Tag Archives: problems

I do.

“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.”
– Fawn Weaver

Well, hey there strangers!

So, I knew it had been a while since I had written a blog post, but I just checked the calendar and realized it has been almost a full month!  Whoa.  That is officially the longest I have gone without a post since I started this blog in February 2013.  Bad girl, Mel.  Bad. Girl.  *hand smack*

Ok, now that the punishment has been doled out, let’s get back to business.

First, thank you all for still being here.  Much to my surprise, when I finally came back and checked my blog stats, there wasn’t a single day in the last month that didn’t have at least 10 views or so.  That’s pretty awesome.  You guys are still checking out my stuff, even while I’m AWOL. My readers rock.

Secondly, a bit of an explanation. (Or, maybe I should say, excuses? Eh. Tomato, Tomahto…)

Let me start out by saying that my absence from the blog has not exactly meant that I haven’t been writing at all per se. I actually have been working on a “project,” so to speak. I was asked to contribute to an upcoming anthology of local writers in the county. How cool is that!? I’ll provide more details as the publication date gets closer, which is April 2015 as of now. When I was first asked to contribute, my first thought was, Say what? Um, hellllo? An anthology about this county? Ahhem. You do realize I’m a gypsy, right? I’m a military brat…from everywhere and nowhere…a nomad…a wanderer…(I’m out of words…) Basically, you realize that it’s hard to write about any place as if I actually belonged there. Right?

But, you know what happened? The same thing that always happens when I sit down to write something (this blog you’re reading now being no exception). The words just poured out of my heart. And through that writing, I realized something. Maybe I have finally found a place to belong.

Well. How about that.

And using that realization as an awesome segue into that other little bitty tidbit of information that I haven’t filled my readers in on during my absence…I’ll give you a bit more info as to what has been keeping me so busy over the past few weeks. Oh ya know, it’s nothing major. No biggie. Just this tiny little change that is getting ready to take place in my life….

RICHARD AND I ARE GETTING MARRIED!!!

EEEEEEEEK!

Yup. It’s official, people. On July 10, 2014, Richard asked me to be his wife.

Okay, that’s a total lie. That’s not how it went down at all. I mean, come on. Nothing about our relationship has been traditional up to this point, so why should the engagement be any different? Here’s how it really went down (or something to this effect…)

Me: (jokingly – like I’ve done many times before…) We should get married.
Richard: We should.
Me: Uh huh.
Richard: Let’s do it.
Me: *Laughter*
Richard: No, really. Let’s do it.
Me: Are you drinking?
Richard: It’s 10:00 a.m.
Me: Are you drinking?

Or something like that. (Pretty darn close to that actually.) Yes, folks, that’s the romantic way in which Richard and I came to the decision to tie the knot. Awwwwwww.

USbeachAnd while we’re speaking about the whole non-traditional thing, get this. No engagement ring. I’ve told Richard 5,716 times that if we ever did decide to get married, I really and truly do NOT want an engagement ring. My reasons are numerous, but at the top of the list are (1) been there, done that; (2) bling is not really my thing; (3) I want to spend all that money on something way more awesome. Not sure what, but anything would be better than a ring that I don’t really want; and (4) I want a wedding band. Just a wedding band. That’s it. No “rock.” Just a sweet, meaningful wedding band. And that’s it.

[Insert little aside here about Richard’s response to my “I just want a wedding band” comment… “I could probably get a few of the boys together to play if that’s what you really want.” Grrrr. Not that kind of band, doofus!! Sheesh….Musicians, I tell ya….]

Okay, back to the non-traditional wedding details.

So, am I weird? No? Okay, well about this. I think I’ve also decided to wear a RED wedding dress. Now am I weird?

Dude…me and “traditional” just never have seen eye-to-eye, ya know? I just don’t tend to be a by-the-book kind of gal. And if I ever am, it’s just because I think that’s what is expected of me. How much of tradition do we really even understand anyway? Most of that stuff, we just do because everyone else does. And, in my humble opinion, that has been the cause of lots of problems in this ol’ world as time passes. So, nope. None of that on my wedding day.

Oh, and as for my wedding day? The date will be November 1. Richard wanted a Fall wedding (at our home) so I glanced at the calendar and that date shone like a beacon. It would have been my grandpa’s birthday…the grandpa that passed away just months before I met Richard. The grandpa that Richard reminds me of so often. The grandpa that I think would have really liked him. So, there you go. November 1 it is. It will be a very small, family-only kind of ceremony, with what we hope will be a much larger, very non-formal “reception” (read: cookout) later in the day.

Eeeek! I’m getting married!!!

