Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day and New Beginnings

My thoughts are unusually scattered today. And I know it's because I really need to shut myself away and write. But I can't seem to calm my mind from running off in all directions.

Enjoying my three day weekend, brings my mind to why I have it. And I think not only about my own family and friends that have or are serving in the military, but all of the brave men and women who daily do a job I know I could NEVER do. So I choose today to take a moment to say "thank you" to them all, for standing on that wall, or walking that walk, or being that first line of defense that gives me the freedom that I come to take for granted. Its a job that no one likes to admit that we need doing, and few are cut out to do it.

The second thing on my mind is my on going soap opera of a life and hoping that I will not only find a job soon that I love and am qualified for, but also a romantic partner. You see I'm so tired of coming in second. With my interviews I'm either overqualified or after talking with me they think I'll be bored soon. Wow. Really? Well of course I'll be bored, aren't all the intelligent people doing your jobs bored? I guess it's a compliment, but they really should take into consideration that I know this when applying, but am willing to be bored to be employed. And in this market it's stupid to be too choosy. I know I'm management material, too bad there are no management jobs out there. I know I need to start over in a company that is willing to let me.....wish I could find it.

As for my very uneventful love life....well recently uneventful....lets try to put this into the best possible perspective. Something my dad said on the phone to me yesterday. "The greatest love of my life was your mother, and while I haven't been able to replace that, I'm still looking."

So while the greatest love of my life was decades ago, and one I should have married but didn't. And for about 10 years I stopped looking, recently I've put myself back out there only to be burned again. Makes me wonder if we don't just fall in love with the same people over and over, until we break the pattern. . . I think this last time I started to break the pattern in many ways, but then again, in some ways not so much. He was/is emotionally unavailable. This seems to be a pattern since my third husband....and I KNOW I don't want to go there again.

But I also know my dad is right. 47 is not old. And out there is a man that will love me and want me so much that he can't live without me. And when I find him, I'll not let him go this time. And even though it sucked to be rejected, I'm glad for the experience, the championship sex, and the knowledge that I CAN HAVE A LIFE again. And I am. I choose life. I choose risk. I choose love.

Nothing in life is worth having that doesn't include a bit of risk...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Male Perspective

I've had an unusual week for me. Where most of my down time is spent in front of my computer writing, or listening to music while I try to write, or chatting with friends while I try to write, or letting facebook games eat my soul while, you guessed it, trying to write. I spent much less of that down time doing that and interacting with real live people.

What a concept. And not just my usual gang of girls, but people I don't get to see very often. Men. WOW...What a concept. And it was unusual that so many of my guy friends were in attendance this week.

It all started with fencing last Sunday, where I got to further bond with one of my oldest friends who had been like a little brother to me. Lets call this group the "Old School group". The more time I spend with him the more I realize I miss our humorous outlook on life and our competitive spirit. Also one of my ex's was present, and I'm always amazed when I run into him how little has really changed between us. He falls into the category of 'too bad we wanted different things in life'. I feel very good about rekindling friendly relationships with both of them. Was nice day, little flirty, mostly fun, and I learned a lot. Sounds like one of usual nights with the girls.....hum maybe some of my guy friends can be as good as my girl friends, and I can feel free to be myself with them and not feel like they only want one thing from me. Good for them!

And while they don't know everything about my situation, they have accepted me back with, so far, no questions asked, and an almost unconditional love. I call this the Patient Polite Perspective---they will wait to hear, and give opinions if asked, and if not politely ignore it. While not the best for getting over it quickly is definitely the place to be if you do not want to think about it, or talk about it anymore.

