I know what you’re thinking. This is about my menopausal minutes, being many. My Many Menopausal Minutes is what I should have called this blog (4-M for short). But I am high on the brevity scale this week because I blew my neck nerves out again — so Menopausal Minutes this will be.
Normally I hashtag #menopausalmoments but the minutes are something else entirely.
After months of randomly torturing friends with video messages (to save me from typing, among other reasons), I’ve decided to keep the videos to my YouTube channel.
My what? My YouTube channel. You know, that one. The one I’ve had for two years that I never use. It saves me from typing, editing, and all the other things that go with writing a blog. Each blog takes about 3 hours. Each menopausal minute takes one minute. Curiously, reading my blog or watching my vlog, both take one minute.
There’s another reason I’ve been doing this: I think I am atrociously hideous. Really. I can barely stand to look at myself. I know we all dislike aspects of our appearances but for me, it’s visceral. I loathe myself. I loathe virtually everything about my physicality. My body, my voice, my face, my hands, my feet. Goodness knows my belly.
But don’t worry, I’m not writing all this today to make you say “aw, you look fine” because I know I look ok and frankly, something Ma Ingalls once said always sticks with me: “pretty is as pretty does.” Unless of course that’s Marmee from Little Women. Dang. I’ll have to Google that…. I know people are starving in the world, I know there’s violence everywhere. My crooked face is nothing. It’s symptomatic of other issues I have, mostly beyond my control. Things I’ve learned to manage because they can’t really be overcome. I’m wired for self-loathing so the best I can do is get on top of it and learn to make it work for me.
And so this praxis began. Learning to video myself, watch it, and not barf, cringe, and die. Part of the reason? I wanted to do podcasts with my friend Kelly and wasn’t sure how horrible I would sound. Another? Paula and I always talked about doing little chat videos. I shied away because I keep thinking I’m too ugly and all the trolls will get under my skin. Then Paula, in one of HER videos, reminded me of something very important:
I owe a lot of this video-shift to friends Marsha, Kelly, Paula, and always, Terri. Instagram played a big factor, too. Fourteen seconds here and there, dipping the toes. While I can’t say any of my videos — past, present, or future — are gold, they are certainly therapeutic.
Actually, I get that a lot (we’re the same height and somewhere in my unmentionables drawer I have the same tighty-whities he had in Risky Business… long story but thankfully it was before digital photography so I’m safe).
No. What this is about is my struggling to come to terms with something I’ve denied for decades:
I’m an Extrovert.
There. I’ve said it. Finally. Feels good.
How did this happen? Was I born this way? Did I have a positive experience during “circle time” when I was a kid? Actually, that’s not even possible. I was born before the vomitous “circle time” was even conceived, thank goodness. Was my brief (there we go, undergarment references, again) sojourn with Browniesa gate-way socialization activity? Possibly, but my mother signed me out the moment she realized money and time (hers) would be involved (aka buying a uniform and driving me to the meetings).
All these decades, I’ve passed as an INTJ/P (depending on which job I was applying for, I adjusted my answers accordingly). I’ve felt INTJ/P. I wanted to be INTJ/P. Generally speaking, the broadcaster for which I worked wanted INTJ/Ps for the money jobs.
But somewhere out there in the ether, I either changed or have been forced to confront my (pardon my language) “extroverted” tendencies I had hitherto passed off as results of my ECT (Early Childhood Training). My parents entertained extensively (think Mad Men but with more booze and less–ew–sex because Ma & Pa were Catholic Brits …. I know, right??) and I spent chunks of my youth working-a-room being precocious and chatty, without coming across as smarmy…. dressed in gingham, wearing patent leather Mary Janes, saying noxious things only an 8 year-old in the early 70s can get away with: “Hello Mr. Smith, how’s your short game?“
Truth be told: I do love working-a-room. I’ve often had jobs where all I do is knit connections and work-a-room. But I passed these joys off as fetish: a little bit of harmless strange (no, not strangeness from particle physics, I mean cheating on my introversion) that never hurt anyone. Let’s face it, my Introversion and I really never had The Talk (not to be confused with the show of the same name, which I’ve never seen… but I did see five minutes of The View once while I was in the gym, but I’m ok now). I think we (my Introversion and I) both assumed we were committed (or should be, pun intended) to each other.
