Let the record show …

sopleased

 

Scrap heap in the bedroom?  Handled, biotches!

NEXT!!

No worries, you know those person-size Rubbermaid tubs that are a hoot to fill and then can’t be lifted except by committee?  We have a selection of those from the move … lurking … blaming … shaming …

Just kidding, I’m not losing sleep over it, but I don’t want our sons to have to deal with see what we leave behind in thirty years or so.  Starting early and staying dedicated to the task strikes me as a wise plan.

And there’s always every kind of sorting to be done.  Since taking a semi-sabbatical from Facebook recently, I’ve spent hours dumping folders full of junk, document files that were spilling their guts, emails by the thousands, including my FB stash back to 2011, and a lot of things I apparently saved in the middle of the night after “wine tastings.”  I’ve consigned so much drama to the irretrievable past I’m feeling light-headed and may float away.  Sounds all right …

TGIF, kiddos — enjoy!

Dragging out a couple more boxes after breakfast.

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Mondays are for ranting …

Poor Monday gets a bad rap, the short end of the stick, it’s the redheaded stepchild of the week, g’head, throw your own bad cliché into the pot.  Monday is my official day to uncensor myself and vent, so you’re lucky I have very little to bitch about in any direction.  By this point I have only a smattering of self-censorship left, so if I were to toss my last remaining constraints a whole lotta people who thought they knew me would be bailing out of this clown car.  But riddle me this, don’t we all tend to be colossal stacks of filters from womb to tomb?  And if you, personally, have managed to shed a few layers along the way, does that not feel amazing?

Why does it take so agonizingly long for some of us to realize that we can’t love ourselves if we’re busy keeping everybody else happy?  Why so long to know that our opinions, thought processes, and convictions are as legitimate as anybody else’s, and far saner than many most?  Why are we so … human?  As you no doubt picked up on, BECAUSE YOU ROCK, those are rhetorical questions and you are in no way obligated to send me the answers.

So on this chilly November Sunday (yes indeed, overachievers do today’s homework yesterday) while I track a friend who’s running the NYC Marathon, I’m thinking about relationships.  As a Social Introvert on the chart, my relationships center, in time spent, around people on Facebook and WordPress and the two forums overlap greatly.  My core group of out-there-in-the-greater-world friends are almost all part of the Facebook zoo as well … so as Zucky might want us to say, “It gets complicated.”

I write about Facebook once in a while because it’s such a funny animal.  Age and lifestyle differences notwithstanding, my experience with it seems to be basically the same as everyone else’s — we’re all looking for community, a spot to fit in, people to talk to and listen to, a place to say things so we can figure out what we really think, share funny stuff, and brag about pets, kids, grandkids, fairytale weddings, and vacations.  However, there are some obvious differences attached to the experience:  If you’re in it to troll, ridicule, hate on people, do harm to animals, men, women, children, or anything else that lives and breathes, including Mother Earth, or expose your (clearly amazing) body to the universe … then you and I occupy different worlds, thank god (except I’d take the body).

As with everything else, my personal Facebook and WordPress guidelines are simple:

1.)  Since it’s my life/page/blog, I say/post/read/write/share whatever speaks to my spirit.

2.)  I will never knowingly or purposely say/post/write/or share anything that would wound or humiliate someone.

3.)  If you disagree with or are offended by anything I say/post/write/or share, then I encourage you to take full ownership of your newsfeed or reader and opt to keep scrolling on down the Facebook/WordPress Road.  My brain flies in all directions at once and my tastes are ludicrously eclectic, so I’ll eventually get around to either pleasing or offending you and all the rest of my friends, possibly in a single post.  Or you could talk with me and I promise to talk with you back, not AT you.

4.)  If you’re family, going out as far as that extends … in-laws, outlaws, exes, cousins repeatedly removed … I will likely never unfriend you.  However, if you’re rude I probably won’t choose to get into a discussion with you again either.  Most of you in my gene pool are of the opposite political persuasion so I’m fully aware I can be a trial, but you’ve been pretty patient so far and it’s a matter of honor with me to be fair, to vet what I post, and to stay true to where I am on any given issue.  You also know by now that I consider politics to be some of the most important stuff we can think and talk about since that’s what determines the kind of world we live in, so if you have to hide me, so be it, there are lots of other people here who share my passion.

