Thursday, May 06, 2010

Things That Make Me Smile

I need this post today.  I need this exercise today.  My mind is not where it should be.  It is lingering in dark places...focusing on things I can do absolutely nothing about...dwelling on too many unknowns...searching for answers to questions I may never have.  I woke up this way.  In the past if I had gotten out of bed in this kind of mood my entire day would be shot.  Lots of tears...lots of time wasted waiting for someone or something to make me feel better.  Well folks, one thing I've learned these last months?  Nobody is going to do it for you.  Write it down...stitch it into a sampler...tattoo it on your forehead:  Nobody is going to do anything for you.  Learn how to do things for yourself.  You have the best answers for you.

So how do I get out of these moods?  Well, some days I never fully do.  But I am able to function without becoming a gelatinous pool of tears and sorrow. In all honesty, I've had more days filled with smiles in the last two or three months than I've had for the last several years.  Do I recommend that all of you do it this way?  Are you kidding me?  Good Lord no.  Again...you have the best answers for you.  If opening up to friends, family, health care professionals, or your clergy works then DO IT!  If eating ice cream six times a day and going skydiving naked appeals to you I say go for it.  If you are so lost in the darkness that you need medical treatment to get out?  Do NOT hesitate to seek out that help.

All right how do I start one of these days?  Well, as I do most days.  I get out of bed, get myself ready, feed and medicate the cats, get the girls up, dressed and fed, and get Hope on the bus before 8:30.  After that, I sit down with my breakfast and my laptop, check my email, find out what's going on in the world, and finish by checking out what new ways Facebook is pimping me and my information out for that day.  Each day I update my status...and on days like today I want to send out an emotional booty call.  You know...vaguebooking at it's best?  "My life sucks...why me...why must I go through something like this?"  Yeah, I used to do that.  Key words here being USED TO.  That kind of thinking is a drug.  All I was doing was putting out an all call for somebody else to come and make me feel better.  I'd end up sitting at the computer basking in the warmth and sympathy of all those responding and end up feeling worse than I had when I started.  I found that I quickly became used to it and craved even more attention.  Well, no thanks.  I've pulled myself out of that one and I'm NOT going back.

My statuses now alternate between what I'm actually doing, song lyrics, quotes, plain old smartass commentary, and inspirational messages.  When I feel like crap, chances are more than good you'll find an inspirational message.  First of all, that's probably going to resonate with someone reading it and possibly put a smile on his/her face.  Secondly it smacks down the irrational thoughts in my head by replacing the negative with a positive.  Does that keep the negativity at bay all day?  Nope, but it's a damn good start.

Oh...my status for today?

Life is short...embrace those you love...treasure those who make you smile...hold close those who make you a better person...be the person you want to be...take a chance...reach out to someone who misses you...LIVE...start today. Don't deceive your free will at all...just receive it.---mostly Mel with a little help from Yes

Things That Make Mel Smile

1.  Walking---yeah...still.  I don't think there is another soul out there that gets how important this is to me.  I am not being sarcastic when I tell you that my walks are what hold me together.  My grip on sanity is tenuous at best.  Without that hour at least six times a week I can just hang it up here and now.  It's not just the exercise, although that is the major point.  It's getting out...enjoying the sunshine...the breeze on my face.  Having no responsibility other than what tunes I am listening to, keeping my stride short, not coming down too hard on my heels, and aligning my body to work either my legs, butt, or core.  (I know...I'm a geek.  Get used to it.  I revel in it.)

At least once a week I run into someone and we'll stop and chat for a bit.  If it's one of the many dogs on my route I have to stop and make a fuss...especially over the latest addition...world's cutest eight week old Boston Terrier.  Of course, if I run into Phil we chat for more than a bit because we have to know what each other is listening to, which leads to him singing to me and then we start discussing friends from high school.  Phil is my former high school history teacher.  He has sung to me each and every time he's seen me in the last 30+ years.  Phil makes me smile.

2.  Music---again...yeah...still.  The songs have changed though.  Before they were, for lack of a better explanation, picking at scabs.  The walls were down but all the hurts were still there and needed to be experienced before the healing could begin.  After everything was left raw and bleeding I transitioned into a phase of healing.  For whatever reason I found myself going through a bunch of my old country CD's and then downloading even more country music online.  Thank you Randy Travis, Marty Stuart, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Diamond Rio, and Hal Ketchum.  I can proudly tell you those scabs are now healed.  There are still scars...there always will be.  But they are a badge of honor to prove to myself that I've done it...I've made it through.  Oh, and my "Then You Stand" bracelet?  I've worn it every day...the heart is scratched, battered, and scarred...but still beautiful...still worth loving...just like my own.


