Archive for the ‘Real Men’ Category

Brother Tough

Posted: March 13, 2011 in Real Men

BROTHER TOUGH

The saying is — why spend holidays with family when you can spend it with friends.  The truth is they are the people I have had in my life the longest and fortunately (or unfortunately) remember me the most.  We have known and grown about so many things we’ve forgotten many to overwrite for new experiences.

My mom tells us for me and my brother Steven (18 mos younger) — Japanese was our first language.  However, we told her, “We’re American, we live in America, we’re going to speak American.”  So that’s why we don’t speak Japanese (dammit.)   (Of course this don’t fly with the other brother who’s 7 yrs younger, but he’ll be a different blog.)

The training-wheels got taken off my bike when Steve was ready to ride sans accoutrement.  I think I will always need therapy for this childhood trauma lol.

My mom says we were really close when we were little, if he got in trouble (as boys are wont to do) I would beg for him to not be punished and promised he’d be good.  I can’t imagine ever having done this but she says it happened ;-).

While walking along the street my mother told him to pull up his pants, so he grabbed the bottom hem of his shorts and yanked them to his hips.  When we fell-out laughing he paraded around like an old-man in a diaper.

I used to stick pearls up my nose. This would baffle my parents because it was probably something more like what Stevie-weavie might do.  But he probably would’ve used rocks.  Because rocks are easier to grip with tweezers.  I liked to do things the hard way.

We used to eat white-bread smeared with margarine and sprinkled with sugar & cinnamon on the top as a snack.

One time I caught him stealthily taking a tube of airplane-glue out of the freezer, (that he’d apparently made a bubble form), and lighting it with a lighter.  I was furious.  I was definitely in the “I’m telling(!)” phase.  We used to roll around on the floor in fist-fights punching each other yelling at the top of our lungs until someone split us up.  We were about the same size so it was a pretty good match.  We never went for the face though. I’d call that honor among warring siblings.

I think I failed a class in grade-school because my mom had to make flash-cards with multiplication tables on them.  This was old-school stuff not that new-fangled math,… where we had the actual x between numbers and not a graph to nostradamus the product.  Weave learned the cards at the same time and used to compete with me. He was quicker with the right answer even while being 2 grades behind me.

My mom used to cut the boys’ hair until I took over.  I mean that Asian-bowl-cut can only go so far when you’re in Jr. High-school ya’know?!  I just knew I could do it “better” (which was prettymuch ANYTHING) and they let me experiment while teaching myself which was really big (and brave) of them.  They had two totally different types of hair and the same style wouldn’t work on the other,… so trial & error was the word with that trust, but they had everything that money coulda bought — flat-tops, weight-lines, cut-ins, feathers.  I was the bomb fashionista sister.

We were raised being used to my uncles in Indiana hunting and a deer hanging upside-down from a tree in the back-yard was “normal”.  Steve used to go out hunting with some sort of gun.  But it was on a red moped we’d won in a raffle.  Once I asked “what are you going to do if you catch a deer?”  I guess hunters don’t like being asked that.

We could both fix a car pretty good.

He used to tell me he’d visit the animal-shelter sometimes.  And how a cat had walked against the fence cage so close, so many times that it’d worn the whiskers off the side of its face.  He was so sad while telling me, I asked him why he goes there… I don’t remember what he said,… my theory is, I think it was to offer the animals some sort of solace.

Weave is a science teacher.  Once when we went to visit him in Orlando we visited his classroom and saw the tests he was grading.  Boy were those kids dumb (meaning even WE knew those answers.)  But we didn’t feel it was a reflection on his teaching ability.  He was the type of (asshole-ish) teacher who did (head-smackingly inventive) life-lessons like telling them to read the instructions first.  And in them he’d write “if you’ve read these, skip the quiz, write your name at the bottom then turn in your paper for a 100.”  More than half the class got a big FAIL on that one.  Brilliant.

My brother is one of the damn-smartest people I know.  He’s a trivia wiz athlete and knows more useful and useless information than anyone on the planet.

