PappaStrong

Bad Attitude Approved

 

It’s beautiful out today. 73 degrees and blue skies. The best of the best of Texas weather. And I am ashamed to admit that I feel a teensy bit of resentment at the beauty of this day. I also feel some embarrassment in admitting that. I should be grateful. Thank goodness for this warmth and this sun, you know? I mean, just last week—exactly one week ago—Houston was in the middle of an insanely intense “freeze” in which we lost power and water for days on end. Side note: I still don’t have running water and have no idea when I will get it back. And before you think that us Texans are merely wimps who can’t handle some snowy weather, remember that 1) we were unprepared; 2) it was in the single digits; 3) our homes are not built for cold temperatures; 4) the Texas power grid failed; 5) this was worse than any major hurricane I have ever been through and 6) I lost my beloved fish, all three of them (Sushi, Cat, & Fish) plus their snail friends.  

 

Yet, even with all those factors listed out, I’ve been rummaging through my brain as to why this event was so hard on me and on everyone I know. We’ve been through worse, yeah? We’ve weathered storms, right?  But, I don’t know. This one just took a huge bite out of all of us. We all feel the same way today, like a battered person exiting an abusive relationship. Everything on the outside is just moving along like nothing ever happened, meanwhile we feel as if we have been dragged behind a truck on a gravel road. This was even more apparent when I drove past a laundromat on my street that had the following quote on its sign: The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is your attitude. 

 

It slapped me in the face a bit, to be honest. I suddenly started bashing myself for not having more fun with the whole thing. I started remembering how, yes, the candlelight was so nice, and YES, it did cause me to go to bed earlier. And, YES, this whole year has been a reminder about connection to the things that matter in life. And, YES, it was so sweet to cuddle with Wyatt underneath a bazillion blankets. And, YES, there was snow. And, YES, my kids now know how much water we waste by flushing the toilet too many times and they also know how to camp in any weather. And, YES, we are all going to be ok, eventually. 

 

After driving a bit past this sign and shifting my attitude towards adventure rather than ordeal, I couldn’t help but feel a strong gurgle of resistance in my underbelly. I wanted to scream at the sign: ASSHAT, YOU DON’T KNOW ME! And then it hit me. Of course the winter storm felt harder than hard. I have zero left. I am tapped out. The last year has been a year of pivots and resets and beginning agains and I can do its and so much mothering of others and so much unmothering of myself and so many unknown obstacles and so much scary stuff and so little time to read, think, write, be. UGH. Of course. Of course. Of course. Why would I expect myself, in this moment, to have the capacity to do more than get through it? Why would I expect myself to have a good attitude right now?  

 

I’m not going to dive into this much more or continue a conversation that I am not equipped to have entirely. But, I want to flag it. And, for the mundane and trivial purposes of this blog post, I want to grab an opportunity to focus my attention on adventure. I want to reach into that sign at the laundromat and grab the word “Adventure” and put it in my pocket on my terms, in my way. I don’t want to lose my grasp on something that is so key to self expression and whatever we each deem “The Divine”. BUT, this also means, for me, that I have to start by removing the constructs of adventure from constraints we see on Instagram with families living in vans with content children, solo humans hiking on trails with no nap times or bedtimes or dishes, or stamped passports with stories untold. I want to place it instead inside a reality that I live today, exactly as I am. 

 

So, like catching a firefly in a glass jar, I’ll be spending the next month examining my relationship to adventure. I’ll be figuratively going out at dusk to gently coax the sparkly light inside the jar for just a minute. Just enough time to see it glow and to remember this spark of mine. If I look closely enough, I’ll see myself at age 16, leaving home to be a ballerina. I’ll see my 7 year old self with scraped knees and a rat’s nest of white blonde hair, making mud pies in a park far away from my house. I’ll hear the creek and the sound of slippery rocks under my feet, clanging against each other with earth and substance. I’ll see my barely 18 year old self traveling the world, dancing on stages in foreign countries, taking time off to stay in hostels and amongst no one I knew but myself. I’ll also see saying yes to marriage and a baby before I was 25.  And after that, to be honest, the sparkly light gets a little dim.

 

My question this month will be: Why has it dimmed? What can change? What cannot change? What am I missing in my support system? What do I need to heal? How can I redefine and reclaim adventure? How can I let go of expectation and find new meaning in the underwhelming? How can I let my freak flag fly, even as a busy overworked parent? 

 

I invite you to join me in this investigation this month, as you attempt to show up every day for 5-15 minutes of exercise. There’s no right answer here, only a cushion for curiosity. And, because I need some guidance and inspiration, we will be led by our own member, Courtney Naliboff, whose posts in our online community contain the phrases: “Feminist rock band” and “cross country ski on the frozen reservoir”. Ahh! For real. She will be providing daily bonus content to give you a way forward with adventure on your terms … with or without a good attitude, of course.  

 

Join me. Join us. You can register as a current member by clicking on “Challenges” in your browser navigation. And, you can gift a friend a month in case you want to start a new punk rock band and need to recruit some people. Just sayin’. Why not?

 

I’ll see you there.

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