So what's next?  Well, I've moved into my "rebuilding" phase.  No, I'm not rebuilding the walls.  I'm rebuilding Mel.  There were a lot of good things about old Mel.  I can't tell you how many people have looked me straight in the eye and said, "Mel, you were pretty special to begin with.  That's all part of who you are too...don't lose her!"  So maybe "integrating" would be a better term.  What am I listening to now?  Well, my musical tastes have always run a pretty wide gamut.  I'm told weekly if not daily by one family member or another that my taste in music sucks.  It doesn't bother me anymore.  It is, after all, MY taste in MY music.  Right now I'm obsessing over AC/DC.  When The Spousal Unit heard it he said, "YOU'RE listening to AC/DC?  You used to call that Devil Music!"  So I did...and now I don't.  I hear a certain one of their songs in my head whenever I walk into a new situation...makes me stand taller...gives me immense confidence...and maybe even a bit of a swagger.  No, I'm  not going to tell you which one...it'll be more fun for you to decide!  Also in heavy rotation...Clay Walker, Carrie Underwood, Dido, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Annie Lennox and a few dozen more.



3.  Going RED---Yes that's RED not red.  At one point in my life I was blonde...yeah...I'm not a blonde.  I may have been born with brown hair, but this girl was born to be a REDHEAD.  I've had many different shades...light, dark, natural, copper...but I'm happiest when it's RED.  My last shade was pretty.  It was very dark...I didn't like it.  So when I went in a couple of weeks ago and my stylist asked me, "Well?  What would you like this time?"  I said, of course, "RED!"  She said, "Okaaaay."  I said, "I want CFM RED."  (Ok, I didn't really use the initials...I said the actual words.  She's known me for well over 20 years...she and I happen to share a love of "colorful" language.)  I said, "I believe in polite society it's referred to as 'Harlot Red'."  She said, "We can do that.  I have that color."  Man did she.  This is MY color.



4.  Shopping---No kidding?  More specifically bargains.  In my book, bargains are something you actually went shopping for in the first place and got at a great price.  I LOVE going to Old Navy, leaving with at least 15 items and having spent less than $120.  You know...like pants and dresses and shirts for Claire, mittens and jeans and shirts for Hope, socks for both of them, shirts and jeans and a winter coat for me?  Yep...I've done it.

My beloved green walking shoes finally gave up the ghost.  I headed to Shoe Carnival last weekend to see if they had anything.  Well...they were having a BOGO 1/2 off sale.  I didn't find another pair of green walkers, but I did find a decent pair of blue ones.  I'd had my eye on those sweet little Skechers shown above for a couple of months but couldn't see spending almost $40 on a pair of "fun" shoes.  Thanks to the sale and my precious green walkers breathing their last breath, I didn't have to.

My next shopping trip will be for new capris.  Last spring when I started walking every day I went from a size 8 to a size 6.  Well...being on the treadmill all winter?  Yep...all my new size 6's from last year are too big.  Time to go shopping for some size 4's!

5.  Smelling Good---I know...something so simple.  Let's face it...I'm a girly girl...dare I say...diva.  I don't leave the house without make-up. I put lipstick on before I go for my walk for crying out loud.  So it just goes to reason that I'd like to smell good too...right?  You may remember I found comfort in Bath & Body Works Black Raspberry Vanilla.  That has become my signature scent of late.  Hey, when they have a sale where you buy three and get three free?  I'm there.  So along with my shower gel, lotion, and bubble bath this time I bought some body spray.  I'm addicted to the stuff.

Scent has always been my defining sense.  Sight, sound, taste, and touch all work too, but a scent will bring back a memory, a feeling like no other...for me at least!  Some of the best compliments I've ever received center around me smelling good.  I worked with this one guy...Bill...he's also the one who called me "Mel" for the first time.  I walked into his room one morning to ask him a question and before I even finished my sentence he said, "Wow you smell good!"  I remember that like it was yesterday...if yesterday happened to be the mid '90's.  I also remember the fragrance I was wearing at the time.  Once upon a time, before he walked out of my life taking a rather substantial portion of my heart with him, an extraordinary young man told me that my scent was "intoxicating".  Now folks?  I don't know about y'all?  But that was something I'd been waiting my entire life to hear.  If a memory like that doesn't stir something inside your soul...you need to get yourself to the nearest hospital and get checked for signs of life.  Every single time I think about that comment...I smile...from the inside out.

6.  Cute Underwear---Yes again...something so simple.  I have recently settled my dispute with Victoria's Secret as I've actually found something that is cute, fits, and doesn't need Leonard Nimoy to locate it on a regular basis.  I'm sorry...was that last reference too obtuse for you?  Remember the show, "In Search Of" hosted by Leonard Nimoy?  You figure it out.  I've also had a major epiphany that I'm allowed to buy cute bras too.  So if I see a cute little black number with green polka dots then I'm not going to pass it up in favor of one that won't show under a white t-shirt...I'm going to buy them both.

