Monday, July 30, 2012


Some times people leave your life and they leave a hole where they used to be.  In your life. In your heart.  Even in your day, sometimes, if they were the type to interact with you daily. 

And you try to fill the hole that they left with other things, other people, other distractions.  Because the reality is that in life people come and go, and mostly, we are helpless to stop them.  (Resistance is futile, damnit!)  We hope that they'll stay awhile, enjoy our company, and never want to go, but usually there comes a time and they must be on their way.

One of my friends reminded me of this just over three years ago.  She sent me this e-mail about how people are in your life for a moment, a season, or a life-time.  That sometimes people are just there for a reason for that moment, and when that moment or that season is passed, so does the friendship or relationship.  At the time she sent it was a particularly difficult morning for me as I was beginning to recognize and accept that my relationship with my wife - something that was supposed to be forever - was over.   I wasn't ready to accept those words of wisdom, that encouraged letting people go when it was time.  I remember screaming loudly in my (fortunately private) office that morning when I read her e-mail and took that next step in accepting what was.  (I have, since, for the most part accepted that - and that is not what this is about)

I've never been particularly good at letting go.  You can tell because this is a theme that I keep revisiting.  Because I can't let go, easily.

That Dalai Lama says to find those things in your life that bring you happiness and hold onto them.  That's all I've been trying to do... 

In the meantime, I do my best with what I have to try and fill the hole that has been left by someone very dear to me.  Some days - particularly hormonal days like today that make me more emotional - are harder than others.  Sometimes everywhere I look I see where she once was but is not now.   I want to hear her voice, her "luv ya" at the end of a phone call, at the end of an e-mail, or at the end of a text.  Feel her arms holding me tight both in happiness and in sadness.  Her holding my hand in compansionship.  Someone to laugh at my jokes.  To just give me that smile that brightens my day.  And to be someone special to her.  To know that my presence, too, has brightened her day...

There is a hole there where she used to be... and no matter how hard I dig, I just can't seem to fill it...

Sounds of Silence

Raise your hand if you are comfortable with silence. No, I'm not talking about having your kids be silent - although certainly the silence when they are out of the house and you are home without them, I'm certain (if I had kids) would be quite pleasant.

Certainly there are moments in our hectic and busy lives when silence is welcome.

But how many of us are truly comfortable with silence? I have become less surprised in life to discover how many people fall asleep with the television on. That "sleep" function on your remote control for your television, where it turns off after sixty, ninety minutes or even two hours, has been around for a long time. Clearly it serves a purpose for many of us.

"Hello darkness, my old friend..." starts the song by Simon & Garfunkel. I was a pre-teen when I bought one of my very first non-consumable item with my own money. It was a digital radio alarm clock. And I had it well into my thirties, and probably, if I hadn't fled my home, I probably would still have it in some box of junk (I fear going back to the storage unit of what I was able to salvage, and finding it there, although I'd also probably be quite happy to see that "old friend", too).

It got replaced by an iClock when those were first new, where you could recharge your iPod on your clock, and play your iTunes as well as the radio through it. But I digress.

When I was a young girl, before I bought my magic clock, I would take my big boxy radio (about the size of a toaster) and hide it under my pillow as I went to sleep, to muffle the sound so my parents wouldn't hear it, and listen to music through the pillow as I fell asleep.

These days I have a few television series on Hulu that I've seen before, so if I fall asleep I won't "miss" anything, although usually there's this moment just before I fall asleep where I actually manage to reach out, touch the mousepad, and pause it before I completely crash.

When I had a television in the house, I admit that we were one of those households where it was always on. I can't drive anywhere for much distance without music in the car (including the three miles to work) - unless there is someone else there to fill the gap.

Treadmills at the gyms these days often have televisions in them. Or if not, there's certainly one on the wall blaring whatever show they think most commonly would be enjoyed by others. (Regardless of whether they do or not).  We invented Walkmen for us to live in our own world of sound and block out others. 

Stores and restaurants all have radio stations or muzak on in them or a television in the background. Heck, even elevators, the original home of muzak, of course has music in them, and in many of the skyscrapers, we now have videos - to get that thirty second blip of information or advertising in that we can.

Those who live in the city are used to a certain hum. It's referred to as "noise pollution". When they come outside of the city they are almost deafened (I know it's strange) by the silence.

I was working job #2 the other night, and we had closed, and a rain monsoon swept in (okay, maybe not a monsoon, but it was creating a nice swirling flood in the street between the restaurant and my car). I was waiting for the manager to finish up and the storm to subside before getting drenched by the storm. He'd already turned off the radio for the night, but the storm took out the power while I was waiting, and then there was real silence. We forget, sometimes, how much noise all of our machines around us make.

On an ironic side note, nonetheless, I have to close my bedroom door at night before I go to sleep, because the ticking of the kitchen clock drives me mad.

Those who meditate, though, savor the peace that the silence brings them.  (Assuming they manage to actually find a space where they can have that silence uninterrupted).  I envy them that moment of peace.  I wish I were better able to enjoy moments of silence rather than always seek to silence them.  I lose so much of my life because I want to be distracted, and because, then, I become distracted. 

Writing these posts is one of the few moments in my day where I turn off the distractions, so that the inspiration and the words can flow.  Perhaps this is my form of meditation.  Even then, the sound of a text or an IM will sometimes pull me away - even for a moment. 

A friend of mine recently gave me an "exercise" to do and the first instruction was to "slow down and spend quiet time with you".  While yes, I have read further in her instructions, I'm not apparently really able to get past that first instruction.   Spend quiet time with me.

Except in the shower.  No wonder so many "brilliant" posts come to me there? ;)

(See, even now, I try to joke to deflect away from the seriousness of the idea of spending quiet time with myself...)

But I know that I am not alone.  I know that many of you, too, have trouble enjoying the silence.  Perhaps we are afraid, as Simon & Garfunkel warned, that silence like a cancer grows? 

And let's face it, it isn't just with ourselves.  How many of us can feel awkward spending time with another when that moment of silence comes up in conversation?  If we're eating, at least, we have an excuse - we are busy putting food into our mouths and therefore it would be impolite to speak.  But you know you are truly comfortable with someone when you can sit side by side with them and say nothing, and perhaps just hold hands.  Just enjoy that moment of being with each other. 

And that, perhaps my friends, is the lesson.  You will know (I will know) that we are truly comfortable with ourselves when we can just sit there with ourselves and say nothing, and perhaps just hold our own hand.  And enjoy that moment of being with ourselves. 

Let's all give it a try this week, shall we?  Come back and report, if you will...

P.S. In a completely fitting moment, while I was writing this a good friend who is taking a long road trip this morning, literally while I was writing this, tweeted about needing a new stereo in her car... thus providing one more example of how we are not comfortable with the silence.  (As well as, I admit, an example of how I allow myself still to be distracted during these moments myself...)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Erotic Dreams of... laundry...?

So this morning, before waking up, I'm having this dream.  It's me and my ex-wife.  Apparently, at some level we've reconciled and are talking to each other, because at the point of the dream I remember first, we're taking off each other's clothes and beginning to be intimate. 

It's been awhile for me in real life, so I'm sitting there thinking this is nice.  And then, quite early on before much of anything has really happened, I get all giddy inside the dream and pull myself away, and laugh.  (Really smooth, Borg.  Really, smooth.  But wait, it gets better).

So, of course, I feel obligated to tell her what's made me so giddy and happy.  (I swear this was my TRUE unembellished dream).  She's asking "Whaa-a-at?"  To which I tell her, "You know what one of the great things about us getting back together is?  You doing the laundry again."

And I wonder why I'm single...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ill-Fitting Sheets

The nicest sheets I have for my bed are ill-fitted.  That's because I took them with me when I fled my home, and my wife and I had a queen size bed, and now I sleep in a hand-me-down double bed. 

I have spent much of my evening, after coming home from Job #2, waiting for my sheets to finish their circles and cycles in the washer and dryer.  As I now crawl into my freshly made bed, I know the wait was worth it.

But as I was making my bed, and tuckng in one really long end on the side I don't typically sleep on so it will stay secure, I thought about how this was quite the metaphor for my life.  At least at the moment. 

The nicest things I do have in my life are often quite ill-fitting.  But I do my best to make do with them.  Because I don't want to give up some of the "fineries" in my life.  But also because many of the things are hold-overs from a previous life. 

I admit, I'm a little cautious at poking this, er examining this, insight too far.  And don't get me wrong, these sheets aren't that special - I got them on sale at Linens 'N Things nearly five years ago now. 

Yeah.  Maybe for now it is enough to observe the phenomenon.  Not quite yet poke too hard at it.  But it is quite possible I will return to this thought.  Maybe not here, but perhaps as I move forward, I might acquire for myself some properly fitting nice things.  I might spoil myself in the now, rather than making do with the spoils of the past that don't fit the present.  Maybe. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Moment of Morbidity

Not many people like to think of their own death.  I think no matter what our age is, we still possess a certain amount of expectation of invincibility that the youth is so imbued with.  Unless there are certain factors at play (health issues, risky activities), we all think we have time. 

