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I miss you, Blog!

I am officially in week four of school, and apparently it seems to be eating up most of my brain power, because I can’t seem to find the time or the energy to think of anything interesting to say on here right now. Everything is going into my school work. It is kinda bumming me out. Each week has felt less stressful than the week before it, so hopefully I will soon be very “chill” about everything that I am doing and I can manage to spend more time writing on here. I honestly still really need the release that it brings me.

Michael is on his first long business trip this week and so far I haven’t had any serious emotional breakdowns, but I feel myself weakening tonight. I miss him and he is staying so busy in California that we don’t have much time to talk, and really it just isn’t the same anyways. My mom stayed with us last night, which was very nice, but now I am clean out of serious distractions. The things I NEED to do, I don’t feel much motivated at tackling because I am sad.

I think I need another dirty mind-numbing book to read!

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The Fireman and the Pole

This is my essay for week two of class that earned me a 82! I am quite thrilled since I was aiming for a low B. I know it is silly, but getting my B this week has given me the confidence that I am “teachable” and I am coming to terms with the fact that it IS OK to not know everything straight off. I think I have become so comfy in my position career-wise and having an area of expertise, that it flusters me to be in unknown waters now. I hope that with each week it will become easier for me to cope with and I won’t be so high stress about everything.

This essay is about how I originally met my husband for the first time, almost 13 years ago, and how we eventually became a couple 5 years later. 🙂 It was actually really nice to write about my husband this time. I know sometimes I get so caught up in the things I don’t like about him, that it was really good for me to focus on the things that I love about him.

The Fireman and the Pole

When I was 14 years old, the place to be was our local skating rink, Dazzles. On any Friday night you could find me there, hanging out with friends and “freak” dancing. That is what we called it then, but you could also call it dirty dancing. Colorful, flashing disco lights and neon carpet that glowed in the dark set the atmosphere there. Kids would be socializing in large groups and music would be blaring, hip hop songs like, Kilo Ali’s Baby, Baby. One particular Friday night, a girlfriend of mine was dancing alone, when a guy came up behind her and started dancing with quite a bit of enthusiasm. This would be my future husband. My very first thought upon seeing him was, “What a freak.” I can say without a doubt, that I didn’t know that he was “the one” on that night, but sometimes you find love where you least expect it.

I learned that his name was Michael. Also, that we went to the same school, and we even had Physical Education class during the same period, but with different teachers. Over the course of years our paths crossed repeatedly. We shared similar friends, so we ended up in social situations together. We would run into each other at the mall, hang out in the same groups and attend the same parties, but never forming more than a distant friendship. He was always flirtatious with me, but I never gave him any romantic thought.

Michael had spunk though, and I appreciated that about him. One of my favorite memories from those days happened the first time I learned to play the card game Rummy. He was teaching me the rules and we played quite a few games that night. He was in a teasing mood and at one point he looked at me very seriously and said, “Hey Crystal, why don’t you come be my fireman and I can be your pole?” I couldn’t help but laugh. Though, I still thought, “What a freak,” but in a more endearing way.

A little over 4 and a half years after originally meeting Michael for the first time, I began to date his best friend, Patrick. During the two months that we dated, Patrick lived at Michael’s house and I was there nearly every day. Patrick was the kind of boyfriend that gave you just enough attention to keep you hanging on and was distant enough to drive you a bit crazy. He spent the majority of his time playing games on his computer when I was around, so consequently I spent much of that time with Michael. During this time though, the friendship I built with Michael became essential to my life.

For the first time, instead of seeing “Patrick’s best friend,” I saw Michael, and he was kind of awesome. His personality meshed well with mine; we had a similar sense of humor, which tended to lead us into terribly inappropriate jokes. He became one of my closest friends and we talked about all kinds of things. I got to know him on a more serious level, one without all the barriers. I saw how ambitious, charming and thoughtful he really was underneath all of his goofiness. It changed the way that I perceived him.

He became my confidante. He was the one that I confided in when I admitted to wanting to break up with Patrick. One night, after a stiff drink and some encouragement from Michael, I finally managed to get the job done. There were no hurt feelings from this break up. It was a relationship working for no one, and I just happened to be the first to admit it aloud. Patrick and I stayed friends and I still spent most days hanging out at the house, so that I could see Michael.

I can’t pinpoint the moment when it happened; it was more of a slow progression of my feelings towards him changing.  There was just the overall feeling of being my happiest when I was with him. One night the line between friend and “something more” started to blur. We went to a club together with friends to have some fun. After getting back, we all decided to sleep at Michael’s house. I told him that I wanted to sleep in his bed with him; I wanted to be near him. We snuggled in the bed, his arms wrapped around me and that was how we slept that night.

