Category Archives: tolerance

Lessons in Compassion: A Weekend Experience In Three Parts.

It’s 2 am on Sunday night/Monday morning, depending on you schedule.As a chronic insomnia sufferer, I see this as Sunday night.  Your results may vary.

This weekend, I attended, in an official capacity, the Curve Nation Expo held in Orlando, Florida.  I was there along with the Editor in Chief of POSE Magazine, Tiffany Jones Keaton, as the media sponsors of the event.  When I got there Friday afternoon, the hotel check in was one big cluster f*ck.  Nothing major or radically life altering, mind you, just the silliness we have all experienced when checking into a hotel that is not necessarily prepared for a huge influx of customers ranging from your average traveler, to one of several family reunions in attendance, along with multiple conference attendees.  “Guaranteed” 4pm check in time at the International Palms Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando, Florida on International drive turned out to be more of a “suggested time” as opposed to a guaranteed time.  I didn’t get my room until 5 pm and due to lack of  communication by the staff, I was never called (as promised) by the front desk when my room was ready, nor did I get my luggage brought to my room until 6 pm.  Again, nothing earth shattering.  More of an annoyance if anything.  However, it seemed to foreshadow what would end up one of the worst experiences I’d ever had in any hotel in my 48 well-traveled years of life.

DISCLAIMER: I want to STRONGLY clarify that what you are about to read has NO REFLECTION on Curve Nation whatsoever. They are not responsible in the slightest for the events that unfolded. That blame is squarely on the hotel and hotel staff. The staff of Curve Nation are comprised of a group of AMAZING, caring and benevolent people who probably saved my life and my faith in human beings as a whole. This goes for the attendees of the expo as well.

I had a wonderful time Friday afternoon and Friday night, gathering with all these beautiful plus sized ladies and gentlemen.  I made some really great connections with fabulous people.  Numbers and hugs were freely exchanged during this early stage of weekend solidarity.  Vendors were shopped.  Glasses were raised.  Dancing and hilarity ensued and I was truly geared up for a weekend of not just work, but fun and friendship.  I was privy to watching these gorgeous women walk the runway, preparing for Saturday nights fashion show event.  I learned so much watching these confident beauties strut their stuff.  I was mentored by a woman who is a staple in the plus size pageant circuit. Ms Plus America 2004, Debbie Shannon, on how to walk for shows.  I got to engage with some of the models and we partied as though we have all known each other for years, because for many of us, we have known each other for years either as professionals or acquaintances on Facebook, Twitter and various other social media platforms.  Instagram memories were made and already, the promise of a fabulous weekend was in place.

Saturday morning, I attended a lecture by plus sized model,actress and event hostess Rosie Mercado, who shared with us her back story on all the trials and tribulations she went through before achieving the success and fame she has now.  I got to hug up on the Mogul Diva herself, Ms. Gwen DeVoe, Founder of Full Figured Fashion Week in NYC, who I had just interviewed for POSE Magazine only a couple of months earlier. (Click link to read the interview!)  She gave a fabulous seminar as well that had all of us laughing and raising our hands and voices in testimony.  I met amazingly talented photographers, bloggers, models and designers; all who embraced me immediately as the new Feature Editor of POSE Magazine.  I met the Double Divas themselves, Molly Hopkins and Cynthia Richards of LiviRae Lingerie.  You couldn’t ask for more down to earth people.  What you see on their television show is completely unscripted.  They are exactly who they are in real life.   And of course, the entire staff of Curve Nation, CEO Devine (who I stupidly referred to as “Dee-Vine” as opposed to “Dev-in-nay”, which is the correct pronunciation…proving that I, too, can be a real idiot on occasion) and his other staff members who were so gracious and wonderful hosts.

Basically, I was in plus sized heaven…until lunchtime.

Saturday afternoons horror story began with a simple text from Tiffany that merely said, “lunch!”  Yes.  Downtime.  We were going to have a break.  A lovely buffet was set out and of course, I partook.  The food was unmarked…meaning, there was no explanation of what each food item was, let alone a description of ingredients.  Having severe food allergies, I inquired if anything contained nuts, specifically, a pasta dish which looked to me to be penne pasta with an alfredo sauce.  A woman behind me inquired of one of the bus boys who was bringing out the dishes, what each item was.  I eavesdropped cautiously, listening to him tell her what the items were.  I even forewarned another woman that I knew had a shellfish allergy, that I had heard the stuffed mushrooms contained crab meat and told her to forego that dish.  But, when I went to help myself to some pasta alfredo, I noticed that there was what resembled perhaps minced garlic in the pasta.  I asked the busboy, what is in this dish.  He said, “pasta and cheese”.  The woman behind me said, are there nuts in that?  Of course, I listened attentively.  “No, no.  No nuts.  Pasta and cheese.”  Okay.  So I took a scoop and proceeded to join Tiffany in the banquet room with several other conference attendees and some staff of Curve Nation.  I took a bite of this dish and instantly, I felt that old familiar itching in my throat that I feel when I come in contact with an allergen.  I drank a sip of water after swallowing the food…and felt fine for the moment.  Then, I took another bite, just as my throat started to close.  I immediately whispered, hoarsely to Tiffany…”Nuts.  Are there nuts?”  That’s all I could manage as a spit that second bite out of my mouth, drank some water that barely got down my throat.  The wheezing began.  I felt light headed, faint, dizzy.  My body started to get covered in big red hives.  I pulled out my epi pen (never without it!) and my inhaler.  Immediately, the women around me recognized I was in serious trouble.

