Thursday, May 18, 2017

Blogging Boundaries

I don't want to write about politics. I thought that, after the election, all the political arguing and bantering would die down. It hasn't, though. I have some friends and family who are passionately on the left and other friends and family who are passionately on the right. Personally, I'm closer to the middle than I am to either extreme, but no matter what stance I take on any particular issue, there are people - people who are very important to me - who would be upset, offended, and probably even disappointed in me. Plus, I absolutely despise the politics and all the quarreling that goes along with it. So, I don't want to put any of that here on my blog or on my social media feeds.
I don't want to write about teenage hormones and mood swings, sex education workshops for middle schoolers, conversations about Netflix series portraying teen suicide, how it feels when one of your kids doesn't share your faith, or how my "baby" will be heading to middle school this fall and I'm not sure either of us are ready for that. Well, actually, I DO want to write about those things, but I CAN'T write about those things - except in posts that will remain buried in my "drafts" folder, never seeing the light of day on my blog. My kids read my blog now. My kids' friends have read my blog in the past and might again at any time, seeing anything and everything I post about my daughters' lives. Nothing is more important than my relationship with my girls, especially right now when we are navigating the turbulent waters of adolescence. Maintaining mutual respect and trust is far more important airing my grievances here or any number of page views those posts might earn. 
I don't want to write (again) about my body image issues, how many pounds and sizes I've gained in the past couple years, or how a lot of my clothes from last summer aren't fitting this spring. I don't want to tell you that, some mornings, I look in the mirror and vow to not put a single morsel of food in my mouth that day, but then fail miserably or that, somedays, I look in the mirror and just think, "#$@% it! I'm forty and life is too short to worry about calories and spend hours making myself miserable at the gym!" I don't want to admit that I am absolutely wrecked every time my nine year old says "I'm fat!" or when I hear her say one of the best things about finding a new sport she actually likes is that she's lost weight since she started participating. I don't want you to know what a pathetic hypocrite I am when I tell her, "You are NOT fat! You are just the way God created you to be and you are BEAUTIFUL!"  while I think to myself "What have I done to this sweet, innocent, beautiful child God entrusted me to care for?!?! Is it my fault she calls herself chubby?" That's some heavy dirty laundry that will have to be aired elsewhere, but not here.
I don't want to write posts that are filled with judgement, crass comments, and profanity - even though it often seems that those are the posts that "sell." It's not who I am and I won't "fake it" to garner popularity or boost the potential acceptance of pieces with my name in the author line.
I don't want to write anymore about how I'm struggling to write these days. I already wrote about that here and here. Actually, I feel like I've written about it a lot more than that, but those were the only posts I could find. Maybe that just means it's been on my mind a lot. I love to write and blog, but, with limited time and all these blogging boundaries surrounding stuff I don't want to/can't write about, there's not a whole lot left it seems. 
Usually, I don't want to write about All The Things I'm Not, but I did last month. I thought nobody would want to read it because it sounded whiny, but it has been one of the most shared posts I've ever had with twice as many page views in a under a month than anything else I've ever written. Maybe, sometimes, the things that are hardest to write are the things that strike the loudest chord because they are things that everyone struggles with but no one wants to say "out loud." 

This post in which I wrote about all the things I don't want to write about without really writing too much about all those things, is part of Finish the Sentence Friday hosted by Kristi at Finding Ninee. Thanks to her for the challenging, but fun prompt "I don't want to write about . . . "

Monday, May 8, 2017

All The Names I've Been Called . . .

They call me "mom."  It used to be "mommy," but they are too grown up for that now - mostly. These three girls who grew inside me are now growing into young women faster than I can wrap my head around it. These three beautiful, wonderfully unique individuals who frustrate me and amaze me all in one breath. They call me "mom" and it's the best name I've ever had.

They call me "Ms. Weesa," their preschool version of my actual name. Like my own children, they grow too fast. They bring sunshine to my week with smiles and high fives, sometimes even little baby cuddles in the nursery on Sundays. They remind me of innocence and unencumbered joy. 

They call me daughter. The two who raised me and the two who raised my husband. They embrace me despite my flaws. They come to my rescue, impart advice, and worry when they shouldn't - because they're parents and that's what they do. It's what I do, too, because I have learned from them and they have been the best teachers a girl could ask for.

They call me friend. Women and men who would drop everything to help me and who know I would do the same. People who have laughed with me; cried with me; shared joys and fears.

He calls me wife. He also calls me "girlfriend" and "beautiful." He doesn't overlook my flaws - he loves them because they are part of me.  He has been my rock for 20 years now and, I sure hope we have many more to share together.

Of all the names I've ever been called, these are my favorites.
My actual name, Lisa, is derived from the name Elizabeth which means "promise of God"  or "God is my oath." According to the Social Security Administration (and, there were almost one million babies born in the United States between 1880-2015 who were given the name of "Lisa." The name was most popular in 1965, a year when over 60,000 babies in the US were given the name. According to my parents, it was just a name they liked, but it didn't have any other specific reason for choosing it. 

