Posted in all about me, life lessons

Statistics

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image courtesy of boldomatic.com

I hate statistics.

It’s not that I hate math.  I mean, I don’t love it, but I’m good at it. Numbers make sense to me, and, unlike most people (including me) they never lie – and I looooove word problems. I know, I’m weird – but hearing “two trains leave the station…” gets my blood pumping. Word problems are multi-step puzzles without missing pieces.

But statistics?

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image courtesty of getty/metro.co.uk

I know that I’m not alone – a quick Google search of that phrase comes back with “about 221,000,000 results” in .61 seconds. There’s even an “I hate statistics” website.

So imagine my dismay at discovering I’ve become one – and not a fun statistic, like being one of the 1 in 42 million who win the California super lotto.

I am a victim of identity theft. Again, I’m not alone. As per this 2022 article from Fortunly, 33% of US citizens have been victims of identity theft, with over 49 million victims in 2020.

I am “lucky” in that he/she/they/the motherf-er “only” used my information to file an unemployment claim. It seems counterintuitive to do so little with my information (not that I’m not grateful) but, per my conversation with the EDD, it’s increasingly common. Criminals buy data in bulk when there’s a breach, and file thousands of claims. I don’t know about you, but filing thousands of unemployment claims seems like a lot of work.

I don’t want you to join me. Nerdwallet has great tips for preventing identity theft, including:

  1. Be alert to to phishing and spoofing. Scammers can make phone calls appear to come from government entities or businesses, and emails that appear to be legitimate may be attempts to seal your information. Initiate a callback or return email yourself, working from a known entity such as the official website, rather than responding to a call or email. And be wary of attachments-many contain malware.
  2. Watch your mailbox. Stolen mail is one of the easiest paths to a stolen identity. Have your mail held if you’re out of town. Consider a U.S. Postal Service-approved lockable mailbox. You can also sign up for Informed Delivery though the USPS, which gives you a preview of your mail so you can tell if anything is missing.
  3. Shred, shred, shred. 

Lastly, stop answering questions on Facebook. “I bet you don’t remember your third grade teacher” or “What’s your childhood phone number” may seem innocuous, but hackers use the answers to collect your security questions! While you’re at it, don’t play those games either. You know the ones – “Which Disney princess do you look like?” I love them, but a security expert warned me against them last year. No, I don’t remember why (thanks swiss cheese brain!).

If, like me, you do all the right things but still find yourself a victim, there are several steps you should take.

1. Scream, cry and throw things. It’s not helpful, but it is cathartic.

2a. Check your credit report. By law, everyone is entitled to one free credit report/year, but, thanks to COVID, you check your credit report once/week (which is the only good thing about the pandemic. Well, that, and the fact that I finally get to work from home).

2b. Place a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit report. The nice thing about a fraud alert is that you only have to notify one of the three credit reporting companies (they alert the others) AND it halts all those pre-screened credit card applications for 6 months.

3. File an identity theft report with the FTC. Their site leads you step-by-step through the necessary actions. Hmmmm. Maybe that should be the first step?

As my daughter reminded me, in the grand scheme of things, this is a minor bump – it’s fixable, nobody lost a limb or became “unalive” and we’ve dealt with a worse in our rollercoaster decade.

She’s right. Life’s a rollercoaster, and 49% of people like rollercoasters (now that’s a statistic I can understand). So get in, sit down, buckle up and don’t forget to throw your hands in the air – it makes the ride so much more fun.

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Posted in days of the week, life lessons, WFH Wednesdays

WTF*

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image courtesy of dictionary.com

Happy Hump Day everyone!

We are halfway through the week, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t Wait Til Friday.

Wait a minute.

What’s so special about Fridays? I mean, I know it’s the end of the workweek and all, but really, what makes Friday better than Wednesday? Is it truly a better day, or does it just have a better marketing team?

In my last post I tried to give Monday a spin. I learned that Mondays get a bad rap because they have no feet. I also learned that I am not a very good spin doctor – at least, not as good as these guys:

but I am going to try to work my way through all the days of the week.

I know what you’re thinking (I do! It’s because I’m psychic. Or is it psychotic? I get the two confused). You’re wondering why I would waste my time spinning the days of the week. I’m wondering the same thing.

TBH I don’t know why.

These are things that I DO know –

I know that I have let death, illness, stress, brain weasels and the black dog keep me from writing. I know that days weeks months of avoiding the blank page have turned it into the monster under my bed (literally – I have a whole slew of empty notebooks gathering dust under my bed). I know that the only way to chip away at a writer’s block is to write. And yet….

