How bad is your OCD?

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Over the years together Kimmers and I have gradually realized that we’re both assorted shades of OCD. His shows up, fortunately, as a desire for neat and clean so we’ve saved serious coin by declining to engage the services of a Professional Domestic Engineer since his Mom-&-U.S.Navy Training rendered him eminently qualified. He also prefers being alone in his kitchen while he works his magic according to nose and feel. It isn’t nice to interfere with the Zen, not to mention that it would be foolish, so staying out of the way and maintaining partial radio silence is no sacrifice on my part. I read yesterday that “he who feeds us is our personal god.” I’ll buy that, especially since Kim’s an entirely benevolent one and those are hard to find.

My OCDness is sort of what it looks like – oddness. Odd Cranial Disarray. That’s me up there with too many things taking up space in my brain, sorting priorities, trying to stockpile enough spoons for whatever’s ahead. When it all gets to be a little much I start asking myself what needs to go, either for a while or for good. This month it was my long-term addiction to Facebook, something that felt unbreakable until now. In a bold effort to rescue myself from the slough of despond over politics, which is to say daily life, I shut the door cold turkey on February 1 and the only thing I miss is comments from my real friends there. If I go back when March blows in it will be with a far less engaged mindset. No rush.

The most obvious clue that I’m at least a little OCD is that whatever toy grabs my interest and attention gets the “You’re my favorite thing in the world” treatment until the shiny wears off. Disclaimer: The preceding statement does not apply to people I love – distractions only.

First obsession I remember was learning embroidery from my grandma, making quilts with her, making my own clothes, and then in my little old lady days falling victim to the counted cross-stitch fever that took the civilized world by storm. It was fun, expensive, and I got good at it, but alas, in the end too much work for the eyes and neck muscles, so bye-bye trunkload of fabric, floss, and patterns, hope your next mistress isn’t so fickle.

Having grown too young at that point for needlework I got my first computer and the world was new again. It turned all that industrial-strength bookkeeping on the farm into a sweet walk in the pasture, and it was chock full of games, including an elaborate DOS setup that taxed all my brain cells even as it entertained. Then…years later, when I was even younger, social media burst onto the scene in all its primal glory and began its scorched-earth march to the sea, incinerating all in its path. And hasn’t it been a barrel of laughs, boys and girls? Still is, some days, and I’ll wander back soon, to touch base if nothing else.

I have fond memories of the adorbs farming app in the early days – I lived that silly game, fretted when my crops failed because I was, incredibly, away from the computer when they ripened, took pride in arranging everything just so. One day it dawned on me that I was exerting a godlike control unavailable to me as an actual farm wife and I quietly left it to the birds and bunnies. Then came Candy Crush, the game that ate my soul.

In my current iteration as an adolescent I’m bouncing from one fill-the-blocks app to another, working an endless selection of online jigsaw puzzles and crosswords, dabbling with Twitter, and still ending up with plenty of focused hours to write. Shocking how time-devouring Facebook alone is if you think you have to see every.single.thing that passes through your feed.

I started out to say something here but it got lost in the spaghetti, so let’s do this – if you have reason to think that you, too, may be eligible for the OCD Club, raise your hand, introduce yourself, and let’s have a meeting.

 

 

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An Accidental Anarchist*

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It’s an odd sort of experience to morph into an activist’s soul late in life’s trajectory, and The Goggle is disappointing me this morning with its lack of historical references, by which I mean naming names. Gimme the skinny, interwebs, I know it’s in there – people who sat on the sidelines for decades, absorbing life’s blows while they found their voices, and finally said, “Oh, so that’s how it is. And they expect me to keep my mouth shut about that?”

Annnd, after a swift kick to the tires, Google spits out a nearly endless list of not only names but faces, all female, because that’s what I asked for: Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Nina Simone, Ida Tarbell, they’re on the roster, along with so many more women whose courageous voices changed the face of our society and moved it forward. I’m privileged to add my own small cries to the weight of what was accomplished on my behalf long before I decided I was brave enough. I hope I will never again be afraid to add my affirmations and my pledge of support for the righting of injustices, toward common goals of love, peace, and acceptance.

Since November, our mutual progress toward those goals, most notably that of the past eight years, hangs in the balance. Crucial change for the lives and futures of LGBTQ citizens may not be fully realized any time soon despite the massive amounts of blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into coaxing the human race into the 21st Century.

