Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Excuses, Excuses!!!

Possibly there was a lapse in communication on the mother - toothfairy network.  Possibly, one of my children lost a tooth over 2 months ago and still hasn't been reimbursed...also, possibly another child got a tooth YANKED from her head almost a month ago and also has received no recompense.

See...I have this thing called a LIFE...and I can't find any quarters/dollars/five dollar bills...and yes, I know there is a change jar in my room, but it's like super way up high and kinda dusty, and who needs that kind of pressure anyway, really?


Possibly my children will come downstairs to find this note under the tooth cup this morning...possibly, I'm less crabby in my tooth fairy persona....errr...personas...


However, I do believe that the tooth fairies should seek out the services of a proofreader because CLEARLY the word "of" and the word "off" do not mean the same thing. 
See ya around...

Monday, August 18, 2014

In Which I Overthink Stuff...

I have three young daughters...you just KNOW that we've sung the songs from "Frozen" a time or two.  Truth to tell, my favoritest one is "Do you Wanna Build a Snowman?"  It's totally me.  As in, that Ana character?  Me.

"Dontcha wanna play with me?"  I even do the lips-in-the-door thing.

Plus, I love all the different parodies that have been made of that song...including the many MANY created by my own children...

The thing is, THE song from Frozen is "Let it Go!" 

We also really like the musical "Wicked" over here.  My favorite song being "For Good" which I got to sing with Beanie a few years ago...looka her sweet lil 12 year old self...

While "For Good" is pretty well known, it's "Defying Gravity" that so often identifies the show to those who didn't necessarily see it.

Ah, Idina Menzel, you do know how to wail out a gorgeous girl power song.  And, to be fair, who doesn't love to wail a little?  It is why they are so popular.

That final shoulder flounce at the end of the words, "The cold never bothered me anyway"...it made us all roar just a little bit.  Own it, baby!!  Own that incredibly cool, freezy gift that you have that nobody "understands".

The phrase that sticks out in my head from "Defying Gravity" is also the last one, "And nobody in all of OZ, no wizard that there is or was, is ever gonna bring me down."  RAWR...again, we cheered at her strength and bravery in that moment.


In THAT moment, we cheered. 

Few of us really thought about the next moment.  The moment where she defied gravity right away from everything that she loved.  We were proud of her for standing up against lies...but she stood against lies and walked out into the next horrid phase, nearly losing Fiyero, walking away from Glinda, bearing the guilt of knowing that she'd damaged Boq to save him from her sister and he would never understand.

"Defying Gravity" may have been a girl power song...but it was a horribly sad choice that Elphaba was making.  So many people shout, "HELL YEAH!" at the end of it, without really thinking what it MEANT to her.  The real sound for the character had to be an agonized whisper, "what now?"

But "Let it Go!" is even worse.  At least Elphaba was standing up to an evil that would be conquered and she knew that people loved her even if she couldn't be with them.  Elsa was merely running away from the fear that was created by her parents.  People who SHOULD have embraced what she was and taught her, and everyone around her, how to deal with it.  Instead they heaped fear and loathing of herself upon her, isolated her from her very best friend and sister, and, it appears, any other grown up who could help her, and then DIED, leaving her the impossible task of not only healing herself from their abuse, but being responsible to Ana as her big sister AND running a country.  Gee thanks, Mom and Dad!!!

"Let it Go!" isn't about standing up for what is right, it's about isolating yourself from the millions of things that scare you MORE than your "worst" fear.  'Mom and Dad aren't around to keep my door locked and remind me to never share myself with anyone, never trust EVER, I know what I'll do, I'll build myself a big old frozen castle and hole up in it so I never have to worry about hurting anyone, especially me.'

But, it sure is pretty.  And Idina Menzel does have awesome voice.  Sadly, so many of us can relate to the story/lyrics that we hook on to them and shout them at the sky, like they are a good thing.

