Hopeful Days

It is finished.

Well, actually, it has all just begun. However, my blog break is over.

School. Derby. Work. Family. Friends.

Life is in full swing and not in that order.

It is not swinging on a gentle breeze. It is surviving gale force winds and wrapping itself around the poles that are struggling to stay cemented in the ground. This mad rush follows a difficult research period that has left me trying to find words for the things I experienced.

It is not that I don’t have the words. I do not have polite words. They are angry words complimented with a rich abundance of curses. I am sorting those feelings out and deciding where they belong.

I gave myself the gift of January to settle into a very challenging season professionally, personally and in the world of roller derby.

It was a wise decision.

My goals are big for this year and can easily be rattled off.

  • Be more present with my family.
  • Love my body
  • Pass my classes with flying colors
  • Raise more money for Nyaka than last year
  • Train to skate like an athlete
  • Start speaking publicly
  • Do enough research to justify a research trip for my book
  • Oh! And write a book.

Of course, this list is nothing more than the cliff notes version of the minutes, hours and days structured towards so many coveted accomplishments.

So far, I have a list of things that have developed in response to my goals for 2013.

  • I have almost cried on my way to roller derby practice out of exhaustion. (I will admit that I was about to start my period.)
  • I have stayed up far too late studying because I won’t allow myself to fail.
  • I will be speaking at She Laughs VII tomorrow night to benefit the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing and decided the topic in a Microsoft shower moment this morning.
  • I have chosen to eat and drink with health and fitness in mind.
  • I am saying a big, fat, NO to opportunities that are not in the best interest of my family and our quality time.

I am uncomfortable. I am challenged. I am exhausted.

I can tell I am doing it right.

When have positive changes come with a big, cushy spot of comfort and ease?

Never.

It comes with hunger pains over those donuts someone brought into the office. It comes with the muscle aches of an injury slowly healing. Change comes with the awkward stagger in shoes that need to be broken in.

I am changing. We all are. Up and down, positive and negative we make changes.

It is what we are in the world. We are transient souls.

In the past, I didn’t make goals. I used to shrug them off as bench marks to an unavoidable failure.

I think everytime you look at yourself and decide that you need a change or a transformation you have to have faith in your ability to change before you can take that first step.

I believe that my list is not full of resolutions.

My list is a reflection of just how much faith I have learned to have in myself.

It is based on all the hopes I have for my future and a guidepost on my journey toward loving myself regardless of what value my past tried to dictate.

This is a new perspective for me but it fits.

Everything else is new. Why shouldn’t my perspective be too?

All of my faith, hope and love is invested in that little abreviated list of hope-filled minutes, hours and days.

I wish you enough faith in yourself to do the same.

Sincerely,

Tashmica

Mere Mortals

When I was about 8 months pregnant with Isaac my dad called me to see how I was doing. He said I sounded tired. I was.

(see: 8 months pregnant)

My father said something that has been replaying over in my mind for two days.

“You do know you only get 24-hours a day, right?”

My father was not being condescending. He was poking fun at what he knows to be true about me.

I do not know that I only get 24-hours in a day. Scientifically, I know that certain standards of time exist that are factual and consistent.

  • 60 seconds in a minute
  • 60 minutes in an hour
  • 24 hours in a day
  • 7 days in a week
  • 52 weeks in a year
  • 365 days in a year

Just ask the cast members of Rent.

They’ve got the amount of time in a year down to the minute.

I get it but I am special.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have three children. One of whom just dropped a bag of shredded cheese on my lap so that I could open it for a snack. Not happening.

“Chips and pretzels are on the counter. If you want something, have that.”

I have a husband who took me on an adventure last night that included a brewery, a casino and a late night steak smothered in cheese and onions. It was a good time.

To recover, I slept in and then we traded. He is now in bed and deservedly so.

I belong to a roller derby team of amazing athletes that challenge me daily. They are also some of the  best friends I have ever had. Which is nice, except six hours of every week is dedicated to practicing the sport, another six hours is dedicated to bouting and that doesn’t include travel time if necessary. Add to that the time we spend laughing, drinking, dancing, going to events, volunteering and just generally being awesome and it gets a bit crazy. Ask them. They will tell you.

