10 Things You Might Not Know, But I Want You to Know

I fear it’s going to get a little weird in here today, but what else is new, really?

I put that photo at the start of the blog by design. Of course it’s ALWAYS by design but those dark eyes (much lighter in real life) have something to say today. Also, the REAL reason is because it’s my anniversary with Cassidy of when we started kinda/sorta falling in love. That was the first photo I sent him. This was before social media, and we lived far from each other. So I sent that photo, and you know how the story goes; is going. It’s a bit of a song and dance, isn’t it? All of it.

10 things

(I don’t even look like this in real life, but we’ll go with it)

I have done these things before – these listicles – these “Ten Things About Me”. I once did a “25 Things About Me” and it took all night to write! I didn’t have kids yet so I had all the time in the world. I wrote my list of this week’s topic, “10 things most people don’t know about me.”, while in the car. Don’t be scared. It was hands free. I thought about it all and then used voice command when I got to my destination. It’s super fun. Join me, and tell me if you knew any of these things?

Or tell me if I stumped you! 10 things most people don’t know about me:

1 – When I was in high school and college, I thought the Madonna song, “Live to Tell” was the most ME song in the world. I feel everything about it. I’ve also felt that way about R.E.M.’s “Try Not to Breathe” song for quite awhile now:

2 – I have always wished I could sing, dance, or play piano, despite zero training in any of these things! Even in my 30’s, I still have numerous daydreams that I can do these things – and in front of people – and I’m not even awkward in them!

3 – The older I get, the less I want to be around people, but I’m not getting older and crankier. (I am getting older, though) It’s that I have less tolerance for my anxiety these days and sometimes I feel trapped when I’m around people, and that’s one of my anxiety triggers. Yet, I also love people so much that I need to recharge in their presence, and then recharge alone. A true ambivert, I say! Luckily I don’t think I’ll be one of those cranky old women yelling, “Get off my lawn!” But I absolutely yelled that at a squirrel the other day. Those exact words. And I shook my fist! He/she totally ran into the woods.

4 – I used to have a phobia of being in love with more than one person at once because it happened to me in my mid-20’s, and I thought about how horrible it would be to happen again, when things are more complicated. And yet now I fear the opposite. I’m afraid of not caring enough. There’s no backup plan. I shouldn’t think about life without Cassidy but since my father died young and that scenario happened to my mom, I can’t help myself. Then I wonder if my phobia of not feeling at all is actually a self-defense mechanism of the fact that I do/could/might feel too much. Is it possible to feel too much?

5 – I have absolutely no work balance. When I’m busy, I’m stressed about being busy. When I’m not busy, I’m even more stressed about not being busy. Carrie of “Our Potluck Family” voiced this perfectly the other day. That’s me too! Breathe.

6 – Once in SF, I was having bad anxiety for months, and the only thing that really helped was to write down my list of head grievances, read it to my therapist, and then watch her write them down and dissect them. It was like she took on some of the burden but didn’t have to fall under the weight of it. She made it her job to dissect and relieve. Rinse. And repeat.

7 – I’m currently growing my hair really long. Think like Luna Lovegood in the 5th Harry Potter movie. I want long waves down my back. I don’t make light of this but I know there are conditions in which people think they aren’t tan enough, and I will never think my hair is long enough. Whenever I cut it too short, I can’t let it go. Even though I know it grows back, I still stare at women with really long hair in envy. I sometimes feel so plain and ordinary and invisible and overlooked that when I was in high school I grew my hair really long and started wearing bright colors to combat the feelings. I don’t want to feel that way. Sometimes I still feel that way, but I am logical enough to know that I’m not perceived as invisible.

8 – I will never be able to go scuba diving, most likely, because anxiety affects my breathing. What if I had an anxiety attack underwater? I bet I wouldn’t, though. I bet I would be just fine, but I’m ok not exploring that avenue.

9 – I don’t know why so many of these things are about my mental states! It’s that I feel like you already know so much about me. You know I love jean jackets and sundresses and cookies and moose and northern lights. And that I want to travel the world, but I’m afraid to travel the world, and that I’m obsessed with roller coasters because I’ve only been on four in my life and all four were in the last year and a half! Believe it or not, I’ve been on scarier ones than this one:

10 – When I think about my kids growing older, I can’t breathe and I feel dizzy and start to sway. I can’t avoid it. I have to rise up to meet it. And I really want another baby but I also really don’t. I keep thinking: “That’s it! We are definitely having another baby!” And then I think: “That’s it! There’s no way in heck that I’m having another baby!” And I don’t have frivolous years to waste. I sort of have to make a decision soon, and indecision isn’t doing Cassidy any favors. (he’ll deal)

*Bonus one. The Bowman Family is about to expand, we think. It’s not a baby. It’s not a chicken. Wait and see!

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “10 things most people don’t know about me.” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin: HERE.

What would you say?

A House in the Woods

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week's topic is

Here is my 5 minute free-writing.

And, go. This is a pre-scheduled Finish the Sentence Friday post, and I can only hope that they didn’t change the topic out from under me, and that this isn’t posting optimistically early on a Friday morning, only to be completely irrelevant to.. everything. I’m going to assume that didn’t happen because the FTSF team wouldn’t do that. And even if so, hi! Here I am! I’m talking about home today. I fear I’ll waste five whole minutes on the introduction alone, but that’s ok. Once upon a time, well before amazing home renovations and the like, I realized this was our dream home. Or at least it had all the potentials of it. When we moved here, I was six months pregnant and we had an October blizzard. No power for 36 hours.

