Grown Up Bullies

You would think that by the time people were adults they would know better than to be bullies. Nope, some of those same playground bullies are now adult bullies in the real world. Unfortunately there are also people who have been bullied or had a rough life that become emotional bullies later in life. Not all but some. People, can be really, really cruel, sometimes for no reason at all.

Unfortunately, for someone as gullible as I am, it always come to me as a complete shock. I should have learned this by now but deep down I want to believe that there is some good in people when there isn’t. We’re all capable of different emotions and believe me, I’ve been on the receiving end of a couple of people’s dramatic mood swings lately and I’m desperately trying to be polite.

 

You can’t change people and sometimes people won’t even give you a chance to explain and as much as you want to say your piece, you just have to walk away. LISTEN to your INTUITION even if it’s faint and follow that voice. It’s always right. Always.

 

 

Is it easy? Nope. Do you miss the person? Here’s the thing: Honestly? No. I can’t say I do. When I feel relief, I know I should NOT have been in that friendship from the beginning.  How do you act when you are around this person? More importantly, how do you FEEL? These are key questions, and ones you should ask yourself at the very start.

With the enthusiasm of a new friendship, the joy, the fun and the courtship, I had NOT been paying close attention to my instincts. Every time I push my feelings aside or pretend I am being flexible or give someone “another chance” it simply never works. Never.

I was friendly with several people in the past, I found them interesting and entertaining. One who portrayed herself to be enlightened and true to herself. One with the people and supposedly knew how “Life” worked. She portrayed herself as kind and knowing.  She was neither but I fell for her charm. I even helped her with a business but that is beside the point. She talked about Karma, she will learn it by herself when it comes back to her in ways that have nothing to do with me.

The other person was young and impulsive, she was not mature enough to listen to my side of the story and when I stopped listening to her mania I felt utter relief. I even know she still checks in on one of my profiles from time to time, you would think, by now, she would stop,

 

I realized that I did have initial doubts about BOTH of these people but I decided to ignore them, I pushed those feelings aside and did not pay attention to my gut instincts, I decided it was worth the chance. Believe me, it wasn’t.

The people who you choose to part ways with do not serve you in ANY way. It’s hard to accept that YOU messed up to begin with. You felt the flutters of doubt, you remembered the creepy-crawly feeling in your stomach and lifting your eyebrows questioning a minute too long. You knew, instinctively but you chose to ignore. OWN that, you made a mistake, TRY not to do it next time, learn from it.

Go slowly with a new friend. Sometimes, that’s my problem. I like someone so much that I fail to take it slowly and I jump in with innocence and enthusiasm. Can I change? Probably not. My only other option?

 

A strong guard, like a tall barbed wire fence, to keep all people away, to shield myself from hurt and pain. I need to take it slow, to follow my own instincts, to listen more carefully and NEVER doubt myself again. No excuses.

CAN’T WE ALL TRY TO BE JUST A LITTLE NICER TO EACH OTHER?

 

 


 

 

 

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Popcorn, Previews And Fruit Cocktail

English: Unpopped corn kernels, prepared for p...

English: Unpopped corn kernels, prepared for popping. – Studio photo of Popcorn. Taken in 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For years I was the type of person that would not start eating her popcorn until the movie started, the official movie. I would wait out the commercials, the “Exit” sign warnings, the “Please Do Not Disturb Your Neighbors” and “No Smoking” announcements. I didn’t even start eating my popcorn during the previews which to me, are almost as good as the movie itself. I had rules, my own strict, self-imposed rules.

Until last night where I saw the movie “Gloria” and as soon as we sat down and immediately I began munching on the popcorn and sipping Diet Coke. Hey, look at me! I surprised myself and then thought, “what on earth have I been waiting for all these years?”

