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Subjective Success.

This blog is my teeny-tiny-premature-still-in-the-NICU-baby. Can I call my first challenge – no television for thirty days – a success? Hmmm. I could say no. I don’t think I exceeded five days without breaking down and watching something. And of course, break the seal and well…you know. The days in-between grew fewer.

But I won’t say “No. It wasn’t a success”. Because it was a valuable experiment. It has illuminated how much of an addiction t.v. is for me, a time suck, a life suck, a creativity suck. On a gentler note, I came to embrace the guilty pleasure in it. I saw how I could make time for it, being the only “glass of wine” I imbibe. But I would have to be careful. It is a slippery slope. I saw that too.

The most powerful gift extracted from this trial was this blog. Just the trying and failing of it got me here, writing. I chronicled and laughed at myself. I told the truth. And while I was posting, baring my back for public flagellation, I continued to try to learn and seek professionals to help me execute the full working site I have in my mind’s eye. I have pursued. I have persevered. I have made progress. There’s been traction in creativity and  dynamic focus toward my vision.

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games.  26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot…and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.

– Michael Jordan

I wanna be like Mike. Hell, I am like Mike.

(on a grossly smaller pay scale and without the athletic prowess).

Stay tuned. I have another super-scary-challenge for myself. So scary, I’m afraid to utter it. Afraid to even try. Which is why it needs to happen. 

I am not proud.

Yesterday, I rescinded my divorce filing of over a year ago. Condemning my marriage resuscitated it in a way I could never have foreseen. I love this man more than ever and hope we grow crinkly together, making out with our skinny, pruny lips while bathed in the blue light of whatever virtual, retina t.v. fabulousness is invented by then.

It was a bittersweet night though. Anti-climatic. Even a bit strained between us; perhaps having to be reminded of where we’d come from. Yuck. We recovered well though. Sort of. After a long, DEEP conversation about it all complete with tears and fears, I needed to numb out.

I watched my battle rounds and ate two bags of Pirate Booty and two Skinny Cow chocolate ice cream cones.

Stop judging me.

The Mosquito in My Tent.

As in an African proverb I saw once that read, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night in a tent with a mosquito.” OR, if you’re me, dared to challenge yourself to go without television for a month!

My husband thinks he’s funny. He corrected me as I was regaling him of my latest failures. MadMen one night, followed by Project Runway, then last night we watched back to back episodes of the new season of Nurse Jackie. All this not including several episodes of Henry Higglemonster, E.T. (family movie night)…you get the picture.

His correction was, “You are not on a t.v. fast. It’s more like a t.v. diet!”. He is right of course and I’ve been full on binge eating. Like swearing off all white, processed foods and sugars, it was bound to be too stringent to achieve. Still I persevere. I’ve got battle rounds of The Voice recorded right now. But here I am writing about not watching them. Seriously. I can go eight days surely? I don’t think I’ve strung together eight days since I embarked on this cockamamie (wow! that word is in auto-correct! awesome!) journey!

Recalibrating. 30 days is over. Kaput. But I have eight days. Let’s see what I can do with them.

(I sooooo want to eat my crunchy peanut butter and an apple and watch The Voice right now!!! Mosquito in my tent! Mosquito in my tent! Errrgh. I hate t.v.)

Stale Poast

(Originally born last week Wednesday, April 9th. Previously titled: “More of Me to Go Around (and downtown, apparently!).

In other words, I believe it is my husband’s belief (read: hope) that now that I’m not watching t.v. regularly (oh, um, I relapsed again last night, more on that in a moment) that I would be available for more sex.

We, in my opinion, already have a very healthy sex life for a married couple in their forties with two children under the age of eight. Three times a week is the average. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I have a healthy drive. But remember, or let me enlighten if I forgot to tell you earlier, my husband works from home. I see him ALOT.

Anyway, we have indeed been more amorous. Heck last week we did it twice in one day. Yum! Can’t remember last time we did that! But I cannot keep with that pace. It is cyclical and this writer, wife, mommy NEEDS autonomous time.

