Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Happiness, Kindness, Loyalty, Married to My Best Friend, Negativity, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, Uncategorized

Protecting and Defending Your Relationship

I have written about the struggle I’ve had standing up for myself….being a doormat.  I’ve carried a lot of hurt through life because of it.  I’m very sensitive, and I have felt that it is my biggest weakness.  However, I’ve also discovered that being sensitive is a strength!  I have compassion and empathy for others because I can understand the feelings of pain and of being disrespected, that someone can feel at the hands of mean people.  I am not afraid to stand up for those I love and care about.  Number one in this situation would be with my marriage.

Recently, an acquaintance of mine confided to me that her husband’s friends were coming between them, and they didn’t like the amount of time he was spending with her.  They felt that she had changed him, and they were trying to discredit her to him.  I felt sad for her, and wondered why her husband didn’t stand up for her.  Not that his friends aren’t important to him, but how much do they really care about him if they are disrespecting his wife and their marriage this way?  It’s petty and selfish.

A few years ago, I worked at a really horrible place, and dealt with some co-workers who disrespected Al, and my relationship with him.  While they may have just been trying to “protect” me, or explain to me what they might see as logic, my relationship with him was not their business. One person told me it would be over and done with in 6 months, without even having met him. Another questioned whether I knew him well enough to know what he likes to eat…..seems a bit trivial to me, but I did know what he liked to eat, among a lot of other things!  I really saw their “advice” and “concern” as nothing more than petty jealousy, because I would have less time to socialize with them.  But I would not allow them, or anyone else, to disrespect him, or our relationship.  I didn’t understand why they just couldn’t be happy for us. I made sure to let them know that I would not tolerate anyone disrespecting him. If they really cared for me, they would not do that.  Not only did they disrespect Al and our relationship, but they also disrespected me, by questioning my decisions, and my feelings for him.  Thank goodness I no longer work there, or with those horrible people! Once Al did get here, they weren’t very nice to him at all.  Glad I moved on! Since then, Al and I have both been told that we look and act happier and more at ease than they’ve seen us in a long time.  I knew that those people were jealous of our happiness, and couldn’t believe that anyone could be that happy.  Why should we have to prove it to them?  Why was our happiness a threat to them or anyone else? Why did we have to defend our happiness?

I don’t know why people feel the need to be mean, rude, or disrespectful, or why they would try to sow seeds of division in your relationship or marriage.  I try to respect the decisions of my loved ones.  I’ve learned that I won’t agree with everything my family, friends, or co-workers do, but I am still able to have compassion, respect, and understanding for them.  Their life is theirs, and not for me to interfere (as long as they are safe…..abuse would be a different story).  I still support them, and their quest for happiness and acceptance.  Isn’t that what we all want?  Don’t we all deserve that?

In our marriage vows, we promised to love, honor, cherish, and protect each other. Actually I remember saying we would be each other’s “biggest protector.”  That did not just mean physical protection.  It also meant that we would defend each other’s character, honor, and dignity.  My husband and the support I get from him in our marriage make me strong….strong enough to stand up and defend it (and him).

If you are married, or in a committed relationship, protect it!  Protect each other.  Don’t allow anyone to disrespect you, your significant other, or your commitment to each other.  Like I’ve said in other posts, there are so many mean people and unhappy things in this world.  Lean on each other because then you’ll know that at least you will always have one person who has your back!  If you don’t, your partner will feel it, and know that your commitment isn’t genuine.  And if you are one of those individuals who feel the need to try to place doubt or uncertainty, or are just simply unkind……stop.  It’s not your place.  It’s not your business.  It’s incredibly selfish.  Let others be happy.  Let others live their lives.  Be happy for them.  And if you can’t be happy for them, leave them alone.

 

 

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Be Kind, Bleeding Kansas, Chicken Annie's, Coping, Growing up, Happiness, Home Sweet Home, Kindness, Passion for Living, Respect, Uncategorized, You can't go back again

Thankful for Small Town Roots

Last week I learned of the death of another childhood classmate from my hometown in Kansas.  It seems like there’s been so many…..I’ve actually lost count.  For a small class, it’s been a lot.  These are the people I grew up with, and even though I moved away before graduating with them, they still mean a lot to me, and we share so many of the same experiences of growing up in a small town.

