Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Store is Closed, but I Can't Find the Right Lock

The Queenpin's store is closed, and by store I mean uterus. Owning such a fine, upscale establishment has been a blast. I have produced two beautiful and planned children, and had plenty of scares that the store has been broken into and eggs fertilized, but, shew-wee, (imagine me wiping sweat from my brow) they were just scares. After littlest beastie was born my maternal instinct kicked in so big, I thought I would open the store up like Mother Ducker and just use my lady parts like a revolving door to have babies, but then the wusband left and my mind began to change.

Year one of being single I could imagine myself with new husband and possibly new babes, but then year two came and my beasties got older, then year three and they became even older, and with age came independence. There is nothing like hitting that time in your kids' lives when they can open a pack of crackers by themselves and turn on the t.v. so you can read your book in bed for another hour. By year three the store was closed for good, at least in my mind, but unfortunately thoughts cannot keep you from becoming pregnant. Aint' it a bitch how those things work?

I'm into holistic healing, I would love to go all natural and just count my days and time my body, but my doctor calls people who do that "parents" and suggests I choose another method. I can't do the pill because cigarrettes and I are still having our frenemy relationship. I have tried one of the IUDs and sheesh, that has hurt my uterus' feelings so much all she does is give me hell about it. The other IUD choice is one that two women I know, who live in a one block radius, both got pregnant on. Then there are condoms (good for the beginning before you make that man go get the test), and a diaphram (can you just give me an hour to get this thing in?) Don't forget the shots, and patches, and HORMONES, HORMONES, HORMONES. Does this estrogen/progesterone mix make me look fat?

What's a Queenpin to do? My doctor was all for tying my tubes, putting me under and clipping my sweet little fallopian tubes with metal clips, but I freaked out and canceled the appointment. Metal clips inside me? Forever? I had thoughts of infection, blocked chi (remember Queenpin is in acupuncture school), and hysterectomy. But then I had an experience that gave me perspective...

A few weeks ago, I drove a friend to another state, we pulled into a sketchy part of town. In a parking lot behind a tire store and a Japanese restaurant, hidden far from the road we entered a clinic where 5 women of all walks of life sat, wishing they had had better birth control. Wishing that thinking could control the uterus into not being pregnant. It made me deeply feel the burden of women, and not in that dish washing, floor mopping, working, and kid raising way. It made me think about the deep burden that women carry because we have a uterus and because in the end we make the choices about birth control. We are often left holding the bag, which happens to be a muscle that can carry a child for 9 months. A child you then also have to raise, or choose not to, and then you have that burden too. (I know it is a burden and a gift)

A man in one of my acupuncture classes swears that there was a clinical trial for a birth control pill for men. He said the trial didn't last long because the men in the trial complained that while taking the pill they had weight gain, moodiness, and headaches. They just couldn't take the side effects. Really. I don't even know what else to say about that, except, What the hell??????? But then would I do that to me if I had no bag to hold? No baby to carry, no child to raise, no choice to make? Nope, not in a million years would I do that to me and my body.

Yet here the Queenpin sits. Knowing at some point I'm gonna have sex again (abstinence is the only 100% form of birth control), and knowing that to do that I'm gonna have to make some choices that may go against what I think is right for my body. I'll be holding the bag, but the sign on the outside will say loud and clear, "QUEENPIN IS CLOSED FOR BUSINESS, but for pleasure, appointments necessary."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Spinning Plates and Bees

Right after my daughter was born the wusband decided that earning money was not necessary for him. To be fair, he was selling real estate when the market tanked, but somehow he still managed to play a lot of golf. I had taken the year off teaching to raise my babies, so I had no income. What does a Queenpin do when money is not growing on trees, and her partner has decided he likes golf more than work? She starts two businesses. With a sweet new baby and a 3 1/2 year old I started a daycare in my home (let me just say that was as close to hell on earth as I ever plan to get), and I started selling Mary Kay Cosmetics. My friends laugh when I tell stories about it. I am not a girlie, girl, makeup wearing Christian lady, but I did it, because it needed to be done. And right now when I have no job, but many ideas, I am so glad for the experience.