My poor kids.  They can't even just watch a MOVIE or sing a pretty SONG without Mom explaining the back story from an adult's perspective to make sure they don't like it tooooooo much.

See ya around...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Who's Bullying Who??

Disclaimer:  I haven't written in awhile.  I'm not in the mood for HTML. 
Love me anyway.

One other thing, my ex-husband has a side that he has not shared with
me.  This is one of those posts where you might think he was the worst person
but be wise enough to know that there are sides and while my side/experience
is absolutely valid, his side, the side you are not hearing, is equally valid.

Man, it's a beautiful morning here in North Texas.  I'm sitting out on my patio, the sun is coming up, Teddy, my puppy, is whiney-talking to the next door neighbor's dogs and they are whiney-talking back.

I started this post yesterday.  I'm glad I got held up, because it would have been a very different post yesterday.  Yesterday I read this...


Just a little story about some disgusting internet bullies who thought that it was A-O-Kay to criticize Robin William's little girl in the wake of his death.  REALLY?  The momma-bear in me took over and the writing was angry.

But things happened.  Life.  Laughter.  A great movie with a friend.  A great talk with my 15 year old.  A beautiful sunrise.

and this...


As I sit here in my favorite light of the day, I realize that there will always be bullies...as a matter of fact there always HAVE been bullies.  Some of them will rip out your heart.

But I don't think it's the bullies that we need to be focusing on.  Follow me here.

See, I never really noticed bullies growing up.  Oh, sure, you don't move around as much as I did and always feel like you belong.  What I'm saying is that bullying didn't really take root and BOTHER me/change how I felt about myself until that bully was the one person that I needed to love me more than any other.

I believe I've established the fact that my parents are AWESOME.  Probably the awesomest parents that have ever lived on this planet.  If not, I would like my witnesses to stand up and corroborate the vast coolness of my parents, because there are PLENTY of people outside of my brother and I in this world who were made important and loved by Tim and Shari Perman.

And they raised me an AWESOME brother who loves me and is proud of me, FAR more than I deserve.

We had a saying in my family, when the world gets tough you stand back to back with your family and fight the world.  My family ALWAYS had my back.

From the teacher in first grade who sent me home crying because if my name was spelled with an "E", then it was CLEARLY a boy's name and I was CLEARLY NOT a boy.  (in case you were left wondering, Stacey...that's my name, don't wear it out...but please, spell it right, cuz my mom almost came to blows with my first grade teacher over it.)

To the little boy in my class who told me that my name was weird...my mother said, "Well, what's HIS name?"  "Mickey Stratanski"...she got quite a laugh over that one.  Still does.

To the boys in middle school or high school that would pick on me/throw me in the trash can/knock my books down...whatever...boys are stooooopppiiddd (which is not the same as stupid...boys are not stupid, to clarify)...to the girls who wouldn't talk to me because I didn't fit in their "group".

By the time high school rolled around, I was pretty comfortable in my own skin.  I'd moved too much to have any group except my family, and my role was pretty well-established as the darling youngest daughter in the best family ever.  Other people loved to join my family, and while that didn't make me "cool" in class, it still gave me a support system of people who believed me capable and funny.

So then I met and married my husband.  The man who would teach me that I was lazy, and fat, and had no fashion sense.  The one who would teach me that I was never going to be any good at sports. That I should never sing or laugh or sneeze because he hated the sound of my voice.  He didn't say these things all at once, but over the years, a little more every year, it became apparent that he hated every single thing about me.  I don't want to say that he was evil or even intentional in any of this.  He had his own demons that he was fighting and I was an easy target because I'd only ever really been loved.  Never mind that one of my personality traits, be it a flaw or a charm, is that I NEED attention from those people that I love.  That can be a hard responsibility.

In time, I didn't hear my dad's voice.  Or my brother's.  Or my favorite ex-boyfriend's.  (See, I didn't really care what the girls thought, weird, I know) I only heard his.  And I learned to hate myself.  And it was his voice that I heard condemning me.

