Friday, September 17, 2010

The Importance of a Good Booty Shake

The other day my daughter's teacher came to me with a smile and said, "Your daughter woke up from her nap today and said, 'I had a dream my mama was shaking her booty.'" It made me laugh because just that morning we had been shaking our booties to War's Low Rider while we got ready for school. I am a big believer in booty shaking.

It's not that I am an expert booty shaker, my moves are simple and not full of grace, but sometimes it is good to drop it all, turn up the tunes, and shake it. My wasband used to tell me not to dance, though before him I had been a woman who would go out on the floor and try to dance like no one was watching. I let him ruin it, I knew I was being watched when we were together, and I knew he thought I looked stupid, so I stopped. Like Stella, after he left, I was determined to get my groove back.

Once I was free of those chains I began slowly. I set up a dance circle with my students and we took turns going into the middle and shaking it, Getting Jiggy With It blaring in the background. These days other classes come down and join us sometimes. The dance circle is a big hit. At home I put a CD player in the kitchen and I turn it up so me and my two beasties could twirl and shake and laugh and sing.

These days booty shaking is a must, especially when things get stressed. Stop, turn on the music, Queenpin and dance. The morning we were shaking it to Low Rider, it was one of those mornings. You know, the yelling mornings, the sweating over what to cook for breakfast, pack for lunch, and kids NOT PUTTING THEIR SHOES ON mornings. I stopped in my frantic state, picked out the perfect song, and turned it up.

This is what I want the beasties to remember about me, booty shaking in the kitchen, singing the GoGo's or Koko Taylor. Taking a moment to readjust her groove.


Do you ever think Don Corleoni had self-doubt. Do you think he worried if he looked fat in his pin stripes? Would his hands shake at the idea that he looked stupid holding a gun? When the Don was alone with one of his women did he worry that maybe his cellulite was just too plain ugly to show? Did he only have sex with his clothes on?

In the first Godfather the Don never wavers. You can tell when one of the other members of the organization feels insecure, they start getting the shifty eye. They either look around the room for someone to validate them or they drop their gaze to the ground. These days this is what I relate to, not the confidence of the Don. Not the moxie that a Queenpin should have.

I've got the self-doubt these days and I've got it bad. My acupuncturists says it's because I'm burning myself out with school, work, kids, man. I've got no foundation to hold me down. My uprooted being is just shifting and floating around. She said it in more Chinese Medicine speak, but that is what she meant.

I hate self-doubt. The best word I can think of to explain it is icky. It makes me feel icky. Like I can't do, or shouldn't be doing, shouldn't be existing. It makes me miss out on the lusciousness of things because I'm so focused on how much I suck. I'm figuring out that I can't shudder this self-doubt away. You know with an, ugh, shoulder shudder, this feels like shit now lets move on. I can't ego it away either. I let my ego go wild and say and do all kinds of outlandish things, but then I feel self-doubt ten times worse. Did I really do that? What do people think? Am I a crazy woman?

On one of those ego occasions, I went to a beautiful wedding shower where we supposed to give advice. Queenpin Mama, twice divorced, has not much good advice for that, so what did I do? I sang Madonna's "Spank Me" and suggested singing that could help a marriage make it though one more day. Now, months later, I still worry, worry, worry, do those women dislike me now, was I too wild? Ugh, I don't want to worry about these things, I'd like to just shudder and move on, but this time self-doubt is holding me down.

This is a deep self-doubt. A deep core shaking, where the hell is my self, and do I really like her, kind of thinking. This is ungrounded fear and pain. Is this the part where I get to blame it on the ex? It's been three years and I still can't believe how earth shaking it has been to be left. To have this one who you loved like no other walk out the door and never look back.

I know at some point I'm going to heal up and bear a sweet scar that I can tell about at cocktail parties, but right now it there is still a wound. I don't want that man back, I'm redefining my dreams in life, but still I have a slowly healing wound. Really, I still have Turret's Syndrome sometimes when we speak and I can't keep my cussing to myself. But I know it's not him, but the leaving shook my core and I still haven't quite found my center.

The fact that I am full time mom, 1/2 time graduate student, and full time teacher doesn't help. When is there time to actually take care of me? To nurture and not push. I so relate to the scene in American Beauty when the mom who is a real estate agent is having an open house and no one shows up. She starts crying and then she starts yelling at herself and smacking her own face so she'll get it together. Sometime I notice myself mentally being that hard on myself and I think of that scene and laugh. Ease up, baby. My wusband used to say, "Lighten up, Frances."

I think enlighten up is more appropriate. I am now trying to sort all this out so I can heal myself before I go off the deep end. My life is too sweet to waste it with self-doubt and negative rumination. This Queenpin has got to get grounded. I've been waking, not studying, but meditating and doing yoga. We went to the Buddhist Center last night and I felt love and caring wash over me as I prayed. What would Buddha think? Self-doubt? Try emptiness, baby.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Curbing the Wants

There is something so delicious about driving home in the early morning, Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" blaring, hair a mess, wearing your clothes from the night before, smelling like the man you were just with. I'm savoring my moments of badness.

