About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Just Passing Through

Deja vu strikes whenever I return to my hometown in South Dakota. My parents still live in the same home where I grew up.  When I am back there, I sleep in the same bedroom where I once scribbled in diaries about my dreams and my mini-dramas.  I look out the same window that I once crawled out of to hang out on the roof and stare toward the horizon, my imagination jumping with ideas of how my life would be one day.

And it all rattles me mercilessly.  It's as if ghosts from girlhood dreams reside in that room and taunt me with my childhood idealism.

Even though so much is the same, I am a different person.  Despite all of my dreaming as a kid, I never imagined this reality.  I couldn't.  My mind was filled with stories from Teen Magazine, romance novels, movies and teenage fantasy.  When I see my friends from high school who have built their adult lives in our hometown, I have an overwhelming urge to be 10 again, to recapture those pure friendships and never let go.

But I have no choice but to let go.  My visit is only that:  a visit.  I laugh with old friends, toss back a few drinks, catch up on lost time, and enjoy the bond of friendship that spans decades.  But the knowledge that I am now just a visitor never leaves me completely, which makes me sad.  And they know it, too.  I am just passing through.

The strangeness of walking through the past that is actually present never gets easier.  I no longer fit in that house or that town or with those girlhood fantasies.  Life experience has molded us all, adapted us to our environments and circumstances.  I guess that's what growing up means.  When I was a kid, I thought growing up meant I could drive a car, stay up as late as I wanted, and never ask permission.  I suppose that's true, too.

As I curl up in my childhood bedroom with memories whispering all around me and my kids sleeping on the floor, I know we're all okay as is.  This room, this town, this house served their purpose to shape me into the woman I am today.  This place where I scribbled in notebooks about the life I wanted served as my launching pad.  Good, bad, mediocre, insane...all of my experiences began in this room where I had the luxury of dreaming and scribbling and sitting on the roof staring a the horizon.

So I let the ghosts of those lost dreams get a kick out of badgering me because I know I am just a visitor in this place.  And I wonder...maybe I knew even then that I was only visiting, stopping by for a few years on my way to another place beyond the horizon.  Maybe some of us are born to always be passing through from one place to another, to spend our lives searching for that elusive sense of belonging.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Under a Starry Sky

Sitting outside staring up at an umbrella of stars quiets my mind like nothing else can.  If I'm lucky, I'll catch a view of a shooting star slicing through the mix.  

Meteor showers are frequent and spectacular up here in the mountains.  I can stand at the end of my driveway and have a 360 degree view of the sky above mountain tops with only the sound of the wind moving pine needles to accompany me.  I am sure it's the same out at sea.  Often I wonder what that would be like to be on a sailboat in the midst of the ocean at night under a sea of shooting stars hearing only the sound of the water against the hull.  It must be amazing.  

I remember being 21, a little bit drunk, philosophizing with a guy from Puerto Rico and a girl from Long Island as we laid on our backs in an Austrian field and studied the stars above us.  Even then I viewed the sky as the great unifier of all humanity.  One moon shines the way for all of us who wander in the night no matter where we are in the world.  

During my most troubled times...when I felt lost and alone and hopeless...I would look up toward the sky and surrender.  No, nothing paranormal ever happened.  Just peace.  Just a knowing that my problems were small matters in comparison to the universe.  

And during my happiest times, my moments of bliss, I looked toward the sky with gratitude and a knowing that all was as it should be.  The earth turned.  The moon shined.  Meteors dashed across the stars.  Constant.  

Where ever you are tonight, I hope you can see the stars.  And if you can't, if the city lights or clouds block them from view, know that they are always there shining and blinking.  Constant companions and witnesses to our triumphs, our tragedies and our tedious concerns.  

No matter where we are in this world, there are stars above us, moonlight to illuminate our path and--hopefully--good beer and new friendships to make our journey bearable.  

Peace to you.  