There is so much anger and hatred in our world right now. and the loss of this classmate has made me yearn for a simpler time, and a time when things seemed easier.  Growing up in a small town in the Midwest had it’s pros and cons, but I hold so many wonderful memories from that time.

My hometown, at one time, truly did feel like Mayberry.  It was an historic old railroad town in Southeast Kansas, about an hour from Kansas City, and an hour from Joplin.  It was divided down the middle of town by a highway and railroad tracks….the division having racially motivated reasons dating back to the 1800’s, and the time of “Bleeding Kansas” and the John Brown raids.  It had a dark history of racism (for more on this, look up the author/poet/photographer/director Gordon Parks, and the movie “The Learning Tree”). Yet, in the 70’s, I wasn’t aware of that dark past so much.  I had both black and white friends.  They were restoring the Fort from the 1840’s, had beautiful old Victorian homes, brick streets, and a quaint downtown.  It still has one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever seen, Gunn Park.  It had two elementary schools (one on the east side, one on the west), a junior high, which sat prominently in the middle of town, and a big old high school, which is now gone.

The town was a bit run down in some areas, had it’s nicer neighborhoods, but it was safe just about everywhere you went.  It was safe to ride our bikes, go for walks, and explore. One of my friends and I used to walk to the end of our street, which was a dead end, and we would climb down the embankment to play at the river banks while our parents were at work.  I could walk to my father’s office at the church where he was a minister, only a few blocks away.  My mother’s office was a block from his office.  I could walk downtown to the library, to stores, and to the movies.  On Saturdays, another friend and I would meet at a certain corner, and we would walk to the library, then go buy a lot of candy with our little bit of allowances we had. In the summer, I would walk or ride my bike to the swimming pool.

The people in our church were wonderful.  Because my father was the minister, we were invited to so many homes for Sunday dinner, on trips to Kansas City, or to our favorite chicken restaurant, Chicken Annie’s (Southeast Kansas is known for it’s chicken restaurants!).  My sisters and I had babysitting jobs for many families in our church.  Our doctor and dentist both went to our church.  My piano teacher was our organist. Everyone knew everyone, or had some sort of connection to them.

Going back there today is different.  My parents and almost all of their friends are now gone.  The church is closed.  It isn’t safe in a lot of areas.  The old homes are in disrepair.  The brick streets are not in great shape.  The downtown is empty and sad.  Most of the manufacturers are gone.  Walmart is the biggest store in town…….

Even though I know we can’t live in the past, and I’m glad I don’t live there today, I do miss a lot of that innocence today.  People really cared about each other.  Small towns are not for me at this point in my life, and I’m glad my parents showed me that there was a world out there through travel and books, but growing up in a small town in the 1970’s was special.  I didn’t realize then what a wonderful thing it was.  I raised my own children there too, but it was already changing, and it wasn’t the same.

Life was easier then.  Times were easier, or seemed to be.  Maybe it was just easier for parents to protect their children from the cruel world without the influences of 24 hour news and social media.  Sometimes I really miss the days when I had no worries, plenty of friends, my parents, a kinder, safer world…….  We can’t go back, and we can’t bring back those we’ve lost.  We can only be more appreciative of each other, treat each other with respect,  be kind to each other, and not take anyone or anything for granted.  Life is too short to not appreciate who and what we have in front of us.  It might not be there tomorrow.

 

Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Fear, Happiness, Kindness, Negativity, Respect, Self respect, Support, Uncategorized

Accomplishing the “Impossible”

I accomplished something yesterday that I never thought I could.  I have wanted to attempt a career in real estate for many years.  I have bought and sold my own homes, after fixing them up, several times.  Now, don’t get me wrong….teaching is where my heart is, and always will be, but teaching is just not making ends meet these days.  I have to have at least a side hustle, or a plan to supplement our income.  If it turns into something full time, that will be great!  I will keep teaching until I feel the need to walk away.

