JUST GET ME THERE

Yesterday my almost 17 year old daughter texted me from school that she didn’t feel well. I picked her up & brought her home. She laid in my lap for a bit then we both took a nap in my room. At 1:00pm on a Monday I took a nap in my big king bed with my big 16 year old, crazy smart, independent, gets straight A’s, never cries, unemotional daughter. I didn’t sleep. I mostly just started at her.

I remember being 18 & my heart was broken and I thought “Just get me to adulthood and a grown up life and none of this bullshit will hurt anymore”. I remember being 30 years old and having two babies, 1 and 3 and being an anxious ball of nerves. I remember they wouldn’t sleep. EVER. Or eat anything. I was exhausted and grumpy and anxious and barely left the house for fear of an all out wild tantrum in Target. And all I could think at the time was “God I cannot WAIT until they are older”. “I cannot wait until they sleep and don’t cry and don’t scream at each other and don’t follow me into the bathroom all the time.” “When they get older” things will be better. I’ll have a life again. Let me just get them grown. Let me just get older.
During Christmas time I always remember thinking “Holy crap just get me through these Holidays. I hate the holidays. Stressful. Just let it end.” When the kids were in elementary school I thought “Good grief just get them out of elementary school so there’s less class parties and field trips and crap.” Just get me past elementary school. Running 30 places in one week for soccer, cheer, school, DECA, friends’ houses had me wishing the time away so Maddie could drive and my taxi days would end.
As I laid next to Maddie yesterday I realized it took me 44 years to realize a LOT of things. Maybe its the magic age for me. Who knows. I guess Im a slow study. But it took me 44 years to learn Im not heading SOMEWHERE. There’s not a DESTINATION. Theres no rush to get to a dot on a map or a finish line or a goal. Its truly TRULY not about the destination. Its about the moments. And there’s some regret for not appreciating the little moments. The tantrums, days without a shower, screaming babies, running around like a taxi. I didn’t appreciate all of that. Not as much as I should’ve. I have always ALWAYS believed if I could “Just get past”, “Just get through”, “Just move further down the timeline”….that some magical room appeared where I’d have no stress, no anxiety, no worry, and be happy to have reached this finish line.
Only there isn’t a finish line to celebrate. Until I die. While I was running this race there were views. There were late night secret concerts. There was a walk in Vegas one night. There was a lunch with an old friend. There was a quarterback. There was a song in a car and a girl who died too young & that song still reminds me of her. Glad we had that song. There was a boy on some bleachers & an old man telling us not to fight. There was loss and joy and a moment on a back road near Aspen. There was a night in a lawn chair with my Dad. There was fishing in a boat with my Grandad. There was an ARD meeting at school where I learned to love my son for all that he is and isn’t. And quit fighting what I thought he SHOULD be. There was a drink in a brewery. There was the night before Maddie was born that I rocked in a chair all night. The last night before I became a Mom. And life changed. There was a dance to “Once in A Blue Moon”. There was a moment in an elevator. There was a conversation on a bus to a football game. There was a beer in a cemetery. There was a breakdown on a mountain I thought I couldn’t climb. And a man who helped me do it anyway. There was a conversation on my front steps at 2am when I was 18. There were elephants and dancing and music and concerts and funerals and weddings and kids’ plays at school and my Nanny’s cookies and sitting in church staring at a cute boy and sidewalks and a red car and a race and ice cream and yogurt and sitting on the hood of a car drinking Yoohoo and dreaming. And a million other beautiful, amazing, joyful moments I wish I’d savored……just a little bit more.
All the moments. All the little moments. And THAT is what its about. Life. And staring into her beautiful face yesterday in my bed, laying next to me, I realized that. There’s nowhere to GET TO. Im already there. In every single little moment. Now I know to stop and soak it all in. All of it.
It’s pretty cool being 44. Every little thing is pretty cool if you just look at it long enough. Soak it all in. Every. Little. Moment.img_0136img_0011

AWAKE MY SOUL

I think because maybe Im from the South, white, female, or maybe look a certain way….people assume some things about me. It’s ok. We all do it. We all assume things about people, pre judge them, think we KNOW. It’s human nature to judge, assume, think we know. It’s also human nature to push our own beliefs onto others. We think that what WE believe to be true for us is what should be true for everyone else. We do. We think our own political beliefs, religious beliefs, morals, values, reign so supreme that everyone should abide by them. Guess what…it doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t. And just because things have always been a certain way- doesn’t mean they always should be.

