Monday, August 18, 2008

2 Sides 2 Every Story

So I've already admitted I'm pretty judgemental. You tell me something and I'll have an opinion on it--a lot of times without having the full story. Of course if you are a friend I'm most likely going to side with your perspective of what went down...sometimes it's just oh-so wrong. And when it is I'll admit it.

There is this person I thought I couldn't stand. I thought she (or he) was the biggest loser, jerk, waste of space, etc. You get what I mean. Well it was by chance that I ended up sitting my this person for over 2 hours straight just chatting (read as me being nosey and this person actually opening up and answering my nosey questions). And what I learned was--well, this person is not so bad. And maybe (gasp!) I could actually like this person and be friends with them.

Here's the deal--all the things I heard were bad. I never heard anything positive--and if I did I can't remember what it was so it must not have been that great. getting to talking, I learned a lot more, had easy conversation, was able to discuss life, religion (no politics) and not feel weird about it. Then I thought--has this person been misunderstood? Probably.

There are always 2 sides to every story. And when you are on the friend end of one side you are biased into thinking that person is the one that is in the right--and maybe they are. But what if you were given the chance to learn more about the other side and realize maybe the other side makes more sense to you? Puts you in a weird position with the friend. Man I'm rambling.

Then I think--what if it was me in this person's position? Would I have been stupid enough to let the domino effect happen in my life to bring me to a place I really don't seem like I want to be? Or rather, get trapped into it? Ok, maybe this person isn't trapped, but they don't seem like they have the freedom to be the person they want to be. Which makes them a person people don't really know...or like. Reminds me of that part in the movie Parenthood where Steve Martin's character is having a fight with his wife and has to leave to coach little league. The wife goes, 'Do you have to go now?' and he says, 'My whole life is 'have to'.

And maybe that's just it--for all the negative things I had heard about this person I realized they are just in the wrong life situation (in my 2cents opinion). It totally reminds me of the lyrics to the end of Howard Jones' song 'What Is Love': And maybe love is letting people be just what they want to be--the door always must be left unlocked. To love when circumstance may lead someone away from you--and not to spend the time just doubting'. I could never live like that so I'm fascinated (and feel bad for) people that can.

I think about this person and how it could possibly be if they lived another life--alas even though I'd like to think it's never too late, it probably is. And it makes me sad. I can't imagine what it must be like to suppress who you are and want to be--talk about compromise. And how long can one do that without feeling resentful, unhappy, unfulfilled? Or maybe I should have said how long can one live feeling resentful, unhappy and unfulfilled?

Maybe this person is none of those things--after all, it was just a conversation. And I read into everything.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rainbow Bright

Today I heard that the California courts overturned the ban on gay marriage--I was walking by the TV and the words I heard were 'it is a basic human right to marry who you love'. I almost cried. It's so true and it is the right thing to do. I am so happy to live in a state that is not just progressive but open to basic human rights.

I know there will be a lot of people that are against gay marriage and I am already anticipating the protesters (in my conservative neighborhood). They are entitled to their beliefs and their opinions. But really, when you strip it down and get past religion and tradition, it really is about what is real--and the opportunity for individuals to choose who they want to grow old with and to have it recognized legally.

When you think about what it is to be in a relationship--straight or gay, it all comes down to the two individuals. Not their sex. I know people in really bad straight marriages yet they have rights when it comes to their spouse that a gay couple in a truly loving relationship does not have. How does that make any sense? I love the Chris Rock joke about giving gays the right to marry--as 'they deserve to be as miserable as the rest of us' hahahaha. All jokes aside...


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Monkey Hands

So a few years ago my husband told me about this monkey trap made out of a coconut shell. Hunters will put a piece of fruit or a nut on the inside of the shell then cut a small hole on one side so a monkey can put their hand in it and grasp the fruit. It is made small enough so the monkey's hand goes in but if in a fist, it can't come out. The monkey, wanting the 'prize' won't let go of the fruit. So he's basically stuck. If he would just let go, he could pull his hand out and be free.

The reason this came up was because we were talking about this couple we know that seems to basically just tolerate eachother rather than really want to be together. I know why the hub won't leave (money) I know why she won't leave (money/lifestyle). So I started calling her the monkey hand. She can get out, but she wants what she wants so she's stuck.

Living in a gated (sort of) community and having friends who have now been married over the 7 year itch, I see it all the time. My sister had a friend who emailed her this rant about her husband most likely cheating on her, then calling him on it, making him break off the affair (he didn't choose to do it on his own) and then at the end of the email saying well at least she got the newest Chanel tote out of it. Nice. Your respect, dignity and overall womanhood can be bought for a Chanel bag. Gross.

