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?

The Sweetest Gift.

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Yoga session with my boys. Classic: Chewy right there with me and Kiko giving me his opinion.

It hasn’t been terribly long without our boys, Kiko and Chewy. They were a pair. Chewy may have left us first, but our boys were always “Kiko and Chewy.” Like salt and pepper, they were a set.

Now, I won’t get into all the mush about “the hard” since we had to let them go a short time ago. Our hearts are healing, even if a few pieces are missing.

This is actually happy story. 

Chewy was laid to rest, but with the timing of everything (like the frozen ground) we could not do that with Kiko. Hats off to the peeps who handle that sort of thing. They sent us a paw print and a tuft of fur along with his cedar box.

More than a month ago, I came across a website that makes actual gemstones from the ashes or hair of our loved ones…. something we could easily do for Kiko, but not for Chewy. This was problematic.

For weeks, I wondered where Chewy could’ve been that we haven’t cleaned yet so I could get a little bit of his fur and then it hit me like a freight train. 

About five years ago, I had a classmate in massage school that spun her own yarn. Since my boys blew their coats at least twice a year – in amounts that could build another dog or two – I offered her some fur and she accepted. Two large (full!) ziplock bags later, she had plenty of material to work with. And that was the last I heard of it.

I held my breath as I sent her a message hoping she was a little like me with a few unfinished projects lying around. 

She was quick to respond that, in fact, she did have some and she would gladly mail it out to me. She wouldn’t accept payment for shipping, even though I would’ve paid double. Triple even.

And then, my sweet girl got sick, then I got sick and I forgot all about it. Until yesterday.

I received a package from an address I didn’t recognize. (Truthfully, I thought I ordered something from Etsy in one of my middle-of-the-night-should-be-sleeping shopping sessions. For those of you who don’t know, it’s the lack of sleep version of drunk dialing.)

A sob caught in my throat when I realized that package contained the two original bags of fur. Each labeled with their names. Apparently, I was so fixated on these bags I didn’t realize there was a third bag. My husband handed it to me.

It was a woven scarf made of fur.

I held it, assuming it was my boys, and tears welled up. It was then I noticed the bright yellow envelope. Upon opening it, I revealed a cute card with two dogs in the back of a pickup truck.

Inside it read:IMG_9515

Amber,

May your memories of Chewy & Kiko be forever happy!   ❤

(The scarf is Chewy.)

In an instant, I felt like he was given back to me. I can’t explain it really. Losing them both was hard, but losing Chewy was almost unbearable. Maybe it was suddenness of it or his lack of ailments/issues or maybe it was because he was mine. 

By some twist of fate, I gave a woman some fur and she gave it back to me years later when I needed it. For that, I’ll be forever grateful.

On youth sports and politics

Oh, interesting! I was browsing through my drafts (from a time when I was writing a ton more) and I came across this post – fully written and ready to go. I just never posted it. It’s dated 10/17/15 and I haven’t edited it at all (aside from a stray comma that didn’t belong). Funny how much this still applies, but in completely different scenarios.

 


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Since our move, we have learned a lot about small-town sports and personal agendas that go along with those sports.

It’s safe to say in any sport across America, parents want to see their kid be the star. That’s normal. What I have trouble understanding is there are some teams that aren’t really a team at all. It’s a hierarchy. Who do you know and what will it take to get what *I* want?

Fake friends aside, I think it’s the lack of integrity that’s so disappointing. Setting standards for a few kids and those same rules don’t apply to others is just confusing. Especially when the end result isn’t a positive one. It doesn’t make any sense.

The worse part of this is the kids know what’s happening. They see it. In some cases, the frustration level is so high because they can’t put their finger on it, but their gut is telling them something is wrong.

This is not how we teach our kids. 

It is our job to show them things are tough, things are earned, and what it means to be a team player. Yes, we walk onto that field to win, but first and foremost we walk out there as a team, working together to try to achieve that. Nobody rides for free.

Every position is valuable. Defense has the capability to win games. It’s not a dumping ground. Offense may score, but it’s defense that stops the other team. Try having a game with a single person team, how far will you get?

A coach is responsible for the training that goes into the team, but it doesn’t stop there. A coach is an extension of our community and our families. We trust in them to teach our children right from wrong (or in some cases, right from left). Just like the parents, a coach should help the kids navigate tough situations and making the right decision – even when it is hard. 

True colors have surfaced. I am disheartened.

Truthfully, maybe my expectations are too high. I expected more out of some. At the end of the day, it does no good to remain silent. All we can do is express our concerns and change our own behaviors based on what we know.