#NotPerfect

I have a confession: whenever I hear that something has gone amiss in a person’s life, I immediately check their Facebook page. I go there to look for clues, evidence, innuendos, SOMETHING, ANYTHING, that would support the gossip that I have just heard.

Even with good friends, I must admit, that I often check their Facebook page before calling them to see if whatever I heard was true.

They sure looked happy at that bar mitzvah three months ago. Did she know they were getting divorced? Is that why she is showing a little more cleavage than normal? Because she knew she was going to be single soon? Is that why she posted that random inspirational quote two weeks ago?

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you may notice that I often post more self-deprecating photos and status updates than your typical Facebook friend. This is not because I don’t have terrific post-workout selfies of myself, or an awesome picture of me in a bikini lounging by a pool, or photos of me and my family vacationing somewhere exotic for the zillionth time this year. OF COURSE I have those pictures.

The reason I don’t post those pictures is because of people like me. What if something goes wrong in my life? What I posted today will become the photo that people like myself will analyze for clues that my life was about to go suddenly very wrong.

As it is, I am very hard on myself. I don’t take selfies. I’m not on Snapchat for many reasons, not the least of which include the fact that I would have to look at myself up close. I don’t like taking any spot in a workout class where I have to look at myself in a mirror. I have decided I am aging the wrong way. I was a cute kid, had an ok appearance in high school and college, and was sort of attractive in my 20s and 30s. Now that I’m in my 40s, I’m finally in my awkward phase.

Also, my kids were fantastic and adorable when they were little. They still are, but now that two-thirds of them are teenagers, they are also very….frustrating. It is much harder to be a parent to them now that life is getting so… real for them. I would give anything to worry about them losing a pacifier instead of the scary and heartbreaking issues that they face on a daily basis.

From what I remember about “Social Network,” besides the fact that Justin Timberlake really can do anything, Facebook was actually started to bring people together. When I go on there a lot of days, it ends up making me feel quite the opposite. I actually want to withdraw from the world instead of to join in. I usually end up thinking that I must be the only person out there that is not living an absolutely awesome life.

That being said, the more I obsess about everyone else’s happy Facebook feeds, the more determined I am to not pretend that anything in my life is anything than what it really is: not perfect.

And so, like Alyssa Milano before me,I am going to start a hashtag movement. I challenge all of you to find a picture of yourself or your children or even your pets just… not being perfect. Or admit something you did that day that you are not super proud of. Then put #notperfect next to it.

Your kid got suspended today? Let us know! Did you rear-end someone because you were distracted by something really ridiculous? Share the news with a #notperfect next to it.

But please don’t backwards brag. For example: I’m such a ditz.  I totally missed my flight to Jamaica today. #notperfect.  That’s annoying.  No one wants to hear that.

Research shows that people today are more depressed than ever before.  The reason, they state, is because of social media.**  Everyone is trying to live exactly like someone else’s social media page. If they don’t, or if they can’t, then they feel bad about themselves.  I predict that if we all just admit that we aren’t exactly fantastic all of the time, we will all feel better about ourselves.

I’m not going to pretend like I understand what happens when you put a hashtag next to a phrase. Does it go to Twitter, and if so, do I have to open some sort of account to go along with it? Can people #notperfect next to photos on other forms of social media? I don’t know, because I am only on Facebook. I really don’t understand any of the other ones out there. I barely understand how to manage this blog.

But that’s ok. I’m not perfect. And, let’s be honest, neither are any of us.

**I don’t know exactly which research I am citing or where that came from.  But I know I have read that somewhere.

Mobile Hashtag Horizontal Concept

 

 

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OMMMM…igoodness.

When I can’t sleep, I will take an Ambien to help me relax and fall asleep.  However, I have done a lot of crazy things after taking Ambien. I have woken up to find that I have had long conversations that I simply don’t remember. I have found wrappers from snacks that I really don’t remember eating.  Once, I wrote a press release and sent it out to a news wire service. But I’m pretty sure that nothing can top my most recent Ambien-related activity: booking myself (and paying for) an entire vacation.

From what I can piece together, I must have decided that I needed to relax. Otherwise, I have no other way to explain the fact that I am currently on an ashram in the middle of nowhere in Northern California.

That’s right: me. Me, who doesn’t like yoga. Who doesn’t have enough focus to meditate. Who doesn’t really like new people and doesn’t like trying new foods. Me: who gets hysterical when my phone doesn’t work for a few minutes. Me: who checks the internet every five minutes.  Me: who makes fun of people who use yoga terms in conversation.