Delayed gratification is fine when you are young and you want to save the best for last. The way I used to eat “fruit cocktail” or “fruit cockentail” as one of my kids used to call it was representative of my style. I would eat the most banal fruits first, picking out the pears and eating them first. Then I would sequester the peaches and eat them after that. Next to last would always be the plump, juicy grapes, it was a close tie for first and second but really who could not have the fake cherries as their number one favorite. I mean really, I was a kid.

I think if I would have it now (and don’t put it past me) I would take a spoonful of everything right up front, maybe sequester a few grapes for the end. The squishiness in my mouth is utterly delightful. But, the cherries? No big deal anymore. They don’t elicit the same excitement as they used to do when I was little. In fact, they have no taste.

Maybe growing up and getting older you realize you don’t have to wait to the end to enjoy the best things last. Why wait? I’ve always been surprised when my daughter used to read a book’s ending before starting it. This to me was unheard of but you know what? I kind of understand it now.

I don’t think I could ever do it, it’s just not my style but I understand her now, apparently she was a better teacher than I was. She always wanted to see her birthday cake as soon as it came in the door unlike her brother who wanted to wait until the last second, when I would come in with the candles lit. I admit it, I am more like he is.

I’m learning from my two kids, more and more. I love it.

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It’s Really Not About The Turkey

Folk Family, ca. 1940-1941

Folk Family, ca. 1940-1941 (Photo credit: americanartmuseum)

It’s Thanksgiving Eve’s Eve, if that is a holiday. It’s 11:30 pm and my husband and I are waiting for our two, college aged children to come home from their respective colleges, together. We like that they are traveling in one car; we like that they are getting along. For someone, with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain, I am usually in my sleep shirt as early as seven pm (okay, you got me, sometimes at 4pm) but I wait, dressed, until 12:30 am so I can greet them. There are a lot of things I can’t do for them, but this I can and I’m proud.

Those first sights, those first hugs are amazing but fleeting. My daughter’s friend came over to talk and my son left right away to go to the diner to meet up with his friends from college. His friends from college, you ask? I asked the same thing. “Yes” he replied, grinning widely, “I really don’t know why either, it just happened but I’m looking forward to it.” With our usual admonishment to “wake us up when you get home”( we are old-fashioned) he said “Wow, it’s going to be really hard to remember that.” We replied “Try.”

This morning, as I sipped my strong coffee in bed, deeply inhaling the fragrant aroma like a bouquet of flowers, I heard my daughter’s door open, (we have a very small house and she is right across our door) earlier than I thought. She walked in and sat on the bed and started talking about college and I was so incredibly happy. If that wasn’t enough to fill my heart up to near capacity, ten minutes later I heard familiar loud thumps coming up the stairs. It was that moment, when her older brother walked in, made himself comfortable on the bed and started joining in on the conversation that I was so grateful for my life.

I’ve realized with time, that it’s these special moments that make a life worthwhile. If only I had a better memory to remember them; I confess I seem to remember bad things easier, traumatic things, than the glorious moments I had this morning. At least I can look back here and visualize them.
After we talked for about fifteen minutes, my daughter decided she was hungry and I taught her how to make her favorite breakfast meal. While part of her wanted me to make it, at 18, I thought it best for her to do it herself with my help. So there was a little shell (okay a lot) in the eggs but I taught her how to take it out, so the avocado was not perfect, we worked around it, the flame was too high, she lowered it, I told her to ask her brother if he might want some, she did and he said “yes, please.” It’s all a matter of growing up, and if my children still want to come up and talk with me, I’ve done my job well.

(Easy) Scrambled Eggs with Cheese and Avocado (for 2)

Crack 4 eggs in a bowl (remove shell if there is any, and don’t worry if there is-it happens to all of us)
Add a bit of milk (we don’t measure here, just a sip or two from the carton, any milk or cream will do nicely)

Prepare a frying pan with butter or cooking spray, enough to coat the bottom of the pan

Separately, slice the cheese (ANY kind) she used mozzarella and added it to the eggs

Pre-heat the pan and when it is warm, add the cheese and egg mixture

Prepare avocado (use 1/2 or whole depending on taste) slicing it. (I’m assuming you know to peel it and  throw away the pit?)