Then Tuesday night, I'm offered my first appearance with what I like to call "The Boys of Summer" (and yes, you can make a musical reference here.although I'm not talking about baseball, and neither was Don Henley, really....) Its usually lap tops and movies, and a lot of innuendo. Now they have one ring leader, whom has been a friend of mine, consistently, since about 1994. And he and his group of friends boost my ego in the way the first group mentioned choose not to. This group the flirting is hardly innocent, but it sure is fun! And since I'm mostly just eye candy with a brain, I'm really in control of how far it goes, and I'm a good girl at heart, so its a nice ego boost. Plus gives me the benefit of a lot of nice guys in my corner. If say, I ever need anyone beat up. Or when something breaks that I'm just too girly to fix...these are my go-to-guys, and the testosterone level is almost so high, i get turned on just by breathing the air! LOL I guess it's true what they say about every girl needing at least one guy like this.

And while their opinion is mostly, "Screw him he's an idiot if he'd choose her over you." their real agenda is more, "embrace your inner slut" so while the advice is skewed to their eye candy, it's still to my benefit of being empowered, and moving on, and remembering to have some fun. I like to call this the No Regrets Perspective.

Then Friday night rolls around and I've been looking forward to this all week, as my son and his best girl are coming into town. So I post on facebook all the details as I know it, expecting not only his "old school" friends, but hey, maybe even some of my own....things are going well in that department, and they haven't had the opportunity to hang out with him downtown, drinking, in a long, long time. And the added benefit of my daughter being able to join us now made it a real family affair. Sadly none of my "Old School", friends showed, but some of his did. And as much as I loved seeing the great healing going on between his best girl and one of her oldest best girlfriends, who is like a daughter to me, I had to marvel at all the healing that was going on for me, with these great young guys that are friends of my son. Young guys are my bane.

The first surprise of the night was running into one of The Boys of Summer, not the ring leader, and kind of a shock for us both to see us with our peeps. I got a great first hug, followed by some hardly innocent checks, and invited him to add his collection of friends to mine, which sadly didn't happen. But when they finished with their darts, he came over to completely ruin the concentration of my pool game, to give me another very lingering hug. . .gotta love those boys of summer. And was a nice way for me to start my evening on a high note.

The next one that surprised me with his opinions and honest emotion (wait a minute here.....are we talking about a straight guy? YES! YES we are!), has always referred to me as Jill Mom. But I know he really earned it that night. Listening to him discuss his recent heartbreak and how his friends while supportive were/are having a hard time still listening, reminded me of some of my own girlfriends attitudes about me discussing my continuing disappointment in my best fantasy and his life decision to not have it all, and stick to his commitment. And add to this guy a GREAT sense of timing and humor.....When I would ask to be distracted because my fantasy would SLAM into my a Sledgehammer (musical reference again!) ....he would 'shake it like a Polaroid picture'(and again! geez). When he spoke of her and his great disappointment and how he felt he had been involved for five years and was still amazed that he hardly knew her?? well that sure felt familiar too. We connected on a level of understanding that while healing our hearts are held together by will alone. And on a side note the math is half my age plus seven....lets don't traumatize the son! LOL So this example is a man that is man enough to not only be in touch with his feminine side and be able to talk openly about his life and feelings, but is still man enough to think his buddy's 'mom's got it going on'. (lots of musical references this week....maybe i need a sound track)
I'll call this the Been There Done That Perspective.

The next surprise was another long term friend of my sons' and I'd like to think of my own, although we really have spent very little time together that didn't include trying to yell at each other at Daze. He also was in a recent 'bad romance'. (there I go again). And we got to touch on the last ones in his life. How one was two years of his life he'll never get back...(sadly i agree) and the other, a complete disappointment in honer and the breaking of vows....(and again i am reminded of my own mistakes and my heart goes out to him) BUT---he's happy now. Happier than I've ever seen him and I LOVE his new girl. She is confident, sexy, smart, witty, and honest. WOW...could be my daughter, and totally wants me to meet her dad. How sweet is that? I have to add, that seeing them in the first blush of new love I was reminded of my fantasy guy that I feel ripped away from, and imagined him with his love looking this happy. I have to imagine it because I never saw it when I was with them. But I must as an intellectual assume it is there....right? Well maybe it isn't maybe they aren't as happy as this wonderful couple. And as happy as I am for him and his new girl, it only made me miss my fantasy more. I checked my cell for the 10th time wondering why I had no text from him...missing me, or hoping I was having fun. My crazy girl brain threatened to ruin my night. The son's friends wouldn't allow that. Really nice men and women. And proof that a man can respect and love you with no alternative motive than to just see you smile. Good for you. Can it be that I'm starting to believe again in men? This is the Learn By Example Perspective.