I don’t go to church. I like God though. I like to shoot guns and I love gay people. They should be able to get married, be as miserable as straight people are, then get divorced. What the fuck business is it of yours anyway? NONE. I hate romantic comedies. I love movies with fast car chases and guns. I think pot should be legal everywhere. Its absolutely ridiculous that its not (my belief). I think people should take personal responsibility for themselves. And not complain so much. I think organ donation shouldn’t be a choice. You’re dead. You don’t need that shit anymore…give it away.  And I believe in God enough to know we should give medical care, love ,compassion and refuge to everyone who needs it. I’d rather be in a ball cap and hiking shoes than glammed up—but I LOVE getting glammed up sometimes. I carried lipgloss to the top of my 14 mile hike up Pikes Peak. Because no self-respecting girl summits a mountain with un-glossed lips. Im cynical. Im sensitive. Im nostalgic. I’m smarter than people think I am. Someone called me “obviously hot” recently and Im not sure I like that. I don’t want to be obviously anything.
I can’t remember anything. I can squat a lot of weight- more than you’d think. Im self-conscious of the ass that people sometimes compliment. I have two tattoos and plan on more. I don’t know how I feel about marriage. True story. For me anyway. What works for YOU doesn’t work for everyone- and you assuming it does and thinking it should makes YOU the one with issues. I’d rather listen to old music than new music. Wine gives me a headache- I try to be sophisticated and act like I like drinking it but truth is Id be happier in a tank top and cut off jean shorts in a lawn chair drinking Coors. Im a hippie who wants to smell good. I love Texas. Despite leaving it. I hope my Mom knows that. Im my VERY happiest on top of a mountain. Alone. I like to speak in public. I dream of living alone in a cabin in the mountains. I love rap music. I can still do a very good toe-touch at 44 years old.
I have a secret (not so secret) crush on Jason Bateman. I love Aspen. A lot. I sometimes hope I get reincarnated as Hunter S. Thompson- because how fucking insane would that be??!! I love my friends so very much. I’d kill for them. Id bury bodies for them. I sometimes wonder if I should be a parent. And how much my kids’ therapy will cost. I’d rather be complimented on my writing than my abs. Im funny. I think Im funny. I got arrested in Mexico once. Lets not tell Karen Ellis that. I ran through the McDonalds drive through in my wedding dress just minutes before I walked down the aisle and ate a happy meal. I believe in soul mates. I believe in crazy, balls to the wall love. I love to have fun. Id rather go to a concert and walk around all night in a city than go to a fancy restaurant. I actually HATE fancy restaurants. The best dates cost the least amount of money. Sandals with socks should be illegal (my belief).
I think you can search for the meaning of your life for all of your life. And that is ok. I believe in going as fast and as hard as you can for as long as you can. And then you’ll know when its time to take the steps a little slower. To look around a little more. I believe in the crazy amazing shit you feel deep in your soul when Charlie Robison is playing live. I say yes more now. Than I ever did before. I think people can change behaviors but never really change who they are deep inside. I think maybe you were always that person deep inside…you just finally learned its ok to set your soul free.
If I could pack a back pack and get on a trail and hike 1,000 miles with no cell service I would. And I might. But I’ll have lipgloss of course.
And I believe in love. And me. And hope. And letting my kids know its perfectly ok to be who you REALLY are without fear of judgment from those around you. The opinions of others have no bearing on the life you were meant to live. So live it. Be true to YOU. You do you 😉
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ROADS

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 19 weeks along and the obstetrician said “something is wrong”. Something is wrong. There was no heartbeat. Our baby had passed away in utero. It wasn’t my first miscarriage. And it wouldn’t be my last. But damn that one hurt more than the others. I curled up in a ball and promised God or whoever that I would do whatever to have a healthy baby. Anything. I wondered what I’d done to deserve this much pain. And if I’d ever be a Mom. I thought about the kind of Mom I’d be. The kind of child I’d have. And though I’d suffer one more pregnancy loss before Maddie came along….I got to find out what being a Mom is. And I will never, EVER take that privilege for granted.

