Category Archives: Character Flaws

Social Networking Shame

facebook_iconSocial networking… Every day is like a mini class reunion—so much fun and yet so much potential for shame.

Yeah, it recently occurred to me that when I meet up with old friends on Facebook I’m kind of embarrassed about never having left the town in which I went to college.

I might as well just put “Hi! I just stayed here f*cking marinating in this place while the rest of you went uh…wherever it is that you went and led what appear to be vastly more interesting lives. So how have you been?” in my bio and be done with it.

I didn’t join the freaking Peace Corp. I didn’t go backpacking across Thailand. I didn’t get my PhD or even my masters. I didn’t intern in Washington. I didn’t set up a charity to help build a school for deaf Albanian orphans. I didn’t travel the world as a photojournalist for a major media outlet.

I got a degree. Didn’t work in my field. Got married. Had a couple jobs that inspired homicidal fantasies on a frighteningly regular basis. Got pregnant. Quit working. Did a preschool co-op for a while. Founded a Moms Club chapter (that alone is reason for shame), had another baby, started blogging…and the rest is, as they say, history.

*gently smacks you*

Wake up!!! I know my life is boring and all but you don’t need to rub it in by snoring in the middle of my shamefest!

Please to be Interventioning Me

First off, let me say that I’m not a fan of McDonald’s. Other than the Southwestern salad, I find their food largely unappetizing. Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t eat a fry or two because okay…their fries are pretty tasty. But the burgers are weird and have little hard things in them and the nuggets, despite claims to be all breast meat, have the occasional weird rubbery thing in them AND, I read somewhere (and this  MAY be an urban legend) that, were you to put one in a sealed glass container, their burgers look exactly the same a year later, as in NOT DECOMPOSING.

So yeah..ungoodness all around—and we haven’t even discussed the Happy Meals for little kids promoting PG-13 movies thing or the obesity thing or the not-humanely-raised eggs issue.

Okay, so now I’ve painted a pretty accurate picture of how I feel about the golden arches. Not exactly “lovin’ it”.

But then they went and did something totally diabolical.

MORE diabolical, I mean.

They introduced the Frappé.

It comes in mocha and caramel.

And I hate myself for saying this but THEY. ARE. GOOD.

And cheap.

And easy to get.

Not unlike a visit to your conveniently located neighborhood crack house.

I don’t know how many calories are in them and I don’t want to know. I just want my fricken daily Frappé.

It’s cold, creamy coffee goodness soothing the helltastic summer heat…

It’s caffeine, however meager, coursing through my veins and perking up my wilting, heat-stricken spirits…

Like any good junkie, I have a love/hate relationship with my dealer.

I hate them until I need a fix and then, despite all attempts at resistance, I find myself taking a different route so I can hit the drive thru.

And like any good junkie, I feel guilty and ashamed when it’s all gone and make promises to quit.

I NEED an intervention. PLEASE!

Right after I finish this giant mocha Frappé—you know—last hurrahs and such…

Life, the Universe and Everything

life_the_universe_everything2I recently removed myself from a situation that was making me really unhappy. Actually, it was making me more than unhappy. I was stressed all the time; I felt distrustful of the people I was involved with and constantly felt enveloped in negativity.

I had originally entered this situation at a friend’s request. It seemed like it would be fun and at first it was. But after a while, things changed and I realize now that I stayed in this situation out of a sense of loyalty and duty far longer than I should have, even though I was totally miserable.

I had begun thinking of getting out of this situation but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Then one day, the opportunity to peacefully but honestly speak my mind and make my exit presented itself. I took the opportunity and have never regretted it. In fact, I’m amazed at how much happier and more positive my life is since leaving.

I’m a firm believer, though I seem to have forgotten it for a while, that the universe knows exactly what you need and will show you the way when the time is right.

It took me a while to realize how unhappy I was and for the longest time, it never occurred to me that I. Could. Just. Leave. I was so busy trying to do my part, meet my responsibilities and deflect the negativity that I forgot that I had the power to change the situation by removing myself from it. Once the universe showed me the way out, I took it and did it with dignity, self-respect and a good amount of restraint.

I’m not going to lie and say that I wasn’t bitter about certain things. I was. But I’ve worked hard at taking the high road and taking my ego out of the equation and that has helped tremendously. Sometimes it’s difficult to resist the urge to say or do something nasty and petty. Sure, it would make me feel better in the moment but in the end, it’s totally ego-driven and ultimately, it would hurt me more than anyone else.