My broski is also an incredible runner.  When I was training for a half-marathon he was the guru I turned to, to ask stupid-beginner questions (while I was soaking in epsom-salts), like what’s better to take ibuprophen or aspirin because I was sore as hale.  Yea he didn’t need those.  He taught me to always test your “equipment” well before an event and never race in anything new.  30 minutes with anything is verrry different than 2.5 hours with it in your ears, on your feet, or rubbing your skin.  He exposed me to my 1st trail-race up in Chattanooga a few years ago.  At first I was going to just sit and wait but decided to do the 6.5 while he did the 10.2.  I mean, I knew I could WALK 6 miles if I had to, right?  Man was that a moron mistake, hardest shit EVER.  But awesome.  There were hills on that sucker that I didn’t even want to be carried up.  And I almost took longer to do half the distance he did, which was (I don’t care to admit) a much more arduous trek than my lame-in-comparison portion.  But it was the just being-in-nature that was a really killer treat while I was dying on my feet lol.  I don’t remember if I told him I got lost.  But at least there was this other girl there, so we bitched-away our fear.

Yesterday we did the Zulu Trail-race in Cumming, GA.

I was doing the 4 while he did the 10.  We’d done some trail-running on the Eglin reservation in February on his birthday weekend so I knew I could move the distance, but that was Florida.  The idea of hills there is actual HILLS not mountains.  Still, I fell in-love with it and have decided that I’m not going to do road-races anymore.  I want to get good in the woods.  (Gotta be a t-shirt somewhere.)  I seem to (probably metaphorically symbolic for something) be better with obstacles, feeling a sense of accomplishment and gumption going up or down hard places.  The open flat asphalt just bores the crap out of my brain and it’s too-busy screeching to do things like staaahhhpppp.

So I got done in one-hour:36 seconds.  Fairly horrible in my opinion since my goal was 40 mins.  Walking during a run will do that.  Whereas for him, at the 1st check-point he was 3rd overall, averaging around 7 ½ min-miles (WTF-ever, I’d like to get that once in my lifetime NOT in a dream lol.)  Anyways even though I’m shitty at math (see flash-cards paragraph), even I know that’s TWICE as fast as me haha.  It’s just crap-luck that the fastest guys got to a river-crossing and there wasn’t a volunteer to tell the correct direction and it wasn’t marked, so they went the wrong way.  Only about 1.4 miles but Jesus.  Suckification.  And in true-to-form agony-of-defeat, when the slower guys got to the same place, they got pointed the right way so moved into pole-position.  Being a pioneer has tough breaks.

I was waiting at the finish-line and wondered why much slower-appearing runners were showing up.  Clearly they were moving at more like my-pace.  I was wearing my bright-orange hat so he could see me and kept thinking I screwed up to change clothes because he must’ve already passed by.  But then he came motoring up and said a bunch of guys fucking got off-track and lost some major fucking time.  He has a snazzy GPS-watch so he’s going to calc his true distance and time.  We drank some celebratory Guinness (going to start a tradition I think, we did this at the Rock Creek River Gorge run too) which is the liquid-analgesic electrolyte-replacement drink of the universe.   This is the best part because I get to hear all the stories like running in a river for a mile.  Gheeze I ran (stepped) across a river a few times and that water was butt-ass COLD but I didn’t even get sand in my shoes.  I also didn’t get bramble-scratches across my chest & legs from running through a quarter-mile thatch.  But he has an optimistic way of viewing things, he said that while running down a mountain his toes were so numb and held in place by the cement at the tips that they didn’t slide around in the pocket.  Which he thinks helped.  Yea I laughed at that one too.

Rehashing the race really teaches me about tactic and strategy.  One wouldn’t think there’s too much of that going on when you’re just trying to run “fast” — but doing an after-action to review where and how to conserve energy and know what’s “normal” (expected?) during performance is enlightening.  As a neophyte I’m not at that point yet with my current goal being to just not friggin’ walk.  But I’ll get there.  Learning about fuel and prep and recovery in this new environment changes everything with confidence on the trail.  I asked him if he was scared when lost and he said an unusual (poignant) thing, — no, because he’d been lost before and he knew he could deal with the mental-aspect of it if he kept his thoughts in-check and let his body handle the rest of it.  And I think that’s applicable life-advice.

So while we weren’t running the same route we were running “together” and share this experience in the book of our family history.  I consider that another lovely notch to go right alongside the holiday fights.  Because our tree has twists and turns and also many unexplored paths yet to be discovered — and I am really liking this family-turning-into-friends thing.

Have you thought about what your brother(s) mean to you recently and how maybe they could be a person in your life that is wiser and cooler than you never thought?  Try it — when you forget about the rocks & logs, it might make the difference to shift your trail to something surprisingly heart-opening.

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Ruined

Posted: August 16, 2010 in Real Men

dads hat

Ruined

I am an incredible woman.

