Top 10 Signs Your a Facebook Addict…

Alrighty, confession time.  I’ve got issues.  Probably “seek help immediately” issues with Facebook.  I’m on it ALL day.  I may not be watching or posting or updating every second of every day but I’m signed in, no doubt.  It’s gotten so bad that while I’m at work, my Mom and my daughter and anyone else who needs me just sends a message on FB before attempting to call my cell because they can get in touch with me quicker.  THAT is how bad it is. 

Now notice, before you read my list, I am employed and I’ve managed to keep this job for quite sometime.  Therefore, this list isn’t all about me, right?  Yea, right.

TOP 10 SIGNS YOU ARE ADDICTED TO FACEBOOK (in no particular order…):

1.  You have convinced yourself that spending inordinate amounts of time checking your ex’s profile isn’t really stalking but making sure he’s at last found happiness.  NOTE:  This one is probably the biggest load of crap on my list and I’ll tell you why.  Any woman, or man for that matter, who says they want their ex to “find happiness” is full of crap.  We don’t.  What we do want to find is some sign he’s miserable so we can gloat on OUR page in hopes he’ll see it while scrolling through his newsfeed.

2.  You’ve been fired from 12 different jobs because you spend more time on FB than you do working.

3.  Your FB status updates have turned into “tweets” because you update it every five minutes.

4.  You look forward to a “poke” on FB more than you do the bedroom.

5.  You’ve recently realized you can’t remember that last time you spent any time with “3 dimensional people.”

6.  You find yourself “liking” everything simply because you can’t stop clicking…including your own posts.

7.  You’ve started plotting revenge on people who don’t “like” your photos.

8.  You are sleep deprived because you get up 27 times a night to see if anyone has commented on your last status update or posted anything to your wall.

9.  No way in hell you could ever grow vegetables in your own backyard but damned if you’re not “The King of the Plow” on Farmville!

10.  Without FB, you’d never have a clue when anyone’s birthday is anymore.

Oh yea!  Find me on Facebook!  😀

The War on Hotdogs…

Yesterday, I was reading articles from Cracked.com.  If you’ve never been to this site before you really have to check it out.  NOT if you get easily offended though because some of the stuff on there is a bit much but if you can handle it, by all means take a look.  There are many times I’ve laughed out loud while reading this site and yesterday was no exception.  I stumbled upon an article about the worst PSAs (public service announcements) on drugs and honestly…well, you’ll see.

Before anyone gets all wadded up, know I am NOT making fun of drug addicts or anyone who struggles with addiction.  I do realize what a serious problem it is.  I’m also a Mom so don’t think for one second that I’ve not threatened bodily harm to my kid if I EVER find out she’s done or is doing drugs.  I catch her messing around with ’em, and shit is gonna get real – no doubt.  I’m not the type of parent who would sit around hoping the issue goes away on its own. 

The purpose of this blog is to actually encourage parents to take a firm stand with their kids and understand it’s up to us to educate them and keep an eye on them.  Sex, drugs…WE have to take a stand with our kids and let them know the deal.  WE must be the ones to teach them, love them, take care of them.  We cannot count on schools (teachers, counselors) to do the work for us and we damn sure canNOT count on our government, especially since government agencies insist on creating these ridiculous PSAs.  Now, they’ve gotten a bit more real over the years, I’ll admit that.  But there was a time when they were so insane and funny that the only message a kid (such as myself) got from them is “This is my brain on drugs?  Hell, now I just want an egg sandwich.”  I was one of the lucky ones though.  Yes I smoked pot quite a bit when I was younger but it never became a problem.  I just decided I didn’t like it so I didn’t do it anymore.  Not a big deal.

Anyway…while on Cracked.com yesterday, I saw this PSA for LSD and practically laughed myself into oblivion before I realized the real meaning behind the video…thousands of hotdogs die every year due to the use of LSD.  It’s a serious problem here in the U.S. and in other countries, as well.  The wives, the children of hotdogs lose loved ones too often to this horrible drug.  It’s simply unfair.  So the next time you or someone you  know decides to drop a hit PLEASE…stay away from the innocent hotdogs.  We must stop the madness!

Valentine’s Day – Like Doom’s Day but Different

It’s a little early but I felt that getting this blog out there ahead of time might save a few folks from some embarrassment…and a night or ten in the doghouse.

