Friday, March 29, 2013

Thanks, my friend(s)! March 28

How about going for a two-fer this week? BOGO is big in advertising, and I love a buy-one-get-one deal! There's no competition here. I just don't want to feel like I've placed one person's importance any higher than that of another, and I'd have some similar things to say about both of them.

I met them together, after all, when I was welcomed into a group of wonderfully supportive and hilarious women that make up my book club. Rhonda and Shelli both make me lol every time I see them. They are both warm and generous friends who I am so glad to have been introduced to when moving here four years ago. They could've asked, "Who's this ... why should we assume she'll fit in?" Let's face it, it's a roll of the dice where we live.  But I followed Alexis in to infiltrate her group of friends whether they liked it or not!

Those women went on her word that we're like-minded people, and I'm so glad to have been included into a clowder of very cool cats whom I've grown to love so much. Shelli and Rhonda continually show their gigantic hearts in all they do, and I love laughing when I'm around them so much that my cheekbones literally hurt from the workout. These women are both so smart and help educate the vast public in their jobs every day. If only a little of their wisdom (and humming musical talent) wears off on me in their presence, too! Can't wait for our annual summer outing, ladies!

I try to say "thanks" to a friend as often as I can, mostly in appreciate of how rich my life is because of the wonderful women I've had the honor to meet in my time on the planet. In light of our connection, I took today's goodreads quote of the day for them:
Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing. E.B. White

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New beginnings

This post was prompted by the wondrous minds at Studio30Plus.

The expiration date was past due.  It was time for the four-year relationship to come to an end, but she simply couldn’t capitulate to giving it up. They’d been together for practically a lifetime -- in dog years anyway. A previously hot and heavy connection becomes habit at a point. Seeing each other had long become rote on both their parts.

So she ended it. There was no closure, mind you. One night she just said goodbye and that she’d call, then never did. He didn't either. No closure at all.

In the end, there was only more blatant rudeness to each other. It was a shame really. Four years spent together was left in empty, blank stares with each one trying to make a point of more effusively ignoring the other. The town was too small for such subtle feuds. 

Unfortunately, a division of the friends also came along with the split. She consoled herself those weren’t her real friends anyway. Couple friends stay couple friends and move along to the next girl in the succession, just like his family. Loyalties and all.

Certain rites of passage mark new beginnings, though. Getting a different haircut or style, going on a shopping spree, planning a road trip with girlfriends. “That’ll show him," and “Wait ‘till he hears about this” resounded in her mind. He’d get word of all the changes she’d made and rue the day he didn’t call her back. It would be his undoing.

The goal in all these actions was to boost an otherwise plateaued sense of self-esteem. Confidence too easily becomes dormant when in a long-term relationship gone cold. Turning into a supposed half of a whole means finding a way to become one with herself again. It’s not a time to look for another but to enjoy friends and seek their help in getting it all together again.
In reality, he didn’t give a shit. He was out living it up with his buddies in their own celebration of his new-found freedom. He hadn’t shown if he cared for quite awhile. You know, actually cared enough to show it with his actions. Sure, he might go through the motions of regular weekend dates, saying “love ya” when hanging up the phone, but not through kind or appreciative behavior. She could’ve been any other girl in the group, as far as his actions reflected. Anyone from the outside wouldn’t have realized they were together. She’d been the one to witness all the drunken card games and resultant gunplay, but she was also the one relegated to voyeur left shaking her head on the couch and watching MTV by herself.

If hearing demands like “you’re supposed to do what I want, that’s how you take care of a man,” and “it’s been long enough since your wisdom teeth removal to give me a blowjob” don’t melt a girl’s heart, who knows what words possibly could. She should've punched him.

Of course, he was stoned all the time. It was no excuse but part of the tough guy facade and his role as pack leader. He had to keep up that appearance as well as his addiction. Cool guys sat aloof with everyone wondering what was next, when his highness would speak or even fly off the handle over that final hand of Pitch. And they all took his lead, the Prince of the Potheads. As far as she'd heard, his habits became full-blown later on, and she was glad she wasn’t there to watch it happen. 

It's funny how the community seemed to look the other way, though, and wished him and his future family well. She's told he still carries on to this day.

