Category Archives: on my mind

Is My Husband A Metrosexual?

Anyone who knows my husband even casually, will be laughing just from reading the title of this blog post. My husband is the last person on the planet anyone would call a metrosexual. He tends to wait as long as possible between haircuts, he owns T-shirts that are probably older than I am (I have sworn to never ever EVER throw them away), and he is pretty much rocking the absent minded professor, disheveled, I might be homeless look. I only say that because once we went to South Africa and met these wonderful people who had built their homes out of found objects and didn’t have running water or electricity. They were dressed beautifully. Their clothes were stain and wrinkle free. After five weeks of “roughing” it in hotels and hostels my hubby kind of looked like he had just escaped from a refugee camp, especially standing next to these amazing and stylishly dressed people.

So, why would I consider the possibility that he might be a metrosexual? Well, I am about to tell you. Every week I spend hours clipping and organizing coupons. I look through store ads and scope out all of the best deals. I’m not brand loyal. I’m discount my price loyal. So, I make lists of all the good deals and lists of what we need and I go out and buy stuff. I’m not like those coupon people you see on TV that get cart loads of stuff for free. I am way too lazy to devote that much time to couponing, but I can usually cut my grocery bill in half. Anyway, I stock us up on essentials every chance I get. My hubby, however, is very particular about his grooming supplies. He wants organic hand made soap and health store bath gel. His deodorants and toothpastes are free of everything and also taste and smell like exotic flavors from around the world. He buys expensive, hand picked, coffee beans from organic farms that claim to pay their workers fair wages. He purchases hand rolled chocolates and organic teas. He buys specialty foods that expire in the back of the cupboard because none of us know what they are or how to cook them. He eats the kind of peanut butter that requires you to bring your own jar because the peanuts are crushed right in front of you while you wait. Yeah, he is what you a call a little high maintenance, at least in comparison to me. I’ll eat almost anything, wash my hair with almost anything, and drink any and all coffee as long as it has caffeine. Yes, copious amounts of caffeine with extra caffeine on the side. Did I mention I love caffeine?

Then, there is the whole he takes way longer showers than I do and takes much longer to get ready to leave the house than I do. He’s particular about the clothes he wears and about the company that makes them. His shoes are top of the line and so are his underwear. I can purchase 12 pair of underwear for myself for the same price he pays for one pair. Doesn’t all of this prove that he is a metrosexual even though he doesn’t actually even slightly look like one? I’m not sure. I can’t really put him into a category, because he seems like he is his own category. I just don’t know what to call it yet. Maybe shabby chic metrosexual? I am sure there is a term for this behavior. Anyone out there have any suggestions?

Maybe he’ll let me throw this one away as an early birthday present.

*Disclaimer: No husbands were actually harmed in the writing of this blog post.

Just Dump Cold Water Over My Head And Put The Fire Out

So, the creative burn seems to have come to a halt. The universe seems to have dumped a big bucket of cold water over my head and put my fire out. I cannot, for the life of me, find my muse, my inspiration, or whatever it is that is going to help me break through this block. I am not in the space required to paint something brilliant, mediocre, or even just plain bad right now. When I think about the paintbrush I just feel lazy and tired. The blank paper and blank canvas have both become my mocking enemy. I just stare at them and shrug. You win. I’m painted out. Then I go looking for a snack.

It was bound to happen. After a few weeks of having great ideas and the energy required to execute them, there has to be a period of stillness. A time for rest. A time for the creative process to start baking again. I’m in that phase right now. This is the ebb and flow of my creative work. I’ll admit it can be a little frustrating to play this kind of waiting game. Especially when I have to play it with myself and all by myself and only for myself. It can get a little lonely too.

Usually, during this non-painting phase, I cook fancy meals, get my house sparkling clean or catch up on some of the movies I have been missing. I invent new games to play with my toddler, spend more time with friends, or just hang out in general. For some reason, this time,  I have decided to try something different. I am trying a couple of things actually. I’m attempting to be proactive in the hopes I can spur on another burst of creativity.

The first thing I am doing, in my new plan of action, is to work with paint and paper daily (even though I want to procrastinate and put it away for later). I spent a few hours, one day last week, painting several canvases blue. I set them up like a bad painting factory and went to it. Once they were dry I started ripping paper up and doing collages on the blue backgrounds. I’ve done three flower collages so far and started on a tiny ocean scene complete with abstract looking paper fish. I’m playing with colors. No pressure, no stress, not really much excitement either. I’m just kind of humming along, keeping pace with my busy hands and enjoying the moment.

The second thing I am doing is doodling. When I am on the phone I draw weird little circle and line drawings. When I am making a “to do” list I doodle on the side of it while I am thinking about all I hope to accomplish that day. I even doodle on the bathtub walls while my daughter takes her bath. Bathtub crayons are a really fun way to experiment with colors and images. Especially if they come out horribly bad because they rinse off with water and nobody ever has to ever know they even existed.