The history of Valentine’s Day is rather complex and mysterious, believe it or not.  It’s really not about some fat little cherub wearing only a diaper shooting people in the heart with a magical love bow and arrow.  There is some real history with this special day.  I won’t bore you with details and if you want to read more, visit the History website, but I’ll break it down for you:

Theory #1:  this one is about a priest, Valentine, who performed secret marriages because a guy named Claudius decided married men made bad soldiers.  Claudius outlawed marriage so his young soldier recruits wouldn’t be so bogged down with family, responsibility, love.  This guy seems like a real ass but what do I know?  Anyway, Valentine decided he’d take it upon himself to marry folks in secret only to be put to death once Claudius discovered what he was doing.  Quite frankly, I think the whole “Emporer” title went to Claudius’ head and basically he was just a bitchy guy who obviously didn’t get laid much.  Now some theorists believe Valentine was killed for helping Christians escape Roman prisons, but I’m not falling for it.  The Emporer is GUILTY.  Valentine’s heroic actions perpetuated love!

Theory #2:  The story here is Valentine sent the first “valentine” himself.  He fell in love while in prison (how exactly does this happen anyway?  another day, another blog – I actually have a prison love story myself) and he sent a love letter to the girl he loved, signing it “From Your Valentine.”  I can’t find any details about whether this girl reciprocated in kind but I like to think she did.  Seems Valentine had a kind of rough life so he probably needed the affection.

Theory #3:  Valentine’s Day is a celebration of St. Valentine’s life and death.  However, others believe that Christians began the tradition of celebrating Valentine’s feast day during mid-February to give a religious spin on a Pagan event called the Lupercalia festival.  In ancient Rome, spring was the season of purification and people spent ridiculous amounts of time getting rid of dirt and sprinkling salt throughout their homes.  I’m giving a high-five to celebrating St. Valentine’s life and death because to put it bluntly, any day or festival that celebrates cleaning is crap.  Who needs that?  I want love and romance!  Not a day or season dedicated to sweeping and mopping!

Whatever the real story behind this wonderful day (that’s sarcasm…I’m single…it’s not that wonderful) I think Valentine was basically a romantic guy who got the shit end of the deal.  Quite frankly, if I see a chubby nappy wearing dude coming at me with a weapon, I’m kicking his ass.  So, to help all of you (men especially because you guys always screw this up) I’ve made a list of the Worst Valentine’s Day Gifts Ever (these are in no particular order – they all suck):

1.  Light-switch plate with a monkey & heart on it:  I don’t even feel this one needs explanation just keep in mind men, that IF you give your woman this gift, every single time she turns on and off the light her ONLY thought will be what an idiot you are.

2.  Fake roses:  One word – TACKY. 

3.  Gift card or cash:  unless your woman specifically asks for this, DON’T do it.  The message here is “you are not important enough for me to waste time on looking for a real gift” or “I’m the laziest dude you know.”  Either way, you lose.

4.  Novelty sex gifts:  fuzzy handcuffs, edible underwear, Aphrodisiac cookbook?  ALL BAD.  Guys, this is the one day a year we truly want real romance.  None of these things say romance.  What they do say, however, is that you either think of us as hookers (and if that is the case, just skip  the novelty crap and hand over the cash) or that you are stupid enough to insult us in such a way you’ll never eat in our kitchen again, let alone have sex.

5.  Heart-shaped doormat:  really?  I could not believe I even stumbled across this gift while on my search.  Yes, if you want us to walk all over and wipe our feet on your heart and gesture of love, go for it but I don’t recommend it.

6.  Small appliances:  again, this is one of those things where unless we ask for it, don’t do it.  This should be reserved mostly for a random day where you can say, without fear of getting clobbered, “Oh, I remembered how much you hate our old coffee pot so I got you this brand new Keurig!”  Otherwise, don’t give your sweetheart a toaster because all she’ll do is stand in the kitchen, burning toast on purpose, wishing it was your head.

7.   Repeat of the same gift you got last year:  WE REMEMBER.

8.  A flying squirrel:  this one surprised me more than the doormat, but it seems some moron somewhere got his girlfriend a flying squirrel for Valentine’s day one year and subsequently, she ended up in the ER that night receiving a series of rabies shots.  This does NOT spell R-O-M-A-N-C-E.  Men, there will never be a time or place in any Universe where we’ll want a rodent for a gift.  It just isn’t going to happen.

9.  Anything weight loss related:  Trust me when I say, women live with their own personal self images and they are seldom ever good.  What we do not need is a reminder from the men we love that we’re not Supermodels.  This is a sure-fire way to be sure you NEVER see us naked again so think about that one before making the purchase.

10.  No gift at all:  forget Valentine’s day or don’t bother with a gift?  You’re doomed to a life of never being allowed to forget it and this is no way to live because we women can be relentless and we will go out of our way to make sure you regret it.  This will also set you up for years and years of having to make this up to us which won’t be much fun for you at all.

