Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" Chorus:
I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly.
I'll do what it takes till I touch the sky.
Make a wish, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away.
Out of the darkness and into the sun.
But I won't forget all the ones that I love.
I'll take a risk, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away.
Last "Breakaway" Chorus:
I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly.
Though it's not easy to tell you goodbye.
Take a risk, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away.
Out of the darkness and into the sun.
But I won't forget the place I come from
I gotta take a risk, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away
Christina Aguilera's "Fighter" Chorus:
'Cause it makes me that much stronger.
Makes me work a little bit harder.
It makes me that much wiser.
So thanks for making me a fighter.
Made me learn a little bit faster.
Made my skin a little bit thicker.
Makes me that much smarter.
So thanks for making me a fighter.
A few years ago, my mom told me that a Martina McBride song reminded her of me. The song, "I Hope You Dance", has a positive, inspiring message, too. I was very touched when I heard the words.
Do you have lines from a song that inspire you? What's the song? What's the chorus? Do they make you want to breakaway or dance?
Let's say that you have two fields, and there's a fence between them. All of my issues are in my field, and all of my neighbor's issues are in their field. I'm not over in their yard trying to convince them to come over to the fence; they're not in my yard trying to do the same. I'm also not pitching a tent in their field, following their ways. That leaves my field unattended. They aren't pitching tents in my field either. We each come to the fence (the middle) because it's what we want to do. We each take care of our respective fields and have a place to meet.
The fence is our common ground. That's where we build something together. This relationship middle is based upon a mutual understanding of love, honesty, and respect. It is not built upon giving in to someone else's demands or wishes (their field). It's not built on fear, lies, and deception. You can't meet in the middle and build a good, solid relationship with those undesirable traits in the way. It just doesn't work. Have you tried? Let me know how that went.
So I thank my friend for her witty way of describing good relationships. You can't go wrong when you're on even ground. Happy Trails!!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
1. A substance that enables a chemical reaction to proceed at a usually faster rate or under different conditions (at a lower temperature) than otherwise possible.
2. An agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action.
I love the second definition. I think that we've all had catalysts in our lives.
One of my good friends is a true catalyst. Everytime that I hang out with her, I learn something new. It speeds my need to learn and do things differently.
A few days ago, we were hanging out and she mentioned her old love interest. Because he had more free time, she thought that they would spend more time together. The opposite was true. For some reason, he was traveling around the country and calling her sporadically. He didn't mention that he was taking trips beforehand. He would just call her from wherever he was. She had already addressed their spending time together. I guess he didn't hear her.
So when he called her from his latest destination, she didn't fuss. She didn't argue. She calmly told him that he could hang up the phone. When I asked her if she had broken up with him, she told me that there was no need to do all that. She had addressed the issue a time or two, and wasn't going to repeat herself again. There was no need to have a 'let's go our separate ways' talk. She told him her feelings, he didn't hear her, and that was it.
Before this world traveler incident, he'd said something very inappropriate to her. Again, she didn't fuss and argue. She got up and walked away. She refused to be disrespected. She refused to be treated poorly. Later, they discussed the incident and resolved the issue. DANGGGGGG! As I listened to her, I thought about how I could incorporate these things into my life. I thought about how I could walk away from situations instead of to them.
Her reaction to him triggered a significant change/reaction in me. It made me not want to keep talking to fix something. 'You hear what I say the first or second time or you don't. You meet me halfway or you don't. You treat me with the respect that I deserve or you don't. There's no need for me to beg and plead for it. It's what I deserve and the only thing that I will accept.' There's a jazz album titled I Heard You Twice the First Time. That speaks volumes.
My theme for 2008 was 'Stop Accepting Unacceptable Things/Let Go of Unnecessary People'. I wrote about that in an earlier blog entry (see Access Denied).
My theme for 2009 is 'Remember the Lessons, and Not the Teachers'. I'm sure that you're wondering what I mean by 'teachers'. I think an email from my aunt sums it up best.
The email stated that 'God doesn't give you the people you want. He gives you the people you NEED. To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you, and to make you into the person you were meant to be.'
I really agree with the idea that people come into your life for a reason. I consider them to be life lesson teachers that help you become who you were always meant to be. They can be anyone you know or have known. The lessons are what you learn from them. The challenges that you have with them are the test. The final result is your grade.
For a long time after a 'test', I would think about the teacher. I'd think about what they did, how they were doing, how could I get them to notice me, blah, blah, blah. If their 'test' was being not so kind, I really didn't learn my lesson of being more confident or stating how I feel. My final grade was hurt and sadness. And, of course, I'd have to take the test again with another teacher/situation until I could pass.
How did I pass? By looking at repeat situations, looking at what I've done before, and doing something different the next time. That 'something different' is what I really want to do. It's what I feel is right. It's what I feel deep down and with conviction. Like I don't tell someone that something is okay when it isn't.
So I want to go into 2009 paying more attention to what I learned, not who taught me what. The teachers have been great, but the lessons have been greater. I've learned to see teachers/situations for what they are. They are ways for me to be a better woman today than I was yesterday. They are ways for me to be a better woman tomorrow than I am now. They are ways for me to be the best that I can be. That certainly is unforgettable.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
With today being Christmas, I'd like to address the greatest gift. One that keeps on giving. One that you can treasure. One that you can show others.
A few years ago, I watched a documentary on PBS. A group of people wanted to overcome their stuttering problems, and the documentary followed each individual's story. One woman's story stood out from the others.