5.)  If you send me a friends request but never once say hey or talk to me or acknowledge that I’ve dropped in on you, my bullshit detector goes off and I start thinking about sending you to the cornfield.*  So let me make this easy for you:

a.)  Yes, I’m still married to that guy you probably didn’t trust, we celebrated ten years this past summer, and we’re still disgustingly stupid over each other.

b.)  Yes, I’ve gained a few pounds, let my hair go silver, moved to a liberal outpost, and started living.  And that’s okay.

c.)   No, I don’t know why you’re here either, so we’ll probably be saying goodbye soon.  I ain’t mad, bro, it just isn’t gonna work out between you and me.  Really, it’s not me, it’s you, no hard feelings.

*Fellow introverts are exempt, of course.  I know where you’re not coming from, and why.

To all who’ve been part of an adventure I’ve ended up living publicly on Facebook and WordPress, all the friends who were already in, have bought in, and/or hung in … thank you.  You’re a big part of where life’s going — I have tremendous role models among you and find myself incorporating bits and pieces of your personalities, writing styles, mindsets, fashion revelations, food loves, humor, and more.  I’m pretty sure Kim and I didn’t win Saturday night’s lottery, again … but how much could it matter in light of wealth like the above?  Tomorrow the mid-terms will finally be over and we’ll know where we’re headed.  And hey look!  I still have genuine friends at this point, what a gift.

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Mama said there’d be days like this …

Fun morning here.  For starters, I answered the doorbell in my PJs, only to come face to face with the head of our Homeowners Association.  I had my FIRST delightful encounter with her the day we moved in.  Something about the rule book and timing and blah-blah-blah.  Couldn’t say exactly, as she was standing, uninvited, in my space, whacking me over the head with rules she hadn’t bothered to notify us about, so I tuned her out.  No biggie.  This morning’s surprise visit was about something equally inconsequential which she could have taken care of by looking with her eyes, so it was a non-moment.  But you know how things like that set a tone.

No connection with the homeowner person, but there are days when all you do is cry.  It doesn’t change anything, but it gets that stuff out there where you can look at it and try to figure out if it’s as scary as it seems, as hurtful as it feels, as huge as it looks.  And no matter what, if it feels like your heart is shattering it’s huge.   It’s been a long time since I’ve cried for myself, my own hurt feelings, my disappointments.  It’s the people I care desperately about who can break me down into little pieces and bring my day to a halt.  Family.  Friends.  The things that rock their world in a bad way shut mine down.  When somebody I love is hurting I want to either hole up and not see another human being, or dig my Superman cape out of the laundry and confront the world.  If I couldn’t vent on a daily basis to a lucky group of Facebook friends I’d probably be in jail.  They help fill up my “give a damn” bucket when it’s empty, and they can’t possibly know how vital a service that is.  Most of them I’ve never (yet) met in person, but just by getting it they heal me.  What a gift not to have to explain things.

So my husband, who really IS Superman, took me to lunch and we tried a new place and I ended up crying at the table while I was trying to tell him what was going on in my stupid heart.  Our waitress looked concerned, but I smiled at her later — “See?  I’m fine!” — and she won’t remember me next time we go there so who cares.  And Kim gets it, bless him.  I try not to tell him ALL the things — he has his own stuff to wrestle with — but he always knows when I’m getting out of sorts so it’s only fair to let him know he didn’t do anything to make that happen.  He makes the GOOD things happen and he saves my life all over again every day.

It’s starting to sound like the world will keep on turning, so I might get some music happening and work on the closet for a while.  And maybe tomorrow the sun will shine.

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Tell me about epiphany in your life!

Everyone needs an epiphany for the new year and mine showed up this morning when I was making the bed.  While I was looking out over the snowy rooftops of the town we love, a thought exploded in my brain.  I’m in the process of checking for collateral damage from the explosion, but the idea itself came on like a freight train:  “Why are you still holding a grudge against the people who got you to this wonderful place?”

Why indeed.  Toward the end of December, WordPress put out a Daily Prompt that said “Share a story where it was very difficult for you to forgive the perpetrator for wronging you, but you did it — you forgave them.”  Someone instantly came to mind and I kept thinking about her off and on until this morning’s little gift.  I knew she’d wronged me, and I knew I hadn’t forgiven her.