Each woman at that table, under Tiffany’s cool and calm delegation ran for specific things.  One woman, Talya, ran for ice water and ice.  Another ran for the hotel manager.  A third ran to her room for HER epi pen (should I need a second dose), another still ran for some Claritin and another still (whom I believe was Devine’s mother) ran to locate some Benadryl.  A fifth woman ran to find out what exactly was in the food I ate as different allergies need to be treated specifically.  As I was slowly losing the ability to breath at all, a man came in and the women all shouted, FIND HER SOME BENADRYL QUICKLY!  He ran out, well, rather, walked out…and came back shortly empty handed.  “We don’t have any benadryl.”  Simultaneously, the group of women screamed at him, “YOU HAVE A GIFT SHOP!  GET HER SOME DAMN BENADRYL FROM THE GIFT SHOP.”  He disappeared again.   The rest of that moment was a blur to me.  I was losing the ability to breath rapidly.  My eyes were swelling shut.  My lips were bloating to Angelina Jolie proportions.  What I do remember is Devine’s mother grabbing whatever packet of Benadryl this man finally did retrieve out of his hand and running it to me, quite irritated by this man’s lack of urgency.  The Benadryl packet was expired, but I took them anyway.  At this point, the front desk manager, Sarah, came in…again, the same lack of urgency, casually saying, “Someone told me that someone can’t breathe in here?  What’s going on?”

At this point, Tiffany (Tip) took over and demanded to know who Sarah’s boss was and to get them on the phone RIGHT NOW as they really dropped the ball allowing this young woman, the front desk manager, to be in charge of the entire hotel while the general managers were no where to be found.  I didn’t get to hear all of the conversation as I was in and out of a state of awareness, but I do know that Tip gave her a very calm but extremely firm mouthful about how this entire situation was handled, rather, a lack thereof.

NOBODY called 911.  No one.  This was the STAFF’S responsibility as the women were far too busy taking immediate care of my situation, placing ice packs on my swelling throat, dispensing my medications, retrieving my inhaler, trying to keep my calm.  When Sarah DID return, it was with a lecture on how they are not allowed to dispense medications to the customers.  Honey, no one asked you to dispense…we just asked you to GET SOME.  However, what she DID manage to do was hand me an incident report form and casually stating that I would need to fill this out.  Sister, I’m dying in front of your eyes.  Are you seriously handing me a FORM to fill out?   The chef never came in to tell us what the allergen in the food was.  The busboys proceeded to bus all the tables surrounding us, but never once coming to where we were to offer cold water, a cool rag, ice packs, SOMETHING???   The lack of compassion from this hotel was abhorrent.  2 hours later, my wheezing had stopped.  At some point, the members of Curve Nation’s team had located two nurses who happened to be attending the conference.  These women stayed with me the entire time, keeping a watchful eye on my breathing, my swollen face, my ability to speak, etc.  They regaled me with funny stories to keep me calm.  Other people from the conference came back often to check on me.  I was feeling better, although my left eye looked like I had taken a punch to the face from Mike Tyson.

swollen eye

However, I attempted to be a trooper and try to attend the 3 pm conference given by blogger Kelly Glover of “Big Curvy Love”. (If you aren’t reading her blog, you should be. She’s HILARIOUS!)  By midway through her conference, I started to feel sick again so I left.  I went to the front desk to speak with Sarah and tell her how disappointed I was that NO ONE from the hotel staff seemed remotely concerned that one of their customers nearly dropped dead in their banquet hall and that her show of concern merely consisted of making sure I filled out a liability and insurance form.  At the moment I approached the desk, she was apparently giving report to the night manager, Kenny.  The look of alarm on his face when he saw mine immediately gave me the impression that had HE been in charge during the day, I would have been substantially better cared for.

Her reply to me was “Well, you were definitely a learning curve for us.  Next time, we will do much better.”

NEXT TIME????

