The Languages of Love

Naw. I’m not talking about romantic love here.  I’m still mulling over the whole friendship subject.

I have a friend who is pretty much in my category.  She told me once, “If you make friends with me, you’re stuck with me for the rest of your life. Seriously!”
So one afternoon, she came over for a rare visit to my house and we were talking about everything under the sun – as I am wont to do (I get it from my dad, I think) – and she mentioned an article that she had just read about the different ways that people communicate without using words.  The article apparently used the example of people who bring food to others.  “It’s their language of love!”, my friend explained.  People who grew up with family who expressed their love and appreciation through the baking of cookies and cakes, who made family members their favorite meals to please them, who would buy an ice cream cone to cheer up someone who’d had a bad day, who would bring them soup when they were sick or would bring a casserole after a funeral – those are the people who ingrained these acts into their communication of love.  I think that many, many, if not most, families had this type of habit in their homes and carry on that tradition.  Let’s face it, food is a universal subject that has endless meanings the world ’round.  Using food to comfort or to aid or to celebrate is a normal human tendency.

Then there are those who express their love and affection with money.  They may come from a culture where the more gold you bestow upon someone, the more it shows you cherish them and want them to be prosperous and respected.  They may come from a family whose parents would buy them as much as they could to make them happy or comfortable.  This isn’t necessarily a bad sort of way to show love, but if you are never able to give a hug or to express love with words in addition to material things, then…. well,  I can see where that would lead to many problems.  We happen to have a member of our family quite like that.  Only, the money and gifts come along with caveats and the hugs have only recently come into play and those are very awkward indeed.  And, inadvertently, this person has made all communication with them centered around money this way.  The grandchildren, when younger, associated this person with things.  “Oh look! They’re here!! What did they get us??”  Hello, Santa.  (You can see, I’m sure, how unhealthy this is to a relationship, yes?)

Some families have always been more physical in showing their affection.  They are constantly touching or doing something physical together.  Rough housing, bonding over sports, lots of hugs and kisses, holding hands or being arm in arm, exercising together in some way.  So, with friends, it’s pretty much the same.  I think most families have this element in their language with each other.  At least, I hope they would.

My own family, though, as I was growing up, didn’t show love through food, or money.  The physical, yes. We were/are huggers and kissers.  We talk a lot.  But, my family mostly has shown how much they care for you by being there when you are in some sort of bind, be it physical or emotional.  My dad once told me about how my grandfather, his own father, would be willing to put himself into debt to help out someone he loved.  And trust me, my father’s family was poor to begin with!  He said that my grandfather, and my grandmother too, especially if it involved children, would, if you were in some sort of trouble, do everything in their power to get you out of it.

My dad has certainly carried on this tradition.  If there is some sort of conundrum, he will think ceaselessly about it until he’s found some way to solve it and help you out with it.  It doesn’t matter if you are states away.  He was the one that his friends and family  – as well as my mom’s – would call at midnight to discuss things and my dad never turned down a call.  He would stay on that phone until the wee hours of the morning.  Sometimes, I’d wake up and I could hear him in the kitchen on the phone with someone…laughing with or reassuring them or sympathizing with them in some way.  He’s still like that.

My parents once took in a friend of my mom’s and allowed her to live with them when she was in a troubling situation.  She lived with them for months.  They took in my cousin when he needed a place to crash.   They’ve done that for several family members at one time or another.  In fact, when my cousin and his brother were little and in a pretty bad family situation, my parents discussed adopting both of them from my uncle and aunt.  They didn’t end up doing it because my father’s mother decided she wanted to.

Once, while I was in college, my parents flew a dog I’d managed to rescue down from Wisconsin to Texas.  They kept him, despite the fact that he was a troubled dog.  Distances were nothing to my father. Maybe he got it from his days in surveying in the Pacific Northwest or from his time in the Air Force.  When he was dating my mom, he would drive miles across Oregon to see her, and miles back after taking her out.