…But I can’t take all the credit on my own — because I have been ruined by many a man. To all those men who have helped to ruin me, this is how I choose to see it…

You saw the potential in me, the raw natural talent of a gymnast who found a calling late in life. You demanded excellence and coaxed-out the best in me with words of encouragement, gave me productive tools to build on, and committed to me through giving me your time and attention. You dished it as fast as I could learn, helping me to blossom in this new-found form of vital expression. There’s been nothing to ever really compare to how you impacted my life, so it’s been difficult for me to subscribe to shitty coaches or crappy teachers who couldn’t muster.

You forced me into submission by guilting me into a recovery program for eating disorders. Through my hating you for this, I received the knowledge that if I hadn’t been jerked-off that destructive tangent at that point, I’d have imploded and would probably be dead.

When I said lamentingly in woe, “I am a trouble-magnet”, — you said “No. …You are a truth seeker… situations ‘find you’ because the universe knows that you are strong enough to be involved for ferreting the truth.” It made me see myself in a whole different light all the while seeing you with a whole new respect.

You danced me in the kitchen while we were cooking, withholding the words ‘I love you’ for months and months while we lived together, causing me much confusion. What I learned, is that I felt more love from you with one look of cherish and adoration in your eyes, than with many men who said the words too-freely and didn’t back it with action. The vibe between us was inexplicable and irrational due to lack of compatibilities, but I learned that connection between two people isn’t always logical.

You never hugged me or told me I was pretty and smart. What this did in my life, was cause me to investigate the fact of whether these things were true or truly important to me. It gave me the perfect spring-board for determining if this is acceptable behavior from a man to never do or say those things. I found out that real love doesn’t always look like the picture I think it should, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

When I had knee-surgery and was bitchy, drugged-up and wanted to fight, you let me throw a tantrum and didn’t abandon me. I chose this lovely opportune moment to bring up all our childhood dysfunctions and resentments and still, you didn’t leave me.

You continued to love me when I felt completely and utterly unlovable. I wanted to loathe myself and no matter what I did, you were fucking consistent and maintained an unconditional desire for me, unwilling to budge on your opinion. You loved me despite me, stood by me through all my craziness and nervous breakdowns. It perplexed me that you saw these qualities in me that I could not comprehend, but after time, I started to believe what you saw.

You told me to shut-up and listen, then gently oh so gently told me that I had a tendency to make myself a little bit of a victim/martyr in situations aaand I needed to pull my head out of my ass or I was going to fuck-up a new relationship. You showed me that sometimes others can know what’s best for me better than I and that you would honor what is between us by always telling me the truth even if I didn’t want to hear it.

You cried in front of me and shared your greatest fears and pain. You let me follow-through on my demand to not leave you alone even after you told me it was okay… you let me hold you and read a children’s book to you soothing and hypnotizing you with my voice until the traumatic moment passed. You let me witness that a person doesn’t die from being vulnerable and that asking for help and allowing someone to be there for you even if they can’t really do anything to alleviate the situation — is EVERYTHING, in being a friend.

You dumped me and told me to call your therapist. This started me on a journey of self-discovery and awareness, beginning to truly honor myself — thereby living with purpose and choice, authentically knowing myself and presenting HER to the world.

You believed me when I said I could read minds, energetically heal others, and predict the future. You took it one step further by being able to do it yourself. You gave me the bare bones of your demon-ego riding you like a bucking-bronco, sharing all the ugliness of yourself battling with reaching for enlightenment. We lived a path of light-warriorness that burned me to the ground and rebirthed me into a glorious phoenix.

You let me hold your hair back while you puked from chemotherapy. Regardless how long between speaking to each other, whether it’s 2 weeks or 2 months, we are ALWAYS. Always. On a parallel in quirky could-be-a-movie life-circumstances. We’ve learned to find our own answers through seeing it from the others’ perspective. We have shared our dirtiest secrets of the lowest, vilest things that a good-person shouldn’t do, and didn’t judge each other. Mostly because we were laughing too hard at how we are probably going to hell but at least people will LIKE us while we do it.

You were an answer to my prayers toward the universe for wanting a child. By being a perpetual peter-pan, you taught me the invaluable lesson that loving someone through all their neurotic childish behavior is a rare gift in grace and patience and that I could do it(!). And,… that it was something that should be given to my own children (should I have them), not to the men I date.

You didn’t give me compliments. We merely existed for the time that we had together sharing that moment, sometimes (often times) not even talking, because simply being in each others’ presence was enough. When I heard you giving compliments to someone else, I bristled and asked you why you gave them to her and not to ME — you said it was because she needed it. And you never saw me as needy.

