Monthly Archives: August 2011
Before July of this year, blogging was something I had put on my To Do list and its position shifted constantly, bouncing around somewhere near the bottom five, always beneath the “Do the laundry” and “Pick out paint for kitchen.” I think even “Paint toenails” ranked higher on the priority list.
A year ago I made an attempt to start a blog and had one follower – my friend Kathleen Mulroy. It was so depressing and I lost interest. I could never figure out how to do it and I certainly didn’t think I had anything to say.
But blogging never left my To Do list, because I knew I needed to blog. Especially after reading Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone. I’ve been a loyal follower of Kristen’s blog so I understood the reasoning behind blogging, but still…I never got around to launching my own.
Then, in June, Kristen mentioned in her blog that she would be instructing a blogging workshop. I thought, how could I go wrong? Suffice it to say that Kristen lit the fire under my procrastinating –ish butt and I committed myself to give birth to a brand new blog.
As it turns out, I had more than enough to say. I’ve been able to pull issues from my past, examine and reshape those experiences, and use it as a platform for healing and change. I never really set out to engage anyone, but as it turned out, I now have a great group of friends and acquaintances who have a front row seat to examine the inside of my head.
Now, just shy of two months and 18 posts later, I was thrilled to find out I had been awarded the Blog on Fire award, not once, but twice! As Sally Field would say, “…you like me, right now, you like me!” And I am truly humbled.
The first award was presented to me by Michelle Simkins, a funny, insightful, what-you-see-is-what-you-get badass woman whose blog I really enjoy reading because of her diversity, including beautiful pictures, a Round Robin Blogvel, and stuff that just needs to be said – out loud! Be sure to check her out! She’s a breath of fresh air!
The next time I was awarded the incredible Blog on Fire award, it was from my WANA711 sister, Natalie Hartford. I really don’t believe she knows how good of a writer she is. Her tone is upbeat, fun, and her style is engaging. Whenever I open her blog, the page pops out and I just…smile. I can’t help it. Please make it a point to stop by her blog.
Now, I understand that I am supposed to pass the Blog on Fire award to only one other blogger, but since I received it twice? I don’t know what the rules about this are, but I’m taking it upon myself to pick two deserving bloggers. (Besides, from so many to choose from, this gives me a little bit more freedom…)
So, here I go!
I’m not sure how or when, but I discovered rolliwrites and fell in love with his flash fiction. I Have a Giant Uncle Who’s a Refrigerator was my first and guaranteed will not be the last. To be able to write fiction of such brevity is a craft all in itself. Kind of like writing a synopsis or a query letter. Not everyone can do it well, but I think he’s nailed it.
I also want to recognize Naomi Bulger, another friend who rode the WANA711 wave with me. Her Messages in a Bottle blogs are so heartwarming and down-to-earth; it’s like chamomile tea for the mind. She keeps it real, letting her experiences have a voice.
Join me in in celebration of these two awesome writers!!!
Now, to keep the blog love going, I wanted to slip in a few other bloggers worth mentioning. (Keep in mind this is only a small portion of the incredible blogs out there!)
Kathleen Mulroy: My writing buddy and fantastic copyeditor. She writes and reads, educates and learns (not to mention slicing and dicing up my WIP). Her new blog is quickly finding its footing. Her topics touch many corners of her mind, coaxing the thoughts to grow under her charm. She’s off to a great start. Please stop by.
Kerry Meacham: He’s got a style about him that just makes me want to curl up with a good book on a rainy afternoon. Must be the southern gentleman in him! And from what I can tell, he’s typing away feverishly on his WIP. I can’t wait to see the end result!
David Scott Hay: I Have a Theory About Superman’s Day Job was my first glimpse into this talented writer. His book, Fall: The Last Testament of Lucifer Morning Star, the story of Heaven and Hell making deals with each other in order to find the stolen Book of Life, has so far been an incredible read. I highly recommend it!
