Kindness

I’m an openly kind person, I view people as people and it really is that simple.

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Probably your face right now, but hear me out…

There are people in my life who put up with my wackiness. They 100% accept me for my loud voice, my rotten choice of words, and my filter that doesn’t exist. I want to be that person for other people. Everyone should get to have those people who put their unique traits on a pedestal. The biggest right that we are given as humans is the ability to be 100% true to ourselves. Society has fucked that up; judgement has fucked that up.

In my late elementary years, in a school I had just started attending, some of the boys in my class coined a nickname for me: linebacker. 

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What I should have done when they called me that.

Sure, my shoulders were broad, I already knew that but I was legit shook over it every single time. I liked football, I was aware that the linebackers were the stocky ones, the solid ones. There are people who are torn down way more than I was in the sixth grade, but the gist of it is that I never want to make someone feel that way.

I get no joy out of making someone uncomfortable, it’s actually the opposite. I will make myself uncomfortable before I shove an intentional, or unintentional, difficult situation on someone else. I’m super fucking nice.

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Don’t let this post make you think I’ve always had this outlook. I’ve had my moments of bitchiness and have absolutely done my fair share of unkind things. I used to make prank phone calls to teachers, pretending to be another student (the true victim), and ask for private tutoring. That’s fucked up. I have also sabotaged relationships, others and my own, and felt little to no guilt over it. Why was I like that?

I’ve fallen into the judgment zone and I’ve said some harsh things, I’m human, but it’s never felt good. Accepting folks for who they are, their struggles and achievements, are not mine or yours and that’s the beauty of it. Maybe your hair is less than normal, perhaps your awkward stance is there as a wall, I don’t know your story until I ask and actively listen.

Often times I wonder if others look back on their life and wonder what the hell happened? Why did I act a certain way? Why did I do those shitty things? I don’t have my own answers to those questions, what I do have is clarity. I know who I am, who I want to be, where I envision my future, how I want to be remembered when I’m gone – and at the root of it all is the kindness.

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Jenny, Jennie, Jenni, and Jen

Being given a common name is a vicious cycle. My dad’s name is Darwin, but he goes by Jim because his middle name is James. He then went on to name his children, Catherine, David, and Jennifer. I named my son Bennett because it seemed unique at the time, only to find out I’d failed miserably, there was another one in his first daycare, along with an Emmett…which is close enough.

In school, I wasn’t a fan of there being so many of us in the same class.

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We’re everywhere. We dominate in my age-range, sixth grade was the year it started bothering me though. I started out as a Jenny, but then I met Jenny and went to Jennie for a very short time. There was already a girl named Jennie Wagner and not only did I not want to share, I especially didn’t want to share with her. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but it was sixth grade and I thought she was prettier than me so, in true girl-fashion, there was a distaste for her. That’s how I became a Jenni.

My maiden name allowed my initials to be JLo… like the Jlo. That was one of the few reasons I felt a little sad changing my name. It wasn’t serious enough to hyphenate…but I do miss telling people not to be fooled by the rocks that I got, cause I’m still Jenni from the block.

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As I got older I morphed into a Jen, even my mom calls me that. However, when I went back to waitressing after taking a decade off, there was already a Jen. So here we were again. I put Jenni on my name tag to differentiate between the two of us. I hadn’t been called Jenni on a regular basis in years. Now, as a thirty-something, the majority of people in my life would call me just that, Jenni.

Moving onto something else, am I supposed to pretend I’ve never been spoken to in Forrest Gump talk before, every single time? Not to mention I wait tables, making my exposure to strangers, more specifically, the jokesters to be borderline excessive.

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I’ve been told that my Grandma had a say in my name, and to just throw this out there, I do not dislike my name. Do I wish it was something more unique? Yes, I’d take Juliette, Janessa, or Josephine (middle name Potter) over Jennifer all day… but I’ll take Jenny, Jennie, Jenni, and Jen… it could be worse.

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I procrastinate every chance I get, but I stress over the clock every minute, of every day.

I am unapologetically loud, but keep my mouth shut too often.

I love my thirties, even though I thought I’d hate them.

I love with everything I have, but I cautiously hold back claiming protection.

I talk too fast, but I don’t say enough.

I refuse to buy new clothes when there are plenty of perfect items at the thrift shop for $1.99.

I am obsessed with Twitter, but don’t tweet enough.

I hope I can finish a book sometime soon, but it’s a massive conquest.

I think co-sleeping is a terrible idea, but don’t judge people who do it.

I (still) love Bernie Sanders and don’t care who knows it.

I stole a car once, it was my stepdad’s… but we laugh about it now.

I have written a personal account of my own Me Too moment and wonder if my offender has read it.

I worry what other people think, but I do what I want.

I attended three different high-schools before graduation, but I’m grateful I did.

I cuss like a sailor, but I hold back when needed.

I love myself, but I’m harshly critical.

I over think, but I rarely think things through.

I know who I am, but I often wonder if I’m wrong.

I am happy, but sometimes I am overcome with sadness.

I’m carefree but filled with anxiety.

