Turn the Page, Own Your Stuff.

I’ve been wrapping my brain around how I can snap out of my funk. To get around my mental block and just deal with my own stuff. I have been told, and have thought, “hmmmm, I need a therapist.” but see, conventional therapy doesn’t seem to grab me. I literally don’t have the energy to sit and talk to anyone about what’s going on with me, without giving them 18 months of backstory. Well, maybe it’s gonna be 30 years of backstory. Because I am a mess. I claim it’s part of my charm. I don’t think anyone else agrees with me about that.

So, let’s get into it…shall we?

I am not in contact with 80% of my family.

There. I said it.

Whew.

It’s been a solid six months of mostly radio silent, preceded by 12 months of bullshit from all sides. Understand, I am fully involved in the current situation. I am not at all blameless. BUT I am not willing to be the only contributing member of my family.

To know me, is to know first and foremost, my family means everything to me. If any ONE of them called, right now, and said they needed me, I would be there. and 100% of my family knows this. So for me to acknowledge that I am not speaking to or communicating in any way with any of my family pains me in such a way, that there are times, I find it hard to breathe.

I have spent my entire, I mean, ENTIRE adult life catering to everyone. Everyone that is, but myself. I have put family, friends, significant others, jobs, everything…in front of myself. It’s how I function. And I have never thought twice about it.

However, my wife, when she walked in…did think twice about it. She wanted to know how to help me, how to make it better, what she could do to help me to put me at the very least, in front of a few others. ME. She wanted me to think about me.

And so I did…I literally told her “you handle the kids, I’m exhausted.” Well, that didn’t last. Simply because, I realized…nope. I can’t do that to her or to them. I shouldn’t expect them to adjust to each other, new relationships and now new rules. I can’t expect to just “quit” being a parent because mommy got a new girlfriend. So, we backtracked, we adjusted. Bottom line, I learned that yes, I need to think about me, but I always, ALWAYS need to keep others in my vision. She would be there to support me and have my back, to always remind me, I need to pay attention to me too.

I am way more laid back than the wife. And unfortunately, folks in my life took absolute advantage of this. And the wife, she saw my frustration and tried to help me. This has over the years blown up colossally in her face. I have been her biggest defender against many over the years, and will continue to do so until I draw my last breath. She is my protector and my safe place. She is also the one who asks, “why won’t anyone take you seriously? why won’t anyone help you? why won’t you hold ANYONE but yourself accountable for ANYTHING?”

Doesn’t take away from the fact I would give anything to my family – my kids, my mom, my sister or niece…it just means there’s one more person I would give my life for. My wife. And here’s the “extra” to this.

She would give her life for any of my family.

So with this newfound inner strength, this newfound “I need to take care of me,” I have learned a few lessons.

LESSON ONE
Not everyone is going to like change. No. Not most. Change is inevitable. Everything changes, all the time. As I have gotten older, I have had to change. I have lost a job, friends, a parent. It has all shaped me. It’s made me stronger. And it’s made me different. As you mourn the loss of something or someone…you don’t get over it. No, you get around it. It’s something that will change you forever, the way you move through it is how you get adjusted, how you get around it. And that will be the change.

I thrive in change. New jobs, new homes, new situations. I dig in, figure out how to make it work and just do it. It’s inevitable, might as well get used to it, make it work in my favor. Others completely freak out and shut down. Or lash out. I’ve done it all. Time to throw back my shoulders and meet it head on.

LESSON TWO
Change scares people. We have long heard the adage “change scares people.” It does. And that’s okay. I lived in misery for 3 years, because I was afraid of change. And when I finally took my proverbial head-out-of-the-sand, I figured out I could make a change that would impact me and my whole family. But I had to. I couldn’t do what I had been doing for years, I had to make a change, no matter how scary it was. Let me tell you, I was terrified of doing this and doing it alone. But I was more terrified of who I was becoming and what it meant if I didn’t make a change.

As much as it hurt so many I knew not making a change would have done so much more damage that I was willing to be responsible for.

LESSON THREE
Not everyone changes at the same pace. I am the least patient person I know. I’m a “rip the bandaid off” kind of person. I just want it done and I want it over with. If it’s going to hurt, I need to know the level of pain, so I can get it in my head and I can manage it.

