Saturday, June 6, 2015

Moving Towards a New Life

Photo by le vente le cri.
I got a text from a friend today asking for help.  She and her husband of more than twenty years have decided to end their marriage and he has very rapidly taken up with a new woman. Predictably, she is younger.  Predictably, he is engaging in activities and actions with her that he was unwilling to do with my friend, his wife.  He is beginning to introduce her to the children.   To my friend it looks and feels as if this woman is slipping into the fabric of her recently vacated life, still warm from her attempts to save it.  Repair it.  Make it work.

This was her home, her family, her life.  Once her greatest ally and the guardian of her heart, her husband has turned cold towards her, choosing not to see her tears.  As much as she knows their relationship is and should be over, she still cannot bear the pain this ending has wrought upon her heart.  Perhaps she expected him to wait until it was official. Perhaps she expected him to fight harder to save their relationship rather than to turn away from it so easily.  Perhaps his lack of pause or pain is unbearable evidence of how little she had meant to him.  Her mind is tortured with these thoughts as she navigates this ending.

Her text came at a moment of weakness.  She was contemplating asking him to take her back.  Anything to escape the gnawing pain gripping her at this moment.  She desperately wants a life-line out of this wretched despair.  Anything, even going back to him, would be worth not feeling this

She cannot yet see a future without him.  It stretches empty and uncertain before her.  She is wavering.  Her first tentative steps taken towards her new beginning are like being pushed towards the edge of a cliff and and being forced to jump without knowing what lies below. She has no choice as she runs out of ground and the vastness of the void looms before her.

She doesn't trust it yet.  She trembles on the edge, pushing back against the force that drives her towards it.  The moment right before she falls is the most terrifying.  She can see it coming. On the ledge of her old life, she still feels some tenuous safety.  Maybe she won't have to jump? Maybe she can talk her way back onto the ledge and avoid the fall.  Fear grips her.  She is teetering on the edge.  Maybe she should just turn back and accept all of the things that  brought her to this place? 

I can see her there.  I can feel her pain.  I see her indecision, her fear of the unknown.  What if no one ever loves me again?  What if I am alone?  Can I do this on my own?  Am I doing the right thing?  Is it worth it?  These questions are in her tear-worn eyes as she stares over the edge. 

I want to call to her, "Jump! Jump into your future."  I want to tell her how beautiful she is, how strong she is.  I want her to allow herself to find the love and joy that I know she deserves and that I know awaits her.  Let go of the edge...let go of that life.  Let him go towards his future but don't follow him. Create your own, on your terms.  Turn your eyes forward and have faith that there is a place for you there free of pain and loneliness.  

You are not standing on that edge alone.  All of your friends and family are beside you and ready to take that leap with you.   We'll help cushion the fall.  We are coming with you on this journey and we can't wait to discover your new life with you.  Our hearts have plenty of space for you and our ears are yours to bend.  You will always belong with us and our love won't leave you.

Grab our hands my friend. We are here.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Poop ReBUTTle: by guest blogger Mark Campbell

Photo by Lindsey Turner
I was recently catching up on journal articles and came across an interesting study on a topic that I have never seen published outside of  The Journal of Proctology and rest stop bathrooms.  The article was cleverly entitled, "The Self Report of Fecal Incontinence and Constipation Questionnaire in Patients with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Seeking Outpatient Rehabilitation".

After reading the report, I had some questions and rebuttal.  First, I question the construct validity of a self report when asking the individual the number of times that they have pooped their pants.  I think it is safe to say that the numbers will be skewed suspiciously downward.  Sure, who hasn’t been sick in a Peruvian hostel in a deep canyon and found themselves dropping a little mierda in their pantelones?  It happens to all of us. These are the outstanding stories that we hand down through the ages, passed on from one generation to the next.  “Your great grandfather, Harold, soiled himself in a train accident.”  “Why I remember when Aunt Ethel laughed so hard she soiled her best churchgoing dress.” 

But I doubt we will get the real poop on the number of daily accidents on the way to the store or picking the kids up from soccer.  Shart anyone?

The second issue I have with the report is the usual APA format which requires it to have a section that is called, "Data Collection".  Are they really collecting this data?  Where is it stored?  Do you run analytics, or are the analytics runny?  I am not even touching, no really, the double entendre of the ANALytics.  