On my 16th Birthday my Dad took me to the DMV and I got my drivers license and I drove myself to school that day and life was never the same again. There’s a freedom that comes with driving that is like no other. And lets be honest…once a kid has that license…your relationship with them is never the same again. I drove where I wanted. And pre-GPS, pre-cell phone days, its likely my parents had no clue where I was most of the time.
Maddie got her license today. In the blink of an eye I went from staring at her breathing ALL NIGHT long to make sure she was alive to watching her drive away alone in a car. There were days, especially when I had two awful toddlers, that I thought parenthood was the dumbest thing I’d ever done. They never slept. They climbed the walls. I rarely showered. I had no life. I felt like I would be eternally stuck in a house with non-speaking, non-toilet trained, non-logical mini humans that obviously hated me.
And then I blinked. And she drove away.
I feel myself aging. My skin is less taught. I have age spots. I cannot see at night very well. I hurt a little more after workouts…for longer than before. And mostly I feel a slowing down. A patience in me I never had before. And its sort of beautiful. I was such a helicopter parent for so long. Saving them, rescuing forgotten homework and left lunch boxes. Finishing book reports for them. I quit doing that a few years ago. It came naturally. Slowly. Over time. They failed. They fell. They still do. Often. But if Im there to catch them every time, to fix it for them, to make it right, Im not letting them become adults. And it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Letting go. For a control freak, thats a BIG deal. I could put a band aid on a scraped knee….but the “boo boo’s” that happen now…broken hearts, broken friendships, tough decisions…I can’t fix those. There’s not a band aid for that. And as much as it hurts to watch I know they will be stronger for it. No life can be fully lived without some sorrow.
There’s this RIDICULOUS feeling I have about my 16 year old daughter. I trust her. Dumb. No one should ever trust a 16 year old. I don’t trust her to never drink or never smoke pot or never make a bad decision EVER in the remainder of time she’s in this house. That would be ignorant. I watch other parents think that they have “that one kid that would never”. You are wrong. You are VERY wrong. They all do. You just don’t know it. And I know she will. But I have a strange feeling of trust. That when she does, if she does, she’ll make the right decision.
When I was 18 I was at a friend’s New Years Eve party. I drank too much. It had iced on the roads. At 2 ish am I had a choice. I could slowly drive home in the Z24 Chevy Cavalier. Or I could make a phone call. I made the phone call. My Dad drove to pick me up from my friend’s house. On the drive home he said “thank you for calling”. That’s all he said. I went to bed and at 7:00 am he banged on my door and said “get up we have to go get your car, I have things to do. Asshole. My head was pounding. He made me pick up dog crap all day in the yard. With a hangover. The smell made me vomit. I deserved it.
I hope she knows she can call me. I hope she knows enough to trust herself and her instincts. I hope Ive done good. I hope she lets people in. And maybe trusts a little. And listens to music loudly in the car and jams out and waves at cute boys and drives her friends to cheer practice. I hope she knows what comes with all that freedom. She doesn’t leave for college for 2.5 years but today seemed like an ending of sorts. Because I know it is. And I cried. Damn, time flies. Here’s to all the roads she will travel. I hope a few are dirt. And I hope a few lead back to me occasionally. e1cb7376d39c09e102943c45607fb50c

IT’S OK TO CRY SOMETIMES

I woke up this morning very emotional and I couldn’t quite figure out why. Rheumatoid arthritis flare up, still recovering from the flu, traveling, personal issues, brain rot, stress, all kinds of shit I guess. But I woke up thinking about the girls. The cheer team. And why this dumb trip is so emotional for me. We leave for Dallas in the morning. It’s no secret how much I love football. And WHY its more to me than just football. It was something special I had with my Dad. And now something special I have with my daughter. She LOVES watching the Cowboys. And that makes me so happy I can’t explain it. My kids were 4 and 6 years old when my Dad died. That they don’t KNOW him makes me so sad. For the few hours football is on I feel like they do. If only a little.

When you say “cheerleading” most people have a stereotype in their heads. I know that. But I tell you what- I can’t think of another sport that not only cheers for and supports EVERY OTHER SPORT, but also competes on their own as well. Year round. And the things they put their bodies through is unreal. CRAZY! It’s not overstating to say it saved me. On many occasions. Being a part of a team is so vital to survival. The friendships I have to this day from cheer mean more to me than I can explain. I met Lauren in 1st grade. We went all through school together. But cheer made us the friends we are to this day. And theres a bond there that cannot be broken. So when Maddie decided to tryout last year for cheerleader my heart was happy. I knew what was in store for her. More that football games, competitions, sidelines, stunting. tumbling…so much more.
Our 6 seniors on our team had their last practice last night. We did a little huddle to have some final words with them. I didn’t cry. I didn’t cry. I woke up this morning in tears. Because all I can think is that will be Maddie in 2 years. I know that the transition from High School to college is big stuff. And it changes everything. And you can’t go back. And time flies. It flies.
It’s no secret Im not your “typical” Mom. I post half nekkid pictures of myself on the internet (for my Beachbody Business not a porn sight, shit). I cuss a lot. Listen to rap music. Im not sentimental. I don’t save their baby stuff. I hate PTA and school shit. I forgot to take them to school one day. I leave them to travel as often as I can. I drink. Im just not a “Mommy, Mommy”. If that makes sense. But I’ll be damned if today isn’t knocking me on my ass. It truly hit me that my girl, that baby I gave birth to 16 years ago is taller than me, smarter than me, looks nothing like me, has strong opinions. and is about to perform on the SAME mat in the SAME arena that I did 27 years ago. And a flood of tears came. Like nothing before. I don’t usually cry and I often proclaim to be a “tough girl”. Maybe Im not quite as tough as I thought.
Maybe Ive just held a lot of shit in for a long time and its finally coming out. Maybe I can remember that insanely anxious, terrified, Im gonna puke feeling of walking out onto that mat in front of 1,000s of people and I know my girls are about to as well. I hope they know how much I love them. And relate to them. And hope for them. And support them. I am so unbelievably proud of the team. This year HAS NOT been easy for any of us. They’ve been through a lot. I have been through a lot. I feel a sense of responsibility to them. This little squad from Colorado heading to the big leagues in the “Texas cheer world.” I feel like Im taking them home. And I know its the last one for a few of them. This team, these exact girls, will never perform together again after this weekend. And thats how it goes I suppose.
27 years is a long, long, long time. But not long enough to forget how incredible the experience is. I guess I’ll just let myself cry today. And be a “Mommy, Mommy”. Sometimes you can only be tough for so long. For 2 and a half minutes on Saturday morning my heart will explode with pride. And nostalgia. And gratefulness. And joy. And hope. Girls are tough man….tougher than most people know. I am. I. AM. Sometimes tough girls cry. And thats ok. Good Luck Palmers House! Lets kick some ass in Dallas.
“Loss can be painful…but in loss, we also gain”.
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I HAVE CLIMBED HIGHEST MOUNTAINS