The truth of the matter is, women just want to be acknowledged.  I mean I can’t speak for every woman, but for me it’s just a matter of saying “I love you.”  I do not need fancy gifts nor do I want them.  This is not to say I’m giving permission for anyone to get me a flying squirrel, no.  But all I am saying is if you guys will THINK with your HEARTS and pay attention to women, then you’ll know the right thing to do. 

DISCLAIMER:  This blog can easily be reversed so women don’t screw up, too.  I do realize there are men out there who really appreciate romance and love to know they are loved.  It’s just women are SO much better at being romantic so that’s why I aimed this towards the male species. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

A Parent Should Never Outlive Their Child…

A parent should never outlive their child.  No truer words have ever been spoken.  It is the most unbearable, excruciating, unrelenting pain a parent can experience.  I’d like to share with all of you my story about Sydni. This will likely be the longest and most difficult blog I’ll ever write.

Sydni Elaine Summerlin (b. September 23, 1996 – d. January 17, 1997) was a beautiful little girl.  She was born healthy (or so we think) and quickly became sick after being put into daycare.  Understand I am not blaming the daycare because the truth of the matter is I don’t know that is the cause and blame doesn’t help in these situations.  What I can tell you is that a few days after she was put into daycare she came down with what we thought was just a cold.  She never got better.

Sydni was a child born out-of-wedlock.  I have to admit my guilt here in that I had an affair with a married man.  He was separated from his wife and their divorce had been filed, but that didn’t make him any less married.  He was a police officer on campus where I worked and I saw him daily for months before we decided to go out.  His wife also worked at the university but at an off-campus location.  So her, I never saw…at least not until Sydni got sick.

C.S., Sydni’s biological father, was a decent enough man in the beginning.  We did not date long before I found out I was pregnant.  He hung in there with me for about five months or so before he decided he was no longer the father…interesting conclusion since sperm isn’t retractable at that point and I was already huge by then.  Nonetheless, that is the conclusion he came to.  It was a bit difficult for him to undo being the father as he’d spend the months up until that time bringing me weird food at lunchtime(I had cravings) making sure I ate, he hung around a lot, seemed even a bit happy about our child.  He did not hide it, everyone in my office and the police department knew what was going on.  We had NO plans to be married because that was not what either of us wanted and I was perfectly content knowing I’d be raising her as a single mom.  I was excited about it even!  I could not wait for her to be born so when he decided he wasn’t the father anymore, it was not much of a crushing blow.  I did not love him and I did not care that he would not be part of our lives.

Now, before anyone chooses to comment that her death was my punishment for sleeping with a married man, let me stop you.  I don’t subscribe to that theory so please do not waste my time with it.  My daughter will NOT be disrespected  in such a way so keep it to yourself.

Moving on…

While I was happy about having her, I was miserable the entire time I was pregnant.  Very sick for almost the entire 9 months.  It was the year the Olympics came to Atlanta and I had to work downtown during that time so that wasn’t much fun either.  It was summer and it was HOT and any woman who has been pregnant during the summer is aware of the misery!  Sydni was breach and this meant that having a C-section was  likely.  My doctor suggested we try to turn her so for her sake and safety I went along with the plan.

It was early morning, September 23rd when I arrived at the hospital.  The truth was, going in, I did not expect to deliver her that day.  The plan was to simply try to turn her then let nature take its course and I had certainly had no idea the amount of pain involved with trying to turn her!  What a shock!  I admit it…I screamed!  My Daddy had to leave the room, my Mom hung in there with me but it was obvious by the look on her face she was as shocked as I was.  Bless their hearts, I’ve got amazing parents.  Anyway…there were two attempts to turn her and neither were successful.  I mean they were in the sense she DID turn (which is a feeling that I can’t begin to describe) but she popped right back both times.  She was determined to be a breach baby!  After the 2nd try, the doctor said, “Well, let’s get you ready!” and before I knew it, I was being wheeled into the delivery room and about 20 minutes later I was a mom!   It all happened so quickly and the memories are a blur, the few that I have, but I do remember holding her for the first time and being in complete and total awe that this beautiful perfect little one was actually mine.  She was a true miracle like no other.  All children are.

I spent four days in the hospital, typical C-section visit, with no complications whatsoever, except for one…the very vivid and over-powering feeling that I knew she would not be on this Earth for long.  It is so difficult to try and tell you what that experience was like.  It was not necessarily this sense of foreboding or doom, but more of a “knowing.”  I honestly feel that a Higher Power was at work, almost warning me, that she’d not be with me for long.  So I knew.  It didn’t make it any easier at all but I was aware of what might happen.

