Bravery Has Never Become Me.

Once a week I go for a walk with a friend of mine.

We figured that if we don’t work out for the rest of the week, at least we did it once!

We aren’t fitness people. ¬†I have been doing Pilates, yoga, skating and half-marathons, and I got winded on our walk this morning. ¬†It was pathetic.

A couple weeks ago we were on the last stretch of our walk, talking about projects we were working on and projects we had abandoned and the guilt associated with the abandoned projects…and suddenly were in quite a pickle: there were two very large dogs wriggling through their flimsy wire fence and running directly toward us.

Now, the problem with this is twofold: One, we have a couple of very angry farm dogs running our way.  I was searching my brain with a heaping spoonful of haste to try to remember if I had ever learned anything in the Girl Scouts about dog attacks.

Nothing came to mind. ¬†Which was super helpful. ¬†On the plus side, I know exactly how to place a tourniquet on my wounds and how to fashion a stick into a splint around our broken limbs…and I figure that’s something, right?

Two, we were in a field (we’re rather rural out here). ¬†So there was no house to run to, no door to knock on, no backyard to climb into in order to escape. ¬†Bonus: no sticks around either.

Without thinking, and without having time to think, my friend and I reacted the exact same way: we braced ourselves for the dogs.

 

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I have 5 kids. ¬†My friend is a little ahead of me with 12 kids. ¬†We both have raised dogs for service training. ¬†Neither of us take guff, rubbish, gibberish, excuses, whining or sniveling. ¬†You just can’t in our situations, or you will get nothing accomplished all day. ¬†Lunch with this many kids involves, “I’m sorry you don’t like your lunch. ¬†You’re eating it anyway.” ¬†We are project managers for our households, juggling meals, laundry, school, free time, extracurricular activities, quality time, family time, brushing teeth time, bath time, finding everyone’s shoes time and some one-on-one time with the husbands (hey, it’s pretty obvious by now we like our men. ¬†A lot.)

So, it was interesting to me that our first instinct was not to run, or find help, but to take the dogs head on.

In a crisis, you find out what kind of woman you are: we were warriors.

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Weekends are always fun, but the armor gets heavy after a while. (link)


All of our dog training kicked in, and we got out our mighty pointer finger and pointed it (them?) at the dogs, and with a thunderous clap of sound, we yelled, “NO! ¬†NO DOG! ¬†GO HOME!”

And I’m not even kidding, after a minute or two the dogs went home. ¬†They gave up barking and jumping around us in a circle, and they ran happily back through their (crappy) fence back to their owners.

I’m glad we had some more distance to walk, because that adrenaline rush was¬†wicked. ¬†I definitely had to take a few deep breaths and go, “Well, THAT happened.”

 

Running into conflicts in life always bring about reactions you don’t anticipate. ¬†I’m not scared of dogs, I’m not really scared of bears…but I also don’t want to be attacked by either of them. ¬†Who wants to be attacked by anything, really?

The interesting thing about conflicts is that you will probably react differently to conflicts in different circumstances. ¬†I had no trouble grounding myself and bracing for the dogs, but if I am put into a situation where I see a woman being sexually intimidated by a man…I freeze.

That is the cowardly thing to do, and I hate it.   

On one hand, I will sit there listening to it thinking, “This can’t seriously be happening.” ¬†It is just so obviously inappropriate, I second guess myself. ¬†Am I really seeing this??

On the other hand, I am making an effort in my life to not pick as many fights…and I sit there going back and forth, “Do I destroy this man, or do I go get help…what is the right thing to do??” ¬†I think I might be overreacting to this, I think I might be picking a fight I won’t win, I think I will have the tables turned on me…what do you do?

With people and conflict, I think I am a wimp.

I don’t think I am¬†always a wimp. ¬†There are more than enough times that I have stood up for something or someone, and it usually doesn’t go over well…but really, who cares? ¬†That’s kind of the point of standing up for them.