U2 announced this week their 30th Anniversary Joshua Tree Tour. And I thought…cool, I hope I can get tickets. Then I thought…”FUCK ME, 30 YEARS?”
In March of 1987 I was 14. And had JUST made Freshman Cheerleader. My Dad often took me with him to Bill’s Record Shop in Carrollton, Texas to get new albums. But for this particular release we got the tape. Fancy. I’d heard of U2 for sure. On our slightly illegal, diced into the neighbors cable, MTV cable channel. I would stay up late and watch music videos. Back when they just played music videos.
So he popped the tape in when we got home and that’s the first I heard Joshua Tree in it’s entirety. Now…when it came to albums we always had the lyrics to look at. You know- that giant folded poster contraption thing that the record company put inside the sleeve of the album covers. We’d unfold them, lay them out on the floor and read the lyrics. Pre internet days this was the exact invention that convinced me that Paul McCartney was actually saying “Band On The Run” instead of “Stand on the Rug”. Yes…my parents had to prove to me that he was not saying “stand on the rug”. I would not believe them to this day had I not had access to the lyrics.
But a cassette tape was an entirely different story. No lyrics usually. Just a little cardboard fold thing with credits in it. So we had to actually sit, listen, and agree on what the lyrics said. And man. He LOVED that tape. I did too. I stole it a few times the following year when I got a car and would play it full blast in my Chevy Cavalier Z24. Then when he’d ask if I’d seen it Id say no. Run to my car when he wasn’t looking. And sneak it back into the tape holder in the house. Pretty sure he knew. Pretty sure he was happy I’d mixed in some music he “approved” of with my N.W.A. and 2 Live Crew stuff.
So the announcement that its been THIRTY years since that album was released has had me reminiscing about the songs, the time, my old house, my friends, my Dad. And what it was like to grow up then. With a parent who loved music and taught me to as well.
If you forced me to pick a favorite song from that album Im not sure I could. Im just not. With or Without You is beautiful. Haunting. And I think I took from it more than it intended. Bullet The Blue Sky was so political and I had just begun to understand what that meant. I thought it was a beautifully sad song. Still do. I think my Dad’s favorite was Running To Stand Still. In fact as soon as I saw this 30 year anniversary thing, thats the first song I googled to listen to. I know it was written about some heroin addicts and some pretty bad shit. But I took from it that sometimes in life, when you feel stagnant or lost or like your swimming against the current and you can’t get ahead that “running to stand still” describes that pretty well. Its pretty cool we all have our own interpretations of songs.
But I suppose if Im FORCED to pick it would be the most popular song on the album. Seems like such an obvious pick but its not. “I Still Haven’t Found What Im Looking For” undoubtedly has Christian roots. Bono has always been vocal about his relationship with God and the search for that. And I can relate. And in general terms it means to me that life truly is all about the journey. Never the destination. NEVER. I wrote about climbing Pikes Peak last year and that maybe I was searching for something on a mountain. When in the end it was more about what I LEFT on the mountain.
I think if we FIND everything, then what’s the point? The fun is in the search. In the journey, in the travel, in the meeting of all of the different wonderful people that come in and out of your life. The things you lose and the things you gain and the things you’ll never forget. Funny….when I first heard it at the age of 14 I had no idea how much the lyric “I have climbed highest mountains” would mean to me someday.
They are scheduled to play in Dallas in May. No Denver date set yet. But Im gonna do what I gotta do to make it happen. All part of the journey….
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Wonder Woman Took Some Time Off Too

Personality of Wonder Woman:

Princess Diana commands respect both as Wonder Woman and Diana Prince; her epithetical title—The Amazon Princess— illustrates the dichotomy of her character. She is a powerful, strong-willed character who would never back down from a fight or a challenge. Yet, she is a diplomat who strongly “favors the pen“, and a lover of peace who would never seek to fight or escalate a conflict. She’s simultaneously both the most fierce and most nurturing member of the Justice League; and her political connections as a United Nations Honorary Ambassador and the ambassador of a warrior nation makes her an invaluable addition to the team. With her powerful abilities, centuries of training and experience at handling threats that range from petty crime to threats that are of a magical or supernatural nature, Diana is capable of competing with nearly any hero or villain.

