The Forgotten… Women in “Power”

All too often you see the books about the “Overworked Woman”… the woman overwhelmed and stressed because she is balancing life as a mom, a wife and a professional. Far too often we neglect to recognize the single women in positions of “power” that may not have children, or a husband, or a significant other… and it is seemingly believed that we are the ones that have it easier because we have “less” on our plates. As a female Athletic Director, I’m often hinted at, as to how much easier it must be for me not to have to worry about how many hours I work since I don’t have a family at home… As if a family is the only thing that defines a woman.

I am a woman in a position of power. I am a woman with needs. I would love to have someone to come home to in the evenings. Someone to briefly talk to about my day… but then someone to remind me that work isn’t all there is to life… Someone that reminds me I AM a priority… regardless of how others treat me or what others expect of me.

When they tell you to make sure you’re putting your oxygen mask on first… Single women, they’re talking to us too! We are just as important. Our lives have just as much value. We bring just as much, if not more, to the table. A husband does not define you. CHILDREN do not define you. Owning a house does NOT define you. Society’s definition of a woman’s role is just as skewed now as it was 50 years ago. So WE need to remember to remind one another that we are just as valuable. That we bring just as much to the table, if not more. And while no, we may not NEED a significant other, it’s nice to know that someone out there values you too.

It starts with me. I need to remind myself that I AM a priority. I DESERVE to focus on myself. I have EARNED that level of respect. I am my toughest critic. I must also be my balance.

37 Years & My Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

I always had this image of what my life would look like when I got older, as I imagine most of us do when we’re growing up. The life I envisioned, what I had hoped it would be and couldn’t wait to experience; It wasn’t a dream too big. It wasn’t at all unrealistic. I wanted the house with the big open backyard, BBQs with neighbors and friends, nights next to a fire under the stars, game nights. I wanted movie nights and popcorn, walks through the trees. Season tickets to our favorite local team. I wanted to be well into sharing my life and experiences with someone else by my side. Someone to do life with. I didn’t necessarily have a dream of marriage… the big white dress or a wedding, though it would have been nice when I thought about it. Kids were a toss up, but I always saw myself at least having the option to decide whether or not children would be added to our life.

Here I am, steadily heading down the road 37, and I come to terms with the fact that the reality of those dreams have all but washed away. I have none of what I had envisioned, and the scary thing is… it’s all my fault. I cried in middle school. I cried in high school. I cry now as I write this. I cried because I knew back then that all of those things that I had dreamed, weren’t going to be meant for me. I could literally feel it in my soul at that time. Have you ever heard of PostSecret? If not, look it up. I learned of it at a museum I visited… and this was my PostSecret: I fear that those tears I cried growing up, and the unsettling feeling of “knowing” that plagued me, were the moments I spoke into existence that I would never be gifted those things in life; My self-fulfilling prophecy.

As I approach 37, I have no idea what’s next. I don’t know what the revised version of that dream will be. At this time, I’m unable to even envision the options. All I know is that I now have to pick up a blank canvas, because all the dreams I had for me… My time has passed. That clock expired.

When I take an honest look back over the last 20 years, I’m truly not sure where I went wrong. I can’t figure out which moment was that defining point that put the nail in the coffin on those dreams. Perhaps I’ve built my confidence on a foundation of lies and failed to notice that foundation cracking and crumbling beneath me. Perhaps it was bold faced denial. Sometimes we tell ourselves a lie so frequently, that we can no longer decipher it from the truth. Perhaps that is the lens I look through when reflecting on the past… unable to change the view from my perceived truths to the reality.

Welcome to my midlife crisis, titled “New Beginnings”.

I don’t know what’s next, or even where to start, but I know I have to change.

Concert Life

I originally started this post on Facebook the other day reminiscing while listening to a playlist on Elton John Pandora… As I sit here on my balcony, weather cloudy but perfect, the song in the background is “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx… I suppose also an accurate feeling in this time of social distancing and quarantine.

Anyway, sitting there listening to “Bennie and the Jets”, I couldn’t help but think about some of the best concerts I’ve been to, and those that I can’t wait to get back to. First time I saw Elton John was with my mom, 2006 or so? She had been insisting for years that I go with her, and I finally caved, though with great hesitation. That very next day I had the “Captain & the Kid” album in my possession… I LOVED his concert!