“Roller Derby takes over your life.”

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Sweet RV and Me.
She’s really only sweet off the track. #SmallbutMighty

School starts up again in two weeks. I am trying to decide what class to take while I study up for my re-take of the math assessment exam. Spanish II, Film as Art or Technical Writing which sounds as boring as can be but might help me professionally. In two weeks, my life will become a practice in keeping to the schedule. Skipping my study time, being late, sleeping in or going out could blow my grade for the semester. No pressure.

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Isaac fell asleep on the back of my chair watching me finish my homework.

In all of this, I am still trying to write my story. An emotionally draining, mind-boggling memoir that steals time in heaps. It heals me and hurts me at the same time. It’s kind of like physical therapy for The Walking Wounded. I am asking tons of questions and the answers are coming back like boomerangs.

In the end, I am left with just 24-hours in a day. I need more than that and sometimes I really believe that I can bend time to my will. It frustrates me beyond words when I realize that I cannot actually bent time. When I step back and see that I have no special powers and the clock ticks on whether I like it or not, I get anxious.

I get anxiety over something that I never controlled in the first place. I get flustered, messy and half-assed. I forget things places, show up late or on the wrong day, eat like crap and dream when I try to sleep.

I am a hot fire mess. They don’t call me Firecracker for nothin’.

During this holiday season, I have had some time off. I have locked myself away. I have gone out less, chased simple goals like – well, eat, sleep and enjoy.

It has been a peaceful time. As things head back towards pandemonium, I worry. I count and the hours are not adding up. They never do and yet, somehow I still manage to keep up.

Do you see the problem? Do you see why I am so delusional?

Because I manage. I am not so different from so many mothers.

We take out that rolling-pin, stapler, scotch tape and we will those ends to meet. We stretch like elastic around our families and we plug holes with our toes. We make hours out of minutes and days out of hours.

I am special. I am a mother and that brings with it certain miracle-making, magical powers.

And when I get tired. When it gets to be too much and I get frustrated or annoyed with the clock, I will settle into the time that the rest of the world shares. I will work within reality for a little while. I will slow down for a lunch break with mere mortals.

“You do know you only get 24-hours in a day, right?”

Miracles are not meant to be performed every 24-hours.

They’d lose their magic.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Passing time,

Tashmica

PS – To watch this glorious train wreck, LIKE The Mother Flippin’ Facebook Page.

Remember The Time

Remember that time, I had a pretty good blog.

I would write things.  You would read them.

Sometimes we would laugh at my parenting shenanigans and other times we would cry about my past traumas.

We built a relationship.  We were falling in love.

I took you out for coffee on Saturday mornings and showed you photos on Wednesdays.  We had a routine.

Then I started seeing other people.  Well, I had been cheating on you for months with Roller Derby.  However, recently, I started also seeing Education.

My life is squeezing my blog out.  It is squeezing my time for reflection and creativity in this space to an all time low.  My blog already lived on the fringe of my family time.  It slept at my feet and often got kicked off the end of the bed.

Well, now The Mother Flippin’ Blog is sleeping on the floor in the basement.

Let us take a moment to review my ridiculous schedule.

  • Monday is now assigned reading night after an early evening of helping with homework and making dinner.
  • Tuesday I have an online class followed by half a roller derby practice after an early evening of helping with homework and making dinner.
  • Wednesday is my only free night and my two oldest boys have karate.  After which I try to squeeze in a little homework so that I can be ahead of the curve.
  • Thursday is roller derby scrimmage night (FUN!) after an early evening of helping with homework and making dinner.
  • Friday used to be family night and if I can squeeze that in, I end up staying up until midnight finishing my online assignments and working on my portfolio.
  • Saturday, if I do not have a roller derby bout, I have a day at home with my little ones that I spend cleaning at a relaxed pace.
  • Sunday, a final roller derby practice (Endurance. Uuuugh!) an online class and meal prep for the upcoming week.

This does not include the 40-60 a week I work, have meetings or the time I take to be a good wife, daughter, sister and friend.

I am breathtakingly busy.

I am an overacheiver by trade.  I could be less busy if I chose to get less than a perfect 10 on every assignment.  Why would I do that though?