Do NOT put avocado in frying pan until the eggs and cheese are nearly done.

Once the egg and cheese mixture is almost done, add the avocado, stir gently and serve.

ENJOY!

Plinky: If You Could Delete A Memory, Would You?

  • Memory Erasure
  • Try And Delete Pain, You Can’t
    8560 – St Petersburg – Apartment If I could delete a memory from my past and all the pain that the memory caused, I would. However, I can’t change my history so even if I could erase the specific memory (sitting on the dirty steps of our old apartment building, sobbing in my nightgown, clutching two handkerchiefs, waiting for my older sister to come home one Christmas morning) I’m not sure it would do much good. There are bad times, bad memories and pain. Sometimes, there is not even a lesson to learn, not a single one. Many of us have had very bad experiences in our past, that leaves a trail of pain that follows you for years, or a lifetime. You can’t change what happened, all you can do is learn from other people’s mistakes. My sister and I were a team back then, united, against our parents, the enemies.

The Fox And The Wolf

Rainy Golestan National Park

Rainy Golestan National Park (Photo credit: brum d)

I have a friend, a dear friend, a soul sister that I have forged a deep connection with and recently learned she is sick. I fear she is very sick and while I may write and sob, wearing my heart always, on my sleeve, she is calm and accepting and talks about life after death calmly. I am here, a long way from her, this friend I have never even met, and I am crying, my tears flowing down my red cheeks without stopping. I don’t even attempt to dab at the waterfall cascading from my green eyes, I could not keep up. In some way I don’t want to mop up my tears and have a clean face; it just doesn’t feel right.

I try to put on a brave front but she knows me and can see through my pretenses. “You have lost many people and you just don’t want to lose your new friend, your soul sister” she writes to me as if to explain. I put my head in my hands and rock myself while she is trying to comfort me from afar. She is a brave warrior and I feel like a fearful, young, gray mouse yet we coexist in nature. I have learned more from this friend about life and yes, death, than from many people I have known a long time. People can call themselves “best friends” but it’s only a label, an artificial one.

She and I connect, spiritually. She sent me a poem that used in one of her pieces of writing and it turns out to be the same poem (* see below ) I had read at my father’s funeral. It did not surprise me but as wonderful as the poem is, it does not quiet my heart when I miss my dad the most and that, she acknowledges,  is true. I wish I could wrap her up in a cocoon of the softest, silky threads and take care of her, feed her so she will stop losing weight rapidly, sing folk songs deep into the night, looking at the stars and making her tea with tupelo honey.

We have never met, she and I, but we know each other well, like wildlife in nature, harmoniously living together, understanding intuitively what is good, what is bad, a friend, a foe.  I hope to meet her someday soon but even if I don’t and even if she does die, as we all will, I know now, that feeling connected to another person, is worth the sadness that might occur later. For everyone, for everything, give people your heart and appreciate whatever time you have with them. Because, without them you would have been a lesser person, a smaller animal in the beautiful green forest.

Thinking of an anticipated good-bye is downright torture for me, it’s like squeezing blood from my brittle bones, without anesthesia.

*Do not stand at my grave and weep is a poem written in 1932 by Mary Elizabeth Frye. Although the origin of the poem was disputed until later in her life, Mary Frye’s authorship was confirmed in 1998 after research by Abigail Van Buren, a newspaper columnist.[1]

Full text

The “definitive version,” as published by The Times and The Sunday Times in Frye’s obituary, 5 November 2004:[2]

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

dedicated to my friend, with love. she knows who she is.

Carry on Tuesday: The long and winding road…..

English: Opuntia macrocentra, Jardín de Cactus...