I don't remember her name, but I'll call her Sally. Sally was an African-American woman in her early 40s. She was pursuing her doctorate degree in Sociology and wanted to work on her stuttering issues before presenting her oral dissertation.
She and the other participants in this course practiced ways to overcome their stuttering. They did things like ask people on the street for directions, call and order food for delivery, and have conversations with the program staff. Everyone minimized their stuttering at the end of the training program and went back to their regular lives.
They showed Sally a few weeks after the training program. She was in a university hallway awaiting the results of her oral dissertation. She had just presented before a panel and was really nervous. She kept looking at the decision makers' door as she paced the hallway. Finally, the door opens and balloons come out into the hallway as one of the decision makers says, "Come on in, Dr. Sally."
She was so happy. Everyone congratulated her as they ate cake and talked about how well she did during her dissertation. Her receiving her doctorate was certainly rewarding. But it seemed like she was a little more comfortable and confident. It seemed like she regained something that she had lost through years of stuttering. It seemed like she regained a part of herself.
So the greatest gift was her. As your greatest gift is you, and my greatest gift is me. I think that you regain a little more of yourself with every obstacle that you overcome. You get the gift of you after each challenge. You can treasure this gift by treating yourself well and not letting others treat you with anything less than you deserve.
So what do you think? Have you been your greatest gift ever? I know I've been mine. I hope that you've been yours. I wouldn't take back my challenges for all the world because it's made me who I am today. Plus, I don't think you ever get tired of this gift, for it lasts a lifetime.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Ok. On to the blog entry.
Have you ever noticed themes and patterns in your life? The situation or people involved may be different, but the underlying feel of it is familiar? It seems as if you keep having the same problem over and over again, like a real-life Groundhog Day (the movie with Bill Murray).
I can tell you my themes: speaking up and being myself. And my pattern has been to avoid both, though I didn't realize that that was what I was doing. It took a long time for me to finally see the theme and recognize the pattern.
Remember those dotted paintings from the 1980s that really hid a picture underneath? You were supposed to look at those dotted pictures and eventually be able to see the real picture. The dots didn't make up the picture like a Monet painting. The dots covered the picture.
I could never see the pictures. I would stare at them for the longest time and only see the dots. Everyone around me was able to see the picture. They told me that they saw dolphins, whales, and everything that was underneath the dots. It was like I was blind, and someone had to describe a scene for me.
But now I see the picture of my themes. I see the 'speaking up' dolphin, and the 'being myself' whale. The dots of unfulfilling relationships hid the picture of my themes. And the people that could describe the paintings to me were mostly my exes, and sometimes my family and friends. Through their actions of telling me what to do, they described my need to speak up. Through their actions of wanting me to be a certain way, they described my need to be myself. For I was blind and could not see.
Now I see clearly. And I broke that pattern. I don't run or avoid situations. I look at and address them. Maybe not all at once, but with baby steps that will eventually lead to an adult walk.
So what about you? Do you recognize themes and patterns? What are they? Do they keep repeating with different people and circumstances? Can you see them or do you need someone to describe them to you? Do tell.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
A few years ago, I heard the title of a jazz album that stirred my curiosity. The album was called A Love Supreme. It's by John Coltrane, a saxophonist from the 1960s. Now I've never heard any songs from the album. It was the album title itself that got me. I was curious as to what a Love Supreme would be.
There's no official description of it. It's an album title made up by a jazz artist. But I have my interpretation of what it could mean. The few people that heard my interpretation balked at me as if that was the most ridiculous thing they'd ever heard. Regardless of what other people say, I think a Love Supreme is possible. Here's my interpretation.
A Love Supreme would be a relationship in which you can:
Monday, December 8, 2008
On Sunday morning, I got up at 3 am. My train from DC to NY was leaving at 5:25 am, and I needed to make sure that I got to DC on time. I got to DC around 4:30 am, checked in, got on the train, and made it to NY by 8:45 am. Great! I stopped at Starbuck's for some hazelnut flavored hot chocolate and made my way to the photography studio. The photography workshop didn't begin until 10:30 am, so I had plenty of time to walk and take in the sights.
After about a 15-20 minute walk, I was at the studio. It was really nice inside, and my energy soared as I imagined all of the photo shoots taking place. A young lady came to the front desk to assist me. After a few minutes of checking the schedule for the workshop classroom, she stated that it had been cancelled. I thought that I was dreaming for a minute - thinking that I couldn't have possibly come from VA for a cancelled workshop in NY. But then I realized that was awake and that this was real. I was so disappointed. It truly was if Santa hadn't come to town (I referenced the photographer as Santa three blog entries ago).
She told me that she was very sorry. After I told her that it was my birthday, she tried to cheer me up by saying that there was a barbecue place nearby. I know that she was trying to be helpful, but I wanted to say that 'I'm from Texas, and that I wouldn't come to New York for some barbecue.' I didn't say that, though. I felt the tears well up in my eyes as I had to walk away from the studio. I felt like Rudolph when they wouldn't let him play any reindeer games.
I walked out to the street and called a friend of mine to tell her what had happened. I felt much better after the conversation. Then I called my friend who was riding up from MD to meet me in NY. She was on her way, and we were still going to have a good day.
At this point, I really didn't know what to do. My friend wasn't going to be there for another four hours, and I wanted to do something until she arrived. So I walked into a hotel lobby to sit, make a few calls, and think about my next step (and warm up!) After talking to my mom, I noticed a guy walking into the hotel with a bag from a famous photography store in NY/US/worldwide. I had gone to this store earlier this year, but didn't know exactly where it was. I stopped him to ask where this store was located. He said that it was right around the corner. I was so excited! This time I felt like Rudolph guiding the sleigh.