My reply?  “Is that what you think I want to hear?  How NEXT TIME you will do better?  How about, labeling the food that it may contain nuts or other allergens?  How about, when you ask kitchen staff if there are nuts in a meal, that they know to ask the CHEF who made it, instead of just asserting that it was just “pasta and cheese”?  How about the bartenders who were standing RIGHT THERE offer me a bottle of water?  How about you doing something more than handing me an insurance claim form?  How about the fact that it takes merely common sense to know that you should call 911 immediately, ask questions later.  My 5 year old granddaughter could handle that?  How about you show some concern and stay in the room, at very least?”

She replies, “Well, what can we do to make you more comfortable now?”

“Well, for starters? You could have asked that question about 3 hours ago.”

The conversation was going no where very quickly…and I recognized that.  This girl could give Malificent a run for her money when it comes to being an ice queen.  Not an ounce of compassion.  Nothing but a big wide eyed stare at me.  At this point, Mr. Kenny, the night manager about to adopt this nonsense into his lap looked at her and said, “Well, it’s not much at this point, but perhaps we can offer Ms. Cher for her stay to be comped.  Ma’am, is there ANYTHING else I can do for you, right now?  Some cold water?  Some food?  What can we do for you?”

I thanked him, profusely, for even the gesture…and let Sarah know, these are the things you say to someone who has just been through a very traumatic experience under your leadership in this hotel.  No, I don’t need anything else, but I truly appreciate that you asked me.

From there, I went to the hotel gift shop to purchase eye drops, Benadryl (the non expired sort) and a box of Claritin.  I paid the $40 in medication and as I was walking out, Mr. Kenny was walking past.  He said to me, “did you need something?  I am so sorry about this.  I am so sorry no one took care of you.”  His eyes showed nothing but compassion and concern.  This lifted me tremendously.  I told him, no, I’m okay now…I just went to go buy some medicine so I have it upstairs with me, in case I have trouble later.  He looked genuinely appalled that I had purchased all this medication on my own dime and said, let’s give that receipt to Sarah for reimbursement.  There is no reason that our hotel caused this to happen to you and you should be responsible for these purchases.  Again, money can’t fix it…but the GESTURE in compassion once more lifted me.  

Around 6 pm, I started to get up from a nap, only to realize I was experiencing what is known as biphasic anaphylaxis, which means, my symptoms had actively started up again.  Now, both eyes were swollen shut.  I was wheezing profusely again.  I attempted valiantly to try to get dressed to fulfill my obligations to Tip to be there as her social media person and get to the Fashion Show to do my job.  By 7:30 when the show started, I had to admit defeat. I just couldn’t do it.  My feet were so swollen I could barely walk.  My eyes were slammed shut.  Every move I had made to dress caused my respiration to slow down again.  I took some more Benadryl, some Claritin, readied my second epipen just in case, put drops in my eyes and sent Tip a voice mail apologizing profusely that I simply could not be there.  Again, she was understanding, loving and told me to rest…but please, if my symptoms got worse, get myself to a hospital and text her that I was going.  I went to sleep.

At 10 pm, I heard a knock on my door.  Tip had gotten locked out of her room, her phone was dead, she needed her charger to continue working and photographing the fashion show (my JOB!) but her key card was not working.  The engineers could not get into her room.  Our room in the tower suite was very far from the main building where the new key cards could be made, but even after the engineer showed up with a new key card, she was still unable to get in.  I gave her my cellphone and told her, just go back to the fashion show.  I will wait her until your door gets opened, get your charger, charge your phone up for you.  When it’s done, I will get it to you.  I waited outside her room for an additional 20 minutes beyond the 20 minutes that SHE was waiting for someone to show up and let her into her room.  Mr. Kenny ended up showing up at her room and looked perplexed at what I was doing there.  I explained what happened.  He looked so visibly upset that this new situation involved me as well…that I tried to put him at ease by making a joke.

“You know, out of ALL the people staying in this hotel…you guys managed to knock out the only TWO people who were here in an official media sponsor capacity for this fashion show.  You really should have been in Vegas this weekend, Kenny, because those are some CRAZY odds.”

Despite himself, he laughed.  Shortly after I got Tip’s phone running, Mr. Kenny returned to my room at the behest of my husband who called the front desk from Tampa (he had to work over the weekend and could not attend the conference with me) asking him to please, send up some ice water to my room.  Not only did he show up with the ice water, but also with a bucket of ice and a turkey sandwich that he assured me was prepared by his own hands, NOT in the banquet hall’s kitchen, but rather, in the deli area, safely away from any cross contaminates that could have harmed me.  I was so grateful, that I think I probably would have cried (mind you, I had not eaten a THING but those two deadly bites of pasta, one which never even made it to my stomach) had my eyes not been swollen shut.  I told him, “You know, on Monday, I am going to read the General Manager of this hotel the riot act for what happened here, but, that said?  I am going to sing your praises so loudly because out of everyone in this entire hotel…YOU were the only one who showed me an ounce of compassion.  And, you weren’t even here when this happened.  I appreciate you so much, Kenny.  I really do.”

