Sunday, September 28, 2014

Girl Stuff: My Boys Just Don't Get It

"Every day I wake up thankful to be born with a penis." 
-- Kid 2 after a weekend spent listening 
to girl drama

My BFF Kerri is also my hair stylist. Because we are both so busy working and taking care of our families, we rarely have time to see each other anymore. So, problem solved, we schedule my hair appointments for Friday nights after her shop is closed and the kids are taken care of. It's our social time.

We pick up some sushi, turn the iPod on, mix the color and start talking. This week I told her I wanted my red hair to be more red. Like Julianne Moore deep, vibrant red. Kerri is the expert so while I opened up the sushi she mixed the color.

I trust her completely. I trust her so much when I said "hey this is really red" and she said don't worry that I didn't worry.

But it was really red. Like, Bozo red. So.... I laughed and took some pictures while Kerri remixed more color. Five hours later when I finally returned home  - looking absolutely fabulous with my new auburn do - the kids said I was gone "forever".  So each kid one at a time had to hear the story of my hair drama that evening.

The next day we set off for the mall to find a dress for Kid 4 to wear to her Honor Society banquet this week. Kid 4 is the 13-year-old girl and acts, well, like a 13-year-old girl.

Three hours, two boutiques, Macy's and JC Penney's later and we still hadn't found anything for her to wear. To be fair, our school has a pretty strict dress code. Because Kid 4 is tall like me, it can be tough finding a dress that is the required length.

She was frustrated. I was annoyed. Kid 2 thought it was "ridiculous" and Kid 5 was "bored." Why kids two and five, both boys, wanted to even come on this trip I don't know.

To make the day even more fun, we also were finally let in on the girl drama between Kid 4 and her BFF, who just happens to be the daughter of my BFF Kerri. We heard all about the nonsense that often happens between 13-year-old girls when a boy enters the picture.

At this point Kid 5, my 11-year-old boy, had officially lost his patience. He wanted out of the mall and he wanted out now.

I tried to explain to him that this is just life with girls. Whether it's his mom, his sisters or his future girlfriends he will have to sit and wait outside a fitting room. He will have to listen to girl drama and boy troubles. He will have to talk about hair color and be asked repeatedly if he likes a new haircut. Does it look good? Does 'it looks fine' mean it doesn't look good?

The struggle is real to be a girl. It's his lot in life to be a boy and have to listen to the struggle.

Watching and listening to all this, Kid 2 looked over and casually said "Every day I wake up thankful to be born with a penis."

I can't argue with that logic.

Finally Kid 4 decided she would just wear something she already has in her closet at home. As the younger brother Kid 5 realized this whole trip was for nothing, I thought he was going to really lose it. But, instead, he looked at me and said "I'm never coming to the mall with you again. Girl stuff is boring."

He's a boy. He doesn't get it.

Boys 4 (1 not pictured) Girls 2
Yet, girl drama reigns
in the Fields home

Monday, September 22, 2014

Blog Hop 2014

Last week I opened an email from my good friend and fellow blogger Natalie over at May the Schwartz Be With You. Now I love Natalie dearly, however, her email made me groan and want to throw things at her.

Natalie sent me what was basically a chain letter (they still exist?) inviting me to participate in a "Blog Hop." A blog hop is where one blogger nominates other bloggers to answer a few basic questions.

Ugh. But Natalie is smart and she knows me well enough to know exactly what to say to get me to agree:
"The point is, I really like you and would like to see your answers to these questions. Mainly because I know you need to write more.  It's cathartic and therapeutic."

Double Ugh. But when I saw Natalie at dance that week I agreed to write the post. So here we go.

Why do I keep a blog?

Well, my even beginning to blog is because of Natalie as well! She was blogging and I enjoyed reading her posts. I had told her that in my pre-mom days I was a writer and I missed writing. But that blogging was kind of dumb and narcissistic. I don't care what celebrity bloggers have to say and who would care what I have to say?

But she convinced me to at least give it a try. My first post was August 25, 2012. I wrote about my experience with Bikram Yoga, titled Yoga, Tuna & Heat. It's still one of my most favorite posts and, interestingly, still frequently pops up on my stats board as being recently being read. 

With that first blog I was bitten. The urge to write was reawakened within me. I didn't know what to expect and I honestly figured no one would read it anyway.  I had no idea where the blog would lead. The nights I'd write with tears falling on the keyboard during my mom's death from cancer.  The times I'd ache to write but couldn't get the words out during the unexpected ending of my 23 year marriage in a divorce.  And even the times I was so excited I was writing the posts in my head before I could get home to my Mac. 

This blog led to another interesting place too. It turns out a few people did actually read my blog. The right people liked what I wrote and invited me to write for Elephant Journal. Those posts led to being invited into a writers group. And finally it led to me writing my own book

(Shameless plug: Creating A Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned From Yoga and My Mom available for purchase - well someday. )

So I guess I really owe Natalie for helping me fulfill a life-long dream and writing a book. I hope she will accept payment in ever-lasting love and gratitude.

What motivates me to teach yoga?

This sounds all new agey and woo woo, but I feel called to teach yoga. When I'm teaching is one of the rare times I feel content and confident. Similar to blogging, I kind of fell into teaching yoga. I was
Legs Up The Wall with
my class for savassana one night
a high impact cardio girl that just happened to also teach Pilate's. One day the yoga teacher didn't show up and so my boss asked me to fill in. I had no idea what I was doing. But I figured OK I'll get some training and see where this goes. By my second training weekend I knew this yoga thing was for me. A year or so later I made my first trip to Los Angeles to train and after that week everything changed both for me and within me.

