Sunday, August 25, 2013

Awesome Life 2.0

Recently, Sister and I were on an emergency road trip to be with our out-of-state parents.  It was a long drive that gave Sister and me ample opportunity to speak uninterruptedly about all sorts of things including her beautiful daughter's struggle with body image and starting high school in the fall.  And because I had made a promise to myself last New Year's Eve not to walk away when someone needs something that I might be able to provide, I made a call to my trainer to see if he would accept someone of Niece's age.  He would!  And now she is working out at the most adorable and appropriate and awesome CrossFitesque gym less than a mile from her house! 

Looking back to my own summer before high school, I realized  how much I could have used someone taking an interest in me.  Someone responsible and loving and without an ulterior motive; someone to help me to feel special; to feel worthy; to feel that I could do anything.   So, the night before Niece started at the gym I wrote her this letter, and as I wrote, I realized THIS letter was THAT letter--this was the letter to the way-back-then Darya that no one ever wrote to her!  THIS letter was really version 2.0.  I was giving to myself what nobody had given to me!  It is true:  When no one gives it to you the first time around, you have to find a way to give it to yourself--the 2.0 version!  I guess I am pretty proud of the THIS and the THAT letter, so I am sharing.

My dearest, angel. 

I am so excited for you to meet Mr. Trainer Man and for you to be a part of my gym.  Just remember that we ALL have to do something for exercise--it is just the way it is and the sooner we embrace this fact the better we all are for it.  You will become stronger and more durable; you will learn that you can step out of your comfort zone; your mind just needs to be taught; your heart needs to believe and your body needs to just do it.  You will hurt a little in the beginning, but you are not broken and you deserve good health and fitness. You are so worthy.  You WILL NOT believe the amazing things your body will learn to do and the shape it will change from and in to!  Let me tell you a secret:  Six weeks will pass whether or not you make this change.  As a matter of fact, a part of you will yell, "No, stay here where it is comfortable"; another part will say, "No, stop! You are hurting me"; still other parts will shout out, "Stop this nonsense right now! This is not good for us."  But you will have to decide to push aside these failure feelings because they don't understand that you are learning to do things differently from what you have been doing!  How great will it be to know you made a significant change in your own heart and body.  These are the lessons most women don't ever learn.  Many never.  And because I know these things, I have a deeper responsibility to teach them to you.  I cannot let you remain ignorant.  I cannot turn away.  I cannot let you slip through my fingers.

When you feel overwhelmed, just imagine days filled with the joy of movement and strength-gaining instead of anxiety and self-doubt or worse wondering what could have been if I had just done something differently.  Because clearly TV watching and computer playing and phone texting are not enough, Sweetheart!  I cannot promise you what your body will look like exactly, but I can promise you that the sadness in your heart will be replaced with blood pumping boldness; the loneliness in your soul will be replaced with a desire to surround yourself with other women who do powerful things; the empty feeling in your brain will be replaced with a passion for knowledge to know more and do better!  And you need to realize, too, that life is not a success-only journey; that sometimes you will have to keep at something until you get it right.  Just like when we were going to see Grandpa and I passed that turn on the highway.  I didn't just pull the car over and take the keys out of the ignition and STOP--we aren't still sitting in the exact same place this week that we were in last week.  No!  You identified the problem; I asked for help; your mom guided me and we were right back on track.  Boom.  Done.  That simple; that fast.  The gym, as well as the GPS, allows for U-turns--LOL.  

So, my dear one, just show up tomorrow, do what Mr. Trainer Man tells you to do and then do it all over again the next day and the next day and for the next six weeks after that and then for the rest of your life.  YOUR life. YOUR new awesome life.  But most importantly, Sweetie, enjoy!  Enjoy what you so deserve.

xoxo Darya

PS - Sister bought the same Groupon and now we are all doing what needs to be done to be fit and awesome at fifty, forty and nearly fourteen!  I am so proud of us girls--it's gonna be an Awesome Life 2.0.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Original Darya

This is my 2-year-old birthday picture.  

Now, if you are of a certain age, you recognize that this picture is just one in a series of at least three or five pictures that were printed in an insanely long portrait style that you definitely had to have custom framed!  Momma tells me that I am blowing the photographer a kiss in this pic--not too creepy, Mom--the next picture in the series has me turned completely backwards--the exact same setting, just backwards--so that you can see that the back of  my hair is past my waist!  But this is my very most favorite picture ever taken of me.  At this very moment, this picture sits on my bedside table--this is the very first thing I see when I open my eyes in the morning.

This picture reminds me to be more like this little girl everyday:  She didn't give a good-goddamn what people thought of her; she wore twirly-skirted dresses, as well as her grandfather's fedora; she dressed-up her dolly and kitty in baby clothes, and played office, over-the-line, house and doctor with the neighborhood boys.  Jeez, I miss that little girl.  I want to be more like that little girl.  I want to be that little girl now just in a grown-up woman version.

 xoxo Darya

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hope Is The New Hard

I cannot lie, it has been a REALLY hard year or two...or three.  Let me be the first to say that I have a remarkably rich, splendid and blessed life--what I am talking about here, I guess, is what people call depression or a funk or a REEEEAAAAALLLLLY long sad mood.  So, I get the selfishness of my bitching--it is not lost on me one little bit. 