On a morning not long after that, when I had decided to stay over again, I woke up to find a letter from him. Well, not quite a letter. More like a journal entry that he wrote about me before deciding last minute that he wanted me to read it.

“I feel a sort of emptiness when she isn’t around. When she calls and I hear her voice it’s like I fall into a trance. I love spending time with her…. My heart hurts when I think about her, when she is around me.”

It was actually about three pages long and I loved reading every bit of it, but it scared me. If I tried to be with him, I ran the risk of it not working out and then losing a friend that I wasn’t sure I was willing to sacrifice. I wrote him a letter back letting him know how I felt. Though, once it was out in the open, there really wasn’t any going back, was there?

I remember our first kiss. It happened at night, as I was leaving his house and he walked me to my car. It started out as a hug, but ended with a kiss. He wrapped his arms around me and my heart was beating so hard it throbbed in my ears. He ran a hand into the back of my hair and held me there. My whole body felt flushed, like I was on fire. It felt amazing, but more than that, it felt natural; like that was exactly the way things should have always been.

Looking back, I am thankful that life gave me the opportunity to see my husband for the person that he really is, not the one I assumed him to be, and that I took it! Eight years later, we have two amazingly, wonderful kids and a relationship that has endured many good times, as well as many bad ones. It hasn’t always been easy; sometimes it has been hard work, but it helps that I love him like crazy. He is still my confidante, that one person in my life that knows me better than anyone else. His presence and his touch are still the one thing that can make me feel better, even on the worst of days. Most days, we actually pass for grown ups now. Even though at our core, we are still the same girl and boy that liked to “freak” dance at the skating rink.

 

The Fireman and The Pole from Mike Bowden on Vimeo.

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365 Project: Day 17- Iceman

Day 17

Today we turned Haden into a superhero using this Crayola Story Studio program and put him into a coloring page. 🙂 We are calling him Iceman because his hands turn into big blocks of ice. It is a pretty cool little kit and we get to make coloring books using it. In today’s page he got to fight the Green Goblin.

So I am officially abandoning my 365 project, at least on a full-time bases. Too much to do and trying to remember to take a picture a day is a total pain some days. It has officially begun to feel less like fun and more like work. I still plan to do the pictures when I can or when I want to but they will be sporatic. I lasted a whole 17 days! Man, you can tell I have staying power. 😛

Other 365 Project Photos

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The Cheater = C

This is the finished essay on the cheater from high school. The one that earned me a whopping C. I am sure I am biased but I really don’t think it is worthy of a C. Although, it certainly can be improved upon, which I plan to do, to try and get a better grade.

The assignment was to read an essay called “Cut,” and then write about my biggest rejection and weather or not it caused me to become an overachiever in life.

The Cheater

I was an idealistic girl at sixteen, the first time I fell in love. It was through this love that I experienced my biggest rejection.  Although, in Bob Green’s essay “Cut,” he asserts that public rejection leads to being overly ambitious in life, I think that how people will react to a rejection is as unique as people themselves. My story is one about heartbreak.

When I was in high school I kept a sketchbook that included drawings, paintings, collages, journaling, and pictures. It was a window into my soul, of sorts. What follows is something that I wrote about Danny, my high school sweetheart, which gives a glimpse at what I felt about him during our relationship.

“The Story of Us: There once was a girl, who met a boy and they became friends. Two years passed before they came back together and reunited as friends. This girl, outcast to the world, pushed away all love for fear of it. Including the love of the boy who had always loved her. Till, one day she woke up and looked into the boy’s eyes and saw the love there and she felt no fear. She loved him back. His arms slid around her and she felt safe. He saved her and she saved him. They were happy forever.”

This is a clipping from my high school sketchbook.

And I really did believe we would be happily together forever. Fast-forward two years and our relationship seemed to be in a vastly different place. Not quite so happy and carefree but I still believed that he was “it” for me. It had been two days since we had spoken. Two days since we fought, just one of many recent fights but this one had been particularly nasty. Two days of crying, thinking about the future, and weather or not he should be in mine.

I walked into his house unannounced, just like I would on any other day, and that is where I found them.  They were snuggled up together, half dressed on the couch. I froze, completely in shock. I felt almost nothing in those moments. I stood there for what felt like a very long time, but what was only seconds, just taking in the whole scene in front of me.