Kate Wood: She’s one of the New Kids on the Writer’s Block. She’s got a lot to say. Personally, I love the fact that she is a Celtic history buff! Also a graduate from Kristen’s blogging workshop, she’s created a great space to hang out in.
Dannie C. Hill: What a fascinating guy! He grew up in North Carolina, and now lives with his wife in Thailand. When he’s not writing, he’s exploring his home or growing all sorts of things on his farm. He has great posts about the beautiful area he lives in.
So now for the finale. As part of this award, I am supposed to share seven random things about me…ready?
1. I love to paint my toenails. The more unconventional the color is, the better – baby blue, lavender, sour apple green, peach, sunshine yellow, midnight blue…I’m always looking for more.
2. I’m a techno-dork. I can find my way around a computer for the most part, but anything that goes beyond the obvious, my brain checks out. And controls for PS3, Xbox, televisions, and stereos. Ugh. My personal nightmares. It’s not that I can’t figure the damn things out; what irks me is the effort it takes to slow down and actually decide which button does what. I have no patience for it. I’d rather hire someone to figure it out and just give me the Reader’s Digest version of it.
3. I unwillingly commit houseplant homicide. The poor dears. I water them, sometimes not enough and usually too much. I talk to them, but the words are few and hurried. I take them outside for a little sunshine and end up forgetting them, leaving them to overdose on vitamin D and ultraviolet rays.
4. I hate mean people. Well, not really hate, because hate is such a strong word. I am deeply disturbed by mean people. It’s just that I don’t understand that side of human nature. Why shoot verbal bullets, aiming straight between the eyes? In the words of Rodney King…”Why can’t we all just get along?”
5. I am fascinated with genealogy. So far I have discovered some famous relations of mine: President Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Boone, George Washington, and Katherine Banks, the wealthiest woman of the colonies, who was the great-great (and then some) grandmother of President Jefferson and other history-making men and women. I often get to thinking….what if I am the reincarnate of one of the ancestors I am researching? How cool would that be?
6. I meditate, but not sitting still. I run, walk, lift weights, vacuum, swim, or something that involves physical movement. I have found the faster my body moves, or the more stress I put on it, the quieter my mind becomes.
7. I live for power naps. I take them every day. Sometimes two or three times. I have to. Nocturnal rejuvenation is not my specialty. But I can take power naps anywhere. All I need is something to lie down on (the floor works well), and something soft for a pillow (a rolled up jacket) and I’m off to a 12-minute (two minutes to fall asleep and ten to sleep) mental break. And, yeah. I can fall asleep in two minutes.
Thank you so much, Michelle and Natalie, for honoring me with this award. I’ve always known that I have something to say, and writing allows me to say it. I hope that others will also be able to find something in my words that will make their day.
Now, Naomi and Charles, it’s your turn!
It’s been pretty intense around here, with all the soul cleansing and growth, the changes inside and out. Like finding seashells along the shifting tides, I was too wrapped up in my discoveries to see the signs.
Still, I knew something was off. I felt the shift in his manner, his voice, and the way he looked (or rather the way he didn’t look) at me. The realization hit me like a 2 x 4 yesterday morning and gave me a raging headache. I couldn’t let this sit and stew. I had to do damage control – and fast. Please bear with me as I get this out in words, because apparently my verbal skills need some work.
I woke up this morning and felt really, really awful. Sick, but not physically. It was more like my heart and soul had collapsed. I didn’t have it in me to get out of bed, and for me, that’s pretty bad.
I panicked because I realized I had forgotten something very, very important. What made this oversight even worse, was that I couldn’t remember how long ago that I had begun to forget.
Sometime between the ages of 15 and 16, I would guess. Maybe even before then. Perhaps it was it when you started with the teen-tude or buried yourself under texting and Facebook. Maybe it was when you started rolling your eyes or put your emotions on permanent lockdown when I went off on my “informative lectures.”
