On My Mind

I realize I haven’t been posting as frequently. I’ve been working on my novel. It’s slow going. I have 5,000 words, but I’m also doing in depth character sketches. I have an idea of where the book is going, but after juggling several characters I felt spending time on research and character sketches was the way to go.

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and I guess this makes me a better writer. But a lot of what’s been on my mind can’t be shared with you all–not at this point. Most importantly, I’m trying to get myself organized in my writing and in my life. I’ve had some issues with my kids, but I try not to write about them in the public sphere unless it’s something positive. I don’t want them reading something later on and saying, “Mom, why’d you write that about me or say that about me?” I find that wholly unfair to them. Especially now that I have an almost teenager. Lord knows my very existence is embarrassing enough to him.

Most days, I still feel like I’m pretending. I feel like I’m pretending to be a writer. I feel like I’m pretending to be a good parent. I feel like I’m pretending to be a friend. I guess writers think too much, which can be debilitating. Maybe I haven’t taken enough risks in my life. I’m timid in a lot of ways (Hubby would say I’m a bulldog, but not where it matters). I always think, “I could have done this or I could have done that, but I didn’t follow through.” Follow through is important. Taking calculated risks are important. I seem to always play it safe. I’m tired of safe.

The other day, Middle Son said, “Maybe when you’re a rich and famous author we can go to London.”

And I said, “It’s hard to become a famous author.”

And he said, “But you will, Mom.” No question in his heart that his mommy would be famous one day. I wish I had the faith my child has in me. I’m endlessly hard on myself. And I fear I’m endlessly hard on my kids too. I’m hard on my friends. I hold grudges for no reason, or because someone said something to me that hurt my feelings. I probably don’t listen enough. Life, success, friendships–they’re all so hard to navigate.

Last week, I decided I would count my calories again and exercise. I ran 4 times last week. I plugged my food into MyFitnessPal–when it was convenient. Again with the half-assedness. I keep asking myself why I’m not losing weight as I stuff another chocolate bar in my mouth! Okay, not really, but at 140 calories for 1 1/4 cup, eating a whole bag of Chicago Mix surely adds up.

I’m not where I want to be with my life, writing, friendships, weight because of ME. I tell my kids that they are responsible for their grades and their schoolwork. I tell them they will do well if they try hard. I tell them the only person they have to blame if they fail is themselves. Yet I can’t seem to figure this out or apply it to my own life.

On the whole, I’m happy, but I still feel like there is something missing. My sister said the other day, “You’re like me, you get bored. You have to be driven.” And that’s true, but my drive waxes and wanes like my moods. Perhaps I have ADHD, never diagnosed. A not-so-wonderful Kindergarten teacher told my mother that I’d never go to college. Perhaps she could see my desire to give up. It seems innate in me. When the going gets tough–give up. When there’s too much work–sit and watch Netflix for an hour. When the kids are driving me batty–run away to a hot bath. But isn’t even saying it’s because this or that a form of blame–a form of not looking in the mirror and seeing my flaws and my positive character traits–seeing myself for who I am: me. I need to face things head on. I need to make the hard decisions and take the risks necessary to make my life meaningful and to feel fulfilled.

But why is that so hard for me to do?

Follow Lauren Greene:

Facebook: www.facebook.com\laurengreenewrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenegreene

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109867402293227201728/posts

Me Too

Trigger Warning: This post discusses sexual harassment and sexual assault. 

So #metoo is trending on Facebook and Twitter today. The thought behind #metoo is that “if all the people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” I think it’s important that it says “people” and not women. I didn’t write #metoo on my Facebook page, but I’ve been sexually harassed. In fact, I’m not sure there’s a woman on this earth who hasn’t been.

I’m lucky. I’ve never been raped. I’ve never been assaulted. I put myself in some precarious situations as a teenager so I count myself lucky. I had one incident happen to me as a child. My sister’s friend, a girl, used to take me into the closet and dry hump me. She was two years older than me. And I hated her with all my might. I also felt endlessly guilty about this situation. But I never told my parents…until last year. Was that molestation? Assault? We were fully clothed, and while she was older than me she was still a child. I don’t know. I have mixed feelings about it. But I do know, whenever that particular friend would come over I’d get upset. So it affected me, and it’s something I still think about today.

I had another experience in college. My Junior Year, I took an Environmental Science class. I sat next to this guy, pretend his name was Bob, and I thought he was kinda cute. I was also pining over not-my-boyfriend at the time, but I thought Bob might be boyfriend material. Boy was I wrong. Bob became insistent that we study together. Okay, I thought. We met at Mary Graydon Center and studied for a bit. After awhile, Bob asked if we could go to my house. I said sure. I should have been weary, but I’d never really been distrustful of a guy before. I guess I surrounded myself with guys who never gave me a reason to mistrust then. Perhaps I was naive. Bob came over, and we went up to my room. And he immediately started kissing me, full on making out, and then put his hand under my shirt. He was pushy and insistent, and I said no. I pushed his hand out from under my shirt. He didn’t rape me. I told him to get out, and he said, “Oh, come on.” I told him that I didn’t just have sex with random guys that I saved that for relationships. He was pissed. Literally pissed and angry, but I eventually got him to leave. During the time he was in my room to the time he left, I was scared of him. And things could have ended differently. Bob never came back to that class. I think it was after drop too, so I’m pretty sure he failed. He was embarrassed by his behavior, as he should have been. No woman should ever have to feel that way about a guy. A lot of girls are not as lucky as I was in that situation.