I noticed his lack of reaction, as if he didn’t care at all that I was seeing them together.  Then, her small smile, letting me know that she was happy that I had seen them. I never said anything and neither did they. I just walked forward and dropped his promise ring on top of them, then turned around and left. Only once I was away from the house did emotion sink into me and then I broke down. Hysterically. I felt betrayed, crushed, and humiliated.

I mourned the loss of him. Worse than that, I questioned myself. Why would he do that? Was I not pretty enough? Smart enough? Funny enough? What did she have that made her better than me? That he would take what we had together and throw it away on her? Did he ever love me? Had I wasted two years of my life on someone who never really cared about me? How long had he been cheating with her? Did he cheat with others that I didn’t know about? How many of our friends knew? How many people had been lying to me?

Danny’s rejection of me had many short-term effects, including the need to “overachieve”. I mean this more in the sense that I felt like I needed to prove the fact that I was a desirable, amazing person. I needed to prove it to him, but most importantly, I needed to prove it to myself. I wanted him to regret his choices. It took time and closure for me to move past the experience but once I did, I stopped striving to be the picture of perfection, as my husband can well attest.

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Tit Terrorists?

Breastfeeding Nazis. Being called superior, condescending and judgmental. These are just some of the not-so-nice things I have heard said about lactavists.

I have counted myself amongst lactavists for the past 4 years. In the beginning, my first thoughts when hearing those kinds of insults about lactavists were defensive ones. People that would say that about lacatvists obviously don’t understand. They don’t understand that we are coming from a place of passion! If they really knew what I KNOW then they would feel the same way I feel. Blame it on ignorance, because we all know that if every woman were as smart as me, then they would obviously think exactly the way I do. (Sarcasm) I say that sarcastically now, but there was a time where I really felt that way.

Some people might assume that those kinds of remarks would come only from women that are hard-core promoters of formula feeding. The mothers who formula fed all their children and firmly believe that there is no notable differences between the two. I have been noticing though, that that doesn’t alway seem to be the case. There are many women that support breastfeeding, have breastfed their children or are currently breastfeeding their children, that don’t have positive feelings towards lactavists and wouldn’t want to count themselves amongst them.

Why is that?

Recent events have shown an upsurge on Facebook amongst  lacatavists , posting about the horrors of formula feeding. I really have to take a moment to thank a friend of mine. Reading her blog this past year about her trials, her thoughts & feelings about a breastfeeding relationship she had originally wanted and ended up not having and the emotions she has felt through it all, has gone a long way to opening my eyes about the WAY we talk about breastfeeding and the profound effect that it can have on all different types of women.

 

These ads were created to demand honesty in formula advertising. Who is the demand being made to though? Are formula companies seeing these ads? Or just thousands of mothers across the internet? False advertising isn’t a new idea. Check out most items on any given shelf in your grocery store and you will see some. If we want there to be more honesty in advertising, is this the most productive way to try and achieve it?

Is this about educating mothers? Pretend for a second that you are a mother who doesn’t know about the awesomeness of your breasts and how amazing breastfeeding is… yadayadayada. What would you think if you saw this posted somewhere? Do you feel educated after reading it?

Does it strike you as condescending? Or would it?

This is the ingredients off of the back of a formula can. So, what if this were captioned along the lines, “Another baby died from formula this week. Crap in a can.”?

So, what does that make mothers feel? To read that? For us breastfeeding mothers, it surely makes us feel even more awesome and superior for our choice to do “what is best for our baby”. What about every other mother out there?

Do we care?

I love breastfeeding. I breastfed my son until he was a few months shy of 4. Those last 3 months for him, he was tandem nursing with his sister, who is still nursing at 22 months. I probably have quite a bit more nursing to look forward too. I think that it is important for women to breastfeed in public so that other women can see it. The more often it is seen, the more it will seem less of an oddity. I think sharing the positives about breastfeeding is important. There are so many. I just also think that the way that we approach talking about breastfeeding and formula feeding should be and can be done in a more thoughtful and considerate way.

Think… COMPASSION. Because at the end of the day you can’t force women to think the way you do. You can’t strong arm them into it. You can’t treat them like they are stupid in hopes that they will believe it and then want to be “smarter”. Just like you. And many of them do know what you know. Maybe they made a different choice or they didn’t really HAVE a choice.

Obviously, not all women will be offended by those kinds of lactavist tactics but I think the numbers are higher than most of us would  think. Some people will be offended no matter what you say or how you say it, but I know it is hard for me to remember that not everyone thinks and feels the way I do. Or the majority of the people that make up “my world”. My world view has become very narrow. I know that in the past I have made similar types of posts or said things that weren’t very thoughtful. It makes me wonder how I have made people feel. My friends? My family?