dare to be different

What Goes Around

Do unto others as you would have done to you.

Treat others the way you would want to be treated.

What goes around comes around.

You get what you give.

There are many ways to phrase this fundamental principle of the world. From the Bible to modern day, it’s pretty much the same. Basically, you will generally get back what you put into your life (or other lives). This goes for all kinds of resources: attention, investment, energy, whatever.

Imagine this: you check your bank account only to find that your employer has paid you double what they owe you. What do you do? Just consider it a lucky gift in your favor and splurge on something fun? Keep it (and keep it quiet) but just save it for a rainy day? Call your boss and let them know what happened? No one will see, will they?

Imagine if you lost your wallet in a store. You get to the checkout only to realize you laid it down somewhere. What do you hope happens? It’s gone forever, or some kind person turned it in to customer service and you get it back and move on with your day? If someone sees a lost dog, should they just keep it or make a sincere effort to find the owners?

Does the reward you seek come back immediately? Not always. Not even usually. Cue the cries of unfairness. Poor, poor pitiful me. Yes, it does seem like nice people finish last sometimes. We can all point to examples of people who are dishonest, distasteful, or just plain disgusting getting the rewards that pass good folks by. We also see good people suffering for what seems like no reason. It can be a huge challenge to let those things go. But in the end, I also believe in…

Karma.

The universe will take care of things. And…

doing good is its own reward.

I try to let these be my guide when I feel that poor, poor pitiful me creeping in. When petty troubles pull me down and life seems to be the thief of joy. I tell myself to trust that things will work out. If I continue to put positivity and uplifting effort into the world, it will return to me. It may take time. It may be repaid in ways that surprise me, but it will return.

“Choose daily” has been a theme since the early days of this blog. What would I choose if you ran across the lost wallet or dog? What energy is my choice putting out into the world today?

I’m sure it sounds cheesy or trite or even naive. In the end, I just try to choose positivity, joy, giving people the benefit of the doubt, and trusting that they are doing their best with what they know at the time. This walks me back from anger and frustration. I focus on what I can control.

Regardless of what I may be faced with, I always have the choice to be kind, generous, and understanding. I’m not perfect at this, but I am getting better. There are still many days when it is easier said than done. My energies and daily choices create the world and return to me over and over.

dare to be different

On the Mic

10:00 am, day before the break. A little girl, longer-in-the-back bob hair, white knee socks pulled up around her plump calves. Green jumper dress with the criss cross candy canes on the front. White blouse with a ruffled collar. Rows of kids sitting on the floor on lines, criss cross, looking up at me. It was the first grade Christmas program, Mrs. Bellamy had chosen me for the solo in “Jingle Bell Rock.” I stood, shaking, right up near the mic, stepped forward to belt out the bridge, clear and strong as I could: “what a bright time, it’s the right time to rock the night away…”

I’ve been singing and speaking into the mic for almost as long as I can remember. Solos, speaking parts, conference presentations, even karaoke. For me, it does not feel weird to be in front of the mic.

These days it’s in the press box at my daughter’s lacrosse games. It’s not a hard job, really. Just saying names for the rosters and goals, reading a few paragraphs. It doesn’t take much effort or expertise. Just time and willingness to be there. Still, as several people have told me, no one else wants that job. No one.

What is it that people fear with the mic? My biggest fear is not remembering to turn it off (which has gotten me into a bit of trouble once or twice!) I’ve heard some say they’re nervous about reading names. As a person with an easy-to-mess-up name, I get that. I’ve heard every variation of my last name, both near misses and far-fetched. People giggle. But my daughter said people commented to her that “no one ever laughs at the way your mom says the names.” Her response: “My mom reads for a living.” I laughed. Touche from the daughter of a librarian who loves reading aloud.

Really, it was singing in many different languages as a little kid that gave me some comfort with unfamiliar words. I do hope I at least come close to the correct pronounciation!

I still don’t really know why people avoid the mic. For the time being, it’s what I can do to help the team.

Just a little wondering and wandering for your Wednesday.

3Splitz Farm, dare to be different

Target Dress-Up Day

Cousin Sally thought it was a great idea. She made a post on the west coast about a #targetdresschallenge. the super ugly Target dress experience piqued my eye. Of course I bit to represent the southeast.

Off to grab the ugliest Target dress one could find. Settled on the orangey rust colored frumpy dress fit for a polygamy wife. It might have been the only one available. Set the first photo shoot destination at the rustic paradise named 3Splitz Farm in Blairsville, GA. Put the date on the calendar. Wrangled up some friends to join the fun. Dusted off the cowgirl boots. Now I’m ready for the click-click-click of the camera.

Wonder who will join me? Wonder if there will be a second photo location? So much to think about. It was a sunny Saturday after a long rainy week. Three girls and guy made the trek to farm. We laughed, we giggled, we played dress up. Who doesn’t love dress up day? How to wear your hair or the hair was the next big decision. Hat or no hat?

We used the iPhones to snap away as well as the fancy camera. We heard a lot of click click click in between the giggles. We had a barn as a changing room. Playing the role of a super model is a hard job. We might have even gotten a little sweaty. Each individual had their own area on the farm to pose how they wished. Below is a glimpse just for you.

Serious but sexy Kobe. Working girl Beth. Momma Kim calling out supper. Riding caboose was the infamous brunette named Karen. We got a few group shots to add flair and tossed in some black and white photos.

One dress. Four unique individuals. Four different poses. One challenge. This all leads me to the road called perspective. We each have own unique perspectives in life. Sometimes perception seen on the Internet  is not reality. It’s just for fun.

None of us live the frumpy dress life daily. That’s a given. However we love life and opportunities to have fun or poke fun with each other. Judge as you may. We had the best day ever. Dare to be different daily. 