There was a moment.  A palpable moment that you could feel between two human beings, strangers, who genuinely were concerned with each other.  He, for my health.  Me, for his job…as it seemed so inherently unfair that he adopted any of this situation at all because Sarah had dropped the ball.

Part two of this story?  The manager above Sarah, but below the GM, Vicky, comes to my room for a conference at the behest of Tip.  She said, “You know, you owe my friend Cher and her husband an explanation as to WHY these events unfolded the way they did.  You owe that to her, her husband and her children.  They almost lost her.”

The statement Vicky makes in front of us at that point will make your jaw drop.

To be continued in “Lessons of Compassion Part Two: More than Words”.

Stay tuned.

Judgmental? Party of ONE???

Irony.

It comes in many forms.  Today’s lesson is brought to you by the letter “J” for judgmental. Let me set the scenario up for you.  Actually, lets let Facebook set it up for you, because I am too lazy to do anything but cut and paste.

CP:   Finally got around to doing my instructor evaluation for my humanities professor. I wonder how many times you can say “cock-sucker” before it is deemed socially unacceptable?

Insert various “tee hee” and “Oh, CP you are so funny” comments here. 

Random Friend:  Haha is that Professor Butterfly?


CP:  No, not Butterfly.  Buttefly is AWESOME. I love him. NO, this was S********. Douche canoe. I hate the fucker. I just wrote him an email containing the phrase, “Congratulations. In 20 years of higher education resulting in three degrees, I can honestly say that you are, by far, the worst professor I have ever had in the duration of my scholastic career.”   It felt SO good to say that to him. And I’m not even done with his class!!! LOL So it’s not like I was being passive/aggressive “let me say something shitty because I am never going to see you again.” Not my style. LOL

Now.  Was this a mean-spirited post?  Certainly it was.  I was angry as I have a right to be (explanation coming up) because this man has made my life a living hell for the past couple of weeks.  Besides, am I not entitled to use my Facebook wall to vent my frustrations on?  It IS my wall, after all and while my blog would have been completely suitable, I have not been well enough to sit at the computer for an extended period to make a blog post.  However, to appease my friend, the Angry Greek Goddess, who simply feels the need to know every detail every single time CP loses a few brain cells to the whimsy of her 700 Facebook friends, I am complying with her wish for me to blog this.  Also, she totally accused me of NOT blogging it because I would find “something shiny” that would distract me.  Hence, she will never get a glimpse into the world of Angry CP. 

Suck on that, Greek Goddess.  Posted! In your face, Bitch! 

Anyway, so I’m sitting on line, playing Sorority Life because they have all the good clothes, money, boyfriends and cars and I just have well, okay, the good clothes, money and car.  I also have a husband.  None of those bitches do…so they can suck it too.  All of a sudden, a little notification pops up.  I Haz Da Emailz! Yay!  So I clickity click on my email and I am greeted by THIS letter (unedited except for names redacted):

Random Judgmental Person:  April 14 at 7:35pm

Subject:  your actions.

you may not like what i have to say, however sometimes the truth hurts.

in order to get that albatrose of your back, you must get busy looking at you……not others.
bragging and boasting, even if it is your page, is the ego at work proving that you are so much better than your professor, or whomever else you tell off….
it’s like doing good things for others
do em and then, just be quiet about them…. thats where the gifts, miracles, humilty come from….

i adore you, CP and know you are a good woman.
however your motive and intention WAS TO HURT this teacher, and now you publicly mock him, like a grade school girl.
this really is not how you would like to be treated, is it? even if it were possible that he or she may have “deserved” it…..
no, CP, ….no one wishes to be treated cruely rudely or inhumanely, physically or verbally.

there are other ways to get ones point across that will not be so hurtful, vindictive and smearlike.
i understand it is awesome to be a stand up woman such as yourself…very empowering and attractive. take no crap, but at who’s expense?. squashing people like roaches just because they do not rise up to your standards is not a moral way to live……again, not the way God wishes and hopes for your to live….
Love is always the answer, not hate. No matter what.

I am not judging you, I am however attempting to guide you along in a fashion that allows you, Miss CP goddess herself…………… to think and act instead of not think and react….to have humility and grace, while still take no shit…..
if you choose to keep on with you alone, no mtgs, sponsor or step work and not look really deep inside at YOUR motives…..with being able to admit your faults to another human being, and to make amends……you will no doubt, mark my words, use again. and that would pain me so. It has been proven time and time again that this is the case…….I know I choose not to go that route. It’s a lonely bitter ugly long hard road to hell.

