Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Benefits of Blogging

One of the best perks about blogging in my opinion is coming across interesting people and making new friends. Of course writing is a huge part of it, but along with the writing comes the reading. I love reading other people’s blogs. In fact, I’d rather read someone else's blog, rather than a famous author’s book. It’s more “raw” and it shows you a little peek of someone else’s life whom you’ve never met before. You start to get to know them, as you would a character in a book. I love that. In the five years that I’ve been blogging, I have met wonderful people through their writings, and I have also met quite a few in person as well. I don’t believe I have ever met a blogger friend I didn’t like or get a long with. I’d like to think that I’m a pretty good judge of character. I don’t think I have ever come across a blogger I have met in real life that I didn’t like. If I like the writing or your creative flow on your blog --I’m sure I’m going to like the person behind it too. With that being said, I have also inspired a few of my good friends to start blogging. Once they started, they couldn’t stop. Regardless of how many “fans” or readers you have, blogging should be a log of your life - a script that tells a story of who you are, what you did or maybe, photos you’ve shared with the world. My blog will hopefully outlive me, telling many stories of my struggles, challenges, my happiness as well as my childhood stories as well. The point of my blog in my eyes: “I left a mark.”

People who have left a mark in my life who are bloggers had shared their inner thoughts, their feelings, and those who have freely given their vulnerability through the biggest challenges in their lives. Some have made me laugh so hard that I couldn’t breathe. There are those who I have never met before, who have left such an impression on me, that I could only wish to be where they are. The two bloggers who I will hopefully soon be meeting, are Jess & Larkin. Their blogs are funny, raw and outrageously sick at times! These girls have so much life in them and the party never ends. They sent me a few videos of themselves dancing in a club. I took these videos and edited them all together to songs. Please go visit Jess & Larkin’s blog after you watch this video. Let them know what great dancers they are!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beginning to Get Less . . .

Anytime I wake up and see the streets and buildings packed up with snow, my mind automatically fills with excitement. It’s certainly not because I want to run out there to clean off my car and then move it so the plows can do their thing, --it’s because it triggers some wonderful memories of when I was growing up. Snow meant the possibility of having a day off from school. My sisters and I would go outside and make snowmen, or we’d just watch my dad push a shitload of snow onto a mound with his backhoe and make a 20 ft tall snowman himself. He even packed it with the plow to make it somewhat 'round'. We’d climb up the giant snowman with carrots and little stones to finish up the face. That snowman must have stayed well into the middle of July - he was so big! We would come running inside, tracking snow everywhere until mom stopped us at the end of the hallway to take off our boots and jackets. I always had to wear this hideous snowsuit that made it impossible to move my arms, while my sisters looked all cool in their ski jackets. My mom had hot cocoa waiting for us, while our noses defrosted. There was one day (my sisters can correct me if I’m wrong about the details of this because I was only 3 or 4 yrs old), but I remember it so clearly. My sister Carla and Cathy were outside with their friends making an igloo. I don’t know how they did this, but I remember watching from the window with my sister Dawn, wearing turtles necks. (The details I remember are all random & sketchy, so don’t mind me.) When they were all finished with their project, they told us to come out and walk inside the igloo. Each brick was patted down so perfectly and when you sat inside of it ---it was actually warm! I remember I was in awe of their creation.

As I grew into myself a bit, at the age of eight, I started going out there, in the snow with my quads and trikes. I used to take my trike down to the lake with the other boys and pull all of our buddies in sleds. We’d have donut competitions to see who could spin around the longest on the ice without flipping. I plowed through that snow like a maniac, fearless of getting stuck or being stranded. As long as I had a full tank of gas, I was good to go. I went through trails that led up into the mountains, finding frozen waterfalls and making my own paths to get home. Now that I’m in my thirties, I fear driving in the snow, even if the roads are plowed somewhat. “Oh maybe there’s black ice.” I mean ---the thought never occurred to me when I was younger. What happens to our fears when we grow up? Is it that we see other people making mistakes that puts the seed of fear inside our own minds? I wish I was still that same fearless little girl, riding her quad everywhere, discovering new trails and towns that I didn’t even know I was in. I even crossed over a state boundary through the Appalachian trails! And you’re not going to get roadside assistance there. Hell - I didn’t even have a cell phone. Yet, the funny thing is, I’m scared to get lost or drive long distances by myself, knowing that with one touch of my “SOS” button located in my car, that someone will be there in less than fifteen minutes. Funny how I age, I become much more fearful.

