Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Party Like I'm Persian - I want their confidence!

Wally and I got invited to go to my best friend from junior high/high school's wedding reception.

I was very excited to reconnect with her a couple of years ago at her last bridal shower. (She was supposed to get married before but she called it off a couple of weeks before the wedding). We've always had a sort of 'kindred' spirit thing. Though we have little in common now and have had very different life experiences since high school, there will always be a part of my heart that she will hold.

We both went through public school getting teased for our weight. I have no idea why she ever was because she really wasn't fat at all. Anyways she's someone that I went through all of those awkward uncomfortable formidable years with. We know far too many deep dark secrets about eachother to become enemies.

Candy got married in Cuba several weeks ago (and by the way still made it to our big party two weeks before their nuptials which was surprising and cool), and they were having a reception here in Canada to celebrate with all the friends and family that weren't there (and of course with some who were).

The location was a couple of hours away in a much larger city than where we live but Wally and I met on my way home from my retreat in the town we works in and zoomed off when he was done for the day.

It was a tense ride as it was rush hour on a Friday evening and things periodically got tense. Thus the reason for us not stretching our traveling muscles early in our marriage - we are getting better and better all of the time. We arrived with extra time to check into our hotel before going off to the party.

We arrived perfectly on time, along with many of the other Caucasian guests. After talking with Candy once we got there she informed us that many of the rest of the guests (who were Persian as Candy's new husband is from Iran) would likely arrive a couple of hours behind schedule.

Hmmmmm ... I hadn't thought of what the reception would be like with 50% of it not originating from well ... non Persia. (In the end I think 80% of the guests were Persian).

We mingled a bit with Candy's parents who had divorced since our friendship years and her little sister who I'll always remember sat on the toilet after dinner (as I pretty much lived there growing up) every night while eating her ice cream for dessert. We joked about that.

Wally and I didn't really know anyone. Candy's Nana had passed away a few months earlier (which was sad - she was so fun, one year she knitted me neon yellow mittens for Christmas and told me I'd better like them because she had to wear sunglasses while knitting them since they were so bright).

I wasn't terribly bothered by our loneliness as it gave us time to chat. I was lucky enough to get a few pictures with Candy before the crowd blew in. We chatted a bit and caught up on a few little things that had happened since the party.

She looked beautiful by the way. In a white satin mermaid dress with rhinestones on the bodice and little left to the imagination in other areas. I honestly spent a large chunk of the evening wondering what the underwear situation was underneath her little number. At one point Candy myself and a couple of her other friends were chatting and she said she thought she could wear her dress for other occasions. I said 'Yeah of course you can wear it again ... later.'

She said 'Yeah, that's what I said, like to ... blah, blah, blah'

I said 'No Candy I mean you can WEAR. IT. AGAIN. LA-TER.' *cleared throat, pulled up some eyelid*

She looked at me in shock 'What?!'

I replied 'You know ... LA-TER.'

I'm not sure we were on the same page.

Anyhoo, a bit later in the evening I was excited to be greeted by Sasha (the old friend from high school I visited with the two little guys). I was so excited to see her there. We got a couple of pictures and chatted it up.

Sasha (I believe) is a fairly regular blog reader, so as we were finally getting our meal (at 9:15ish) she asked if what we were having was a part of my 'eat clean' diet. At that point I wondered how wise it was that I made public this information - cheating is not made easy.

As the night drew on I quickly learned that the predominant presence at this party was indeed Persian and it reflected in everything we did. From the menu (meat, meat, meat and oh a little more meat - I liked these people), to the music (did you know there's Persian techno music?! I'm so sheltered), to the 'dancing of the knife' escapade (I'm not sure what it means but people take turns dancing all Persian like around and sort of teasing the bride and groom with it by handing it over but not giving it to them then dancin' some more and on and on until finally they give it over. Not my favourite part as I was thinking the whole time 'if they give me the dang knife I swear I'm going to toss it at Candy and said cut the damn cake so I can cheat already!!').

