Wednesday, June 20, 2012

wise word wednesday

friendship, sacred friends

"Every man passes his life in 
search after friendship."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recently I have made some really great connections with people on Twitter. I share similar interests with many. They are writers and runners and super hero/supernatural/comic nerds and insanely sarcastic people. But there is also a group of women out there who have a very different background than mine. They are women of faith. I on the other hand am an agnostic who has always struggled with faith...of any kind. And while at first I wasn’t sure how my views and posts would mesh with theirs, I have discovered getting to experience their views on life is not such a bad thing for me.

So when I saw a post about cross gender friendships from one of these women of faith, I thought I should check it out. While I didn’t know what about cross gender friendships it would talk about, I figured it would be an interesting read because I have guy friends…and lots of them. Little did I know how close to home the article would hit.

As I dove into this post and a few other related ones, I discovered within the Christian community, cross gender friendships are often frowned upon. The posts themselves actually sprang from a gathering of Christians who met in support of cross gender friendships. But while their meeting was about the positive things born from such friendships, stories of the difficulties and failures of these friendships were also abundant.

The struggles and stories resonated deep in my bones as I have recently been told I can no longer talk to one of my good, good friends simply because I’m a girl and he’s a boy. And while these posts have helped me move out of my self wallowing stage, I am however still filled with the anger towards these absurd views about friendships.

Like I said, I have lots of guy friends. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. I learned at a fairly early age I often had more in common with boys. By high school I had spent too many years in female friendship drama and was already running with the male pack. It was never a big deal…until now. Now I have (or had) a friend, a friend who is a boy, who I’ve known well for over 5 years now. I knew going in that his spouse thought it was weird for girls and boys to be friends. And I got that. I really did. So I tried for years to get us to hang out as couples. I figured if she could get to know me as a person, she would change her mind. I threw out invites to parties and BBQs and movies and concerts and art museums. Nothing. We had foster boys for 7 months and, because they have kids, I then I tried to set up kid stuff...parks and baseball games and zoo trips. My boys unfortunately never got to meet their boys. And then after years of trying, suddenly his spouse decided he can no longer be friends with me. And as far as I can tell, its just because I’m a girl.

It is what it is I suppose, but here’s the thing that gets me. I thought we lived in a world where we, as women, fight against being objectified. Where we fight for the world to see us for what we stand for, how we think and what we have to offer as people...not just as just a woman. But here I am, suddenly and unexpectedly, objectified by another woman. And it makes me sad I never got to be seen as the strong, independent woman I am. The woman who has so much in common with this other woman its not even funny. But instead of our two families spending time hiking and being outdoors and sharing in all the things friends share, I have instead lost a great friend.

What I choose to do though, instead of continuing to wallow in this hole of objectification, is to celebrate the friendships I DO have. I choose to celebrate the women who, even though I was friends with their husbands first, see me as the passionate, really cool person I am and welcomed me into their lives. The women whose kids love me and the husband. The women who have only just met me but are willing to let their husband blindly jump into a business venture with me.  The women who ask me for advice. The women who believe in what I stand for and who I am as an individual. 

Life is hard enough as it is and good, good friendships are almost impossible to come by. I would love to think we can move past gender and just choose to spend time with the really great people we meet along the way, regardless of whether they are a boy or a girl.

Monday, June 18, 2012

yoga mat monday

fathers day, dad, mentor
The random kitchen floor

Not a lot happened in yoga tonight, so I thought for this Monday's post, I would share a story about the person in my life who helps me the most in my search for equanimity.

Yesterday was Father's Day.  And the web was littered with posts and articles wishing fathers everywhere a happy day.  Dad's were taken to breakfast or lunch, spent days at ballparks and picnics and some probably received some pretty sweet gifts.  My husband is not a "dad" and therefore was not part of these Sunday celebration.  However, I thought everyone should know he maybe should have been.  While we don't have biological children...we don't want them...he spends more time providing "dad" like support to many people in our lives than many actual dads probably do.