As one continues with the study they come across the actual questionnaire which asks the individual to respond to such topics as:

"How much of a problem for you is the bowel leak when you are awake?"  The options are anywhere from not a problem to a serious problem.  My question is, who does not think that having a turd run down their leg is not a serious problem?  

"How often do you leak feces after you thought you had finished defecating?"  Maybe a little more time on the toilet and a little less rush -rush to get out the front door would help this issue.  Really, you are in way too much of a hurry if you have to jump in the car before you finished your daily constitutional. 

"How often does your bowel leak when you are physically active, including coughing or sneezing?"  After reading this section, I know that I will never ever give anyone my handkerchief after sneezing.  If you have to prioritize what bodily fluid to clean up after sneezing, I would put odds that the hankie will not be used on snot. 

"To what extent do you feel your sex life has been affected by your bowel leakage?"  Clearly, anything less than a "shitload" should not be listed as a possible answer. If you are pooping all over your partner, it’s affecting your sex life. 

I did not see any questionnaire for the poop-ertrator’s partner.  I think we may see some pretty different answers if we start polling everybody that is sleeping in the disgraced bed. 

And finally, the last probing question "Do you require manual assistance to have a bowel movement?"   Honestly, I don't even know what this is. My imagination conjures up a myriad of visions; belly rubs, performing a modified self-Heimlich maneuver, a plunger, or any assortment of plumbing tools.  This leads to another question, how physically flexible must the individual be in order to administer the mechanical self assisted devices?  If the individual lacks this flexibility, do they have a very close friend who can first, help them out and second, keep a secret?

In the end, I think the questionnaire brings up some very dark issues, I for one, am not sure I want to go there. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Gift of My Mother

I'll give you a daisy a day, my love.
Photo by Don Sutherland
"You are so pretty, you make the moon smile." 
My Son

Almost twelve years ago I lost my mom.  Sadly, this anniversary is aligned with my daughter's birthday.  She died weeks before I was to become a mom myself.  It was sudden and tragic.  She was 52.  It took the wind out of my life and left me heartbroken.  She was my best friend.  Her presence, near or far, was felt within me, like my own breath.  She was wrapped around my soul- my first thought in heartbreak and my first thought in joy.   Her love and belief in me, fortified me.  I was stronger in all things with her at my side. She was part of me.  And if you know anything about moms, it won't surprise you to learn, that after all of these years without her, she still is. 

Sometimes, I embrace the grief of losing her.  I can let it in a little at a time and allow myself to feel the pain of the emptiness, the scar of her loss.  My thoughts have turned from sadness, slowly over time, to warm gratitude for all that she gave me.  I still wish for the impossible gift of one more moment with her.  One more hug.  A shared laugh.  Silent togetherness.  

Life moves forward after loss.  Time like the tides of the ocean, keeps pushing us forward, oblivious to the obstacles and debris in our paths.

I find my mother in myself.  In my laugh or expressions and it feels as if I glimpse her for a moment.  She follows me in life and has become a guiding hand as I mother my own children.  Her spirit is woven into me and now, into my children.   

I understand her better now.  Who I was to her.  Who children are to a mother.  And I realize that my love for her was matched in even measure.  That as much as she was and is a part of me, I am that equal part of her.  

The greatest loves I have known in my life are my mother and my children.  No other piece of my life could be more physically connected to me, more necessary. Love in all of it's forms is the most blessed here, in mothering.  It courses through me in waves, cresting in highs and crashing in lows.  Through all of this, the love endures, and I grow stronger, more connected, more whole.  Death and distance cannot weaken it.   

Twelves years ago, I believed no other loss could be greater.  No other pain so wretched as losing her.  What in my life could ever hope to fill the space in me that was hers and heal me?  I have found the answer now.  My healing lives in the sweet words of my son and the laughing gift of my daughter.  Their love and joy fill me with her presence.  I experience her in these moments.  We are both mothers. My life was this gift for her and her life, this most gracious gift to me. 

Happy Mother's Day Mom.     

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Nipple Hair and Blindness: Silent No More!

Photo by Mike Kline.
Nipple hair.  Nipple hair.  Nipple hair.  Ugh, just pairing those words together makes me cringe.  Even as I write this, I am wondering if I might have one sprouting at this very moment- hidden, unknown, until perhaps the bathroom light catches it at just the right angle or I unwittingly poke my husband's eye out with it's impressive, twisting length?  With horror, I realize that increasing sightings of unwanted body hair- poking from my chin, from the back of my thighs, and clustering around my belly button, are just a few of the myriad signs of ironic and tragic female aging.  "Aren't wrinkles enough!", I cry out to the heavens, "Surly, my skin deflating like an old party balloon is enough to remind me that I am on the back-side of life?" But alas, the Gods have a sick sense of humor and I am at the mercy of time. 