This year has been quite different though. I motivated myself with my passions in life. With putting this documentary that I’m working very hard on in front of me like a carrot, I am conquering many fears that I once had. I even drive into the city now without flinching or thinking about it. I do have my “boundaries” and little routines, such as drive down the FDR, into Battery Park and find a parking garage and hail a cab. That’s “safe” for me right now. While filming one segment of my documentary with Amy Beckerman and her partner, Ann, they took me for the dreaded midnight ride on the subway. That was a whole new experience for me. She explained how much longer it would take if we were to hail a cab and go across town that way. The subway would bring us there in no time. And she was right. My fear of subways have lessened a great deal and the thought of getting lost in the city seems to have dissipated as well. And, with my great phobia of tunnels, especially the Lincoln Tunnel, I conquered that one too. So these days, like the anticipation of a snowstorm when I was younger, I also anticipate my trips into the city, of course minus the snowsuit. Life is beginning to get fun, while my fears are beginning to get less.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mimic

The other night, I decided to head over to the bookstore and park myself in their cafe, grab some coffee and maybe pop a chapter or two out for my second book that I’m working on. I wasn’t getting much inspiration at home and needed a different atmosphere. Madelene was with me, off searching for books then periodically coming back to my table to discover disappointing finds. She must have gone back and forth about ten times before parking herself for good, ending up purchasing a magazine as well as a calendar. We work well together when we go to a bookstore/cafe, because she realizes I’m not there to browse around - I’m there to possibly pick up books for research, people watch, drink my cafe mocha, and possibly gain inspiration in a different setting. Sometimes other people in there are way too annoying in order to muster up any type of content. There was one guy speaking so loudly into his Bluetooth over at the counter while waiting for his order, that I nearly threw my coffee at him. I noticed other people getting agitated by his disrespectful conversation about how some girl didn’t put out the night before, so he decided to leave the date before it even ended.

Although I’m quite aware that I’m not perfect --other people’s actions make me so infuriated sometimes. After my Bluetooth rage had left me, another whole set of rage set in: two teeny-boppy girls discussing “hooking up” with every Tom, Dick & Harry. Instead of focusing on what I was doing, I was focusing more about how young these girls seemed to have been, and then wondering at what age are kids starting to have sex now. After the third blow job story, I started feeling the agitation growing rapidly. I couldn’t even read what I was typing, let alone drink my frothy latte without getting nauseous. It was then, Betty Crocker and her Stepford wife looking friend sat down at a table next to ours talking about cream of asparagus recipes, as well as how it makes your pee smell a little funny. That was it. I was fuming. I now officially hated people...and their public conversations to boot.

Here I am blaming all of these people for my regrets about coming out into a different atmosphere to write, when it hit me: it’s not their problem, it’s mine. The reason this occurred to me, was that there was this little nerdy looking guy sitting a few tables down working on his laptop, also in the “bad conversation zone”, but he seemed to be very at peace and focused at what he was doing. He didn’t seem to mind all the whacked out conversations that weren’t so “hushed hushed” as I thought they should be - he was at peace with everything he was surrounded with. I sort of watched him - not in a ‘stalker-type’ of way, but more so, observing of what I should be doing more of: minding my own business and not letting other people’s b/s bother me. Of course I could always blame it on my self-diagnosed ADD, but at that point in time, I felt peaceful just watching him not even flinching at what was being said.

I guess this even relates to my own personal life. Whenever I surround myself with calm, positive people, I find myself in the same state of mind as well. I do believe we pick up similar behaviors from those we spend a lot of time with. Just as there are things that Madelene and I do that mimic one another. We pick up each other’s lingos and at times, find that even our accents have merged into one another somewhat. I’m not saying be someone else’s clone, but what I have learned is, if you are surrounded by negative people, you’ll start to hold onto that type of behavior and attitude. I found a quote the other day that read, “Your life may be the only Bible people read.” The author of course is unknown, but the message was fascinating. It’s so true, there are some people I get so much inspiration from and learn positive behaviors, while there are other types of people I seem to surround myself with who are just plain toxic to my well being. When I'm surrounded by negative people, my actions also become negative. I seem to go around the same mountain again and again when I keep accepting negative people into my life. If someone makes you feel very agitated, less than wonderful and demonstrates a lack of respect for you and everyone else they come into contact with - it’s time to start choosing different friends. By this nerdy computer guy keeping his peace, it showed me while other people may be negative, I can either choose to be like them, or choose to be more like this guy that seemed to be so calm through this chaotic crowd of unruly people. The same holds true with my personal encounters in choosing friends: either choose calm, respectful friends or choose friends who are irritated, jealous and disrespectful to you and your life. Whether you know it or not, you will mimic what you’re life is surrounded by.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Haters