So, I guess my own style of friendship was written by my folks.  I won’t bring you food.  I won’t shower you with gifts.  I’m not gonna exercise or go muddin’ in the woods with you (look it up. I think it’s mostly a Southern thing).  BUT,  if your car breaks down in the middle of the night outside the city limits and no one else can come – call me.  If your dog runs off in the middle of a freakish storm, I’ll jump in my car and go driving through it to canvass the neighborhood with you.  That’s my language of love.



Why Can’t We Be Friends?

I am an only child and from the ages of 4 to 11, my family lived in an apartment.  My own natural inclination was to play in my room by myself. I wanted nothing other than to be left alone with my books, my crayons, my stuffed animals, and my Fisher-Price toys.  I could keep myself occupied pretty well that way, and nothing really made me happier.  But my mother, being a naturally social person, was always after me to play with other kids. I guess she was worried about my social skills or something. Perhaps I would always ask her to play with me or to come see what I was doing and she wanted me out from under her feet.  In any case, I always had this dread when she would pretty much force me to go outside and play with the other kids in the apartment complex.

My mother is also German. And the German way is for children to be out in the “fresh air” doing physical things as much as possible with other people.  I think she often overlooked the fact that we were not in the temperate, relatively safe and surrounded-by-nature, Germany, but actually in Houston, Texas – where it is muggy and humid and paved over and hot and traffic-filled and the mosquitoes and roaches are ubiquitous and wearing army boots.

She has told me, after I informed her much later in my adulthood about the kids in that complex, that she wishes she would have just let me be.  They were pretty rough kids.

I survived though, and after a move out to the suburbs I managed to make some good friends and graduate out into the world with some, hopefully, at least, semi-acceptable social skills.

However, my nature didn’t change terribly much. Okay – the depression I struggled with – from roughly my late junior high years – didn’t help me in wanting to be around people a lot, but I did, and do, have friends whom I enjoy hanging out with.
But the struggle to make them understand that if I needed to be alone, I really needed to be alone, has been frustrating for a long time. I’m noticing that my daughter and my son both have a similar genetic disposition for needing to hide from the world quite often.
Is it any surprise that I married a man much like myself?  Homebodies, I think, is what some call it.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy parties and movies and concerts and travel (GOD, how I love travel!) and get-togethers and brunches with my buddies.  But, I need recovery time from the physical doing of all that.  Maybe more than the average person.

There’s also the sort of person that I am:  absent-minded, forever struggling to take care of the adult responsibilities in my life (read: disorganized and terrible at managing time).  I cannot lie very well.  I don’t have much patience with shallowness, with “fake”, with superficial stuff.  I have a hard time, at least it feels that way to me, with making “small talk”.  I actually enjoy lengthy conversations about things that are both personal and universal – religion, politics, art, nature, psychology….
In fact, it’s a bit of a paradox that I enjoy talking with someone while simultaneously needing lots of space.  It’s very weird that I’ve got no problem talking with strangers at all.
Of course, when I was a teen and in my early twenties, I was constantly on the phone.  I think those ages are like that for everybody, really – needing confirmation and validation and advice and assurance and the “latest”.
But now that I’m way past those ages, I actually avoid calling friends just to shoot the breeze and catch up with each other because:

a)  I think I have more confidence in my decisions than I used to

b) my life is pretty much “settled” – with the usual problems that every adult deals with of course (illness, money and the lack thereof, parenting, accidents, repairs, obligations and other shit-storms that come our way)

But mostly because:

c) I will talk until the sun goes down and literally nothing I need to do will get done.

Anyway, I found myself wondering a little while ago about most people’s expectations of friendship.  I found myself thinking that maybe I was never really cut out for it, because of my tendency to retreat every once in awhile – especially into my head – and my tendency to frequently want to do my own thing.