And I hope we do.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not here to tell you I know something I don't.  I am hoping I have many "happy years" left in me, and that there are still more years to come than years that have passed, although I realize that I'm at the age where I could be at the half-way point, or past it, even though I don't quite feel I'm there yet.  Or I hope that I'm not there yet. 

But I was reading Dear Abby this morning, as I usually do each morning, and a letter she received got me thinking about my own death.  Well, less my death, than what message I would want my loved ones to know if I were suddenly gone.

The letter (which I will paste below to satisfy your morbid curiosity!) was from a recent widow whose last experience with her husband was a fight.  He went out the door angry, and was in a fatal car accident while talking on the cellphone with his brother.  The gist of her letter was trying to deflect the blame his family was placing on her for his death (LOVELY!) and to serve as a warning about cellphones and driving. 

But what struck me (perhaps a poor choice of words) was this idea of losing someone or more accurately, dying without someone else knowing how much I loved them.  (And yes, Garth Brooks had a song about this, too "If Tomorrow Never Comes")  Now the reality is that I doubt that there are very few people in my life who don't know how I feel about them.  And this one person I was thinking about in particular, I do know that she knows how I feel.  But if I were - God forbid! - to walk out the door today, and be hit by a car (because we don't really have that many busses in a small town, and while I do live near the railroad tracks, I'm usually smart enough not to step in front of one of those), I do feel that there is "unfinished business" with this person.  I know that really, if I'm dead, it's been finished.  But, there are still a few things, I want her to know - reinforced, perhaps - if I weren't here to tell her myself in the future.  The reality is I don't like having doubts, and so I don't want those I love ever having doubts either.

So my poor friend Robin (who lives in another time zone) is going to wake up and find a very morbid e-mail waiting for her.  (Sorry, Robin..).  It first started out giving her some very specific information of what to communicate to whom.  But then, I couldn't help myself, apparently, since I was on the topic, and I gave her details about how I wanted to be cremated and what I wanted done with my ashes, etc.  (Again, sorry, Robin...)

But I realized that here is the real problem.  I'm not really sure how my friends far and wide would get notice.  I mean, I feel fairly certain that people here would find and notify my family.  And that people locally would know, and folks that my family knows would know... but there's still a whole lot of ground that might not get covered.  Including Robin. 

Or you. 

Hopefully, this isn't something that would ever become an issue (although maybe I'll send a second follow-up e-mail to Robin with a clue about my social networking passwords... ), but in this day and age of far flung friends, who knows and notices when one falls off the radar? 

Okay - not going in that direction this morning. ;)

But if you take anything away from this post, I hope you share in my sense of the importance to let those you love always know how much you love them.  Hug your significant other if you're fortunate enough to have one.  Tell your best friend how much you appreciate him or her.  Let those you care about know how much you care while you're still around to tell them.  Because life is too precious to live in anger, or pain, or insecurity or to leave those we love in those states.  We humans and our relationships are really all we each have of substance.  These are the things that matter at the end of the day.  Make sure those that matter know how much they matter.  This is one area where you don't want to leave them guessing...


The original letter, which again, touches upon issues I hope no-one else ever has to deal with, but nonetheless got me thinking and writing this morning...  Oh, and send a prayer for this Idaho Widow that she might find some peace given this horrible tragedy. 

DEAR ABBY: A few weeks ago my husband and I were having an argument. He stormed out of the house and was killed in a wreck while talking to his brother on his cellphone.

His family blames me for arguing with him. While I feel sad that the last thing we did was argue, I feel his brother should shoulder some of the blame because he was on the cellphone with him, which is illegal in our state.

Luckily, no one else was hurt in the crash, but I am very hurt that "John's" family is so angry at me. Please remind folks not to drive while on a cellphone. -- IDAHO WIDOW

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Being Wise

Being wise isn't all that it's cracked up to be, by the way.  This is a tremendous burden that I carry for you. Yeah, for you.. sure.. that's it. ;) 

So the morning after all my Sticks & Stones follow up epiphanies (I swear, I will get to Pt 4 at some point, soon...), I found myself feeling pissy at a friend.  Over what she did, or did NOT do, as was the case. 

I long ago realized that anger is merely one manner of expression of feeling hurt. 

And so I found myself - annoyingly - sitting there thinking about why I was feeling hurt, and thinking back on all the crap I wrote the night before.  (Because I was annoyed, I grumpily referred to it as "crap").  Why was I feeling pissy?  Why was I hurt?

And the reality is because that friend tapped into my own insecurities.  Damnit.  Insecurity is a bitch, rearing her ugly head.  And when it does, even the simplest of actions by another (or, again, inaction) can stir up a crazy reaction. 

In hindsight, perhaps, this is the perfect segue-way into Pt 4. 

Sometimes we need to recognize that the reason we are hurt is not because the other person was being hurtful.  Or doing anything at all.  But because they tripped lightly (or even headstrongly) into our own insecurities.  Our fears.  Their actions just lightly tapped into suggesting that what we are afraid of is true. 

When we want to believe something, we take any sign as evidence that what we want to believe is true.  Whether we're talking about good things to believe in (farmers, for example, hoping for rain), or apparently, even our insecurities. 

(Related to the last post, frankly, I take all sorts of signs as positive ones that she will come back to me.)

We look for things to believe in, whether they are true or not.

And when we feel insecure.  When we really believe x about us (we're fat, we're unloveable, we're ugly, nobody likes us, we're annoying, we're going to be alone for the rest of our lives...) whatever it is, then we are just as quick as the farmer who sees a cloud to hope it will rain, to believe that that little tiny sign means that x is true.  We are quick to grasp onto it even though it is not a positive thing. 
And in the end, the frustrating thing to admit is NOT that the other person has hurt us, but that we have hurt ourselves. 

We have to stop doing that. 

Okay?  Okay...

Need You Now

No good post comes at 4:30 in the morning.  Not much good of anything comes at 4:30 in the morning.  I should, as I have written before, step away from the keyboard.  But since I seem unable to turn off this machine, I am safer writing to you, than to her.

Lady Antebellum has a song that fits and hits home at the moment.  The classic line out of it is "I guess I'd rather hurt than feel nothing at all."  Some days, I'm not so sure about that...

It's a twist off of the old Shakespearean quote: "It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all"

In the bigger picture of life, I agree.   At 4:30 in the morning when all of me aches for her, not so much...

Pining, by the way, is not pretty.

Pine TREES may be, but not pining.

Neither is whining.

It's supposed to get better with time... And with other loves, I can see that it did.  This one, though, is taking it's sweet time. 

There truly isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss her.  Typically that line might be some expression meant to encompass a general missing, but seriously, not a day.  Sometimes I wish a day would go by...

I'm in that silly phase of if you love someone, set them free.  If they don't come back to you, they were never yours. 

(The way my ex used to say it, "if they don't come back, hunt them down and shoot them."  And people wonder why I am afraid of her!)

All of these lyrics seem particularly appropriate tonight...

Picture perfect memories, scattered all around the floor
Reaching for the phone 'cause I can't fight it anymore
And I wonder if I ever cross your mind
For me it happens all the time

It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now
Said I wouldn't call but I've lost all control and I need you now
And I don't know how I can do without
I just need you now

Another shot of whiskey, can't stop looking at the door
Wishing you'd come sweeping in the way you did before
And I wonder if I ever cross your mind
For me it happens all the time

It's a quarter after one, I'm a little drunk and I need you now
Said I wouldn't call but I've lost all control and I need you now
And I don't know how I can do without
I just need you now

Woah, woah
Guess I'd rather hurt than feel nothing at all

It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now
And I said I wouldn't call but I'm a little drunk and I need you now
And I don't know how I can do without
I just need you now, I just need you now

Oh baby, I need you now

Yep - oh, baby, I need you now! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012


So, I have come with a new analogy for this balancing act I am doing - or trying to do - with being anonymous here. 

I have decided it is like one big game of Jenga, and each time I tell someone I meet as BorgBlog my own true identity - or facts, even, that are greater and more significant or identifying than I have published here, I pull out a piece like a big Jenga game.  And each time I tell one of my IRL friends that I'm doing an anonymous blog, or even more, show them the blog, I pull out another piece.

Early on, Jenga is easy.  You can pull out lots of pieces without the whole thing crumbling down.  But there comes a time - there always comes a time - when you pull out one piece too many and it all comes crumbling down.  I'm not there yet.  I've only pulled out four or five blocks, but with each block I know I am only getting closer to the point when it all may crumbling down.

The last two Friday nights I have missed #wineparty in favor of #happyhour.  Half price drinks and appetizers at the local Applebees with a friend of mine.