A true friend will stick by you no matter what. They don’t use the past against you and they don’t use vicious words to attack you. Although they may argue with you from time to time, to insult a friend is to surely lose a friend. I’ve found in my past with a few select people, that there are some who are very envious over what other people have, or what they think they have. Envious friends are never “real friends”. They strive upon what you have ---even if it’s not much. Today a friend got angry with me and felt cornered enough to say, “Well, you’re not a real writer.” So I asked her, “What is a ‘real’ writer?” She explained how a real writer wouldn’t self-publish a book. I guess she meant an “accomplished” writer to where they are well off. Of course I am not accomplished...yet. I can hope to be accomplished one day and my writing may not be perfect, but I’d like to think that I’m a “real writer”. She accused me of ‘making myself out to be successful’. Well, what does that mean? What does it mean to “be successful”? Is it wealth? Is it a high-demanding career? Is it commuting every single day to a 9-5 job? I was also accused of ‘coming from money’. Don’t. I. wish. I mean, are people absolutely out of their minds to even go as far to tell someone this when they are angry? I would never put a price tag or nitpick on petty little things such as that. People are people - I don’t care if they’re rich, poor, struggling paycheck to paycheck----if I’m going to be friends with someone, I take them ‘as is’.

A good friend of mine sent me an email with a poem by, Maya Angelou called, “Haters”.

“A hater is someone who is jealous and envious and spends all their time trying to make you look small so they can look tall. They are very negative people to say the least. Nothing is every good enough!

When you make your mark, you will always attract some haters...

That’s why you have to be careful with whom you share your blessings and your dreams, because some folk can’t handle seeing you blessed...

It’s dangerous to be like somebody else. If God wanted you to be like somebody else, He would have given you what He gave them! Right?

You never know what people have gone through to get what they have...

The problem I have with haters is that they see my glory, but they don’t know my story...

If the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, you can rest assured that the water bill is higher there too.

We’ve all got some haters among us.

Some people envy you because you can-
A) Have a relationship with God
B) Light up a room when you walk in
C) Start your own business
D) Tell a man/woman to hit the curb
E) Raise your children without both parents being in the home

Haters can’t stand to see you happy.
Haters will never want to see you succeed.
Most of our haters are people who are supposed to be on our side.

How do you handle your undercover haters?

You can handle there haters by:
1. Knowing who you are & who your true friends are. (VERY IMPORTANT!!)
2. Having a purpose to your life. Purpose does not mean having a job. You can have a job and still be unfulfilled. A purpose is having a clear sense of what God has called you to be. Your purpose is not defined by what others think about you. 
3. By remembering what you have is by divine prerogative and not human manipulation.

Fulfill your dreams! You only have one life to live...when it’s your time to leave this earth, you want to be able to say, “I've lived my life and fulfilled my dreams. Now I’m ready to go HOME!

When God gives you favor, you can tell your haters, “Don’t look at me. Look at who is in charge of me...”

Although I don't know what it's like to be rich, I also don't know the feeling of being envious over someone.  If a friend or co-worker got promoted, I would be so happy for them.  When a waiter who works so hard finally wins the lottery and becomes a multi-millionaire, I have tears in my eyes --I really do!  When a friend gets married to the love of their life ---I am thrilled beyond belief!  I don't know the feeling of being jealous on those terms. Mind you, I have been very jealous in intimate relationships if someone cheated on me or I had thought something more was brewing behind the scenes, but never in the sense where I coveted anyone.  It's not to say that I don't want nice things, it's just that I love sharing the happiness I see in a friend or family's eyes when they finally get something they've truly wanted.  Maybe I'm weird, I just don't get it.  

I now just sit back and say, "Please, by all means, believe what you want."  I can't argue with someone who wants to battle with me over possessions or what I do for a living.  This happened right in front of my wife.  Madelene looked over at me and simply said, "Is she insane?"  She really had concern for this person's well being and mental stability.  She was confused over why this person was so focused over our financial matters, flip flopping from bashing my "self-published" book, to insinuating that I'm a "kept housewife".  And, even if I were a "kept housewife"----why would this bother her so much? She thinks just because someone works at home means that they are unemployed.  This said friend had also bashed my little freelance gigs that I work very hard on and claimed that it doesn't pay all the bills.  Well, she was right.  No, it doesn't pay all the bills.  Madelene and I share the expenses together as a team.  That's how we work.  When Madelene was out of work for a year or so, I took care of her. I never thought anything about it.  When I was out of work for over two years, Madelene took care of me - without a thought behind it and didn't even care if I ever returned to work.  This is our business ---not my friend's.  Madelene and I always say, "It comes out of the same pot."  We are one. We're a team and we work together to make a comfortable home life for us.  If a friend has a problem with the way you live, then it's time to cut them out of your life.  Maya Angelou had it right when she stated, "That’s why you have to be careful with whom you share your blessings and your dreams, because some folk can’t handle seeing you blessed..."  It's true. Our friend hates to see us blessed.  Although we're not rich by any means, we are certainly blessed with love, family and a passion for what we do in life, no matter how "successful" one feels we are or aren't.  With that being said, in my eyes, we are rich. 

