I Don’t Fit The Mold

Thoughts circle around in my brain until I pull them out and see if they are worth keeping. Lately, the main thoughts that I have been chewing on are about perception. I can take a situation and make it worse than what it is.

A simple cancellation of plans can turn into a thought that no one likes me. Now, I know that we all sometimes get a better offer. Does it make me feel left out? Of course it does. The trouble I have is when I feel like an outcast because of it. Ah, the awkward days of high school draw near in my head.

In high school I was not popular. I was a chick in the 80’s who listened to metal and did not dress like Madonna. This meant I did not have a boyfriend. I wore jeans and my Led Zeppelin or Judas Priest t-shirts and my studded leather wristbands. The other girls wore those lacy shirts and fingerless gloves. Yeah. I did not fit in. I don’t fit the mold.

In many ways, I still don’t.

It is the same thing here on the blog. I don’t fit any real mold so to speak. I write from the heart and that can leave me wide open. I look for that kind of vulnerability in other bloggers. Those are the ones I love to read. I embrace the raw, honest, thought provoking content. I run like hell from the bloggers who do not reply to their comments or refuse to engage if someone dares question them.

Over on Danny Brown’s blog, we talked about why we subscribe to blogs. I only subscribe to four, but read two faithfully.

Why do I not read all four? Simple. They have lost touch with who they once were and to read that hollowness kills me. I remember when one of the two burst on the scene years ago, and was full of enthusiasm. I loved reading and commenting on their stuff. Then, I faded away, and stopped mattering. See, when I feel that I don’t matter I do the slow fade. Like a friendship that has gone south for no real reason, I just begin caring less and less until I no longer care at all. I find these relationships to be closely linked since you are opening up about yourself.

Another blog I flat out refuse to read is one I read on a daily basis when I first began blogging. In fact, this person played a major role in me becoming a blogger at all. Sadly, this person became a “guru” and is officially too big for his britches. I still want my white robe and guru status that I was guaranteed at that ill-fated webinar. I lost respect for this person when they came under fire and promptly closed the comment section of their blog. If we cannot disagree, what is the point?

Do you fit in? Or, do you not fit the mold?

Letting Go Hurts

Yesterday I went to one of many doctors I see to get testing results. I was saddened to find out no progress has been made in terms of my memory function. My attention span is still not showing improvement. I broke down in tears upon hearing this. I screamed that I want the old me back.

Letting go of the old me has been hard.

At first, there was so much involved in getting well that I had no choice but to accept that this is my life now. I had the mistaken notion that I would be better in a few years. Hard work, along with faithfully going to appointments, and positive thinking would cure me. Or, so I thought.

I thought wrong. I am far from cured. The sad part is that I will only get better in small areas at this point.

At least I am getting better and not worse. Missing parts of me that were once there is part of making peace with the new me. So many things that came easily are now a major struggle. I have new strategies in place. Most days they work. Other days they don’t. Such is life. Nothing is foolproof. Positive thinking is great, but it can only take you so far. The rest is up to luck. That and getting good doctors.

Is there a bright side to any of this? Of course there is.

I am still here. This is the biggest bright side of them all. Yes, it is challenging to learn new methods to do daily tasks, but I am now able to take care of most things pretty well. I have come a long way from the person who ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. Gone are the days of running across town, only to backtrack and forget what I was doing. Gone are the days of not remembering appointments. Each week, I look at the calendar first to see what I have to accomplish that week. I then plan accordingly. Once I know what I am doing, life becomes easier.

Living by a schedule is vital.

I do the same things each week. This helps me not to forget to take care of things. Life now revolves around taking care not only of myself, but other people as well. If I have a long day ahead, I plan for it by getting what I can do out of the way early. Then I have free time to take care of myself. A year or two ago, I not only forgot what needed to be done, I got overwhelmed easily trying to do it all.

So, while I have to work to let go of the “old” me, the new me is improving. I no longer have to run to win the race. I am here and getting better. What more can I ask for?

What If I’m Right? What If I’m Wrong?

Do you believe there is something out there running the show? Do you have faith that you are being cared for in the worst of times?

Personally speaking, I am unsure of this. I was raised to not believe in anything. My mom told me God did not exist at a young age. I was told organized religion was for fools who couldn’t think. Mom hated all forms of religion but knew it fairly well. She went to Catholic school where she was beat across the knuckles with a ruler for being left-handed. No one was going to tell her what to do or how to act. Once she got old enough, the only time she darkened the doorway of a church was for weddings or funerals.

It wasn’t a big leap for me to follow my mother. My grandmother was the classic bible thumping individual who told you at every opportunity you were being punished for some transgression. This made no sense and made God not someone I wanted to follow. Why follow a deity who hates his subjects. Was I missing something here, or was all of this faith business a bunch of baloney?

