2012 Oscars!

I just finished half-ass watching the Oscars and I realized I had only seen 2 of the 9 nominated Best Pictures. That made me want to rent The Tree of Life from my On Demand list. So I did. I’d been wanting to watch this movie for a while now but hadn’t really been in the mood. Well, tonight, after 2 glasses of wine, I decided to rent it. And it’s a weird little movie. I’m about an hour into it and believe me, it took all the strength I had not to comment on it 30 minutes ago. It’s a weird flick. The first 30 minutes of it are space shots from NASA with meaningless commentary meant to pull you in for the next 2 hours. So far I’ve enjoyed it though. It’s a beautiful movie! The visual aspect of it is lovely and I adore the music.

And on a day like today I especially like the dialogue where I’ve paused it. It has the main boy questioning God in prayer, “Where do you live? Are you watching me?” while in the background he’s praying “Help me to be thankful for everything I got; help me not to tell lies…”. It’s beautifully accompanied by a piano based soundtrack. For some reason, after only an hour, this seemingly boring movie has touched me. It’s already made me cry!

And this one moment of habitual prayer, such as “help me Father” and “Bless my family” with the integrated cries of the human heart like, “help me to be humble” and “help me be honest”. It’s actually pretty true to the human plea. There have been many nights where I have prayed that habitual “bless my family” prayers with the commentary of “help me to be honest” running in the background. So many nights of that underlying plea to “let me be open, Lord!” and “give me the backbone to speak my mind!”. It’s interesting to see that type of forethought come through in a movie. Because, honestly, I’m not the only one who thinks such things or needs that type of help.

Every now and then we all need a little nudge to say what we’re really thinking; what we’re really feeling. And it can be hard! Especially if you think that your opinions will be negatively received. Man, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve kept my mouth shut just because I didn’t want to be negatively criticized! It’s pretty embarrassing. And it makes me ashamed to think of myself as a strong woman when I’ve had such moments of extreme weakness. And I have had A LOT of them! That’s one of the problems of being a people pleaser. Because even if you aren’t actively pleasing someone in your life, you’re probably altering your life course so that you don’t at least disrupt the waters. I’ve been on this course for quite a while! Believe me, I don’t think anyone has been happy with my choices since 2008. And if half the folks new what I did to get to that point they would probably disown me! Gotta love the unknown paths that we all take. No one really knows anybody, do they? We all think we do, especially family or friends, but the truth it, we all have things that we don’t share. They may not really be bad, but they may not be public knowledge. And yet, everyone thinks they know better than you. It’s interesting. Especially since no one is completely honest. We all have these personas that we portray to specific people. You know who I’m talking about, you’re probably reading this right now.

You’ve lied. You’ve expressed concern when it wasn’t fact-based because you actually had no idea what you were talking about. Or who you were talking about.

It’s amazing how much we think we know just because we’re older. Age has nothing to do with it. You either know us, or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. It’s about experience. And you can have a hell of a lot of experience at 16 or 26. It just depends on your life.

Anyway, The Tree of Life got me thinking. I haven’t finished the movie yet but that simple prayer in that first hour really got my mind churning.

“Are you watching me?”

Answer, “Yes.”

The real question is, “Are you proud of what you see?”

Oh, if I had unlimited amounts of cash…

Welcome to the new look! I was recently diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (which basically means I’m high strung and I over-react) so in my attempts to be zen I thought I might as well change the things I have control over (without therapy): the appearance of my blog. Yes, minute. Miniscule. Irrelevant? Maybe. But the softer colors are pretty and make me feel better, blah, blah, yada yada, peace and harmony. On to the point!

Interestingly enough, last night during my yoga practice, I was thinking about a conversation I had with Patrick over a year ago when I bought my first lottery ticket (not quite the peace of mind I was looking for in downward dog but what can you do). Obviously I wasn’t one of those folks who turned 18 and bought cigarettes, porn, and a lottery ticket. I got my nose pierced and a tattoo instead but that’s beside the point. So, here I am. 25 years old, feeling like I’m doing something illegal, needing help to figure out how to do this whole “lotto” thing (it was something ridiculous like $200 million so don’t judge me) and naturally thinking, “What am I going to do with all this money if I win?” This question is something I’ve thought about for nearly 2 decades. I remember when I would visit my dad in Georgetown and before we would go to bed we would talk about all the stuff we would do or buy if we won $1 million dollars. Which, when you’re 7, seems like an UNLIMITED amount of money! I wasn’t very good with math so when I said I wanted a Lamborghini I didn’t realize that after that, nearly half of my money would be gone. And then there were SOO many more things a little kid wants. I wanted a Palomino. I wanted a princess castle. I wanted to go to Disney World and I wanted to be a Disney princess in a princess castle. I wanted a harp and I also wanted a Bengal. Naturally.