It wasn't until my dad DIED that I could hear my dad say, "That's my girl, I'm so proud of you" again.  Maybe it was his death and my absolute obsession with everything about my father in the months following his death.  Maybe it was being surrounded by my family, so many of whom remembered him and reminded me of him.  I don't know for sure what fixed it in my head but that week of his funeral rang the death knell on me accepting that negative talk about my father's daughter and subsequently started the end of my marriage.

Interestingly enough, I've gone a long time STILL hearing my ex's negativity in my head.  When I wake in the middle of the night tearing myself apart, it is either the many things he said to me or my OWN voice taking up the hateful refrain.  "You are NOT good enough"..."You are lazy"..."You are a terrible housekeeper".  "Nobody cares, Stacey, JEEZ, Nobody cares."

Hold on now, before you go feeling sorry for me...please let us remember, I have not lived with my ex in over 2 years.  We actually have a pretty good relationship now.  He's kind and gentle with the girls.  He enjoys his life and I enjoy mine.  A few months AFTER the divorce he apologized for his mistakes and I forgave him, absolutely.

So who's doing the bullying here?

IT IS NOT my ex.  The man who broke up his family so that he wouldn't hurt us anymore and went on to try to get help so that he could climb out of the hole he'd fallen into during our marriage.  Honestly, leaving us turned out to be one of the most noble things that he did in our marriage.

My friends reading this are probably saying, "For crying out loud, Stacey, WE love you, WE tell you great things about you, why, ON EARTH, can you not hear OUR voices?"  Oh, how I wish that I knew.  I do know that it is pretty common.  I used to teach computer classes and we were evaluated at the end of every class.  There was an interesting phenomenon that occurred.  You might have 16 students, 15 of those students might have considered you a straight up 10...and one, might have given you 7s and 8s.  You know which one most of us focused on?  That's right, the low score.  I think it's arrogant to never consider that you might need to improve something and only believe your greatest fans.  But COME ON!  Many of us walk through this world only believing our greatest critics...BEING our greatest critics.

You wanna know who does the most damaging bullying?  We do.  To ourselves.  Sometimes we hear the bullying in other people's voices because that may be where the slur started, but every single time we repeat it to ourselves, WE ARE KILLING OURSELVES.  We are killing our potential for the day or the year or our life.  Every time we say those words in our heads that point out our weaknesses, we are forgetting our strengths. 

You know who does the SECOND most damage to our souls?  Those people that we love the most.  I avoided being too awfully bothered by bullying as a kid NOT because the bullies didn't exist, but because my parents and brother mattered more.  My parents were too much a part of every aspect of my life.  They were too ready to love and accept any friend of mine into our family exactly as they were, and build them up, too.  People joined my family because my parents didn't take no guff AND loved the stuffing out of you. PERIOD.  If you ate at our table...you ate what mom served, happily.  And if you didn't, there was always some low level of joyful mocking.  And as much as she could dish it out, she could take it and laugh and make you feel smart for your humor.  Him too.  My daddy would tell us, when we were looking particularly lovely, that he might be drunk, but we were ugly and at least he'd be sober in the morning, with a twinkle in his eye that let us to know exactly how beautiful we were to him.

With that kind of adults in our lives...both mine and my friends...how could we believe any of the nonsense that the bullies threw? 

There will always be bullies.  Idiots who should know better.  People who are angry and believe that they are "helping" by saying the most hateful thing at the wrong moment.  Sophomoric fools who think it's funny to tear people down.  Trolls.

What we need is the kind of insulation that my parents provided with their love and acceptance to my whole community of kids.  Because with that kind of insulation, eventually you can HEAR the foolishness in the unkindness.  Because it is foolishness.

Stop looking at the bullies...be the insulation. 

See ya around...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Barbaric Yawp

Disclaimer...1.) I am not a doctor nor do I play one on television...
2.) I'm quoting others and there is some language you may find offensive...
3.)To be very clear, I have NEVER, not even once
considered ending my life...EVER...
this is only one girl's perspective.