Look Dave, I can’t put my finger on it but I sense something strange about him.
–Dr Frank Poole, 2001: A Space Odyssey
Looking back, it was always “little” things. Like the desire to try SnapChat. Yearnings for my own YouTube channel (I really should do something with this). These things don’t mean I’m an extrovert qua extrovert (I just wanted to write “qua“). We live in a new world order and extroversion must naturally (using term loosely) morph into Extrovert Nouveau.
By the way, extrovert should not be confused with extravert (look it up, I’m googled-out). That’s another blog for another day.
No, wait, I’m a N/Extrovert™
But Extrovert Nouveau (or Nouvelle, as I’m a cis-gendered chickie-poo) that’s a cumbersome term. So after a brief discussion with my Personal Results Whisperer (life coaches are for the banal), Kelly, I’m going with N/Extrovert™. The reason is three-fold:
I retain the “n” from “introvert” and show that I continue to “present” with features of the introvert
I have embedded the word “next” to show a continuum of “-version“
I made a typo, writing “an extrovert” and voila, a new genre of ontology was born. I threw in the slash for yuks.
Yes, in the Twenty-Teens, things can happen just like that.
Intro/Extro-version as binaries are limiting and do not celebrate the spectrum of cross-contiguous difference and random homogeneity. I’m only an extrovert, that is to say, in the case of my online-ontology. “Real” people give me the fantods. I use the term “real” loosely of course (so you non-nextroverts can have a common point-of-reference). At home, I’m an introvert for the most part, unless caffeine or a dare is involved.
Online, though, that’s another thing. I am closer to my IG peeps than I am to my own family. At least my online peeps “like” my photos of my tulips, dammit. I have two sibs on IG who never even acknowledged my new cunning hashtag: #geegarden2017. What’s going on with that? You can’t choose your family but… well, you get the idea.
The hashtag, my friends, is thicker than water.
The more I dwelt with the online world, the more I wanted some good ol’ Althusserian “hailing” because I realized it wasn’t enough for me to be an individual but what I really wanted, needed, was to be a concretized subject (I’m extrapolating wildly enough and gesturing… which means I really need to get back to that YouTube channel).
In other words, I found I did indeed crave the thumbs-up, stars, and hearts of my peers–perceived or actual. In fact, I wanted to pander to them, entertain them, receive their accolades (the sword-kind, not the praise and approval because that diminishes me as a human).
To wit: no longer was I content with solitudinous self-actualization. I needed the multitudinous nod of the “outside” world.
But hey, not too real.
My Personal Results Whispereroffers that I may suffer from Extroversion Introversion Spectrum Disjunctivitis (EISD). She may have a point there. EIS-D is what we’ve been calling it. But was it always there, or did the turbulent but shallow waters of online social mores bring this out?
Spiritual growth or physical carbuncle? Only my Personal Results Whisperer knows for sure.
In the meantime, I better go fashion a cunning meme for this post so I can garner some external validation. And if you know someone who’s struggling with N/Extroversion™, give them a thumb’s up, a smiley face, a few stars. Let them know you’re kinda there for them. But hey, not too close. Better yet, share this post but just remember to mark it #TLDR.
I know what you’re thinking. This is a blog about Bob Ross Day, which was observed last July (2016) in my kitchen. And there you’d be right, which means all the action here takes place in July 2016 (or earlier, except for this writing here, right here, which is March 5, 2017).
Whilst I’m recovering from miscellaneous injuries and ailments (both physical and metaphysical), I decided to take up something which doesn’t require my running my mouth or my clicking a mouse button or a keyboard (I’m dictating this, which believe-you-me is a bugger when you have kids). That was a tough one. I can run my mouth better than most people, in several languages, no less—some of which I can legitimately speak. And I click better than a cockroach (oh, look it up).
Despite the frenetic pace of my recent days, weeks, months, and years—somewhere out there Bob Ross (R.I.P.) was always lurking. His silky tones of “God bless” and “happy little trees” and my most beloved “beat the devil out of it” were music served to soothe my savage breast. Bless Netflix’s buns for bringing Bob Ross back into my life. The Bob Ross YouTube channel, it turns out, posts a new/old video daily. Keeping my paint-veins open and my days, each day, get a little brighter.