So when Patrick and I started talking about what we would do with all of that money, our list was a little more mature but you would be surprised what doesn’t change when it comes to childhood dreams. I still wanted an awesome car. Although, a more practical one that would hold more than 2 people. Maybe a Porsche Cayenne. I wanted a house (well, one on every continent) and land so I could buy that Palomino I had dreamed of. And if that house had a turret and a moat, so be it. The exotic cat was still on the list but this time it was a Savannah and yes, I would be a voice actor for Disney because I would have the money to pay my way into fame! Obviously, this stuff was silly, impractical, and not things I necessarily wanted (voice acting excluded). We went down the list of people that we would take care of, including ivy league college funds for our brilliant non-existent children. No one in our families would have house or car payments and all their debts would be covered. We would divide our 10% among various charities and missionary friends and then, because it’s $200 million, we would probably go crazy and move to a hut on some remote island so people would stop asking us for money… but I digress.

The main thing I was thinking of last night was that if I truly had unlimited amounts of money, I would want a killer music room. I would buy that harp and that baby grand and soundproof the crap out of that room. It would be the oasis that I could escape to and practice and write and be the musician I always wanted to be. Because I would have music lessons every day. People to make me practice and force me to excel! I would have private language tutors and I would become fluent in French and Italian and be proficient on guitar, piano, and of course, harp. Out of all the things on my wish list, above all, I wanted that music room. And after thinking about this, really, thinking about all these things you want and knowing that, realistically, you’re never going to win the lottery, it becomes a totally negative experience. I mean, who does that? All that it does to a person, or at least all it did to me, was make me want things I didn’t need and create in me this feeling of discontent. I mean, this fun, innocent conversation, kind of took me to a dark place and I realized how bitter I was about what other people have. Jealous. Covetous. To the point where finding out what some people were spending their money on, made me outright angry.

Which is crazy.

I was literally temporarily insane.

I’ve been beyond blessed in my life! I am one of those kids who was able to go to college and not graduate in debt. I have a car that’s paid off. We are home owners! We have a roof over our head, food in our stomachs and clothes on our backs. And I’m sad because I can’t get private music lessons on a daily basis? Cry me a river!! C’mon!!?!

It was eye opening. And it really made me do some self-reflection. I mean, this guest room is small but if I took the bookshelves out, I would totally have room for a harp…

All of this to ask: if you had loads of money, what’s the one thing you would want or do, more than anything else (after you’ve provided for your loved ones and tithed your 10%)?

And don’t think too long and hard over this because we are called to be content wherever we are in our lives. But once in a while, it’s a fun thing to think about. And I think it can teach you a little something about where your heart lies.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet… unless it really stinks.

Normally I would have just posted this on Facebook. I would have made a quick note about celebrities and how they feel their children will be untouchable by the mean, ruthless, bullying and name calling that occurs on the playground. After all, they are famous. No one would dare mock their child for being named Audio Science. Or Pilot Inspektor. Or Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen (I’m sure your daughter’s not bitter, Frank Zappa). And now, dear Robert Downey Jr., with the normal name that everyone knows thanks to your many stints in rehab and your raw talent, you have deigned to bless your child with the name Exton. How kind of you! Now it’s not the worst name (I think Frank Zappa may have taken the cake on that front… Moon Unit? Dweezil? When will it stop!?) But, after hearing these ridiculous celebrity names, I’m just at a loss! And it doesn’t stop there.

I have had numerous conversations with normal, everyday people, who are naming their children crazy things (or more often, know someone who is guilty of the crime)! I understand wanting to be unique and not wanting your child to be one of 8 kids in their class with the same name. It gets confusing, I know. And adding a funky spelling to a classic name really doesn’t help. It still sounds the same and now it looks stupid. Obviously, I won’t be giving examples of “everyday-people-names”. I would offend someone more than I already have. But people, if you are preggers, know someone who is preggers, plan on getting preggers, please, PLEASE, for the sake of that child’s sanity, safety, and future professional life, don’t name them something cruel and ridiculous just because you want to be different. That kid will likely resent you for it. And change their name when they turn 18. I would. No one’s going to name me Moxie or Blueberry and get away with it.