Posts Tagged With: friends

Where Were All the Single Ladies?

It’s been a while since my last post, and although a lot has happened since moving into the new house it’s mostly variations on a theme. It’s the same DIY theme that seems to be the vein of ore in my life. As I discussed in the last post I’ve had some great examples for how and why to thrive on self-reliance. Over the last year (and especially in the last few months), the thought has turned to “Why the hell don’t I have any role models for this?”

 

One long, enlightened weekend with Ms Annie in Minnie, we actually said at one point that we wished that as young girls we’d had examples of the independent women we’d grow into. How many examples did we have of women who were satisfied with themselves and their lives without it having to center around kids, or a relationship? The key to happiness is following your passion. Marriage and family can be important and fulfilling, but so can a career, hobbies, and friendship.

 
 

As an adult I’ve had more and more examples of women who are happily self-reliant, ambitious, and good people. As a kid, though, I couldn’t think of any major role models I had who fit this model. Certainly none of my aunts or other older immediate family members  qualified. Even though my aunt went back to school to become a successful nurse and did all right after her divorce, a lot of unhealthy things followed. The next closest example was my cousin Teeny, who worked in a large city for a major corporation and was responsible enough to buy her own house and pay off her school debt. Unfortunately, she’s also a raging alcoholic.

 

So while my mom’s family would be best described as an episode of COPS set in backwoods Appalachia, she did end up having two female friends who were great role models for independence, ambition, and happiness. Despite having lots of strong female friends, most of these women were in abusive relationships, had drug/alcohol problems, couldn’t keep their work life together. (Is that a nice way to say it?) She did have other friends who didn’t have these issues, but I never knew them enough to tell you anything about them now. One woman was a lawyer, I guess she’s survived cancer now? Another one was a professor? Clearly you can tell the impact they had on my life.

 
 

That leaves us with her first best friend Steph, and her now best friend Sassy. (You’ll be happy to know that Sassy is the one who taught Lil Pirate and Lil Bro the proper uses of the word “fuck”.)

 
 

Steph is married, has kids my and my brother’s ages, and used to work with my mom. She’s intelligent, hard-working, responsible, and takes good care of her family. If a kid needed a positive influence for their work life, how to make decisions about money, difficult family situations, or life in general Steph was a good person to know. Nobody’s perfect, but she had a significant impact in our lives.

 
 

Sassy is around 7-10 years older than me, and she became besties with my mom when she went back to college. Lil Bro and I were still young and impressionable and Mom had a lot of friends who were young, intelligent, hard-working, and kind. As time went on people moved on to other cities for jobs, sunk into drugs or alcohol, or else just drifted away. There was a short time where Sassy had a boyfriend, but I distinctly remember her breaking up with him because he was an idiot. We never knew if Sassy was usually single because she has a disability, but it turns out that it really doesn’t matter.

She doesn’t have any high-powered job, she’ll never be a supermodel, and she’ll never have kids of her own. Sassy’s financially independent, takes care of her health problem, is a doting aunt to her nieces and nephews, and stands up for herself.

 
 

These are the only two women I knew who weren’t stuck in a relationship because it was abusive or they couldn’t support themselves, didn’t have drug or alcohol problems, had jobs they were good at and were leading to fulfilling careers, and supported their friends, family, and community. Maybe that’s a long list of requirements. It’s also a long list of unhappy trappings if it’s not what you want.

 

And that was it, until I was in my early 20s.

 

I know I’ll be a trailblazer, if that wasn’t how I was born then it’s an old habit now that will be hard to break. I’ve come to terms with the confusion and the difficulty figuring out what was important to me as a younger adult and I know I’m stronger for it. Resisting following the crowd was hard, because even though money, relationships, family were things I wanted, they weren’t what was right for me at the time. Thinking about future versions of Lil Pirates, I always wonder why the message can’t be “Follow your passion” instead of “School, Job, Marriage, Family”.

 
 

This isn’t an issue only for girls, either. Young boys grow up with these examples of what women will or should be, and if we don’t think to treat people as individuals on their own merits, we run into a very unhappy world.

Of course, that’s a lesson that is greater than gender.

Kids learn by bad examples, so this isn’t a lost cause if people aren’t perfect. But if people don’t have any accessible, real-life examples of being happy and successful doing something different, they might not realise they can be strong instead of sinking into following the crowd even if it makes them unhappy.