I love you, adore you and pray that you can slow down just for a few moments and see the real deal. I live it every day. I am far from perfect…..I fuck up often, however i do my darndest to not hurt, mame, or smear anyone at all, even if I want to…because it just is wrong.
Love love love u
Random Judgmental Person.



What. The. Fuck?

Now, ya’ll know me.  I am a fire tongued she-devil.  However, I pride myself on the fact that I can take it as well as I can dish it.  I have NO problem whatsoever with her wanting to speak her version of “truth” to me.  I honestly have no problem with anyone who feels the need to point out my various and sundry flaws.  I know they are plentiful and I could probably write the list more accurately than any one.  What I did absolutely find myself livid at was this: 

“…if you choose to keep on with you alone, no mtgs, sponsor or step work and not look really deep inside at YOUR motives…..with being able to admit your faults to another human being, and to make amends……you will no doubt, mark my words, use again.”

Did you just seriously use my SOBRIETY against me?  Did you, you former alcoholic recovering addict AA Nazi, just actually say that if I continued on my “bitter, ugly, long hard road to hell”, I will return to my 25 pill a day drug habit that nearly killed me, destroyed my life and the lives of others.  Did you really just go THERE to make your point?  Wow.  Really?  After some well placed snark on my FB wall while I was contemplating what to say to Ms. Judgey McJudgerson, I came up with the following, thoughtful albeit restrained commentary.  I will refer to her as “RJ” throughout the remainder of this blogpost:

Certifiable Princess:  April 14 at 7:49pm 
 
You are totally judging me, RJ…as you have no clue how this man has made my life a living hell for the past two weeks. Do you know that I have been flat on my back with a broken back? Yes, broken vertebrae in my back. And while all my other professors have done everything they possibly could do to make sure that I maintain my GPA and do not have to drop out of my classes in order to graduate on time, this man has not answered my emails, has REQUIRED my presence in his classroom despite my inability to walk let alone drive, has insulted me, humiliated me by pointing out that “due to one students needs, I will have to change the date of the final exam” and made it virtually impossible for me to be able to complete his coursework.

Because of him, I am losing an ENTIRE semester of school, as I now have to retake the class over the summer in an advanced curriculum setting and my GPA that I have worked brutally hard to maintain for 2 years had just gotten shot to shit. So yes, you ARE judging me…because you are making a statement as to why I was “cruel” or “rude” to someone who has given me nothing but disrespect despite all my best intentions.

I’m sorry, RJ…but your letter was completely out of line. People who are here with me, on a daily basis, in my REAL life know what this man has put me through and all the heartache, tears and headaches…not to mention PHYSICAL pain he has caused me. What I wrote to him, in the grand scheme of things, was actually POLITE with all things considered.

So yes, you are judging…and you have succeeded in making ME feel badly about something I have a RIGHT to be angry about. And, in essence…you just did to me exactly what you told me not to do to someone else. Just because you prefaced it with “you may not like this” and threw in a couple of “i love and adore you” statements doesn’t make what you wrote any less hurtful.

Incidentally, this:  “…squashing people like roaches just because THEY DO NOT RISE UP TO YOUR STANDARDS is not a moral way to live.”

Yeah.  You may want to practice what you are preaching, Sister RJ. 

 
Restrained?  Bet your ass it was.  What I really wanted to say was “Hello, Hypocrite” followed by a few well placed “douche canoes” and “feel free to jackhammer my chocolate starfish with your tongue, you fuckwad.”  However, in the interest of continued friendship, I refrained.  This person is not a bad person. In fact, I like her a great deal.  She is/has been normally very supportive in my struggles for sobriety over the past year so this letter sort of struck me as “odd” coming from someone who is usually very thoughtful and measures her words with care.  Truly, if I were a weaker person, this letter might have had me sobbing with the fear that I am indeed on the path to hell and frightfully worried that I may, in fact, return to using because I have failed to live up to the standards of someone who I know has been a sponsor and mentor to many a reformed alcoholic.  Actually, it would make me feel like a complete and utter failure.  
So, good thing that I am “ Miss CP goddess herself” and “a good woman” who is both “empowered and attractive“, or I just might fall to the floor in a crumbled mass of humiliation and despair before dressing and accessorizing appropriately for my journey on the “lonely bitter ugly long hard road to hell.”
I mean, just because you are going to HELL does not give you an excuse to look anything less than exceptional.  Also, don’t wear red…because it is always rude to wear the same color as your host.  It’s like wearing white to a wedding. You just don’t do it. 

