Category Archives: Relationships

Dear Nemesis…

I’m writing you a letter today. Granted, it’s an open letter. But hey, any letter is better than none. And I really just need to clear the air here. I’ve let you bug me far too much and it’s time to let it go.
Of course, you’re never going to read this. That’s OK. Even if you happened to read it, you probably wouldn’t catch on that it’s you I’m writing about. That’s OK too. I’m not writing this letter for you. I’m writing it for me.
See, I’ve really resented you. A lot. And I’ve held grudges, held them in, and let them simmer. Until I finally exploded. And you know what? I’ve realized something. By sitting on that negativity and letting it simmer I was giving you power over me. That’s done. I’m a wife, a professional, a woman, a working mom. I don’t have time to spare on you.
Why did I even let you bother me? I guess because you embody so many of my pet peeves. It’s amazing, really, that almost ALL of my pet peeves can exist together in one body. You should pat yourself on the back for that one. It’s quite an achievement.
So, what are they? The pet peeves I mean. Aren’t you curious? If you’re not I don’t really care. You’re going to hear them anyway. Here we go.
• Your self-importance. In casual conversation, you refer to yourself as ‘generally average.’ But that’s not what you really think. I’ve heard you praise your vast intelligence, superiority over other women, and even taste in reading material many times. You’ve even gone so far as to say that people can become ‘an annoyance.’ Just the superior tone of that one comment makes me bristle. Who do you think you are? Obviously Someone.
• Your (again) self-professed Grammar Nazism. That actually could be a good thing. I can be a bit of a Grammar Nazi too. But what gets me is that you feel the need to brag about your habit of correcting others’ grammar (yes, adults’) when your own writing tends to be full of grammatical errors and typos. Walk the Talk, Chiquita!
• Your intentional over-use of British-isms. Come on, honey. You grew up in Texas and the Midwest. Not the UK. Yes, I love Downton Abbey and Dr. Who as much as the next Anglophile, but I don’t make an effort to substitute good ol’ American words. On this side of the pond, it’s ‘math.’ Not maths. We drive people ‘crazy.’ Not mad. Etc. Etc. Etc.
• The way you tend to flaunt your lifestyle, as if you are somehow more privileged than, as you put it, ‘people who work.’ Your Spouse works countless hours to enable you to sit home eating bonbons and handcrafting various items while your offspring educate take care of themselves. Remember, these are the kids who told me that they love being homeschooled because, “Mom forgets a lot and we don’t have to do school every day.” That’s the choice you made – great. But the rest of us don’t need our noses rubbed in your superiority.
• The fact that you’ve got your family snowed. Convinced that your college degree is ‘unmarketable’ in the job world. Um, it’s a college degree. That means that, with any small degree of effort and a measure of work ethic, you could find a job. Even a part time one.
Do I sound jealous here? I admit it – I used to be. But the more I thought about it, the more I started feeling sad for you. Why? Because I’ve spent enough time working on me over the last year to recognize some patterns here.
It’s obvious that you are incredibly insecure. Why else (unless you truly are a More Evolved Specimen of Humanity) would you constantly feel the need to talk yourself up? Affect fake ways of speaking? Remind the rest of us of your innate abilities? Correct others? Rationalize your choice to be a SAHM? Heck, you wanted to be a professor and aren’t. Maybe this is your way of making yourself feel better about not achieving that particular goal. I don’t know. And it’s not my job to try and find out. But I feel sorry for you. And I’m REALLY working on not getting irked at all of the little things.
So what’s next? Well, since I’m working on cleaning my side of the street, I need to let all of my pet peeves go. And pray for you. Yep, that’s right. I’m going to start praying for you. And no, I’m not going to start praying that someone really tells you off or that you suddenly realize how annoying your habits are. That would be totally missing the point.
No, I’m going to pray for peace, enlightenment, and open-mindedness for you. Among other things. But that’s a start.
And you know what? I feel better already.

