The Edge


In my experience as a blogger I have been upset and bothered enough to stop only twice. Today was one of those days. Today I felt like I had a Facebook experience honestly, not my usual warm and friendly ‘community’ feeling of the blogging community.

I made the mistake of commenting on a blog recently and was rewarded with a barrage of answers from the blogger, and someone related to her, that was…well, more than I bargained for shall we say. It left me stunned. The thing I commented on actually, if found anywhere else, most likely could have been considered edging very close to a hate statement (in my opinion anyway)–and that is why I commented on it. I said something far more tame than I could have in fact.

In most instances what I saw on the blog, and might have been seen elsewhere, might have been taken down on other sites as offensive. It certainly was to me. But WordPress seems pretty lax about things. They don’t monitor much. And, worse than that, they don’t allow us the ability to block harassing people. So we must endure their comments, no matter how mean they get–self-righteous as these people think they are.

WordPress feels this is an open forum so buck up. Take it. And if you can’t, get out of the game. Make your site private (which can be very tricky).

Well, I guess I understand. But I don’t have to play.

I’ve been thinking for some time about a break anyway. The ideas have been coming hard. One of my favorite bloggers told me maybe to stop writing every day. This seems like a good idea. I just had my five-year anniversary on the site. Five years seems like a good time to try something different. So I may just write when the mood strikes me instead of forcing it all the time, every day.

Sometimes the Universe directs you a certain way. That blogger that won’t go away has directed me. If she won’t go away, then I will–at least now and again. So I say to her: thank you for helping to push me towards this decision that has been hard to make. You tipped me right over the edge…

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Antithesis


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Friday was a pretty miserable day for me. It started out poorly and got worse! As many of you following my blog know, a friend’s house has burned recently and I had tried to set up a fund at a bank. A customer service rep there had specifically told me it was OK to post the account number on social media, the newspaper or wherever. This sounded odd to me, but hey, she was the expert. So we did it! The next day I received a call from their fraud department saying it was definitely NOT OK and making it sound like I was the idiot. I was very upset about the whole thing and went the next day to fix it. The very same rep was there, but as a teller. She was happy to see me and wanted to help, but I asked for someone else. When I told her  this, she because very upset and wanted to know why. I didn’t want to get into there on the floor, but she pressed so I told her. She insisted she was right and that’s when I got upset and said I didn’t want to talk about it.

I ended up going behind a closed-door with a more senior (and older rep) and voiced my complaint and it was fixed. But on Friday my Chief calls me in his office to ask if I had dropped the “F” bomb in the bank!? Well, I’m no Saint, and I was upset, but heck, I’m not so stupid that I would say something like that, IN UNIFORM, in public! He said a woman in town had heard me, with her own ears mind you, and called to complain! But the best part is–she posted it on Facebook!

So I gave up Facebook a while ago, and this is a very reason I did. This kind of mean and nasty spreading of untrue gossip. She had put my name and everything! Whoa. I was flabbergasted to say the least. My Chief wasn’t worried because he knew it wasn’t like me to do such a thing! Speaking with the senior person, she verified I hadn’t also. Later in the day the big manager came to the station to smooth everything over. I was quite upset, but apparently the young rep was more upset and was supposed to eventually apologize.

But this was not the end of my day. Before I left, there was yet another incident with a young EMT who is new to our department and feels the rules do not apply to him. He has been butting heads with me (and others) and is a bit of an instigator. Sadly, one of the folks he has been instigating with is a woman I’ve had issue with in the past and have worked hard to gain a healthy relationship. Long and short of it, it all came to a head right before I left for what was planned to be a very wonderful weekend. There was much swearing and head butting on his end and lots of disrespect. I tried to talk, but found myself just getting frustrated and nowhere. Our Captain had no abilities to control the situation, so I left, drained and bewildered.

Both incidences were so out of the blue: accusations from people I barely know, belittling my nature, dishonest statements were made about things I absolutely did not say. Admittedly if there’s one thing that yanks my crank is being falsely accused! But I decided I would not let it ruin my weekend and LET IT GO! In the past this would not have been possible for me and it would have eaten at me the whole time. I did talk to a couple of good friends about it, but after that: poof and it was gone. Until….

