Friday, August 31, 2012

Twitter Jail. Again.

I guess I was too much the social butterfly on Twitter tonight.. I am "forbidden" to Tweet.  Forbidden?  Really? I can't remember the last time I was "forbidden"... ;)

Ah well..


UPDATED: (getting a lot of traffic to this post from The Bloggess)

To read more about WHY I was in Twitter Jail, check out my previous #wineparty post Seven Children by Eleven Daddies

Also check out my post Welcome Lawsbians to learn a little about my tenuous connection to Jenny! ;)

Seven Children by Eleven Daddies

Tonight on Maury Povich... Oh, wait, no.  Tonight at #wineparty, this was the Maury show me and another partygoer put together - 7 illegitimate children by 11 different daddies.  She came a little punch-drunk to the party - given that she was across the pond, and it was later, we understood.  Of course the Amish Swingers were discussed.  How else would she get eleven daddies?

The reality is it didn't really matter what time zone she was in (it was merely a convenient excuse), we never mind when people start #wineparty early or when they go late.  Even the next day sometimes.. there are frequent attempts to restart #wineparty on a Saturday.

This week's topics included the Blue Moon, the farting contest the dog I'm sitting with THINKS I started (and which she DEFINITELY finished!), the Labor day weekend and barbecues, one woman's "Got Wine" t-shirt being highlighted, husbands giving foot massages, and one #wineparty confession, even.

There was also a trend on Virgo babies, and speculating on what kinda holidays the parents had.... which when we started talking about holiday hide the pickle we kinda traumatized one of the birthday girls.  Ooops...

It's starting to wind down now... but the best part about #wineparty is that it doesn't matter how crappy my day or my week has been, these folks always seem to make me smile.  And what better way is there to end the week? 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A 2 Second Post.. Like a 3 Minute Waltz..

.. except not.

Alt. Title:  ADD and the Year Long Project

I am procrastinating.  I have been proscrastinating for over a week, and time has run out.  Or will in about two hours.

My therapist concluded that this work project is the quicksand, and I am beginning to think she is right.

No-one with ADD should be given an unstructured year long project.

And yet I am afraid for it to end, and drag my feet because I have no new contract lined up. 

Scary all around.  And now I must end this 2 second post.  Wish me luck!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Today's Dalai Lama Post

The following seems quite fitting in light of my last two blog posts.  It was in my morning Facebook News feed (*gasp* she still looks at Facebook even though she's now in love with Twitter... ? It's like she's cheating....)

In particular, discussing my post on Practicing Patience recently with a friend, I like the acknowledgment that we sometimes create our own problems, too.  Frankly, I think that is hard for many of us to recognize that the problems we have are ones we created, and perhaps, things might be just a wee bit easier for ourselves if we would stop creating so many for ourselves! ;)

Yeah, that was a long run-on sentence.  Hope the grammar police don't come back.  ;)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Glass Houses... Lessons Learned...

So I just typed this long-ish rambling-ish post about Dog Sitting, that was really more about boundaries, but might have come off as some sort of sermon to parents to avoid creating Holy Terrors.

After writing it, I decided it was time to take a shower and get going for the day, so this technically becomes another shower post.  [Borg properly pauses typing, moves over to the right, and applies Label, since Borg is often so forgetful about these tools]

As I lathered up and thought about what I wrote, I realized that last potential way in which my last post could be viewed.  Is that what I intended? No, not really, but perhaps so since in some ways that's where I went with it.  It wasn't what I intended when I wrote the words "Dog Sitting" in the Post title.

[A brief aside into the process of blogging for ME.  Every time I start a post, I start with the title.  I don't do this in other areas of writing, but I do here.  Every once in awhile, while typing, I recognize my post is going some different direction, and that another title might be appropriate and change it, but it is rare.  I use the title as my sign post, and before I finish the entry, I stop and re-read it to make sure that as I draw my conclusion that I tie it back up to that originating idea.  I mean the title to be catchy, but I also use it (or try to use it) as a tool to keep my blog entries somewhat focused - I do have ADD, you'll recall, and I'm sure there is more than one post not specifically related to ADD where that has been made perfectly clear!)  When I hit "New Post" I have a kernel of thoughts about where I'm going and what I want to express, but a LOT develops as I'm writing, and sometimes I go in directions I didn't originally plan for.  I trust my fingers to go where they need to most times... even if they stray from the "plan"]

I want to be very clear that I am not trying to throw stones.  Because I know that I live in a glass house.  It is with a conscious effort, frankly, that I most often use "please" and "thank you".  I've gotten much better now, and I probably throw it out unconsciously a bit, but I often am thinking about how important it is to make sure whoever I'm speaking to knows how much I appreciate what they are doing for me and recognizes that I am asking them to do something they really have no obligation, necessarily, to do.  That if they do what I ask of them, ideally it is out of the kindness of their heart. 

The reality is, of course, we have become programmed, sometimes, to simply respond to demands without thinking whether this is something we want to do for the other person or should do for the other person. Often we do things for others not necessarily as a gift, but as a thoughtless response or with a lack of understanding / back-bone that we don't *need* to do something just because someone told us to.  (Now it is helpful for keeping jobs, steady pay-checks and food on the table, but STILL it is a choice as to whether we are going to do something for someone else, even if the choice is easy by other rewards (job, steady pay-check food) provided...)

I have learned this lesson - am still learning this lesson - the hard way.  When I get in a pressured situation working with others, my ADD becomes so hyperfocused on what needs to be done, that I have been told I am REALLY good at barking orders.  Apparently, others kinda feel resentful towards me for that.  Some have even called me "bossy" and many, then, don't really want to work with me, again.  Fortunately I left most of those losers behind in California years ago. ;)

I am still horrible at thank you notes, but I do try to go out of my way to make sure the person knows that I'm grateful.  And I try to recognize that part of what is wanted behind a "thank you" note is not only an acknowledgment that you got it from you, but a confirmation that what they sent actually arrived.   It is a kindness we give to the giver to let them know it was received. 

I cringe whenever I read Dear Abby and hear about thank you notes not received, or gifts not received where protocol would expect them.  A recent letter (and I can't find it to link here) was from a couple who had a sibling who had not given them a wedding gift, but now, a few years later, gave a lavish gift to another sibling.  I cringed reading it thinking said sibling may very well have given them a gift, but it could have been lost or otherwise waylaid on its way to them.  I don't know the circumstances, and they're probably as the letter writer wrote them, but it made me think of that possibility and how religious thank you notes sent and expected (and then not received for a non-gift) could have lead the sibling to politely enquire as to whether they got his or her gift.  (My ADD brain goes wild sometimes!  I think you may have realized that!)

But I have spent many years, now, listening to the Dalai Lama, and studying the "art of compassion" which he says underlies the "art of happiness" and it has made it easier to understand and hear the effect of what happens when we demand without thought to others.  It has caused me to listen to others as they interact.  To see the fallen faces when someone they love just demands something of them, and I see it underlying SOME of people's complaints and observations of emotional abuse, including my own observations. 

And I'm still not good at it.  But I try hard to be aware of it. 

And I know you can't teach a 30 month old that the reason she should speak politely and calmly is out of kindness towards the other person.  And I know many adults may not even realize that the reason we are kind and polite is NOT because it is more likely to get us what we want (although that is many folks' motivations) but we do it out of kindness to the other person.  To say to the other person, I respect you.  I care about you.  I appreciate you.  To acknowledge they don't HAVE to do what they are doing for you, and yet, nonetheless they have.  To recognize that as a gift. 

I was about to write to recognize they have no "duty" but I know that's a loaded word, and many of us would argue that there are many situations in which there is a *duty*.  However, I think we can also describe many situations where even though there is a clear duty, it doesn't mean a person will do what they should.  (Otherwise, for example, we wouldn't need the department of child and family services, or at least such a large one)  Reinforcing, ultimately, that anything someone does for us is something they didn't have to do. (Obviously Hollywood scenarios where guns are drawn to head negate this, but even then, frankly, we have a choice, because we could allow ourselves to be shot!)

I am distressed by how much in this already demanding world, we respond by "demanding" more from others.  And I do think these are hard lessons to learn and hard lessons to teach, and they are easier to teach at a younger age than at an older one.  Part of my learning process was watching the expressions on someone else's face - someone I cared about - when I "barked" once rather than "asked". 

As human beings we seek to be accepted and loved.  We should express ourselves to each other in a way that acknowledges those basic simple universal desires.  We should treat each other in a way we would like to be treated, and appreciate each other for all that we do for each other.  We have seen quite clearly every day what happens when we forget this, or when others forget this.  We've seen the destruction the damage, whether it be minor annoyance or great anger, to the hung head, the dropped face.  My friend spoils her son because she loves him.  She will gladly make him dinner every night whether he asks for it or not.  But I see her face fall, her head drop, when he responds with demands and not requests.  It isn't because she doesn't want to do those things for him, but because she is hurt - whether she'll admit it or not - that he doesn't seem to appreciate her and love her for doing them.  His words are not kind.  They aren't mean, but they aren't kind.  This accumulates. 