To make matters worse, whilst these hairs, which seem to grow to maturity over-night, stake out new and surprising territory upon my body, another nefarious process is at work.  I am losing my eyesight.  More specifically, I am losing the ability to see anything within an arm's length radius about me.  Thus, I am unable to spot these suckers before they grow to alarming lengths.  Once upon a time, I could see all of my bodily imperfections clearly in an ordinary mirror and remedy them forthwith.  This vision, so sadly taken for granted, allowed me never to suffer the embarrassment of say, an unseen white-head or clingy booger (let alone a blossoming beard).  I could, with expediency, pluck the offending intruder or skillfully cover up a blossoming blemish.  I possessed easy confidence that all of my sunscreen was rubbed in and my tinted moisturizer application was streak-less.

Now, as my eyebrow hair becomes prolific and my nether region expanse of hair spreads like the tributaries of a fertile river delta, I grow less able to spot these changes, to manage them, to remove them before having to accept that this is actually my body- my inevitable future.  

Aging requires more maintenance and more prevention strategies.  In my youth, body management was played like a zone defense. I loosely paid attention to the occurring events of my body- my weight, my skin, my body hair.   Over forty, I have had to change my game plan. In order to prevent my body from becoming like the overgrown Amazonian jungle, I have had to adopt a full-court-press.  I have spent more time plucking, shaving and waxing in the the last six months than I had in the first 30 years of my life!

I realize now that restaurants have not begun shrinking their menu font size for the purpose of saving money on printer ink (apparently the most expensive substance by weight in the entire universe).  This thinking was spurious and wishful.  Feeling rather grandmotherly, I have found myself moving reading material further and further away from my face in attempts to find just the right eye-to-menu distance and bring objects back into focus.  Staring into my bathroom mirror, my visage appears unchanged, a nasty trick played by my fogging vision, much like the age diminishing effect used in Elizabeth Taylor's notorious White Diamond commercials.  The opacity of these commercials progressively became so dense as to render her ageless and unrecognizable (see Saturday Night Live).

I have developed some effective compensation strategies such as increasing the font size on my ipad and purchasing my first (of many) pairs of "cheater" glasses.  Wearing glasses is a whole new world for me, as I have always had perfect vision.  I now have about 300 pairs of these glasses, lost endlessly, around the house in various shades and patterns. I admit when I wear them, I feel a little Hipster...that is until I look up from the book I am reading and tilt my head down to allow me to focus clearly on the world that exists beyond my immediate surroundings.  It dawned on me during one of these maneuvers that I had begun to perform the dreaded Bifocal Head Nod!  Good Lord if there was ever a sign that I am getting old, this was it! (On the upside, every time I wear them, my husband mutters something about "hot librarian" and gets a little randy.)

I have one friend who has her husband inspect for, and remove her nipple hair.  I am certain my own husband would balk at this task and it would most definitely strip him of all remaining sexual desire for my person.  I choose instead to suffer this one alone.  The cheaters help.  I can see more in the mirror and manage most things.  They do not however let me see the finer details- such as my reforesting areola or my stalwart chin whiskers.  Thus, I have also purchased a small round magnifying mirror, itself, a total shit show.

These miracles of self-esteem destruction, show EVERYTHING.   There is no hiding my "perfect imperfections" with this sucker.  I suppose it is better than being ambushed by bushiness, but one look at your face in these things and you will wish blindness upon the earth!  I can only stomach the full body inspection intermittently.  A quick once over.  Chin? Check.  Boobs? Check.  Belly button? Check.  It never ceases to amaze me how quickly a new hair resolutely replaces a recent pluck-ee.  I grow hair fast. Great. I've got that going for me....

I haven't yet started waxing my face (except my eyebrows which now require actual TRIMMING!).  I am not sure when I should start that or if it is even necessary.  A recent frost coated face-beard (affectionately called the "Frostache"), acquired while powder skiing, was a premonistic glimpse into my inevitable facial hair future, as the feathery snow clung to every hair on my face.  I'll leave the face waxing decision up to my wax-ologist.  A professional hair removal strategist and the most knowledgeable to guide me through personal denuding.