Things progressed nicely for the first six weeks we were home.  I was on maternity leave, happily being a mom, taking care of this little miracle.  My Mom NEVER left my side for one second and was and is the most amazing Grandma in the world.  Wow, she LOVED that little girl!  She did everything for her, for me, for us.  She uprooted her entire life from Valdosta, quit her job and sold her house just to come be with Sydni and I.  Mom made some incredible sacrifices just to be with me and Syd and I tear up  now thinking about all she did for us.  Just incredible.  Anyway, we set up Syd’s room – she had a serious Winnie the Pooh theme going on!  Syd never cried, she was not a fussy baby at all, although she wasn’t particularly fond of bath time.  Still, she never pitched a fit but you could tell by the expression on her little face that was not her favorite activity!  We enjoyed every second we had with her until it was time for me to go back to work.

It was not until maybe the 3rd or 4th day of her being in daycare that Syd became sick.  We honestly just thought it was a cold, a daycare germ she’d picked up that is so common with babies, and for a short time we thought nothing of it.  We took her to the doctor, was told it would pass, and went with that until Syd just became sicker.  She wouldn’t eat, she ran a fever and she just wasn’t getting well.  So, on to the doctor again and again…and again until finally it was decided she needed to be hospitalized, tests needed to be ran, and she’d need an IV for nourishment since she by this time she was barely eating at all.  Again, this happened so quickly, faster than her birth, that my memories are fuzzy.  It is all such a blur.  One minute I had a healthy little girl and the next my baby is laying in a hospital bed, hooked to tubes and not one single doctor can tell us what is wrong.  She was tested for EVERYTHING and by that I mean they’d tested so much of her blood for so many diseases it got to where they could tell me I’d had Mono as a kid!   They worked tirelessly and endlessly and nothing conclusive was ever determined.  Again, Mom never left her side.  At the time, I had a less than compassionate boss who gave me a lot of grief when I stayed out of work to be with Syd.  Mind you, I was not out taking her to the park.  We were sleeping at the hospital and at times I just laid down on the cold linoleum to catch a nap because I was so exhausted.  I had to work though.  I had to have the insurance to pay for the doctors who were trying to help my daughter.  So it was back and forth, hospital to work and the occasional trip home for clothes and what have you.  I might add here that my Stepmom checked on Mom almost every single day bringing magazines and food to the hospital room so Mom wouldn’t have to leave, sitting with Mom talking…not all Stepmoms are evil!  I happen to have a good one.

I can not tell you the events that led to Syd being in a drug induced coma.  I don’t remember them.  I do remember the doctors allowing us to take her home on Christmas Eve so she could spend that day with family, at home, (we had to take her back to the hospital the day after Christmas) but other than that I have no memories.  I’m sure it is because I’ve chosen somewhere in my head to block them and I can live with that.  I have no desire to resurrect them nor will I try to do so.  But she was put in I.C.U. and the coma was induced and then began the meetings with medical staff to try and determine the best route to go.  My family was with me as we discussed whether or not Sydni would ever get better.   She didn’t.

I remember taking a break long enough to go home, take a shower and change clothes and as I was on my way back to the hospital, the doctor called to tell me Sydni’s heart had stopped.  This is NOT news a mom needs to hear while driving.  He told me they had resuscitated her and that I needed to get back as quickly as I could.  I don’t think it would’ve been possible for me to drive faster or to be more hysterical.  I arrived to find that her heart had stopped a second time and again they were able to bring her back, she was on life support and now I had a decision to make.  All eyes were on me as the doctor asked me if I wanted to keep her on life support.  How in the hell does a mom make that call?  I’m not God.  How can I know she’ll never get better?   How does a mom even know how to begin to make that decision?  I knew the doctors strongly felt that she’d never get better and that if she was able to breathe on her own her quality of life would not be good.  I had to go with that right?  I knew that I did not want my child to suffer.  No mother wants that.  I remember it being very important to Mom that Sydni be baptised so arrangements were made and the hospital clergy stood with our family at Sydni’s bed and we prayed.  It was the first and only time I’ve ever seen my Daddy pray.  It was a profound moment.

Shortly after, her heart stopped one last time and that was it.  My baby was gone.  I asked the doctors not to put her through anymore.  They wrapped her in blankets and then I went and I held her and rocked her for a time.  I remember the room being very quiet.  I remember the other parents in the room with their children looking at me, no doubt silently praying they would not have to hold their dead child.   I remember kissing her and telling her how much I love her.  I remember the nurse coming to take her and thinking at that moment how much I hated that woman because she wanted to take my daughter away from me.  I remember having this completely irrational thought that if I bolted and ran with Sydni somehow things would change and she’d be alive again.  But I had to let go.  I had no choice.

Another note here:  if any of you think of judging me for asking the doctors to not put her through any more, don’t.  I don’t want to hear that either.

