Category Archives: respect

Overcome…

This week has been incredibly overwhelming for me.  Personally, professionally and emotionally.  I am drained.  I am tired.  I am exasperated.  And more than anything…

I am overcome.

After many years, a friendship was ended…mutually, after nearly 40 years.  We didn’t decide to just release one another but rather, it ended in an incredibly ugly fashion with sarcasm, bitter words, name calling and scathing accusations.  She wasn’t listening to me.  I wasn’t listening to her.  We both struggled to be heard, but the louder the words became,  the more they fell on deaf ears.  This person was gone to me for a very long time.  From the time I was 14 years old actually.  We reunited back in 2002.  For six years, it was wonderful.  We shared each others homes, hearts and secrets.  She entered my life during a very volatile time with my husband (yes, once upon a time, things were not all hearts and flowers between the Princess and the Hotband.)  She got me through a lot of rough years.  I will always be appreciative of that.  Then, Facebook comes along.  Old friends enter the picture.  Worse yet, new friends enter the picture and slowly the chasm grows.  We start realizing how different we are.  Subtle changes at first give way to more blatant, outward changes.  Statements that would once be taken in jest were no longer amusing.  The differences become more noticeable, not only to us, but to our mutual friends.  Bickering begins.  Nit-picky small things at first slowly give way to all out lunges at each others throats.  Diplomacy is suddenly lost on both of us.  She is asking me to change who I am.  I am telling her accept me as I am.  She calls me a liar.  I call her varying degrees of the word “bitch”.  She tells me she is blocking me from her feed.  I eventually block her from my “friends list”.  Sarcastic nasty notes are exchanged and suddenly, it is 1980.  We are two teenage girls, snarling at one another in the school yard, throwing down our books as the crowd forms a circle around us.  Sides are chosen.  Friendships are irretrievably broken. Alliances are formed.

Only this time, there is no teacher to step in, to intervene.  We are left to our own devices, both of us too afraid to have this discussion by phone…so we are relegated to nasty Facebook messages saying things that we more than likely wouldn’t dare to say to each other if we were face to face.

It was exhausting.  And now, it is over.

I have opted not to discuss this with our mutual friends.  She, however, has been talking about this non-stop.  The chitter chatter of the spies still running back and forth between us, like little electrical synapses firing off, one after the other.  I just want to be free of it already.  I wanted this year to start differently rather than more of the same.

And while there is a part of me that is always going to mourn the loss of that friendship, I am trying to remember that there was a reason she walked into my life when she did after a 25 year separation.  I am grateful for the little girl I grew up with as much as I am grateful for the woman who held me in her arms as I sobbed over the pain my husband had caused me.  I would have loved to have shared another 40 years with her…but we grew up differently, our lives shaped by different events.  I am not who she remembers, nor who she wants me to be.  She is not who I remembered, nor who I wanted her to be.

But, for a short moment in time, we were everything to each other.  She held my hand in kindergarten sometimes.  She was always the braver and bolder one.  She had a silly laugh that carried over into her adult years, a giggle that would make you look into the eyes of this 40 year old woman and see the 6 year old within.  We couldn’t stop talking to one another and were placed on opposite sides of a classroom more times than I can count.  We crushed on the same boys.  She always won their hearts and I suppose I always envied that about her.  It always came so naturally for her.  I had to work so much harder to impress people.  Thus begun my extremely extroverted personality.  The outrageous things I would say and do.  She would always shake her curly head and laugh at me.  And I would smile, knowing my best friend approved of who I was, accepted me and loved me…even when I wasn’t in performance mode.  To everyone else, I was that crazy girl…but to her, I was just “CP”.  Or, as she put it, even in our 40’s, she would refer to me as…”my CP”.

And I was hers.  Unconditionally…and probably would have been for life had we not allowed the little things to pyramid to grandiose proportions and spin violently out of control.

