Archive for January, 2015

A post for Pops

My father doesn’t trust me it seems. I think it stems from a desire to be protective, but when I tell him, “I think I need to write about this stuff,” he gets nervous I’ll go too far or that I’m focusing on things that don’t require my attention because they’re not worthy things to ruminate on. It’s rather sweet, really. My Pops wants to protect me from myself. Always has.

And that’s why guys, even when you’re kinda rotten, I don’t have bad feelings for you. I’ve had the great, rare privilege of being raised by a complicated, brilliant guy who puts those he loves before himself and is still just a dude, in the best sense of the word. So I know what you’re capable of. And he defends you guys, when I cry and complain about how you’re being weird or not making any sense to me. He tells me that anything is possible — even when it looks like there’s been too much misunderstanding to repair. He says that time and a closed door do a lot of work on their own and that optimism is key. And I believe him over the other voices of well-meaning friends who say, “That person will never be nice to you again. And even if they try, after being that mean to you, why would you want them to be?”

I don’t have a good answer for that except I try to fix things if I can. And I don’t think life is best lived with an outlook of hopelessness or a feeling that the next time I see someone there’s no chance for a meeting of the minds, or even just a decision to cordially high-five and never cross paths again. Seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy and that feels like a silly thing to program. So Pops reaffirms that for me and reminds me that no one can control circumstance and you must deal with circumstances as they come.

I said all that to say this though: despite my Pops saying it’s unwise to write about these things in short form (Twitter) or long, I have to do it. I have to. I do my level best to be as cryptic as I can (something the Twerp found annoying, presumably because he knew I was writing about him in many cases and I think he wanted the attention, negative though it was. And that, my friends, is just weird as all hell and a completely crazy concept to me. Who wants attention for being a complete doofus in the eyes of someone? My God, man, do you need eyes on you that bad?…). But when I discover that someone who, for example, I rather admired (possibly still do for what I think actually lives inside him) but who wasn’t all that cool to me for whatever reason has said some pretty inflammatory things unfairly (albeit some time ago but I’m just hearing about them), I mean…damn…I don’t know what to do with that. There was some snotty little remark about “associations” that just resonated with snobbish mean-girlness that I’ve not really experienced to that degree since high school. I’m pretty sure I know where it came from but yikes, man…Trust me, there are people out there who are actually accomplishing pretty impressive stuff against great odds (which is to say they weren’t just handed a ready-made opportunity) who could easily look down a nose in contempt. But they don’t. Because they know, in the world where you have to get along with no one to catch your fall, it’s exceedingly unbecoming and tragically stupid to behave that way. But I digress…

Anyway, I’ve spent a great bulk of my life not standing up for myself. I was trained not to, to be the peacekeeper, not make things worse, be the bigger person, take people’s nastiness and rise above it. And I’m so sorry Pops if this is disappointing to you — I truly am — but I have to stop absorbing that stuff and letting it chew me up from the inside out. I have to have my quips and comments and thoughts because they help me not feel like a victim of the selfishness and bullying. Particularly in a case, for example, where my finer tendency — that one that tries to fix things — is used against me. Where my need to make things cool and friendly is allowed to continue until it’s a nice little weapon. In short, when I get played a little. Not sure why that was necessary exactly, but I think certain people are always looking for weapons. And they’ll make them if they have to. And that’s okay. I’m empathizing if not sympathizing. I just don’t want it to be the last word. I may not be able to control that, but I can control not just taking the hit without laughing about it and using that great intellect you’ve always said was my best asset. And I can control turning a nasty attempt to tell me what an absolute piece of sh*t I am in an email from someone I don’t know, and for no reason other than a desire to throw some weight around (which is to say, I had committed no crime against this person) into a hilarious joke (which I feel kind of bad about except it probably matched the nastiness of the email). All so I don’t get beaten down by the ugliness. Because if I’m beaten, I’m unable to move forward. And moving forward is the goal.

Which brings me to the other guy I’m not angry at but don’t quite know how to deal with. A very good man I care about a great deal. He’s a friend and I love him. And the best and greatest thing about him is that he would never use my finer instincts against me. If anything, he takes issue with the not-so-finer ones, the pettiness and gossip-girl stuff that’s pretty useless on the grand scale. He has always communicated with me, even when what he had to say was hard. And I listen to him and respect him for that. And he warns me about letting people craft weapons and has been legitimately proud of me for standing up for myself when he knows how difficult that is for me to do.