Decisions and questions did not end that day.  The doctors were completely baffled and still had no idea what had caused Sydni’s illness.  The only thing they did know was her spleen had basically stopped functioning but could find no reason for it so I was asked permission for an autopsy.  It was like a slap in the face.  I immediately said NO.  I had just lost my child and I would be damned if I’d let anyone cut on her.  Now, at this point, I’m not sure who but someone called a friend from the university who was the campus psychiatrist.  I knew her, had sessions with her in the past and it very well could’ve been me that called her for help.  I just have no recollection.  But she came and she sat with me and talked with me for quite a while about the autopsy.  She helped me understand that this was a necessary evil…if the doctors could deduce from the autopsy what had made Sydni so sick then it might go a long way to helping other kids.  I was naturally resistant at first because at that time I couldn’t have cared less about other kids, but in the end, I relented.  My only condition was that the cuts could not be visible and at no time did I want to see them.  The doctors promised me I wouldn’t and so it went.  The autopsy was done.  It was a few days after Sydni’s funeral that I learned they’d still discovered nothing to determine why she died.

I did not plan her funeral.  I did go to the funeral home.  I was present in body but it was mostly like I was sitting outside myself looking in.  It didn’t seem real and I was unable to help.  Stepmom and Daddy took care of the arrangements.  I know Stepmom bought the gown Sydni was buried in…it was white with lace and so pretty.  I remember the funeral home being packed  wall to wall with people during visitation.  Oh, here is where I should mention again the wife of the man who was Sydni’s biological father.  She showed up during visitation.  In fact, she showed up at the hospital before Sydni died.  At the hospital I did not care whether she was there or not but when she showed up at visitation it flew all over me.  I remember saying to my best friend “Get that bitch out of here before I kill her.”  Needless to say, Best Friend handled it and the woman was gone.  I never saw her again.  At the funeral it seemed there were even more people in attendance.  I can remember being shocked at how many people had shown up.  I remember standing at Sydni’s coffin with Best Friend, talking although I can not tell you what we said, but we did put some things in the coffin – a note, a stuffed animal.  There was a point, when I was walking down the aisle of the chapel, that I almost passed out and Stepmom had to catch me to keep me from falling.  It was a surreal experience.  I know all of those people were there but I never really saw their faces.

Sydni was to be buried with the Summerlins in Sandersville, Georgia.  Daddy has arranged for limos to take us to the cemetery.  My ex husband, of all people, stayed with me that entire day along with Best Friend and my parents, of course.  If anyone else was there with us I do not remember.  Another surreal experience.  Unfortunately, I have no real memories to share here because they escape me and again I will not try to bring them back.  The entire day is a haze and I’d prefer to keep it that way.  Her headstone has a lamb on it.

It was days before anyone would leave me alone.  I was surrounded by my friends.  Every time I got up to go to another room someone would follow me…afraid I’d kill myself?  Probably because the thought did enter my mind more than once.  Best Friend knew me well enough to know I was considering it and I’ve no doubt she put everyone on guard watch, working in shifts to keep me alive.  When you bury your child you really feel as if you have nothing left to live for at all.  You begin to question your existence.  Leaving the house without her was like leaving without a limb.  You feel lost, hopeless, desperate, without a soul, and completely broken.  It was awhile before I felt I had any reason at all to live.  I’d gotten to a point where I was holding on to ANY reason to live, no matter how trivial   At some point I made the decision to go to church.  Keep in mind at this time I hated God.  I mean truly hated him.  No God of mine would take away my baby.  But that nagging feeling that I needed to turn to him even while I hated him was there so I went with it.  If you know me at all you know I’m not a very religious person.  I do consider myself spiritual but I don’t get into organized religion.  My older brother belonged to a nondenominational church at this time so that’s where I went.  I had no expectations of feeling better, I went in to each service with a pissed off attitude, but every single time I left I felt a little better, a little lighter.  I began to feel as if I might have a purpose for being on this planet.  I didn’t know what, but that didn’t matter as long as I kept moving forward one day at a time.  This went on for several weeks.  People began to clear out a bit and life resumed.

Mom and I left the house we lived in with Sydni.  She moved to an apartment in Mableton, I to a condo in Marietta.  It was about a year after Sydni’s death that I finally was alone enough to have my breakdown and I did.  It was a morning like any other, I’m getting ready for work and without warning I just lost it.  I stayed holed up in my condo for however long just crying.  Didn’t eat, didn’t want to talk to or see anyone, hating the world and crying.  I went through every single “what if” you can possibly imagine.  I questioned every single move I’d made, all of the decisions and choices, wondered about every place I’d taken Sydni…could she have gotten sick at any of these places?  The thoughts and questions that went through my head were endless and staggering.  I remember being so pissed off at the entire world, at myself, still angry at God (although I’m still praying during this time)…it was just so overwhelming that I can’t really find the proper words to describe it.