Let's accumulate love and kindness that can then more easily forgive and understand an occasional harsh, rush or hurried word or demand.  No, what you've said may not be unkind, but wouldn't it be nicer if it were kind? 

So as I continue to think on these things and I continue in my glass house to try and learn these lessons, I invite you to reflect on how you treat those you care about and how you show them through all your actions and all your words how much you love them.   And if you're not, what might happen if you changed that? What if you didn't just assume that they knew you loved them? What would it hurt you to treat your loved ones as though you actually loved them? 

It wouldn't hurt at all...

Dog Sitting

Many of you may have noticed in the last 10 days or so a certain "dog" like theme entering my posts and tweets.  Some have boldly wondered and directly enquired whether I was dog sitting or not. 

Yes, I am.  But because I over-analyze and over-think things sometimes, I also became very amused that *this* was the question (more than once) asked in response to the sudden influx of canine characterizations. 

I do amuse easily.

But I am amused because it has become clear that in 160ish posts or so, and 4,300+ 140 character tweets or so that YOU KNOW that if a dog were to suddenly enter my life, it probably would not be mine.  That you all have gotten to know me so well to know that as much as I may love pups, I am not prepared for one of my own, and that I *KNOW* I'm not prepared for one of my own.

To be clear, I've had pets before.  I've even had two dogs and two cats at the same time - and frankly, I do miss them dearly.  But I was not raising them as a single parent, and while one day I hope to have the life and the patience that I could be a single parent (to someone of the feline or canine persuasion), I do know that right now that I do not have it in me.  (Clearly, though I would prefer NOT to be a *single* parent, but I won't avoid the joy and companionship of an animal simply because I may be lacking human companionship, too)

While at some level joking (and being serious, too) about "parenting" animals, some of the same reasons I know better than to have a pet also led to my choice not to have real kidlings (the human variety).  I have a lot of Mommy bloggers as readers and followers and I admire how hard it is to raise a child today.  How easy, for example, it is to give into their every whine and demand.  How hard it is to avoid raising holy terrors (wait, this isn't sounding as complimentary as I intended it to.. maybe my fingers are still tied in knots?  Told you the Borg isn't always graceful....)

Well, gees, how do I get myself out of this hole?  By admitting it wasn't entirely unrelated.

Yesterday I stumbled across another Mommy blog (there *DO* seem to be a lot of you out there!) reading Kit's latest post about Blogher, and how one of her valuable take-aways was meeting Babe_Chilla and how if she'd just rented a beach house she would have missed such a wonderful time. 

I'll be honest, if Kit likes someone, I'm interested in learning more.  And not just because she likes me... ;) 

But, frankly, partly because she reminds me of my best friend and so she seems familiar to me, seems to have good taste, and because of her #wineparty, I met many of you.  So, if Kit devotes a whole blog post to someone else, I'm gonna check her out. So I did.

Babe_Chilla's post yesterday was about Pushing Boundaries.  And how much fun it is trying to train, er, teach young ones about boundaries.  How to train, er, teach a young one how to behave well by showing that bad behavior will not be rewarded.

And I loved the blog entry and felt her pain, and I think that's why what started out very sweet and wonderful and supporting towards Mommies above started to appear to (although not intending to) venture into "snarky" control your holy terrors.  Wait, I didn't actually say that above...  *phew*

But I have often felt (as a non-parent, favorite aunt, soccer coach, girl scout leader, someone-who-always-gets-to-send-the-kids-back-kind-of-person) that this is really the keystone to good parenting (well, up there with feeding and clothing and changing diapers).  Setting and maintaining boundaries.  And I think it is also the keystone to managing relationships at any age. 

BORG BLOG ASIDE: [And I hate writing that all at the same time because I hate the idea of setting "boundaries" with someone who I am close to, or someone I am intimate with or someone I trust.  A part of me rebels at the idea that someone I would trust would need boundaries, and that is because, I guess, in an ideal world they wouldn't.  They would know what is safe and what is not safe, what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.  And frankly, that is a post for another day, perhaps, because I feel that one of the reasons my marriage failed was because I was not good at setting appropriate boundaries.  (And while my fingers are itching to type more, my brain reminds them that this post is titled "DOG SITTING" - boundaries, dear fingers, boundaries!)]

As a non-parent, I have gently tread, but nonetheless frequently have made analogies and comparisons to dog training.  Reward good behavior, ignore, discourage don't tolerate bad behavior.  And that if you want a dog that doesn't get on the couch or bed or counter, then NEVER let them on the couch, bed or counter.  Cesar Milan will tell you that dogs need structure, need boundaries.  And they are constantly, like children, exploring to find out where they are.  (They also need lots of exercise and activity to keep from getting bored, but, again, that's another aside).  And if you allow them to get on the couch once and don't push them down because you're tired of doing it, they'll learn that there are certain times when it's okay to get on the couch, and they'll keep trying and testing to see "Now? is Now? a good time? Now? Now?"

A friend of mine has an adult son who has come home after a year of college and is taking a break.  He's a good guy, from what I can see - I've just gotten to know him this spring and haven't had a lot of time to spend with him.  He is working and not spending all his days playing video games (like I did in early 2011 when I wasn't working...).  And she spoils him.  He's her kid, and at the moment, she has to live with him, so it's completely her choice, decision, etc., how she wants to treat him and what expectations she wants to create in him - I'm not judging her here on these choices / decisions, or at least I am trying not to. 

I do believe that he loves her, but it is hard for a third person to hear that in the way he speaks to her and the way that he demands certain things from her.  None of them is unreasonable.  And probably all of them are tasks she wants to do for him.  And I support that.  But it breaks my heart, I will admit, to hear, nonetheless, how this nineteen year old young man seems to expect these things, and seems to demand these things, without some exhibition of or expression of (that I can see) appreciation for what she does for him.

Before you "jump" on me (and really I put that it in quotes, because so far, dear readers, you have not shown yourselves to be the jumping kind - you have been good listeners and kind and supportive), I recognize whole-heartedly that I see just a slice of their interaction.  And I do sincerely hope that there is something in his behavior in response that makes it worth her while to provide so much for him - more than simply a love of a mother for her child.  (Although maybe that should be enough?)  I recognize that there is (or hope that there is) more to the story than I see and that I relate above.

But I admit, lately, I have been much more aware, much more sensitive in listening to others interactions with each other.  Hearing when someone demands something of another and whether there is kindness or underlying understanding or appreciation for the other person's compliance.  (Wow, fingers, DOG SITTING!!!! Where are you going? Bad fingers...No, wait, there is a circular point...). 

Babe_Chilla writes in her blog entry about a whining 30-month old girl.  Each time her daughter demands in a way that is not appropriate, she responds to her as such.  She illustrates with a demand her daughter made for water (all in CAPS). At the first demand, Chilla patiently responds: “OK my darling, how do we ask properly?”  Baby girl tries again.  Repeats what she's just said, and adds "PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE" to the end of it.  A good start, but not what Chilla was looking for, so she goes another few rounds with her until her daughter finally gets it right. 

Painful even reading it, I can't even imagine how much fun it is to do.  But I really praise Babe_Chilla for her persistence.  As I started to write two paragraphs above before I told my fingers they were wandering off topic, I really hear how we, as adults, often communicate with each other in the form of demands.  So often without a please or a thank you, or even some acknowledgment that we are requesting another human being to do something that they don't actually need to do for us.  And I think that's because as adults we often forget or don't even realize that the other person doesn't need to do ANYTHING for us and that each thing they do - even if they *are* being paid for it or otherwise rewarded - is a gift of their time, actions, kindness, etc., towards us or others. 

Babe_Chilla could just give in when she hears the word "PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE" added in - Lord knows that is more than I often hear in daily interactions between folks - but she hasn't.  Yes, daughter has made progress, but Babe_Chilla recognizes that this is still NOT the manner in which she wants her daughter asking for something, and she does her best to remain strong until she teaches her daughter exactly how it should be done.  I think that she does this for her daughter, for herself, and for all of us.  And I appreciate her for doing so.

Each night this puppy has a bed time routine that clearly I never concocted.  We are establishing our own routines in this three week period, but this is one that she has ingrained and I was given clear instruction regarding.  It has taken me awhile to recognize, at night, when she comes to me and tries to get my attention that it isn't because she needs to pee, but because she is afraid I will forget her night-time treat routine.  (She trained me on this by several experiences where I took her out and she didn't pee)  She doesn't care if I'm late with her morning chew, and often won't even whine if I'm late for dinner, but her bed-time routine she is pretty adamant about. 