My love started to fall under the guise of teaching you the “rights” and “wrongs” of life and somehow I made you feel less than the perfect person you are. You did things your way, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted more from you, but I didn’t take into account that you had your own issues to process – issues you came into this world with, along with the normal, everyday teenager stuff.
The only difference between the issues you and I are processing is that yours are new and mine are old. Yeah. Mine go waaaay back, but I’ve been flinging them at you when something set me off, and I didn’t realize that until just now. I reacted with anger when you showed me lack of respect. Feelings of worthlessness screamed when you ignored me when I talked. I felt inadequate when, even though I gave you 200%, you complained about it and still wanted more. That’s all recycled stuff from a different decade, bleeding from my past into your present.
Whether intentional or not, I had ignored the distinct sound of disconnection when you tuned me out. I fought hard to pull you close when you fought hard to push me away.
During that battle for control, I believe that is when I forgot to show you that I love you. As a writer, I should know this one. I could tell you I love you until I’m blue in the face, but it won’t have the same impact unless I put action in place of those words. When you stand four inches taller than me, I see the man you are becoming, but forget that you still respond better to hugs than to words.
Today you take your pretest in Tang Soo Do, and after that you are only a few months away from your black belt. You could never have gotten this far had you not been determined, focused, and talented. You are a force to be reckoned with, and I couldn’t be prouder of you.
So now I will start once again to build the bridge between us. I’ll teach my lessons through examples and laugh a heck of a lot more. I’ll be sure to draw the line between my issues and yours. I’ll untie the cord around your waist and give you room to stretch your wings. Not that this gives you a carte blanche to do whatever you want, but this will allow you express yourself and be who you need to be without my issues holding you down.
I hope that by letting you go, you’ll find your way back to me.
And I promise…I’ll remember to never forget.
Your biggest fan,
In the June 2005 edition of Writer’s Digest Personal Writing, my 100-word response to a question they had posed was published, along with many other writers who had similar experiences. The question?
Has anyone ever read your journal without permission? And, if so, what happened?
Like many other journal keepers, I had been faithfully making entries in my journal since my mother had given me a leather-bound book, complete with a little key. I had a special pen – a pretty pink pen – to scribble in whatever thoughts popped into my head at the time. It was great! Kind of a clothing-optional beach for my mind. Some days the entries consisted of how I hated my brothers teasing me or the fact that I had major crushes on their friends (Russ, you were always my favorite!). As I got older, the entries grew with me. My first hit of a cigarette, my first kiss, how I hated my mother and her stupid rules, cutting classes and drinking beer. I filled hundreds of pages with words I was afraid to say out loud – to anyone. I included poems and songs that were both dark and light. I ranted and praised. I laughed and cried. I created a world where only I existed; standing on the edge of a well where I dumped out my heart and mind into a place I thought was safe.
I’m not really certain what led up to that day that changed the dynamics of my life, but I do remember coming home from school one day and finding my journals lying on my bed, all of them opened and apparently read by the one person I thought I could trust. I would have expected this invasion of privacy from my brothers, but definitely not my mother.
Yeah. I was busted on so many levels and I was surely going to burn in hell. I back-peddled, I lied. I had to explain myself, explain my motives – as if anyone should have to defend their heart.
On that day my secrets became hers. But that wasn’t enough. Apparently she was so horrified with the workings of my mind, she offered up my journals to my high school counselor for inspection, obviously convinced I was on my way to juvenile hall.
I’m not sure what was worse – knowing I was about to face purgatory or the humiliation I suffered every time I caught my counselor watching me as I walked past his office. He never said a word to me, but he didn’t have to. His eyes said it all. My secrets were his, as well.