This ended, of course.  I had to snap out of it.  I am one of those people who can pull myself out of a crisis.  Oh sure, I have breakdowns -who doesn’t? – but there comes a time when I realize my hysteria solves nothing so I have to work on getting myself out of the hole.  I did eventually.  Life went back to normal, or as normal as it could be.  I’ve visited the cemetery only a handful of times.  It isn’t something I find necessary in order to remember my daughter.

Fast forward to 2001 and I find out I’m pregnant again.  I was NOT happy.  It took Emily being born for me to understand she is my purpose.  This is what God had planned for me.  He wanted me to be a Mom but Sydni simply was not meant for this Earth.  She was to be an Angel.  I’ve always spent my life pulling positives from negatives.  It’s something I have to do in order to make sense of a bad situation.  I was, after a time, able to do that with Sydni’s death.  I don’t claim to have all the answers or reasons for why she was here only four months and I never will, but her birth brought our family closer, it reunited friends who’d not spoken in years, my Daddy prayed (this is a big deal if you  know him)…my little one made miracles happen during her short time here with us.  She truly did.

I wish I had the knowledge to be a grief counselor but I don’t feel that I’m cut out for that.  I don’t feel I have enough wisdom to be helpful to any parent who has lost a child. It’s such a personal experience and something one has to go through in their own way, in their own time.  Grieving is a process.  We have to give ourselves permission to go through every stage of grief and we must understand that with the passing of each phase things do get better.  I could never sit down with a parent and tell him or her that the pain goes away because it doesn’t.  It becomes tolerable but it never leaves.  I don’t have the ability to tell a parent his or her heart will completely mend because it won’t.  There will always be a piece of us that is broken from this kind of experience.  I don’t feel as if I could sit down and give a parent hope because it’s something we have to find on our own.  We can’t give up, we can’t lose faith.  No matter how tragic our circumstances are we must keep moving forward and believe that everything in our lives, especially the bad things, serves a purpose and has reason.  If you lose hope, then you have nothing.

R.I.P. Sydni Elaine Summerlin…you will never be forgotten.

Just Be Yourself…

I’ve definitely gotten to a point where, finally, I am comfortable in my own skin.  I don’t feel the need to go on any crash diets because my ass might be too big, I don’t feel the need to own expensive clothes or shoes, I don’t feel the need to get the latest haircut so I give the appearance of being “modern.”  I mean obviously there are things I do not love about myself (refer back to big ass).  I can be a bit lazy and I love to sleep (to the point that if it were an Olympic sport you’d be reading a blog written by a Gold Medalist), I procrastinate because I can be lazy and I like to pretend I work better under pressure (which in some cases, really is true), and I don’t take care of myself the way I should.  Being a Gemini and battling two of me makes me conflicted and contrary (I was born contrary and will die contrary) so sometimes making firm decisions is a pain in my big ass, but all in all, I feel very little if any guilt about any of these things I don’t love about myself.  I used to.  I used to stress and worry and drive myself completely batshit crazy fretting on how to fix all of these things.  But not anymore.  I’m at a good place with myself and the good news is it only took 43 years to get here. 

I regret it took me so long to reach a place where I am, for the most part, accepting of myself – flaws and all.   The positive aspect to this is 1 – I’m not dwelling on the bad parts of me anymore (nobody wants to see me go totally batshit crazy…that just wouldn’t be pretty) and most importantly 2 – my daughter is young enough to absorb some of this acceptance.  I pray this will help her to not dwell so much on the things she doesn’t like about herself because I do not want her to be 43 years old when she is finally comfy in her own skin.  I hate the thought of her struggling with insecurity.  I mean, it’s gonna happen.  We all struggle with it from time to time, but I want her to KNOW without doubt that it’s okay for her to love herself and be happy with what God’s given her, whether she’s fond of it or not.  I worry about this a lot.  Our media insists on projecting images of girls who simply aren’t real and my daughter, like most kids her age gets caught up in celebrity/media hype.  I do a lot of damage control which is okay, but it’s important that my little girl realize it is okay to just be herself.  I desperately pray every day that she’ll grow up confident and secure and never worry about what others think or say.

Having said that, let me say this:  I don’t do well with fake.  People like this are so completely transparent and it boggles my mind.  It must take a ton of energy (which we all know I’d never waste on such silliness because I’m too lazy to do so) to pretend to be something you aren’t.  When did it stop being okay to accept ourselves for who we are and when did loving ourselves become arrogant and shallow?  And before I go any further understand I do NOT, by any means, feel I am perfect.  Sweet baby crickets NO!  I am way, way far from perfect but my point is I am okay not being perfect.  I don’t feel I need to live up to anyone else’s standards of living nor do I feel the need to fit into some kind of mold our warped society has deemed acceptable.  My message here is…JUST BE YOURSELF and BE HAPPY BEING YOU.