Others, they want to tip-toe into the change. A little bit at a time. I don’t get that, but I have to learn how to respect it. It’s not easy. And I am still a work in progress.

I am a terrible trainer. It’s true. I expect everyone to walk in to work, knowing what to do and how to do it with very little from me. It’s why I don’t train people. I don’t have the patience to show you 15 times how to do the same thing. I’m constantly amazed I taught two little people how to tie their shoes, use a spoon or to go potty.

That’s just it. I go fast. In every aspect of my life. I zoom around. Unless SVU is on and then everything slows down. As I get older, the days go faster. I want to cram as much into my life, my days as I can. I feel like 2017 was a whirlwind, I barely remember 2016 and have no recollection of anything prior to 2014. It’s that fast. So for me, if there has to be change, it needs to happen NOW, or the moment is gone.

I have to be aware and respectful of others and their need to be a bit more cautious.

I’m still working on this one.

LESSON FOUR
Not everyone agrees. With me. I am a control freak of the highest order. I have long admitted that. This has been the hardest part of learning in the last few years. That just because I want something one way, doesn’t mean I am going to get my way.

As my kids have gotten older, they have gotten their own views on everything…the world, politics, me…and very little of what I had to say or have to say changes anything in minds. And I have had to learn it’s okay to allow them to have their own opinions, their own thoughts. And just because they aren’t the same as mine, doesn’t make them wrong. It makes them different.

As I have gotten older, my opinions, my own thoughts have began to sound like that of an older person. Like my dad, or my mom…even my grandparents. I think about things like retirement and healthcare. I think about the loss of modesty and common sense. Then I realize, I am my grandpa. God.help.me. But I think more like my parents, that I want to continue to protect my kids like they are three, but I have to let them go.

I have to realize that, like my parents, I have to have patience, that I have to have faith the lessons they learned, directly or indirectly, were retained and they will be okay.

My poor mother. She sits, watching with those old “knowing” eyes. I should probably apologize more for the stunts of my younger years…but no…I think she knows…just as she probably thought the same about her mom when that moment of clarity hit her.

LESSON FIVE
I don’t have to apologize. I have spent my life apologizing to anyone who didn’t have something “go their way” for whatever part I may have played in it. If I had a penny for every time I have uttered the words, “I’m sorry” to someone, I’d be a billionaire. but get this…

I’m not sorry. Not anymore. I didn’t do it.

I’ll apologize for my mistakes, for my bad judgment or being chronically late…I will no longer apologize for any of the following:

that donut you ate this morning, your lack of job, your lack of a date, your waist size, your in-laws, your credit score, the time you went to bed, the fact you can’t cook, whiten your teeth, do your own taxes, laundry, dishes, that you can’t potty train your dog, cat, squirrel or hamster, the fact you forgot to mail anything, pay your bills, take the trash to the curb or brush your hair.

this is all on you. I’m not responsible for ANY of that or more. In fact…if you aren’t under the age of 18, living in my house with a genetic link to me, I am literally NOT responsible for anything you have done, will do or are poorly planning to do.

I will be your biggest cheerleader if you let me. I can laugh with you, cry with you, mock you until laugh. I can TP a house or bring you cookies. Or beer. Point is, I will be there to support you, but you aren’t going to hold me hostage for your decisions.

LESSON SIX
Yesterday is over. Tomorrow isn’t here. In following with no longer apologizing for EVERYTHING, I am no longer in the business of looking in my rearview mirror. I am learning to look forward, head up, tits out. That the only way to NOT miss the life I’m trying to live is to stop looking back at things I can’t change. I can’t change the fact I am divorced, or I didn’t come out earlier, or that I never skipped a burrito during pregnancy. I can’t change the fact that I made stupid decisions, but I don’t have to allow anyone else to make me feel like less for my decisions. I also can’t change a single solitary thing that I did. I can only take the mistakes, learn from them and change my future decisions.

You will miss your entire blessed life and all the beauty in it if you spend your whole time looking back and wishing it were different.

Pointing out to me all the mistakes I have made only holds US back. You don’t have to tell me. I already know. And I know the mistakes I made that only I know. that are in my darkest moments. There is no need to tell me again and again how I have hurt you, because the memory of it crushes me.

Acknowledge the past, it made you who you are now. Learn from the mistakes you and others made and face into the sunshine, it’s how you will grow.

