Monday, May 19, 2014

Confessions of a Whiny-Assed Crybaby (Don't read this, Mom. I swore a lot)

Even the fucking cheerleader can drop her pom-poms once in a while…

I’m not always sunshine and rose-colored glasses. I am most of the time. Annoyingly so, even. And then there are some days that just kick me in the ass. And for the stupidest reasons. Sometimes I think I handle crisis better than I do dealing with the little things, like basic disappointment. When something you look forward to is going to happen and then at the last minute it doesn’t. Like expecting to have a fun day at Six Flags and it rains when you get there. And then sometimes I think that it’s not the little disappointments that get me specifically, it’s just that they become the tipping point.

Or maybe I’m just being emotional—I LOVE saying that to myself, it’s so derisive. Reminds me of what Dad would say to me.

Or maybe I’m just selfish (that word again. And this time I mean it the way 99% of the population means it). You know that sometimes shit just happens. And you have to deal with it. And you understand. You know what? Sometimes understanding just sucks. Because you know it would be childish and immature of you just stomp your feet once in a while, and you have to just suck it up.

Well, I guess some days I just don’t want to.

And don’t even think about sharing those endless platitudes about looking for the ‘silver lining,’ either. Nobody does that better than a Libra. That’s what Libras do. There is nothing you can point out that I don’t already know or haven’t already considered.

My problem is is that I don’t know how to wait.

I am probably more selfish with time than I am with anything else. My time is my time. Part of that comes from just the normal parenting fun (you know, that “they will find you” thought, even when you are in the bathroom); the rest comes from all of the other 'have-tos'. Unfortunately, that selfishness with time extends to other people as well. If I schedule you in, be there. Period. Not always the right way of thinking. Because shit happens. And sometimes my own shit has gotten in the way of me being there for someone else, and they have been affected by it. But this is about me now. Of course.

If you’ve been a parent for the last 10 years or so, you know SpongeBob very well. Did he ever get his boating license? Remember when he was declared “unteachable”? I’m wondering when the professor of Patience 101 is going to declare me “unteachable.”

I hate waiting. Whether I’m waiting for something good or bad, I hate waiting. Just let it happen, already. I cannot be productive when I’m waiting, because I’m always watching the fucking clock, and I get distracted easily—

SQUIRREL!

--and for that matter, sometimes it can be hard to enjoy my time when I know it is limited—and I’m constantly watching that fucking clock some more.

That fucking clock.

At least you have that time, you know a lot of people that don’t.

Shut up.

At least you have something to look forward to.

Great. More fucking waiting.

(The Libra mind at work can be a messy thing.)

Normally I don’t like to write when I’m pissy, because what I write ends up…well…pissy. When I celebrated the year anniversary of this blog, what had excited me most was that I had 52 written for the year—technically, that is one blog entry a week. But it wasn’t that way; there was an almost two month period of time that went without me adding to it. Because I was pissy. (In all fairness to myself, I had a number of rough months last year…I wasn’t really pissy. I was overwhelmed.)

Yet, writing is what helps me organize my thoughts. It lets me read the bullshit I am thinking. But if it’s true bullshit, I don’t post it; I don’t feel the need to spread it around and fertilize anyone else’s lawn.

But, hey, I did write 52 blog entries in a year’s time. Timely or not. Yay, me.

So, I end up writing the day after I am pissy, or when I’m able to better pull my head out of my ass. When I’m better able to see the all of the silver linings (there’s always more than one), pull up my big-girl thong…suck it up. I do have to acknowledge my feelings, though. I have to get it out and let it go (do NOT start singing that song, please).

I have to learn to ignore the fucking clock. It will always be there. There’s a time limit on everything. I have to learn to be able to be productive while I am waiting for something, that way if something doesn’t happen, I won’t feel like I’ve wasted time just waiting. And then I won’t spend hours kicking myself for just waiting. And then I won’t be angrier with myself for wasting more time spending hours kicking myself. And then isolating. And then sleeping.