Today–Monday. I’ve been doing lots of work on myself letting go, truly letting go that is… In order for me to be true to this I had to decide how I could get on from these situations. After all, I was back in the thick of it today.

I knew I had a check to deposit in the bank fund, so I decided to buy a plant for the customer service rep to make peace with her. Honestly, there was no reason to be upset any longer. She is young and I didn’t really need her to apologize. She had been through enough I was sure–her bosses had already spoken to her about the Aunt, her mistakes and how she had treated me. She learned lots of things already. Now was a lesson in forgiveness.For all of us.When I gave her the plant, I hugged her and said it’s all fine! And I could see the worry drain from her–and so too, did it from me! It was a beautiful thing.

Then at work today, I wrote an apology email to both the kid who yelled at me, and the woman I had difficulties with (because of the now strained relationship). I said it doesn’t even matter if I did or didn’t do whatever was said, but I was simply sorry if I offended. That all I aim for is peace and harmony. I have heard from her so far and for now it’s OK.

Keeping in mind that these sorts of things are so minor in one’s life is so important. They really aren’t worth the energy we put into them. I’m getting better at not getting as upset and letting go faster and being the one to be forgiving first. It’s for me, not them.

I found a very interesting post on Detachment by Deepak Chopra. This may help us all Let Go:

“The only way out of this dilemma is detaching. You set your intentions and take whatever action is needed, and then relinquish your attachment to the outcome.  Here are a few  powerful affirmations you can use to practice detachment in your daily life.  Choose one or two and practice saying them to yourself throughout the day:

  1. I consciously commit to flexibility and detachment.
  2. I allow myself and those around me the freedom to be themselves, without imposing rigid ideas of right and wrong.
  3. I live my life in a state of engaged detachment.
  4. I release the need to judge or criticize.
  5. I express myself honestly while releasing any need to impose my beliefs on other people.
  6. Whenever I notice that I am becoming emotionally attached to a point of view, I take a deep breath and come back to a more centered place.
  7. I embrace detachment by choosing to be free from the good and bad opinions of others.”

So there you have it! I know I feel better. Hopefully they will….eventually. My Friday and my Monday feelings were truly were an antithesis of one another, and I’m glad of it.

 

 

 

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Blogging For Growth


“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” –Anais Nin

This morning I was writing in my personal journal and this quote happened to be on the bottom of the journal page I was writing on. Part of what I was writing about was my blog and how much it has come to mean to me, how it has made me grow and what I have gained from it. As it happens so often, we see little things that serendipitously go along with what we feel or need, just like this quote.

When I started this blog, it began more as an exercise in writing and somewhere to put my photos. While I was still on Facebook then and did display my pictures there, my “voice” was rarely shared, and only then in short comments. I’ve always loved to write and have done so in the past. After having my astrological chart read by a friend, it blasted all over it: WRITE, so I decided it was time to find a venue.

Knowing my writing wasn’t professional or good enough to publish, someone suggested blogging. That seemed the ticket. It was free, easy and a perfect way to express myself openly. If I was lucky enough, maybe some people would even read my essays. The first time I got a hit, I was literally amazed! So now, at almost 500 followers, I’m ecstatic.

But I realized today, my blogging has gone way beyond my being able to share with others. It has brought something to me on such a deeper level. Or rather it has let me be the me I already am, but be able to express it now out loud. And this is a beautiful thing (for me).

Since as long as I can recall I’ve always been an observer. Not only an observer, but a story-teller. Even as a young child–an only child–I would make up huge tales, out loud, even if no-one was listening to keep myself amused. I would talk to trees, animals, the wind….any’thing’ that would listen. If a person would listen-or even if they wouldn’t, I would talk. I’m not so different now.

And as soon as I could write, I did. The important thing is that I was observing the world around me. As an adult, and now especially as I become more and more aware, my blog has helped me go deeper. Everything has potential to be material.  It’s made me hyper-aware. It’s made me a better listener, more observant, a critical thinker. Overall, I hope, a better person.