Why can't people be content with their own lives and successes in life? 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's Not Your Problem...It's Theirs

In some cases, I feel like I tend to psychoanalyze people more than a shrink. Sometimes, I have to stop myself and bite my tongue over what someone had just said. I used to say pretty much anything that was on my mind, even if it was very offensive. These days, I’m finding I just sit back and watch the madness flow like a bad comedy show. I’ve come to the conclusion that whenever someone says something in bad taste: it’s not my problem, it’s theirs. Whether they have ulterior motives or not, I let it ride out like a runaway train. Have you ever had a friend or relative say something so “neutral” sounding, but was a hidden insult instead? Or, have you thought to yourself, “Hrmm, maybe I took that the wrong way”, and got confused over whether or not it was an insult or just a remark said in bad taste? In cases where people say things in means of “constructive criticism”---that I don’t mind, in fact I love it. I remember in one case (which is funny), if my mother didn’t like what I was wearing, I’d come out of my room and ask her, “Ma, does this look okay?” And she would stare at me for a good while and then say, “Yeah, umm, does it need to be shortened?” She would say something in order to try to say, “Ugh come on, you’re gonna wear that, are ya?” So now I know, if she pauses before saying it looks nice---she’s conjuring up the good ol’, 'Maybe that needs to be altered' type of suggestion. It’s hysterical because I do it to her all the time. I like honesty, so I told her, whenever something doesn’t look right, please please tell me. Now, she doesn’t hold back and I love it. That’s an incident where constructive criticism is a beautiful thing. But, what if someone says something in order to insult you indirectly and somewhat viciously?

Lately I’m learning more and more that we have absolutely no control over what people say or do. We can’t “correct” them, because in their minds, they are correct. We just have to either accept them and take it for what it is, or if their lack of social skills are to the point of offensive, maybe take a step back from being in their presence so much. For me, I don’t care what my friends are wearing, how they wear their hair or what they do in their personal lives---I’m friends with certain people because I genuinely enjoy their company. I don’t care if someone comes over in their pajamas. It’s not for me to judge. I don’t base my friendships over what they they do for a living, how they eat, or if they recycle ---none of my business. My business is how they treat me as a person and of course, vise/versa. There are times when friendships become too close. One person either ends up trying to get their friend to become a clone of them. ‘You have to do what I do’ type of mindset. That doesn’t sit well with me and when that occurs, I am very bold about how I voice my opinion about that. I don’t try to get every single friend of mine to write blogs or books.  I appreciate and accept all that they do to make them happy as an individual. I don’t try to persuade them that ‘this is more gratifying than what you do’, I share what I love, but I don’t try to change people. If someone in your life always tries to change you, or mold you into ‘one of them’----it’s time to look at their motives or understand their deep seated insecurities. Remember, sometimes misery loves company.

Even in relationships and marriages, why would you want to clone someone? I see this happening a lot and I always think: wouldn’t it be boring to date or be married to someone who did everything I did? Would we have anything to talk about when the day is done? Madelene and I couldn’t be more different if we tried. I totally believe that’s why we work so well. We have so much to talk about. The one thing we have in common that is an absolute must in any intimate relationship I have had is religion. I need them to be on the same wave length as me. For me, that’s very important. But, in terms of hobbies or interests, I love that Madelene has her own set of things she loves to do and that I have mine. When we come together with them all, it makes it that much better. She never has tried to “change me”, or “clone me” into her image. I have never tried to change her as well. Someone once said to me recently, “I would like to meet someone to complete me.” But what I asked her was, “Wouldn’t you want to be complete, before meeting that special someone? Wouldn’t you want to share your completeness with the love of your life?” Like the ol’ saying goes, "You can’t love somebody unless you love yourself."  I believe that with all my heart. If you find yourself in a relationship or friendship where someone is molding you into something you’re not, just remember: it’s not your problem, it’s theirs.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

Some people get tired when their significant other says, “I love you” one too many times. For me, it sounds like the first time you have ever said it. Then you ask, “Do you feel it?” I do...I do. Not only do you say it --you show it. Love may be a feeling, but it is also an action. “To love someone” is to “show someone”. Words are meaningless sometimes. You never have to prove to me that you love me. It’s evident.  It’s the way you always kiss me when you come home at night. It’s the way you always kiss me before we go to sleep. It’s the way we both get excited for our days off together. It’s the way you take care of me when I’m sick. It’s the way you make me laugh when I’m in a grumpy mood or do something silly just to get a smile out of me. It’s the way you’re so fascinated by my work and look at it as if it’s your first time seeing it. It’s the way you listen to me when I need someone to talk to. It’s the way you truly understand why I’m sad or why I’m feeling frustrated. It’s the way you always try to hold my hand even if I’m stubborn and pull away ‘cause someone ‘might see’. It’s the way you make me feel as if no one else is in a room when we’re together at a restaurant. It’s you.