This weekend we had the foster boys who lived with us for 7 months a few years ago.  Their mother is one of the few who recognize how important it can be to keep the foster parents in their kid's lives and so we get to see them every 4 or 5 weeks.  This weekend they attended the husband's softball games, visited the pool twice and hung at a super kid-friendly BBQ.   Aside from all the fun things we do with the boys though, my husband also spends a large amount of time acting as a mentor for the boys and their mother.  My husband excels at listening and empathizing and usually receives weekly calls from the boys or their mom looking for advice or just wanting to share their week. She asks him to talk with boys when they misbehave or stop listening to her.  The boys will call to share stories of band camp and karate classes.  You can already see how important he has become in their lives.

Across the street lives a family with a young teenage boy.  His family works a lot, and he is often home alone.   My husband has become somewhat of a second father figure for this boy too.  When he's locked out we provide him a couch, when his mom works late we've been known to feed him, the husband stops him from dragging out a too-tall ladder to climb and assists in the building of skate ramps.  And every time we drive by the boy out and about with his buddies, he always, ALWAYS hollers hello to my husband.

The husband also has a young man he works with who has fallen on some not so fun life challenges recently.  My husband has taken it upon himself to make sure this young man has the support and resources he needs to make it through this extremely difficult time.  He makes our spare bedroom and laundry room readily available,  offers needed advice and life experiences and often times, can be found waxing poetic while helping this young man improve his softball skills.

On any other unoccupied weekend he can be found dancing with his niece or on a kitchen floor in a heard of kids.

So while no one wished him a Happy Father's Day yesterday, the young gal taking money at the pool recognized him as a "father figure" and let him in for free...and that was pretty cool!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

favorite 5 of the week

Anniversary night we stopped in this store
for shopping and (unexpected) drinks

1. Anniversary sushi dinner and Prometheus.  My friend was right, it is too legit to ever quit!

2. Pool time with the Baileys and the Brooks

3. The Gusto splash page.  Check it:

4. The creation of the @MSolisNametag project on twitter

5. SYTYCD...I still feel dance in my bones every time I watch this show.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

wise word wednesday

quotes, wise words

"To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping."

Chinese Proverb

I love quotes and have lost my outlet that allowed me to gather and share them.  So I thought I might try sharing here on occasion when I find one that speaks to me and thought what better day to do it than the oh-so-exhausting middle of the week.

So for today we'll go with a Chinese proverb.  It is timely to me as I am starting a new journey, a journey into the world of creating my own business.  And its huge and scary and overwhelming on any given day.  But you know what?  I make a step almost every day at this point.  And for now, I'll take that.

What journey are you stepping through?

Monday, June 4, 2012

yoga mat monday

Sometimes I think when I tell people I do yoga, they have visions of a classroom full of young, fit, sweating women in their cute little yoga outfits defying gravity with each pose. On the contrary, at 38 I am one of the youngest in a class that, on a good week, pushes max capacity at 25-30 students.  There is an equal mix of men and women and many are well into their 50s, 60s and above.  My yoga instructor's mom takes class with me and she is 72 (and can snort with the best of us).  And it's within this older community where I have begun to find great moments of inspiration.

This past week, my 'older generation inspirations' continued into my weekend.

The father-in-law and his wife were renewing their wedding vows and my husband's grandma was in town for the event.  I had the pleasure of riding in the back seat with her on the way to dinner (at Pizza Hut no less) and discovered the following:

1. Grandma is 84 and she has a membership to Curves...and goes on a regular basis. 

2. She likes to drink her beer fast, before it gets hot.  She actually prefers keg beer...cause you can take just a little at a time so its always cold.

3. When offered a JagerBomb, she says 'sure why not?'

Photobucket Image HostingI also discovered a friend's grandfather ran a 10K with him this weekend.  At 81, he managed to not only run the entire thing, but finished in a respectable 1 hour and 15 minutes which secured him third place in his age group and a trophy to prove it.  He also ran the race with an actual Walkman tape player and old school headphones.

Its stories like these that give me the kick in the ass I so often need.  I can only hope at 81 I'm still lacing up the kicks and telling the younger generation how I like my vodka cold.  And next week when I'm in the middle of a bad run or a not so great day at work, thoughts of that 81 year old will probably drag me through the muck.

What do you gain from an older generation?