The last one that made an appearance that I would like to talk about is a friend of both my son and mine, but not a close friend although it's odd because we are close to alot of the same people. His perspective on my recent nocturnal activities with my fantasy guy are NOT as lax in moral judgment as most of the above mentioned men. Who i believe either don't share his opinion (The Boys of Summer) or not sure how to express it (The Son's Gang). Both these groups love me and want my happiness, but few (other than my daughter, but we're talking male perspective today) are willing to tell it like it is and actually express disappointment in MY behavior. My willingness to go after this guy even though he is taken, greatly disappointed him and I believe he is still scratching his head in wonderment at how I could actually do it. Having been that woman, and been cheated on, repeatedly by husbands or boyfriends, how could I do that to her? Good question and the only answer I can give is -- the heart wants what the heart wants.

I know it sounds lame, and not as important as a commitment, but ask yourself the commitment real anymore when it can be broken by an affair? Neither of us think so, and while he does not like my actions, he also does not like his. Takes two to tango. I promised him I would do better, and I meant it. I hate disappointing my friends, almost more than myself. There is something very wrong with that last sentence, hopefully when I'm truly healed I'll know what that is. And believe it. But for now, I stand on my defense. I believe we are suppose to be together, and I have a hard time letting go of this powerful a connection in love. To hit on all cylinders like this is rare. So I will hide what I feel and I will move on and hope that I meet someone soon who makes this love seem like a high school crush, instead of the soul mate connection I believe it to be.

I use to not believe in Soul Mates. I use to think there were many people for each of us, and perhaps there are. But now, after meeting him, I think maybe I just had not met my soul mate yet, and could never possibly understand exactly what that means. And why when I would argue this point with some couples they would just hold on to each other a bit more tightly and smile at me like the Mona Lisa(wow OLD song reference)......What did they know I didn't?

Obviously this last perspective generated the most to think about, and cemented this as my blog post. I like to call this perspective the You Know Better Perspective.

Oh and honorable mention goes to the two men who wanted their cards read at last nights bonfire. Thank you for allowing me to share with you a tidbit of my experience as it related to both of your readings. My fellow Wand for letting me hit you with similar 'my own worst enemy' intellect. And Orange Shirt Guy for hitting me with a knowing smile of understanding in what life has chosen to deal us.

Turn The Page.....(I had to get RUSH one in)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Crazy Girl Brian vs. Stupid Boy Brain

Good Morning Class (LOL), and today we are going to discuss an affliction that has not only infected myself, but several of my friends both male and female. The good news is that in most cases it is a very temporary state of mind, the bad news is I believe it is highly contagious and you are most able to catch it when you are at your most vulnerable.

I am speaking, of course of the moment when your own mind starts to turn against you and you acquire the need to be your own worst enemy. This is a widespread problem, and one that I hear people saying all the time. Including myself. Examples:
"I beat myself up much better than you do."
"I will punish myself much better than you or your friends can."
"I'm my own worst critic."
"I don't need a lecture from you when I've already lectured myself."

I know this is a state of mind most of us share, but as usual I started wondering why we do it to ourselves, and I've come to realize it's the Crazy Girl Brian/Stupid Boy Brain neuro pathway. I'm hoping with more awareness perhaps, our science community can come up with a cure. Perhaps we need a huge rock concert event reminiscent of LiveAid from 1985.

