Supah Dupah Quick Update

i haven’t forgotten you, my faithful readers!

it was important to me to drop in and let you know what’s been happening. the book writing has been intense. i have been consolidating everything i have written in the past…pfff…eight years? it’s been a mess, but it’s getting there. i’m also working on my last two chapters and getting started on interviews. after that, revising some old chapters. after that? editing, editing, editing. i was getting discouraged, but it may very well be possible that i will be finishing this book in december like i had hoped. i have an incredible feeling of empowerment and optimism.

i really must get back to working (baby-free! can you believe it?! thank you, grandmas out there who make dreams happen!). as far as progress, it’s coming together.

oh! and i am pleased to announce that i will be creating a new twitter account for my new book. less mommy tweets, but more geared towards the economy, my generation, the job market, and education. all things related to my soon-to-be real live book! once i get it all designed and whatnot, i will let you know what my handle is :-). and i would love for you to follow me through this journey! woo hoo!

will check in again later! wish me luck! four months to go and counting down until completion!

-j

meeting strangers

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joining the mom community is all about putting yourself out there and meeting new people. connecting. finding friends for your little one, which pretty much feels like dating all over again. looking for mom friends isn’t easy. in general, talking to strangers isn’t easy. you’re vulnerable, it’s awkward, and you may end up making a fool of yourself. but i decided to just dive right in. but not in the way that i probably should have. here is a blurp of an email i sent my good friend, erin, recently of an encounter that went not at all how i had hoped… enjoy :).

“let me set the scene. i am at a play space on the third floor of the mall.

jake is off playing on what looks like a watermelon, but is really a fish.
i sit next to a grandma smiling at him.
“what is that supposed to be?” i point at the watermelon/fish.
she shakes her head apologetically. waves her hands helplessly, “italiano.”
“oh!”
for some reason, i am possessed by this overwhelming feeling of enthusiasm and determination to let this woman know that i adore italy so i attempt to speak completely indecipherable italian to her.
“permiso!” i cry out, robustly, the first word that comes into my brain. which means, excuse me.
“ah!” she nods approvingly. “permiso,” she repeats with a smile, approving of what i am assuming is my accent.
“excusi!” i continue, which means, excuse me.
again, she nods her head, repeats, “excusi.”
“si!” i throw out there, hoping that i’m not reverting to spanish. luckily, it turns out “yes” is actually “si” in italian.
there’s a pause.
“toilete!” i say with a proud flourish. i just said “toilet” to the woman. i should have stopped here but i didn’t.
she gestures over to jacob, who has a glazed look on his face. perhaps he senses his mother’s idiocy. she ticks off her fingers, and i quickly guess she is asking how old he is.
i hold up a very erect finger, “ONE.” i say, in a bold tone that should only be reserved for the hearing impaired, not for foreigners.
“un ano!” she says with a smile.
“and…AND DUE!” i say excitedly, holding up again, two very erect fingers. the grandmother looks confused again, looking between my fingers and jacob. now i can see what she is thinking. “but you just say he was one year old….”
“oh!” i say suddenly, “un, due…and…THREE!” i desperately hold up three fingers, hoping she understands that for god knows what reason, i am attempting to count to the woman in italian, which is utterly pointless because, well….i DON’T KNOW ITALIAN.
“due ano?” she looks bewildered.
“no…” i say despairingly…”un ano….” she looks stumped.
in one last attempt, i say, “rome?”
nope, nothing.
“the pope?”
nothing.
she calls over her kids to come translate, speaking rapid italian, which i’m pretty sure means, “kids, come over and tell me what this crazy lady is saying!”
three girls gather around me, and i begin to feel nervous.
“how do you say rome in italian?” i ask timidly.
“how am i supposed to know? i’m only half italian.”
well crap.
suddenly, i remember! “ROMA!”
i turn to the grandma. “ROMA ES BELLISIMO!”
“bella?” she offered.
“si…” i say again.
i finally shut up and pretend to take pictures of jake as i slump away totally humiliated.
so here is my lesson….if you don’t speak the language, don’t even try…..just don’t do it…..”
but really…what is my lesson? just dust yourself off and try again. meeting new people is all about making an idiot out of yourself and being okay with that.

have a little faith

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when i was in basic training, i quickly learned that the best thing i could do for myself is to be observant and watch as others made their mistakes to ensure i didn’t make the same ones. while others got chewed out by t.i.s screaming inches away from their faces, saliva flying, i modeled good behavior.

