19 August 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

13 August 2014

The Truth of Sorrow and Empathy

03 August 2014

Dear Asshole

Some people come with WAY too many disclaimers!! Too many rules that people need to abide by to be considered worthy of their company, and in return they get to behave in whatever obnoxious manner they see fit just because they constantly shout, "I'M AN ASSHOLE, THIS IS JUST WHO I AM AND YOU EITHER ACCEPT ME OR LEAVE ME ALONE!" Then of course they get uppity when folks sometimes just leave them alone. "THEY JUST COULDN'T HANDLE ME!" 

You're probably right. They couldn't. If you openly acknowledge that you're an asshole, you need to openly accept that you'll probably get treated like one. Yes, the world will accept that you are just an asshole, it's who you are and you simply just can't help it. But too many of you are under the delusion that 'acceptance' means 'tolerance'.


It does not!

For me, acceptance means I am willing to understand that this is just how the situation is going to be. You are an asshole, ok, I get it. Sigh. However I still have a choice! I can choose to keep the asshole in my life, knowing that the asshole will happily continue to be an asshole, or I can choose to leave the asshole alone, knowing that the asshole will happily continue to be an asshole. I tend to leave assholes alone. Just let 'em be.

But I'm a nice person. Some folks might decide to slap the asshole or cuss the asshole out or sleep with the asshole's spouse. The thing is, Asshole, your karma kinda sets you up for this and YOU need to accept that.

If you are determined to be an asshole, you should be determined to be treated like an asshole. Accept that.

Often the flip side is too damn much work! Even subtle assholes require a lot of work to maintain friendships with! Those folks with these vaguely spoken, but mostly unspoken, policies about what can or can't happen, can or can't be spoken, should or shouldn't be worn, laughed about, frowned upon, etc. in their presence!! 

You know the ones, when you leave them you feel like you're back in high school and just took your final exam and you're in the hall wondering, "Did I answer question 8 right? Maybe I shouldn't have written so much? Or maybe I should've written more!" You leave the asshole's presence thinking, "I wonder if they're mad at me for saying that? Why did she look at me like that? Was that a joke or were they serious?" IT'S EXHAUSTING!! And worse, it's not worth it! Why?

BECAUSE YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE!! 

Would you think it was worth it to hang out with you, Asshole? I guess you probably would, or else you wouldn't be so much of an asshole and think it was ok. Not just ok, that it makes you somehow smarter, stronger or better than those around you who aren't assholes.

However, I personally think the price of admission to your world is too high; you're asking for too much patience, too much egg-shell walking, too much tolerance for your behavior while not returning that tolerance to those willing to accept it, and basically, as my dad would say, too much "shuckin' and jivin'". Like most luxury items, you might serve a purpose and be fun to have around, but in the end I really can't afford you and I'm probably better off without you.

25 April 2014

Uncensored Mama

I will not censor myself in the name of motherhood.

For me, motherhood was the addition of newer levels of love, responsibility, knowledge, confusion, hope and fear. It added a new perspective to my past experiences and future goals. It added a life other than my own that I was required to care for with as much attention (if not more) than I gave myself. So many things were added to my life.

But I don't want to remove parts of me. I don't want to censor who I am in the name of motherhood. I don't want to force myself into a Rashida that doesn't fit so that I eventually regret being slowly smothered.

Like cursing! Ugh! I curse a lot, I really do. As a kid I spent a lot of time around adults, either the adult family and friends of my parents or their adult co-workers and colleagues, many of whom were politicians and celebrities. I heard A LOT of cursing! I heard a great deal of refined, articulate, proper English but I heard just as much foul-mouthed CUSSING!

Because of this I learned an understanding of it. Who uses it, who doesn't, when people use it and when they try not to. I heard my dad converse using his extensive vocabulary minus any curse words and get his point across and I heard him put drunken sailors to shame and get his point across. I learned that all words have power and value and should be used accordingly.

So I don't teach my son that there are 'bad' words just 'inappropriate' words. There are words that he isn't allowed to use just yet until he has a better understanding of how to use them appropriately because using them in the wrong time and place could hurt someone's feelings or make someone angry. He's a very sensitive kid and hates to see someone upset  or angry so that's important to him.

