Value + Lipstick

I’ve been quietly lately. My silence has been difficult. Mostly because I’ve been deeply ambivalent about sharing. Most of my blogging career I have ended up sharing the truest parts of me and very much the most vulnerable. I enjoyed when I felt connected with just ONE person. Someone reaching out in the murky land of the internet to say Me too! It helped me feel less alone and more seen.

I feel so strongly to share hard truths because writing is the only way I know to make any of this bearable, to wrangle the affection when there’s no one left to receive it, and to find meaning in the chaos.

But I have recently discovered the harshness of bringing those things to light. When exposed to the wrong person it can damage quite deeply.

And I have had to do some things lately that have been really quite difficult. And these things didn’t really have anything to do with my wants or needs, so much as (well crap) I have no choice. So I fell silent….

And now it’s a delicate battle of contradictions for me:  I want a big life. But I also enjoy a simple, very simple life. I want to write in a public way but I certainly want my privacy when convenient. I want a beautiful yard but am worried about water shortage. Yes, that is how delicate my battle is today….

I guess this is all just who I am. What I believe. My value system. Having faith that my value system will help me cut through the noise. And show me the path. But  the path is the most difficult, right?

So I swipe on an extra coat of lipstick for courage and practice remaining soft–feeling the things. After all that’s what I’ve enjoyed sharing the most!

Be easy…..

And this album has taken up most of my listening space these days:

May 28 / 2015
Author Ginger
Category Missions
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A letter to Jaxson

Becoming a parent is much like being a transformer, kid. I transform as the times hit me. I didn’t come into this with all the answers, like I thought my parents had. I remember thinking as a kid that my parents existed ALWAYS just to be my parent. I didn’t think of them as human beings with hearts that ached or struggled or even had their own dreams. To me they went to work, made me dinner, got me dressed, and drove me places. They didn’t make mistakes, those just didn’t happen. Turns out, they are human and only human. My hope for you is to know I’m human.

Being your mom has changed me and continues to change me in a fundamental way. I have loads more patience and can let a house chore or two go undone if you need me to sit with you to do homework. But being a parent is also terrifying, restrictive at times, overwhelming, and emotionally exhausting. As a woman, I struggle every day to figure out where I should lie on the spectrum of motherhood. I want to throw myself in my work and work for something that has strong meaning and follows along with my passion but I also want to be home by 5 to have dinner on the table. I want to attend every event I can to meet more people in this amazing city but I also want those events to be kid friendly so that you will be entertained enough to want to experience them with me. I have to work to thrive, but does that mean I follow all the dreams I have? What if those paths continue to fall or change? Am I choosing what is best? And sometimes, all of this balancing feels absolutely impossible.

As I push through all of this toward the elusive dream of “working mom,” it hits me once again that nothing, not anything, is ever black and white. It’s not a matter of “I can have this, or I can have that,” and one way is happiness and the other is tragedy. There will be triumphs and failures and sacrifices down any road. And believe me, you will want so badly for the world to be to make sense and open up doors that are made for us, but kiddo, that’s just not how it works. And that’s part of growing up, realizing that really nothing is simple or easy, and that you have to find joy in the ride, peace in spite of it all.

Right now, I’m working on giving myself the room to not know, to try and if I fail then try again until I find something that works. I pray as you grow that I can teach you that, too. I hope we can find that path together, Jaxson James, the path that leaves room for us to make mistakes as we figure this all out. You and me, kid.

I love you no matter what!
Mom.

**photos by Brent Brooner**

May 21 / 2015
Author Ginger
Category Little Mr.
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Ten Tons of Silence.

I have talked of my dad on this space. Mainly about coping with his death.

I remember when I started blogging (sometime back in 2006) I was visiting him in my home town and I tried to show him how to read my blog. I could tell immediately he was never going to remember.

Now, going on the 5th year of him no longer in this world — I think of him more often than I ever did. I’ve never really written about the dynamic I had with dad — because It’s tricky.

