Jealousy


Its funny how quickly envy can turn into anger. And anger can turn into defeat or feelings of inadequacy. I am not a materialistic person. I do not enjoy shopping or get a high off buying something new. I don’t feel the need to decorate my house or coordinate my curtains with just the right throw pillow. I’m not even sure why people own throw pillows (no one ever throws them) or have that beautiful room in their homes no one is allowed to sit in. But for some reason, when I see these things on Facebook, I get all knotted up inside and I get angry and begin to wonder what I did so wrong in life that I don’t have these things that I don’t even want.

Why? Honestly, I’m not just saying this, I don’t want those things. I want a happy, healthy family. I want boys who play in the mud and laugh all the time. I want just enough to not do without but not so much I forget to appreciate the small things. I want loving relationships and understanding friends. I want love and beautiful memories. So why do I care when someone else acquires and boasts about things I couldn’t care less about? Why does it needle me when I see granite counter tops or crown molding peeking in the corner of a boastful picture of a new mixer or a loveseat that “makes a room”?

I grew up in a house with shag carpet, and it wasn’t the 60s when shag was in. We had olive green appliances with a stove that didn’t work so well. Everything in our house was outdated by at least 20 years and there was never a plan or money to change that. We had a couch that was threadbare, hand-me-down dressers, and the latest and greatest of nothing. I didn’t care and never felt embarrassed until I was 15 and a terrible boy made fun of my house and asked why everything in it was so old. Ouch.

I made a vow that in my home, in my future, I’d have the nicest stuff. I’d play the game just right, go to school, get a degree, get the good job with the great benefits, grow with a company, find the right man, invest in my future, and have this amazing awesome house with a beautiful modern kitchen, gleaming appliances, and the perfect décor all situated on a beautiful piece of property in at least 3000 square feet. When I was a grown up, it would all be mine.

So I did play the game and jump through the hoops designed to reach that destination. However, somewhere along the way the game changed, or maybe the prizes did, because it became far more important to just be happy, satisfied with life and living. Welcoming living creatures into my space and finding bliss in my job. I didn’t care so much about the dream as I did about life and I never did attain the things I thought were important. I’ve owned 4 homes and not one has had a wood beam ceiling or an A frame living room.

I live in a small house, with 80s blue carpet and those awful hollow doors that never last and buffer no noise, ever. I have plastic showers and kitchen outlets that never work. I have windows that leak like a sieve (on the plus side we will never die from carbon monoxide poisoning), shingles that hang a little off, and a couch that is quickly showing its age.

Sometimes I feel bad, like I missed the boat or haven’t amounted to much. I look at the photos others post and I wonder why I don’t have the big beautiful house made of stone and large weather tight windows. I feel bad that one day someone might point out to my kids that their home is less than because it is small and missing wainscoting and marble. That their second hand clothes aren’t cool and their used toys are just little bit wonky. I imagine that one day they will feel like I did, set on finding and having the “better” life. I just hope they realize that a better life has little to do with things, and everything to do with living.

So yes, I sometimes feel a pang of jealousy for the things I don’t even really want. But I think it is less because I want them and more because I promised myself I would have them. A self who was too young to know what true happiness was, too silly to understand what it really meant to “have arrived”.

All to often we get down because we let the lives of others influence our feelings. We get caught in the cycle of being “not as good as” or “wish I had that”. We forget about what we do have and what really is important. I think becoming an adult is about realizing what it really means to have it all.

I have 1300 sq feet filled with enough laughter to fill a space three times that size. I have a couch that is perfect for practicing headstands and summersaults or spilling food and having accidents. I have love that brightens every room in a way no new and modern fixture ever could. I have carpet that doesn’t inhibit play but invites it, all the muddy paws, globs of play doh, tire tracks, and drops of paint are welcome here. I have land that sprawls, where adventure waits uninhibited by danger or strangers. I have dogs that get to dig, chase, and play without a landscape care in the world, their furry faces covered in dirt and smiles. I have food to feed us, water to quench us, and a cozy pellet stove to keep us warm and dry.

I like to think my posts make others just a wee bit jealous. After all I am human and what are humans without competition? I like to think people see our goofy smiles and our trampoline living room and they think secretly to themselves “I wish I was that brave or that lucky”. Brave and lucky enough to live a life full of the important things and not just things; full of life, laughter, love, silliness, mistakes, failures, strength, and togetherness. I like to think they look at my home and see the time I wasn’t watching and two little boys went crazy with the chalk, or the time I had to watch tv from the floor because there were too many dogs on the couch. I hope they see a daddy playing dodge ball inside on a snowy day not worrying about knocking over lamps and décor because we don’t have any of either. I hope they see little boys screaming with excited terror running from balls and hiding in cabinets kept empty on purpose for just such a reprieve.