People who are NOT Real Americans – anything other than straight, white, Christian males – may be in imminent danger, how much remains to be seen. These people are our friends and neighbors and we have a moral responsibility, and hopefully a genuine desire, to be their advocates in a hostile environment.

Women’s burgeoning independence is mos def at risk, no question. Our silly concept that our bodies belong to us, having gained little to no traction over all the years of constant battle, will be DOA. It’s sobering to look at that roll call of strong women, from young to long dead, and think that we might drop the ball on our watch. What a travesty that would be, so let’s not. I do not want to disappoint the likes of Malala Yousafzai, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dolores Huerta, Audre Lorde, Rosie Batty, et.al., do you? Didn’t think so.

More than ever before in our lifetime we have to be on our game. Women are the heart and soul of a society and much is squandered when our influence and input are rejected. The world needs healing – but it won’t happen without what we know and who we are, so please find your voice and use it, for the sake of the race.

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*Title borrowed from a fellow blogger – thanks.

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Be not afraid…

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First you cry, that’s what they say…unless you’re stunned into silent disbelief, in which case you walk around still living and breathing in a world that turned strange in an all too familiar direction overnight while you were sleeping…and you keep doing this – living while dead…and then ten days in, you’re spending possibly the last warm evening of the season outside with your husband…and he starts telling you things he’s never told you before about how life changing it was for him to love and care for your former mother-in-law for the last six years of her life, and how important it became to him that she not be afraid…and like that, you find yourself back with your dad in the nursing home while he slides deeper into dementia and can’t find the handholds, and he knows what’s happening, sometimes, and he’s afraid…and you’re there to reassure him and encourage him back to peace…and when he’s dying, and he knows it, and he’s afraid…you’re there to warm his chest with your hands and remind him about love and forgiveness, and to let him go…and to stay right there until the fear of the unknown leaves his eyes and his agonized lungs call it a life and end the struggle.

That might be when you finally cry, because maybe the enormity of what has transpired has funneled down to this one fact: you can’t BE THERE for everyone you love when it’s their turn in the barrel and shit gets real, and they are justifiably afraid. But you’re going to wish you could be…so much.

Now that you’ve kicked DENIAL’s ass, you can slope right on down the road into ANGER, wherein you make it clear to one and all that their opinion is not your reality. In addition, it’s where you figure out who really loves you, because they so have their work cut out for them, by which we mean how long can you watch somebody implode, and still maintain radio silence?

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ~Gloria Steinem

There’s no point in BARGAINING, what’s done is done, and you hope to skip the DEPRESSION stage because you have to wonder if you’d come back.

So what about ACCEPTANCE, then, the accepted final stage of grief and loss? Not happening. You can accept that it happened, but not that it’s normal, and you know that means you’ll be at odds with about half your family and acquaintances for the duration, whatever it turns out to be. Your friends will be right where they’ve always been – in your corner and ready to defend you from pain and harm – but some of the relationships in your life will be and already are fraught with tension and division.

Borrowing generously from Amanda Diebert’s moving blog piece called “Dear Trump Supporter who says they love me”

“A man actively promised to dismantle and harm my family. To destabilize the security of my child. To harm relatives and friends and you still voted for him.

“Those other reasons matter more to you than my life and my family. It was on the line and you chose. That is the reality.

“And I know, I know that makes you really angry that I actually said it. That I won’t let you off the hook. We have a long history and you’ve made it clear I’m supposed to apologize for making you feel guilty with all my social media posts about my sadness and my anger. I should get over it already. Your guy won and you are such a nice person and how dare I… 

“First of all, you love me? Stop telling me how to grieve.

“Yeah, I know that’s not WHY you voted for him {his racism, misogyny, homophobia, et.al.}, but again, it didn’t stop you. Actively applauding someone who is doing wrong does make you culpable.

“I’m tired. ……. I do not have to apologize for you hurting me.

“You hurt me and now you are telling me I am not allowed to be sad or scared or angry.

“At the very least you allowed me to be hurt by someone else while you condoned that abuse with a ‘yes’ vote. You gave it your stamp of approval and now you are telling me my pain doesn’t exist.

“That is not love.

“I keep being told (by the people who harmed me) that I need to be a model example of ‘we go high.’

“…this is a long road. It’ll take a while, but you said you love me and you didn’t mean to hurt me.

“So let me heal while you do the work to show that you recognize the pain you caused and are working to minimize its impact.

“If you don’t want to do that work: okay.

