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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'd Rather Tango

In my mind, I am an athlete. I have the mindset of an athlete and the body of a couch potato. I don't know how this happened. I used to run miles every day, go to kick-boxing classes, and relax with yoga after carrying toddlers around as if they weighed nothing.

Then I lost that precious gift of motivation. What used to come naturally is now forced, often dreaded. And I can't afford to let go of that inner athlete. I need to tap into that mojo and make use of it...but how?

A friend of mine who just turned 40 had a heart attack this week. She is more athletic than I am, meaning she actually follows through with her exercise goals. This doesn't bode well for me. I need to get off my butt, stop making excuses and start acting like the athlete I know I am.

Although I have been doing Pilates twice a week and walking on the treadmill every day, I know this is not enough. So many excuses come to mind to block me from doing what I used to do as easily as breathing; but I want to live to watch my children grow into adulthood, to see my grandchildren and to travel to all of those remote places on the earth I have scribbled on my life to-do list.

How do I bring that athletic version of myself back out into the world? She's been buried a long time. I know she's still there, sculpted, energetic and healthy as hell. Tapping into that inner me is probably not as difficult as I am making it out to be. It's a a matter of desire overcoming procrastination. What do I want more? Do I want to die young because I watched that television show on the DVR? Or do I want to hike up Machu Pichu in Peru and then swing over to Argentina to dance the tango?

Hmm...I choose the tango. Time to say hello to that inner athlete of my youth. I have a feeling she'll say, "it's about damn time".


Monday, September 28, 2009

Risking Reconnect

When I married my husband in 1996, I thought my adventures in dating were over. I didn't anticipate being widowed, but no one ever anticipates that kind of tragedy. Yet here I sit, once again broken hearted.

Four years ago I became a widow at age 37. Overwhelmed with the idea of raising two children by myself, I didn't even consider the possibility that I would want to date again. Then last October a friend convinced me to venture into the world of internet social networks. Get out there...reconnect with the world...be brave...so I did. I reconnected with the world.

By reconnecting, I met up with an old boyfriend from high school. Yes, it sounds cliche. Old loves reconnect after a 24 year break...he's a widower...I'm a widow...sparks still fly. Cliche, cliche, cliche yet it became my reality. He talked a big game despite his grief being more recent than mine and I ate it up despite knowing it was all too soon for him.

I didn't want to reopen my heart to anyone even though it has been years since my husband died. I didn't want to experience that kind of pain again. Ever. But the internet made it easy to break down walls, to share each other's baggage, to flirt without boundaries and to entertain the idea that I might not have to remain single after all. Despite my reluctance, I fell hard for the man. Damn, it felt good, too. I admit it. Seeing his name in my inbox sent tingles all over. Seeing him in person felt surreal but wonderful. Something deep inside me stirred as if awakened from a deep sleep.

Then it ended abruptly. He stopped answering my emails, avoided seeing me when I visited our mutual home town where he now lives again, and has shut me out. I have taken the hint. I get it.

Risking reconnecting to the big world outside my home paid off in many ways. I have learned that I can still feel attracted to someone despite my loss. For a long time I didn't think there was room in my heart for anything or anyone that didn't revolve around my children, my former husband, my grief or my close friends/family. Now I know differently. Thanks to an old flame, I know I am still capable of burning hot.

Rebel Without an Age Limit

This weekend I volunteered as a safety monitor at my daughter's swim meet. Boring, right? Well, that's what I thought as I slipped on the orange vest at 7:30 AM to begin my patrol of the pool area. My duties were simple: keep people from setting up chairs in front of the emergency exits, patrol the locker room to keep an eye out for unruly children, help visiting team parents find places to set-up, answer questions, and basically just make sure everyone on the pool deck stayed out of harm's way. Simple. No problem.

The problems quickly revealed themselves as I needed to ask one man not to block the emergency exit with his chair and cooler. Much to my surprise, he looked at me and said, "that orange vest makes you feel pretty important, doesn't it?" What? Oh yeah...the orange vest is my attire of choice when I want to feel especially important.

I blew off my first encounter as I walked over to two other men who leaned against another emergency exit and pushed against the door. Once again, I asked them to set up their stuff in that area and asked them to not open the emergency exit door. They looked at me...pushed the chairs away from the door but stayed where they were. Fine. I turned my back on them to answer a question from an elderly woman visiting our pool for the first time with her 3 grandchildren in tow. Behind me the two men started mocking me, my vest, my general purpose for being at the meet...I was more upset about the mocking of the vest. I mean...c'mon! Who doesn't want to wear an orange vest at a swim meet?

Lesson learned: children are better behaved than most adults. How sad is that? Not once during my 6 hour stint as safety monitor (a parent volunteer, by the way!) did one child mouth off to me or try to disobey the rules. Not once.

I am not exactly a poster child for conformity, there's no question about that. But this experience made me wonder why adults feel the need to lash out at a relatively non-important volunteer swim meet safety monitor who only wanted to keep emergency exits free. Is it an underlying anger about our positions in life, for the stress of making ends meet in today's economy or just a general lack of respect? I don't have the answers. I will say I was relieved to take off that orange vest at the end of the day, though!