When I post something I hope it makes everyone out of their mind insanely jealous. Not because they don’t have what I have, or their countertops aren’t as stained as mine, but because everyone should have such a family, everyone should want such joy. Not because they own the right things or have the latest gadget, but because they have loved well and found that the only value in life is sharing yours with loving living creatures, not the perfect wall color that looks good with that chair.

I think the world would be better, and people would be happier if our posts were less about what we have gotten and more about who we love. I wish I saw more about moments of bliss and contentment and less about new cars and shoes. I wish I knew more about my friend’s partners, their children, their guinea pigs than I did about their boats, vacations, and jobs. I wish everyone understood what was worth boasting about. What was worth being jealous over. What was worth giving time and effort to.

So while you may not understand from pictures why none of my glasses match, why my towels have holes in them, or why all my pictures hang just a little bit crooked from too many stray dodge balls, there is no way you can spend real time in my home without understanding, no wishing, that your home was just like mine.

This week I am feeling very grateful for the living things in my life that add spice, humor, love, and beauty to my every moment. Words I cannot buy, gestures that can’t be coordinated, and moments that are never staged. This is my life, and it is a good one. Not despite the things I never achieved or acquired, but because of the things I never achieved or acquired. I am lucky to have been such a failure. I am glad I stumbled and fell just enough times to crash into the perfect storm of colossal mistakes that led to and created this family in this moment.

Are you happy? Is your life filled with the beauty of things and items only money can buy? Or is it filled with people and life that bring you joy and create happiness? I challenge you to play in that room no one ever goes in, spill milk on that rug that cost a fortune, and leave dog hair on your pants when you leave the house. I challenge you to walk away from the things you think matter and embrace the things that really do. If it grows, if it breathes, if it lifts its face up to the sky and smiles, then it is the right thing.

What I am reading: Information on wind turbines, solar panels, and on demand hot water heaters. Thinking about cost, the environment, and of zombie apocalypse or nuclear fallout situations. Maybe I need to read about fall out shelters, or at least tornado shelters.

What I am listening to: Babylon by David Gray

What I am watching: I just binge watched Jericho, it aired from 2006-07. I hate that it ended on a cliffhanger and while it wasn’t the world’s best acting it did remind me that it is such a shame our current tv line up is driven by the watching habits of a populace that thinks Honey Boo boo is good television. Sadly, that means we lose good shows like this one that make you think and have diverse subplots. I guess it just proves television is not the thinking man’s medium.

Now moment: Being asked for one more hug eight times as I try to leave a room from a little boy trying to avoid bed time in the cutest, most effective way possible.

Gratitude: Things I am grateful for

consignment sales

tax refunds

sand box toys

dog kisses

healing eyes

perfect haircuts on the run

hugs from my husband

friends becoming patent agents (selfishly can’t wait to file needless patent)

possible new jobs that are truly exciting

opportunities for happiness

basil pesto

dishwashers

options

spiderman shoes that light up

monster truck toys for $4

Friends who “get it”

donut pans (review to follow)

 

 

It’s Over, We Are Breaking Up

Relationships can be great, they can fill you with immense joy and make you feel special. But they can also have a darker side. They can inhibit your life, make you feel tired and less than your best. We have all faced these moments of reality when we realize we have outgrown a relationship or our relationship is actually hurting us. It isn’t a good place to be, the task before you not one you want to do. No one likes to be the bad guy, even if it isn’t your fault, pulling the trigger on a breakup can be hard. I’ve put it off for a long time now. I’ve been deeply seated in denial, looking the other way at all the negatives. But I can’t do that any longer. It’s time for this negative relationship to end. And while I will miss the connection and the fuzzy feelings I used to get, I know in my heart I will be happier, healthier and better prepared to face my life if I just get brave and say good-bye. It isn’t going to be easy, we’ve been together a long time, and there are others to think about, but I know in my heart it is time, it is right. I talk a lot about intentional living and making the choices for your own happiness. This is mine, my choice. So here goes. Let’s start with the ULTIMATE Break up song, just to set the tone.

Here is my goodbye letter, my dear John if you will, the real truth behind a relationship that no one saw behind closed doors.

My Love,

We need to talk. You should probably sit down. This isn’t going to be easy for either of us.  I have had so many wonderful nights with you that make what I am about to say so difficult. Every time we curled up together the world was so right, nothing mattered but us. I felt like I could conquer anything with you beside me. I felt like if I just held you close the rest of the world would drop away and all my troubles with it. I remember pulling you close, little by little relishing in your smell, your taste. I get chills just thinking about our time together. And that is why you have to believe me when I say, it isn’t you, it’s me.