I spent quite a while in the store. Eventually I left to wait at Penn Station for my friend. And we had a great day. I got my 'oh so rich and fattening' sage butter ravioli at the Dream Hotel, I saw Rockefeller Center and the Christmas tree, and I saw a great Cirque Du Soleil performance at Madison Square Garden near Broadway. I was back home in VA by 5:30 am on Dec 8th.
So even though I didn't get to see what I originally intended (the workshop), I had a great time. Turning 40 was great, and hanging out in the Big Apple was fun. It didn't go as planned, but it didn't go to waste. Who could ask for anything more?
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I've looked forward to 40 for a long time. In my mind, it's like a magical age where insecurity and fear will disappear from my life like the sand from the upper half of an hourglass. I know that that may not be true, but 40 holds the promise of something better. It holds the promise of being true to myself in every circumstance. It also holds the promise of really embracing life and all that it has to offer - with nothing holding me back. Except for one thing.
Remember a few entries ago how I stated that I had to let people go? The people that served no purpose or were bringing stress to my life? Remember that? Well, there's one more to let go.
This 'friend' has whispered in my ear that I can't do something. This 'friend' has stopped me from trying new things - telling me that I'll fail if I make the attempt. This 'friend' has been by my side, stopping me from taking the next step. This 'friend' has also fueled my indecisiveness. At this point, I'm ready to let it go. This 'friend' has been fear.
Now, I'm sure lots of us know this 'friend'. It's there, whether we need it or not. It's influential. It's seductive. You can take your life to the next level when you overcome it, or you can hold yourself back when you give in to it. But it's there - for better or for worse. Honestly, it's played quite a role in my life.
But I don't want fear to have such an influence anymore. The fact that I'm turning 40 has something to do with it. But the other fact is - I'm tired of it. I'm tired of how such a little word can have such a great impact. I'm tired of it being in my way. I'm tired of it jumping in when it's not wanted. I'm tired of it making guest appearances on the 'Virginia Dreamgirl' show (also known as my life).
I doubt that it will ever totally go away. I think that it's a natural part of life. But I want it subdued/minimalized/trivialized. I don't need a 'friend' like that anymore.
So what about you? Has fear been a good friend to you? Have you given up that friendship? If so, why? If not, why?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Jumping out of the plane reminds me of life. Sometimes you have to hop into the unknown with your parachute of dedication and determination. And let the sky be your limit.
Is there something special that you want to do? Is there something stopping you from your pursuit? Are you gonna jump into the realm of endless possibilities?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I'm going to New York! (Just for the day). One of my good friends is going to ride up from MD and meet me there. I'm going to attend a photography workshop hosted by a celebrity photographer, then said friend and I are going to eat some 'oh so rich and fattening' sage butter ravioli at the Dream Hotel restaurant, and then we're going to see Cirque Du Soleil on Broadway. OOOOOOOHHHHH - I can't contain my excitement! Just to give you an idea of my enthusiasm:
- I did a 'going to New York' dance in Target last night when I called my mom to tell her where I was going.
- I did the Rockettes line-kick in my bathroom as I sang 'New York, New York'.
- I did a 'Hoe Down/Do Si Do You Partner' dance while on the phone with said friend.
- I'm sure I'll do another dance before I go to sleep. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
So the title of this post is a tribute to Frank Sinatra's song about New York.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Yesterday, I was mad. Incredible Hulk mad. People that said they were going to call didn't, and that added fuel to my anger fire. I accepted that I was mad and was okay with that feeling. Eventually my anger fire flames burned out.
Recently, I've learned to accept anger as an expressable emotion. In the past, I wouldn't dream of expressing anger. It wasn't a 'good girl' thing to do. I didn't want to make others feel bad, even though they made me feel that way. I wanted to keep everything pleasant and happy.
I now know that expressing anger is just one of the many ways to keep me from holding things in and getting upset at inappropriate times. Not holding things in is a good girl thing to do, too.
So what about you? How do you deal with anger? Let me know. Grrrrr......
Monday, November 17, 2008
So this article listed the top four 'guy' reasons for letting a girl go. I remembered three:
- He doesn't want to get into a relationship if there's a better one/girl out there
- He doesn't like you as much as you like him (he's just not that into you)
- He's scared that he'll really fall for you
I don't have too much to say about the first bullet. But we can talk about the second and third ones!
The author stated that guys will try to spare a girl's feelings now rather than later if he realizes that he doesn't like her that much. Basically, he'll end it now before she REALLY starts to like him. I go back and forth on this one. Maybe that's a good thing. I'll give it some more thought.
The author also stated that guys don't like to be vulnerable and like a girl too much. Who does? They're afraid that they won't be able to recover if you break up with them. Then they'd look wimpy in front of their friends who can't help them get over it. (The author stated that females help their friends get over relationships better than guys).
What do you think? Are these valid reasons or excuses for poor behavior?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
In the article, a wife caught her husband's avatar (animated character representation of himself) e-snuggling and e-hugging another avatar. Those e-activities led to their divorce in reality.
My friend asked me if I thought that was cheating. I told her that 'technically' it wasn't cheating. But I thought it crossed a line. Even though there wasn't physical intimacy, an emotional bond was formed. I think that an emotional bond with someone other than your spouse or partner can hurt just as bad.
My friend also concluded that it wasn't cheating, but that spouses need outside friendships. I agree with that. You need to interact with others - do a girls' or boys' night out, for example.