LESSON SEVEN
Opinions are like assholes. My dad’s motto, “opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one and they usually stink.” This is the truest thing ever…I have an opinion, you may not agree with it. We can either remain friends and agree to disagree, or we can part ways. That’s the only way to get around this. If you think just like me, this is going to be a boring relationship…and I like to be challenged. Some of my favorite times are sitting on the patio with my wife and my daughter, listening to my daughter tell me her outlook on anything…and proving to me how much she knows about the world in general. To hear her views on politics, people, celebrity, how to heal the world, making her mark, whatever…listening to her and the wife go back and forth always, ALWAYS taught me something about me, her and the world. I have always said I am a better person because of my daughter. And that is a true statement.

You can’t force anyone to change their opinion. Like mine…Trump is woefully in over his head. I think net neutrality and universal healthcare are good things. I believe in global warming. I believe in Christmas and the better good. I think if I extend kindness it will be like a ripple in water. I believe the Earth is round and that there is a heaven. I believe in equal rights and equal pay for an equal job. I think sports stars are overpaid and teachers and first responders are underpaid. I think we should end the war and take care of our vets. I don’t believe in handouts and think that welfare should be provided on a temporary basis. I believe in term limits and the people learning their voice. Nothing you will say will change any of this. We can be friends, or if you wish, you can go on your own way and I will go my own.

You can’t make me wrong for a difference of opinion.

LESSON EIGHT
Love is love. Is love. I love a girl. Get over it. It doesn’t involve you or harm you. Her love makes me safe, makes me feel beautiful. Her love takes nothing away from the love I have for my family or my friends. It enhances everything around me because I have someone beside me that supports me, no matter what stupid thing I do or say. And at the end of the day, this person, will be there, holding my hand when I’m sick, when I need to cry, she will make me feel better when I’m angry or scared. She will do or say silly things to make me smile. It takes nothing away from my ability to be a friend, mother, daughter, sister, or aunt.

I will NEVER begrudge anyone finding love. I don’t care who you love, as long as you love. As long it isn’t my wife, then we are golden. Find your own person that completes you.

At the end of the day, I will always respect the fact that that person loves you, that they are your person. You need to respect the fact that I have my person, no matter who or what they are.

LESSON NINE
End of day, I am me. For the past several years, I have heard “you’ve changed.” as either an insult or a compliment. Here’s the rub, I have changed. I will agree 100%. Some for the better, some for the worst. But I need each of you to understand, that the changes in me are reflective of the people and the world around me. If I am more bitter, or more gentle, it’s based on the actions and inactions of others towards me.
I have to protect me, my mind, my heart because I can do this better than anyone else can. In the last few years, I have taken an absolute beating from those that I have held closest to me. I have allowed people who are close to me say the worst things to me. The absolute worst. And I have excused it because of love, because of respect, because my chosen friends and family are my life. And then they want to make me wrong. It’s hardened me, it’s made me quiet, sad, more introverted and lonely. I question my own motives, decisions, habits and many times, my own sanity.

Then every day, something reminds me…I am me. Scars and all…I am me. I am loving, trusting, joyous. I am a sinner, I am forgiven. I am loved and sometimes, hated. I have the ability to walk, to think, to breathe and I have free will.

I choose to use that free will, in faith. Faith that I can make a different choice with each moment. That I can love and forgive others when they hurt me. That I can put down my pride and ask for forgiveness.

LESSON TEN
Don’t mistake my grace as weakness. Never think that I am weak. Or that I am easily led. That’s your lesson to learn. I have chosen my battles very carefully for years. I am no longer in the fight and am not going to engage in battles that will leave wounds that won’t heal. I’m becoming more observant, learning to listen…watching. I will always know more than you think, I will always speak my mind. The moment you underestimate me, that’s your learning point. From then on, all the lessons I would have given to you freely, you will learn the hard way…because abusing my grace, my trust, or my respect will only lead you to lose it, then you have to earn it back…

I will always, and only be, authentically me.

Don’t tell me until I’m ready. 

I’ve learned I’m not always in the right frame of mind to receive news, good or bad, and when that happens, it takes me days to process how I feel.   I like structure in my life.   I’m not a person who is spontaneous in the way that everyday is unplanned.  I have moments that are like little surprises and I like them, mostly. But the control freak in me is more structured.