The words don’t come.

So here I am, rambling about the days of the week, chasing the ADHD squirrels and hoping that they’ll lead me over/around/through the block.

But (pay attention – I have a big but**)

My squirrels lead me straight to an epiphany (ok, not straight – they are ADHD squirrels, so we spent far too much time getting distracted by shiny things) –

We all look forward to Friday – we spend our week looking forward to the weekend and our weekend dreading Monday. When we’re at work we wish we were home and when we’re home (and faced with honey-dos) we wish we were somewhere else.

We are wishing our lives away. It needs to stop.

Life is short. Be here now.

The people at spiritbutton said it better

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*I know what you’re thinking (did you not read my post? I’m psychic!). You thought this was going to be a post about WTF moments. I don’t want to disappoint you, so here’s a link

**mostly thanks to WFH and stress eating

So tell me – what’s your favorite day of the week, and why?

Posted in Feminine Wisdom, life lessons

I Love Me

64-what-is-self-love-all-about[1]I know, I know, when I finished Blogging University’s Fundamentals of Blogging course I promised that Wednesdays would be Weird. Well, guess what? Promises are made to be broken.

Today is Wednesday, February 13th, and it’s time to celebrate Self-Love Day. Christine Arylo created Self-Love Day twelve years ago “to bring awareness to self-love in a way that made it real, tangible and practical to what you are facing in your life today (not fluff.) Because self-love, or lack of it, is at the root of very choice we make…but few people really know what self-love is, and how to apply it to their lives. We cannot guide and model for others what we do not embody deeply ourselves.”

I’ve spoken about the importance of self-love in the past (and no, you do not need batteries to practice self-love). IMHO, you cannot forge healthy relationships with others until you have a healthy relationship with yourself. I’ve seen it over and over with those closest to me – women who searched in vain for a “perfect partner”, finding their soulmate only AFTER they healed their soul.

It’s not just our love lives that suffer when we refuse to prioritize our needs. I’m going to say it again, for the people in back. You need to put yourself first. I know, I know, it goes against everything we’ve been taught as women. We are taught to be caregivers – to put others’ needs before our owns, to take care of all the things that Need Doing before taking time for ourselves.  I’m here to tell you that your relationships with friends/coworkers/family will improve immensely when you put yourself first. Again, for the people in the back – you need to MAKE time for yourself before you take care of anything else.

I have to admit that I’m not good at it. I have a hard time sitting down to read when Stuff Needs Doing, I dose myself on meds and caffeine so that I can take care of my two kids (the one I birthed and the one I married), and I still have a hard time with “the N-word” (not that one).

But I’m working on it. I’ve decided that 2019 is the year I stop telling The Girl to “Do what I say and not what I do” and start modeling a healthier lifestyle. She is rapidly becoming a mini-me:  carrying 17 units at school, volunteering to run lights for church, working towards her next referee badge, and becoming a Cope Health Scholar. I want her to know that it’s okay to say no. I want to show her that rest is not a four-letter word. I want to teach her the importance of self-love, because, as Christine says Self-Love is a path, a practice and a choice. It is the foundation that gives one an inner strength and connection in the heart, body, mind and soul. As a culture, we do not understand, embrace or embody it. If we did, there would be no more bullying, girls dishonoring their bodies, narcissism, abuse, negative self-talk, burnout, destruction of the planet. We are a culture obsessed with the mind, but deeply needing the heart, and scared to actually feel what’s in there.”

Long story short (too late) we need to listen to flight attendants when they tell us to  “Put on your oxygen mask first.”

Christine Arylo has provided some amazing tools to help you learn to practice self-love.

  1. You can get a self-love kit which comes with a powerful process for getting clear on your area of self-love to strengthen
  2. You can join a live class on the impact loving yourself has on your relationships
  3. You can pick up a self-love coloring book and journal

As for me, I started this year’s journey to self-love by taking a quiz to discover who my Inner Mean Girl (aka EIC) is.*

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*They said I’m a perfectionist. Color me not surprised. 

 

Posted in four letter words, life lessons

Yet another F-word

howtofocusimg[1]Once again, The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt has me stumped. I have no idea who he/she is, or how he/she comes up with the word of the day, but I’m pretty sure it involves a couple shots of tequila, a dictionary and a blindfold (sounds like a party to me).

So I’m going to cheat. It’s ok, I’ve done it before. Cheated on my diet, cheated while playing Monopoly with the girl (c’mon, if you don’t cheat, the game is ENDLESS).