I stand by my theory that the aging process of a women is far nastier (and more critiqued) than that of the aging male.  If a man gets biggie.  If he gets crows feet, he is distinguished.  If his chest gets man-booby, we of the fairer sex, judge him less harshly and cuddle him anyway.  We overlook his bushy eyebrows, ear-hair and pendulous balls.  Even his protruding belly becomes endearing.  Not so for the aging woman.  She must fight the good fight and remain nubile and hairless as long as her faculties remain about her.  

Unfair as it might be, it is our cultural lot.  I know at some point, perhaps in the not so distant future, I will surrender to mother nature and allow the wild flower garden of my body to shape itself as it will.  I imagine at this point in my life, my level of attraction to others will mean less to me.  I may even prefer sexual invisibility.  On the upside, in my golden years, the natural barrier formed by my prickly body hair may even serve as a useful defense against Viagra.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Living the Right Way: Brownies or Kale?

"I'm ninty-nine for a moment;
Dying for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are...
There's never a wish better than this
When you only have 100 years to live"
Five for Fighting

Photo by krupp.

I put my back out recently.  Just saying that makes me feel old and reminds me that I should work out more, that I've let myself go.  I have my priorities all wrong, I am spread so thin that I am not doing anything well right now.  I am a bad mom, a bad boss, and a flabby, aging mess.   I should go to the gym, I should read with my kids more at night, I should skip that know, like the people do who have all of their shit together.  The great moms and the fitness nut jobs.  They make brownies out of kale and quinoa for Christ's sake!  Kale just rots in my fridge...I know it is good for me, I just can't chop it finely enough to choke it down.

Like most of us, I am certain that there is someone out there living The Right Way. Living The Right Way is ideal, perfect, profound and so far, fully unattainable.  People who live The Right Way are perpetually happy, their kids are Einstein-angel-athletes, their bodies are nubile into their 70's and they are living lives of profound meaning and fulfillment. (Lucky bastards!)   They are fashion literate, perfectly manicured, buffed and polished.  They volunteer 40 hours a week and have three successful businesses.  They've been happily married for 40 years and have passionate sex every day...with the same person!  They have no bad habits, have abundant, deep friendships and are paperless.  They are one with nature, they know and pursue their passions, they love small children and puppies and win at everything.  They are never sad, stressed, angry or depressed.  They have eliminated the "I shoulds" from their vocabularies and these enviable mofo's have replaced them with "I dids!"

Some of them even write books to try and educate the rest of the world on living The Right Way.  I really want to live The Right Way, so I have bought and read most of these books.  From the plethora of reading I have completed thus far, I've learned to live fearlessly, with integrity, let go of the past, embrace change and how to seize the power of now.  I have yet to find a book however, that tells me how to actually put all of these great concepts into practice. (Further evidence of my abject incompetence at living The Right Way)  It could have a title like " Living the Right Way "For Dummies": Ten Steps to Put Every Piece of Advice Espoused by the Universes' Inventory of Self Help Books Into Practice:  That, or Die Alone and Miserable.  Loser." 

I mean, that book would have all of the answers, and I would finally get this living thing right!  I would no longer fall short in any area of my life.  In fact, I would be at the top of the happiness heap and everyone not living The Right Way (which is almost everybody) would look to me as the gold standard of living awesome-ness. Having perfected living The Right Way, I would then write a multi-step self-help book (not too many steps) to share the keys to mastery.  It could have the title:  "I Did it and You Can Too!  Living The Right Way in Five, Idiot Proof Steps" .

I must admit that I haven't actually met anyone living The Right Way. (That doesn't mean they don't exist!!) Even some people I've met whom I thought were living The Right Way turned out to have significant points of unhappiness or regret in their lives.  I recently attended a conference on Emotional Intelligence.  I could use a few IQ points in this realm and was enthralled by the engaging, charismatic teacher.  Later, the group gathered at a bar to get shit-faced, and I had an opportunity to talk with her.  I was eager to learn more about her, so sure was I that I had finally met someone who was truly living The Right Way

Siding up to the bar beside her, I started with, "Wow!  Great seminar!"  She eyed me over the rim of her mug, nodding in thanks as she took a long draw on her beer.  "Gosh, it must be so awesome for you, knowing all this stuff!  You really must have it all together!"

