Celebrate

It’s Halloween! Well, more accurately, it’s All Hallow’s Eve! Did you know that it is an American tradition to dress up in costumes? And the first actual jack-o-lanterns were turnips, not pumpkins. The holiday did not start out with little kids dressed up like Batman and Jason. And it sure as hell did not start out as a way for Brach’s, Hallmark and Wal-Mart to make money. To appreciate a holiday ( forgive me for this one) you have to look at the reason behind the season. It’s not about commercialism. All Hallow’s Eve is about tomorrow, All Saint’s Day, and the next, Day of the Dead. Days to recognize and remember those who went before us. It’s the end of summer, a time to rejoice in the harvest. A time to make changes in preparation for winter. It’s a time to celebrate the earth and what she gives us.

So go ahead and dress up, hand out candy to the neighbors’ kids. I’m going to celebrate my favorite holiday doing one of my favorite things. I’m going to make cookies and go play poker.

Happy Halloween!

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…I ain’t skeered…

Since Halloween is right around the corner, let’s talk about fear. Is fear the scary movie at the cineplex? A spooky phone call when you’re home alone? A strange noise as you walk through an almost empty parking lot? What’s hiding behind the winter coats in the closet? According to the movies Fear is all of these things.

I don’t watch scary movies. I don’t need scary movies. I know for a fact that the things we ‘think’ go bump in the night, really do exist. Whether you believe or not, I do. But I also believe we control whether or not we let these things scare us.

Fear is so much more than just the movies we watch. Fear can be a living thing that drives us, controls us. My brother won’t sit with his back to a window or door. My best guy friend is the same way. They have to be able to see everyone around them and all the exits from the room.

Fear can be a very emotional experience. Some people cry when they’re scared, some get angry, some withdraw. Our upbringing has a lot to do with how we handle fear, the primal gut-deep fear and emotional fear. Emotional fear is different. It’s the fear of success, failure, being alone, letting someone down, finding the person you want and not knowing what to do with them. It’s the fear of death, dying alone, being hurt by someone we care about, not achieving the dreams we had when we thought we could rule the world.

It’s the fear of looking at ourselves in a mirror and seeing the truth. It’s that nagging doubt in the back of your mind, the one that says “You know this is not right.” We all have that internal voice that knows how to strip us down to the bone and scrape it with a fork. If you listen closely you’ll recognize that voice as someone either you feared or who taught you what to fear or someone who hurt you in some way.

I’m finding that my fears are changing. I’m separating my mother’s baggage from my own and finding a whole new person with very distinct feelings on a lot of things. I’m not afraid of the same things she was. I’m not afraid of a lot of things I thought I was. I’m bolder and braver in some ways. I’m still learning how to be brave in other ways.

One thing I can say without doubt is that I will not let fear stop me from trying something. Whether it’s a blind date, a cooking class, phone sex, a roller coaster, or learning to belly dance, I will not allow myself to use fear as an excuse not to try it at least once. I will not let fear keep me the wallflower my mother thought I should be. I am no shrinking violet. I am a wild rose with velvet petals of flame orange.

Don’t fear the thorns….

Anticipation

I hate waiting. In a check-out line, in traffic, on the computer. If I have to wait, I get grumpy. Sometimes I get nervous, depending on what I’m waiting on. I’m not as patient a person as I thought I was. At this point, I don’t mind working toward a goal, but some things I just don’t want to wait for.

Waiting for January so I can file for divorce is killing me. I am anticipating that piece of paper as eagerly as I am the fading of the mark on my hand from my wedding bands. I took off those rings after the last big fight (on the phone) back in March ( the day before the anniversary). The lines are still on my hand.

I’m working toward getting on my feet and getting my own place. I’m still impatient but I will work for it. That is really important at this point. I want to be self-sufficient. I don’t want to have no choice but to be dependent on someone else. I want my own place so badly I can smell fresh paint.

It’s like anticipating a first date, the first time you meet someone, a first kiss. Everything you’ve imagined is about to be confirmed or contradicted. Adrenaline is rushing, you can’t sit still, nothing else will pacify the need to get to that destination. The phone rings and you have to hide disappointment that the voice is not who you wanted so desperately to hear. Just the thought of talking to that person makes your entire body tingle.