I was a yoga teacher. This feeling, this activity, this "thing" is what I had been searching for. I have said before and I will say it again, yoga saved my life. Although I was all smiles at the gym, I was in a bad place in my private life. I truly believe if I hadn't found yoga when I did that I would not be sitting here right now the (mostly) sane, (mostly) confident, (mostly) put together woman I am.

What is/are my greatest strengths?

I never know how to answer this question. People tell me all the time how strong I am being a single mom of six kids.  How brave I am for fighting for what is right.  How proud they are of me. 

I don't see it. I see only that I've done what I needed to do to keep my family healthy, safe and happy. I've held my kids as they cried and turned into psycho mom defending them when someone tried to hurt them. I've done what all good moms are supposed to do. I hope.

Being organized, sometimes to a fault, is one of my strengths. It has to be with a large family. I've been told many times I'm "controlling." Well yeah, of course I am. How could I not be controlling with six kids and an alcoholic husband. It was the only way to tame the chaos. 

I am very guarded but also very loyal. Once I allow you into my inner circle you are in and I will fight for you till the end. I've stayed loyal to the wrong people for too long in the past, but I believe I now have a better sense of who to trust and who is worthy of trust.

What is my proudest moment?

Well, I'm pretty proud of my six kids. They are smart, funny and kind. Like all siblings do, they fight over everything. And I mean everything. But they will also turn and defend their siblings in a heartbeat. In fact we have the story of a broken hand earned in a fight by Kid 2 defending his younger girl cousin. And many stories of the brothers coming to the aid of their siblings during times of distress. 

I'm proud that I finally wrote my book. I can remember from the time I was very young saying I'm going to write a book. It took a long time, a really long time. But I did it.

Look closely at the kids hands. They each chose a word
to describe our family. 
I'm proud of the life I've built for my kids post divorce. My home is a happier place to be now. My kids now know that home is a place you should never feel afraid. Everyone in my house, and in my life, gets told regularly that I love them. And that's not a phrase I use lightly. If I tell you I love than it's real. I love you.  

If forced to pick just one, I'd say my proudest moment is when all six kids, and maybe some assorted
friends, are all in my house and I hear their laughter. Yes, that's definitely it. My proudest moment is happy, healthy kids.

Geez that was more work than I thought it was going to be! But now to nominate two bloggers I'd like to introduce you to.

First is Anita at Moon Fairy Life and Dreams. Anita is a fellow yoga teacher and soul sister. We both have a large family and full time jobs so we don't see each other nearly as often as we'd like. And, because it's true, I'm going to steal Natalie's line here: I'd really like to read more from her and because I know she needs to write more. It's cathartic and therapeutic.

Second is Rick Watson at Life 101.  Rick and his wife Jilda are both writers, singers and songwriters. Rick also often posts amazing pictures he takes with his iPhone of rural Alabama where he lives.

Natalie thought she would get an award for procrastinating because she didn't post until one hour before her Blog Hop was due. Well, my dear friend,  I did what you asked. And I did it with a full ten minutes to spare before it's due date!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

This Picture Makes Me Happier Than The Story Behind The Picture

It's a pretty normal, almost boring, picture. Kid 4 and Kid 5 in the backseat of my car reading. But this picture just makes my heart swell with happiness.

You see a couple years ago I did this little thing and I committed to writing a book. Then the divorce drama happened and I shelved the book. Well to be honest I didn't shelf it. I actually picked it up, walked to the trash can and threw it away.

Not my smartest decision I know. But fortunately I wasn't thinking clearly enough at the time to delete it off my hard drive as well so I did still have a copy.

Last year I decided to take a look and see how bad it was. To my surprise there really wasn't much I felt I needed to change. And then, once again, life drama got in the way and I shoved the project aside.

Earlier this year I decided this was it. Pull the darn thing out and just get it finished! It felt like the time was meant to be when a wonderful woman, and a legitimate professional editor, entered my life and offered to take a look at it for me. Like, she's a real editor. For real authors. And she not only was looking at my book but she liked my book!

Since she is a professional editor she works much faster and more efficiently than I do. She sent her edits within a month. Everything she suggested was completely spot on. I went through and made the changes she suggested and...

The shit hit the fan again.

This was a tough summer for my family. As tough, if not more so, than the summer my ex-husband walked out on us. I haven't written about it and I'm not sure I will. I had a major kid crisis and my kids are off limits. So that story will have to wait a little bit.

But, it leads back to the picture above. As I lay awake on yet another sleepless night, not even thinking about the book, it popped into my head what I needed to write. What I needed to write about the kid crisis and what I needed to write to complete the book.

Just a couple short weeks later I was standing in the printers office waiting my turn to pick up a package. The kids were bugging me asking why we were there and what was so important. As the clerk handed me the package, the kids looked at what I was holding. Their eyes got big, their smiles got bigger and they practically shouted "You got your book!"

Yes, the book is complete. I have two galley copies of Creating A Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned From Yoga and My Mom

As we walked to the car Kid 4 got a gleam in her eye and offered to carry the galleys for me. I knew right away what she was up to.

As she got in the car she handed the second copy to her brother and they both immediately started reading. They don't care so much about the content of the book, they were just reading to find their names. They were very excited when they found them.

What you can just barely see in the picture is Kid 6 in the back seat trying to find out if her name is in the book too. It is.

There are still a few edits to be done. And I need to find someone to help me format it properly for publishing. But, the writing is complete.

One galley copy is in the hands of a trusted friend/professional to read and hopefully write a good review for the back cover. The second copy is sitting on my dresser. Each day I see it and I smile.

Who knows how long it will be until, if ever, it's actually in print and available for purchase. I'm almost OK if it stays for my eyes only and never gets out there to the publishing world. Almost.

I set out to write a book. And I did.