And frankly, I don't mind giving into her to do this routine because I think it's a wonderful exercise in rewarding good behavior.  There are two kinds of treats that are given in some quantity each night.  But each part of the treat is given in response to some pre-trained behavior she is supposed to do.  The first half of the Beggin Strips goes to her after she properly shakes, for example.  The second when she does the next trick.  Etc., etc.  So I appreciate this nightly exercise in reinforcing good behavior and I am trying really hard not to untrain this well behaved dog.

I admit I am not as good on our walks.  She has been trained to stop at every corner and sit.  And when I've walked her in the past with her owner, this is what we've done.  This is a good exercise, and good reinforcement to sit and stop on command particularly in light of a potentially dangerous situation.  I support the exercise in theory.  But frankly, usually on our walks, I'm just not thinking about it, and she doesn't feel the need to remind me.   Fortunately we often walk in circles and don't cross the street, or walk on long bike paths without such intersections.  I hope my lack of discipline in these areas will simply affect her like that of a grandmother where the rules might be slightly different and that I don't undo all of her good training!

Alrighty, then, I think we're near the point where I'm supposed to neatly wrap this all into a ball and into some sort of conclusion.  I began this post partly to express my amusement how in such a short period of time we've both been so successful in you getting to know me.  That you recognize - what I'd like to think - is my ability to be responsible and not to take on a commitment that I am not prepared to do, so that if there were suddenly a canine in my life, it must be temporary.  Talking about responsible pet ownership or choosing ownership responsibly, I made a connection to my choice not to be a parent.  This led me to discuss the connections I do see between owner (or caretaker in this case) and dog and parent and child, and I wanted to tie the two together particularly with Babe_Chilla's post still fresh in my mind. 

And, lastly, then I wanted to encourage and support all of the parents out there in the efforts you make and the hard work it takes to produce good, responsible, respectful and caring children.  Particularly understanding that these children will become adults and the lessons you teach them painfully at 30-months will be more than amply rewarded by the wonderful human beings you create to go out and interact with the rest of the world.  And as part of the rest of the world, I thank you. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mad Libs or I may smell sweet...

... but some moments it is really clear that I lack grace. 

I probably wrote about 10,000 or more words yesterday.  I became unnecessarily enmeshed in a "political" blog (the topic was political and hot button) and spent WAY too much time trying to explain myself probably without much success. 

I was supposed to be writing for work - and I did eventually do that, too - and then I blogged a really long blog entry, e-mailed many, (did a lot of things specifically to put off the work writing, but I did ultimately do it) and then had a nice long chat with a new friend.

At one point in the conversation, she asks me a direct question about herself wondering if I would describe her using a certain complimentary adjective.  (Fill in the blank, like Mad Libs, and see what hilarious options YOU can come up with...).

My keyboard or my fingers or both had been messing up all night, and I was frankly quite frustrated with that, but that isn't what tied my fingers in knots.  (Nor did they EXACTLY get tied in nuts, but given my stumbling around (very ungraceful-like) response I kinda wish they had gotten tied in knots so I'd have had some excuse).

To be clear, I had no problem flattering her, and so to respond affirmatively to her question should have been an easy no-brainer.  It only takes a few seconds, particularly for my speedy fingers to type the word, "Sure." 

But no--o-o-o-o somewhere earlier in the day God or some other higher power decided that I was going to have to do EVERYTHING the hard way that day, and this poor unfortunate soul was the victim of that. 

If it were possible to stutter with fingers, I did.

It was not pretty.  It was not whatever complimentary adjective she MIGHT have used to describe me before I stumbled all over myself. 

It was because she chose a very common simple word that easily was and should be in my vocabulary and I should then, as a reasonably educated person who passed the fourth grade, be able to identify what traits qualify and answer, again, quickly with a "Sure". 

But no-o-o-o-o-oooooo.  Despite managing to "woo" her figuratively and make her think I was this wise, confident, competent funny square-shaped being (ah, I had her fooled!), I blew that image quite quickly. 

I realized that my difficulty was that it wasn't a word I typically used in conversation.  I, honestly, did not seem to appear to know how to use that word in a sentence.  Power of speech - even speech through fingers - evaporated and I couldn't figure out how to formulate a sentence with that adjective.

Frankly I NEEDED Mad Libs to help me form a sentence, since even Mad Libs knows adjectives can be used to modify nouns.  Just fill in this blank that has the word [adjective] underneath it and you've now used the word correctly in a sentence.

I had many synonyms, and was quick to try and substitute them in for my awkward inability to use a simple word... but not until after I dug myself this real deep hole (the dog did help... she started it in the front yard, I just crawled in it and dug a few more feet) and tried to shovel my way out of it.

Mmm... the taste of shoe leather before bed is quite delicious...

So, um, you may think I smell sweet, but one adjective you won't often use to describe me would be "graceful". 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A rose named Borg...

Original Title (so you can understand the original theme I was writing from): 
Rocks, Hard Places, Awkwardness and a Game Called Jenga

I've just had another individual from Twitter politely note, "I just realized I don't know your real name".  When I politely ignored that particular comment, she less passively (after politely waiting for one or two more exchanges) directly asked, "So... not gonna tell me your real name?"

There is only one person I've met on Twitter who knows my real name.  My full real name.  One other person knows my first name.  That's it. (So, yes, you two, you should feel REALLY special, but you can do so quietly)

And that is not an easy decision.  And by next week, that circle may increase. 

The first one who I gave it to had shared some quite intimate details about herself by e-mail earlier in the day, and that evening we were chatting by g-chat, and twenty minutes into the conversation she stated, finally, near the end of the conversation: "You have to tell me your name. I can't call you the borg blog!"

Um, yes you can?  And her argument, as go all the arguments I get, is "who am I going to tell?"

If she were to disclose herself (which I am asking her not to), she'd tell you that all she got for a long time was just my first name.  In fact, the last name slipped really only because I sent her an e-mail from the wrong account.  (Dratted iPhone and human error). 

This is not easy for me.  I do not like living in closets.  I do not like hiding who I am.  I have no desire to be the tiny "wizard" hiding behind some great contraption of fire and smoke appearing to be bigger than who I am.  I HATE closets (except the big walk-in kinds where I can keep my clothes that I've never actually had the joy of having...).

I have written several blog entries already about anonymity.  I don't know if I've tagged them all, but you'll see several of them if you click on the label over there on the right.  This is something I've struggled with.  And still struggle with.

At some level, in my last anonymity post, I acknowledged that I could not keep my two worlds separate forever.  But that each time one side touches the other side, it's like taking out a piece in a game of Jenga.  The first pieces are easy, and bring no significant threat to the structure.  Really, only the dog wagging its tail will knock it down. As a side note, playing Jenga with a yellow lab puppy, by the way, is very hard to do!  But there does come a time where you've taken out so many pieces it makes the structure very precarious, and even the slight vibrations from the plane taking off nearby or the train rumbling by (I've lived both near airports and train tracks) will knock it down while you aren't even looking.

Part of the reason for this blog, I've admitted openly, is as a way for me to heal from the loss of some important people in my life.  People I've loved dearly.  People I still love dearly.  While really I am writing in here only about me, I'm not.  And I live in a small enough town that you would know who (crap, what was the name I gave him, oh, yeah) Tom was, and you'd know who tulip girl was, and you'd know who a lot of people were if you knew who I was.  And while Robin Sparkles doesn't live here in town, and is an old friend from college, it wouldn't necessarily take long to identify her.  (It is true, though, that I don't feel a compelling need to protect Tom, but I also don't need someone telling him I'm writing about him and have him track down this blog, either! *smile!*)

And the reality is that one of my points from the beginning, and I still maintain today, is that we all could be you.  Or someone you know just down the street.  Who we are - name wise - is unimportant to understanding and enjoying (I hope) our story.  And maybe you can take insight you learn from reading here to apply to that person down the street whom I remind you of.  That reading about my struggles and my successes and reading my thoughts and ramblings might just help bring us all together as one loving society and community (Okay, there's that big ass guy full of smoke and mirrors, but....).  That knowing who I am as an individual shouldn't affect your ability to relate to what I'm writing.

But last week, it got even more complicated and troublesome keeping these worlds separate.  Because last week my tweeps did something that a lot of people in my real life have never done.  Heard my call for "help" and came and supported me EVEN if they thought I was nuts to think I needed help, and/or thought I was being really irrational and over-reacting.  EVEN when they didn't agree with me, they still supported me.  Simply because I asked for it.  And until they did it, I didn't realize how absent that had been, for the most part, in my life. 

It was a real WOW moment.  A real you-guys-are-really-special and where-have-you-been-all-my-life kind of moment!! And yet, I won't / can't / don't even tell them my name?

And this is the moment where I change the title of this post.  I gave you the original title above so you can see the framework I started with, and understand where I am or was going.  But somewhere along the line most of you have decided that I smell just as sweet, even if my name is Borg, instead of ________.  And that's pretty darn special.  And I'm pretty darn lucky!!