I used to toss around the idea of real estate occasionally, and was met by the same comments from negative people, or people who felt the need to make me feel like I wasn’t good enough……..”Yeah, but it’s commission only,” “The test is really hard….are you sure you’re smart enough?” “There’s a lot of realtors out there!”  “It’s not possible.  You don’t have time!”  I know it’s commission only, but with any business where you work for yourself, it’s basically based on how much you sell…..commission only!  Yet, plenty of business owners and contractors do quite well. Yes, the test is hard, and I didn’t know if I was smart enough or not, but if I didn’t try, how would I ever know?  And yes, there are a lot of realtors out there, so the competition is tough, and some people aren’t cut out for it. But again, if I didn’t try, how would I ever know?  And, it would be possible if I made the time, and that’s what I did.

I finally decided last summer to start taking a class.  It was tough!  It was online, so I had to pace myself, and be disciplined to read and study every day.  My husband was very supportive, and cheered me on, keeping my spirits up, even when I felt defeated. I spent my whole summer focused on it, and finally took the test yesterday…….

When I went into the test center, I was very nervous.  I didn’t sleep well the night before.  I had heard that the there was about a 50/50 chance of passing it.  I went through all of the security procedures to make sure I am who I said I am, they checked my jacket pockets for cheating devices, looked at my calculator to make sure it didn’t have any way of typing letters or words, gave me the directions, took my photo, and then led me into the testing room.  As I read through the questions, I was telling myself that I should probably try to memorize a few, because I was counting on failing it.  I thought I would be back in 30 days to retake it.  That’s what happens to you when you are worn down by those who doubt you, question your character, intelligence, or motives, or are constantly pessimistic or negative.  Even though I try to always be positive and encouraging toward others, I have let those feelings of doubt and negativity wear down my own self esteem. Going through life not feeling good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough is tough.  I’ve never wanted to be the cause of making someone else feel that way……..

When I finished the test, and walked out of the testing room, the proctor smiled and said, “Congratulations!”  I was shocked!  I said, “I PASSED????”  She said I did, showed me the verification she had printed out, and asked how many times I had taken it.  I said this was the first time.  She said, “Oh baby, didn’t your instructor tell you that nobody passes it the first time?  We have people come in 4, 5, and 6 times to take it!  You did great!”  I was shaking!  All of that hard work had paid off! Here I am, at 52 years old, taking on something completely new……oh, and with a brain tumor too!  I did it!

On the drive home, I was fighting back tears, telling myself I didn’t fail, and I’m NOT a failure!  I had planned on keeping it together when I told Al, but as soon as I walked in the door, I burst into tears, saying, “I did it!  I passed!” And you know what?  He was just as happy as I was!  He was proud of me, hugging me, laughing, kissing me, telling me over and over how proud he was of me.  I haven’t had a lot of people tell me that in my life.  It means a LOT to hear it.

It may not seem like such a big endeavor for some of you, but I know of people who have completely given up on this test.  It was a huge deal for me!  I know that with determination, hard work, and a support system, I can accomplish what I want.  We all have our dreams in life.  Let’s support each other in our endeavors.  Let’s not make each other feel like we aren’t good enough…..for ANY reason.  Encouragement goes a long way.  Let’s do that for each other….in a world where negativity, jealousy, divisiveness, spite, anger, resentfulness, and hatred seem to prevail, let’s help build each other up to accomplish our dreams and goals.  It doesn’t take much to give an encouraging word………and wouldn’t you rather be spreading good cheer, and positive vibes, instead of hurting someone because of your own doubts and insecurities?

Tonight, I can finally say, “I did it!”  I accomplished something I didn’t think I could do. What is it that you want to do, and what (or who) is holding you back?  You can do this!

Be Happy, Don't Judge, Happiness, Passion for Living, Respect, Self respect, Uncategorized

Be Yourself!