"The Very Inappropriate Word" by Jim Tobin
But teaching him this understanding of language makes it easier for me to include words that we often hate to hear kids say but never take the time to explain to them why they shouldn't. For example, my son knows I get more upset hearing him say someone is stupid that hearing him say 'shit'. 'Stupid' is a personal insult, it's an attempt to cause emotional injury and it's mean, I'm not raising a mean kid. But when he says 'shit' he says it like I say it, as a show of emotion, usually out of frustration and directed inwardly. To him it's just an interjection like Yikes! or Rats! I'll drop a book and say 'Shit!' or realize we're running late and say 'Oh shit!' I don't use it in a hurtful way so neither does he. Intention is just as important as language, as far as I'm concerned and having a firm and unabashed perspective of language makes that clear.

But more importantly he learns through my example. This is the beauty and terror of being a homeschooling family, he spends the majority of his day with us, me in particular since Mar works out of the home. So he learns by what he sees me do. Oh the POWER! It's terrifying!! Until I actually paid attention and realized my kid doesn't curse! He occasionally says curse words which his father and I completely ignore, then he doesn't say it again. We don't scold him, we don't laugh, we don't give anymore attention to Fuck! than Oh bother! (He's a Pooh fan.) He has no 'shock value' associated with these words but he has an understanding of which one's are inappropriate and why. He sees me around him and other kids all day every day and I don't curse. Not at all. I especially don't use words like 'dumb' or 'stupid' or 'shut up', which to me are so much more harmful to the actual emotional growth and health of a child than 'shit' could ever be. And guess what, my son has never cursed around other kids or called another kid 'dumb' or 'stupid' or told a kid to 'shut up' and in fact gets uncomfortable seeing other's do so. He says, "They don't know those words hurt your feelings?"

But when his dad and I talk or when other grown ups come around the language changes. We allow him the same freedom (while explaining to the adults our causal policy) and he has learned to easily adapt. He might ask his favorite auntie "Why did you say 'Damn? but if he hears someone curse in public he quietly whispers the question in my ear.

So instead of censoring myself I am forced to learn because I have to teach. I have to be able to explain my actions in the most basic terms. I have to pay attention to my actions. I don't see that as censorship but self love and self growth. I'm not doing anything different, I'm just more aware of what I'm doing. I think this applies to every part of my parenting, I don't censor just act in a conscious fashion. How I eat, how I work, how I behave in front of my child. This way I'm true to my authentic self so my child learns to be true to himself. That's more important than a little shit, dontcha think?

25 March 2014

Imperfect Thoughts - Pencilling Myself In

I keep making plans with myself; plans to exercise daily, plans to write daily, plans to paint my finger and toe nails, plans to sit on the patio and watch the sunrise while sipping coffee and listening to my favorite songs, plans to become a morning person in general.

I suck at keeping all of these plans.

Isn't the first step admitting the problem? I have a big problem with personal accountability. In an office or other work environment I'm great, I will have your office running like water off a duck's back. I will beat your deadlines and you will be thrilled with my results. I'm great at doing this for other people but I have never been able to do this for myself. Not well enough to progress at certain things the way I know I'm capable of. Not nearly as well as I do it for others.

Why!?!

I'm thinking about this a lot right now as I contemplate the true value of returning to school to finish my degree. To what end. What will it contribute or take away from my life? What--? Just what!

I was taught to follow rules, get a degree, get a good job to move forward and all that jazz but I don't want a job, I want to create my own life and prosper and teach my son to do that. I want what my dad did by building his empire. I don't want an empire but I have a voice and I want to use it. I want to write my story in the way that suits me. I have a story and a life that has so much purpose and I see it and I want to share that and I know it's my bliss so it will be how I prosper with my family, in whatever shape that takes for us.

I want to teach Kendi the lesson of building his own life and creating his own dreams and fulfilling them and my degree would have been that for me 10 years ago but now I would rather put that sort of hard work and dedication into the dream that I've had since childhood.

So I will. That's it. That's my motivation. No more tentative plans with myself because I'm the most permanent thing in my life. I need to be my most important obligation. Shit. Ok, let me do this.