So what do you think about this? Should online activities have an impact on reality? Are online snuggle buddies out-of-line?
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Do you know? It was Dr. Seuss. I was pleasantly surprised when I read this. I figured everything he wrote rhymed and was for children. Who knew?
Monday, November 10, 2008
There was an older guy already in there working on one of the three PCs. He looked like a demented Jack Nicholson from the movie The Shining, so I wasn't trying to be in there long. I sat down, printed what I needed, and got my things to go. As I was about to leave, he looked up and said "Yes, we've got a new president. So he's one of your kind, huh?" WHAT! One of my kind? Like I'm an animal or something? UHH!!!!!!
I knew what he was trying to say. Yes, America has an African-American president. The world is surprised. But 'one of my kind'? Dang, he couldn't have said it better than that? I just looked at him and left. I didn't want to get into anything with him 'cuz he was kinda big.
I'm sure this won't be the last time I hear a comment regarding race or President O. But really - how long is this gonna go on?
A few years ago, I caught the end of the Oscars. Julia Roberts was presenting the award for Best Actor. Normally I don't watch Oscar and Grammy shows because they're long. I want the announcers to get to the point and say who won.
So Julia was listing the nominees. Clips of each actor's performance was shown, followed by a close up of each actor's anticipation. After Julia opened the envelope, she took a breath, pressed the envelope to her chest, and stated "I love my life. The winner for Best Actor is..."
It was Denzel Washington. Though I like Denzel, I was more fascinated by how Julia made the announcement. I liked that she was genuinely happy for him. I liked that she stated how she loved her life. I don't think she stated that because she makes lots of money (though I'm sure she's not sad about it!). I think she stated that because she was really happy that she got to do something she loved for a living. And that she was the one to present a friend with acting's highest award.
So do you love your life? At the end of the day, are you pleased with how things are going? Are you doing what you need to make it a life worth living/loving?
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I think every once in a while you should treat yourself to something special. There's no particular reason. It's a 'just because' treat. It doesn't have to be extravagant. It can be simple or small. Get something that makes you happy and makes you feel better just for having it.
One treat that I got earlier this year was some New Year's balloons. They were really cute, and they made me happy. (Though I must admit they scared me at night on the way to the bathroom because some were the size of a human head). Every day when I came home, they had floated to some new place in the living room. I couldn't help but smile everytime that I saw them. I'll probably buy some more to ring in 2009!
So do something nice for yourself. Make yourself feel special. Why? Just because!!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Yesterday, I watched a program where the couple was separating. Though the husband had left, he still came by the house everyday to spend time with his two young children (a boy, age 7 and a girl, age 4). He and the wife helped the children with homework, fed them dinner, gave them baths, and put them to bed. Then the husband went back to his apartment.
The children were acting out. The little boy wanted to know why his dad left. And you could tell that the wife really wanted the husband to come back to try and make it work. This arrangement had gone on for eight months, and the fate of the relationship was in his hands. Eventually he stated that he didn't want to work things out. And that was that.
As much as I advocate love and relationships, I really wonder if there can be a true balance. Though the example I gave is about divorce, what about during a relationship? Can't people compromise and come to a resolution that works for both parties? Can't both parties make decisions that meet both their needs? Why is that so hard?
Honestly, sometimes I wonder if it's worth it. I would love to have a 50/50 relationship. But I don't want a scenario where I 'give up so much of me to be with you'. Or 'you make all the decisions and I follow suite'. Been there, done that, don't want to do that no mo'.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I'll be the first to admit that I'm a perfectionist. I'm sure that my close family and friends will agree with that statement. I try to do the right things in the right ways. But that's tiring.
Trying to be perfect bites me in the tousshie (hindparts). At some point, I have to accept that something is good as it is. Just like Goldilocks found the chair, bed, and porridge that was just right, I have to find the job, life, and love that's just right. Ain't life grand...
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
It's easy to think that there's something wrong with you if you're not 'The Chosen One'. It's also easy to think that you don't have the ability to chose. But you always have a choice. And you don't have to wait on others to decide if you're worthy enough for them to pick you. As John Madden says, "YOU MAKE THE CALL!!" (I think that's a football reference). You chose because you can.
That's my two cents. What do you think?
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Only those who can see the invisible can do the impossible.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
In order to be walked on, you have to be lying down.
I can't be anything to anyone unless I am everything to myself.
To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.
The answer will always be 'no' if you don't ask.
We are given what we are ready to bear.
Those who don't learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
Sometimes standing still is the worst move.
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
Always do what you are afraid to do.
But the most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you that you love, well, that's just fabulous.
These quotes are on the religious side. I'm not religious, but I think they say something:
God never meant for you to be subservient to other people.
Hell would be God showing me all that I could have accomplished if I only had more faith.
Our life is God's gift to us. What we make of it is our gift to God.
Monday, October 27, 2008
When I was really young, this cousin threw a rubber crab on the kitchen floor. Because of its texture, it moved a little after it hit the floor. He had a string attached to it, and he pulled it to make it seem like it was getting closer. I stared at it with fear. Even though I could see the string, I just couldn't understand that it wasn't real. I couldn't understand that it only moved when the string moved. He laughed, picked it up, and threw it again. I was still scared.
Later, he, some other relatives, and I were riding in his car. This time, he threw a rubber spider on the dashboard. Why'd he do that! Now the spider looked more threatening because the car was moving. I'm sure I squealed (I still squeal) while he laughed. Again something fake looked real. And I was scared.
