The Focus

Weathering life’s storms can be stressful, to say the least. It occurs to me today, however, that life’s storms are what build, shape, and define us. During my current storm, I find myself ‘in the rain without an umbrella’. By this, I mean, I was not personally, financially, or emotionally prepared for the newest bout with mother nature. I am still here. I am working through it. Smiling, laughing with friends, and working it all out.

True, I am ‘alone’. True, I am my sole source of income. True, no one is ever ready for medical issues to arise. True, I have a roof over my head, a car in my driveway, food in my kitchen, family and friends who love and support me.

Life is about focus. Our outlook on life’s storms is directly related to our focus. Of course, I could focus on the negatives. There are a shit ton of negatives. I can also, and choose to, focus on the positives.

I will recover. I have a mother and brother who check on me constantly and will drop everything if I need them. I have friends who will brew my dumbass a pot of coffee and bring it over when I realize I went into surgery without making sure my coffee was fully stocked for my return. I have employees who are trying their very best to keep things under control and moving smoothly in my absence. I have dear, dear friends who are not close by, but check in via our multitude of modern technological communication sources.

I choose to focus on the good. It doesn’t make me stronger than anyone else. It doesn’t make me better than anyone else. It damn sure doesn’t make me more prepared than anyone else. What it does do though, is provide me with the inner peace and contentment to just heal and smile. No resentments, no undue stress, no bitterness.

Each day is not a battle. The very concept of each day being a battle is a negative way of thinking. Each day is a challenge. A challenge I accept, welcome, and will find a way to overcome.

I’m not a Pollyanna person. I’m never accused of being too happy. I am, and will always be, a person can pick myself up, dust myself off, and climb back on that bartop! (I don’t do cowgirl references, because, yeah, so not me)

Shit happens people. Sometimes it’s good shit, sometimes it’s bad shit. In the end, you decide whether or not to let it stick to you. All I know is I have no intention of smelling like shit just because things got rough. (classiest metaphor ever, I know)

The next time you face a new challenge, make a conscious decision to focus on what is good, surround yourself with positive people, energy, and things, and move the hell forward. Find a mirror, grab a lipstick and smear something encouraging on that bitch! I get particular pleasure from writing myself offensive affirmations. It makes me smile and reminds me I’m kind of awesome.

Nothing says, ‘Shawn Was Here’ quite like my upstairs bathroom having “Nice ass” smeared in hot pink lipstick on the mirror.ūüėČ

If You Aren’t Part Of the Solution….

……you’re part of the problem. You have heard it before, as have we all. Never does it ring more true than this past Thursday. I was appalled by the number of people I know who went shopping on Treacherous Thursday. My new name for Thanksgiving. The one it earned when such a large volume of people betrayed the simple, family oriented values of one of only two days a year the retail industry has traditionally considered off-limits. Allowing ALL of their employees to relax and feel like a part of the rest of the world.

I realize it is a bit of naiveté that caused me to hope the crowds would be underwhelming Thursday. Hoping people would be able to wait the additional 11 whole, painstaking hours, to begin their frenzied savings spree. Alas, humanity disappointed me again. Crowds, stampedes, a Black Friday Death Count that actually began on the day formally recognized as Thanksgiving.  It all just leaves me feeling sad and hopeless.

Clearly, I misunderstood the importance of the free ornament you could receive by showing up and standing in a line for four hours on a day of rest for our nation. I especially find it appalling when I hear the bragging about having a 4 day weekend, while then talking about shopping after dinner Thursday. Enjoy the 4 days…..self-absorbed, shortsighted, heartless Americans.

The flip side of this, of course, is my acute awareness of the sacrifices made by our military. Yes, they deploy and are away from their families for entire 9 month periods. Obviously, this is a much more heart wrenching case than merely working on yet another holiday. I do maintain, however, our service members are fighting for our freedom and to make a difference in the world. The employees at Target were giving up their family time so you could be the first to save $6 on stocking stuffers. Not exactly apples to apples.

