Tomorrow (November 30) will mark a month of non-stop blogging here in this little corner of the interwebs. I joined two challenges for this month – both required posting something, anything to the blog every single day in the month of November.
An ode to NaNoWriMo – except instead of writing every single day in November to finish a novel, it’s blogging every single day. Partly to build the habit. Partly to build the audience.
All I’ve done so far is realize I have the worst timing for this kind of stuff. I took on a big writing project that sucked up all my time while the boys had one of the busiest months at school this year (so far) and we prepared for a holiday. I never have been good at boundaries, saying no, or admitting even I have limits. So I committed to doing all of it to the best of my ability – and probably have a few more gray hairs to show for my effort.
Through it all, I made it work. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m looking forward to a December where I can and will skip days as necessary. That being said, if (when) I come across a new challenge that stretches the writing limits, I’m sure I’ll agree to do it and make it happen even as I read 35 books to Sean, write 45 articles on plumbing for a client, make sure three school projects arrive at school in one piece, and throw food at the hungry hordes that surround me a few times a day begging for food. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad – it was more like 25 books for Sean.
John would tell me to stop bitching, that I thrive on that kind of pressure. Damn it. The secret is out.
Yeah, as exhausted and stressed as I was all November trying to get everything done, looking back (from the calm of a temporarily quiet house and no major deadlines looming) I can admit I enjoyed it. The constant go-go-go of doing stuff you enjoy is fun for me – even when it means I don’t wear real pants for a week or clean my house for two weeks (new goal: hire a cleaning service!).
So what did I learn from blogging for a solid month?
That I’ll do it again, bitch the entire time, and love every minute of it (in retrospect).
It’s another 300 Prompt kind of day today, and this week’s prompt is both difficult and easy.
Name a few phobias and share when and how you discovered them.
If you’d like to join in on the name-your-fears fun, feel free to answer in the comments, on social media, or on your blog (and share the link in the comments below). Let’s see if we can creep ourselves out in the name of writing and sharing.
I have a few fears that I wouldn’t classify as phobias: the fear of rejection and failure are chief among them. Those are the fears I push through and pretend I don’t have in order to function…or I simply avoid anything that makes me feel rejected or like a failure. Problem solved!
On the other hand, there are some things that just give me the heebie-jeebies and make my skin crawl. Some things I dislike so much, I can’t even say the words out loud very easily.
(You can’t tell from your perspective, but I’m hesitating to even type the main one…that’s how strong it is.)
(In a hushed whisper) Roaches.
There, I said it. I’m not saying that word again. Or typing it.
I can handle beetles, bees, spiders, slugs, snails, but not those. And by those, I mean the little ones and the big-ass, scary-as-fuck Palmetto bugs we get here in the South.
When I have no choice but to deal with them by myself (like the three years after I split with the ex), I drown them in bug spray and suck them up with the Shop Vac. Of course, these days, I scream like a little girl, cry a bit, and beg John to “do something.” Sometimes all he can do is hand me the bug spray. I drown the disgusting thing and then wait for him to dispose of it. It gives me the shivers just thinking about it.
Where does the fear come from? I’m not completely sure, but I do remember a friend of my father’s telling me a story when I was maybe seven or eight about someone he knew who had an immaculately clean house and one crawled in his ear and died! (No, I don’t know why anyone would tell that story to a small child, either.)
I slept with a blanket over my ears until I was about 15. No, really. I used to wake up in the middle of the night if I didn’t feel my blanket over my ear and put it back. All that story did was reinforce the idea that no matter how clean you are, you can still have them. They’re everywhere.
But, of course, my mother taught me that they seem to be more prevalent when your home (or in my little kid case, room) is filthy. When you live in the South like we do, they don’t care if you’re clean or dirty. If they can get in, they will.
I once got one on my hand (by reaching down into dark corners that I shouldn’t have) and freaked out so bad that I flung my hand, throwing it off of me where it slammed against the wall – I think it squished upon impact – and then I dunked my hand in bleach water. I was inconsolable for a few hours. It was that bad.
Anything too damn high. It’s not the height I’m scared of. It’s fall and potential splat upon impact.
I’m sure I have others, but they’re probably not in my current realm of experience. Or I’m just so afraid, my mind is blocking thoughts of those particular fears.
The true phobias, the things that send me into freak-outs, I avoid at all costs.
The everyday fears that give me sweaty palms and high blood pressure, I do my best to face head on…when I have no other choice, of course.
We’re on a Christmas countdown here at my house now that Thanksgiving is over. I have always liked this song, but I don’t think I’d ever heard the original recording. Thank you, YouTube for making some of the weirdest music available. No matter what you celebrate this holiday season, I say let’s be merry, cheery, and bright as much as possible!
When I was a kid, sex was a completely off-limits topic in my house. Most of my education came from the school’s health class and sneaking to read trashy romance novels (something I still love to do) – neither of which actually prepare you for sex. At least not in a healthy way.
Before the boys were born, I told myself I would do it differently. I wouldn’t let the school or their friends be the only source of information – especially since both will be a little bit (and sometimes a lot) wrong.
I consider myself a fairly open person. Who you love and who you have sex with is your business as long as everyone is a legally consenting adult. Want to get married and you’re both dudes? Cool! Love each other but hate the idea of marriage? No worries here. I don’t think you’re going to hell. Love is love. Sex is a normal functioning part of life. Women who have lots of sex aren’t sluts. Men who don’t aren’t freaks. And anything goes when both parties consent. (Yeah, even the freaky stuff.)
I figure talking about sex in an age-appropriate way with my boys and teaching them the importance of consent will help them be more open about sexuality when they’re older. That’s the hope, at least.