For those of you that have followed my blog from its early days (and let me pause here to thank you from the bottom of my heart for that), you know well that the road to this day has not been smooth. The love was always there. Always. But the common sense? Eh, notsomuch. It has taken us a very long time to finally smooth out our paths in a way that they are finally able to blend together and head in the same direction. The best things in life are worth waiting for though, right?

Oh yeah, and one more thing!  Another reason I’ve been a tad busy lately?  I started training for my first full marathon.  Guess when it is?  November 15. Two short weeks after my wedding.  So, guess what our honeymoon is going to be?  Yep, you guessed it, people. I’m marrying a man who is willing to let my first full marathon be our honeymoon.

Am I a lucky girl or what?

And there you have it, folks! The reasons (aka excuses) for my blog absence, and a quick run-down of what’s been going on in the meantime. Thanks for still being here. I hope you all know how much you mean to me.

See you soon! (And this time, I mean that!…*Ahhem*…I hope…)

***

“Where there is love, there is life.”
– -Mahatma Gandhi

Curtsy

“Embarrassment is a villain to be crushed.”
– Robert B. Cialdini

So, have you heard about Stefanie Dolson?

Stefanie, bless her heart, had something happen to her earlier this week that would absolutely mortify most of us.  As a member of the UConn women’s basketball team who had made a trip to the white house to be honored by the President himself for their NCAA national championship, Stefanie had … um … well, let’s just call it a little mishap.  Oh heck, here, let me just let you see for yourself:

Yikes!

AP OBAMA A BKC BKW USA DC

(AP Photos/Susan Walsh)

And as if it happening weren’t bad enough…of course, it had to happen on national TV.  And, of course, newscasters everywhere had to run it on their news segments.  And you can see the reporters’ reactions in the lower left corner of the screen in the video – cameras clicking, flashes everywhere, etc.  Whew.  If Stefanie was going to embarrass herself, by golly she was going to do it right.  Get it, girl.

But you want to know my favorite part of this whole ordeal?  The reason why I’m blogging about the incident?  It’s what happens just after the above video clip ends – the part that most video clips I have found on the subject have managed to leave out.  After the initial embarrassment, after the nervous laughter, after being helped up by the friggin President of the United States for Heaven’s sakes, you know what Stefanie did?

She composed herself, looked right out at one of the cameras and…ready for this?…she curtsied.  Yep.  Curtsied.

Check her out.

AP OBAMA UCONN NCAA A S USA DC

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

After facing what was probably the most embarrassing thing to have happened to her thus far in her life, she got herself together, looked the embarrassment right in the face, and basically bowed to it.  That curtsy said, “Yep. There ya go. I’m human, and I just proved it. You’re welcome. Carry on.”

It’s pretty safe to say that Stefanie Dolson is one of my favorite people in the world right now.  What a lesson there is to learn from this awesome lady.  I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to be thinking about that Dolson curtsy for many years to come.  The next time life knocks you down?  Hey, just get right back up, and give life the ol’ Dolson curtsy.  You know?  You can either be remembered for the embarrassment you felt while you were stumbling, or you can be remembered for the classy way you carried yourself after you regained your balance.  It’s that simple.

Really.  It’s just that simple.

(And another little secret – you’re actually probably the only one that’s really going to remember anyway. Unless of course you were on national TV… But isn’t what you remember about yourself the most important thing anyway?)

Remember the curtsy, people – not the stumble.

Got it?

***

“Relax; the world’s not watching that closely. It’s too busy contemplating itself in the mirror.”
– Richelle E. Goodrich

 

10-Minute Rule

“Each day should have a clearly marked emergency exit sign.”
– Dr. SunWolf

Whew. These past few weeks have been somewhat Stressful. (Yes, I capitalized stressful in that sentence. That word deserved a capital S in this case.)  Between work stress, financial worries, worrying over a friend’s medical issues…it just seems like it has been one thing right after the other. And amid all the stresses, there have also been time-consuming good things as well – softball games, getting a house ready for renters, taking care of that precious new puppy of ours, watching my handsome son turn 16.  All good things, of course, but whew….after a few weeks like this, I’m beat!

So, here I am (exhaustion-induced grumpy mood = check!) and suddenly it dawns on me.  I know what I’ve been doing wrong.

I have let my 10-minute rule slip.

10minuteruleWhat is the 10-minute rule?  So sweet of you to ask.

I have decided that there are a few things in my life that I absolutely love that are only about ME.  Sure, I love spending time with my family and with that wonderful man I love, etc. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.  I’m talking about the things that are about and for me only.  And for me personally, those things are acting, running, reading, and writing. (I’m guessing your list probably varies somewhat from mine.)  When I’m doing those four particular things, I am doing them for me only. They are the fundamentals of what make me me. They are my escapes, so to speak.  The places I go where I’m no one’s mother, sister, daughter, partner, employee, etc.  I’m just doing what I want to do…the things that I feel make me a better person because I’m being true to myself.