 

I am very sick. Ive had the flu the past week and have not been this sick in many years. It sucks. I have a pretty mighty immune system thanks to Shakeology but the stress the Holidays, State Cheer Comp, running a business, weather changes, lack of sleep, hanging around 20 teenage girls with germs..I guess it all caught me. I haven’t gone more than 2 days in a row without a workout in so long I cannot remember. I HATE it. But I’ve had the past 4-5 days to lay on my ass on the couch, drink NyQuil, watch a marathon of 4 seasons of “Shameless” (seriously, I love with that vulgar show), and to think. Maybe sickness is a way to slow you and your physical body down. To force you to sit STILL. And all that means. I haven’t sat “still” in a long time. I don’t like it. I don’t exactly want to sit and think about reality most days. I like to go, go, go. I like to work. I like to move.

I joked with a few of my friends about how when women/moms get sick we still keep operating. Laundry, dishes, kids, carpool, cleaning, still all has to be done. We don’t get sick days. But when men get sick they think the world is ending. I know…stereotyping. I know there’s plenty of men who keep hustling even when they are sick.

For some reason I thought about Wonder Woman. How people sometimes refer to Moms who work and workout and take care of kids and run carpool and do PTA and go out with friends and have a social life and seem to do it all as “Wonder Woman”. So I thought about this and of course googled “Wonder Woman.” The above snippet in the opening of my blog is a summary of her. I really had no idea what her creators (a husband and wife team in 1940) intended her to be. I assumed that an Amazonian brunette who was single with no kids would have absolutely nothing in common with me. So I was going to write a blog about how we don’t want to be Wonder Woman because she doesn’t even have kids, or ever get sick and that bitch can set shit on fire and smash steel. I was intent on not identifying with her. I can be an ass sometimes.

I read a lot of history on her and her creators and storylines and the intent of her character. I recently watched the movie that came out last year “Batman Vs. Superman”. It was ok but I remember thinking that Wonder Woman actually saved the day. Turns out that reference in the movie is based on the “actual” events in her history. I read that when Maxwell Lord cast a spell on Superman making him want to kill Batman that she lassoed Lord and asked him how to stop it. He told her the only way to stop Superman from killing Batman was to kill Lord himself. So she had no choice. She snapped his neck. And prevented a catastrophe.

But thats not where that story ends. After killing someone, even an evil someone,  she was so distraught that she went into a self-imposed exile for a year. A YEAR. To think about and sit with what she’d done. Alienating herself from everyone and “recovering” from the trauma. So she saved the day. And kicked some ass. And stepped up when no one else could stop it. But she kept her heart. And her soul.

She is often described in dichotomous terms: kind yet strong. Fierce yet soft. Powerful yet gentle. Relentless yet forgiving. Wanting to belong yet wanting to retreat to be alone, compassionate and loyal, willing to kill for her friends and still feel a sense of guilt about that, naive yet well aware. And I think my favorite description of her…and why I DO relate is that she “favors the pen” and never seeks out a fight. No doubt…she’ll kick your ass if need be…but she’d rather not.

So after a few days laid out, not working out, being sick, not able to do much of anything and feeling VERY Un-Wonder Womanish….I realize sometimes even Wonder Woman needs a break. And maybe a 5 foot tall blonde with kids and literally NO superpowers whatsoever other than the ability to multi-task at at an alarming rate, has more in common with a 7 foot tall brunette Amazon badass woman than I previously thought. Maybe we all do.

You can be a Mom and have a social life. You can be a badass and still cry sometimes. You can “save the day” and still feel guilt. You can get sick. And rest when you need to. You can do a lot of things. You can do all of the things. And you can do it in a tiara and a gold belt.

Here’s to all the Wonder Women….842e0b43dc037d00042dbac455c35f38

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH

I suppose it’s THAT time of year. When you take inventory of the previous 12 months, what you learned, how it went and what you want the next year to be. I could lament on how Brain Rot has SUCKED ASS this year. How my crazy busy schedule stressed me beyond words. How it was the 10 year anniversary of my Dad’s death. How I lost a few friends and my second Mom to cancer. How I didn’t hit all the milestones in my business that I wanted to. But I decided to take a different approach. 2016 was not the best year ever. Truthfully- it was not. But I got to walk through it. Run through it. Crawl through it at times. And for that….I am grateful. 2016 gave me a lot.

