SuperWoman’s Not Super for Nothin’

It was a humid, rainy Sunday. There were places to go, people to see. WonderMess with her Girl Scounts. BeautyQueen with her favorite babysitter. And SuperWoman, with TalkMonster and his compadre, at the movies to see one of those action-packed thriller-type pieces, Mission Impossible.

A movie like this is not SuperWoman’s top choice. She likes to see those little indie flicks, sometimes with a dash of romance, a woman finding her way, people dancing at midnight in their pajamas. But on this Sunday, audience was the priority, and she had two eleven-year-olds to entertain. Despite its PG-13 rating, SuperWoman assumed her male sidekicks could handle a bunch of cool stunts a’la James Bond or The Bourne Ultimatum or Spiderman, where men leap from one building to another, and stuff like that.

SuperWoman doesn’t mind indulging in the battles and victories of other superheroes, although she’d prefer to see more women doing the ass-kicking on the big screen.

TalkMonster had his popcorn behavior all planned, which is the plastic straw method of getting butter all through the kernels, not just on top. And SuperWoman brought Twizzlers (gotta love those Twizzlers), and juice boxes in her large boxy purse. She wasn’t going to pay 18 dollars for candy and a soft drink. They found seats close to the front and sat down, ready for 2+ hours to escape and be inspired.

Here’s the thing about SuperWoman, though. As you may have already noticed, she’s not the type of superhero who believes in blood and gore. She’s more like a karate sensei, willing to battle only when battle finds her. And the kinds of battles that find her are more the existential kind, in which she stares down self-doubt or sluggishness or the temptation to eat an entire lemon cake. So when the men on screen started shooting their guns, she began to grit her teeth. She looked frequently to her compadres to debate whether this outing was actually a good idea.

“How is it going, guys? This is kind of violent. Are you okay?” she whispered. The boys nodded, as boys do. She looked around the movie theater, where there were other parents, other boys the same age. Were they okay with this, too?

She sat back in her seat. She’d give the movie a couple more minutes, see if it got any better.

But there were more guns, a woman being held at knife-point. Not better. Things were intense, and they’d only been there 15 minutes.

Another crash happened on screen. People were being killed. This was not something SuperWoman took lightly. She knew what happened to impressionable young minds when they saw violence, and she did not condone it.

The popcorn was mostly gone, anyway.

“Okay, boys,” she said. “We’re leaving. This is too much.”

The boys didn’t argue. They are a sensitive set, prone to peace and calm. They’d spent the earlier part of that Sunday morning in the silent worship of a Quaker meeting, after all.

The next conquest? Figuring out to do for two hours before she had to pick up WonderMess and BeautyQueen. The boys had already eaten, and they didn’t want dessert. (SuperWoman could have gone for dessert, a brownie sundae perhaps. Or a Tres Leches cake. Those were good.) The boys didn’t want to go to the bookstore, either, because books reminded them too much of school. So as rain dripped on their foreheads, SuperWoman took action. They’d paint pottery. That store wasn’t next to the movie theater for nothing. How many other people had spent a day watching a bad movie and then painting quietly in a studio? Probably plenty.

“Alright, move it, pick some pottery, here we go.”

She ushered the boys in. One picked a mug, the other a Lego-box-thing. SuperWoman let them fill their palates with warm shades of red and gray, and she got a latte next door at the coffee shop and a couple of cookies to share. The boys set to work, talking, nodding their heads to soft music by bands like The Head and the Heart and The Lumineers as they worked.

What a better way to spend an afternoon.

For SuperWoman believes in peace. And so do these boys.

SuperWoman Writes

This is what it looks like when SuperWoman sits down to write fun stories she makes up in her head using nothing but her beautiful imagination.

The room is quiet. The lamps are lit. The sidekicks are off with their dad, so no one is home to distract her. The setting is perfect.

(Well, not actually perfect. Sometimes the people living on the floor below her blast their hip hop and it’s a little warmer than she’d like in the apartment and there are dishes in the sink that haunt her and some odds and ends that need to be picked up, like the blanket that’s in a crumpled heap on the floor behind the couch. So not perfect, but good enough. perfect is relative.)

First, she goes for a walk. Because SuperWoman needs exercise and to work off the cheese she ate at happy hour with her friend, Susa-Power. (Read more about Susa-Power on the “Cast of Characters” page.) SuperWoman ate a lot of cheese. There was a creamy one and a cow’s milk one and something nutty. But there was also honey and grapes and apricot jam, so fruit items assuaged the guilt of all the cheese. At least she didn’t get French fries! (But she did have a glass of champagne.)

Anyway, before writing, SuperWoman decides to go for a walk. She listens to Florence + the Machine because that woman kicks ass and SuperWoman loves when women kick ass.