I learned a lot that night.

Most of it had to do with the dancing though.

First off I have to say I was really tired and later disappointed at this tiredness because I wasn't my usual dance-o-matic self. At my party I barely stopped all night and I had guests comment about it when I saw them after the party. I just think dancing is an amazing way to release and remind yourself to not take life so seriously.

I had a beer in hopes that it'd loosen my reigns a bit but no luck, I was really still tired from the retreat.

Also I feel as though getting to the point of really good dancing is kind of like the build up in sex. It takes some build up. I mean you need to be in the mood, have the right atmosphere, and a willing party. I wasn't feelin' it as much as I'd liked to.

I have to be honest, just as I felt like I was getting into the music it would change into the Persian techno I was telling you about, which was admittedly foreign to me. I guess it wouldn't have mattered so much had I had the Persian moves. I'm telling you those people have a way with their hips. And let me tell you, I had no idea wrists could look so sensual.

I definitely learned that there is a Persian way of dance. And that I admired them for it.

I loved that no matter the age or gender people all around were up and moving. Celebrating required dancing. Unlike North American white people who, as Sasha pointed out, generally just need some good unhealthy food to 'get down' to.

Now that I think of it I may not have been in the mood for dancing because I was too busy observing (I love observing).

I watched a couple dancing together and it appeared to be a conversation their bodies were having rather than a dance routine. Wally also pointed out a couple of woman who were 'gettin' down' that almost looked like they were having a face off. I think I've seen this on like the Discovery channel before on a documentary with birds or something. It's all very interesting.

I loved that there were a couple of little girls probably around 6 and 8 that were right in there with their circular wrist movements to match their hips.

I loved too that the people seemed to embrace the clearly Caucasian jerky tries at the smooth Iranian dance. Man white people are so crude, clearly myself included.

Oh something else I cannot forget to mention was the attire.

Oh man, the attire. These people totally dressed up. And the ladies had confidence. By that of course I mean they wore clothes I'd wait a lifetime to feel comfortable in.

The standard dress was cut above the knee, fitting tight enough to closely hug every visible curve (and perhaps a couple that weren't supposed to be), and often layered so that when they danced the material may rise and fall.

I loved that these woman weren't perfect. They weren't fat or anything but they weren't walking sticks, and they weren't ashamed of their curvaceous bods. Did I mention they had booty in the back?

I got thinking as the night went on about my own self image issues. Wow, I need to get over myself.

Now I've admitted this before and am completely aware of these issues and am truly trying to work on it. It's really not an easy task for me.

But I have to say I think the best medicine for me was seeing women who were completely comfortable in their skin (and covered up at the same time, well, for the most part), that didn't have stickly model bodies. I love it!

I told Wally on the way home that I wanted Persian confidence. I'm not sure exactly where you can pick that up but when I find out I'm gonna get me some.

Maybe I need to give myself an assignment that will help me grow into some more body confidence. Heck, confidence itself is great too. Of course I have definitely developed this in leaps and bounds in the past few years.

Someday I plan on partying like I'm Persian and you will see me doing the knife dance like it's nobody's business.

Of course it'll be the white girl's less classy version.

But that's ok.

Accepting Mamahood

I think I've been talking a lot about this lately. I don't remember if I've been blogging about it as much as I've been thinking, thinking, thinking about it but acceptance is what this post is all about.

During my retreat I finally came to the realization that God (or however you feel comfortable taking it) has indeed 'called' me to be a mother.

How is this different than me choosing to be a mother?

Well, as humans we all have the opportunity to have children (whether biologically, adoptively, or spiritually). You do not need to physically give birth, go through lawyers and paperwork, or be given permission by someone to take on the responsibility of helping someone grow as a human being. At any given time you can develop a bond with another person and take on a parenting role which provides the necessities of life.