And last night, I pulled a Jenga piece and told her about my blog.  We went back to her place to hang out, and it was fun, I admit, to watch her peruse through the blog on her iPad and watch the expressions on her face, hear her laugh, and share something that has become an important part of my life with her.  Even watching her as she made a sad expression on her face, pushing out her bottom lip, at the end of reading P.S. I love you (one of my favorites - an oldie but goodie).  She had a hard time believing that all those entries on the right there were written by me.  Once she started reading, of course, I'm sure she recognized my voice. 

It was amusing as I'd say, "Read x" next.  Or she'd browse on her own, and I'd say, "No, you have to read this one first..."  She was amazed (I'd like to think) at my knowledge and quick reference to the various entries from my blog.  Although there were still a few occasions when she'd ask me about some obscure reference I have no memory of writing, and I'd have to remind her I'd written 140 entries - I can't remember them all.  (There's that inconsistency thing).

This block will not make the whole anonymity come crumbling down.  She is one who has kept my secrets for years... But one day, I will pull one too many pieces. 

But that's okay.  When I do, I'll just take Jenny The Bloggess' path, and publish my own book!  ;)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Klout - Or Why You Should Listen To Me!

So, a little while back, I was surprised to discover I had Klout.  It's not like I had applied for an account or anything.  But nonetheless, Klout had found me, and had determined I was an expert in 13 areas.  Including dessert, Mormons and Pneumonia (which I still have no idea how I qualified for that... Maybe they know something about my health that I don't? *cough* *cough*)

Now while I was amused and intrigued by the areas it thought I had influence, what I loved the most was my Klout score at the time.  It was 42. I mean that's the answer to everything.  It was perfect. 

Yes, you smart readers, that whole foreshadowing thing, that whole past-tense verb thing, that's right, I am no longer 42  *sniff*..

Nope, I've moved up to 44, and apparently am now influential over 20 categories.  The top category? (Where DO they find this stuff?) Nursing. 

Huh?  I can nurse a drink, I guess... because really just one is usually enough to do me in...

I commiserated with @crookedstamper over poison ivy (Damn poltergeist tree!  COVERED, I tell you, COVERED in poison ivy!!) and made a suggestion or two to her about how to handle...

Is that all it took?

Who knows?

But I have Klout  Which means you should keep reading!  And tell others, so my Klout will continue to grow.  My influence continued to grow from 618 people to 811 people. Let's hit 1,000.  Tell your friends.

Resistance IS futile.

P.S.  One thing I *know* is wrong (unlike all above, er, too) is that it says I have influence over "Los Angeles Angels".  No, clearly I do NOT, because if I did, they wouldn't be referred to as the Los Angeles Angels, or even the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  They'd be the Anaheim Angels, damnit! 

P.P.S.  Don't worry, Pt 4 will be coming... Promise.  Just not tonight (I think..)...

P.P.P.S.  Invest in Calamine lotion.  And by that, I mean buy a bottle and send it to me.  I could use another one.  Thanks.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sticks & Stones - A Follow Up - Pt 3 - Stuart Smalley

In Part 1 of this series, I highlighted a comment received on my June 30th blog post Sticks & Stones that raised some important issues.  I began addressing them in that first part, but understood, early on, that it was not so easy to address so quickly. 

In the last part, Part 2, I reminded those of you old enough to remember about Stuart Smalley, from the Saturday Night Live sketches from the early nineties.  I briefly touched on a point from my original post about how we hear the negative things 10x louder than the positive things, and then connected that this statement also applies to ourselves. 

In my original post, I encouraged you to try to speak kindly to each other as frequently as you could (although I don't think those were my exact words) because of this principle. 

Here, today, in this post, I am going to explicitly recommend that you begin with yourself.   In the last post, we established a core fact.  You are not perfect.  Oh well.  That sucks.  And you can keep reminding yourself of that, or you can find some key things about yourself that are positive. 

My friend Robin Sparkles just came through the end of a significant relationship in her life.  And like many of us by the end of long-term relationships (and the reason we get to the end, instead of continuing on happily ever after), we've felt beat up.  Whether by ourselves or our significant other, we feel defeated.  Trampled on. (I can hear Robin's voice saying, "Okay, we get the point, move on... Please. Thanks.")

We blame ourselves.  We hear everything the other one said and magnify it 10x greater than it might have even been.  We're beaten down.  And we've joined the beat-down.  Why not? Everyone else is doing it. 

It is easy to get stuck here.  It's easy to think that you need fixing.  Because, frankly, at some level, you do.  Mostly what you need, though, is healing.  And that's a process.  A process which takes time. 

Think about a sore.  Or how about, closer to home for me at the moment, a rash.  (Did I mention, btw, that Poltergeist tree is COVERED in poison ivy???  I did not see the leaves of three... )  You can keep scratching at it.  For a millisecond, you may even experience a perverse pleasure from scratching at it, but mostly what you're doing is making it worse and not allowing it to heal. 

Now time is one element of healing.  Not picking at it or scratching at it is another element.  But there are also proactive steps you can take in healing.  Like lathering on the Calamine lotion every morning after the shower.  Try to keep the area dry.  Cover in gauze (even medicated gauze) or band-aid to protect.  Eventually, the rash, er, the hurt begins to heal. 

It may leave a scar.  The poison ivy that Poltergeist tree gave me last year left scars.  Very annoying scars. 

(Sorry, getting distracted... back to my point).

But when my friend Robin was healing from this break, she would find inspirational things - typically on the web - where she'd have this moment (and share with me, hence my knowledge of it), "Yeah, I gotta remember this." 

When we're in a comfortable place with ourselves, sometimes these sites, like Stuart Smalley, may seem a little hokey. Sometimes they may strike a chord with us, nonetheless, and reinforce something we find important.  I, for example, constantly find and share things I find important in the words of the Dalai Lama (hence his tag there to the right).

Some of these things hit us like a ton of bricks, and we say "Doh!" like Homer Simpson. 

One of the sites that Robin appreciated was Tiny Buddha, and I still laugh at the subject of one of her e-mails to me to share the latest insight she had just found there: "F*$%ing Tiny Buddha".  (This was her impolite way, I believe, of saying "Doh!")

But growing and healing hurts, sometimes.  But there were many things she found along the way which she would say, I need to remember this, and remind myself of this daily, to which I would suggest posting on her bathroom mirror, that reminded her not only that she was human, but that she was good enough, she was smart enough, and doggone it, people liked her. 

I challenge you, then, to find your daily affirmation.  Steal from Stuart Smalley.  Find something on a sappy website or tweet.  Read through some of the Dalai Lama.  Read the Bible or your religion's scripture.  Find something that strikes you, that reminds you that you are important and what your place is in this larger world.  Something that gives you perspective.  And then post it.  Put it up in a spot you'll see daily.  Repeat it until you remember it. 

For me, when I was in the worst of it in ending the relationship with my ex-wife, a friend shared with me a passage from Isaiah, that even now, I still carry with me in my wallet.  And on the opposite side, I have a portion of that infamous passage from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. 

It reminds me that Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way, it is nor irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  Repeatedly I have turned to this as the standard in determining whether I am acting in a loving manner towards those I love, and whether others are truly loving me, as well. 

So treat yourself with love.  Find something you can repeat to yourself that is positive and say it much more than the negative.  Let yourself heal from the things that have hurt you. 

In the next part, though, I'm not gonna let you rest on your laurels.  We're going to work on the part about not rejoicing in wrongdoing...  Until then, love yourself and remember you are important and valuable. 

Sticks & Stones - A Follow Up - Pt 2 - Beating Yourself Up

Yesterday, I began typing the prior post (Sticks & Stones - A Follow Up - Pt 1 - Self Esteem) in response to a comment I had received on my June 30th post.

I began the Pt 1 post:

My post Sticks & Stones from June 30th really struck a chord with folks. It's currently the fifth most read post of all-time on my blog.

Today I received a comment that struck me:

Why is it so hard to believe a compliment someone gives us,and so easy to believe the hurtful things other can say? I admittedly have Self Esteem problems. I have severe depression and a tendency to self harm (generally more mentally than physically) I beat myself to a pulp all the time. I don't need anyone else to do it for me. How do I stop letting it effect me?
This comment set my mind off in several different directions (and based on how long I typed on the second direction, it will clearly also, set me off on several blog posts, too).

So this Pt 2 is a continuation of the earlier post.  (I'm guessing labeling them Pt 1 and Pt 2, you may have already figured this out??  Maybe..)

The next part about this comment that struck me and I wanted to talk about was the element of beating ourselves up.

Raise your hands if you've beaten yourself up... Yes, that's what I thought.  So, the first thing I want to ask you is NOT to beat yourself up for having beaten yourself up when I now tell you to quit beating yourself up.  Okay?  Okay.

Quit beating yourself up.