It’s given me the time to slow down and create. This, versus, just reading the garbage on Facebook. And I’ve made some wonderful friends on my blog. Other creators and artists. I’ve learned some amazing things too and traveled all around the world through other’s blogs. Everything is fair game now in my mind for my blog.

I’ve become like a reporter, author, photographer, comedian,  an autobiographer and poet all wrapped into one. It’s liberating, humbling, challenging and made me grow so much. My mind is always whirring away now in everything I do: what will make a good photo? Will this make a good piece for my blog? It keeps my mind active and healthy. It gives me the opportunity to experiment without fear of rejection.

So I thank the stars, literally, for giving me this opportunity. And I thank all of you for supporting this fancy. For without you, I’d still be that child just talking to myself! And honestly, this is way better!

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Capture


 

Last night I was standing around the fire station with some friends. Two of them had to show me ‘home movies’ of their kids. Of course these weren’t real home movies because they were on their smart phones. A few of us were clustered around the tiny screens, listening as best we could as the kids did their adorable stuff.

But it gave me pause. I am much older than these friends and they have kids much younger than my daughters. When my girls were their ages– we took real movies. We had one of those big cameras that we would grab every time they would do something cute or just to capture important events. Even the birth of my last daughter is-for better or worse-on one of these old VHS tapes.

The thing is: my kids LOVE these tapes! My youngest daughter pulls these movies out frequently! She’ll be watching them, and sometimes drags her friends to watch them too, and then I get suckered in. Of course I get teary watching them: how cute they were with their goofy little outfits,  the lisp, cake smeared on their faces or just the fact that we all still were a family then.

And this all made me wonder…with these kinds of movies becoming a rarity, how will our future generation come to enjoy these same kinds of memories? Or the parents for that matter? While a nation may share the most intimate of detail of their lives with thousands of strangers through the internet now, somehow we may have lost the gift of capturing these intimacies within our own lives.

Somehow I think we feel it is more important now to be connected to a bigger and bigger cross-section of the world. With Facebook, tweeting and the other social media we have moved away from the more personal circles. I heard on the news today about how people have stopped writing letters and would rather text. While people love to receive letters and they are tangible and can be kept (like a VHS tape), no-one will take the time any longer to write them. It’s considered a lost art.

Our world now wants everything to be immediate and throw away. What happens to the adorable clips I saw of my friends children when they get a new phone and the data card doesn’t download properly? All is lost! Even if they post it on Facebook, will their child be able to refer back to it 20 years from now to see it? And will it even be the same as having their friends crowding around a TV set watching a full length tape? A two-minute bit taken on a phone hardly compares.

It’s just another dinosaur that will go the way of extinction and with it take lovely memories and potential intimate moments a family can share. Looking back on one’s past, as and grown-up or even a young adult, can give great insight to who we are now. Laughing at the funny hairdo’s and crying at sweet sentimentality of it all is what these flashes of the past bring to us.

So while those blinks on your phone are great to share at work and Facebook, don’t forget to continue to take some real old-fashioned home movies. Your kids will thank you and you will be eternally grateful you did many years from now. Nothing beats watching my baby coming out of the C-section and hearing that first cry-even 20 years later!

Feeling Naked


So I had some photos for here today but then calamity struck and my smart phone died for good today. One second it worked, the next…the screen was black. Well, this isn’t completely true. You see, I had dropped it one too many times and the screen was quite cracked. In fact, there were hunks of glass missing from it! So much so, my co-workers had begun to tease me about getting glass shards in my fingers when I made calls. Ah, but I was reluctant to part with my phone. I loved my phone! Sad state of the world today when somebody loves their phone, no?

But luckily I had purchased a new one in advance for when the day did arrive (as predicted) and it would suddenly crash. I looked on my plan, and of course it wasn’t due to expire for over a year! And of course all the phones I liked were way too expensive. Then someone told me I could just go on Amazon and buy one! Sometimes I’m so dumb. Who knew? See I’m someone who thinks like this: why the heck would a carrier like Verizon have something like a plan where you couldn’t buy a phone from them for a two years when you could just easily go off and buy one somewhere else? Doesn’t that seem dumb? Why would they want to lose business like that these days? Get with the program people and get over yourselves. I mean they even let you activate these new phones online. Verizon does! I don’t get it! Actually I did it right on the phone itself!

