Friday, October 29, 2010


I’ve truly never considered myself spoiled until just recently. Instead, I consider myself a woman who knows what she wants and takes it, and also until just recently I considered this to be a very good thing. I can now say unequivocally that I am spoiled, but things weren’t always like that.

Growing up, we went through periods of “have” and “have not”, but even when we “had” I wasn’t ever spoiled. Although she never controlled the purse strings for the family, my mom made damn sure my dad held them tight. Growing up poor, she wanted to make sure our needs were provided for, while my dad, raised straight middle class, was more concerned in my individual ability to earning all those extras that I wanted. If you work hard then you can play hard is something I learned in not so many words at a fairly early age. I gladly worked hard to do my chores and earn my allowance, and I never minded working hard because the payoff was always adequate. However, in the times of “have not”, I knew well enough not to expect the opportunity to earn an allowance. Instead, I made sure not to rock the boat, and I held my breath until we made it past those points – the last of which was about a two-year period of severe instability ending when I was 11 years old. From that I developed many lifelong goals that I still hold on to today, some of which you’ve heard me talk about here before. Namely, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to ensure I’m stable enough that I always have a place to live. That’s a fairly easy goal to meet: find and secure shelter. It’s that basic goal that stemmed from a very bad period in time that I think has ultimately contributed to my spoiled nature as an adult.

During those two years that we were without a home things were tight. Food was tight. It sounds severe, but there really was no, “I’m hungry, let’s go find a snack.” Food, like money, was carefully portioned, and like I did with my prior allowance, I largely enabled myself to give up food as enjoyment so as to “not rock the boat”. I didn’t even really think about it at the time this was happening – I just knew it was how things were going to be for now, and I always held out hope that things would get better – if not when I was a child, when I was an adult. Then I’d have control over my own destiny, and I could provide for myself, getting what I want. One day I woke up an adult (last Tuesday, FTW) and realized my daydreams as a poor child had come true – I had not only secured a home, but I had also secured a life where I was able to conceal past wounds and consume until I had more than made up for the sacrifice I made in those two years some twenty years ago.

I found myself wanting to Tweet the other day, “I’m not used to not getting what I want.” It was then that I realized I’m spoiled. And it’s true, I’m NOT used to not getting what I want, and lately it’s been causing me a world of hurt in my heart and in my head, because I don’t just spoil myself with material things – I also expect others to bend to my will. God only knows how those of you who know me put up with me.

Another downside to my knowing what I want and taking it is my relationship with food. I realized last week while on my first week of Weight Watchers that I’m really not used to telling myself no. I want it, I get it, I eat it. I may know things are bad for me, and trust me I do self-regulate with food in other ways. I do have rules. For instance, I really try to only eat one processed item a day and eat whole foods the rest of the day, but I do this because I know it’s good for me and my body. It’s the quantity and variety of whole foods that I use to spoil myself. It fits my guidelines, but it’s more and it’s different, so I want it. Really, that’s my mantra with everything (not just food): it’s more and it’s different, so I want it.

Could I really be making up for those teensy two years of lost time with a life of varied obsession?

I’m scared that I am. It’s funny how intuitively I’ve been obsessed (in other ways) with the idea of balance for the last year or so. It’s like I knew I need a more balanced life, but maybe I just can’t figure out how to truly make it balanced until I address the source of the imbalance? Man, I hope I’m not over thinking things.

In an attempt to gain some balance and shake my compulsion to make up for that two year period of past painful events, I think an easy place to start saying “no” is with food. Now, I’m not going crazy here, and I’m not going to say “no” all the time – I’m not going to deny food as an element of celebration associated with holidays or birthdays, but I really could stand to deny varied overindulgence as a way of coping with, say, a day of stressful meetings at the office remedied by a large dinner and dessert.

Balance is hard, y’all. But I think figuring out your unseen motives in life is even harder. While I may have a long standing track record of spoiling myself, I think that’s relatively okay, but I do need to consider who I am without all the shit I yearn to consume. What I truly need to learn to be okay with is just being, and that, my friends, may take damn near a lifetime to perfect.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Life's about…

The last few months have been both agonizing and enlightening – agonizing because here I am stepping away from this life that I love, that I created and that I placed myself in, and luckily enlightening too because here I am realizing that is where I belong. Sometimes I suppose you have to walk away from something you love if only to find out once and for all if it’s where you’re really supposed to be at that point in time.

