An Open Letter to Ronda Rousey


Dear Ronda,

First and foremost, I want to say I’m a huge fan.  You have singlehandedly put women on the sports map for MMA.  However, from recent articles it seems you are in need of a pep talk from a female friend.  Let me be that friend.

There was an article published online where you told your mother your new mantra was “FTA”.  (For frequent readers of this blog who might be under 18, we will just say that stands for “Forget Them All”).  I agree with your mom.  You don’t need to use this mantra. 

Look, I know you are dealing with a lot on your shoulders with your upcoming fight against, “what’s-her-face”.  You are angry from your loss in November of 2015.  You are angry because people tried to put you down or tried to steal your shine.  Let me put things in perspective for you for what it’s worth.

Nobody will really know the name of the person you fought 15 years from now.  Heck, I don’t even remember her name now and would have to google it.  Look at what happened after that loss; you fulfilled one of my long time dreams of being on Saturday Night Live.  Note who they asked…YOU.  Not the other gal.  You.

You performed a skit in which you stood against bullies.  You know what it is like to be bullied, and I don’t see anyone else performing that skit better than you.  That skit was so funny, I showed it to the kids I help teach.  

After your loss you admitted to depression and facing a lot of dark areas.  You opened up a lot of minds with that statement.  You could have kept it secret, but instead you let it out there into a world where there is still a stigma attached to it.  You helped others to see it is okay to be dealing with stuff in a dark way, which is completely normal even though society tells us it isn’t.

You say your new mantra is for your nieces, family and fans who haven’t given up on you.  Ronda, I haven’t given up on you.  I will say this though; if you hadn’t had the backlash from “haters”, would you have had the anger to fuel you for this next bout?  By saying, “FTA” to te opposition, you are only proving them right.  You are proving hate is a way of life.  You are feeding into what the other teams want; which is you getting angry enough that you sabotage yourself.  They are betting on the false hope that your anger will open up any weaknesses they can exploit.  Don’t let them do this.

In a strange way, anger can get you through some tough times (trust me, I’ve had some).  Be thankful for the anger, but don’t let that anger dull anything that makes you happy.  Don’t let the anger get in the way of your passion for the sport.  Ultimately this is why you are still in.  Not just any woman would voluntarily train as hard as you do to get a few licks to the face.  You obviously are putting yourself at risk because there is something you love about the sport.  

Prove the others wrong.  You aren’t fueled just by anger.  You are also fueled by love.  Love for the sport, love for your family, love for your friends and your loyal fans.  Never give up, never give in.

Merry Christmas and Sincerely yours,

Quirky Girl

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Worst Fear: Things my cat ate

Everyone has their worst fears.  I have several. If you went through our pantry you might find a lack of carb related foods.  This is because my cat ate them all. Before we talk about how she likes to carb load before a healthy run around the house after a successful bowel movement (who wouldn’t?) let’s talk about some enviable attributes.

First off, she has guts.  This isn’t referencing her literal tater tot filled innards.  She takes and asks forgiveness later.  Often times I’m too careful and have a tendency to wait and see if things pan out.  My cat’s approach is something like this, “Life is short, learn how to open Tupperware” or “Spare their meat and steal the bun.”

As a kitten I swore she was part raccoon, she was always attracted to shiny things and I would wake up to find my jewelry I was too lazy to put up the night before, hidden.  She was a literal cat burglar. Since then, she has grown up some, and has progressed from shiny things to Bobby pins.  She would rush to find them (even if they were out of sight) and point at them like an Irish Setter who has found a hunter’s duck.

The weirdest thing though, is her love of carbs.  Almost everyone has seen the viral video of cat’s afraid of cucumbers.  She has no fear of cucumbers.  She will however, chase a potato.  After realizing one had fallen out of the bag in the pantry we heard a noise and suddenly we see her wrestling the spud, kicking it with her hind legs and biting it.  We experimented and rolled one down the hallway, she barreled after it, attacked it and sat on it as if she were in a match for the ages.  