I find myself ashamed of the capitalist, selfish, ME ME ME world we have let this become. I have no shame in telling you, if you were one of the shoppers on Thursday, I am beyond irritated with you. I may love you for various reasons, but on this, I will not budge. You were wrong. Black Friday is a fun, crazy, good time. Family members get together the day before, then the next morning is spent with your favorite people, shopping, freezing, laughing, and saving. It really should have been enough.

The worst part is; much like a snowball rolling downhill, there is no reversal of the path, no going back. You made Corporate America’s monetary based goals come true. I hope it was worth it to you.

Trying To Be The -est

Smartest. Funniest. Prettiest. Sexiest. Richest. To hell with being the -est!  

It’s a simple concept.; take funny, ¬†turn the y to an i, take best, ¬†drop the b, add it to funny….. you have funniest. Why?¬†

Why do we raise our children,  allow ourselves,  to feel anything less than better than everyone around,  best,  is the only acceptable outcome? I know people who consider themselves to be pacifists,  yet constantly are at war with everyone around them,  all so they can be the best.  

The Voice,  Survivor,  X Factor,  American Idol; not interested in how amazing these people may be,  only in who is The Best. 

Ever have sex with someone, ¬†only to then have them ask you if they were The Best? ¬†Ugh! That is the worst. Have you ever been honest in that moment? “Well, ¬†no, ¬†not really, ¬†but it was much better than the first time. ” ¬†Bwahahaha trust me, ¬†not ¬†The Best response. ¬†

There simply is no such thing as The Best. ¬†There is always something better, ¬†something more, ¬†just beyond our grasp. ¬†Why do we obsess over this? It just doesn’t matter. If we continue, ¬†as individuals, ¬†as families, ¬†as societies, ¬†to get better, isn’t that the ultimate goal? ¬†Shouldn’t it be the ultimate goal?¬†

Do you have a favorite song? Favorite movie? Favorite memory? Or is it all relative to your mood,  your age,  your surroundings? 

I’m not the funniest. ¬†I’m not the prettiest. ¬†I’m not the smartest. ¬†I’m not the wealthiest. ¬†I am, ¬†however, ¬†constantly getting better. ¬†I’m funnier than I was yesterday. ¬†I’m smarter than I was yesterday. ¬†I’m happier than I was yesterday. ¬†It’s not about you, ¬†it’s about me. ¬†When you think about it, ¬†it’s not about me, ¬†it’s about you. ¬†

Life is not a competition, ¬†it’s a process. ¬†Strive to be great in your own eyes. ¬†Do you like who you are becoming?¬†

If I could wish one thing for you,  it would be that you stop trying to achieve -est and instead,  find the joy in being better. 

Aretha Should Have Sang About D I G N I T Y

I don’t¬†care who you are, ¬†how old you are, ¬†or who the situation involves, ¬†there is a peaceful feeling in the wake of bad situations when you kept your dignity intact.

I’m not prone to outbursts. I don’t yell and scream. I don’t like to cry in public unless it’s from laughing too hard. ¬†I’m not the world’s most confident woman, ¬†but I know I don’t ask for more than I deserve, ¬†so when I am in a situation which goes against this, ¬†I try to maintain enough logic to stop trying and simply walk away.

I suppose you have gathered, ¬†by this point, ¬†I recently found myself in one of these situations. ¬†In fact, ¬†I was in what was one of the oddest and somewhat humiliating situations possible. ¬†A man I have been involved with for a few months was in town. ¬†We had quite a lovely evening Friday night. ¬†Then came Saturday, ¬†we will call it, ¬†“The Fall. ”

During The Fall,  he managed to insult and hurt me more in a twenty minute conversation than I even knew was possible. Ending it with the grand finale of telling me he had no idea why he had ever come down for the visit.

