Tuesday, May 24, 2011

People and Things That Are Not That Strange

1)Sheldon, from "The Big Bang Theory" - examples:
A)He has "bus pants". So? I used to have a "bus coat" that protected me from bus germs. Have you ever BEEN on a bus? Filthy.
B) He has a "spot" on the couch. So? So do most people. Most people just don't have the guts to kick people ouf of their spots.
C) While trying to make date conversation (with Leonard's date Stephanie) he proposes the topic "Alternate history: How would the Civil War have been different if Abraham Lincoln were a robot?". If someone ever proposed this topic to me on a date, I would propose marriage to him, immediately, and we would spend our long, fascinating lives together.
D) He chastises Penny for sleeping on the couch incorrectly, because she faces away from the door, making herself vulnerable to people breaking into the apartment. Ummm....he's absolutely right. Everyone knows that you don't sleep facing away from the door. How COULD you sleep facing away from the door? Is that even possible to do for a full night?

2)Lisbeth Salander from "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" series - examples:
A)She is quiet and introverted. So? Lots of people are quiet and introverted. It doesn't mean she's "weird" or that she has Asperger's. So she doesn't go around with a fake smile on her face all day. So? She's not in a Miss America pageant....so yeah...
B)She has her own moral compass, and understands that morality and the law are not the same thing. Ummmm...that's called "being an adult" and "having a moral compass". As an adult, you are supposed to be able to think for yourself and determine the difference between right and wrong ON YOUR OWN. You aren't SUPPOSED to just accept that if it's illegal it's bad, and if it's legal it's good. Otherwise we would still have legal wife beatings and brown people would be banned from public restrooms.
C)She wears punk clothes, is skinny and short, and dyes her hair black. Uh, don't most girls go through this phase at one point or another? Hmmm...maybe not in Sweden? Because it's really not so strange here in America.
D) She is a computer hacking genius. Well good for her! That makes her smart and skilled, but not "weird" or "crazy".
E) She tried to kill her father. Well, good for her! He just beat her mother so badly that she had permanent brain damage. What would you do in a situation like that? Probably the same exact thing - most of us would. How was she supposed to protect herself and her family,when the police were unable/unwilling to restrain him or help her? Since no one was willing to save her, she had to save herself. Not strange.

3)Jacob from "House Rules".
His social skills coach tells him that on his date to the school dance, he's supposed to ask questions like "What colleges are you visiting?" and avoid topics like "the farm in TN where researchers can study bodies in different stages of decay". Um, really? Because I would much rather be on a date with the "dead body farm guy" then the "What's your major going to be?" guy.

4)Mike Tyson biting the ear of Evander Holyfield.
So? They were fighting. The point is to win, yes?

5)The mad wife from "Jane Eyre".
If my husband locked me in a room with a drunk and wouldn't let me out, I'd probably get violent too. I may even try to set the place on fire. And I would be angry if he started courting the governess under my nose, while I was locked up with the drunk. I don't feel her actions are all that irrational. In fact, I almost wrote a novel from the mad wife's point of view, and then discovered that it had already been done. :(

Those are just a few. I had some other ones, but I forgot them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Following My Bliss Like a Dirty Hippie

Fair warning: this blog won't be that funny. Unless you find my existential angst funny.

So after much thought, I think I've decided to go to yoga teacher training, and become a yoga teacher. I would specialize in restorative yoga and maybe chair yoga as well. I've been doing yoga for years now, and it makes me happy, and I think a career in yoga would make me happier still. So, here are my decision making lists:

Reasons Why I Am Not Suited to an Office Job
1)the constant shoe wearing

2)I dislike being bossed around and taking orders. Actually, "dislike" is a pretty weak term for my feelings regarding subservience. Unless you are God, you don't get to boss me around, because you are not superior to me. I feel I am perfectly capable of making my own decisions, organizing my own work day, and generally handling my business. I fully admit that I have a somewhat immature resentment of human authority figures, but in all honesty, I have no desire to remedy this character flaw. Instead, I just want to be my own boss.

Do you see why this is a problem for me, since I work in an office environment?

3) I hate customer service. This is not to be confused with hating people. I generally like people. But not when I have to serve them, and especially when I have to serve them in ways that don't matter at all in the grand scheme of things.

4)I'm a "big picture" person. Office work requires excessive attention to mundane details. It makes me want to jam a fork in my eye to relieve the tedium.

5)Office chit-chat - not a fan.

6) Offices are bland, horribly dull places with white walls, excessive air conditioning, ugly gray machinery, constant phone ringing, monochromatic color palettes, and ugly carpets. It's the kind of environment that is only conducive to depression and/or self mutilation.

7) Office equipment and cubicles are designed for people of average size, and those of us who are not average sized are essentially told on a daily basis that we should just fuck off and join a traveling freak show already.

Basically, I just don't have the temperament to sit in an office all day doing boring things.

Reasons Why I Should Be a Yoga Instructor:

1)I am passionate about yoga, particularly bringing it to underserved populations, like people in wheelchairs, the elderly and the obese. I think I would be really good at that.

2)No shoes required!

3)I can be my own boss and make my own schedule!

4)I love yoga studios. I love the high, airy ceilings, the beautiful paint colors that range from crisp, sky blues to rich, deep reds and oranges. I love the smooth wooden floors and the large, clean windows. I even love the smells of patchouli and lavender that are, you know, everywhere. This environment is conducive to things like happiness, relaxation and calm.

5)I like the idea of helping people with anxiety problems. Restorative yoga is one of the best ways to deal with excessive anxiety - I know, because it certainly helped me.