As I've mentioned before I've always felt the desire to be a mother. No doubt much of it came from the natural womanly instinct to do so. I think that many of us come pre-programmed to naturally want this, it is pretty much all over our bodies.

However somewhere along the road (I've mentioned how) this changed for me and the fear of child rearing overcame any sense I had to step into the realm of procreation.

The fact that I am not a fairytale thinker makes the image of having children even less appealing.

I once loved the idea of becoming a mommy because it meant someone (in the ideal situation) would love me, someone would need me, I would get to stay home and be all Martha Stewarty (though after her stint in prison doesn't sound all that positive), ultimately I would get make and be someone's world. For some reason this idea appealed to me (in this moment I can't for the life of me figure out why).

Once reality hit I woke up and saw what motherhood was really like and the pendulum swung in the opposite direction.

Then when I thought of mother hood I thought of all of the same things that I mentioned earlier but in a different light. Someone would love me - now meaning I could hurt them when I screwed up or was absent. Someone would need me - therefore being absent wasn't really an option (at least not if you wanted to be a good parent). I would get to stay home all day - like Martha Stewart, be imprisoned and never get to leave.

Suddenly my perspective changed. All the things I once saw as the reasons to become a mother quickly became my reasons NOT to become a mother. Thus putting me in a rather difficult position. To make a choice.

I have had several conversations with people (predominantly mothers) about this topic and have not had one of them give me a straight answer.

I've heard 'You'll know when you know' (Great, thanks I'll keep waiting then for the lightning bolt and pray it doesn't hit when I'm 75). I've also heard 'Some people are meant to have kids and some aren't' (Ok so it that a hint?). Then there's been the 'You're never ready to have kids, just do it!' (Alright, so I shouldn't finish college first?). And then there's 'If you aren't positive DON'T do it because once they are here they are here' (so I'm off the hook then?). And I can't leave out the 'You're only 30 don't worry about it now!' (Yeah I get that but I also know first hand that once I'm 35 things change a lot in regards to pregnancy and adoption itself does not happen overnight).

None of these responses ever made me feel closer to knowing what to do. I mean Wally and I did give the natural thing a chance for a little while so it's not like we had been completely closed to the idea but now that we feel that the ball is entirely in our court knowing what to do is more difficult. Do you go ahead and adopt? Do you take this thing as a sign that you are 'off the hook' for the parent thing and breathe a huge sigh of relief? Or do you forge ahead because society expects every household with a thirty something couple to have two kids and a couple of pets?

No answers were coming to me.

A couple of months ago when I was maxed out with stress I e-mailed a friend of mine about my stress dilemma compounded with Wally showing the beginnings of wanting a family. Suddenly the tables were turning and Wally was the one ready for kids and I was finally preparing myself for a life of 'freedom' from the task. I asked my friend what was wrong with me and that I felt like I was going crazy.

I remember not feeling very appeased by his response, instead I felt the responsibility to open myself up to the idea of kids. I was not impressed. I was stressed out and then being asked to consider torturing myself with MORE possible stress.

I will admit I felt even more conflicted after that over the kid thing but another suggestion he had was to get away and relax. After ignoring his advice on reconsidering the parent thing (instead I just let it be), I did decide he could be onto something with the relaxing thing.

After my post on having the 'Sads' and again hearing from others that a get away would be wise, I made a commitment to do so and I did.

By that point I had to let the kid thing go. Wally wasn't pressing at all and I just wasn't getting any clarity about it and we weren't in a rush. Also, after I met with Sasha and heard her honest take on motherhood and life as a parent I definitely felt that the decision wasn't getting any easier (By the way I love that Sasha is as honest about mommydom as I am about marriage - we're like the two people you need to talk to before making those decisions, just an FYI).

Anyways, I finally took time off and went away by myself to relax and get renewed. I finally admit another goal I have and feel as though my retreat may ignite some insight into it. And what do I get? A reminder about the kid thing. In fact, even more than a reminder, confirmation. I am indeed to be a mother.

