Friday, September 27, 2013

Karma

I went to the post office during lunch yesterday (Which is typically an unpleasant experience) and karma happened. I was mailing several packages and had to run out to my car to grab an item I forgot. On my way out, I stopped for a few extra moments to hold the door for a woman headed into the post office, whose arms were full.

On my way back inside, she held the door open for me. "Karma," she said, with a wink.

It was a simple exchange: two strangers holding the door for one another. But she was right: that's how karma works. It's typically not so quickly personified, but it's an important lesson. I believe in karma. The Golden Rule. And everything those ideas encompass.

What I do to you will be done to me. And vice versa. (Oprah says what I've done to you has already been done to me. Chew on that wisdom for a hot minute.)

My mother has always explained it to me like this: everyone gets exactly what they deserve. In this world or the next--but sometimes we have to wait until the next for it to happen.

And there are plenty of interactions I can pinpoint in my life where I had to let go and understand it was a "karma will be delivered in the next world" scenario. Which is tough. Especially when you know there's some POS out there, being jerky to other people the same way they were super jerky to you. We don't easily forget those things.

I like to think of it this way: terrible people will spend their life doing terrible things, which will eventually catch up to them. At some point, they will do the terrible things to you. And it's not your job to deliver punishment or retribution. It's your job to learn the lesson and move on. Just like Oprah says, it's already been done. So, thank them for the experience. Take comfort in in your it's-already-been-done wisdom. And keep on being your bad ass self.

If nothing else, remember that karma works both ways. Being kind to your fellow humans will catch up to you eventually. In this world or the next.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dear Mother

Dear mother out in public with her children,

I've seen you glance in my direction. I'm the one down the aisle from you, walking unfettered through the store by myself. I'm not bogged down by children asking questions, begging me to buy something for them, while hanging from my arms or pulling at my spit-up stained shirt. And I've never had to mitigate a tantrum on the floor of a public space.

I'm not a mom.

I'm the one with the flat stomach and perky boobs--a body entirely untouched by pregnancy. The one with the hair I spent 20 minutes quietly curling in my bathroom and the outfit I chose just for this trip. It was the fifth one I tried on, that's how much time I had to get ready this morning.

You might have seen me offer you a sympathetic gaze when your child starts to scream. A smile meant to somehow communicate my admiration for what you're doing. It probably wasn't easy to coordinate the departure of several small humans, just to go to the store. Leaving the house was probably a wonderful break and a nightmarish experience, all rolled into one.

But, I'm not a mom. And I don't know what that's like.

I see the dark bags under your eyes, your body frazzled and stressed. You're tired. Worried. You are probably overwhelmed. Exhausted. You have a lot of things to be worried about. You have a lot of responsibility. And I'm sure that's frightening and beautiful and overwhelming all at once.

But I don't understand. And I promise I'll never insult you by pretending to know what it's like to be you.

I'm not a mom.

Oddly, our stories have the same beginning. You and I were both little girls, feeding our dolls with a bottle. Babysitting children for extra cash in high school. We dated men, studying them for indications they would make good fathers.

We met the one. Married him and dreamed of a life together. Perhaps we had the same talk: I think we're ready to start trying. Or, perhaps life took you by surprise and you never had a chance for that discussion--it just happened.

But I'm not a mom.

You wouldn't know this by looking at me, dear mother, but this is where our paths diverge. Your stick said PREGNANT and mine always included the word NOT. We probably both cried, and the doctor's visits that followed couldn't have varied more.

I searched for the answer to "Why isn't this working?" and never found an answer--while you searched for baby names. Good news came, bad news came. There was a lot of time spent in waiting rooms. We were filled with hope time and time again. Except you had a baby and I didn't. And I admire the hell out of you for going through childbirth.

We might even have the same scar across our bellies, reminders of what we've done and where we've been. Except yours brought a new life into this world and mine tried to breathe new life into a body that will never produce a child.

I'm not a mom. And for me, that's OK.

I wanted what you wanted, back then. To teach my children to say please and thank you, like my parents taught me. To see the sparkle of my husband's eyes on a tiny face that has my nose. To argue over names and change diapers and lose sleep rocking a tiny human to sleep in the wee hours of the morning.

I let that dream fade a few years ago. I chose a different path that sometimes makes me feel like I'll never be part of your club. But we both made our choices and it was the right one for me.

I'm not a mom. But what you need to know is this:

I admire you. What you're doing isn't easy, but it's important. You have a tremendous amount of responsibility. And whether you work outside the home or not, you have a tough job that must be riddled with guilt while also filled with selflessness. My glance in your direction, as your child is throwing a tantrum in the aisles of Target, is never one of judgement.

It's of admiration. And love. The world is a tough place for us---all of us. And I'll always believe there's no room for bitterness in the equation. So no, your children are not bothering me. I see your struggle. And I know you're doing the best you can with the minute amount of sanity you have left.

