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!

3Splitz Farm, health

The Rare Snow Day

Sometimes snow days are forecast and nothing happens. All the hype but no results. Nowadays I just go with the flow. If it snows I play, if it doesn’t no worries.

Today it snowed. Big fluffy snowflakes. Just the right temp to play outside without freezing to death. Just enough to add smiles for the variance in the weather.

I was hanging at the cabin in the woods this day which gave me a little extra down time to enjoy the snow. In the mix of it all I forgot to make a tiny snowman as a memory. I can try tomorrow I told myself knowing the rain may turn the perfect snow into ice.

I enjoyed a peaceful night’s sleep in the cabin. A little cooler, crisper air than the usual homefront but that’s part of life in the mountains. The cool crisp air. It’s very refreshing.

The snow is still there in the morning but it’s the ice-packed snow. The kind that crunches when you walk. Nevertheless it’s my little winter wonderland. The one day of wonder for me before I head back to the home front.

As the temps warm up with each hour of the day the icy snow turns a little slushy. I am able to make a tiny snowman for my snow day memories.

It isn’t too big and isn’t perfect but it is hand made. It’s been years since I made a snowman by myself. The snow is perfect for snowballs right now. Oh how I wish I could throw them at all the people who make me salty. Sadly I can’t so I will lurk and wait for the moment to toss one at somebody on my property.

It was a wonderful setting to write this post in the midst of my little winter wonderland. Snow covered porch looking out into the fields of snow.

A little snow. A little play. A little time to enjoy nature. My snow day was simple. I didn’t use a sled. I took photos instead.

My rare snow day is one to remember. A simple snow day for this girl. 

friendship, mental health

I Heard the Whisper

I don’t have any friends.

Silence.

I don’t have any friends said the social teen girl. Pause. Reflect. Think.

The beautiful girl is right. She has acquaintances. She has teammates. She has adults that are supportive. She has siblings. Unfortunately she is missing the friends piece of the equation. True friends.

The bestie or group of pals that come over to hang out. The girls that go to the movies. The inner circle of sorts. What could have happened to this social butterfly.

One word sums it up: corona.

Corona has taken away spontaneous trips to the mall. Quarantine has limited gatherings at other homes. Fear has lurked in every home limiting activities. The list goes on and on.

In this community two teens have died by suicide in the last 10 days. I can’t ignore that. I can’t understand a day in the life of these teens. Their desire to end their lives is the solution to their perceived problems at that time. We have to listen to these cries even if they are masked.

So many no you can’t. So much time alone. So many milestones and memories being missed in isolation. So much time is solitude in their room. Many sleep it off. Many struggle for daily motivation.

Who does the cheerleader role fall on when parents work? What if the teen is an only child? Is the school talking about this subject with this vulnerable age?  Are they offering parents solutions? Why no they are talking about tests scores and must complete your assignments or even pick your schedule for next year.

Do administrators even consider what a day in the life of a teen is like in isolation? They lost their friends. They lost their home away from home that is school. They lost competition in the classroom. The lost giggles in the hallway. They even lost their imagery. Always covered in a mask. Gasping for air. The image of themselves in a super cute outfit on the first day of school. Shopping for a prom dress. So many important things for a girl in her formative years.

Instead they get to go to the drive thru with their parents. Maybe a Netflix movie in the same place they eat, sleep, socialize, go to school, etc. (their house). Maybe weekends of extra homework because they lack the motivation to do it on day 1 when it was due. The list of blah goes on and on.

I see this cycle repeated. I try to engage my teen to give her fulfillment in the tiny box that is currently around her. It’s by no means perfect but it’s what I can offer today.

I often wonder if she drove and had a car if it would be different. Would being mobile allow her to wave at friends from the curb but allow her time to smile away from the homestead. I don’t have these answers. I may never have them.

For today I will enjoy the time I have. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. Memories last forever. Today I will make memories with her.

Parents don’t forget to look around you. Right in front of you. Listen. Spot the abnormalities and take action. Any action that lets them notice you see them. You hear them. You want to be with them. They need you. They don’t always feel like they have anyone left. Corona has taken much from many.

Don’t let environmental conditions take away another bright future.

This post was sparked by the song Pink just released with her daughter Willow, Cover Me in Sunshine. Pink noted they sang the song because it makes them happy and they wanted to share it to make others happy. They did it together. Today I will cover those around me in sunshine for no other reason than to make them happy.

Enjoy today. No matter how shitty things may be tomorrow. Every day is a new day to get covered in sunshine.

author moments

Redneck Sweetheart

This is a funny little story with an even more interesting name: redneck sweetheart.