I am also called sister, aunt, cousin, niece, co-worker, teacher, boss, blogger/writer, and volunteer. I wear many hats, it seems, when I put them in a list. I wear all my names proudly. Whether proper names or titles, they came from somewhere or were given to me by someone significant. When you put them all together, they describe the person that I am. They provide a glimpse of the people who love me and the people who mean the most to me.

This post was inspired by Finish the Sentence Friday which is hosted by Kristi at Finding Ninee. The sentence was "They call me . . . " I didn't get this written in time to actually link upon Friday, but I loved the prompt, so I wrote it anyway!

Monday, April 24, 2017

All the Things I'm Not

I'm not a size 2 or even a size 10, but I'm healthy, medically speaking. I've always struggled with body image for a variety of reasons - and probably always will - but I'm trying with all my might to be a good example for my daughters, so I'm working on it and, most days, making progress (albeit it in teeny tiny baby steps).

I'm not an extrovert. I probably never will be, but I'm not as introverted as I once was. I don't shy away from social situations like I did many years ago. 

I'm not exceptionally talented musically or artistically speaking, but I'm good at my job. I'm organized and efficient. I can get up in front of a room full of preschoolers and feel right at home. Not sure what that says about me, but it's something that would intimidate a lot of people.

I'm not at all fashion forward, but I've learned that comfort and quality are more important than style and a closet full of clothes - at least to me. 

I'm not twenty-something anymore. I'm not thirty-something either, but I do think that older really does equal wiser and bolder. It's a trade-off that I'm generally content with.

I'm not a gourmet chef and, lately, we've had more take-out than I care to admit. I can cook, though, when I have the time in our crazy schedule and I make a fabulous banana pudding and a pretty good lasagna. I enjoy it- except when the family sucks all the joy out of it by complaining about the menu. 

I'm not a socialite. Usually, I feel like I'm on the outside of "the circle," but, that's okay. Most of the time, anyway. I've always been on the outside and I'm comfortable there. Except when I'm not. Then, it's tough.

I'm not a famous blogger. Once, I thought that someday I might be. Now, I just write because I like to and because it makes me feel better. It helps me sort through all the crazy thoughts in my brain. It has given me friends and an outlet; a hobby. It has taught me a lot about the internet, social media, myself, other people, and truth. It hasn't given me fame and it most likely never will. I've accepted that and decided that, maybe, fame isn't all it's cracked up to be anyway.

I'm not a perfect mother. I yell and get frustrated. I give up too easily on fighting some of the daily, minute battles with my kids. I don't orchestrate "quality time" as often as I should. I nag about insignificant things. But, I love my kids fiercely and I can assure you, you do not want to awaken the Mama Bear in me. I'm extremely proud of the people my girls are becoming and I'd like to think that I have just a little something to do with all that. 

I'm not a perfect wife. I sometimes harbor resentment silently and I forget to say thank you for all that he does. I frequently ask for a foot rub and rarely return the favor. I scoff when he tells me I'm beautiful. But, he's my best friend and I am wildly in love with him. All the time. Even when I don't say it or show it.

I'm not a perfect person. I'm flawed and I have weaknesses abounding, but I am a child of God, wonderfully and fearfully made, despite - or, perhaps, encompassing - all my imperfections. 

It's funny, sometimes, what things come together in a writer's mind to inspire something. 

A couple weeks ago, I had a conversation with one of my daughters about not always seeing the glass half-empty, because she always tends to focus on the negatives. However, after dropping her off at a tutoring session one afternoon and taking a little time to go walk around a park by myself, I found myself doing exactly the thing I had tried to discourage in her. I'm pretty good at seeing the glass half-FULL, until it comes to myself. Then, I have a habit of focusing on the negative and, as I walked that day, I found myself silently berating the person I see when I look in the mirror. 

As I attempted to re-direct my thoughts, I remembered two things. One was a sign I had recently seen in a local donut shop. It looks something like this:

The other was a song called, All The things We've Never Done. In it, a husband laments all the things he and his wife have never done (traveling, building a mansion, etc.) as they celebrate an anniversary. The wife, however, celebrates all the things they've never done (being unfaithful, lying, etc.). It's a beautiful song that I heard many, many years ago, but have never forgotten. (It's so old, I couldn't find a video with lyrics, but you can listen here.)

As I walked that day, my mind swirled and whirled with the all of these thoughts - the song, the sign, and my listing of all my shortcomings. Eventually, my list began to include some "buts" and some positivity. The list above is what was hurriedly typed into the Notes app on my phone - in a shorthand version that took me a while to re-decipher. 

There's a lot of things I'm not, but that's alright because what I'm not leaves space for all the things I am. It's taken a full 40 years with lots of ups and downs for me to get here, but I'm finally beginning to accept myself for who I am - and who I'm not. Sometimes I slip back into old habits and I need a sign, a song, a blog post, or something else to remind me that I am just exactly what I'm supposed to be - and that who I am is actually not so bad. 

Thi post seems to strike a chord with many people and it inspired this week's Finish the Sentence Friday topic! Join me & Kristi or Finding Ninee in finishing the sentence "All the things I'm not . . ."

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