This Will Be My Last Post…

Breathe. This will be my last post, written as a 38 year old.

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Saturday is my birthday. Last year at this time, I had a psychic reading done. It was an emotional experience and I recall her telling me that my New Year’s Day should be celebrated on my birthday day. It is the beginning of a new year, for me.

And this year? Man, am I ever ready to be done with THIS year. It has been a difficult year, more specifically, a difficult 6 months.

It has been a year of greats. Greatest year of loss. Of grief. Of growth. Of curiosity. Of finding purpose. Of productivity. Of creativity. Of dancing, ever so carefully as to not disrupt the balance of things. Crying when I need to cry, screaming when I’m angry, asking for help when I can’t do it on my own. I have lived more life in this year alone than in all of my 37 previous years combined.

I am grateful. I am angry. I am sorrowful. I see more beauty and focus less on the ugly. I try to understand it rather than judge it. I have a long way to go AND I have come a long way.

October 10th will be the one year mark of my working. It’s not a lot of hours but it’s what I can do to feel good about myself and it beats the hell out of being unemployed.

I have survived (thus far) raising a teenager… (and a husband).

I have lost a son and a sister.

I have gained the strength, confidence and trust of strangers because some part of each of our stories intersect.

I moved from a townhouse to an apartment and have actually MET some of my neighbors, as in more than the ONE I knew at the townhouse we lived in for five years.

I started this blog and have written consistently, twice a week, since March. I have begun writing a book.

I deserve the t-shirt I saw the other day. It had a picture of a Buddha sitting on a Lotus flower and it reads “Mindful As Fuck”. Yep, that sums it up.

I had been feeling nervous about turning another year older… like it was going to somehow sneak up on me and take me by surprise. HA! IN YOUR FACE. YOU’RE ALMOST 40! By now, you should be living in a house. Working a job that pays at least minimum wage for 40 hours a week. Know how to change my own oil in my car. You know, adult stuff. Do it. All. Right now. Or, you fail. You fail life.

As you can see, sometimes spending too much time by myself is not a good thing.

Just as I was having trouble breathing, I got an email. “Another 9 Inspirational Older People Who Still Kick Ass”. There was a video link for one of the examples, watch it now, here. Seriously, go watch it. Are you watching?

Wasn’t that INCREDIBLE? A.Fucking.Mazing! And one of the judges said something to the effect of “I hope I can move like that when I’m your age” What? I’d hope to be able to move like that at ANY age!

Anyway, watching that video… it was inspiration for me. It eased the tension and anxiety. Helped me to see clearly, life isn’t over. Sometimes it can feel like that but I do know how to navigate (for the most part) and I have two more guardian angels to watch over me as I do my/our work of being our best selves and leaving the world a better place than we found it.

 

 

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What’s So Funny?

A couple of months ago, someone recommended the cartoon humor site, FunnyTimes.com. “They’re accepting cartoons from freelancers… and they pay”. I wondered why she was telling me about this, (I can do funny but stand up funny. In person funny. Drawing? Cartoons? Not so much.)

I looked over their website to get a feel for what kind of humor they were into. Lots of single panel cartoon, basic drawing (still out of my wheelhouse) but I started to get some ideas. Then, I got to work. A few weeks later, I finished my first cartoon!

I’d originally intended on using a picture of a lotus flower but at the last minute, I changed my mind. It was the morning I read about that school in Kennesaw, Ga., who received some complaints about practicing mindfulness in the classroom. I can feel my brain start to catch on fire all over again… The school was teaching breathing techniques to the elementary age kids to help with anxiety and stress as a coping mechanism.

Some parents pitched a fit because “kids can’t pray in school, yet they’re pushing ideology on our students. Some of those things are religious practices that we don’t want our children doing in our schools.”

What?!

Yes, GOD forbid we bring awareness to ourselves or try to be calm, centered and in touch…

See? Sorry, it just… defies words.