The passage of time kills me, but I like that tingle…

Can we talk?

How do you get to know someone new? Carry on a conversation? Share information? We have to talk to each other. Communication is one of the most important tools we have available to us. Some of us are more adept at using that tool than others. There are people who can’t shut up. They simply have to fill the void of silence with a voice, a noise, anything so they don’t have to listen to their own breathing. Then there are people who can go for weeks and not speak more than a dozen words.

A good friend of mine swears that men only have about 15,000 words to use on any given day, and women have 30,000 words for a day. Once he uses up his words he stops talking. But trust me, when he’s in the mood to have a conversation, he talks more than any woman I’ve ever met. However, he knows how to communicate. It’s almost impossible to win an argument with him. You better have all your facts straight before the topic is broached or he will win every time.

I also have a friend who can’t shut up. I’ve known him over 20 years and love him like a brother, but he simply cannot deal with silence. He also knows his facts and can remember numbers, scores, stats and odd trivia to the point of being annoying as hell. That’s why we can go up to a year between conversations and pick up right where we left off the next time we talk.

Both of these guys are great, but very tiring. They don’t exhaust me nearly as much as the few friends I have who don’t talk much. It’s hard to carry on a conversation when only one person is talking. If I’m going to talk to myself I’d just as soon do that to begin with. How are we supposed to get to know each other if we don’t talk, ask and answer questions, trade stories about family and friends and our histories?

It is difficult at best to communicate with people who don’t talk much. Are they shy? Do they get nervous talking about themselves? Are they hiding something? Are they afraid of getting close to someone? I have learned that I am not nearly as shy and introverted as I thought I was. I’m finally coming out of my shell and discovering that I like talking to people and making new friends. I can be happy with a comfortable silence. I don’t have to fill the silence with my own voice just to know I’m not alone. But when I find someone I want to get to know, I’m going to talk. I’m going to ask questions because I want to know the answers. How else do I know if we have something in common to discuss?

I am a writer. I want to know things so I can write about them. Not necessarily as fact, but as an idea to use. Sometimes I go out and just listen to people talk. It’s interesting to see how other people relate to one another. Nonverbal communication is interesting, too, but that would take a whole other blog to discuss. For now, let’s stick with voice. The sound of an interesting voice can make or break a conversation. An accent can also influence conversation. If it’s too strong, people won’t want to talk to you. On the other hand, some people love accents and will go out of their way to talk to you. The accent will make people want to listen to you speak. The pitch of the voice can also change the effect of a conversation. My dad had a disc jockey voice. I’ve found a few people with that pitch. Sometimes we don’t have to talk about anything. As long as you keep purring in my ear I will listen for hours, especially if you have a deep voice. I admit it. A deep voice is one of the sexiest sounds I know. This is personal communication which is very important to a healthy relationship.

I don’t plan to stop asking questions any time soon. I may try to limit myself to only a few a day. But trust me, I’m listening. I like talking to my friends and family. I like getting to know people. So if you get a call or email from me and I ask you 20 questions, don’t sweat it. I’m just making conversation.

One Risk at a Time

Do you play poker? I play Texas Hold’em. Absolutely love the game. I play in a points league. I have played for money, but not often. Poker is a nice way for me to relax with friends. It is also a calculated risk. In my 37 years on this planet I haven’t taken a lot of risks. I’m starting to venture beyond my comfort zone, reposition those boundaries that have held me back for so long.

I have always explored risks from a safe distance, hovering on the edge of the situation, afraid of getting hurt if I got too close. The last few months have shown me that I don’t have to be afraid to take a risk. Every risk I take, no matter how small or large, moves me one step closer to finding the real Becca. I know she’s lurking somewhere behind the hazel eyes and the streaks of gray. If I get hurt, I will heal. But I will never grow as a person if I don’t take that chance.