Eventually the fishbowl disintegrated, or maybe she simply swam out. She left that glassed-in existence and expanded her horizons beyond what his so-called love and that life had to offer. Dear Abby’s quote repeated in her head, “If you’re not happy with what you have, be happy with what you have escaped.” The goal was to disprove the statistical odds for a child from an alcoholic home and not perpetuate the stereotypes. She would live the life she had imagined and make her own future.

Years later she wondered why she continued to seek male approval. Staying single was a point of pride but relationships still carried a measure of self-worth. Education, work, hobbies, adventure -- it all added up to not enough. She pushed herself to achieve, to reach those aimed-for heights, ever striving. Forever searching ... even reaching out for professional help.

Following the rules was important. Keeping the dosage monitored to ward away the deeper, more dangerous doldrums. She had the tools, knew how to stave off that stinkin’ thinkin’ that used to drive her nuts and keep her insides twisted. Anger turned inward. She heeded healthy suggestions like,“Get outside of yourself. Look at the bigger picture, the greater good. You’ll see how lucky you are when you help someone less fortunate.”  It helped but didn’t make all the jumbled thoughts go way.

Wherever you go, there you are," was another clique she couldn’t turn off from continuous playback in her mind. But a change of scenery didn’t hurt. She kept her hair highlighted and thought she looked different, younger but less vulnerable. She kept busy, never stayed stagnant. New beginnings and a new life. Seeking solace.

Closure was yet a little more elusive.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Unapologetic Women

The saying has been attributed to different people. "Well behaved women rarely make history."  I love it. Some people hate it. Regardless, it's very apropos. I read a post online today about female celebrities who lead the charge through Twitter. They are encouraging other young people to speak their mind, privately, publicly, through social media, and I hope their points are being heard and considered on a broad scale. So I want to share, at the author's suggestion, 
Who are your favorite female celebrities who make no apologies?   

In my imaginary friendship with Michelle Obama, my nickname for her is "Mo," we tell Barack we're going to do Pilates, then go to the pub.

Hey you! Chicago reviewer salty guy that thinks I fly 2much +have 2 much fun-come back in 10 to 15 yrs- Ill be on the ground more I imagine.

I wonder how many protests by young white kids get called "riots."

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Zooey Deschanel @ZooeyDeschanel

I love hearing statements from these women.  Whereas what they have to say a lot of times may not be actual "news," at least their opinions are usually informed and reasonable.  Rock on, ladies!

This post was inspired by a Huffington Post article by Blake Landau.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thanks, my friend! (March 8)

There are a few gaps in the procession of this thankfulness theme I've tried to create here. It's not a lack of amazing women in my life but more a matter of me taking time to recognize them. With it being International Women's Day, I'd like to reinvigorate my momentum here.

In doing so, I want to recognize a friend who serves as an almost daily inspiration to me, if not at least on a weekly basis. She's someone who is motivational, supportive and always has something hilarious to say ... but any more I only get to experience it all through Facebook. But I love it anyway. Let's face it, social media keeps us together.

Some people call FB a time suck, others claim to hate it or deny using it. One of my sisters totally denounces it as a terrible thing but then asks me what I hear from this person or that through Facebook. Keeping me in touch with people who I don't otherwise get to see is the number one reason for hanging tough with old Markie Z's love child.

This is a spotlight on my friend, Fran. She always makes me laugh and has the guts to signpost funny stuff that others won't. Fran is very passionate, convicted in her beliefs, and unapologetic in her ways. She's supportive to many people and groups and is willing to help out a friend if there's any way she can. I greatly admire all these qualities in her.

Fran is a lover of life and beauty, sharing little pieces of it with all her Facebook friends. I miss working with her, especially because of her no-nonsense attitude, but I get bits of her warmth through the computer. She welcomed me to the station when I hadn't been there very long and invited me to her wedding anyway. Ken got a helluva woman, and I think he knows and greatly appreciates that fact. She is awesome, and I want to say thanks, my friend!

Celebrate International Women's Day by telling a friend how much you love and appreciate her. Spare just a few minutes to let her know how important she is to the world.