I have to learn not to wait. For anything. Just be, and do. I can't wait for the 'time when', because if it doesn't happen, I will be aware of waiting, which, to me, is wasting time. I have to be in the now. Or, if I do find myself waiting, I have to learn to be constructive with that time, and less aware of the clock.

“All we need is just a little patience…” Today, I can hear that song and almost laugh. Yesterday I would’ve told Axl Rose to go fuck himself.

This is why I am a fucking cheerleader. I have to be able to see a bright side, otherwise I’m unproductive…useless. I know what I am like. Some people function better when angry or upset or depressed; I wish I could (my house might actually be clean!). I totally lose focus, and walk around in a daze bumping into walls. And I don’t know what to do with myself, other than constantly kicking myself more when I’m down. When I’m in a good mood things work…I work.

It’s galling to realize that I still have so much to work on. When I realize it’s something little that has gotten me down, and nothing I say to myself makes me feel better, I am fully aware that because I can always see the bright side, on some level I am making a choice to be shitty. And I haven’t figured out why. This is why when someone says something to try to cheer me up I snap at them. NO ONE can out-Libra a Libra. I know the good thing…I’m just not ready to acknowledge it. And I isolate. But I will at least let you know I have a problem.

I know what I have. I don’t have everything, but I have everything I need. I want what I have. I have so many good things going on right now, and so many good things coming my way. I can see them.

So, yesterday is a wash. But it’s over. And I’m writing this all out to submit to the Universe, to get it out and let it go (you can sing now) so I can be productive again, to admit that I’m not perfect, to acknowledge I still have so much to learn, and to adjust my glasses so I see rosy again.


Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my lesson.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ladies...Everyone...We Have a Problem


I’m not sure where to begin. I clicked on a link that said, “3 things that repel men”—I guess I wanted to make sure I was doing it right—and ended up listening to a 15 minute sales pitch from a woman promising to sell her secret on how to get a man. I was appalled, humiliated, hurt, offended, and outraged, for myself, and then for all of us.

What is wrong with us? That is not a question, it’s more of an accusation. What is the deal about the focus we put on “relationships”? Why does a romantic relationship merit more attention than other relationships? Isn’t everything that we are involved in some sort of relationship? We have a relationship with our job, our self-image …money. We have relationships with family, friends, and pets (read family). The idea of a loving relationship for some reason appears to take precedence over all of them, including what should be the most important relationship we have: with our own self.

NOTE: Before I go further and offend people with this, let me state that when I am talking about ‘people’ I am talking in very general terms. This does not include the “exceptions to the rule”. Before any single person (read: someone who is not in a romantic relationship) gets offended and wants to comment, “I am not like that!” Know that I am not talking about you specifically. I am aware that there are people who are not “the” people that I am ranting about, but there are many of them, possibly many more than the rest of us. And I say that backed by what we are bombarded with in the media, in certain laws, and society in general – note again, that I said in general. Another note: I do believe that we are all connected, if I am saying anything that you think is offensive to people, I am one of those ‘people’—meaning, what I say about others applies to me as well. Hopefully with this disclaimer, I have limited the amount of people I could offend. The only people I think I can offend now are those that consider themselves “exceptions” who, despite my disclaimer above, will still take personal offense (oh, yeah, and people who get offended if (when) I swear).

Of course, if you are in a romantic relationship that is wonderful.  You may assume I’m blowing smoke out of my ass. That is fine, too. And I am truly happy for you. If you do have it all figured out, feel free to share with the rest of us.

Why are romantic relationships treated as being more important than any other? Why have we been taught at a young age to look for them? To feel that without them we are nothing? Why are we led to believe that our lives are incomplete without one? That line from the Jerry Maguire, the one that is considered oh-so-romantic, “You complete me.” is bullshit. When do we realize that we do not need anyone to “complete” us? We are complete; we are already perfect …already loved. We are love.