I have not painted since 1984.
This is true. I have carried paints and stretched canvases around, randomly, for a decade or two before finally bestowing them onto my semi-sister (we made that term up between the two of us, don’t ask) Caroline. Don’t mourn for me: I wasn’t ever really a painter. I didn’t have some tragedy befall me which emotionally prevented me from slapping some cadmium red gouache apples onto black gesso. I enjoyed mixing paint and fancied myself as having some vague promise of producing something reasonably ok, at best. My forté in the arts plastiques was more my ability to do very quick sketches. And frankly, I couldn’t commit to anything requiring more than 10 minutes. And let’s face it, cats rarely pose for more than ten minutes. Sure sure, they may sleep 20 hours a day but the kitty-code fine print says: until you wish to capture their image.
To a cat, the sound of a 2B hitting paper is like an air-raid siren. You gotta be fast.
In short (too late), don’t mourn. I haven’t painted since 1984 because I’m not really a painter qua painter.
My husband paints.
He paints for real. As in: he can paint and it is pleasing to the senses. I paint for pretend: I can put paint onto a surface ergo I paint. It is pleasing to the senses in a finger-painting mess kinda of way. That delightful explosion of Id you hear tell about. No, I’m not disparaging myself. My husband has real talent; he also works at it. I, like any cat, lose interest (some could say this is protectionist self-defeating behaviour) after ten minutes of anything. He’ll spend hours and days and weeks on a painting. He sees beauty everywhere (which is one of the many reasons I married him… because I see dead people… all the time….) and he’s inspired and when he isn’t, he actively looks for inspiration.
I’m hoping this rubs off on me (get your mind out of the gutter, I’m talking about his outlook on life).
I don’t work it. I don’t try to hone my painting… and surprise surprise I’m disatisfied with my results. There’s a discourse on results-based vs process-based joy, but let’s skip that for another blog.
Hubs sent me this photo so I could work my still life chops. I’m afraid. I’m not quite there…. yet. (ever.)
Hence the appeal of Bob Ross.
I can paint for 30 minutes and that’s kinda it. What I didn’t factor in: that Bob Ross didn’t get up one day and go “ok, I’ll just poop a painting out in thirty minutes.” Apparently, he completed (what a concept, to someone like me) some 30,000 paintings. So his 30-minute painting technique took a while. I need to remember that.
My first effort is here:
For those of you following me on IG, this is old news….
I won’t show you the painting my husband made because it’s so beautiful you will cry for three days, shave your head, and join an ashram. Chances are, your spouse(s) (singular, plural, I don’t judge) would be mad at me. Hard enough to get blog subscribers these days, without inspiring them all to turn their backs on the material world.
The more perspicacious of you will figure out DH’s painting is the one next to mine in this post’s featured image. Staggering what one can do in 30 minutes. I can’t even get a pizza in 30 minutes.
May I tell you I hate my painting? I tell everyone I’m pleased with it but I hate it. What was in my head definitely did NOT come out and land, elegantly, onto the board. Not even remotely.
Here’s my fourth painting. I like this one:
This is when I transcended the paint.
I stepped on my canvas board and made my first declaration of my artistic manifesto: Verily my feet hurt all the effing time, I cried out to the heavens (singular or plural, I don’t judge).
Get thee to a Podiatrist!
oh look it up, it’s Shakespeare (kinda)… and another post for another day is how much I always wanted to punch Hamlet (et ipsum) in the face. Yeah, I said it, whiny little doofus, coulda handled THAT better. Anyhoodle…
I was inspired by my painting. I actually saw something in it. I wanted to paint trees and skies (still do). But what I was feeling was my feet (they suck). I wasn’t painting what I felt, I was painting what I thought I’d see if I actually had a bucolic setting (I’m suburban). My first painting was a lie (but a good experiment in getting past the blank canvas thing… and mixing acrylics and so on… all is not lost).
Bob painted what he saw, real or imagined. Memories. Hopes, perhaps. It’s your world, he’d say. I realized, in July 2016 (ok, now it’s March 2017), my world was starting to focus on my (now diagnosed, like I didn’t know…) osteoarthritis. I’ve only been ignoring my feet forever. All I had to do was get them x-rayed, get a report, get them fixed. Three easy steps (see what I did? Steps. Feet). Simple.