In the early nineties, Saturday Night Live began a series of bits called "Daily Affirmations" with Stuart Smalley, played by Al Franken.  (If you want the full history and all the facts you never wanted to know, including that the first episode this appeared on was in 1991 and hosted by Kevin Bacon, feel free to read the Wikipedia article.)

His catch-phrase at the end of it was "Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."

And I admit that I did watch many of these bits "live" (yes, from New York) when they first aired, and I was amused by Stuart.  He is a character that has remained with me since then.  Yes, he is a caricature.

But, nonetheless, we can learn from our friend Stuart. 

My commenter bemoans a point I made in the original post about how we hear the negative things 10x louder than we hear the positive things.  It may perhaps be most true of what we say to (or hear from) ourselves. 

In Pt 1, I wrote:

I know who I am and I am comfortable with who I am. I know I'm not perfect, and I'm happy with that. I know that I am human. I know that I will make mistakes. I know that I will hurt people, even though, for the most part, I try very hard to be supportive and not hurtful. I know that I do the best I can, and I try not to beat myself up too much about the things where I fall short where I want to be, and instead, try to learn from those experiences and do better next time.
It's not the first time in this blog that I have admitted (despite the jokes about collective, etc.) that I am human.  I even have had a tag for it over there on the right - go ahead, when you're done here, click it (I don't remember what comes up, but have fun).  I also have a tag over there for inconsistency.  If you knew me in real life, than at some point, you've heard me say, "I'm wrong.  I've been wrong before, and I'll be wrong again.  That you can count on." 

The first thing you need to do, then, to work on building your own self-esteem is to recognize that NONE of us is perfect.  NONE of us.  Not the Pope, not Mother Theresa, maybe (although this actually feels blasphemous to write) not even the Dalai Lama (although he's damn close!).   Not you.  Not me.  Not your significant other.  Not your parents.  Surely, from what I hear from you guys, not your kids.  Not your teachers.  Not your priests or your bishops.  Not your Rabbis.  (I could try hard to be inclusionary, but let's just pretend I listed every potential religious kind of leader, and move on).  Certainly there are many out there would agree not our politicians, or our political leaders.  Not our friends. 

NONE of us is perfect. 

So tell me something, then, if none of us is perfect, why do *you* expect yourself to BE perfect??  Isn't one of the key ways to achieve success is to begin by setting realistic goals?  (I just made that up, but it sounds good, right?)  So why do you set yourself up for disappointment and failure by expecting yourself to be perfect? 

Accept that you are not perfect, and that you never will be.  Not in your mother's eyes, not in your teacher's eyes, not in your spouse's eyes.  Guess what?  Everyone, including yourself, WILL FIND FAULT with you, because none of us is without fault. 

Wow. That sucks, doesn't it? 

Alright, stay with me now.  Don't curl up into that depressed ball and give up.

That's actually the good news.  Really.  Because if you can TRULY believe that you're not perfect, and that there is fault and all that does is make you JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE, then you can begin to stop being so hurt by these simple truths. 

Now, to be clear, I do not use the fact that I am human to absolve me from blame.  Nope, in fact, you'll remember up there, I said we all have faults, and we are, therefore, sometimes at fault, too.  It's not an excuse to just give up and do nothing, and just go, Oops, well, I'm human, what can you expect?  No.  That's not the message.  

The message is once you shed the basic things that first slow us down when someone "attacks" us or "criticizes" us, or we even beat ourselves up for being imperfect, then we can take time to focus on the true content of what is being said or observed or reflected.  And then figure out whether there's anything we can gain or learn from it.  And I'll talk a little more about that in Pt 3 when I get there.

But next time you find yourself beating yourself up, stop.  Figure out how productive that is.  Figure out why you are upset at yourself.  Are you upset because you're not perfect?  See above and get over it.  You're not alone.  There's no use being upset about something you can't change.

One of my good friends is 4'8". She's short. She knows she's short. She used to teach, and has been mistaken, from behind, of being one of the kids. We frequently make jokes about her being short today, even though she's 75+ years old. And she often participates in the jokes.  What she doesn't do is get upset about it.  You want to know why?  Because she IS short.  And she knows it.  She's accepted that this is part of who she is.  Why be upset about something she can't change about herself?  What purpose does that serve?

So, next time you are being attacked - particularly by yourself - for not being perfect, say, "Yep.  I'm not" and move on.  Don't get stuck here. 

But do move onto Pt 3 which is will address how DO we find something productive in all the noise around us.  how to incorporate this understanding into something positive.  Pt 4 (may) address how to find something productive in all the noise around us.. that's the problem with publishing as you go!! ;)

Sticks & Stones - A Followup - Pt 1 - Self Esteem

My post Sticks & Stones from June 30th really struck a chord with folks.  It's currently the fifth most read post of all-time on my blog. 

Today I received a comment that struck me:

Why is it so hard to believe a compliment someone gives us,and so easy to believe the hurtful things other can say? I admittedly have Self Esteem problems. I have severe depression and a tendency to self harm (generally more mentally than physically) I beat myself to a pulp all the time. I don't need anyone else to do it for me. How do I stop letting it effect me?
This comment set my mind off in several different directions (and based on how long I typed on the second direction, it will clearly also, set me off on several blog posts, too). 

The first, which I replied to her in the comments section, was specific to the incident she was referring to.  A blog post that she had written had sparked a firestorm of response, and a lot of it, as you can see above, was clearly hurtful.  She was surprised to have received such a reaction. 

The second direction was this issue of self-esteem and our role in this hurtful dynamic.  I will admit that whether something hurts us often has a lot to do with us. A friend of mine recently described to me an incident where she felt bullied and I admit I scratched my head when she first described the situation and what had happened to me. But part of what made her feel bullied wasn't completely what was happening to her at the time, but who she was as a result of her experience that she brought to that moment.  And fortunately, she was able to step back and recognize this and not be further hurt by the confusion I expressed.  ("Um, so what exactly did they do? That's it? So? Why did this bother you?")

When our parents taught us that little thing about "Sticks & Stones" they were trying to teach us that we have power over what hurts us.  That really, the only thing that can hurt us, that we don't have much power over, is sticks and stones.  But the words we can develop an immunity to, in theory, and not let them hurt us.  Sounds nice in theory, but in practice, as I discussed in the last post, it doesn't quite work out so well.  However, in this post, and in the next (few? couple? not yet written) posts, I hope to help develop an understanding of why these things hurt and perhaps a strategy of how we can work on making them hurt less.

How much of this is tied into our self-esteem and our image of ourself? 

Generally, I like to believe that I have a pretty good sense of self, and I hope that this translates into a healthy self-esteem.  I know who I am and I am comfortable with who I am.  I know I'm not perfect, and I'm happy with that.  I know that I am human.  I know that I will make mistakes.  I know that I will hurt people, even though, for the most part, I try very hard to be supportive and not hurtful.  I know that I do the best I can, and I try not to beat myself up too much about the things where I fall short where I want to be, and instead, try to learn from those experiences and do better next time.

But as a kid, like so many of us, I was often a new-comer, and often insecure in my new surroundings.  I was short (okay, still am), geeky (okay, still am), and different from the others solely by the circumstance of being someone new.  When I moved to the neighborhood where I spent most of my childhood, I was five years old, and the kids who lived in the 'hood had know each other all their lives.  I was a stranger to them.  Later, when I went to a new school that taught K-12, and I entered in the fifth grade, I was new to these kids as well.  I learned, over the next eight years, that many of us came and went, so over time I was no longer so unique.  But it was tough being at a new school, and being different. 

I see, as an adult, that I brought my own insecurities about being different into these situations.  I do NOT think the results would have been any different because kids are kids are kids, and I would have been teased regardless of my own insecurities. 

In third grade, though, I had a different experience.  I was sent to a new start-up pilot program.  There we were all new.  It was the first year of the program.  There we were all the same because we were all new and we came from different parts of the county to be in this program.  I imagine we eventually formed some cliques, although my memory is hazy, and frankly I think those "cliques" were less exclusionary circles and more groupings of people who had interests in common as would happen, naturally, in any social setting  - particularly those free of other barriers.

My school history and history of being teased is in many ways a long sidebar, but it's informative to me about the situations where I was hurt as a kid, and in evaluating, now, when I am hurt as an adult.

With our significant others, sometimes we have buttons pre-installed.  Something our parents used to pick us on, our siblings, our previous significant others, or areas where we already feel insecure.  Having someone whose opinion matters to us pick at these areas and push these buttons can trigger a reaction that may be stronger than the situation, objectively, might warrant.  It is sometimes difficult for us to step back and separate what emotional response belongs to the past, and what belongs to the present. 

I used to joke (although it really wasn't funny, and I often wasn't laughing) that my ex-wife had land-mines.  She did.  She had emotional land-mines that I would inadvertently unknowingly step on and trigger a huge reaction and response.  On occasion - particularly early on - we would be able to diffuse them, and sometimes, those land mines would then become a future joke between us.  But we weren't always so lucky.  (And this, again, is why I'm single...)