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Categories: childhood, family, friends, life lessons, reflection, Workaholic | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lil Bro’s Wedding – Out of the Tempest

As should be expected, Lil Bro’s wedding was a success. Not only is there a new happy couple, but emergencies both large and small were weathered with all families intact. I’ve copied a few pictures for you from the weekend.

Lil Bro and his Lil Lady

Lil Bro and his Lil Lady

Upon my eventual (and very delayed return) the lovely Miss J asked if the trip was better or worse than I had imagined. Honestly? It was just as bad as I’d feared, but didn’t turn out as disastrously because I’d spent so much time preparing to stay calm and fight the internal craziness. When my dad was being a selfish prick in the face of a severe medical emergency I was the one consoling my mom, rationalizing with her that we shouldn’t be surprised by Dad being a dick anymore and to save our energy for the next shitty thing he’ll do. I had the presence of mind to remind Mom that everyone knows Dad and his wife were being dicks about how the wedding was going, and the only way to make it right would be to be a bigger dick than he is. That doesn’t make anyone happy, and everyone else knows he’s a prick.

<3 Gram <3

❤ Gram ❤

I got left out of being sat with the family in the church – not at all by accident – and had to sneak in the back way to actually see the ceremony despite being involved in the preparations and getting everyone in the church so we could start. At first I was furious and really quite hurt, but I pulled myself together and was able to remind myself that I love Lil Bro more than I was angry about anything that was happening. That got me through the rest of the day and was able to keep Mom off her ledge.

Two and a Half Corpsmen

Two and a Half Corpsmen

There were so many more bouts of madness, but not only did Lil Bro himself keep us together but for once I was able to keep it together on my own. I got to see Gram and spend a little bit of time with her, my stepdad and I were able to spend lots of time together, and Lil Bro’s friends were even pretty awesome. Since when does Pirate overcome the craziness?

Since now, I guess.

Stinky & Pirate

Stinky & Pirate

Categories: commitments, family, road trip | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Too Much Time on My Hands

If you’re not singing and dancing along you’re not allowed to come to Karaoke Team try-outs.

Yes, Karaoke Team is a real thing.

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It must be quite obvious that I’ve got far too much time on my hands these days. As much frustration as the bank and house can take, it’s more of a waiting game than anything. Did my paperwork go in? Has the mail come yet? Blah blah blah. Work takes up many of my waking hours, sure, but there are still enough left over where I find myself spending FAR too much time on the internets. Back before the days of smartphones my internet mischief involved mostly RPGs and webcomics. Now that I’m toting around a computer in my pocket it’s gotten far worse. Whether it’s SnapChat, Twitter, or StumbleUpon I spend the day obsessing over a tiny screen THAT IS DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE.

This has to stop.

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I happened to catch up with my friend Dr J yesterday, and he mentioned that there’s a contingent of us old middle school friends in the area. Suddenly, I’ve been drafted into Tango Lessons and salsa/tango nights, board games, and running (teaching) D&D sessions up in Madison. I’d already been pondering the Rotary Club here in Rock County, along with a gardening club and joining the local LCMS church, so now I have a long list of activities to consider.

Could it be that the Pirate is no longer haunting the interwebs and has an honest-to-goodness real life? One that doesn’t involve airports and spreadsheets?!

 

Is this the end?

Is this the end?

 

Hopefully soon I will be able to report on the success of our new Karaoke Team, or maybe have some fun stories about a ragtag bunch of level 4 mercenaries stumbling onto the Three Billy Goats Gruff. I’ll try to stay away from the theology, but yesterday we already started diving into Abelard’s Ethic of Pure Intent, mysticism, and why forbidding activities like board games and certain books is ridiculous. You’ve been warned.

 

If you’re in the Madison/Janesville area and fancy yourself any of the following, the recruitment campaign starts soon:

  • singer of moderate or questionable talent
  • dancer of no slight enthusiasm
  • Minion Master, Mook, Eclipse Caste, Brawler, or really any class other than Psion. Seriously, we’ll even take Abyssals.
  • possessor of one or more thumbs that may or may not be green
  • interested in Belgian food and/or beer

Ahem.

Categories: hobbies | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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