Dad and I always loved each other, very much so, but for a solid decade, pretty much his last decade, I didn’t like him. He accepted it as fact. I thought the “me and dad thing” was a small part of my life, and, because it was inconvenient to me, I kept it in the dark. Sure, we talked. But not often. Sure, I visited him. But not often.

Talking through what I needed from him, as my dad, articulates all the hurt and that is like looking in a magnifying mirror at my most ugly parts. The bad part of doing that now after he is gone is I hear only silence. Sometimes that silence is like ten tons on my heart.

In simplified hindsight, I can see how the privilege of reconciliation makes sense.  Everything I didn’t like of him no longer matters, I loved him regardless. And that is a life lesson I learned the unfortunate hard way.

I’m still not the person I’m becoming, but the process has become the purpose. This mistake is something I don’t have the ability to make again. I catch myself thinking of my attitude and reminding myself how to live a more hopeful, resilient and mindful way.

I grieve. But who doesn’t? Anyone who has lost will grieve. But with my grief I ask myself the hard questions: Who are you? Which is also, who do you want to be? And who do you want to love?

I’m the person who will send an apology in just moments of the fight. I’m the person who says I screwed up, I made a mistake. I ask for help. I try to remember thank you and your welcome and I’m sorry. I even am more open to be at the edge of the cliff and says screw-it-I’ve-got-to-try. I try to give voice to the things that feel terrifying in their truth and importance.

I really try. That’s the point. I just wish my dad were here to tell him face to face what I have learned.

March 20 / 2015
Author Ginger
Category DAD
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How are you?

(above photo by Hooton Images)

I dressed last weekend in my best wintery outfit, layered just enough as to not get cold but cute enough to not look homeless. Was out the door in fifteen minutes and on my way to meet a stranger.

Because when your friend messages to say, he’s great, you’re great, you should meet, you oblige. Because you’ll never again be this young and you’ll never again be this untethered and why not, what do I have to lose?–isn’t that what they say? Taking chances seem to be the best stories, right?

But as the night ended and after far to many cocktails he asks how I was doing (not in those particular words but in a way where he wanted to know more about me), my breath caught between my teeth, my hand shook.

It’s a question, in that moment that caught me off guard.

You can think one thing, expect one thing, tote around certain truths so as to get through the day, but in the face of that question, something else arises that I couldn’t quite place. So I sat quietly and my eyes filled with water and then I darted for the door but I wasn’t entirely sure why.

Sitting on my sofa the next morning with a touch of a hang over and a massive regret for the ending of my night before, I listened as my tv played a movie (which I forget the name) and one of the characters stated “there’s no such thing as a right decision, life is hard because it’s a series of wrong choices.”

And so the best I can do–the best anyone can do–is make the choice that most aligns with who I am in that moment. Which is very often the hardest choice to make, laced as it is with fear. Fear being a thing that indicates worth.

To make the choice that most aligns with who we are.

Thrity-three and just now discovering this.

But there is power in the recognition of both flaws and failures. Power in the small, and often private declaration that oh-hey-something’s-gotta-change-here. And holy is the man (or woman) who doesn’t need life to pull the rug out from under them in order to begin that process. And so here I am. Not perfect, but better. I’ve found that the people who really and truly like themselves, haven’t always. But no one really talks about that, do they?

And I’ve come to realize I’m still young enough to fail in a particular way, but old enough to know that that window is closing, and closing quickly.

I struggle with depression. Sometimes it is triggered by an event and other times it just creeps up on me for no apparent reason. That isn’t something I like to admit. I really want to seize each and every day. I really want to love every bit of my life but the truth is at some point or another in each year I struggle to pull myself out of a dark place.

Life isn’t terribly long. And wasting time is too costly. But when these lows come (they will always come because that is just who I am) I will be grateful. Everything is a moving target. Dark days give way to very bright days for this I am sure of.