I know, I know...there are two sides to every story, it's not easy to leave, I don't live in their shoes, blah blah blah blah. Bottom line is people know what is right for them and what they are willing to live with. Maybe it's easy for me to say because I'm not in that situation. But I would like to think that if I were I wouldn't hold on.

We all make compromises and sacrifices when we get married and even more so when we have kids. But I don't feel trapped. I certainly don't feel as though I would clutch onto a Chanel handbag as a consolation prize. Yuck.

You just have to open your hand and let go.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


I once read somewhere (okay it was a Sidney Sheldon novel) that the word 'IF' is a two letter word for futility. I've always remembered that line and when I think about it the next thing I hear in my head are the words "two roads diverged in a wood, and I, took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference". Gotta love Robert Frost (who would ever use the word 'gotta' in the same sentence as Robert Frost?!). It's human nature to wonder what life would be if the choices and decisions you made were different.

I think about it now and again, but less as I get older. I usually think about it when that nagging word 'if' comes up in conversation. It's almost more scary to me rather than exciting to think how different my life would be. You can look at almost anything in any way and if it had been even slightly modified the place you are sitting right now would be different. You can break it down to a minute detail or a significant occurence that would have altered your world--and the people in it.

I tend to think more about choices I make now and what will be--more than I think back about what might have been...that is, until it comes up again in conversation. IF it does. hahaha : )

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What are words for?

Words words words. People say them, write them (hell, I'm blogging for God's sake!). I love words. I like words. I hear them, I say them, I write them. When it comes to love however, they are just words.

I heard this quote from the movie, 'Last Kiss' and I just loved it:

"Stop talking about love. Every asshole in the world says he loves somebody. It means nothing. It still doesn't mean anything. What you feel only matters to you. It's what you do to the people you say you love, that's what matters. It's the only thing that counts."

When it comes to love--talk is cheap. Words are cheap. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they can be powerful. But cheap.

Part of the reason I started blogging was because I was because I kept a journal for years. (Since I was about 11). Around 6 or 7 years ago my journal entries became fewer and fewer until I really stopped writing anything. Writing and journals are, for me, a way to get something out of my system. It is the reason most of my entries are around this time at night. I have something in my mind and it irks me until I vent it out.

So I write. Something, anything. I don't really care if people read it. It's really just another way to vent. It's cathartic.

When it comes to the way I interact and communicate with people, especially the ones I care for, words are important but in the end they are just letters strung together to make words to say something. Anything. I used to get all these words, words on paper, poems, letters...and yet, none of those people were truly ever there, present, in the moment. And none of them are in communication with me today. Flowery prose can be flattering but in the end it is bullshit.

It's action that has more meaning...what you do, not what you say or even write. It's how you back it up and what you DO.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

20 Years Later

My 20 year high school reunion was this past weekend. I was so glad I went. I was lucky enough to go to a high school with a very diverse group of people. I can't recall race ever being an issue in our high school. Like Depeche Mode sang, 'People are People' (come on, I had to reference the 80s!) and that's really how it was. There were so many different cliques/groups but people were accepting and you could easily hang out with a different group at an event and it wasn't a big deal. I love that about the class I graduated with because in this day and age it seems rare.

Ahh, high school. The mere thought of it brings back such mixed memories. I can see the hallways and lockers now. I wasn't popular but I wasn't unpopular. I wasn't a geek but I wasn't a jock either. I was just there trying to navigate my way through it. And here I thought it was just me with these kinds of issues. How self centered is that? I think back then the perception of who I thought I was was and where I fit was so skewed because I was so insecure. Then again, who wasn't? It's such an awkward time.

I was probably never over 102lbs in high school. I was completely flat chested, straight as a board--remember this was the mid-80s when thin ultra-curvy Supermodels ruled the fashion world and every magazine I owned. I had never even had an eyebrow waxing! haha Basically never could believe I was even remotely attractive to ANYONE. Especially because the boy I pined for didn't give me the time of day. That truly affects who you are and who you become later in life. I have to say I'm grateful to have developed a decent sense of humor from it and more importantly empathy towards anyone that may feel 'different'. (I used to write poems about it! haha) What is so strange now is that person I was seems so close and yet so far away. If this were a musical the lead character would have a reflective moment and burst into song.

I finally figured out (took almost 20 years!) that most people felt the same way--lost. Everyone was unsure of who they were and were testing out the waters in negative and positive ways. We were all trying to figure out where we fit in. At 15, 16, 17 it is not an easy task. Everyone wants to fit 'in'. As a teenager in the mid-80s part of fitting in meant big hair. It meant getting up super early to try and get stick straight hair (recently permed!) curled and teased the right way to achieve the volume of '80's' hair. I never really 'got it' no matter how much Aqua Net I used. The other thing about high school for me was that I was a Letter Girl (cheerleader type that spelled out our mascot name: P I R A T E S). And in our class being one was more of a negative than it was a plus. One of my co-letter girls called it a 'set back'. No one really cared in our class unless you were 1) good looking enough to where it didn't matter what you did or 2) in academics or sports. I lettered in badminton. (Oh come on, it is, technically, a sport.)