I could have more time, if I didn’t try to help my children with their homework or insist on tucking them into bed on the nights I do not have to skate.  Who would ever want to miss those kisses and snoozles.

I have also started doing research for my book and sometimes, I open up a dusty box and find anxieties, depression and sorrows I was not looking for.  When that happens, I slip up into my attic and hide until I can allow myself to cry it out on my yoga mat or into my keyboard.

I now remember why crock pots are the greatest invention of all time.  I check my calendar every morning and still managed to miss my first physical in two years.

(Don’t worry, I will call and reschedule.)

I am tired but I miss you.  I will try to remember to call every once in a while until our casual dating can turn into something more serious.

Until then, feel free to date others but don’t forget about me.

Love,

Tashmica

PS – I have recently discovered Tumblr and I love it.  You can find me there on the go OR on twitter @MotherFlippin

So Good

I am very happy right now.

When I say it is so good, I am saying it with the near moan that follows a good taste.

I don’t know what it is exactly.  I can tell you what it is generally.

I have been promoted at work.  I was the Executive Assistant and now I am the Development Associate.

Why does this make me happy?

I am so happy you asked.

I am in a role related more to fundraising than not.  I get to find creative ways to share why the investment in our organization is unlike any other.  I get to wade into the deep good even further.  My dream job just got dreamier.

I am playing roller derby in my first home bout of the season on Saturday night.

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I will be skating in my own super pack.  (insert laugh track for lame political joke)  I will be doing what I have been training to do for a year.  This makes me happy and sick to my stomach with nerves at the same time.

I am leaving for Uganda in less than two weeks.  The passport is here.  I will be filling my Malaria prescription soon.  I am borrowing a camera from a friend and documenting all of the things I try to explain with wild gesturing and wide excited eyes.  Maybe the photos will help me look less crazed.

What can I say?  The idea of obliterating devastating poverty kind of does it for me.

I have already begun writing posts for my children to publish automatically. I am almost ready.

My children.  My children are brilliant.  I recently gave away our TV.

Like, I put it on the curb and said “via con Dios”.  They weren’t thrilled with me.  If they could see their minds explode with creativity the way I am now, they would be thrilled with it all.  My home is being lifted  up off of the ground with imagination.  Things are being hidden and then seeked.  Paint is splattering the walls and uno trash talk is being spread around.  We are coming alive as a family and I don’t know why I waited so long to get that thing out of my house.

Seriously.  I actually feel a little bad about donating it.  I feel like I just donated a bad habit.

I know.  I am probably being dramatic but….Jimmy cracked corn and I don’t care.

I seemed to have fallen into a pocket of amazing people.  The birds that are flying with me are so good.  I love that we flock together.  I love that we skate, do good deeds, dance, drink, eat, laugh and laugh some more.  I love that our differences provide a world wide open.

Maybe it’s the giddiness of a girl watching the sun fall down around her shoulders.

It’s all so good.

Love,

Tashmica

Love is…

Love is…
being on a date with my guy and watching him find underwear in his coat pocket.

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Love is…
turning your back so your toddler can’t see you smirk at his tiny, arm crossed revolt.

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Love is…
building your family out of robot window clings.

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Love is…
a last minute massage before roller derby practice.

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Love is…
the gift of a sweet Lego house.

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Love is…
written on our walls,

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on our plates,

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and on our faces.

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I wish you a Valentine’s Day full of finding love everywhere. Love is in a mother’s hands, a father’s piggyback ride and a brother’s high five. Enjoy your loves.

Sincerely,

Tashmica

Can I Derby?

Tomorrow night will mark the end of an off-season.  Roller derby practice with the Lansing Derby Vixens will be on again.  Two nights and one  morning a week, I will be back on the track.  I was just putting away some laundry this morning and saw my full drawer of derby clothes….#pumped.

I am looking forward to it.  I am a little scared.

I am not super confident.  I know it seems that I am but I swear before every practice I wonder if this is going to be the time I realize I am not cut out for this sport.  Ask my wife.

A totally reliable source, I kid you not.

She knows because I am always telling her just how awful I played…well, sometimes I come back to the bench breathlessly rambling about some feat I completed that she didn’t see.