It just so happens last night I was too tired and emotionally wrung out to strive to be so intellectually ambitious with my autonomy. I watched two episodes of The Voice. It stinks without CeeLo and Christina Aguilera. Sorry but Shakira is too nice and not funny or naughty enough and well, same goes for Usher. (Being the chronic relapser that I am, I watched the premiere of the battlegrounds last night after a GNARLEY argument with my “best-friend” I needed something for God’s sake!). Usher’s kind of a dick! Not sexy! And the Adam Levin/Blake Shelton bromance seems more contrived this season, as if they know they have to carry more personality weight as a result of being saddled with two new judges lacking the necessary charisma and chemistry.

I digress.

This blog is gearing up to be of usefulness, of selflessness. I was hoping, and still am, that by reducing the television, my mind and fingers would be more freed up to work in service to humanity.

What it’s looking like at present is a woman mired in triviality.

But please, try to see the forest even though the trees are falling in your face.

At least my ratio of t.v. watching vs. no t.v. has flipped from what it was. I now am watching only once a week whereas before I was NOT watching only once a week. I cannot let up though. Gimme an inch, I’ll take a mile of reality shows in no time. It’s a numbers game. If I keep shooting for NO t.v., I’ll probably go no further than a show a week. If I give myself permission to wear my sweatpants or buy a bigger size, I’ll be three sizes bigger in no time. Feel me?

Been praying more. Just thought I’d say that. It’s going to be a part of this. It’s a neglected part of my life. Espeically meditation. Don’t roll your mouse at me! What if you’re about to miss something really, super, accidentally COOL.

What if me starting this blog was the universe using me as another dorky but safe conduit, a way of reaching out to and lifting up humanity?

I know. But I’m just saying. What if. What if you’re supposed to be the next conduit?

The Flat Screen Itch

I feel tired. Cranky. I’m kinda over how “in touch” with reality and my feelings I have become. While I do feel smarter for some strange reason and free of the closeted guilt I now know I was living with it’s a double edged sword.

I’m feeling some sort of nebulous pressure to do more, BE more, use up my time and space on this earth more productively, create, contribute. This blog is/was the catalyst for exactly all of the aforementioned. I guess I wasn’t prepared for all those thought to come rushing at me. Relentless. Sans television, my brain is on fire with ideas (and “shoulds”). It’s exhausting.

Add to that, my children’s protestations regarding everything from taking a break from video games to whether or not the other sibling is “looking at me” or “touching me” has got me wanting to dive headlong into non-reality-reality-t.v. and not come up for air for days. A little comfortably (AND socially acceptable!) numbness would be fab right now.

So I try some parenting tips (the ones that don’t require duck tape or histrionic yelling) that I’ve recently read about and some I remembered out of the blue from the crawlspace of my mind from a parenting class we attended almost four years ago. Some obviously require consistency to work, because at first attempt my children basically just behave as if I sneezed. They do not heed (except for that moment when they paused to decipher the Japanese coming out of my moving lips).

However a few of those parenting tips bring about some encouraging, more immediate results.

Look at that. I am here. I am PRESENT dammit and making a difference already. The first set of ripples moving out as a result of me trying not to escape from life or myself (or my children, ha-ha!).

And I feel good save for the distant, incessant itch I long to scratch that feels strangely somewhere outside myself. Ah. Not so strange. That itch is about fifteen feet from me, glossy and dark, hanging on my wall.

I am more than the itch, I am more than the itch, I am more than the itch.

That’s my mantra. Feel free to use it as it applies to whatever your “itch” is: the guy, caffeine, buying another pair of shoes (this is an area I cannot offer support. I will only co-sign your bullshit-podiatral-gluttony).

Keep living for real…peace out.*

*(can a forty-four year old mother really say “peace out”? what if I look thirty-four? what if I dress more boho-chic than Burberry and Tory Burch? OKAY, FINE! But I’m leaving it in this post).

I suck.

