Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Thoughts on Super Hero Culture (In which I ramble about Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdoch)

Heyo interweb. I can't believe it's nearing the END of APRIL already. EEEK! It's one of those things where I cannot wait to meet this baby but also there's so much to do and you think in a panic "what did I do with all my time?! Argh!!!!!" It kinda feels like the last few weeks of high school. You know your life will drastically change soon, but all you can do is watch it in fast/slow motion and kind of peer through your fingers and half watch half hide. Everything you've been working towards all of a sudden doesn't matter, and when does that switch flip? And everything you've always known will be different but the change hasn't quite happened yet even though you can see the finish line. It's limbo I tells ya! All that being said, I am trying to not let panic set in and just do what I can every day. Sounds easy enough, but as you know that can be a huge battle for me, haha. (As that's pretty much the theme of every. single. post.always.)

Also as you know I've always got several posts brewing...and before Mother's Day and all the feelings that will surely come with that day I wanted to write a post OFF TOPIC of baby ect that I've been thinking about for quite awhile;


I do quite like a good super hero tale/movie/comic. Am I obsessed with comics? No. That hasn't been my thing even though I enjoy them. I loved the Dark Knight. I loved the first Spiderman with Tobey McGuire. I really like the X-Men; especially Wolverine and Magneto (aka Hugh Jackman and Michael Fassbender). IRONMAN. Tony Stark is hilarious. I really have enjoyed Daredevil and Jessica Jones on Netflix. But superheroes today have kind of morphed into something and I'm trying my best to put my finger on what bothers me, or at the very least what bothers me about people's attitudes about them.

Being a preschool teacher I see how much movies and what is going on in pop culture influences and shapes the way kids interpret the world. I mean HELLO I was/am the same way. It's the nature of things. Art influencing culture, culture influencing art and so on. As an adult you just think "Oh, this is something fun they enjoy--no worries!" But I can still remember all my favorite movies and books from childhood vividly, and every joke the Genie from Aladdin ever said is still my go to for comedy, hah! As adults our brains are used to filtering in and out things we like, don't like, are neutral towards. As a kid you pretty much take all books and movies and conversations with adults as GOSPEL. And it gets ingrained. Fast.

But the thing that has gotten out of proportion with the super hero thing is this: we are often teaching kids that the important thing about super heroes, is their ability to physical harm others with brute strength or special powers INSTEAD of focusing on the ideas of doing whats right, helping others, and putting the needs of others in front of your own. Super heroes are down for beating the crap out of someone, but they probably won't be a shoulder to cry on when you're going through a hard time. Because they're off beating the crap out of someone. For the greater good, yes. But bear with me.

Two Different Heroes: Foggy Nelson vs Matt Murdoch
I think we're getting away from telling kids that it takes real courage and heroism to simply live a life of doing the right thing. Not in a martyrish way, or becoming a nun or a monk. Hear me out. I know usually the super hero has two identities and sometimes is a do-gooder in some way IRL.  Like Matt Murdoch or Clark Kent.  When it comes to Daredevil, (at least the Netflix series) I often think of Matt's lawyer sidekick friend Foggy as the hero; or as the more relatable hero. (Matt is also a hero of course).  Back to Foggy; he is brave, he takes risks, but in a real life way that you can see happening in your own life.  Like when he went to the biker gangs lair (can't remember what they're called...don't hate) to see someone he thought could help them with their case--he is constantly talking his way out of getting his butt kicked literally or figuratively (it reminds me of the Doctor)!  Or when he stood up to the District Attorney and used his knowledge of the law to not be bullied. (Because let's face it...most bullying/pushing around happens in words and everyday conversations and situations, not always with ninjas or Ra's Al Ghul in a dark alley). I really like that Foggy does his very best to help those around him, but he also takes time to be with friends and actually be a person. Like he actually goes home to sleep for 5 hours after a long day of helping people at his law practice and being supportive of Karen (even though she's in love with Matt WHO IS ALWAYS DISAPPEARING ON THEM), to get back up and start over again. Putting in the work. Studying. Pouring over cases. Spending time with clients.  He's honest with his friends about who is. He is not leading a double life. So the flip side; for Matt Murdoch (Daredevil), he's using something terrible that happened to him (a car accident, acid taking away his eye sight but ultimately giving the rest of his senses a helpful boost, anger and sadness over losing his dad when he was a child) and doing his best to use the tragedy and turn it into something he can use for good. That's admirable, and I think that's an important lesson for kids. The Bible says "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive" Genesis 50:20. It's good for kids to know that yes, bad things can/will happen to us but with God's help we can learn and grow from those things and turn out better and stronger in the long run. Mentally stronger, emotionally stronger, physically stronger, whatever the situation is. I do like that Matt doesn't ever want or intend to kill anyone, even "bad guys". As he is a lawyer by day, he knows the law isn't perfect by any means, but knows it isn't his job to determine who lives or dies (this character is very strongly catholic, which I think adds a very interesting perspective to his character). But what I see kids taking away from this? They see Matt as the only hero. Because he beats up people. (Which is pretty amazing considering he cannot see), but still. They don't take away that his lifestyle of leading a double life hurts those around him. They constantly wonder why he doesn't show up for work, return phone calls, ect. Foggy agonizes over whether or not Matt will be alive the next day. Matt's brand of heroism becomes like an addiction, he lives like an addict. He can't stop fighting. He can't stop lying. He can't stop letting down those closest to him (even if mostly for a good cause). I see Matt and Foggy as two different aspects that could be meshed together to create one well rounded super hero, but I guess where's the fun in a super hero who needs down time and has a personal life, LOL.