And I have had much harder years.  Harder in the sense that I didn't have enough money to buy diapers or formula or even food for that matter (not like I couldn't go to Carl's Jr, but like I couldn't B U Y   A N Y   F O O D) and I had to pawn my sewing machine and other items precious to me--something that I am still quite embarrassed to write out loud.  Embarrassing hard times

Or even the year I left my first husband and moved in with my family and literally slept days and worked nights, exactly the opposite of Sister just so we could sleep in the same room in the same bed, just not at the same time because that is all my parents had to offer and believe-you-me it was A  LOT to offer because I had brought a two-year-old with a sippy cup into their house about an hour after they had laid brand new beige carpeting.   Now, if you have ever lived with a sippy-cup-aged child, you recognize the sprinkle pattern of red-any-kinda-juice stains and you can appreciate the depth and breadth of The Parents hospitality.  Thinking of this leads me to remember my son taking the cat's collar off that first weekend and tying it around the neck of a ceramic goose my mom had painted and fired herself and then he asked it to "walk duck".  Needless to say, it tipped over breaking the head off prompting him to cry and my colon to tighten.  Good hard times

I have had hard times that required me to be on the run from home to daycare to work and back to daycare then to soccer practice back home to fix dinner, do homework, go to bed and THEN do it all over the next day; I have had hard times when I thought we would never have a stick of furniture or a paid-off car.  Hard work times.

Then, there was the excruciatingly hard time I had watching my beloved husband and his family sit hospice care day-in and day-out for seventeen days straight while the father of their little family died at home of stage IV pancreatic cancer.  Heartbreaking hard times.  And then the very next year I had to sit in-patient hospital comfort care, which is entirely ironic because it is not at all comfortable, for the entire Easter weekend watching my much-adored 93-year-old grandmother die after breaking her hip never letting my son's still unborn children know what a great old broad she was.  Sad hard times.

This hard time has been hard in a slow simmer kinda way.  I have come to the realization that I have a two-to-ten-year-percolation period for my life's traumas and dramas.  And boy, oh boy, I have been hit by some of life's big three in the last couple of years--a trifecta of hard times.  Most days I have been treading water.  Some days--hell, ALL of the days of two summers ago--I have been going down for the third time.  But because of some very pointed advice given to me by my husband, The Caveman, "Baby, I love you with all my heart and all I have to give, but I just cannot do this any more.  Not one more day.  You need something I cannot give to you.  I cannot indulge in your constant dialogue on these subjects, Darya.  Seek help.  Now.  For God's sake; for my sake; for your sake and for the sake of our marriage."  So, because in the middle of this incredible cast of misfit, miscreant, misogynistic characters I am the one that cried the loudest and hurt the longest, I had to go get help.  I had to see a psychologist.  I had to get my head shrunk.  Crazy hard times.

I haven't been meeting with Dr. Headshrinker all that long--maybe a couple of months, but already the tide in me is starting to turn.  I can feel it.  The riptide is starting to stop dragging me under.  The current is changing.  I am changing.  Oftentimes, you just do not know how bad the undertow was sucking you down and under until you finally get to the whitewater and start to crawl and gasp and swallow a ton of saltwater--tears--to finally feel just how hard you had been working.  Hard times.  I am finally recognizing that these last three-and-a-half years have been hard in yet another different way than what I am used to calling hard.

But really, what does it matter?  If it's hard, it is hard.  Period.  I don't need to rate my life's painful experiences on the shit-o-meter of life.  Hard is hard.  Hopeless and helpless and desperate and in despair is a tough neighborhood to live in and honestly, I hope to be moving soon.  Hopeful hard times.

 xoxo Darya

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Golden Girls

We were all at San Onofre California State Beach to celebrate Chigirl's "golden birthday" but by my calculations, she was more than 25-years-old.  Whatever.  I was soon educated as to the reality of a golden birthday:  The occasion when your birth date and your birth years are the same.  Golden.  Silly.  Looking at these beautiful young women wearing golden bathing suits and sunglasses and drinking out of golden cups, I just could not see myself as their twenty-seven.

They come from both coasts and big cities in the middle of the country.  They are smart girls; employed girls; educated girls.  They au pair; they play professional football; they work as paralegals and they work in city government.  They support their boyfriends; two of which travel and train for a major CrossFit box teaching strength and fleet-of-foot, and so many things that are important to athletes and our military.  These girls are part of that community, the box; one is the box, as she is one of the two box-bound trainers; some sell T-shirts and set-up and tear-down at events and literally walk the walk--just look at those abs and arms!  Absolutely beautiful young ladies.  I am so proud of them.  They make me proud to be a girl, too! 

Looking at these young women, I want to tell them so many things and by this age, I know what is important and what is just noise meant to distract and derail and demean us as women.  I want to tell these girls to keep being nice to one another; to keep supporting and guiding each other.  Stay tight; stay connected; stay unified.  The world can be a hungry ugly place and you will need your girlfriends to help you through it.  