(This isn’t unlike last week’s April Winter Weather Advisory) We moved here and I was six weeks pregnant. I didn’t like the smells, only because there were any smells at all. It took me a long time to shift and adjust to this house, and I’m sure it felt the same about me. The truth is, it has good bones, and I think I do too. Des was settling inside my bones, and I was settling inside these bones. Since then, we have only made it better. There’s still room for a ton of growth, and I’m ready to take any plunges. My five minutes are up but here’s a piece I wrote when I figured it out. The dream, the dream, the dream:

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week's topic is

“When we were kids, my maternal grandparents were snowbirds. Now that they’re 98 and 100, they’ve been permanently locked in the Fort Lauderdale area for over a decade, but my parents and siblings and I remember our New England summers well. They weren’t as flashy as our annual Myrtle Beach, SC or Ocean City, MD vacations. Those were filled with hot beaches and amusement parks and junk food galore. Our just as annual, but not as riveting, New England summer vacations were more subtle in ways I didn’t fully appreciate until I got older. The houses changed over the years.

Sometimes they’d get the same one in Grantham, NH. Once or twice the house was in Vermont, surrounded by golf courses and moose. Often, the house was in New Hampshire amid quiet highways and what I used to think were very tall mountains, until I moved to the west coast. Though the location changed over the years, some things stayed wonderfully the same.

Creaky hardwood floors. Breezy summer nights with open windows. A breakfast bar to gather around. The constant smell of pine. A loft area we loved to stand up on and yell down to the first floor from. Sometimes we even threw things down.

I always knew we were close when driving through the tall trees, we could see windows of light from the houses deeply nestled in the woods. I always knew we were close because the radio would go down and all we’d hear was the sound of tires on a gravel driveway. Then we had arrived, truly. What would follow were long days of book reading or going to the lake, or for the more adventurous of us, we’d go all the way into town to the one restaurant – a pizzeria, and the one place of entertainment – a lonely arcade. Sometimes we’d drive an hour on the suspiciously empty highways to go to a children’s museum that was somewhere..in the middle of nowhere. I honestly don’t know where we were. I love the air of mystery.

On a somewhat related note, during the summer after my father died we did make our trip up to New England. Instead of five siblings, this was back when it was just me, my sister and my mom. This was a year or two before the Brady Bunch marriage. We stopped somewhere in nowhere, Massachusetts at a diner. I really wanted a waffle but they only had pancakes. I was a grieving but adorable four-year-old and the waiter actually, proudly, somehow, had made me a waffle.

I think he put pancake batter in the grilled cheese press. Years later, we still bring up that memory. After I moved from NJ to California to Massachusetts, my mom, uncle and I pieced together where that diner was. In Florence, Massachusetts. Florence is part of Northampton. I live in Florence now. We went to that same diner, years later, when I was pregnant with Scarlet, and sat in the same booth. We also went after Des’ 20 week ultrasound to celebrate our unborn son’s health.

I don’t know the towns and cities we stayed in or trampled upon in New Hampshire and Vermont all those summers ago. However I’m sure somehow I have retraced some of those steps in my adult life. I’m sure I’ve been drawn to them like mosquitoes to the light. Somehow, I always find myself back in meaningful places, without having any conscious way of knowing how to get back there. I do remember that every year, my grandfather would take us to Dartmouth to browse the bookstore. It was mainly my thing so he sometimes would only take me, and we’d eat at a Dartmouth dining hall.

We were restless and easily bored kids, I think. I don’t think that’s unusual. The pace of life in a remote New England town was something I had to grow into. These weren’t your beach New England vacations with clam chowder or lobster in a pot.

This was life in the deep trees, as I always imagined it.

I can’t find any pictures from there, although I’m sure my parents have millions, but here’s a sampling of what my poor elders were dealing with during those trips. They probably just wanted to read and relax for days. We were quite the haul:

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Years ago, Scarlet spent the day with her grandmother. It couldn’t have come at a better time because I was on day two of complete laryngitis and would not have been able to be with her all day without being able to talk to that cute face.

Scarlet was brought back to us near her bedtime, after dusk had passed, and darkness had fallen. We heard the telltale sound of tires on a gravel driveway. I looked out the window to the tall, tall trees. I heard footsteps on the wooden-planked ramp to our front door. And then she was returned to us, sleepy putty in our arms. I was overcome with memories of being that slumped over, half-asleep child being handed from the car to the bed under the watchful New England sky.

The same sights and sounds. The same smell. Just 10-15 years later in a different state, but with the same geography and atmosphere. I could close my eyes and barely tell the difference between the present, and the time that had passed.

It’s funny how we find ourselves back to the places we once found ourselves in, but never imagined we’d settle. Maybe my summers in New England planted the seed in my brain that this was where I wanted to be. Maybe I would have found myself here anyway. It didn’t seem likely in the fast-paced and populated Jersey life I was so accustomed to. It didn’t even seem likely when I was about to move to California and I was pretty sure I’d embrace that lifestyle forever. (I still might)

Yet, here I am in my house in the trees. Gravel driveway and no visible neighbors. Grown up and grown into these bones.”

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “My home..” (5 minute free writing) And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin: HERE.

What would you say?