Most of my “deep thoughts” (in quotations, yes…) come to me when I’m alone, reflecting, but not so this weekend. I knew this past Saturday night was going to be epic if for no other reason than my bestie and I getting to see Greg Dulli perform in Baltimore – that’s right Baltimore (not DC)! We’re old, we’re somewhat set in our ways, and it was lovely to be able to see an artist who we love 15-minutes from our houses. Not to mention, Greg Dulli fucking rocks (even though we had what could be considered an extended “awkward exchange,” which I’ll get to later).

After having spent our first few hours out at the CCRG bouts – and after catching a young couple having sex in the VIP bathroom while desperately trying to tinkle before the car ride – Beatdown and I headed over to the Ottobar for our second part of the evening.  We thought we got there after the opening band, so we grabbed drinks and got a good spot up front and to the side. Then we saw the opener take the stage and made the very hard decision to leave our prime spot and go get drinks. We’d figure it out – we needed more beer. Another bonus of having the show in Smalltimore is that we know everyone everywhere, especially the Ottobar, so Tecla (aka, Shevil Knievel – OG CCRG) took good care of us at the bar; we never had to wait. We walked back down to the front and got a half decent spot (it was half decent when I stood on my tiptoes). Sure we couldn’t see as well as we could at the other spot, but this second spot turned out to be amazing, because it was one of those shows where instead of fighting the person beside or behind you for personal space, we all became friends and even held spots for each other as we went to get beers throughout the night. We met the guy behind us and his friends first. Then we met the guy on the other side behind us who was a space-encroacher until I asked if I could help him get to where he wanted to go. Then the guy in front of me stepped back and told me his wife said for him to say hi to me – it was my acupuncturist’s husband! By the time we met all these people I had a ample-sized flat-footed clear-view-of-the-stage spot where I could sing and dance and drink and enjoy myself. Then, it was like the set was written just for me. Ya know, those songs you get stuck listening to at a certain period in time? Well, the set opened with my current favorite Dulli song, and I couldn’t have been happier. With my bestie to my back, I looked around, and I couldn’t help but feel all the love that was in that room that night – it was definitely the driving force behind the cool vibe in the audience, and it certainly seemed to be present on the stage as well.

It wasn’t until the next morning when I woke up still drunk with a smile ear-to-ear that I thought: life's about loving what you got and taking chances and having fun – above all: being in the moment. I stepped away from what I love (derby), and I’m glad I realized the extent of my ties to derby and CCRG. I used to think derby was an obsession, and maybe it was that too at some point, but I really truly love my life in derby, and I couldn’t be more excited to be reentering that world. It’s where I belong. At the same time, I think I’m coming back having reconciled who I am. Before derby I was Tara. For the past 5 years I’ve been Cindy Lop-her (which coincidentally was visible to everyone at the Dulli show, because I accidentally left my change of shirt at home). Now I think I’m seeing how I can be both those people, and being both those people makes me really incredibly happy. It’s still not perfect or easy, but what in life is?

As for taking chances, sometimes I think you just got to take a leap of faith and shake things up a bit, otherwise you’ll never really know if what you have is what you want or if something yet undiscovered is that something more you think you’re looking for. Stepping away from derby made me certain I had (and will again have) what I want. Talking to Greg Dulli after drinking that much was also risky. He, like everyone else that night, pointed to the CCRG patch on my jersey and said “roller derby?” and I gave the same response I had to everyone else that night: “I just came from our final bout of the season, and I left my change of shirt at home…” After that, awkward discussions about derby ensued (although Beatdown will tell you I acted perfectly cool , which I still find hard to believe), and the night ended with me getting schooled by a Dulli superfan who, while having Dulli sign his 25 pieces of crap, explained to me very authoritatively that Dulli’s been clean since blah (he gave a date). Dulli, however, was much nicer, thanked me, and told me he had to get up early the next morning. Was it the best outcome? Maybe – maybe not, but you can’t blame a girl for trying, and sometimes just trying is fun in and of itself!

It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve allowed myself to be fully in the moment – from hanging out at derby to being rejected by Dulli. It was a night where even the bad things were good, and I want to have nights like that more often.