Anyway, I was already wondering if the lotus flower was really the “right” image and after reading that article, I changed the picture from the lotus flower to a woman. Her hands were positioned in a way that mimicked what some people do when they have a headache. Perfect.

I was confident I’d made the right choice. I put it in an envelope and sent it out.

Last week I got a reply. It essentially said “Thanks but it’s not right for us” and they sent my cartoon back.

When I unfolded the picture, the picture I put together and sent out, I was a little shocked. I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it before…

It featured a Hindu woman in prayer. It looked like I was taking a shot at the Hindu religion. I know a lot of people get nervous with comedy and religion start to flirt but if I think something is funny? I’ll say it, write it, apparently cartoon it… I don’t shy away from controversy. Yet, somehow, I was almost offended! I guess it’s because the people at FunnyTimes don’t know me or know that I can joke about anything and not do it with malice. My only intent (usually) is to make people laugh. I laugh a lot. At myself. If other people want to laugh at me too? Great! The more the merrier.

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But suddenly, I could clearly see how out of context, the cartoon would be almost prejudice.

So now what? Quit? Fuck that. Find another audience. (Cue you guys).

Here’s my almost, sorta racist(?) cartoon about mindfulness and the ridiculous parents who are afraid of Vishnu (and all the other deities).

“There can really be as many Hindu Gods as there are devotees to suit the moods, feelings, emotions & social background of the devotees.”

~Sri Rama Krishna~

What about you? Do you think there’s anything too serious to be joked about? Let me know in the comments below!

***On a side note, it’s that time of year again! Acme Comedy Co is hosting their annual Funniest Person in the Twin Cities contest. I signed up already and my night to perform is July 5th at 8:00pm. Super glad that a) it’s not the 10:30 show I had last year (every show was at 10:30!) and b) I’m scheduled in July vs June… and then had to wait 2 ½ months to see if I advanced to the semi-finals (I did!).

The Photo I Didn’t Take

We drove home a different way than usual today. Road construction forced us to take the scenic route over the faster more efficient way. We passed the golf course, the city park, the fire station and then the street.

“There it is mom! Remember?”

I remembered. That’s where we walked to in the fall, when we drew pictures on the sidewalk with fallen berries and wilting dandelions. The walk prompted talks about what we both wanted to be when we grew up (she an artist and I, still undecided). We turned down an empty street and walked the inside lip of a cul-de-sac, kicking through piles of leaves, watching them scatter and spread with the wind. We felt like powerful colossuses, stomping through a small village. I filled out my body, I took up the space I wanted. I felt full of life.

Soon I was out of breath and I dropped down to my butt.

“C’mon mom! Let’s keep going, we’re having so much fun!”

“We can have fun on the ground too” I replied.

She kicked through another pile before joining me on the ground of the small hill.

“Now what?” she asked.

“Now this!” I yelled as I crushed a fistful of dried leaves onto the top of her head and watched it break apart into millions of little pieces. I didn’t even let it bother me, thinking about how long it was going to take to get all of those leaves out of her hair. I’d started a war. A few more minutes in, I was aware of a longing for my camera. I wanted to capture this moment. Save it. Freeze it. Keep it up on the fridge forever but I knew that on the other side of the lens I would be out of the moment. I would be directing, forcing, controlling and ultimately losing the joy of the experience.

And sitting with this knowledge, well, it just plain sucks.

I want it both ways. I want to live and be present in the moment and I want to record the moment. What if I forget this day? Forget this happiness? It happens sometimes with depression… but I am capturing it, here and now.

She was wearing soft, black boots. Blue denim jeans and a white sweatshirt. The dried bits of leaves blended in perfectly with her hair, the same brown shade of autumn. Her cheeks had that natural blush that always seems to follow kids when they come in from outside, yet she looked so grown up.

“That’s where you left that huge imprint of your butt, remember mom?”

Yes dear and I hope I never forget.

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