I’ve talked about the F-word once or twice. Hell, I’ve blogged about the F-word so many times that today’s original title (The OTHER Other F-word) was already taken.

Today’s F-word (as defined by Oxford Dictionaries) is focus

[ˈfōkəs]

VERB

focused (past tense) · focused (past participle)

    1. (of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly:

“try to focus on a stationary object”

      • cause (one’s eyes) to focus:

“trying to focus his bleary eyes on Corbett”

      • adjust the focus of (a telescope, camera, or other instrument):

“they were focusing a telescope on a star”

synonyms: bring into focus · aim · point · turn

      • (of rays or waves) meet at a single point.
      • (of a lens) make (rays or waves) meet at a single point.
      • (of light, radio waves, or other energy) become concentrated into a sharp beam of light or energy.
      • (of a lens) concentrate (light, radio waves, or energy) into a sharp beam.

I find the word ironic, because I can’t seem to focus lately. I could blame my new prescription. I’ve always been extremely nearsighted (can’t see to find my glasses unless I’m wearing my contacts), but now that I’m “a certain age” my vision needs an additional adjustment if I want to read a menu or the display on my cell phone.

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I could also blame menopause – evidently hormones are the culprit for my adult onset of ADHD.

But I don’t feel like blaming anyone or anything today. Instead, I’m going to use this blog to talk about the importance of changing focus.

This year has been a hard one. Too much loss. Too much death, illness, sadness and hate. I found myself being dragged into the pit of despair by the black dog of depression. This morning’s prompt reminded me of the importance of focus. As Sandy Henson Corso says in her 2013 Huffingtonpost piece “Whatever you focus on, expands is such a simple, easy and truthful idea.”

I know for a fact that this is true. I know it both from personal experience, and from a Google search for “What you focus on changes your life.” I found dozens and dozens of links to articles on the internet, and everything you read on the internet is true.

So I am choosing to change my focus – to focus on the miracles and gifts that surround us – to find something to be grateful for every day. Who knows, I might even start a gratitude journal. Probably not, but I AM going to pick up a copy of Rapt, by Winifred Gallagher. I  loved the excerpt I read on Utne.com this morning.

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I also love this video on battling the black dog of depression:

 

 

Posted in life lessons

Mother, Wife, Demon-slayer

6df30ac8a387944ff5579c32f2641adb[1]“Life is filled with big questions – Fate or Destiny? Heaven or Hell? Love or Attraction? Reason or Impulse? Beatles or Rolling Stones?” – Stephen King, Bazaar of Bad Dreams

“To be, or not to be –that is the question” William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III sc 1.

I LOVE Shakespeare. Love him. As in a total, squealy fangirl crush (and not just because he was played by Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeare in Love) I’ve seen pictures. He was…mmmm. What’s the word I’m looking for? Less than attractive (Yes, I know, that’s three  words). Hey, we’ve all seen the pictures of the old dude with the big balding head in the weird old lady collar.

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I took Shakespeare courses in college, tutored other students and read his works “just for fun”. Yeah. I was THAT kid.  My friends and I spent hours pouring over every play, interpreting and debating the meaning of every scene and  soliloquy – but none more so than the infamous passage from Hamlet, Act III Scene 1.

So why am I bringing this up today? Well, first of all, Heath Ledger would have turned 38 this week, and (ICYMI) Spike released a trailer for the new I am Heath Ledger biography.

Secondly, a friend decided “not to be” earlier this week, and it got me thinking (always a dangerous thing to do). I’ve spoken before about my battles with the EIC and depression, but I will continue to talk about it until the stigma surrounding mental illness is a thing of the past.

Robert, like Heath Ledger, was a brightly shining star – a beautiful-from-the-inside-out incredibly talented creative soul who seemed to move effortlessly amongst us mere mortals. I was in awe of his talent and imagination, his quick wit and genuine warmth. He was not only a talented artist and inventor, he was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He appeared to be comfortable in his own skin, and I assumed that he was free of the destructive voices and demons that torment most artists.

Shows how little I know. What do they say? “Appearances are deceiving”? “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes”? (or, as Steve Martin puts it “Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes.”)

They say that stars who burn the brightest burn the fastest. No, I do not know who “they” are, or why this appears to be true. I assume it has something to do with the limited amount of fuel and the speed at which it is burned, but I’m not a science guy (TBH I’m not a guy at all, although I could be. I met a bartender who spelled his name T-R-A-C-E-Y on St. Patrick’s day, but that’s neither here nor there).