They announced the death of Robin Williams yesterday...not just the death...the apparent suicide.  The funniest man on earth, the one who we quoted with varying degrees of accuracy in the tone and voice...he is no longer sharing our planet...breathing our air.

 "Look at me right now, Moneypenny, I want to undo
that bow and get to know you." Mrs. Doubtfire
Oh my goodness, he could make me laugh...
 Oh, sir. I saw it! Some angry member of the kitchen staff, Did you not tip them?
Oh, the terrorists! They ran that way. It was a run-by fruiting.
I'll get them, sir. Don't worry
.... Mrs. Doubtfire

So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired,
he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented
for one reason, boys - to woo women -
and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do... Dead Poet's Society
The wisdom of the lines that were crafted for him to deliver as well as the ones that he improvised were often rough...and well thought out...and SO OFTEN made me view my very small world differently...
My father was an alcoholic. Mean fuckin' drunk. Used to come home hammered,
looking to whale on someone. So I had to provoke him, so he wouldn't go after my
mother and little brother. Interesting nights were when he wore his rings...
...Good Will Hunting  
You're not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense:
this girl you've met, she's not perfect either.
But the question is whether or not
you're perfect for each other...Good Will Hunting
No, I'm not kiddin' you, Will. That's why I'm not talkin' right now about some
girl I saw at a bar twenty years ago and how I always regretted not going over
and talking to her. I don't regret the 18 years I was married to Nancy. I don't
regret the six years I had to give up counseling when she got sick. And I don't
regret the last years when she got really sick. And I sure as hell don't regret
missin' the damn game. ...Good Will Hunting

Sometimes, in the middle of a dark time in my life these lines, crafted by faceless others, would repeat in my head, giving me something to focus on...

It's not your fault...It's not your fault...It's not your fault...Good Will Hunting.

As I was reading through the many many posts about this man that we, as a collective, will miss terribly, it seemed there was one point of view that was missing.  That of a person struggling with depression right now.  I thought I'd take a minute and be that voice, imperfect, maybe, but hopefully helping with understanding.

See, I struggle with depression AND I am the funny one.  I spent a very long time in a very toxic marriage and nobody knew because I was very careful to keep my depression away from people.  I didn't want to be a complainer.  I was sure that everything was my own fault and if I could JUST be better, do better, be smarter, prettier, more capable, I could fix it.  I didn't want to worry anyone.  Besides, I was really good at seeing the world in a funny way, and laughing about it.

When it all came out that the marriage was over, I had a very dear friend look me right in the eye and say, "Uh, congratulations on your performance, I NEVER knew."

I also lived with a man who was terribly depressed.  Horribly, frighteningly, increasingly depressed.  I couldn't help.  Every time that I tried, he pulled back harder and harder.  He couldn't help himself and he couldn't allow anyone else to help either.

You know the part that hurt the most?  After sleeping beside him for almost 20 years, I never got to understand WHY.  But, he was a great laugher.  Honestly, even this moment, I can remember that look in his eye that said he had thought of something very funny, and probably completely inappropriate, but very funny.

I spent time with my mommy after Daddy died.  Weirdly enough, she got MUCH worse, much less willing to talk about it, just as we all thought she was getting better.  I watched her struggle every single day...and laugh.  I watched her laugh anyway.

I don't know what Robin Williams was going through, but one thread that I've noticed whenever suicide is talked about.  You always hear someone say, "He had EVERYTHING to live for", and along the similar line, "if only he'd asked for help, we could have worked out anything."

Can I tell you something?  I have EVERYTHING to live for.  EVERYTHING.  I have three amazing kids, I have an adorable puppy, I have a mom and step dad and brother and brother-in-law that LOVE me.  I have a great relationship with my many amazing extended family. I have friends who will NEVER let me go.  Friends who make me laugh and challenge my mind and my ideas so that I am forced to grow.  And one friend who tells me how incredibly beautiful I am every single time I need to hear it.  I have enough.  Enough money, house, car, food.