Well, obviously I can’t spend all day doing these things.  I have a job and responsibilities that I can’t neglect.  But a while back, I made a promise to myself that in every given day, I would make certain that I spent at least ten minutes every single day doing one of these four things.  A 10-minute soul tap, so to speak.

Now, luckily, I have four things on my list, so it shouldn’t be all that hard to find ten minutes in a day to do at least one of them.  Now granted, I can’t just jump on a stage on any given day and act for 10 minutes (I know some community theatres that would frown upon someone just showing up and doing a random 10-minute monologue during a performance), but I can pick up a book and read for ten minutes, right? That doesn’t require any special circumstances…just a book and some downtime. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s not.  And these past few weeks have proven it.

I have not posted on this blog in two weeks. Two weeks. I think this may very well be the longest stretch of time I have gone without posting since I started this thing in February 2012. Not only that, but I haven’t been working on my novel either. (It’s starting to feel like I may possibly have an eight-chapter novel with a horrible ending sitting on my computer for the rest of my natural life.) My running has been very sporadic (too much on my mind to dedicate the time I needed to it), I’m not involved in any theatre shows at the moment, and I’ve been carrying around a book that I have barely cracked open at all.

And you know what?  It shows.

I’m stressed. I’m grumpy. I’m overwhelmed. And, of course, I’m no doctor by any means, but I wonder if maybe skipping that 10-minute rule of mine has something to do with that?  I’ve forgotten to “take my medicine.”  Forgotten my soul tap.  Forgotten to check in with me. Is that really why things have felt so haywire lately?  Heck, I don’t know.  But I don’t think I want to roll the dice anymore. I think it’s time to pick it back up and stick to it this time.

It obviously can’t hurt anything, right?

Anyone else out there need to implement your own 10-minute rule?  Hey, who knows? It may be just what the doctor ordered.

***

“Tension is who you think you should be.  Relaxation is who you are.”
– Chinese Proverb

Out of the Mouths of Babes

“I don’t give a shit if kids take too many selfies or listen to bands I don’t like. They’re smarter, braver and care more than we give them credit for, and that’s pretty much always been the case.”
– Zack Foley

(I hope you’ll pardon my French with that quote above, but censoring it just wouldn’t have packed the same punch.)

I had been toying with a blog idea in my head for a while when I scrolled through Facebook and the above quote caught my attention.  A friend of mine was quoting a friend of his and what he had to say fit right along with the blog I had in my head. So, I asked permission to share it and there you have it.  And here’s why I liked it so much.

kellyselfie

My brilliant little Kelly in all her selfie glory

It’s true.

So incredibly true.

Case in point: my daughter, Kelly.  Those kids Mr. Foley refers to in his quote?  Oh yeah, my kiddo fits it to a tee. That little selfie-taking, weird-music-loving teenager of mine is everything that quote describes.  Especially that last part.

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend Richard and I were…um, let’s say…having some “issues.”  Okay, let’s just call it what it was. We were fighting. And it was bad. Now, if you haven’t heard me mention this before, Richard is a very quiet man. VERY quiet. So, when I say “fighting,” what I mean is…we weren’t speaking to each other. (Even I get tired of yelling when no one yells back.)  These non-communication fights have a tendency to drag on forever, as I’m sure you can imagine, since nothing ever gets talked about or worked on, and this particular fight was no exception. And while we try to hide our arguments from the kids, they aren’t dummies. We go from being the happiest, cuddliest couple in the world to not wanting to be in the same room? Yeah, they kinda figure something is up.

Well, this time, Kelly wasn’t having it.

She sent both of us a group Facebook message.  And I want to show it to you.  Now, I’m editing it a bit to keep out the details of the argument (I’d hate to broadcast publicly how WRONG Richard was, ya know…bless his heart…), but I’ll put enough here for you to get the gist.  Check this out:

“Okay. Y’all are getting on my nerves again. Fighting over really stupid stuff…..To be honest, you both are acting like middle schoolers. You guys get in a fight, don’t try to fix it or don’t want to talk about it, and just act like you don’t care. You do. I know I’m only 14 but I have sense….I know you both love each other and I know you care about each other, so start acting like it…Suck it up and be the couple all of us know you are.”

Okay, so I’m aware that I could be mad that she spoke to adults like that.  The whole “ya’ll are getting on my nerves” and “suck it up” parts aren’t the most respectful terms she could’ve used, of course.  But you know what? She was absolutely right.  Absolutely 100% right.

She didn’t know every detail of the argument we were having, but it really didn’t matter. The details aren’t the point. The point is that, even at 14, she could see that we weren’t handling things the way we were supposed to. She could see the love that he and I were forgetting during our anger. She could see that we needed a reminder to “be the couple that everyone knows we are.”