But no, like Hamlet, I whined around like a pathetic little doofus for a million years. Hamlet, though, didn’t have the benefit of Bob Ross. If it weren’t for Bob Ross Day, I’d still be trudging around on arthritic toes which ultimately need to be fused.
My kingdom for cartilage (Richard III. Poor guy really gets the shaft in this play). Unlike the fake Richard III, the real one turned down his chance for a horse (according to Jones, Michael (2003). Bosworth 1485: Psychology of a Battle. London: John Murray. ISBN978-1-84854-909-8.)
I was taking no such chances. If you don’t learn from history, you’re doomed to repeat it. While I got my Xray done the next week, it took me another six months to book the doctor (and they took me in the same week). So I’m getting there.
X-ray: August 2016
3D Scan: March 2017
Next stop: orthopaedic surgeon. Mebbe. That’s soooo another blog.
I wish I had a Mr Darcy-type first kiss. I don’t. My first kiss story is appallingly peudoscientific. And cringe-worthy. 🙂
I tried to decide between blogging about my first romantic kiss which I probably enjoyed, or the one I with which I just experimented in practice for the first REAL kiss and I gotta tell you, I remember the experiment much better. In fact, I can’t remember with whom I had my first kiss.
This goes back to my being 13 and hanging around the world’s biggest pick-up joint for 13 year-olds everywhere in Hogtown: the Ontario Science Centre. You know, that old chestnut. Hanging out “learning” things when really you’re hoping for a wee grope from the right guy? This is one step up from “going to the library.” Looking back all I can say is “ew.”
But my BFF (well, more like BFATT … Best Friend At The Time) was exponentially prettier than I, so the best I could hope for was seconds or thirds. I got neither. EXCEPT… one of her rejected skeevs on the subway-ride home—I have purposely forgotten his name—very kindly offered to show me “how to kiss” and I, being rejected many times over by even my BFF’s leavings INCLUDING him, was happy to up my kissing skills (being null) just in case… just in case… one day man, one day!
I learned something that day. Well, many things:
Sloppy wet kisses repulse me.
Cigarette breathe is vile.
Kissing without love (or its teenage facsimile: hormones engaged) is up there with nails on a chalkboard for me as far as enjoyment value is concerned. I’d rather eat squishy slippery lettuce than kiss someone who’s entirely uninteresting to me.
A while thereafter I found my first real boyfriend and found his kisses OK. I guess we weren’t the best fit. I came to the conclusion that kissing really grossed me out unless it was a polite peck, or I was insanely in love. Kissing is such an intimate thing (as is the germ-ridden saliva which accompanies it). I figured out I would no more French kiss a dog than I would any young man.
Actually, the dog had a better chance. Or one of these hedgehogs. I’d totally kiss a hedgehog. Hedgehogs deserve smooches.
I know what you’re thinking: I’m a cat person. True enough. But I am also not suicidal. (And if you had a cat named Tiny Finger Shark like I do, you’d understand.)
I told my husband I was back to blogging (neck brace and wrist braces on as I said this…) and he pointed out that he remembers HIS first kiss because he’s romantic (he is). I said I only remembered HIS first kiss with ME (because I’m even MORE romantic and wouldn’t dream of counting any other “kiss” I’ve had before his as a real kiss).
So there. Trumped (can I say that?) his ace I did.
Our First Kiss
Our first kiss was epic and actually came after our mutual declaration of love. That’s right. We pledged our troth (on the phone…long story…) and THEN had to wait a few days before we could meet up THEN kiss. And dang it all, it was, to us at least, as stellar (more so) than that kiss in Bridget Jones’ Diary. And come to think of it, our first kiss was on a VERY snowy day but as for the rest, alas I was not sporting my animal-print knickers. That would be later.
In fact, I’m wearing them now as I type this.