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Filed under honesty, Personal growth, Relationships

The Big V-Day

Thought I’d jump on the bandwagon here and post a bit of my thoughts on today. Valentine’s Day. It’s kind of a double-edged sword around my house. Don’t worry – if you’re wondering, you know I’m gonna tell you why. Cause that’s how I roll.

See, growing up Valentine’s Day was kind of a big deal. Especially in high school. Not because of all the loot I pulled in – heck, no. Remember – I’m the girl who ended up selling Cokes at Homecoming while my date danced with his mom. Secretly I hope he somehow reads this and cringes at the memory – but that’s another story. No, it was all about the romantic dreaminess of the day for me. Somehow I always wondered if there was someone who would just – completely out of the blue – have a card or other mushy V-Day stuff for me.

Haha. I was the dork, remember? Never happened. Even in college, when I actually dated someone up to the beginning of February. We broke up and the guy had the nerve to send flowers on V-Day. Because he felt bad that I didn’t have a date. Guess what? I didn’t call him to thank him for the roses. Shocker.

And then I met the Spouse. Oh my. He was The One. I was thrilled and giddily swooning at the thought of V-Day. He was one of those teddy bear romantics on any given day, so I had high hopes for the Big Day. I’d worked out a complicated plan to swipe his keys, sneak into his apartment and decorate his room. Went off without a hitch.

And when he came over to my place for dinner, he walked through the door and said, ‘I didn’t get you a Valentine.’

Yeah, right. I knew he was playing me. Only – he wasn’t. He was telling the truth. He REALLY hadn’t done anything, not even scrawled ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ on a piece of scrap paper (and believe me, there were plenty) in his car. Seriously.

I was crushed. Absolutely crushed. I’d finally found The One – and he dropped the ball on V-Day. WTHeck?? I tried to hold it in, but eventually the filter came off and I let him have it.

Needless to say, V-Day was a Really Big Deal the next year. And for a few after that. And then I got tired of the commercialism. Honestly, how sad is it that we let the media and commerce convince us that we need one day in the year to celebrate those we love? So we dialed it back. Now we celebrate with cards and a nice dinner. Remember, a ‘nice dinner’ is relative these days. Usually it means going to a restaurant that doesn’t pass out kids’ menus and crayons. But it never fails – we always get seated next to a family with eighteen kids, all screaming, yelling or texting. Irony. Every time.

So today it’s something different. We’re cooking. At home. After the minions go to bed. A meal that doesn’t involve mac ‘n cheese, chicken nuggets or ketchup in any way.

But part of me got snippy and felt slighted last night when it hit me that nothing sparkly, silky or shiny will be coming my way today. What’s up with that? We’ve had this deal for a few years now. It was enough that I took off the filter and mentioned our first V-Day and how he still owes me for mental distress, scarring, you name it. PMS anyone?

Huh. Guess my awareness of media campaigns doesn’t make me totally immune to them. Bummer. I always thought that enlightenment and awareness would help me evolve past stupid immature reactions.

Not this time. But since it’s the 20th anniversary of that infamous first V-Day, I’ll cut myself a break. And focus on the other 364 days of the year.

But something sparkly and shiny sure would be nice…

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Filed under Family time, life lessons, Relationships, Uncategorized

I Yam What I Yam…

Popeye said it best. Remember the movie with Robin Williams? The Spouse scoffs at its awfulness, and he’s probably right. The main reason I remember it is that it was the first movie I ever saw on a VCR. One of the huge Beta ones. In third grade my friend’s mom RENTED one for her birthday. Remember those days folks? It was amazing. Not the movie, but the idea of seeing a movie at home with no commercials. Can you tell we didn’t have cable?

Anyhoo, it’s Friday. That means a few things around here. I teach my weekly tech training class at work – and the head honcho made an announcement that no phones are allowed. Yippee! That should eliminate the nonstop texting that distracted me in last week’s session. Bowling night for the spouse (we’re so Honeymooners) means fam movie night with the minions. And I guarantee that a VCR won’t be involved. Are you kidding? The minions would die without the Scene Selection feature!

And The Big Sleepover is tomorrow. Coolness. Minion #1 had his birthday dinner last night, and surprisingly chose Napoli. Local neighborhood pizza joint with no crowds and yummy food. So the festivities have just begun.