I’m not a science guy, I’m a creative.

Creative brains are weird.

Greater minds than mine have debated whether the stereotype of the “tortured artist” is legitimate. It might be a cliché, but, judging by the Facebook comments from his friends and fellow performers (“I’ve battled depression for years” and “depression has been my constant companion” to quote a few), it’s legitimate. I know that all the artists I’ve met have struggled with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. I believe it is because we are encouraged, as artists and performers, to break down our walls and express our truest self. Shedding our protective layers leaves us open, raw and more vulnerable to “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

Please note – I am not a trained professional, nor do I play one on TV.  I have, however, been battling inner demons for decades. Feel free to take my advice with a grain of salt (and a shot of tequila):

First – Depression is an evil, scum-sucking mother F-r. He travels with his BFFs Hopelessness and Despair. This terrible trio will cheat, lie and steal. They will tell you that nobody cares about you and that nobody wants to listen to you whine. They will take turns sitting in the middle of your chest whispering horrible lies into your ear until you’re nothing but a quivering, weepy mass of snot.

Knowing that Depression is a liar doesn’t fix things. Trust me when I say that knowing something intellectually doesn’t stop me from sliding all the way to the bottom of the pit of despair.

Every single time I find myself at the bottom of the pit, I think “What the hell am I doing here/I’ll never get out.”*  I have, however, recently learned to recognize the symptoms of the spiral before depression gains traction. I wish I could tell you what they are, but they’re different for everyone. Hopefully it won’t take you forty-something years to identify yours.

Secondly (or maybe this should be first) fighting the demons only makes them stronger, and is incredibly exhausting. Strangely enough, giving them a chance to voice their opinions renders them powerless. When the voices start whispering, I take pen to paper and write down everything they say (in cursive, so the words can flow). I write without rebuttal until they stop speaking. Believe me when I say that a person (or inner demon) who is allowed to vent without interruption will eventually run out of steam. What you do next depends on what works for you – you can respond to them, verbally or on paper, you can shred the papers, burn them, or use them to line a birdcage. Eventually you might find the strength to do the one thing that banishes them – laugh at them. Demons are like the boggarts in Harry Potter – hiding in the deepest, darkest corners of our mind, filling us with mind numbing fear, and disappearing with the first giggle.

Most importantly, if you (or a loved one) is struggling with depression or have run out of cope, ask for help. Yes, help is a four letter word, but it’s not a foul one. Don’t wait until you’re stuck at the bottom of a cold dark pit. Call a friend, call a family member, call a stranger. You can dial 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. If you don’t want to call, you can even send a text.

I was going to end with the inspirational “Don’t You Quit” poem, but it’s a little pithy for me today. I’ll leave you with Dylan Thomas instead.

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* Well, that’s not exactly true. My first thought is “Wow, it’s dark and cold down here. Next time I should bring a space heater and a booklight”.

Posted in four letter words, life lessons

On Love, Loss, and Laughter

images71V16YFPI know what you’re thinking – “Where the hell has Tracey been and what kind of writer doesn’t write?” (or, as my EIC would say, “If a writer isn’t writing, doesn’t that mean they’re not a writer?”)

In Hell. Literally (Ok, maybe not literally). A stuck writer. That’s what kind.

Grief has eaten my brain, and stolen my creativity.

I lost someone a month ago who was incredibly important to me. Well, I didn’t’ “lose” him. It’s not like he was a set of car keys, or a sock that disappeared from the dryer, or my mind.

Sorry for that. I have a habit of trying to compensate for emotional issues with sarcasm and lame attempts at humor. Let me try again.

My friend died a month ago.

Wow. There it is, in black and white. The phrase I’ve avoided. I know it’s hard to read, but trust me, it’s harder to write and practically impossible to believe. Timothy Leary was right when he said “Death is the last taboo.”  Nobody dies. They “pass on” or “leave us”, “slip away” or “go to a better place”.

I call bullshit.

My friend died.

Three words. So simple and so misleading. Here’s how dictionary.com breaks down the sentence:

My – belonging to or associated with the speaker.

Friend – a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual of family relations

Died – to cease to live; undergo the complete and permanent cessation of all vital functions

The thing is, Mario wasn’t just “my” friend. He was EVERYONE’S friend. Yeah, he was THAT guy. He was charming and funny, smart and kind. No matter where he went, he always ended up surrounded by a group of people who were jostling for position and vying for his attention. Mario, like my mother, seemed to believe that there is no such thing as a stranger. Strangers are simply friends you haven’t yet met.