(That being said, I do very much appreciate that Tony Stark owns being Ironman, hahahahaha--no double life for that hero! He'll take all the credit thank you very much and I love it).

I know the super hero thing is a framework to show good vs evil, and to show we can stand up for what is right. Sometimes I think we oversimplify it though, and focus on the aspects of "being a hero" that glorify violence for violence sake as I mentioned above. Without really considering the consequences. And don't get me wrong, I do love a good action movie! Sometimes people gotta get redshirted, its how you move the plot along, am I right?!

I think what I'm ultimately trying to say is that we need to teach kids to use their own strengths to help others--that there are SO MANY WAYS to be heroic. And not necessarily just physical strengths.  Standing up for a friend who is getting made fun of, that's being a hero. Offering a listening ear when someone is upset. Quietly doing the right thing, especially (especially!!!!) when no one else is looking. The list goes on and on. And for some people? Their strengths really are in physically putting their own lives on the line to help others; police officers, fire fighters, men and women in the special forces, the list goes on. And that is something to be very honored!  We gotta be careful what we glorify and what we gloss over. We gotta let them know doing the right thing is often really scary and really hard. But so worth it. I think kids see heroes as going into all these situations and being totally and utterly fearless. Um, it's smart to be scared sometimes!!! It's called common sense.

Ok, I'm not sure how to end this. So I'll sign off for now. To go wait for 2 more years for another season of Daredevil, hehe.

*Also, I'd be the worst at being a super hero. I need too much sleep and consistency. Regular meals. I couldn't do the long nights, all the lying...wearing a super tight suit. I would chafe SO MUCH. And sweat!  I'd be asking for yoga pants and extra wide running shoes and needing to pack things like extra deodorant, hair ties, granola bars, SO MANY WATER BOTTLES!  Forgetting to charge any of my gear that needs charged. Injuring myself due to user error with any of the gear. I'm afraid of heights!!!!! I have a nervous stomach!!!! The list goes on. I'm more of a desk job hero I guess. I'll take it. The Avengers will thank me not to join them. Maybe I could handle being Deadpool's cab driver. Who am I kidding, I get very stressed out in traffic.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Passenger

I love when I have several topics I want to write about simultaneously; and they're fighting for predominance in my head and fingers--which will win out? Or will it just be a mind explosion? Will everything that rises also converge? Maybe if I was more disciplined  I would write all of them, cohesively and separately--work on it even when I'm not "feeling it".  And maybe writing them separately isn't necessary. Maybe some of the thoughts should be thrown together, and see what works. I'll work on the the discipline part though.  I've always felt I needed to write, but I struggle with it. I guess it's like "do I even have what it takes to write?" and I doubt, and then doubting leads to inaction. My most worn out and tired vicious cycle! Well, knowledge is power:) I know my self doubt in any area always leads to inaction. So...here's a little bit of action and cycle breaking for you! (mostly for myself).

So we all have those songs that just stick with us through a certain period of our lives, right? And the song (or songs, album, playlist, ect) comes to concretely represent a grouping of thoughts and feelings, ideologies even. And you get intertwined with it, and attached. And then it becomes part of your story, part of your life soundtrack.

