Saturday, May 26, 2012

Coloring books, SpaghettiOs and The Goonies

Well, it looks like my path to finding my passion will continue to include random 5 a.m. bursts of energy with random rambling thoughts. I always hated the part of writing reports that consisted of outlining your thoughts and arguments. It always felt so unnatural to me. I know there is a very clear and real need and reason to utilize it, however, rambling works best for me to get my thoughts out, in the moment.

Luckily for me, the ability to wake-up nightly, at some point between 3:30 and 5:00 a.m., at least once, is pretty much a guarantee. I often wonder if there is a reason I wake up every night, at least once. I am sure there have been a few occasions when I successful slept through an entire evening, but I am pretty sure the word I should have used in these rare instances was "passed out." Don't get me wrong, I wasn't really a "passed out" kind of person. There is very little I don't "remember" from college, but lets say that even today 3-4 glasses of wine on any given evening can help me, but once again, only until that magic 5 o'clock hour.

As a child I had a real issue, an embarrassing issue that often made sleeping over challenging. Now, while I was and still am petrified of the dark, and while I may not have been 12 or 13 until I finally had successful runs of sleeping over friends houses, wetting the bed was another challenge I faced as a child. I honestly do not remember how old I was when I finally stopped, but I honestly think this is where my night-time wakes ups came from. I had a lot of challenges with sleep when I little. Dorothy's mantra was "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" Well, mine would have been "Earaches and bed wetting and the dark, oh my!"

I always hated going to sleep. When I was really young, I associate night time with horrible earaches. Earaches that hurt so bad  I was unable to sleep. I remember crying at night because my ears hurt so bad and needing to wait until the next morning to go to the doctor's. I remember that pain, so well. I am sure I had earaches during the day too, but I totally associate them with night time. I can remember going into my parents room for each of my Dorothy mantras. I would normally ask to either crawl into bed with them, or ask if someone could come and lay with me until I fell asleep or felt better. Unfortunately with earaches, there wasn't much anyone could do. I eventually got tubes in my ears a few times and am forever grateful the pain has gone away. My ears are still sensitive in the cold and wind. I have to be really careful and try and cover them with a hoodie, hat or earmuffs. I also have a hard time when flying, sometimes, and my sinuses act up from time-to-time, but, knock on wood, nothing that causes me to wake up mid-sleep in pain.

I also associate night time when I was little with wetting the bed. I don't know if it was my child-sized bladder that is the real culprit here. I remember having a real problem making it through the night. I remember being so embarrassed and needing to wake-up my mom or dad to change my sheets for me. When I was first potty-training, it was expected, and I honestly don't remember that, but I do remember getting older and still struggling with it. Old enough to remember, but not old enough to change my own sheets. This bed wetting didn't only cause a hinderance on m own sleep, but also my social life. I was often afraid to sleep over friends houses, because I could possibly have an accident. I was older than most when I finally made it consistently through the night, but not as old as some. My mom taught me wonderful amazing and wonderful "tricks" when I was little to deal with my night-time issues. One of the things she taught me--let me believe it--was to wake up to pee in the middle of the night, regardless of my need to. I basically trained myself to be this 3:30 - 5:00 a.m. waker-upper for bathroom purposes. Happy to report other than one crazy 8 glasses of water before bed incident in high school, I continue to be bed-wet free. 

The last mantra of nighttime from my childhood would be my complete and utter fear of the dark. I still feel bad for the roommate my sister had to put up with. Katey and I shared a room forever. If you want to know what year we finally got our own rooms, you can ask her, she has an amazing memory for that kind of stuff. I know it was Groundhog day, but always forget the year. Regardless, there she was, 3 years younger than me, with none of my nighttime issues. How lucky, right? Well, lucky for her in that she didn't have to deal with her own issues, but not so lucky for her, she did have to deal with my issues. My being afraid of the dark would be the biggest one. We both had bed-wetting issues, and I assume she would be ok with my sharing this as she talks about that all the time. 

My being afraid of the dark, meant there was a large light on, every night in our bedroom, in addition to the hall way light and bathroom light. Looking back on it now, our room basically looked like day-time 24 hrs round the clock, but for all intents and purposes, that was the point. The other challenge was that not only was the light on, but it was also the light over her bed. She often asked me if I would be willing to switch where my bed was. Her bed was near the 3 windows in my room, while my bed was near just one window. I was petrified someone would break-in and kill me, or steal me, so I would  never move because I was too afraid of sleeping near the 3-windows in our bedroom. 

My being afraid of the dark and my sheer and utter confidence in death by intruder or fire, also didn't lend itself well to peaceful and continuous sleep. Add to the mix my tendency towards nightmares and you have my disastrous record with nighttime and sleeping, in general. My mother's other amazing night-time trick was teaching me how to wake myself up during a scary dream. 

So, I guess I will find a way and a use for the familiar 3:30 to 5:00 a.m. wake-ups on this path to passion, other than a good excuse to watch an episode of Seinfeld or Family Guy. Lucky for Greg, he could sleep through a fire, earthquake, alarm, or murder. So, as I type in bed, I can have no worries about waking him up.

Even today, at nearly thirty-three years old, while I am able to hide my fear of the dark, it is there. The T.V. in our bedroom lends itself very nicely to a sly way to cover-up this fear. I fall asleep with it on and while we set a timer to ensure it turns off, I have my nightly 3:30 wake-up, where I go to the bathroom and put the T.V. back on to fall back asleep. Now, clearly, there are some places we travel where there is no T.V. in room we are sleeping. Greg can attest to my continued fear of going to sleep and the dark in general. If I am tired enough, I will fall asleep quickly, but come 3:30-ish I am wide awake, scared and often on my phone. We run into similar challenges while camping. I totally love camping, and being outside, but once again, that wonderful initial sleep doesn't last very long and then my 3:30 a.m. until sun comes up wide-eyed self, who is listening for everything that could possibly be outside her tent, gets in the way.