When I realized I was gay, I was very fortunate to have been raised in an open minded and somewhat supportive family.  My mother wasn't too terribly surprised, and my father merely worried that life would be harder for me.  But there was never a question for me, fortunately, over whether they would still love me.  I know others have had a much harder "coming out" process, and again, faced ridicule, disownment, subjected to teasings and beatings in school, and all around horrible time of it.  I do realize how fortunate I am.  But I also realize this is why any attempts to insult me, upset me or put me down because I'm gay really are fairly ineffectual.  As you read in "Isn't Dyke Derogatory?" for me, personally, the answer is "no". 

You can't hurt me by calling me gay or a dyke.  I am.  I am comfortable with it.  Westboro Baptist Church can tell me that God hates me, but I am secure knowing that isn't true.  Those words don't hurt me.

But this doesn't mean that there aren't words that can hurt me.  Part of what was hard about my ex-wife's barrage of complaints about me and to me is that there were some half-truths in among them.  So I had a hard time sorting out what really belonged to me, and what belonged to her.  It wasn't until she accused me of having an affair with a man, which at one point she actually did, that I began to be able to step back and realize much of what she was saying wasn't about me.  That I, unfortunately, was an easy punching bag for her to lash out at because she was so unhappy with herself and her life.  (That's very simplistic, but for now, given the length already of this post, let's just go with it).  Five years later, I have a little more insight into what DID belong to me with that accusation, but it was so ludicrous at the time, that it let me step back and not take what she was saying to me as personally as I had been.

Self-esteem is certainly, then, a factor in whether we let words or insults from others hurt us.  If we don't like ourselves, or a part of ourselves, or we're unhappy with a part of ourselves, and they hit that button square on the nose, it taps into our own insecurities about that aspect of ourselves and hurts.  Sometimes that is what they intend to do, and sometimes, though, it's inadvertent. 

So, my conclusion in this first part is that yes, our self esteem and our insecurities plays a big part in whether something someone else says hurts us. 

In the next few posts, I hope to address other factors that contribute to when something hurts, what we do to ourselves, and answer the question posed "How do I stop letting it affect me?"

I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I do have some insight that I hope will help.  Comments and feedback is always welcome.  Stay tuned!

Cllick on this link to check out Pt 2 - Beating Yourself Up

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Silly Shower Post

After no-one looked at my two last serious posts on therapy, I figure it's time I mix it up with another silly post. 

So raise your hands if you've been in the shower (and likely more than once) and stopped and wondered if you had washed your hair yet. 

Yeah, I thought so.  I knew I wasn't alone. 

So, this has been a problem that I've had for several years.  Generally, my solution has been that the first thing I do when I get in the shower is to wash my hair, but lately, I've added my morning teeth brushing to my shower, so that happens first and can throw me off.  (Hey, silly posts sometimes are just silly, and TMI... ).

My latest, trick, however, has been sweet scented (strawberry to be precise) shampoo.  So recently, I found myself in that moment again wondering if I had shampooed.  Sniffed.  Smelled strawberry.  Good.  Done.  *whew*

Okay, back to more serious stuff...

I posted the ninth comment in response to Jenny's (The Bloggess, but I like to think of her as my friend, Jenny) recent post.  At the time, this was my most recent post, so I anticipate a lot of new traffic coming here from there... I probably should have written something brilliant first HERE, and then posted in response to her post, but I have no time machine, so this is the post you've found!

Um, don't judge me JUST on this post, 'kay?  Look around. A good place to start is my post Welcome Lawsbians which will lead you through the story where Jenny posed with twine just for me! Check it, and me, and this blog out! 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Therapy - Part II - Finding a Therapist in a Small Town

Now, we've all given and received the advice about therapists.  You may have to try several out, there are a lot of duds in the pool, and keep trying until you find a good fit.  My friend Robin has an excellent therapist, and frankly, if she lived a little bit closer, I might even horn in on the action and see if she'd fit me in. 

About a month and a half before I completely left the state where my ex-wife and I lived together, I found the PERFECT therapist.  I was so upset - she was one of the hardest things to leave behind!! First of all, she helped me to realize that I wasn't crazy.  Because after the last few months with my ex-wife, it was hard to know. 

I really miss her and wish I could clone her and have her come out here.  Because finding a therapist when I first came out here was not easy.  In fact I know that the one I'm going to go see is not the best therapist for me by a long shot.  But she'll have to do for the moment.

See the problem in a small town is that everyone often knows everyone.  And fortunately we live near a few other small towns, too, so we're not alone, and there's a "big city" (really a medium-sized city, if that) somewhat near by, and then a real big city (although still not "big" compared to what I've been used to) nearly two hours away.  I'm not traveling four hours for therapy, although I am more likely to find the anonymity I search for.

The first therapist I went to wanted to rediagnose everything.  At some level, I understand wanting to focus on the specific behaviors and issues I was dealing with to find out how to address them, but at some level, I want to short-cut it and have it accepted that I have ADD.  I'd been living with the diagnosis for eleven years by then, and had tried a whole host of various types of therapies with varying success.  I didn't need her to take several sessions to determine, yes, indeeed, look at that, you do have ADD. 

But that wasn't really the problem with her.  While I understand the code of confidentiality and all that in therapy, and the ability, in theory, for therapists to behave professionally and responsibly, they are also human.  And the disclosure documents I signed (which I actually read, because I'm geeky that way) indicated that she would discuss my case with her supervisor, who happened to be the therapist of another person I was living with at the time.  Sweet wonderful guy who let a virtual stranger move in with him.  But issues were already arising from the living situation, and I didn't think having what was going on with me shared with his therapist was necessarily the best idea.  A little too close to home, thanks.

And, frankly, I really thought finding someone who could help me with my ADD (then) would be the solution to all my problems.  So I was really surprised to learn that in the small town just a few miles away from me, there was a guy advertising that he was an ADD specialist, and also worked with adults (a lot harder to find).  Terrific! Wonderful!  But I had just started working on a new project for a friend of a friend, that eventually turned into a job, and it turned out that this therapist was the brother of one of the guys I was working with.  Well, that would be awkward.  Particularly as time went on and the person I was working with became harder to deal with.  In hindsight, I understand that the brothers don't talk and don't have much of a relationship, so maybe he would have agreed with me that his brother was an asshole, but still, that didn't seem too promising.

I found the third one on the internet, and she's the one I'm going back to now.  Early on I described the journey to find her, and we quickly determined we knew no-one in common.  She also reassured me that my concerns weren't unreasonable regarding the others, and that it is a problem, sometimes, in a small town to avoid those kinds of conflicts.  She's from a small city about thirty minutes away.  She's not perfect, and when I go back, I  am sure I'll be reminded why, but I feel comfortable enough, and at this point, two things are quite clear: 1) it is hard to find someone who doesn't have conflicts and 2) someone is better than no-one, at the moment.

Therapy - Part I - ADD & Reputation

Apparently everyone had a bad week last week that I survey.  (Raise your hand? Yeah, exactly)  So I won't pretend that I am unique (although I am, because how many of your other friends can pull off this cube-shape so well? That's what I thought)

It was a quiet week, as you saw, on the Borg Blog.

I did actually write one post and even published it, but got a little nervous about it and took it down. 

See, because I live in a small town. (In case you weren't paying attention, or this is your first time on here (welcome!))

And in that post I wrote frustratingly about how my ADD affects my ability to perform professionally, and my fears of what that might do to my professional opportunities.  And while I like to think I'm anonymous, and probably am, in this day and age you never know who's watching or who's figured things out, and I decided NOT to push my luck.  I just needed one person to be walking by or looking over my shoulder as I tweeted as The Borg Blog to blow my Clark Kent identity.  

I started the week with something I wrote about, though.  Concerns about how my behavior might affect someone else and how to deal with his nonetheless annoying behavior, and trying to understand why it hit so many buttons for me, and how to diffuse that trigger.

I realized two things in that thinking.  One of the central themes in his behavior that annoys me has to do with boundaries.  Usually the stuff that riles me up the most is when he is crossing real or imagined boundaries of what is and isn't appropriate for him to be doing or saying.  The second central theme is his admitted attempts to stir up drama - drop a bomb and then walk away and see what happens.  Well what happens, dear Tom, is I come back and whoop your ass (figuratively) for trying to create the drama in the first place, and you get irritated and annoyed because that wasn't what you were looking for.  Sorry.  Responsibility for your actions, Dude.  But also that these attempts are usually directed at particular people.  He is attacking their reputation with half-truths and misinformation, sometimes downright intentional lies. 