By the way, do you think there are rest stops along that lonely bitter ugly long hard road?  A girl may want to freshen up just a bit before entering.  Can someone get back to me about that?

Anyway, what really struck me was the irony of the entire thing.  I mean, you are writing me a letter about being unkind and judging others who do not meet my standards, in a letter where you are unkind, judgmental and feel the need to point out that I, obviously, do not live up to your standards.  
And oh!  The hits keep coming, Folks! Because, as I was sitting here blogging this little nugget of joy, a brand new reply to my reply appeared!  I am going to share share share it with you, right this very second! I am going to LIVE post it!  Before I even read it!  Before I even have a moment to think about it!  And of course, my reply will follow soon thereafter!  Isn’t this amazing!?  It’s like, totally an OMG moment in technology! It’s like you are peeking over my shoulder and into my little world! Tee Hee! Giggle giggle! This is such a slumber party moment!  Here’s the letter. Same rules. Unedited and only names redacted:
RJ:  April 14 at 11:26pm  

CP. People do not make people do or feel anything. Either they do what they do or feel what they feel stirctly because of themselves. Blame is not an option.

I am sorry and sad to hear that you continue to have pain in your back.
It saddens me to hear that this “gentleman” has mistreated you in public about a circumstance that you caould not change. Bad on him.

Have you or had you gone to his superiors? The Dean? did your other teachers go to him?…..
Bottom line is, that he probably, no make that by HIS action; definitely doesn’t care about you, or anyone else for that matter. His behavior is not tolerant and respectful, as is expected in the service and tenure of scholastics….from pre-k thru gad schooling.

However, his behavior does not allow for similar behavior. two wrongs do not make a right. It makes two wrongs. I had to learn this the hard way when I behaved as you did when I was the “victim”…

Thirty years later, I am now the victim in litigation with a lawyer and insurance company that lies beyond belief. They have deined my claim, twist the truth, and I am in appeal…I have no relief for my hands and must use them anyway, I am in constant intolerable pain 24/7, and cannot take anything for them….i have sleep apnea, migraines, brain fog and have just been diagnosed with severe liver disease. I have been in and out of the hospital and been pricked, prodded more than u can imagine. my veins roll and blood draws are excrucistingly painful…..did you know that? did you know that i am flat broke, i mean FLAT my car is on it’s last legs and if i don’t get some money somehow someway im in HUGE straits?????? I have no health insurance, get ALL my medical traetment for freee or close to it as an indigent person…..I get food stamps and am grateful for all my woes…..yet, I do not no matter what……get back or be vengeful to anyone, for a resentment is the number one offender…..it is the way to kill us addicts……we must…..let go of resentments and see what we can do to make a situation better, without motive.  (Editor note: This, my friends, is what is known in psychology as “deflection” or in legalese, a “red herring argument”.  In her attempt to apologize but yet, still cast blame, she is showing me that even in the throes of her own misery, she is STILL a good person.  Beyond reproach and I am not.  It is also an attempt to make me feel badly for coming back at her the way that I did.  You know, remind me that she has been through so much hell…so I really should take a lesson from her because after all, she knows better than I.)

I was not judging you CP…God does not judge. I am not God. No human power can replace God. Not even (insert my husbands name here)…..However God want us all to be loving and tolerant and forgiving of all including ourselves…
(Editor note:  God DOES judge.  Actually, he is the first documented hypocrite.  He judged the actions of Adam and Eve and continues to judge, for if you do not live by his standards, you too shall take that long, bumpy, lonely, dirty, filthy, chaotic descent into hell.  If he didn’t judge, heaven would be terribly overcrowded, don’t you think?)
He wants us to love all and love ourselves…..
Yes, you do have a right to be angry…..but ya don’t have to get even….eye for an eye means do unto others as you would have them do unto you…….many people misinterpret this……..

I do practice what I preach, and I fail often……if I have hurt you, and I again apologize, as the truth does hurt…someone had to type this very similar letter to me to show me where my motives were all messed up…..then know that it is thru working the 12 steps and traditions, and freeing myself of bitter resentments that i have been able to sdeal with life not as if look at what they did to me and screwed it all up….life is what it is…we can fight for whats right, but not at the expense of others…
I would report this joker to the State Board of Regents ASAP and ask for an IMMEDIATE review, and bring ALL your medical records…..
pray for peace in your heart…miracles DO happen all the time.
i love you..
RJ

And in the interest of full disclosure, I give to you, my reply without benefit of a proofread:


CP:  April 15 at 12:05am

RJ…with all due respect, if people do not “make” others “do or feel anything”, then really? Your original letter to me has not point or validity whatsoever. Your main point was that I was out to hurt and humiliate this man with the things I said. So, which is it? Can I cause him hurt with my words…or, because I turned the tables on YOU just now, are other people not responsible for the way you feel? You can’t have it both ways. Pick a team and play on it.