Have patience with me, then, my friends.  Because so many of you have become my friends.  This is not personal to you - it is my fears, my concerns, and my need and desire to protect others whom I care about, too.  I know that you can respect me on this.  I've seen how you support me, despite my name.  And I appreciate you all. 


If you're new to this somewhat one-sided conversation I keep having about this, I suggest you can read the following posts to catch up on some of my thoughts (if you've read everything I've written, you can skip this and go to the bottom of the entry, post your comment and collect your prize):

I addressed the topic on my very first day of writing this blog in a post called Assimilation.

There I wrote:
 Our experiences while seeming unique to ourselves are also universal.
When one becomes assimilated into the Collective, they become one with another, and all of their memories are now part of the collective. There is no unique "I" in Borg. There is just Borg.

So while you think you may know me, you probably don't. Or rather you may know me, because my experiences are similar to yours or those you do know. But you do not know my identity.

Three months later, I addressed the topic directly again in my post Clark Kent .. This is when I began to realize I might want Lois Lane to know that I was both Clark Kent and Superman so she'd know she was in love with me (well, maybe not quite that...).  And what would I do at that point?  Mostly I was looking for the Anonymous Anonymous support group.  I was sure that Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman and all the other caped (and not so caped) crusaders might be dealing with some of the same issues I was just starting to deal with.. (and this was before I ever even knew anything about Blogher and then began to wonder how could I ever go?)

The blog post titled simply Anonymity really does state some of the reasons above (protecting others, and also a little left over self-protection) and I think it was when I typed that post that I began to decide this recurring theme / topic needed to have a label of its own.  I also described briefly a very unpleasant encounter I had with one twit (because frankly she was a twit) who got really upset and really rude when I gave her a generic answer in response to a direct question about where I lived.  Frankly, given her response - and she was one of the first people to ask me anything so particular (which I realize is not that particular at all) - it reinforced my rationale to remain somewhat anonymous.  This person, frankly, even now long after I've blocked her, still scares me.  I'm glad she only has a narrow geographic region in which to ponder where she might find me. 

I also talked briefly about the sensitivity I had about my identity / location after leaving an abusive relationship.  There are, unfortunately, people who I have been close to in my life who don't have any idea where I am.  For some of them, I wish I could change that.  For some, eventually over time, I will.  But for many, unfortunately, I just had to disappear.  Facebook has managed to keep me in touch with many I might otherwise have lost touch with, but my in real life close friends (only one of which is on here from that period) will tell you it was still months - if not a year - before I revealed specifically where I was in even that closed environment of hand-picked friends.  While MOSTLY I am over that, I admit my steadfast responses are cultivated / learned from that experience.  As I wrote in Anonymity, murder-suicide was most certainly an option on the table at the end that many - including myself - were afraid could happen.  I think enough time has passed that it is very minusculely likely to happen, but when you experience that possibility and that kind of fear, trust me, you learn to be a little protective. 

(Wow, that took me back to such a lovely dark place - are any of you still here? ;) )

I wrote Anonymity Revisited after I told an in real life friend - not a local friend, of course! - about the blog since it and Twitter is becoming such a big part of my life - at least big parts that I am excited and enthused about.  The world didn't fall apart when I told her.  Although it did give her a bit more information about something she'd known a little bit about.  And she didn't (to the best of my knowledge) rush off and plaster it all over Facebook.  And she hasn't disowned me as a friend.  Again, an early Jenga piece.

And then a month ago, I finally came up with the Jenga analogy after I felt safe enough to share this blog with a memory-impaired local friend (she will agree with me, if she ever does find the blog again, that "memory-impaired" is a fair term to use to describe her lately).  It was somewhat safe because she's likely already forgotten about the blog, or if she remembers it, has no memory of how to find it or what it was called.  It was also somewhat safe because the things that I write on here about local people would not be news to her, would not reveal any new "secrets" and she has already demonstrated, as such, that I can trust her not to hurt the people I love with the information that she knows. 

--------- (did you skip above? Start reading again here....)

I have fallen in love with the Jenga analogy.  It fits this perfectly. Because that one friend asking, "Who am I going to tell? What harm will it do?" is correct that telling just her alone will not cause my life or this separation to come crumbling down.  It won't.  But telling a lot of people, even one piece at a time, will make it harder to keep this construct up. 

Basically, I've come to the conclusion that the wall will naturally come down as soon as I become as popular as Jenny The Bloggess - one of my "heroes".  But until then, and until I have a book deal and a way to support myself through the publishing of this blog and my ramblings, I hope you won't mind if I try to preserve this delicate balance for as long as I can.  Because I admit, if and when that happens, if and when the Jenga pieces all start crumbling down, I'm going to have to think long and hard about possibly pulling some of my more 'exposing' posts, even though, of course, they've all been out there.  And I don't want to censor or edit myself. 

As I said, I don't like hiding.  All while writing this really, really long post about why I'm hiding.

Yeah, look over there, one of the labels, too, is "inconsistency" - what can't see it? It's right there wedged between "I'm human" and "insanity" (at least at the moment I type this! I'm sure over time I'll find some other 'i' label to add...)

For those of you who made it all the way to the end of this post - wow! Thank you.  And congratulate yourselves - or give me an opportunity to congratulate you for reading this really long somewhat winding post - by posting a comment here, too.  I promise to comment back and thank you, and add you to my list of REALLY loyal supporters! ;)

And in the meantime, I hope you accept this rose is named Borg... I swear I smell as sweet (I *did* take a shower this morning!) as whatever my "real life" name does. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dog Walking and ADD

I'm currently dog sitting, so needless to say all things puppy are on my brain.

I took the dog out for the morning pee walk and thought it was an excellent metaphor for ADD...

First stop on the dog walking tour is surprisingly NOT to pee - she has an incredible bladder that I envy in m post-40 stage... (I never really thought I'd type those words, but there they are...).

First stop is the hole she dug in my front yard on Day 2 when I turned my back for a second.

Ever notice the FEROCITY (practically) with which a dog can dig a hole? And then try pulling them off of it, or out of it or both?  Yeah.

Sometimes ADD can give you that kind of hyper-focus.  That "I know I can get to China if I just do this... " single-minded hyper-focus that CAN allow us to get really amazing things done, if our OCD need for perfection doesn't completely hamper us and keep us TOO hyperfocused on non-important /essential details. 

But this dog has a nose for plants and weeds and everything else (yes, I know, other dog scents, too).  And she will stop and smell the roses (if we had any) forever.

To actually move forward on our walk, and not get stuck at all the random things that distract her along the way, she needs a tug.  Usually a light tug will make her go, "Huh, what? Oh, okay.. moving forward".  Sometimes what has distracted will take more of her attention.  But to get her to move forward - in the direction she needs to go - it helps to have someone there walking along beside her giving her a gentle tug. 

Otherwise god only knows what weeds she'd eat...

So, in my incompetent post, I'm just looking for someone to help give me that tug, and keep me moving forward.  I don't think that's too much to ask, is it? Because with ADD all sorts of other things smell interesting and make me want to stop and keep me from getting to my destination. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Polite Conundrum Dance

Or, alternate title: Dyke in a Small Town Revisited

I've spent a lot of time in larger metropolitan areas where finding the gay community was easy - or at least certainly much easier than I've been able to find here.  So there was at least a place where you knew folks would pool who were also like you.  Dupont Circle, the entire city of San Francisco, West Hollywood... You get the idea!  So if you were interested in finding a date, at a minimum, you had at least one place you could go.

No such luck here. Trust me.

But in real life you never know who you're going to run into and whether they might be your soul mate or future life partner, or even a lovely fling.  In real life you should leave yourself open to possibilities because you never know who might come along.

Here's the problem.  If I hit on you in West Hollywood, and you're straight, you shouldn't be so surprised.  If you're in my "hood" (so to speak) you should be comfortable enough that someone might think you're not just a tourist.  Okay, that's not the problem... The problem is how we identify each other outside of the "hood".

When I came out in college, I kinda did it in a big way, almost without thinking, my first year by sitting at a "Coming Out Day" table (Coming Out Day is October 11th - so you can get an idea of how relatively early in the year it was).  People I had gotten to know in that first month and a half reacted in a variety of ways.  One woman (who admittedly later had a torrid lesbian affair her senior year) came up to me and gave me a big hug without even realizing or caring what I was doing.  But others weren't so friendly.  I had several straight female friends who suddenly became afraid I was going to hit on them and began to keep their distance.

Now this is problematic in two ways.  First, so what if I did? Were they not capable of politely turning me down and being appropriately complimented that I might be interested?  Apparently not.  And the second, which is often a reaction that is part of this polite conundrum dance, is the idea that they were so "arrogant" as to think I would. 

And there we have the two steps of the Polite Conundrum Dance.  It's quite a simple dance, really. 

Two women are talking and one is already out and known as a dyke.  The other's sexual orientation is unknown.

If the dyke takes a chance and hits on her, if the other woman is straight, she may run away (and yes, even if she's also gay, she could run away...).  So, one step backwards. 