I think my mom or aunt told him to stop doing that. Maybe they got tired of hearing my squeals. But that was long ago. Rubber crabs and spiders are meant to scare. It's funny now. But I was scared of a false fear. Still need to work on that.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Rod Serling made his villains very clear in a Twilight Zone episode called "The Masks". I'm sure you can tell by now that I'm a Twilight Zone fan. In this episode, there's an elderly uncle that's about to die. He lives in New Orleans and is rich. He's invited his niece, her husband, and two teenaged children to come visit him one last time. The uncle knows that his family is waiting for him to die so that they can get his money. But in order for them to get the money, they must wear specially made masks until midnight.
The masks are very ugly/grotesque, and no one wants to wear them. To get that money, they do. The uncle puts a mask on, too. For hours, the family sits around the uncle's mansion, complaining and grumbling. Finally, the clock strikes midnight. The uncle dies. Everyone removes their mask. Their real faces are in the grotesque shapes of the specially made masks. The uncle wanted them to see their 'true faces' of greed, envy, and vain. (They better go to Dr 90210!! Ok, I don't think they were doing plastic surgery in the 50s.)
Can you tell when others have on a mask or facade? How do you know? If you were to wear a 'true face' mask, what would it look like? Would it be happy, sad, afraid? Would it be an adult or a child? Would it look hateful or kind?
Saturday, October 25, 2008
In 2008, I decided to stop accepting unacceptable things. I released unhealthy patterns. I also slowly, and sometimes abruptly, released people. If they brought pain, misery, or unnecessary stress into my life, then it was time for them to go. Their access to this vadrmgrl was denied or severely limited.
One of my first access denials was to a young lady at my job who didn't drive. Sometimes she would need a ride to the Metro or to get something to eat. She wanted me to stop by on my way into the office to drive her to get money orders. She would call to borrow money. (She always paid me back when she said she would.) Since I have a truck, I even helped her move some furniture to her house. I didn't mind these things at first, but as time went on, I noticed that she only called whenever she needed something. After a while, it got tiresome. I didn't feel the need to play Yellow Cab anymore to have her friendship. I started saying 'no' to her requests. That 'no' helped me relieve some of my need to please people. We still say 'hi' and talk a little whenever we see each other, but I'm not driven to always help her or do what she needs.
I also had to access deny a guy that I've known for 15 years. He's a good guy, but he couldn't keep his word to save his life. One of my pet peeves is people saying that they're going to do something, and then they don't. I understand that issues come up, but repeatedly doing that tells me that I shouldn't put too much energy into dealing with them. It's aggravating. So after the umpteenth time of his not following his word or following through, I told him not to call me anymore. Yes, I was abrupt about it. It was stressing me. He was falling into my 'unacceptable things' category. I chose not to accept.
Here are some of my others. They include minimal/limited access:
-A friend calling me and talking for hours only about her and her family (we didn't have reciprocal conversations) - ACCESS DIMINISHED.
-A high school friend passing judgement on me - ACCESS DIMINISHED.
-A guy calling me up and fussing at me for not calling him for his bday (but when I ask him when my birthday is, he doesn't know) or telling me about a woman's place in the world (the bedroom and kitchen according to him) - ACCESS DENIED.
-Lying, cheating, and breaking my heart - ACCESS DEFINITELY DENIED!!
Now, I'm not saying that I stop associating with people for the least little infraction. For years, unacceptable things still meant access granted. I wanted to be thought of as a good girl/person. But I realize that people are gonna think what they think. At this point in my life, I'm saying what I'm willing/not willing to accept. I'll pass on the unnecessary stress and pain.
So what about you? Have you had to access deny someone? If you still allowed access after pain, why? Do they serve a purpose?
Friday, October 24, 2008
I didn't get the meaning behind it at the time. There were four characters and a dog going to get their wishes granted by some man in a castle. (I did like when Dorothy clicked her ruby red heels to go home and when the Wicked Witch melted into a puddle). As I got older, it clicked as to what they were really doing. They were looking outside themselves for what they already had within. They wanted another person to give them what was always there. Have you done that? Looked outside yourself for something that you already possessed? What were you trying to find? Did you think another person could 'give' you that? Were you looking for love or happiness? You know I want to know.
I used to think that it was up to another person to make me happy or give me love. NEVER did I think that I could be my own Wizard of Oz. I didn't know that I had happiness, joy, or love within, and that all I had to do was stop, look, and feel it. Don't get me wrong, love and happiness from others is nice. But I don't have to depend on it like air. The fact that I don't need it from someone else is (wait for it) priceless...
So are you your own Oz? Do you find your own joy, love, and happiness? Are you on your own Yellow Brick Road?
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I'll admit that I haven't always had confidence. Whether it was in looks, or brains, or likeability, my self-confidence could wain depending upon who I was around. If I was around fashionable, pretty, glamour girls, I was ugly. If I was around brainiacs, then I was dumb. If I was around out-going people, then I wasn't liked or called uppity/stuck-up/snobby when really it was just shyness. But after years of lacking self-confidence, I finally found that it didn't matter who I was around or what they were doing or what they had. Just like everyone else in this world, I have talents and abilities whether they can be seen or not. And I can put them to good use. I know some people who have confidence in their performances and professions.
