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

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?

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?

 

 

This is bananas…

This is just a quick thought on my lunch break.

The other day I was filling in as 8th grade history teacher while the teacher I work for/with was testing other students. We were talking about things happening in history “again”. That’s when I quietly sang the first few bars of Brittany Spears’s song, “Oops I did it again.” Not even a smile was cracked. I looked up from the book and said, “You know the song, by Brittany Spears…”

The student in the back asked, “Who’s Brittany Spears?”

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It didn’t quite settle in yet what was happening until l worked my second job the next day. I was working the checkout next to the magazines. The only recognizable faces on the glossy covers were mainly because of students educating me. I recognized Drew Barrymore and Megyn Kelly; and thats about it.

It didn’t hit me until halfway through a Redbook magazine that most publications see my generation as no longer marketable.

I’m officially old, and it feels good.

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I love not being pandered to. No longer do magazines think I can easily be pursuaded into something I dont need. Now the magazines for my generation and older feature color, designs and garden patterns you can do yourself. It seems the main focus for Generation X and early Millenials is self reliance.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still envious of other generations.

The babyboomers.

The babyboomers still have the best music, and their magazines have now changed into those trendy coloring books you see everywhere.

If they don’t like something in a magazine they can become a kid again and make the colors up as they go!

What have you noticed visibly about your generation in marketing? What appeals to you about it?

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?

Compassionate Pineapple

When I was in the middle of moving from St. Louis back to my hometown three years ago I remarked to a close friend that I was going to start training to become a boxer.  She said, “You can’t do that.”  Slightly offended I asked why and she quipped, “You’re too sweet.” Boxing cat and dog In a way she was right.  I was a pineapple without it’s rougher exterior.  I wore my heart on my sleeve and allowed myself to be vulnerable to everything.  Fast forward to last week.

Last week was my first for substitute teaching.  As much as it pained me to leave my co-workers at my last job, this new job is the first step in a journey of becoming a certified teacher. What many don’t realize is the first step comes with a lot of tests.

I’m not talking about  literal tests where you have to fill in all those little dots until your hands bleed.  The tests many of us remember taking in college and high school. The ones where we darkened in the bubbles with the worn down graphite in our pencils only to discover we missed a question and had to erase and start over again. The tests I’m talking about are the ones the students put you through.

When you start substituting, you might think, “Oh I’ve got this.  I’m older, I’m smarter.”  Don’t kid yourself, you’re not.  On paper, you might be.  You might even have a piece of paper you forked over thousands of dollars for to say you know how to do something at an expert level, I do.  However it only proves you know how to do something.  It doesn’t prove you know how to work with people. It doesn’t prove you know how to treat a child coming from a home where their only source of parental affection comes from a television.  It doesn’t prove you are an expert in someone’s past.  It can however get you a foot in the door to doing something you really love.

I have a degree.  Proof that I have taken over sixty credit hours in school.  Proof that I can concentrate long enough to make a decent grade.  All the proof I need to willingly submit to being tested by some of the toughest people on the planet…grade schoolers.

They will try to tell you the teacher’s lesson plan.  They will knowingly pass notes about farting superheroes hoping they will get caught.  They will feign tummy aches and ouchies just to get out of class.  They will try to give you guilt trips and hold you responsible for losing a book that has been on their desk the whole time.  They will see just how many things they can get away with before their substitute for the day gives up.

Boxing taught me to tough out what you think will inevitably kill you.  It taught me to have confidence and to believe in myself.  My life training in retail, dealing with customers and quirky co-workers has taught me patience.  These kids weren’t ready for a teacher who wasn’t going to shout at them.  They weren’t ready for a teacher who was going to tough out their tests.  They weren’t ready for a teacher who doesn’t give up, or give in to their scheming plans to get out of learning correct grammar and punctuation.  They weren’t ready for someone who understands what it’s like to be a kid.

As I taught them, they taught me.

“Thank you for being nice to us even though we were bad,” remarked one of my students. The more I teach, the tougher my exterior becomes, yet at the same time, I find my insides getting sweeter. cat pineapple What life experience has taught you something when you least expected it?  

Gross Domestic Happiness

My husband and I are moving.  We are packing up the cats as we speak and teaching them how to meow in Dzongkha and Japanese.