This is a warning you should heed when you are infected, it gets WORSE if the person you are talking to is also infected. SO BEWARE.

I've complied a few symptoms, At first I thought they might be gender specific, but I think now that that is just part of the Crazy Girl Brain. I think for the most part these symptoms are for both, or will be noted if gender specific.

Crazy Girl Brain/Stupid Boy Brain Symptoms
1. Fear- fear of the unknown, can make you...
a. paranoid
b. insecure- which leads to low self esteem
2. Low self esteem, which causes....
a. in some people silence and and unwillingness to try to communicate said fear
b. in others, self destructive behavior in an attempt to numb the feelings caused by said fear
3. Infinite wisdom (my personal favorite)which leads you to believe that you...
a. know exactly what the other person feels
b. thinks
c. or believes
4. Self doubt which can lead right back up to number 1. with the following added in for good measure
a. a sudden loss for words or any people/social skills
b. and an belief that you somehow DESERVE whatever treatment or situation you have the Crazy Girl Brain/Stupid Boy Brain over.
c. an added belief that it will NEVER get better nor that you will find happiness.

In my experience I can be fine until I get around a group of my girlfriends or guy-friends who happen to be infected. Once in their presence, the infection grows and mutates. And lately I've been the infected one, so I've kept myself away from my most suseptable friends. You are welcome. :)

These are usually harmless gatherings, sometimes intended to actually make the infected feel better or be cured, but take warning from me. Unless you are very secure in your place in life, job, relationships and ego, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HELP THESE FRIENDS. You may come away with the infection and it is, as I've said, highly contageous.

These are just a few of the symptoms, that can result in being around other people or even talking to your friends when infected:
1. distancing yourself from the very person/people you need the most (I see this one mostly in men as they have more difficulty talking about their feelings in the first place, but recently I, myself have fallen prey to this one)
2. suddenly realizing that your life sucks and you are in the same boat when you are not (suddenly being the operative word here--if you've been thinking about it, then you are probably already infected)
3. cheating on your spouse (grass is always greener syndrome and again, you are infected)
4. falling for the 'soap opera dialogue' syndrome (this one is usually a chick thing and can be summed up best as: not appreciating what he says but HOW he said or didn't say it.....really a bad one. No REAL man talks like a romance novel,ladies--if you want the boys of Twilight, go back to high school!)
5. crying over stupid scenarios in your head that you made up and are convinced they are the truth (see infinite wisdom) or things he said, (okay i made this one a chick thing because if my guy friends cry they certainly don't tell me about it.....needs more research.)
6. not being able to leave a tender moment alone (See Billy Joel--and I made this one a guy thing because they do it all the time. at the very moment when things are getting better they say something they think is funny or talk about the very subject that gave you Crazy Girl Brain to begin with, ONLY because they need something to say and don't know what to do....See no people/social skills above- this is purely Stupid Boy Brain. just comfort the girl, silly man)

I wish i had a list of cures, and things you can do to stop this once it has started, but sadly I do least not this week. Perhaps next week after I give this more thought, or can continue to cure myself of my Crazy Girl Brain.

I will leave you with the best advice I have gotten this week, and it is from Post Secret again, and i quote:

"No matter how far wrong you've gone, you can always turn around."

True that. Peace out.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

To all our moms, both here and gone

I was reading Post Secret this morning, with my coffee, like I do every Sunday, and I came across two secrets that touched my heart, and I have to pass them along. The first one is:

"Dear Mom, Your life made me strong, your passing made me stronger. I am living my life for both of us."

What a beautiful way to cope with the loss of a mother that was obviously well loved and missed, as i miss my own mother. I miss her stories about the hardships of her life growing up in the Midwest during the depression and sending her husband off to WWII as she would have called it. The changes she lived through in the 1950-1980's made her shake her head often at each generation, including mine. born in the 60's late in life for her, she got the chance to grow up again with me, and she did.

