Thursday, June 30, 2011

This Magic Moment

I wrote a blog two Christmases ago about whether or not I thought I was providing my kids with enough magic in their lives. Not hocus pocus, but those magical memories they'll never forget when I'm gone. My decision at the time was: No. I wasn't providing them with good enough memories to hang onto forever.

Tonight, I took my kids (Midget and Big Man) to the movies. They each asked to bring a friend (T-Dawg and Mooch), so together, the five of us piled in the car. They wanted to see Transformers 3. My bestie (who helped me taxi the kids to the theater) and I wanted to see Hangover 2. The four kids went to their respective movies and we adults went to see ours.

When the movie was over, we said our goodbyes to Ann Marie and the five of us climbed in the car and headed home. Along the way, Midget became the DJ (manning the iPod), choosing songs for the trip home. Big Man and Mooch are the beat boxers of my motley crew, so when the music came on, they did their thing. TDawg and I sang along with the songs(well, he tried, anyway -- mostly, he was just in awe of the older boys).

Thirty minutes later, as we drove up to Mooch's house to drop him off, the music came to an end and all I could do was smile.

Tonight, I gave my kids a magical memory.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The 3-six-huh?

Last week, my friend Rissa sent me a DM on Twitter with a link to a blog site called the3six5 and told me I should consider applying to their project. She'd written for them before so she couldn't be a repeat author but thought I might be interested. Since I hadn't heard of it before, I checked out the site and was VERY anxious to be a part of it.

In short, every day of the year, a guest author writes a brief blog about whatever's going on in their world that day. It could be personal, it could be internationally newsworthy, it could be anything -- just something that gives the reader an insight into their life for a day. Every day, the author is different, so you get a new perspective each day. In reading the site, I discovered last year's project had over 5,000 applicants. This year could possibly have more. That's less than an 8% shot at being chosen! Needless to say, I wanted to make sure my application stood out, so I bookmarked the site and got to thinking about what I wanted to put in my submission.

In the meantime, Rissa sent me another DM and told me that the 3six5 was looking for a fill-in author that day. Apparently the assigned author fell through and they were scrambling to cover the day. Without even thinking (and subsequently talking myself out of it), I fired off a quick email to the editors with a link to my site here and my Twitter name. They emailed me back almost immediately and told me that they'd found someone after all but that they'd like to keep my information handy as a back-up author, just in case. I've had my share of rejections from editors, so I was cautiously enthusiastic. I asked if they needed any more information from me and at their request, I replied with the following:

I'm a wanderlust with a curious spirit. There are very few places on this earth I don't want to visit. I've been to 26 states in my life, most of them more than once. In the last three years, I've traveled over 25,000 miles by car, bus and plane to various places to just photograph beautiful things. Everyone I meet is a friend - they may just not know it yet. Three of my best friends have known me for twenty years or more and not just because I've threatened them with the skeletons in their own closets if they leave. I'm friends with people from all walks of life: gas station clerks, race car drivers, lawyers, nurses, talk show hosts, boy band members, ministers and authors (and a partridge in a pear tree). I'm loyal to a fault, even to my own detriment when the need arises.

I'd love to say I'm a rule follower, but let's face it, I'm not. I memorize the rules and push every boundary I can to get around them. It's a curse. But it also makes for great blog fodder. My motto is "What kind of shenanigans can I get into today?" I have a passport, alibi and friend with bail money on call at all times. Ya nevah know!

I'm a wife to my soul mate. And by soul mate, I mean, he's put up with me for over twelve years, so clearly he's certifiable but since he's the main bread winner of the family, I'm reluctant to have him committed. (I kid, I kid.) I'm the proud mother of two underachieving teenagers whom are frequently my muses. Truth be told, none of the family is safe, including our dog and three cats. Extended family, neighbors and townspeople are also on alert, most days.

I live to be funny, but I'm quite serious and sentimental at times, too. My friends sometimes tell me I'm an attention whore, but I usually just turn up my mic and drown them out. What do they know?

I'm a bibliophile and leximaven. While Twitter is my home (@OUBad) , the 140-character limit sometimes makes me twitch. I can't tell you how many books I've read or how many blogs I've written, but reading and writing have always been my passion. To combine those with my photography would be a dream. I keep telling myself someday I will publish a coffee table book detailing my travels with word and photos. Someday.

I love to write and always have. To be part of a project like 3six5 would be an honor and a blessing.

I do hope if I'm not used as a back-up author that you'll consider me for the 2012 project.

I got an email back today from Daniel Honigman, the co-founder of the project, telling me that I'd been selected to participate. My date is February 1st, 2012 and I'm absolutely ecstatic. This is the first opportunity I've had to show others what I can do (you know...people who don't already know me or read my shit because I harass them on Twitter until they do). I'm so excited!

I would encourage anyone who enjoys writing to submit an application to be a part of it, too.

So as I sign off tonight, I'm going to say a quick prayer that writer's block spends a day at the spa the first of 
February and I'm able to write clearly, succinctly and that I make thousands of people spray their monitors with coffee as they laugh at my blog that day.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Live and Let Live

Let me make this disclaimer before I even start on what I want to say – this blog is not being written to spark some religious debate (simply put, you won’t change my mind with biblical verses any more than I’ll change yours, so save your breath). I’m merely voicing my views and as long as my views are respected, then I will be respectful of others’ views. Capisce?