 

“If we take the generally accepted definition of bravery as a quality which knows no fear, I have never seen a brave man. All men are frightened. The more intelligent they are, the more they are frightened.” ¬† ¬†-Gen. George S. Patton

 

I don’t know if I have ever been brave. ¬†I have faced many demons in my life, and they all have a different, twisted face that shows up in real life. ¬†It may be that the absence of bravery has built trellises of strength within my soul, keeping me steady in the face of failure. ¬†I hope I never lose the fear of failure in my life. ¬†There will be times when I will need to stand, when someone else cannot; or speak when they have no voice. ¬† I don’t believe I will be able to avoid failure, since it is the balance by which we judge success.

But I hope when I do succeed, it will be for the person who needed a friend to stand by when the dogs were the loudest.  And maybe we can be brave together.

Listen, It Worked For Cary Grant…

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Nickie Ferrante ( Cary Grant ):
“You’ve been crying.”
Terry McKay ( Deborah Kerr ):
“Beauty does that to me.”

BlogHer14 was amazing.

To say it was anything less meant you had way too many Twisted Shotz in the Expo, and don’t remember how cool everyone was.

But I am not waiting until next summer to see ladies in the Bay Area again…however, we are busy peoples, so the reality is that getting together is going to be tough.

Why don’t we plan on a mini-Renegade-Party in a few months?

Terry McKay: “Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories… we’ve already missed the spring! “

So let’s do this thing before Winter! ¬†Before holiday season, before Christmas shopping, before they start playing Christmas songs in Target. ¬†Because we know Pearl* will be busy at the sound of the first Christmas bell, and we want her there too ūüėČ

November 15th.

Elephant & Castle Pub

(this can be changed, but it gives us a good starting point for now!)

If you’re interested, post below, or tweet me! ¬† ¬†ūüôā

@tamrmint

BlogHer14: Driving The Ship From The Captain’s Quarters

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Like so many other women, I have been writing for as long as I figured out what a crayon was. ¬†I have been blogging since the early 2000s. ¬†Since then I have graduated college, had a fleet of kids, and had my weight balloon from somewhere in the “mid 200s” to where I am at now, which is much healthier and significantly stronger. (yes, I’m being extremely vague with my weight numbers…deal with it)

Last November I decided I had spent enough time physically recovering from 10 years of hobbling around on a cane during pregnancy with sciatica, and it was time to start recovering my writing.

In November, I’d say I was smack in the galley of the ship.

Cooking, cleaning, taking care of basic things. ¬†Mopping up spilled ideas, throwing together old fish into the stew, getting seasick from the back and forth of the ship’s, “I can do this, I totally can’t do this” rocking.

Around February, I was feeling pretty good though, and I realized I needed to step things up: I am not a “galley of the ship” kinda lady.

I belong in the Captain’s Quarters.

So I went ahead and bought my ticket to BlogHer14.

IMG_7595This was the back of my car on Friday, July 25th. 

I was leaving for two days to go to a conference.

This was the first time I have ever stayed away from my family for so long, and I can’t even remember the last time I drove away from my house without a kid, a dog, a kid and a dog, or a kid and a kid and a kid and a kid and a kid and a dog. (that’s 5 kids, for those of you keeping count) 

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This was the hotel room I stayed in at the Fairmont Hotel.¬† This was my bed.¬† This was the first time in my whole 35 years that I have ever stayed in a hotel by myself. ¬†This was the bed on which I slept sideways all night, because I love sleeping sideways.¬† I think I feel like I am fully utilizing as much comfy room on the bed if I sleep diagonally.¬† Efficient relaxation is my thing…it is astonishingly comforting to me.

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This was the bathroom I was given, which I will just say outright: I completely didn’t deserve.  I think I deserved the big squishy bed, but this bathroom was way above my pay grade. 

I took full advantage of taking 4 long showers, and using the huge mirror to try to figure out how to braid the bed-head out of my hair (because I totally fell asleep with wet hair, and didn‚Äôt bring anything to help other than a brush…thinking ahead, here).

It was in this bathroom that I had heart-to-hearts with myself.

I couldn’t run back to this bathroom as a sanctuary when the social anxiety got too much. ¬†I wouldn’t stay in the very quiet, very safe hotel room because I was terrified of failing at the convention. ¬†Failure is not an option. ¬†I was there to conquer everything, starting with my fears. ¬†This hotel room was a tool to get me there: it was not a place to stay.

I was going to put on my pink jellies, my killer red lipstick, and I was going to was going to own this thing.  

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This was the entrance of BlogHer14.