English: Opuntia macrocentra, Jardín de Cactus, Guatiza, Lanzarote, Spain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can’t be perfect all the time. I thought I had to try to be in the past as a child. Now I don’t. No one is perfect. Like recently pressing the Publish key first instead of the Save key. It’s okay. Really, nobody cares and if I care (that first audible intake of breath) it’s a waste of my time. My life. I’m not going there. Not ever again. It won’t come automatically, that’s okay.

I will be nicer to myself and easier on myself and everyone else too. Hey,  I don’t know how much longer I have on this earth or how much longer anyone else has. I just won’t care as much, not as intensely, maybe you learn that with age or being hurt or just choosing not to care anymore. I wish I had known that thirty years ago but you learn when you truly need to learn, when it is crucial.  I want to surround myself with those that love me and simplify my life, positive people. I want to subtract, without drama, the negative people.  It’s initially hard to accept when you’re in the middle of some dreaded tsunami and you are swept up but when things finally settle down, you learn. I’ve learned to inhale on one, hold, exhale on two. Repeat as needed. There’s always a way to work things out, always. I’ve found that out with family, it’s not what it used to be but it works. Will everybody be 100 percent happy? Probably not but if we are all 75 percent happy it’s a good deal.

While traveling I’ve always taken the direct route to get from here to there.  The direct route is simple and less risky. But, I am learning to take some risks even if it feels uncomfortable at first. It should feel uncomfortable, you should wriggle around with a few pangs of anxiety and then….then you grow and learn. I have decided that from now on I am taking the long and winding road, to make detours, to appreciate beauty in its simplicity. That’s what adventure and growing are all about. Taking a chance and growing up. Taking the direct route, as I have done, is the easy way but it feeds on your insides and makes you feel used and destroyed, and hurt. All I needed to do was say “no” and step back. Firmly. It’s been a long journey and it isn’t over yet, I’m sure.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, we keep learning. Sometimes it’s painful, most times it’s uncomfortable to do something completely different from what you have done for your whole life. I tried it on for size, I moved my body around, adjusting my skin as if it was attached directly with a sharp, silver needle to every cell, like the pricks of a cactus. It poked, it prodded and I learned to work with it, not against it. In the end, not only was it comfortable but it made me shine, from the inside out.

Plinky Prompt: Do You Believe In Fate?

  • Fate
  • Life Is A Series Of Little Steps
    Staircase Do I believe in fate? Absolutely. There are no coincidences in Life, things happen for a reason. You need to keep your mind, heart and soul open and learn from every experience, good and bad. Learn the lesson you needed to learn, at least try. Move on and grow. Life is a series of little steps, just master one little step at a time, all you can do is try. Keep on trying and don’t give up. Start at your own beginning.

The Absence Of Happiness

buddha path

I used to think you were either happy or sad but I’ve discovered a secret. The absence of happiness does not necessarily mean sadness. There are many things in between this range of emotions. Contentment is one of them, so is acceptance; not swinging too high for expectations or too low for disappointment like trapeze artists in the circus. Life, if you choose it, can be one continuous ride, gently swaying back and forth, back and forth as if you were sitting on an old, white porch swing. Things can change around you but they do not necessarily need to change you within.

It doesn’t mean you have to live without emotions nor does it mean you have to feel overly anxious, happy, too sad or very depressed. It means accepting what comes your way and not fighting like a roaring, clawing tiger but also, NOT laying limply against a rock, waiting to die.

It’s a state of mind that is hard to describe but delicious to live through. I sat on a chair in a lobby yesterday and learned a great deal from an older gentlemen that I did not know. It’s listening more than talking. It’s not overreacting like every nerve ending is set on fire. This man talked in hushed whispers all about his experiences as a young man. He spoke to my dog like he was Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer, noting her behavior, her adoration, her anxiety, her love.