Lately for me, I've been listening to Iggy Pop's "The Passenger". I've liked this song for a long time. Something about the music and lyrics speak to me. And I really like the episode of Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown where he gets to hang out with Iggy in Miami. I really resonant with stories of finding peace, or at least becoming comfortable and confident in who you are. Many times this only comes with time, living, and learning through your own mistakes. And the early and middle years are often spent yearning/raging/striving. I mean hello, punk music! It's all about rebellion and in your face-ness! Anyways, in the episode he meets Tony at a health food joint, they eat a light meal and they have a good conversation. (And I'll be honest here, maybe I'm mistaking "inner peace" for "rock star who's brain is kind of fried from years of attending rock n roll high school", but just go with me here). I really liked the fact that when Tony asked him what was a perfect day for him looked like he said sitting on the beach on a hot day being with someone who's company he really enjoyed. That resonates with me in a profound way; maybe because it's not goal oriented but that it's relational oriented.  There is importance about getting right inside and letting that set the tone for your life, or at the very least recognizing things that are of true value. I'm really not trying to sound Yoga Jones on you, promise. Seeing this episode shortly after attending the WTC and being able to feeling peace and hope in the first time in a long time I kinda grasped onto this small snippet--to identify with a 68 year old punk rock king about something so small as sitting on the beach and watching the horizon and feeling something. And allowing yourself to be loved.

You know how I talked about having different topics fighting about which would be blogged about today? I guess I'm gonna try an awkward segue here. In my mind these are both holding hands and make sense.  Imagine a hand coming down from those paragraphs up there and grabbing this new paragraphs fingers, intertwining. Becoming one bigger thought.

Last week Ted had the whole week off. Ever since I decided to be a substitute teacher this year rather than returning to my usual post he has been really great about working, working, working, and then some. Long days, over time, ect. Of course we're blessed he works at a place where he does have plenty of vacation time so neither one of us are complaining here! We have it really good. As in, our needs are met and we have each other---and then some!!! We're fully blessed in so many ways.  I guess with the winter and the not feeling the best, a bit of anxiety was chasing me. I was really missing Ted (I felt like by the time he got home I'd pretty much fall asleep like an hour later lol) and feeling like there was just stuff I needed help with around the house. Like painting the nursery!  Basically I felt like I was wringing my hands but needed a kickstart to do anything. Like a nervous Duracell bunny just going in circles instead of moving forward--I needed a reset. And last week was a really great time of just being together and doing things we enjoy (like doing chores and going out to lunch and watching Anthony Bourdain and LOST and going to the museum and sleeping in).

We're so excited to finally be the three of us, and since we've waited so long I thought saying goodbye to being two wouldn't be hard at all! But I've been having some bittersweet feelings creeping in. Maybe because people keep telling me stories of becoming roommates with their spouse after kids, and barely ever seeing each other. I'm sure this does happen and  you get busy doing right by your family but I guess Ted is such a big part of who I am this scares me. I guess instead of being scared I'll just pray about this transition. DUH. I wish that was always my first instinct rather than doing aforementioned bunny circles.

 Bringing this line of thought up and making it a circle; "The Passenger" is also meaningful to me because one of our MOST favorite things to do as a couple is to drive and listen to music. It is just something we like to do. And I'm The Passenger. The passenger in the song sees beauty and mess and takes it all in.  We've done our driving thing through good times and bad. Heartache and happiness. We just enjoy it. Me because I can take in the world and try and process it. Him because he's physically doing something but also relaxing (and he loves roads...but thats a story for another time, haha). And we're together. We can talk or not talk. We can sing along or hum. My feelings tend to process more quickly this way. And lately I've been playing "The Passenger" at least once when we get in the car to go somewhere. Even the loose harmony on the "la-la's" remind me of how two different voices can make the song/journey better, give it more depth. This song reminds me of that pastime with the two of us. And the bond we have, that loose harmony,  I pray it will only get stronger and more beautiful through this next phase in our journey.

I'm gonna leave this rambling post with some of the lyrics. If you read this post I hope you give the song a listen. It probably won't have the same meaning for you as it does for me...and that's ok. That's what life is all about; we experience similar things and we make them into our own. With different meaning and significance.