Let’s get started by laying the ground work. A new acquaintance asked if I’m from around this area? Should I take offense? Should I be flattered? So much to think about.

It got me thinking about the south. I’m originally from the north but spent more than half my life in the south. If majority rules I’m technically more southern based on time vested. Who would guess? I talk fast to most. I’m blunt and I don’t pussy foot around most topics like a nice southern lady. To put it lightly, I can talk about poop.

Keeping with this thought I have heard a million times over all the redneck jokes. All the dumb southern jokes. The list goes on and on. So today I thought I’d write about being a redneck sweetheart. I’d classify more as a redneck than a fine southern lady. 

My first redneck self portrait will be of my yard. What would this sweetheart’s yard look like if you were a neighbor of mine:

I think I have a big yard. Maybe even a pasture or two. I’d find some junk at the local swap meet or antique store to decorate my yard. I would of course call it yard art.

As part of my yard art, I’d go on Facebook marketplace to find me an old school outhouse. I’ve always fancied those cool pieces of history so I’d have to have one in my yard. I may even have a commode in it. Non-working of course. Wouldn’t want to seep the sewage into my yard.

I like bacon so maybe I’d have a pet pig. If I did I’d name him Hank. Hopefully the stink wouldn’t be too bad for my neighbors who have a nice view of my yard.  I use a lot of eggs since I eat healthy so you would definitely have some chickens running around. Maybe even a cock to add to the noise or ambiance. They might be a little noisy and stinky but I’m sure there are worse things to have in your yard.

I like old cars a lot and I’ve seen many people collect old trucks and use the beds for flowers or just yard junk. I guess you’d see a car or two in my yard. If I’m collecting cars I might put out an old tractor because they look cool too.

Whenever my friends get together for a day at the house we usually light fireworks or shoot guns. Things with lots of bangs, booms, pops and stuff. Might make the neighbor’s dog jump, but I can do what I want in my yard.

What redneck sweetheart doesn’t like to ride a dirt bike or four wheeler up down and around the yard? Well that’s me. So I guess if we were neighbors you would see me out and about living my best redneck life on my cool toys. I’m revving the engine in my mind now. The sounds just get me pumped up. The louder the better.

I have a little hill in part of my yard too. When it snows you will see me sledding but when it’s super hot you will me rigging up my own slip n’ slide. Redneck style of course. That means large sheets of plastic with dish soap loaded and ready to go. Lots of screams, laughs and maybe some curse words would be heard if you were my neighbor. If you were my neighbor you’d probably want to hang out but I only invite friends over so you might just have to be a spectator. Sucks for you.

I love entertaining especially in my big yard. Frying turkeys outside on Thanksgiving. Fireworks for the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and any other time I feel like it. Seafood boil a couple times a year for my crazy Cajun friends. Big family parties in yard. There could be jumpy things, kegs of beer, games and so much chaos at any time. Celebrating life is always a hoot.

As a redneck sweetheart, I have lots of stories to share. One perspective of life. Not good or bad, just one perspective. Now the question is would you judge me if you were my neighbor? Would you give this redneck sweetheart a chance or would you put up a wall? A do not disturb sign?

I really thought about it. If I didn’t like my neighbor would I put up a wall? Maybe. I guess if somebody bothered me enough I’d go through great lengths to make them miserable but just because I could doesn’t mean I should. That’s where this this redneck sweetheart comes into play. I play nice inside my fence. Well for the most part.

I had so much fun writing this redneck post that I think I will continue my redneck stories as a series. Watch for more silly stories to come. I may even ask cousin sally to write as she is a fine southern lady. Guess you’ll have to wait to see.

awareness

Tonight

Tonight you spoke.

Tonight I listened.

We enjoyed the chitter chatter. We were candid and honest. We built trust.

Tonight you made a promise.

Tonight I promised you.

The time we spent together was time needed. We made time. Tonight was a priority.

Tonight there might be others who need somebody to listen. Tonight others will battle fears and uncertainty. Tonight you had an option. Tonight was about you.

You have the power and grace to look past the shadows. You have the power to reclaim you. You deserve all that is in front of you.

Don’t waste time looking back on what could have been, should have been, and so on. Just focus on you. Lean on your inner circle. You trust them. They trust you.

Be open. Be candid. Be approachable. Don’t give up. Your crew needs you today, tomorrow and the next day.

I believe you can do this. Look for the sunrise tomorrow. Think of the beauty of the day. Commit to yourself that you will have a good day.

Remember you are loved by many.

This post is for anyone who needs to hear this message now or in the future. Bookmark it. Read it. Believe it.