If the other person early on quickly clarifies - before the dyke takes a chance and hits on her - "I'm straight" she risks offending the dyke that she's so arrogant and that she's so scared that the dyke is going to hit on her.  This may or may NOT be what the straight person is trying to indicate, mind you.  That's not relevant in the Polite Conundrum Dance.  What's relevant is what MIGHT POSSIBLY INCONCEIVABLY be nonetheless conceived, and not wanting to ruin or risk a new burgeoning friendship.

Now, for you straight people, one word of advice I have for you.  Early on in the conversation, please feel free to drop in handily something about your boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend.  That is a nice subtle way (if it doesn't seem too contrived) to clue us in that you are not available to us (although, for the record, I've discovered it does NOT necessarily mean that you might not still be interested, but that's a whole other world and a whole other post... See, for example, Married Women Like Breasts..!).  Yes, unfortunately, stating outright early on, "I'm straight, by the way" won't typically go over well - even though in some ways it would be much appreciated - there are more subtle ways, nonetheless, to let the other person know.

Now, a little bit of wisdom about me, in particular.  This may or may not apply to others like me - I can only speak to me.  I am a shameless flirt.  I love to flirt.  It may or may not mean I am interested in something more, but sometimes, I'll admit, in whether I'm interested in something more may depend upon your response to me.  However, given that I flirt with men, women, and dogs, alike, it may mean nothing at all as to whether I am interested in being more than friends.  You should not be worried, upset, offended, or horrified if I flirt with you.  Flirting is fun.  If you enjoy it, then flirt back.  If you don't, don't.  Simple.  And those rules, I think, generally apply to just about anyone - if you enjoy someone's flirtation, flirt back, and if you don't, then don't. 

If you may be interested in something more with me, I'm dense.  I'm dumb.  You'll probably need to be explicit or spell it out.  Or just really, really flirt a lot, and either way, I'll have lots of fun with you.  ;) (I've discovered, apparently, sending me pictures is an effective way of letting me know... although I'm not necessarily a "visual" person....and wouldn't necessarily expect or want them, I can still appreciate the statement, apparently!)

But I have a lot of conversations with new people whose company I enjoy where I find myself engaged in The Polite Conundrum Dance.  They already know I'm a dyke.  Is that why they're interested in getting to know me better? Is that what they're interested in?  If their twitter handle has the words "lesbian" or "dyke" already in them, those I got a clue who I'm dealing with.  "Mama" however in your twitter handle does NOT exclude you from the possibility of playing on my team.  And surprisingly I've run into very few people who have "straight" or "STR8" in their handle.  The only Twitter handle I've found where it's been BEYOND clear that they weren't interested in a romantic relationship with me simply from their handle was "GODH8SFAGS" (although technically, when they wrote me, they did tell me that THEY loved me... so I'm so confused... ;) )

So if you're a new friend, please feel free to drop the gender, subtly in conversation, of your last significant other in order to clue me in... and if I flirt with you, don't be offended.. ;)

Now, check out my next post where I teach everyone how to do the Waltz.  (1-2-3, 1-2-3...)

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Virgins Were Dancing the Cabbage Patch

Yes, that's right.  It's Friday night and another #wineparty.  I swear to you, these posts almost write themselves.  Just now I am waiting for an answer as to what the "Cabbage Patch" is, but I know that there are #wineparty virgins dancing it as I type.  I mean what better post title could I find??

Lots of newbies tonight - which were nice.  Some of them even believed me when I said we didn't bite hard, and one, well, um, asked if we would.  ;)

You never know where the #wineparty will go... but it is always guaranteed to put a smile on your face no matter how bad your day or or how bad your week. 

(Oh, and I am still taking #winepartyconfessions....)

G'night fair readers - you've been great this week!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Amish Sex Parties

Hee hee... I love some of the search terms used to find me. 

If you've just entered Amish Sex Parties to find me, I am so sorry to disappoint you. 

But thanks for giving me a giggle!  I needed one!

And look around and see if there's anything you might find of interest...

Punching Bags, Over-Reactions and Bringing an Army

I woke up this morning earlier than I wanted and not quite yet ready to hit the day.  With less than minimal sleep, I checked my email and found that someone had left me a comment on one of my entries. 

I, then, proceeded to over-react.  Because that is much more fun, don't you think? Me, too!

And while I generally don't recommend over-reactions, I managed, nonetheless, to at least focus that over-reaction in a positive manner.  In hindsight, I am quite surprised and pleased with myself on that.

In the past (yes! in the past, damnit!) I have made a wonderful punching bag.  I am so empathetic to your pain, that I allow that pain to be an excuse to behave badly towards me.  I excuse your behavior and then have stood still while you took your shots. 

I have a VERY good long history of making excuses for others' bad behavior.  And this is no question one of my underlying repeated issues.  One that I haven't quite yet resolved because I have been doing it as long as I can remember.  I don't really know how not to do it.  It's been a role I've played often and with many people in my life.  It is a role I have unfortunately allowed myself to be in often and with many people in my life.

Now, for the most part, I have been fairly good about not taking the poor behavior personally.  In fact that is kind of a requirement to be successful in this skill.  Because if you take it personally, you'd actually be smart enough, ideally, to not take the behavior at all. 


It doesn't mean that the behavior hasn't been hurtful.  It doesn't mean that the overall accumulated message isn't internalized - you are not important enough for me to treat you appropriately.  It has been.  Don't worry.  I got the message.  Over and over and over, again.

Now, one element of this broader skill of making excuses for poor behavior, then, is allowing others to use you as a punching bag to vent their own anger and frustration.  Again, often you know not to take it personally, but it doesn't mean that it doesn't get internalized. 

I still have a long way to go in letting go of making excuses for others, but I have, at least, learned (for the most part) to stop being someone else's punching bag.  At least I can distinguish that part of it. 

Except until today, I wasn't able, necessarily, to articulate it so well. 

So, at an early hour in the morning, not as properly rested as I wanted to be, and taking the comment in concert with another earlier comment, I felt attacked.  Whether real or imagined, I probably still can't say with accuracy.

But I was feeling vulnerable. 

I wrote what I think was an articulate and even compassionate response to this person who clearly has experienced their own pain.  But I clarified that the description this person had given in response to my post was not accurate as applied to me. 

And then, as this person cowardly came to the "fight" armed only with bad spelling as his or her only tool, I decided it was appropriate to bring an army.   I totally over-reacted.  I know I over-reacted.

And after I summoned my army, I wrote my post about needing to have Thicker Skin and then finally headed off to start my day.

But I have taken some serious time today thinking - a la Sticks & Stones - as to why I reacted so strongly to someone who cannot clearly articulate his or her position which seems to have little to no relevance to what I actually posted.  Many friends kindly and privately asked me why I was reacting so strongly, and made clear that I did not need to waste my energy giving it to such a person.  And they were all correct, and I knew it even before I summoned them. 

But I wasn't feeling so strong today, and so I over-reacted and called an army.  And in doing so I confirmed something I already knew, I am not alone.  I am part of a community.  And even though my friends standing on the sideline thought I looked strong and had this weak person licked and that I didn't seem to need any help, they still responded to my call. 

I have been a punching bag.  I will no longer be a punching bag.  And when I am not strong enough to fight back on my own, I will call my army.  And they will make sure you know that I am not a punching bag.  I may seem weak.  And I may be weak, at times, but with my community I will stand strong. 

Even if I have to over-react to do so... ;)

Thank you so much to all the folks who provided me support publicly and privately, even despite my irrational over-reaction.  You are awesome! 

Twitter Jail

This is what it looks like:


How to find me - er, this blog..

Not all of you have me bookmarked, or have e-mails sent when I post a new post.  Some of you have not "liked" my FB page because you want to preserve your own anonymity. 

But I have discovered one effective google search for which the first two pages showed nothing BUT my posts.  (I am quite amused, sometimes, by the searches some folks have used which led them to my blog... many, of course, have to do with boobs.. Go figure...)

But if you type "borg blog amish" you'll get back to me in no time at all...  See you, again, soon!

Thicker Skin...

I recognize that if I'm going to be a blogger -- particularly if my aspirations are to be as big (or even 1/1,000th as big) as Jenny --  then I need to develop thicker skin. 

Last week, I had a bad day / night / early morning.  It was not my first one, and it will not be my last one.  Some are easier to deal with and shrug off, and some are harder to shrug off.  There are some mornings, I admit, that I sit in my car and cry for no real apparent reason, no particular trigger I can point to as to what set me off. 

And it sucks.

I am in the middle of a healing process.  Those of you who read me regularly know that I ended a 10+year marriage about three years ago.  And since then, I had fallen in love with another woman who is not available but whom I love deeply and miss terribly.  A good friend who helped lift me up after I had fallen and to whom I am eternally grateful.

But these have been hard blows, and even the strongest of people would need time to heal.  And I am, by far, not the strongest of people.