Oh, the passenger
How, how he rides
Oh, the passenger
He rides and he rides
He looks through his window
What does he see?
He sees the sign and hollow sky
He sees the stars come out tonight
He sees the city's ripped backsides
He sees the winding ocean drive
And everything was made for you and me
All of it was made for you and me
'Cause it just belongs to you and me
So let's take a ride and see what's mine

Monday, April 4, 2016

Heartburn, Insomnia, and Justin Bieber

SUP blog! This last week or two have been a very mentally and physically trying one. Having struggled so long to get here, I feel so much guilt in making a post about ailments and discomfort. Because I know the discomfort is finite and there will be an end. In the infertility world, there may never be an end to your "discomfort" aka the weight of waiting and sorrow. The pain of watching everyone grow and change while you feel permanently stuck. Now, I know I'll be a MOM at the end of this, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel!! A little girl to get to know and love!

(But..for my sanity's sake, I gotta write about this. Maybe it will help! I know as soon as she's here I'll say WORTH IT!!! And I already think that!!!)

Basically, it started with a feeling like I couldn't quite breathe as deep as I needed too, especially at night. I'm pretty claustrophobic and have nightmares about suffocating so this wasn't fun. I kept calm though and just thought soothing thoughts, breathed as deeply as I could, and propped up when sleeping. (Which I hate doing, but basically need to do or else). After a few scary nights of this, it seemed to dissipate. Hooray! Every deep breath I took was like a magical gift. And I was so thankful! I seemed to (finally) be getting over a head cold and cough situation so I chalked it up to that and moved on.

A few nights later, I woke up in so much pain. I felt like there was a hard knot of fire under my breast bone. And the fire would leak into my stomach and intestines and cause me to writhe around. I would wake up with my back arching and spasming just trying to reach a comfortable position. There was no comforting this. There was no magical position I could find to help. Putting on a bra was like a torture device. It didn't go away after tums or awhile after eating. The best way to describe it would be a constant blaze, and sometimes worse, but never better.

Fast forward to now, two different medications later, and it's still hanging around. There will be a few hours here and there of relief where I just lay or sit there thinking "I'm so thankful to be feeling less pain right now, no matter for how long". Eating toast, crackers, bananas, and yogurt is getting old but I don't want to anger the beast anymore than I already have!  I'm doing my best to learn to manage it. I know the baby is taking up more space and crowding my whole body more and more. I'm glad she's growing!  Above all else if she's ok, I know I'll be ok. But right now I feel so overwhelmed. I don't want to be in constant pain until she gets here. Even if the stars align and I've managed the right food combo and meds timing and am feeling like I can sleep...insomnia has set in. And heart palpitations. And random shots of adrenaline that make you shoot up straight and grab your chest in a panic. (All of which I've been told are normal at this time, although not fun). And everything that happens I panic about when the last time I felt her move, is she getting enough food, will she only like to eat crackers and popsicles because of this?! (that would be a huge tragedy, because Thai food! Mexican food! Indian BUFFET!!!!!!)

Insomnia is the worst. I hate dreading the night. Sleeping and eating are two of my favorite things and they're both elusive right now! (lol--I mean don't you like to eat tacos and then immediately hit the couch for netflix and night napping?! Maybe I need a lifestyle change wake up call like whoa, haha). I feel like I have no more thoughts to think. I've been having six months of content happy thoughts, soothing lifestyle, excitement about the future, starry eyes and so on. And I'm still so thankful and in awe of this person God is allowing us to carry. I guess this is a lesson in how I cope with lack of sleep. I start to feel hopeless and losing interest in anything. I become a crazy person. My thoughts are so scattered and I can't control them. One second I'm thinking about LOST and then I'm thinking about a parent or student from five years ago...then there's the head music. There is a constant weird remix of Justin Bieber songs and praise and worship songs playing in my head; "It's too late to say sorry now.......in Christ alone.....BABY BABY BABY NOOOOOO........this the power of the cross.....you're awful indecisive is what I'm sayin..." And when I do fall asleep for 30 minutes or so, it's weird dreams about people I haven't seen in decades. Being weird. Making me feel weird. And halfway through the dream I always think "Aren't I in my 30's and pregnant? What is going on in this dream ?! Why am I at a weird carnival with the little brother of one of my high school friends, and he's trying to DITCH ME?!" Cue waking up with heart palpitations and being scared and feeling weird. And then cue Justin Bieber. FOREVER!!!!


Lord please help me to trust in you to care for us. I know you've given me this gift and will help me to the very finish! Help me to be wise in how I care for my body. Thank you for supportive friends and family who offer a listening ear and good advice. Thank you for a comfortable home and understanding husband. Most of all, thank you for the opportunity to have a daughter! Help me through this time, that I can learn, grow, and come out of the fire, refined. That I can be a good testimony through trials. And that through it all, our baby will be safe and sound.