So here I am now, with this crappier phone though (because I didn’t want to spend that much money yet) and it’s not quite charged, and I can’t get the back off yet to put the old SD card in for the camera and media stuff. I’m a bit frustrated right now. And it’s amazing how naked I feel without my phone. I no longer have a ‘land line’ either. My phone had everything on it too: all my banking, my social media connections, my contacts, my pictures, my music, my apps…well, my life. Sounds crazy…but it’s how I feel.

I guess there are plenty of people who live without cell phones still. I’m not quite sure how they manage. Not that I’m crazy with mine. It’s not like I’d go on a date and be on it the whole time I was with someone. There’s a point of rudeness for sure. But they surely do serve a wonderful purpose also. I’ve often wondered if Romeo and Juliet had cell phones how different that outcome would have been? Wouldn’t have been much of a tragedy then, eh? She could have just called and said, “Hey, so I’m gonna take this drug you know, pretend I’m dead…no biggie”. Would have saved everyone a lot of grief. But Shakespeare would have been out one really sweet play.

So I just hope I can get this thing up and running at least for phone service by tomorrow. Sure, I’d love to get some app’s flying too, but I’d settle for my contacts at least. Although I did see the Facebook Icon on there….so that was a good start. Next tackle: yahoo mail and then WordPress! Night all!

 

 

 

Crossing Paths


In the pool today I was struck by all the people who cross our paths and how our interactions with them can be on such different levels and intensities. For instance, today this thought came to me particularly while I was swimming because I’ve met a wonderful young woman who is an intern where I swim. She will only be there for six months and is coming close to the end of her time. We’ve become great chums as women do that share a locker room together. Maybe it’s the intimacy of showering together and sharing our stories. But she and I just clicked, had the same politics so followed the election very closely together even though we are vastly different in age. It’s sad to me she will be leaving and I will miss her. I was struck that I will most likely never see her again.

And this made me think about all the relationships like this we have in our lives. The intense and real friendships we have that are brief and final. Maybe with a co-worker in a place you once worked. But then you move on to a new job. You keep in touch for a while, then move to the Christmas card, then even those stop. This person maybe really was a good friend at the time you worked together, but now they are out of your life forever.

Or what about the orthodontist or doctor that you may see for years and years. I saw my orthodontist all the time for five years! And then poof…he was gone. Not that he was my friend, but he did change my life in one way. It just seems odd that someone like that is just suddenly gone from one’s life.

Of course there’s the really strange relationship like the one you have with the ex-spouse! Someone you actually loved and lived with for so many years. And one day they are gone. It may take longer for that person to leave your heart, but when they do–it’s odd to think they ever took up space in your life.

There are so many of these crossings–big and small. Where do the spaces go when they are left open? Are they just filled by someone else, or do they remain a hole? Is it OK to just let people go from your life as though they never existed in the first place or should we work harder to keep people with us? I’ve had friends who have just disappeared from my life with no explanation. Even when I’ve tried to get one from them. I’ve never understood this and it hurt a lot.

Now with the days of social media it is much easier to stay in touch. Facebook, email, texting, cellphones, computers make it much less likely to lose someone if you don’t really want to lose them. And to find them if you want to find them! I found my second ex that way. And we talked after 25 years! It was very cathartic. We are even in touch via FB now. I found my first ex on the computer and wrote him a snail mail letter. And got a lovely reply back. It was all very healing.

But there are some people who leave and are gone for good. I think about these people now and again and wonder about them. I wonder if they think about me. They were friends at a part of my life, weren’t they? If I bumped into them now I’m quite sure we would still be friendly. I work so hard to make a real connection with just about everyone I meet. That is my blessing and my downfall. I used to send 60 gifts across the country at Christmas time! Not anymore.

So now my goal is to keep my friends near to me and hang onto them no matter where they go or where I go. There’s no excuse now to lose people anymore. And the ones that drift in and out, well I just be as kind as I can when our paths do cross. I’ve come to accept now some relationships we have now exist online, not in person like in the old days. This is the way it has to be in some cases, and, I suppose…it’s better than nothing at all.