Then she checks MFA programs and applications. (Yes, SuperWoman is applying to MFA programs! Isn’t that exciting?)

Then she checks Facebook. Want to know something about Facebook, kids? There’s nothing to see. There’s always nothing to see.

Then she gets up to eat a chocolate chip cookie because she needs a little something sweet to start her work. It’s a small one so she doesn’t feel very guilty.

She sits down. She checks Facebook again. Now she needs to refill her water because she doesn’t want to start writing and get thirsty and need water.

She gets water. She sits back down. But she needs another chocolate chip cookie because the first one was so good.

She eats it. Mm. Yum. Now, writing time.

But there are also Twizzlers in the cabinet, and those sound good. She’ll just have two. She’ll eat two Twizzlers while she works and no more, then she will sit down and write already.

While she’s getting the Twizzlers, she sees the dishes in the sink from when the kids ate their cotton candy ice cream the night before and there’s even some tomato sauce on a plate. Yuck. SuperWoman doesn’t have a dishwasher. This is what she dreams of in her next abode. Should she do some dishes instead of write? Maybe she’ll feel better if the dishes are done first.

No, the insistent voice inside her says. She will write this story from her imagination that she’s been waiting all night to write. She sits down with the Twizzlers and decides she doesn’t need the extra sugar. She gets up to throw the Twizzlers in the trash. She sits back down.

Now, she is ready to go. Woohoo! A half hour. That’s all it takes. Look at the clock, SuperWoman, count down the minutes. A half hour in the chair, and then she’s free. Then she can do whatever she wants, like watch TV or read a book or meditate and stuff.

All she has to do is pull up one of the stories she’s been working on (which one? And should she spend some time submitting to literary magazines?) and start reading and typing.

But first? First she’s going to write this blog post.

 

Image: “searching….question mark?” by Leo Leung via Flickr.

How Many Lattes Should SuperWoman Have in a Week?

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What is it that calls SuperWoman to the cafe, over and over again? It’s a force of TEMPTATION, fiercer than many villains she’s known. Her love of caffeine. The mix of espresso and milk. Lately, she can’t hold back.

Here is something that really happened.

SuperWoman wanted a latte. It was a rainy Tuesday. She left work at lunch time and decided she’d get one and go back to her desk to finish some work.

She approached the cafe, eyeing it up. Was it safe to go in? And she decided, No, No, she would just drink Yerba Mate and save the money and be all clean and stuff internally. Shouldn’t a nice walk around the city suffice to make her day special? Why did she need to add a four-dollar (!!!) drink to feel good? No, no, she wasn’t doing it.

She walked. She let her arms feel the sun. She passed people on their lunch breaks and occasionally felt a warm breeze rustle her flowery skirt. Then she returned to her desk and listened to music (Sylvan Esso, if you must know) while she did a very mundane task.

In the afternoon, she was in a meeting. The rain came in like a Seattle summer storm— because Philadelphia, SuperWoman’s home city, has turned into Seattle—and the latte craving started again. Only this time, the craving whispered, Cappuccino. Cappa–cappa–cappa–ccino. Wouldn’t that be tasty, lovebug?

cappuccino

This is the voice of TEMPTATION, of INDULGENCE. SuperWoman must stand strong when this devil comes knocking.

The meeting ended. The rain petered to a low drizzle. (See? Seattle.) And then, as though driven by some unknown force, SuperWoman grabbed her measly umbrella and made a slow trek to the cafe.

She got just outside the door. She was going to touch her lips to that paper cup and put two Splenda in and mix it around and take it back and let it rest in front of her while she finished her afternoon tasks. It was going to be so good.

TEMPTATION was pulling her something fierce.

It wasn’t until she almost opened the cafe’s door that she stopped and fought back.

What am I doing? SuperWoman asked herself. No, SuperWoman said. No. I don’t have to do this. I can fight this TEMPTATION. I can find joy some other way. I do not need to buy a four-dollar hot drink that adds calories and caffeine to my delicate system. I am strong. 

A-ha!

TEMPTATION didn’t get her! See?

So what did she do when Wednesday came? She got off her morning train and went to the cafe and got a large latte and a scone.

Because SUPERWOMAN doesn’t need to fight temptation every day. Jeez. You think she’s perfect or something?

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Last image: “urth caffe – mmm” by Tiarescott via Flickr

SuperWoman Battles Her Best Intentions. And Pasta.

pasta2

You know how in superhero movies, the superhero does not kill the evil villain on the first try? Or sometimes, even the second? And then, finally, when one evil villain is zapped into outer space, another one shows up in the sequel?

That’s a little big what SuperWoman’s life is like post-cleanse.