She momentarily choked on her beer.  Coughing slightly, she slowly put her drink down.  Wiping beer-infused spittle from her chin, she turned to me slowly and replied, "Honey, I don't have anything together!"  

My eyebrows popped to the top of my forehead.  What?  How could this be?  She seemed so knowledgeable.  She knew so many cool answers and she had even shared several easy to employ tools one could use to guarantee desired outcomes within our lives!  I downed my margarita and stared at her blankly. 

I started to wonder, what if there isn't anybody out there who knows The Right Way to live?  My breath caught and a thought unbidden rose to the surface of my endless internal dialogue...What if there is no such thing as The Right Way to live?  I dropped down on the bar stool, astonishment overcoming my one-drink buzz. What if this whole thing was some made up ideal that we all use to convince ourselves that we aren't good anything?  What if no matter how accomplished or healthy we become, we just keep raising the imaginary bar to insure that we never actually Get There? 

Who are these imaginary people, living the supposed "Right Way"?  Have I simply conjured them as false reference points against which, I compare myself and all my supposed failings to, in order to validate my self-flagellating judgments?  

Suddenly, I looked up.  What if we are all just creating a made-up reality based solely upon what we imagine life SHOULD be like?   Aren't we all just looking at each other for the answers?   There wasn't any life manual handed out a birth.  Maybe the cultural expectation that "girls in America shave their legs" is really just some made-up thing we randomly decided makes chicks sexier and demonstrates good hygiene?  Could we have just as easily decided to bind our feet or pierce our lips with large splinters of wood to demonstrate feminine beauty? (I suppose, since other cultures have.)  What if there actually is no right or wrong, no good or bad?  What if people had more possibility than being ideal?  

I realized in that moment that all of humanity is fully committed to the idea that someone out there knows how to be "ideal", whether it be an ideal mother, an ideal wife or an ideal friend.  I grew more concerned by how easily we jump on these bandwagons of ideal, not unlike lemmings jumping off of a cliff.  

Mentors guide us towards these ideals.  Wear these clothes! Follow these trends, and stop cussing (yes, they are random letter compilations in a made-up language, but ignore that and just follow the rules!  They are the ideals we have all agreed upon right?).  Are these just rules for belonging?  And if they are, who sets them?  What is their motive for setting them and why I am I so damn willing to follow along?  My willingness to follow along most likely reinforces them, helps the ideals take hold.   How else can you explain the popularity of Silly Bands or Uggs?

"Can I get you anything else?"  the bartender asked, snapping me out of my thoughts.  I ordered a gluten-free, Kale salad and another margarita.

As long as I continue to believe in an ideal, a Right Way of living, I will never allow myself to be good enough at anything.  I will continue to doubt my choices and compare what I have accomplished or don't to imaginary others whom I wrongly assume to always be one step ahead of me in their know-how of life. 

Stunned, I began to wonder, "What if I am doing just fine?"  What if the path of my life is exactly right for me, the sum of my choices, none of which are right or wrong, they just are?  I realize now that we are all just guessing.  We are all searching silently for guidance and along the way we have somehow turned our quest into a belief that there are actually answers.  

In that moment I knew that my life was simply the culmination of choices.  In a moment of disappointed awareness, I knew that most of these choices I had surrendered to others.  Whether to the fictional cultural ideal I belong to or to the imaginary "shoulds" and expectations of others I had blessed with my acceptance. Was my life about pleasing others or pleasing myself?  My mind would not allow me to ponder that for very long, because I was sure I knew the answer.

With this new clarity, new possibilities started to emerge.  I looked up in time to see the bartender putting in my order.  "Excuse me?" I called a little too loudly.  

Startled, he turned to me, "Can I help you?"

"Do you have any brownies?" I asked.

"I am pretty sure we do," he replied, " I can check for you."

"Great!" I said, a smile touching upon my face.  "If you do, could you throw a couple on my salad?"

Friday, January 31, 2014

Friends Forever?

Photo by carbonNYC.
Friends give us the courage to lift the blinds on our hearts-to open up and show what we generally keep hidden from the rest of the world. Unknown.

A necessary condition of being human is the need to have connections with others. In fact, being alive depends on belonging; belonging to family, belonging to friends, or belonging to community.  Deep and stable connections have been shown to increase longevity and happiness.  They add delight, anticipation and joy to our lives.  On the other hand, isolation or exclusion lead to varying degrees of depression and in extreme situations, to madness.  Despite the necessity of belonging, I cannot help but wonder, why these relationships are so often filled with drama, angst and heartache?  Aren't we all looking for the same things in this life?