We all grew up hearing in some way that to be happy is to find it within ourselves. In The Wizard of Oz the tin woodsman asked, "What have you learned, Dorothy?" And Dorothy answered, "well,… If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with!" Confucius said, “Happiness consists not in having what you want, but in wanting what you have.” This is not new information for anyone, yet so many of us are still running around looking for things to make us happy. Looking for people to make us happy. Why is that? What is wrong with us? Who told us that there was something missing? Part of me thinks sometimes it’s just a skewed version of the idea behind the thought that we are all connected. That people think that it’s a literal connection that we need to make with people. That we are like random puzzle pieces on the kitchen table, sorted into groups of similar color, shape, and whether or not we have “straight” edges (yes, that was very tongue-in-cheek) waiting to be paired with that one piece that fits us perfectly. We are not connected like that. We are not made to be connected like that. We are connected by the simple fact that we’re human, each one of us is made like the other with the same essence. What is inside, our organs, our blood, our body structure, are the same. Our spirits are of the same energy; the connections we notice that we have with others can have different depths and strengths, and that has to do with the levels we are connecting with them on—how their energies ‘match’ ours. Our differences are only on the outside, and they are few. I am you and you are me. And still, people have to draw lines between each other based on gender, religion, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and anything that a collective group of people perceive to be “different”, even if those differences are differences we are born with. (You know I will be talking about this later!)

And after drawing all those lines and sorting our differences between each other, we go back and look for our connections? That doesn’t make sense.

--Don’t worry, I will eventually get back to what started me on this track in the first place.

If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know about my best friend Donna. We have been friends for 40 years now, outlasting our own marriages (yes, plural) and a few other romantic relationships. Why is that? There is an adage about marrying a person that you consider your friend first. If that is considered good advice, I have a question: why are our romantic relationships considered more important than our friendships? I’ll be honest, I have said on more than one occasion that if I were gay, I would have asked her to marry me a long time ago. Unfortunately, I am straight.

---I don’t know when I chose to be straight, though (see what I did there? :) ). My first crush was Shaun Cassidy, a boy who was quite pretty, which really gave no indication of my 'preference'. Either way—and for whatever reason—I am not attracted to Donna in that way. (Donna, that is by no means an insult. Maybe if you tried…)

Let me interrupt myself (as if you have much of a choice, outside of deciding not to read further).

As I got older, and had more bad—not always bad, but not lasting—romantic relationships I began to fully appreciate the importance of having friends. True friends. And then I started questioning why romantic relationships can be so much work, when a true friendship is really effortless. Did you ever realize that you can say absolutely anything—ANYTHING—to a true friend? Think about this. You can say whatever you want to them, and they can do the same to you—and you will STILL be friends. This obviously is the biggest indicator that you should be true friends with your romantic interest. My friends (and I am so lucky to have the circle around me that I do) love me, support me, encourage me, kick me in the ass when I need it, cry with me, laugh with me, and most of all allow me to be me. There is an incredible freedom in that alone; to be able to just be and know that you are loved no matter what. The only thing I don’t do with my friends is have sex with them.

So, why then aren’t friendships held so highly? Or, rather, why are they given a back seat to that other kind of relationship (you know, the ones you do have sex in)? Or, why don't we have that same freedom in the love/sex relationships? Why is it that we can just be ourselves with our friends but we have to be something else to or with a ‘love interest’? We are not supposed to be who we are because we are now someone's significant other? Are we in those relationships merely to reflect an image for them? Why are there ‘rules’? Or strategies?

Which brings me back to what got me all hell-bent in the first place.

First, let’s go back to Confucius on the yellow brick road: we have everything we need inside us to make us happy. There is no reason to LOOK for anything to do it for us. We grow up being taught that in so many ways. “Money can’t buy happiness,” right? If you are never happy with what you have, you will never be happy with what you get. By that same token, if you are never happy with who you are, you will never be happy with who you are with. You have to be happy with what you have and with who you are before you will ever be able to enjoy anything or anyone else. This is the essential secret behind real friendships (and I mean the REAL ones): there are NO expectations for them to be anything other than who they are. We don’t expect our friends to take care of us or fix us, and they don’t expect us to fix them. We just want to spend time with them and enjoy being ourselves while they are being themselves. We don’t look for anything more, because nothing more is needed. If you think about that, and if you have those kinds of friends, then what more do you need? Why do you have to go out and look for anything else when you have unconditional love right there? Seriously, if it’s just sex that’s missing, it is easy enough to get without compromising yourself just to get it.

