Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ghosts in the machine...

I posted a story today and a friend "liked" it. Not really an odd thing to happen but this was an online friend I haven't heard from in years. I quickly posted on the link tagged her by name telling her how happy it made me to see her name and then snap...the "like" was gone. Which tells me there was a mistake made. Either she hadn't intended to "like" the article (it happens to all of us when we are scrolling quickly) or I shouldn't have drawn attention to it. Either way I hope she saw my post and I hope it made her smile.

She is one of those people you meet online that becomes really important to you. I am lucky enough that I have a few of those people in my life. People that you never would have ever gotten to know if it weren't for the internet. And then you wonder how in the world life could have ever gone by without you knowing them. They are so much a part of who you are that the thought that it was just a random thing that you became friends? Inconceivable.

She is also part of an even smaller group of those friends that I have had the chance to meet in person. And she was even better live than online. Most of the people I have met have been. With just a few exceptions and one doesn't really count as an exception because I wasn't terribly fond of them online and meeting them in person just firmed that opinion up...

ANYWAY...she was great in person as well. She is one of those people that is strictly no bullshit. When she wasn't using her picture as an avatar people assumed she was a young man. She was that blunt. I loved it. Smart, sarcastic, funny, she was my kind of people. And she is also extremely loving and caring. A great friend. In fact when my dad died I had this thought when I got home from the funeral that all I really wanted to do was go see her. That somehow she would be able to make me feel better. Or maybe prevent me from wallowing. Tough love. I just wanted her. Online had to do. But she was still there for me.

Until she wasn't there anymore.

See the reason I haven't heard from her in years is because...


It's obviously...

I have no idea. Her reasons were her own and she didn't share them with me. On confident days I assume that she just pulled back from everyone and decided to retreat to the "real world" as people often do. On self hating days I am positive that I said or did something that was insensitive or idiotic (as is my way) and she just couldn't even with me anymore.

But I don't know. And I don't get to know. That's the way life goes sometimes.

But now I do know that leaving her on my friend list was the right call because now I know that she is still around. Still reading things. Still seeing what she chooses to look at. And I am hopeful that what she saw today was an old friend who still loves her dearly. And I know she is still out there. Like a ghost in the machine...

Doing the mental math...

I added another layer to my workouts last week. The mental component.

 Here was Monday's inner dialog:

"Since my shoulder is hurt I will not be in the free weight section just the machines and I will be upstairs after that on the cardio machines. So I should be fine working out at my normal time and normal gym."


"Drop Brent off at the airport and have my workout done by 6:30, should be in and out before there would be an issue."


"I can either go in late morning or early afternoon. Or I can skip it and just dance while I clean house since I'm still not going to be able to lift."

Why all of this adjustment in my head? Because there is a guy at the gym who has crossed in to my "possible creep" zone from the "friendly person" zone. Now he's probably still just a friendly person who has some personal space issues. But I don't know for sure. All I know is that my years of training have put me on edge when he is around.

What years of training you ask?

Well some of you ask. The rest of you know. My years of training of being a woman navigating the world.

See we all do it all the time. We watch where we park. We watch where we walk. We pay attention to how people talk to us. Where they look as well as what they say. We learn early to pay attention to that voice in the back of our heads that helps decide if we get in the elevator with you or we don't. If we can leave our drink with you when we go to the bathroom or if we don't. These are things we do. 

This guy? He is probably fine. Maybe. But maybe not.

I work out 5 days a week. A lot of people do the same. You become what I call nodding acquaintances with the people at the gym and then some people want to socialize as well. I don't encourage that. I am not ever going to enjoy going to the gym. I'm just not. I do it because of health reasons. I do it because if I am always going to be this size and always going to weigh the same I might as well have cool muscles while I do it. I do it because I love cake like a.... well like a Denise loves cake. (There is no other comparison that works, except maybe like a Denise loves cookies) I am never going to be one of those people that thinks of food as nothing but fuel. I love good food. It makes me happy. Like hum a little song and do a little chair dance happy. The gym is work so I can enjoy that. So I don't want to socialize at the gym. I want to do my work and get the heck out of there. 

But some people like to socialize. And as I was raised not to be rude I am polite to them. 

So when a guy who works out at the same time I do said "Hey we match!" I smiled and said, "On Monday's we wear purple." Not many guys are going to get this joke but still it needed to be made. And I didn't think much of it. Much. It was odd enough that I told Brent about it and he said, "He's totally flirting with you." Which I said was nonsense. One it's a lame way to flirt and two I look a hot mess at the gym so not really flirt ready. 

Then a week or so later on a Friday as I was struggling through my last set he walked by as he was putting his weights away. We chatted briefly about being glad it was Friday and how everyone seemed to be struggling that day and ready to stop working out. 

The next week he introduced himself. Okay fine.

Later that week as he walked past me and I didn't see him he reached out and squeezed my shoulder.


Okay, so I'm a very touchy feely person. Everyone who knows me knows I will pat your arm, touch your leg, rub your shoulder, but this is still a stranger I've said maybe 25 words to. And he squeezed my shoulder instead of just saying hi.

Then the last alarm. I was sitting in my car finishing my coffee when someone knocked on my windshield. I startled, looked up and there he was waving at me. 

