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Quote: When will I know?

Miles Morales: When will I know I’m ready?
Peter B. Parker: You won’t. It’s a leap of faith. Thats all it is, Miles. It’s a leap of faith.

Later….

Peter B. Parker: How do I know I won’t screw up again?

Myles Morales: You don’t. It’s…

Peter B. Parker: I know… a leap of faith.

from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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Jane Fonda in Five Acts: Quotes from the HBO Documentary

HBO has phenomenal programming. Lifelong fan here. They’ve done it again with another fantastically amazing documentary about womanhood. On the surface, Jane Fonda in Five Acts is a video autobiography. But Jane Fonda is so deeply vulnerable with her sharing that she actually speaks to the female experience the world over. On deeper levels the documentary is like a study of the stages of womanhood, femininity and self-discovery.

I have never been married, but the things Jane navigated within herself through her marital relationships resonate with me because I have learned similar lessons in different types of relationship interactions. Her message is so universal and so plainly delivered, it makes Jane Fonda in Five Acts a film of profound beauty and depth.

Act 1: Henry
Any healthy country, like any healthy individual, should be in perpetual revolution, perpetual change.

You have to have the courage to speak about the changes that are needed. And that includes challenging, at the root, the corporate power that has taken over the economy of this country.

We looked like the American Dream. Rich. Beautiful. Close. But a lot of it was simply myth.

A lot of other people were defining me, all of them men. I never felt real. I thought, I just have to get out from under my fathers shadow. Maybe if I go to France and join the New Wave, I will find I really am. I was always in search of somebody who was real in there [in me].

Act 2: Vadim
Here I was, trying to not be defined by men, ended up with a man who was the ultimate definer of femininity. That’s where I was at that time. I wanted someone to mold me. I wanted him to help me become a woman.

I felt like I was a bad mother and I was terrified. It surprised me this feeling of fear. Later on when I looked back on it, I understand.

I always saw my mother as a victim. Women=victim. I am a woman. I am damaged. I am going to be crushed.

My mother was a very complicated woman. A very damaged woman.

I heard my father say things about my body that has twisted my life ever since.

“Where are you? Where are you? Why won’t you show up?” Words she imagined her toddler daughter spoke to her through searching eyes.

I desperately needed structure. I desperately needed guidance. And, uh, I’ve always turned to men for that.

Act 3: Tom

I had suffered from an eating disorder for a long time. Nobody knew. The thing about bulimia is is that it’s a disease of denial. It takes a lot subterfuge. You’re very tired. You’re very angry. And You’re very self-hating. And I realized, I’m heading to a really dark place. I’m either going to head into the light, or I’m gonna succumb to the dark. And it’s a life or death thing. I went cold turkey. It was really really hard. There was something about taking control of my body in that way that got me over the addition. It changed my perception of myself. It was a revolution for me. Though completely unintentional.

He thought I was superficial. That I wasn’t smart enough. But I was producing my own movies. The kind of movies that say the things that I think needed saying.

He fell in love with somebody. And I found out. It did knock the foundation from under me because I could never imagine life without Tom. If I’m not with Tom Haden, then I’m nobody.

Act 4: Ted

I learned a lot with all the men in my life, but learned the most with Ted. His vision is macro and I’m micro, so we were a great partnership.

We had a wonderful ten years, but I had to hide a part of me in order to please him.

Ted couldn’t be alone. So my whole life was about him.

As we moved through the decade we spent together, I became more of a feminist. And so my focus was more on women’s empowerment. But it’s hard to be a complete feminist when you’re in a marriage that doesn’t quite work. None of my marriages were democratic, because I was too worried about pleasing. I had to be a certain way in order for them to love me. I had to look a certain way. And I looked different for all of them. I wanted to be living as a whole Jane. A fully realized Jane.

When you reside within your own skin, you can feel it. You’re holding all of you. Your anger. Your kindness. Your judgementalness. Everything that makes up what you are. Including the fact that you may be stronger and braver than the man you’re married to.

There was a softer voice saying: If you stay, you will never be authentic. You will never be able to be whole.

Act 5: Jane
It was probably the most profound turning point of my whole life. I left this man and one part of me was so sad. And the other part of me said, “I’m gonna be okay. I don’ t need a man to make me okay.” That was it. And I’ve never looked back.

I wish I were braver. But I am what I am.

Your age is less chronological and more spiritual and attitudinal. I was so old at twenty. On a soul level… I saw no future. I was very dark. Very sad person. There was no joy. I didn’t really know who I was. It took a really long time to find my narrative.