I think back and I want to have a conversation with that person I was and say man, it gets easier and definitely much, much better. I would tell myself--you were wrong to spend so much time creating and worrying about non-issues. How do you write poems about things you know nothing about? What lost love did I experience other than what I saw in John Hughes' movies? 4 years is such a small amount of time to base your life or lack of one on any one guy, any one group, any one thing. It's living in a bubble with some of the same people you knew from the time you were 6 years old. You carry the stereotype of who you were through the years and then you realize once you get out it's not who you were at all--or even wanted to be. There is no real freedom in high school. The people that are truly themselves are usually considered odd. Then you come to the realization it's actually better to be odd. Who wants to be like everyone else? What is normal anyway?

I guess that's why after high school was over I realized I didn't really enjoy it. I was trying and wanting to be someone else--insecurity led me to be a person I probably really wasn't. I was lucky enough to have friends throughout all those years though. Imagine the person that does not. I want to cry for them and scream out loud--it only gets better! When you leave high school you also leave behind who people assume you were and open a door to who you want to be without restrictions.

The reunion was so great in that all of us are doing well, look good, are healthy and in a place where we can now be in each other's company as our own individuals and feel like we are still part of a whole, special piece. Some of those people are like family to me. I'm saddened that not a lot of people were able to come, and even more sad that some people still carry bitter attitudes towards those high school days. I can understand why they may, but 20 years is a long time to still hold onto what was.

I can now look back on that time fondly. I get sentimental. I genuinely like (and even truly love some of) the people from high school and in adulthood would want to still know them, be friends with them and see them regularly. In the yearbook next to my senior picture I wrote something that still resonates with me today: "I'll miss you a lifetime"...and I still do.

Friday, June 08, 2007

My So Called Friend

So it's been forever since I've written something--I guess I don't have too much excitement brewing.

The most recent thing that has happened is I've had yet another falling out with one of my so called 'friends'. A funny thing happens to you when you start actually realizing you are growing up. It takes awhile but you come to a point where you don't really give a crap about what people think about you. This happened to me once I had a child. Okay, maybe it happened earlier on but it really took hold once I had my son.

It's very liberating to get to a point in your life where you feel comfortable in who you are and know that the people that really 'get' you and love you--actually love you for all your flaws, quirks, an politically incorrect ways. You feel freedom to be who you want to be (tattoos and all). So the people who claim to be your friends either grow up with you and get it or, well, they don't. And vice versa.

I'm 38 now. The closest I ever want to be in a 'high school' type of relationship is helping plan my 20 year high school reunion. Who has time to accommodate and nuture a friendship that is negative, draining, judgemental and an overall DOWNER? Uh, not me.

I want and choose to be around people (especially women friends) who are real, fun, supportive, uplifting, interesting, intelligent, genuine, open, honest...they make me a better version of who I am--kick ass people that don't put up with the BS that some people settle with then complain about and basically whose unhappiness is only minimized when you, their 'dear' friend, is unhappy too. Whoever said 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer' may not have known the difference between a friend and an enemy--or as SJP coined the phrase in Sex and the City, the 'frenemy'.

I recently had dinner with an old co-worker/friend I hadn't seen in about 8 years. We had such a great, fun, open conversation that it made me realize one of my longtime friends was the exact opposite and that I had been seeing her out of obligation rather than out of sincerity. It seems to me better friendships happen as you get older and are more sure of who you are and who you want to be in your world. A friend from the past who has never developed further than where you were isn't likely to be able to keep up with where you are wanting to go. Or grow.

Sometimes it's just that--people out grow's almost like a marriage in that if both partners don't grow and suppport eachother it is very likely to crumble and well, be better for both parties to just move on and accept the fact that they don't really have much in common anymore except the past. Once you recognize all you have is the history of what was, and nothing of what IS in the present, there really is no point in dragging it out, knowing the future will be the same fake smiles.

Negativity in any form is draining. But negativity in small doses over years and years is like a sickness that you know is coming on but you try to ignore then to fight and you realize you can't anymore--you have to give in and admit you are ill. You have to try and combat it by doing what you can to make it better. Sometimes what is better is admitting it's bad, letting go, and moving on. It becomes a release and a relief.

And so, after much consideration, long talks, emails, phone conversations and basic venting, etc., it was time to turn my energy away from the draining negativity and back to where it belongs--to the true friends I am lucky, grateful, blessed to have. The sad thing is knowing you are better off without your 'so called friend' and that you should have done it a long time ago!