Yesterday I was putting on my earrings to go on a lunch date with my husband, and decided on some larger silver hoops.  It reminded me of an article I had read recently about what women over 40 should or shouldn’t wear…..as dictated by women in their 20’s and 30’s.  The article was written by a woman who was frustrated by this direction, and I completely agreed! I have read the articles…..”What Women Over 40 Should Never Wear…..” No large hoop earrings, no tattoos, no skirts over the knee, no sleeveless tops, no blue eye shadow, no leggings, etc. etc. etc. I admit, I used to be guilty of these unfair statements too, but thankfully, I have grown, and realized that maybe I wasn’t comfortable with myself then.  I am definitely getting more and more comfortable now, and this has made me less judgmental of others.

My mother’s sister, my Aunt Joy, was a wonderful woman, who marched to the beat of her own drummer.  She was highly intelligent (an English teacher), loved to read, tell stories, and spend time with her family.  She wore clothes that made her feel comfortable……I’m picturing tie-dyed mumus……she drove a moped around Wichita when she was in her 50’s, and at times, her hair may be blue or purple (before it was trendy to do this).  She was always a lot of fun to be around.  I miss her a lot.  One of the reasons I loved and respected her so much was because she did what made her feel good, without hurting anyone else.  Why should anyone else care?

I had a friend who used to be very annoyed and critical of any woman 30 or over who referred to a man as a “boyfriend.”  Why was that her business?  Why should it bother her?  If a woman in her 80’s wants to have a boyfriend, why is it offensive to anyone else?  If a couple feels young and in love, and wants to use the term “boyfriend” or “girlfriend,” that’s their choice, no matter how old they are.

It is no one else’s decision (or business) how we dress, or what we call our significant other.  When a woman in her 20’s or 30’s tells me I can’t wear hoop earrings because I’m over 40, it makes me want to wear bigger hoops.  It makes me want to dye my hair blue, wear mumus, and drive a moped.  If a woman is 80 years old and wants to wear a mini-skirt and go-go boots because it makes her feel good, then that is her choice, and I will applaud her for not being afraid to be herself.  It may look crazy.  It may even look a bit inappropriate.  It may not feel comfortable to everyone, but if it is comfortable to that woman, then why should it matter to anyone else?

Be yourself.  Do what makes you comfortable.  As long as you aren’t hurting someone, then it’s okay to be you.  Do you.  So, damnit, wear those hoop earrings!

Be Kind, Happiness, Kindness, Loyalty, Relationships, Respect, Support, Uncategorized

What Kind of Friend Are You?

Sincere.  True.  Real.  Faithful.  Loyal.  Genuine.  Unpretentious.  Righteous…..

Fake.  Phony.  Insincere. Bogus.  Artificial.  Fraudulent.  Bitter.  Jealous…….

Which character traits sound the most appealing?  Those which show true concern, love, friendship, and compassion, or those that show cruelty, anger, resentment, and hatred? We have all known people on both sides of this.  I have dealt with many people who pretended to be my “friends,” or pretended to care, only to feel used or tossed aside when I could do nothing more for them, or if they saw me as some sort of threat.  I’ve also been blessed to have people in my life who have shown true compassion and care toward me. Whether it is the recent weather emergency here in Florida, an illness, the loss of a family member or friend, or a difficult job situation, I know exactly who I can or can’t count on for kind words, a helping hand, a hug, or just a shoulder to lean on.  I also know who just doesn’t give a damn.  Let’s avoid those schmucks!

Recently, I have been very fortunate to see the good in a lot of people.  Stepping up to be my friend, offer support, and showing true concern to someone who is struggling speaks volumes about that person’s character.  To know that I have people in my life who truly care about me (and Al) is extremely comforting, and we would do the same for them. Family, friends, friends who become family…….I am loyal, and I don’t forget when someone is good to me.  I also don’t forget when someone treats me badly.  I’m not vindictive or petty, but I remember how people have made me feel, and it isn’t very easy to open that door again once it has been shut.  There’s a pretty good chance that I will keep someone at arm’s length if they hurt me or someone I love.  I will not be rude or unkind, but it’s hard to forget feeling hurt, especially if you have been there for them in times of need.