Last night the state of New York legalized gay marriage and I couldn’t be happier. I have friends, some of whom live in New York, who will be affected by this monumental decision. I share in their joy.

While I am frequently irritated by little things, traits, qualities and behaviors of others, long story short, I’m a firm believer in “live and let live.” I have my own religious beliefs and some of those mesh with stricter and more traditional religions. Other things I believe fall to the more contemporary religions. But first and foremost, I am a lover. I love freely and openly and I don’t care who knows it. If you’ve had any kind of impact on my life, chances are, I’ve said “I love you” at one time or another.  And I’ve meant it.

And that’s okay. Because I’m a woman who married a man. I’m “safe.” I can tell other women I love them because it’s not a sexual thing. It’s a friend thing. It’s a support thing. It’s a bonding thing. Right?

But what if I wasn’t married to a man? What if, for instance, I was married to a woman? Would my love for my spouse be any less real? Would my commitment to her be any less valid? Should I be treated differently because I share my life with a woman instead of a man?

The answer to that is, “no.”

Bottom line is, we are all, first and foremost, human beings. We all have the right to love and be loved. I am raising my children to believe that above anything else, who they love is not as important as much as being loving to all. Our love is meant to be given freely without condemnation and retribution.

It saddens me to know that some of my friends (and family) can’t be married to the people they love simply because they live in the wrong state – that their lives are ridiculed and speculated about simply because of their sexuality.

What if your life was put under scrutiny? Would you want people to know what goes on in your home? In your bed? Would it be anyone’s business? Of course not, so why is it your business what goes on in someone else’s?

This isn’t about “right” or “wrong.” It’s about equality. Equal rights for all people, straight, gay or otherwise.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Needing a break

I'm crabby.

I know. "Big surprise, Mel!"

I've been complaining on Twitter, Facebook and in person. I'm pretty much a Bitch Triple Threat.

I am sorry. I know (and have always known) that I make my own happiness. So if I'm in a bad mood, it's my own fault. Again, this isn't news to me and I'm sorry that you've all had to witness my pissy attitude. I can't even stand to be around myself, so those of you who have been ready to slap me, I totally don't blame you.

There are a lot of things that are contributing to my struggle with remaining positive, but most of it are things that are in my control. And I've always believed that if I don't like something that's within my control, I need to change it. So I'm changing it.

I'm going to try and back off some of my social networking. Not cut it out completely, because let's face it, I love being social. What I don't love, however, is all the chaos and upheaval and negativity I've allowed myself to be pulled into. I'm a mother hen and I'm protective. I'm a's in my genetic make-up. Can't help that. So when I see someone I care about struggling with something, I want to fix it. Most times I can't, which makes me frustrated and the snowball to hell begins. So, I'm doing what I need to do and that is to limit my involvement in everyone else's life. I'm pulling back. I have to.

I'm realizing, somewhat cynically, that the energy I'm spending is not the energy I'm getting in return. I'm not one of those people who does things for recognition or appreciation or kudos or karma. I do things because I genuinely like to help. But the truth of the matter is, it would be nice if some of that energy is returned without having to ask for it. I can be a bulldozer sometimes when it comes to giving advice or taking something over when I see someone's at their breaking point. It can be annoying so I'm working on it, but honestly, I'd love it if someone bulldozed me and took over when I'm at my breaking point. But, that doesn't happen. People (mis)read me as "the Strong One." Mel can handle it. Look at how strong she is! She's been through so much. She's got such a strong Alpha personality, she can handle anything. But that's not the truth. I'm a survivor because I have to be. I do it because no one else will. I still get hurt by words and actions. I still feel neglected and ignored. I still cry in the shower where nobody can hear me. I've learned to cover up my emotions with sarcasm and catty humor. But when it boils down to it, I'm extremely sensitive and I actually have a very low threshold for stress.

I'm the type of person who picks up on other people's emotions and unfortunately they tend to dictate my own emotions. In the paranormal world this is called being an "empath." In the regular world, it's like being a sponge. I absorb whatever's around me (positive or negative, fragrant or stinky) and that's what I put out to the world.

I asked a trusted friend yesterday how to block out those empathic tendencies and she said that she herself has to visualize building a wall so they don't take over her life. It helps her stay balanced. For me? Those walls wouldn't just be a visualization. If I started visualizing them, I would begin building them. I don't want to do that. I want to help people. But I can't do it at my own emotional expense.

I posted a quote the other day that reads "You are responsible for the energy you bring into this space." The energy I've been bringing is shit. And I'm over it.

This blog isn't meant to single people out or make anyone second guess what they've done for me or not done. It's simply meant to explain a little bit about what I'm dealing with right now so you can understand why I'm not seeming "myself." If it does make you think about the kind of energy you're putting out there, great. But it's not why I posted it.

While I am pulling back from social media, it doesn't mean that I don't want interaction. Message me. IM me. Text me. BBM me. Email me. Stop by and see me. Call, don't call. I hate talking on the phone.(Well? I do! lol) I'm accessible by all of those means (even that wretched telephone). I just won't be at the Twitter/Facebook beck and call all the time.

To those who have been there for me: thank you. I appreciate it more than you can understand.