Try and stay in the shadows of your emotions, step back in your mind, reach for the neutral button or better yet, the pause button. Reach out to others with kindness, honesty and inspiration. You will find what you are looking for more from leaning back to listen than leaning forward to interject. Kindness is here, believe in it. Lessons can be learned from everyone and every thing. Wait for it, with patience, it will come.

Someone Who Has Influenced the Way I See the World

A panoramic picture of the Angell Center court...

Image via Wikipedia

Sharing What We Have

I grew up in a very tight-knit family, just my parents, my sister and I. We ate meals together but my parents were not very sociable people. The focus remained on the family and if someone came over they had to call first. Heaven forbid they came at mealtime because there wasn’t enough food.

When I was in college I shared an apartment with three really good friends. At dinner one night, some different friends stopped by and I was worried because I knew we didn’t have enough food. That didn’t matter to my good friend Maureen. I remember, in detail, how she invited the friends to the table. We all made screeching sounds with our chairs to make room for our friends. Maureen, with clear simplicity of heart said “we will share what we have with you.” A new hero was born. I had never been exposed to that before and ever since then, if people stop by at dinner time, friends of my son or daughter, I always say “of course there is enough” and enjoy having a little less for myself. Thanks Maur.

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The Letter

Thomas the Tank Engine depicted in the TV Series

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Kate,

It’s been a long time since we last talked or wrote each other. How are you? I have a feeling I know. I can’t believe our boys are graduating from High School in four weeks.  It doesn’t matter that so many miles and so many years have passed by. We still have the memories, the boys still have a connection and so do we. As I grow older I realize that there are many types of friendships on so many levels and they are all different and good.

Right now, I am stuck in between pride and delight and loss and simple sadness.  It seems like it was yesterday that our two boys, mine with his dark brown hair and yours with his light blond hair were playing in the sandbox together and sipping apple juice from juice box containers, tilting their heads back and drinking from the tiny spout without the straw. Our whole family called it the “Nick” way for many years; it made quite an impression! I can still see us watching our children together, sitting at a picnic bench, side by side, while they dug in the heavy, beige sand. Now, our sons are graduating High School and heading soon, after the summer, to college.

Wasn’t it yesterday, Katie, that I was cradling my newborn son in my arms, his head snuggling against my shoulder, the sweet, milky, powdery smell of baby? Trying to remember the smell is virtually impossible. Even back then, when I breathed it in daily, hourly, every second of the night and day, I wanted to bottle it, especially for nostalgic times like these.

Adam is going to the prom in less than a week with his girlfriend. The word “girlfriend” does not roll off my tongue naturally yet, because the word was always forbidden in the house…that is, until a few months ago. It makes me happy to see Adam and his girlfriend together, and it makes me sad, for them, that they will be saying goodbye to each other very soon. But, that’s how life works. This is all so new to him and I can’t protect him from pain any more now than I could protect him once he was properly suited up when he played football in the early years. Our children need to work things out and learn by themselves, they will need to grow up on their own.

I am trying to prepare myself for the quiet stillness of the house without Adam here at home. Julia, my beautiful blond 16 and a half year old “baby”, has only one more year left of High-School and then she too, graduates. It’s all a bit overwhelming, it feels like the powerful ride of the dark-green ocean waves with no rest in-between. When Julia graduates from High-School and is in college I can imagine that this tiny house, our family home will seem cavernous. We cannot imagine the silence creeping into our house like moths, flapping their fragile wings without a sound.

I wonder if we will miss the kids’  booming voices, the fighting, the shrieks, and their clothes all over their floors. I am sure we will at first. I imagine this whole, new experience summed up in a word: “bitter-sweet” some happy, some sad, like the strong branches with delicate red berries growing on them.

I still carry the picture in my mind of the boys playing with smiling Thomas The Tank Engine and his friends. How we built bridges and tunnels with wooden Brio pieces time and time again. Thomas and his Friends and tracks and the Conductor are still somewhere in my mildewy basement; I could not say good-bye to them too.

Love, Jane