I am human.  I am vulnerable.  And yes, I admit wholly, that this blog has partly been created to help me in my healing process - to confirm that I am not alone, and perhaps to let others know that they, too, are not alone.

And in that process, I take risk.  I expose myself - despite the anonymity that I continue to struggle with keeping. 

In the wee early hours of that bad morning, I wrote a post.  I knew I was leaving myself vulnerable and open, and when I posted the link on Twitter, I asked "dear readers, be gentle." 

Over the months, I've written a couple of posts like this, some I've published, many sit unpublished.  One of my biggest struggles is with my ADD.  Another is, clearly, depression.  I like to hope it's just situational depression, and once I make it further down the line, it will begin to dissipate more, but frankly, regardless of the cause, it isn't fun. 

As I have written in my Sticks & Stones posts (with all the follow-ups, and still more promised and remaining to be written), I have discovered that words hurt when they attack something we are already feeling insecure about.  So when an anonymous commenter left a comment "Poor poor me" and then misspelled pity party and added a few other "insults" that don't really stick, I deleted it.  It was not a simple decision, but one I made quickly and decisively. 

Not surprising, the anonymous commenter returned.  Or at least I assume it was the same anonymous commenter, since he or she seems to have the same difficulty with spelling that the original one did.

And I know that writing here, I am inviting said anonymous commenter to respond again.  I am inviting trouble.

But I guess here's the thing.  If I'm going to blog, and I'm going to share my experience - the good, the bad, and the ugly - then I guess I must develop a thicker skin. 

Yes, perhaps I was having a pity party that morning.  Guess what?  One of those labels over there is that "I'm human".  It happens.  It happens more than perhaps I care to share - but when I do, well, you can either serenade me with the smallest violin you have, or you can support me to get past that moment.  I admit there are times when I need a good kick in the butt.  And I invite and welcome readers to give me said kick when they think I am wallowing and need it. 

But if you're going to give me a kick in the butt, I'm gonna ask a few things of you.  First, be respectful.  Even though I'm an anonymous blogger who pretends to be a cube-shaped Borg, the reality is that I am a person.  I - CLEARLY - have feelings.  Tough love is fine.  Telling me that I need to get off my butt and get doing things is fine.  Even telling me that you're tired of my whining is fine - although, frankly, I'm not forcing you to read my blog, you can go somewhere else if you think I'm whining too much.  Generally, I can handle critical responses.  I know I'm not perfect.  I know I need improvement, and heck, the message was clear, in fact, that I was asking for help.  So if you want to give me a kick in the butt and be helpful go ahead, but, please, be respectful.

For one thing, it gives your comment a better chance of really being heard rather than dismissed.  If you just throw insults at me, frankly, I have better things to do with MY time...

Second, be specific.  Some general observations are obvious.  But if you're going to suggest I've done x, y or z, and I haven't explicitly written I've done x, y or z, at least support your conclusion.  Don't just randomly say I'm abusive and cruel to one-eyed, one horned, flying purple people eaters without at least telling me why you've reached that conclusion.  I am open to dialog.  I encourage dialog.  I want to hear others' opinions including ones that are different from my own, and I'm here trying to grow and become a better person.  If you read my blog, I think you can come to that conclusion fairly reasonably. 

But lobbing a grenade and running is not productive, not helpful, not wanted, not needed.  My ex-wife threw enough of those, thank you.  My life is not yet where I would want it to be because of such grenades.  Perhaps, then, I'm a little (overly?) sensitive to baseless insults that leave no substance or logic to which I might respond or might be able to use productively to improve who I am.

I know I need to grow a thicker skin.  Not everyone will like what I have to say.  The more people who read, the more likely I am to get anonymous "haters".  Perhaps I should take it as a badge of honor - clearly I've said something that has hit home to someone else.  Even if hitting "home" didn't elicit a positive response.  Clearly, nonetheless, my words had power.

Now, if you are looking for a person who isn't going to have a pity party once in awhile, you're reading the wrong blog.  I'll try to keep them to a minimum, and I'll try at least to be productive and thoughtful when I do.  I don't claim to be perfect.  I am human.  That's one of the things I told you from the beginning and I'm sure I will tell you again and again.  And, in the meantime, the lesson I will take from and try to work on from even the negative comments, is to develop thicker skin.   

P.S.  Clearly, "clearly" is the word of the day... so there!
P.P.S.  No one-eyed, one horned, flying purple people eaters were harmed in the writing of this post...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Everybody Poops!

(Sounds like the auspicious beginning to a children's toilet training book!)

But the reality is even if we don't want to accept it, everybody poops! We do our best to pretend we don't. Me, if I've been in a stall a particularly long time, I'll wait until everybody else leaves before emerging. I don't want them to see me and "know".

The worst part is the media. Many of us bring some sort of media into the bathrooms: books, newspaper, magazine, or smart phone/tablet. My ex and I had the magazine rack in the bathroom!

But again. We don't want to see it or know. Yesterday I watched a woman I know well head to the bathroom with a large book, and I admit I shook my head and thought: I don't want to know.

But everybody poops! I probably got too comfortable sharing with my ex, I'll admit. We used to show off our artwork - much like identifying shapes in clouds. However, outside of such an intimate relationship, and even inside of one, we really don't want to know that anyone else poops, nor do we want them to know that we do.

I don't know why that is, but for the most part I respect it without question.

This morning, though, I thought you all should know, I prepared the somewhat difficult exclamation mark!

P.S.  You can guess where this post was composed... :O

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Incompetence, ADD and Quicksand

Right now, at 5:30 AM as I begin to type this post, I feel tremendously incompetent.  First of all, I am sleep deprived.  And I'm hungry, and there is no real food in the house.  Both of these contribute to an increase in emotional response.

I feel like I've dug myself into a hole and I can't get out. And it's ridiculous.  It is completely ridiculous.  Anyone on the real life side can tell you easily what steps I should take on some of these big items.  *I* can tell you what steps I need to take, but I can't seem to take them.

It's been three years, and I am still stuck in this hole.

The reality is, even once I do start taking those positive steps, I'll still be in this hole for awhile.  There is no easy fix. 

To be clear there are some very concrete issues that are keeping me in this place.  And by place, I mean the hole, not simply here or even specifically here in this small town.

As I was trying to fall asleep I was thinking about my ideal solution to get my life in order, and to move forward. What is it that I would need to pull myself together and get past this survival mode into a mode where I thrive. 

And the answer that is abundantly clear and yet absurdly impossible and unrealistic to find is a very, very patient partner / coach.  Someone who will subtly train me while I'm not paying attention into developing better habits and better skills for managing my day-to-day life.  Much like I'm teaching the girls soccer even while we play other games.  Someone who will start out the day - preferably by jumping on the bed and wagging their tail, but that's a different memory - ready and excited with a plan for the day.  Someone who will start my day by saying, "Here's what we're doing today!" 

The key word is "we".  You can give me a plan. You can tell me this is what I need to do for the day.  And I might even get several of the items done.  And believe me, having a regular plan is a big start.  Huge start.  Big improvement over what I'm able to manage for myself.  But what I really need is someone by my side holding my hand until I learn how to do it myself. 

The person would have to have a lot of patience.  The person would probably have to love me very much to tolerate me and my stubbornness.  The person would have to recognize that even if I teasingly resist, I will relent.  If that person is there to do it with me - whatever it is - I'll do it. 

But I can't seem to manage on my own.  I can't seem to do this alone.

My life, outwardly, is a mess.  For example, the yard is unruly and jungle-like.  After the poison ivy, any desire I had to clean it up and risk repeated rash was long gone.  I do try and spend a few minutes every so often - but today, for instance, I started to itch and stopped and scrubbed myself with poison ivy oil remover.

I have GREAT reasons / excuses for a lot of what I do and don't do.  But for some things, I have no explanation at all other than I just can't.  I don't know why I can't.  There's no rational reasonable explanation - and believe me I've searched high and low for it.   ADD is part of it - and perhaps it's a big part of it.  I kinda want it to be the reason because then at least I'd have a reason.  And given that so many other limitations I've found over my life can sometimes be traced back to ADD (an inability whatsoever, for example, to read a non-fiction book unless it's telling a story).  Then, in theory, if I managed to fix the ADD - or manage its symptoms - then maybe I'd finally be able to fix everything else.


But maybe I am too scared to thrive....

In my adolescent years, my family experienced what is now fairly typical drama and turmoil, but at the time, with all those adolescent hormones enhancing emotions, it was a hard time.  I learned early on - even before the family drama - how to "survive".  I am GREAT at surviving.  That was my motto during my junior high and high school years - one I repeated often to my adult mentor - "I will survive" - and I have.  And I do.

