Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Last Word

Something has been on my mind since this time last year. It stays there, because it was a day that I taught myself an important lesson.

Sometimes having the last word on something isn’t worth it.

Sometimes that last word doesn’t move a situation forward - it just sits there and rips more gashes in fabric that’s already been torn enough. It makes us spin our wheels and drive ourselves crazy.

I think we do this “last word” thing for a couple of reasons.

One – We have something at stake that we can’t stand to lose.
Once we stop the tossing the “last word” dictionary back and forth, a situation, relationship or conversation has come to a close and we have to accept it how it is left, how has defined itself. In the silence of words that are no longer being played, we have learn acceptance. We have to be ok with being wrong, or not being able to prove our point – or worse coming to terms with the fact that we have to let someone walk away and that nothing we can say can bring them back to where they were.
So , we pitch that last word out hoping they make the catch and throw it back just to delay the outcome. To give ourselves a fighting chance.

Two –maybe this is the same as One, but I’m going to say it differently – Addiction. Sometimes we don’t even care what the words are or what the outcome is, we simply get addicted to the process. The high of blasting out words in reaction to someone else’s words and the emotional thrill of getting them to respond.

I’m writing this because I’ve been on the inside and then on the outside of a tedious conversation lately. The more I watch it unfold the more I think, “Why is this still going on?” I can’t figure out what this person wants to get from the conversation or why it is being carried on.

It got me thinking about the day I was having my own difficult conversation and in trying to spare someone's feelings I told them something they needed to know before they heard it somewhere else. I told them I had too much respect for them for it to go any other way.

This person wrote back with an admission of something that had been kept secret and affected me very personally...something that stung a bit - then they categorized the too-late-to-be-respectful-confession as "mutual respect".

In my head I kept thinking – “it’s not respect when the only reason you told me was because I was open enough to tell you something and made it easy for. You have been lying.” I didn't want them to get away with feeling respectful when I thought they were not.

Then I asked myself, “What will I get out of saying that? Is there something else that I need to hear? Do I need this person to accept what I think about this, to validate me?”

My answer to myself was, “no.” So I zipped my lips and closed the email. I gave up the last word because there was nothing to be gained from it. And, I’m still glad I did.

Sometimes there’s more said in silence. The last word doesn’t always change the outcome...but it’s omission can preserve pride and save a few needless tears in the fabric of our relationships.

I need to remember this lesson more often.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Good and the Bad of Bondage

Today I want to share something that I’ve learned of the past 31 years of my life.

You can choose to try to create bonds with people over two types of circumstances. Good and Bad.

There's a place for both...but I think there are some important things to think about.

In highschool I used to dwell on my problems and then place the weight of them on people I hardly knew, all the while waiting for a bond to develop.

I had my friends that I could just be myself with…but if there were people I wasn’t sure how to bond with I’d try to get their attention by being needy. In retrospect I can see that it was like I was trying to force them to care about me by putting a burden on them.

I needed emotional attachment, but I was going about getting it by creating drama and sob stories.

After I got myself together in life, learned to embrace who I was and to take other people into consideration before “life-dumping” on them – I realized something.

It is far more attractive to people when you come at them and bond over positive things - or at least over things that are real and presented just as they are (not over dramatized).

People want to be around people that make them feel happy – not weighed down.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times where we need to talk about our problems…but they can’t be the only things we talk about. And a lot of the times they shouldn’t be the FIRST thing we talk about. It’s just not attractive.

Here’s the other thing. When you are a person who presents problems first…you attract a certain kind of friend. The kind that thrives off “saving” the weary. Problem is that these people can be equally as challenging. They get comfortable in the role of saving and often will not encourage you to see the light in situations on your own – because then you don’t need to be saved.

Life should be good and fun. We should have the support we need when we need it….but we have to learn the difference between the bonds formed while dwelling on the negative and the positive.

We have to be self aware enough to know when we are becoming a person too much on one side or the other.