Usually when people find out they can't have kids (and again I can't say Wally and I are in that particular boat, we still proceed in life expecting that we could very well be able to), they are at the point when they know it's right for them, they know it's what they want.

For me, I had headed in the opposite direction. The direction of 'I don't want to do what I want to do, because sometimes what I want isn't the best thing for me. So if I'm supposed to be a mom I need to be told that's what I should do, but someone who knows best. Otherwise I'd be making a hasty selfish decision (not that having kids is necessarily selfish, but for many people it is; they want to have the appearance of the perfect family, they want to be loved by someone, or they want what society says they should have, instead of seeing it as the biggest sacrifice they could make though I know you do get a lot out of it).

I didn't want to get into parenthood for the wrong reasons and then resent my kid(s) for taking away what I just acquired: a job, time with my husband, the joy of writing, and certain self realizations. (Oh yeah, and sleep, not that I get tonnes of it but I enjoy what little I get).

I basically didn't want to shoot myself in the foot. (Sorry parents if this sounds horrific, I'm just being honest).

Needless to say I was a bit surprised that within the first couple of hours of my retreat God revealed this to me.

How do I know it was God? Because all of the doubts I had before in myself have completely vanished, and I have peace now that I NEVER EVER had while wrestling oer every wandering possibility. I am now entering the thoughts of being a mom kind of like a job, that was given to me by an expert on the topic. You know as well as I do if someone you admire for doing something well tells you they think you'd be great at it your confidence sky rockets.

I know to some degree what to expect, while at the same time I have no idea at all. I know that I won't sleep. I know that I may or may not have what society considers a 'normal' child. I all of a sudden know that I can still work on my degree and be a mom (it won't be easy but people do it). I know that I can work if I want to and be a mom. I know that there will be situations I just don't know the answer to but that's normal. And that I'll screw up often but I'm pretty sure that's what parents are supposed to do (not intentionally).

I know that I probably won't ever have a clean house again, or clean clothes for that matter. I know that I will have days when I don't think I can take any more (I'm starting to think that you have those no matter what though). I know that it'll be the hardest thing I will ever do. I know that I will likely wonder at times if I heard God correctly.

Most of all I will know I didn't make this decision alone. That gives me more peace about this than anything else. Because if I didn't have to make this decision alone, it means the one asking me to do this won't make me do it alone (of course I do remember tat Wally is apart of this too).

It's with this knowledge that I am accepting this realization.

As I am walking through other dreams I have and trying to live them out I am realizing the incredible gift of acceptance. It should not go unappreciated.

Many people never accept the gifts they are given because they don't believe they deserve them, or they don't feel as though they know what to do with them so in turn they run from them. They never accept them.

I was running because I was scared. Scared that I didn't have this particular gift, that is wasn't for me. But it was. It is. And now that I know this I accept it and all that I will learn from it.

Now I need to say that for me I believe motherhood is a gift. For you it may be something else.

It may be singleness giving you freedom as wide as the ocean (this gift is way undersold), it may be a life full of love for a partner that grows in ways unknown by those with other distractions. You may be called to travel the world and serve those in places I've never seen. You may be gifted to learn and teach.

I could go on and on.

Know that as you give them back to God, the desires of your heart will be met and I think, surpassed.

Don't get me wrong, in one way I am still scared senseless to enter this world. I mean I am not into pastels, baby talk, or talking about my 'plug'. Lord willing I can get by all of this without any of it occurring. I know that however I become a mother He will once again meet me where I'm at and give me what I need to do the job the best way I can.

Maybe we can settle on primary colours ... I'm really not a traditionalist, if you hadn't caught on to that yet.

(BTW Even though this realization has come Wally and I are making no efforts at this time to make such things occur. I'm just enjoying no longer stressing about making this decision. That's why I'm writing about it).