Guys and Galentines Day

Yes, I know it’s supposed to be a pop-cultured-inspired celebration of gal-pals today… but darn it, I have received such sweet well wishes from a few of my guy friends that I had to give them a shout-out too.

Cheers to my Friends! I may not have your typical, run-of-the-mill Valentine, but you make me feel so loved each and every day ❤ ❤ ❤

Problematic People

And why you never want to stoop to their level.

People suck. Well, some suck more than others. And some have suckiness thrust upon them… usually by parents who spoil them rotten. The point is, there is always going to be someone out there who annoys the piss out of you.

Take S, a certain acquaintance who is outstandingly narcissistic and parasitic. S uses people I care about, draining them of their energies to the point where I’ve seen them neglect their own needs. is clingy. Suffocating. S is the bane of my existence.

Back in the day, after a certain amount of time spent dealing with S and feeling like the situation was only growing more intolerable, I decided enough was enough! No more Miss-Nice-Guy; I’d beat S at their own game. I’d be the one getting what I wanted all the time… damn the consequences. I started manipulating my friends, I made snide remarks behind S’ back, and I started to clandestinely exclude S from social get-togethers.  I was finally going to make myself feel better by treating S exactly as was warranted.

It worked great! … So great that I ended up alienating my friends and being viewed for a time as a cold-hearted she-dog. For all I know, there are still some who view me as such… and really, there is no one to blame for that but myself.

Oh sure, I could make excuses about immaturity and bad advice solicited from others, but to do so would be self-deceiving. In short, because I took the low road (even though I mistakenly believed I had the moral high ground), I wound up becoming someone I didn’t like and… surprise! Not many other people liked the new me either.

Thankfully, I did manage to salvage my self-respect and restore my good name, but only after leaving the S debacle alone. Full stop. At the time it felt like “giving up.” Now I realize it was sanity.

Did I ever make peace with what I had done? I’m attempting to, chiefly by writing this blog post.

People like S will always be in my life. Whether within my own family, my workplace, or other activities in which I participate. However, being the sadder, but wiser, girl I am, I now recognize that the best  course of action is to simply walk away from these people and not let petty grievances drag me down. And, if I find myself in a position where I can’t leave, clapping my hands over my ears and singing lalala  is a feasible Plan B.

Unbecoming behavior from one whom we expect to be unbecoming is, for better or worse, acceptable. Unbecoming behavior from one whom people respect and admire is shocking, if not horrifying, to behold.

If, however, some sort of confrontation does become necessary between you and your S, be direct. As a communications professional, I can tell you that “I statements” do work much better than “you-centric” finger wagging. Keep calm; don’t let your voice rise with your temper. Above all, don’t knock yourself out while knocking your head against a brick wall…. if you’re not getting through, there may come a time when you simply have to grin (with clenched teeth) and bare it. Ah, adulthood.

That said, here is today’s parting metaphor: a gnat in the ear is not worth a stinging cheek when you strike yourself while trying to rid yourself of a pest.

Let’s Keep in Touch

When screaming into the void, isn’t it nice to think sound still echoes?

As a former military brat, the concept of “home” to me is… vague (at best). I don’t have a hometown; my elementary school chums would stare blankly at my Facebook profile were you to show it to them; when I go “home” it’s to wherever my family happens to be at the moment. I can’t remark on who lived on this street or where I used to go after school every day…

Impermanence is emblazoned somewhere on my coat of arms, I am certain.

Yet, in spite of the constant upheaval in my life, what keeps me grounded are those rare friends who, by some miracle, have decided that absence is not a barrier to communication. These are very special people; people who take the time to sit down and write cards; people who are brave enough to send me texts because “hey, I was thinking about you the other day.”

And to those people, I say THANK YOU.

As I mentioned earlier, “home” is where family is; in the last year, my little family has found itself broken and scattered about. We’re, all of us, trying to find “home.”

My life is so far removed from what it once was that some days it feels like my memories happened to someone else.

Thankfully, friends are the co-guardians of our past; they are the proof and protectors of those distant times (I’m not even 30, I know… but hey, I get this). They remind me of when I made them laugh, of when they made my smile, and when tears were shed together rather than in isolation.

I had originally intended to write about “silence”. In spite of the comfort silence can afford, I find nothing to be more disconcerting than sending out a message and receiving no signal that is was received; no acknowledgement that the other party in question cares about what I have to say.

It’s demoralizing… I hate that feeling of being ignored. Especially by someone for whom I care. However, I have resolved not to let silence deter me from making my feelings known. After all, when I am at my lowest, a kind word is a tonic; a message from a friend… can almost be a resurrection. Why should I not offer the same?

I don’ think we should be afraid, as we so often are, of saying “hey, I care about you, you dork* (*as in any exchange, know your audience).” Yet, at some point in our histories, we started to believe that an expression of this nature comes with a price; something must then be expected of the receiver, right? Kindness doesn’t come cheap?

Rubbish. If someone places a price on affection, drop ’em like the proverbial hot potato…it’s not worth burning your tongue for a taste of the sour-cream-smothered feast.

That being said, please do take two seconds somewhere in your day to respond with an initial “Thanks!” or “You too!” Silence is not golden; imagine if you complimented your friend’s shirt and they just stared at you, eyes distant and glassy… creepy.

So to those of you who are listening: You are the best. Thank you for being here for me. If I can ever help you (in any way that doesn’t result in jail or imminent death), please let me know.

Ta ta for now…

Dear Friend

I’ve been thinking of the transient nature of life. Almost since I was born, I have moved every four or so years. When people ask me “where I’m from” or what my “hometown” is, I laugh. And then, after apologizing for giggling, I take a deep breath and start ticking off the locations on my fingers: Born in Washington, moved to Texas, than Cheyenne Wyoming, then Maryland, college in California, and back up to Washington. “I guess I’ve come full circle,” I chuckle, even as I wonder when the circle will break and I’ll find myself elsewhere.

The longer I stay in one place, however, the closer I am to finding “home,” because the people I encounter during this time become very special friends.  These friends are special not because they are superior to others, but because they inevitably see more of my life and who I am.

These friendships start with shared interests (theatre, choir, school, career), which then extend into shared sympathies and humors. As time passes, I inevitably grow to have an understanding with these friends; an understanding of what is said in silence; an understanding of the words beneath the words; and an understanding of their hopes and fears… past, present, and future.

And it seems strange, at times, to realize that some of these friends of whom I am thinking, are people whom I rarely engage in conversation anymore, or even see.

I suppose the nature of adulthood is that we leave things behind. The myth of adulthood is that we ever do. When someone has truly touched your heart, in any way, it lingers; like a spray of water upon your skin, even after you’ve wiped it away.

We don’t shed people and places, we carry them with us; wrapping ourselves up in a quilt of memories; each thread a link to what was, each square a fragment of recollection. These memories are imperfect, idealized, but they comfort us, and strengthen us, so we cherish them, even when they start getting a bit tattered around the edges.

It never ceases to amaze me how powerful these connections are, and how some friendships continue to endure in spite of neglect. These people re-enter our lives in “very unusual ways” : an unsolicited letter of love when we are feeling utterly alone; spending time with someone after five years apart, and feeling like it was just yesterday that you said “see ya’ around”; the voice in your head, which offers counsel during times of trouble, taking on the tones of a childhood companion.

Instances like these make me reflect that although life is transient, and I myself am never destined to remain in one place for very long, everywhere I go is home so long as a friend is there.