After sixteen years of knowing you, I am still learning so much about you. I’ll never say, “Oh, I know you already.” That will never slip from my lips. As we grow together, we learn more about one another each and every day. There’s never a dull moment in our conversations. An hour of talking with you feels like only two minutes. How can two people who have been together for sixteen years have so much to say to one another? It’s like living with your best friend and lover all in one. Times where we’ve curled up by the fireplace in the mornings, drinking our coffee and talking for hours at a time, and times spent lying in bed till the wee hours of the night yappin’ away. You entertain me every minute of my life. Thank you.

I don’t think our relationship, our marriage, will ever get old. I want us to grow old together as best friends, as lovers, and as a family. I want to continually learn new things about you. I want to love you deeper & stronger and let you know every single day of your life that someone loves you with all of their heart. No other woman in the world can ever fill your shoes or try to take your place. No other woman can ever hold my eye the way you do. There’s simply nobody better than you.

Thank you for being with me. Thank you for letting me share your life with you. You’ve made me the happiest woman in the world when you married me. You know I’m not fond of Valentine’s Day, because for us, it’s everyday. We don’t need a certain day to show our love.

I loved you yesterday, I love you today, and hell - I’m even going to love you tomorrow.

Happy Valentine’s Day my love.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Wasted Emotion: Jealousy

Isn’t it funny how some people view us? Have you ever thought what someone thought of you, whether it be a friend, acquaintance or merely just someone who knew who you were? It’s amazing to see the truth seep out by the words they say to others. I think everything-- every wall, every room, every source of information on the internet all have “ears”. And what I mean by that is: whatever you say to someone about somebody else, will eventually trickle into the ear of the person you have spoken about. It never fails. During the past couple of years, I have heard so many stories about “who I was” or “how poor or rich” they assumed me to be, as well as other well fabricated stories that went through mouths-to-ears and back around again a million and one times. Some of the stories are downright hysterical. Hey, let em’ think what they want. At first, I was bothered by what others thought about me, but now, I am highly entertained because each story is so different from another. Where do they get their info?

If I have learned anything, it’s this: whenever people talk negatively about you, always keep in mind that it’s either your ex (ha), or someone close to you, who is extremely jealous of you. I have never seen it with just neutral people. Usually, neutral people have no ulterior motives or strong feelings behind whatever they do or say about you. Here’s my theory: if you have kids and they bash you for having way too many, or not enough, they’re simply jealous. Why would they even go on and on about it? If you have a nice house, they’ll bitch about that, as well as make reference to your income or what they “think” you make. If you have a nice car, they’ll inquire about your “need” for it. It’s just a waste of time to even entertain these thoughts. I have never walked into someone’s beautiful home and wondered, “Oh, he or she must be doing something else, or probably struggling to afford this.” I have said, “Wow, I love their style”, and then imagined it for my own future home. It’s beautiful to feel truly happy for someone’s material possessions, family life and life in general. When I hear someone talk about a friend’s success or wealth in such a derogatory tone, I cringe. While they talk, all I see is this green-eyed monster foaming at the mouth.

I recently read a book called, “I Dare You”, by Joyce Meyer. She’s an excellent Christian speaker who has a lot of everyday advice. She’s a bit too religious for some, but she truly gives a great sermon and she’s very down-to-earth and not too “holy-rolling” if you get my drift. I want to share a short excerpt from her book that really hit a chord with me. She’s really dead on with a lot of issues about life. Sometimes, I wonder if she has written pieces just for me. If you ever want to hear a terrific sermon --look her up on iTunes and get some free downloads of her services. It’s incredible how much she relates to the ‘average Joe’.

“There’s an old story of two shopkeepers who were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other, and they would spend each day keeping track of each other’s business. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival. Day and night they taunted each other as each strove to outdo the other. Pretty soon it got to be more than a game; it became a match in jealous hatred and anger. One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, ‘I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. Would you be rich? You can be very rich, but he will be twice as wealthy. Do you wish to live a long and healthy life? You can, but his life will be longer and healthier. What is your desire?’ The man frowned, thought for a moment, and then said, “Here is my request: strike me blind in one eye!’” -Joyce Meyer

People who are jealous of you would rather see you suffer than to be truly happy in their own lives. When it comes down to the point of hatred, that emotion alone can really make you blind. Bitterness never had any benefits. In fact, through my own “rivals” who have spoken badly about me, which includes my ex and her minions, they have said things like: “Oh she’s a kept woman! She leases her car - she doesn’t own it! She’s not happy in her marriage!” Mind you, this same person has not seen me in over two years, or has any idea about how my life is like now, but yet she “knows everything”. I work from home so she calls me a “kept woman”. I lease my car, because I love getting a new car every three years, because I don’t put much mileage on it. I’m the perfect candidate for a leased car. I don’t want to put money into an old car to have to buy parts all the time. This is what I choose.  She would love to think my marriage is “bad”, of course for obvious reasons. If someone still talks about you --rest assure you are still on their minds. For me, I wish her the best. I think she has a lot of potential if she rids of her bitterness. She’s a talented and smart woman, except for that one flaw: jealousy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Openly Opinionated