What kind of person do you want to be?  A true friend who is loving, kind, and supportive?  Or one who is insincere, artificial, and selfish? I know who I strive to be (not always successful!) and I’m glad I have some very real and loyal people in my life.

Be real.  Be kind.  Be sincere.  Be supportive.  Be a friend.

Be Kind, Kindness, Manners, Respect, Social Media Manners, Uncategorized

Using Social Media Wisely

A few times, I’ve come across the quote, “Worry about loving yourself, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you.”  This makes me think about social media, and how some people crave their “likes,” and base that on how well they are liked.  So many think that if they are social media popular, then they are popular.  As an adult in my 50’s, I don’t really care if I’m popular or not!

Yesterday, my daughter and I were talking about a hot political topic, the removal of confederate statues, and how some are blaming social media for making it worse.  She mentioned that social media is a good thing for this because it can help us discuss these issues, and we are able to see other points of view.  Social media can be such a positive thing, but too many use it to hurt, lie, attack, or spread false information.

I have mentioned that I’ve lived in a lot of places, and that means that I have a lot of friends and family spread out across the nation, and even in other countries.  When Al moved here, since he is not on social media, his friends reached out a few at a time, in order to stay in touch with him. This REALLY helped me when I was preparing a graduation book for him with messages from people who care about him.  I could reach out easily through Facebook to ask for their cards or messages! They then became my friends.  Al has been able to keep in touch with them in this way too.  When my son’s ship is out to sea, he has no phone service, and social media is the only way I have of communicating with him.

Because of all of the negativity in our world, and how some use social media to spread hate and hurt, I have chosen to use it as a platform for communicating with family and friends, sending positive and inspirational quotes, funny memes, funny stories about my students, promoting my daughter’s floral design business, promoting or supporting friends’ businesses or endeavors, or even laughing at my own expense when it comes to my clumsiness or my escapades with creepy crawly things.  I try not to post political things (although I will “like” or maybe comment on them), religious things, etc.  It isn’t because I don’t have strong beliefs, but I just don’t want to invite an argument that I started with one of my posts.  I have stated a few things, so I know people know where I stand on those issues, but for the most part, I try to keep away from these topics on my wall.  I have friends and family who are all over the board on these issues.  I choose to keep it more light, and use social media as a tool to make people happy, inspire them, keep them feeling good about themselves, and make them laugh.  If others want to post political or religious topics on their wall, that’s entirely their choice.  That’s okay!  If it is negative, or I don’t agree with it, I don’t have to read it, comment on it, or even continue to follow that person.

A few years ago, I had a former childhood acquaintance attack me on social media over political differences.  I did not invite this conversation.  I did not encourage this conversation.  The things he was saying were just outrageous, hateful, and mean. In the middle of it, I deleted him as a “friend” (someone I hadn’t seen or even really thought about in over 30 years), and fortunately, his comments disappeared.  I will only do this if someone is completely out of line with me.  Usually, I just “unfollow” them if they annoy me.  I’ve had to block a couple who were stalking or making me uncomfortable.  I know people have unfollowed or unfriended me for whatever reason.  That’s their choice.  I try not to be offensive to anyone, but if that’s the way someone else sees it, then they probably don’t know me well enough to know that I would never use social media to hurt or attack anyone.  Actually, I would never use ANY platform to hurt, attack, or offend anyone!

I see a few people on social media who I think are insecure, lonely, or hurting.  This may be the only outlet they have.  If it helps them to find a support circle, or if they have found solace in writing about their struggles, then social media has been positive for them in this way.  Maybe having a lot of social media friends gives them hope and security.

I sometimes see a post that declares not all posts “are about you.”  I’ve seen people get really upset thinking someone is passive aggressively attacking them through their posts.  Maybe they are?  I don’t know.  I find this a bit outrageous, and I don’t even know how to defend it.  Directing aggressive posts at people, or thinking every post is about you…….I don’t have an explanation for either side on that one……

I do believe that social media is a tool, but how we choose to use that tool is the key.  In a world where there is so much negativity, anger, spitefulness, and hate, we should all try to use it in a positive way.  Please be careful with how you use social media.  Remember, it isn’t a popularity contest.  Love yourself.  Love others.  Don’t use it as a tool to seek revenge, approval, spread lies, hate, or anger.  Use it to BE KIND.