I have been chatting with a close friend recently about our experiences with friendships lost.  For both of us, these relationships were and still are, highly valued, deep connections, within which we had developed intimacy of confidences and a soulful love nurtured by shared trust and vulnerability.  Their loss is painful and perplexing.  We find ourselves mourning their loss and seeking an answer to the question, why?

We cannot help but to take these losses personally.  Lack of reciprocation is a blow to self-esteem.  My friend finds herself ruminating over this loss and seeks out convincing words that might return the relationship to its' former place in her life.  This space, now vacant, fills with longing and sadness. Emptiness creeps in and out of her awareness.  A periodic reminder that someone she deeply cares for, no longer chooses to have her in their life.  She is stuck in a mental loop of searching for possible explanations, none of which eases her pain or gives her solace.  Like a bad break up, she can't move on without answers, without closure.

I tell her not take it personally, after all, we cannot control others' choices.  This doesn't offer her much comfort, as only she knows the depth of their bond and what they have shared, solid evidence, for her, of the true nature of their friendship.  Surely, she thinks, with all that they have shared, she cares for me just as I do for her? In anger she feels used, discarded, and now questions everything.  Did it ever really mean anything?  She holds herself back from reaching out.  I warn her, what if there is no response?

I work hard at not taking these losses personally.  I cannot know the state of another's heart or the path upon which they are travelling.  Assuming that I am somehow at fault or unworthy in some way is an assumption that overestimates the clarity of my intuition.  I believe instead, that each of us has a limit to our capacity for connecting.  The more deeply we are connected with someone, the greater amount of our connecting space that relationship will require in order to nurture it.  As we move through life, we add and subtract friendships in a way that keeps our connections in balance.  When new relationships are developed, we redistribute our space, and some in our lives may find their part reduced or eliminated while others will see it grow.

Depending on where we are in our lives with work or family or any other myriad of things that call our attention and time, the degree of connectedness with each of our relationships will evolve.  If you can find comfort in your new place, you will accept that your role in this person's life has changed.  There will be times in the future where you will cross paths and your connection may reignite and you fall easily into the comforts and fondness you once shared.  Does their fleeting nature make the friendships any less valuable?  Does it have to be all or nothing?  Should we grieve it's loss or instead, be grateful that we ever had this gift of belonging at all?

When a friendship fades away, choose instead to open yourself to the possibility that you now have more space to connect with another. This new connection may be just around the corner and have all of the potential to fill up the emptiness and leave you whole once again.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I Dreamed of a Better Ass

“Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.” 
― Sigmund FreudThe Interpretation of Dreams

I overslept this morning.  I'd say it was worth it, had I been lost in some fantastical dream, but like most of my dreams, once conscious reality crept into my bleary brain, I was struck by it's raving lunacy.  What the hell was that?! I thought to myself.  Do other people dream stuff like that?  What makes it more alarming to me, is that as these dreams unfold, they seem completely normal and rational and I engage in their occurring as if everything and anything were possible and reasonable.

In this particular dream, I was in possession of a rare and powerful plastic gem (the kind that sticks to cheap children's treasures) (In fact it had just popped off of one!).  It's faceted redness was so powerful and magical, it was sought after by malevolent women who were trying to steal it for their own, evil purposes. They would ply me with questions, to try and trip me up, but I was wily and clever and would nary give away its' location.

It was up to me to conceal it, protect it from their thieving hands!  After a quick visit with a professional, indoor-carpet football team (bantering like a college freshman), I dashed into my bathroom where inexplicably, I carried a plethora of vintage Johnson and Johnson products.  I was desperately looking for the perfect place to hide it, somewhere these crazed maidens wouldn't think of looking.  

I felt a sense of urgency as I knew they would be at the bathroom door any moment!  I could not let them have this precious trinket, but everywhere I looked seemed too obvious a place to stash it. As I frantically sized up the contents of the room, my eyes settled upon the ideal hiding spot.  I was certain they would not think of looking in here!

Dental floss!  I grabbed the rectangular container and hastily thrust the "rock" inside.  I was struggling to close it back up, frustrated by the really small connectors that kept bending when I tried to close it. I knew I must put it back together perfectly lest I give the jewel away!  Finally, I was able to close the cover, but as I did, I began to ponder the immense power of the "stone".  I understood at that moment, the limitless possibilities that I could enact were I to use these powers, now so brilliantly concealed in a common dental hygiene product!