Recently I had asked someone, “Is it me? What am I doing wrong?” I seem to find myself in circles of dramatic consequences, and when it comes to the final blow, I end up sitting and thinking, “What the hell happened?” For example, five years ago when I started this blog, I wrote mostly about gay & lesbian rights, debating with those who were Christian fundamentalists trying to win out a “belief”, or even, an “opinion” about whatever. Nobody won. It was a never-ending pissing contest. I became more opinionated and in my head, “strong-minded”. I thought, well it’s my blog and I can write whatever I’d like. But, what I didn’t realize, is that it then trickled into my own personal affairs, having to be opinionated to the point of combative. No one’s opinions were valid. I was right. End of story.

Five years down the road, I figured it out. No one else could explain my dilemma of why I seem to butt heads with certain people. God forbid I come across ‘one of my own’ ---it’s just relentless bickering. Healthy debate --my ass! Although I still hold true to all of my beliefs, opinions and thoughts about certain situations, religious + political matters, I want to remain Switzerland. I want to stay neutral unless asked --mind you not "wishy-washy" but more so, opened to new ideas.   If someone asks me what my thoughts are, then fine. I will no longer give my input unless necessary. I’m unlike many (how can I say this without being opinionated and rude)---left winged liberal gays & lesbians who feel a certain way about their rights. I won’t get into heated debates about “no you’re wrong” - because that simply cannot be proven nor can it be resolved without a possible ending to a friendship. Instead, I will try to listen openly and perhaps learn something out of it instead of trying to have them see another point of view. It just doesn’t work the other way. Einstein’s definition of insanity always comes to mind.

I guess I was conditioned to go into “war mode” when I had these heated debates with the people of the Denver Bible Church a few years back. I have always felt cornered, yet I also felt cornered with the extreme opposite of people’s opinions too, this due to my own religion. With that, I want to make an apology with a very dear friend of mine who is passionate about people & their rights as equals. She’s wicked intelligent with an incredible sense of humor and the ability to overcome other people’s flaws. With that, I thank her...and I also apologize for being too openly opinionated. Through our “healthy debates”, I have learned many things that I never knew before. She opened my eyes to different ways to look at things. I think she’s the first one to do this!

Thanks, Jill!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Wanted: Mind Reader

Have you ever misread someone completely? Do you ever try to read into people too much, almost as if you were a mind reader? And just because someone says one thing, does not necessarily mean it’s accurate or true at all. Sometimes, no words have to be said in order to pick up ‘the vibes’ of that person you’re trying to read, or so we think. For example, when I first met Madelene, I honestly and truly thought she didn’t like me at all. Our first date was kind of awkward. Her body language said it all for me. She turned away a lot, folded her arms into her chest while talking with me and basically, kept her distance for the most part. I was used to my dates clinging onto me or just being way too ‘touchy-feely’. I picked up a ‘no way am I going through another date with you again’ from Madelene. We kissed goodnight, but that really didn’t mean anything, in terms of guaranteeing another date. The phone call the next morning from her did. She kept saying, “I had such a great time! Can we go out again? What a great time that was!!!”  Meanwhile, I’m thinking, how could she have had a good time being so distant and reserved with me? I thought there was no way she was going to pursue me. I misread her completely. In fact, she said the first time she ever laid eyes upon me, she instantly fell in love. WHAT??? I was absolutely shocked.  

Think about it: we all try to read into people way too much. Even with friends, our behavior and body language dictates our ‘affection meter’ to the other person. It’s what we say, how we say it, how we look at the person as well as any if at all, physical contact such as a hug, a kiss hello, or just touching their arm to try and make a point. Nothing on an ‘intimate level’, but more of a friendly gesture. Now here’s a situation where you would think I really didn’t like someone... Once, I had a crush on a girl I hung out with when I was much younger. We had the same circle of friends and always were together. My friend didn’t think I liked her very much because there wasn’t much eye contact. For me, I couldn’t look her straight in the eyes because I got way too nervous. I thought that if I were to look into her eyes, she would know instantly that I like her more than just a friend. So eye contact was out. Even a hug hello was out --I couldn’t. It was too difficult for me. All of these signs of “lack of affection” were quite the opposite. That’s why I think it’s important to not read into people so much and adamantly assume one thing when it’s probably the other. Even when we argue with our family, or have an issue, it may be the total opposite of what we have taken it for. Have you ever pulled back because you thought someone didn’t want to talk to you or you thought they perhaps didn’t like you?

