June 13, 2012

People In Glass Houses...Oh, Nevermind...

I sometimes open my mouth and words jump out unexpectedly.  My brain is screaming, "NO! SHUT DOWN THE WORMHOLE!" but it is often too late.  They escape into the Universe usually committing me to yet another thing...because I need one more thing.

The last verbal explosion got me on a committee to discuss/act upon diversity issues with our school system.  Really, I don't know why this is such a biggie for me, but it is. I'd spent my life thinking race didn't matter, but I've since learned race does matter.  I just didn't realize it because I hadn't spent any time being any other race...which I can't do because, well, think about it. Duh. As Lady Gaga says, "I was born this way."  

Anywho, I digress.  It's been a thrilling and sometimes disheartening process.  It's opened my eyes to how we view other human beings...the daily thoughts we are not even aware we are having.  I got my own little experience with this over the last couple of weeks.

Because it's summer and because my parents don't pay my bills anymore, I went a little crazy with the hair color.  It started out an acceptable dark brown with some red/violet highlights.  Somehow, though, it just wasn't enough.  I needed something else that screamed "SCHOOL'S OUT!" like Alice Cooper's theme song.  And that is how I ended up with fuchsia hair.
Let me tell you, nothing gets people's attention in a small, Southern town like some pink hair!  What has been more interesting to me is seeing how differently people act toward me now that my hair is more of a beacon for alien aircraft.

I have gotten a lot of, "Oh, I love your hair!"  There has been some, "Oh, your hair is pink!" with less pea-green envy and more holy shit! in their voices.  Then there are the ignorers, those who just act like of course I would have pink hair.  I'm not sure if that says they expect it from me or they totally disapprove and are ignoring it so it will go away.  Hmmm.....

In some weird, parallel Universe, I have somehow altered the soul of who I am by doing this.  I am no longer a responsible mother of three, a wife deeply in love and dedicated to her husband, a pretty good daughter, a school junkie with as many college degrees as I have children, and a never-late-bill-payer.  I am my hair...and some interpret that as flaky, irresponsible, less educated, unemployed, and irrational.  I think being irrational might be interesting.

In a couple of weeks, my hair will be a more responsible shade of espresso. (Like how I make that all cool sounding?  It's dark brown...don't get excited.)  My career isn't dancing on a stage while millions of people buy my crappy attempt at vocals and my parents didn't inherit millions of billions of dollars, so I have to put the pink hair away for a couple of months. I totally love my job/career, so I'm okay with that.  It's all good.

What about those things people can't put away or take off or dye or alter? What eyes do we see those people through?  As I've stated before, my sweet boy will never have the Forrest Gump moment of running free from bulky metal braces to find solid legs to carry him.  What do others see when they notice his braces?   No, what do they see?  They see can't do, pitiful, so sad, less than....they don't see my oh-so-intelligent son who can kick the world's ass.

When you see the worker on the side of the road...do you see illegal immigrant?  When you see the black woman in the grocery store, do you assume food stamps?  When you see the Indian student on campus, do you assume doctor or engineer?  When someone is not like you, what do you see? We are all more than what the eyes see.  What do you see?

Because I am more, soooo much more, than pink hair...and if you don't see past it, then you can't see me.

June 9, 2012

Eden's Meme: Who Am I?

I have missed Eden's call, aka Fresh Horses Brigade. In reality, she is politely inviting others to join her on a meme.  In my mind, however, it's a challenge to see how far I can push myself.  Eden charges life...like one of those medieval jousters galloping while taunting mercilessly, "Come at me, bro!" She's ballsy like that, while I am more whispering, "Please go away," while hiding behind a steel door. 

Once upon a time, I used to look into the mirror and ask, "Who am I?  Who the hell is that person I see?  Do I see what others see?"  Probably typical adolescent angst...or maybe I have been weird for longer than I thought.  I still look in the mirror and wonder who that person is.  Here is what I think...at this moment.

I have been a girlfriend and the other girl.  I have been a best friend and a worst enemy.  I have been the punk rocker and the normal girl.  

Now I am a mother and a wife. I was a wife to someone else before, but I am doing a better job with this husband...at least I like to think so.

My children are the absolute soul of my life, but I need my space from them and they from me.  We have to breathe other air sometimes so we don't suffocate each other.

I have several best friends.  I have my best friends who have been around since we were in diapers; I have my best friend who knows all my skeletons and where they hang; I have my best friend who shares my love of antiques and auctions.  They each and every one mean the world to me.

I hate flying because, well, just because.

I have issues with control.  Like, big ones...I have to have it because I am the only one qualified to be in control (except when I'm not.)

I used to love driving by myself for hours at a time, but my anxiety keeps me close to home now.

