Several months ago when I decided to begin a new blog that focused more on my photography than my writing I wasn't quite ready to give up my Sweet Life blog. Having two blogs would mean I could move forward and still hold on. It's been difficult for me to decide to end this blog. It has meant so much to me. It's introduced me to new friends. It's offered empowerment I've never experienced before. It's given me a place to share my story. The thing that makes it most difficult is that so much of my identity as a blogger is tied up in this blog. My name in this great big blogging world is connected to la vie en rose. And my heart and soul are burried in these posts. That's not an easy thing to walk away from. It's like starting over. It's like entering a witness protection program. It's like breaking up with a lover, one you still feel very connected to. Even though there's nothing really wrong with the relationship you know its just time to move on. You've outgrown it. It's served it's purpose and now it's time for what's been waiting for who you've been becoming. But I think I'm finally ready to say good bye and to focus solely on my Tangled Wings blog. As hard as it's been to make this decision it also seems like an appropriate one.
When I began blogging I had no idea what I wanted or where it would take me. I settled on the first name that came to mind and a blog was born. But that's been over two years ago and since that time I've changed. My voice has become stronger. My writing has become more confident. My photography has blossomed. All that growth deserves a new blog, a blog that is more reflective of where I am now and the authenticity I want to lend to my blogging. In a sense moving permanently to my Tangled Wings blog is an act of ownership. I am owning my blogging. A Sweet Life was a name I randomly decided upon. Tangled Wings was birthed directly from my poetry. While A Sweet Life has certainly served me well and while my truth and my vision is apparent in every post Tangled Wings seems to belong more to me. It seems a little more mine. At Tangled Wings I can really plant my voice and my vision deeply into my life and let them take root. Tangled Wings is a place where my purpose can be authenticity as opposed to popularity.
So with bittersweet farewells and many glances over my shoulder, not to mention kisses flung from my fingertips into the air, I say goodbye to A Sweet Life. And it truly has been the sweetest. But remember I'm not giving up blogging. I'm just moving on. I'm choosing to own my blogging by creating a blog that is more truly reflective of who I am right now. You can still witness the untangling of my wings at Tangled Wings...the blog. Click here to find me.
This may end up being one of those posts that borders on being a little too personal. But if we never talk about the truly personal then how do we know we aren't alone, how do we let others know we've struggled with the same issues? So I'm gonna take that risk...
Lately I've been dealing with some issues regarding aging--dreams, responsibilities, letting go, holding on, the body, the emotions, the becoming...and yes, I'll admit it, one of the big issues I've been wrestling with is sex. Now those of you who are older are going to read this post and snicker at me and that's okay. But hey, remember when you were my age? It's hard to see into the future and get a clear image of how things will or will not be. Those of you who are closer to my age will hopefully read this post and will either feel encouraged or will offer me a bit of encouragement by letting me know you're on this journey as well. I've been having some extreme worries, bordering on near panic, about sex and the aging process. As silly as this may sound to some of you please know that for me this has been very real. I have been exploring the idea of aging and I've had moments when I've been scared that my time of having sex is coming to an end...slowly but surely. Sure I'm only 34 but you know as well as I do that you're 34 one day and 64 the next. It's only a matter of time. And at the end of that time line is a dried up, passionless, sexless me...and I haven't been dealing with that very well...not well at all. In fact it would probably be fair to say I've been downright depressed about it...and slightly bitchy because I tend to get bitchy when it comes to a lack of sex...or even just the idea of a lack of sex. I mean how do you begin to come to terms with the things you may be giving up as part of the aging process...especially if you really love those things and don't want to give them up?
Well, those were my thoughts before yesterday's episode of Oprah.
Monday morning I noticed that Tuesday's episode was titled 237 Reasons to Have Sex. I immediately knew I had to watch that episode. With everything I've been thinking about and tossing around lately I knew I needed anything and everything that would affirm and encourage my sexuality. A lovely girlfriend and I took the entire day off yesterday, doing fun girl things and eating delicious food, and we ended our day on my couch watching Oprah together. By the time the episode was over I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my chest, a weight that had been crushing my ribs, restricting my breathing (and my vision), and causing sheer panic. The episode was about current sexual trends in America. As part of the episode Oprah interviewed women, including a couple of sex therapists, who are in their 60s (and then some) who claim they are having the best sex of their lives, that their 20s had nothing on this. Hearing those women's stories and their laughter was exactly what I needed. And let me tell you those women sharing their stories were absolutely radiant and empowered and dare I say happy beyond belief. I may wish I hadn't said this tomorrow but here it is--I firmly believe that women who have good sex can change the world. Those gorgeous, radiant 60+ women on Oprah yesterday only strengthened that philosophy. Honey I have no doubt that every single woman Oprah talked with could rock this world...and are by agreeing to share their stories on national television so the rest of us who are scared and doubtful (like myself) can take heart and breathe easier and feel their hope restored.