what i never thought is that i had it easy in basic training. you always had someone else making your mistakes. as a mother, you have to actually live through your mistakes and learn from yourself. suddenly, you’re responsible for this little being. another life other than your own. and it’s terrifying to know that everything you do factors into shaping this little person’s future, their well-being, their stigmas about themselves, other people, culture, environment–everything. how could we be given such an enormous responsibility? is there anything more delicate, more fragile, than a human life?

us women were given this awesome gift. and we doubt ourselves. oh, do we know how to doubt. but us women are made of resilient stuff. just unbelievable strength. we are programmed for this. so while we doubt, while we second guess…we are actually continually functioning on a subconscious, maternal level. because we have our instincts. we will always know what’s best for our little ones. because although the cord was cut, there is still a connection with the person that sweetly slept inside our bellies for the precious time they were there. us mothers know best. we just need the confidence that we do.

 

announcement!

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okay, all…

i have come to accept that being a mom, blogger, and writer isn’t going to happen for me. therefore, i am taking a brief (but temporary!) hiatus from my blog. take note, friends. i will be back shortly. i need the time to focus on my book, because i’m starting to get discouraged that i’m not making any real progress on it other than writing it in my head.

so you may get the occasional blog post, but i will be absent for an extended period of time. i won’t be MIA for months, just a few weeks or so to get my book some real direction. some of you may appreciate this move i am making, as you have perhaps had a similar a-ha moment. i am realizing that i need to prioritize and i really can’t get everything done simultaneously. and i definitely don’t feel bad about that. i’m only human.

and on a side note, i will be working on my blog’s remodel. as you may know, i already gave it a makeover just recently, but I’m really not content with it. so make sure to check back sometime and bask in it’s awesomeness. don’t forget about me! because i sure as heck won’t forget about you…BUT, i will be on twitter. so reach out! say hello!

wish me luck!

-joan

redefining yourself past “SAHM”

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becoming a mother is all about redefining yourself. with these mom communities i’ve been joining online and in my neighborhood, i find that several of us have fallen into the trap of including “mom” in our introductions–but not in the way that you think. yes, it our roles, but i’ve actually forgotten what it’s like to introduce myself beyond what i do at home. i am a writer. it’s so sad that i feel as if i’ve lost a bit of my identity now that i’ve become a mom. i’m really not giving myself enough credit and selling myself short when i simply say, oh i stay at home with the baby. i’m a writer, dangit! i’ve struggled the past year with balancing writing and the baby, and trust me–it’s no easy feat. i would say the baby is winning bar none in that battle. i have had zero time to write, and any time i have during nap time is used to clean, eat, do laundry, unwind, and gather whatever sanity i have left.

the label “stay at home mom” is one i get stuck with. however, i am much more than this. it says so much, to be called a SAHM, and there so much negative connotation. not to mention so much controversy online on whether it is an actual “job”. yes, you’re right, we don’t get paid for it. but that’s really beyond the point that everyone is missing. the point is, what the message is trying to get across, is that it is challenging, and it is a time-consuming commitment that is sufficiently demanding, just as much a as a “real job.” i mean, holy balls, what is everyone getting so heated over? is that really undeniable? everyone says, it’s a lifestyle choice. well, yeah, it is. we chose to bust our butts over our kids and budget versus having to bust our butts over our jobs that give us a sufficient income, AND coming home exhausted only to try and squeeze in time with our kids. they’re both equally difficult decisions, and both involve sacrifices. both parties deserve parades. SAHMs AND working moms alike. no one has it easy. hopefully we can all learn to agree on that instead of pointing fingers and thinking of ourselves as martyrs because we think our choices were better. as long as you believe in the choice you’ve made, who cares what other people think. am i right?

on a side note, it leaves me stumped when people ask me what my tyical day is. this really grinds my gears. my frustration isn’t directed at anyone, it’s just that whatever answer i give, it’s totally unsatisfying. and my answer never justifies how i spend my time or fully captures my life. i don’t have a itemized list of what i do during the day. and when i try to explain, i can see it from the looks on their faces, it takes all day to do that? i want to laugh. yes, to entertain a child, it does. it takes a circus, all the energy of the cast of “rent”, a fireworks display…and yes, i do dance in front of my bewildered child and sing like I was gene kelley. all in a day’s work. i guess why it bothers me is that i’m not doing any SAHMs justice when i give crap answers to this question. because it perpetuates the idea that we just sit at home idly. when in reality, i need to be real and say that everything i say i do throughout the day, also picture a baby screaming/pulling on your leg/whining for your attention/etc. that prompts several interruptions. so yes, i have become the multi-tasking champ. so there’s that. then that’s as accurate as i can get without you actually sitting in on a day. and in that case, if you do, be ready to dance.

please see awesomest twitter post here by @mom_community.