This is where I'm trying to stay. In the moment. What I have is so perfect. Once a week a little bit of wickedness. But I have a fear, it is the same fear that keeps me out of Target when money is tight. It is fear of The Wants. I have worked very hard to accept and be grateful for what I have exactly as it is because it brings me peace. Unfortunately with men I have not perfected this skill. I would like to assign blame at this point, damn American culture, but instead I'll refocus on me.

The fear of The Wants is actually worse than The Wants themselves. I actually don't want anything else than what I have now, a smart, fun man, who requires little, and makes me dinner every week. But in my experience in a few months the wants are going to start, the wanting of more from him, from our relationship. Even if it doesn't make sense, which it doesn't.

I am working hard to change my idea about what I want in life. When I start to have wants (that ache inside that tells me things aren't enough), I have to stop and check in, what do I want to be different? When I check in with myself I realize nothing. The wants are so empty when I stop and look inside them.

What I want to want is the now. My one night a week of total womaness with my very sweet and cool man. My six nights a week of kidness that will not last forever. My life, sweet, imperfect, and divine.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Stinking September and My Savior Sorella

My least favorite month of the year is here, September. Imagine me saying that like Newman said Seinfeld's name, or with a grimace on my face, expelling a wad of spit afterward. I detest September. September is the month when the many good things in my life come together and create a gang war.

Yesterday the Queenpin had to go to her sister and sob. Yesterday the Queenpin was a shitty mom. Yesterday the Queenpin thought she might cry and stab someone at the same time. Yesterday the Queenpin took advantage of one of the most important aspects of her organization, her famiglia, and more specifically her sorella (sister). Yesterday was the end of my first week back at work.

I called my sister with this opening, " I need to bitch and whine and...oh, yeah, I think I'm going to sob." and then I broke down. My first week at work. Fighting with wasband over the never ending divorce. Kidney stones returning mid-week. Having something unpleasant and unexpected happen at work. Yelling at my poor boy so bad he went and hid in his closet.

Thank the Buddhas for my sister, for the one I can completely lose it with and she doesn't judge, unless needed. She doesn't give too much advice, just enough. She listens and lets me be, and then checks on me in a few days. She has faith in me that though I lose it, I will recover and be fine.

As a Queenpin you need one person in your organization who can let you lose it. Someone who isn't so invested they become afraid when the head of the organization starts to look a little crazy in the eyeballs. For me this is my sister. I do have a lot of women that I talk to about my daily life, but when I want to wail and sob, I call my sister. She is safe.

Yesterday my sister did what she normally does. Supported me, "Sure, I'll listen", validated me, "You should have yelled, what he was doing was dangerous!", and sympathized, "I would be crazy too if I had all that going on." (She has a lot going on, she just underplays it).

After our conversation I hung up and felt a little saner. A little less like my eyeballs were spinning around in my head. And though my hair may have still been standing on end, my sister made me feel it may not have been out of fashion. Most importantly I felt like I had dumped my stuff and I could move on. My sorella was not going to call me offering solutions, she wasn't going to obsessively call and make sure I hadn't killed someone. She knows I'm not a psychopath, just a woman trying to find her way. Her faith in me humbles me and helps me have faith in myself.

This month is hell. It is a hang on, white knuckle it time, and once again the Queenpin has made it through a week and no one has gone down. Not because I am so strong, but once again I looked to my organization to get me through. This week it was specifically my sister. "There can be no situation in life in which the conversation of my dear sister will not administer some comfort to me." ~Mary Montagu Is is smaltzy to say again, I am so blessed?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fire and Water Dinner

Tonight I went across the street to my neighbor's for a fire and water dinner. I know, I had never heard of it either. Apparently it is a Meredith College tradition. I am now stealing it and making it my own. My sweet, sassy, and beautiful neighbor was celebrating her wedding anniversary sans husband who left her recently after returning from Iraq. She is a Princess Pin, learning the ropes of running her own network.

Eight women, one man, and eight-ish kids. Until dark we ate spaghetti and cupcakes, drank wine, and let kids play. We caught up with some folks and got to know others. When darkness fell we sent the kids in for a movie and got down to business; fire and water, burning and floating. Each person was handed a stack of note cards and a pencil. Write down what you love & want to keep going in your life and write what you want to get rid of. What you want to rid yourself of we burn, what you want to keep going we float.

We then stood around an open grill and burned what we needed to let go of. People read their cards if they wished. Here's my list:

My dream of having a nuclear family
My ex-husband
Mother Guilt

Next we stood around a blue kiddie pool filled with water. Lit candles floated on the surface. Each person read. Here is my list:

My neighbors and our porch parties
Acupuncture school
My family
My sweet house

It was beautiful, moving, and a little silly. I love ritual. I love my friends.

We laughed about how the kids will remember this night. Adults standing around catching things on fire, using the kiddie pool to put trash in. When they confront us will we pass them $100 and say talk to your therapist about it? Maybe, if it is a good day, we'll get out the pool, light up the grill, hand 'em some note cards, and teach them to free themselves.