I hold my emotions much like this as well.  I don’t have a poker face, so I hold as much as I can as close as I can for as long as I can.  I let things simmer inside until I’m ready to deal with it.  Sometimes this works out well, sometimes it doesn’t.  It usually tends to end up here, with you, my therapists…

I found out a few days ago that someone I shared many years of my life with had died.  Not recently, but three years ago…about the time I started searching for them on the WorldWideWeb.  I’m not sure how I am dealing with this, as it’s a mix of sadness, bittersweet, guilt and shock.  I don’t like how this feels.  

She was a person I met through a friend.  She quickly became part of the family and we spent every holiday together.  I chose her child’s name when her and her husband couldn’t decide.  We spent weekends together.  She helped me move, I helped her move. We weren’t soul sisters, we weren’t besties, but we were good friends that felt like family and somehow through two divorces and my coming out, we drifted apart.  

I was at a big box store and the cashier recognized me. She was a mutual friend.  She then told me about our friend, how she had died, how the last of her life had been and if you had walked up to me, in the nude and peed on my leg, I would have been less shocked.  I’m still trying to figure it out.  

I walked away, I didn’t think twice, she moved on to a new life as she divorced about 18 months before me…I got it, she was single and had single friends.  She had every other weekend to be free to go out late and sleep in; I was married mommy of two that had recitals, weekend sports and laundry.  I didn’t make time, neither did she.  Our lives that had intersected ended.

I didn’t think of her for years, then around 2012, she popped in my mind and since then, I’ve looked for her, to reach out and catch up.  Now I know I can’t.  That moment has passed and it feels like an empty spot. I’m not sure how to get around it.  Or if I even need to.  

For some insane reason, I now miss her.  I want to tell her I’m sorry for being too busy to stay friendly. I want to hear about her life and her new husband.  If she was happy.  If she ever thought of me because I need to feel less guilty.  

I think I really wish the cashier hadn’t recognized me.  That I could have not thought about her.  Or her child.  Or those bittersweet memories.  That I didn’t sit and wonder how her life had been.  That seems so selfish of me, so self centered.  Her death has become about me, someone she hadn’t talked to in over 10 years.  I’m crazy, right?

I wasn’t ready to hear that news.  I wasn’t ready to have something that close to home. I’ve had other friends die, I don’t process it well at all, but this one had been closer.  This one was family for a time.  

In the end, she’s at peace, she was the person who would be grateful to finally be Home and she would never want anyone to be sad that she was gone, but happy because she had been a part of their life.  

Godspeed my friend, Godspeed. 

My love in blessings. 

I’m trying really hard to shake off some major bullshit in my life.  I’m finding that hate and hurt stick to a person just as much as love does.  I can’t shake a person who has hurt me to depths I can’t begin to reach. God knows, I pray for my own peace and healing now….I stopped praying for theirs when I realized they no longer returned the same to me and my psyche. 

I have decided, tonight, with the help another friend, that my life will turn around. I have people who I pushed aside that love me.  I have people in my life that hold me up.  These are my blessings.  

I have my health and a new way of viewing it and my continued journey to a smaller waist, lower blood pressure and higher energy. These are my blessings.  

I have my sweet family.  I can’t imagine my life being any sweeter than when I realize I am a daughter, mother, sister and a wife. These are my blessings. 

I have my job that challenges me, frustrates me, makes me laugh and makes me cry.  I have met people I enjoy seeing everyday and I’m proud of the job I do with such a team. These are my blessings.  

I have to stop giving into heartache.  I need to stop giving that negativity any power over me.  

I have to remember there is a lesson in the pain.  That I won’t trust like that ever again.  I will continue to hold the memories, the laughter, the secrets and the love deep somewhere that I can’t access it…where I don’t need it everyday.  I will gain strength from this lesson.  This is my blessing. 

And I will forgive. And love.   Everyday.

That is my biggest blessing. 

You’re Welcome.

I’m not sure I should do this.  I’m not sure I shouldn’t. I know the last 47 days haven’t been a cake walk. For many people. The past 47 days have changed me. 

47 days ago, I got a phone call that changed me.  

47 days ago,  I tried to talk to you. 

47 days ago, I tried to get ANYONE to help me reach you. I got no help. I was on my own. 