I know I have a lot to offer, but I frequently doubt myself.

I love my pets, but God damn, they are fucking annoying sometimes.

I think parenting is hard, but it’s the most fulfilling venture I’ve been on.

I show kindness every chance I can, but sometimes my judgments get the best of me.

I love wine but hate the next day headache.

I am too old for excessive selfies, but occasionally sneak one in.

I love to write, but it’s so easy to throw on the back burner.

I found myself in Wisconsin, but miss Minnesota.

I am a person who values friendships but should put more effort into them.

I wonder what life would be like if I’d made different choices, but regret nothing.

I.

Homebody

Putting effort into activities and my appearance can be fun, but nothing beats the exercise pants that I don’t exercise in, an oversized hoodie, and lazy hair. I’m probably the most extroverted introvert you’ll ever meet. I love being around people until I’ve had enough. Most of the time it’s not even personal, it’s this switch inside of me that can go from mingling to, I’m-ready-to-leave-right-now, and it can flip pretty fast.

Why do I always regret making plans? Even fun plans, I can’t resist the comforts of my home. There will always be a piece of me that’s thinking about pajamas.

I hate going to the grocery store. It’s my least favorite place to be… but I still find myself there like every day.  The husband usually does the big grocery shopping, because I get super irritated by other people, I constantly feel in the way, and long story short, I need to get the fuck outta there if we’re in there more than fifteen minutes.

He sometimes feels the need to give me “the talk” beforehand that goes something like this:

Okay, we have plenty of time, we are not in a rush… don’t start getting pissy in aisle three. 

Taylor Swift, playing the role of Me. 

It just comes down to comfort… I love being comfy. Give me a rainy day or shit, even a snow storm in April and there will be a small large part of me that is super stoked to be stuck in the house. I’m a monster who gets annoyed by sunshine because it’s making me feel guilty for wanting to chill inside the house. Ugh, can a girl get some clouds!?

When you become a parent the guilt of being a homebody will result in doing things that you, and occasionally even your child, don’t even want to do. Easter egg hunts? Birthday parties? The meeting of iconic childhood make-believe folks like Mr. & Mrs. Clause?

My kid never wanted to sit any anyone’s lap and never once even got close to a person in an Easter bunny costume. One year I took him to see Santa. We waited in line, him being all wishy-washy about going through with it the entire time.

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via/askideas

Now, I don’t think less of the parents who make their child pose for a picture while crying with a stranger who’s getting paid to put up with that bullshit… I just don’t subject myself or my offspring to it.

We were almost up when he made a solid two-year-old stance of I do not want to do this. We exit the line, get about 10 feet away and Bennett whips around and yells out, as loud as he can, I WANT A FIRETRUCK! A TRUCK! It was adorable, but then I felt like all the other parents were looking at me thinking, what a bitch of a mother, won’t even allow her son to sit on Santa’s lap…he clearly wants to. We should have just stayed home and written the fake man a letter instead.

Staying home is just always a better option.


H is for Homebody: A to Z Challenge

Grieving

I have grieved more friendships than I have loss of life. I’ve actually grieved more of anything than the loss of life. For a thirtysomething, I should feel lucky. The last, and only person close to me who has passed away is my Grandma Vie, and I was thirteen.

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Grandma Vie

My grandma was a career waitress with a bluntness about her. When I’m questioning my own choice of things to blurt out, I like to think she’d be proud of who I became. She served at a restaurant called The Normandy, while I currently work at a local supper club inside the building that was once called The Normandie back in 1948.

When my siblings and I were little, if my dad told us not to stir up our ice cream she would come up behind us and start whipping the spoon so fast around the bowl, until she could hold it upside down and the ice cream would stay put. She’d look at my dad and say, “We aren’t stirring it up, we’re mixing it” – or something along those lines.

She moved to California and we’d chat on the phone here and there, but then she passed away. I grieved her. I remember feeling overcome with sadness at her funeral and wishing that I’d made more of an effort, and asked her more questions. I grieved as much as a selfish thirteen-year-old girl can grieve.

Twenty years later and I’ve skated by with only celebrity deaths catching me by surprise.

The only other funeral I attended other than my grandmas was my mom’s uncle. I did not know him, and I also did not know it was going to be an open casket. When I laid my eyes on him, from afar, I never got any closer, the pit of my stomach dropped and I can still remember how it felt. Am I going to faint? Puke? That’s a dead fucking body… A lifeless, soulless, shell. The awareness of that feeling makes my situation bittersweet.

Two funerals in my entire life. That seems unheard of and kinda bizarre. So many people in my life have lost people they love – sisters, brothers, parents, friends. I offer my condolences, if they want a hug, I’m always good for that but I have not the slightest idea what they’re going through. My adult-self has zero experience in that category, therefore, there is no advice I can offer, plenty of sympathies, but zero empathy.

When is that day going to creep up on me? How am I going to manage my already kinda chaotic emotions? It’s morbid to think about but I’m sure you think about fucked up things too.

Right? 



G is for Grieving: A to Z Challenge