trying to get me to want to "buy" a house, condo, whatever. I have no interest. Can you imagine being responsible for A WHOLE HOUSE?? WHY!!!?!!? Why would I do something like that? I'm such a happy renter.

So children were out. They just were. I can't think of anyone being more affected by my decisions than any children I might have. I wondered for awhile if this was a problem, my lack of responsibility for other people - and fuck it. Who cares. I have great passion for what I have great passion for and the fact that I can change that passion RIGHT NOW without hurting anyone, or putting anyone out, or pissing anyone off, is about the greatest level of freedom I can imagine.

Plus, if I follow my Buddhist teachings, I'll be back on this earth again.

I'll have kids then.

This life? This life is for pleasing me most of all.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Eight Worldy Winds

I won't talk too much about Buddhism here, that's my own thing and if you're curious about my thoughts on it, you'll ask me.

BUT. Heh.

There are eight worldly winds:
Gain and Loss
Pleasure and Pain
Fame and Infamy
Praise and Blame

The idea is, don't give much credence to one over the other right? You can't walk around all proud of your gain and yell and scream about your loss.

They're all the same see? Floating in and out of your life.

I've had this amazing experience happen before, but I just had an amazing worldly wind experience happen to me last night.

I HAD A BIG FUCKING WIN last night. A big win. I've been working on something, an important person liked what I did and it was A HUGE FUCKING SCORE and it was praise and I ate it up.

And I'll tell you, the physical reaction to great praise, is pretty much the exact same reaction to great blame.

I got shaky, my stomach felt tight, my breathing got lighter and faster, my head bowed down, my fingers rolling through my hair and then what shocked me about my great praise?

I started to cry.

YES I AM A WOMAN, and yes we cry at intense emotion (it's when you cry when you're quitting a job, or really angry that is so frustrating), but it was the exact same tears, face, body stance, as crying when upset or taking blame.

Everytime I get a good Trip Advisor review, my heart starts to beat, my stomach sinks, I get really hot. Once when I got the worst review EVER that anyone has ever gotten, my heart started to beat, my stomach sank and I got really hot.

I don't know, it was just really interesting to me that emotion is emotion and you can't let any of it sink and stay. They're just winds, blowing around, one no more important than the other.