Let me explain.
It seems to me that many people think of a good friend as one who communicates with you frequently; one who always remembers your birthday and does something in honor of it; one who often pops on over to your house because they are in the neighborhood; one who makes food for you; one who invites you to do things with them all the time; one who shows up for every important occasion and every event; one who hears you’re having a bad day and brings you some sort of treat to “cheer you up”; one who brings you things like coupons because, since you talk all the time, they know that you need them for that whatchamacallit you’ve been talking about or for that restaurant you like;  one who always calls just to see how you are; basically – someone who is really consciously thoughtful about you.

And I’d say that I can’t argue with that.  Someone like that is, indeed, a really good friend to have. Someone like that is a really good person; a really loving person.

I don’t think I fall into that category though. At least by those standards, it would seem I’m not such a good friend; not such a true friend.

I forget birthdays.
I forget anniversaries of important events.
Not because I don’t think they are important!! I just have a pretty horrible memory for and sense of dates and time passing, especially when there is some sort of stress going on in my life…and lately, that seems like almost all the bleeping time!
And maybe that makes me inconsiderate?

I am always late. No matter how hard I try – and believe me, I DO try – to be on time, I hardly EVER manage it. With anyone or any function.
And maybe that makes me self centered?
Maybe that means I think my time is more important??

I almost never send thank-you notes.
It’s terrible. It’s rude.
But it’s not because I didn’t like the present or didn’t appreciate the thought and effort!
Most of the time, after I’ve opened a present, I’m already composing the thank you in my head, and it’s gushing!! But I get hung up with finding the perfect words and …. the note never gets written and then too much time goes by and then I’m just frickin’ embarrassed. Same with some emails I never get around to responding to.
It’s an awful habit.
That makes me a bit of a spoiled ingrate, right?

I don’t think to make food for people or bring them baked treats.
For one thing, I do not have a history of cooking for important occasions, much less just cooking on a regular basis.  I don’t enjoy it and I’m not that great at it and my mom never made me cook with her.  She worked weird hours as a nurse and then long days after she left nursing and she just wasn’t the cookie-baking kind of mom.  She once made brownies and milk for me to have after school during a brief stint at home;  it was nice, but I never felt unloved because she didn’t do it on a regular basis.
And for some reason, my friends and loved ones don’t spring to mind when I’m looking at a case of cupcakes or strawberries or even bottles of wine…and vice versa.  Food hasn’t ever been the “token of appreciation” or “comfort” for me as it is for millions of other human beings.
Perhaps I’m a bit …. weird???

Since my own family consisted of three people and my parent’s own siblings and parents lived far away, and since my mom was raised in Germany, the only time we ever made a big deal about any holiday was at Christmas.  And even then, it was a traditional German Christmas – decorations go up and presents get opened on Christmas Eve.  Halloween wasn’t fussed over much. I threw on something from my mom’s closet and make-up box, grabbed my plastic pumpkin and out I went.  My dad would help me carve a pumpkin sometimes.  Thanksgiving once consisted of just hot dogs in front of a football game that my dad was watching. So, I’m not the type of friend who particularly enjoys the fuss of holidays; I’ve gotten less and less excited about them as I’ve gotten older.  I’m not the one to go around dropping off presents – or food (see: ambivalence to food and cooking/baking)  – or doing any holiday-themed anything.
And maybe that makes me like Scrooge??
Maybe that makes me a wet-blanket?

I can be flighty. I can open my big mouth with some fantastic idea I just had about something without thinking it through in practical terms.  I can agree to things that I find out I actually can’t do (see: absent-minded, unorganized and poor with time).
And maybe that makes me unreliable?

So – maybe I’m not good friend material.

That’s what I was thinking.  That’s what I was trying to reflect upon.