Back to the topic. I Yam What I Yam. I’m just me. And I’m getting a bit exhausted – mentally and physically – from trying to be all things to make all people happy. I’m just me. See, I’ve got a friend or two – old and dear friends – that I’ve been really trying to maintain connections with. And it’s not working well. Whether they’re just extremely busy, have life stuff going on, or have decided that our relationship just isn’t worth maintaining – connecting is becoming more and more scarce.

I’ve tried. I’ve really tried to keep up the email – texting – Facebooking connection. I’ve tried the lighthearted reminder. The funny email. The from-the-heart supportive message. I’ve tried to say the kinds of things I think would maximize the conversation, the content and the connection. And guess what? It ain’t working, folks. I’ve mentioned the honesty factor. As in, if you’d rather not connect right now, please let me know. That ain’t working either. Yes, I know that ain’t ain’t a word, as my fourth grade teacher used to say. Until we showed her that it was in the dictionary. She was stymied.

So basically it comes down to me just being me. And – for once – not apologizing for it. I’m a smart person. I love to learn. But I also like to take a break with mindless escapism now and then. I enjoy fashion. I’m a girl. That doesn’t make me less of a person. And, being female, I can also be moody, crabby and a bit vindictive now and then. I’m tired of trying to hide it. Take me for what I am. Not perfect, but worthy of attention in my own right.

“Take me baby, or leave me.” Amazing vocals aside, that pretty much sums it up. And if you haven’t heard that song from Rent, do. If for no other reason than the amazing female vocal talent that’s required to pull it off.

So yes, I am a mom. A woman. A wife, mom and person in my own right. What I choose to do – or not do – makes me me. Working towards accepting that, as much as I may want them to, my friends just may not want me in their lives right now. I’m just gonna be me. And let them make their own choices.

Of course, it would be nice if open and honest communication let me know what those choices are. But that’s not on me. It’s out of my hands. Know what I mean??

How’s that for a deep Friday post??

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Filed under honesty, Moms, Relationships, Rent, Self esteem, working moms

Honestly

Monday. Blah. Working while the Spouse is off. Lucky guy. And my parents are in town, kids are off. Hmph. It’s a living, right?

We actually had a lovely weekend. Weather was nice, lots of outside time with the minions, shopping with my mom in the ‘burbs, dinner out. Lots of fun. And now back to the grind. Whee.

So what should I talk about today? Something that’s been on my mind a lot this weekend, and something seriously lacking in today’s society.

Honesty.

See, I’m all for being honest. Sometimes bluntly, sometimes gently – but honesty is always the best policy, in my opinion. Because I truly believe that most people would rather hear the truth up front, however much it might sting at the time. Really. Just think of all the problems it would solve. Job interview? It would eliminate days or weeks of anxious waiting for a callback. Fashion choice? Any woman would much rather know up front that yes, it really does make your butt look fat. Something in your teeth? Oh, please just tell me now so I can fix it. Fly down? ASAP notification is a requirement. Relationships? It hurts to find out that a friendship is over, but again – I’d much rather know right away, deal with it and move on. Forget the ‘I’m just so busy right now,’ or ‘I know it seems like I’m avoiding you but – ,’ or ‘I’ll support you no matter what.’ Please. All of those statements give false hope, whether that is the intention or not. Like I said, yes, the truth may hurt in the short term – but that’s nothing compared to months/years of trying to rekindle a friendship only to be met with vague excuses and promises. Really. And that goes for any age – kids or adults.

Why bring this up now? Because I’ve worked really hard to be bluntly honest with myself. Seriously. Blunt. It’s hard. I don’t like it most of the time. But it really does make a lot more sense than continuing to delude myself about abilities, situations and realities. And since I’ve bitten the bullet with self-honesty, I find it that much harder to deal with outside people and situations. I’ve said before that I tend to over analyze and read too much into things. That’s because most of us find it too hard to be honest with each other. Especially with those we care about. It’s easier to be vague, try to ‘let others down easily’ or – especially in the digital age – use email and/or texting as a major method of communication. Without the facial expressions or tones of voice of others, words can just go out into the cyber void without thought. And I’m speaking from personal experience. It’s easier to be dishonest through email. Not proud of it, but it’s reality.

