Monthly Archives: March 2011

Dream, Please come back

You know that dream, the one where you keep forgetting to go to class and then you show up at the final exam, completely unprepared?  I never had that dream while in college or in graduate school but then used to have it all the time once I was working and dealing with real-life stresses.  I never realized that other people have that exact same dream.  Recently, while riding in an elevator with my son, I was telling him about that particular dream.  A woman overheard me and said, “oh, I hate that dream.”

I will admit, my life is relatively stress-free right now.  I am a stay-at-home parent with three kids.  Sure, there are the usual challenges of raising a family — shuttling them to their activities, making sure homework is done, and keeping them healthy and happy.  It can be chaotic and hair-raising at times, but still manageable.

Lately though, something else has been gnawing away at the relative calm in my days.  See, I am writing a book.  Actually, I have finished the book.  Hooray, you think.  But, now I am trying to secure an agent so I can actually get it published.  And, then there’s the worry that I think the book needs to be better — a lot better.  It’s time for serious edit-mode but I am just unsure how to move it forward.  I registered for an online writing class, with deadlines and homework, so I am hoping it pushes me to keep going and revise, revise, revise.  But, how will I know when I’ve done all I can do?  How will I know when the book is at that point when someone else just might think it’s fabulous too?

I am exhilarated about this book but I am also anxious about the uncertainty — the quality of the writing coupled with the unknown of ever securing of an agent makes me a tad bonkers.  It’s tough out there in publishing and it may not happen for me, at least not now. I can accept that.  But, I will need to know that I pushed hard enough, that I did everything that I could possibly do before moving on.

I am almost waiting for that dream to appear.  Because if it does show up, it will be a signal:  I am stressed out.  And then I will know that my subconscious is channeling that stress to let me know that yes, I am working hard enough and care about this project a lot.  So, even though I hate that dream too, I hope it comes back soon.

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Thank You to the Mean Girls

Every time I hear the Billy Joel song, “It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me”, I cringe at the line when he sings, “if you try to be a straight A student, and you are, then you think too much!”  That straight A student was me in 7th grade, when I was on my way to earning one of the top ten GPAs in my high school graduating class.  I never thought much of it until I went on a sleepover at “cool girl” Kate’s house along with my best friend Toni plus a few other of the more “popular” girls in our grade.  I’m not sure when things went awry but we were up late, blasting music (where were her parents?  I’m not sure they were even home – oy) and seemed to be having a good time.  Next thing I knew they cranked up the volume on that Billy Joel song and started screaming the “straight A student” line at me.  It was the only time in my life I felt embarrassed to be smart.  But, worse than that, I had never had a friend turn on me like that, so suddenly and so unreasonably.  Really?  You don’t like me because I get good grades?  I’m not sure how I held it together. Thankfully, I had Toni there with me.  We both wanted to go home — immediately.  We stuck it out until 5am and at the first sign of daylight, we grabbed our sleeping bags and walked all the way home.  It was a long trek back since Kate lived on the other side of town from us.  But, we didn’t care.  We wanted to get far away from those mean girls and when we made it halfway home, we started to giggle at ourselves.  There we were, still in our pajamas, carrying all of our stuff, looking like we were running away from home, rather than our former bffs.

And now, thirty-two years later, I have a 7th grader, the same age I was when those mean girls teased me.  Except my 7th grader is a boy.  I’m sure there are mean boys out there too, but I hope and pray they aren’t nearly as malicious as those mean girls from my childhood.  So far, all three of my boys seem to be under the radar from any serious bullying from their peers.  On the rare occasions when one of my sons mentions an incident that so and so said he sucks at baseball or that he got picked last for the football game at recess, I go into protective mama bear mode.  One time I walked up to a boy on the playground and practically threatened him if he didn’t leave my son alone with his taunting comments.  The result?  Well, let’s just say it didn’t work and the kid said “your Mom’s a freak!”

Since then, I have realized that my kids have to learn how to handle most friendship situations on their own.  I can’t shield them from all the mean kids, just like my parents had no involvement with my sleepover trauma.  I got through it and even laughed about it a short time later.  Sure, the incident stayed with me like any other negative childhood memory, but I am now a 40-something woman with many healthy, female friendships.  And maybe that’s what it takes — a few mean girls to teach you what a true friend is all about.

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