6)As a yoga instructor, I would get to travel to attend retreats and trainings. Sometimes to really cool places like Bali and Hawaii. (A lot seem to be in Thailand, as well, but of course I would never go to Thailand. No trip to Thailand ever goes well. It's always diarrhea, injuries and unjust imprisonment. But that's another story.)

7) It would really cut down on my own stress levels, which are always too high.

8) It would benefit my health as well.

9) When I have kids, I can easily arrange my schedule to accommodate them.

10) Maybe someday I can renovate my garage and turn it into my own little yoga studio! I would decorate it like a Persian harem with big Oriental rugs and plush pillows and swords mounted on the walls and filmy scarves draped all over everything! OR, I would do a totally Zen-Japanese garden style studio with lots of minimalist flat surfaces, and like, a bonsai tree in the corner! So fantastic! I would make a beautiful sanctuary for my clients, where they could come and just be happy and free and relaxed for a while.

So yeah, we shall see. A lot of my plans have fizzled out lately, so lets hope this one works out. Because I'm running out of ideas.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Battle Hymn of the House Cat Mother

There are many different "types" of mothers. As Phil and I get older, I feel more and more like I should be having babies NOW, and so I have to start thinking about what type of mother I want to be. This is harder than it sounds.

I certainly know what kind of mother I don't want to be. I don't want to be abusive or neglectful. I don't want to be a mean awful bitch. I don't want to be one of those permissive "friend" moms who give their kids liquor and weed because "experimenting is healthy" and "it's better for them to do it at home, where I know they're safe". (I see these kinds of shoddy reasonings simply as rationalizations for lazy parenting. Just admit that you're lazy and don't want the job of "parent". It's more honorable than trying to slap some sketchily drawn up ideology onto it.) I don't want to be one of those sickly sweet moms who makes you feel like you're drowning in maple syrup by saying things like "Angels are the sunshine that bring smiles to our hearts" or "There are no stupid questions".

But knowing what I don't want to be is only half the battle. I have to know what I DO want to be. The problem is, what I would like to be is a "perfect" mom. The problem is "perfect" moms have to be EVERYTHING. They have to be strong, yet kind. Independent, yet willing to sacrifice everything for their children. They have to supportive and nurturing. They have to be good at keeping things sanitized, and they have to attend all their kids' events and they have to puree organic baby food and help them with their homework.

I'm not cut out to be a "perfect" mom. I am strong and kind, but my kindness is often hidden, and I'm not always good at expressing it. Quite frankly, I wouldn't be willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING for my children. A lot, but not all. I'm very bad at comforting. Ask anyone I've tried to comfort. I would only be supportive if I thought my kids were making good decisions. If I felt they were making bad decisions, I could not stand by and let it happen. A lot of parents feel that they should allow their children to make their own mistakes, and I see their points, but I myself intend to prevent my children from making as many mistakes as I can, at least until they're 21 and are safely out of the "retard" phase of psychological development. I hate watching sporting events and school concerts. No matter how much I want to, I will never be a "perfect" mom. I don't have what it takes.

So I did what no doubt you all expected me to do. I started reading parenting books to try to find the best strategies for raising children. For instance, I highly recommend "Nurtureshock" if you are a parent or are considering having children. Mind blowing! I read "My Life in 23 Yoga Poses" to learn how to be an enlightened, intellectual mother, and realized that I'm not cut out for Seattle-Bohemian-Bourgeouis parenting either. I would never send my kids to a co-op school where they play make-believe all day in unwashed dress up clothes. Ewww.

But I did find one type of motherhood that I feel I can achieve. And I found it in the most horrifying of all places. That's right. "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom".

To be a "tiger mom" or "Chinese mother" (the author uses the terms interchangeably) you need the following skills: 1) An ability to suppress your tender emotions 2)Obsessive personality traits 3)A knowledge that patronizing children and treating them like cute little monsters does nothing to encourage their development. 4) A mean streak 5) A fierce, fanatical love that will do anything - ANYTHING - to make sure your loved ones are happy and successful. Even if it means they hate you in the short term. You aren't trying to win their friendship. You're trying to maintain their respect for you. 6) Knowledge that your kids aren't as psychologically fragile as American society makes them out to be. They can work just as hard as adults can; harder even because they have more energy.

I have all of these traits. Which is not to say that I am 100% suited to the tiger mom role. For instance, I don't know that I could ever punish my child for coming in second in an essay contest. Nor do I think I could punish my children for writing a bad eulogy for their dead grandmother. When it comes to things like that, I know that I don't have what it takes.

But could I make my kid practice violin 3 hours a day? Could I painstakingly write pages and pages of practice homework for them to do, drilling them to make sure they know their vocabulary and times tables backwards and forwards? Could I make SURE that they enter kindergarten knowing how to read, play an instrument, speak rudimentary French and do basic math? You bet I could. It would be harder for me NOT to do those things. Psycho? Perhaps. Will my kids hate me? Absolutely. But they will also be successful, and fully aware of the fact that they are capable of accomplishing anything with the tools I have given them.

I'm not saying I'm going to be a full on tiger mom. As I said, I don't have what it takes. I don't honestly think I could reject a card my kids made for me for my birthday because they didn't put any effort into it, nor would I drag them to music stores for practice sessions while we are on vacation. But it's the parenting style that best suits my natural abilities, frankly. So maybe the compromise is to be a "house cat" mom. Not quite as vicious as the tiger, but of the same family of animals/mothers. As long as I don't wind up being a "guppy" mom or a "hamster" mom, I'll be satisfied.

But then again, I said I was going to be really strict with my puppy too. My soft, sappy, hidden heart is my downfall.