She is a master manipulator.  Several times, she has crawled into mine or my husband’s lap only to feign affection to peep her head between our hands and take bites of our cereal…or take the bread from our sandwiches.  She waits until we aren’t looking before she hops up on the counter to eat our left over tater tots.  She’s usually very quiet, and often times she takes more than she can fit and takes off running licking her chops.   

Here is why I’m jealous.  She already knows she will be forgiven, so she takes the momentary “shooing” for a moment of palatable starchy goodness.  She is spontaneous.  I like to make plans weeks in advance.  She sees opportunities and takes them.  She sees an opportunity for a piggy back ride and she takes it.  It doesn’t matter if you’re naked and fresh out of the shower, sitting on the toilet or at the computer.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve missed opportunities and I wish I had the eyes to see them.  She does not lack in this area.  If it isn’t apparent from the drawing, she lives a full life, literally and metaphorically.

What is your worst fear involving your pet?  Do you envy them?

Caucasian woman voting

Last Tuesday was voting day in the United States for most people.  Though it wasn’t the president we were voting for, we were electing state officials which is equally as important.

Bear in mind, I do not affiliate with any particular political party.  I do not feel an American can be defined as a whole by the ideals of one party.  We all tend to lean one way or another and share some beliefs as our counterparts on the opposite end of the spectrum.  It would be unfair to say we are definitely ANYTHING.  You could say I’m a fence sitter, the voter candidates want on their side.  It doesn’t mean I’m special, or think people should fight over me for my opinion.  If a candidate gets my vote, it is an earnestly thought out decision.  Many people fought for the right to vote so people like me could, and it isn’t something I take lightly.

When Tuesday rolled around, I made sure to get ready early for work and vote on the way there. Dressed in my work uniform, equipped with my name tag, I pulled up to the school where we vote.  The school is lodged between two large pieces of farm land and sits across from a gas station.  It’s right in the middle of a burgeoning district where a lot of voters my age are parents and raising families.  We also have the older crowd who are either grandparents, or they are in the age where their children are already moved out of the house.  We are the generations starting to make this place a city, a place to be, a place to live.  As I strolled up the sidewalk, there was a small gathering of middle-aged people in sunglasses.  Fifteen years ago this was a different story.  Fifteen years ago I was 21 and inundated by a gauntlet of volunteers; people my parents age, to vote for fluoride use in the water systems, or not.  I had a handful of flyers and talked to 5 different people by the time I reached the voting booth.  This time I was surprised.


It was close to 100 degrees out.  Everyone seemed to huddle in the sun near their campaign posters.  As I got closer I flashed a huge smile to the man with a pot belly in his 50’s wearing a straw hat and police issue glasses.  He kind of smiled back.  Finally I said, “How ya’ doin’ today?” He exchanged a mundane platitude and a comment about the heat.  Just past him was a woman who just looked at me, had a slight smile on her face, not saying anything to me. To her side was another male in his late 60’s shooting the breeze with someone close to his age.  The woman still didn’t acknowledge me.  They all stayed close to their signs like lizards wearing shades under a heat lamp, not speaking a word to me.

Once inside the school library where the voting took place, it was a different story.  Air conditioning may have greeted my skin but the poll volunteers there (who are to be impartial) greeted me with warmth.  They were glad to see the turn out they had.  We talked about education and teased about penmanship.  It was a contrast to the “heir” outside.  Their smiles made me want to stay and talk to them longer and have an intelligent conversation about topics that ACTUALLY matter.

After filling in the little bubbles next to soon-to-be-important names,  I turned in my voter ballot.  It was anti-climactic.


I wanted to celebrate for those who couldn’t vote in the past, for my great grandmothers, my great aunts, those family members who wrote in newspapers trying to get the word out that our voice, though it may feel as though you are one, lone, female voice, it still matters.  I wanted to celebrate that I wasn’t taken away in handcuffs like Susan B. Anthony for being a voting female, or that I was allowed to vote even though my ancestry isn’t 100% white.

Yes, that is Susan B. Anthony being beaten and pummeled for standing up for her right and women’s rights.