“By ‘okay’ I do not mean I forgive you or that we are cool. I mean, you have made a decision and I will react to it accordingly. Notice I didn’t say respect it. A blatant disregard for the well being of others is not worthy of respect. But I will acknowledge this is a choice you made and I will walk away.

“Also, yeah, I do judge you for this. I’m being super honest about that, just in case you thought I might try to gaslight you too.”

You can read Amanda’s blog piece here: You Say You Love Me

I relate to everything she wrote – she’s a woman and she describes the pain of people who are my world. Nothing in the days, weeks, and months ahead will be easy, and much of it won’t be pretty. But I vow never to accept those things as “the new normal.” That kind of acceptance is a bridge too far.

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Nasty women get shit done…

 

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we need a haiku

making this a better world

for nasty women

JSmith 10/20/2016

 

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We survived another week!

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President Barack Obama was here in Lawrence, Kansas, on Thursday, a few short blocks away on Mt. Oread.  The University of Kansas hosted him and I would have stood in line for hours to get a free ticket, and then for hours more to see and hear him, if my face didn’t look like a jigsaw puzzle and feel like rubbish.

As you know, there was no throwing it back on Thursday because the pitching arm was sleeping it off.  No Friday Funnies, because twern’t funny, McGee.  Which brings us to SaturYAY and a guest editorial, graciously loaned by my dear friend, playwright Philip Grecian.  Thank you, UncaPhil, for sharing your unadulterated thoughts with us.

(By the way, Kim and I love Lawrence because it isn’t just for Smurfs — everybody gets a say here, and plenty took advantage of that opportunity in reference to the president’s visit.)

And here’s Philip …

Been lookin’ over fboo today and see that an awful lot of ignorant people said an awful lot of stupid things while the president was in the area.

I understand if you’re a racist (and some of you are and think I don’t know it), and I understand if you’re a moron (Most of you aren’t. A few of you are, and demonstrate it regularly. I try to deal with you charitably).

Some of you are just blindly Republican (The thoughtful Republicans don’t spew hateful, stupid things. Some of you would be surprised how many thoughtful Republicans are actually reading this. I pray they’ll wrest some power away from the others. It could happen).

When George Bush was president I admit that I didn’t much care for him in the office and said so. Usually I waited till he’d done something that seemed…odd…or clueless…or thoughtlessly mean-spirited, and I’d comment. Usually making a little fun because, well, let’s be honest, he was easy to make fun of.

But, you know, my comments about George Bush…and comments made by others who didn’t like him much…were never as bone-deep mean and hateful and angry as what I’ve read here about Barack Obama. Some of you folks take my breath away with your hate.

And when I ask you why you feel that way…you give me some boilerplate FoxTrot talking point…one that’s usually made up out of whole cloth by some Foxy Barbie or Ken or dissolute Jabba the Huckabee. And if you’re called on it…if it’s pointed out that somebody just made up that “fact,” you’re quiet, retreat, and bring it up elsewhere on somebody else’s wall…like some extremist whack-a-mole.

Whaddya got? “Obamacare?” Wanna bitch about that? Hey, idiot, IT’S WORKING. Wanna talk about how we need to “Take Back America?” Yeah? From whom? He handily won office by vote of the majority. Twice. He reminded you of that, didn’t he?

Wanna talk about how he’s “ruining the country” and how you “can’t wait till he’s gone so we can put America back together?” Yeah? Really? Show me how he’s doing that. Jobs are up, economy’s up, we avoided a Great Depression–The Sequel. We’re better off than we’ve been in a long time.

So why all this palpable…hate?

Racism is all I can come up with…racism spiced up with a little party loyalty on steroids…a lot of “poor me” victimology…and a lot of foolish belief in the Murdochtrine of Fox News.

If George Bush had accomplished what Barack Obama has accomplished, you’d be building statues to the guy. And, except for a very few days when President Obama first took office (No, not two years…not 365 X 2. Do the math to see when Congress was in session during those 24 months), he did it with Congresspeople whose main raison d’être was to keep him–and by extension, the American people–from having any success at all.

And look what he accomplished in SPITE of that.
And just think what he MIGHT have accomplished beyond THAT, if the House, especially, had been working for the country…instead of for their exclusive club…and instead of for the Koch Brothers.

Just think.

For once.

If you are this clueless after all this time, you will always be this clueless. The world isn’t just passing you by, it’s passing over your head.

And you just sit there…engorging yourself with Fox News lies and Koch Brothers treachery.

I pity you.

So very much.

~ Philip Grecian

The morning after …

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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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