I also acknowledge that my boys are going to have sex much sooner in life than I think they should. And as much as I want grandchildren, I don’t want them before either boy is out of high school. Condoms will be available. The conversation about no meaning no will happen (hell, it happens now when Sean won’t get off his brother’s head when they’re “playing”). All the things I think they need to know will be shared with them – many times, because we all know kids don’t listen the first 10 times you tell them anything.
I’ve been mentally preparing for the days when we’ll need to have these discussions since I was pregnant with Aidan. Okay, maybe not that far back, but close. Call me weird (I am, it’s okay) but I’ve been a little excited about the idea of having such an open line of communication with the boys as they get older that they’ll come ask me anything. I see them confiding in me when they’re confused or lost or heartbroken. We’ll be the home that doesn’t shy away from the awkward topics surrounding sex, and they’ll grow up knowing they can ask anything.
Aidan is the oldest (so of course, he’s the experiment since I’m clueless), and he’s not cooperating with my vision.
I tell him he can ask me anything. He nods, blushes for a moment, and then starts talking about Minecraft.
I remind him that I’m always here for him, no matter what. He shrugs and goes back to his YouTube videos.
I test his knowledge to see where he might be at in terms of slang and body parts. He shakes his head at me and walks away.
This isn’t going as planned At. All.
The other day, I took the bull by the horns (so to speak). He said something that related to sex, and I pushed a little harder. I asked him straight up, “Do you know what sex is?” He shrugged. I asked if he wanted to know. He gave me a smaller shrug, then whispered that he wanted to know but he didn’t think we should talk about it in front of Sean.
Later, when he’d clearly forgotten the conversation (and Sean was out of the room), I pulled him to the side and asked if he was ready to know.
He nodded, blushed, and then covered his face with his hands and mumbled, “I don’t think I can do this.”
Him?! I’m the one that’s struggling to figure out what’s age appropriate while still being clinical and adult about this and watching out for Sean who wants to know everything his big brother knows. I’m the one who should be hiding under the table!
I told him anyway. Simple terms, using the correct names for body parts.
His eyes widened. His cheeks became redder than before (not sure how that’s possible). He shook his head and walked away.
Where were his questions? Where was our moment to bond a little? Why isn’t he curious?!
I know the reason. I haven’t completely lost it. Moms aren’t supposed to know about this stuff and we’re definitely not supposed to talk about it with our sons. Aidan really wishes I would follow the rules of being a Mom.
Now that the mechanics of sex are out of the bag, I’ve kept my ears open for any opportunity to further the discussion. The child isn’t an idiot. He’s playing it close to the vest in case I divulge other information no mother should ever tell her son. But sometimes, the boys hands me sex-talk gold.
Riding in the car on the way to school, Aidan and Sean joked about have multiple “nipples” that are really “pimples.” They couldn’t get enough of saying both words, over and over again, and over and over and over…Anyway, in an attempt to shock me, Aidan joked that his “pimples” were, “down there, Mom” with a nod to his groin.
For once, all my cylinders were firing and I went with it.
“Yeah, if that was true, you’d be in danger of it rotting off.”
“That can happen?!” His eyes took up his whole face.
“Not quite, but if you have sex without a condom, you can get a disease [I nodded towards his groin] down there and you’ll think it’s going to.”
Maybe that’s not the healthiest way to start the discussion about safe sex practices but at least I didn’t have to hear about fake pimples on little boy penises anymore. I’m gonna call that a win.
This sex talk, sex positivity, open line of communication with Aidan isn’t going how I envisioned it AT ALL – which means it’s just like every other part of parenting. I thought he’d have questions and bring them to me (because I’ve told him his whole life that he can) – and he doesn’t. He won’t. I’m his Mom, after all. What do I know? And if I do know anything, Aidan doesn’t want to know about it. “It’s too embarrassing, Mom.”
As with walking, talking, reading, and tying his shoes, I’m going to have to pull him along and make sure he gets the education he needs before he decides to go get the experience he wants. Damn it. This was so much easier in my head.
Welcome to another 300 Prompt day where I tackle a writing prompt for the whole world (all three of you. Hi!) to see and encourage others to join in – on your own blog, in a comment, or on social media.
This week’s prompt is pretty good.
Write about three realistic goals you would like to achieve in your lifetime.
Well, hell, I’m glad we’re only talking about the realistic goals.
Maybe I’m strange, but I don’t set goals unless I think there’s even a tiny possibility I’ll achieve them. Any “goal” that is a near impossibility is categorized as a dream. And the way I look at it, the moment some opportunity shows up that makes that dream seem more realistic, it immediately gets filed away as a goal.
Okay, so you want three realistic goals, the kind I might achieve before I die.
Publish a book or five or more. Several years ago, this was firmly in dreamland. Now, after 18 months of spending my days doing nothing but writing, I know I’ve got several books in me. Right now, the new dream is to one day “work” as a novelist and personal essayist. My books and the occasional article will be my sole source of income – maybe, hopefully. We’ll see. But writing and publishing a book will definitely happen. Watch me.
Become a grandmother. These boys don’t know it yet, but one of them is giving me grandchildren to spoil the way my mother spoils them. I don’t care if I have to go adopt one for them, I will have a child call me Grandma or Nana or whatever the hell they want to call me, as long as they call me. It’s called payback.
Run or walk a marathon. I need to get back into walking regularly. Then I’ll set my sights on 5Ks and smaller races – something I used to do back in the day. I’m not so worried about running like I used to – excruciating pain in your knees makes that a little less fun – but I want to finish some big races. Partly to say I did it. Partly because I like medals. But mostly because I’m fiercely competitive (with myself), and I want to see what I can do and then improve on that.
Okay, so those are my three goals. What are yours??