*gasp* Oh, my gosh. *gasp* Did you SEE me jump over that girl who fell, spin around and keep skating? *gasp*

What?! No. *gulp water*

It was awesome.  *gasp* I don’t even know how it happened! *plops down on bench* *gasp*

Most of the time, in my own slightly neurotic perfectionist mindset, I am evaluating some skill I did not quite grasp.  I surprise myself with my ability to get very frustrated with myself – especially since I am typically so even keeled.

With the season opening, I am getting a little anxious.  Can I really derby?  Am I really strong enough, smart enough and athletic enough to play this challenging sport?  It seems highly unlikely and very challenging.

Just like other challenges in my life, I have made some resolutions for the 2012 Lansing Derby Vixens Season.

1.  Skate very low.

2. Get up very fast.

3. Stay focused – practice like you play.

4. Play inside the lines – No track cutting.

5. Hit with my whole body – from shoulder to hip.

6. Eat like an athlete.

I tend to eat like roller derby gives me a green light on everything within reach.  In some ways it does.  I can eat without gaining weight.  My activity level is apparently high enough for me to eat as unhealthy as I have been.  My body is thinner than ever.  Unfortunately, I am not as strong as I could be but I imagine with more focus, I could be a beast.

Not unlike this guy.

I can derby.  So far, I have proven that much.

Am I willing to give my body the respect it deserves for allowing me to participate in such an amazing sport by fueling it sufficiently?

We shall see.

Skate. Hit. Win.

Nina Firecracker

PS – I have been pinning all sorts of healthy things on Pinterest on my I’m An Athlete Board.  Check it out!

We May Have A Tie

Ok.

So yesterday, I reported to all of you that I won Christmas.

While this is mostly true from my perspective, there is definitely more to the story.  As I said before, Paul is the undefeated champion of all gift bearing holidays.  He was not going to go down with out a fight.  And fight he did.

He used that spreadsheet, counted stars and came up with some crazy good gifts.  He told me in advance that one was sure to make me cry.  I started to doubt him when he admitted he forgot to get me any stocking stuffers.

What?  No chocolate?  No Biggby giftcard?  No winter socks?  I have come to expect certain stocking privileges.

In response to my obvious disenchantment with an empty stocking, he changed his tune and put one of my gifts in there along with a school gift from Isaac.

One gift was beautifully wrapped.  It could have been a tiara.  I tried to shake it.  Paul wouldn’t let me.

Harumph.

I had to wait.  I tried to wait.  To prolong the inevitable goodness.  I love gifts and I love surprises.

Christmas is my day.

Well, actually it’s Jesus’s day but let’s try to focus on my story, shall we?

I was certain the pretty box was going to be the winner.  Nope.  It was a tea kettle for my latest addiction to tea.

Really.  According to a friend,

“Tea is a gift to your body.”

I am a new part-time convert.  I still love my coffee. It is brewing now.

Anywho, the kids all hand painted the sweetest pottery.  A heart-shaped platter made complete with a face complimented by wild Emo hair.  It made me giggle.  I have been drinking and eating out of a cup hand painted by my Vito every day since Christmas.  Isaiah painted a snowman that is sitting on my kitchen counter that I imagine will be brought with the Christmas decorations every year.

The boys picked out purple slippers in the UGGs Style.

Do you see what I am doing here?  So much suspense!!  I nearly died.

Wait for it though.  This is gonna be worth it.

Finally, I opened the big box.  I waited as long as I could but finally the boys forced it upon me.

It’s just an amazing Zuca bag.  The bag of all skate bags for my derby.  I immediately  packed it.  Practice is only one week away.  I need to be prepared.

Okay.  Are you ready?

I was allowed to get my stocking before nap time.  Mostly because I am a grown up and mostly because I was dying to know what was going to make me cry more than my beautiful Zuca bag.

Yes, this 31-year-old woman has been stating that she might want to go back to school eventually.  There was never a concrete plan, enough time, enough energy or enough money.  So far, eventualities seem to be failing me.  Apparently, someone wanted to put his money where my mouth was.

Nice move. *sob*

We may have a tie.

Sincerely,

Tashmica

PS – Don’t forget to “like” The Mother Flippin Fan Page!  I will be posting pics of my handmade pottery there.  I am a lucky momma. :)