Now, I’m not sure how Richard immediately felt when he read this (after all – we weren’t speaking), but me?  I instantly felt the tears coming to my eyes. Not only because I knew she was right…I so love that big doofus-head boyfriend of mine with every ounce of my being…but because she cared enough to stick her nose in and try to get us back on track.  That took guts. And a heart.

And I’m so proud of her.

(By the way, Richard’s written response to her message?  “No fair – why do you get to be the smartest one in the family?”)  Heh.

Now, with all this said, I just want to clarify: I’m not saying the kid knows everything.  (Although if you ask her, she’d probably disagree with that statement.)  She still has lots and lots to learn yet.  (Don’t we all?)  But what I am saying is this: sometimes it sure does help to look at things through the simple, caring, knowing eyes of a child.  They see a lot more than we give them credit for, and they have a lot to tell us if we’ll take the time to listen.

Sometimes the details just don’t matter. Sometimes, you just have to get back to the heart of the matter…the love that lies dormant underneath all the chaos. And sometimes…a lot of times, actually…it takes a child to help you do that.

***
“In youth men are apt to write more wisely than they really know or feel; and the remainder of life may be not idly spent in realizing and convincing themselves of the wisdom which they uttered long ago.”
– Nathaniel Hawthorne

Flower Garden Theory

heartgarden

Flower Garden Theory

Our hearts are flower gardens.
Each morning we arise and tend to them –
Water
Soil
Fertilizer
…and out we step into the world.
People pass by.
Hurriedly, we share our garden with pride
“Look!
Isn’t it beautiful?
Here, take a flower for a while!
Just bring it back, ok?”

And what happens?

Some bring the flowers back
Beautiful and bright as ever
Well–tended
Sometimes in even better shape than before
We put them back in their rightful place –
The garden is as perfect as ever.

But sometimes.

Some bring the flowers back…not so beautiful
They haven’t taken care of them at all
They are wilted
Withered
Thirsty
We put them back in as best we can
But they no longer belong.
They are changed.

And sometimes still.

Some don’t bring the flowers back at all.
They didn’t realize they weren’t theirs to keep
They have cast them aside
Forgotten
(Or maybe they are thieves)
The garden now has an empty spot.

Our hearts are flower gardens.
Each morning we arise and tend to them –
Water
Soil
We make adjustments.
We remove the dead flowers from yesterday
(They didn’t make it through the night)
We adjust the borders to fill in the empty spots
Our garden is smaller
But still beautiful
…and out we step into the world.
People pass by.
We share our garden with pride
(Perhaps a little less pride than yesterday, however)
“Look!
Isn’t it beautiful?
Here, take a flower for a while!
Just bring it back, ok?”

The cycle repeats.

Our hearts are flower gardens.
Each morning we arise and tend to them –
Water
Soil
We make further adjustments.
We remove more dead flowers
Adjust the borders for even more empty spots.
Our garden is smaller
But still beautiful
(Sort of)
…and out we step into the world.
People pass by.
We start to share our garden…
But the pride has decreased
(Is it worth showing anymore?
Can they be trusted?)

We change our minds.
We keep our gardens to ourselves

For if we keep sharing…
They may disappear.

Our hearts are flower gardens.
Fenced-in.
Private.
Secure.

Passive Aggressive

“This is passive-aggression in action.”
– Chuck Palahniuk

passiveaggressive2So, I was recently accused of writing a “passive aggressive” blog. (This one in particular.)  And while I don’t feel the need to explain myself to anyone, this particular critique struck a nerve.  And here’s why.

I’m going to define passive aggressive.  Not using Webster or anything – no, this is 100% Melissa.  Passive aggressive means that you get a point across in a sneaky way without being blunt and obvious.  Am I right?  Fair definition?  Well, here’s what I say to that.

Duuuuuh!

This blog should be renamed
“missyspublicpassiveaggressivejunk.”
Of course, every blog I write is passive aggressive.  Sheesh.

For instance, I write a blog about having been falsely accused of something I didn’t do.  Do I say JimBob accused me of telling his wife Bertha that he’s cheating on her?  Of course not.  You people don’t know JimBob and Bertha.  You can’t relate with specifics, but you can relate with a generality.  JimBob never accused you of telling Bertha anything, so what do you care?  But I’ll bet money on the fact that you’ve probably been accused of something unfairly, am I correct?  You can relate to what I’m saying because you can substitute your situation with mine when I write in generalities.

Or, I may write about a problem that Richard and I are having and the events that took place surrounding the argument.  Do I tell you what the problem is?  Of course not.  That’s personal.  And besides, our problem was probably pretty specific and you most likely couldn’t relate with it.  But have you had a problem with your significant other?  Sure you have! If I write non-specifically, you can relate with what I’m saying.