But……..I will say this about myself and the kind of friend I can be:

I’m the friend you can call at 3 a.m. when you are having a really tough time and you don’t have to feel bad about waking me up, not just because I may actually still be awake, but because I seriously won’t mind.  I’m the friend who will gladly pet-sit your animals. I’m the friend who will let you stay at my house after the party until you’re ready to go home (IF I got around to throwing that party… I know I keep planning to…) . I’m the friend who will let you cry and vent on her shoulder because I know that real life isn’t unicorns and daffodils.  I’m the friend who will still be your friend even if you haven’t spoken to me for years.  As far as I’m concerned, if I considered you a good friend back then, I consider you a good friend now and in the foreseeable future.  I never wrote you off or stopped liking you.  I’m the friend who isn’t going to hold it against you if you forgot my birthday or didn’t get me anything.  I’m the friend who will do her damn best to bail you out of jail. I’m the friend who isn’t going to get sick of you being late for anything, because I know that things happen.  I’m the friend who will understand if you have to cancel at the last minute, and there isn’t some sort of quota on that.  I’m the friend who will forgive you for loving country music or for hating the Talking Heads.  I’m the friend who will give you the tickets for free for the thing I can’t make it to.  I’m the friend who will pay for your meal, your ticket, or the really important thing you need at the moment, and not expect or want you to pay me back.  I’m the friend who will help you bury the body.  I’m the friend who will help you dig up the body. I am the friend who will help you move the body to another location.  I’m the friend who will hide you from whomever is after you. I’m the friend who will drive you to and from the airport so you don’t have to take a taxi.  I’m the friend who will tell you that you have the toilet paper on your shoe/the spinach between your teeth/the bird poop on your shoulder/the skirt that got caught in the back of your pantyhose or God forbid! if you’ve got all of that at once!!  I’m the friend who isn’t going to be put out if you’d really rather stay home today.  I’m the friend who isn’t afraid to hash out disagreements – and hash it out and hash it out until we both understand each other. I’m the friend who will give you space if you need it for whatever reason. I’m the friend who isn’t afraid of apologizing.  I’m the friend who wants to sit with you while you are getting chemotherapy.  I’m the friend you can talk to about anything – ANYTHING – at all.

This happens to be one of my favorite Flight of the Conchords songs. I think it covers true friendship pretty well:

Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me…

So, I woke up this morning feeling pretty low anyway – physically and mentally.  I’ve been experiencing some physical set-backs lately. The good news is that it isn’t cancer coming back. YAY! The bummer news is that I’ve got arthritis and a recurrence of an old mono infection, probably brought about by stress. Shit, though, when am I not stressed in some way? I’m told that my mono recurrence will probably take a few months to go away and I should just take it easy. I’d say that taking naps almost every day, some that last into the next morning, is taking it pretty easy. And it is frustrating as hell. Because I have a lot of shit I am impatient to do, that needs doing.

Anyway, I woke up, in a bit of a gray cloud to begin with because I felt physically shitty yesterday afternoon and sleeping didn’t really help much. I stumbled into a messy kitchen (because I am apparently the only one motivated enough to do the dishes when it gets out of control around here), grabbed some coffee and hit the social media circus to see what was going on. Now, I know that it’s all pretty damn depressing right now, with a gigantic moron “leading” (gag) the US government, but, probably due to a lot of algorithms, the subject of our climate and environment was all over the place. As, frankly, it should be. But here’s where I started to sink lower. Scientists are stating that things are far worse than anyone is really acknowledging. We are currently in what is known as the Sixth Extinction. So many reports and articles about the dire situation of our entire planet and hand-wringing about what to do…and let’s be honest, it’s past time for us to do something. The tipping point was passed about two or three years ago, maybe longer. We’re in free fall now.

People are arguing about how to get the planet’s populations to pay attention. To look beyond the immediate distractions of our politicians and their games, beyond the immediate gratifications of economies, beyond the irritating, mundane, day-to-day personal problems that we think we have.
Some say we need to get the stark, horrifying, truth out.
Others are saying that’s not what is going to motivate people; that we need to keep hope alive.

And of course, there are still way too many people who don’t believe we have a gigantic problem looming over us at all.