Day 3 into the television “fast” and I bit it. Here’s how it went down:

  • I was feeling overwhelmingly sad about my estranged relationships with my alcoholic mother and my best friend. My BFF is apparently only a BFALAYAWM (best-friend-as-long-as-you-agree-with-me).
  • I attended a yoga class. I understand. What’s that got to do with the price of milk? Let me expound. I shattered my foot last August. Per the docs, “It’s one of the bones you don’t want to break.” No kidding. I’ve only been walking since the New Year, still five months out from “a year to full recovery”. Suffice it to say, the 20 year old yogi kicked my ass. She kicked my foot’s ass.
  • As I’m floating in a stupor-bath of melancholy, physical discomfort and exhaustion my husband lays some financial realities on me about our much anticipated return to Laguna Beach, CA from Chicago. The kind of realities that spell out, “You’re staying for a while. An indefinite while.” Read. Laguna Beach (where we lived for nine years) vs Chicago. Surely no explanation is needed?
  • I believe I was in some kind of weird media withdrawal. Yes, in other words I was sad and crying from not having watched television for two and a half days.
  • My evening was resplendent with a four and a half year old daughter who is cultivating relentless whining to an art form. Her epic standoff’s and teenager ‘tude are matched only by her 7-1/2 year old brother’s determination to see how hysterical he can make her become.

I began to cry and feel sorry for myself (which makes me feel worse because I actually have NOTHING of REAL seriousness to feel sorry for myself about. Family: check. Healthy: check. Prosperous (food, clothing, shelter, clean water, ability to overspend at Target) : check. Lots of love in and all around us: check, check, check. So then I start feeling guilty for feeling sorry for myself. Aaaaack!).

The gratitude check list does not help. So I do what many of us do at such a time. I go off the wagon.

For some it’s a box of wine. Others a box of Trader Joe’s fudge covered peppermint Joe Joe’s smartly stored in the freezer from Christmas-time, for exactly such an emergency. For others like myself (since the TJ’s Christmas cookies have gone the way of an earlier breakdown), there’s that magical, mind and emotion numbing box: the television.

I don’t drink. I don’t drug. I don’t emotionally eat (usually…not much…rarely…sort of). I don’t smoke.

I Bravo. 

I also Lifetime (Project Runway). And last year I returned to a primetime channel (I’d long since defected beginning with The Sopranos and Six Feet Under) to revel in the bromances and genius of The Voice.

I Showtime (Nurse Jackie) and I AMC (MadMen).

T.V. is a slippery slope however. Over the years I spiraled down, from the seemingly innocuous TopChef to eventually becoming deeply invested in the Real Housewives franchise (except for Miami and New Jersey and I have no valid explanation for this). I dabbled here and there with Patti Stanger and her desperate millionaires. But then came the real bottom; when I knew I was in trouble. I followed Lisa Vanderpump (who I adore and dream of being her “Brandy” understudy) and her employees on her spinoff, Vanderpump Rules. I am not proud.

This blog was born because I want to write and I want to contribute. I want peace. I want to nest my home, finish the baby books, finish my photo projects and read a book again (at one time in another life I was a voracious reader…kids’ll do that to a person…for those of you childless-but-yearning, take heed). FINISH SOMETHING!

No more whining about “I don’t have the time!” or “I’m too spent at the end of my day!”. Tired? Then WRITE TIRED. Not enough time? Turn off the T.V.!

“What saves a man is to take a step.  Then another step. – C.S. Lewis

So I say to myself, “Self. Let’s man up. I challenge myself to this media fast as a warm up to the other adventures lined up in the pipeline.”

What happens? I have a bad day and at my husband’s loving, mere suggestion of being gentle with myself, I have the remote and white cheddar Pirate Booty in hand before he can finish his sentence. I binged too. There was a fair amount on my DVR to choose from. I watched it all.

Good news? I’m back on the fast. 4 out of 5 days and counting.

I’m no quitter. I may be a stopper and a re-starter. But I’m no quitter.