From dress up to dress down this group was all smiles. No matter the outfit, the smiles persisted. This post may have the most photos I’ve ever shared however it’s a photo shoot post which equates to lots and lots of photos. Surround yourself with a group of people who make you smile. Travel to new destinations. Capture the memories. Hit repeat. It’s pretty simple. 

dare to be different

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

I love a theme.

And I love that I have friends that will embrace a theme.

For birthdays, Christmas parties, the CrossFit Open, or just a February Saturday, we choose a theme and run with it. 80s, Superheroes, Country, 70s, Retro Fitness, Fancy Tea Party, College Colors, ‘Merica, Roaring 20s, 80s Prom, themes make it fun, at least for me. They let my imagination run out to play.

When I first started CrossFit, I was a capri and very long flowy 2XL tank top kind of girl. I tried to hide in plain sight. I wouldn’t wear shorts at all. Now I’m all about patterned booty / bicycle shorts, even in the dead of winter. I like some color, I like some spice. They make me smile. My friends at the gym inspired me to just wear them, be comfortable, and have fun. I don’t really care what anyone else thinks. If you’re offended, look elsewhere!

Do I get looks when I go to the grocery store wearing my mermaid shorts and open-back tank? Yup. But, what other people think of me is none of my business. This is a huge mindset shift for me.

Same goes for our theme parties. When it was time for roaring 20s night, I tried on so many flapper dresses and none of them felt right. So I dragged out my high school drum major uniform. We did a Cole Porter show way back in 1995 and I wore a pinstriped zoot suit with paisley suspenders. Miraculously it fit, so in a sea of flapper dresses I was the woman in a suit. I held my breath when I walked in to the restaurant, wondering what other people would think when they saw me. Then I walked through the tables and realized it didn’t matter. How did I feel? Honestly, under the nerves I felt kinda sassy, a little fresh, and way more comfortable than in a dress. Now I embrace being different in situations like this.

The other night at a birthday party our theme was retro sports / fitness. We were going out to play a physical and competitive game. Most of us are CrossFit folks, so we all have our share of fitness wear. But retro…hm. Then conversations led to “athletes vs. mathletes” (and I clearly fall into the latter category.) As with many themes, I just like to have fun with them. Thinking of the 70s and bright colors, I picked some rainbow sweatbands, white shorts with rainbow trim, and a retro NASA shirt (for the mathlete) with a rainbow background. Oh yeah, and tube socks. Did I look silly? Yes. Did I fit the theme? Yes. I felt eyes on me in the restaurant but after my initial self-consciousness I didn’t really care. Yes, I realize that some people identify rainbows with the LGBTQIA community. I am an ally and have no fear of being seen or known that way. And again, what other people think of me is their business. I honestly do not care. Let em look! Let em think whatever! Moving on!

It brought back memories…I had a wild streak in high school and college that eventually faded away under piles and pounds of conformity and conservatism. Only in the past handful of years have I started to embrace my individuality again. My personality and identity not just in relation to others…as a mom, as a daughter, as a spouse…instead, really just my personality within myself. Who I am. Me.

I ran around and looked silly. I had fun and embraced my goofy side. I was just in the moment, letting my freak flag fly! Thankfully I have friends who join me in that.

Be who you are! As unconventional and unique as that might be. Be yourself out loud! You never know who is watching and feeling encouraged, emboldened, even a little less alone. Someone in your circle may be buried under the weight of other people’s expectations. Hiding their light. You never know who is inspired by you embracing who you are. Many don’t have that courage or are looking for it.

Let your freak flag fly!

dare to be different

A Fahn Suhthun Lady

(A follow up to the recent post, Redneck Sweetheart. Check it out!)

I was born in Jawja.

Lived here all my lahf.

Except for that ill-advised detouah to Ohio for a few years round college time. They made fun of me for walking too slow in that infernal endless snow and saying y’all when I shoulda said, ahem, “you guys” all nasal or something else inelegant like that. Suhthun ladies roll sweet and slow off the tongue.

Before I go on, let me translate some of this for y’all, lest you find my Suhthun accent a distraction.

I don’t have a hoop skirt. Sweet tea is not my thing but there is no other soda (pop!?!?) than a Coke. I’m still a Suhthun lady through and through.

I blush at the mention of unmentionables. I am steely and will give you the side eye while saying “bless your haht.” I fan myself when I am flustered. Well I nevah would be so vulgah!

I am polite and don’t show up to a gathering empty-handed. To knock at a door without a casserole or even a simple mason jar filled with fresh picked blooms? Why my dear mother, rest her soul, would have been simply mortified!

I’m not all lace and doilies, mind you. I am gracious and refined at times, but will dig my hands in the dirt and grime. Just be sure I have a proper apron and brimmed hat. My fair Suhthun complexion demands protection from our hahsh climate.

I will bring you a snack when you’re hungry, refreshment when you’re pahched. I can quote the Bible, Flannery O’Connor, and Dolly Parton in the same afternoon chat. I am as well read as my farmily is well fed.

Many times I smile when I am angered. I’ve mastered the gentle art of holding my tongue when others try to ruffle my ruffles. Howevah, do not test my resolve. Do not mistake my quiet for ignorance or lack of passion. Do not confuse my kindness with any sort of weakness. I’m wise enough to realize most irritants are not worth my energy. But poking the bear too many times will bring her roaring to life. On that you can depend.

I will raise my voice at the right time. What comes out of these cultured and cultivated lips will surprise you. I don’t share my sharp and critical mind with just anyone, but if you earn yourself a piece of that mind with your vahl behaviah, well, bless your haht.

Back to minding my own business in my own hospitable way. Smiling politely. With a wink and a twinkle in my eye.

Don’t cross me.