I could keep listing examples of blogs from the past, but there’s no point.  They are ALL the same. I don’t come right out and use specific situations and specific names because that would defeat my purpose.

I have a confession to make.  Recently, I’ve been a little disappointed with my blog’s views.  They have gone down quite a bit lately.  When I expressed my hesitation in continuing the blog, someone asked me this question.

“Well, who are you writing it for?  You or them?”

And you know what my answer is to that question?

THEM.

passiveaggressiveIf I were writing this for myself, I’d write a journal or a diary. I’d use specific names like nobody’s business.  And I probably wouldn’t be nearly as nice about it, I can guarantee you that.  But I’m not writing for me.  I’m writing in the hopes that someone somewhere can see themselves in my situations.  They can take my life experiences, replace their own in the story, and come away with two things.  One, the knowledge that they are not alone (we never are); and two, a slightly different perspective on what might be a negative situation.

I recently wrote a blog about a visit to the nursing home to see my Alzheimer’s-ridden grandmother.  Someone that I don’t know from Adam sent me a message telling me how much that blog meant to them.  It gave them a new perspective on their own parent who has Alzheimer’s.  It made them see her in a different way.  She said that she would remember what I said for a very long time and that it made her understand her parent like she hadn’t up until the point she read my words.

Why do I write?  That is why.

If you see yourself in my writing, there’s probably a reason.  If it helps, I’m thrilled.  If it steps on your toes, well.  Frankly, forgive me for being blunt, but I’m not a bit sorry. I didn’t mention your name – if you put yourself in it, that’s you that did that.  Not me.  And you might want to ask yourself why that is.

I am a very public person.  That’s just the way it is.  It’s the way I was made, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  The stories that I have to tell are going to be told. I’m not going to use specifics in most cases unless I’m given permission. My stories are mine, and I am going to keep telling them.

Yes, I get frustrated sometimes when they don’t seem to be read as much as usual (as I mentioned above). But like my daughter said in a recent conversation:

Me: My blog views are dropping drastically.
Her: How do you know?
Me: Well, I can look at the stats.  A story that may have gotten 100 views before is now only getting 25.  I think maybe I should quit.
Her: Then you’re going to have 25 disappointed people.

Ah, the wisdom of youth.

So, yes, I’m going to continue writing.  And yes, I fully admit that most everything I write from here on out will be passive aggressive. It’s what I do.  If I write something that you feel is about you or directed at you, please – see me about it.  I can assure you that the passive aggressiveness is only found in this blog, not in real life.  I promise you I’ll let you know exactly what you want to know.

Pretending (unless I’m on a stage) is just not my thing.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

***

passiveblog

 

I’m Sorry (Well, sort of.) (Ok, not really.)

“I can’t tell you the key to success; but the key to failure is to try to please everyone.”
– Ed Sheeran

Let me tell you about the kind of person I used to be…

sorry6Oh, wait.  Never mind!  I found an old picture of myself.  Maybe that will be enough of an explanation.

I’m serious, people, I was the biggest doormat you’d ever meet in your life.  I would bend and bend and bend until I felt broken. The word “no” was not in my vocabulary. If someone wanted/needed something, I was there (regardless of whatever personal sacrifice had to be made in order to do so).  If plans were made and I wasn’t involved in the planning or it wasn’t convenient to participate, you’d still see me trotting along with everyone else anyway.  Going with the flow – making sure no toes were stepped on.  (Except my own, of course.)

sorry7Well, to be perfectly honest, not a whole lot has changed.  But as I get older, there does seem to be a slight shift.  Now, here’s how it generally plays out.

Someone asks if I’ll do something (or in some cases informs me that I’m already signed up to do it without my knowledge), and what do I do?  I throw a hissy fit.  Oh yeah, gone are the “oh sure, no problem” days of my past. I gripe, I complain, I shout all the reasons why I’m certainly not going to do it and stand my ground.  And then what happens after that?

*Sigh.*

I do it.

And what happens after that?  I apologize for the way I acted when I said I wasn’t going to do it because I’m so afraid that I may have hurt someone’s feelings or made them uncomfortable.

sorryBut you know what?  I’m not really sorry. Rather than just trusting my instinct – trusting my gut -I fall back into my old ways and just do what is expected of me to try to not rock the boat.  The only difference is that I’m a little more verbal than I used to be about why I don’t really want to be doing it.  In other words, I’m still a doormat, I’m just a bitchy doormat now.

And that’s not cool.

Riding the fence like this is not going to get me anywhere.  Nobody likes a bitchy doormat.