So how to explain that I’m currently on a farm, doing yoga and meditating all day long?  I have been here for four days: hanging out with new people, eating confusing new vegan food. I have zero cell service and very, very spotty internet. This place is actually called “expanding light.” And today, I had an hour-long discussion with a woman about where my moons and planets are currently located.

When I try to piece together how I got here, I am aware of several things. This week is “fall break” for my three children. This is the first time in my life that I am not with my kids during any sort of a school vacation. They are with their dad this week.  And leading up to this week, that fact was making me very sad.

This past year has brought me a roller coaster of emotions. I moved homes, changed jobs, watched a friend pass away and then give my very first eulogy, went to funerals for children who were much too young to die, and I observed the world become an incredibly negative, violent, and downright scary place.

So when I woke up one morning to see that I had booked myself a flight to a place I had never been to a place that I have never heard of anyone going to: I figured-what have I got to lose? I am fully aware that at this point in the story, most people would have just canceled the whole thing. But, I’m nothing if not adventurous. I am, after all, the “mom on tour.” So, I figured I should live up to my name.

This past Sunday morning, I took a 2 hour flight to Sacramento. As I waited for the ashram van to pick me up, I texted a few friends and family to tell them that I was possibly about to be joining a cult. I spotted a woman at the airport who appeared to have wandered out of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and so I worried that I was about to become someone’s surrogate.

Nonetheless, when that van arrived, I popped on in. I took a 90 minute ride through hills and canyons with a woman who definitely didn’t get my sense of humor at all.  We made  a quick stop along the way at a food co-op that featured the cast of “Hair. ” And then finally, I arrived at my vacation destination.

When I checked in, no one put a white hood over my head, and no one asked me to join a cult.  Instead, they led me to my room, which was actually a small cabin. I was a bit alarmed when I saw the mezuzah on my door, especially since none of the other cabins had them. I decided they must somehow know I’m a Jew. Did they research me? Did I check a box on the registration form?

With paranoia flowing over me, I got into my little bed, surrounded by books written in Hebrew and pictures of the Wailing Wall, and I went to sleep.

Over the next few days, I learned all about the proper ways to relax. The people who taught me were so… calm and content.  They told me about spirits and gurus and levels of consciousness and how to correctly breathe. I tried foods I would never have ordered off a menu, and spent hours talking to people from all over the world. We talked about internal strife, and conflict in the world, and peace and love and blah blah blah. But you know what? According to one of the people here, my “energy has shifted to a more positive place since I first arrived.” And I have to agree.

Why?  Because I have learned something very important.

What I have learned sounds like something that I would have absolutely laughed at last week, but today makes perfect sense.  Here it is: the only thing that we can control in this world is the way we feel. We can’t control other people’s ignorance or selfishness. We can’t control all of the madness around us. We can only control how we react to it all.

And just like that, everything has come into focus for me. I have spent hours obsessing over the Las Vegas shooter, trying to figure out what outside source must have caused him to commit such a heinous crime. Could it possibly be that there’s no one and nothing to blame, except for this guy? Could all of this anger and hatred come from the one place that no one could have predicted? Is the entire key to life finding out how to deal with the emotions and feelings that we have coming from deep within our souls?

Is the reason that I am here not because I took an Ambien? Instead, could I be here because my spirit guide wanted me to be here? Have I not blogged in so many months because my creative chakra was blocked by negative energy? Is everything in life pre-determined and the only way we screw things up is by letting our egos override our true destiny? Did I know I liked curry so much?

All this, and I get to wear yoga pants and sweats all day long! No one cares about my appearance (which is ironic, as I am probably the only  person ever to have gotten their hair blown out before going to an ashram.) But I swear, I am suddenly much calmer.

The true test will be how much of this I will retain once I return home. But as I sit here tonight, in my little Jewish cabin, I do very much believe in the power of inner peace and tranquility.  I do believe that there is some other force out there helping me make the right decisions, and that that force is not a prescription sleeping pill.

I have also decided that it doesn’t matter why I ended up in the Jewish cabin.  Maybe it’s a sign that although I don’t have a specific god or guru that I worship, I can still  believe in a higher power.

So I come home tomorrow: to phone messages and texts and unlimited access to the bad news of the world.  The people here told me to spread the white light from my internal organs to all the people of the world, so I hope this blog is doing the job.  They also told me to keep everyone laughing because my moon is currently in the seventh house and Jupiter is aligning with Mars.

But if peace can guide the planets, then love will steer the stars.  Or something like that.

Breathe, relax and laugh.  Take care of yourself.

Namaste for now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back To School

It did not happen in the blink of an eye.  It was not “just like that.”  I have felt every single minute of my kids’ childhoods, and I fully believe that they are the ages they are.

