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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Snapchat Hypocrite

A few months ago you may recall a piece I wrote titled, “Obligatory Selfie” where I poked fun at people taking selfies as a part of an everyday mundane practice that has currently become socially acceptable.

I recant this piece.  Although I compare the obligatory selfie to yoga pants being accepted as full fledged pants, I have seen the worthiness of an appropriately timed selfie.

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Steven Tyler eat your heart out!

Sure, at first I was smug.  Why would a 36-ish something like myself want to have a phone full of pictures of myself?  Who would want them?

Then came an evening spent with my in-laws and niece.  When my sister-in-law and husband stepped outside for a moment, my niece came back into the room with a blanket, we snuggled up together on a bench and she showed me this “new” thing called “Snapchat”.  She snapped a picture and showed me how you can transform yourself into a dog.  Once finding out she and my other nieces were using this app, I immediately signed up to stay in touch with them.

On the way home I was researching how to work snapchat, how to use filters and how in general to “Snapchat”.  Do I take 5 seconds in public by myself to pucker my lips and pose for the camera?  No.  However I do wait till’ I’m on lunch break at work or at home and snap a few selfies to catch up with my nieces, cousins, sister-in-laws and friends.  Only once has anyone been in the break room with me when this was going on, but he was completely aware of what was happening.  I didn’t leave my behaviors an unknown mystery to him like our customers have done in the past.

There is no joy greater than being able to send the ugliest selfie possible to those you love to receive one equally as horrible back.  In fact, there was a fun competition my niece and I had one night.  If you are ever down or feeling blue, this is the best thing ever.  Try to make the goofiest face possible and just hit send.  It is the greatest feeling not caring what you look like because the worse, the better.

Here is an example of one I sent, it’s like Steve Martin meets Frankenstein’s monster.

 

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Or the selfie aptly titled, “I woke up like this…”

 

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However, you want your family and friends to remember you in a good light.  Not to get too dark but one of my worst fears is something bad will happen and they will have to submit a photo to the news for a story. Ensuring it won’t be driver’s license photo, or worse an outdated glamour shot you occasionally have to send them one of you as a butterfly queen. This way the recipients remember you are a real person and won’t be shocked (or disappointed) you don’t have 3 mouths in your face the next time they see you.

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What is your favorite “Snapchat” lens or filter?  Why do you gravitate toward that one?

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?

 

 

You’re not Peggy

At work I bumped into an old friend of mine. We were formerly co-workers in the paint department at Sears in my early years of college. We would spend days, hours in the summertime waiting for someone to purchase something, anything from us. In between being bored we would paint the paint shakers, we would paint examples of faux finishes and we would talk about the most random of things. She even kindly laughed at my dumb jokes with a pained look in her eye, but laughed anyway out of politeness. We got to know each other well enough that we became roommates for a little over a year. We would host parties (well she would). We would do late night runs to Wal-mart together while we were stalked by “security” in the toy aisle. Eventually she would introduce me to many movies I needed to know, one of them being The Breakfast Club.

      Judging from everything you have just read dear readers, you’ve probably come to understand Peggy’s face would be one that is hard to forget for this Quirky Girl. As we were talking in the aspirin aisle, I saw the same familiar smile, the same warm laughter and everything picked up as if we had stayed in touch. We talked for a bit about our adventures in education, but I had to get back to stocking the aisles and she had to get back to her new roommate and their shenanigans. She left smiling saying we will catch up again.

  

  
     A few days later I was surprised to see her so soon. This time she had a new roommate; or girlfriend. At first I thought this was the news she wanted to catch up on. The store was getting full but Peggy hadn’t yet noticed me. My register was open and I was desperately trying to get her attention to save her time by ringing her out. I shouted, “I can help the next person here!” Hoping she and her new girlfriend would turn around. Nobody was taking my offer. So I saw her walking with this new girl toward the crowded front register, I said, “Peggy!?” Peggy and the woman turned around. Peggy had the same, friendly, pained expression on her face, just like we did when we lived together and I said something really ridiculous. She stood frozen, with one foot forward waiting for me to say something else. I reiterated I could get them at another register, and I said again, “Peggy?”  

      “Nooo…”, she said with an uncomfortable grin.

    In my head I’m thinking someone kidnapped Peggy, there must have been an invasion of body snatchers that new her dialect, syntax and facial expressions. They even knew how she stood when she was surprised. Since this is not possible, I had to come to terms that this wasn’t Peggy.

     Instead of another pleasant conversation with an old friend, this one quickly dissolved into awkward bumbling and me trying to explain to a couple that I mistook one of them for my college roommate.

     Peggy, if you’ve just read this, I hope you’re laughing.

     When have you mistaken someone for an old friend? How did it play out? Did they understand or think you were weird?

    

Emojis & Millenials

The other day one of my best friends sent a group text letting us know her phone was back up and working.  Naturally I was elated, my knee jerk reaction was to text back all caps and multiple exclamation marks celebrating her return to the technology world.  The only problem is, I too just got a new phone, and am not as adept with technology.