Through these doors lay all of my/our social anxieties.  Once I passed through the registration checkpoint, I had to admit to myself that I was a writer.

I was not a fraud.

I was not an impostor.

I belonged here. 

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After getting my badge, I had to find somewhere to sit down and take a few deep breaths…

This was my name.  This was my blog.

This was my badge, proving, at least to myself, that I was among the fold.

I may have teared up a little here…I may be tearing up now.¬†

This was happening.

And as soon as I got myself together, I rushed enthusiastically into the convention I had been looking forward to for months!

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¬† I didn‚Äôt pay for the keynotes, but I did pay for the sessions and the Expo…so I started with the Expo.

My initial reaction to the Expo was…confusing.¬†

The first vendor I saw was Bridgestone Tires.  I turned to the right and saw Angel Soft toilet paper.  I kept walking and ran into Glade, Lysol, Pledge and Scrubbing Bubbles.

I was confused because none of these topics were what I came to BlogHer for.¬† My blog was an exploration of what it means to be a woman, redefining motherhood, and other such social commentaries. ¬†What I saw was that I was someone who freaking loved cleaning (which I don’t), who knows what kind of tires are on my SUV (again, not my department), and someone interested in toilet paper. ¬†Which…given that there are 7 of us at home, I¬†kind of¬†am, but seriously…not enough to start a conversation about it.

I knew I was a little more anarchist than consumerist, but I had no idea to what lengths I didn’t care about marketing.

Yoplait?  Great yogurt, but I actually make my own.

Menstruation? I got that, in spades.  Unless they’re doing on-site hysterectomies, there’s not a lot they can do.

Vitamins, hair products, massages and manicures…not a touchy person, I avoided that one.

I had to take notes and figure out what was going on.  Surely, BlogHer14 was not all about #sheethappens, right?

I found the Expo was broken into 5 main groups:

  • Cleaning
  • Family
  • Menstruation
  • Blogging
  • Vanity

So, I finally wrapped my head around which types of markets are being directed at us…and that was helpful. ¬†Especially since by now, it was only 9:20am on the first day, and I had 2 full days to go! ¬†Most of these vendors meant nothing to me; However…

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I was SO GRATEFUL to finally find someone speaking my language, though!¬† These lovely people gave me bourbon and honey shots before 9:30am.¬† I don‚Äôt even know how this was happening; but I‚Äôm not even kidding…I loved it.¬†

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So, now we had the sessions. ¬†I heard from panelists like Liz Henry, Maria Guido (GuerrillaMom & Assist. Editor at Mommyish, with which I totally got fangirl syndrome and couldn’t figure out what to say to her once I got to give her my card and pitch my site. ¬†WTG me!!), Pauline Campos, and Jenn Pozner.

Plus…

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I found someone else wearing the same shoes as I was ¬†ūüėČ ¬† Hers were gray, mine were pink. ¬†This stuff matters.

For the most part, the sessions were totally awesome…got to learn from blogging veterans, swap cards with people, good stuff. ¬†But by the end of the day, you have to talk with the ladies freely. ¬†And this was difficult.

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So, I’ll just try and figure out how to do this. ¬†Okay, then.

I did find another blogger who was drinking red wine,

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which was hard to find beyond the complimentary champagne, so I latched onto her like a barnacle

I mean, I gently talked with her for a few hours.  And that was the end of Day 1!  The beginning of Day 2 looked like this:

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But suddenly, I found people who sounded like me. ¬†They were wry, sarcastic, crafty and intelligent moms who blogged about crazy stuff. ¬†And I latched onto them like a barnacle….

no, we had lunch together, and we organized a Renegade Pop-Up Bar Party in the hallway between the convention center and a hotel…and we were giving out champagne cocktails like we’ve been friends with every one of the 50 ladies who came by!

This was what BlogHer14 was.

It wasn’t the toilet paper, it wasn’t the shots of alcohol in the morning. ¬†It wasn’t Glade PlugIn coupons.

It was meeting women in the same boat.  Women who are trying to figure out themselves.  Women who review B-horror movies and have a few degrees in Physics.  Women who know French fluently and order steak for lunch.  Women who have children with autism.   Women who homeschool their kids.