In my heart, in my mind and in my soul…I will always remember the moment when we were 14 years old and hugging goodbye as my parents moved me out of the city and into the suburbs.  I never saw her again after that.  I will always remember her big brown eyes, her long curly hair and her lips, quivering from trying to hold back the tears of seeing a best friend disappear from her life.  That vision will help me handle what has happened between us, remove the ugliness that transpired on both our behalves and allow me to move forward into the new year without regrets or pain.

She will always be my very first best friend.  No amount of ugly will ever change that.

I’m willing to keep her there, in my heart, exactly that way.

Further proof that no good deed goes unpunished…

So, I am reading a friends Facebook page. From what I am gathering, my friend is not just depressed and sad, but she is posting things that make her sound like she is in full on crisis mode. These weren’t suggestions or innuendos, but full on statements like wishing death on herself. This concerns me greatly, as I know this friend has been under a lot of stress for quite some time. I worry for this friend. I want this friend to know they are loved, cared about and thought of in such high regard that the world would be a little dimmer if they were not here.

Also, there is the thought of my beloved Derek racing through my head. His suicide back in 2007 has scarred me so deeply and perhaps has made me hyper-vigilant when it comes to someone tossing around the notion of suicidal thoughts. I lost Derek and still blame myself in a lot of ways. The “should haves”, “would haves” and “could haves” still haunt me. So I will be totally damned if I am going to let another friend leave this earth without a fight.

I wrote a letter on Facebook to about 12 of this persons closest friends, asking them to rally around this particular friend. Post something on their wall, a memory of them. A photo of you and this person together. Something sweet and loving. Or, if your time allows, send this person an email just to let them know you are thinking of them. I didn’t divulge any personal information about this person. I did not disclose what was going on in their life. I just simply asked for a few friends to reach out to this person.

So, imagine my surprise when I see THIS response show up in reply:

Hey, here’s another thought. What about letting people deal with their lives and butting the fuck out. We have private lives for a reason and I for one prefer not to have people discussing mine behind my back. it would embarrass me and send me away if I thought the people I actually turn to for a little cheer on my terms thought I was a pathetic suicidal mess. Even if that’s not your intention. It would be the way I would see it. That’s all I’m going to say and I’m not going to be baited into a discussion either so I’m untagging myself from this and would prefer not to be invited back.

*blinks*

Um, Wow?

Nowhere in my original letter did I state this person was a “pathetic suicidal mess”. Not even remotely indicated. Just stated what I saw on their Facebook page. It was right out there, in the open, on this persons sidebar. I found their reaction (or rather, overreaction) peculiar, because this particular group of friends…well, we are sort of known for doing things like this for one and other. This past year, we had two friends lose their jobs, one had a cancer scare, another lost a beloved pet and another still went through a nasty divorce. In each of these cases, someone rallied the troops and said “Hey, let’s leave a little love and support on their Wall.” Ironically, we did the same thing for the person who took my head off for their birthday! They were feeling sort of sad…so one of our friends said, “Let’s do something special for their birthday this year.” About 17 of us got involved in a collaborative project to come up with the perfect birthday gift for this person. And, I recall this friend saying “You guys really touched me. I have the greatest friends. Thank you for doing this for me.”

So apparently, when it benefits YOU…the notion of rallying around a friend is alright?

Last night, I went to go post to this persons wall. I found a funny picture that I thought they would like and was going to post it to their page as somewhat of a peace offering, instead of discussing the situation to death. I was just willing to let it go even though they came at me in a terribly harsh manner. I get to their page only to find out I had been removed as their friend. To say I was hurt is a huge understatement. It is not often that someone can hurt me to the point where I cry, but I did. Not that I was hugely close with this person. I wasn’t. We were friends through mutual friends. But, this was someone I respected and liked a great deal. Plus, this person now had me up all night long wondering, questioning myself…

did I do something wrong?

I tossed and turned over this all night. I must have read the letter I wrote again and again. What did I say? What did I do that was so bad? I thought it was a positive gesture.

I received some letters of support from the other people I had on the list. One person even stuck up for me and told this person to “lighten up”, which was nice…because that was my thought too. But really? For the first time, I was sort of speechless. I wrote to this person on the thread the only thing I could possibly think of to say…

“And strangely the only thought that comes into my head is…no good deed goes unpunished. Thanks for that, (Friend). You rock. /end sarcasm.”