Just to help you purge that last image:
Next stop on our hop? UK-based Romance Author Carrie Elks who has a new romance releasing in exactly one week:
About Romance Writers Weekly
Romance Writer’s Weekly is a group of writers who love everything about the romance genre. We’re comprised of traditionally-published and self-published authors, as well as those who aspire to publish (that’d be me… I… me?). We write in nearly every sub-genre of romance, from contemporary to historical, paranormal to suspense. If you love reading romance you’re sure to find something you like these! So if you are a reader, writer, reviewer or book club member, feel free to contact us, we would love your company!
I know what you’re thinking: this is a blog about the Momfia and their daring escape from their latest caper (thus keeping their bail money for another day). You’re probably right. But the weekend has only begun and I’m not there as their designated driver. Since I don’t drink, I’d be the perfect driver for the Momfia getaway.
What this blog is really about: claustrophobia. Sure sure, there are likely other diagnoses I could invoke (I have a slew of them in my sling bag) but the main one is claustrophobia.
Let me tell you something: claustrophobia blows monkey bottoms. And while no, I can’t “just get over it,” I can write a blog about it (sitting near a window, car keys in hand). Ok, kinda joking there.
I have known these women for years. We’re in a birth club together (yes, we call ourselves the Momfia) and some of us have been hanging out (mostly online) since we were pregnant. I love these women. And while we’re all so geographically distant, we do our best to get together when we can.
For me, this is challenging. Almost insurmountable. Depending on distance and venue, I can do it. It all comes down to distance and venue (read: escapability). Oh wait, and body count. Distance. Venue. Body Count. Trips to IKEA? Manageable for about an hour, then I freak out (I am not good with malls, as you may recall). Trips far-ish away, to a dwelling and room-sharing (and toilet-sharing, don’t even… don’t eeeeeeeeeeven get me started)? I just can’t. It’s so painful for me. I can barely imagine it.
What makes it worse is the self-loathing and rationalizing I go through when a group event is put together. I want to see people. I know only a few of the now-69 women who make up our happy troupe since 2010. But I cannot fully express how downright physically painful it is for me to be in a confined space (yes, a ski chalet with 14 women counts as confined). And yet. And yet. It all looks so fun.
In a rare moment, I’ll thank FB for the fact that I can semi-participate while I sit at home hating myself.
I love karaoke. I have no shame. None. Doesn’t matter what key, tempo, or genre. I will sing it loud and proud. So you’d think I would be down with the get-together, right?
Nope. My total lack of singing shame has nothing to do with claustrophobia. What I wouldn’t give for Ali and me to croon I Got You, Babe, lovingly into each others’ eyes. I’d have to stand on a stool though, she’s pretty tall.
Pretty sure some Nancy Sinatra is going on, here. Note bottles of invigorating elixir in the lower right-hand corner. 🙂
There’s just good ol’ sleepover fun
I’m menopausal. Undies in the freezer sounds pretty good to me. 🙂
I want to be carefree like this. Like in those 80s films or even better, British comedies from 1968-1971. Capricious. Fun-loving. Anything for a dare. Poops and giggles.
But I can’t. I find it hard to breathe just thinking about being in the living room with them. All of whom I know to some extent. But those four walls, and that distance from my safe place (home)… it’s so hard. I’m someone who can’t even close the door to her own bedroom. No. Really. It freaks me out.
And the worst of it is not having a proper way to explain it. So I got up this morning and thought I’d write a love letter to my Birth Club sisters. We’ve all been through so many things together (and more to come). And I love all of you but I have to say sometimes I just can’t do it. I want to. I intend to. I generally fall through. And I’m sorry. I appreciate you’re not all sitting there waiting for me to splash up the day, but I know some of you may feel slighted, insulted even, at my seeming aloofness.
I can do one-on-one quite well. Small trips to IKEA. And while I hoped and prayed I could drive up to see you all today, I am afraid THE FEAR will take hold. If you don’t suffer from it, you cannot understand it. Hunter S. Thompson got it.
Getting the Fear
But I know some of you get it, some don’t. We can’t all ‘get’ everything.
I confess I never understood amber teething necklaces.
Gals, I love you all and am always grateful for your friendship. Have fun. Drive safely. Take pix. Skype if you can. Mwah.
I know what you’re thinking. This is a blog about Steve Austin. And there you’d be partially right, you semiotician’s dream, you.
I’m not altruistic. This is all about me. If you squint just right though, it’s about you, as well.