He was my friend, but he was more than that. There are friends, and then there are people who are so much more than simply friends – we call these people our “family of heart”. We might not be related by blood, but we are joined by a love that is even stronger than family ties. Mario was my friend, my mentor, my brother of heart.

I met Mario when we were young and foolish, hopeful and fearless. He was dating the woman who ran the booth I worked for – the woman who would become one of my very best friends. In a blink of an eye, they were married, and raising 3 kids.

Mario and Virginia were playing house and being Responsible Adults while I was still trying to decide how to style my hair. It took me longer to grow up, but eventually I got married and had a kid of my own. I am incredibly lucky to have had their help in raising my daughter. Mario was a perfect example of a father for my spouse to emulate, and Virginia was the same for me. Their three kids are amazing people, despite the fact that their parents have a twisted sense of humor (It gave me hope that our daughter wouldn’t be Permanently Damaged). The fact that they were still wildly in love with each other even after 35 years together was inspiring – a testimony to the power of True Love.

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Mario’s kids asked us to write down things that we learned from him, to list our favorite sayings or quotes. I couldn’t think of anything at the time. I’m sure people remember a lot of “Mario-isms”, but I can’t remember anything other than him saying “OUTSTANDING!” when things would go less than perfectly, or when someone would do something that was extraordinarily stupid. But here are things that I learned from him:

Be kind. Mario was nice to everyone – no matter what they believed, what they looked like, how they dressed, how much money they made (or didn’t make). He was one of the popular kids, but he wasn’t one of the mean girls (which is not to say that he didn’t enjoy a little CCC* when warranted). He went out of his way to be kind to people who were often overlooked or ignored. He was even nice to the weird kid in the corner (What? No, that wasn’t me, why would you think that?).

Be polite We disagreed about many things (politics, religion, and whether the Three Stooges were funny). As strong minded (or, in my case, hard headed) individuals, we agreed to disagree. Having friends with opinions which differ from one’s own makes life more interesting.

but don’t be a pushover. (does this one really need explaining?)

Keep learning. Mario was always reading, always trying to better himself. As Albert Einstein said “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”

Make people smile Mario would do almost anything to get a laugh (that’s not exactly true. There was no “almost” about it).

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by embracing your inner weirdo – In a world where everyone worries about what others think/we struggle to fit in, to be normal (please note, “normal” is just a setting on the washing machine), Mario stood out as someone who just didn’t give a flying f…

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Don’t whine. (Aka “Suck it up, Buttercup”) The past few years were incredibly hard physically and psychologically, and yet, Mario was always smiling (or maybe it was a grimace). His outlook could best be described this way:

Be strong… Mario was in a lot of pain, but he never let it stop him from doing the things that he needed or wanted to do. Long days at work which required hours of driving? Every day. Trips to Yosemite, to hockey games, to shows and soccer games and even a longa** Christmas parade? NP. The thing that stands out most is the fact that, whenever I came to visit, no matter how much pain he was in, Mario always stood up to say hello.

but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it (TBH I never heard Mario ask for help for himself. He was always asking for help for someone else).

and always offer help to those who need it. In a world where people rise above the masses by putting others down, Mario lifted people up.

Those are the things I’ve learned from Mario’s life. What did I learn from his death?

That “Only the good die young” is not a meaningless phrase. Neither is “Life’s a Bitch, and then you die.” That we need to find make time for those we love. When I was a kid, I thought nothing of knocking on my friend’s door, and asking if they could come out and play. We lose that ability when we grow up – we get busy with life – with school, with work. We worry that our houses are too messy for guests, or that our friends are too busy for us. We SCHEDULE our lives and our visits, instead of just “popping in to say hello”. We text and skype and send messages via snapchat or twitter. We brag about the fact that Facebook has allowed us to “reconnect” with old friends and family members, but we don’t take make the time to see each other “IRL”. WE NEED TO STOP THAT, RIGHT NOW.

What did I learn from my friend’s death? Life is short, and none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. Mario’s younger daughter got married in November. At the reception, he asked me told me to stop by after work for a “beer and bitch” session, but I assumed it was the whisky talking, and that we would have a chance to catch up “soon”. Please believe me when I say that “SOON” DOESN’T COME SOON ENOUGH.

I know this was a long post, so, in the immortal words of Inygo Montoya “let me sum up”. What did I learn from Mario?

Live fearlessly, love fiercely and laugh at all that life throws your way.

And, oh yeah, always pet the puppies.

