Domestic life and the stars

This weekend I had the kids.  This week was the first of Rowan’s days in middle school.  It’s a new era, she is going to a new school that she has to walk to after I go to work.  She was so afraid of not having any friends, but there is already a group of four of them that goes to pick each other up and walk to school.  Not only does school start after I go to work, it ends well before I get home.  L. and I decided to make my apartment the staging place – so even if I don’t have the kids, Rowan sticks around my apartment until her dad can pick her up.  Every day, I’ve come home to a bunch of middle schoolers handing around my apartment – it’s kind of weird.  

Friday, there were four of them hanging around my bedroom when I came home with Nova.  So weird to have a house full of pre-teens.  Then they went outside and were playing by a nearby field where I could see them off the deck.  Then I heard shrieks.  I couldn’t tell if it was play-shrieks, or real shrieks.  Unfortunately, it was real – Rowan had accidentally disturbed a nest of yellow jackets and had run home.  Even more unfortunate, I let her her in, not realizing they were still ticked off.  She had been stung twice, and two were still on her – one in hair (!) and one still trying to sting her through her jeans.  Let me tell you, it’s a bad combo to have three females and two wasps in one apartment.  One I think flew out though the open deck door – I don’t know about the other one.  We’ve just been on edge looking for that other yellow jacket.  But, all things considered, it could be worse.  I’m so glad Rowan isn’t allergic and heals fast.  

After all that drama, Saturday was better.  We went to Barnes & Noble and somehow came home without any books – but at least I got some bookends.  In the evening, we took a sleeping bag outside in the dark and laid down under the stars.  It was a great night, just the three of us under the full moon with the crickets serenading us.  

Today we went out to Festge park – Nova’s been bugging me for awhile to go back out there.  For the longest time, they just hung on the horse swings.  They were in some pretend chase and Rowan would say, “go, Bessie!”  And then there’s Nova:

“Go, Castle Bubbles Hot Lava!”  

I asked her about her horse’s name and she just looked at me with a withering gaze.  

“It’s because Castle is addicted to stimbulating tar.”  

I asked, “Not stimulating talk?”

“No,” she said, “stimbulating tar.”

Okay then.  Later on, she told me her horse was sick.  

“It’s probably because of the secret checkology,” Nova said in all seriousness.

“Oh,” I said.

“But really,” she continued, “Castle prefers carrots.”

And that I understand.


Las Vegas Workshop Part I

Last weekend, I took a few days off and went to the Conscious Life Workshop in Las Vegas.  I’ve never really felt a need to go to Las Vegas – gambling has no appeal for me – but I’ve never managed to make it to one of Steve Pavlina‘s workshops and this time I was determined to go.  Steve is a blogger I’ve followed for 7-8 years.  It’s hard to put in a few words the influence he’s had on me, and to be frank, I am still digesting everything.  I also wanted to meet people who, like me, like personal development.  

“Personal development” sounds so dry, so this is a better statement of what it’s all about:

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” –Socrates

As a kid, I was pretty unhappy, and it took me a long time that to realize how much I, myself, was contributing to that.  I lived my life in fantasy books because I despaired that I could ever be happy in my own life, being me.  I despaired of having friends, of having a boyfriend, and I didn’t think to care about jobs – I was too scared to think of the future.  I thought about death and suicide all the time and yet knew I probably would never pull the trigger – I was far too much of a coward.  And then I got to the point where I was so tired of it all, so tired of being sad and angry and so tired of thinking of death.  The stories I told myself about why life was unfair and why I was worthless stopped mattering.  When it came time to go to college, I decided to start over.  No one would know who I was supposed to be – they would only know who I had become.

Changing yourself can be hard, and it can take time.  It requires you to look inward (this is the examining part), yet not get so sucked within yourself that you fail to think of others.  I wanted to be dead because I didn’t like who I was, and I couldn’t stand being this person I hated so much.  So instead of suicide, I started working at being a person I would be friends with, a person I could perhaps even admire at one point.  These are the things I changed:

–I changed my handwriting because I had to look at it every day, and I wanted it to be something beautiful.  I designed a new “font” based off of my dad’s handwriting and practiced it until I could no longer remember how I originally wrote it.

–I changed myself from a severely introverted person whose worst fear was that someone would talk to me (to laugh at me) to someone who at least appears to be fairly extroverted.  I learned that everyone has an interesting story and no has a monopoly on suffering.

–I learned to accept that some people, some men, might think I was beautiful, and it wasn’t to play a trick on me or make fun of me.  Some might even want to date me.  🙂

–I learned that kindness is never, ever a weakness.  Go along with a crowd is weak.

–New things are often fun and should not be feared.  I did theater, public speaking, fencing, and even put together a (hopefully lost) exercise video. 

–I practiced changing my thinking from a constantly pessimistic point of view, full of mistrust and fear, to an optimistic point of view, where people are basically good and the world is beautiful place.  

I can say now that I do generally like myself.  If I met me, I would be friends with me.  🙂  The next part is changing my life to have it reflect more of who I truly am.