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In My Own Time

Ah...New Year's Eve is almost here, which means resolution time.  When I look back on my own resolutions from a year ago, I am satisfied about what I accomplished and what I did not.  I am aware of where I tried and where I slacked.  I accept full responsibility.

Why then do I feel such pressure to have done more?  I am walking this path alone, only I know what goes on in my day-to-day existence; yet I allow people close to me to influence how I judge my progress.  I hear it in the subtle comments about publishing, in the not so subtle comments about relocating, and in the blatant judgment about the time line for grieving.  I say..."shh...be still...it's all as it needs to be in this moment."

We all move to our own rhythm.  My beat slowed down for the past few years, became more melancholy in melody as I moved through the stages of grief.  I hear my song changing, hear the rhythm gaining tempo. Our individual soundtracks to life create the songs of the world.  If we were all playing the same tune at the same pace, we would no longer appreciate the music itself.

Just as it is not my place to criticize anyone for missing the mark, neither is it my place to judge myself for hitting a wrong note here and there or moving at a slower beat than my peers.  It is that last part that I truly need to work on...silencing my inner critic. "Shh...be still...it's all as it needs to be in this moment."

As for 2010, I don't know if I'll make a resolution or not.  Maybe this time I'll improvise.  I am creating a symphony at my own pace that is uniquely mine.   That takes time.  That means a rewrite here and there. Resolutions may cramp my creativity.

Maybe we all need to play whatever tune comes to mind at any given moment, jam to the rhythm of impulse and joy.  And if we sing off key in the process or get off beat...what the hell...at least we're playing.

Play on, everyone!  Let the rhythm move you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's All Just Semantics!

My grandmother always said it was poor manners to discuss money, politics or religion.  Well, I'm going to ignore grandma's advice...just this once.  I am sure she would let this one slide.

Lately there has been a lot of discussion about President Obama declaring "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" on his family's card.  I think that in a world with so many problems such as Afghanistan, our economy, Darfur, terrorism, and Iraq (just to name a few) that we should have more important problems to discuss.  But no...there is a segment of the population that insists on harboring a grudge over the word holiday.

First of all, Christianity is not the only faith in the United States.  According the 2002 US Census, the majority of Americans do classify themselves as Christian, but there is also a large percentage that identify themselves as Jewish, Agnostic, Buddahist, and other.

People of all faiths populate this nation.  Why then should our president cater to only the top two most popular faiths?  President Obama is the leader of all Americans.  His declaration of "Happy Holidays" is not a slap at Christianity.

Some people thrive on conflict and seeing conspiracy behind every word.  Such is their right as an American.  Go ahead.  Get your panties in a bunch, but leave me alone.  I choose tolerance and peace over constant battling over semantics.

As a Christian, it is not my place to discriminate against people of other faiths.  I honor my Jewish friends as they celebrate Hanukkah.  I respect people for who they are, not what holiday they are recognizing this December.

This is a season of peace and joy.  This is a season to pray for an end to the war and for the safety of our soldiers.  This is a season to remember those who do not have the freedoms that we do in the United States and hope for their future.  This is a season to remember all the people who have lost their homes and jobs over the past several years and to pray that their lives are blessed with a turn in fortune. This is a season for compassion and acceptance.

Words are powerful, this is true.  So let us use our words for a higher purpose than to argue over what is better, Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas.  It is all just semantics.  Embrace the sentiment.  As we Christians prepare to celebrate birth of Christ, let's remember that Jesus loved all people, that he preached of peace and acceptance, and try to emulate those qualities ourselves.

Peace and love to all of you.  I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Here we go!

Well, I did it.  I pushed the first domino on my path to a major life change and the rest are tumbling along as dominos are designed to do.


Self-doubt loves to whisper in my ear when the night is quiet.  It is a hard voice to shut-out.  I think one of the most challenging aspects of single parenthood is being my own counsel, being the sole decision maker when there are massive decisions to make.  My intuition serves as my sounding board.  That's it.  All me.  Wing'n it.