I learned a lot from Mary Kay. That woman knew how to make housewives into business women. She knew how to make it simple. I am drawing on what I learned from her to help me now. I've got so many plates in the air, and like a crazy person I keep adding to the mix, I think there are some mixing bowls up there too, and steak knives...on fire.

Tomorrow I start massage school, three nights a week for 10 months. In August I go back to acupuncture school 5 days a month in another state, I have been cleaning two businesses on the side for a few years and I plan to expand that, and most exciting (and terrifying), I plan to start a small business with my neighbor that is going to let me be creative and expand the Queenpin name. Plus, there's laundry to do, dishes to wash, meals to cook, and beasties to raise.

Mary Kay's symbol is a bee. She admired the bee's ability to fly though, theoretically a bee's small wings should not be able to carry it's body weight. She said that women are like that. We can fly though many times we have too much to carry. There are many tidbits Mary Kay taught to help women prioritize so that they could have plates, cookery, and yes, flaming knives in the air, and keep them there spinning, while looking like it was no sweat.

I'm excited about all these new possibilities for me, and I'm trying to keep the terror at bay by putting one foot infront of the other. I'm beating my little wings as fast as possible to keep us all afloat and hoping, just hoping, that I'm flying in a direction that will bring success.

Welcome to the Pancake Palace

The boy sat curled up in the lepoard print lazy girl. Math book in his lab and then he began to whine. Granted, he was hungry and had no bread, no milk, and no juice for breakfast. Regardless his mother hated whining. The sound turned her nuturer to ice, "Baby, what is going on with you?" she replied in her own menacing whine. "I miss my daddy!" he cried and then he broke and sobbed and the Queenpin's ice melted as she curled up around her boy and tried to kiss away his tears.

My boy doesn't talk much about what is going on inside. My boy is sweeter than cotton candy and he holds all his stuff inside. For him to break and say what was going on was huge, but what is a Queenpin to do with this flood of sadness that has stained her hardwood floors and split her own heart in two? I held him and said, I know baby, I would fix it if I could. It just sucks. I let him cry, and then I called on the organization. I called my neighbor. "Should I take the beasties to breakfast and then just take them to his work so they can see him?", I asked, and she, wise, wise mama that she is said, "No, because worse than not seeing him at all would be seeing him and him not being happy to see them." She then did an even more amazing thing than give me good advice, she invited us to the Pancake Palace.

The Pancake Palace is a magical place to eat. For an hour you can have your daddy blues wiped away while you are waited on by two fabulous mama's and one daddy cooking away in the kitchen. The mamas even wear aprons. As I told my beasties in preparation for the long trip, (right across the street), at the Pancake Palace you don't have to wear shoes, brush your teeth, or even wear underwear. Pajamas are a must.

Once we arrived at the Palace beasties sat outside with their two best friends and were tended to. A menu of fresh fruit, pancakes, and homemade pumpkin muffins was offered. Burping was allowed! Beasties ate and laughed, and I would like to think they healed a little.

And the Queenpin healed too as she was reminded that we are a making a different kind of family, full of mothers and fathers that are happy to take us in when the heat is on.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Searching for Chutzpuh

My mom's longtime boyfriend taught me the Yiddish word chutzpuh a few months ago. He was using it in relation to the wusband. As in, that man has a lot of chutzpuh asking you for money. Chutzpuh is something I wish the wusband had less of and I had more of. Chutzpuh means a lotta nerve. A person with chutzpuh only cares out what they want in the outcome of a situtation. They are not lying awake at night worrying about what others think.

You'd imagine that a Queenpin would have no problem telling someone off, saying what's on her mind, but this Queenpin has people pleasing issues, plus southern girl raisin', both of which keep friggin' getting in my way. I take taming bees with honey to the extreme and many times, sometimes that's what it takes to win in the end, but other times you've got to take it to the mattresses and that is where my dilema lies. How do you know, in a split second whether to tame the bees or take it to the mattresses?

I have a hard time distiguishing between kindness and compassion, turning the other cheek and just plain fear of dealing. I have a hard time picking battles and weighing options, but for some reason these days I seem to keep bumping up against the question, "Is this fight worth it?" or I find myself walking away from a situation and later feeling like a total shat upon loserpin. Did the Don ever struggle with this? I think he did. He had to weigh the cost of the battle, because if he moved without thinking his whole organization would fall. This Queenpin can't leave a ton of bodies in her wake either. I've got beasties to protect.