This is the beginning of my last act. In order to know how to go forward, I had to know where I’d been.

Their incapacity to love wasn’t because you weren’t worthy of love. It was because they too had been wounded. And then you can forgive. It goes from one generation to another and somebody’s gotta break the cycle.

I get so sad when I think of what I wasn’t for my daughter that she needed. It’s hard to take that in because it’s so painful. But its never too late.

I’m now having relationships that are much more democratic, but I am most myself when I’m with my women friends.

It’s hard to be really happy if your life doesnt have meaning. People turn to religion because it gives them meaning. But I am an activist.

I had spent so much of my life feeling if I’m not perfect, no one could love. Then I realized, trying to be perfect is a toxic journey. We’re not perfect. We have to love our shadow. We have to embrace and accept our shadows. And sometimes good enough is good enough.

#JaneFonda #JaneFondaInFiveActs #HBO #HBODocumentary

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Quote: You are a fact.

Randall:  I was a replacement for your dead baby, that’s all I’ve ever been. I spent my life striving for perfection. You know why, Dad? Because I live in fear that if I let up for a moment, I will remember that I am unwanted. And then what’ll happen to me?”

Jack:  The moment I saw you, I knew you were my boy.You were never a replacement son, do you understand? You weren’t a choice, Randall. You are a fact.

~ Jack and his adopted son, Randall, during a mushroom induced conversation Randall had with his deceased father in This Is Us, Ep. 9

jack-and-young-randall

Jack and young Randall taking part in Father/Son Initiation at a martial arts studio in an effort to provide Randall with role models he could identify with.

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Bike the Boros: Staten Island

Bike the Boros: Staten Island
First ride event of the 2016 season
April 17, 2016

The primary motivating cycling goal for this year was for me to ride in the 5 Boro Bike Tour on May 1. The 5 Boro is a 40 mile ride that winds through all five boroughs of New York City. That was going to be my kickoff event for the cycling season. Unfortunately, I missed registration. I was a bit bummed, but there was still the opportunity to volunteer for the ride which meant I would still get some mileage in.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I got an email about the approaching registration deadline for the Bike the Boros: Staten Island ride, with 35 and 50 mile routes around Staten Island. It sounded like a great replacement event for the one I missed even though it’s two weeks earlier than I was planning and my cycling training has almost been non-existent.

This is an event journal for my first cycling event of the 2016 season.

7:00-9:00 am

Today is the day. I got up, got prepped and got out.

The ferry ride to Staten Island was uneventful and now I’m just waiting for the day to unfold and see how I handle the 35 mile route.

9:40

Made it to registration before they closed down at 9:30. Hit the road at 9:40.

11:00-11:25

Rest area 1 @ 12miles Already exceeded my expectations!! I was ready to exit the route by mile 3. Staten Island is hilly! Who knew?!?!?

I am super proud of myself for pushing through the hills and making it to the first rest stop. Making it to the first rest stop usually means you can make it to the second. And once you make it to the second rest stop you’re pretty much done. #crossingmyfingers

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My mapping software is off by about 8 miles. It looks like it didn’t catch all of the mileage of the first leg of my route.

12:30-1:00

Second rest stop @ mile 24. Made it. I was seriously looking for the exit 4 miles back. This hill was literally the last straw. Then I looked at my route sheet and saw that I was only 4 miles away from the rest stop. I sat on a retaining wall for a while catching my breath and gathering my strength to tackle this steep hill. Ended up walking my bike up the hill. Then got back on. It’s important to always get back on.

The downhill on the other side of this hill was a mix of reward and terror, like: a lil’ bit of “Oh yay! Downhill!” with a lot of “Oh shit! This is treacherous!” It was a steep, winding downhill road with no shoulder to speak of, two-way traffic with a lot of pot holes, a couple of stop signs peppering the decline and a couple of hairpin sharp turns coming off the hill thrown in for good measure. Not for the faint of heart. But who knew that was coming?

2:23

Finish line!

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I did it.

Pretty much from the beginning of this ride, I was ready to give up. Even before the ride. I had to talk myself into showing up. I didn’t prep the night before as I should have. Prepping in the morning delayed my departure, so much so that I thought I would miss registration and riding with any group of riders. Getting to the start line required a forty minute subway ride, a mile and half of cycling and a half hour ferry ride.

The commitment is certainly in the start. Perhaps that’s why starting is so hard. So I am most proud that I started. By starting and not giving up when the course proved to be harder than I expected, I achieved my first goal of the ride: making it to the first rest stop. Achieving that first goal propelled me to achieving the ultimate goal for the day: finishing the course.