Wikipedia says:  “An epiphany is an experience of sudden and striking realization.  Generally the term is used to describe scientific breakthrough, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective.”

Exactly.  It was suddenly clear to me that if it hadn’t been for the wild whims and incomprehensible decisions on the part of Kim’s boss, we’d still be caught in our old life.  Instead, we’ve been able in the last four months to exchange:

  • seriously reclusive habits … for a busy, fun, crazy social life;
  • a smattering of fast-food places and Mexican restaurants … for nearly every possible food category, in abundance;
  • a once-in-a-while opportunity to go to a concert … for a nightly offering of live music from around the world;
  • limited opportunity to be part of a vital, welcoming theatre community … for nearly unlimited ways to do so;
  • a situation where we were two blue marbles in an enormous sea of red … for being part of a big blue sea;
  • feeling like a couple of sore thumbs … for feeling accepted; or to channel Sally Fields, for knowing that “these people like us.”

And there’s so very much more.  We love it here.

But we’d still be immersed in our same old situation if not for Kim’s boss giving him an ultimatum:  NO days off during the run of a show.  That would have meant twenty-three straight working days every other month, many of them 12 to 14 hours on his feet, with no break, seven months out from a serious heart attack and bypass surgery.  I was livid — this woman was trying to kill my husband!  She’d already stacked his schedule to the max — this was the last straw.  I put my foot down.  The job ended abruptly, and then a really amazing thing happened — circumstances fell into place, one by one, to get us the hell outta Dodge.

This morning I finally got it that I owe that crazy lady a debt of thanks.  For one thing, she didn’t truly wrong ME.  And for another, she didn’t deliberately try to kill my husband.  And all the theatre friends who “abandoned” us were simply living their own lives.   Finally, I can stop taking poison and expecting someone else to die.  After months of angst, I can unload the whole thing and celebrate the fact that what may have been meant for ill has resulted in boatloads of happiness.

And then I saw on Facebook that today really is the Epiphany.  Perfect.

move on

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/photo-challenge-escape/

 

A true escape would be a beach in Mexico or Costa Rica with my husband.  Since that isn’t in our immediate future, my escape is my iMac, along with my iPad and phone.  My friends on WordPress and Facebook are like Calgon … they take me away!

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So, are you a people-pleaser?

Were you raised on a farm?  In a tiny town?  A metro area, but within a tight-knit neighborhood where people knew your business before you did?  Then you’re already on the same page with me.  If none of that fits you, I’m not sure I have enough words to explain it to you.

I was raised on a farm close to a tiny town that was one tight-knit neighborhood, and those people definitely knew my business.  All of it – some of which I never knew happened until I heard about it second-hand.

I’m sure it’ll shock you to know I grew up a people-pleaser from about Day One.  I wasn’t necessarily a Good Girl, but it was wildly important to me that people think I was — all those relatives and townspeople who were older than I, and whose lives I knew nothing about.  What a revelation when I grew up, left home, and started hearing the stories about THEM … of course, by then it was too late.

There’s also the unfortunate fact that a certain amount of suck-up-ish-ness seems to be genetically transmitted.  There were kids in school who couldn’t possibly have cared any less what some classmate or adult thought of them and the things they did.  It was “Get outta my way, I’m on a roll here.”  My guess is most of them ended up in politics.

I wanted to please my parents, my grandparents, my Sunday school teachers, my school teachers, I wanted to somehow please God, none of which is a bad thing.  But who was I?   I got married at 22 and was at least 50 before I stopped trying to make every word out of my mouth, every desire of my heart, every dream line up with what I thought my husband wanted.

After a few years of getting to know myself and realizing that I could trust my own thoughts, I met and married a man who also trusts my brain and loves every inch of me as is.  I mean it when I say it’s fun to be me.

Meanwhile, a bunch of years stacked up and now my driver’s license claims I’m 65, which is beyond ridiculous.  I don’t want to be old, so I’m not.  But I do love the freedom of not having to care whether or not people approve of who I am.  Tact is a valuable commodity and I don’t set out to antagonize anyone, but neither do I censor my convictions.  My ideas and beliefs are as legitimate as the next person’s.  It took me a lifetime to get here and I’m not going back.