47 days ago, I made a decision to let someone else make the decision. A decision I supported.  A decision I will defend, into the fucking ground. Wanna know why???

You woke up this morning. You’re welcome. 

You got to see your family. Your loved ones. You’re welcome. 

When you get to celebrate another Thanksgiving, Christmas or birthday, you’re welcome. 

When you see the face of that person you love…that person that lives around the corner that wouldn’t pick a phone up when I called…but when you see that face and smile, you’re welcome. 

When you laugh, brush your teeth, put on your shoes, you’re fucking welcome. 

Cause see…for 47 days, I’ve missed you.  The ability to call you, to confide in you, to laugh and to share joy and fear.  

For 47 days, I have been ignored, ditched, dismissed and forgotten. 

For 47 days, I have cried, bargained with God, begged, gotten angry…because of you. 

For 47 days, I have replayed conversations, moments, secrets…and I doubt all of it.  Because of you. 

You made a stupid fucking choice.  You, not me.  Yet, instead of letting me hold you up and supporting you, instead of letting me help you, you went with the stupid fucking decision. 

The last words I have from you are “Fuck you, this friendship is over.  You are dead to me.” 

So…after many sleepless nights, after many drained days…I’m done.  I’m over it. You are on your own. I get it. I screwed up, only, I didn’t screw up. You did.  Not me…

I hope you grow up.  I’m hopeful new people in your life will have your back. Unconditionally…because until you pushed me away, I did. Even after you did, I still kept trying. I kept texting, calling, emailing..and got nothing. 

Yep. 47 days.  My life is changing in many ways, with the exception of this, it’s all been a blessing. But I can’t share the great things happening in my life with you…because you wrote me off.

I won’t bother you again.  You’re welcome. 

Chore Monster.

Just like most Americans, Saturdays are chore day…laundry day, mopping, yard work, dishes, more laundry…you know…its a way of life in most homes…and most American kids HATE Saturday Chore Day. They develop tummy aches, sore throats, diarrhea, earaches, allergies, broken legs…hands…feet…whatever it takes to avoid chores.

We kept it pretty clean though the week, so Chore a Day is pretty easy around our place. I’m lucky that I get to have a housekeeper bi-weekly, I have a yard guy and our property manager has pool service…so the hard stuff stays done…as long as we keep up with laundry and dishes during the week, Chore Day is smooth sailing…

My kids seriously have it easy, contrary to what they remember or have created in their minds as to how hard life is….they have very minimal
chores and they have to do their laundry. Maybe clean a dish or two after I cook dinner for them…yet they fight me like wet cats…they will walk around like they are dragging a dead body over hot coals and complain the whole time…and don’t get me started on the attitude they throw…so it’s no surprise they disappear as soon as I touch a bottle of Pledge or look at the vacuum…

Today, the wife is out fishing…seriously, NOT a euphemism, but fishing…I’m getting updates from the boat…so I decided to update her on our day…

The text is a bit like this…

“Fireplace cleaned out, cabinets under kitchen and laundry room sinks are clean, mail sorted, furniture moved for carpet cleaning, laundry all put away, cooler emptied and washed, bathrooms cleaned, recycle ready and grocery list made…as soon as Terminix and Zerorez are gone, we are heading to the grocery store, gift shopping and to look for the Boys new bedding. I’d rather be fishing, I think.” (Yes, it’s a long text…I’m wordy)

I get back, “that’s a lot! We’re busy too! I caught four so far, first one was wrong species…”

I replied, “the Boy thinks that we don’t work this hard when you’re here because I’m distracted…and he gets to play games…I think he misses you…”

I deserve a present…

Good thing that I got shopping on the chore list…and we all know Saturday is Chore Day…

The Downside of Up.

We’ve all seen the pros and cons of social media.  The connections that are made with long ago friends, the relationships that bloom, or re-bloom…sometimes it’s good, sometimes, not so good.

I have found a dark side to social media. It’s not spoken of often, I can only think because of the “shame” involved with it.  I was talking with the wife about it the other day…the dreaded Social Media Jealousy.  It seems to strike at adults more than children.  I think because child-drama centers around crushes, prom and what type Sperry’s you wear…at least that’s my household.