7.  A Good Cup Of Tea And Some Chocolate In The Afternoon---pretty self explanatory...no?



8.  Going To The Movies---When I was in high school...and college...I spent a lot of time at the movies...by myself.  It's just easier that way.  It was too much of a hassle to find someone who was willing to go with me.  Apparently my taste in film sucks too.  ; )  I haven't been to the pictures in ages...the last one I saw was Titanic!  I fixed that several months ago by going to see "Sherlock Holmes."  LOVED IT!  One of the previews they showed was for, of course, Iron Man 2.  Oh myyyyyyyyyyyyy.

Let me just say right now?  I do not have a thing for Robert Downey, Jr.  He's never even made my list of the top 1000 guys I've ever had a crush on...and no, that list is never going to be posted here for your stalking pleasure.  I did enjoy him as Sherlock Holmes and after seeing the preview for Iron Man 2 I made it my duty to procure a copy of the first Iron Man movie.  ::sigh::  I'm in deep trouble.  Downey's character, Tony Stark is...how shall I say it...hot?  I have a patented weakness for his "type".  Brilliant, successful, self assured, CONFIDENT...dare I say bordering on cocky...or arrogant?  Gets me every time.

I've been watching the trailer for IM2 for the last week online.  Claire seems to share my fascination.  She started out by calling him "Toby Dark" but she's since corrected herself.  She will tell her sister at least three times a day that the man on Mama's computer is Tony Stark...he's not Iron Man until he puts on the mask.  She's also informed me that she wants to be Iron Man for Halloween.  That's my girl!

Yep...Iron Man 2 opens tomorrow.  I may not make it on Friday, but you can be sure I'll be AIS this weekend.  Happy Mother's Day to me...

9.  Not Finding Anything New During My Monthly BSE---again...no explanation needed!



10.  Watching My Precious Girl Find Her Strength---While my daughters are probably the chief source of my aggravation, they are also the biggest source of my joy.  My darling Hope...she's so timid...so shy...everyone literally walks all over her.  She's very much like her mama was at that age.  I have worked so hard, trying to get her to stand up for herself...I don't want her to be like me...I want her to find her strength and her center NOW so she won't have to totally deconstruct once she becomes an adult.

She came home a couple of weeks ago in tears...her "best friend" told her that Americans are prettier than the Chinese.  Really?  How can you look at that face and SAY something like that?  Do you not see the light radiating from her very soul?  My heart shredded for her that day...the first of many times I'm sure.  I told her that everyone has their own opinion...it doesn't matter what the brat (ok I didn't use that word) thinks.  And besides, she's both...she's a Chinese born American.  She said, "Mama?  Do you think I'm beautiful?"  I said, "Didn't Mama tell you that you were the most beautiful baby she'd ever seen?"  She crumpled in my arms and we both shed a few tears.  After that she bounded out of the room and she and her little sister started playing "Chinese School".  If that were the end of it I'd be completely satisfied.  However, a couple of days later I was tickling her and started poking her in the belly and on her chest, emphasizing whatever silly words we were using when she said, "Mama.  Don't poke me like that.  I don't like it."  It was nothing short of jaw dropping...she was firm...she was resolute...there was no timidity in her tone.  My GOD I was so proud of her.  But wait!  Last week was her school's Ice Cream Social.  We stopped in her room to see what she'd been working on and to say hello to her teacher.  On each student's desk was a book they had made called "Here's The Scoop".  The first page of Hope's book read, "I'm special because I'm Chinese."  Ok...I need a Kleenex now...

So there you have it.  A list of ten things that consistently make me smile.  I'd like to leave you with a couple of thoughts from my friend Sherri.  Sherri has this talent for pushing all the crap aside and getting to the heart of the matter.  It is for that reason in high school that I dubbed her "No Shit Sherri".  Sherri came up with the most wonderful saying, "Suffering...a gift we give ourselves."  How true is that friends?  How many times when we have the CHOICE to be either miserable or not, do we choose misery?  I'm not doing it anymore.  You have permission to smack me if I do.

Secondly?  She has taught me to take care of myself FIRST.  And no, that isn't being selfish.  By taking care of Mel first, everything else just seems to fall into place.  I am more peaceful, more centered, more able to focus on those around me.

Be blessed y'all...Happy Mother's Day weekend!

3 comments:

Mr Lonely said...

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Carolina said...

Mel, you're a wise woman! They say happiness is a choice and it really is.
Great haircolour! Love Hope's radiant face. Love to see the Sherlock Holmes movie. Love that photo of R. Downey jr. Think I love Phil.
Love you!
Big smile ;-)

Mel said...

Mr. Lonely---Thanks!

Carolina!!! I'll tell Phil the next time I see him he's got fans worldwide now. ;) Love you too! ")

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