I feel so very intensely. When I am sad, I am very sad. But when I am happy I am very happy.

And so, how am I? Sometimes good. Sometimes not. But wholly myself. And pretty okay with that.

 

February 15 / 2015
Author Ginger
Category Uncategorized
Comments No Comments

32 for 32.

Taking the time to write out 32 for 32.
1. You’ve fallen in love with taking care of yourself this year, and it’s changed everything. You will, of course, forget that you ever learnt these lessons and ultimately you’ll gain a few pounds, or won’t work out, or skip eight hours a night, because you couldn’t not. That’s okay. Forgive yourself imperfection and then get back on the bandwagon. That’s what matters, love. NBD.
2. The bad and good rush in together.
3. Boys – men – happen.
4. It’s about respect! The jig is up: you can’t wait for people to treat you how you deserve to be treated. You have to either demonstrate your expectations, or scarier still: verbalize them.
5. Just sleep it off. Most things become clearer in the morning.
6. SPOILER ALERT: It seldom looks how you thought it might. Repeat this to yourself until the end of all time.
7. It’s all in your imagination that you don’t have enemies.
8. Drink water. Everyday.
9. Even if it kills you and even if you feel like you have to text or call after a few drinks. Don’t!! Under no circumstances can you talk to him ever again.
10. When somebody does something that touches you – stranger or friend – say so. Don’t take the kindness of others for granted, and be original with your praise. Everybody deserves that much.
11. You have made the home that you love. Don’t get pissy when things get out of place on a daily basis. The pots will get washed, and you’ll fall back to sleep. Keep your perspective.
12. Not working out feels worse than actually lacing up your sneakers and just going to the gym. Always.
13. Your biggest responsibility is to one person: your son. Prioritize accordingly.
14. The social web, refer to number 6 ALWAYS
15. …but that isn’t what I wanted. You will experience that more often than not. Sort that out, yeah?
16. You need about 67% more
17. Life is short. And life is odd. But hell if it isn’t lovely.
18. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE BROKEN TO BE INTERESTING.
19. Related: when somebody calls you inspiring/beautiful/talented, you can totally just say, “Oh! Thanks!” #noexcuses
20. Declare your intentions. Do it to yourself, and then do it to the people who matter to you.
21. If anyone speaks in black and white, and you talk rainbow. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook on this one. They’ll push you to be clearer, to simplify and say precisely what you mean, and you should let them. You might learn something.
22. You get mean when you drink gin. Make the connection already.
23. Start your days with what you love, and see how it transforms your relationship with “having enough time.”
24. Saying yes to others more often than you say no could mean that you end up saying yes to a lot of new opportunities with greater ease. You’ve seen glimpses of this already..
25. Every-time you cut out sugar you eventually introduce it again. Just learn to regulate portions and stick with that.
26. You have parents, but you also have a mother, and a father. Keep those relationships separate. When you realized this is was like lightening striking your brain. Even if your dad is gone. Keep it separate from your relationship with your mom.
27. Trust yourself. Especially these past few months you’ve tried so hard to let things unfold naturally, without too much pushing, and it has served you well. You only need ask the question once – if you keep talking, you won’t hear the answer. Ease off the gas.
28. Just show up. Above all, day after day, know that for all things it begins with just showing up. Do that, if you are ever in doubt. Sit at the computer, pull out your running shorts, pick up the phone. It starts with action. Show up.
29. Do not put it on that credit card. Under any circumstance. Put it back and make do with what you have.
30. Some people have their high school crew. Others their university pack. Sometimes it’s a sports club or toddler group, a happy coincidence or deliberate choice, but it’s always a shared experience. And its always OK to have more than one.
31. Nap on Sundays every chance you get.
32. Resole your shoes. Be willing to get things dry-cleaned. Find a good tailor.
October 21 / 2014
Author Ginger
Category Uncategorized
Comments No Comments
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