No SMJ strikes at adults, who seem to get a lot more put out than kids over slights, either real or imagined.  We tend to view Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, et al, as a measuring tool of success. Ours and our friends. And 90% of the time, it’s all self-created drama.  Seriously, some folks take this waaayy too seriously.

We only THOUGHT we got away from cliques after high school.  In fact, after high school, I walked smooth away from anything and everyone I knew in school.  See, school was brutal for me.  I wasn’t popular, I wasn’t pretty…I was awkward and introverted.  I have wonderful memories of my high school years, wrapped up in people that I still keep up with on Facebook.  Or Instagram.  Or Twitter.  Yet, of these people, there are even fewer that I keep up with in person.  It’s not because I don’t care, it’s because we all got busy.  There isn’t any malice, we just got busy.

Yes folks, remember that…before social media, we had to make an effort to maintain that connection.  And sometimes we did, and those relationships flourished.  Other times, we slacked off…waited for another day, then that day passed, and it got easier to just go on with our lives because the other person didn’t make the effort either.  Voila…drift happens.

With the invent of MySpace and it’s contest of who your top friend was, came the SMJ.  If you weren’t your friends “Top” friend, you simply taught them a lesson and moved them down on your list….ha!  That’ll teach them!!!  Most times, they didn’t even realize they had done anything wrong.  I mean, they did make their child their top friend…how dare they?!?!?

Along came Facebook; no more ranking of friends or where you fall in the “Top Ten” but now there are “likes”.  It’s almost too much pressure.  You post a status or a photo…you HOPE you get a like or two.  You are on top of the world if you get 10 or 20….you are floored at 50 or even 100!!!

You have been known to stress over the smallest thing…a misspelled word, a shadow on a photo.  In fact, we no longer take photos just to enjoy, these smart phones allow us to take picture after picture after picture to make sure you get the right angle, that you don’t see a wrinkle, a double chin, a fat roll.  But don’t worry, if you don’t catch it…one of your “friends” will point it out to you.  Sometimes in good-natured humor, sometimes, it’s ugly.  And hurtful.  This can lead to being deleted or even worse…BLOCKED!!!!

Don’t think there aren’t cliques on social media.  Oh….there totally are…the same cliques that were in school…I can look and see that the popular crowd is still the popular crowd. Or the nerds (my peeps!) have packed together, making odd references to obscure TV shows or cult movies.  Or the folks who just monitor and watch, never posting just reading and looking at everyone’s status’ and photos.

I don’t know what causes the jealousy or hurt.  I do know that people have taken sides in situations they know nothing about.  They offer opinion or advice on things they aren’t involved in or know about.  They share their insights on your life with others, without consequence or a second thought. Social media has the ability to turn us all into judgmental jerks.

Social media has made us lazy, ill-mannered, cynical and jealous.

We don’t make time to visit anymore.  Why should we?  We can just peruse their lives on their social media sight.  Right?    We don’t have to listen to their stories of Junior’s football game or Suzy’s date last night.  We don’t have to make the time to spend face to face, seeing their reactions, their smiles or tears.  We can post a comment on their status as an offer of condolence or congratulations.  Virtual posts of sincerity in a world that teeters on a line between good manners and reality shows.  Pokes have taken the place of a good ol’ fashioned hug.

We don’t always feel joy when someone posts a vacation photo or photo of their engagement ring.  No, we aren’t happy to see our friends spend time with people other than us.  We often are jealous that we weren’t invited on the trip, or we are jealous because their diamond is bigger than ours, or why wouldn’t they invite us to dinner.  We don’t always truly wish the best for others, we keep up with them because we want to compete.  Human nature at it’s finest.

And let’s be honest, we all have “those” friends, you know the ones you keep on Facebook, to watch them roll around in their misery. They can’t help themselves, and we can’t help feeling superior to them.  We don’t reach out to assist or give a word of encouragement, we just sit and watch.  And these same people, will put everything out there, when they shouldn’t.  And we think “they are just screaming for attention!”  sometimes they are, sometimes they just need that outlet.  We should never be the ones to judge their circumstance.  Or be the ones who peek and sit back.  Sometimes, instead of feeling superior in our awesome lives, we need to reach out, give the a hand or a word of support.  It may be the one thing that makes a difference.