So I had been burned torched, but I healed. And I continued to write – still unguarded – only I wrote with the knowledge that others would read my words. And although I didn’t recognize it as such, that was the day I became a writer. After all, isn’t that what being a writer really is? Writing exposes us. It doesn’t matter how carefully worded the sentences are or how well our own personalities are disguised as our characters. Our stories put our fears and insecurities out for public scrutiny. We lay out the loose ends of our souls, hoping that someone won’t start picking away at the threads and unravel what we have so carefully woven, but whether or not they do, we continue to write.
Before my mother died, I shamelessly pressed her for the answer to a question that I dared not ask for 13 years. Whatever became of my journals? She gave me a combination, but to what she didn’t tell me. To this day, I still don’t know.
So if you happen across a few wayward journals with entries written in pink, with mention of a boy named Troy, feel free to thumb through it. My life is an open book and I’m certain the makings of a great story are in there somewhere.
So I ask you the same question that Writer’s Digest asked of me: Has anyone ever read your journal without permission? And, if so, what happened? I’d love to hear from you!
“I don’t like being put in boxes. Boy, girl, dork, popular – those are boxes.”
“Sorry. But…” I wanted to know something. “How old are you?”
“Age is a box.”
~ From the pages of What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci.
Boxes confine. Boxes limit. Boxes keep things in and boxes keep things out. The only boxes I like are the ones that I put in storage because I have no use for what I’ve put in them and probably won’t for a long time. Like my high school yearbooks, my first lock of hair, hospital bracelet – stuff like that.
Labels are just like boxes. Slap a label on a box and we’ve got a perfectly, pin-pointable, predictable product. What happens when said product doesn’t perform in the manner the label on the box specifies? We send it back and get a full refund. In our eyes, it didn’t fit into our basket of expectations, and it gets the big, red Reject stamp across the front.
Same as putting labels on people. We label them, expecting certain characteristics and we are surprised and sometimes angry when prim and proper Mary Jane is caught dancing on the tables at a seedy bar, or the virtuous Mrs. Goody-Goody is caught washing down pills with a vodka tonic. How about Miss America showing some skin in pictures taken eons ago?
Society loves doing that – putting people in boxes and writing labels on them in big permanent markers. It’s easier to keep track of us that way. It keeps us in line. But that makes us feel like we have to live up to someone’s expectation – a heavy burden to carry.
One of the many problems with boxes, though, is that they create a finite atmosphere from which we can take our next breath. How can we be one way when we are supposed to act another?
I find it difficult to label myself, so normally I don’t even try, but as part of a workshop headed up by Kristen Lamb, we were asked to make a list of words to describe ourselves or how others would describe us. It was eye-opening, to say the least.
After I had written the word “calm,” I immediately wrote “explosive.” “Cautious” was followed by “impetuous.” “Focused” fused with “scattered.” One hundred words later, I was still not able to get a very clear picture of who I was – it was blurry at best.
Taking the time to write those words was a wonderful exercise because it made me realize I am all of those words, yet none of them, or maybe a bit of each, in a very –ish sort of way.
That probably explains why I could never hold down a traditional job. Most jobs have very specific boundaries in which to perform. I don’t do boundaries. Guidelines maybe. Boundaries never. Abiding by leases, contracts, rules, and regulations makes me break out in hives.
The same goes with time. Clocks are too regimented and too confining. I rarely give an exact time for when I will be somewhere. I know myself too well. It’s always 1:00-ish, noon-ish, or afternoon-ish. I’m often teased about it, but it’s an expected and accepted part of me.
So there you have it – the nuts and bolts of who I am – or who I’m not.
How about you? Do you fit into a mold? Can you identify yourself with just a few words? Where is your comfort zone? Let me know! I’d love to compare our lists!
What exactly is the allure of the vampire? What makes this wickedly dark and mysterious being so intriguing and the object of so many fantasies?
It started with Dracula, a novel written by Bram Stoker in 1897. Though the author did not invent the vampire, the novel was a major influence on the popularity of vampire lore. This legendary character then came to life on the silver screen in the 1930s when the economic depression created a need for people to escape.