I recently reduced my Facebook friends list from far too many to still almost too much.  Those who remain are either family or are there for every other possible reason.  They’ll stay or go, as they decide.  The me you see is the me I am, end of story.

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It’s not you, it’s me …

To what extent is your blog a place for your own self-expression and creativity vs. a site designed to attract readers? How do you balance that? If sticking to certain topics and types of posts meant your readership would triple, would you do it?

Well, to be honest … which is a good approach under most circumstances … my blog is for me.  Whatever load of creativity the DNA genie bestowed on me goes into my blog, my Facebook page, my house, and my erratically churning thought processes.

I love it when people come to my blog and comment on what they see there.  It’s lovely, it’s gratifying, it gives me warm gooshy feelings all over.  I even get off on seeing how many people have been here, whether they say anything or not.

But would I write for a select audience in opposition to, or to the exclusion of, what I really believe and feel?  I’d like to think I wouldn’t.  Attention is a jealous mistress who gets her hooks into us when we see ourselves as immune … but I’d hate to think I’d throw away the hodge-podge of experience I’ve accumulated and become a sell-out.

Or maybe that isn’t what it’s about at all.  Maybe it’s about finding and connecting with varied personality types and saying things they enjoy hearing.

If my readership tripled, I’m sure I’d be looking at what made that happen.  Meanwhile, I’m just trying to keep all the plates spinning … wife, mom, Facebook maven, blogger.  I swear to myself every week (don’t listen, please) to be better about keeping up with the other bloggers I follow, get right in there and rub elbows, talk about what is and what isn’t, leave thoughtful comments on their posts, build community …

But look at me.  I’m over a day late with this “daily” prompt.  I started it yesterday morning right after getting the message … and then the blog posts stacked up and the emails poured in and my Facebook peeps were having fun without me and my husband needed to talk, and an industry blog wanted a commitment, and the coffee was running out and I was running behind anditallgotkindacrazy and  …

No, clearly my blog is for me.  I need it.  My immediate world needs it.  There couldn’t be any cheaper therapy.  I’ll stick with what I love, and people are welcome – invited – to stop by and love it or leave it.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/daily-prompt-personal-space/

Finding out who you really are …

I read an article this morning by Anne Lamott that latched onto my molecules and won’t let go.  Anne is one of my most favorite writers anywhere, ever, in all the world, because she’s honest.  She’s so honest she makes me flinch sometimes.  And I love it.  The article is here if you want to read it.  http://www.oprah.com/spirit/How-To-Find-Out-Who-You-Really-Are-by-Anne-Lamott .  I’m not usually a purveyor of O Magazine, but hey, Facebook.

Which segues directly into what Anne did for me this morning.  I’d been thinking for days … weeks, really … about tweaking my friends list to make it a little more honest.  Who has 350 actual friends, let alone wildly imaginative totals like 1,600?  Or 6,000?  I’ve seen those numbers and recognized them for exactly the popularity contest they represent, all the while knowing that there was no good reason for my own list of acquaintances to hold upwards of 400 names — at one time even topping 500.  As with everyone on social media, there were at least 400 explanations as to how all those names got there, some of them not valid enough to warrant their staying.  Anne’s ruthlessly straightforward article finally gave me the kick in the butt I needed to perform surgery.

Forty-seven excisions later, the list is starting to more closely line up with what my daily/weekly/monthly interactions on Facebook look like.  There will be further cuts, but my brain already feels freer, lighter … more honest.  It irks me when someone sends me a friend request and then never says hey.  There were a lot of those.  Of the people left, 58 of them are family.  They don’t have to like me, in fact it’s highly probable that some of them have hidden me due to my intermittent political yammering, but it’s unlikely that I’ll be deleting any of them.  Family is family.  The other 251 consist either of people I’ve shared a relationship with in this life, or beautiful souls I’ve met via Facebook, and it would be impossible to say which group I feel closer to, even though it’s unlikely I’ll ever have a face-to-face meeting with most of those in Group Two.  It was revealing to me that when I scrolled through the list to get a count of family members, I had to stop repeatedly and think “Is he/she a cousin?  No.  Hmm.”