It’s ME who I can’t believe got so old.

 

 

 

 

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My parents never knew that I played spin a bottle and we all survived.

Here’s what I’m doing right now. I’m trying to picture myself as a middle schooler in the 1980s. I see myself hanging out with my friends after school, listening to my pink “ghetto blaster,” waiting to see if the DJ will actually broadcast the shout out/dedication to my best friend that I had called in earlier. And then suddenly, I get a picture from my mom of her, sitting at home, making a silly face.

I’m also trying to picture my parents in the late ‘80s while I’m in high school. They are sitting at home with several other couples, having some cocktails and listening to a record. And then suddenly, a group of moms gather around to look at a picture of someone else’s kid hanging out alone in their room on a Monday night.

And neither scenario makes sense to me. Why would I have taken time out of my socializing to check out a photo of my dad getting ready for work? Why would my parents take time out of their socializing to obsess over one of my schoolmates posing with some friends in their backyards?

None of these scenarios make sense because none of us would have wanted to see/know these things. I got through my entire adolescence without my parents constantly checking on me all day long. My parents raised two kids without knowing where we were and what we were doing all the time. And, for the most part, we all turned out just fine.

Did I make mistakes? Absolutely. Did I learn from them? Eventually. Do my parents know about most of these moments? Hell no.

So….this is why I don’t have an Instagram account. Or a Snap Chat. I don’t have a hashtag or an “@“ name that my kids call me. I’m just mom. And when they come home from wherever they were, we have a conversation that goes like this:

“How was it?/Where did you go?Who were you with?”
“Good!/Awful. / To the mall/to a party. / My friends.”

If something great happens, they tell me about it. If something bad happens that they want to share with me, they will. If not, they will work through that problem with the help of friends or they will figure it out on their own.

I don’t want to know anything else. I don’t want to know the expressions on their faces all day long. I don’t want to know who their friends are hooking up with. I can fully admit to all of you that I have posted pictures on my only social media outlet: Facebook, that weren’t an accurate representation of what actually happened. I have my motivations and sometimes they are pretty childish and by the way, I’m 45. If I had access to this type of thing when I was 16, I can’t imagine the pictures that I would have posted.

When I grew up, I hung out in basements. My parents weren’t there with me. Since kids rarely hang out with each other in person, I consider the internet their basement. And I don’t want to be in there with them. I don’t judge others who do, it’s just not who I am. Sometimes I feel like that makes me a bad or irresponsible parent. The technology exists, so why not use it? But no matter how hard I try, I can’t do it. It would mess with my head.  I would over-analyze everything. I would go crazy, and trust me, I have enough things that are already making me crazy.  I don’t need anything else.

Hopefully, I have established a good enough relationship with my kids that they will come to me if they are in trouble, or I will figure it out on my own. And I won’t do it with the help of Instagram. I will do it the way my parents did it: by just knowing my kids for who they really are, in person.

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Artsy-Fartsy

There’s nothing better than a massage when you are feeling stressed, especially at your local strip mall massage parlor. It’s as if there is nothing unusual about walking into a room, shaking a stranger’s hand, stripping off your clothes and having said stranger rub questionable oils and lotions into the crevices of your body. I would say that it’s the most awkward of all business transactions, but any woman who has had a Brazilian bikini wax knows that that’s not true.

After the massage, the stranger who just rubbed your ass (or “glutes” as they like to call it to make it sound less sexual), gives you a paper that I like to call your “stress report card”. The nice stranger gives you a drawing of a naked man and circles all of the parts of his body that represents the locale of your personal stress. Glancing at my after-massage GPA from my Groupon purchased massage, I learned that my entire body is failing life.

Three years ago, I started blogging to document my whimsical views of the world. I wrote about everything that makes me laugh in this crazy adventure called life. When a friend recently pointed out to me that I hadn’t blogged in awhile, I tried to figure out why that was so. And then it hit me: I haven’t blogged because nothing is funny to me right now.

I just can’t find the humor in the constant heartbreak in our world right now. I want to, I really really do, but I just can’t.

In a disagreement with a now non-friend, I was told that I had become too “artsy-fartsy” for this person’s taste. When I told my son about this particular conversation, he asked me what that term meant. I explained to him that the phrase meant someone who really appreciates things outside of their own world. When asked why that would offend someone close to me, I could only respond that I guess it’s because it leaves a little less time to obsess and worry about the things and people in my real life.