I clicked on her message, typed in “YAAAAAAAY!!!” and hesitated to send.  I realized, it was probably best to stop there and not get too personal seeing as I might accidentally send this to all of her friends.  So I followed it with this Emoji…

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At least that is what I thought I did.  Apparently on my new phone there are several kissing emojis.  What I thought was an innocent emoticon doing a “cheek kiss” behavior wound up being something completely different.

Over the next couple of minutes I received messages saying, “Who is this?”  This only confirmed I made the right decision in not making the text too personal. 

Then today I received a text saying, “I see I got a kiss, whose number is this?”

Crap. 

Now not only had I pushed the wrong “kissy” emoji to my friend, now one of her friends was accidentally catfished by my emoji and the false intention set out by it’s puckered lips.

What do you do next in this situation?  Do you let it lie and let the person on the other end wonder forever who sent  them a “lovely” text?  Do you text back and potentially break their heart? 

I did what I would want in that situation and told the truth.  I told them they were  a victim of a Gen-Xer trying to keep up with Millenials in the best way she knew how but failed to check the emoji dictionary.  Well; in fewer words I told this person that. 

They thankfully texted back with an, “Oh, Ok” followed by an LOL.  That is one of the many things I love about Millenials, they are so understanding of us old folks.  Even if we’re only older by a few years.

What flare ups have you had with technology and communication?  What technology still eludes you?😚

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Let’s put a pin in it…

As I’ve come to look back and analyze my life in a series of vignettes, I realize there might be some valuable information in these stories for future generations. Some might even label them modern day parables. (O.K. maybe I’m just calling them that.)

Regardless of what you want to call it I’ve been called out by a fellow blogger for ruminating on the past. I see it less like that and more like I’m doing the world a favor by offering young people a warning.

When you begin to navigate the waters of dating, please don’t start out like I did. I didn’t start with a bang, but rather a silent acknowledgement of mutual like, followed by a concerned talk with parents needing clarification of modern “dating” lingo, only to end in agony two days later. The agony was very real, and not in a lovelorn way, but in a rather small, but violent way.

A bit of back story…

It was 1991, living in small town America there had been growing concerns of the Gulf War and how it would affect the future of not just our nation but the world. Operation Desert Storm ended quickly in February with a surplus of American flag pins. Everyone had one in their pocket, or in my case, in the pencil holder of my desk.

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By the end of March my childhood concerns of recycling, rainforest deforestation, pollution and war were quickly dashed by surging teenage hormones. A new boy had come to town, and lucky me the new seating arrangement in class forced him to sit within reaching distance to my right.

As you can imagine, as some of you have seen my 7th grade picture, my self-esteem was not very high. 6th grade wasn’t much better. This was the year of V-cut bangs, which when tackled with a hot iron looked like a neatly curled tumbleweed resting on top of your head.

All of the girls in class reminded me of how lucky I was to be sitting next to the new boy. All I remember is sitting there nervously in a shirt that I thought looked Hawaiian and cultured, but really it was just covered in red and purple fruit.

One sunny recess, as I was playing tetherball a classmate walked up with a note in hand exclaiming, “Special delivery!” The note appeared to be a hand scrawled voting ballot. It read, “Will you go out with me?” with specially drawn boxes for checking yes or no. I was nervous and not old enough to vote, but this process was much easier leaving little room for rigging.

We had library after recess, again the girls in class reminded me of my good fortune. One girl even walked up whispering with elation, “Go for the gold!” When we got back to class, I don’t remember what I did after happily marking the box yes and passing the note back to him. All I remember was when the bell rang at the end of the day on Friday I had my first boyfriend. Next came the hard part.

When I got home I had to tell my parents. I told them I was “going out” with a boy. Their alarm and concern immediately made me wonder what was wrong. They sat me down and asked me to define “going out”. I explained innocently it is when a boy and girl decide they want to stand next to each other in line at the water fountain, talk during recess, maybe sit on the swings near each other and possibly hold hands in line. Honestly I wasn’t sure, I was going by what other classmates told me what “going out” was. An immediate sign of relief was displayed on my parents faces, they returned back to being happy and at dinner time dad made sure to tease me about having a boyfriend.

By Saturday night, the pressure was too much. I couldn’t handle the rigors of having a boyfriend at 11 years old. I was too young and had a whole life ahead of me, I didn’t want the responsibility of being tied down. What if I wanted to work for Green Peace? What if I went to Africa to help other starving 11 year olds? What if I went sailing with Jacques Cousteau to save the whales? I didn’t expect him to sit at home waiting for me to come back with tales of the world. Sunday night I settled into bed with the mindset of conclusion and finality in this relationship.

After the first recess on Monday it was done. We had officially broken up.

This sounds pretty cut and dry doesn’t it? It wasn’t. Apparently a few days after we broke up he already had a new girlfriend. Not only was she new, but she was also very pretty. Something ugly began surging in my body. Suddenly I didn’t feel like I was the special “chosen” one, but very vengeful and jealous. Like maybe our whole weekend of “going out” (which was me sitting in my parents house by myself thinking) didn’t mean anything to him.