Last weekend, I attended a dance performance, and it was really entertaining. There was a good mix of dancers, but the ones that stood out were a married couple from Russia/Belgium (I forgot where exactly). I think that they are the owners of a dance studio. Their performance was excellent! I've never seen ballroom dancing in person, but I can tell you that I was mesmerized. They had great outfits and dance skills. But what made it so exciting was confidence. They 'knew' that they were good. Not in a 'cocky, I'm all that' way. It was a 'I'm going to show you what I know I can do' kind of way. My eyes were on them the whole time. Grace, elegance, and confidence made them stand out from the rest.
Two young ladies that I know show confidence in their jobs. They're very knowledgeable about laws of a union or laws of government contracts. People can ask them questions and know that they're going to get the right answer. If they don't know the answer, they know how to find it. I've known both for many years, and I'm in awe of their confidence. It's rubbed off on me. I've learned a lot about confidence and speaking up from both of them. (I've known them a looooonnnggg time). Maybe they can write some confidence comments on this blog ;-)
So that's my take on confidence. If you have it, it can rub off on others. If you don't have it, you can definitely get it...
Friday, October 17, 2008
In the Tina Turner movie What's Love Got To Do With It?, Tina endures emotional, physical, and mental abuse from her then-husband, Ike. She leaves, and he finds her. She talks back, and he hits her. I don't know much about domestic violence. This blog entry isn't about that. It's about finding your strength when you feel weak.
So, Tina lives in this situation for years. Towards the end of the movie, she fights back (literally). And, of course, she goes on to become the Grammy award winning, legs-of-a-goddess singer that we know her as today. That's not my favorite part of the movie, though.
It's the part where Tina, played by Angela Bassett, is getting ready to go onstage for a performance. By this point, she's divorced Ike and has started her solo career. Ike, played by Laurence Fishbourne, comes to her dressing room right before she's to go onstage. He lets Tina/Angela see the gun that he's got in his hand. She looks at the gun, looks back at him, and says, "I don't know what you gonna do, but I'm gonna go on that stage and perform..." (Those may not be the exact words). But you could tell that she was nervous/scared. Even though she was scared, she found the strength and courage to walk past him and his gun. He looked surprised. I'm thinking she was probably a little surprised, too.
So, have you found your strength when all you feel is fear? How did you do it? What were you thinking?
A few weeks ago, I went to the second floor of the one in Fairfax. This library has about 30 internet personal computers (PCs), and eight of them are on the second floor. You get two free 30 minute sessions. (If no one's waiting, you can be on the PC for over two hours during one session!) I sat down and started my session. After surfing for a while, I heard some snoring. For a minute, I thought I was dreaming because no one could possibly be snoring like that in the library. But as I looked at the other PCs, sure enough there's a portly guy leaning over in his chair, sleeping and snoring. I'm not talking about light breathing. I'm talking about 'movie sound track' snoring. It's about 10:30 am and the library just opened. Why is he in there asleep? I figured he'd just gotten off of work and had dozed off. No big thing.
That was 2 weeks ago. Now every time I've gone in there, he's wobbling all over his chair, snoring or he's laying on the keyboard knocked out. It's very irritating. Some of the librarians come by and wake him up, but he eventually drifts back to sleep, resuming his nostril noise. Uggghhh! How inconsiderate!
So yesterday, I go to the Fairfax library, and Sleepy was not there! I was so excited. I got to surf in peace. I didn't have to hear that 'hogs gone wild' snoring. I figured he must have been off and was at home disturbing the peace. After a while, I finished up my session and left the library. As I walked past the benches in the front of the library, what did I hear? I looked to my right, and what did I see? Sleepy leaning all over the bench, knocked out, snoring! I guess he was being considerate by keeping his snorefest outside. Maybe he was waiting for the library to open and fell asleep. I don't know. Whatever the reason, whether it was intentional or not, it was very considerate of him to spare us his sleep symphony.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking snoring. I may snore in my sleep. It's not something people do on purpose. But a little consideration for others goes a long way sometimes.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I think Rod Serling, the creator of the original Twilight Zone episodes of the 1950s, was ahead of his time. One of his episodes covered this 'what others want/fear' topic.
The story begins with adults at a birthday party for a young boy named Billy. For some reason, everyone looks a little scared as they sing "Happy Birthday" to him. After singing, they play games and sing along with the piano player or records. One of the men asked Billy if they could play something else because they've been listening to the same song umpteen times. Everyone looks horrified at the man. Everyone tells Billy that the man didn't mean it. The man was just playing, they say.
Billy doesn't want to hear this. He looks at the man, squints his little eyes, and the man disappears. Everyone goes on as if nothing has happened. They continue to celebrate. As the episode goes on, you realize that when you don't agree with Billy, he does things to you. He'll turn you into a jack-in-the-box, remove your mouth, or banish you to some cornfield in the middle of nowhere, to serve the rest of your life (I think as a scarecrow). That's what happened to the man at the beginning of the episode. Life as a scarecrow. You better agree or else.
Years ago, there was a movie called Children of the Corn. I think it was inspired by the aforementioned Twilight Zone episode. I never saw the movie, but I think there were possessed children doing the biddings of the evil cornfield. A while back, some ladies and I were 'Adults of the Corn'.
Five of us went out to eat at an Applebee's. One of them was definitely the Billy of our group. No one spoke because she was in a bad mood, no one ordered until she did, and she was mean to the wait staff. Later on, she yelled at one of the group ladies for yawning too much (crazy, I know). For some reason, no one called her out on this childish behavior. Why? Because when she wasn't acting like a Billy, she was fun, lively, and exciting. You were accepted by others if you were in her crowd. It was like being in the in-crowd from high school, even though we were in our 20s and 30s.
Why have you done what others want?
