Odd Girl Out

Note: It’s been a terribly long time since I’ve last written. Life has been crazy. It’s been awesome and not, as life tends to be. When I took a peek in the draft folder, I came across this post. Part 1 is that post. Part 2 was written after.


Part 1: Draft dated 6/13/16

So, I have this book that’s been super hard for me to read. It’s called Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls and it stirs up a whole lotta something in me. I mean I guess it’s good as it brings awareness to how girls and women treat each other, but frankly, it pisses me off. It’s the proverbial light going off, “AH! See? I knew it!” That’s what it’s like for me.

It’s my suspicions being confirmed.

While I know some are quite gifted in passive-aggressiveness and just plain meanness played off as “what do you mean? I didn’t say that.” (If you excuse my language, it’s what I call a mindf*ck. Because there’s just no other way to explain it.) I do believe, in some few cases, the manipulation and game playing is built into their DNA and they have no clue. Then again, I suppose you could be brought up or trained this way…

I find that sometimes I’m anticipating malicious girl behavior when there isn’t any. Then after I beat myself up about thinking that way. This is what it’s like to be programmed to think and feel a certain way. After our move, I have so much clarity about this because we have no ties here. No history to draw from. Sure, it still happens but it doesn’t cut as deep.


Part 2: Last night.

Fast forward a few years and here I sit very involved in the community in one form or another. And I’m not sure I like it. I have things to offer and I’m willing to do the things others won’t, but it amazes me how one act can be misinterpreted and snowballed. Real friends ask questions. You know, talk it out. Fake friends belittle you behind your back and feed the fire. Then it spreads. (Ever have a good relationship with someone and then suddenly it becomes awkward? It doesn’t take long to figure out there’s been some mudslinging going on and now their perception of you has changed based on someone else’s misinterpreted story. Fuel, fuel, fuel.)

They say history repeats itself and the signs were there all along. I chose to ignore them because they felt like “my people.” I have learned that is so not the case. When you’re new to an area, there are lots of differences – mannerisms, how people behave, even “tag sale” vs. “yard sale” it’s all different. So you make allowances. What seems rude at first glance might not be in “their language,” so you choose to ignore it. Then time proves those gut reactions were right.

Truth? It is disappointing. Truth? Turns out, I don’t want to be surrounded with people like that anyway. Truth? I have things to offer, but it is not the best use of my time dealing with drama and with people like this. If I am giving up time with my family, my real friends and my business, I am not half-assing it. I am all-in and doing what I can to make whatever it is better than it was before. I make the investment and throw myself into the task at hand. At what point is it just not worth it?

Support Orange Graphix and Get a Painting!

If you’ve been following the blog, you already know that my husband and I are taking the plunge. We are opening a screen print and graphic design shop here in Orange, MA. We are so excited to be embarking on this journey together!

Side note: The question I get most is “Will you still paint?” Yes. Yes, I absolutely will.  Bring on the commissions. 🙂 

Support Orange Graphix

As we transition into this new phase, we are faced with lots of challenges that come up with opening a new business. And a good chunk of that is financial. Crowdfunding doesn’t feel like a good fit for us, but I have decided to hold a “Support Orange Graphix and Get a Painting” sale. This is a great way to support a local business AND get some cool art created during the 100 Paintings in 100 Days project. (FYI: That project will be hard to top. It was so intense! But I may try another soon…)

Day 96

Paintings, like the one above, are ready and waiting. Pick one price or two, it’s totally up to you. No matter what you choose, you have my deepest gratitude. By buying yourself (or someone you love!) a painting, you’ll not only get some art and you’ll be part of this bigger project that’s happening right now.

Search “100 Paintings” in the shop section to pick your favorites and support a local business. 

With love and so much gratitude,
Amber

PS: If custom apparel or graphic design appeals to you, your business or club/sport/facility,

The Final Crescendo.

Last year, I wasn’t prepared for it. Now that I have some experience, I should have been prepared for it.

But I wasn’t. 

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It’s the end of another dance season and I’m surprised how sentimental it makes me. To see the hard work for months on end wrapped up into a neat little bow is not really a gift you can prepare for. And I’m not even sure it can be explained.

But I’ll try. 

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For months, I’ve been packing dance (and snack!) bags, tying shoes, doing hair, and working my business matters around various schedules. The dance schedule being one of them. For months, my daughter has been learning new moves, practicing “just because I want to,” and growing as a dancer. She may have even cast me in a show or two as a mermaid. Our kitchen shows are quite spectacular.

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But it’s not just us.

Countless hours have been spent orchestrating a fantastic show (in this case FOUR shows). Everything needs to be mapped out; lights, choreography, costume changes, music, times, dates, locations, photos… and that’s not including the patience required when dealing with wee ones that might not feel like dancing that day…or are just feeling cuddly or silly.

 

Finally, it’s showtime. The backstage and dressing areas are complete madness. Costumes are tossed, hair is whipped up into perfect little buns, and it’s likely you’ll slip on a pile of broken crackers if you’re not careful. Echoes fill the stairwell and doors are shut silently. Backstage with its special lighting and the voices are hushed as the crowd applauds the previous performance.

Then, the music starts. 

Fear, fatigue, and all that chaos falls away. Another beautiful performance flows in and out. Seamless. Then a silent rush downstairs for another costume change. The audience unaware of the circus that lay just a floor below.

They are also unaware of something else. 

It’s not something that can be measured or dressed up. There are no lights or glitter to illuminate the displays of kindness or human interaction that aren’t always found in day-to-day life. In fact, they might be so simple – and so small – they might go unnoticed altogether.

You’ll find it in the sharing of bows when one goes missing. It’s in the lending of bobby pins. It’s the stage moms volunteering their time to keep the flow of traffic moving and putting in the extra effort to make sure your kiddo looks their best. It’s as simple as the mom that stands ready to intercept your child for a quick costume change in case you can’t make it back to the dressing room fast enough. Or the one who doesn’t wait to be asked and comes over and says, “what do you need me to do?”

These are moments you don’t see everyday. 

And before you know it, it’s over. The memory is made. And that’s when this unexplainable feeling comes in. If I had to pick only one word?

Gratitude. I have so much gratitude for everyone that puts their whole heart, sweat, and tears into productions like this. I’m so thankful to have strong women around my daughter. They are helping to shape the person she’ll become and I couldn’t be happier to have such dedicated and caring people in her life.

It’s hard to see it all end. But I know next season is approaching fast. And then we’ll begin this circus all over again.

The crowds always part, but I’m so grateful to be with my girl and witness this final crescendo every year.