I am just as much to blame in my own world.  I was telling my wife the other night, we let 25-year-old friendships turn into Facebook  friendships.  We all have.  And I have found in the end, it’s turned me bitter in my own mind where I have made bigger deals out of things than I should have.   I have had imaginary slights that have taken on a life of their own and I no longer speak to people who I considered my friends.  I’m not proud of this behavior.  I haven’t deleted them or anything like that…I don’t follow them, but they remain on my Facebook, I can go peek in on their world when I want to.  The same way they do me.  Many won’t admit it.  I am sure that many think “oh, that’s not me!!!  I would never do such a thing!”  Okay, then go look…see how many of the people in your social media platforms you actually interact with.

I sometimes forget that others have lives too.  That not everyone is sitting around, waiting to entertain me.  And as such, I should afford them the consideration that I want from them.

This IS a double-edged sword.

Social media has also shown me the ugly side to people that I hadn’t seen before.  I have seen others use social platforms to remind everyone else how great their lives are in comparison to others.  I have seen “friends” rub good fortune, their “excellence”, their wonderful things in others faces.  Some might not realize they do this, others do so on purpose.  Using social media as a “don’t you wish you were me?” platform.

Here’s the rub:  no, I don’t.  I feel sorry for you.  You are so insecure in your life that you need the validation of a “like” or a comment.  You don’t think your great life is so great.  And you should.  You should be proud enough of yourself to not lord it over everyone else.  Here’s a hint.  This only makes you look like a complete tool.

I have let friendships fall away.  I have found that as an adult, I will hang on to stuff way longer than I should.  I preach love and acceptance and open-mindedness.  I have to remember that I don’t walk in everyone else’s shoes. And they don’t walk in mine.  I’m not always proud of my thoughts and actions.  No matter how proud others may be of theirs.

Here’s the thing, I have a good life. I have lived charmed and blessed life and I don’t take it for granted.  I have good friends that I treasure and adore,  I have a family that I would walk through fire for and I have my health.  I don’t need much more than that.

I got a wake up call this week when some friends got hurt by my inaction. The wife and I’s inaction and assumptions. We assumed that we weren’t needed or wanted.  That we had been “edged” out of their lives.  So we went about our lives.  Hurt and upset that the friendship that we treasured was a one way street.  Only to find that they assumed the same thing about us.  That we had edged them out and they were just as hurt and confused as we were.  In the end, I realized that whether the other person makes the effort or not, I have to.  And I realized how much I had missed my friend…my LP.  And shame on me for letting this happen.  That I hurt someone by just not doing anything, by my thinking my life was more important, by my jealousy that I had been replaced…I could have lost a dear friend.  Who missed me as much as I missed them.  Shame.on.me.

We have other friends that we let go.  Not because of anything they did or didn’t do to us. Maybe we are jealous of their lifestyle.  Maybe they are jealous of our bliss.  Maybe I’m wrong all the way around.  I know that I don’t like the actions of some, I have gotten roped into what feels like a one-sided war and I chose my side. I have to live with that and I’m okay with it.  I think there are issues because of social media and the lack of communication all the way around, I don’t think I care.

Not all friendships will survive social media.  Like I said, it shows you the dark side of some folks.  And yes, I may have stopped talking to someone over my perceived hurt…but when the other side doesn’t step up to the plate to fix it, to make the effort, then there’s no need to chase that friendship.  Social media will show you someone’s true colors.  Their insecurities and their faults.  You just have to care and pay attention.

In the end, these two friendships, one I treasure and I will remember to value.  One, I am still not sure of…in the end, I can’t be the only one putting in the hard work. Friendship is more than a like on Facebook or Instagram.  Friendship is more than a quippy comment or one liner.  It’s more effort than that.   One, will meet me half way, and will smile, knowing that as I type this sentence, this friendship is putting a smile on my face.  One, will not even realize that it’s them I am thinking of as I type this sentence.  One will embrace the years and history of the friendship between the four of us, one will not realize that the years have slipped passed them and it may be too late.   Because this is the good side of social media and the bad side of social media.  All in one paragraph.

Jealousy isn’t always a bad thing.  Jealousy pushes us to be better than the next guy.  Pushes us to not settle for being just what we are…

It’s only a bad thing when we let it take over, when we let it win.

 

Say Goodbye.