And that hit a huge button for me, once I made the connection.  I've talked a little bit about the end of my long-term relationship with my wife.  And how mental illness contributed to its eventual demise.  At the end, though, my wife was on a campaign to destroy me and my reputation.  Calling all of my friends and my family - anyone she could find who might listen - to tell them half-truths and outright lies about me.  Now because some of them were half-truths, those who weren't close enough found themselves in a hard position to know what to believe.  Well... this part is true, so maybe this other part is, too.  Those who I was closer with, or who just "knew" me, were able to sort through those stories, and those who really loved me, knew better than to even give her an audience (I always found it interesting who she chose as targets, and who she knew better than to even try and spread her stories to...).

And I gotta tell you, those are the hardest battles to win.  Because at the end of the day, either the person knows you and knows your character, or they don't.  Either they believe the lies or mis-information they've heard or they don't.  There really isn't anything you can do after the fact to fix it.  And any attempt to do so, to explain what is going on with your spouse, makes you sound just as crazy as her.  So the best defense was none, and to hope that my actions spoke loudly enough.  In the end, my only option was to walk away entirely, and I did.

So, I find that for some odd reason, having left my whole life behind, that I'm a little sensitive, apparently, when someone goes around trying to trash someone else's reputation.  Who knew?

And that was just the first couple of days of the week.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up in a deep depression.  I really wanted to just stay in bed all day.  And if I could have done so without losing my primary job (I work several jobs), I would have.  But I didn't. I got up, and I drove to work, and then I sat in the parking lot before 9 AM crying.  I was wise enough to call out for help to a couple of friends - to not let myself be "alone" and spiral further.  And eventually I pulled myself together and went inside.  The day improved, and on Thursday I woke up in a much better mood.  I also worked from home.  But Friday came around and I had to go back into work again.

I attacked Friday much better than I did Wednesday.  In fact, I got quite a bit done that needed to be done, and I was pleased with myself.  But I also decided it was time to call a therapist whom I hadn't seen in over a year for a "tune-up" because if things continue along, professionally, as they have, I might not have secure employment, and from there everything spirals.

I blame a good deal of it on my ADD.  And I find myself increasingly frustrated by the short-comings this inability to focus on something - particularly after the newness has worn off - generates.  I have been fortunate in life that I am somewhat intelligent, and can manage to impress people enough that they don't notice, immediately, when I start to slack off, but eventually, like the Wizard behind the curtain, when it continues, it is noticed.

And it's a small town.  This isn't a reputation I want.

So I decided it was time to go back to therapy to work on a few things, again, still.  I can't really afford it.  My "discretionary" money is really quite non-existant.  But the conclusion I reached on Friday was that if I lose this job, I really can't afford not to go. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Labels (and only nine away!)

Okay, I admit I have a "serious" post, but I'm also slightly distracted that I'm only nine views away from 2,000.  And I'm kinda pleased with that... so, a momentary distraction...

Moving on to the real post of the day.  Labels.

Labels are tricky things really.  Meant to make things more clear, ordered perhaps, delineated, fit in boxes, etc.

And frankly, as someone with ADD, in real life, I like labels.  I like knowing where everything is supposed to go.  Where it fits.  Its "home place".  Because when I don't know where it goes, it doesn't go anywhere.  (Well, actually I have a very cluttered room for most of that...)

But this post isn't about things, though.  It's about people.  And I admit I'm torn on the labels on people thing.  Except that I recognize that it can be handy, too.  Because if we have labels for people - if we know where they are supposed to fit in our lives - then it's easier to know the rules, and what to do with them.

Friends, lovers, pets (oh, wait, that's not people, or, um, shouldn't be), kids, neighbors, acquaintances, co-workers, class-mates, strangers, Dominants, submissives etc.  There are certain rules of behavior for each of these categories.  (Particularly those last two I just threw in there.. there are a LOT of rules for them!)

(Robin - I bet you thought this post was going to be about you and I would go in a different direction! Psych!)

But what happens when these labels get muddied?  What happens when someone doesn't fit neatly into a pre-constructed box that society (or ourselves) has built?  And do any of us want to be limited by some box that we're put in?  Aren't we supposed to want to think outside the box?  To not be limited? To have freedom to expand and be flexible and all those kinds of things?

And then there's "boundaries" - a good old fashioned therapeutic word.  Because the reality is why we might want to venture outside pre-determined frameworks for ourselves, we get awful nervous when someone else does.

(Oh, my, this post is doing just that, too.. it's bringing in so many different (previously unrelated) things for me today - who knew it was out there.)

Okay - back on topic - I have started to ramble too freely here.

It would be easy to say x is y and the rules for y are such, therefore I treat x in this manner. 

The trouble is x is a bit slippery.  She (for example) doesn't fit neatly into the y box.  She fits a little.  But she also fits a little into the q box.  And maybe a little into the c box.  And some of the rules for y are in conflict with c and q

Lawyers are unlikely to admit to you that many of them don't write new documents for each transaction or court filing.  Usually they'll take an existing doc for a previous case or transaction and try to modify it.  I don't know whether they like, although I think the good ones do, writing a doc completely from scratch.  But most legal issues arise because the lawyer took an agreement from one transaction and tried to make another fit into it. 

Some lawyers are smart enough (and take the time!) to see the conflicts and polish and smooth out the rough edges.  Usually, though, you have a second year associate who is still green and doesn't, frankly, have the confidence (or again, time!) to trust themselves to write something fresh or understand why a piece might not fit.

Sorry - a detour, but an analogy that I think applies to human beings.  The reality is that we can't easily take a model we had for interacting with one human (or series of humans) and necessarily apply it to another.  Sometimes we can - and it's easy and it fits (  But sometimes we have to start all over and create something new to figure out how to interact with a new person with a whole new set of traits.  We may be able to steal clauses from something existing, but really it's something fresh and new.

If you're lucky, you'll take that time to think outside the box, think outside the label and take a fresh start and see what belongs and what doesn't.  You'll write a new document using your experience with the old ones.

Because in the end, we are each our own unique labels.  You can call me a dyke, you can call me a lot of things (but don't call me late for dinner.. *drum and cymbal snap here*), but if you and I knew each other in person, I would say that I am just me (insert real name here).  Instead, I can only say, I am just BorgBlog.  I don't fit easily into a box.  And probably neither do you.

(okay.. now I just need nine of you.. and then the rest of you are heading for the next milestone: 5,000.. psst.. tell your friends .. Resistance is futile.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dear Westboro Baptist Church - Part II - Resistance is Futile

So, this morning, I wrote this little letter:

Dear Westboro Baptist Church,

I don't think God would look very kindly at you for disrespecting his Creation. I think there's a spark of God in all of us, and when you hurt anyone, particularly deliberately, I think you hurt God, too. (Cue up Joan Osborne's "One of Us" music)

Jesus told his disciples to go out and preach the Gospel. Nowhere in the Gospel have I found Jesus telling anyone that you should hate anyone else. Nope. In the last few lessons at MY church the last few weeks, Jesus has wandered amongst the unclean and loved them. Frankly the only ones I've noticed Jesus be upset with or encourage shunning or avoiding are those who are self-righteous...

I don't care if you like me. I don't need you to love me. And while God may ask that of you, I don't. And I think He might understand that it is difficult to love everyone. Jesus talked about it a lot, in fact. It is not easy to love one another as I love you. But try.

But I don't expect it. I don't require it (not that my requirements should matter to you). I just ask you simply to allow me to live my life in peace. You don't need to bless my unions - my church and my God will do that. You don't need to come to my funeral - in fact, I kinda would prefer if you didn't, since you don't seem to act particularly respectful of the dead and those who mourn. But I may invite the
folks at Texas A&M to come. They seem to understand what it means to honor the dead and respect the living.

If Jesus were here today, do you think he'd want anyone's website that was proclaiming his GOOD News to have the words "God Hates" in the domain name? No. God doesn't hate. God loves. And Jesus asked you to do the same, although he didn't expect it.

I think God and Jesus would accept the following compromise: You live your life and follow your beliefs, and do no harm to others, and I will do the same. Fair enough?

A Child of God

And I posted it on Twitter with the hashtag WestboroBaptistChurch.

Good news.  They received it and within about a half hour they responded.  Here's the full exchange:

The interesting thing is that was it.  A quick ten minute exchange, and they never responded to my last question.  Hmmm... I really expected that I would be quoted chapter and verse, but I wasn't... although I was pulling out my copy (I was already at the church by this time) ready to respond as needed.  Maybe they haven't read it after all?

I guess they finally realized - Resistance is futile!

P.S.  I take back, though, the statement I made in Loving A Small Town about beginning to like it when strangers called me "dear".  There are certain strangers I don't feel so warm and fuzzy about when they call me "dear"... after all.

P.P.S.  Thank you SO much to all the Tweeps who piped up and responded that God does not hate.  I already knew that, but the support is wonderful!  Go Aggies!!


Hadn't even gotten to church before I had this response!

Dear Westboro Baptist Church

Now generally, I'm not going to spout political or religious stuff in my blog.  That's not what I'm about.  But the things that do tend to fall under those categories, that I might talk about, I talk about because they are fundamental to the human condition, or useful in my story.