How very true those words are. Sad during this time of year, when suicide rates spike up to their highest levels, is it considered a bad thing to reach out to a friend in need. Do I think the original person would have killed themselves? I hope not. But how can anyone really ever know for sure?

I have to be honest. I still maintain a lot of guilt over Derek’s death. I will be damned if I let someone walk down that road alone again without letting them know how much they are loved, needed and wanted in this world.

Only next time…I guess I’ll just keep it to myself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2 HOURS LATER EDIT: So, I am scrolling through pics at Imgur.com when I come across this pic. You know what? Fuck that friend who deleted me. I did the right thing. Validation comes in the craziest of ways. ~CP

(Click to open a new window, then, click again to enlarge.)

When Religion and Tradition Collide…

I truly believe that most Christians do not have a clue about the origin of their religion. More over, I believe that most of them do not even remotely understand that Christmas has nothing at all to do with the birth of Christ. And Santa? Good old Santa has nothing at all to do with the Christian version of Christmas whatsoever. So, when a conversation like the following takes place, I often try to gently inform and educate while trying to understand that, no matter what I say, someone who has been made to understand one thing since they were a child is not likely to change their opinion regardless of how much sense someone else makes.

I had the following conversation on Facebook the other day and was curious what Blogger would think of it. Apparently, “Person A” was upset because of a recent ruling in Florida stating that all Christmas signs/decorations would not be adorning the toll booths along the highway, as has always been done in the past, because when Halloween decorations were put up this past October, many people complained that they were “offended” by them. They were offended because the decorations pushed the Pagan holiday of Halloween and it was an affront to those who are devout Christians.

NOTE: Names are redacted to protect the idiocy identity of the player involved. Also, random comments that contributed nothing to the main idea of the conversation were deleted in the interest of saving space.

Person A: I’m tired of hearing that people are offended about the word CHRISTMAS & when someone says MERRY CHRISTMAS to them! Well guess what, “TOUGH SHIT”, I don’t hear you complaining when you go on CHRISTMAS break or have OFF from work for this wonderful day. If you are offended–TO FRIGGEN BAD– I have to be sensitive to all your holidays, then be RESPECTFUL of MINE! MERRY CHRISTMAS, MERRY CHRISTMAS, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Friend of Person A: That’s awesome! You took the words right out of my mouth!

Person A: Thanks (Friend), I can’t take all the credit, my awesome cousin said it first but it is exactly what I was thinking!! Forget political correctness, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

CP: I get that…but then, you have to give equal time to ALL religions. There was no Happy Channukah signs up this past season either. That’s disrespectful to me…if you are going to just do Xmas but not MY holiday. I exist. I pay taxes just like you do…why does my holiday not matter? LOL I’m just kidding. I actually don’t care. People say merry xmas to me all the time and then I usually shoot back with Happy Hannukah to them. It makes people laugh. I put up a tree every year and call it a Hannukah bush. Truthfully, the safest thing to do so as not to offend is to place a sign that says “happy holidays” and leave it at that so whiny bitches don’t get all up in arms over it. However, it seems to me that most find “Happy Holidays” equally as offensive, like there is some secret crusade or conspiracy to eradicate Christmas which is ridiculous and untrue.

The Halloween thing, though…that was another story. And, to clarify, it was Christians and Catholics who did all the complaining! They were angry that a Pagan ritual based “holiday” was being shoved in their faces. So basically, all the people who celebrate xmas sort of shot themselves in the foot now with all the halloween complaining. LOL They did it to themselves.

Person A: I’m personally tired of tip toeing around, all this pc stuff is ridiculous! If I offend you with Merry Christmas then don’t say anything or say Happy whatever back! My holiday, what I grew up with was CHRISTMAS, I’m catholic and believe in the MAGIC of CHRISTMAS!! I have no problem going to the mall and seeing a dreidel or a Menorah and now even the kenorah, it does not offend me so why should a “CHRISTMAS TREE”, Santa or other Christmas symbols offend others, it’s just plain old crap!