In a former blog post I mentioned one of the five things people didn’t know about me is I wanted an assignment where I would travel and write about the destinations I’ve visited.  Obviously on this trip my husband would accompany me to help document our activities.  He is a professional photographer and the last time I took a picture I looked like this:

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Granted this all sounds very much like “Eat, Pray, Love” but it would be quirkier, I’m traveling WITH my husband and not starting out single.  Call it a “Couple’s Quest for Intrinsic Happiness”.

The truth is we aren’t really moving.  We recently watched a documentary titled, “Happy” on Netflix.happy PosterThe entire film was fascinating and a couple of things stood out to me.  Half way through the film the crew went to Bhutan and talked about the main concern of the country being “Gross National Happiness”.  Whereas most countries concentrate on the amount of money they’re bringing in, what exports they can sell to who, and how to turn the income from the sale into goods for themselves, Bhutan realized what was truly important, their people.

The nation as a collective has decided not to concentrate on material concerns.  The material concerns caused them to move established communities, upheaving a life they once knew, eliminate forestry cover and lose spiritual sites for a time.  Gross National Product in turn was causing more harm than good so instead, they decided to pursue Gross National Happiness.  Going into it they knew they wouldn’t be a nation of monetary wealth.  They have only just started this endeavor and we have yet to see what comes of their pursuits.  They believe the happiness of their people in turn will be rewarding, helping them lead prosperous, longer lives.

(It is a proven fact, the happier a person is and the people around them, the longer they live.)

This brings me to the next country we would like to move to, Japan.  There are two reasons I would love to visit the island of Okinawa.  The Okinawans have the longest living population in the world, most live to be one hundred years old.  They farm together, eat dinner together and through the farming, provide gifts of food for their family and friends.  This sounds like a dream to me, this is my first reason for visiting the beautiful island.

They interviewed elderly women at a local community center and the women spoke of “ichariboachode” (you are brother and sister even if you have met for the first time) and “monchu” (one family).  Some of the women were captives in World War II.  When they lost their families, they had their neighbors and communities to rely on.  Everyone took care of each other.

My Grandfather was in the 6th Marine Division during World War II, went to Okinawa and helped rescue some of these women from the caves they were hidden in on the island.  My Grandfather barely spoke of this, his heart was broken over the condition in which he found these women and children.  When I spoke to my parents about this film my mother said some resonating words, “Your Grandpa would be so happy that in time these people found happiness.” She is right.  This is the second reason I would love to visit Okinawa.  In some way, by visiting, I feel it would bring closure to an issue my Grandfather had for a long time.  By seeing with my own eyes, their happiness, and in turn letting them know he carried that burden with him for so long, it would be a meeting of happiness and healing for the parties involved.

My Grandfather in China circa1945

My Grandfather in China circa1945

My Grandfather on a tug boat Circa 1943-1945 (?)

My Grandfather on a tug boat Circa 1943-1945 (?)

For one nation to realize the meaning of life is not in the possession of things but within ourselves, faith and each other is a huge step, I feel, in the right direction.  I want to go with my husband to Bhutan and maybe accidentally get stuck between two prayer wheels, so I can say “It’s alright, I’m between prayers right now!”.  I want to explore what makes the people of Bhutan happy and how they plan to ensure happiness for future generations.

I want to go to Okinawa and speak to some of the women who may have met my Grandpa. I want to ask them how through the sorrows of war they made the journey back to happiness.

I want to travel to the places I only heard my grandpa speak of and where my great-aunt would bring back souvenirs like a tiny bronze Buddha statue.  Even though both my grandpa and great-aunt were devout Christians, they still saw the beauty in other peoples’ faiths and cultures.  I want to see what they saw.

I want to see, understand and live happiness like the people in these countries.  Maybe in turn if someone were to employ my husband and I to travel to these places, in writing the book about the experiences, it would help others to look within, reflect and see what their passion truly is, what truly makes them happy.

 If any of my readers are from Bhutan or Okinawa I would like to know what you think about the representation of your countries in the documentary.  Do you feel it is accurate?  Do you feel you are intrinsically happy or are you still seeking it?

     To my other readers, what makes YOU happy? Happy 

 

 

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