Valentine to My Parents and Single Chicas

I think my Valentine this year, truly, is my parents.

November 2, we moved from Illinois to Kansas. They were retiring here and I have been wanting to come home to Wichita at least five years, since all our family is still here.

I took a huge risk. I left 30 years of stability — and 3.5 years with a job– to start over.

I just wanted to be where all the love is. I miss my Illinois friends, sure.

But some four months in, I don’t regret any of that decision. I’m slowly building a life in Kansas. I haven’t found a job yet, I’m still searching.

And I tend to be an anxious woman, imagining the worst case of every scenario.  But in the past month I’m settling into a burgeoning sense of optimism. I believe that I will continue to propel myself forward.  That only good things are coming my way. I believe in my own judgement and ability to discern the right time when making choices.

And my parents are the ones who gave that to me. They are both conservative people raised in large, close families. Both deeply rooted in Catholicism, Stoicism, and work.

One of my biggest doubts when deciding to move here was about whether I should give up all my independence and live with them again. I’ve been out of the home since 18 except for summers in college and a few months until I got my first job after graduation.

I’m used to living alone. Taking a bath at 4 a.m. if I want. Coming in whatever time I want. Having all the living space to spread out. To make and receive calls randomly.

It’s been an adjustment, three adults sharing living space with vastly different habits.

It’s also been a tremendous gift. I will get my own place and move out, but this time right now is something I’ll remember. Proximity forces you to notice each other in new ways.

My parents have also made Valentine’s Day a special day for us as a family by exchanging gifts with each other and me each year. My Dad brought chocolate for us both and a generous bouquet of red roses. I got some dark chocolate truffles for Diane and deviled eggs for my Dad, and a card for them both. Diane does so much for us every day. Little practical things like getting the coffee ready to go.

One of the best moments today was putting make-up on with Diane. I’m going out with some new chicas tonight to see “Isn’t it Romantic?” starring the brilliant Rebel Wilson. We bought our tickets ahead online. I’m smuggling in some candy to save cash– cherry Blow Pops. I suggested wearing red lipstick and they were game!

Diane complimented my make-up and I showed her what products I used. She then showed me some of her reds and let me try a few on. I had said that my original one made my lips look a little thin. She thought I looked better with a slightly darker tone.

I don’t remember doing this with her as a young girl. But I’m glad we did tonight. Just having her share her make-up with me and look at me to give me advice felt special.

She is going out tonight to dinner with my Dad and another couple. They’re helping each other find pieces of their ensembles, fixing collars. It’s sweet to watch.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to do that with my own husband. I can hope, right?

So this year, I claim Valentine’s Day for celebrating family love and new female friendships. All my female friends back home were either married or in serious relationships or had moved away, so I could never make “Galentine’s Day” plans like this with them. Now here in Wichita, I have new single friends and I love it!

2019 is off to a great start!

 

 

 

 

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Jumping Amee, Flying Elbows: Week Five of Self-Defense

Tonight was the most fun I’ve ever had! Our class was smaller tonight, I loved it.

It’s becoming not only a great release of physical energy, but something playful as we gain each other’s trust.

Each week, I love seeing how the moves we’re doing coordinate so gracefully. It’s a dance. You take whatever your partner gives you and use it as a gift– you go with their body weight and adapt. I love it. I also like that we get a chance in each class to be both the defending person and the attacker. We learn what it feels like from both sides– how it feels to do the moves to someone else and how to break free when they do them to you.

Despite being petite I’ve got long arms, like an Orangutan! They don’t seem to fit the rest of me but have been ideal for climbing trees and blocking other bridesmaids from the bouquet at weddings– I’ve caught four! I used to treat the bouquet toss like a competitive sport and I usually won. Then I figgered I’d let the younger gals go for it and just watch the melee instead. And my elbows are extra-pointy. It’s like I’ve already got a weapon!

That reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her beloved stake, Mr. Pointy. Her most basic and efficient weapon– she always had several stakes with her. I like the association! Should I name my elbows Mr. and Mrs. Pointy? Can I have a one name for plural elbows?

AHHH. I got it. The solution is to name them PLURAL: The Pointies. Ya don’t wanna meet ’em!

And each week, we talk about how we’re doing to execute the moves– for safety and respect. Kind of like in professional wrestling, where they plan out their matches. But as we gain trust, we learn to anticipate and challenge each other.

I get more competitive every week. YES! If I were a professional wrestler, I’d call myself the Flying Spider!

So whatever you’re self-conscious about, there’s a way to make it work for you! This class is just changing my personality for the better. If you’ve never invested in a comprehensive self-defense class, do it.