When I'm on #wineparty on my iPhone, and I start to write that hashtag #w, frequently the first option Twitter offers me is #WestboroBaptistChurch.  Oh, Twitter, how little you know me.  Although today, when I post this entry on Twitter, I might finally use it.

I was in the shower today and thinking about the phrase "conditional love" and thinking how those two words don't go together.  How that really is a paradox.  Now, I wasn't thinking of the church at the time, but it was the beginning of that winding path that led me here by the end of my shower.

Yes, that's right boys and girls, it's time for another Shower Topic blog post. 

Dear Westboro Baptist Church,

I don't think God would look very kindly at you for disrespecting his Creation.  I think there's a spark of God in all of us, and when you hurt anyone, particularly deliberately, I think you hurt God, too.  (Cue up Joan Osborne's "One of Us" music)

Jesus told his disciples to go out and preach the Gospel.  Nowhere in the Gospel have I found Jesus telling anyone that you should hate anyone else.  Nope.  In the last few lessons at MY church the last few weeks, Jesus has wandered amongst the unclean and loved them.  Frankly the only ones I've noticed Jesus be upset with or encourage shunning or avoiding are those who are self-righteous...

I don't care if you like me. I don't need you to love me.  And while God may ask that of you, I don't.  And I think He might understand that it is difficult to love everyone.  Jesus talked about it a lot, in fact.  It is not easy to love one another as I love you.  But try. 

But I don't expect it.  I don't require it (not that my requirements should matter to you).  I just ask you simply to allow me to live my life in peace.  You don't need to bless my unions - my church and my God will do that.  You don't need to come to my funeral - in fact, I kinda would prefer if you didn't, since you don't seem to act particularly respectful of the dead and those who mourn.  But I may invite the folks at Texas A&M to come.  They seem to understand what it means to honor the dead and respect the living. 

If Jesus were here today, do you think he'd want anyone's website that was proclaiming his GOOD News to have the words "God Hates" in the domain name?  No.  God doesn't hate.  God loves.  And Jesus asked you to do the same, although he didn't expect it.

I think God and Jesus would accept the following compromise:  You live your life and follow your beliefs, and do no harm to others, and I will do the same.  Fair enough?

A Child of God

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The List

As I have mentioned before, I am single.  It is questionable, I guess, whether I am available, but I'm okay with that.  And frankly, I think whether or not I am available is dependent on what you're interested in.

Which is indirectly the subject of this post.

Let's face it.  Whether we'll admit it or not, whether we're even conscious of it or not, and perhaps regardless of whether we're currently involved with someone or not, we have a list.  A list of attributes, qualities, features, things we desire in a partner - whether for play or something more serious.

Some of us may include external attributes in our list - appearances: physique, clothes, boots, jewelry, watches, tattoos, makeup, hair color and / or style, maybe even the car one drives.  Essentially, things that can be observed before you even say "Hello".   Some might dismiss these attributes as superficial or unimportant, but for those who acknowledge them, they can argue - probably quite well - that there is a lot you can tell about a person from these external attributes.  How important their health is to them, their attention to detail, their concern (or lack thereof) of material things, whether they may belong or try to belong to a certain group or niche, including, potentially their marital status, or their education.  Some people can tell a lot about you by looking at your hands and figure out what kind of work you might do.  So while it might be easy to dismiss these physical attributes, they are not insignificant in giving us information about the person underneath it all.

Some of us may have certain unmeasurabe intangibles on our list.  Must have a good heart, good sense of humor, good character, strength, vulnerability, intelligence (although in theory that's measurable, I guess), experienced, good soul, honest, kind-hearted, faithful, loyal, dependable.  All of these are great words, and important traits potentially for mates, but they're kind of hard to measure or determine.  Particularly from a distance, but sometimes, even up close.

Some of us may look for certain behavioral attributes.  Frankly, I want someone who can cook.  Someone to be active with, someone who does the laundry, someone who pays the bills, someone who has a job, someone who plays with their kids, someone who spends time with their parents, someone who's a workaholic, someone who surfs, someone who snuggles, someone who can give a good massage, someone who is articulate, someone who shaves (oh, wait, maybe that's in the first category), someone who gets out of the house, someone who is a homebody or a couch potato (or both), someone who plays a musical instrument, someone who goes to church, someone who makes romantic gestures such as flowers or spontaneous picnics, someone who is affectionate. These are things we can observe. 

And then, lastly, there are always the experiential factors that may fit in any of the above categories.  These are the factors that circle around like baggage at the airport terminal, because, frankly, that's what they are, at some level, left over baggage or scars from previous relationships.  Things that someone else DIDN'T have that we really hope the next person will have.  Or maybe, if we've been lucky in love, some features that a former partner did have or share.  Sex on a regular basis,  (Well, let's face it by the time most of our relationships die, this is one thing that has been often dead for a while before it), someone who likes to dance, someone who communicates well, someone who makes birthdays special, someone who likes to sleep in or at least is capable of sleeping in, someone who isn't afraid of hitting the sheets in the afternoon (oh, wait, there's a theme growing, isn't there?  I'm not saying this is MY list, necessarily.. .Eek!), someone who knows how to relax and also knows how to get things done. 

We may joke about relationship sites where you try to write a profile that describes you or what you're looking for in a mate, but the reality is that we all have a list.  Even if we don't admit to it. Even to ourselves.

What I think is useful - but hey, see above, I'm single - is refining that list.  Clarifying the things you want versus the things you need, and trying to be honest with yourself and flexible with your potential partners.  And to be realistic, too.

Ideally, for example, I want someone I'll never fight with.  I fought enough with the ex, clearly had an over-sensitive reaction last month to the bickering of my friends (See, Bickering) and really feel like the late Rodney King (oh, didn't you hear? he died last month..) "Can't we all just get along?"

But the reality is that I won't find someone who won't fight or bicker.  And if I do, there's probably going to be some other serious relationship issues instead, and I don't even want to think what those might be.  Realistically what I want is two things:  I want someone who will fight fair, and along with that or part of that, someone who is willing to resolve a situation after a fight, and not simply bury it or run away.  It doesn't have to be 100% of the time.  But I'll admit, I have some pretty huge scars from my long-term ex from our fights.  In hindsight, I understand it was her mental illness that was often the underlying issue, but that doesn't help me then and not that much now.  We'd have a fight - seemingly out of nowhere, and like the Seinfeld show, often about nothing.  I *always* had to be the adult and de-escalate the fight once it started, which I really hated, by the way.  But even when I tried to approach the ex about it afterwards - "Hey, can we talk about the other night?" - she'd just as often as not respond to me, "What, do you want to fight again?" To which my short answer was "No." and my longer, often only internal answer was "No, which is why I'd like to talk about what happened before so we can try to keep it from happening again, or find better ways to respond to each other if it does arise." 

So on my MUST HAVE list, frankly, is someone who will fight fair a good portion of the time. 

On my "Gosh I want" list is someone who will cook.  It's the "gees, wouldn't it be nice" and maybe it's the fluff you put on or (I can't say e-Harmony, because they wouldn't take me as a client since they're homophobic.. oops!)  but it isn't the end all and be-all.

I think, in order to have a healthy relationship moving forward, when I do, it is helpful to be clear about my list - to be clear what the basic requirements are for me, and what are the "gees, wouldn't it be nice" bonuses are so that I can set reasonable expectations for myself, for my partner, and for our future relationship. 

What is on your list?

Rant, Amish Sex Swingers...and big boobs!

I'll warn you now, I'm gonna rant.  Which isn't what I want to do.  What I want to do is be more excited over how many people are finding my blog.  Including one soul today who typed in "Amish Sex Swingers" into Google and found me.  And on a Sunday! Tsk, tsk... ;) 

I'd much rather write about how exciting I am about how popular my blog is becoming, and that people are actually searching for it by name.  Someone in the last 24 hours or so actually searched for "borgblog resistance is futile."

Because, really, resistance is futile. 

Now, I need more of you to hit the 'share this' on the Facebook and Twitter buttons over there on the right... Yeah, that's right, just up a little.  But maybe not for this post.  Because I thought I was gonna rant, and that might not be a good first impression for first time readers...

Oh, if you're a first time reader... please don't judge me on this alone.  Usually I'm nicer.. less rantier.. some even say funny...

(True.. I haven't started ranting yet.. already, I'm turning my frown upside down...)

If I were to rant, and I might still do so, it would actually be the third post inspired by this particular person.  We'll call him Tom because frankly I don't know any Toms, and so hopefully I won't actually insult anyone I know.  If your name is Tom, this isn't about you.  You're safe.

If you want to know the other two posts, they are "Buttons" and "Trigger People" (except now I can't find that post even though I SWEAR I wrote it....??).