The second one was much more poignant:

"To me LOVE will always be my mother holding me, wordlessly, while I cry my heart out, in the dark."

WOW. Did that hit home this week or what? How I wished I could have had her arms around me and her wordless comfort, while i cried my heart out Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening. I think the tears have stopped now, but don't we all think that.

But even more than that, I wish I could have her advice right now. We all get special gifts when we are born, whispered to us by angels, (Like Christopher Walkin in The Prophesy.) Her's was the uncanny ability to see through everyone's bullshit and as much as I ignored her, she was dead on, about all my ex-husbands and most of my friends that she met. I wish I could have had her input on my relationship with my soul mate. I think I know what she would have said from the beginning, and I believe her opinion would have changed as the relationship changed from complete trust and honesty in friendship, to complete regret and paranoia after sex.

Isn't the ego a fabulous device for the complete ruin of your life? You tell yourself all sorts of things to justify your actions, even the really evil ones. And you believe them, with your whole heart.

I had an incredibly life altering, and heart shattering weekend so far, starting on Friday night with three of my favorite young women, one who is a daughter and two who should be. And ending with a six hour on-line conversation with my soul mate that has separated him from my life, perhaps forever. Time will tell. This is the point where I usually talk about it in terms of what 'we' feel. But I can't do that anymore because I don't feel any connection with him today. I did yesterday still, but not today. After the tears, I feel numb and nothing for him. I can't even remember with any joy, or the trembling excitement that would run up my spine, our most intimate moments. The story was tragic from the beginning and will remain so. My hopes for writing it as a romantic comedy, my first, are ripped apart. As I feel ripped away from him.

I was hoping to get over this and save something, but my connection to him has faded behind a wall of his distance and broken love. And is connected, perhaps by one thin tether, strung much too tightly, like the over tuned "B" string on my guitar. (sorry Meg, i over did it. and need new strings....hint, hint...)

I wish it were otherwise, I know many of you were rooting for us, for me to get what I deserve, some happiness. For him to find the strength to make this very difficult decision, but in the light of new information, it was never about strength. He does not love me, he loves her. I know, should have been obvious, but when you are dealing with a man that tells you he loves you as much as her, you believe it. I should have known better, no matter what his words say, actions ALWAYS speak louder.

(looks to the ceiling) "Thanks Mom" (then to the floor) "Or Thanks MOM" For those of you that believe in that kind of thing, and knew my mom, she'll be with Frank Sinatra at the cool table playing poker, by the fire, in HELL. And I'm sure having a blast and giving Satin all the maternal advice he never got, and doesn't want.

So in short, if you have a mom and she is still alive, PLEASE hug and kiss her every day, not just today. If she is gone to play poker with my mom, remember her everyday and take her with you in your life. We always need our moms, no matter how old we get. They are our strength in times of trouble, and as much as we hate it, their advice is almost always worth listening to, and usually correct. So listen to your moms' or risk the mothers curse. "May you have children just like you!" be careful, that works. I did. (feel sorry for me. LOL)

Cheers, see you next week.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Minnesota Nice vs. Honest Opinions

This week has been chock full of opinions...opinions everywhere, as far as the eye can see, but the strangeness has been how few of them actually got voiced. I know I'm not alone in this feeling that the art of good conversation is dieing in this country, and perhaps the world.

Some will blame the internet and it's shorthand language, some will blame the PC correctness of our censure-ship in the media.....pretty much all media, which I find not only insulting but SAD. That "be careful what you might say, it might offend someone" or the polite friendly nod of the head and smile you get from your friends or co-workers when they don't know what to say.

Let me clue you in on something, that nod is not because they agree with you, that nod is because they either disagree and are afraid of confrontation, or of being attacked because their opinion differs from yours.

Or something I've grown to hate even more when said at the beginning of a good conversation, not at the end, is: "I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree." WHAT THE HOUSE~!