Your letter was rude. Straight up rude. Also, it was laden with unsolicited advice. Had I not been a stronger person, your letter just might have been responsible for putting a chink in my armor. I have turned to you in times of uncertainty and when I needed guidance because I knew you would never judge me; having “been there and done that”, you would surely understand where I was in my recovery and I knew I could trust you. However, the things that you said to me were degrading. You attempted to make me feel small, take me down a few notches and encouraged me to get my ego in check. Wow. I would expect better from someone who is a sponsor to so many recovering alcoholics and should know to approach someone early in their sobriety with gentleness and care. However, my sobriety is not in jeopardy, was never in jeopardy and I am far too strong to let a few words ever put me in the danger of hanging on that precipice ever again. But again, I suggest to you that a weaker person might have succumb to your suggestion about using again as the overall flavor of your letter was to make someone feel as if they failed not only in YOUR eyes, but in the eyes of God as well.

So, thank goodness for my healthy, strong ego, RJ. Had I not been in possession of it, you might have been what pushed me over the proverbial edge.

Also, please don’t use the phrase “the truth hurts”. It’s your truth. Not mine. You see the situation one way, I see it another. There is no “truth” where opinions are concerned. Your letter did not make me see the light or have some sort of breakthrough. Actually, all it did was serve to make me angry. I am entitled to my opinion of this professor and to express it to him. I did not use foul language. I did not call him names. I did not judge him as a professor on the whole. I simply told him what my experience with him was. Just as he felt he had the right to humiliate me in front of my classmates, I felt I had all the right in the world to let him know how his actions were hurtful to me in a physical and emotional way. I am a good and conscientious student. I am beyond thoughtful and courteous to all my professors and treat them all with a great deal of dignity. However, RJ, respect is something that is to be earned and despite all my courtesy and restraint with holding my tongue so as not to embarrass him in a public setting, he still felt it necessary to embarrass and humiliate me on more than one occasion. That was not me flexing my superiority muscles, RJ. That was me letting him know that his selfish behavior and lack of empathy has harmed me in many different capacities.

As for the rest of your letter, it is all extraneous. I am not going to do the tit for tat thing…making a list to see whose life is harder right now. Who is struggling with what demons. Who is rising up against what challenges. Your tales of woe are no different than any one else…and you are not trying to have a conversation with me about them as friends would. No, you are once again, trying to make a holier than thou point. All this stuff is going on with me and still, look at how gracious and wonderful I am in God’s eyes.

You are being extraordinarily judgmental of me right now, RJ . I am actually sitting here laughing and shaking my head at how terribly pious you are. Do you really want to compare laundry lists of whose going through what or who has been through what? And really, doing it to drive your point of “yet, I do not no matter what……get back or be vengeful to anyone”, so even in the throes of an apology, you are STILL being judgmental to me. LOL

Please. Just stop. The hypocrisy is absolutely strangling me.

Read your own words back to yourself: “we can fight for whats right, but not at the expense of others…” I just got done, in my last letter, telling you how hurtful your letter was but still, you felt the need to pile MORE of your guilt driven and shame filled hyperbole on me. You are now committing what I have tallied up to be your third contradiction. You are fighting to be right at MY expense now. You’re not right. This is not truth. This is an opinion and you are entitled to yours, certainly, but you are not entitled to continue this conversation with me if all you want to accomplish here is shaming me into good behavior.

If my Jewish mother couldn’t achieve that in 44 years of my life, I assure you, it ain’t going to work for you either.

Now, at this point, I suggest one of two things. We either A) Stay mature adults. Agree to disagree, drop the conversation because truly, it is really draining me emotionally and while I know you said no one is responsible for how you feel (more contradiction), right now, you are wholly responsible for irritating the fuck out of me while I am already in physical pain. or B) The immature route. We drop out of one and others lives. I will make some flippant, nasty facebook post about you and you, because you are a better person than I by far, will say nothing in order to keep yourself straight with God and not have to sit beside me on my “lonely bitter ugly long hard road to hell.”

I would probably have been much kinder if I had the assistance of pain killers to assuage some of the horrible pain I am feeling in my back before I answered you. However, because I do take my sobriety extremely seriously, I have not had the luxury of taking pain killers of any kind and of course, muscle relaxants on a broken bone is like putting a band aid on a bullet wound.

I will watch my facebook wall like a hawk. If you disappear, then I will consider that my answer was option B. If you choose to stay, however, I will assume that option A is what appealed to you and agree that we will not speak of this again and treat each other with the love, courtesy and respect that we always have.

