Music Monday: The Fat Version

I spent this weekend absolutely stuffing my face at the LA Vegan Beer & Food festival. I literally wait all year for this event and I took full advantage of all the beer and vegan goodies.

You can read a full recap of the event at my other blog, Angie Eats Peace, or for a re-enactment set to music, just watch the video below.

It’s back to green juice and hot yoga this week, but I sure enjoyed eating like a fat boy for the day.

In love and fattness,

~Ang

Celebrating a Sister

Today we our celebrating one of our sisters.

Kristen is Ang’s sister and last week was a big one for her!

Kristen

She was accepted to not one, but two, extremely competitive grad school programs. One of the schools only accepted 33 students, the other only accepted 8.

Kristen received the news on the same day. It was an exciting and overwhelming day.

We are so proud of her hard work that made her such a strong candidate! We love seeing our sisters advance in their education and careers and fulfilling their life’s purpose.

Congratulations, Kristen! We are proud of you!

Music Monday: The Mama’s Broken Heart Version

Do you handle conflict, stress, set backs and anxiety exactly the way your Mama would like you to?

I sure don’t, not always.

When I first heard this Miranda Lambert song, it resonated with me so deeply. I wondered when Miranda had met my mother.

Although my mom is not concerned with appearances or the way we look to others, I have heard my fair amount of “you are being too dramatic,” “what are you crying for? That does not solve anything.” “Get it together,” “act like a young lady.”

I know this all came from my mom’s best intentions to prepare me for a world and life that was a roller coaster and would stop just because I was having a melt down. Again.

I have always seen my mom as a pillar of strength. Fiercely independent, resilient and forever overcoming obstacles. I am not naturally like this, and I definitely was not while growing up.

My mom recently found a folder with my old journal entries from my sophmore year of English class. We were given a prompt each day to explore. One day, I wrote about how HORRIBLE my day had been because I spilled all my French fries at lunch, which kick started a wave of unfortunate events. I read it aloud and my mom and I both laughed at my dramatics. However, when I thought about it, I could still see myself getting upset about the same thing today, nearly 16 years later. French fries are important.

I was the anxious kid who went ballistic when I had my first cavity, when I got an F on a test (and this only ever happened once, because it was that traumatic) and when my mom would not allow me to use furniture polish to clean (because cleaning was important to me). This picture says so much about how I have handled set backs, and I can picture my mom behind the camera laughing at me as she snapped away:

anxiety Her responses snapped me back into reality and times when she was not present and I felt like I was losing it, I would hear her in the back of my head “crying does not solve everything.”

I found a balance now between my natural, emotional tendencies and my mom’s realistic approach to set-backs. I do feel that crying is necessary and healthy, but I can pull myself together and overcome. Most days.

But some days, I still cry over spilled French fries.

How were you taught handle set backs? 

 

Hair In A Bun Friday: Chaos!

It’s true what they say, when one opportunity closes, another one arises.  I’ve been feeling the effects of that saying for the last couple of weeks.

My mom and dad, after having retired and moved to Arizona fifteen years ago, decided to move back to the house our family grew up in.  Even though I’d visit them periodically during the summer and holidays, it’ll be nice to have them so close by.  I’m actually kind of excited they’re back because I sense a lot of healing is going to happen now that they’re more accessible.

Last week I wrote about taking some time away from my career and allowing myself to tie my hair in a loosely fitted bun, sans make-up, in order to regroup and refocus .  I believe part of that is going to include visiting my parents on a regular basis.  Something real interesting happened during their move back that I’d like to share on this week’s post.

My mom and I are alike in many ways.  Mom is impulsive and so am I.  She got herself into a financial pickle (another trait we share) which led to the decision to sell the house in Tucson and move back here; the equity of the house in Tucson will pay off all her bills and she’ll be able to breath once again.  Well, in order for that to become a reality, mam has to wait patiently for her plans to unfold.

Mom has never been one to plan things out or think things through, it’s mostly been – here’s the decision, let’s do it and hope for the best and clean up the mess after we’re done. In a nut shell, that’s how I run my own life, but this time I was able to see it play out before me.  After haphazardly renting a huge moving van, moving everything into the house in California, and then traveling back to Arizona to put the house up for sale – all at the age of 78 – my mom lost her wallet and my dad broke his ankle.

Chaos ensued.

It took a couple of days to walk my mom off the ledge.

For me, this is going to be a year where I get to speak and interact with my parents as an adult.  This is going to be a time to heal ourselves through our own shared experiences and enlightening conversations.  I’m really blessed to have this personal time with them as we enter into another season of our lives.

Love and Peace,
Ed

Mother’s Day and A Salute to “I Get It.”

One of the issues I’ve recently shared with Angelina in the last couple of months is this inner personality quirk we’ve termed crazy.  Angelina and I believe we all have this 20% of ourselves that is hidden from friends, family members and the public and is only shown to those who know how to receive it.  Crazy can range anywhere from non stop crying to uncontrolled anger.   At forty-one, and as a gay male, I believe the advantage I have over straight men is that I’m able to discuss and process my feelings without holding back. Sometimes it gets me into trouble and often times I find myself making a subject all about me, when in reality it’s totally about something else; much like I’m with this topic on Mother’s Day.

Life can make us crazy.

What I love about Mother’s Day this year is that I’m able to look back at all the struggles and sacrifices my mom made while raising three kids and understand what it cost her to make those sacrifices, all while living life.