Just to make it clear,  the man who told me he was coming to see me,  had me meet him and his friends Friday night for drinks where we had a nice time,  asked me to stay at the hotel with him where we had a great time,  walked me out the next morning kissing me goodbye and telling me he would see me when I got off from work that evening,  was now telling me he had no reason to be here.

There comes a time in every person’s life where you have to make this choice. ¬†The choice to let yourself fall apart, ¬†or pay for your drink, ¬†get your purse and walk away. For some, ¬†this is a metaphorical choice, ¬†for me it was a literal one. ¬†While Lauren is a very efficient server, ¬†that felt like the longest wait ever, ¬†sitting beside him, ¬†awaiting the check and the end. ¬†Refusing to cry in front of him or anyone else in that place.

I did it, ¬†and don’t get me wrong, ¬†it took everything I had in me. ¬†In fact, ¬†he tried to talk to me some more and I simply leaned into his ear and told him, “no, ¬†I can’t and I won’t.”

I made it approximately ten steps out of the bar before the tears began to roll. ¬†That doesn’t matter, ¬†what matters is I made it. ¬†What matters is I walked, ¬†because I, like every other person in this world, ¬†deserve to be with someone who wants to be with me. I should never settle for someone who would sit beside me after a month and a half apart and question whether or not they wanted to spend the night with me.

I walked because he made it necessary. ¬†I walked because it was apparent I was the only one at the table who gave a fuck about me. I walked because staying, ¬†crying, ¬†talking, ¬†trying, ¬†at that point, ¬†would have been to lose respect for myself. Leave my dignity on a bar table in a rundown, ¬†low rent, ¬†Mexican restaurant in Radcliff, KY, and that shit just isn’t going to happen.

After I walked, ¬†I sent a simple message, ¬†via text, letting him know I don’t hate him, wasn’t mad at him, ¬†simply wasn’t going to sit there after he made it clear he didn’t want to be with me. I wished him great things for his future and I meant it.

Rejection by someone you have opened yourself up to is painful. It leaves you feeling a vulnerability unlike any other feeling in the world.  It can also help you grow,  learn,  and know more about yourself.

I hate admitting I miss him.  I hate looking at my phone and feeling a pang of sadness that I no longer get dozens of messages from him each day. He sent one message after The Fall,  short, to the point,  thanking me for being great and supportive.  Needless to say,  having someone who just rejected you tell you how great you are is cold comfort. A nice gesture,  nonetheless.

I sit here tonight feeling melancholy,  but knowing I will be okay. I walked away with my dignity intact. Maybe there is a little piece of my heart not so whole,  but hearts heal,  time passes and people move forward.

I have found,  in life,  I heal much faster if I have no regrets.  When I read his last text message,  I knew he was right.  I had spent four months being great. If great is not good enough for him,  I wish him nothing but the best finding better.

Dignity? Check.

Sanity? Check.

Healthy kids? Check.

Job? Check.

I got everything I need to move forward. Time to get Back to Shawn.

The Status of Your Facebook Relationship

I will just start out being honest. I am uncomfortable with Facebook relationship statuses, outside of “Married, don’t hit on me, kthanxbye.”

There is too much room for humiliation, angst, belligerent exes,… the negative possibilities are endless. The positives, far less infinite; a few people are happy for you and your “other” feels all warm and fuzzy for a hot minute. Yay…bleh. I’m just not feeling it.

So, now we have established my anti-status stance, what about all of the other tricky Facebook negotiating terms. I mean, tagging, commenting, creeping, pictures…ugh, it all adds up to a giant headache when in the gray phase of a relationship.

I bring this up because I realize not everyone thinks the way I think. Therefore, I’ve had a few friends get very upset with the person I’m talking to, whom they have never met, because one wouldn’t know we even knew each other if you looked only at Facebook. (yes, we are friends on Facebook, but that really is it)¬† I was just like, oh whatever, I don’t care, I mean, it is a mutual thing. It isn’t as if I have ever done anything to indicate a potential Facebook connection, so can I really be bothered if he doesn’t? Well, I’m not bothered by it, I am bothered by everyone else judging based on it.