When the teacher had to excuse herself from the classroom, I decided to make a move. It was a move of revenge, not just for me, but to do something for all of the wronged vengeful American women and teen-agers. I looked no further than my pencil holder and found my American flag pin.

Back in the 40’s there were Archie comics where they talked about wearing someone’s pin. If a gal decided to wear a fellow’s pin, then they were dating. I had a very different interpretation on “pinning”.

While the teacher was out I waited for my former boyfriend to get up out of his seat. He of course got up to do something mischievous as the teacher was out of the room. Before he sat down I jokingly placed the pin in his chair where he would see it. Which he quickly handed it back to me smiling as the class watched. Just as he was in mid-air about to sit on his chair I thrust the pin where I knew his rear-end would make contact with it.

Bear in mind, I watched a lot of cartoons. Not only did I think this sophomoric stunt would be funny, but I thought even through my weird jealousy which I wasn’t old enough to understand, he would find it funny too.

As he shot up out of his chair, the teacher entered the room to find him bent over, stumbling to her desk while he was fondling his backside trying to find what became stuck through his blue jeans. He was in so much pain he couldn’t really make a sound but the entire time his mouth was open. The class was stunned and immediately I felt guilty when a classmate ratted me out.

However, the former boyfriend didn’t say a word. He was being the better person in all of this. I never got in trouble from the teacher, something tells me maybe she had enough of the mischievousness too.

The important lesson in this modern day parable is this; when you think someone is doing you wrong, never “stick” it to them. Happiness and self-worth is an inside job, don’t allow someone else be in control of yours. Follow your own bliss, don’t feel guilty about it and never wait 24 years to passively aggressively tell someone you’re sorry for your patriotic weirdness you inflicted upon them.

What silly guilt have you carried for a long time? Have you worked up the nerve to tell them you’re sorry?

Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Every once in a while life hands you what seems like an eerily calm moment. When the life you know has been in a constant state of change for the last 16 years, you don’t know how to handle or deal with slow moments. You are just sitting there like a tumbleweed without wind. Instead of rolling into the plains you are in silence surrounded by other tumbleweeds. You are praying for a cloud burst, a whirlwind, a tornado, anything. Sometimes, if you are lucky, a few tumbleweeds will come rolling your way and bump into you, with a gentle nudge in the right direction.

 

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I am in the plains again, thanks to fellow tumbleweeds.

Last week was my last at my job. I worked in a fun, noisy kitchen with many lovely people. Some rolled out as quick as they came and then there were a few who stuck around eventually guiding me on this journey.

There were subtle hints along the way. Some would say, “What happened to your blog? You should write more” while they gently sliced vegetables for a soup. Through the gentle nudge the writing started to flow. The stories started coming into the folds of my brain like a welcomed downpour of rain seeps into the cracks of a dried up creek. When the writing happened, something magical took place. It was as if I could see from a new perspective and laugh again at the idiosyncrasies of life and appreciate it at the same time.

The tumbleweeds jumped and hopped, speaking in unison, reading my writings and encouraging me to do more.

I questioned whether or not to go to school with other aimless tumbleweeds. Again encouragement came in unison from the work tumbleweeds. Everyone scheduled time around me to continue to work with them while pursuing a dream. Their kindness was insurmountable. I went to school with the other tumbleweeds and discovered other ways of writing, other ways of being.

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This is how I roll…at school.

I came back to the work tumbleweeds in the midst of a rush with ideas flowing through my mind showing them what their encouragement has done. They in turn shared with me their passions, their dreams, allowing me to have a taste.

Other tumbleweeds started rolling into the kitchen. They too were encouraging and inspiring. Before I could even begin to repay or thank my work tumbleweeds for everything they have done by gently nudging me as they rolled in, a wind came through. We all started bustling and swirling around in the kitchen and suddenly I was plucked from the workplace by a cyclone.

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As I looked to the ground as I was whirling up toward the sky, all I could do was wave and say goodbye. In those brief moments I thought about everything they had said and done for me. How they had guided me to this place, kept me safe and helped me to be the best I could be in any situation.

Soon I was at the top of the cyclone, being tossed around like popcorn in a kettle. I panicked. My tumbleweed friends shouted up saying, “Everything is going to be alright. You will do well!” A calmness came over me and just like that, I was spit out through the anvil of the cloud, hurling back to earth landing in a soft bed of grass. I looked back at my friends, they were still together, waving, shouting encouragement as I continued to roll.

I shouted back words of love, gratitude and thanks as I continued to roll through the pasture.

One day we will meet again, thanks to the wind.

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Thank you to all of my co-workers for everything you have done. Thank you for your efforts in re-arranging your lives and schedules around me, and encouraging me to follow my passion and share it with the world. You all have a special place in my heart, and know if there is anything I can do for you I will. One day a wind will pick me up, and gently deposit me on a seat in front of our old cafe, this time as a customer and friend.

What  job have you had a bittersweet parting with?  Do you still keep in touch with friends and co-workers from your old job?

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