I can love deeply and without abandon, but when I am done...I am done.  I have never stopped loving anyone without reason.

I firmly believe I have angels looking over me.  I've made too many damn mistakes without serious repercussions to not have.  

I am obsessive about health issues.  At any given time I can convince myself I have cancer or other malady.  Remember that show Medical Mysteries from several years back?  That is my nightmare.  That, too, is all about control.

I constantly doubt myself.  I question every word that comes out of my mouth. 

I love the word dammit.  So much so that a close friend from grade school addressed all my birthday cards to "Dammit" for most of our lifetimes.

I buy mostly black, white, and gray clothing.  I try to buy colorful things with prints, but it feels like I'm wearing someone else's stuff.

I know I am complex sometimes, but mostly I am simple.  I don't understand why people makes things more difficult than they are.  In fairness, they probably don't understand why I react the way I do.

I love the ocean.  My daddy grew up near the ocean, and he loved to take us every summer to visit there.  He is a different person there...like he fits that puzzle better than he does here in the mountains.  My soul is more settled there. Maybe that's my puzzle, too.

I can't pick a favorite color because I love them all.  I don't get white walls and beige carpet.  Right now my house is full of watery blues and pale grays and calming greens, but that is subject to change when I feel necessary.  My house is both a home and palette.

I don't have one favorite song.  I don't have one particular genre of music I prefer.  Like the colors, I love them all.  I'm just as likely to listen something classical or country as I am rap or metal.  My youngest knows how to air drum and head bang, but she can also break it down JLo style.  Diversity is important.

I know my words can be sharp, hurty things, so I sometimes say nothing at all.  Silence doesn't mean I agree with you.  

I love live music.  Period.  Even if it's shitty.

I have fuchsia hair right now, but it'll be a more acceptable color before school starts...only because it has to be.  People judge you differently when your hair is screaming at them.

I have moved more times than I can count.  I have moved 11 times in 20 years.  Despite this, most of the moves have been within a 5 mile radius.  I can pack a moving truck like nobody's business.  

This is not a definitive picture of who I am...I know that.  I didn't tell you about the time my Papaw let me break about 75 bricks brand spankin' new bricks in half even though they were to be used for a new sidewalk because I just wanted to.  I didn't tell you about the night I saw a funnel cloud above our car while riding through the midnight countryside.  I didn't tell you about the time my best friend hit me over the head with a metal truck because she didn't want me on her swing set.  There are many contributors to who I am, some I'm not even aware of and never will be.  

I might be someone totally different by the time the sun sets today...Life is funny that way.

Who are you?

June 6, 2012

Mr. Clean Exploded All Over My House...And I Love It!!!!

Mr. Clean threw up all over my house last week.  And it was the best thing ever!

For some years I have griped/moaned/whined/bitched about wanting someone to help clean the house.  I came to realize the other humans that inhabit this house with me were not the answer to this because they are the ones making the damn mess.  I know this because my house was immaculate before I got married and/or gave birth.  Finally, I broke down and, as Nike says, just did it.  And when I did?  I felt like the most bourgie girl on the block...or cul-de-sac, anyway.  I mean, really...it's summer and I'm out of school.  My appointment book is filled with "Crap I Don't Have To Do But Totally Want To."  Things like taking a friend to get her first tattoo and getting my hair did.  I totally have time to clean the crapper.

But.  When school cranks back up, that ends.  Then I'm running on nada.  I don't notice the toilets are dirty because I barely have time to park my rump on one.  Life becomes wake-eat-school-soccer-homework-grade papers-baths-bed and repeat.  That is when I will need someone to save my sanity with a little clean bath action.  So, I took preventive measures and found someone early. See, this is sincerely me planning for the future.

As usual, I had a beautiful epiphany out of this experience.  There are always things to be learned, even if it's not to wear those pink boy shorts panties with jeans anymore because they ride up something fierce.  What I learned is the other humans are much more diligent about their duties when I'm paying someone to clean this joint.  Better Half looked at me after the lady had left and said, "I really hate to take a shower.  It just...glistens."  And it did.  He even wiped the sink every day since she came. That is just short of miraculous.

Things just feel better in some ways when we pay for them.  Don't get me wrong, I love me a good score of freebies.  Sometimes it feels good to get that extra something for nothing.  Most of the time, though, we care more about things we have to throw down some moola to get. We just value those things more.

So, the lesson learned is the house stays cleaner when we pay for someone to do it because is costs real, live money.  It's not just waiting on Mom to complain about it until we break down and do it to shut her the hell up.  The bigger lesson?  Maybe we all, like, the entire country, need to start thinking about how free can damage our values.  

Sometimes the hand with the freebie is the hand that holds you down.