So, here’s what needs to happen.  I have two choices.  I need to:

A) Go back to the way I was. Be the girl who keeps her mouth shut, goes with the flow and does what is expected of her regardless of personal sacrifice or gut instinct, and yet have bunches and bunches of “friends” because of it.

-Or-

B) Cut the balancing act and just slip full force into sticking to my guns.  Sure, I may lose friends (which I think I probably already have by being in bitchy doormat mode, so that’s nothing entirely new), but I will stop sacrificing the friendship that actually matters – the friendship with myself.

Well, guess what?  I think I may be just a little too far over the edge of the fence to be able to turn around and go back at this point. I’m thinking it’s going to be choice “B” for me for now on.  (And you can let that capital “B” stand for whatever you’d like…)

Let me go ahead and issue my public service announcement:

sorry2

I have a feeling that disclaimer is necessary.  But while others are reading that disclaimer, let me just go ahead and give myself a little reminder as well:

I’m tired of saying no to myself in order to say yes to everyone else.  I deserve the same respect that I have been giving to others, don’t I?

Don’t you?

Just a thought.

***

“No more bitchy doormat-ism.”
– Melissa Edmondson

Weed ‘Em and Reap

“Don’t water your weeds.”
– Proverb

Plant1Now, let me just start this blog out by letting you know that I know nothing – and I mean NOTHING – about gardening.  Or even about keeping a plant alive.  Case in point, the poor little plant you see here to the right.

*sigh*

This picture is the reason I’ve never had plants.  THIS is what happens to them.

Now, in my defense, this poor little fella got left behind in a major move.  My boyfriend Richard’s family did a little house swapping and then I followed close behind by moving into the home with Richard.  In the midst of all the moves, this plant was left sitting on a shelf by a window.  Neglected.  Once we got moved in and settled, I finally noticed the poor little fella and went to work on trying to save it.  I diligently remembered to keep it watered and turn it towards the sunlight, etc. etc.  And what happened?

Um, well, nothing.

The plant looked exactly the way it looks in the picture for months.  And yet – somehow the parts that were alive (or at least I assume they were – they were still green), just kept going amidst all the dead stuff.  So, finally, it dawned on me that maybe I should treat the plant like you do gardens.  Get rid of the weeds to make room for the stuff that is still alive to be able to grow.

Hmmmm.

Eh, I didn’t know if it would work, but I figured it would at least make things look a little better, right?  So, I went to work.  After a full morning of picking and prodding and trying my best to efficiently differentiate between green and brown, I was left with…well…a much smaller plant.

Plant2Bless its heart.

(And hey, I didn’t even though that little fern-looking thingy was even in there!  How about that!?)

So, yeah, the little fella was looking a little pruned, so to speak, but I still had to admit he looked a heck of a lot better.  Right?

And that’s when that writer’s brain of mine kicked in.  Suddenly, all of those “weeding” quotes I’ve always heard began to make sense to me.  Looking at this little plant in front of me made me realize something important.

This is what it takes to change your life.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably faced some moments in your life when you realized that something just wasn’t ‘right.’  You know what I mean?  No matter how much you tried – no matter how many things you crammed into your life to try to fulfill some void that you were certain would top off that internal happiness meter – nothing seemed to work.  You tried this, you tried that, you packed your life with so many places and people and things just trying and trying to find that “thing” that would make your life perfect…and still.  Nothing.

And then, suddenly, when you realize that you can’t fit a single thing else in your life, it dawns on you.  There’s just no more room.  None.  You’re spreading yourself thin by trying to take care of all the things on your plate (or “in your pot” so to speak) that there’s just no more energy (or “water”) left.  And then, when you look even closer, you start to realize how useless some of these things are to begin with.  You’re putting precious energy into things that aren’t even serving you anymore, and maybe never even were to begin with.  And sometimes those ‘things’ are actually ‘people.’

In other words, you’ve been watering the weeds.

Kinda stupid, huh?  Sound familiar?  No?  Hmmm.

Think maybe it needs to?

I don’t know – maybe the way I am is unique.  Maybe I’m the only one who has crammed their life full of crap to no avail. But if the responses I’ve gotten from many of my blogs in the past tell me anything, I’m thinking I’m probably not unique at all.  I think we are a whole lot more alike than we may realize.  All of us.  And I’m betting someone out there probably needed to hear this today.  Was it you?

Get rid of the weeds, people.  You might feel a little empty to start with.  A little bare, maybe.  But what’s left will be worth taking care of.  And you’ll actually have the energy (“water”) to do it.  And before you know it, you’re going to have nothing but a pot full of life.

Doesn’t that sound kinda awesome?

***

“We’re like a gardener with a hose and our attention is water – we can water flowers or we can water weeds.”
– Josh Radnor

Positive Thinker?

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
– John Wooden

Ok, I feel kind of bad.