Neither of these things are a big deal, but I am experimenting. Maybe if I keep my hands busy my brain will get a rest. Hopefully this rest will allow me to come up with some great ideas (and I will be back in business again). Maybe an unconscious doodle or color combination will ignite my passion and set me on the fast track to making something truly beautiful. Maybe, just maybe, staying in the game will be better than taking a complete vacation from it. It’s too early to tell if my plan is working, but if your job is making art it seems important to be making art for at least part of every day. Some of it will be boring and some of it will be bad, but I will still be learning something about technique no matter how the pieces turn out in the end.  It’s a process. I’m in a stage. I’m working through it and trying to be productive. Life is an adventure even when it doesn’t seem like it is. I’m excited to have the time and space to wait for the next creative surge. Right now I think I’ll just enjoy the peace and quiet and paint and glue my way back to enthusiastically expressing myself. I just need some patience and maybe another snack.

Toxic People: A Seminar I Might Be Starring In

So, I have a couple of somewhat useless degrees in psychology (mostly because I chose to become a stay at home mom moments after finishing my graduate degree and haven’t had a chance to use it) and my husband is a Speech Therapist (he always makes me write it in caps). That means we get things in the mail like this: Toxic People: Living and Working With High-Conflict Individuals (A Seminar For Health Professionals). This one really caught my attention because I live with some high conflict people and I may even be called one myself if my husband had any say in this blog (yeah, I am sticking my tongue out in his general direction – write you’re own blog, buddy). In all seriousness, the high conflict person in our family is a toddler so, you know, hopefully she’ll outgrow it.

The truth is though, I am like a toxic person magnet. People with serious problems, anger issues, and an overall crankster personality are attracted to me in some twisted karmic way and I want to put an end to it. Yeah, I know, you’re going to say we all have this problem, but I am not talking about the family member that turns toxic in short bursts, drives you crazy for a while and them mysteriously goes back to normal. I am talking about people with pervasive problems that latch onto you and eventually make you exhausted and ill. I’m talking about dangerous stalker types that fixate and make plans to somehow ruin you or make you scared and miserable. I’m talking about people who end up in jail sooner or later and you are not surprised at all. I think this is what got me into psychology in the first place. I mean what the heck, why does my smiling at you once mean I want you to follow me around the grocery store making creepy comments and giving me unwanted once overs?

Then, there are also the people that latch onto you and dump all of their problems on you (problems that they don’t really want to do anything about). They want you to listen to them complain about life, people, situations endlessly, but they have no real interest in doing much about it. The kind of people whose friendship is all about you listening to them gripe and when they are hard pressed they can barely remember your name or what your favorite food is. They don’t know anything about you because they don’t actually listen to what you say. To them you are just an object that nods, listens and occasionally murmurs encouraging words, words (to them) that sound like the teacher in a Peanuts cartoon. Then, in an instant they turn on you, hate you, and try to make your life miserable for something you did, but you never find out what that something was. You’re just standing there dumbfounded wondering if they are going to come to your house later and throw a rock through your window. Yeah, I attract those types too.

It’s not easy to make friends because the entire time I am wondering if they are eventually going to turn into a raging bully with lunatic tendencies. I’ve become a picky friend chooser. I’m thinking can you fill out this questionnaire and pee in this cup before we make plans for lunch? Sometimes my magnetic pull on the unstable is so strong that I am afraid to leave the house. I am hoping this seminar will tell me where the off button is so I can go out into the world untarnished by the unrepentant weirdos in the world. I’m tired of playing defense. I want to meet nice people for a change.

The seminar promises to instruct me on how to be “…proactive with difficult people and difficult situations.” and give me tips on “Expressing needs safely to facilitate meaningful change.” My all time favorite thing the seminar claims to help with is “Creating Boundaries: who should you not interact with and why.” Yes, that is what I need. I need better boundaries. I need to learn to say, “NO!” in a loud and commanding voice. My father-in-law recently told me that “no” was the easiest and shortest word in the English language to say. Even my 21 month old daughter says it with more ease and forcefulness than I do. It’s her default answer. She always says no and asks questions later. I admire her for that. I hope I can start being more courageous and more honest with people in my life. I am learning. Baby-steps here and baby steps there. So far, people don’t really like the changes I am making. Sometimes my saying no causes tantrums and foot stomping (from adults not children) and I just have to be still and wait for it to pass.

I’m signing up for this seminar. Friends and family beware. A loud “no” might be in your future. I’m going to stop being the doormat and start being the door, at least in theory. I’m not striving for perfection, but maybe some equilibrium. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t turn out to be the crazy one because that’s certainly a possibility. Of course, I use the term “crazy” loosely, especially when it applies to me.

 

 

I attended the seminar. Want to hear about my experience? Read about it here: We Attend “The Toxic” People Seminar….