As for the women who do judge you for what you do (or don't do) as a mother, just remember that's their issue, not yours. Trust me on this one.

Yours truly,

The childless woman down the aisle

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Monday, September 16, 2013

...and the winner is

The winner of the Diamond Candles giveaway has been selected:

Amanda Sakovitz

Congratulations to Amanda (check your email!) and thank you to everyone who participated.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Proud Flesh

When I was young my answer to, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" was always the same: a horse trainer. Oh, how I wanted to be a horse trainer. Or to simply be surrounded by horses for a living. I had no experience in the area, but I wanted to train horses and that was that.

Clearly, my career path has changed dramatically since then. The thing I've always loved about horses is the air that surrounds them--it's peaceful and powerful in a way that's just a bit frightening. Overwhelming, even. And horses are pretty damn perceptive. If you're pissed off, horses can tell. And they react accordingly.

But something else about them has captivated me for years: when a horse becomes wounded, the scar tissue that covers the wound is referred to as "proud flesh."

As in, you should be proud of the fact that your body was tragically cut open and then figured out how to heal itself. Because let's be honest: that's a pretty amazing thing.

Which leads me to a question with no real answer: why are we embarrassed by our scars, visible and invisible?

There's just something so beautifully tragic about the way a scar forms. We experience painful trauma, we bleed and suffer. Then, in time, we heal. Our bodies and minds patch up what was left open, almost miraculously.

But we're never left the same. We're blemished. Marked with some worldly force we weren't quick enough to stop as it barreled toward us at a high rate of speed. We're permanently blemished by our experiences, as though the universe has decided to brand us as a reminder of what we've done and where we've been.

I have plenty of "fool's scars"--falling off of a slippery bar in college left a small divot in my right shin. A small pock mark on the left side of my neck signals the former home of a pre-cancerous mole, thanks to my time spent baking in countless tanning beds as a vain teenage girl. Then there's a hole that will never heal, located just above my belly button--back when my college freshman self decided a piercing would be 'edgy.'

Each scar regrettable in its own way, they serve as reminders of the days when I didn't know better. Breadcrumbs that lead through a former life fraught with poor choices and naivety.

Back when I just wanted to dance on bars and have a great tan for prom pictures while shoving some pink sparkly piece of metal in my belly button. They are part of my story and I've been given scars so I don't forget all the idiotic places I've been.

But most major scars, like the 6-inch one spanning across my lower stomach, aren't the result of childish behavior. They're the result of living. Of choices and burdens. And circumstances beyond our control. I chose major surgery in the hopes of healing a broken body and survived--but still broken. My scar healed long ago, but I still get to walk around with it, tucked neatly underneath my clothing like a concealed weapon tucked into my pants. It's a symbol. A tattoo. And it means something to me.

We don't all have external scars to match our internal scars, unfortunately*. But we all get internal scars--experiences that no one can see unless we choose to reveal them.

That's what is so captivating to me about a scar: it means something. It marks a moment in time, an experience that was so powerful and overwhelming that it literally left a mark on your body. It means you survived, really. It's beautiful and it's yours. No one else has one like it.

Embrace it. Wear it like a badge of honor. And stop dwelling on the idyllic time before it existed; you were much less interesting back then. Take it from the girl with the divot in her shin.

*Not a typo. Honestly, life is so much easier when you have a physical scar to match an internal one.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Diamond Candles: A Review (Plus, a Giveaway!)



I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Diamond Candles to review their unique product and host a giveaway for my readers.



Sounds like a win-win to me! I tend to lean more toward food-type scents when it comes to my home, so I chose the cinnamon roll candle. It was the perfect way to fool guests in my home into thinking I can bake! I love that the candle is made with soy, and was impressed by the throw of the scent. This candle filled my home with cinnamon and was strong without being overpowering.

Diamond Candles has a line of natural soy candles in a variety of scents that contain a ring worth $10, $100, $1,000 or $5,000. This makes for a fun "ring reveal" experience, as you wait for the candle to burn down and reveal the ring inside. Rings are very carefully wrapped in foil and plastic to ensure the wax from the candle doesn't touch the ring itself.



If you want to see more images of rings found in candles, check out Diamond Candles on Instagram.

As someone who is incredibly impatient, the waiting part felt a lot like torture--in the best way possible. I let the candle burn for a few hours before the foil pack surrounding the ring began to show itself, and then I quickly went in for the kill.



I blew out the candle and used my trusty tweezers to extract the ring, which was carefully wrapped in foil. Inside was a lovely ring with a purple stone. The band is not marked in any way, so it's probably in the $10 range.



I loved the experience and excitement of knowing there was a ring in my candle and once it was all said and done, I still have an amazing candle.

Now onto the good part: a chance for YOU to win a candle in the scent of your choice. Simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below to win! (Winner will be contacted via email; giveaway ends Sunday, September 15!)


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