I mean that's a fine statement to make at the end of a good conversation or debate, but at the beginning? Before you've even had your say? Seems very Minnesota Nice to me.

And before I get too wrapped up in this let me give you the definition of Minnesota Nice from the documentary by Jeffrey Schwarz about the Coen brothers' movie Fargo, and i quote this from Wikipedia, there is more if you want to look it up on your own.

(Clears throat and continues)

"Minnesota nice is the stereotypical behavior of long time Minnesota residents to be courteous, reserved, and mild mannered. According to Annette Atkins, the cultural characteristics of Minnesota nice include a polite friendliness, an aversion to confrontation, a tendency toward understatement, a disinclination to make a fuss or stand out, emotional restraint, and self-deprecation. It can also refer to traffic behavior, such as slowing down to allow another driver to enter a lane in front of the other person. She notes that critics have pointed out negative qualities, such as passive aggressiveness and resistance to change."

This definition also reminds me of a lyric from the Stephen Sondheim musical Into The Woods, where the witch sings, "You're not good, you're not right, you're just nice." Boy does THAT hit the mark.

How many times have you run into people who won't tell you the truth that you are after, when you ask for an honest opinion, but instead they either humor you with what they think you want to hear, or lie. Those little 'white lies' that supposedly mean no harm. But don't they harm? I mean if your not being honest then how does the other person know you, the real you? They might assume if you are nodding and smiling that you agree with them. What happens later, when they find out you feel completely the opposite?

I find this behavior to be in a great majority of the younger people I'm meeting these days, and I wonder if it has something to do with them growing up with all that censure-ship that was just starting back in the early-mid 80's after my generation was, for the most part, all grown up and in our early 20's.

Why are so many people afraid to state their opinions in a good old fashioned conversation? Sure you may not change anyone's mind by offering your opinion, but you might too. The one thing for sure is you'll never know unless you try.

I think some of it may come from the double standard that if you are say a strong willed woman with a head on your shoulders and not afraid to express an opinion, well, then you're a bitch. But if you are a man then you are well spoken, and intelligent. MUR? I'm not sure I understand, and I'm sure my male friends will jump on this and I welcome them to remind me that men can be overbearing bastards as well, but lets stay with what society has decided for the stereotype. I think you might agree that most men can get away with saying the same thing that a woman will be considered a bitch for saying.

Just because your opinion differs from someone else does not make you a bigot, or that you are judging the other person or their opinion. It's just an expression of conflicting ideas, or a conversation. I find conversations where the people agree all the time to be quite boring, and find it refreshing when I met someone with an alternate viewpoint. They might not end up being my friend in the end, but I bet we both learned something from the exchange of ideas. And as opinionated as I am, I have had my mind changed on several issues just by having the guts to listen, and stand up for my opinion. Its amazing what you learn when people aren't afraid to share.

I actually think that people who are afraid of conflict or have any of those wonderful qualities in the Minnesota Nice definition, especially those passive aggressive types, are actually afraid to express their opinion. Maybe they've been attacked once too often by those people who pretend they want to have a conversation, but really only want to hear themselves talk. You know the type, they tell it like it is, for a long time, and every time you try to comment they either keep going, or won't let you debate them. Or realize you don't agree and aren't going to be Minnesota Nice, and they can't handle that.

I'd like to challenge you all this week to have an opinion, and stand up for it, with your friends, co-workers or loved ones, and see if you only get intelligent conversation from people who agree with your opinion. See how many give you that smile and nod instead of showing you who they really are. And I'm not talking about business personalities here, where you might have to smile and nod. I'm talking with your real life. Your friends and lovers.

I'm pretty lucky I guess, I've chosen to surround myself with friends who aren't afraid to express themselves, even with someone as opinionated as I am. But maybe that's also because I believe that if you are truly friends, you can say anything to each other, and it won't ruin the friendship. If you can't be honest with your friends, you need new friends.

Cheers....and here's to always telling it like it is. . .even if it hurts. :)