She did well. She did swimmingly, in fact. No bread, sugar, coffee, gluten, dairy, soy or alcohol for 21 days. She felt clean inside. Her mind was calm and peaceful—maybe even too calm and peaceful. And then, when the cleanse was over, she decided she’d mainly stick to her diet. She’d still have that apple with almond butter in the morning rather than rushing back to her one true love, peanut butter (which, to be honest, seems like a cheap date now after all those almonds). She’d eat the hummus and carrots for lunch rather than sinking her teeth into French fries or a slice of pizza. She was going to stay good.

Until a weekend without her kids hit, when she went to the beach to visit with her Italian side of the family. There were martinis and red wine. There was bread doused in olive oil. There were meatballs. Oh, were there meatballs. (With clumps of ricotta.) And there was lots of Fra Diavolo getting thrown around. Fra Diavolo with all kinds of fish and long, succulent pasta noodles. And desserts, like Key Lime Pie. She didn’t even know she liked Key Lime Pie.

It was a disgrace to her poor cleansed body, she has to say.

And if that weren’t bad enough, SuperWoman is, in the last week and a half, becoming addicted to lattes. She is not so enamored with coffee anymore. No, she wants a daily latte. Which is enough to break the bank, anyone knows.

Was this cleanse a good idea, she wonders, if she’s now going to zig-zag in the opposite direction? For some reason, her mind is telling her now that since she doesn’t have to adhere to such a strict diet, she can eat whatever she wants every day. And that’s a bad road to go down.

(Oh, and by the way, that yoga for 30 days thing? Also not going so well. She’s missed four days already. Four.) 

SuperWoman might need to call in back-up to get herself back into tip-top shape. Her best intentions about being a superhero who eats well, exercises daily, and makes all good decisions keeps getting knocked to the wayside.

But here’s the upside, the positive thing, the way that SuperWoman has grown: she’s not going to get all judgmental and critical about all of this. She is going to take deep breaths and be compassionate with herself. She is going to remind herself that backslides happen, that one needs to live her life, that perfection is not possible, that she has to mix in a little fun here and there.

She is going to remind herself of all of that, and then she is going to stand up again. And again, and again, and again, and fight those evil suckers as they come at her with more and more delicacies and desires.

Because SuperWoman doesn’t bow before evil villains, and tomorrow is another day.

 

 

Image: “mmm…shrimp fra diavolo” by jeffreyw via Flickr

SuperWoman Gets Her Ass out of Bed (Finally)

It’s been happening for weeks. Months, now. SuperWoman can’t wake up. She wants to an awful lot, especially when with all good intentions, she sets her alarm for 5:30 a.m., or if she’s especially optimistic, for 5:00. There were days, not even terribly long ago, when she woke up at dawn and did yoga (on days she had kids) or walked outside (when she didn’t have her kids, even in the dark, in the dead of winter!), but now, every time morning rolls around, she hits snooze. And snooze. And snooze again.

And some mornings she doesn’t even have to hit it. She’s grown capable of sleeping through the annoying rattle.

It’s bad. Terrible, even. Because who wants to wake up every morning feeling like a failure? Feeling like she didn’t do what she set out to do?

It all happened after the Crisis of Faith, the Dark Night of the Soul, which SuperWoman will have to tell you about one of these days, though it’s not that interesting. It just took the wind out of our tough girl, and she’s been struggling to climb up the mountain to enlightenment again ever since.

So SuperWoman is setting a goal, and she’s making it public, hoping her sidekicks and her super comrades will hold her to it.

For 30 days, she will wake up and do yoga, even if it’s the mildest yoga she’s ever done. Even if it means she has to get her ass out of bed at 5:30.

She just got through a cleanse, after all. She got through 3 weeks of no sugar, no alcohol, no coffee, no soy, no gluten. She ate only friggin’ brown rice and fruit and nuts and bland chicken and salad greens, for God’s sake. So she’s gotta be able to do this. Even if the idea of stretching her limbs at such an ungodly hour seems horrible, seems like the last thing she wants her body to do, when staying in bed next to Ms. Myra Mason is so damn comfortable.

(In fact, maybe it would be better if she slept on the floor, on the yoga mat, so she didn’t have to do much work to get on the thing.)

This week, she vows, is the start of something different. This week, she’s going to push through anything that holds her back. She’s going to keep saying “Move, move, outta here,” to TIREDNESS, to LAZINESS, to MUSCLE FATIGUE, if that’s what we’re calling it these days.

And she’s going to conquer whatever the hell gets in her way.

Because, as you know, she’s, well, super.

Wish her luck. She’s going to need it.

 

Image: “yoga” by Bar Baer via Flickr.