I’m a sympathetic person most of the time but I’m not an overly empathetic person. I really do have to work on it every single day but by putting myself in other people’s shoes, the hurtful, thoughtless and rude things they do bother me a lot less. That’s not to say I don’t feel annoyed or irritated or insulted at times. I do. Frequently. I’m human. But being able to look at something from THEIR perspective and cutting them some slack because maybe they’re having a bad day, or they chose the wrong words or simply didn’t think before they acted makes me a happier person. I have to work at it because really, it’s a lot easier to carry around resentment and hold on to it, as if that will somehow make the other person sorry or make them pay for what they did to me—but it doesn’t. It just makes me dwell on it more and attract more negative energy into my life.

To be clear, I’m not a model citizen by any means and I don’t fancy myself to be any more enlightened than anyone else but in my opinion, what they say about forgiveness is true. It’s a gift you give YOURSELF. It’s not letting the other person get away with something bad that they did to you. It’s giving yourself the gift of letting it go and moving on. No, it’s not always easy and yes, there are some people in my life I still haven’t forgiven or even attempted to make amends with, mainly because I’m just not ready. That’s something I will carry around with me until I make it right and it is a burden.

As I said, I forgot all these things for a while—I was just too caught up in my situation to see clearly—but I’m making the effort to re-acquaint myself with these beliefs because they work for me.  Trying to live and make choices and act without my ego calling the shots is really hard sometimes, but when I do it, I consistently see positive results.

One notable change is how people act towards me when I’m operating in such a manner—they are simply nicer, kinder and more helpful. It’s the weirdest thing but I swear it’s true. The only conclusion I can come to is that I am giving off a more positive energy and people, even total strangers, respond to it. Maybe I smile more. Maybe I have a happy vibe. I really don’t know. All I do know is that when I’m not weighed down by my ego, life is just better and easier and the universe seems to respond to my needs far more.

Example? The other day I was worrying about money. I know worry is a useless emotion but things have been really tight lately and I was feeling really strapped financially. I tried some positive affirmations about abundance and prosperity and thanked the universe for all our blessings, of which there are many. Two days later, a former client from over a year ago came to me and proposed a situation that would give me some needed financial relief. I was happy and grateful. But when the money came into my account, it was double what we had discussed. My client wanted to do expand his original request and had gone ahead and paid me for it, which I was not expecting. The universe was listening and brought me exactly what I needed and had asked for.

Please know, when I say universe, that’s my catch-all term for all things divine. It can be God or Goddess or the divine creator or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, if you wish. Names are irrelevant. It all comes from the same place.

And why am I prattling on about all this? Because I hope it can help someone else. And really, it’s never a bad thing to put more positivity into the world—it all comes back to you eventually :)

*I never actually read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy OR Life, the Universe and Everything but the title of the latter is so befitting this post, I had to reference it. I’m a book poseur. *shameface*

Gawd Mom, That’s SO Dumb

When I was about eleven, a dog inadvertently came into my life. It was one of those things where a kid got a dog from God Knows Where and brought it home and their mom was all NO WAY! And then that kid had to find a home for the dog and asked another kid, who asked another kid (that would be me) who, in turn, begged her mom to keep the dog and quite possibly threw in some emotional blackmail to seal the deal.

And that? Is how I got the dog—a small, snaggle-toothed, white fluffball of unknown origins who was aptly named (wait for it)…Fluffy!

Fluffy was the only dog we ever had that liked me better than my mom but she was a wily, spunky little thing and one day when I let her out into the backyard, she squeezed her way through the small gap where fence meets gate and she was gone.

When I realized Fluffy had outsmarted our high tech security (read: chain link fencing) and breached the backyard, I was, of course, distraught. My friend and I combed our suburban neighborhood calling for her, “FLUFFEEEEEEEE! FLUFFEEEEEEEE!” but she was nowhere to be found.

I called my mom at work, something I did much too often, and reported to her, with great distress in my voice, that I couldn’t find the dog.

And she told me?  To call the police department and ask if anyone had reported finding a dog.

PFFFTTTTT!

I gasped! I sputtered!

I was all “Moooo-oooom, that’s SO dumb! Nobody calls the police to report finding a dog! GAWWWWWD!!!” Because when you’re eleven, you know EVERYTHING.

