I Am Thankful

thanksandgratitude

This month has been so FULL. I was sick for almost half of it, and to be completely honest, it was a struggle to be grateful and thankful when I wanted to stab things. But, I had breakfast this morning with a couple of friends, and as we were leaving, I talked about how I’ve been resting in these moments with my little Kinsey girl. She is a joy. I know that parents say that a lot, but I actually mean it 100%. She’s keeping me on my toes, and just yesterday as she was falling off the couch, she actually grabbed onto my nipple like it was a handle to catch herself. I yelled, and she said “ouch?” And, I said “yeah, Kinsey, that was definitely an ouch.” But then, I just started laughing, because seriously?! And Kinsey modeled my laugh, and fell onto the floor laughing like she couldn’t breathe. She’s hysterical. She’s also the perfect little beauty, and the best part of my days.

So, I am thankful. Really thankful, actually. This year has been a very blessed year. New houses, vacations, jobs, new nephews, and though we also experienced heartache in ways that we never thought was possible…we ARE blessed. We have much. And so, I plan to relish in all of the moments, and enjoy this holiday with the perspective that we live in abundance.

I am also really thankful for all of you. This blog, and the relationships that I have developed through it continue to bless me. I’ve had moments where I think “what’s the point?” but then I get an email from one of you, or a comment on an old post, and I realize that we are all in this together. We’ve bonded through the trials of motherhood, and laughed together when things have felt impossible. I’ve met so many new people who have experienced baby loss just like us, and they continue to encourage me with their “just checking in” emails. I am thankful that I chose to share a part of myself here, in this space, because I was able to meet so many great people by doing so.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. From the bottom of my heart.

 

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Blackfish

In the last 24 hours, I’ve been blowing up my Twitter and Facebook with my reactions to the documentary “Blackfish.” To be honest, I don’t even really know why I watched it in the first place. A few people had mentioned it on Twitter, and I didn’t even know what it was about, so I googled it. Then, after reading that it was about a whale that has killed people, I became even more curious and rented it on iTunes.

www.indiewire

I didn’t realize that this film was about SeaWorld, and what it revealed left me speechless. I actually then watched it for a 2nd time with my husband right after I had finished it. Growing up, I distinctly remember visiting SeaWorld. I also remember saying that I wanted to be a marine biologist, because I assumed that was the credentials needed to swim with dolphins and whales. Obviously that career path never stuck, but that could be why this film sparked my interest. I think the most important thing that I can say about this documentary, is that our ignorance is not a valid excuse. What did I think about SeaWorld prior to watching this movie? That their whales were saved, not captured. I assumed they were found on the beach with health problems, and SeaWorld took them in and cared for them. False. All of it. I want to sit here and list off all of the horror that was talked about in this film, but I’m not going to, because I want you to watch it. Ultimately, the fact that SeaWorld has appealed the ruling by OSHA that they can’t have people in the water with the whales, is completely mind blowing. Tilikum, the whale that took the life of a trainer in 2010 (by brutally attacking her, not accidental drowning as SeaWorld likes to say), has been involved with the death of 3 people in the last 20 years. Another whale at a park in Spain brutally killed his trainer unexpectedly (a whale that SeaWorld actually owns, but claimed in court to have no affiliation at all). There was another incident that was particularly startling, that involved a trainer who almost drowned, because the whale pulled him to the bottom of the tank repeatedly for over 9 minutes. He’d come up, and ventilate, trying to get in air, and the whale would pull him back to the bottom of the tank again. It was a miracle that he was able to escape, before the whale tried to grab him again (and because I want you to watch the documentary so badly, I found the 15 minutes YouTube clip of this poor guy being held underwater). While it sounds like the whales are the predators, they have been treated so poorly, its not hard to connect the dots here. They aren’t supposed to be circus animals, and their unpredictable behavior can be attributed to their life in captivity. But the fact that SeaWorld wants to keep putting humans in the water with these whales, after so many incidents have occurred, it is clear that their motive is money. They can capture the hearts of little children, just like they did mine, by having these massive whales do tricks in a giant pool.