I like to charm people. I like to say it with a smile. It's not that I never say what's on my mind, I do, but I say it with a big ole' grin on my face and many times people don't hear what I'm saying because I say it so sweet. Buddhas forbid I actually make someone uncomfortable. God forbid I make an enemy.

The Queenpin needs to grow some ovaries, and get some chutzpah. She needs to learn to speak up and and scowl. May be I should pick some worthless battles for practice. I wish I would have used it on the nurse who insulted me on purpose while I was face down on a table with no pants on. Chutzpuh is calling a patient's hips saddlebags before you stab in a shot. What did the Queenpin do? Laugh at the chutzpuh of that bitch.

My therapist says that there are two archetypes of warriors. The immature one who rushes blindly into to battle and the mature one that strategizes and picks battles that are worth it. That's where I'm hoping my search for chutzpah leads me. I want to be a Chutzpah Queen who can strategize and go into battles with a cool head.

The Don taught his son Michael about honor. Honoring himself and expecting others to treat him with honor, but he also taught him that sometimes you've got to let things slide so that you stay alive. For me the honor will come from standing up for me and the beasties when a situation requires it, but not losing my head in worthless battles. Like when the wusband asks me for money because he has managed his poorly. The chutzpuh comes from saying, No, but having the self-control not to follow it with phrases like complete loser and worthless pond scum. It is taking him to court for more financial support, though he kicks and screams and punishes the beasties along the way. It is taking it to the mattresses, being Mohammad Ali, not Mike Tyson, though there are many days I'd love for someone to be the hero and bite off that motherfucker's ear.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

If Life Gives You Lemons Take Them With You on the Slip and Slide

My mama has taught me an amazing life lesson. If life gives you lemons don't just make lemonade, make a spritzer, make a fancy hat, make it fun. It doesn't mean that we can't get down and out in our family it just means that if there is an opportunity to fancy up or fun up the sadness or the stress, you should do it.

My dad died two days before my birthday. The weekend after his funeral I met my family for a dinner. When I walked into the restaurant there was a room of people to celebrate me. So much joy and love and laughter at such a sad time. We needed it, and my sweet mama said, "You're dad would have hated to ruin your birthday." We told great stories about my dad all night long.

My last day of teaching I pondered getting fancy. I had kept a boa, a queen's crown, and a pair of funny glasses in my classroom for comic relief. My students were used to me in costume. I couldn't take another day of working and feeling despair. I talked to my friends, should I? Mixed opinions. I finally went to the committee, the ones whose opinions matter most. "Should mommy get fancy for her last day of teaching?" Both beasties' faces lit up and in unison they said, "Yeah!"

On went the bridesmaid dress. My son excitedly offered to zip it up and fasten the belt. I'm not a woman who goes to many fancy occassions so if you have a pretty dress why waste it in the closet?

When I got to work I steeled my shoulders and walked on campus like a queen at her conornation, except it was water day at my school. Pretending to be a queen ended up to be very fitting. It turned out that the Spanish teacher had planned a small celebration for me and the other teacher that was retiring. We were named the queens of Water Day! A tortuous ceremony where I had to pretend again, that oh, yeah it's my idea to leave this place. The other teacher and I were each given a handmade crown and a cape signed by all the teachers and students. One of my friends commented appropriately, where else, but our school could you get fired and receive a cape?

As the day went on we cycled through water activities and at some point I decided to fuck it. Not Don Corleone style. I didn't pull out the big guns, I just found the joy and literally dove right in. The students loved watching me run through sprinklers in queen's dress. They loved that I wore my crown and cape around at each stop ignoring the 97 degree weather. When we got to the Slip and Slide hill, the students and I knew what needed to happen. The queen stepped to the front of the line and she slipped and slided all the way down queen's dress and all, and then I dove face first sliding down and right into the mud at the end. It was a sweet, sweet moment and I laughed and laughed.

At the end of the day student's talked about their favorite part of the day. The consensus was that the queen on the Slip and Slide was the best part, and I had to agree. I needed a way to say good-bye to my babies without tears and regret. Queenpin's can't run their organizations like that. We've got to figure out a way to buck it up and make through.