I’m feeling like none of it matters anymore. It’s inevitable and it’s unstoppable and it’s terrifying and it’s tragic, and people, being the consummate, lazy, idiots that we are, aren’t going to listen and act; aren’t going to do anything that will stop it from happening.
We’ve had warnings and research and reports and debates for tens of years already.   People are still bickering. People will continue to bicker. The only progress that has been made is that nations have now agreed to have an agreement that something must be done.  Too little, too late.  That’s how I’m feeling.

I found myself thinking back to the days before my first child, my daughter, was born. She was born in September of 2001, seven days after 9/11.  As I watched the most surreal and horrific event to happen on US soil unfold, I couldn’t help thinking, “What kind of world are we bringing a child into? What were we thinking?”. I was terrified, instead of hopeful, for her future.

Of course, it didn’t stop us from having a second child. That’s the thing about Hope, isn’t it? Seems I still had it then.

And today in my kitchen, staring out the window, I found myself thinking along the same vein again, “Why did we risk bringing children into this world? Of all times.”

We are failing them. Forget the worries about whether or not they get enough exercise, or if they have a healthy diet, or if all the video games and social media are detrimental to them, or if they will have the social skills to navigate the world when they are older. Forget wondering if they will make it into a good college or if they will want to go to university at all.  None of it will be relevant in the all too near future. Their future.

The country that my family is living in is circling the drain right now. It won’t be much of a shock if the current president of the United States and the saber-rattling dictators of the world manage to kill us all off faster than Climate Change actually. Maybe it would be a mercy.

The world as we know it is dying and we are the ones who are hastening along it’s demise. Forget looking forward to becoming grandparents. I’m probably going to advise them not to have children. Shit, by the time they are old enough for that, it will be obvious that bringing any new human life into this world would be cruel. We are failing them. We have failed them. We are destroying their future, while we twiddle our thumbs, and close our eyes, and avoid the news, and distrust the media, and let someone else figure it out. We go about business as usual. We don’t know any other way; it’s just what we do.

Let the band play on, right?


Musings at The Kitchen Sink Opus 1

So this morning, after I got back from dropping off my daughter at the camp where she is volunteering, I walked into the kitchen, poured myself a cup of coffee, and found myself thinking about all the aches and pains and the fatigue that I’ve been having these past couple of months. I found myself thinking how much it sucks that your body can have so much control over what you are able to do.

Which reminded me of all the things that I have to do and of all the things that I want to do. Which got me started thinking about a line of thought that many people have, which is that you can somehow control your body; which is, of course, that whole “mind over matter” stuff.  I hear the voices of my mother, of various friends, of talk-show hosts, and of “life coaches” who have all said, “If you want to do something badly enough, if you really want to achieve something, then you will make time to do it, you will make the effort“.

Which made me think, “But what good is it, all that effort and will, and….how the hell can you conjure up extra time when Time is something not of our own physical creation? When Time is a ephemeral construct existing outside of….(but now I’m digressing)… I mean, there are 24 hours in our construct. I can’t create extra….What good is it if your body poops out on you?”.

Which made me wonder, “Can our minds really control our bodies? Can we actually will ourselves physically better? Can we will some extra energy into existence for ourselves? Is sickness truly in our heads?” There are a lot of yogi-hocus-hippy-pocus-dippy people who believe so! In which case, has humankind just not realized yet that we can cure cancer and the common cold? We just need to realize how powerful our brains are?? In which case, wouldn’t that essentially make us god-like?

Then, I started thinking about God (and for all you atheists out there – don’t worry, you’re cool with me. I acknowledge that we can’t really know without a doubt about an existence of a great creator out there in the universe. No religious dogma from me here, even though I, personally, believe there is one….NOT going to force my beliefs on anyone else.)

And in thinking about God, I began wondering about the whole life-death cycle and what is the meaning of it all, and why do we struggle with it all, and if maybe the whole point of life is to simply survive. And if survival is the whole point of life, then why are we wired to be dying every second after we are brought into this physical world? In other words, we just can’t “win”! The essence of being a physical being is to be flawed, is to be mortal. Right? If God (assuming you believe in one) is immortal and perfect and flaw-less, and we were created “in HIS image”, then what was the point? I mean, because to be human is by definition to be flawed (and boy are we ever!!); if we can never be “not flawed” due to being human, then what exactly is the point of striving to be flawless – to be essential like God – as so many religious texts seem to admonish us to do?