And yet again I got off track. Get used to it.

When we go out looking for something or someone, we are operating under the mistaken impression that something is missing. We are coming from that place of ‘lack’. If lack is the focus, lack is more of what we will get. How many times have we realized that the best things that have happened to us happened unexpectedly? When we weren’t looking or trying for it? Even in the simple example of when you lose your keys, or are trying to remember something: When do you find the keys? When do you remember ‘that thing’? When you have relaxed and stopped stressing about it. That is the answer. Relax. Stop stressing about it. It will come to you.

Relax. Stop stressing. Be happy (yes, it is a choice). Be YOU. Everything else will come to you. Don’t expect anyone to take care of you, to fix you, to make you happy. And don’t go looking for someone to take care of, to fix, or to make happy. We all should learn to be happy first with ourselves, then we are able to just ‘play’ with others, and enjoy each other. Like we do and are with our friends.

And NOW, finally, back to the beginning: If you MUST go looking for someone, please, please, PLEASE, realize first how wonderful you truly are. Realize everything that you and only you can offer to share with someone else. Do NOT try to buy them, or take care of them, or by trying to ingratiate yourself into their space and forcing them see how much they ‘need’ you. You are not and cannot be responsible for someone else’s happiness, and you should never dare to expect that of or put that level of responsibility on anyone else. That alone adds pressure to a relationship that should never be there.

Anyway, I’m listening to this sales pitch given by a woman and she starts with this:

“I am so-and-so, and in a few minutes I am to show you how to break through even the toughest guy’s shell… Reach deep into his heart and have him begging you to be with him forever! Watch this short video to the end and discover how I stumbled on a simple secret that ignites his passion for you, and has him bending over backwards to please you… Adore you…And honestly give you everything you could possibly want… Without playing games! It's so simple it's embarrassing… And yet I insist that I can quickly teach the simple secret to you… Instantly giving you the power in your relationship.”

There are so many things wrong with what she says right there alone. And she got worse.

For the record, this is for all of us, not just the women. I may focus more on women…well, because I am one. Women have been dealing with shit like this forever. Movies, magazines, music, etc. But certain things are finally being discussed and dealt with. Photoshop. That one word brings up the new awareness of what magazines have done and still are doing to women. Women in movies—not just actresses—are realizing the importance of the effect they have on women. (This actually goes to ALL groups that are stereotyped or put in a certain ‘place’ in the media—another example of all the lines drawn between us). But the reason I took special exception to this…spiel, is because this woman is trying to sell this line of bullshit to other women. One of our own has turned on us and trying to profit from it. She starts off by saying “No games” then outlines a STRATEGY. If that is not turning it into a game, I don’t know what is.

She even went so far as to say something along the lines of “(women have said)…that girl isn’t half as good as I am, yet she found someone and I’m stuck with the losers.”

Again, this is not just a problem with women. Both men and women have been dealing with loneliness and emptiness and feelings of ‘incomplete-ness’. We all have to realize that we already have everything we need within ourselves first.  What this woman is selling…not for $99.00…not for $69.00…but a ONE TIME payment of $39.00…

What this woman is selling is that there is something wrong with you.

“But wait! IF you act now (and you have to, because the price is going to go back up if you don’t order by midnight—Hey, I’ve already charged thousands of dollars to women for this secret [don’t worry; they can afford it] and it’s not fair to them that I drop the price so drastically just to get the word out), I will GIVE you another book that the title of basically repeats what I said I was going to give you in the initial package!”

You are wrong because you don’t know how to work other people.

“AND, if you purchase this I will add ANOTHER book with a title that suggests I left something out of the first book that I promised to tell you!”

And here’s where she really crosses the line:

“This system will work for anyone! EVEN IF…”

(Are you all ready for this?)