It wasn't until I had been with my ex-wife for a year or so that I begun to do more than just survive.  That I began to do more than just provide for the basic necessities for myself.  I was in a safe and secure relationship - this woman and I pledged to spend our lives together.  She seemed to love me unconditionally - and I do, even still, believe that.  With her, I was finally able to dream, to think about what it was that I wanted out of life, and that gave me the courage and the strength to take some risks and try something new that was ultimately in many ways quite rewarding, despite the concerns others expressed over the potential folly of my choices. 

When I was with her, I finally felt free to thrive, safe to thrive.  And it was glorious.  I only have one wish in this world, frankly, and that is to be in a place in life, again, where I can thrive.  Where I can feel safe and secure to hope for more than just the necessities in my life. 

I learned long ago that the best way to avoid disappointment and being hurt was to keep your expectations reasonable.  In fact, screw reasonable, keep your expectations low and then you may just be pleasantly surprised. 

Thriving is about striving for more than what is reasonable and safe and expected.  It's about taking chances and recognizing there may be disappointments on the path, but that overall things are good.  Overall, the path I am on is leading me some place I want to go, and some place that I will enjoy when I get there - and I will enjoy both the journey and the destination.

Thriving is something like that.

With the ex, I tried something crazy and embarked in a different direction in my life.  The road I had been on was a good one - a secure one.  There was nothing wrong with the road I was on before that.  But I wanted to try this different road.  Many people thought I was nuts, including my family.  But it was a good road, and I enjoyed the journey while I was on it, and just as I was beginning to hit my stride, she got scared.  Scared that this new path might lead me away from her.  And over time, slowly but surely, she began to put big boulders on this path.  Until at one point, much like a Wile E. Coyote / Roadrunner cartoon, she took the Acme dynamite and just blew up the road altogether. 


Now to be clear, I am not abdicating my responsibility for my relationship or my contribution towards its demise.  Anyone who knows the full story or who has heard me tell it will tell you that I take full responsibility for my actions, my inactions, my contribution to the situation imploding.  But most who watched it unfold also realized that my wife was not well, and that frankly, there was a lot about the situation that was completely out of my control and also completely not about me, even though I suffered heavily from the shrapnel. 


But it makes me wonder if maybe despite how much I want to thrive, I am too scared to thrive.  I am too scared to want, to hope, to dream of something more in my life.  Because the more you have, the more that can be taken away from you.

That if I continue to live in this abject poverty, measured not simply by normal financial standards of "wealth" but with the asceticism physically and emotionally I have in my life, then there isn't much to take away from me.  (Asceticism may not be the best word, DEARTH might be a good word). 


When I first began to heal from the wounds inflicted by the Acme dynamite, I had a good friend there to hold my hand.  Who had a surprisingly significant capacity of patience for me.  Who loved me very deeply.  Who would come downstairs on Saturday mornings during the ever so brief (it seems, but wasn't at the same time) period I lived with her and would jump on my bed to get me up and going and wag her tail excited to start the weekend and set with the plans for us to do. 

She moved away, unfortunately, and left me here behind.  The two things were separate, and the latter was not deliberate - I think if she could have stayed, without taking Acme dynamite to HER life, she might have.  And I miss her tremendously. 

When she was here, fitness was important to her.  And at one point, she trained for a long distance endurance event, and I was her training buddy.  We worked out nine times a week for twenty weeks to prepare her for an awesome race.  And I lost about as many pounds.   Working out was a breeze.  It didn't feel like working out because it was time spent together enjoying each other's company.  It was time to catch up on the day.  It was fun setting the plan and preparing the schedule for the week together.  And I was in the best shape of my life.


And now I look at pictures of myself - when I take a picture of more than just a head shot - and I recognize that I am now in the worst shape of my life.  Again, I briefly allowed myself to thrive a little, to trust and depend upon someone, and they're gone and with it they took a part of my security and stability.  (To be clear I have a very strong sense of self, and a very strong core being.  This was about something more than that.  This was about life gravy - not basic survival.  Lest you think I'm too unhealthy... ;) )


ADD often makes a bad situation worse - it makes you feel like your stuck in quicksand.  Apparently the best thing to do if you get stuck in quicksand is not to struggle and flail about - it will only make you sink faster.  But instead to be calm, still.  I'm not sure, exactly, how it is you get yourself out once you are calm and still - I only know what makes it worse, to be frank.  The one time I stepped in it, I stepped out of it quite quickly, too...

But with the ADD it feels like even when I make an effort, even when I try to get out of this hole, this pit of quicksand, that my efforts only land me more securely stuck here. 


So logic says just stay still.  But I don't know, once I stop making it worse (IF I'm stopping making it worse) how to get out of here, anyway.  I feel incompetent.

I need someone to help me.  To train me.  To teach me the skills I need.  To apply some structure - not rigid, but still structure - to my life.  So that I know on Saturday I do x chores, and on such and such an evening I do such and such errands and on Friday nights I go out for Happy Hour!  And I need to be a wee bit more financially secure so that I *can* do more things.  Frankly one of the reasons I don't like to go grocery shopping is that I can't afford the cost.  And yet, I can't really afford not to eat, either, now can I?   Kind of a Catch-22 there.


So, if you know anyone who is willing to stand on stable ground and help pull me out of the quicksand, have them drop me a line.  I'm trainable.  Quite trainable.  But that someone will need patience.  And love.  And preferably if they're a cute available secure dyke, well, that won't hurt, either. 

Because even if I am scared, I still want to thrive.  I want to get out of this quicksand.  And as I think about it more - as I write about it here - I think that is the answer as to how someone gets out of literal quicksand, someone else, standing on secure ground helps pull them out... Just stick around a little longer and, again, have lots of patience.  It won't be easy... but it will be worthwhile.  That I can promise. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Zebras, Zoos and Zeal

I zigged when I should of zagged. 

Okay, that's not quite true.  But I've had a number of stuck keys, so I got the bright idea to take off some of my keys and try to remove the accumulated dust. 

All was going fine until I started trying to put them back.  And even that went okay - I could remember my QWERTY, my ASDF and even managed to remember my ZXCV... (I only worked on the left side).

My shift key, however, doesn't feel quite right, and then, um, there was the issue with the Z... that's still not resolved. 

Fortunately, I don't write blog entries about zebras very often.  Usually, I see horses...

Cleats Hurt...

In case I forgot this basic rule of soccer, my little girls last night reminded me that, indeed, cleats do hurt when it is YOUR foot underneath them.  In case you've forgotten from the way long ago post "So Who Am I?", item number twelve was "I am a soccer coach."

But given that it was February when I wrote that, soccer wasn't one of the foremost topics on my mind to write about, so I'm not sure I've mentioned it since.  But soccer practices have started and soccer games will begin in a few weeks.  Between now and the end of October, I will have soccer on the brain.

Now you're probably wondering why a childless cube shaped Borg is coaching soccer, and frankly the answer is that I was trapped.  A friend of mine with a seven year old daughter coached her daughter's team two years ago and asked me if I would be the assistant coach.  I loved her daughter like my own, and enjoyed this friend's company very much, so the answer was a no-brainer. 

And then, just as practices were beginning two years ago, her husband got a really great job opportunity in another state and before the season was over, she was gone, and I was head coach.  And, I was hooked. 

To be clear, I didn't know much about soccer, having last played it seriously in my pee wee league days at 4 years old.  I understood there was a black and white round ball that you kicked towards the net.  I can't say two years later I necessarily know much more about the sport (okay, maybe a wee bit more), but I coach 6/7 year old girls, and the good news is that I don't need to know much more. 

What I really need to know most at this age is that young girls' self esteem is starting to grow.  And the likelihood that I am going to coach the next Mia Hamm (or whoever the great women's soccer stars are these days) is slim.  But what I do have an opportunity to do is give these girls a fun time and help them learn a few life lessons. 

I know I have a lot of Mamas who read my blog, and you can probably provide me much greater insight into the psyche of a young girl (and please feel free to add below in the comments), but I'll share a few things I've noticed.

First of all, I have been pretty fortunate to have some really great parents who stick around and hang out for their kids' practice.  Maybe leaving their kids with the Borg is a little frightening - assimilation at such a young age - but I do think that these parents are invested in their children's lives.  Even if some of them are absorbed in a book or a phone on the sideline.  I can still call over to a parent to come on the field to help, and get some active volunteers.

At age six/seven, kids are like an overly absorbent sponge for attention.  They can never seem to get enough, and I'm sure their parents are worn down after a long summer's day of trying to entertain them.  Any personalized attention they get they soak up faster than you realize and are ready to absorb more, and yet, sometimes keeping their attention in a group setting is not always easy.

They're still new to each other and new to making friends so watching them interact with each other and get to know each other - or recognize - Wait! I know that girl... - is fun to watch.  Teaching them that they are a team, and that they are now the same, and not other is also important.  This is no longer that girl from the other class, or even from the other team of the sport you just played. This girl is now YOUR team-mate.  She is part of "you" - at least the you on the field.  (See, I teach assimilation - resistance IS futile).