I felt this overwhelming call to action after I finished it, and realized that there isn’t very much that I can do personally. I’d love to go stand outside of SeaWorld protesting, but I live in Salt Lake City. The thought did cross my mind, though.

Practically, there are two things that I can do:

I can not support SeaWorld by not visiting their parks. Done. After seeing that movie, I can’t in good conscience even consider visiting SeaWorld. And, I do not want my daughter to think that this is ‘normal’ or ‘moral.’

I can tell everyone I know to watch this movie so that they will do the same.

Please watch it before you plan your next vacation to California, Florida, or Texas. Also, send a message to Macy’s, asking them not to allow the SeaWorld float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. It features a giant image of “Shamu,” and in light of the conversation that this documentary has generated since it aired on CNN last week, you’d think that Macy’s would do the right thing here? Maybe, not.

Lastly, I shared this image on Facebook that I came across while I was doing my post-Blackfish research. I was honestly up half the night reading about all of this, and just couldn’t stop. It’s a really sad look at what has happened to all of these animals in captivity, and grossly wrong that SeaWorld keeps claiming that their better off with them because they are receiving “proper veterinary care.”

 

 

 

Let’s Go Surfing

Tonight, I started to write about things that were purely physical. Pains in my back. Milligrams of vitamins, and medicines, because life doesn’t feel like it’s going my way. I wanted to wallow in it. Sit and just write about every thing that I physically feel, because if I name it, and recognize it, maybe I can remedy it. But, once my list started going, I started to feel silly because, my body is just a body. And, this, all of it, is just what is happening now.

Life sometimes rushes over me, and takes over in waves so fiercely that I struggle to find air. But, I always do. I find it. The waves break, and everything settles into a stillness. I sit in those moments of calm, and can’t help but feel like a survivor. Like some sort of badass, because I made it, and all of that somehow resolved, and I got to be this.

I’m starting to see that life is this way. In constant motion.

A few years ago, my husband and I went to Maui together. While we were there, I took surf lessons. I often think about that first time that I stood up, and rode a wave into the shore without drinking gallons of salt water. I felt weightless. And, I had spent over an hour standing up on that board, and then loosing my balance, and falling back into the water. My board would flip, and I’d get sucked underneath. Wave after wave, I crashed into the water, but because I had committed myself to this lesson, and this task, I gave it another go. I was in the water already. So I figured that I had to choose to work out this whole thing. It was my only option. And, the moment when it finally clicked, it felt as if I’d been doing it my whole life.

Motherhood is this way. Marriage is this way. My individual journey of self-discovery and passion is exactly this way. Moments of glory. Moments where it all clicks. Moments where it feels like I’ve done it all along. But there are waves too. Waves that suck me underneath them. Toss me around, so out of control that I wonder when I will get just a moment to take in another breath of air. I expected life to be easier. Its not, and I’m actually grateful for that. How boring would it be if we knew how to surf right away. If we got into the water, and just knew everything about timing, and balance. If my husband knew everything about me the day we said I do. If I knew why my daughter was crying fresh out of the hospital. There wouldn’t be very much to talk about. There wouldn’t be very much living to do. And I think maybe the journey is what makes it. The moments where I hurt in so many ways physically, that I can’t begin to think about how I’m feeling emotionally. We need these sometimes. To remember how to feel. To discover who we are. To pin point our struggle and our hurt.

Miscarriage made me realize that this body is just a body. I can’t count on it to do exactly what I want it to do. It is all out of my control. But, I do get to choose to get back up again. To stand back up, and figure out my balance and my timing. I get to throw myself into the waves, because sometimes, it feels good to let yourself get tossed around a bit. It means we are going somewhere. It means that we’ll have something to talk about. I’ll get to sit in the calmness after a high tide, and feel like a badass because I made it. And all of that somehow resolved, and I got to be this.

surfschool2(That’s me. In the middle, with the blue rash guard, surfing. Also, about to get knocked over by some idiot who was still figuring out direction and stuff.)