Learning to be shameless 8.21.19

Repost from @buddha.spirit on Instagram.

Repost from @buddha.spirit on Instagram.

“If I could recommend one quality to any young, queer, or just outsider people, it would be: Be shameless,” she added. “Don’t be sorry. Don’t be sorry about who you are, enjoy it. Find other people who like it, and focus on them.”

I found this quote today in an article from a woman who teaches burlesque in her 50s. So cool. So brave!

I can’t write forever and ever in here today. I’ve got a kid on the way and trying to juggle interviews with the Care.com people. I need to be as focused as possible these days.

It’s so amazing to have such a wide network - truly - it’s just a lot to cope with the communication.

I think people are also reading in here too. So I’m feeling a bit weird about that. But then I come across these kinds of quotes: be shameless! In a culture that weaponizes shame in order to get people to conform!

It’s not easy doing what I’m doing. None of it. And on such a limited diet.

I made some pudding using a can of coconut milk on Sunday night because I didn’t eat eggs that day. I couldn’t believe how productive I was the next day. All that fat and satiation, my cells eagerly soaking up the necessary calories to function at more optimal levels.

I don’t know how to explain to people what it’s like to try and function “normally” when I’m on this limited diet, the heat dehydrating my system and lowering my blood pressure AND adding in the grief of losing my dad. The expectation that is placed upon me is completely unrealistic.

The responsibility of figuring out a team to keep me going is on me. That’s not easy. But it is what it is. Thank fucking goodness for bestie and my other crew. I told Sarah that when she’s off from school in September, we’re going to work together a lot and streamline all this shit.

I want all my specialty foods to be delivered on a regular basis. I know what I need now - it’s taken ages to work out which calories I can take in on any given day. I want to streamline all my medicines and hormones. I’m wasting WAAAAY too much time focused on picking shit up, or calling people frantically trying to get the estrogen cream in time (which I did, within the nick of time, seriously, they’ll have to pry hormones out of my dead cold hands, never given that shit up, what they force women to endure is fucking bullshit, there’s no reason to suffer, especially while Viagra is covered by insurance and easy to get, unbelievable).

There are only two roads now for me.

One is downhill, staying quiet, staying likable, playing along nicely.

And possibly not surviving because I’m not getting my needs met.

The other is the road I’ve been hiking towards my entire life. That awkward strange little girl, taking it all in, that ability to take snapshots in my head, making sense of the world around me, mastering social media, learning the Internet even while going through chemotherapy, so many years dedicated to improving my writing, forsaking dinners, dates, intimacy, family, security, even organs, but never understanding WHY that pull that push that urge to keep writing and writing and writing, even over these past months, just knowing the words wanted out.

I’ve thought a lot about quitting this blog. Focusing my energy on things I can pitch. But then I realized that this is an essential part of my mental health care now.

A friend from high school texted me last night and said she was listening to my podcast. She asked if I was still looking for a therapist. She gave me referrals! Holy shit. I’m a little wary after my last two experiences so I pressed her for more details.

She asked me what I was looking for in a therapist. I thought: hmmm that’s an excellent question and would probably be an awesome exercise. I’m not sure how much time I have. I’ve got a teen on his way over. Got one out of the rough years just as another one enters. Been thinking about this a lot, how to provide this one support when it’s such a different kid. They’re all so different!

Damn it’s hard. And I’m only the auntie.

I’ve been thinking about how to grow them from boys to men. In this culture that’s falling apart. It was hard enough before.

I’ve been thinking about the guy that yelled JULIE NEGRIN and gave me a huge hug. He’s only in town for the summer but still made time to come to my dad’s funeral. I was such a mess, I didn’t see everyone. It was well over 100 people.

They would all get so annoyed with me! These boys!

But I knew they could do better. I don’t bother trying if I don’t think they’re capable. That wouldn’t be fair.

How do we raise these boys to men while our whole culture is falling apart? While they’re seeing videos about toxic masculinity go by at the same time they’re seeing shootings?

So much of what I’ve done over the years, only realizing this now, is stepping back as they really enter manhood. FUUUUCK it’s hard.

Especially with ones that feel the closest things to sons I’ll ever have.

To step back, and let them flutter their wings on their own without me trailing after them, make sure you wash your hands! Be nice! Get enough sleep! Do you need a hug?

With the girls, it’s different. We can rent a hotel room in 10 years and watch movies in the bed, while showering and getting ready to go out.

The boys eventually leave.

I thought I’d be more prepared this time. But it turns out, I’m not.

Because, I’ve realized, when they come back, as men, and not boys, that old relationship is gone. They won’t remember it as well - it will belong in that murky memory of childhood.

But it’s profound in my mind, the relationship I had with the boy version.

The only way for them to live a truly healthy life, though, is if I step back. I see my cousins now, as these wonderful, kind and loving, super supportive of their wives and kids, it’s how it works.

But wow. It’s not easy. We get some grumpy years and then they’re off! All I want to do is take this kid upstairs - and put him in my lap while we read a story. Give him hugs and kisses and make it all better with a cup of hot chocolate and a movie.

Not so easy anymore.

Ok I should go get this butt out of bed and spend some time dealing with the firewall I’ll get at first, until the melting, and then the real connection. Patience. So much patience needed.

I never finished my other thought about the second road.

The second road. The road less traveled. The road that has been beckoning my entire life, and now that I’m standing here, I’m afraid I’ll choke. I’ve choked so many times when it’s something I really, really want. Scary! To get what we really, really want.

So much easier to deal with failure, I’ve found. Failure is so familiar now.

How do we prepare our kids for failure AND success? That is really the crux of raising them up strong. How do we make sure they can handle both the good and the bad? The lows and the highs? The mean people and the loving ones? The struggles and the success?

Resiliency. We used to talk about that a lot when developing curriculum at my job at that Healthcorps organization where we taught teens health education - I did the training part for food/nutrition but we tried to incorporate the resiliency piece in.

I don’t know the answer to this. To instilling GRIT. Or perhaps, grit is something we’re born with or not? I don’t think so. I think it can be taught. it’s essentially what they do when they train military, from the little that I know about the trainings that my Marine friends used to run in San Diego.

Break them down, to build them back up in a stronger, more resilient version.

Is that what we have to do? To raise boys to men? How do we let them finish cooking in a way that ensures optimal resiliency and strength of character and integrity and good morals?

So many of those things are aren’t discussed enough.

I heard some foot steps, he is definitely here, rummaging around the pantry for candy, no doubt. At 11:52am.

I think of that guy who came to the funeral. He would get so mad at me when he was young and I have NO MEMORY why.

I think I do now.

Because I said: that’s not ok. You can do better. I KNOW you can do better. Rise up, boy, rise up and figure out how it is to be a MAN who handles his shit and shows up for an old family friend’s funeral, and knows how to treat his wife right and now raise I think four kids (I get exhausted just thinking about it, I love being in the grandma role these days, TOTALLY fine with that, I’ll play, be silly, kisses and hugs, but dang the day to day, mad respect for 24/7 parents MAD RESPECT).

And I was right. He could do it, he is, and so many of them are.

I need to learn how to take my own lessons now. Finish growing MYSELF up into the woman I’ve always wanted to be. Let that little girl go.

Ok he’s really here now.

Off to instill resiliency,

Jules