Does this mean I think those who do have faith are wrong? Absolutely not. What my grandmother did was wrong. She shamed a child into thinking all the bad things in her life were because God was doling out endless punishments. That was wrong. I am of the opinion that circumstances happen just because shit happens from time to time. Free will does not mean each person runs around handing you flowers. To me it means we are all free to screw up and there will be instances where those errors can have tragic results for another person. Yes, there are evil people who intentionally harm others, but I am talking about the random stuff that we know is an accident.

Did God do that?

I guess the issue with faith is that of blind faith. I have no ability to believe something because you told me to. Since I question everything, why would I not question the existence of a supreme being? If what they say is true and he does exist, what proof is there that he takes a vested interest in how things work out? What about the people who mean well and try hard, but their sincere requests go unheard? How does one continue to believe then?

That is why I envy those who do have faith. They have the strength of their convictions, whether others agree or disagree. Faith is highly subjective and personal. More often than not, there are days that I wish I did have faith in things unseen, but the concept is so foreign to me.

The past few months has found me looking for answers to these questions. As I am fond of saying “The jury is still out.” Before I decide for myself what is and is not the truth, I want to make an informed decision.

What if I am right? What if when we die nothing happens?

Then again, what if I am wrong?

Take It Or Leave It

What is it that makes us look at things the way we do? Is it our upbringing, is it our friends input, or could it be something else?

For years, I have wondered why I am the way I am. Are all of my perspectives on life wrong? Do I need to overhaul my entire belief system in order to be happy? The answer is as complicated as the question. There have been instances when I felt that my perspective on emotions has been skewed permanently. Looking at others and how they respond to situations makes me realize none of us is perfect. I do not hold the answer to the mysteries of life. Never have and never will. What does interest me is how circumstances have forced me to reexamine my focus.

The main shift now is letting things go. In my life, this is harder than it sounds. My upbringing was one where nothing ever got let go of. Grudges were held. My mother went to the grave hating more than a few people. If you wronged her, you no longer existed. Mom had a sister who she never spoke to again because she hater her for embarrassing the family. In the days when my mother was young, getting “in trouble” was not accepted. So, rather than deal with an uncomfortable reality, she cut her sister out of her life.

Have I ever been that resentful? Sure. Do I want to be that person til the day I die? Nope.

I grew up fast. I had to. Mom and dad took me to Atlantic City often. They would go to the casino, and I would be given money to go on the Steel Pier. I knew what a bum was at a young age. I also knew not to talk to strangers and to keep it moving. All those years and many trips, nothing ever happened to me there. I saw a lot of interesting things. I learned what a hustler was. I got to see people gambling in all kinds of ways. I knew what a slot machine was and also had been to the racetrack many times.

Growing up in a house where gambling was common had an impact on me no doubt.

My parents did teach me to be responsible while gambling. First off all, they had a separate bank they both put quarters in. Only quarters, nothing else went in the AC bank. The mortgage money was never touched. Neither was the bill money. This was money they saved up for the sole purpose of seeing if the slot machines were in a giving mood. Sometimes they were. I remember mom hitting once on the slots. Boy, was that ever a day to remember. She played poker Friday nights with the ladies. They played all kinds of cards. It has been a long time, but I was pretty good in my younger days at poker. I was democratic about it, I took everyone’s money.

Did it make me cynical? Maybe.

I got to see the underbelly of society at a young age. I got to see what happens to people who let other things control them. It isn’t pretty. I thought for sure I would remain a sarcastic, cynical person who doubted more than she trusted. Living the way I had to for a few years also made me lose faith in people. That began to turn around once I made a few friends here in this new state where I felt so alone. These days, I don’t need to be as hardened as I once did. I needed those tools to survive, but they don’t work for me anymore. I have replaced doubt with belief and fear with love.

I am the sum total of all my experiences. I am me take it or leave it.

I Wish I Was A Little Bit Taller

As a kid growing up, I would make the same wish each year when I blew out the candles on my birthday cake. I wanted to be taller. Not just a few inches taller mind you, I wanted to be much taller. I was the shortest kid with the longest hair who looked like Cousin It from the Addams Family. I would even eat more in an attempt to grow faster. Sadly, it was never going to happen. I am not even five feet tall.

It seems to me that many people want what they don’t have. I bet there are tall people who want to be shorter so they don’t have to be asked if they play basketball all of the time. It would drive me crazy if I had to constantly reach for items that us short people can’t reach. Damn you high shelving. While I drag my jeans on the floor, they have pants that are not long enough.

As a short person, my head gets used as a drink rest occasionally. I get patted on the head like a little kid which is annoying beyond belief. Why don’t I come pat you on the head? Oh, because my arms are painfully short. Yeah, just like a T-Rex. I have short arms that don’t reach a whole lot especially when food shopping. I have resorted to the Spider Man climb rather than ask for help. The part I love is how random people walk right up to me to inform me that I am short.