I've thought long and hard about the philosophy I shared in the above paragraph--the one about good sex and changing the world. I believe this because one of the things tied into having good sex is connecting to yourself, listening to yourself, learning about yourself, being willing to ask for what you want, being brave enough to make yourself vulnerable, being strong enough to share all those parts and pieces with another human being, and being open enough to enter similar parts and pieces of another human being. There is something extremely empowering about being willing and able to take that journey into a healthy and satisfying sexuality. And if you can do that, and god knows it isn't easy, and there's rejections, and mistakes, and blunders, and bad judgment, and hits and misses, and dry spells, and all the other fun and not so fun stuff that comes with sexuality, if you can find that empowerment and ownership and pleasure, if you can embrace the strength that comes with that journey then you have not only learned valuable life skills but you feel the freedom, power, courage, self-assuredness, and raw audacity it takes to change the world one little step after another.
Yesterday's episode of Oprah was over before I knew it but I could have sat in front of the TV for hours and listened to more stories from these fabulous women because I love it when women are open enough to share the very private but real pieces of their lives. When the credits rolled I turned to my lovely friend and said, god I feel so good now. And I did. And I still do. There are little fears and worries (okay sometimes their actually pretty damn big) that come with aging but when other women who have already been there and done that share what it can be like if you choose to claim and create the life you want and need it can truly alleviate some of those fears and worries. And hey, if those women are right, if they really are having the best sex of their lives, then it could actually make you want to speed up the aging process just so you can get to the good stuff a little faster.
*i couldn't resist using the image above because today I am a much happier girl...
You stand at the edge overlooking the sea the sound of the tide like the earth's soft breathing: inhale, exhale--the earth's heart never stops. One step forward and you could easily slip from your life taking with you your wild brown eyes which always look a little sad but also seem so safe. Some days you would like to have the courage to close your eyes and let yourself fall. You would like to be that brave. You would like to believe you have wings, and if you ever did let go, if you ever did crash or fly I promise I would write poems about you, poems I'd collect and hide in the dark, tucked under my dreams. I could write you a better life and breathe it into your shattered bones. I could write for you stories you'd forgotten to read and tie them like ribbons to the feathers of your wings.
There are times when you can't go home, times when you can't look back. We all want to believe in our better selves, in our ability to forgive and trust and love, we all want to be brave like that. But we're all a little broken, we're all a little lost. I write a poem for your broken pieces, for the pieces of you that lost their voice but still hide in the puddles in your eyes. They ask what this poem is about. I say it's about the way we love each other, betray each other, forget each other, forget ourselves. It's about the relationships we tumble through trying to untangle our truth and how the people we choose to dance with break us, rip us apart, push us to places where we don't recognize ourselves, leave us holding questions that have no answers that we collect like stones and wear loosely around our necks. It's about how one look reminds us we're small and weak and how somewhere in the middle of all that dancing we find the one mystery that holds us together: the very ones that break us also heal us, they take us to the edge there we find a whole new world with stories to be written in our dreams, we look into their eyes and our reflections are shadows so large they touch the sky. We dance and remember every partner has the potential to help us find our way whole.
Today when you stand miles above the sea and even more miles away from me, and when you listen to the silence of the earth's soft breathing, when you're brown eyes search the horizon for the courage you feel you lack, when you step and fall not knowing how the story will end, if by chance you slip into that place of forgetting who you truly are remember once we danced and be assured I am collecting your broken pieces and writing poems about all your scars.
For a short work week it's been a really, really long week. I've had terrible insomnia all week waking at ridiculous hours like 4 in the morning. Not to mention I had blood work and my yearly exam this week. Not fun. So what could be better on a cloudy, humid Friday night than a big bowl of creamy tomato soup and a cute romantic comedy.
Earlier in the summer I asked all of you for your lists of favorite lighthearted movies, those comedies that leave you in stitches, those romantic ones that leave you swooning, those movies you love for no other reason than they just make you feel good. For weeks now I've been wanting to write a response post in which I told all of you what my favorite choices are but I just never made the time. Tonight, while I'm on the couch under an afghan, it seemed like the perfect night to share a few of my faves.
The list all of you compiled in the comments of this post were fabulous. Many of the ones you mentioned are favorites of mine as well--Amelie, Love Actually, Something's Gotta Give, Mad Hot Ballroom, Some Like It Hot, Sabrina (both of them), The Royal Tenenbaums, Practical Magic... And I was glad to see Spanglish mentioned so many times because it is one of my I-love-it-so-much-I-have-to-own-it movies. Here are some more (sorry, no links, I'm too tired)...
