Tag Archives: relationships

How Do You Move Forward When You’re Grinding All Your Gears?

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As humans, we’re constantly in motion. But motion and movement are two very different things. Just because you’re in motion doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going anywhere.

Trust me on this, I know.

If I could catch a ride with Richard Branson on his uber-expensive Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space, I’d easily be able to assess the difference between the two. But first I’d hit him up for drink. Specifically? A glass of 1907 Heidsieck. At $275,000 a bottle, it would help defray my ticket price while momentarily absolving me of the guilt associated with blowing the kids’ college tuition just to prove a point. BOGO at its highest and best use.

Space cowboy Richard Branson. Image via cognitivelibertyuk.wordpress.com

Space cowboy Richard Branson. Image via cognitivelibertyuk.wordpress.com

The second thing I’d do is settle in to check out the real estate, because isn’t leveraging my children’s future to see the world from a different point of view all about perspective? I imagine myself staring out the window at an earth below that looks less and less like the picture we all try to paint on a daily basis. Not so much a three-dimensional place anymore, but from way up above? A ginormous chessboard marked with clearly defined grids, gateways, and boundaries, as tiny balls of energy collide, advance, deflect, promote, dodge, gather, seek and recede in an endless effort to check the king.

Image via portwallpaper.com

Image via portwallpaper.com

Fascinated with the sparkly surface patterns of intricate motion that everyone on earth longs to be, and all happy-tingly-woozy from my six-figure, speed of sound buzz, I’d almost miss what I didn’t know I flew so high to see. Something small and seemingly insignificant situated inside the massive advance of energy that everyone else on board paid a lifetime of 401K savings to witness.

I’m talking about inert matter. Those pinpricks of light that mimic motion, but whose movement is an optical illusion: running in circles, dancing in place, and bumping up against imaginary walls. As everyone else on board focuses on the obvious, I’d be able to drill down a little deeper. But only because I’ve been there. Stuck. In motion, but not really going anywhere.

Image via trojantimes.org

Image via trojantimes.org

Looking back at my adult life, it’s easy to categorize it into a series of phases.

Phase 1/1980s: The Sussana Hoffs era of Big Hair and Big Dreams.

Big hair is hot. Image via houston.culturemap.com

Big hair is hot. Image via houston.culturemap.com

Phase 2/1990s: The Yves Saint Laurent era of Big Black Suit and Big Career.

Don't look at my body. Look at my soul. Image via www.girlsguidetoparis.com

Don’t look at my body. Look at my soul. Image via http://www.girlsguidetoparis.com

Phase 3/2000s: The Barbara Billingsley era of Big Belly and Big Bills.

That’s not me. OK it is. On the verge of birthing an alien.

I’ve always considered myself fairly stealth, able to move seamlessly in and out of various roles at-will to the beat of a metronome perfectly synchronized to my tune. But about three years ago, on the cusp of my 40th birthday, everything changed. For someone who’s always been confident enough to chart her own course, I suddenly found myself drifting. I was lost and knee-deep in the weeds without a compass, while a storm of my own design grew larger than it appeared in my peripheral view.

Somewhere between my career and the kids, buried in a pile of laundry or possibly lurking inside a box in the basement that I hadn’t opened for years, I lost my perspective and appreciation for the life I’d so carefully built. I don’t know how it happened, but it felt like I simply woke up one day yearning to be anywhere and anyone but who I was. Confused, I couldn’t seem to recognize the woman looking back at me in the mirror when I washed my face every night.

No matter how enlightened I become, I will always hate matching socks.

It’s easy to get lost in a pile of socks.

I was that person who, although constantly in motion, wasn’t actually moving. Busy with my responsibilities as a parent and a wife, I had somehow forgotten about the inner workings that support the common denominator between the two, and then the kids went off to school, and could tie their own shoes, and make sound decisions without being told how, and I realized that I had unintentionally parked myself on an island and hadn’t taken the time to learn to swim. Even in the middle of paradise, isolation is lonely, and days on end of the most beautiful sunset somehow lose their color. Things that shine on the surface, like the tiny balls of energy you might see from outer space, sometimes look entirely different from the inside out.

Telluride, CO August 2011

When you’re stuck, you’re forced to stop. You don’t have a choice. And then when you’re ready to move forward, you have to look around and figure out where you want to go next rather than simply allowing the tide to sweep you along. That initial inertia and subsequent plotting of a new path has great value, even though in the moment it feels miserable, like treading water in quicksand.