The best matches that we find in life are the ones that allow us to be whatever we need in any given moment…but before these matches can be found a true bond has to be formed.

Consider what you want that bond to be based on.

If you are lingering in someone’s life and dumping only Debbie downer news on them…do they ever really get to see who you are? Will they still want to be around you when you don’t’ have “problems”? Will they ever let you see that life isn’t so bad?

Try to find the positive in every situation and start there.

And if you can't see it...then find someone who is willing and wanting you to see it...and bond with that type of person.

Find your best matches in life and cherish the people that want you to thrive.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Feeling. Commitment. Conviction.

I've noticed lately that feelings and sentiments are so momentary, so easily persuaded by circumstance.

Commitment is the bridge that keeps us on the path between the good feelings and the bad.

Conviction defines what we personally can stay committed to.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beautiful Surprise



If you didn't join me at the Beachland Tavern for the Maura Rogers concert on March 16 - you definitely missed out.

Luckily I used my teensy little video camera on my phone to grab a bit of the show.

This song here is a personal favorite of mine.

Do me the favor of listening to it. Heck - Listen Twice. You won't regret it.

She's as talented as she is charming - and as beautiful of a surprise as today's weather.

Enjoy.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Radiate

Sun.
Sunshine.

I was driving today and thinking about what a difference there is in those two words to me though they are used interchangeably at times.

One is bright and hot.
The other is bright, warm, radiating, encompassing, (and sometimes wears a smiley face).

The difference is all in the giving off...one IS and one RADIATES.
One sits in the sky. One changes the way life feels - the way people think and act.

That's really how it is for all of us.

The real difference between one person and the next...the one that matters most - it's not so much in the name, in the looks, in the face, in the voice. It's in what all of those things give off.

It's about more than our being - it's how our being radiates to those around us.

I personally prefer the people and the words that radiate big.

It's not enough just to be. You have to connect to make a difference.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

31

Yesterday I turned 31.
I should start by telling you that I am more than a weeeee bit obsessed with my own birthday. I think it's fun to have a day (or a week) to celebrate myself.

I am also lucky enough to be spoiled by the people around me, so I really get to enjoy my time.

It started off with a surprise night out on Tuesday - birthday eve. Maura made the plans. Mikki joined. We got in the car and drove downtown...and with Mikki's hands pressed over my eyes so I couldn't see, we pulled into the House of Blues.

The surprise was a Missy Higgins concert (and a very very tasty dinner at the HOB - thank you Mikki). It couldn't have been more perfect. Maura knows me well. Set the mood for a wonderful birthday just right.

On Wednesday, my actual birthday, I was supposed to go on a field trip with Serenity's school, but due to a flooded road it was canceled.

So, I went to borders and bought myself a book...Change of Heart by Jody Picoult. I stayed there, drank coffee and read for three hours.
I stopped at Kohls and bought myself some new shirts.

I got a job offer.

I had dinner with some of the most cherished people to me in my life.

We all had fancy desserts from Sweet Melissa's. ( This one was just for me!)


I got presents that hit at the core of me from Maura, plus Veronica and the kids.

I feel loved.
I love people.
I love life.
And I'm happy.
That's what wishes are made of.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spin baby spin

This is how it feels. I'm hunkered down in a world full of things spinning out of control around me. Things affecting me, people affecting me, realities changing. Maybe it's that I'm afraid to move. Maybe it's that I think it'd be most wise not to. But I stand still. I don't want to affect anything because I am not ready to make choices. And in some cases I don't have any, and I don't want to face that either.

At times all of the spinning becomes too much. In order to maintain balance I hold my arms out 90 degrees from my sides. Palms open to the swirling realities and ex realities around me. In doing this, little things stick. Little pieces of what is going on. But only the pieces most drawn to me.

I pull them close to me and wear them like armor. They are my little somethings. The little somethings that will hold this thing together until I feel like I can move again with purpose and a little bit of control.