 

we are the lucky ones.

so, recently now that i’ve returned to seattle, i’ve naturally been spending a ton of time with my childhood best friend. i’m not on Facebook, but she is such a doll, she keeps me updated if there’s anything worth keeping updated about.

two days ago, a sound startled me as i was standing in the kitchen. josh looked astonished, as he turned his head around to look out the window. while he was sitting on the couch, a bird had flown into our window. josh immediately looked concerned, and told me how it’s a terrible omen, that someone was going to die. i mean, i never believe in this sort of thing. even in the supernatural, i believe things only have the power you give it. however, i felt really shaken. josh continued to tell me that his family is really superstitious about birds particularly, since every single time it has happened, someone has died. in order not to panic, i just shoved the thought out of my head.

later that evening, i got a text message from my best friend. a mass message on Facebook had gone out. a kid i had known since middle school had passed away. he was binge drinking, passed out and aspirated his vomit. the lack of oxygen to his brain had caused major swelling and eventually, his family chose to pull him off life support. i got the message after he had gone.

i’m not trying to scare you. i’m not trying to convince you to believe in omens. the bird in the window, i’ll admit, was a freaky coincidence. but really, my message is this: we are the lucky ones. we all graduate high school, so excited to begin our lives. we have so much opportunity ahead of us. we’re not looking at the seat next to us, wondering if that person is going to make it through to their wedding day, to having kids, to seeing their kids grow up. no. all we see is our invincibility. our immortality. because to us young kids, youth is power. but when the years wane on, and our hopes begin to dwindle, we begin to see life for what it really is. some of us will fight on for whatever we believe in; a cause, a job, a family. but some of us won’t have that chance. my ten year reunion is next year. there will be one less student attending. i hate thinking about that. it is moments like these that i realize how lucky i am. i have my family. my health. their health. and really, that is all we have. be thankful for life itself. because we are not invincible.

if you know anyone who has passed away too young, please take this moment to commemorate their lives by counting your blessings. thanks for reading.

pause to think…

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lots of hard lessons this week, guys.

highlights…watched the documentary “spent:looking for change” on youtube.com. it’s a super short film, 40 minutes, but what it will do to your insight is well worth it. it just hurt my heart, what these families are struggling through. i was reading a lot of the comments, and holy crap, some of them are just so negative. everyone deserves an opportunity at a future! we live in a great country founded by the idea that no one is beneath receiving assistance. this whole bitter idea that we deserve what we have coming just disgusts me. not everyone who gets dealt a bad card deserved what they had. autism, cancer…i mean, seriously? bleh. reading the comments on youtube always make me lose a little bit of faith in humanity. sigh.

anyways, also recognized this week that the mom community can be a bit competitive. a bit judgmental. but you know what? we all go through the same struggles. really, we should all reach out and grow a little closer knowing that we are not alone. even the mothers who are now grandmothers. generational gaps should not automatically equate to a inevitable gap in communication. we should all try to understand each other a bit more. but that’s just my two cents. which is probably worth nothing to some. but that’s okay. just venting here…

on a lighter note, iggy azalea’s “i’m so fancy” spoof video done by what’s up moms (youtube channel here) got a lot of nods in the mom community. woo hoo! love, love, love. if you want a good laugh, click on “i’m so pregnant.” i don’t know about you, but i could use a good laugh.

seattle pacific university’s shooting has been all over the headlines. i was actually downtown during the shooting which gives me a cold pit in my stomach. one student did not survive his injury. god, it just fires me up. since when were school shootings the norm? it shouldn’t be that as a parent, you get more and more terrified bringing your child up in this world. with the technological advances, the advances in science and medicine, the world should be becoming a safer place. it just really hits close to home. and the student who wrestled the shooter into submission deserves a freakin’ medal. i’m so proud of him. but really…is it just a tradeoff? in so many ways, this world is getting better. we are becoming more environmentally aware, especially in seattle, which is so awesome that we are now thinking of how we can make this world better for our children. but with this, there are outbreaks of violence and crime. i know, i know, if i were to look at a chart, statistically i’m sure crime has decreased over time, but this doesn’t reassure my troubled heart. i think i just feel this way right now because it seems we are taking good news with the bad. deployed soldiers are watching their babies being born over Skype (omg so wonderful, by the way,) while shootings are happening in their hometown schools.

sorry for the random post, people. i just feel so conflicted today. my thoughts are with the falcons and to the brave students last week.