So now he knows what car I drive.

This is the mental math women make. Is he just a super friendly guy? Or is he a potential issue? I know how much weight he can lift and it's more than I can so I know he's stronger than me, I know he knows what kind of car that I drive, I know he knows my name, I know he knows what time I usually work out. What I don't know is if he is okay or not okay.

So I will adjust my life for awhile to make sure I avoid him. Because though he might be perfectly fine. He might not. And I don't know. But my creep meter has been pinged and I would be stupid not to listen to that alarm bell.

And now the segue....

So this is why I shake my head when people want to talk about poor defenseless women in the bathroom with these creepy men. (Remember they want you to understand it's not about transgender people, it's about the creeps who will PRETEND to be transgender because they were somehow worried about breaking some sort of bathroom taboo on their way to break an actual law but now they are free to molest or rape at will) Women have been on guard in public restrooms for as long as they have been aware of the world. We are on guard in all small spaces. Or large ones. Or medium size ones. We walk to our cars with eyes scanning constantly. It used to be with keys clutched like Wolverine claws but now nobody has keys so we walk a little faster.  It's the reason why you have gun advocates saying women should walk through parking garages with their hand in their purse on their concealed carry weapon. Being a woman means we are on guard. It means we pay attention to things men don't. Who is parked next to us? Is that guy following us or just walking in the same direction? Was that an accidental bump on the Max or did that dude just touch my ass on purpose? We learn where to hit you so the strength disadvantage is nullified. We learn to listen to that inner voice.

You want to make the world a safer place? Great. Get on it. But it's a much bigger problem than the make believe one you are focusing on right now. 

Until that point women will continue to listen to their inner voices, watch for potential warning signals, park under street lamps, watch who is walking near us, go over the soft areas (arch of the foot, side of the knee, balls, throat, eyes, backwards head butt) and you continue to think of us as helpless and child like (yeah, don't get me started on the number of times my relationship to my child has been compared to Brent's relationship with me during this whole bathroom debate). Women have to be aware of potential dangers because for some reason unless it's wearing a dress the world isn't taking much notice.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

And the years go by....(National Poetry Month #30)

First glance
Shy smile
Flirtatious wink
Casual contact
Hands held
First kiss
Hand on the back of the neck
Shiver down the spine
Tentative explorations
Learning the language
Passionate embrace
Heart racing
Breath caught in your throat
Mouth gone dry
Then wet
Shivers leading to shudders
Heart pounding
Deep breathing
Legs shaking
Fingers tracing
Deep sighs
Contented happiness
Shorthand language
Hand holding
Knowing smiles
Deep contact
Hearts beating together
Last looks

Friday, April 29, 2016

Found Poem...(National Poetry Month #29)

Today's poem was a total experiment in a new form. Found poetry.

It's where you take a printed page and find a poem in the words.

I liked the idea and wanted to give it a try sometime this month. And well, since we are almost out of month I decided today would be the day.

Well then came the other challenge. What printed page? And I got the brilliant (HA!) idea of using Donald Trump's recent foreign policy speech. I mean, come on, that would be outstanding!

Except it was really hard. He repeats words. A lot. He leaves out common usage words that make things flow. And it was on foreign policy so it wasn't all too poetic to start with. But being stubborn I soldiered on. Soldiered...through the foreign policy...ha!

Then came another challenge. In a lot of found poetry people draw these great pictures or doodles around the words. Well, I am not artistic in that way. So how do I get them to stand out? I came up with something that works, I think. But that led to the next challenge.

How do I post it on this blog?

I settled for a scan of the original document and we will now see if I can get that to paste in here...

If you click the picture it will get a little larger. I also translated it here for you:

Speak to the randomness
chaos and visions
the timeless theme.
Then we heed history;
after a time.
Less foolishness and arrogance
After mistakes.
Grow the idea.
Experience surprise.
Lives complete.
Vision. Purpose. Direction.

Not so great of a poem, but a really great challenge. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Quick! (National Poetry Month #28)

Oh Fuck (I shouldn't curse)
But I forgot to write my verse
It's 4 O'clock where to begin?
To skip a day would be a sin.
I was so focused on the sonnet
Just like a bee inside my bonnet
That when I scratched that impossible itch
I forgot three more days were in this bitch
But under the wire I will perform
Just like a rhyme tornado, a perfect storm.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sonnet for my Father...(National Poetry Month #27)

Don't ever confuse my meekness for mild.
Or think when I am quiet you have won.
For I will always be my father's child.
The youngest of his daughters and his sons.

I was much smaller than the rest of them
But my father never changed his firm stance
Determination, not size, brings the win.
What is your plan? You can't leave it to chance.

When he imagined a thing, he made it.
Clever hands bringing forth an invention.
Solving a problem, not throwing a fit,
See the issue, you must pay attention.

So now when the world is lost in its rage,
I pause. Stop. Then I put words on this page.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Small bites....(National Poetry Month #26)

I thought
 I would be a chapter
 in the story of your life;
 turns out I was just a bookmark. 


Why are all the books about romance
And all of the poems about heartbreak?

We all think we want that story
But we've all written that poem.


She looked in to his eyes
And saw herself
Reflected in his love
And she was beautiful