For fun, I thought I’d list some things here that I don’t do just because I don’t care what others think and because I don’t care what others think (did I say that already?): 

1.  I don’t keep up with politics.  Why?  Because I don’t give a rats ass.  There, I said it. I DO NOT CARE.  It bores the crap out of me to hear politicians drone on and on about  how they are going to change the world.  I don’t want to hear about it, don’t want to know about it.

2.  I’m not a social butterfly at work.  People all the time spout off about office politics and I truly from the depths of my soul do not give one iota about office politics.  I don’t feel compelled to attend office parties or sit around all day chatting about the latest soap operas or office gossip.  I go to work to WORK.  This isn’t to say I’m not nice at work.  I am.  I’ve made an effort to get along with everyone at any job I’ve ever had even if I do not care for him/her much, but don’t try to suck me into that whole “you HAVE to go to the office party or it’ll look bad if you don’t” trap because I’m not falling for it.  I will schmooze when it’s only absolutely necessary but otherwise, leave me alone so I can get my job done.

3.  I do not, not even a little, care to keep up with the latest movies, music, or celebrities.  Honestly these days I don’t know who half the famous folk are.  I hear music being made these days that makes me want to take something sharp and stabbed myself in the eardrums just to make the noise stop.  I’m not a movie person.  I’m a book lover.  I want to read a story not hock my shit so I can afford to pay exorbitant prices to go sit and stare at a screen for 2-3 hours surrounded by strangers who I believe are screened at the door to make sure they are the rudest & loudest people on the planet before being allowed admittance.  It’s just not for me.  Give me a book, 80s metal, and Lucille Ball anytime!  I don’t need the “new and hip” stuff to be happy.

4.  I’m a homebody and I want to be at home.  I want to be with my things, my family, my pets and I want to be comfortable.  I enjoy peace and quiet and barring a library, there aren’t too many places to go that offer this.  I do like to go out from time to time, but as a rule, I prefer home.  So don’t try to make me feel bad because I’m not constantly busy and OUT doing something.  That’s fantastic if it works for you and you enjoy it, but don’t pull me into it.  I’m not interested.

5.  Fashion…I’m freaking clueless.  I don’t know designers or the latest fashions trends and again, I do not care.  I don’t run around in velvet jumpsuits and white go-go boots, but I will run around in my leggings, flannel shirts, sweats and tennis shoes and if this offends anyone, don’t look.  I do not read fashion magazines or have any desire to wear dresses made of feathers or shoes modeled after the hooves of goats.  My look may suck but so does that trendy crap.

So there.  5 things I do not do just because someone tells me I should.  Pretty major things, too.  Our society is overrun with politics and an obsession with image.  Don’t let it get to you folks.  Wake up every single day, go to the mirror, take a good look at who you see and KNOW the person you see is OKAY.  Learn to love yourself, if you don’t already, and don’t give in to “peer pressure.”  It’s just not worth sacrificing your sense of self to be someone you really aren’t.

Comfort Zones…

You are reading a blog by the world’s worst Leaver of the Comfort Zone.  I am Queen of the Comfort Zone and I rule all that is comfortable and safe…for me.  Anything outside of my Comfort Zone is simply evil and must never be allowed in. 

What is a Comfort Zone?  Well to clarify, it’s simply a mental boundary we each set for ourselves.  It’s a place where we feel safe and secure.  It’s habit, it’s rut.  It’s sticking with relationships or circumstances that, while they may have lost purpose or real meaning (or so we’re told they have), we find comfort in them.  It’s that place where if we don’t leave it, people tell us we’ll never realize our full potential or make great things happen.  This may be true.  I don’t know.  I’ve not ventured out of mine long enough to find out.  Hell, just starting this blog and throwing myself out there for the world to see is enough stepping out to last me quite a while.  I mean, what you read is what you get when you know me.  I don’t hold back here and allowing my personal self to connect with the world is a giant leap out of my Comfort Zone, to be sure. 