Life has given me lemons right now, but I'm choosing to make them into a crown. Tonight I'll be fancying it up again in my muddy bridesmaids dress to go see the movie Bridesmaids. I may even buy some pajama jeans for my new life as an unemployed queen.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Need an Island and I Need it Bad

The Queenpin hates to feel needy, but sometimes she does and today was one of those days. Actually, it has been a three day affair and that is a total bastard. I was in a wedding this weekend, and I love weddings. I feel lucky that I have had two. The bride and groom are great people and so in love. They had worked together adding all these amazing handmade things to make the wedding uniquely theirs. The service was one of those yummy outdoor, love fests, and I have to say, the bride was one of the most beautiful I've seen. All of that sounds great, right? It was, but the needies started on Friday and until the wedding was over on Saturday I could not put my finger on the cause.

You might think, poor single mama, she just wants to be married again, but I really don't, so stop right there. Sometimes I wish I had more of a partner, but I get it that my life does not have room for that business right now. It wasn't wanting a ring, or a white dress that drove me to the needies it was the ghost of life past, and from my experience with her this weekend I can tell you she can really screw with your head.

Most of the people that I knew at the wedding I had met while I was dating and married to the wasband. Most of us had been great friends and celebrated each others' loves and relationships. We had shared intimate details with each other about everything, and then my husband left, my life took a turn and we all moved on. I am still friends with some of those people, but not all. There we sat celebrating a good friend's marriage and trying to chit chat like the elephants in the room were not wearing sequins and doing jazz hands at our table. AWWWKWARD.

When I left that wedding I was LONELY! I felt like a total mess and I had longing that I could not fill. I came home to neighbors winding down from a cookout, but even chatting with them could not fill the hole that seemed to be gapping in my chest. It could not remind me of who I am. I was unsettled, and I didn't want to go in my house because it was so dirty and disorganized that just reinforced my jaded view of myself.

I decide to sit in in it. That's what the Buddha teaches. I sat....for about 10 seconds, and then I decided to go to a movie, but in that 10 seconds of sitting with the pain I realized that to my old friends I had wanted to present myself like I am so together. I wanted to seem like a Single Mama Success. To them, until the wasband left, I was a Married Mama Success. At the wedding I wanted them to see what a Queenpin Mama I have become. I wanted them to see how good being left has been to me.

Unfortunately, it is so obvious I am not together. After answering all the chatty questions posed by old friends it came out like this: I am a overwhelmed single mother, who will have no job in a week. I didn't officially get fired, but I did. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do for money, but I hope it's legal. Yes, I am seeing someone, but he is such a hermit I would have to hog tie him to get him to come to any shindig. Yes, I dated the gay guy serving the food, and who apparently just had his first overnighter in jail. Yes, that was me that fell down while walking to get pictures taken. And no, I did not have time to get my hair and nails done like all the other bridesmaids because I couldn't afford a sitter and I was sleeping off a hangover. Oh, and that purple bump on my back, it was a boil.

My therapist says I need to work from the inside out, which makes me want to pull on his goatee and scratch his eyes out. But that is what the Buddha would say too, and I certainly wouldn't pull any of that WWF action on him. The mess outside is a reflection of the mess inside. The way I feel about me. The fear of what others think is because I need them to tell me how to feel about myself and that is shaky ground, because surprisingly, not everyone thinks this Queenpin is fabulous. Some people think I'm a mess. Some people see me walking towards them and turn away. Some laugh behind the boil on my back. Some judge how this Mama is running her organization.

Yesterday in therapy I imagined myself walking on the shaky ground that is my life, that is myself. I stayed with it, letting the feeling of my feet sinking into the muck envelope me. Feeling my arms reach out for balance as I moved forward. In the distance I saw an island. Bare of everything, red earth packed tight. When I reached it I sat down in meditation and came together. The earth stopped shifting, the ground supported me and there was peace. The peace is not here yet, but it is coming. I'm working towards it. Making my way to centeredness. The Queenpin is constructing an island of me, an island of peace. The creating of a peaceful person is a messy thing, so I've got to go through that to get where I'm going, even if I scare some folks off along the way.

Let's hope the island is not what the boil on my back really is. I'm not sure how I would meditate on it if it springs from my back.