The next time I saw Elton was at Outside Lands with my brother and his then fiance, now wife! One of the best music festivals I’ve ever been to, hands down (and I have been to my fair share). The INSANE feeling of being just 40 yards from the stage at the conclusion of seeing both Sam Smith and St. Paul and the Broken Bones, there was Elton on piano, me completely sardined (no exaggeration) between thousands of people… Looking back over my shoulder in a hopeless attempt to see a familiar face as I’d lost the group I was with during the last set. All I saw was a sea of what seemed like miles of crowd behind me… What I imagine Woodstock would have looked like. To hear that mass amount of people singing to Rocket Man and Bennie & the Jets… That alone was an adrenaline rush.
Because of my mom, John Cougar Mellencamp was my first concert at maybe 6 years old? To this day I remember going into the bathroom with her at the venue (Cow Palace?? Not sure…) but I remember these teenage girls telling me how cool my mom was for taking me to my first concert so young. Because of my mom I have seen all of these as firsts (and many as multiples) Paul McCartney, Poison, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, just to name a few. Forever grateful to her for bringing music into my life in such a way!

Because of my aunts and uncle, I have seen Sammy Hagar more times than I can count, once of which I even went alone! Sammy and Tahoe have been a yearly staple with my family since I turned 21, and some of the best memories created.

Another incredibly memorable moment in music… My little cousin, Matt, absolutely loved Journey, and that little guy had my heart (his grown ass still does!). I was so excited when I was able to get tickets to Def Leppard and Journey, and even more excited to be able to take him. I, myself, was looking forward to Def Leppard, but couldn’t wait for him to see Journey. I couldn’t care either way about Journey… I knew a few songs, but nothing that had me itching to see them. I remember getting up to use the restroom before Journey opened. Afterall, I didn’t mind if I missed them opening. It was just Journey, right? Standing outside of the restroom I hear this guitar riff that sends chills down my arm as they open with the Star Spangled Banner. By the time I got back to my seat, I was beyond hooked and damn near in tears at the sound of the strings. I remember the drummer singing “Faithfully” and I just stared in awe… His voice was as smooth as glass and just beautiful. Needless to say, I have seen Journey several times since with and without Pineda.

While there are so many other moments I could share, I’ll wrap up with the first concert my dad took me to. Talk about taking one for the team!! Yep… Backstreet Boys… and we had great seats!! Now, I had never been to a boy band concert (I didn’t get to see NKOTB until I was in my 20s!) I, nor my dad or brother, had ANY idea what we were in for with the insane screaming teenyboppers. What in the actual hell?! I’m not sure how my eardrums survived, and can almost assuredly guarantee that I wasn’t able to hear much of the concert over the screaming! With that being said, I will always remember that concert and how special I felt (and how funny I found it) to be there with my dad and brother… Neither of which were elated.

During this time of sheltering in place, music has been my saving grace, but it has also caused me to reflect on all of the amazing times I’ve had with friends and family. I turn on a playlist, sit back and close my eyes… Or I get up and dance and sing like a fool… but I don’t care, because in those moments, I forget that I’m alone.

For those looking for a great read while at home, pick up Elton John’s “Me”. I am just over halfway through with the book and have had a hard time putting it down!

And as if it were meant to be… the closing song of this post, “Come Sail Away” by Styx. #CurrentMood

20/20 in 2020

It’s been 25 days since I last went in to work… I’m not even sure what day San Joaquin County or California officially went on a Stay Home Order… all I know is it’s lonely… and it sucks. For a person like me that cannot sit still or focus on any given task for long periods of time, trapped in a small apartment, this is hell.

A large majority of us walked in to 2020 talking all about vision, change, how 2020 was going to be different… You know… Kind of like we do every year… But this year had to REALLY be different. Afterall, this is the year of Vision; 20/20 Vision.

Here we are 4 months and 7 days into 2020 and all I hear is “Here I go again on my own, goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known. Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone. And I made up my mind. I ain’t wastin’ no more time.” If you don’t know that great song by White Snake, head over to YouTube before you even continue forward in this post. I can literally feel that song pumping through my veins at this point in time.

This year will be nothing like any of us have envisioned or eagerly anticipated, but it is, without question, a year of 20/20 vision. Look around you… The families that are spending time together, doing things they probably can’t remember the last time they slowed down long enough to do. People taking time to call and have real conversations with people they haven’t seen or spoken to and who knows how long. (My uncle is thrilled that I’m working from home, as I’ve actually answered my cell both times he called. He’s so accustomed to receiving my voicemail, followed by no response from me… Because I suck at keeping in touch.) Us individuals are forced to look ourselves in the mirror and face all of the shadows that we have kept tucked away, for better or worse. We are forced to find distractions around our living space to keep our over active minds occupied and the anxiety and sadness at bay. This is the year of which we are forced to take a deep look at ourselves, and with that, have in many cases, been granted the amazing gift of “time” to do something about it.

The question is… What are you waiting for? This pandemic is here. It is a grave challenge, but by no means is it an excuse. This is YOUR time to slow down for a minute. YOUR time to take everything in. YOUR time to just sit outside of your living space, close your eyes, listen and breathe. Let this be YOUR time to refocus your energy on what really matters the most. My challenge to you is to reflect on how you’re using YOUR time… and how you can choose to grow through it.