The shit wasn’t easy.

After I turned forty, something happened to me psychologically that has made me feel on edge every once in a while.  When I was in my thirties, I could burn a candle at both ends and still have energy for more.  Thanks to that, I was able to complete a Masters and two credentials.  But today, at forty – one, sometimes I feel as if I’m going to mentally slip into a black hole so deep I won’t be able to recover.

My mom had three kids by the age of forty: one with ADHD, another with full blown diabetes and kidney failure and me – a future gay.  How did she do it?  I remember my mom having to work from 6 AM to 2 PM as a housekeeper at a local convalescent home. When she’d get home, she would head straight to her bedroom, shut the door and remain sequestered for two hours.  As a young boy, I didn’t understand why my mom locked herself away from her family for those two hours a day.  Today – I completely get it.

Love to all Mothers!

Ed

momma

Growing up, I was sometimes frustrated with my mom.

Why did she make us go to church so much? Why couldn’t I have a boyfriend, everrrrrryone else did! (Or in my 16 year old mind, they did.) Why didn’t she go back to school like she always said she wanted to, in order to get a better job? And, why oh why won’t she get a boyfriend?!

Looking back now, I realize how much my mom sacrificed and put her own life aside, to raise three daughters on her own.

Although I have my own issues that I have had to work through in regards to church, I am glad my mom had us there so much. She kept us so busy to keep us out of trouble and was hoping it was a positive environment. I know her intentions were in the best place and although I still struggle with some things in regards to church, I appreciate that she put us there.

I am glad she was so strict about the boyfriend rule. There was no dating allowed till I was out of high school. When I look back at the boys I was crushing on at the time, I thank all the gods I was not allowed to have a relationship with and potentially make a choice that had long-term consequences. This forced to be more committed to school and put my education as a priority, if only because I was so bored and there was nothing else to do. Except for my make-up, there was always time for my make-up.

I know my mom would often talk about wanting to continue her education to advance in her career, but now I realize she did not do it because she had three teenage girls at home and she knew she would have to leave us alone at night to attend school. She did not want us to feel like she was absent from our life and she probably knew all the havoc I would try to wreck without supervision.

Although I know it meant putting herself completely aside, my mom did not date while we were teenagers. She was very conscientious about the effect this could have on us and she did not want to bring different men into our lives. In hind sight, I wanted her to get a boyfriend as a distraction, so I could run amok. She was wise to this though and kept her focus completely on us.

As an adult now in my 30s, I can say “I get it.” My mom showed us unconditional love by putting her life completely on hold to be a single parent. She was present 100% in our lives and we did not get anything past her. She dedicated all her “free” time to us and rarely did things for herself.

As an adult now with my own step-son, I really do not know how she did it. I feel like somedays I am barrrrely hanging on and I have a supportive husband. My mom raised us three girls on her own, worked full-time and dedicated many of her weekends to either our sports activities or church community projects.

I “get” her rules and decisions now and am deeply grateful for the sacrifices she made.

mom and sisters

In love and daughterhood,

~Ang

Music Monday: The Crazy Version

I have been thinking lately about moments of crazy. I have been thinking about how no one, no matter who you are, what your career is, what degrees or accolades you have, is above those moments of crazy.

I have also been thinking about that word “crazy” and the way that it gets applied to women.

Are they in fact, a little crazy, or do they outwardly display sometimes, all the pain of the people they love, that they tend to carry for them?

Generally speaking, women often support and hold others together. They do what needs to be done so their partners and children can thrive. They support others in the workplace and also try to find some balance for themselves.

All this is a little “crazy”-making.

I am currently listening to Iyanla Vanzant’s audiobook during my crazy-making commute to work (which has increased to 90 minutes, one way, on some days).  Ed loaned it to me, it’s called Peace from Broken Pieces, and he told me to make sure I tell him when I get to the part about the broccoli.

I had no clue what he meant at that time, but now I completely get it.

Iyanla is talking about the grief she feels in the months following the death of her daughter, whom she lost to cancer. Iyanla describes a day when she walks into what she refers to as an “affluent, organic grocery store” and sees broccoli in the produce section. Her daughter loved broccoli and for no and every reason, this triggered all her pent up grief. She had a complete breakdown, cried and threw herself on the broccoli and made a HUGE scene.

I am imagining that she was at Whole Foods, with all these white people looking at this African-American woman crying and wailing over broccoli. It must have been quite the scene, but was it a moment of crazy? Or, was it completely appropriate for the profound loss she had just experienced and the task of trying to keep it all together?

Ed & I have both had our share of moments of crazy. I no longer feel embarrassed to text him in the middle of those times. He does not judge me for them and doesn’t make me feel like there is something wrong with me, because I am crying for no describable (at least at the moment) reason, or because I cannot get off the floor of my bathroom. (Two things that both happened this week. Don’t worry, I am OK.)

I love Patsy Cline’s song, Crazy. I think most of us women can relate to feeling like they wasted too much time on the wrong man.

But, is it really fair to describe yourself as “Crazy” for feeling lonely, feeling blue, crying, trying, worrying, wondering or not knowing what to do? I think these are pretty normal feelings in the development and growth of a woman. I still struggle with society’s view of woman as emotional, and therefore, mentally unstable beings. And yet, I understand and view it in the lens of my own reluctance to share my moments of “crazy” from this past week.

Either way, I love this song and can imagine myself singing it in produce section, into a stalk of broccoli.