While I do agree with some studies about body behavior, like crossing your arms while talking with someone or shifting your body away while sitting among people are signs of possible disinterest, I do think it’s more about self-preservations and self-defense mechanisms due to insecurity issues. If I’m in a meeting with more than ten people, I will literally nail my arms down onto the table or chair so that I don’t cross them, because if I do, most people will read or misread me as either disinterested or insecure. Now with email, instant messaging and text messaging, people are absolutely befuddled, arguing over things that were totally misread because they cannot “hear” the inflection of what’s being said to them. This is one of the many reasons I do not speak to any of my friends through instant messenger through Facebook or other services. I’d rather use Sype and talk with them face-to-face, or better yet --in person! Wow, what a concept - to talk to someone in real life. Which also brings me to why people are more inclined to pouring their hearts out in a letter. They don’t have to be vulnerable, showing their facial expressions or even answering back to the one who is reading it. I'm sure you were told once or twice, “Well write them a letter, sometimes it’s easier to write it out rather than tell them.” It’s all about how you want to be read, ...or misread.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Broken

As bitter as one can possibly be, isn’t it sad when someone mutters out, “Ugh, they were such a waste of my time”, as if the person were complete trash? I often wonder if they truly mean it. I think back on all of the “waste of times” I have dealt with, to conclude that in actuality, they weren’t a waste of time after all, as much as I’d like to say they were. Every single person that has come into my life has either taught me something, made me experience something new, was there for me at a crucial period, or has simply shown me a terrific time that I will always remember. No matter how it ended, no matter how bitter the breakup or cutting the ties were, I absolutely have no regrets about anyone, be it friend or lover.

I do believe that God puts people in our lives for a reason. Think back to a time where you were once friends or lovers with someone who wasn’t healthy for you. What have you learned from that relationship? What good times or new experiences did you share with them? How has it helped you “now”, as a person? As that old saying goes, “People come into your life for a reason, a season and or for a lifetime.” I don’t recall the author of that quote, but it’s so true. Sometimes a wonderful friendship ends because its time was up. The fate between you and that person was just for a period of time and not for a lifetime. I never understood it before, until I got into my mid-thirties. I can’t believe I’m saying mid-thirties.

The most chaotic relationships are the ones that I’ve learned the most from. And I’m not saying that as 'they were only ones that did negative things'---I’m saying that in terms of what I know ‘not to do again’.  I have learned a great deal from previous relationships and friendships and then applied them to new ones. For instance, I had to end ties with a very unhealthy friendship recently. In the past, I would have held onto this friendship and dealt with the turbulent ride. Instead, I calmly explained why I had to leave the friendship after the umpteenth time of arguing and fighting. This person would apologize profusely and then in the next sentence call me a fecking ‘witch’ for hurting her so badly. She would then go back to apologizing, begging me not to leave the friendship. This went on for nearly eight months. From previous traumatic experiences, I had to cut the ties with her. I didn’t want to because I genuinely liked the person, but she was too ‘all over the place’. It was so unpredictable that I was always scared to talk to her. I didn’t know whether or not I had done something without acknowledging it, or she may have been jealous over something inane, such as talking with another friend. It was scary. I felt like I was in a pseudo relationship.

I feel really sad, because I would like to be close with some of my friends, but because of these experiences, it makes me fearful. I’m sure some of my closest friends feel the ‘push’ of my fear. I don’t mean to push them away. It’s a self-defense mechanism. One of my closest friends understands me all too well. She totally gets me and realizes the trauma I’ve gone through, because she went through similar experiences. It’s nice to sit down with her and just talk about everything, without it being so damn complicated. It’s a breath of fresh air spending time with this friend because I’m not being judged or ridiculed for anything - I’m being heard and appreciated. I haven’t had that for a long time, only with my wife. Slowly, I’m beginning to accept more, however, reject more. In other words: I won’t tolerate manipulative people with their own agendas for whatever reasons, but I will accept a friendship and become vulnerable again. Each person is different, and with that, I don’t regret my decision to open up again. I don't want to be forever broken. 

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Can I Trust You?

Trust is to be earned. It doesn’t happen instantly and sometimes, it never develops for whatever reason. I’ve had trust issues for a very long time, for many reasons and because of many people. I also know, that while one person many hurt you, another person may not do the same. People are different and we shouldn’t bulk everyone into the ‘not to be trusted’ file, but when one person after the other betrays your trust, how do you let down your guard again? Eh, we can always say, “Trust no one”, and be on our way, but the best feeling in the world is to be able to trust someone completely, with everything you have, knowing that your secrets, your thoughts and your heart is safe. That, I have with Madelene. That’s what a true best friend is. We also have a friend that we know, who without a doubt, would hold any secret sacred. How do we know this? It’s by the way she keeps quiet about others. She doesn’t talk about anyone in means of gossip or “did you hear about this or that and who did what”----anything that goes in her ear stays put. It’s how we gage our trust with people.