You are a few pounds overweight.

--(I will NOT abbreviate this) WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?

“EVEN IF…”

(If the previous comment wasn’t enough to make you throw up a little in your mouth. Or cry.)

You have children.

WAIT! WHAT?

I am telling you right now that you are fucking perfect the way you are, and you already have everything you need. It does not matter how you got here. Please, know this much. Find your happiness inside and then you will see it outside. It was never missing and it never left.

We do not need to look for connections; we are already connected. Stop drawing lines between people, between groups. Be yourself. Then you will notice that the people that are around you are the ones that appreciate what you are, who you are. No games, no strategies. Then you can enjoy each other with no expectations for anything other than just that.

And if you read this far and still don’t agree with me, you can at least be happy that I said something nice about you. For free.



But if you’d like to pay money to be told that you are a fucking moron who will be alone and lonely forever, email me. I’m sure we can work something out. J

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to all you "Mothers" out there!

It’s another “what a difference a year makes” day. Last Mother’s Day is gone (thank God). Last year we went out to a nice Mother’s Day brunch; this year, we are low-keying it at Mom’s house later in the day after my oldest gets out of work. This year’s is already better, and it hasn’t happened yet.

I’m very lucky (I realize I say that a lot, but it’s true). My mother is still here. And she does so much for me. (Hey, Mom! If I talk about you, will you read to the end? I promise I won’t use the F word this time!)

I found out yesterday that my Mom reads my blog—well, some of them. “Some of them are just too…long and wordy!” S’ok, Mom. People tune out when I’m talking, too! J Doesn’t faze me, I just keep on going!

Like every good child, I was so unappreciative of my parents and what they did for me. I did start to notice one or two things when I got older, and then so much more when I became a parent myself. To this day, when something they did for me or told me finally sinks in, I still tell them (usually somewhat sheepishly). It’s only fair; I always let them know when I didn’t like something. Being a parent is not easy; a fact I didn’t realize fully until I became one.

--You’d better still be reading this, Mom. I’ve already censored myself a number of times and it’s killing me. From here on, I will put this (*) in every place I’ve held back the F word (any variation thereof) so you can see how much I didn’t use it—for you (Happy Mother’s Day!).

My mother is well aware of all of the complaints I’ve had about her over the years. I was always nice like that. I try to do the same when I see something I finally notice that I appreciate. I’m not as good with that, but I am trying, and at least here she’ll have it in writing.

I used to think my mother was weak and dependent. It took me a while to notice that she was young when she had me; she had just turned 22 a week before I was born. I was 26 when I had my first kid, and I still remember how young and stupid I felt the day I brought her home from the hospital (and Mom was there at my house to help me—of course). I think back to when I was 21… nope…so glad I didn’t have kids then. I would’ve really, REALLY messed (*) them up, instead of just really messing them up. She had me in October; by my second birthday—just two Octobers later—she had two more kids. (I’ve done the math on that. Every time I think about it…Eeeee! (*)...there’s just no way I could have even thought about...—anyone who’s given birth will know what I’m talking about!). That could not have been easy; any of it. Three kids in two years. That would have driven me crazy. Thanks for sticking around, Mom. I know what we were like.

A number of years ago she had breast cancer. When she knew she would have to get chemo, she made the decision to have a head-shaving party, saying that if she was going to lose her hair it would be her choice. My sisters and I spent the day with her and shaved her head. It was emotional and awesome, and I was so proud of her. She handled all of it—all of it—with grace (an odd word for this, but it fits) and…strength. I like to think that I would’ve handled the situation the same way, but I can’t guarantee that. And she did most of it alone, I’m ashamed to say. Mom, I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you more then. Weak and dependent? Up your ass, Susie. (Don’t get offended, Mom; I didn’t say (*)!)