I got to go to Los Angeles for the third time on Beachbody’s dime. I WON that trip. EARNED that trip. It was amazing & I got to share it with my friend, Joy, and I’ll never forget it. I hugged Tony Horton. I chatted with Tony Horton. I ate at The Ivy. I also earned a trip to Cabo. With my Beachbody team. I laid on the beach and did nothing for three days. I took a long walk down a beautiful beach alone. And I met Donna. And THAT alone made working my ass off to earn that trip worth it. Donna. I got asked to be the Assistant Cheer coach at our High School. There’s not enough space here to speak to how this made my heart whole. I love those girls. I got to stand on the sidelines again at football games. Priceless.
I got to go to Nashville with my best friend and spend 4 days with my team. My Beachbody team. And I got to walk the stage in front of 25,000 people. And I got to know Gary Vaynerchek that week. And damn, how that changed things. I discovered Chris Stapleton. And on a solo hike, on a mountain, alone…I gave God another look. And that’s something. I rode a bike. I got lost on a few hikes. I found my own way out.
I read six books.
I went to my 25th High School reunion. And realized time certainly flies. And people never change and yet change so very much. And made some amends. And remembered a boy. And what he taught me. And hugged some old friends. I got to escape for a minute. And hear some good music. And see some elephants. And meet some amazing people. And get another tattoo.
I got to see fucking Stevie Nicks in concert. With some special people.
I opened my son’s door to see he has goals. Written out with purpose. I got to see my grandmother. On her 90th birthday. I got to watch my cheer team perform at State. From the ground…not the stands. And THAT was priceless. I got to ride the bus to football games and listen to some teen girls talk. About life. And share things I am privileged that they shared with me. Thank you girls. Thank you, Jessica. I got to be in a workout test group that changed my body. And my mind. I CAN!
I got to have a beer with my Dad. In a cemetery. With an Asian man and some gardeners watching. I got to sing a Violent Femmes song to my friend…who shares a room with my Dad. I got to see my name in concrete…where I put it 30 years ago. And know that some things stay. Even when others don’t.
I got to do a lot of things. That I am so unbelievably grateful for. I learned I don’t have to be who I don’t want to be. I learned about commitments and promises. I learned there’s MUCH MUCH more gray area than black and white. I learned life can be cruel and sad and lonely and beautiful and joyous and miraculous. I learned that football fucking rocks! I learned I can fight. Longer and harder than I ever imagined. I learned 44 is pretty fucking awesome. I learned you can plan and plan and plan. And life will just laugh at you. I learned what I am. And what Im not. I learned that what I DO know is far, far less than what I DONT know. And that is ok. And as it should be.
I learned its really just about the little moments. They are everything. Thank you, 2016.fullsizerender-4

TOUGH GIRL IN A CEMETARY

I am one. Despite what a few people say I am tougher than I seem. Most of the women I associate with are very tough girls. Very. Some days I say it out loud to convince myself. I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks. It doesn’t matter. But going home gave a little perspective on exactly what “tough” means. What it can mean.
I visited my Dad’s grave for the first time is YEARS. It seems every time I ever go to Texas I have a reason or excuse not to go. Kind of like I’d never been to the spot he died until two years ago. I just wasn’t ready until then. So I grabbed a few beers, hid them under my coat, drove to the cemetery and got out like I owned the place. You need a key to access the private building where he is. My friend, Nancy, is also in the room as well as a sweet boy I knew named Clayton. I got to say hi to them too. Im sure they laughed about the beer.
So there was this table thing set in front of my Dad’s internment that had dead flowers in it and covered some of his name. I didn’t like that they were dead. Or that they covered his name. So I moved it. Across the room. And replaced it with a Bud Light. Little insight to me as a girl- I ALWAYS prefer beer to flowers….especially when accompanied by tacos. What can I say? Im a cheap date.
I said cheers, swigged some of my own beer and then sat down on the floor. I rambled a little about cheerleading and the kids and hiking and how the Cowboys are doing.  I said some other stuff I’ll keep private. And I asked for advice. Seems a little silly but…then I looked closer at the little table thing in front of his marker and it said in little letters on a sticker “Huang Lee”. I was a bit puzzled until I looked ABOVE my Dad’s marker where a very fresh internment with Mr. Lee in it had been placed. Those flowers WERE NOT FOR MY DAD. They were for Mr. Lee. Shit. I should’ve known. My Dad has his own table set up in the room with pictures of him and his Harley, an arrowhead he gave a friend whom I notice brought it to him, a bunch of eagle statues and some other personal things but no flowers. Dad’s people aren’t really “flower” people. Funny. Im not either.
God damnit I lost it. Started bawling like a baby and Im not sure why. It wasn’t the dead flowers, it wasn’t the table, it wasn’t that Mr. Huang Lee was now on top of my Dad (holy shit), I don’t know what it was. I just felt so very sad. Funny. Ten years can seem like a long time. Except when you are grieving. Time makes things a little less intense but it doesn’t fix things. And there’s things I need to tell him. I need him to give me advice on. Instead of being told how “brave, tough, full of character, steady, stable, doing the right thing” I am….I just needed a hug. From him. I don’t want to be tough all the time. I don’t want to do the right thing all the time. I don’t want to have character all the time. Sometimes….once in awhile….I want to do just what I want to do and then cry.
I walked outside of the room to get some air and the seriously sweet team of lawn people approached me and my bellering self and asked if I was ok in broken Spanish. I said “yes”. Then I realized I was still holding my beer. I sort of chuckled, raised it up in the air and said “cheers” to them. Then I left. Im sure they thought I was nuts. Then….several miles down the road I realized something. Holy shit. I left the god damned beer on Mr. Lee’s table. FUCK!
I thought about turning around. Then I re-thought that. If he’s gonna be my Dad’s upstairs neighbor for eternity….Im pretty sure he needs to learn how to love beer. And I know my Dad would’ve offered him one if he could. Then I giggled, turned the radio up, and drove. Tough can mean a lot of things.
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IT’S OK TO WANT TO WIN