Whenever you see someone talk about others negatively, or spill their secrets out into the open, their trust factor becomes questionable. Would you tell them details about your personal life after they have just discussed someone else’s? Of course not. Even if the person is angry or feels betrayed, that does not give them any right to tell details of that person’s life. It shows their true character flaws. With certain people, it means, “If you tell me anything and we end up in an altercation - your secrets with me are not safe any longer.” They basically have a contract inside their minds that enable them to spill the beans about everything regarding your life to anyone who is willing listen, just because they’re angry at the time. In Jewish law, (you can read more here) gossip “kills” three people: the person who speaks it, the person who hears it, and the person about who it is told. It’s also said that the person who listens to gossip is even worse than the person who tells it, because no harm could be done by gossip if no one listens to it. It’s then the gossip becomes like a game of telephone - the story gets a bit altered and by the end of the gossip line, it becomes a completely fabricated story.

"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you."  ~Spanish Proverb

Monday, February 01, 2010

Powerful Monkey Business

Sometimes I wonder if having a “powerful personality” is a bad thing. The reason why I question it, is because powerful personalities come across more conflicts than the average Joe. They’re strong-minded and at times can be very opinionated, not giving way to an alternative solution or idea. At times, there are no compromises to be made, which makes them seem stubborn or perhaps, rude. You either ‘hate em’ or ‘love em’. There is usually no in between. Sometimes, people are downright scared of them, or feel somewhat intimidated, hoping not to get into any type of altercation or argument whatsoever. There are three types of “strong personalities” I can think up: the type where their beliefs are absolute truths and nothing more, and the type where they’re absolute people magnets because of the powerful lure they hold, perhaps persuasive and even possess an attractive yet manipulative charm. The other type that I categorize myself in, is strong-minded, my beliefs are my truths, however intellectually I know others have different beliefs which I respect. If there is factual basis upon an opinion, I will call it out and “try” to have a healthy debate. If someone rubs me the wrong way or offends me, I will speak my mind as tactfully as possible, and perhaps quite bluntly. But, I’m not hard to get along with as long as you don’t have any motives or try to “test me”.

Considering that I do hold myself in the “powerful personality” types -- I also know that my motives are not to manipulate or persuade, but to speak my mind and respect other people’s opinions and beliefs. If someone were to say, “You’re wrong about that”----I will give factual basis along with a very strong opinion to back it up with. But, if they just tell me what they believe to be true, I nod and listen. I don’t tell them, “You’re wrong!” I will tell them how I feel, or what I believe. Simple. I can be abrasive sometimes when my limit has reached its peak. And what I mean by that is, if I feel somebody is taking advantage of me or somehow pulling a ‘fast one’ over me - I will call them out before their motives are carried out. I’m very intuitive when it comes to sneaky people, and when they’re caught, they behave like a cornered lion - they lash out and spew the most hateful words you can ever imagine. I’ve seen this happen so many times that I can write a book about this one topic alone.

Have you ever sat with a friend who is relentlessly complaining about a mutual friend you both have? The friend will try to do anything to persuade you to hear “their truth” on the topic, hoping you’ll side with them. Sometimes they’ll be sneaky and put in a little, “Well, I don’t wanna get you involved, but . . .” Remember, there are always three sides to a story: party one’s side, party two’s side and the truth. It’s almost like a game of ‘who can play the better lawyer’, and you’re the jury. When they have criminal investigations with two people in separate rooms who have been in cahoots with a crime - once a detective blurts out, “Your friend admitted that you did it”, the other one will cover their tracks and even go so far to lie and say, “No, it was him” and possibly conjure up a good fabricated story. Never trust anybody who feels cornered, hurt or betrayed. I say this because the feeling of betrayal can bring out the biggest monsters in people. Their anger is too big for their own bodies. Maybe they have every right to feel betrayed or hurt, however, their revenge is much larger than what can be seen with the human eye alone.

It’s human nature to feel a sense of “revenge” once you’ve been betrayed or hurt by someone you once cared about, however keep in mind that all truth eventually rears its head once the dust has settled. It’s a law.

“Any story sounds true until someone set the record straight.” -Proverbs18:17

Here’s a scripture I love and I’m sure you’re going to find this very interesting too.


“Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a common clay pot. People with hate in their hearts may sound pleasant enough, but don’t believe them. Though they pretend to be kind, their hearts are full of all kinds of evil. While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, it will finally come to light for all to see. If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself. If you roll a boulder down on others, it will roll back and crush you. A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattery causes ruin.” -Proverbs 26:23-28

Always remember that whatever you put out into the universe will eventually come back to you, whether good or bad. I speak of universe as “God’s creation”---in my beliefs. I do believe in the ol’ golden rule: “Treat others as you would treat yourself”, and yes at times we may fail to follow through with this because we’re human, but always keep in mind the consequences of an evil heart.