Anger, Civil Rights, Fear, Peaceful Protests, Protests, Racism, Respect, Uncategorized

Fear and Sadness…….

Well, after the weekend’s events in Virginia, I really wanted to write about something positive, happy, and less upsetting……but my heart and mind keep going back to the news.

Angry alt-right protesters marched…..chanted…..and violence/terrorism ensued.  It breaks my heart, and makes me so incredibly angry and sad.  Those protesters, carrying Nazi swastikas, and chanting their hateful messages spit on the graves of every U.S. soldier that fought and died in WWI and WWII…..and every American who ever served this country, or currently serves this country, defending our freedoms.  My grandfathers, my father, my father in-law, my uncles, my cousins, my son…..

At this point, it isn’t about Democrat and Republican, or who you voted for.  I have friends who voted unlike me.  They had their reasons, and we didn’t agree, but that’s the beauty of America……even if we don’t like the outcome.  Even when we were in Europe earlier this summer, an American friend was shaking his head, wondering why his family in New York voted the way they did.  Right now……it doesn’t matter.  Right now…..it’s time to put a stop to the hate.  SPEAK UP!  Take a stand against bigotry.  We absolutely can NOT let this continue!

The truth is, the atmosphere in America right now is ugly, sad, and scary.  It seems that unrest, racism, and hatred comes in phases in our country.  I have a tendency to put on my Pollyanna personality, and try to see the good in everything, but right now, I’m angry! My parents (especially my father) were a little too close for comfort to it during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.  Actually, our country was built on violence and racism, but I believe that the Declaration of Independence and Amendments still support that “all men are created equal,” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and we need to respect that, and stand on that.  Our current administration seems to condone the hate.  I’m not a fan of his, and I don’t hide it, yet some people were more upset that President Obama wanted everyone to have healthcare……”It’s un-American,” as one of my friends stated.  Un-American?!?!  No, it wasn’t.  What is un-American is supporting white supremacy, and threatening the lives of those who are standing up for their rights or those of others.

I still believe that the majority of Americans are good people, and do not condone hate or violence.  Some will say that if you voted for the current president, then you condone the behavior of these individuals.  I disagree.  I may not agree with their decision to vote for him, and I can’t stand him, but that is/was their right, and they had their reasons, which was also their right. What upsets me the most about this is that the behavior of those idiots (yes, idiots…assholes…..jerks…..traitors…..terrorists) yesterday is condoned, while peaceful protests, such as someone “taking a knee” during the National Anthem, or peacefully marching in a Martin Luther King Jr. parade, or a women’s rights march, or a gay pride parade, are condemned, ridiculed, abused, or called “un-American.”

It all comes down to what I’ve written about before…..respect.  Those who marched yesterday disrespected the American public.  They disrespected our Constitution.  They disrespected every single individual who fought and/or died for the freedoms we enjoy today.  This is not Nazi-Germany (remember….they were the ENEMY….America fought and won that war!).  This is not the 1800’s or early 1900’s America where men hid behind their white hoods terrorizing African Americans.  I was raised in Kansas, once known as “Bleeding Kansas” because of the racial unrest in the 1800’s.  My father was raised in South Alabama.  My parents served a church in Southern Arkansas in the 1960’s, and I’m married to a bi-racial man, living in the South……I know a bit about racial issues.  As time goes on, you would think we could see the sins/mistakes of our past, and not repeat them.  Unfortunately, what I saw yesterday made me sick and ashamed.

I love my country.  I am as patriotic as they come.  I cry when I hear the National Anthem.  I love our diversity.  I love the freedoms we share in America….but I do NOT love hatred, bigotry, or anyone attempting to deny the rights of anyone else because of their race, religion, gender, political affiliation, etc.  As much as I miss my parents and grandparents, I am glad they are not here to see what is happening in our country today. It’s just too sad….and too scary.