When we noticed after several weeks that your mother was refusing to talk to me, you confronted her until you got the story (which was a weird not-even-close-to-the-truth theory she made up in her head that had nothing to do with anything.) You cried heart-wrenching tears in the shower thinking I couldn’t hear you — and later told me, you knew the truth, supported me in my hurt, and that you chose your commitment to me, over her.

When I said I had a vision that you were my brother in a former life you unequivocally accepted it as a resonating truth and even sighed in relief to finally having an explanation as to why our relationship wasn’t going to the next level. From that day forward you stuck by my side and never tried to make it more, and our fights are just as beautiful.

For my birthday you told me you were going to take me out to dinner so get dressed up. Then a limo arrived and we had delicious sex in the back seat, then drove to a quaint mining-town for a romantic candle-lit dinner where the wait-staff brought a shitload of presents to the table. Then we went on a horse & carriage ride through town, to our hotel room that had a jacuzzi and fireplace. You had packed lingerie and clothes for the next day for me. (How does any other guy afterwards ever top that one? 😉

When I told you about the traumatic break-up I had and the gory details of the straw being that he forgot to buy me a Christmas present — you laughed your ASS off. You called me retarded and told me that the NEXT guy I auditioned for the position had to be pre-screened by you, so that I don’t go making the same dumb mistake. You saved me from giving the situation more life than it deserved because you were exactly right and sometimes I get carried away. You made me feel safe in being able to be real with you and be real about stupid shit that can screw up a woman’s mind if we let it.

You thought I was the hottest thing in the world and let me live in jeans, flannel shirts, and no make-up for a year while (you didn’t know) I was depressed. When my mom told me she wished I would marry you, I knew immediately I had to break up. You were the first reasonable, loving boundary I learned to set for myself — that it is not right to date a man because I didn’t want to be lonely or without, and to only date men who display the traits that I would consider worth marrying.

You beat me to a pulp because I smashed your car windshield in with a hammer after you punched a hole in the wall, threw all my clothes down the stairs kicking me out of my own place, shoved me up against a wall and smacked me. I knew it was over when I went back to the condo a few days later, took one look and knew I was still in-love with you. We went into therapy together and I had to join the Air-Force to get away. Years and years later you found me on classmates.com and with your lack-of-remembering-what-really-happened and professions of how I was your first true-love, came the loveliest, most humbling realization understanding to the core of my ESSENCE in being — that it takes two to tango, that God and destiny are in charge, that we are ALL young/dumb and make stupid decisions and that it doesn’t have to be about being evil inside,… and that contrition and forgiveness can heal anything.

Sometimes when I was bad and tried to apologize you cut me off with an “I already made up my mind about you.” You kept playing practical jokes and doing the language of sarcasm to me even knowing it pushed my buttons to no end. You never stopped being your crazy authentic self, sharing the bawdy audacious ludicrous stories of your childhood no matter how much I protested. I grew more about true acceptance and love-of-a-comrade-in-arms and how to be much funner and funnier, with you, than with ANYONE else in my life. You didn’t take me too seriously and it helped me to lighten-up about what was basically unimportant, and to give focus to the meaningful things. Whenever I think of you I either want to laugh, kick you, or hug you. And it fucks me over — because the mate that I choose for myself, has to measure up.

THESE. Are the way that men in my life have ruined me. They set the bar for how I thought I should be treated, and any man that comes after has to meet the standard. I have learned love through much process — if pain is growth, I am obese. By society’s standards, I may have been treated badly yet I have been treated like a QUEEN — and through it ALL, I am blessed because I appreciate men for being men, because I LOVE MEN!! I love how they are different than I — I love that they don’t think the same way I do — I love that they can simplify anything that I want to over-complicate — I love that they just know what they want and don’t fucking CARE if they have the flowery words to express it. I love how they can lift heavy things and how they glow and puff-up with pride if they can help you FIX something/anything. I don’t care if they put the damn toilet-lid down because I’m a smart enough woman to freaking CHECK the fucking thing before I sit down.

I am ruined because so many myths about men are thrown out the window with my experience, because MY men,… have been giving enough, and emotionally-forthright enough, resolving enough, brave enough, and cool enough — to be the most perfect out-picturing to teach me what men are REALLY. Made of.

Can you see now? …How it’s easy to see how I have grown into an incredible woman? I have all these men to thank for it. And I am ruined.