Confetti didn’t rain from the ceiling, the pollsters didn’t start a slow-clap erupting into applause. It was silent. Silence followed by the whir of the machine sucking in my ballot like a spaghetti noodle and two elderly people trying to remember what they were going to do next.

With my hand on the metal bar of the door, I was already regretting the feel of the heat on my face, but even more so, I wasn’t looking forward to the secret cold judgement of the political volunteers that stood on the other side of the sidewalk.  To my surprise, when I opened the door and moseyed down the sidewalk, a man was approaching the school the same manner. Idid.

The man was in his mid 40’s, Caucasian, wearing a plaid collared dress shirt, nice dress slacks, a black leather belt and scuff free shoes.  The volunteers moved toward him and started to bring him into their huddle. They did all but break out the ticker tape parade. The man had to greet, greeted this guy with open arms, a smile and a polite exchange. The woman said a sentence to him. The other man who couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to a potential voter when I came in,  greeted this guy with a huge hello, open arms and a pen.

I went back to my car, got in, and while waiting for the heat to dissipate I looked out wondering, “Where’s my pen?”

Have you experienced anything like this at the voting booth?  Was it due to age, gender or race?



 

Marriage and friendships

One day, my husband and I before we were married, were on a date in the park.  We were sitting on the jungle gym when suddenly he noticed I was paying attention to our direct right.  There was a group of young teenage boys talking about Batman and arguing over why he was the best or worst and what super powers other heroes had that could beat him.

My husband curiously asked, “What are you thinking about?”

I replied, “I’m just wondering if the friendships we form earlier in life, are the relationships that prepare us for marriage later in life.”

“That is a lot deeper than what I was expecting…”

On that note, it is something I’ve continued to ponder the almost 4 years we’ve been together and married.  Often times I think back to my best friends who I met in high school and how they helped form and shape my ideas.  What is cool, what isn’t cool, and why it is okay to not agree with them.  Whether we realize it or not, often times it is those we associate with early in life that help form our personality.  Often times I was the weirdo in our group of friends and everyone was okay with that.  They knew better than to expect normalcy and complacency out of me.  They helped me realize how a person should be respected.  Which is why it puzzled them when I would date someone who didn’t, even later in life.

These friends are the ones you introduce to your college comrades.  If they click, you know you’ve got a keeper for a new friend.  They ultimately share the same values.

When my husband and I got married, we were originally introduced by a mutual best friend.  We knew if we were in line with this person and her values the other must be pretty cool too.  Needless to say the first date was a success and three months later we were married.

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None of my friends from high school had met him yet, (except for one who invited us to her church), none of my extended family had met him, just our best friend from St. Louis and a few of my old co-workers he knew from checking out at our store.  We had been married for quite some time when one of my college friends announced she was getting married.  This meant another best friend and her husband coming to town for the wedding since she was going to be a bridesmaid.

She and her husband were the second set of friends to meet him. We had gone to the wedding, exhausted, she, her husband and I decided to go get coffee.  My husband was going to be off work in a few minutes so I texted him where to meet us.  She then pointed out, they had never met him.  when you’re married for a while and a lothappens, you tend to lose track of who has met whom, especially when keeping up through facebook or text. That is when I realized none of my close friends outside of my St. Louis friend had known who he was either.  When he arrived, he surprised me sneaking up behind me.  They laughed, we all talked and had a great time.  After he left, she said, “I really like him.”  I knew she and her husband would, after all, they helped shape my idea of what an ideal partner should be like.

     Do you think friendships help shape our ideals of marriage?  Why or why not?

 

 

Witty Commentary vs. Kindergarten Tactics 

Some of the kids I work with are still learning social skills and appropriate ways to frame a question. One student in particular will just look at the teacher I work with or myself and just say one word and expect us to know the rest of what she is thinking.
  The other day as we were covering the year 1929 in History class she looked at me and said, “Great Depression?” I’m trying to break her of this habit so I use a bit of humor when trying to do so.

 I looked at her across the study table and said, “I have been a little down, thank you for noticing…”

 She looked at me, rolled her eyes, quietly smiled and reframed her question.