It’s time to lie down.
Face pressed warm into cold ground.
Footsteps coming near.
Thud. Tap. Pass. They always pass.
Ground becomes wet from sweat and tear.
Air now drained of all warmth.
Skin pruned damp and uncirculated.
Shiver in the wind.
Whither. Wilt. Gone. It’s always gone.
It’s time to lie down.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rubber Band Effect.

Did you ever go to bed one night and wake up the next morning knowing that things were different, and permanently? That the rubber band holding something together has stretched too far and no longer has the same elasticity.

That is how I feel today. I don't know what the outcome of this stretch will be, I'm not completely in control of it. What I do know is that the space the lax banding is allowing - well I can feel it. It's too much space for me right now. I'm swimming in my skin. I'm swimming in my life. I'm swimming in my home. The only thing I'm not swimming in is my clothing.

Truth is...this post is going to be vague. The things that I'm talking about here I don't want o release into the world because that them makes them real. Forgive me for wanting to not be completely real in this moment.

I just need to write. I just need to put my struggle out there and hope that even in its vagueness I'll find resolution.

That somehow in writing I'll find answers.

I have to tell you that as I write this Serenity and my cousin Marissa, 5 and 7 respectively, are standing in front of me singing singing high school musical songs on play station.

"This could be the start of something new."

I'm trying to let the joy of their youth and their bond tie me back together for a moment. Because I need it. And they are worth it.

And to be honest with you - these two can sing. It'd be a fool not to look and look closely. They are in one of life's best realities - youth.

If I'm not a fool I'll watch closely. It's the only way to recapture any piece of what once was in my life. The blessing is being able to be a part of it with them. So, I'm off to go play and find a moment of closeness during this stretched out rubber band feeling.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Food that interacts with the plate


I was sharing a can on pickled Beets with Serenity the other day and as I put them on the plate I found myself intrigued even more by their potent color than I usually am.

So, in a curious moment that probably looked a little silly to a five year old, "Mamie, why are you taking pictures of your plate?", I snapped some shots of the beets and the the mess (art) the juice made on my dirty dishes afterward.

Just a little Saturday afternoon fun.
I think everyone could use a little more punchy color in the dead of winter anyways...don't you?

It's nice to have something in my possession that I just can't put down. I love my Canon. It helps me keep track of every interesting thing that I see along the way.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Holding On or Letting Go

Oh how things change over time.

I was putting Serenity to bed tonight she's telling me how she "doesn't like to close her eyes. It's boring." And at 5 it probably is.

Of course, here I am, approaching 31, yawning and thinking about how I can't wait to lay down.
She's fighting sleep. I'm craving it.

As she tosses and turns, holding her head up off the pillow so that her eyes don't accidentally drift off, I let my eyes close. This must have signaled to my brain because somehow she fell asleep and I found myself left lying awake with mind mind churning.

'I'm about to turn 31. At least a third of my life has passed already.'

This thought turns into me tearing up a bit. I can't figure out which is more painful. Lying next to someone you want to capture every moment with - that you don't want to lose even one second with - and realizing time is flying by. Or - thinking about people and relationships that have come to a close before now and realizing that time is moving far away from what they were. Time is making them the distant past quickly.

So, I drift to a person that might have at one time looked at me the way I look at Serenity. Full of love. Full of understanding.

In one moment all of that changed and the last ten years have been filled with a distance, sometimes physical, but always emotional.

My relationship with my mother is one that I can't seem to get right at the age of 30. My 30 year old self and all of it's complications are too much to fully embrace. She loves me, I don't question that. But she can't understand me - and I know the understanding failure exists on my part as well.

Over time I have come closer to understanding her struggle. I know I'm not easy for her. I also know that I don't always make it easy.

All of this doesn't change the fact that time is passing by fast . And our distance from my age 5 self is becoming large. And our chance to get it right is passing by even faster.

All of that said - it brings me back to what I was thinking about at the beginning of all of this. Which is greater - the pain of holding on or letting go?