I know, I know, who hasn’t heard this a million times before. Someone tells us it is all them, just to spare us our feelings. But today, at this moment in time, I know it is me and not you. I know I am not ready for the kind of relationship you want. I am not ready to settle down and remain still the way you would like. I am not ready for the public embarrassment or the hiding the private life we have together. Maybe I’m just to “out there”, maybe I just don’t understand commitment. Maybe I just don’t like how bad I feel the next morning after a night alone with you. Being with you, makes me feel bad.

It isn’t your fault, no really. You are exactly what you were supposed to be. Beautiful , enticing, exquisitely tasteful, smooth, decadent, luscious even. I don’t think I have ever had better. Really. I don’t just say that to cushion the blow. You are it. You are the top, crème of the crop. There is nothing out there that can compare to you. Listen to me when I say this, I am not leaving you for another, there is no other, I get that now. But I still can’t be with you. I still can’t give in to all those urges no matter how much I want to or how much my heart begs me.

I know you will find someone else. Being as awesome as you, you will pick up and move on, probably not even feeling the loss of me. That is what it feels like to be at the top I guess. I will move on too. I will struggle at first no doubt. I will feel let down every night when you are not there. I will feel empty and alone, forgotten and abandoned. I will look for you hopefully, maybe even stop into a store just to see if you are there; but I will not weaken, I will stick it out, because what is right for me, what is best for me, is to say goodbye to you. No matter how much I love you, no matter how sweet you have been. no matter how much I am wholly convinced you are my soul mate and I will never meet another like you, I also know I just can’t live this lie anymore.

Go forth dear one, go forth and prosper. Make a name for yourself, find a new love, someone new to coerce, to brainwash into not seeing our dark side, your negative attributes, because that is no longer me. I plan to go forth, fill that void with something healthy, fill that void with something that makes me feel and look good. That’s right, I am predicting the future. I think I owe it to myself, I owe it to my family. I will get stronger. I will leave you behind and one day I will rejoice in the fact that I no longer even think about you. I will no longer say your name in my sleep, I will no longer see you in my head when I feel stressed. I will no longer long for you at night, our secret time. Just you wait, I bet you won’t even recognize the woman I am about to become, without, YOU.

So my very Dearest Ben and my true companion Jerry, just know that this isn’t about you, not really. You are the tits at making ice cream. I will never forget how Chocolate Fudge Brownie made me feel in my soul. But I would like to forget how it made me look around the middle. It isn’t personal, except for me. If I am going to reach my goal and feel good, we just have to part ways. There isn’t room for a nightly binge of a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in the life I am creating. There is no room for your worthless wasted 1500 calories I consume during our tryst because as we all know, a pint in a serving size, no matter what the carton says.

I’ll miss you B&J, I will. But I can’t take this anymore. It’s over. I’m done.

Love with all my heart,

Wendy

 

PS I hope you find what you are looking for Chocolate Fudge Brownie, I know I will.

But here is Inspiration, just in case I get weak. Surviving break up songs.

I’m More Dude Than Most Dudes You Know

 

A good friend (yes Dink you are) recently said to me:

Wendy you are more dude than most dudes I know

I can’t stop thinking about it, and let me just say without reservation it is quite possibly the BEST Compliment I have ever gotten. I have been waiting almost a lifetime to hear such praise from my fellow human. I am sorry it took so long, but thankful it was someone I respect so much for being all over awesome that it was indeed a compliment I know was said with merit and not just a pick up line.

I would love to pin point exactly what this cool fellow meant when he said that great line to me, I doubt I could because I do not see me through his eyes. But I think all girls should try to be a little more dude like, you know, for the good of female kind and all that.  So I have compiled a list of things that make me “more dude than most dudes you know” just to help out those ladies in the audience who have forgotten why guys are cool and why we are often so unbelievably lame (trust me, we are).

It is with all due respect to myself I compile this list, let me stress that I am indeed also very female and some might even call me attractive (some, not all; I am nothing if not humble), IMG_1057cmbut I guess when I call you up out of the blue and ask for help trouble shooting my truck’s “death wobble” I get a few props for being just a little well hung (figuratively speaking).

  1. I named my dog Rutger, after the actor (as most men guess) not the university (like most women assume).rutgerbw
  2. I know what a Chiltons Manual is and how to use it. Yes, I was disturbed when my husband said “What’s that?”.
  3. My “purse” is smaller than most men’s wallets. I consider most women’s purses to be carry on luggage. Below is my “big” purse.IMG_1017m
  4. I only own one pair of jeans. I do not have a fancy pair, a fat pair, a skinny pair, a dark pair, or a pair with a strategic hole. I have 1 pair. Period.
  5. I only have 1 piercing (in my ear, don’t be gross). My husband has 4. Enough said.
  6. I own big dogs. None of my dogs would fit in a purse or can be hand carried anywhere. Anything with 4 legs was meant to walk, trust me.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  7. I own a gun and before children I used to keep it under the bed; then I would practice and execute perfect commando rolls to retrieve it.
  8. I smell my clothes to determine their cleanliness.
  9. I might be able to build a pipe bomb. I admit nothing, deny everything.
  10. It takes my husband longer to get ready for a date than me. He’s bald, what is he doing in there?IMG_2460
  11. I love science and engineering and learning how things work.
  12. My “makeup kit” consists of sunscreen, Chapstick, and eyeliner.