Friday, October 10, 2008
Growing up, I watched my share of cartoons. Even though I thought Bugs Bunny was a little mean and sarcastic, he did make me laugh. Daffy Duck seemed a little neurotic and envious of Bugs. Daffy seemed to try too hard when he and Bugs were in the same scene.
In one episode, they were onstage at a theatre performing for an audience. I don't remember if they had done a performance together, but at the end, they were performing individually. When it was Daffy Duck's turn, he tap danced. Nobody clapped. You could hear crickets in the theatre. He looked a little stunned. Then it was Bugs Bunny's turn. He (Bugs) basically put one foot forward, as if he was going 'Ta Da'! The audience clapped. Daffy decided to try a little harder. He tapped, turned, whirled, and worked himself into a sweat during his performance. Again, no one clapped, and you still heard crickets in the theatre when he finished. Bugs basically did the same one foot move, and the audience went wild. I think they gave him a standing ovation. I think Daffy's bill/mouth fell off or it was wide open from shock.
It was so funny watching Daffy try so hard to win the audience over. But the sad thing is, it never worked. No matter how hard he tried, the audience was not impressed. Poor thing...
So have you 'tapped' to impress? Or put out one foot? Are you a Bugs or a Daffy?
During Army training weekends, we sometimes talked about his girlfriend and how things were going. One day I noticed that he looked really slim. I asked him if he had been working out or dieting. He told me that his girl had broken up with him and that he'd been sleeping a lot. I asked him if they were going to get back together. He said "No" because "I don't want the little scraps of love she'd give me." He explained that it wouldn't be the same if they got back together. And that he didn't want to settle for scraps if she wasn't sure that she wanted to be with him.
It was that simple. We were in our early 20s. I wondered how he knew these types of things already. He wasn't willing to settle? He wasn't trying to put all of his energy into 'making it work' or 'fixing' it? We never got into the details of why they broke up, but I knew that he was heartbroken and really loved her. We also didn't talk about her after that.
It's been easy to assume that guys don't get hurt in relationships. Most of the guys I've known have been the dumpers and the girls were the dumpees. I know that that's not always the case. But Banks showed me why settle for scraps when you can have the full buffett...
A while back, I was talking to a friend about the trials and tribulations of my then-relationship. I basically sang a "Somebody Done Me Wrong" song. (I didn't really sing). I told her how 'he did this, he did that, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada'. After I finished, she calmly said, "But you allowed it." As I sat there in silence looking at her, I thought W-H-A-T!!!! Didn't she just hear all of the things that he had done, didn't she hear what a bad boy he had been, didn't she hear how he didn't treat me right? Was she taking his side? What did she mean by "I allowed it"?
I don't remember much of the rest of the conversation. As I left, I remember her words replaying over and over again in my head. I thought about it as I drove home. It was still on my mind when I went to sleep. After some time, I realized that she was right. I had allowed it. I could have walked away from poor treatment, but I stayed. I could have said no to things, but my silence and fear of speaking up were really a yes. With my actions (or inaction), I allowed many unacceptable things. Yes, I've been hurt in relationships, as we all have. But the person that really hurt me the most, was me - a Virginia Dreamgirl. Because I allowed.
That was then - this is now! I look back on old relationships as powerful lessons. I've had some good teachers!! And I thank the woman that opened my eyes with her truthful statement. I couldn't believe it at the time. But I'm stronger for it.
What about you? Has someone told you something about yourself? What did they say? How did you handle it? Was it true?
Thursday, October 9, 2008
First memorable doll - Baby Alive. It was so funny to see her mouth move like a fish as she imitated eating. I fed her the 'baby food' and wrapped her in the plastic/tissue 'diapers' that came with her instructions. (I couldn't read at the time). As time went on, I started to treat her poorly. Instead of feeding her the baby food, I started shoving crayons in her mouth to see if she would eat them. I wasn't trying to be mean; I wanted to see if she could eat something other than 'baby food'. The red crayon got pretty far, but after a while I stopped. Her mouth didn't do the fish move properly, and I ran out of diapers.
My next doll was Tina/Sam/Priscilla aka TSP. Now the reason for her many names is that each day, I would forget it. I don't know why I couldn't remember her name from day to day. I remembered family members' names, but couldn't remember that doll's name to save my life. So each day, it was something different. Now the thing with TSP was she got treated a little worse than Baby Alive. (Again, it wasn't intentional). Baby Alive was hard plastic, but TSP was all cloth except for her plastic head and hands. This cloth makeup cost her my love. One time, I attached a rope to TSP, tied her to a tree branch, and tried to sit/swing on her. One of her arms came off, and I didn't want to play with her anymore until it was sewn back on. Everyone was too busy to do that, so she was left with one arm and no one to play with.
Another doll was the one we girls played with at daycare. We were so young - probably no more than 5 or 6 years old. This doll didn't even have a name and was all hard plastic. Now this doll was our 'baby'. There were about 4 or 5 of us sharing this 'baby'. One of us, let's say, Judy, would put the doll head-first underneath her shirt, so that the doll's head was near Judy's neck. Then Judy would lay on a table and wiggle around making these painful, moaning sounds as we stood around her in a circle. After a few minutes, she would grab the doll's leg, pull it out from underneath her shirt, and give it a name. The 'baby' was always a girl, and we always delivered our own baby, feet first. I think one time a boy was standing by - was he our doctor? - grrr!!! One of the daycare workers saw us do this, and she didn't like it. She took the doll away and told us that we couldn't do that anymore. We really didn't know why. We were just pretending. Who knew that babies came from somewhere else other than your shirt? Self-delivered? Feet first?