One of the side effects of getting lost is the unexpected places you get to visit on your way to a new destination. Like for me? Writing. This blog is a direct result of a yearlong, step-by-step, rocky hike on a circuitous path. And I’m still going. I’m a constant work in progress, but I’m now comfortable with my ever-changing state of being because I’m doing the work to figure out where I want to end up. Plus I reserve the right to change my mind, which is a great back-up plan when all else fails.

I believe that in life, we all get stuck at some point. Whether it’s due to things like divorce, disease, death, or distraction, almost everyone loses their way. Sometimes we have to move backwards to go forward, or hit a bottom so hard that the force of impact acts like a catapult up to the top, but the a-ha realization at the end, when lessons are learned and intersecting lines actually connect, is priceless. It isn’t easy, but almost everything worth accomplishing in life is born from some type of hardship or loss. So what about you? Are you simply in motion or are you actually moving? It’s a question worth asking, even if the answer isn’t what you want to hear.

Taking the road less traveled and finding my way.

I Am Not A Farmer (Part I)

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After creating two posts a week since the inception of this blog, I’ve written nothing for the last three. Zero. Nada. Zilch. I’ve been on vacation mode, and I can’t bring myself to do anything that doesn’t involve self-tanning, a cocktail, and my DVR.

For the Type A, sometimes over-achieving, often napping Gemini that I am, this form of being is both thrilling and mortifying, but mostly mortifying since it’s 2:23 a.m. and I’m in a pseudo-manic state when I should be asleep.

Self Portrait taken April 18, 2012 at 2:45 a.m. Image via insanity.

How bloggers like Sweet Mother and A Clown On Fire manage to post brilliant material every day is beyond me. I think they might be bionic, but don’t tell them I said so or they’ll flex their witty, razor-sharp biceps even more often than now, forcing me onto the floor and into Jane Fonda donkey kick mode in a lame attempt to keep up.

Image via filmbug.com

When it comes to blogging, I’ve been in a bit of a stupor lately. Call it writer’s block, spring fever, or general disdain, but anything I’ve considered producing comes out in a blah, blah, blekity blah kind of way in my head. So instead of turning the bleck into something anyone might care to read, I rub on some Jergens Revitalizing Glow Daily Moisturizer, mix a fairly strong Maker’s Mark and ginger ale, flip through back episodes of Jersey Shore, and cry.

Image via nydailynews.com

But all of this, and by this I mean the writing void I’ve existed in for the past few weeks, is about to change because tomorrow I’m headed to The Farm. No, not that farm where they siphon off every last peso you’ve ever earned, commandeer all sharp objects including your mind, and pad you up in a nice white suit for your stay.

I’m gonna visit my seventy year-old dad’s fancy, new, working farm (sort of, whatever that means) in Varnville, SC…population 2,032.

The great thing about this trip is that I’m not a farmer. Not even close. Neither is my dad, which makes the whole thing doubly exciting.

That's not me. Image via wikipedia.com

Even better? I’m going sans-kids, although anyone who has children understands that it’s taken me approximately seventeen days to set up a three-day trip. Yes, I’ve invested 408 hours to get away for 72, which is voodoo math, but after a few drinks, who’s really counting? I’ve set up carpools, babysitters, video surveillance cameras and booby traps to ensure that my offspring get safely from Point A to Point B while I’m gone and don’t kill each other in the process, or eat too many leftover peeps from Easter and orbit the house in Matrix-like fight mode as they…kill each other in the process.

Dead Peeps. Image via flickr.com.

And last? There’s absolutely nothing to do. Check out Varnville on Google Earth. There isn’t anything there. Except my dad’s farm. And a pack of wild dogs. And some dude in a squirrel hat riding up and down the wrong side of the road on an electric scooter. O.K. I made those last two things up, but still.

So I’m going to Varnville to tap my creativity again and get out from under the spell of this evil-brain-witch-slacker-zombie who’s taken over my body. Because I miss writing. And I miss you. And I would like to be asleep right now. So maybe we can all join hands and sing Kumbaya together. Or not. But either way I’m for sure finding that dude on the scooter and catching a ride. I don’t know where we’ll end up, but the real fun is in the journey anyway, right?