CP: But that was my point. I’m a Jew, as you know. I don’t find “Merry Christmas” to be offensive. Not at all. My family has Catholics and Christians in it as well. However, it is important to realize that the people who complained about the Halloween decorations were the people who made it so that Xmas decorations are now offensive to others. Unfortunately, the people who complained about Halloween were devout Catholics and Christians who were angry about a Pagan holiday being shoved in their face. So, you see…if they hadn’t gotten offended over someone ELSE’S holiday, they would have their decorations up now for their own! It wasn’t Jews or Muslims who did this, Hon. It was YOUR OWN PEOPLE! I’m not trying to be offensive here or even attempting to point fingers, but what happened at the toll booths was done by hypocrites (which I am NOT NOT NOT accusing Catholics/Christians of being). What I am saying is that people who did not think about the big picture ended up cutting off their own nose to spite their face. They rallied against someone else’s holiday (Halloween) with such fervor that now their own politics are getting tossed back at them. That’s what happened here in Florida. As for why others find Christmas symbols offensive? I have no idea. But then again, I’m still trying to figure out how Santa has anything at all to do with the birth of Christ. Santa was born out of, coincidentally and oddly enough, Paganism…which makes all this entirely too ironic. LOL

Person A: So you are saying that the people who complained about the Halloween decorations are the reason that we can’t have Christmas (not Xmas please) decorations now? That makes no sense.

CP: Sure it does. The newspaper clearly stated that it was the Catholic Coalition for Keeping Christ in Christmas were the ones that sent the threatening letters to the Florida Highway Patrol regarding the Halloween decor on the toll booths being offensive. So, in order to please everyone, they made the only decision they really could make, which was to opt out of decorations altogether. It seemed like the appropriate decision to me. Kind of like kindergarten mentality. If you all can’t play nicely together, no one gets to play at all. It’s unfortunate but because of the radical behavior of some, no one gets holiday decorations now. Frankly, I don’t understand why there would be a specific holiday put on the toll booths ever. Happy Holidays is more than sufficient and easily runs the gamut of holidays between October and the New Year.

Person A: Ya but this is the Christmas season. Everyone celebrates the Christmas season even if they aren’t religious. Its a tradition thing not a religious thing.

CP: I disagree. There are about 4 other holidays that take place during the month of December that I can think of. There is Hannukah, the Muslim New Year, Kwanzaa, Christmas and probably a few more that I am not even aware of. Merry Christmas does not acknowledge those other religions at all. Second, Christmas decor would consist of Santa, reindeer, elves, etc. which are all steeped in Pagan tradition and originate via Pagan mythology. It was the fact that Florida state chose to use the Pagan originated holiday of Halloween to complain about in the first place. But now that we are discussing Christmas, they want Pagan symbolism to hang freely? That makes very little sense to me. Further, why only Christmas trees, Santas and the specific phrase of “Merry Christmas”? Why not menorah’s and kinara’s as well? Why wasn’t there a big banner across the booths that said “Happy Hannukah” during that week? It’s completely unfair to only acknowledge one religion during a holiday season that consists of more than just that one holiday. This is why a simple “Happy Holidays” banner would have been sufficient. My personal opinion is that NO holiday acknowledgment is warranted due to the fact that there should be separation between church and state. Those toll booths are paid for by MY tax dollars as well as yours. If we are going to reflect one religion, then all should be given equal time…but since the toll booths are run by state and federal government agencies, religious holiday acknowledgment in any form is inappropriate to begin with. So, my initial assessment stands. If the Catholic and Christian organizations who boycotted the toll booths at Halloween had thought about what they were doing…I mean, really thought their actions through, then they would have realized the simple fact that they did, indeed, do this to themselves. State government just opted to take the path of least resistance, which is to do away with the decorations altogether.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is where the conversation ended. I was “defriended” shortly after this. I gave her a few days to cool down and then wrote her a note telling her that I absolutely was not trying to offend her nor be offensive. She accepted my apology (though, I still don’t know exactly why I felt I should apologize. However, she is someone my daughter is associated with and I didn’t want to make things bizarre between she and my daughter) and continued to state that she felt I was mocking her religious beliefs. Now, I could have opened a brand new, fresh can of worms by telling her that the decorations in question have absolutely nothing to do with the religious aspect of what Christmas represents. I suppose that’s another story for another day. I shall save that one for the inevitable Easter vs. Passover debate.