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton--I just recently discovered this movie and I've got to say I love it. It just makes me feel good. And that Topher Grace is just too cute for words. A few weeks after seeing this movie for the first time I found myself standing in line at Hastings purchasing my own copy, you know, so I can watch it anytime I want to.
Comedies that really crack me up (and I'm not sure which one is my favorite because I love them all so much):
Bottle Rocket--my favorite movies in the world are the Wes Anderson/Owen Wilson movies. They are just so witty...in a dry kind of way. Bottle Rocket could be my favorite but I don't know because I also love...
Rushmore--Max Fisher. Oh, Max Fisher. One of my all time favorite movie characters.
Old School--this movie makes me laugh until I can't breathe.
Home Fries--dark and delicious
The Matador--it's been awhile since I've seen this one...better put it on the Netflix queue
Sweet and Touching and Wonderful:
The Family Stone--I watch this movie even when it isn't Christmas
About a Boy--definitely my favorite Hugh Grant movie
Dear Frankie---but beware, you might sniffle a little
The Station Agent--just plain wonderful
Return to Me--this one just makes me happy
Never Been Kissed--well, now I like it. The first time I saw it I was going through a divorce and at the end of the movie I went straight to the theater bathroom and cried in the stall.
Little Miss Sunshine--why don't I own this one yet?
Unforgettable Characters I Can't Get Enough of:
Benny and Joon--Johnny Depp as a Buster Keaton type character...perfect!
What About Bob--"baby steps on to the elevator"
The Teen Scene--I'm not a bit teen movie fan but there are a few...
10 Things I Hate About You--it's that scene when Heath Ledger sings You're Just Too Good to be True on the school bleachers...adorable...
okay, I guess there's only one
And You May Remember the Movie that Inspired a Post:
Just Like Heaven
The Three Most Watched Movies in our Home:
Pirates of the Caribbean 1--we're big Captain Jack fans
Pirates of the Caribbean 2--can you tell I live with little boy
Sleepy Hollow--this one may sound a bit weird but I can't help it. I don't know what it is about this movie but I love it. I love it so much that Trey has banned my watching it when he's around because he's sick of it. I think I have a little crush on Ichabod Crane.
A Few of my Latest Enjoyments:
Kiss,Kiss,Bang,Bang--I'm not a big Val Kilmer fan but he is really good in this
10 Items or Less--Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors
Hairspray--oh my god! I loved it!
My Ultimate All Time Favorite Feel Good Movie:
and the winner is...Chocolat...must be viewed while eating some form of chocolate...or a nice thick slice of key lime pie
It's back to school time for many of us with children...or those of us still in school. While I still have one more year before my child enters the institution we call the educational system we did enroll him in preschool through our local school district and today was his first day at his new school. Last night he reminded me what it used to be like that night before the first day of school. At 10:30 when I headed to bed I passed his room and noticed he was lying in bed still wide awake. This morning he was up at the crack of dawn. So much excitement paired with so much nervousness. Driving to his new school this morning you would have thought it was me that was going to a new school. I probably had just as many butterflies in my stomach as he did...if not more. All those same things I used to worry about as a kid I worried about again, but this time for him. Will he find a friend to talk to? Will he have someone to sit with at lunch? Will he ask to go to the bathroom if he needs to? Will he be okay in this new environment without the children he's been with since he started daycare at the age of 4 months? But you know what? He did just fine. And so did I. I actually made it through the morning without crying. There was a time or two I felt the tears coming, like when he took my hand as we were walking into the building and when he looked so grown up hanging his new backpack and new lunch box in his locker and when I saw another mother crying, but I made it.
Several weeks ago while talking about this upcoming transition with B I wanted to be sure he knew he had permission to be a little scared of all of it. I told him that sometimes when we make changes like this one it can be a little scary. He gave me a puzzled look and asked, "What's scary about it mom?" It was then I realized then that sometimes as parents it's more about our fears than their fears. While I certainly want him to know fear is natural and normal there are times I'm the one who actually invites the fear into the situation. In this case he didn't even realize this was something that might be scary. I was the one who was scared about it.