I am so ready for 2013 to be over…not because it’s been all bad, but December has decidedly kicked.my.ass.

Typically, I am the first one to embrace the holidays, to throw up the Christmas decorations and spout holiday yay for all to hear…this was not to be this year…

I blame December.

See…most years, the bulk of Christmas shopping is done by the first week of December…nooooo….not this year and the stress of the retail season hit me between the eyes…please, allow me to share my oh-so-wonderful December moments…

  • We shall travel back about 5 days before December to Thanksgiving…the Boy ends up getting sick on the way to Papaw’s house and we end up turning around and heading home.  I still have another Thanksgiving meal for my family.  We find that the Boy’s toilet has been broken…we don’t know how…but this will be important within two weeks.
  • First weekend of December – we have an ice storm that shuts down school for two days…we are housebound for three days…on the fourth day, the Boy has three, THREE seizures in front of me…which is completely frightening…and we promptly brave the ice and head for Children’s Hospital where we spend two days and I pray more than I can put into words…’member the broken toilet?  we now believe that he had a seizure…we also find out that he’s been having seizures for a year and has thought the seizures were simply “muscle spasms” and hasn’t said a word.  We get a diagnosis of Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy.  They are typically in the mornings and are triggered by a lack of sleep.  We get meds and mommies enact a strict schedule that provides 8-10 solid hours of sleep each and every night.  We haven’t had a seizure since.
  • Second weekend of December – we have Kris’ family Christmas….only with the ice and hospital stay, we haven’t had time to shop…know what that means?  Sprint shopping two days before the celebration, 5 stores, and trips at midnight…we also finally get the Christmas decorations up in the house…lights outside this year????  forget.it.
  • Third weekend of December – we actually took that Friday off work to start and finish our Christmas shopping…and on that morning, I broke my wife’s finger.  I didn’t just break it a little bit…I damn near took it off!!!!  It involves scaring me, smacking her with socks, a chase and the slam of a door…and locking of said door on said finger.  Yes, me, I did it…and we were in the ER getting stitches and pain meds until midnight.  Not a single present was purchased…until Sunday, the 22nd…because yes, I am not at all ready for this holiday.
  • The 23rd requires me to do the grocery shopping for three major meals to take place in the next two days, Christmas Eve baked ziti, Christmas Day breakfast for 11 and Christmas Day Dinner…it takes me 50 minutes to do this shopping, FROM MEMORY.    I get home, holy shit!!!!  Kenner is coming to stay…which requires me to get my house in order, because I have done nothing in 5 days…except cry and cater to the wife…so it’s 5 loads of laundry, a load of dishes, vacuuming, removing my 6 pairs of shoes from the den to my closet, pre-cooking Christmas Eve dinner, finishing the 2nd day of the wrapping marathon, etc…all the while, TRYING to keep the wife still and not helping, because she keeps trying and I don’t want her to…thank God I have the Boy and the Daughter to help with the house and errands…

Why didn’t I do stuff during the week you ask?  Well….the Boy has athletics until 6PM, then it’s home for dinner, homework and other household chores that prevent leaving the house…it’s not like we aren’t busy…we are, constantly…to the point I forget the holiday…

I realize on Christmas Day that I am exhausted.  And there isn’t an ounce of holiday hooray in my bones…and it makes me sad….and angry.  I let my life get in my way.  I took it for granted…and I needed a thump to remind me that I am not actually in control, that He keeps me on my path, that I need to remember to float on my faith…the faith that things will happen as they are supposed to, I am not to try to control everything in my way and to just let.go.

I made a commitment to myself last year on New Year’s Day to allow my family to center me, to allow my family to surround me and support me.  To trust in myself and my faith that I will get through it…and I didn’t do that, so my year has ended in a colossal “F You” to my control freak tendencies…

I need out of this funk…I need some happy…I am sooooo looking forward to staying in tomorrow night, ending the year as I started it…in my jammies and in a very happy place…I refuse to allow it to end any other way…

I’m going to say Goodbye to December and some of the most trying days I have had in years.

I’m going to say Goodbye to worry and doubt and ill will.

I’m going to say Goodbye to others that bring me down.

I’m going to say Goodbye to stress and pressure that I heave upon myself to control everything.

I’m going to say Goodbye to 2013 and HELLO to 2014…and it will be a most epic year…