Which brought me back to the yogi-hocus-hippy-pocus-dippy people and their “our minds are SO powerful” solution about achieving things and about staying healthy in our little flesh onesies… If that is so, then that means that I am god-like, right? I mean, if I can will my body to feel energetic, if I can will my body to stop hurting, if I can will my joints to stop aching?…Do we just need to “believe”?  “All you need is a little faith, trust, and pixie dust”. Is that really all that is to needed to be well? If so, then what does that mean about being human? What does that mean about God? What does that mean about existence?…

On a closing note: I just got notified that my bone scan showed no sign of disease (wooo-hoooo!), just “regular degeneration due to age”….(Great. I’m just getting old?? More to muse upon…..)

My Intentions Are Always Good

My follow-through is bad.

I’ve never been quite able to figure out why.  I’m suspecting it’s because I’m an ambivert. I just discovered that term this year in an article about introverts and extroverts and new research about them. I was most definitely an introvert when I was younger – or at least I was when I began school. I morphed somewhat into an extrovert later after getting some life experiences under my belt.

Perhaps this is where I should insert a link to my favorite Courtney Barnett song, “Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party”,  but instead I’ll just skip to the resonant chorus for me:

“I wanna go out, but I wanna stay home”

And how apropos that song is, indeed, for today.

You see, right about now my daughter and I should be heading out to a wedding across town. Way across town. Normally it would take us about one to one and a half hours to get there (Texas and its’ major cities are big and sprawling, y’all). However, our city happens to have, or rather always seems to have, freeways under construction.  I’d forgotten about that. Until I called my sister-in-law a little bit ago and she said that they were just about to leave because of all the road closures. A little trill of panic fluttered in my chest.

We were going to carpool with them, because my husband, who is the one related to the person getting married, refused to go.  It followed that if my husband was going to stay home, then my son, who has ADHD, was going to stay home as well. Neither of them are particularly social; it’s downright tortuous for them. My husband wasn’t always this bad about it, but he’s still trying to crawl out of the Depression Pit.

I’d already RSVPd for all four of us to attend.  In light of the heel-digging, however, I figured that we’d just say my husband and son were under the weather and my daughter and I would do our best to enjoy ourselves there. The truth is that I did not particularly want to go either.

No. Wait. That’s not entirely true. When we got the invite in the mail, I remember thinking, “Oh! N. is getting married! How nice! Of course we will attend. We haven’t seen them for a long time now”.   I operated with that intention for a couple of months.

No, wait. I’m going to back up again.

I did indeed intend for us to go when we got the “save the date” notice in the mail. Then came the invite to a wedding shower for the bride. About 3 days before the actual event. With no email to respond to. And the wrong phone number.

The bride is on my husband’s side of a very large family. She is the daughter of my husband’s cousin (I can never remember if that makes her his second cousin or his 1st cousin once removed. I forget how that works). She is someone I think of fondly because I remember how cute she was at our wedding and she always sought me out at the infrequent family get-togethers in the past. But since my mother-in-law passed away, those get-togethers where her family’s children and grandchildren are invited are much fewer and farther between.

My husband and his brother have always maintained that they’re never quite sure who is who at these gatherings, aside from the cousins, aunts and uncles that they grew up with. Like I said, it’s a pretty big family and it takes awhile at these reunions to figure out which kid belongs to which person and how they are all related. In other words, we aren’t all that close.  But I give them an A for trying, because they are a lot closer than my dad’s family of seven siblings and all their children who never really even bothered to get together at holidays. My dad says it’s because none of them could last very long in one room without getting into an argument. So, we mostly see them at funerals.