Yes, this is the social media age. I fully understand this, but does it mean we really share our intimate lives with everyone, regardless of the tenuous nature of our connection, via our social media outlets of choice? I mean, I didn’t announce my last gynecologist visit on Facebook or Twitter, nor did I snap any IG photos. Just not my thing.

All of this just keeps coming to the forefront of conversations. One of my good friends was in a total state of “WTF dude?!?!” this morning because the guy she has only been out with three times tagged her and put a pic of the two of them on Facebook last night. “I keep my significant others on the creep. Apparently he didn’t get the memo”

While she and I joked and laughed about this, it just brings the question up again, from the other side. Too much, too soon. Egads! That really is worse than nothing at all, or at least from my view it is worse. It has a slight tinge of “laying claim” to it, which doesn’t work for me, or my friend. If I’m yours, you know it, I know it, anyone who is close to us should know it, beyond that, it just falls outside the realm of other people’s business.

I have heard all of the arguments, I know why my friends feel how they do about the guy I’m talking to and I know how my other friend feels about being tagged at the starting gate. It’s a lot to sort through and really, if you let it be, it’s just extra stress on an already abysmal dating scene.

I say, do your own thing. As long as you don’t have ulterior motives for your own thing. I mean, if I didn’t want tagged in posts or photos because I was talking to other people who might see it, yeah, that is some shady shit and completely unacceptable. However, if you just like your privacy or feel the need to protect the privacy of the other person, do your thing!

Most importantly, when uncertain what you should or should not put on FB, just throw it on Twitter. No one is reading your tweets, anyway.ūüėČ

Stop the Crazy Train!

I hear men, women, and children say on a far too regular basis, women are crazy, I’m crazy, my mom/sister/aunt, etc is crazy. I even see the Facebook theme pictures with sayings like, “Behind every crazy woman is a man who made her that way.” It’s as if society, as a whole, has decided women have lost their collective minds and that’s just how it is going to be going forward. I think not!

I work with a group of primarily men. Men who, at least once a day, make a reference to one of the ‘crazy’ women in their life. One has even informed me, “Aww naw, all you bitches got a little bit of the crazy in ya. It’s jus a matter of when it jumps out and grabs somebody by the throat.” Every. Man. Here. They feel so strongly there is a crazy person laying in wait within every woman, they openly discuss it, at length.

I can deal with the fact unimpressive, under-educated men who have surrounded themselves with less than spectacular women, think all women are ‘crazy in wait’. What I have a much harder time coming to terms with is the women who perpetuate the myth.

Every time I see a female do something clearly requiring a suspension of reasonable thought, I just want to grab her by the shoulders, shake her, and tell her to stop making it harder for those of us with some self-control and sense. Stop giving credence to the perception. There are a lot of us out here who use reason and logic in our dealings with others, we would appreciate it if you would stop giving us all a bad name.

Naturally, when living around adults, both men and women, who are calling out crazy all around them, children pick up on it quickly. Young boys assume they will deal with the ‘craziness’ of the entire female gender for the rest of their lives, and young girls find ways to excuse the inexcusable through the societal assumption. When constantly told they are expected to act ‘crazy’, guess what? They are going to live up to those expectations.

I have not even touched on the obvious. The people who truly do have mental disorders, causing them to act inappropriately without the control mechanisms with which the rest of us are equipped. I also haven’t touched on the ratio of ‘crazy’ acts committed by men versus the number committed by women. I mean, is it not a bit ‘crazy’ for a grown man to commit an act of physical violence against another human being because he is unhappy with the outcome of a sporting event?

I suppose my frustration can be summed up with one simple sentence; call me crazy one more time and see what happens. Let me give you a simple description of what will happen, I will walk away and never entertain conversation with you again. That is how us sane bitches handle people who are incapable of expanding their minds beyond stereotypes.