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My point in all this, besides being grateful that someone finally sees how supertastic I am, is to remind women that most of what we do as women is a waste of time. No seriously. Our culture, society, media, or whatever you want to call it has us convinced that we need to be a certain way, look a certain way, and have a certain level of maintenance attached to us because we are women. That men will never want us if we don’t look like super models or we don’t carry a bag of all the items necessary to keep us “put together” for the day.

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Women have become a joke; high maintenance creatures that spend countless hours of our lives on fruitless pursuits that mean very little in the grand scheme of the world and even our own lives. We put on our masks (makeup) and decorate ourselves (manicures) in a way that make most men roll their eyes with anything BUT admiration. We have lost the respect of the very partners we hope to win. We have stopped using our brains for anything more than how to apply a great eyeliner or when is the right time to do a pore minimizing mask. We have stopped using our bodies for anything more than bait. We are helpless when it comes to getting things done and we worry about our hair, clothes, and shoes when life presents a real problem for us to solve. Really, everyone should know how to change a tire, more importantly though, women should be able to do it without being worried about how we look while doing it.

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Don’t get me wrong, ladies, I love ya, I really do. I just could never be you. I’d rather my husband look at me adoringly because I fixed his death wobble or trained his dog to shake, than because my hair looks perfect and my ass looks good in those pants. I prefer his look of adoration when I flip the giant tractor tire because he is admiring my ability, my strength, my resolve, more than the amazing legs I’ll attain by flipping it a bunch of times. I love that when something goes wrong with the TV or he needs his Xbox hooked up he calls me over to troubleshoot and seems genuinely proud that I can make his worries go away. Sure his eyes may gloss over when I explain how buffering works and why Netflix works better on my iPhone than our Blu-ray player, but I know deep inside he is grateful that one of us knows why and can solve the problem so we can watch more episodes of Breaking Bad.DSC_0058

I spent a few years in my younger days obsessed with looking perfect. I spent money on clothes and makeup and shoes ( I won’t lie I still like shoes I just don’t buy them anymore), and what I learned from that was happiness didn’t come from standing on the sidelines looking good, it came from jumping in the fray and getting dirty, sweating my ass off, snorting when I laugh, and taking risks. 020_20

All things dudes do. I discovered that the time I spent in front of the mirror was better spent under a car or digging a fire pit. DSC_0156I learned how to truly get shit done and have fun while doing it. I will never be the girl pushing her boobs together and bending over in front of a cop to get out of  a ticket. I hope I am always the girl the cop secretly wishes was his wife because I am such a kick ass driver he feels a little guilty for pulling me over.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I take pride in my ability to be gentle and kind, feminine and strong. I am thankful that genetics have given me a fair deal and that I cry probably more than I should and that I will always, always think with my heart first. But I take far more pride in being “like a dude” because when someone says that, what they really mean is I am smart, capable, fun, interesting, low maintenance, and easy to get a long with. I can’t imagine a greater compliment than that. Sure you can tell me I’m pretty, but that doesn’t hold a candle to calling me “Dude”.IMG_2809

So women, I implore you, stand up, heed the call. Rise to the occasion of your own potential and life. Stop the hair twirling and pouty expressions. Stop the selfie post with duck lips and instead gloat about your accomplishments in life. Start living. Because as far as I know, you only get the one life. So you can choose to spend it on maintenance and upkeep (things that get harder and more time consuming as we age with little to no actual return on the investment), or you could spend it laughing and scraping dirt out from underneath your broken finger nails making friends who may not remember that you once looked hot at that dinner party, but instead will remember how fun and thrilling you were climbing up that rock face. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATrust me, it is way better. So get out there dudes, put the lipstick down, take those high heels off (they are only giving you a bad back and deformed feet anyway).

Live, learn, experience, risk, create.

Make being a girl something I would consider as high a compliment as being more dude than most dudes you know.

PS. You can still look good doing it :)

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What I am reading: Reached by Ally Condie it is the third book in a trilogy of YA dystopian novels. I am strangely addicted to the dystopian novels at the moment. BTW I need iBooks money, this 3 books a week thing is killing my wallet.

What I am listening to: House of Gold by 21 Pilots

What else I am listening to: Compass Lady Antebellum my heart has never led me astray.

Inspirations from the ether: We take so much for granted here.

Now moment: Nothing beats Christmas Morning with two little kids. Magic is real.