Each risk is an opportunity to find something new and exciting. It may be an experience, an event, a friend, a new love. But if I don’t take that risk, I’ll just be sitting at home doing my nails. I’ve taken a few risks lately, doing things I’ve never done before. Even my new self won’t take the risk unless there is a connection, a reason for it. I’ve taken one kinda big risk. I allowed someone to get close. I’ve been trying to keep my distance from people since the break-up of my marriage. But I felt the need to take this risk. I found a connection I didn’t expect to find. I definitely don’t regret it. Truth be known I really enjoyed it. I never know where those opportunities will lead me.

I will not let my past keep me afraid to explore my future. Only I control where I go and what risks I will take. I will look in the mirror and see where I’ve been. Only then can I decide where to go next.

Letting Go

How do you let go of something? Or someone? How do you let go of an emotion? How do you let go of control? We’ve all heard the saying: If you love something, set it free; if it doesn’t come back it wasn’t yours to begin with, if it does come back it’s yours. We have no control over other people’s actions. None. We can only react to what they do. We can try to direct them to the course of action we want them to take, but we can’t make them do anything. We have no control over them and they have no control over us. The answer to my question is a dose of reality.

You have to realize that what someone else does only effects you if you let it. Do you want that person to make you mad? Do you want to think about the issue that person put in front of you? Ask yourself this. Why is that person even in my life? We can’t control who comes and goes in our lives either. I recently received an email that said people come into a our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. If it’s for a reason, once their purpose in our lives has been fulfilled, they leave. We can’t control that. We have to let them go. If it’s for a season, we can’t define how long that will be. But when it’s over we have to let them go. If we’re lucky enough that it’s for a lifetime, then we have been given a true friend. Regardless to what type of relationship we have with that person, they will always be there.

You also have to realize what effects us now, probably won’t effect us in five years or ten years. We can’t freak out over everything. Stress like that will kill us. Stop and think about what a particular issue is actually about. Did that person really piss you off, or did he/she just make you stop and think about something you don’t want to face. A true friend will help you look in the mirror, and step back so you can see what you need to see. That friend can’t make you look, but they will be there to help you fix what you need to fix and to celebrate what isn’t broken. All the stuff you see in the mirror that comes from someone else, whether a parent or spouse or stranger, you have to let go of. You have to tell yourself, this is not what defines me. This is not who I am. This is someone else’s issue, not mine. Once you can distinguish that, you can see the real you.

Then you have a decision to make. What do you want to hold onto? Do you have that true friend who pushes you toward the mirror when you need to take a look? Do you have that person that you let go of and they’re still there, waiting on you to look their direction? Once you can answer those questions honestly for yourself, life is a whole lot sweeter.

My Birthday Wish

This blog almost turned into a man-bashing tirade. It would have been if I had written it last night like I started to. The short version: learned something new about what the ex was doing behind my back. The outcome: I drove around for a bit playing heavy metal really, really loud. I feel much better now, which is a very good thing. Why?

Because today is my birthday! I will not give the ex the focus of my attention today. I have a new playlist on my Myspace page with music that makes me smile. Plus some really cool graphics. Today is going to be a beautiful day. I’m listening to Walking On Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves. That is my theme for today.

I’ve already received several Happy Birthday’s, some nice smelly stuff from a girlfriend, and my brother bought me Chocolate. I did receive a message from a certain someone I was hoping to hear from. I’m still hoping for a voicemail ….

My birthday wish for this year involves a definition. I’ve mentioned parts of this definition in my previous blogs. What I want this year is a real man. A man who knows who he is and what he wants, where he’s been and where he plans on going. A man who understands as well as I do that nobody is perfect. A man who will work as hard as I will to maintain a healthy, passionate, honest relationship. A man who is willing to take a risk. A man who knows when to compromise and when to stand and fight. A man who can redefine romance. A man who knows when to just hold my hand and when to push me against the wall and kiss me breathless.

I know the fairy tale is not reality. I’m not looking for the fairy tale. I want to rewrite the fairy tale. I believe it is possible to find the love of your life, whether for the first time or the second or the third. All I ask is that he loves with all his heart, with everything he has. Don’t hold anything back, and I’ll return the favor. If you think this sounds like you, feel free to stroll through my door.

Today is my birthday and I’ve made my wish. It’s up to you to make my day.