We will now have a new morning routine. There will be lunches to make in the evenings and posters to make when it's his turn to be star of the week. There will be holiday vacations to prepare for and new friends to get to know. And there will be the drop off and pick up schedules to coordinate in as much detail as possible because this happens to be one of my biggest fears. I was afraid the school wouldn't let me walk B into his classroom every morning to make sure he actually made it to where he belonged. You see when I was his age my mom dropped me off at preschool one morning and because we were late and I was too embarrassed to walk into the classroom I decided to walk home instead of going to class. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember standing at the door, seeing the kids playing and thinking there is no way I was going to walk in and have everyone turn and look at me. So I walked home. Isn't it funny the things we're afraid of sometimes. Fear is definitely an interesting emotion. I had no fear of walking home alone and waiting by myself for one of my parents to get home from work but I was scared to death of the other kids seeing me walk in late. My fears for B were relieved today when I found out I would indeed be able to walk him into his class each morning. I will know he didn't decide to walk home by himself the way I did.
For those of you starting a new school year with your children congratulations and best wishes for a wonderful new year filled with fun events, tons of memories, and lots and lots of learning. Today I celebrate life's changes with you.
A few weeks ago I was standing in line at the grocery store when the cover of a tabloid caught my attention. Now I know I shouldn't let tabloids get to me but this one did. One of the featured articles was about summer's weight loss winners and losers. Images of two famous females were on the cover as an example of a winner and a loser. The winner--Jessica Simpson in a bathing suit on the beach. The loser--Kelly Clarkson walking down the street looking a little frumpy. What made me angry and sad and a little sick was this tabloid came out right around the same time Kelly Clarkson was coming clean about her struggle with bulimia. She was opening up about her battle with weight and body image and her struggle with self acceptance and because she's trying to learn to be okay with her weight the way it is she was being called a loser. Before leaving the store I noticed another magazine cover, this one featuring a glamorous picture of Kelly Clarkson and beneath it in quotes it said something like, "I'm finally happy with my weight." I hoped this was true. I hoped that the media's relentless insistence that women be super skinny was an issue Ms. Clarkson was learning to ignore in favor of loving herself.
I know the reason this upset me so much really had very little to do with Kelly Clarkson and everything to do with my own weight/body issues. Seeing a fellow bulimic whose fighting to save herself from the voices that can drive one to do unthinkable things to their body being labeled as a weight loss loser because she might be a tab bit heavier than other female celebrities infuriates me...and saddens me. And I hate to admit the truth but it made me feel a little bit like a loser too. After all if Kelly Clarkson can't live up to society's expectations how can I? It truly feels that way at times and I wonder if the day will ever come when my weight actually won't be an issue anymore.
My weight tends to be so intricately tied to my depression. Sadly when I'm thin I'm happier and when I gain a few pounds the sadness begins to grab hold of me again. While there certainly are other factors that impact my struggle with depression I do know that my thoughts and feelings about my body is a big one. Last November/December I had lost some weight and was feeling really good in my body and about myself. You may even remember the sexy red shoes I bought back in January. In February I felt the weight coming back on and the depression sneaking up...and the red shoes went back on the closet shelf and haven't been worn since. It's been awhile since I've felt sexy. Now maybe a sure fire antidote is to pull those red shoes back off the closet shelf. The only problem is I can't fit into any of my jeans so the whole thing just seems to suck all the life right out of me.
What I want to say is, god, releasing all this and trying to just be okay with my weight, no matter what that might be, sometimes feels impossible. It sometimes feels like one of the hardest things I've ever been faced with. I take courage from those who have shared their story of hope, those women who have finally settled into a relationship with themselves where they truly can rest in self acceptance.
I've been in therapy regarding my weight and depression issues off and on since college. When I was younger I used to think that one day something would finally click and my issues with my body would miraculously be healed. I'd read just the right book, find just the right quote, pray just the right prayer, experience just the right experience and a light would flash and I'd be changed forever. Poof! My issues would vanish and I'd live happily ever after. I'm not saying that's not possible but I am saying it's not likely. More than likely this will always be an issue for me. It will always be one of my soft spots, one of those areas that will always need a little healing. I'm starting to learn that our issues are our issues and we'll always carry them and while sudden healing may happen most of the time healing is slow and happens over time...and with a lot of intention. But that's okay because I'm also learning that the more work I put into accepting myself, especially the size and weight of my body, the more those issue loose their power. They may still be there and they may still get stirred up, like when I read about Kelly Clarkson being called a weight loss loser, but those issues don't hold the same power they did at one time. And every time my body image issues start to creep up, bringing with it the depression and the loathing, I'm in a different place with myself because I've changed, I've grown, I've learned a little more since the last time, I've had more life experiences that have empowered and strengthened me, I've build relationships that understand the battle and support me as I struggle to learn to live in my own skin with love and gratitude. It doesn't hurt the way it did when I was a teenager. It doesn't hurt the way it did when I was in my twenties. And I take a leap of faith and believe one day I'll say it doesn't hurt the way it did when I was in my thirties. I want to believe that little by little it will hurt less and less. And little by little I'll learn to live in love and acceptance.