These past few years of my life have, in fact, made me appreciate the arts much more. When I’m feeling sad or anxious, I can easily escape to a different world. I can read a book or watch t.v. or stare at a painting and forget, for a moment, about the real-live chaos in my house. I can walk out my door, get in my car and drive to see a movie that does not involve mass shootings or angry, sad or depressing issues (although, to be honest, there were a lot of angry, sad and depressing movies this year.) I can go see live theatre or turn on the radio and hear a song about American Idiots who are not, in fact, actual American idiots.

I can read someone else’s blog and they can make me laugh when I’m feeling too sad to write one myself.

When getting a massage, (or, frankly, a Brazilian wax), there’s always a little fear of, um, a little gas escaping from an area that is awfully close to someone else’s face. When we expose ourselves to something that we don’t normally do, or expand (sorry for the pun) our horizons, we put ourselves in a position to be a little vulnerable. To put our own happiness ahead of those who are always asking us to give it to them.

The arts have saved me from walking in to an insane asylum and asking how to sign up. The arts have helped me cope with things that I cannot control. The arts make me happy when I don’t have a clue how to do it on my own.

So, yeah, maybe I’m a little artsy fartsy. I am proud to admit it. And if a little fartsy bothers you, then get your head away from my ass and stick it up your own instead.

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A Tale of Two Shoes

Once upon a time I needed a pair of beige high-heeled shoes. I found two different pairs that I liked.

The pair on the left was very fancy and expensive. The brand wasn’t made by a typical shoe designer. It was new to the fashion scene. The shoes were shiny and bright. The mannequin wearing the shoes looked tall and pretty.

The pair on the right were made by a company that had been around for awhile. They were not as exciting or as interesting as the other pair of shoes. They were dull and uninteresting.

So I bought the fancy shoes from a fancy store. One night soon after, I wore them for the first time. The heels were very high, and I realized they weren’t very stable. The shoes were incredibly uncomfortable. The padding on the inside kept coming apart.

So I went back to the other store and bought the other pair of shoes. To my delight, they were very comfortable. And while they weren’t exotic or interesting, they were very well-made. The company that made them had been around for a while, and they obviously knew what they were doing. I wore them many times, for many years.

I couldn’t return the first pair. I was stuck with them. I never wore them again.

And so I learned that it’s better to stick with companies who know how to make shoes because they have been in the business of making shoes and understand how to make them than to go with a crazy new brand that should have never been an option in the first place.

The End.

 

 

 

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45

Dear Donny,

Can I call you that? Or Don? I’m trying, but I just can’t seem to call you your new name yet. President Trump just doesn’t seem to roll off my tongue that easily, but I want you to know that I’m really trying.

Anyway, you and I are both going to have a big weekend coming up and I just thought I’d introduce myself.

I’m turning 45 on Monday. You are going to be the 45th president tomorrow. Both of our exciting changes take place in January. Also, sometimes we both have really messy hair and we aren’t very good at brushing it.

I have three children. You have five children from three different women.

I am getting divorced, something I never thought would happen to me. You are becoming the President, something I’m pretty sure that you never thought would happen to you.

I’m still not sure that becoming President is actually something that you wanted to happen, but now that it is, you are looking at the bright side and all of the perks that come along with it. I was pretty sure that becoming divorced at 45 was not something I wanted to happen either, but I guess there are some perks that I am slowly discovering too.

I don’t really think I’m ready for dating apps, or dating in general, and don’t really understand how to properly interact with people in the singles scene. I don’t think you really understand your new job, or politics in general, or how to interact with people in the political scene. We both have a lot of learning to do.

Sometimes we don’t have a filter for our thoughts, and we say exactly what’s our minds.
We both enjoy social media- I occasionally like checking my Facebook account, and you seem to really love Twitter. We both need to be careful out there with what we say.

I am probably going to be moving to a new house sometime soon.
Hopefully, your family will be moving to a new house sometimes soon.

The world will be looking at you to see what you do with your new life and new job title. You have a lot of responsibility and people are wondering how you are going to handle all of it.

Sometimes I feel like the world is looking at me to see how I am handling all the unexpected and challenging changes in my life.  I don’t know about you, but I think it’s really hard to have so many people watching me.

Despite our different challenges in our new lives, we actually do have one same thing in common: my children. They are watching both of us.

They are watching us to see how we behave, and how we treat those around us. They want to see how we handle relationships with people that we have not necessarily gotten along with recently. They are watching to see how we speak to those who have different opinions or views from our own. They are watching to see if we can make compromises and learn to get along with people that we don’t always agree with. They are looking to both of us for guidance as to how to navigate through life.

So, really, although we aren’t going through nearly the same type of changes, I want you to know that we do have the same exact same personal responsibility to my children.

I hope I make them proud to be their mom, and I really hope you make them proud to be our President.

Love,

Allyson

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