First: a warning. If you’re sensitive to the word douchebag, this is not the blog for you today.
By why Steve Austin (no, not this Steve Austin, the other guy) and not the utterly fabulous The Bionic Woman, you may ask? Simple: the intro for The Six Million Dollar Man says what I need it to say. Don’t get me wrong, sisters. I love Jaime Sommers. It’s just that Oscar Goldman (not the mathematician, but the other guy) is speaking for me. And what with all the gender stuff going on these days, why should I restrict my blog about my latest ontologic struggle to the shape and placement of my pink parts (not those pink parts…those belong to a hyena. I mean the other bits and of course they don’t have to be pink. Mine might not even BE pink… it’s not like I’ve seen my chirolately to even be able to contort myself down there for a peek)?
Let’s face it, The Six Million Dollar Man has a great voice over. Surely we can agree on that. Are you under 35 or over 65? You will need to watch this, first.
Intro: Six Million Dollar Man
I have had a bumpy month (yes, again. I think this is a transition year) and since July 5th, a lot has happened. Not much that I want to talk about, as such; but enough that I now fully realize that each of our days are numbered.
There are many references to our days being numbered (Book of Job, Psalms…I’ll leave you to Google this). And it’s not to bum you out, but to free you that I’m sharing this tidbit:
Life is short; but it’s longer than you think when you’re consulting for douchebags.
I thought I had cast off the last of my douchebags in 2015, but I was wrong. There remained but one, lurking, and mercifully on July 5th, we parted ways. All this led me to thinking: these past 18 months I’ve been variously ill or injured, and almost-always grumpy. Sometimes all three, simultaneously. And what for? Ill health, stress, and three pinched nerves in my neck which never seem to get better. This douchebag compromised my health, my relationships and work for other clients who are not douchebags, and most importantly: my family life. I know I know… The Douche Who Shall Not Be Named only did as much as I allowed. There you’re right. You’re bang on. Things you learn at 49. Better to learn at 49 than 50, I always say.
Oh, before I forget, this blog may seem thoughtful or dirge-like… it’s not. Don’t fret. Something caustic is coming.
Oddly enough, this aforementioned douchebag is relatively self-aware. But I am unwilling to believe people are douches, despite compelling evidence. This douche even suggested that s/h/it (easier to write it that way than to throw all the permuatative pronouns in there, right?) would be good fodder for my Devotions for Douchebags site. No no no, I said. Why? Because I have always focused on redemption. Not just for me, but for those around me. So I still hold to that, but in the meantime, indulge me whilst I purge some vitriol.
Can you imagine the pitch for this pilot? I’ll let you know what HBO has to say.
Did someone say purge? Maybe instead of douchebag, we should use the gender-inspecific term: enema. Not quite the same thing, but hey, cleans you out.
Before I purge, then, I have written my former unworthy constituent a devotion:
Kidding. S/h/it is not worth my time. Do you know how long it takes me to write those devotions?
Did I say purge? Why purge when I can rebuild? I had an idea: why not, instead of purging my vitriol, bile, and whatever other caustic (see, I told you something caustic this way comes) matter one can conjure, why not just fill myself up with probionics (yeah, I made that up)? Refill my ontological gut with happy bacteria and foster new growth? Why slash-and-burn when I can plant elsewhere?
For health, both mental and physical, I’m taking a work break for a couple of months. Which means I may actually blog more (I can dictate a blog, doncha know, save my neck for other things like tattoos). I can rebuild. I have the technology (and Dragon Naturally Speaking).
And if you know or suspect you have a douchebag in your midst, don’t slash-and-burn, fill yourself with good and flush that sucker. Oh wait, am I back to purging now? Fill yourself with good and leave no room for that dbag to wiggle in.
Let’s face it, analogies are a terrible platform for a discourse on anything other than expanding on activities I want to do with Tyrion Lannister.
It would be wrong of my to end this blog on any other bombshell than dropping in the wonderful tune Douchebags by Joe Bear.
Douchebags by Joe Bear
Oh, and that’s my long-suffering friend Paulasinging back-up.
You’re welcome. Picture of someone’s innards: (c) Can Stock Photo. Don’t be an enema (contents only), get your own canstock account.