In haste, I reached the case around behind me.  I closed my eyes and conjured my most concentrated magical command!  "FIX MY ASS!"  I shouted boldly.  A golden burst of stars surrounded me and my buttocks began to tingle.  I felt an odd pressure and squeeze as the magic began to transform my formerly lackluster gluteals, into Victoria Secret worthy plump-awesomeness!  I stopped for a moment, forgetting the mayhem of the hunt, to check out my new ass in the bathroom mirror...Not bad!, I thought, admiring the results.

Just then, there was a thud at the bathroom door, as the jewel hungry banditas arrived to take my ass-fixing prize.  No! I cried in my head.  I threw my body against the door.  There were too many of them!  I panicked, crying out for help, hoping the football team that was sitting in the room just beyond, would come to my aid!  An arm pressed through the growing opening of the door and in that moment, I knew that all hope was lost! As the women came crashing into the room, I awoke, and the dental floss fell to the floor...

I tried to describe this dream to my husband.  "All the power in the world and you fix your ass?, he asked incredulously, "Way to take care of the priorities!"  

Like most dreams I have, they are often pure insanity.  My husband listens distractedly, knowing that nothing I am about to say will make any sense or have any meaning.   They are incredibly vivid and I often remember them in great detail.  They are so vivid in fact, that for many moments upon waking, I often have trouble discerning what is real and what was dream.  This is surely an issue when I dream of my husbands infidelities which are usually accompanied by a nasty divorce.  On those days,  I stare at him angrily throughout the day, harboring anger and resentment for acts my subconscious mind has fabricated.  That bastard!

There are some perks to such dreams, including ones that involve highly passionate, illicit affairs with random movie stars or acquaintances.  Often, I fight waking, hoping to draw out the pleasure of these dreams.  It seldom works, but does provide valuable fantasy fodder for later use.

I have tried to analyze these dreams, like the one I had about murdering a boyfriend whom I was dating at the time, many years ago.  In this dream, I had tied him to a chair and ruthlessly force-fed him rancid spaghetti until he died. (totally true)  The meaning of that one was pretty clear to me, and I ended the relationship shortly thereafter.  I wonder though, do our dreams really tell us things?  Take my dream this morning for example, could it be as simple as me hating my ass?

According to Your Amazing Brain, each of us dreams up to five times a night and we only remember a dream if we wake up in the middle of it.  Other research suggests that we are dreaming constantly while we sleep.  Some psychologists believe that dreams serve to distract the ever active brain enough to allow it to sleep, a way to keep it busy if you will.  Other alternative practitioners suggest that dreams can be interpreted for deeper meaning, acting as predictors of your future or offering insights into your life known only by your subconscious.  The dream interpreting website Dream Moods, provides a dictionary of dream topics and their accompanying meaning.

The chasing component of this morning's dream suggests stress, anxiety or avoidance in my waking life.  Ass transformation was not available in the dictionary.  Dreaming of your buttocks is however, and suggests that there is insecurity and reveals situational struggle.  Perhaps this dream was really just about ass anxiety?  Interestingly, were someone kissing my buttock in the dream, that would mean someone in my life was not being genuine (aka. an ass kisser, DUH!).

The assignment of meaning does seem to be arbitrary, but is surprisingly detailed.  Some people make their living unveiling the hidden meaning in other's dreams.  For me, I was pretty stressed yesterday about an ongoing issue, and the chasing might be a reflection of that.  The football players in the dream were much younger, and one of them had commented, that it was too bad I didn't have a better ass, which may parallel some insecurities I have regarding my middle aged status. 

I even look at the dreams I have about my husband being a heartless cheater as signs of our "meant to be-edness" as in them, I fight desperately to stay together.  I suppose no one will ever know the full extent of meaning or function of our dreams.  Researchers in Japan however, have recently developed a "Dream Reading Machine".  Using MRI technology and an immense database algorithm, they were able to predict dream content in three subjects with 60% accuracy!

To be on the safe side, I am going to up my buttock toning exercise regimen and take care of the perpetual stressor that has led to my increased anxiety.  Tonight I will try something new and place framed photos of Ryan Gosling next to my pillow so as to influence the content of my dreams.  After all, according to Dream Moods, having dream sex with a celebrity indicates my drive to be successful!