Now my last memorable doll was on TV. She was Talking Tina on an episode of the Twilight Zone. The episode involved a mother, father (Telly Savalas - Kojak if you're old enough to remember the 'Who loves you baby' line), and the mother's daughter. Talking Tina was the daughter's doll. Telly Savalas was mean to the daughter, and he wanted her to get rid of the doll. When no one was around, the doll would threaten Telly. She told him how he'd better be nice or she was going to kill him. As the episode went on, the doll made more threats, so Telly tried to kill her. He put her head in a vice and turned, tried to set her on fire (Talking Tina blew the flame out even though her mouth couldn't move), and threw her out with the trash. She never died or always returned. In the end, she did kill him. Telly tripped over her in the dark and fell down the stairs to his death. Tsk, tsk...
So again, dolls can't love you back. Though I didn't always treat my dolls well, I did love them. To some extent, I loved human dolls who couldn't return love, either. Have you?
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The twins were playing with some toy, and the baby brother wanted to play, too. I think the twins were throwing the toy back and forth to each other out of the baby's reach. The baby didn't cry - he just kept trying to be included and get the toy. Eventually they all tired of the toy and went to play in the bathroom while my cousin, aunt, and I talked. Don't ask me what was so fascinating in the bathroom.
After a while, as I'm sitting on one of the beds, one of the twins and the baby come out of the bathroom. The twin had the baby's arm twisted behind the baby's back as if the baby was under arrest. The baby was kind of leaning forward like he was getting into a police car. (I laughed when I first saw them. I think they had seen a Cops commercial). Again, the baby didn't flinch or cry. He just went along with what his brother was doing. I stopped them and told the twin to let the baby go. The rest of the day continued with the baby trying to be included or do the things that his brothers were doing.
Later that evening, after the reunion activites, we came back to the room. The twins were exhausted and went to sleep pretty quickly. Even though the baby couldn't sleep, he got in a bed next to one of the sleeping twins. (I can barely tell the twins apart when they're awake, so I can't tell you who's who when they're asleep). As the baby lay there with a thumb in his mouth, he reached out with the other hand and gently rubbed the head of the sleeping twin. It was so sweet! His mom said she didn't understand why the twins were so mean to the baby sometimes when all he wants to do is love them.
Have you done that? Been loving to someone when they've been mean to you? Why?
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
In the 1990s, Bonnie Raitt had a song about how you can't make somebody love you. These lines from her song always got to me:
'Cuz I can't make you love me if you don't.
You can't make your heart feel something it won't'
Ain't that the truth. Goodness knows I tried to make people love me. I learned the hard, painful, heartbreaking way that it doesn't work.
Mary J. Blige songs really hit home. I think the truth in her songs, and of course her singing ability, make her such a powerful force of truth. When she first came on the scene, you could hear the pain and turmoil. Here are some lyrics from Mary J. that spoke to me:
'Life can be only what you make it,
When you're feeling down, you should never fake it.
Say what's on your mind,
And you'll find in time,
That all the negative energy - it will all just cease.
And you'll be at peace with yourself.
You won't really need no one else.'
Another truth telling Mary J. song talks about being happy:
'How can I love somebody else
if I can't love myself enough to know
when it's time, time to let go.
All I really want is to be happy.
To find a love that's mine,
It would be so free.'
I think these songs by Bonnie Raitt and Mary J. Blige won them Grammys. I believe that the truth and honesty that they express in their songs tap into others on a deeper level.
Now, Jill Scott and Alicia Keys songs really empower me. Both women are poets. Not only do I love their songs, but I feel stronger after listening to them. I don't like concerts or live performances, but I've seen them both in concert, and they were very positive. Jill Scott just radiated self-love, truth, and honesty with lyrics like 'living her life like it's golden'. Alicia Keys current song about being 'a superwoman with an S on her chest' makes me want to put on a cape (seriously).
There are other artists and songs that I'll talk about in future blogs. I wanted to start with the ones that have talked to me for a long time. Let me know who speaks the truth to you in their lyrics. We might have some in common...
Monday, October 6, 2008
I really loved my (ex)boyfriend in Germany. I did lots of things for him and took his feelings and possible reactions into consideration all the time. I needed to make him happy so that he would be happy with me. When he was happy or pleased with me, I felt loved. But if he was unhappy or mad, I wouldn't feel loved. So to keep feeling loved, I kept doing more things to make him happy. At the time, I could say that I loved him more than I loved myself. I didn't consider loving myself because I needed to get that from him. I didn't even know that it was possible to love yourself like you romantically love another. I thought love was something that you got somewhere else - not from within.
Now, thirteen years later, I see that it's in my best interest to love myself as much as (and more than) I love others. I also see that it's in my best interest to consider my feelings and not push them aside to please someone else. And I'd like to have the love of a romantic relationship, but I also need to get love from within. Yesterday, a friend asked me if I loved myself. I said "Yes" in a strong, unflinching voice. And I meant every word of it.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
When I say pretender, I don't mean being fake. As a pretender, I've been who I thought others wanted me to be. I've said what I thought they wanted to hear, I did things I thought they wanted to do, and I took on their thoughts as if they were my own.
I didn't realize that I could be who I wanted to be (myself), say what I wanted to say, do the things that I wanted to do, and have (and express) my own thoughts. It took a lot of bumps and bruises for me to realize that the only person I needed to be was the one I saw in the mirror and felt in my soul. Funny how life will teach you some things if you're willing to learn.