I’m not sure what I expected her to do from 25 minutes away, at her job, but I remember feeling irritated that my #1 problem solver’s only suggestion was calling the fuzz.

Annoyed, I got off the phone and after brewing on it, decided I would call the police department (probably just to prove that my mom clearly didn’t love me because if she did, she wouldn’t have given me stupidest, most unhelpful idea EVER and would have dropped whatever she was doing to come home and make everything okay).

Annnnnd, as luck would have it…

Someone DID file a police report about finding a small white dog the day before, about a half mile from my house.

I called the people and a nice lady told me they had found Fluffy soaking wet and shivering under a tree, in the rain, and took her home.

Long story short, I got my 20 yr old sister to drive me over there to pick up Fluffy, who had clearly been well-cared for by her kindly benefactor.

She yelped and cried with excitement when she saw me…and then very promptly peed and pooped on the woman’s kitchen floor.

I cleaned up the mess, thanked the lady profusely for taking care of Fluffy and we headed home.

Later, I told my mother, mumbling no doubt, that we’d found the dog after calling the police department. She must have bitten her tongue pretty hard to keep from saying “I told you so…”

I don’t think I ever apologized to my mom for insinuating that she was a total idiot and I’m also pretty sure I never thanked her for helping me find Fluffy.

I’m sorry, Mom. And thank you.

The Truth MAY Set Me Free. Or It Might Just Make People Hate My Guts.

Can you even imagine being 100% honest ALL THE TIME?

It’s been reported that 93% of Americans surveyed admit to lying on a regular basis.

And yes, I lie, too.

I lie about why I’m late picking my kids up from school; or why I haven’t returned phone calls from someone I really don’t want to talk to; or what I think of a friend’s unflattering new haircut; or why I’ve not gotten my cat’s shots updated in two years—I’VE BEEN REALLY SELF-ABSORBED BUSY, DAMMIT!

DON’T JUDGE (you know you do it, too)

Now picture yourself NEVER telling any lies at all—no white lies; no half truths; no sparing someone’s feelings; no little fibs to make yourself look better—or less bad.

This is the premise behind Radical Honesty. No lies. Ever.

Most of the time, we don’t lie to deceive others so much as we do it out of fear that we will lose something…be it love or respect or status or control or any number of other things we simply DON’T want to lose.

Of course, sometimes we DO lie specifically to deceive but it still, oftentimes, comes back to preserving or stopping the loss something important to us.

So. Could you stop lying, say, right now?

Every time I think about pursuing a life of Radical Honesty, I respond like a junkie—it’s going to be hard. And unpleasant. I’ll quit tomorrow.

I know for me, one of the hardest things about Radical Honesty would involve being honest about letting people know how I feel about something they have done or said that has upset me, or offended me or just plain pissed me off.

Women are socialized to be nice, to not rock the boat too much and to generally strive for harmony; being liked by others is most important.

Those things do not mesh well with being radically honest and thus, women tend to not let others know what they’re really thinking or feeling.

Instead we act angry or behave passive-aggressively but when the person with whom we are upset asks us if there is a problem and we often respond with faux innocence and perhaps a little shock.

“What? Nooooo! I’m not mad at you” except they really are and frequently, everyone else knows why EXCEPT  the person they are upset with.

This is a generalization and of course, every situation will vary to a certain degree but this is classic female social behavior. Instead of confronting the source of our ire, we claim everything is fine while we seethe, brew and talk about the situation with everyone BUT that person.

Why? Because we are not raised to be honest. We’re raised to be nice. We’re not comfortable saying “Hey, I resent that” or “I think you’re wrong” or “You hurt my feelings” or any other expression that isn’t “nice” because being “not nice” = being potentially “not liked”.

I know there times, nearly every day of my life, that I’d like to call someone on something that they’ve done or said but I don’t. I don’t want to provoke anyone. I don’t want them to do what I would fully expect them to do which is listen to what I have to say and then go and tell everyone I’m a bitch and organize some kind of ridiculous campaign against me because I’ve broken the cardinal rule of being female and was honest instead of nice. It happened in 7th grade when I was honest about something and insofar as I can tell, things haven’t changed much. We women still act a lot like 7th graders.