Through the novel and the subsequent movies, the public was introduced to a well-dressed, intelligent, sexy and mysterious gentleman who represented dominance, virility, power, and wisdom. He was super-human and immortal. He defied the normal cycle of life by sleeping by day, and roaming by night. His depth of his knowledge was expansive, his patience limitless. After all, he’d had centuries in which to learn, in which to wait.
And women craved this bad boy.
Thus, a fantasy was born.
In the Victorian age, exposed skin was a big no-no, so women wore clothes to ensure the optimal coverage of their neck, arms, and legs. More likely than not, those women, married or not, would have taken any excuse to shed those layers of propriety. If a vampire just so happened to be in the vicinity and used his otherworldly powers to hypnotize her, to seduce her, to overpower her and bite her neck – if she was just another victim of the vampire – she couldn’t possibly be blamed for her indiscretion, right? After all, she didn’t set out intending to be ravished. It was that rascal’s fault (the blame game in action). He put a spell on her, she could say. She’d gotten wild with a neck-biting, blood-thirsty stranger, and had her virtue compromised, but would it really count?
And what man wouldn’t want to have that kind of power over a woman? To be dark, mysterious, sexy and alluring, to turn a woman into hot Silly Putty in his hands with just a brush of his lips across the side of her neck, with just a look into her eyes? The ultimate bad boy.
Some 22 years ago my cousin, Alejandro, had been walking in the heart of one of the many vampire communities – Hollywood, California. For Halloween, he decked himself out as a vampire. He and a friend went all out, experimenting with prosthetic teeth just to vamp it up. With Hollywood being what it was, and still is, he saw the potential to share the fantasy of the legendary vampire with others. So, his business of making fangs for others was created – and he found there was no shortage of customers.
His ability to craft such a simple, yet empowering accessory of prosthetic teeth, has earned him the name “The Prince of Fangs.”
His clients are hard core. They are serious about slipping out of their skin and into that of another image. Even Hollywood comes knocking at his door when the need arises.
Humans have a duality of dark and light, and even though most would be loathe to admit, it doesn’t make it go away.
Role playing allows us to step into another character for a time, – be it a storm trooper or other character – to nurture that darker side of us. It gives some people that edge they need – the need to be something they are not. But society keeps it in check. It’s a good thing, too, because it’d be a little difficult to explain this get-up to our co-workers back at the office.
So tell me – don’t hold back. We’re all friends here. Do you have a secret obsession? What character would you like to become, if only for a night?
For many people, the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason. The road is long and often lonely. The stretches can seem to last forever, with no end in sight. It is a road to accountability, a road lined with mirrors all around, forcing us to look at ourselves in the eyes.
Now, the road well traveled is filled with people busy passing the blame to one another. Let’s face it. It’s much easier to find someone else to be the reason for our problems than it is for us carry around the burden of our decisions. God help us if others discover that we are the way we are because of choices we’ve made intentionally. If someone finds some some deficiency within us, in order to save face we can say, “It’s my parents’ fault. They did (insert excuse here) to me.” The response might be, “Wow. Yeah, I can see how that can happen. You’re right. It’s not your fault.”
Whew. *Wipes sweat off forehead.* We’re off the hook. No questions asked. Pity party in full swing.
The simple gesture of pointing fingers at someone else is a magician’s trick of smoke and screen. It redirects the attention from us towards an outside source. By passing the baton of consequences of our decisions to someone else, it frees us to continue to make choices without repercussion. An E-ticket to a guilt-free life!
Allow me to illustrate: My older son hits my youngest son. When I ask him why, his response is, “He made me!” To which I ask, “A 12-year-old made a 16-year-old raise his fist and take a swing at him?” “Yeah!” My oldest smiles, thinking that pretty much justifies his action.
But the downside to blaming others is that by doing so, we relinquish our control. We are powerless.
And personally, I hate to feel powerless. Been there, done that.