 Later we were learning about the Dust Bowl and the effect it had on the economy. Another student asked me a question which I replied also with what I believed to be witty commentary pertaining to the subject. She too rolled her eyes.  

 Because the students have had enough of my historical observations they have all come to give me the same look my mother gives me when she has had enough silliness. So they have started retaliating.

  
 They retaliate in the way they best know how, pithy jabs at my appearance. A couple of weeks ago I needed to get my bangs trimmed. This is a task I took on myself. Usually when I do so only hairstylists tend to notice the imperfection in the cut. As soon as the teacher I work with and I greeted the students in the morning for school, one student blurted out, “OH MY GOD! THOSE BANGS!” She really didn’t need to comment, she already said everything with her face before her exclamatory outburst. Rest assured I had a comeback.

 “Since my hands are usually full I can’t wave to people, so I cut my bangs to do the waving for me.” A collective eye roll happened from a few students this time.

 Later in the day we were covering Norse Mythology for our English lesson. The teacher and I started bantering back and forth when the students and I suggested “Thors-day” we should do something. Then I quickly quipped, “But we have to keep it on the ‘Loki’ (low-key)”.

 “OH MY GOD! THATS HOW WE KNOW SHE’S A NERD!” yelled the normally quiet student in the back.

  
 Another time the students collectively started to egg the teacher on about how they deserved a treat for being so good and earning good grades for the week. He looked at me and said, “I think they might deserves something for that, don’t you?”

 “Yes, they do…”

 I started a slow clap.

 The entire class turned their eyes toward me. One girl sitting next to my desk defiantly shouted, “NOOOOOOOOO! NO. NOOOO.” Little did I know I was about to get my comeuppance from her.

 This same student was standing behind me in line as we were leaving from choir. I felt something on my elbow followed by the student saying, “You have old lady elbows.” I quickly jerked my arm away.

 “Leave my old lady elbows alone!”

 “But they’re so wrinkly!” she said with a giggle.

 This time I had nothing to retaliate with.  

 Earlier in the year the student I first mentioned who only asks one worded questions was working on a different history project. She was a brand new student in the class and as we were all talking somehow one of the boys made a comment on how I used to be a kick-boxer and boxer. As I was leaned over helping her with her work she poked my arm and said, “Then how come your arms are so squishy?” I think this might have been when it all started with my commentary.  

 As I’m writing this an epiphany occurred. We are stuck in a vicious cycle of eye-rolls and Kindergarten tactics. Kindergarten tactics beget historical and literary one-liner jokes and puns. One-liner jokes and puns beget eye-rolls and Kindergarten tactics. Honestly though, it is a cycle I prefer to be stuck in and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

What cycles have you been stuck in? Did you ever want out?

Destination Meditation

Usually at night before going to bed I will do a guided visualization meditation. It’s pretty easy to try, for some people it keeps them up, some it provides relaxation. For me it usually provides ease of tension in muscles and gives me ideas for blogs and art, and hope for the future.
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However…

The other night I was doing a meditation on youtube through the Ayelet channel. She does a guided visualization of you looking in the mirror at yourself and visualizing 1 and then 5 years from now. It gives you a clear sense of who you are and where you want to be as a person.

So there I was, envisioning my future successful self as a traveling writer and teacher. Meanwhile my parents’ cat whom we’re babysitting is pawing at me to share the covers.

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Ok, that was only a mild distraction. I then set out in a journey of ten years from the date it was when I did this meditation. I visualized walking down the street an older wiser woman with sage advice, peace in her heart and a sense of joy.

Then in the middle of the guided meditation came the next jarring thought uttered out of Ayelet’s mouth. Imagine your “favorite destination.”

I’ve been concentrating so much on the here and now that I’ve not had time with my husband to find a cool place we both like to go. Back in the day I would have said Blueberry Hill or Pie restaurant in St. Louis. However I no longer reside there. I’ve been to Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and that is about it. Most of those places I went to in college to visit a close friend, therefore it was not a site seeing trip.