But ohhh if we COULD be honest without fear of loss or retribution… Imagine how freeing it would be to say what you feel and mean what you say. Yes, people’s feelings will sometimes be hurt. And sometimes people will be shocked or angry but honestly, I think I’d rather deal with the truth and all that comes with it, then deal with the landmines and bullshit that come with untruths any day. Can someone REALLY fault someone else for being truthful?

I wouldn’t go so far as to say men are more honest than women but I do think men are much more free to be honest with each other and if bad feelings result, it’s usually resolved quickly and they move on.

Does this mean men never lie? No, of course not. *coughtigerwoodscough* *coughgeorgewbushcough* But they’re not socialized to choose harmony over honesty and I do envy that.

So…I’m still pondering Radical Honesty as a way of life—but something tells me I would have to preface EVERY conversation with a reminder that I’m no longer pulling any punches because the idea of hurting someone’s feelings is extremely disturbing to me and I would want them to understand before I say anything that it’s not my intention, but rather a potential side effect of the NEW! ME!

What do you think? Is Radical Honesty something you would every consider?

Anyone up for a Radical Honesty challenge?

This article was the inspiration for this post and I’m considering buying this book. Or at least checking it  out from the library. And in the interest of honesty, that’s an Amazon affiliate link.

NOTE: I will NOT be attending any Radical Honesty seminars or what have you, because, honestly, I hate stuff like that.

Always with the Guilt…

I’m not an anxious person by nature. I mean I do worry about things but I don’t SUFFER from anxiety naturally. It’s actually a side effect of my antidepressant which…I’m pretty sure I can’t live without. So. I just deal with the unfortunate side effect of random anxiety.

It doesn’t come every day. In fact most days I don’t have it at all. But when I do, it’s horrible. Today is one of those days. It made me think I had an upset stomach at first. But then the guilt started creeping up on me and that’s when I realized that this horribly unsettled feeling I have is the anxiety monster. Again.

The guilt, always with the guilt… It overwhelms me and I feel so awful. I don’t know what to do with myself.

All I can think about is lost time and missed opportunities and things that will never be again and I just want to cry except I can’t because my kids are here and it would upset them. And considering that every ounce of guilt in my pounding heart is about my failings as a mother, the last thing I want to do is upset my kids.

Why? WHY do I dwell on these things? My rational self knows it’s just the anxiety talking and it also knows that regret is a useless emotion, that what’s done is done. Nonetheless, all I can do is think about how my kids aren’t babies anymore and all the times I didn’t play dolls with my daughter (because I really hate playing dolls) and how now she likes to go in her room and read or draw. With the door closed. And it’s like a sign to my crazy anxious heart that she is slipping away from me and I want to cry for all the times I missed playing with the little girl that she is no more. And I know it’s absurd. I know I have done plenty of memorable, wonderful things with her but I can’t think about that. All I can think about are the reasons I should feel horrible; all the ways in which I’ve failed.

My son is 4 now and while I feel so shitty and anxious that I just want to roll up in a little ball and sleep forever, that I WANT to do that is just one more example of how I am failing him. Why am I not outside with him. Why are we in the house? And then I think of all the reasons we’re not outside and goddammit. I’m just full of excuses, aren’t I? So I pledge that tomorrow will be different even though I’m pretty sure it won’t be. I know myself. And I fail again.

So I give in and I take the Xanax. I never want to but it works and soon all of this will seem silly and maybe even comical—but you know what? I’m going to publish it anyway. Because this is the truth.

What? I’ve been busy…

Hello old blog…it’s been a while. I know I’ve been neglectful and I’m sorry. If it’s any consolation, I haven’t forsaken you for no reason. I’ve just been busy. Doing what? Oh well, you know the other blog?  NO, I don’t love my other blogs more than you. Stop saying that. You’re my first blog and nothing could ever replace you. Please—stop being so needy.

As I was saying, I’ve been busy. I went with eight other women to Boston and New York and we hosted a couple really great parties. We worked hard, we played hard and it was awesome. But alas, all good things must end so I came home after being gone for six days and had to hit the ground running. Apparently, life goes on even when I’m not here and sh*t continues to pile up when I’m not around to deal with it.

Okay, I know I got back 13 days ago already. Since then, I’ve just been playing catch up and trying to be a better mom and wife to my always understanding family. I haven’t quite accomplished that goal but hello? I’m a classic underachiever. That should say it all…