So do yourself and others a favor. Just be honest. Even if it’s hurtful. Short term hurt is much easier to face and doesn’t fester like long-term false hope. Really.

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Filed under Communication, honesty, life lessons, Relationships

It’s All About the Pants – Again

If you’ve read any of my recent posts, you may remember last week’s battle of the pants. Not Battle of the Planets. That was one of my all-time favorite cartoons as a kid. No, the Pants Situation was huge in our house. In fact, that post actually generated some interesting comments and almost started a debate on parenting in general. I’m pretty darn proud of that. But I’m realizing that the Pants Situation has spilled over into other areas of our family life.

And it’s not about pants. It’s about control. Who has it, who keeps it and who doesn’t.

One of our family things is our weekly Saturday night dinner. We don’t eat out during the week, so Saturday is our one time to head out for a meal. If you’re like me, you’re thinking – score! Diverse Big City equals unlimited dining options!

Wrong. That was before we had kids. Now, in an effort to be fair, we rotate each week on who gets to choose the restaurant. That plan has totally backfired. Why? Well, in a city where you can literally get anything from Colombian to Indian to Moroccan to Mongolian to Sardinian (all in a four-block radius), the picky-eating minions have sentenced us to The Cursed C’s.

Chili’s, Carinos and Chuy’s. Blegh. Mediocre chain restaurants on a good day. (Although I will go to Chuy’s just for the jalapeno ranch. Seriously, it’s that good. Try it.)

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. We opened that can of worms, we’re the adults and we created the monster. We should just put our feet down and put on the pants, right? Sure. And every Saturday night – scratch that, Saturday from noon on – would turn into a poutfest, whinorama, drama-king performance. No thanks. So on those occasions we turn over the pants to the minions with the (slim) hope that we can get them to at least try a few grains of fried rice, pho or kebab one of these days.

But speaking of pants, the control situation doesn’t end there. The Spouse and I had this debate early on in our relationship and again in the first weeks of our marriage. Bottom line – I grew up in a household where the Alpha Female wore the pants. Unequivocally. And, just to be clear, I was most definitely not the Alpha. I didn’t like it, but I decided early on that I wasn’t cut out to be the kind of wifey who never wore pants and hung on Hubby’s every word with bated breath for the next command. I saw that in action more than once. When a male friend sat down at the table to a fully cooked meal, then turned to his wife (who was trying to get the kid’s plate ready and fill a bottle for the baby at the same time) to say, ‘Babe, how am I supposed to eat this without a fork,’ I threw up in my mouth a little. Took all my self control not to scream ‘Dude, turn around, reach six inches to the drawer and get it yourself. She’s freaking busy right now!!’

I kept my filter on and didn’t say it. Luckily.

Now the Spouse’s take on this has always been that we should share the pants. As he says, it’s more fun that way. Haha. Insert innuendo here. And for the most part, that works out well, except in certain situations.

  1. If I try to comment on his driving. He actually hogged the pants one time and shot back that comments on his driving “would not be tolerated.” That’s a quote. I love you honey, but that one threw me for a loop.
  2. And on the flip side – if little things get left out around the house – I’ve been known to steal the pants and issue commands and ultimatums about cleaning up after yourself.

Either way, it works for us. But my question is – how are some people able to completely manipulate their kids/significant others/coworkers into just letting them wear the pants 24/7?? We’re talking major life and work decisions here. Things like ‘I refuse to work because I don’t want to, and you will support me in this,’ or ‘Starla and Magnus must go to the private school whose minimum tuition is $50K.’ Seriously. I’ve heard it. And, being exposed to the Stepford Wives’ club the way that I have, all of that and more happens.

WTHeck??! Like I said, sharing the pants works for us, but really? Part of me wonders what these others have that I don’t – if I even tried that level of manipulation the Spouse would just laugh and then school me on how miserable I would be if I got away with it.