Best to you.

So, there you have it.  Unlike this letter, I am welcoming your responses and replies.  If you feel I was wrong, then please, by all means, express that in the comments.  If you feel I was right to feel as I do, then please, feel free to smother me with accolades, praise, worship, erect a shrine in my honor.  Whatever you see fit.

As for me, I am hitting the couch. I have been terribly negligent towards my DVR and I can hear the “Real Housewives of New York City” ranting and raving, beckoning me to watch some REAL judgmental bitches in action.  Frankly, I feel my life is far more interesting and they should have a “Real Housewives of Tampa Bay” because even ONE of my Facebook posts would probably generate more ratings than all these housewives put together.  Because, face it, my life is just THAT amusing and secretly, I know you all really wish you could be me, if only for ten minutes, so you too can deal with the ridiculous nonsense that I have to deal with from people claiming to be my “friends”.

Side note to the Greek Goddess who insisted I blog this:  Yeah?  What now, Bitch?  Bring it!  LOL

Regards,
Miss CP, the almighty goddess herself, blogging live from my car on the long road to hell. 

Damn.  Hope I didn’t forget to pack the sunscreen.  *sigh*

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.

Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes…

How do you measure a year?

The song would suggest you measure in sunsets.  Perhaps daylights?  Cups of coffee? 

I would have to go with their ultimate conclusion of love.  And there has been a lot of that in my life.  Never more than there has been this past year.  2008 saw me falter.  2009 saw me climb.  2010 will be the year that I surfaced from under the drowning pool I was swirling around in for the past two years.  It is the first year that I rose up and gasped for air.  The first time I can recall my head being above the surface.  It marked the birth of my second grandchild in January.  My 10th Valentines Day with my husband in February.  It saw the reuniting of myself with many old friends and my letting go of some who should have never had the privilege of even speaking my name.  It marked my triumphant return to school on a career path that will both help me, heal me as well as allow me to share my special gifts with the world. 

There were amazing trips:  Israel.  California.  New York. 

There was the foreclosure fiasco of 2009 that led to the final goodbye to our home in March, 2010.  Our new home is far more beautiful, far more homey and has none of the haunting horrible memories that plagued our old home.  Nothing was more terrifying than not knowing if today would be the day you pulled up to your house to find chains pulling the front doors closed.  Though it was through no fault of our own, it was still a cringe-worthy way of living. 

May of 2010 marked one full year of sobriety.  An accomplishment that back in 2008 wasn’t even in the cards for me and in 2009 seemed like it would be an unattainable goal.  I am still on that path. 

August was my 44th birthday and sometime in September, I chose to forgive myself for a lot of things I had done wrong.  I gave myself that as a gift.  I am sincerely looking forward to my 45th birthday, as I have always considered that number to be the mark of “halfway through” my life.  Only halfway there.  I’m still a baby.  I still have so much more to do. 

October of 2010 saw me have to confront the very real prospect of not having full control over the things that happen in my childrens’ world.  It was the first time I had to protect either of them from bullies and it was entirely too terrifying in light of all the suicide induced bullying incidents that it coincided with during that month. 

November.  Sweet November.  November would bring my parents, Esther and Harold, back into town.  It would be the month of the Turkey.  It would be final exams, final projects, final papers.  It would also be the last and final time my blog would ever be so uninspiring.  My friend in love, Janice, would turn my plain Jane blog into a bucketful of beautiful, where a princess would be happy to flounce around in once more.  Since she changed it, I have begun writing again.  That is always a beautiful thing. 

Then, finally…December.  I hate the holidays.  If you’ve read me for any length of time, you would know that.  But somehow, this year was a little different.  This year, there was hope in the air.  Laughter in my home.  And, to sound entirely too cheesy, perhaps a song in my heart.  My grandson celebrated his first Christmas/Hannukah.  My kids are happy.  Healthy.  My marriage is good.  So, so so so so good.  We went on our yearly anniversary cruise.  11 years together, 8 of them married…both taking place in December.  It’s a special time for the hotband and I.  A time of reflection.  A time to bond.  A time to kick back in the sand of some tropical island, look over at one another and realize…we made it.

Wow.  We made it.

Through tears.  Through pain.  Through strife.  Through uncertainty.  All the while, never letting go of each other’s hands.  Together…we survived it all, weathered the storms and sailed away on seas of contentment and joy.  We made it, my love.  We truly made it.  And look at all we have to show for it. 

Sitting perched on the precipice of a new year, I can’t help but reflect and can’t help but rejoice.  More than anything, I can’t wait to see what else the future brings.  So, yeah…it begs the question:

Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes…how do you measure a year?

In love.  Definitely, in love.  

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.)