Anne’s beautiful article is entitled “Becoming the Person You Were Meant to Be,” and this quote is so liberating I may print it on a card and put it where my eyes will land on it every day.  ” … you are probably going to have to deal with whatever fugitive anger still needs to be examined—it may not look like anger; it may look like compulsive dieting or bingeing or exercising or shopping. But you must find a path and a person to help you deal with that anger. It will not be a Hallmark card. It is not the yellow brick road, with lovely trees on both sides, constant sunshine, birdsong, friends. It is going to be unbelievably hard some days—like the rawness of birth, all that blood and those fluids and shouting horrible terrible things—but then there will be that wonderful child right in the middle. And that wonderful child is you, with your exact mind and butt and thighs and goofy greatness.”

I realized some time ago that it makes me angry when other people tell me who I should be.  Spitting cursing angry.  So I don’t let people do that to me anymore.  By the same token, I found that having people lurking on my Facebook page who never talked to me, never shared anything with me, never gave me anything of themselves to hang onto, get to know, be interested in, made me the same kind of angry.  Fair or not, my antenna picked up judgment.  And I decided I didn’t need it.

Facebook, as pitiful as it may sound, is a huge part of my social life.  And now it feels a whole lot warmer and friendlier than it did when I got up this morning.  My page is just that — mine.  It’s good to be Queen.  Thank you, Anne Lamott for being an honest, vulnerable human being and for gifting me with the wisdom you’ve gained from your joyous take on life.

The strange world of Facebook …

Facebook is even stranger than real life, which is saying a mouthful.  I’ve been rattling around its environs for years now and I think I’ve seen Just.About.Everything.  I realize I’m being silly in even claiming such a thing, however, as there’s always something even more mind-blowing around the next corner.  People never fail to amaze.  Most anyone who spends any appreciable amount of time on social media knows it’s a distillation of daily life in the world … every mindset is represented, every problem magnified, every personality laid painfully bare.

Let’s talk about “friending” … an intriguing concept in every way.  It’s hard for me to let people into my life, and yet I’ve met fabulous individuals from around the globe whom I would never have had the opportunity to know otherwise and we carry on funny, fascinating, engaging conversations nearly every day.  I also have a raft of family members on my friends list, most of whom rarely talk to me … but I don’t take it personally.  We’re family, after all, and one sticks with family … at least in ours.  And we share an industrial-strength genetic makeup … we tend to be quiet and introspective until someone hits the right button, and then just try to shut us up.  I’ve received a lot of friend requests from people I used to know in a passing sort of way.  Sometimes those work out and we strike up a comfortable relationship that’s better than anything we could have claimed in the past.  Sometimes I authorize the request and never hear boo — not a hello, a comment in a conversation thread, a simple “like.”  In those instances, I usually assume the whole thing was motivated by curiosity (have I gotten fat or fallen on hard times??), give it a few weeks, hit the delete button, and move on.

The first time I was unfriended, it was like a kick to the gut … it happened to be someone I thought was a close friend, someone who’d been by my side during life-altering events.  I considered myself safe, accepted … in other words, in my mind it was a true friendship.  Not so … my political and spiritual convictions, only mildly hinted at during those innocent early days, rendered me unfit for that particular relationship.  Revelation having dawned, I tucked it under my belt and marched on.  I’ve since been unfriended by a handful of other people for the views I hold, and the only thing that would make that an untenable situation is if I changed my thinking in order to keep people happy.

Interestingly, Facebook has succeeded in teaching me far more about friendship than I was able to learn in the rest of my life to this point.  I’ve met lovely people to whom I feel very bonded … some of the truest friendships I’ve ever known.  Thus, in some ways I’ve grown softer toward people … more accepting of personalities and the endlessly varied ways in which they express themselves.  Inevitably, however, I’ve developed a thicker crust about some things.  I do not tolerate prejudice, particularly the kind based on skin color or a person’s station in life, and I do not willingly subject myself to incivility.  I’m all about keeping it real these days.  If you pass me in the grocery store without a glimmer of recognition, I have to assume we aren’t actually friends.  If you take me to task for the things I believe in and try to shame me into adopting a different mindset, I’m quite sure we aren’t friends, as no quality relationship operates that way.  If you requested to join my friends list and we’ve never had a conversation or any sort of interaction, you’re probably not there anymore … or won’t be tomorrow.  What’s the point?

Stay tuned … Facebook isn’t finished with me yet, nor I with it.

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