My mother babysits for me all the time. All. The. Time. From day one, twenty years ago. She drove from Taunton to Boston (40 miles) every single weekend to help me out the first four years of Deren’s life, so that I could work. She was there when I would get the surprise call from school if Deren was sick and couldn’t leave work, or on the snow days that send working parents into a tizzy. Any of those last minute moments you needed help, she was there. And just when Deren was turning 11, and those times were finally beginning to slow down, I went and had another daughter—(*)!. And Mom’s been there all over again, for the past nine years with Brynn. I have so many friends whose parents aren’t around or who cannot or don’t do that (no judgment), and I’m reminded again and again how lucky I am to have her. She’s even around to babysit when I’ve just needed a break…those days when you get overwhelmed, or when the shit really hits the fan… How (*) lucky am I? That is HUGE. And I know that she never got those kind of breaks, and she had more kids than I do.  Just thinking about that…(*)…THANK YOU, Mom. Thank you, thank you, thank you!



I think back on my own Mother’s Days. My first was… not good (I am the queen of the understatement). But I shouldn’t put stock in that one day; every day is Mother’s day. I don’t need one day a year to celebrate it (my birthday, however, is quite a different story!). It’s funny, Mother’s Day is only any kind of a big deal because I think about my mother, but not for me. I’m beginning to understand. (Ovid said, “Dripping hollows out rock.” I am the rock. Eventually I will ‘get it’.) Every day is mother’s day.

I still find it hilarious that I am someone’s mother. I go to my kids’ parent-teacher meetings not because there have been issues, but because it’s funny to me that I’m in the position to.

--Brynn just came over to me and when I stood up she put her arms around me and asked me to pick her up. Perfect timing. She’s 9, and just beginning to get to the ‘heavy’ child stage. I picked her up and we just hugged for a long moment. She’s also still at that age where she hasn’t turned on me yet. I will enjoy this while it lasts. J

Sometimes I feel bad for my girls, that they don’t have a ‘better’ mother. Sometimes I do wish I could be June Cleaver…but then the thought of having to shave every (*) day to wear a (*) skirt makes me change my mind fast. I’m doing the best I can, in my own (*ed up) way. And when I step back and take a look at both of them, I see so many wonderful things about them that I know I had a small part in (not just their good looks!). I can’t wait to see where they take it.

Mom (if you’ve read this far, and I really (*) hope you have!), thank you. You did, and are still doing, the best you can. And it’s perfect. I see things in myself (that I like, even!), that you played a part in. Thank you.

To my daughters: Good (*) luck!
(And I love you both with everything in me)

To my mother friends: You all set wonderful examples. You are awesome!

I will end this with my usually-reserved-for-FaceBook Mother’s Day Status (edited, of course, for Mom):


Happy Mother’s Day to all of us: Birth mothers, adoptive mothers, surrogate mothers, single dads, custodial relatives, foster mothers, grandmothers, Godmothers, “Like a Mothers”, Dads who are like Moms, step-mothers, caregivers, pet owners, Fairy Godmothers, Mofos (*)—and MILFs (Marian? J )



(Gotta love my brother in this picture! He sure knows how to make them memorable!)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How Lucky Am I? For Maria on her 50th Birthday

Maria,

You were a big part of my life for over 20 years.
How lucky am I?

I have memories and stories that begin with, "Remember when Maria...?"
How lucky am I?

You cooked for me. You made me a birthday cake. You've babysat for both my daughters. You lost your ass to me in poker.
How lucky am I?

I know what it was like to laugh with you, and I can still hear your laughter.
How lucky am I?

I know what it was like to cry with you.
How lucky am I?

I share wonderful, life-time friends with you, and we feel you with us every time we are together.
How lucky am I?

I made new, wonderful, life-time friends through you, even after you left.
How lucky am I?

I know the precious space you filled while you were here, and the void that exists now that you are gone, a void that only serves to highlight the love, compassion-without-judgment, the caring...the true friend that you are.
How lucky am I?

I am able to grieve for you, to miss you, to wish that you were still here with us in this time and space. Then I see around me those unable to grieve because they didn't know you.

They didn't know you.
I did.

How lucky am I?
.
Happy 50th Birthday, Maria
May 6, 1964 - October 6, 2013

I am hugging all of us right now.