The kids and I were talking about this big change ahead of us.  They both have their concerns but look at me with absolute trust.  It is not just my life being changed here.  They are trusting that I am making the right decisions.  And I need to trust that, too.

Starting life over at 41 is not something I imagined doing 20 years ago; but it is what it is.  And what it is is scary as hell.  I admit that I am terrified, but I need to press ahead with my plans.  There is an inner knowing at work here that is pushing me onward and I need to trust it.  I need to trust myself.

Trusting myself used to be easy.  Along the way, I started questioning my instinct and intelligence.  That has begun to turn around over the past 4 years, but then comes the whisper of doubt that is never truly silent.

And when I start to doubt myself or feel the self-sabotage coming on I reach for Dr. Wayne Dyer...and Dr. Seuss.  Yep, the words from Horton Hears A Who and Oh, The Thinks You Can Think have comforted me more times that I can say.  Dr. Seuss' words have gotten me through some wild times in my life and have motivated me when all I wanted to do was retreat.  But retreat is not an option here.  I know that.  So instead of Dr. Dyer's brilliant words, now I turn to Dr. Suess for my inspiration to stay true to my path.

To quote Dr. Suess' book Oh The Places You'll Go:  You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  You're on your own, and you know what you know.  And you will be the guy who'll decide where you'll go.  Oh, the places you'll go.

The time for action is now.  I must focus like I haven't focused in years.  No time for distractions or detours.  I can no longer remain in the waiting place.  So despite the constant whispers of self-doubt, I take a deep breath, exhale, cross my fingers and take another step forward.  

As I said, the dominos have begun to fall and I am the one who flicked the first one over.  My choice.  Right or wrong...my choice.  Oh, the places we'll go!  

Thursday, December 3, 2009

See Through Me

Last month I participated in National Novel Writing Month.  My reasons for participating have nothing to do with completing a novel-length manuscript--I have done that several times already.  My main reason for tackling the challenge centered around forcing myself to write a story that paralleled my life more closely than anything previous.

It is a freeing thing to write from the center of your soul without regard to the rejection or criticism that might follow.  Transparency is the catch-phrase circulating the writing world today.  Be transparent.  Bare your soul.

While writing my latest manuscript during National Novel Writing Month entitled "Little Earthquakes", I needed to be more emotionally transparent than ever before because of the personal subject matter and demanding writing schedule.  I didn't have time to second-guess my words or plot line.  This pressure cracked open a channel inside myself I had been afraid to acknowledge.  I thought if I tapped into it,  I would be washed away in a wave of darkness and never return to the light.

The opposite happened.  Not only did the story flow from me as if the words had been dying to be free, light infused my every waking moment.  Creative energy pumped through me in every task I tackled.  I remodeled the kitchen and bathroom.  I completed revisions, finished the final chapters of a lingering story I hadn't wanted to end, and finished "Little Earthquakes" from beginning to end in only 30 days.  By opening that dark place---or the place I had labeled dark---I freed myself.

Writing has always been my saving grace.  Ever since I was a child, I turned to writing as a way of understanding the world around me.  Journals are a haven for my darkest thoughts.  Fiction connects me with a plane of energy that simply makes me happy.  Writing that exposes my true nature is a rush greater than anything I have ever known.  Yes, it's even better than sex....I would compare it to an orgasm that lasts for hours at a time, an extended period of heightened sensation and euphoria.  (and people wonder why I never label writing as work.)

Carrying the idea of being transparent into the "real" world is more challenging than keeping it here in the world of writing where I feel safe.  There are people who have known me for years and have an idea of how I should be and don't want that to change.  Seeing me raw and uncensored is as disturbing for them as it is freeing for me.  But transparency is now more than a catch-phrase in the writing world; it has become my way of being.  I enjoy seeing through myself, seeing through the layers of bullshit, seeing through the walls I have built and connecting with that inner spirit that runs wild and hot at my center.

Theodor Geisel said,  "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." Our true self matters most.  We must be authentic by expressing our true natures, even if that means tapping into the place we are most afraid to go and seeing the truth of who we are.