I did not get that memo. Does my lack of height offend you? Yes I am short. You, on the other hand, are ugly. All I have to do is put on high heels.

Years ago, I worked in downtown NYC. Each day I took the E train to the World Trade Center. Early morning trains were often packed. In fact, most days there were no seats at all. This was just another morning on a packed subway. In walks a tall man in a business suit. He looks me up and down.

“Wow! You are really short!” He announces to the entire subway car. An idea hits at that second. I look around, stunned. “What the fuck happened to me? I was five foot ten when I left my house this morning!” The laughter and applause from the other commuters was enough to send tall man heading to the next car. Height is something folks love to comment on. It is socially unacceptable to comment on a person’s weight. It is also considered poor manners to call someone bald. Yet, we make fun of short and tall people.

Yes I am short. You don’t have to tell me. I am already aware of it.

My Sincere Hope

Growing up, my favorite word was “Why?” I wanted to know why this, why that. Why was I born? Why was I here?

As an adult, I still like to question things. I want to know why people do the things they do. One of my favorite things is to find out what others believe in. I am often curious about why they feel the way they do. There are people who want to make a difference in the world they live in. Others simply want to balk the status quo. Myself, I am here for many reasons.

I blog when I feel I have something to say. There are many days that blogging helps me figure out how a situation has affected me. This is how I do my best thinking. There are days where self-analysis is a good thing. Other days, I might be beating the shit out of myself for no good reason.

My other reason for being here is to amuse. Making others laugh is great fun for me. I have been looking through my old posts, and spotted one about being a dork. Yep. I wrote about being a dork. What am I going to say, at least I admit it. When I first started dating my boyfriend, my roommate at the time helped me pick out an outfit. She then emphasized the need for me to not be my usual spazzy self. I am a spaz. I have never been able to flirt with men. I am far too awkward. It is part of my charm, or, so I like to think.

The other reason I am here is to show folks with not much to be happy about that life can improve. In the past few years, life has changed many times over. I have gained as much as I have lost. The one thing I never did lose was hope. If I can offer nothing else, I want to be the one who gives a person ready to give up a reason not to. Many days I ask why life is working out this way and not that. It boils down to we are the sum total of the choices we make, be they good or bad. This is my reality, and I am here to make the best of what I have. Over the past few years, it has become easier to deal with certain recurring issues. I have overcome huge obstacles, and now have a good life. A few years ago, my life was in shambles. I blog to offer hope to those who have none. If I can bounce back, so can you.

So many people suffer with mental illness, and feel lost. There is help out there. It is my sincere hope that someone reading this may reach out and get the help they need. There are services and helplines for individuals who are suffering. There is no need to suffer alone any longer.

A friend of mine has begun a resource for college students who suffer from depression, anxiety, or who have thought of suicide. It is called The Friendship Bench. There is no shame in asking for help.

That alone is reason enough for me to keep blogging.

Do you love what you do?

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

My mom was not a gossip. If you asked her a question she deemed too personal, her response was straight to the point. M.Y.O.B. (mind your own business.) Her other reply was “Are you writing a book? Make it a mystery.” There is something to be said about not needing to know all of the news twenty four hours a day. In my younger days, gossip did not bother me. Today it does, because I realize it tears people down. There are three sides to every story – my side, your side, and the truth is in the middle. In most cases, we have one side of a story and have formed our conclusions based on what we know at the time. This is when I have to remind myself this is not my problem, and I do not need to offer my marvelous thoughts on it.

A few weeks ago, a person I am friendly with asked me about a person who is much closer to me. She had questions about this person’s relationship status. All I did was answer the first question, and refused to give any other details. She was insulted that I gave her nothing but a basic answer. Too fucking bad. If you don’t know, perhaps you don’t need to know.

Not my circus, not my monkeys.

The past few weeks, I have seen friends and acquaintances airing all sorts of issues on social media. My urge to have some input can be overwhelming at times, especially if I feel strongly about the issue. I have to remind myself that my opinions are not always needed or wanted. The best course of action in many cases is to listen, be there, offer support. These problems are not mine to fix. If asked, I will say what I need to. If I am not asked, keeping my mouth shut is a good idea.

If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.

The past few weeks, I have had strong ideas about all kinds of subjects. I continue to reiterate “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” My thoughts are strictly mine. Sharing them can hurt people without meaning to. This is why I do my best to keep those thoughts to myself. Why cause a problem when it is not necessary to do that? Not every thought that comes into my head, needs to exit my mouth.

I would love to fix my friend’s problems. They are not mine to fix. What I can do is be there as a friend. To me, it comes down to this, when my life sucked, the last thing I needed was someone waving a finger in my face. I do my best to not do that to others. Situations work their way out with little to no input from me. It is not about not caring. What it is about is realizing that even when I mean well, my help is not needed or wanted all of the time.

When in doubt, M.Y.O.B

Not my circus, not my monkeys.