I wrote Prisoner of My Past many years ago as a way to process feelings that were simmering under layers of my callused memories of being abused. At the time that it all hit the fan, I was forced to take the blame for what happened only because my father refused to. He washed his hands of the mess and walked away, but not before dropping the bag at my feet. I may have picked it up and carried it around for awhile, blaming him for my mental state, but eventually I realized something.
Blaming can be destructive…or it can be constructive.
The process of writing that little essay forced me to open up the bag and dig deep – really deep. Now I could have whined about all the problems my father caused me because of his selfishness. I could have played the blame game in its full glory, giving him the power. But if I did, I would have missed seeing the growth that took place within me, and the strength it took for me to move on. My maturity and fierce independence would have gone unnoticed had I curled up in a corner somewhere, mourning the loss of the relationship I had with my parents.
By turning inward, by taking the blame for the choices I made in response to his actions, it gave me back the power I had given him for much too long.
I have a tattoo in a band around my arm, sporting the names of my boys and my ex-husband. During the last nine months I’ve seen a few raised brows when they look at the ex’s name, as if I should have tattooed over it by now or turned it into a cute little mermaid or something. (Gasp! You’re still wearing his name?)
But to me, it symbolizes the accumulation of choices I made because of him and in spite of him. He acted, I reacted, and each time that happened, it shaped me just a little bit differently. I am who I am based on those choices. I like me. I like who I have become. And if you like me, you’ll like my tattoo.
Of course, not all choices I’ve made worked well for me, but by taking on the blame, I have the power to make yet another choice and another choice, until I get to where I want to be.
It took me a long time, but by dissecting the issues throughout my life and placing the pieces of the puzzle where they belong, I found that I was still intact and I was still me – just a new and improved version.
So what do you think? Do we blame others because we want to escape the consequences or is it possible to embrace those consequences? There’s no right or wrong answer. It all boils down to what resonates inside, but I’d still love to hear your thoughts.
Planking, the act of lying face down on or across ordinary objects with hands touching the sides of the body, has been around since 2000, and maybe longer. The rules of the game are simple: Find an object to get horizontal on, document your position with a picture, and slap it on the internet for all to see.
Since its inception, doing the plank and owl (a variant of the plank in which a person squats like an owl) has been growing in popularity all over the world.
Why? Because it’s different, a little bit crazy, and a surprisingly fun, even if it is for just a few minutes. Planking and owling, for the most part legal and harmless, give people the chance to go against the norm, be a little bit defiant, and a whole lot spontaneous. There are some objects that are planking and owling no-no’s, like the top of a police car, for example, but apart from that, nothing is sacred to planking – signs, stairs, horses, boats, or in our case, a barbecue in the shape of a revolver.
But it’s not for everyone, because it definitely attracts attention. My son hid behind the building when our picture was taken because, “Mom! Everyone’s gonna see!”
Yeah? Well now everyone in our town will get to see the owl and plank in action. I had no idea that lying prone on a revolver barbecue with my friend mimicking an owl on the hammer – on the corner of a busy street, no less – would be such a hoot! (Pun intended.) Yeah, exhibitionists at heart.
Anyone can do it, but the group that impresses me the most are the women of Moms Who Owl and Plank. With everything these women have to do during their long days and short nights, they never lose sight of cutting loose and having fun.
So what are you waiting for? The weekend is almost here. Grab your camera or phone, find the most unique place to plank or owl, and submit your picture to any of the planking sites on Facebook or YouTube it!
Have you ever tried to plank? How about the owl? What do you think about it? Fad or here to stay? Leave me a comment, because I’d love to know!
I read a quote on Twitter the other day by @Perlkvist: “Giving up can mean you are weak. However, it can also say you are strong enough to let go.”