Here’s the thing: we need to teach our boys to respect women. We need to tell them that a woman’s body is her own, and it’s not public property for them to touch. We need to tell them that no woman is going to respond to you in a positive way if you are catcalling her. We need to teach them that forcing a woman is wrong. We need to teach them that a relationship takes two people and that in order for women to be okay with having sex it has to be mutual. We need to teach our boys that assaulting is never okay. That if they see someone harassing our assaulting a girl they need to speak up. Don’t be complicit.

We need to empower our girls. We need to let them know that their voice matters. We need to let them know it is their right to say “no” even in a committed relationship. We need them to know that being forced is NEVER OKAY. We need to tell them that they have a voice, and they should use that voice to tell the men in their life how they feel. They need to tell men when they want to be touched and when they don’t want to be touched. They need to speak up when they’re assaulted. We need to help them not to justify a man’s behavior when he’s in the wrong. A lot of us do this. I know I am guilty of it.

I used to have a friend when I lived in Maryland. I was young…25…and had a boy baby. She got pregnant for the second time and found out it was a girl, and she was horrified. I said to her, “I’ve always wanted a girl. They’re a mom’s best friend!” And she said, “But girls get raped and assaulted.” I thought, at the time, it was the strangest thing for her to say. But you know what, it’s true. Girls get assaulted. Girls get harassed. And people sweep it under the rug. Or worse, they blame the victim. I want to scream every time I hear, “But she was wearing.” Who gives a fuck what she was wearing? No one deserves to be raped. Our girls deserve better. And it’s time to make a change for our next generation. It’s time for women to speak up and say it’s not okay for them to be treated that way. We are not second class citizens. We have rights, and Our bodies are OUR bodies not anyone else’s.

It’s time for things to change.

#metoo

Follow Lauren Greene:

Facebook: www.facebook.com\laurengreenewrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenegreene

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109867402293227201728/posts

Embracing My Mess

I’m trying to get myself organized. Today’s post was brought to you by the article in the NY Times Making a Marriage Magically Tidy. I read the post, and then I posted it to my personal Facebook page.

My sister responded, and I quote, “…did you write that article under a pseudonym? That part about the panty liner was hilarious!! Well, we do the best we can, right!”

We do the best we can. That’s what I tell myself on Saturdays when I’m binge watching Netflix but should really be cleaning. Let me tell you, my floors will never be fit to eat off of. There will probably always be a layer of dust on by bookshelves. There will be crumbs on my table. My kids’ toys will be littering the floor until the sad day they ship off to college.

I read that book mentioned in the article, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I rolled up my clothes and put them in drawers. I felt whether clothes sparked joy in me or not, and the ones that didn’t were given away. I threw away A TON of stuff, donated things, and basically went on a mad-cleaning spree for about a month. In Kondo’s book, she said something like (and this is paraphrasing because I read it over a year ago) “no one who has gone through my program has ever relapsed.” Well she never met me.

Several things I learned from Kondo’s book:

  1. She probably has severe OCD
  2. Her siblings most likely hated her growing up – she organized and threw away their things
  3. I’m inherently missing something that makes me want to keep things neat and tidy
  4. When I start to clean I always end up finding a box of nostalgia and falling into a state of schaudenfreude. I find that inherently not worth it. But also could probably fix this problem but just tossing my old memorabilia yet there’s no way I can actually let go of that stuff. Catch 22.

The thing about me is I am at both extremes. When things are neat and tidy, I freak out if people so much as put one thing out of place. It’s a problem. It’s easier for me to have organized unorganized chaos than to deal with the crazy that comes out in me when things are neat. Maybe this comes from being a perfectionist. Or maybe there’s just something wrong with my brain.

Plus, I’ve read the news: kids growing up on farms with dirt have better immune systems and less allergies than other kids. I’m just giving my kids a leg up. They have zero food allergies–that’s something, right?

Seriously though, sometimes I think I need an intervention. I’ve been trying to tidy up my room for 12-18 months. Something always gets in the way. Over that period of time, we culled the toys in the kids’ rooms and helped them clean theirs. But I have a mental block for cleaning out my own shit. I’d like to talk to Helen Ellis about how she got through that mental block. Did podcasts do it? Because I get obsessed with those for like a week, and then move on. Perhaps I have adult ADHD. That would explain why I can’t freaking finish anything to save my life, including my novel, and why I jump from one thing to another. And why I’m such a major underachiever even though I have idealistic dreams of being MORE!

I guess I’ll start this weekend by going through my closet. Then again, I’ve been telling anyone and everyone that I’ve intended to do that for the last eighteen months. Some things never change…

Messy Room

What end of the spectrum do you fall on? Are you tidy or messy? Have you been both? How did you change your ways?

Follow Lauren Greene:

Facebook: www.facebook.com\laurengreenewrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenegreene

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109867402293227201728/posts

P is for Party

Who doesn’t like a good party? Today is my son’s 7th birthday. We had a wonderful time celebrating at the gym with fourteen of his friends! We invited his whole class, and had a great turnout. Now we have tons of new toys (time to get rid of the old ones).

Liam is a Lego lover. He wanted a Ninjago Party.

I went a little crazy when I ordered the cake, but I think it turned out great.  We don’t do a lot of “big” friend birthdays, mostly just family, so it was fun to splurge on my middle child a little bit!

IMG_2583 IMG_2584

The top part was vanilla, and the bottom was strawberry (Liam’s favorite). I have photos from the actual party, but I’m not going to post them as they have other people’s kids in them. Needless to say, they had fun tumbling at the gym, jumping on the trampoline, and just generally being kids.

And here’s a video of Liam doing what he loves to do best, putting together the Ninjago Lego set we gave him for his birthday.

I loved birthday parties like that when I was kid. Did you have BIG birthday parties when you were growing up? Do you have big birthday parties for your kids, or do you mostly do family parties? Share in the comments!