Hmph. Guess I’ve got too much conscience for that.

DISCLAIMER: ALL REFERENCES TO ACTUAL PEOPLE AND/OR EVENTS IN THE LATTER PART OF THIS POST HAVE BEEN ALTERED AND FICTIONALIZED. SITUATIONS DESCRIBED ARE NOT ACTUAL EVENTS, BUT RATHER A MIX OF OBSERVATIONS OVER THE YEARS. THIS POST IS NOT DIRECTED AT ANY ONE PERSON OR INDIVIDUAL.

IF YOU FEEL YOUR UNDIES GETTING IN A TWIST, MAYBE YOUR PANTS ARE ON WRONG!! FIND WHAT FITS BEST FOR YOU!

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Filed under Alpha person, kids, Parenting, Relationships, School, Working

Many Partings

“I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives
For a reason, bringing something we must learn,
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them,
And we help them in return.”

— ‘Wicked’

Ok, so I’m stealing a title from Tolkein today. Not exactly proud but it fits. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about people and relationships. Lots and lots of thinking. See, it’s coming up on a year – tomorrow, in fact – since a lot of people that I considered close friends disappeared from my life. That was a hard life lesson to learn – the fact that just because you consider someone a close friend doesn’t necessarily mean that they are one. Or that they feel the same way.

My naive little self just never realized that. And it was hard. And hurt a lot. Still does. A dream the other night about one of these people brought it all back, so that’s where my brain has fixated. Lots of introspection, and most of it not fun.

But then I have to look at all of the new, and positive, influences and individuals who’ve crossed my path since then. So many. Connections and reconnections who have helped me to grow more than I ever thought possible. I’ve learned so much about myself and my priorities that I can’t write it off as coincidence.

Ok, now I’m waxing sentimental. But you know what? I don’t believe in coincidence anymore. There is a grand plan. And I’ve learned to accept and welcome the fact that I don’t know what it is. All I can do is take the next step on my path. And that’s a good thing.

So I guess my question is, why are relationships so transient? Why do people drift in and out of our lives with such ease these days? Remember when you were a kid and you swore that you’d be Best Friends Forever? It seemed so normal and you never questioned that it would be that way.

Life doesn’t work that way, does it?

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Filed under friendships, Growth, life lessons, Relationships, Role Models

Labels

 
I have a problem with labels. Not the paper kind. The mental kind, which can be much stickier and more troublesome. See, I am definitely a Type A personality. I like control. I like order. Add to that the problem fact that, according to the Brain Colors test, I am also extremely Gold. Not golden – that would be a bit egocentric. But Gold. That means I like rules, regulations, checklists and routine in the extreme.
 
How does this relate to labels? Quite simply, I function best when I can put a label to any situation, relationship or person that I may come across. For most of my life, I’ve labeled myself in some form or fashion, just to simplify things in general (or so I thought.) Friend. Musician. Teacher. Wife. Introvert. The list goes on and on. And, in the process of creating these labels, I managed to box myself into them. I would think/act/make decisions based on whatever label I chose to identify most with at any given moment in time. You can see the problem here. I boxed myself in.
 
Relationships have been the same way. Upon meeting someone new my brain immediately tries to put a label on the relationship. Friend? Acquaintance? Co-worker? Instead of just living in the moment and enjoying getting to know people I jump into the compulsive attempt at labeling, and therefore, placing boundaries and expectations on, any new relationship. It makes mountains out of molehills and complications where none should exist. It poisons relationships. And it’s not fair to those people either.
 
 
Goal-setting is worse. Live in the moment? Ha! It’s been nearly impossible for most of my life. My brain is so goal-oriented that I spend so much time looking forward to the next step. I’ve really struggled with enjoying the now. That’s been my new challenge – and something that the last few months have taught me. Living in the moment. Blooming where I’m planted. Finding happiness where I am instead of where I will be.
 
I’m a work in progress…

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Filed under Identity, Introspection, Labeling, Personality, Relationships, Self esteem