I was just speaking to someone over the weekend who had never read my blog. I was explaining the types of writings I do – uplifting blogs about everyday events that have hidden lessons in them. (I thought that was a good way to describe it – there’s definitely not a particular theme to this thing, that’s for sure…) So, they said they’d love to check it out and would do so as soon as they got a chance.

Then, I got home and clicked on the link to my blog, and realized what the first thing would be that this person would see. A blog called “WTF.”

guideposts3Heh. Oops.

And then, I check the mail.  What do I find?  The April edition of Guideposts magazine. Now, I’m not necessarily a subscriber to Guideposts, although I have been mysteriously receiving issues starting a few months ago (Grandma, was that you?), but I was expecting a stack of the April editions to arrive.

Why is that?

I was notified a while back that a quote from one of my stories (Scars) was chosen to appear in a section of the April edition of Guideposts entitled “The Up Side.”  This is a section that contains uplifting quotes by sometimes famous, sometimes not famous (obviously), people who are “positive thinkers.”  guideposts1I knew the magazine was coming, but the thrill of opening it up and rushing to page 15 to check out the Up Side section was pretty cool.  I opened it up to page 15, and the first thing I see is Sandra Bullock.  Woohoo!  I’m listed in the same section as Sandra Bullock?

How do ya like them apples??

And then I flipped the page to the second page of quotes.  Page 16.  And there I was.  Seeing my words – my quote! – in black and white was pretty awesome, to say the least.

 

guideposts2 guideposts2

How cool is that!?

And then, I flipped back to page 15 and read that subtitle again.  “Quotes from Today’s Positive Thinkers.”  Awesome.

Oh…

Wait a minute.

“Positive thinker?”  Ummmmm, yeah.  This positive thinker is the one who just wrote a blog called “WTF” and ended it with “Sometimes people truly suck.”

*embarrassing laugh*

Heh.  Oops.

So, let me just explain a little.  Last week sucked.  It just did.  Even “positive thinkers” are apparently human.  That last blog is not really who I am.  I was hurt and I lashed out.  It happens.  People don’t suck.  That was a harsh statement.  People are who they are, and it’s up to me whether or not to let their actions affect me.  And, most importantly, it’s up to me whether to allow them to remain in my life or not.  In this case, I chose the latter.  (And I feel great about that.  Really.  You should try it sometime – it’s very freeing.)

So, yeah.  I just had what I like to think of as a little “hiccup.”

packBut see this quote?  I came across this a few days ago, and it made me feel so much better about my situation.  I love the part that says not to “unpack and live there.”  That’s great advice.  I had my little fit, and now I’ve moved on.  Time to regain my Guideposts title of ‘positive thinker’ and keep moving forward.

So, to my regular blog readers, let me thank you for allowing me my little setback.  I appreciate you sticking around.

And to you, new blog reader from the weekend, I hope you’ll stick around and get to know the real me.  The me that does not let outside forces break my spirit.  Temporarily?  Maybe.  But forever?  Ha.  Not a chance.

There’s too much good in this world to let the occasional Negative Nancy spoil it.

***
“If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges.”
– Pat Riley

Kindness

kindness

Something happened at work a few weeks ago that I still can’t seem to shake from my mind.  It wasn’t anything earth-shattering.  It wasn’t something that would normally make any kind of long-lasting impression.  And yet – for some reason – it has stuck with me.  And for a writer like myself, that means I probably better sit down and let my fingers and the keyboard figure it out for me.  So here goes.

First of all, I’m a real estate paralegal.  Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned that in this blog before, but there ya go.  That’s what I do in my real life.  You know, so I won’t starve.  Basically, I do the legal paperwork for people as they buy, sell, or refinance their homes.  Now, I’ve always worked for attorneys, but I haven’t always specialized in real estate.  My first job right out of the gate was for an attorney who handled a variety of practices, including domestic relations.  That was the department I worked in.  I would sit in and listen to the depositions of people who were going through divorces.  I would field the phone calls of irate exes who wanted this, that and the other and wanted it no later than yesterday.  I would see tears fall as people came by to pick up their final divorce decrees.

In other words, it was depressing as crap.

So, as soon as I started working more in real estate, I decided that was the way I wanted to go.  There were MUCH less tears shed over the transfer of ownership of a building than there was over the transfer of people’s children and marital statuses.  So, a real estate paralegal I became.

Now, for the most part, I made the right decision.  There was definitely less drama here in this side of the legal field.   People selling a house were usually happy.  They got money.  People buying a house were usually happy.  They got a house.  People refinancing a house were usually happy.  They lowered their payments and got a better rate.  So yes, the real estate field was a relatively calm and happy place to be.

But then?  *sigh*  Then, there was the real estate crash a few years ago.  And things just aren’t quite so black and white anymore.