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*Catty Corner Commentary

Posted in all about me, life lessons

Hippo Gnu Deer

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Image courtesy of Sandra Boynton

Happy New year and welcome to a brand new me!

I know what you’re thinking – really I do. Not because I’m psychic, or because (thanks to Miss Sally’s magic mirror) I can see you*. It’s not even because I’m a mom and moms know EVERYTHING.

I know what you’re thinking, because every year, when people would say “Whooooo hooo! New year – it’s a fresh start!” I would roll my eyes so hard that I was afraid they’d fall out.

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And then 2016 happened. It was an extreme rollercoaster of a year,  filled with highs, lows, marriages, births and near death experiences.

To be honest, 2016 wasn’t terrible for me. It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t horrible. We (“we” meaning my family – I haven’t started using the royal “we” – yet)  made it through with sanity and sense of humor mostly intact, which is more than can be said of some. Again, it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great. We survived.

After five years riding Life’s rollercoaster, I’ve decided that survival is not enough. Surely I can do something more than just survive another year. Yesterday I started listening to “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes. She opened with one of my favorite quotes:

If you want crappy tings to stop happening to you, then stop accepting crap and demand something more.” – Christina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy

It occurred to me that in order to make some changes in my life, I might need to actually make some changes in my life. No, you didn’t read that wrong. For the past few years I’ve tried to make changes in my life by wishing and hoping, praying and swearing. Some things worked better than others (swearing always makes me feel better, especially when I’ve cracked my toe on the corner of the sofa), but they’ve only brought me so far.

Maya Angelou says it better:

“The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.”

I’ve decided that this year, instead of setting myself up for failure by making impossible resolutions (“I will cut out sugar, alcohol and caffeine, walk every day at lunch and have more patience for stupidity.”)I will try making small changes**.

I’m not quite sure what changes I’m going to make yet. The fact that I’ve recognized that I need to make changes feels like a big enough step for today. I’m with Bob. Baby steps to a new me.

*Romper Room was one of my favorite shows. For some reason, no matter how close I saw to the TV, or how loudly I screamed, Miss Sally couldn’t see me.

**I hate change. Change is hard. But I’m willing to try.

So tell me – are you making any new year’s resolutions? Have you broken them already?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in four letter words, life lessons

The Other F-word

Confession[1]I have a confession to make. Seeing that I’m not Catholic and am extremely adverse to sitting in small rooms talking to strange men, I will make my public confession here. As soon as I can work up the nerve. Ok here goes –

I swear. A lot.*

This should come as no surprise to those of you who read my blog. Just last week, I admitted to swearing like a fleet of sailors. It certainly comes as no surprise to my friends and family. I have been swearing since I discovered the power of four letter words while I was in high school. My family and neighbors were regularly…..entertained (for want of a better word) by slamming doors and foul language screamed at the top of my lungs. I am (slightly) embarrassed to admit that my language hasn’t improved much since high school.  I will say, however, that I no longer slam my bedroom door (but only because my door is hollow and refuses to slam in a satisfying manner).

I use the F-word more often than any Responsible Adult should (which is not really a problem, since I admit to being neither), especially now that I am a suburban soccer mom who is raising an impressionable young teen. It is what it is. I find satisfaction in using the word, whether because it still holds shock value, or because I can’t find another word that expresses my feelings of impotency and frustration when dealing with the struggles that come along with this crazy rollercoaster we call life.

I think that I am finally giving it up for another F-word. It’s not a four letter word, but it does share similar qualities. People talk about it all the time, usually in hushed tones. Like my favorite F word, it makes people uncomfortable. Unlike my favorite word, this one’s power comes from something more than shock value.

I’m talking about forgiveness

From Miriam Wesbter:

forgiveness

noun for·give·ness \-ˈgiv-nəs\

Simple Definition of forgiveness

Popularity: Bottom 50% of words
  • : the act of forgiving someone or something

  • : the attitude of someone who is willing to forgive other people

I was amused but not surprised to find that the popularity of forgiveness is less than 50%. It’s a rough one. I would like to be able to say that, as an enlightened and loving being, I am quick to forgive and forget. I would like to be able to say it, but I can’t (well, I CAN, but I would be lying). I have been reminded, repeatedly, that forgiveness is powerful, life-changing, and very important to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

I have learned that, if you refuse to listen, Life will knock you down until you do – so this time, I am listening. I hope you do, too. Don’t forget the most important part of the lesson – forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, it means remembering and letting go

forgiveness[1]

 

*I was overjoyed to find out that Classysassycrazy shares my fondness for four letter words