And yet…

I seem to have disappointed him as well. I can’t go into the specifics (which are actually hilarious and mom knows so ask her but be prepared to be slightly shocked) but suffice to say I didn’t understand the protocol of the place we were at and he called me out on it. And I got embarrassed and excused myself and went home. And now I don’t now if I should apologize or be indignant (and I have good reason to be the latter). And so the boys are confusing me again. And I don’t have that thing I see in so many of the young ladies these days, that ability to be snarky and ignore, and then take up the mantle when it suits me again. Or to be as cruel as possible and publicly embarrass the person you profess to care deeply for. I don’t have it because I don’t want it. It’s a silly game and a power trip and every — EVERY. Every single one.– relationship I’ve seen that employs it fails after a time. Because it sucks. It’s no way to relate to people.

And so my Pops, I wrote all of this — leaving off politics, about which I have many, many thoughts that I might actually address in this space tomorrow if I have time — so you wouldn’t be disappointed in me. So you wouldn’t think the chunky toddler you trained to be thoughtful and kind had become hateful and sarcastic as a general rule. I’m just negotiating harder people who think nothing of throwing their “loves” under the bus, and negotiating nicer people than I who expect me to be better than maybe I am.

But I’m still your chunky toddler and don’t worry about me. You gave me the right tools. I’m just figuring out how to use them.

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All the things

Just made me happy today so thought I'd share. Newman, car, Venice. Literally nothing bad about this.

Just made me happy today so thought I’d share. Newman, car, Venice. Literally nothing bad about this.

I know it’s been a little bit of a stretch since I’ve updated this space, and that makes me feel slightly guilty for opening with this silliness, but here goes:

Guys, I’m sorry for not being all jealous and weird when you acted like a jerk and tried to make me jealous over some other girl. I’m too old for all that nonsense. Let me say that again and embrace the hell out of it so there’s no mistake: I’m too OLD for that. You heard me sweetheart. Here’s the secret though: I’ve always been too old for it. Also, whatever it is that you find hot about it makes me question your judgment and your need for an ego boost. Why do you need that so badly? Do you think stirring up hurt feelings takes some kind of focus off yourself or something? Look, I don’t really care that much but I do feel a little bad about not being more accommodating in helping you make that other girl crazy. But you may want to consider if you’re having to do that because you don’t trust that her interest in you is strong enough, justifiably or not. So, ya know, just trying to help you out because I do feel a little bad about not being there for you to use to hit at the insecurities of some other woman. Honestly though, that kind of thing makes me feel stupid and boring so I avoid it if I can…Okay, moving forward so I don’t start to feel like I’ve lost several IQ points:

My English friend Matt is lovely. I got an email from him this weekend asking if I had found anyone to bear the costs of a trip to England so I could cover their upcoming election which, according to him, is going to be a big one what with the whole Independent Party stepping up. It’s not a horrible idea, and how marvelous that he suggested it. There’s a great deal going on over there, of course. And Matt tells me that France feels like their Republic is under attack — which is precisely why we should have shown solidarity with them because those things matter — but we have plans to talk at greater length later this week. I miss my friend, even though I’ve written England off for at least the next year, favoring a short trip to Charleston instead because that’s about what my finances allow, short trips once a year. But I haven’t written England off entirely. Not by a long shot. It’s just something I’m going to have to further negotiate. It’s okay. I’m not down about it. Working toward something, even struggling and gasping for air toward it, doesn’t dampen my spirits (well, not irretrievably). There are other things that do, though. And I feel compelled to talk about those for a minute because I let some of them get to me recently and I’m barely forgiving myself.

I’m kinda disappointed in men at the moment. I mean, not to sound like some feminist harpy (God forbid) but what has happened to you guys? Since when did you get so…afraid? That’s the right word. I struggled with that one for a second but damn if it isn’t exactly right. I’m going to tell a little story and try to be diplomatic — I really do try — but it’s just one story in a litany of many lately where I don’t recognize the male of the species and I’m trying to figure out if I’ve just never really known them or if something has indeed changed.