OBSESSION: an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind.

Someone said to me a little over a year ago “You’re obsessed with working out and your business.” I didn’t really know how to take that. I took it as a negative thing at the time. I workout and exercise more than the average person for sure. Unfortunately. We are an obese country that has become accustomed to obesity and I suppose we now look at healthy people as abnormal. That’s sad to me. I think we also think of driven women a certain way.
 
My Beachbody team has decided for our next personal development book we will read “Be Obsessed Or Be Average” by Grant Cardone. Seeing that title reminded me of what that person said to me that day. OBSESSION. Its been so associated with the negative that we just assume it is. Like some crazy stalker dude obsessed with a girl or someone obsessed with cleaning too much (I obviously don’t have that one). But I think just like we’ve looked at FAILURE in the wrong way ,we might also be looking at the word “obsession” in the wrong way.
 
This exact time last year my Beachbody business was on FIRE. I was working about 3-4 hours a day (which is a lot) and I achieved a high rank and my sales were high and my paychecks were great and I earned a trip to Cabo and I was happy. HAPPY. Work hard, play hard! Then people started to slowly put in my ear that I needed to slow down. Enjoy life more. Work less. Your husband is sick, you have two jobs, two kids, a lot going on…..And to no one’s fault but my own…I listened. 
 
I quit working as hard, or as much. My workouts became a little less regimented. Meaning I went down to 4-5 days a week instead of 6 and I ate bad. And it showed. My business (though still prosperous and perfectly fine and acceptable to most people) slipped a little. My paycheck decreased a little. I felt a little sad and so I hiked less. I felt sad about that so I ate a little worse. Then someone said “YOU DO YOU” about something else and I thought about that. Why the hell had I let other people convince me I needed to slow down? What an idiot. Turns out I don’t like slow. Right now. I might one day. I reserve the right to slow down…one day.
 
There’s a quote I love that says “Im motivated by the fear of being average”. Im not sure why its not ok for me to say that. Because I am. I am afraid of being average. At anything. I do NOT want to be average. And I feel like society says its ok to be average. Its ok to get 2nd place or 3rd place or participate. Ugh. I don’t WANT to participate. I want to win. I want to make an impact. I want to excel. I am happy and fulfilled and radiating and joyful and motivated by being balls to the wall, 90 mph most of the time. GO BIG OR GO HOME. That’s me. And I cannot apologize for that. I don’t want to slow down right now. It feels awful to me. Maybe it’s why Im the coach of NO EXCUSES. I have two kids, a sick husband, two “real jobs” that require a lot. I also write. A lot. I workout every day. I have an autoimmune disorder. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Its the hand I was dealt. So I deal.
 
I fucking climbed Pikes Peak. I want to climb it again. I want to climb more mountains. I want my cheer team to win every competition. I want the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl, not just make the playoffs. I want to be first on my Beachbody Team. I want my paycheck to be bigger. I want to help more people and more people get healthy. I want to beat the fuck out of Brain Rot and cancer. Not curl up and give up. I want my daughter not to “settle” for a college I want her to KNOW she can go to Berkeley. And I don’t want to feel bad about any of that. I am who I am. I thrive on deadlines, I love competition, I am motivated by the fear of being average. And that is ok. It is more than ok. Its very VERY good. I can also recognize and respect that this way is not for everyone. I do have empathy. I really do….OK Im working on that ;)-.
 