How Nonverbal Communication Can Improve Your Relationship (Part I)

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Unless, that is, you’re a Gemini-Sagittarius couple.  If that’s the case?  Give up and move on.

Assuming you’re not with the wrong astrological mate or anyone who’s appeared on The Bachelor, I have some proven tips that might make life a little easier in the Mars vs. Venus, Mars vs. Mars, or Venus vs. Venus tug-of-war with your significant other.

Gemini

Image by Justinsanity via Flickr

You may be wondering what makes me qualified to give relationship advice.

My answer?

I’ve been in a lot of them.

Once I was wise enough to notice the opposite sex, I immediately became a self-declared, serial monogamist.

serial monogamist: se·ri·al mo·nog·a·mist \ˈsir-ē-əl\ \mə-ˈnä-gə-mist\ nounone Stacie, who spends as little time as possible being single, moving from the end of one relationship to the beginning of a new relationship as quickly as possible faster than you can say “Shazam!” although the relationships in which many serial monogamists Stacies find themselves are also often short lived doomed, the defining aspect of serial monogamy is the desire need and ability to enter new relationships very quickly, thus abbreviating any period of single life self reflection during which the serial monogamist Stacie may begin to ask questions of an existential nature

Middle School Era:

1. Boy asks me to go with him.
2. I say “sure.”
3. We declare our undying love for one other and I write Stacie + Boy all over my Wonder Woman textbook cover.
4. We proceed not to talk, look at each another in the halls, or communicate at all until we break up (which is usually around spring so I can go to the 8th grade dance with my besties).
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, displaying her a...

Image via Wikipedia

High School Era (pre-car):

1. Boy asks if I want to go together.
2. I say “sure.”
3. We declare our undying love for one another and slip notes into each other’s lockers, which further acknowledges our undying love, until we get caught writing notes and have to go to detention after school (but we’re together and can pass notes so it’s O.K.).
4. We proceed to talk on the phone all the time, ask our parents to take us to the mall so we can hold hands and look at the cool stuff we don’t have enough money to buy, and write more notes until we break up (which is usually around fall so I can go to the homecoming dance with my besties).

Now wait. Before you get all, “Stacie thinks she’s all that ’cause guys were asking her out all the time and stuff,” remember that I grew up in Kentucky a thousand light years ago.  It isn’t the Deep South, but it is connected to the lower half of Indiana. Which is kind of sad.  Anyway, back then girls didn’t initiate anything with a boy.  Period.  Which I liked a lot at the time and even more now that I have two little girls of my very own.  So there.

High School Era (post-car):

1. Boy asks if I want to be his girlfriend.
2. I say “sure.”
3. We declare our undying love for one another, he takes me to school every day, we go to McDonald’s and hang out with friends, decide we’re bored, and drive around all night looking for a party.
4. We proceed to spoon after-curfew in the creepy basement, watch movies, and look for more parties until we break up (which is usually around summer so I can hang out at the pool with the cute lifeguards and my besties).

1979 Z-28 Camaro from a friend of mine, Bill C...

Image via Wikipedia

College Era:

1. Boy asks if I want to go to a grab-a-date.
2. I say “sure.”
3. We declare our undying love for one another, figure out we’re both way too into Erasure, and make mix tapes.
4. We proceed to go to more date parties, study together after class, and deconstruct why Andrew Shue plays such a doormat on “Melrose Place” until he asks if I like to cook.  And then we break up (I’d rather not cook for my besties.).

Photo of actor Andrew Shue at the 45th Emmy Aw...

I'm a doormat. Image via Wikipedia

So as you can probably tell, I’m the Gemini of the Gemini-Sagittarius couple.  Bet you didn’t see that coming!  Luckily, my husband is a Taurus, and when I start to display my Gemininess, he just ignores me.  In case you haven’t noticed, Gemini have commitment issues (Ha! The plural of Gemini is Gemini!), and if you don’t believe me, go to Wikipedia and check it out.

See?

Not my fault.

But this post wasn’t meant to be about the perfect fit between Gemininess and serial monogamy, or why I’m lucky I married a bull.  It was supposed to be about how nonverbal communication can improve your relationship.  I got so wrapped up in demonstrating my value as a nonverbal communication specialist, that I completely lost my train of thought.

And now?  I need a nap.