What’s your take on the situation? Are you part of the “Leave Christ in Christmas” brigade that is easily offended when someone writes “Xmas”? Are you a “Happy Holidays” kind of person or do you feel the need to retaliate with a stern “Jesus is the reason for the season” reply to any who say that to you? Do you think that most people understand the origins of Christmas and/or Hannukah well enough to know that what I was saying was not necessarily offensive so much as it was an attempt to educate?

One thing that continues to make sense to me is the fact that after all this time, Jesus still has not come back. I mean, would you want to come back only to answer all these ridiculous theological and religious questions? I know I wouldn’t. He’s probably sitting back on some island somewhere, taking in the sun with a cold beer in one hand and the good book in the other saying “No shit. Really? Did I do that? I don’t remember saying THAT. Who wrote this crap? It had to be Luke. Maybe Matthew. No, wait. Paul. This has Paul written all over it, that damn prankster. When I get my hands on that little bitch, I am going to give him a piece of my mind, Dad dammit.”

Day 7: Someone who has made your life worth living.

Oy. Really?

I hate this shit.

You know I am going to say the Hotband. You know I am going to say Nick. You know I am going to say Samantha. You know I am going to say my grandkids. Have you not read at least 604 posts all dedicated to them, the love they give me and the way they have held my head above water for the past five years? Writing this post will bore me to tears and, more than likely, that will trickle down to you.

So, instead, I am going to write it about someone who doesn’t hear my accolades too often.

Esther.

If not for Esther, half of the posts I write on here wouldn’t be worth reading. She is truly a gift in my life. Not because she’s a great mom (which totally depends on the day) but because she is so spontaneous, so without tact or forethought, so “from the heart to the lips”, that she is literally entertaining. Even at her most cutting, she is undeniably funny. No matter how rotten she is being, there is something hysterically funny about the things that irritate her. She is quirky as hell. I mean, who cleans the house because they don’t want the cleaning lady to see her house dirty? Who does that? Who designates an entire bedroom of a house to her dog, complete with monogrammed Lazy Boy chair, monogrammed towels that say “Max”, more photos of her precious pitbull in frames than of her own grandchildren and, mind you, his own SONIC CARE toothbrush?

Let me tell y’all. If you believe in karma, pray hard to come back in your next life as my mothers dog. That’s all I’m saying. She leaves the house for a few hours and she calls a babysitter for Max. I recall being 9 years old, my brother being six…and her going out for dinner with a boyfriend. No babysitter. Just “here ya go kiddies” as she put the TV dinners on the TV trays for us. “Be good, I’ll be home soon. I’ll have Sonja next door check in on you.”

But Max…a 13 year old Pitbull gets a dog sitter if she’s gone for more than 2 hours.

Pretty good life, if you can get it.

Overall, my mother is not a bad person. She doesn’t have much of a mind of her own. Her politics depend on whatever my father’s thinking involves. Her logic on certain subjects in incredibly flawed and dare I say on occasion, desperately uneducated. If she didn’t hear it on Fox News, it couldn’t have possibly happened. But, despite this, she is a source of a lot of the laughter in my life…now that she and I no longer live in the same state.

I will say that I have taken some of her best and worst traits for my own. We are both terribly and often inappropriately outspoken. We both don’t sit idly by for injustice. We will get involved when we see someone in trouble without much fear for our own personal safety. We are both crusaders that way. Very strong woman. On the flipside of that coin, we are both easily angered. We tend to get involved in things that don’t necessarily require our input. We can both be incredibly overbearing to the point of overshadowing others.

The difference that separates us most probably is tact. Spend 10 minutes with both of us, and I will come off looking like one classy dame. She’s got a mouth like battery acid and while I know how to flip the “off” switch on that…she does not. But if she did, what on earth would I ever have to write about?