And I know, really, that while I'd like to lay all of this raw irritated emotion at his feet and at his responsibility, I know that it is mine to deal with.  So rather than respond to the e-mail I got about a half hour ago, and make the problem worse, I am reaching out to the wider social networking universe, instead.  Because I can't piss you off because this isn't about you. (Today!)

Ironically, one of today's readings spoke directly to my problem.  This is from the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians "Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated." 

OMG.  When that passage was read this morning, I immediately thought of Tom (there's even a note in my bulletin now, in case I forgot, with his name next to it).  And this was before he'd done anything grievous today.  (Don't worry, he eventually did.  He always does.  It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when).

I want so badly to respond to his e-mail.  I want so badly to spell out clearly how wrong he is and what an ass he is. 

(Hee hee, just checked twitter.  Another confession coming in.. "I like girls with big boobs!"  See you guys rock .. hard to rant when people are sharing important things like that with you.. and wanting to find Amish sex swingers...)

I know that I have a choice with Tom.  It's not one that makes me feel good about myself, frankly.  I can be right, show him and tell him I'm right and drive him right out of our church.  And sadly, I am ashamed to admit, there are several members of the church who would pat me on the back in appreciation for doing that.  And I think I'm close to having accomplished that, whether intentional or not.  After I've snapped at him, he's gotten pretty quick at leaving.

I am ashamed to admit that there is a part of me that would like to see that happen.  That thinks things would be easier without him - heck KNOWS that things would be easier without him.  But then I think of two things. 

First, what would it be like to not feel welcome in your church?  Is that something I want to make him feel?  On the one hand, I've already admitted (here, and to myself) that his presence makes me not want to go on Sundays, but do I *really* want to be the reason someone else feels that they can't go to their house of worship?  No.

The second is a post a friend wrote recently about being bullied that broke my heart having read it.  And I can't help but wonder in this situation, if I'm not being a bully? 

Man, that sucks... Can we go back to talking about big boobs and Amish Sex Swingers, please?

I wrote in my post "History in the Making" that we are quick to label ourselves the hero or the victims in our stories when we tell them.  But really, in this story, if I made him leave, would I really be a hero?  No.  And while he irritates the bejesus out of me, am I really a victim? (I wanna be able to answer, "yes", but I know the answer is) No.

Someone wrote on Twitter (it happens probably every thirty seconds or so, even if you're not following the person who tweeted - and like that tree that falls in the forest if no-one is around to hear, it still falls...) being an adult sucks. 

Yes.  Sometimes it does.  Resistance is futile.  Big boobs are nice.  And, sorry, there are no Amish Sex Swingers here, but there is some funny stuff.  And some not so funny stuff. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Loving A Small Town

So, this is one of those blog entries written "on location" - like the one at the Laundromat.

I am sitting here satisfying my hunger at the local Bob Evans. I, often, eat a meal on Saturday here, accompanied by only a book. I am perfectly comfortable eating alone even out...

I understand this is a strange quality / skill? from other friends who have told me how frightened they are to eat alone. But perhaps, as I've said before, that's a topic for another post.

It is not unusual to see someone else I know when I am here. It is a small town. But it isn't frequent because I am still relatively new and what few friends I have in town apparently have lives that are broader than eating a mid-afternoon meal at the Bob Evans.

But it is still a warm and welcoming feel being here. I, quite surprising to me, love being called "hun" and "sweetie" by strangers. Although, I do come here often enough that some are more than strangers now.

Even if I don't recognize or know someone, though, it is still quite usual to witness others who have arrived separately to have that moment of recognition and greeting and warmth. And even from a distance, I feel all warm and fuzzy, too.

There is an advantage to living in a big city of some measure of anonymity. You know that you can go out looking like a slob and people won't know you or might think you're being trendy. You can hide in the shadows in a big city if you want to (unless of course you are shaped like a cube - then you tend to stand out no matter where you are!).

And you know? I realize I don't miss that anonymity. Yes, I have to think twice before going out looking like a character from Young Frankenstein thanks to bed head, and that can put a cramp in things (I need a hat, but they usually come in round, not square shapes). But I love the familiarity, I love the warmth. I love living in a small town.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Part 3! Twitter Jail!!

Well, then.  I guess I was busy tonight taking confessions and all, because I got placed in Twitter Jail!! I think of it as a badge of honor, but I'm a Twitter Jail virgin... Many of my friends have said they've never been in it...

I hope they'll treat me gentle... and not bite too hard! ;)

BTW, @inelegant_life .. all I was going to tweet to you was "Hee hee ;)" 

#crankypants and #wineparty Part Deux

Okay, you must read part 1 before you get here. You must understand the #crankyparts part of the evening before you can appreciate the #wineparty confessions part (okay, that's a lie, but, it'll help provide some perspective!)

Basically, a friend was experiecing a douchebag husband, and so I tried to entice her to join us on #wineparty.  Several mutual friends saw my attempt, and pleaded, too, that she needed to join us.  It was an innocent start.  I swear.

She mentioned that she was intimidated by #wineparty - that it moved too fast to keep up.  I told her to come and talk with us.  I promised that we didn't bite.. Well, we didn't bite HARD.  ;)

It went downhill from there...

One person replied that it was a darn shame that we didn't bite hard, at which point I offered to oblige. 

You can see how this snowballed even in the triple-digit heat.

We had all sorts of confessions in the night.  I even tried to get our hostess' (Kit @blogdangerously - if you don't read her blog you shoud!) confession, but she went to Twitter jail even without confessing first. 

Special robes were involved, and I let folks know that I was willing to take confessions in privately by DM

We had confessions about enjoying nipples... (I tried to widen my survey about whether Married Women Like Breasts...but the most I got was that they enjoyed the female form in various manners...

Well, except one girl, but I already knew about her... ;) 

It even sorta took a life of its own.  Without me.

We had porn confessions.  Confessions of a desire to murder one's family.  (We hope that didn't come true, because then we'd all become accessories before the fact and that wouldn't be good...)  Addiction to attention (had to add that, or else that person might think I wasn't paying attention, and we couldn't have that...).  It was something!

I'll continue to take confessions throughout the week.  You can tweet me @theborgblog, or e-mail me at

I have special robes.  It's all official-like.  Honest.  ;)

#crankypants and #wineparty confessions...

For those of you don't already know, every Friday at 9 PM Eastern on Twitter, there is a #wineparty.  Just go to hashtag wineparty to join us.  Check out my label there on the right for #wineparty to read more about it.  Clearly it has become a recurring theme / subject for me.

Well, I started off the evening as Ms #crankypants before #wineparty began.  If you doubt me, you can ask @inelegant_life, and I'm sure she'll fill you in on the details.  (Except, I'm about to fill you in on the details, she can confirm them...). 

Just before #wineparty started, I reached this point where EVERYTHING practically was getting on my nerves.  I had gone grocery shopping earlier (a whole other post about eating healthy while being poor should be written at some point) and decided to get out of my comfort zone and buy some chicken to cook.  I wanted a garlic marinade, but the only one I found had lemon and I didn't want that.  So I bought some barbecue sauce and planned on having a relatively decent dinner (for me) tonight. 

Took a nap.  Was a bit too cranky to cook at first.  But eventually convinced myself it was the way to go.  So, I start looking up recipes - as it's been years since I made chicken myself, and wanted to see my options.  Everything I find, practically, suggests breading.  Well, no breading, so tough. 

Decide I know enough about chicken to wing it (ha!) on my own (they weren't wings, but....) and start to pull out the bag to put the marinade and then chicken in.. Got the bag.. got the chicken.. SHIT, where's the marinade?  Yep, check my receipt, it was on there.  Go check the other bags (with non-perishibles - toothpaste). Nope.  Go back out to the car. Check under seats. Nope. 

And NOW I have bed-head.  So I don't want to go back out. 

NOT end of world.  But beginning of crankiness. 

Then my neighbor out back has somebody stop by (thank god somewhat briefly) who decides to play their car radio loud enough so that everyone can hear it with their hearing aids turned down (there's a reason he put a sign above his garage that says "Asshole's Garage".. and apparently so are his friends!).  In the end, it wasn't a loud party, but I was cranky at that. 

And I'm sure there was something else that rubbed me the wrong way.  NOT a great start to #wineparty - particularly two weeks in a row. 

Fortunately, my twitter friends did NOT let me down. 

First there was a nip-"slip" by InsolentWanton (thank you, dear!) and it went uphill from there pretty quickly.

Now I've gotten better at mastering #wineparty with HootSuite, so I had my "fav-friends" list on the left column, mentions in the middle, and #wineparty on the third column. 

One of my friends on the left mentioned how her husband was a douchebag.  I proposed the appropriate solution, come visit us at #wineparty.

Now, I'm not exactly sure how that SIMPLE exchange became the basis for #wineparty confessions, but I know that biting and nibbling were involved. 

And with that, this post is long enough, and I'll start another one for #wineparty confessions.. ;)