So I lined them up – five Rubbermaid containers – the big ones – and filled them with all the things that just didn’t work for me anymore; the residua of procrastination and a marriage gone south. I smudged the rooms with sage to banish the negative energy, cleaned the cobwebs from the corners, and read books on Feng shui for the house. I de-cluttered and simplified my life. The qi was definitely moving in the right direction.
Then I’d step out of my cozy little nook and hang out with my friends and I realized I didn’t always have that same great feeling. I found myself avoiding conversations with some and avoiding eye contact with others.
There is a woman I encounter on a daily basis. At first our conversations flowed easily enough, allowing the energy to exchange in a positive way until one day I noticed a slight shift. I can only assume it was because we were becoming friends that this person felt comfortable enough to start unloading the negative suitcases from her baggage cart, but it got to the point where I would ask, “Hey, how’s it going today? Wait. Don’t answer that.” I would steer clear of any verbal triggers that might set her off, taking our conversations spiraling down tunnels I never wanted to go.
And it wasn’t just her. I have more than one Eeyore shuffling their feet around in my orbit, and talking with them – hell, just being with them – is absolutely exhausting. It throws me off balance. After a particularly stressful encounter with one of them, I knew what I had to do…
I had to do some Friendship Feng Shui.
It is my nature to be the peacekeeper, the one who placates people and smoothes ruffled feathers. Being the perpetual optimist, I try extremely hard to find the good in people, but when subjecting myself to their negative qi threatened my sanity, when the relationship used up my precious energy, I had to draw the line.
Delete, delete, delete.
The process was ruthless, painful, and felt absolutely incredible. I even had to inform certain family members that being part of my family was a privilege, not a right, and forcing me to deal with their hang-ups was not an option.
As social creatures we gather for coffee at Starbucks, meet over lunch, and hook up on Twitter and Facebook. We share hobbies, sporting events, and conversations over wine.
Throw into the mix the 40-hour work week (and that includes the job of “Motherhood” that goes on 24/7), social/sporting activities, household responsibilities, and family time. And if you have a hobby or second career going on, that’ll pretty much tap out the well. At this point, an energy budget is just as important as a financial budget. We need to carefully choose where we allow our energy to flow in order to avoid a deficit.
With such a large network of friends and family, we are bound to have one or two in the group who make us want to click the “Block this person” or “Delete” button.
Those are the people my friend, Theresa, labels The Energy Vamps. You know who they are. The chronic complainers. The half-empty-glass people. The ones who insist on bringing the planet and everyone on it down to their level just so they can have guests at their pity party.
It could be in the way they sigh a little too loudly or give us a smile that falls short of genuine. All we know is that by the time we walk away, we need a nap, a double shot of espresso, a double shot of tequila, or at the very least, a week in a decompression chamber.
Any relationship should be mutually beneficial, bringing out the best in us, encouraging us to reach our full potential. It took me awhile to realize that, no, I’m really not that bitchy or impatient. I’m just that way in the presence of some people – the same people who no longer hover in my orbit.
You know that saying: “You can’t fly with the eagles if you’re swimming with the alligators.” Well, look up in the sky…that’s me up there, soaring with my peeps.
So where are you? How do you handle the Energy Vamps in your life? Are you in need of a good Friendship Feng Shui? What is the best part/worst part of cleaning out your friendship closet? Leave a comment! I’d love to know!
“When you marry a girl, don’t expect her to abandon her girlfriends, because you’ll never be able to take their place.” ~ A man to his son
Truer words were never spoken. It’s that whole DNA thing again. A basic need that appears on an almost daily basis, to connect, to absorb, to reach out to our female counterparts – feeling completely and undeniably safe to expose whatever thoughts that happen to surface. We know we will be accepted, but that’s a given because after all, women are from Venus, aren’t we?
But in life, there must be balance. The yin to the yang, the black to the white, the leather to the lace.
So if I were to place an ad in the newspaper tonight, it would say something like this:
Wanted: Seeking Males for Friendship Only – Applications now being accepted.