My mother, one of two children, finds this terribly tragic and just plain wrong. She was raised with strict focus on etiquette and the importance of milestones such as birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc. It doesn’t matter what your relationship is with your family members, no matter how you really feel about them, you GO. So, at least my husband’s family makes an attempt.

But when I reached the automated message informing me that the phone number of the family member throwing the shower, the only contact I had for her, was disconnected or no-longer-in-use, I found myself a bit indignant. WHO the hell puts only a phone number on an invite, and a wrong one at that?!?  Since we don’t keep in close contact, it wasn’t like I had any of their information.

Ahhhhhh. But there is Facebook, I have to remind myself. And Facebook is also the reason that I initially suspected that the wrong information was deliberate.

Because, here is the other wrinkle: I am actually “friends” with many of his family members on FB and that is the only way we seem to keep in contact, through “likes” and smiley faces and general posts; much like I do with my dad’s side of the family.  Facebook is actually how our families got to know each other better.  I’m sure that since most people are by this time familiar with, and users of, social media, you can sense how that has gone.  Yeah. Not too pretty!

I never realized how many closeted racists I was related to and how deeply that racism ran. I never realized how fanatical some of my relations were. I didn’t know that they were practically ALL zealous, right-wing, conservatives.  For their part, they never realized I am a liberal die-hard Democrat, a feminist, and embracer of all races.  And they didn’t know how “yappity” I am about it.
I’ve been blocked by, and have blocked, many family members.  On both sides.  You might as well disown someone if you do that because it is basically the internet equivalent.

But back to the wedding issue…

I got over my indignation about the invite because it didn’t really make much sense.  We were set again to attend. I bought the gift and it will be delivered soon. My daughter and I chose what we were going to wear. I was going to run out this morning and get a nice card to leave at the reception. We were going to carpool, as I mentioned.  I had good intentions.  Firm intentions.

Until I woke up quite groggily at eleven a.m. this morning and my daughter woke up even later. You’d think I would have planned better, set my alarm for earlier, right? I did, though. Snooze buttons are a useless invention. My daughter is even worse. She sets her alarm and then sleeps on, oblivious to it for up to hours.  She doesn’t even manage to wake up to hit it!  We are terrible night-owls. I exit sleep at a turtle’s pace. My children are following in my footsteps. (God only knows how we are going to handle it when school starts back soon!!)  I’ve been wondering if I need to get my Adderall refilled.

However,  I still, unrealistically, thought we had time to get ready. And then I called my sister-in-law. And I hadn’t yet had my second, most necessary, cup of coffee; and my teen-age daughter was still in her pajamas; and so was I; and we both needed to take showers; and we both needed to get dressed; and we both needed to put on make-up; and I still hadn’t run out to get that card; and there were so many things that still needed doing while we were gone which I knew my husband wouldn’t do because he was still in bed. I didn’t want to embarrass ourselves by walking into the ceremony half-way. I didn’t want us to show up just to the reception because that seemed too awkward and a little rude somehow.  “Hi!! We only showed up for the chow!!”.  Uh, no.

My husband mumbled from his pillow, “Don’t go. It doesn’t matter. You won’t make it in time anyway. They really won’t notice. You sent a gift and that’s all what it’s about anyway.”  Did I mention yet that my husband is a pretty cynical guy?

My mother will most likely call me tomorrow and ask how the wedding was. I might have to lie to her, because she is the original fount of my sense of guilt and shame. I’m pretty sure that’s why I’m feeling like a horrible, no good, terrible, no-class and very bad person right now.

I said we would go, and we didn’t. My intention was good, but it failed.

I wanted to go, but I ended up staying home.

Am I awful? Am I rude? Am I lame? Am I overthinking this?

Am I the only one who does this? Please tell me no.

It’s really hard being an ambivert.





I Often Worry

I often worry. No surprise there to anyone who knows me. I worry about all sorts of things, as all people do. I fall into the category of people, though, who worry too much. Way too much. I know this about myself. I try to deal with it.