I’m feeling like I deserve to have what I want, and better– I can make it happen.

Two Lions: A Short Story

By Amee Bohrer

*I wrote this several months ago. I’ve showed it to a few writer friends– and made a few small changes. Any feedback possible would be great– praise, questions, constructive criticism. Thank you. 

A female lion wandered alone, away from her Pride.

She was designated the hunter. Yet, something called to her beyond her prescribed role within the pack. She was not designed to kill. Knowing the Pride expected of her what she refused to do, she stalked into the wild to find solace. She alerted no one, and chose herself.

She did not wait for nightfall. Escape was chosen in the morning. The silence and the expansive space quieted her unrest, and she felt a peace. The journey was not a dangerous one—but lonely.

Following only by instinct, she meandered the plain. She was vulnerable, having left behind the cover of tall grass. She fell to rest when needed. Rolled in the mud, dashed to water to overcome thirst.

She did not eat. She did not hunt. Yet her strength increased with time.

Constantly, she passed by meals upon which she could have feasted.

After two months of traveling alone, she came upon an abundant field. A quarter mile away, a male lion strode to a water buffalo carcass.

Each step was powerful, his shoulders regal. Until he glanced back and saw that finally, he was alone.

His posture drooped. He hung his head. His mane was now patchy from relentless battles, ripped out except for a few bloody tufts. But he smelled her.

His neck snapped into position—his eyes intent.

She was watching in the tall grass, still. Not afraid.

She advanced on him, her head low and making eye contact. She permitted a low growl.

He dropped his eyes and settled into a submissive posture, wanting to honor her.

He tossed his head toward the buffalo carcass, and with his left paw tore the ripe abdomen open.

He looked toward her, and crept backwards a few feet. Waited. This was extraordinary for him– his appetite was raging. He was usually the first one to eat– he didn’t wait for anyone. And he ate until he was full– if others went hungry, that was their problem. He had become aggressive in this way after a lifetime of constant war. He was used to bigger males stealing what was his, even the females. He had learned to hunt in this way– though now he rarely fought unless absolutely threatened, or he had something to prove. But when he wanted something, he was used to getting it. He seemed passive to most, part of his strategy.

But she saw this danger in him– and respected it. But why such humility from a strange male? She registered his offer—a gift. The flesh sang in her nostrils. Suddenly famished, she licked her teeth. A crippling urge to feast.

Inhaling, she took three strides forward. And then darted left—away from this suspicious gift. Away from the male making an offering—who smelled familiar.

It had been years since she had felt anything like doubt. She was used to forging ahead alone. She was respected and well-liked in her Pride at home, but desperately wanted something more. She was different than her family. They were content, and she was itching for a challenge. She appeared very stoic to most, as she began spending more time alone with age. She had a low tolerance for politics. She appeared compliant. But she showed her ferocity only to those who knew her most. To everyone else, she was detached. Cold.

Conflicted, she stopped and glanced back. He was watching her.

He looked different than he would have, but the musk taunted her. It was covered up a bit– he was wounded. Could that be Asha? It was so unlikely– she had thought he was dead. She had grieved him.

The blood was still drying, but it covered up his full smell.  She couldn’t quite place who that male might be, but she wanted to go to him.-

Or attack him. She was tired of always winning. Sometimes she snarled at others, just looking for a worthy adversary. Even most males backed down from her–something about her intimidated them. It wasn’t her size– she was petite, even for a female.

It was her roar. She rarely had to defend herself physically– she was smart enough to evade trouble. But rarely, she would be overcome and would stand nearly paralyzed with energy. She was deaf in one ear, and compensated for this defect with a splendid roar– it was lower-pitched. Often, when others heard her in these moments, she was mistaken for a male.

She, too, was an Alpha. She longed to roar as loud as she was able.

A loud shot exploded nearby.

Frightened by this unidentifiable threat, she glanced directly at the male– and leaped. Dusk was falling.

In a nearby tree,  she took cover and settled into a restless sleep.

A Writing Desk! The Best Gift Ever.

Yesterday, I got the best surprise I’ve had all winter.

My step-mother, Diane, called me from a local store of “gently used” items. There was a desk on sale for $50– did I want to come take a look at it? I was out the door. My Dad was there, too.

I am so lucky.

It’s beautiful. And now it’s mine. They picked it up and moved it in today.

It has five drawers. One in the middle, and two on either side. And the fixtures are brass! It matches my living room, because I have brass lamps and an oak coffee table.

And I can FINALLY have a real desk on which to write! I’ve been tapping away on this little computer stand for several years– since college. And while it’s fine, I just know that an actual DESK will make me feel more… everything.