On my list of Things I Learned in My Fiftieth Year, #28 reads, "I envy girls who have girlfriends and girl's nights out".  I don't envy much; this I envy. A lot. It seems like such an odd thing to think about now, but in all my years of marriages and babies and jobs and gyms and laundry and grocery, I never had a group of gals to have my back.  This Darya is really sad for that Darya doing it all alone for so long.  I could have used a bunch of girlfriends--I really could have used a girlfriend. 

This isn't the only group of girlfriends I know.  And they all have common threads: They made their friendships in high school, college or as roommates.  They all have a bestie who held their hair back when they had to throw-up or held their purse when they had to pee.  They all have a BFF who understands what their dream wedding gown will look like and the song her and her daddy will dance to.  They all have a genuinely beloved friend who knows the names of her babies before they even fall from heaven.  HmmmGolden.  Maybe not so silly.    

I love these girls; I love what these girls are making of themselves; I love that they love each other; I love that they included me, me who is nearly twenty-seven years older than they are!  But that is okay--I can feel in my bones that it is true what they say about staying young at heart and body and spirit when you surround yourself with the young.  I was flattered to be included with these women that could have been my daughters and whose experiences are so different from my own. 

This makes me want to laugh and to cry all at the same time.  This is the first time that I have felt that my time is over; my hey day is gone; my opportunity for what these girls have has been missed.  True?  Most definitely.  Sad?  Kinda.  Jealous?  Maybe.  But it is what it is.  And maybe what it is is just the combination of caring for my mother-in-law and my own aging parents and my own age and my own son and my own friendships and my own questioning of my place in the universe.

Who the hell knows. Maybe I grew up just a little bit as well on Chigirl's birthday.  Maybe it is all true, after all; maybe this is just how life happens.  Golden And definitely not silly

Happy birthday!  

xoxo Darya

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rules of Engagement

A Few Things Before We Get Started:

1.  Copycats. I read a lot. I read a lot for work, and I read a lot because I don't sleep well. And by not well I mean not at all. Not. At. All. One of the things I read are blogs.  Now if you are blogger and you stumble across my embryonic (and some may even say moronic) blog and you see something that looks like it may have been influenced by your blog, well, then it may very well have been; however, if I am so head-over-heels in love with your turn-of-phrase or awed by a picture you have taken or a project you DIYd you have my solemn promise that I will represent you as the site of origination.  I will ALWAYS give you your props. Swear it.

2.  Don't Be Mean. Mean seems to be in the 2000-teens what dumb was in the 1990s.  I don't like mean; I love funny and silly and stupid, and even gross to a certain extent, but mean is, well, mean. I have this phenomenal opportunity to create something that means so much to me and hopefully will mean something to someone somewhere so I simply ask that we treat each other respectfully.  As Glennon Doyle Melton says, "Don't be a jerk."  (See #1. She also says something that has become my mantra this year:  Breathe, show up and do the next right thing. I should probably get that parenthetical citation out of the way right here and right now).

3.  Privacy.  While this blog is about me and my journey and I am completely open to using my own name to describe my experiences; my family and friends are being dragged along without their permission (or knowledge at this point) and may not feel so inclined about my openness.  Henceforth, you will know my name; however, the rest of my cast of characters, suspects, perpetrators and victims in my life's little passion plays will remain anonymous in an effort to protect the innocent, the guilty and the downright infantile.  Do not even ask me how I will do this! But that's what I have will be a Tim Gunn moment.

4.  Politics and Religion.  I have views, values and tenets that I hold very dear to my heart just as I am sure that you do, as well; however, there will be no engaging in political debate over here. Period.  It's simple, I am really not that bright and I have nothing but my gut to back me up on any of my beliefs.  Basically, I think we can agree that we all have a right not to be afraid; to not go to bed with an empty belly and to know we can get medicine if we are sick. How we go about accomplishing this as a society is the REAL debate. That won't be happening here. Sorry. Go to CNN or The Daily Show or wherever people who "know" go. Besides, how can you take a blog called hugs and kisses Darya seriously on such topics? I know my place. And I am okay with that.

5.  Bad Language. Someone I love dearly said to me after a particularly "salty" rant, "Darya Jo, you have a filthier mouth than any truck driver on my dock."  Well, fuck you very much. JK.  Honestly, I want to do better; I certainly know better. I live a pretty formal and uptight life so my language choices are not very congruent with most of my lifestyle. That being said, it just comes down to sometimes there are no other words that express the same thought in the same manner.  Unfortunately, obscenities are just a really lazy way of expressing ourselves, and I am the laziest perfectionist you will ever know.  See my dilemma.  Which leads me to a word about grammar. I will try my level best to talk real good but because I also work more-than-full time AND am the primary caregiver for my 85-year-old live-in mother-in-law, I may have to pound out a thought without the proper time to proof and edit. Again, not a very congruent life--I can hear your thoughts already lazy and makes excuse, we are off to a great start here.

Happy first official post!

xoxo Darya