The first session I always forget how very shy they are.  We want the kids to be able to call to each other from across the field to tell them to pass to them, or warn them that they are passing, but on the very first session their voice barely raises above a whisper and can hardly be heard more than a few feet away.  Fortunately by Week 2, I have no trouble hearing them!

Few, if any, of the girls are only children, and so often they are fighting within the family for attention, too.  Here, on my team, they gain nine more sisters.  Or so I hope...

The words I hope that come out of my lips the most during practice are "Great job!"  And hopefully along with it, I am using their (correct) name, so they know I am talking to THEM.  I encourage enthusiasm, I encourage attitude (good attitude, let's be clear), I encourage effort.  I encourage fun.  I encourage good sportsmanship.  I try, my best, to encourage them.

It goes back to "Sticks & Stones" (maybe there's a reason it's one of the favorites).  They hear the negative, just like us adults, ten times louder than the good.  So I encourage them with the good.  Now, of course, when they start to get too full of themselves, or when they start to put down their other team-mates, I am quick to nip that in the bud, too.  I remind them that we are all trying our best, and that it's great they've figured out how to x or y, but their team-mate is learning, too.  And to remember, that when they first tried it, it wasn't easy for them either. 

Each girl does need special attention.  Each girl is different.  I have one little girl who is actually only 5 years old, and while the smallest on the team, she isn't the smallest by much.  But it is easy for her to trip over her ball while running.  She's got a great attitude, and a great smile, but she's shy and I think she knows she's the smallest and the youngest.  I think she's doing great, but I try to take more time with her on the skills that the older girls have already practiced or gotten a little easier.

Another little girl is working her way into my heart.  I think she is worried about falling over while trying to run and kick the ball, too, because I frequently (if not always) see her running with her arms out to the side as if she's trying to keep her balance.  And it's hard to get her much faster than a walk.  She's a bit shy, too, but I know better that these girls are often the ones that end up surprising me when the games start.

Really, you should never write off the little girls.  They are usually amazingly fast and surprisingly good ball-handlers sometimes.  On all three of my teams, the best ball handlers have actually been the small unassuming girls you'd never expect.  At last night's practice, for example, while we were waiting for everyone to show, this tiny quiet little girl was dribbling around the field with me trying to take the ball away from her.  She showed remarkable talent in maneuvering the ball and keeping it close to her.  One of her team-mates noted last night after practice had started that she's "sneaky".  While every girl will play every position during the games, at this level, there is no question that when I am looking for a powerful offensive team, she will be on that line-up. 

I've probably gone down a side-road here as I start to think of each of my girls individually that is not nearly as exciting for you, my reader, as it is for me.  But in this time of Olympic athletic wonder, it is important to remember that for most ordinary Americans, participating in youth sports will not lead us to Olympic Gold.  But if we give our children the appropriate opportunities to excel and to learn and to build their self-esteem and to learn to work with others, they will have with them a life-time achievement much greater than Olympic gold. 

I hope, at the end of the season, the girls have had fun, and want to come back.  That is my goal. Not the wins, nor having the number of wins be greater than the losses (although last season it was nice to start with an undefeated season the first four or five games, and in my first season, we lost the first game, but won the next eleven... it helps!).  But that they've learned to work together.  They've learned to literally, and figuratively, shoot for a goal.  They've learned to support each other, and they've learned not to be cruel to others.  (There are no Terrell Owens' moments allowed on my field - we collectively celebrate a goal, but we do not rub it into the other teams' faces, and we are NOT nasty to the other team when they score a goal... ). 

In one soccer coaching book I read, they claimed that kids never forget their soccer coaches, and remember them still as adults.  I am not so vain to believe that is true - as I can't remember my soccer coach - but I do hope that what they walk away with is a positive experience that will yield more positive experiences as they grow.  And that they remember, most importantly, that when they step on their coach's foot, that cleats hurt.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Personality Test...

So this past week, I took the Myers-Briggs personality test, again.  Surprising news! I have personality! But I guess you already knew that....

In order to fine tune some areas where I was sitting on the boundary line, the person who administered it had me read descriptions from both sides of the fence to see which fit well.

It felt like a crazy compilation of an eye exam and a fortune teller.  You know what I'm talking about.

You sit there looking through lenses trying to figure out which one is different and better than the other, and frankly, you can see just fine out of both and you have no idea which one produces clearer crisper letters.  There comes a point where you're guessing as to which lens is best for you.  Because they both work.

Then there's the fortune teller / astrological sign aspect of it.  You know what I'm talking about.  Those broad generic statements that probably could apply to anyone, or at least anyone would want them applied to themselves, so of course you want to believe it's true.  You are as loyal as a puppy dog.  (Which *is* true of course... but I may chew on a few of your slippers.. oops)  Everyone admires and respects you.  (Don't you?)  Deer will follow you home.  (Okay, maybe that one isn't so universal.. )

My mother is a meticulous record-keeper.  So I sent her an e-mail to find out what my prior test results had been.  And the response was kind of surprising.  And kind of not, all at the same time.

One of the reasons why I took this test was that I had been having a friendly conversation with the person who administers them and telling him how I really exhibit qualities of most of the personality types.  (There is one exception that is not particularly surprising with my ADHD, but I'll get there in a minute). 

I am both an extrovert and an introvert.  Seriously.  I enjoy people and I can get energized by being around them, but I also enjoy being by myself and need down time alone, too, to regroup.  Thinking and feeling are both important to me and are well developed skills.  I am very rational logical person, but I do spend most of my analysis on feelings.  So my past test results have clearly returned T's as my base, and this time, F was returned.

I'll say I'm less balanced between Sensory and Intuition.  I would say that my Intuition rules over my senses, but this past week's results came back with an S over N.  (Although all past results have clearly shown an N, and I think I am probably an N).

The one where there is no question what I am is a P.  P's apparently like to follow plans but can't make them to save their lives.  J's are the planners.  J's have to make a plan.  I like them, but I can't get myself organized enough to make them consistently.  I need a J in my life, but my P-ishness (I'm certain that's a word!) would probably drive a J crazy.  Except, the J should know I'll gladly follow any plan they create. 

Even though I am box shaped, I have often felt that it was hard to put me into a box.  And frankly the Myer's Brigg's personality testing is based upon Jungian principles (that I don't pretend to understand) that at some level must be sound in order for the test and its results to also be sound. 

The administrator I think is a little frustrated by me, because I think he believes the Jungian models (probably a good idea if you're going to invest your belief about people's general personality types on a test based upon the Jungian models) and therefore doesn't think it is possible for me to straddle types.  His argument to me (which we haven't yet had in depth, but may this week when we see each other again) is that to the extent that I display traits from other personality types, these are merely learned skills and not our innate preferences.  He would argue that I am naturally an introvert who learned to be extroverted due to circumstances and need.

And while I can accept that idea, in theory, in reality I know better.  I know that I can both be energized by people and I can be drained by them.  It is not absolute.  It is not fixed.

This is not to say that I'll throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I think there are certainly some important insights that can be uncovered by narrowing down my preferences, even if not fixing them in stone.  Some of the career thoughts seem to fit spot on - and frankly, part of what convinced me I was an N over S before my mother even sent me the results in the past that N has always been the result is that the career options for N fit me much better and made much more sense to me than the options for S.  I am a writer, yes, not an artist. 

And I am as loyal as a dog, and deer follow me home. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Insomnia & ADD Meds

What a wonderful couple... What a lovely dance you do...

The general choice of drug to treat ADD is a stimulant.  Our brain chemistry is different - I've seen a map of my brain and there are distinctions (the specifics of which at 5:30 in the morning I can't recall clearly enough to articulate here) between the brain of an average person and the person with ADD (although these days, ADD is beginning to trend towards the norm, rather than something different).

So when you apply stimulants to folks with ADD, the general result is it calms them down.  It makes it easier, then, to focus. 

But still, it seems, they are stimulants.  And still, it seems, they can affect your sleep patterns. 

It can be a frustrating cycle trying, then, to adjust on the other end with sleep meds - at the moment I am not - and get the balance right. 

Meds help.  There is no quiestion about that.  But they can also create problems as well as solve them.  And even when I have been taking meds more regularly than I am at the moment, I have found that they still are not enough alone to overcome the restraints ADD places on my capabilities. 

And I've tried all sorts of other things.  Believe me. 

Unfortunately, one of the best ways to work on overcoming ADD is with a partner.  And, in case you haven't already figured it out from my earlier posts - or that tag over there on the right - I am single.  And even when I had a partner, it was a huge burden on them to help me with this. 

I don't know the answers.  But I know I'm not the only one asking questions.  My ADD posts - completely without promotion - have become my highest viewed posts.  Which means this one will possibly be seen considerably. 

Please, if you're on this journey, don't just be a bystander, be a contributor.   I can use all of the help I can get.  We all can.

Oh, and I could have used a couple more hours of sleep this night.  If you have those in your back pocket, I'd like them please.  Thank you.