Honestly my husband and I dream of going to Italy where we can indulge our former art student selves and drool over the work in the Sistene Chapel or see other famous sites. I dream of traveling and meeting my fellow bloggers with my husband going to exciting places and meeting interesting people.

But when I meditate, I cant get there. I know when meditating its an exercise of being in that moment. In this particular exercise it was being in a moment of the future, but it’s hard to imagine the geographics when you’ve never been  there. I can imagine the feeling of walking into the Sistene Chapel, and the possible smell of the plastered walls, but it is the visual I cant seem to grasp.

Maybe I don’t have a destination because we will soon discover one. As a kid my favorite destinations were under the bushes in my friend’s yard where we would pretend it was a secret hideout even though everyone knew about it. My other favorite destinations have included family members homes, friends’ homes, the clubhouse my parents built in the backyard, and the limestone piles of rocks my friend and I would hike in the winter.

Do I really need a favorite place? I started panicking in my meditative state because I was truly stumped. All of the places I listed are still favorite places, but they are also memories from the past, some have changed, some no longer exist. So what is my new destination of the future? Has it even been created yet?

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I guess the question I pose to you dear readers, is this; do you run into this problem too? Are all your favorite places in the past?

Sure we all have hopes and dreams of visiting some place, but is there a favorite place in the here and now you can guarantee will be there in the future?

15 minutes

When I was younger I wanted to be famous.  Let’s just put that out there.  When you were a kid, you wanted to be famous too, you might as well admit it.  Any kid worth their salt wants to be famous. Even if you wanted to be something with relative anonymity like an inventor, scientist, teacher, you could still be famous for it somehow.

There was also something else I wanted when I was younger.  At the beginning of the school year there’s nothing sweeter than the smell of a fresh notebook before the school season starts.  For me, going down the aisles of our local store shopping for school supplies was always one of my favorite parts of the year.  Everything was new, everything was still fresh, untouched and more importantly, it was the time of year where we were excited because everyone had the same grades.

One afternoon, I was perusing the blank pages of my new 5 subject notebook while sitting on my bedroom floor.  The Mead company had really outdone themselves that year.  Back in the early 90’s we didn’t have the internet, cell phones or access to call a company ran by several ladies and Katharine Hepburn who knew the answers to everything.

“Desk Set cinema poster” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

Instead, Mead came up with the great idea of putting times tables in the back, along with a few other helpful goodies.

One of the helpful things listed on the final page of the notebook; quotes from famous people.  You had the likes of Winston Churchill mingling with Thomas Edison.  You might have had a quote from George Washington Carver or Marie Curry.  As my eyes read the quotes one by one, an alarming one seized my brain.

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Who was this Andy?  Why did he think this?  I knew several “Andys” and none of them had ever thought this or said anything of this nature to me.  They were usually too busy telling jokes or singing songs to other girls on the school bus.  Why was this guy so special he had a quote?  Surely he was a scientist or something and knew something we all didn’t.  I imagined a man sitting there with a giant calculator and a notebook trying to exact the least amount of minutes one would have for fame.

Next thing, my mind flitted to the amount of times I had been mentioned in the local newspaper.  There was that time my third grade class was featured because we all dressed up funny for school spirit week. That was probably about 6 seconds for every person who decided to read the paper that day and glazed over my name.  I knew everyone in class bought a copy so that was exactly 6 seconds times 30 kids and one teacher.  That is 3 minutes and 10 seconds off my fifteen minutes this Andy had guaranteed me.  Then there was the time I won an award in the science fair.

CRAP.

Sure it was great winning an award, but then there goes about another 3 minutes and 10 seconds of my fame, plus the time it took distant relatives to read the article which my family made sure to send them.

Within 5 minutes I had looked at my life like it was a cell phone plan, before there were cellphones.  I wasn’t worried that I wasn’t living, I wasn’t worried about finishing school, falling in love, making the coolest art, or writing the best paper.  As far as my 12 year old self was concerned I didn’t even have time for a bucket list.

I was too scared I had used up my minutes.

Lucky for me, there is more to life than fame.

What as something silly that you were afraid you had limited time on?

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