So, Mom…this one is for you. Someone who has made my life worth living. You gave me life despite all the craziness in your life. You were a single parent with two little kids doing the very best you could. Was it always the right thing? God, no. Did you fuck up quite often? Definitely. But, in doing so…I learned from your mistakes as well. I am not saying I would be a better mother than you were…but a different mother. I know you grew up in a very abusive household, as did I. But you inspired me to break that cycle. And, while I didn’t always do a fantastic job of that, I did well enough so that now, when I see my daughter interact with her babies, I know for sure the cycle of abuse is officially broken. It’s over. No one will ever get hit again.

I forgive you, Mom. I DO love you. I know I don’t say it enough. I don’t know that I ever will, but as I watch you grow older, becoming a bit more reserved and not as quick as a whip with that vile tongue of yours, I find myself softened. Something in your eyes have lost that edginess and I see the first signs of an older, more frail human being. It allows me to let my guard down a little.

And, just when I become afraid that I will never see that side of you again, I wait for you to come visit, just so I can say “Bill O’Reilly sucks and Obama is the best President ever!” It winds you back up, you lose 25 years in your eyes…and you’re back to calling me a stupid bitch who doesn’t know shit.

I will always love you for that.

Day 2…Something you love about yourself.

There are lots of things I love about myself. This list can go on for hours. I’ll try to keep it brief.

What I love the most about me is the way I love the people in my life. The people who I treasure. The friends and family who stick by me no matter what. The people who know me and accept me the way I am. The ones who know I would never do anything hurtful, harmful or disrespectful to them. That’s just not me. I may have a ferocious tongue, coated with battery acid…but to my inner circle, I have a crazy soft spot. I am a charitable person. A good person. I may not always come across that way because of my wildly big mouth, but there isn’t any one of my good friends that I wouldn’t lay my life on the line for if need be. If I tell you I am going to do something, I do it. If I tell you I am going to be somewhere, I will be there. If I tell you not to worry about something, don’t worry about it.

My word is my bond. Always. It’s really all any of us have in this world that we can give that is a direct reflection of who we are. That is why I take HUGE exception to being accused of being a liar…ever. I can be accused of being many things in this world, but a liar is never one of them. And, when you cross that bridge with me and accuse me of something like that, rest assured, I won’t even glance backwards in your direction.

The way I figure it is this…if you don’t know me well enough to know the things I would and would not do, then we have no business being friends in the first place.

I love that about me.

The other thing I love about me? The ability to admit when I am wrong. I have said and done some pretty heinous shit in my lifetime, but when I know what I did was wrong, I will always apologize for it. And not one of those insincere “Well, I’m sorry if you feel that way”, or better still…”I’m an asshole, let’s just forget about it”. No. If I went out of my way to hurt you and you didn’t deserve it, I will go out of my way to apologize to you. The right way. Not like the Fonz who can’t admit he’s wr…wr…wr…wrong! Likewise, I expect you to give me the same courtesy. If you fucked up, be a big girl and admit it so we can move forward.

That said, it is time for the…

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH INFO OF THE DAY:

Every 2 minutes, there is a new breast cancer diagnosis.

Every 14 minutes, a life is lost to the disease.

Over 40,000 people will die this year; about 400 of them will be men.

85% of all diagnoses have no family history.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between ages 40 and 55.

Make sure to feel your boobies this month and every month, Ladies. The best time to do self exams is the same day every month. The time your breasts are the fullest are right before your period, so make sure to do it AFTER your period so you can get a better feel for what is going on in there. The days of having to do little circular motions with your fingertips are long over. Just pick the girls up and give them a good squeeze or two. What you are looking for are lumps, hard lumps…things that have almost a “coral” feel to them, like a sharp rock. Also, cancer generally does not hurt, so if you have a lump that’s sore, it is more likely a cyst or benign growth. Take ye to the OB/GYN and get it checked out.

Protect your girls. Save your life. Feel your boobies once a month…for life.