I know that parents always worry how well a job they are doing raising their children. They worry if they are screwing their kids up somehow. After all, parents have pretty vivid images of how their own parents raised them and it most definitely affects the kind of parent that they want to be. But, often, there is a huge gap between the parent you want to be and the parent you actually are. And that is, of course, because no two people are ever exactly the same; no two children, no two adults, no two families. That whole “Life is a box of chocolates” thing.  The wishing that kids came with individual instruction manuals thing. Hell, the wish that you had come with an instruction manual!

This piece touched me just now because I often worry as well. I think my husband does too. I wonder how my children are going to remember me, my husband, us.  I wonder how our depression will affect them; has affected them. Because it’s certainly affected everything that he and I have done and do. (Damn you, Depression!!)

I’m curious and anxious about what things look like to them, how things feel to them. Very anxious. Very worried.

Anyway, I enjoyed this piece by Lisa Lim about how things seemed to her.

My Mother Would Walk Miles Upon Miles

By Lisa Lim on Mutha Magazine

“I’d ask, “Mommy, why don’t you have any wrinkles?” “Because I don’t think that hard about things,” she’d answer.” Memories of a mother — and her struggles with homelessness, depression, and varicose veins — in comic form.

via My Mother Would Walk Miles Upon Miles — Discover

Introspective Lesson No. 1

I was going to be a writer when I grew up. I was going to write about everything. I  was going to write about everything I experienced and noticed about the world and its’ occupants. I was going to create compelling stories and powerful essays!
But mostly I was going to write about THEM. I was going to write about all of THEM who thought I wasn’t smart or smart enough. All of THEM who thought I was weird. All of THEM with whom I did not fit in. All of THEM who couldn’t understand me because I was, actually, smarter than them, better than them! They were shallow and cookie-cutter. They were such sheep. Nay, lemmings!  Conformists all. They didn’t realize how incredibly simple minded and crass, ignorant and, yes, shamefully mean, they were. And I was going to reveal it to them. I was going to SHOW THEM ALL.

I was going to shame everyone who made fun of my love of reading, everyone who teased me for being quiet, everyone who called me a bookworm, as if that was somehow a degrading thing, everyone who said I had my head too much in the clouds. I didn’t consider at the time that since they were not avid readers themselves, that this particular form of revenge would be essentially ineffective.  All the stupid, random, bigoted and boorish utterances that fell from their mouths I would document. I had a special fondness for Harriet the Spy.

They would get “theirs” – oh, ho, ho, yes, they would!!! And in doing so, I guess that I was also searching for those who would, in fact, “get” me. Who would understand and appreciate me. I think I wanted to entertain people too, which was strangely contradictory to my mostly shy nature. I also had a special fondness for Carol Burnett and Erma Bombeck.

And, somehow, this writer’s life was going to be an inherently exciting life. Full of travel balanced with hours of fascinating research in really cool libraries. I was, of course!, going to live in a book lined apartment in New York or Paris or anywhere in Germany. I wanted to “make something of myself’ – on my own terms. In other words, with something that I, myself, held in high regard; something creative and interesting and not the same as everyone else around me.

I was different from THEM.

I was therefore BETTER than THEM.

This has always stuck in a nook in my brain, from one of my favorite books:

“But the thing is, you raved and you bitched when you came home about the stupidity of audiences. The goddam ‘unskilled laughter’ coming from the fifth row. And that’s right – that’s right – God knows it’s depressing….But that’s none of your business, really. …An artist’s concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s. You have no right to think about those things, I swear to you.

But I’ll tell you a terrible secret – Are you listening to me? There isn’t anyone out there who isn’t Seymour’s Fat Lady. That includes your Professor Tupper, buddy. And all his goddam cousins by the dozens. There isn’t anyone anywhere that isn’t Seymour’s Fat Lady. Don’t you know that? Don’t you know that goddam secret yet? And don’t you know – listen to me, now – don’t you know who that Fat Lady really is?…Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It’s Christ Himself. Christ himself, buddy.

Zooey. Franny and Zooey , J.D. Salinger

I was a snob.