When I sit alone I can not think of even one thing that I MUST have to make me happy.  There are things that would be nice...but HAVE TO HAVE?  Nope.

Still, I've had days that I've thought that it would be just great never to wake up again.  Never to have to live inside this body, inside the disappointments that we all have in our lives.  To not have to face responsibilities that I don't necessarily feel capable of completing.   

Some days are just bad.  REALLY bad.

I don't talk much on those days.  To anyone.  I don't answer the phone...I don't go out of the house...and those people that love me, usually only know after the fact.
There is another line of thought that is pretty prevalent out there..."He made a choice."

Oh how short sighted and judgmental we can sound when we've never ever walked a road.
Yes, indeed, he made a choice. 
The thing is, when I'm having a "bad day", there are NO choices that I can see.  NONE.  On those days, I am afraid of every choice.  Every train of thought makes me cry or mad...or at BEST, contemplative.  All that I want to do is make it stop.  I sit and watch TV, or I sleep.  Or I write pages of completely un-redemptive crap...very descriptive un-redemptive crap.  And I wait for it to pass.  I wait until I can see something that makes me laugh.  I wait until I can help somebody else or until somebody calls.  Given time, somebody always calls. 
I am NOT addicted to drugs or alcohol...and I haven't struggled with a life time of bi-polar disorder and the drugs meant to help that go along with it. And yet, I still have days where the biggest choice I am capable of making is whether or not to watch "Call the Midwife" or "Grey's Anatomy" to deaden my screaming brain...and on those bad days I really do think that it has always been this way and always WILL BE this way.  My intellect knows that it hasn't and won't, but on bad days, it's not my intellect that is running the show. The bad days, it's my emotions that are haywire and I CAN'T make them stop, no matter that someone thinks I should be able to.  (ick, ended that in a preposition...blech...gonna leave it anyway...I did say this would be imperfect.)
I can understand how Robin Williams might have had a terribly bad day...maybe a string of bad days so long that he couldn't remember the last time he'd felt normal.  I can understand how he could feel that he could not take even one more minute of this, whatever it was, that was torturing him.  
 Did you ever wish you could sometimes freeze frame a moment
in your day, look at it and say "this is not my life"?  ... Mrs. Doubtfire

I wish that he would have waited for someone to call.  I wish he would have been distracted from the task just long enough to realize the craziness of putting his kids and family through this kind of pain, so that he could find the space to make a different choice.

But I am NOT going to be one of the crowd that blames him for his death.  I'm not going to say, "if only" even once.  Because he had a situation...a bad day...and he was as incapable of "fixing" it himself as if he'd gone down in an airplane.  There, but for the grace of God, go I.

I am praying for his family...praying for the people in his life who knew him well enough to touch him and had the intimacy with him to look into his eyes and laugh.  I'm praying that they don't blame themselves in any way, praying that they don't blame him.

For the rest of us, I'm praying that we remember that this life, like EVERY life, was amazing, and hard, and hilarious, and precious.
Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful
play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play
*goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be? ... Dead Poet's Society

I pray that we all fight the darkness that is depression.  Fight it when our own demons come to dance on our heads.  Fight it when we know that people we love are hurting and struggling.  I pray we remember the truth of our worth in this world.  Worth that is not measured by things we have done, but by the Lord who made us, who gave us each skills and talents and tasks to do that are priceless.  I pray we call and remind each other what we mean to each other.  Every time.  As often and obnoxiously as possible.  It's not a program that is going to fix this...it's people caring and praying and calling and talking and laughing...and not stopping even when you're afraid you are going to bug someone...maybe ESPECIALLY when you are afraid that you are going to bug someone...

That's what I bring to the party...my verse if you will...so I guess for this moment...

...Dead Poet's Society

Mr. Williams, you will be missed...but I will always be blessed by YOUR contribution to the world and my life.

As for the rest of you?  See ya around...