A female friend of mine and I went to a little New Year’s celebration and apparently my friend was something of a threat to a lady in attendance. Never mind that the majority of the group, mostly men, are legitimate friends of my friend, and never mind that the threat was an imagined one that lay mostly in the mind of the lady who was protecting the relationship she felt was threatened by the mere appearance of my friend; this young lady, who I’ve known in the past to be rather nice, was anything but on this evening. And I’ll be damned if those boys said nothing. I defended my friend, which is fine. I don’t have a problem letting someone know they’re being ridiculous, and I’m pretty good at it, too. Whatever I said stopped the squawk so the evening could continue on positively (although we caught shade the rest of the night, we managed to have a great time). But the silence from the boys was goddamn deafening. And that’s just been a pattern lately. Look, I’m not trying to say I expect men to be super human or anything, but for the love of pete, where has the courage gone? The ability to simply speak your mind, address your consequences, handle your business? I mean I felt like one of those boys should have addressed that girl’s rudeness directly and openly (ahem, HER BOYFRIEND), if quietly and without all the crazy drama she was trying to stir up. That girl needed to feel secure, and actually showing a spine that attempts to protect her from going too far in the passion of the moment is just generally chivalrous and shows you care. We ladies like that sort of thing. Or didn’t you know? When you disappear behind a skirt, eyes wide like a deer in headlights, you leave us out in the open to do the work of the man. We can step up, but it requires acting like a man, being aggressive, etc. There are women who lick their chops at such things. I am not one of them. But I’ve had to do it quite a bit lately. And I’ll say this and be done: I don’t ever want to be the lady to a man who needs his woman to speak for him. And it’s not because I’m a traditionalist — well, not totally. It’s because I believe in personal responsibility and the strength of the individual. We should protect our significant others, yes. But often that means protecting them from themselves by holding them accountable for their own bad behavior and expecting more of them, not jumping in front of them and being a shield to their consequences. I don’t know, maybe none of that makes sense. But I’ve been wanting to say it for a while. My father cautions me that a great deal of what I see happening is a man trying to placate a woman. Which made me ask him: “What is it with you guys? Why do you sign up with women like these?” To which he answered: “Well you women, you don’t always reveal who you are or what you think until much later… .” I don’t even know what to say about that (but I’m sure my mom is somewhere smirking) so I’ll just distill it all down to a phrase that sounds really horrible but I mean it and it makes me sad: man up, guys. Please. Related.

Okay, some of these pieces are old because it’s been a while but maybe I have a fresh take? We can dream…

To begin, let’s just remember that things are better and better every day. We have been encouraged for several years now that we are more divided, more hateful, more unlikely to succeed, have less respect, less opportunity, etc. etc. etc. Don’t buy. And don’t ever quit. These things are self-fulfilling.

Going to have to agree with this. Although I’ll stipulate that I’m not sure it’s all about a declaration that the threat isn’t as dire as we originally thought. There’s some placating going on here as well. I’m just not sure to whom.

And I really hope it’s not these freakin’ guys. But perhaps our current administration believes this kind of thing and think they hold some kind of leverage. I do not have that kind of optimism regarding a nation that has never seemed all that rational to me. And on that note, irrational and chaotic and a lot less black and white than anyone is comfortable with. A lot less.

On a related note, I think all the worry and consternation is only appropriate so long as we have Mr. Market Interferer in office. Which, of course, we still do. So, okay fine, worry a little. But ultimately, if left to its own devices, the market will sort itself out and the panic of the Sheiks because of fracking in the US will cause a run and ultimately a vacuum that we should be more than happy to fill.

Right, there’s a lot more heavy stuff I want to get into but my eyes are starting to get very bleary so I’ll leave you with the fun stuff and we’ll tackle all that other stuff later. I wish I didn’t care sometimes. Except this, which I think I want to actually write a heavier piece about. I’m trying to work it out in my head…

Hmmm…I’m not sure if I agree with all this.

Cheese. That is all.

It’s hard to give it up. There truly is nothing like performing on stage. But you must give everything else up to do it. And that’s a requirement few have the stomach for.

Huh, weird.

I’m pleased to not have a hateful atheist (and I distinguish between the hateful and normal) screaming in my ear all the time about happy biological accidents. If I didn’t physically want to vomit at the thought, I might send this along to the one I know. But it’s really not worth it. Pearls before swine and all that.

Yes, yes. There are so many I still need to see from this past year.

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