I’m writing this particular blog because after yesterday’s rant over FJ and The Speech I began to think, really think about why I stay in this relationship.  I do love him.  That isn’t in question.  But lots of other things are and it hit me…I stay because I’m comfortable with him.  There is something in my brain that tells me I’m just too old to start over in a new relationship.  I’m not THAT old.  No reason to start digging a grave yet.  But I’m oldER and the idea of starting over with a new man, a new life seems quite taxing.  When I was younger that idea used to excite me and I had no qualms about throwing Dating Lisa out there and just going for it.  Now?  Eh.  I don’t want to have to “relearn” another man’s habits or quirks or speeches.  I don’t want to have to reteach mine either.  I can be difficult and bitchy and I’ve got some odd habits, a hard pill to swallow if you will, and the fact that I’ve a man in my life who didn’t run screaming is a big plus for me.   FJ and I fight something fierce sometimes but in the end we always work it out.  Always.  We’re good with compromise.  Once things settle we’re good at talking things out.  We’re honest with each other.  I value the hell out of honesty as I spent 11 years married to a man who could not tell the truth if his life depended on it.  Seriously…he could NOT do it.  His head may have wanted to but once his mouth opened, out spewed the most colorful and inventive stories I’ve ever heard.  So, I’ll give him credit for that…he wasn’t Uncle Remus but he could spin an intriguing tale like nobody’s business.  ANYWAY, as I was saying…FJ and I are comfortable with each other.  With that comfort comes happiness and safety, which I’ve not had in many years so why would I want to screw that up? 

My job…I love my job.  Both of them actually, but I do not strive to be a director or CIO or any of those high-powered titled people.  Why?  Because I’m comfortable with what I’m doing.  I’m comfortable with how my jobs fit into the life I have now.  I like the flexibility.  There could always be more money (I’m not going to stick in my current Poor Comfort  Zone if I don’t have to –  I’m not stupid or if I am stupid I’d rather be stupid on a nice vacation) but overall, I feel safe and secure with my work.  Why would I want to screw this up by stepping outside of my Zone? 

I keep asking “why would I want to screw this up?” because I’m not so sure that stepping out of our Zones is absolutely necessary to achieving happiness or realizing our full potential (I can say that because I’m happy and tucked away in my Zone right now).  But, those big giant leaps out of our Zones to bring on the major anxiety and discomfort?  Not necessary.  Life hands us opportunities to have to step outside our Zone almost every single day.  Does it not?  We get up each morning, we begin our routine, things go smoothly then BAM!  There is some unexpected Universe Out to Get Us Snafu that we have to cope with – outside our Zone.  So we deal with them and then continue on in our Zone.  Is it not more about our attitude and how we handle these snafus than it is about taking steps to disrupt or change what we’re already comfortable with? 

The truth is, and this may sound arrogant on my part although I don’t mean for it to be that way, I know my full potential and I know what I am capable of.  I can be or do anything I want (although a job as a contortionist circus freak is out – my body can’t bend that way anymore).  I know this about myself.  I’m confident enough to know if I set my mind to something I can do it.  Just because I don’t choose to go out and conquer the world doesn’t make me less of a person.  I’m happy where I am…I’m a Mom, a writer, a consultant for a major university, a part of management at Ghost Walk, a friend, a girlfriend, a daughter, a sister…I’m all of these things and more, and I’m perfectly okay with it.  None of this has lost meaning or purpose and none of this is in danger of doing so.  If we’re truly happy, why bring on upheaval and discomfort…ON PURPOSE?  I just see no reason for it.

Now lately, I’ve been going through this THING where I’ve felt the need to get out more and ” party.”  I seldom go out just for fun anymore, just to do things for me.  So it’s been bugging me a lot lately.  Last night, I marinated on that, as well and it hit me that I’d convinced myself I needed to “fit in” with others who seem to be constantly out and busy.  But the truth here I don’t really want that whole party thing and I’m busy enough.  What I do want and need is to just start doing things for myself that have value and will add value to my already Comfy Zone.  I need to be spending more quality time with my daughter, seeing my Daddy more, reading more (bookaholic here), writing more, taking myself out to breakfast every now and then before work for some alone time, drawing (I SUCK at it but nonetheless I find it relaxing).  It’s these kinds of things I’m missing and need to be doing, not the whole partying and hanging out with a bunch of people.  Uh…that was SO 20 years ago!  So, let’s face it…I’m going against the grain here, bucking every psychiatrist theory that stepping out of the Zone is necessary and I’ll just add to my already existing Happy Place.  God, I’m such a rebel!

Personal Opinion:  It’s okay to stay within your Comfort Zone.  It really is.  Expect those Universal Snafus I mentioned earlier and remain calm when they happen.  Use those as a way to better yourself and let them be learning experiences for yourself.  Don’t feel you must leave your Zone to change things just because someone else tells you to.  If you’re happy then just BE HAPPY.  Isn’t this world tough enough already without making it harder on ourselves?  I think it is!  So to all of you who are happy in your Comfort Zone and see no reason to rock the boat…KUDOS!  This blog is dedicated to all of you who are comfortable being comfortable! 

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