Refinances?  A nightmare.  To get a loan to go through, people have to give everything shy of a pint of blood from their oldest offspring.  I’m not exaggerating much, trust me.  And sales?  A lot of times we have sellers who are actually bringing money to closing in order to get their property sold.  Yep, you read that right – they have to pay to sell their house.  We see that way more often than you’d think.  And don’t even get me started on the foreclosures…  Just take my word for it, this real estate stuff is not all sunshine and lollipops anymore.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, here’s why.

In the course of a normal business day, I try my absolute best to maintain a friendly demeanor.  I really do.  (Well, with clients, that is.  Not with my co-workers…I’m not that good of an actress…)  But sometimes?  Well, sometimes it’s just hard not to slightly snap back when I’m on the phone with people who are getting snippy with me.  Especially when the person on the other end of the line happens to not even be our client.  When doing a purchase transaction, oftentimes the buyers and sellers will retain separate attorneys to represent their interests in the sale.  Most of the time, I’m handling the buyer’s side of things since I’m doing the closing paperwork (the buyer’s attorney is the settlement agent – meaning we conduct the closing).  Now, I’m telling you all this boring mumbo jumbo because it’s important info for you to know in order to understand this particular incident that won’t leave my mind.

So, here I am, in the midst of working on a closing that is scheduled for later the same day.  As is par for the course these days, I’m down to the last minute working on the stressful details to try to wrap things up so the closing can be completed.  I’m waiting on a signed document from a seller who, like I explained above, is not our client, when an email pops up from the realtor representing said seller.  The email states:  “Melissa, there may be a delay in receiving the settlement statement from the seller today.  Her husband just passed away this morning.  She will get you what you need as quickly as she can.”

Wow.  Her husband just died?  What a tragedy.  Knowing the circumstances now, of course, we are very understanding and will accommodate in anyway possible.  A delay in receiving her signature?  No problem at all.  Totally understandable.

And then, the phone rings.

No sooner had I clicked off of the email than I heard the seller’s voice on the on the other end of the line asking for me.  Now, although she introduced herself, she did not once mention what had happened to her this morning, and probably didn’t realize I knew.  She just immediately started…how do I put this?…complaining.  Every single thing on the settlement statement that she needed to sign was wrong.  I didn’t do this right.  I didn’t do that right.  Her property taxes were already paid and I was showing that they weren’t.  (FYI – They weren’t paid.)  She went on a tirade about all the things that was wrong and that I needed to fix IMMEDIATELY.

Whoa.

So, let me tell you how the Melissa who had not just received that email might have responded.

“Ma’am.  Your taxes are NOT paid.  I called the county tax office to confirm and they told me so themselves.  Would you like their number?  I’ll be glad to give it to you.  Any and all other concerns will need to go directly through your realtor or your attorney – we do not represent you.”

The end.  (And you can rest assured that there would probably be a little snip to my tone of voice as well.)

But the Melissa who had just read that email?  The Melissa who now knows that this poor woman has just lost her husband this very morning?  Well, here’s how she responded.

Ma’am, I’m sorry there are so many problems.  Let’s deal with them one at a time.  As for your property taxes, I understand you’re from Florida and the way Florida and North Carolina pay their taxes differs and may be what is causing the confusion….”  And so on, and so forth.

Because I knew what she was going through, I softened my tone (and my attitude) and helped her to understand what was wrong.  Together, we went through each issue item by item and came to an understanding and an agreement.  By the time we hung up the phone, she sounded much more pleasant and even somewhat relieved to now understand what she had perceived as issues.  She never told me what had happened to her that morning.  Not once.  She provided no explanation whatsoever.  She was just a somewhat frantic, understandably distraught woman trying to take care of necessary business that had to be attended to in the midst of unthinkable sorrow.  And I knew that because I had received that email just prior to her call.

But what if I hadn’t?

And how many times have I spoken to people just like her without receiving an explanatory email beforehand?

Yep.  Makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?

Now, believe me, I’m preaching to the choir with this one.  I need this lesson as much as you do, probably more.  But I’m asking you to do what I’m going to try to do from now on…treat everyone as if they’re fragile.  You know?  Sure, maybe the hateful person you’re dealing with has no excuse whatsoever to be acting the way they’re acting.  Maybe they’re just a jerk.  Maybe there’s no sad, heartbreaking explanation for their horrible attitude.

But, then again. Maybe there is.

Maybe there’s more to the story than you know.  Maybe they’re under a stress that you can’t even begin to imagine.  Maybe they’re hanging on by a thread.

Maybe they just lost a loved one right before speaking to you.

We just never know, do we?

Something to think about.

***

If we knew each others secrets, what comforts we should find.”
– John Churton Collins