Writerly. Adult. Professional.

I can eliminate the white plastic stand of drawers that again, I’ve been using since college. That’s where my pens, highlighters, index cards and paper is stored. Now I can put in the drawers.

I never asked for a desk. But Diane saw it and thought of me. As our relationship continues to grow, she is getting better at intuiting gifts that I’ll NEED as much as I will appreciate them.

This is also wonderful because it’s the second time someone offered me a writing desk as a gift. The first time was actually a reader! But I turned the gift down then. I appreciated the offer, but it wasn’t the right time. The gesture meant a lot to me, however.

Now I know why that desk wasn’t the right one– because I was waiting for this one.

Just looking at it inspires me.

Someday, I hope to buy myself a completely authentic, fully wooden desk. But this is a wonderful starter.

Maybe one day I’ll live in a place big enough that I can keep both? Or maybe one day I can give this desk to another young writer.

Maybe I’ll fall in love with it and never want to give it up.

I have yet to move it into place– I need to do some rearranging first.

But I am so blessed.

My parents don’t read my blog, and sometimes I have felt resentful about that.

But they know me and love me enough to buy me a desk, and they support my writing.

Without even knowing it, they are helping support this blog.

And they inspire me every day, just being themselves.

So this blog is for them– and to thank God for such a blessing.

An Unexpected Gift: Shells and Solace

I took off my golden cross necklace today– for a wonderful reason.

My step-mother, Diane, just returned from a 10 day bus vacation with her sister. I was having dinner with her and my father, and she told me she had a couple of little things for me.

I was delighted, since I hadn’t expected anything. It was really a thoughtful gesture.

My favorite color is orange– as everyone knows.

First I saw the bracelet, which is a simple plastic bracelet with blue and peach colored beads in a Navaho type pattern. The centerpiece is a circle, set with a deep orange stone in a bulls-eye position.

I have small wrists, and most watches and bracelets are too big. But this was the perfect size, and right away I loved it. It’s still a little loose, so the centerpiece rotates around with movement and isn’t always visible– but I still really like it.

I told Diane how much I loved it, and she said something simple that fit right into my heart.

She pointed out that the orange center is the same color as the orange ring I wear every day on my right hand. She bought it as a gift for my 26th birthday and I adore it. I get complimented on it all the time, even though it’s not technically a precious stone. It’s a man-made padparadscha sapphire, blazing orange. I’m not normally into jewelry, but she works in a jewelry store and one day when I visited her my eyes glazed over when I spied it.

But to me the ring is a precious stone, because it’s a gift from my step-mother.

I was astonished yet further that she noted this detail of synchronicity. What is a little spooky is that she told me this after I had already put the bracelet on my right right wrist– which lined it up perfectly with the ring.

Wow.

And then she had another gift as well– a deep orange shell necklace. It’s just the right length for me.

I loved this one even more, and rushed to look at it in the bathroom.

When I saw how perfectly it fits me, I decided to take off my golden cross, which was underneath it. I carried the gold necklace to the box the necklace had come in, and rested it inside.

I hope it made her feel important to see that.

I used to wear a cross for a feeling of safety, in a superstitious way. A very Catholic way.

But I know God doesn’t mind if I wear other jewelry.

And somehow, wearing this necklace right now makes me feel even more protected and special– because it’s a gift from my step-mother.

It’s light, it feels comfortable– and it seems to represent who I am in a subtle way.

Diane pays attention to details, and she knows who I am. She is a very reserved woman, but she shows her love through listening, and keeping in touch with people, and thoughtful gifts.

I feel incredibly blessed today.

On Mercy

I’ve talked a lot about forgiveness this year.

But truly, what I hold dear to me is the conscious choice of mercy.

That’s something reserved for only an elite few in the realm of my heart. That includes both friends and relationships.

Mercy is choosing to forgive *not* because the person deserves it– but because you see the big picture. Because you know whatever the sin was, it’s not indicative of their respect for you, or their character in general.

Mercy is a gift. Mercy is a choice. Mercy is an unconditional acceptance of someone’s faults.

I’ve only learned it because I was raised with so much love at home.

I learned it because I’ve been given mercy in my friendships.

I learned it because I was lucky enough to receive mercy in a few precious relationships, when I said something mean or impulsively broke up with someone I cared deeply about.

Mercy is when you contact someone  you’re estranged from, and they are glad. There’s no suspicion. There’s no drama. They don’t ask why you’re contacting them– you just have a normal conversation.

In minutes, you can be laughing. You’re just glad to talk again.