At no point before I started, did I plan on or expect that I would finish the 35 miles I signed up for. Even at the first rest stop, I was telling myself I could stop at 20 miles and I would be okay with that. I was about to throw my hat in when I saw the crazy hill. When I looked at my cue sheet I realized I was only four of miles away from the second rest stop. I knew I could do four more miles. The rest stops are where cyclists are able to get off their bikes, use the restroom, refill on water, eat (usually fresh fruit, bagels, and granola; sometimes PBJ sandwiches and other goodies; or bagged lunches). And of course, take a breather. The rest stops are crucial for all the refueling you need. When you get back on, you’re better than fresh – you have the second wind that isn’t hindered by heart palpitations and your movement is more fluid from the prior “warm-up” round(s).

As I got up from my breather at the bottom of that hill I was ready to call a taxi from, I knew if I made the second rest stop, I could finish the course. I didn’t see the end until I was close to it. Focusing on the step in front of me is what got me through the whole challenge. I think this is true for most things in life.

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“I rode the Staten Island Half Century” Not quite half, but I’m keeping the t-shirt!

 

 

 

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Nothing says love like a home-cooked meal – so I cooked for myself instead of going to Chipotle for a chicken burrito! A lot of veggies, some baked chicken and bit of guacamole. 😉 #lightsout

 

 

 

 

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Cupcake vs. Man Conundrum

bitmoji-20160411045333Office small talk gone wrong.

There were left-over birthday cupcakes in the office. I walked over grab a couple and shared with ladies on my return to my desk that there were some goodies around the corner.

One co-worker vehemently protested the cupcakes. She went on and on about how she couldn’t possibly eat a cupcake (miniature or otherwise) because of all the flavorful bites of food she had last week which have since caused her belly to poke out a bit. She continued that she has a trip coming up in a month and half that she wants to look and feel good for.

I said that eating food has an effect on our bodies, but told her I was not trying to force a cupcake on her. I attempted to shift the conversation by mentioning that my personal fitness trainer had texted me the day before complaining about pancakes I had eaten last week and insisting that I not “cheat”. I was chuckling as I shared that I hadn’t responded because I didn’t want to sound cross when I text back that eating pancakes is not cheating when I didn’t agree not to eat pancakes; and point out that I didn’t agree to share my food log to be beaten up about my food choices.

To this, the co-worker responded: “LaShawnda, you will never get a man like that!”

I thought I misheard her. “I will never get a what?”

“You will never get a man. Everything is an argument with you.”

I was flabbergasted. What was I arguing about? I pointed out that there had been no agreement with my trainer regarding what I eat and my response would be about setting boundaries not arguing. She walked away laughing.

When she came back, she walked over to me and said the following while avoiding eye contact, “I didn’t mean to cause offense, but I’ve learned that you have to learn to appease men to keep them and the way you talk will not appease any man.”

“I am not interested in appeasing anyone at the expense of being who I am.”

“Well, maybe I’m projecting a bit. One of my friends just told me that and it sounded like you could benefit from the advice. From my experience, my relationships didn’t work because I didn’t put effort into appeasing them.”

“That’s not my issue.”

“Perhaps not….”

“I don’t need to appease “men.” I always say, I only need one man. My goal is to have a good partnership. If I can partner well with someone, everything else will fall into place. I am not interested in being miserable or changing who I am to appeal to anyone’s idea of who they think I should be. Having a man isn’t that important to me – not at the expense of myself.”

“Well, I have no response to that. I’m not arguing.”

Even having typed this out, I’m still a bit speechless. Perhaps she needed to talk. Perhaps she really wanted to attack me. Perhaps she’s feeling the pressure of being a people- and man-pleaser. Whatever the case, she’s not doing herself any favors. Nor is she doing any favors for women or men in general.

bitmoji-20160411045417I may be a hopeless idealist, but I do believe there is value in being genuine. It’s not automatically antagonistic to state what you will and will not do or what you want, don’t want or what you will and will not accept. What I have learned through my interactions with people is that people who live honestly and fully as themselves will always incite resentment from people who practice hiding themselves as a way of getting people to like and accept them. Hiders will always be insecure, because they do not generally allow for opportunities for others to truly get to know who they are. They only allow for their social representative to be known: the good guy, the nice girl, the charmer and the sweetheart. In doing this, they become stuck and beholden to a false image they created to interact with and please a public they will never really know.