Women who were terrified of leaving their hotel room. ¬†Women who were afraid no one would like them. ¬†Women trying to get something of themselves back. ¬†Women who wondered if they were in the right place, at all…

At the end of the conference, we were all driving the ship from the Captain’s Quarters

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24 Volumes Ladies: Marcella Campbell, Ryan Marie Pilat, Sara Cook

We weren’t scared of failure, because we turned the ship around and made this thing our own.

We weren’t afraid of being weird, because our new friends were even weirder than we were.

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We sang along to Run DMC’s playlist, drank wine out of Dixie Cups and ate our Chicken McNuggets in front of GoGurt art pieces with zeal.

And when I left to return home to my family at our homestead, I felt different.  I no longer felt scared, or nervous, or a failure, or an impostor.

I felt like, finally, I belonged.

Rich Mullins: Ragamuffin, The Man

http://ragamuffinthemovie.com/

The other day, a very good friend told me about this movie she and her husband just watched.

“It’s about Rich Mullins…do you know who he is?”

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I didn’t, since he was a Christian musician and I don’t tend to listen to Christian music. ¬†I also try to avoid Christian movies for the same reason: the music tends to be¬†trite, and the movies tend to be¬†cheap and preachy.

The thing is, I know good art. ¬†That is a pretty audacious claim, since the genre of arts is full of self-inflated egoists (I should know…every writer and artist should know. ¬†Just submit your work to be published! ¬†Your ego will deflate almost as soon as you send your work).

Good art is amazing.  Good art will take your breath away.  Good art will touch you in a place that you thought was a secret place, and yet you can see it on the canvas; you can hear it in a song.  The grief that has no words is suddenly fleshed out on the radio.  The joy you cannot contain is displayed in a photograph.  The hope you have burning in your soul is written by someone else who feels the same thing, which just blows your mind.

Continue reading “Rich Mullins: Ragamuffin, The Man”

Going To Conventions As An INTJ Woman….And Other Breathing Exercises

I am an analytical person.

I’m also a writer, so I get to put all this analytical nebula into some form of order, which is a relief for my brain.

I remember taking the MTBI test with my boyfriend way back when we were in high school and both of us getting the results, “INTJ.”

We also both donated blood at some blood drive in our Senior year and found out we are both O-. ¬†We are also both Scorpios. ¬†We‚Äôre both Christian, we are both conservative, we are both madly in love with each other (he‚Äôs super hot).¬† We really had no other choice than to get married to each other…the stars, our brains and our blood said we belonged together.

Anyway, the test wasn’t a big deal back then, since it didn’t mean much to me at 17. ¬†I was still figuring out who I was, what I wanted to study in college, how to find housing/food. ¬†It was an interesting test back then, but nothing terribly life changing.

Fast forward 20 years, and I am a housewife with a college degree, a little urban homestead, married to the most hunky husband on earth and 5 homeschooled kids under our belts.

And still INTJ.

Let me just say that being an INTJ woman is an interesting ride.  Mostly because, as an INTJ, I am analyzing everything…and everything about what it means to be an INTJ woman.  

Although it is fun for me, since I already analyze everything else in life, I can imagine it is exhausting (and maybe irritating) for people around me.  Which is why it is totally great that my husband is INTJ as well, and we can just bury our brains in analyzing the details of life, and then re-analyzing the results, for hours (days).

I love him: he gets me.

The problem really happens when I am around people.  INTJ’s aren’t people-people.  They are person-people.  I can have amazing conversations with either a person, or to an audience.  That’s about it.

c2d6aa62d863fd20259990f654351ca7I’m sorry, in advance.  

Continue reading “Going To Conventions As An INTJ Woman….And Other Breathing Exercises”

5 Blog Post Ideas…For When You’re Too Tired To Think

This week has just been busy.

Normally I thrive with being productive, and I typically give myself too much to do everyday. ¬†Normally, I love having too much to do…aragorn speech

School, laundry (sort of), cleaning, sanitizing, dishes…by hand since the dishwasher is on the fritz…cooking, laundry (hey, it’s clean), planning, an anniversary, sewing club and laundry during hot California days…somehow, it has all caught up with me and I am toast.

I’m glad it’s Friday.

Continue reading “5 Blog Post Ideas…For When You’re Too Tired To Think”