So Im giving myself permission to get back in the game. All the way. And I make no apologies. Im still a good Mom. Im still a good friend. Im still a good person. But I have personal goals that I don’t want to lose sight of. If driven is a bad thing to be then I guess I’ll be a bad thing. But I’ll be happy. And I’ll be me. And being me is really all I want to do at this point in my life. You get one shot, one trip around the sun, one life. ONE. LIFE. I don’t want to live someone’s else’s ONE LIFE. I want to live mine. Still learning and growing at 44 is pretty cool. 
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#11

Jessica is the Head Varsity Cheer Coach at Palmer Ridge High School. Last year she asked me to be her Assistant. For about 8 months now I’ve been in that position. My “side gig”. That takes up a lot of time and pays VERY little and requires more gut strength than I ever imagined. My daughter is a Sophomore on the team. This team won The Colorado State Cheer Championship last year. This team gets on a bus this coming Friday for Denver to defend that title. As a parent, last year, I spent 2 days so close to “puke status” in nerves that I sat close to trash cans in the coliseum just to be sure. All parents whose children have played in any sport or competed at any type of contest can relate. And at the STATE level when you are in front of 1,000’s of people its multiplied times ten. And now….this time….I have 21 kids competing.

To say Im nervous is an understatement. A BIG one. But its not just nerves about winning, about defending a title. It is a million times harder to win the second time. I know that. And everyone is watching us. EVERYONE in this state associated with this sport knows who we are and has stalked us all year and is after us. As it is in any sport with the defending champs. So the past few weeks Ive naturally thought about when I cheered and we went to competitions. Regionals, Nationals. The memories.
When I first tried out for Freshman Cheerleader in 1987 it was NOT a popularity contest like some schools had. Tryouts were behind closed doors with only some select judges that were hired through a third party watching us. Individually. They did not know our names, we only had numbers pinned to us. #11. It was a true “tryout”. The school nor the students had anything to do with who was selected for the team. And that day, in March of 1987, when my name was one of 12 girls’ names called out of about 100+ that tried out….my life changed.
I only vaguely knew of some of those other 11 girls that day. But all of that would change. Two months ago, almost 30 years after that day, I attended my 25th High School Reunion with 2 of those girls. We got ready together in Lauren’s bathroom. We tried on outfits, laughed, sprayed WAY too much hairspray and talked about stuff that stays in the bathroom.  Over the past 30 years those girls and I have been through marriages, divorces, deaths of parents & siblings & a fellow cheerleader. We’ve had miscarriages and kids and illness and moved and changed jobs and gotten older. Much older. But you drop us together in a bathroom with some wine and some hairspray and no time at all had passed. That day, 30 years ago….they became family.
And so I know what is about to happen for these 21 girls. I know what is ahead for them. I know that competing on a mat together for 2 and half minutes is only one tiny fraction of what makes them family. Of what unites them. Of what ties them together forever.  Its HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS of endless practices. Its long bus rides to away games. Its boyfriends being assholes and plots to get revenge and crying on each others’ shoulders. Its sleep overs and fights and arguments about whose fault it was when the stunt fell. Its shoulder surgery and sprained ankles and extra tumbling lessons and pulled muscles. Its football games in the snow when everyone has gone home but them. It’s paint wars and Secret Santas and hotel rooms and “tattoos” ;). It’s rolling their eyes at each other when they don’t think we see it. Its getting your drivers license, giving each other rides to practice, staying up late to help each other study for a test you HAVE to pass. Its blue hair, sharing bows and t-shirts and food. Its crying through pain and doing full-outs anyway. It’s being 17 and wanting to be treated like an adult but laying in your coaches’ lap. It’s parents divorcing and being there for each other.  It’s all of this and so very much more. That makes them a team.
They are funny, sarcastic, smart, witty, caring, kind, jerks-at-times, selfish, spoiled, moody, loving, affectionate, everything that a teenage girl is supposed to be. And I love them. All of them. And my nerves for my kid are still there. Because she’s mine. I gave birth to her. I love her and I want all good things for her. But THIS time I feel truly as if I have 21 kids. And I thank Jessica for that. For getting this perspective. I WAS a cheerleader. I AM a parent. And now I AM a coach too. How crazy lucky am I to get to experience it from all of those places. Thank you to my cheer coaches who I more than likely took for granted. Mrs. Willis and Coach Grover- THANK YOU!
Why does “I was a cheerleader” not float effortlessly out of my mouth? Because I know those four words cannot possibly sum up all it means.
Girls….you know how competitive I am. I know how competitive you are. I know how much we all want to win. I am acutely aware of the millions of hours and sweat you’ve put into this. If we walk away with another trophy I will be ecstatic for all of you. But trophy or not, YOU girls are amazing people. I am so unbelievably proud of you. Of the women you are becoming. And proud to be walking through this with you. Hug each other tight. Here’s to bathrooms 30 years from now. Now lets KICK SOME ASS PALMER’S HOUSE!
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