I’d do it because I like men, because some are strong, some are witty. Some give that big brother feeling that women just want to embrace. But most of all, men offer something girlfriends can’t – a perspective of life from a male’s point of view. Men offer the other half of balance. These friendships are easy-going and safe and are an underrated commodity that is a shame not to pursue.
But can men and women truly be friends? It depends on who you’re talking to.
In college, I hooked up with Rob, who was my best male friend through my first year. As a couple, we went bowling, watched movies, ate Chinese food in front of the TV, and took walks on the beach – sans the emotions. It was a nice change from hanging out all the time with my three female roommates whose emotions ran to the extremes from one day to the next.
Then there was Chuck, Dave, and Dave (yes, two) who were always up for taking me and my roommates out clubbing. Again, just as friends, and if there was any sexual tension between any of us, we never let it get in the way of our friendship.
Is this the exception rather than the rule? What happens when there is attraction on one side? What if two people met at the wrong time in each other’s lives and a relationship beyond friends is not an option?
A friend told me once that in order for men and women to be friends, the attraction had to run its course and then, only then, could the two be friends.
And if it didn’t run its course? We could walk away, but then we literally toss out any chance of interaction with a person we were attracted to in the first place. It’s a case of cutting off our nose to spite our face, and both sides usually feel the loss.
The end result of any relationship doesn’t have to be the progression of the human race or co-habitation in order to fall into the roles society has set up.
Friendships between men and women can be….just because.
What about you? Do you think men and women can be friends? If you are married, do either of you have opposite-sex friends? If not, do you find yourself missing it? I’d love to know!
Finally Friday! For some that means a few more hours until the start of the weekend, hanging out with friends or sleeping in. For me, it’s just another day. Not a big deal. It’s just that I have this thing about relaxing.
I don’t know how to do it. I only have two speeds – fast and faster. Crazy, I know, but a lot of us are like that. Our strength is immeasurable; our talent for multitasking is, in a word, unbelievable. This is a gift that is given to all mothers and is a gift that serves us well.
Personally, I’ve set my sights on Italy.
I love every single picture I have ever seen of Italy. I want to experience first hand the food and the culture. I adore la bella lingua. Heck, even four-letter words sound seductive in Italian. (And, I’ll admit, I am a bit curious about the men, but who isn’t?) I even have a couple of Italian pen pals to help me learn the language.
A trip to Italy would be incredible. A trip to Italy with my girlfriends would be unbelievable. So I pick my posse – My cousin Toria, an incredible writer who encouraged me all the way through my first novel. Kathleen, also a great writer, who is my copy editor for my work in progress. Aunt Renee, who has my vote of most likely to get us into wicked trouble. Natascha, my cyber friend who I’ve gotten to know over the last year and just cannot wait to finally meet.
Whether out of the country or just out of town, there’s something about a band of women in unfamiliar surroundings that just brings out the best in us. Our true, untamed selves spark to life when there is no one looking over our shoulder, no one judging what we do. Secrets are shared, fears are exposed – and we’d all go to the grave without ever betraying what we know or what we’ve seen. We play hard, we fight hard, and we love much too easily. Sure, we can get bitchy sometimes, but that’s part of our charm. In the end, we’ve got each other’s backs. This bond of sisterhood has been ingrained in our DNA since the day the caveman discovered fire.
So whether Friday signals an end to your week or the start of another, let’s all feed the need of sisterhood and get in some much-needed girl time.
This goes for you men out there as well. Not being part of the male gender limits my perspective a bit, but I know the need for male bonding is just as important.
What I want to know is this…how often do you get out with your own posse to do some serious decompressing? What is the craziest trip you’ve ever taken? Do you make it a priority in your life? I’d seriously love to know!
By the way, since my last post, I’ve been fortunate to discover three other Facebook communities of the sisterhood! The Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, Home C.E.O., and Chibi Cow. Give them a check-out. It will be well worth your time!!