Over the years, and through my many nuances and quirks, I have found a few things that seem to make me feel better. If you ever hear me say, I am not feeling well, or in a bad mood, chances are one of these things will cheer me up. I hear often that you should try and remember what made you happiest as a child and find the time and energy to do it as an adult. Something that brought you innocent joy as a child, may continue to help you find joy as an adult. I think of this often and really think it is true. There are some things that when I do them now, I just feel happy. I feel like my soul is just comfortable "being" in that moment. I am hoping I can find a way to make this feeling happen more often during my path to passion and find more opportunities to be present in each moment. Find happiness in that moment and not always find myself longing for the next life event.

In addition to dancing, riding my bike (which I wish I could actually do in the city) and swinging (yes, swinging on a swing), my three go-to activities are coloring, eating SpaghettiOs and watching The Goonies. 

I have always loved coloring. My godmother continues to buy me coloring books and crayons for Christmas, which I love and appreciate so much. I don't go to them as often as I like, or as often as I should, but I know how much I love coloring and painting. Whenever I can find the opportunity to do it, I should. It is strange to me that I know how happy coloring makes me, yet I don't have books and books full of colored pictures. I have coloring books that have one or two, each. Why is it that I don't find more time to do this, when I know it makes me feel happy, in that moment. I totally lose myself in coloring. My co-worker actually brought me in a box of crayons the other day, after I told her how much I love coloring and I actually found myself drawing a picture the other day, while at work. I was completely happy. I also love making signs for people. Partly because I love coloring in the block letters I draw. While in college, I was in charge of the large chalkboard in the student center my last 2 years. Whenever there were activities on campus, I was able to grab the sidewalk chalk, and just draw on that chalkboard for hours. People would see me there for hours, and ask me what I was still doing there. To be honest, I was so content, I had no clue how long I was there. It made me feel totally "zen." I am not an artist, by any stretch of the imagination, but I can make a good block letter and shade them in. If only I could find something to do every day that made me feel like this. To be honest, when I walk by restaurants now that have chalkboards with the days specials, I long to be in Balfour Hood creating my next chalkboard creation.

When it comes to eating SpaghettiOs, I wish I could remember if there was a particular memory associated with SpaghettiOs. I would put Chef Boyardee into the same category. As far as the Chef is concerned, my grandmother Landry use to make me little microwaved cans of them, with bread and butter (real butter!!) when I was little. I do go to the Chef from time-to-time, but my association really comes with SpaghettiOs. Maybe it just reminds me of my childhood. My time of innocence. The time before I had to worry about all the guaranteed stressors that come with being an adult. The time before I paid attention to how crazy the world can be. It is sad because I know there is so much good in the world, so much hope in the world, but it surely isn't what you see on the evening news. SpaghettiOs are very special to me. I don't even know that I necessarily like how they taste, I swear they taste different from when I was little. I just really love how they make me "feel." They make me feel warm inside, then make me feel content and they make me feel like everything is going to be o.k. I also love having them when I feel sick. 

Last, but certainly not least, would be watching "The Goonies." I have it Tivo-d in our bedroom, basically on stand by incase I ever get in the mood. Part of my love for this movie is the time of my life that it reminds me of. As a child with a wild imagination, this movie sparked all types of treasure hunts and searches for my own One-Eyed-Willie, we just called him Macho Man. You see, Macho Man was this man we would "see" in our woods from time-to-time. Sarah, Katey and I spent our entire childhood trying to convince others of the existence of Macho Man. In our minds he wore a black cape, black hat and lived in the woods behind my house on Granite Street. I still swear he existed, but to this day, there isn't any proof. The three of us would be in my yard all day, looking for buried treasure, and searching for Macho Man. We spent the other part of any play date in our house looking for secret passages and treasure maps. I don't remember what came first, Goonies, or the Treasure hunts, but they both aided in my continued love and appreciation for each. The Goonies reminds me that anything is possible. It makes me want to believe in magical moments and the possibility of finding what you most need in the end. My love for all things Goonie, actually took me to Astoria, Oregon during Greg and I's 2007 cross-country road trip. I did a majority of the coordinating of our adventure, which allowed me to schedule time to recreate the movie. We were able to drive up to Mikey and Data's houses, and take pictures. We were able to see the view they saw from their front porch so many years ago. We were able to see the winding roads that lead up to their houses in that opening scene. We were also able to see the pizza parlor where Chunk smushed his pizza and shake in the window and the intersection where Rosalita almost got hit by a few cards with her umbrella. Last, but certainly not least, we were also able to see where "the lighthouse, the rock and the restaurant" all fit our own hand-made doubloon. 

So, as 6:00 a.m. quickly approaches, I am going to give myself a moment to try and just enjoy this time. Greg sound asleep next to me, Norman happy in our window and a nice breeze. I know in only a few weeks, the heat of the city will not lend itself to open windows. I am grateful in the moment and grateful for my awareness in this moment. 

Here's to hoping I continue to find ways to take advantage of my knowledge of what makes me feel happiest. Here's to hoping that this process helps me find my passion, helps me find what makes me my best and most authentic self. Here's to hoping I continue to find ways to learn and grow and while I want to find happiness in any moment I can, here's to never wanting to stop working on myself.

Coming up next:

Mindy, body and spirit

Math, science and sneakers

Pat, Patty, Patricia


My religion


And that's all she wrote.....

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