Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Things I Like About Me

This is something I really need to do right now, for myself. I need a tangible list of things that I like about me, things that I'm good at, things that make me who I am...so that when I'm feeling like a total loser, I can remember how untrue that really is. So, here goes:
(This is a work in progress, so it will probably grow with time!!!)

THINGS I LIKE ABOUT ME:

1. I am beautiful (Personally, I think every woman should start her list with this one!)
2. I am sexy.
3. I am a good mother.
4. I am a loyal friend.
5. I am a good listener.
6. I am very empathetic.
7. I am caring.
8. I am loving.
9. I am sentimental.
10. I am a HUGE romantic.
11. I am emotional and sensitive, although sometimes to extremes...but at least I can express my feelings!
12. I am a giver (sometimes to the point of having nothing left for ME--but I'm working on that part!)
13. I am a talented writer and poet.
14. I am amazing at remembering trivia.
15. I am intelligent.
16. I am good with children.
17. I have a warped sense of humor.
18. I am passionate, about a variety of things.
19. I am a hard worker when it's something I care about.
20. I am persistent.
21. I am forgiving (sometimes too much)
22. I am trusting (again, sometimes too much)
23. I am dependable.
24. I am a good cook.
25. I am an even better baker.
26. I have strong opinions.
27. I am willing to admit when I'm wrong.
28. I will fight for what I want.
29. I am willing to make sacrifices for the good of my children.
30. I am willing to fight for the good of my children.
31. I am stronger than most people think I am, including myself.
32. I am willing to take the occasional step outside my comfort zone.
33. I have an open mind.
34. I am willing to accept new ideas.
35. I refuse to accept failure as an answer.
36. I look for the best in everyone and everything.
37. I wear my heart on my sleeve.
38. I am a planner and list maker.
39. I can still be spontaneous and adventurous.
40. I'll do whatever it takes to make the people I love happy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Severus Snape--Love Him Or Hate Him

Found this, which I wrote before this last book came out...thought it was fitting to share again today before Amy and I go to see Part 1 of the final movie tonight.


Severus Snape--Love Him Or Hate Him

That seems to be how it goes with this particular character. There's no middle ground, you either love him or you hate him. As you may have guessed from my new avatar, I am most assuredly in the "love him" camp. From book one, I have always felt that he was being underestimated and unappreciated by a lot of people, and that we would eventually find his heart to be in the right place.

There are those who would say that his actions in Book Six prove that he's always been loyal to Voldemort, and was just playing at being loyal to Dumbledore and the Order. I say that the evidence in that book proves the exact opposite, if you know where to look. From the beginning, Snape has always been hard on Harry.....because he has always KNOWN what Harry would be up against, and he wanted him to be as ready as he could be. He never liked James, but he cared very much for Lily, and I believe that concern has always carried over to Harry. He could never display it openly, the way others did, because of his connection to Voldemort and the Death Eaters. How could he convince them of his continued loyalty if he obviously favored The Boy Who Lived?

And yet, we can see that he has. He saved Harry in the first book, when Hermione thought he was cursing him. He was the one who got the Order to the Ministry in book five when he realized where Harry and Company had gone and why.....when he could have just let Voldemort take them all out and have it all end right there. And in book six, as he and Draco were running from the castle, chased by Harry, was he trying to kill Harry to get away? No, he was TEACHING Harry as they ran, telling him what he would need to improve if he ever hoped to defeat Voldemort. Again, why not just keep that information to himself and let his "master" continue to have the upper hand?

And then of course, there's the entire issue of Snape "murdering" Dumbledore. My theory? Severus "avada"'d a virtual dead man. Dumbledore had told Harry he needed to get to Snape, as Snape was the only one who could help him. With every second that ticked by, Dumbledore was closer to death from that potion he drank in the cave. With all the fighting going on in the castle, he wasn't going to get off that tower and to the dungeon...and Severus couldn't very well TAKE him there, past all his Death Eater "buddies," without a good explanation. So, either Dumbledore was going to die from the potion, essentially murdered by Voldemort--which would destroy the morale of the Order in no time flat, because if Dumbledore couldn't survive, how could any of the rest of them?--or Severus could keep his promise to Dumbledore, to keep Draco from having to commit murder, and then the Order would rally, and go after Severus AND Voldemort.

As far as Snape's fate in the final book, I have a bad feeling. I think that he will have to die to prove to readers and the Order alike that he, like Harry, has always been "Dumbledore's man." I believe that he will sacrifice himself in an attempt to help or save Harry, and that he will be killed by Voldemort....and I will cry my eyes out.:(

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Strong Woman? ME???

Over the last several months, I've had more and more people make reference to what a "strong woman" I am and have been through most of my life, in order to get through the things I've experienced. I smile and say "Thank you," but on the inside I'm wondering just who the heck they're talking about, because it sure AIN'T me.

Granted, I've been through some rough spots in my 49 years....most of them of my own making...and I've always managed to make it through to the other side, and come out of it wiser and in a better place. But, contrary to popular belief, that's not been through strength, or my religious beliefs, or anything like that. The real explanation is much simpler, at least to me: crazy cockeyed optimism.

Yep, that's it, plain and simple. I get through the rough spots by keeping focused on the bigger picture. I've always believed that in that elusive "somewhere," there is a bigger, brighter, better life for me...and that I just have to keep looking till I find it. And now, at nearly 50, I've finally begun putting all the pieces into place, getting that life in order...and it's looking even better than I ever dreamed it would be. So, thank you to everyone who sees me as a strong woman...but forgive me when I laugh every time you say it, as I'll always just think of myself as the girl in the rose-colored glasses. :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thoughts On A Tuesday

God never slams a door in your face without opening a box of Girl Scout cookies.--Elizabeth Gilbert.

Recently I finished my second read of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The first time I read it, over a year ago, it was just one of those "okay" books...I enjoyed it, thought it was a good read, but that was it. This time, re-reading for my book discussion group, I couldn't believe it was the same book...I am obviously in a much different place in my own life, and as such, I found SO much in it, especially in the first two sections, that made me stop and say "Hey...that sounds like ME!!!" So, my plan for today is to share some of those passages, and my own thoughts on them.

Culturally, though not theologically, I'm a Christian. I was born a Protestant of the white Anglo-Saxon persuasion. And while I do love that great teacher of peace who was called Jesus, and while I do reserve the right to ask myself in certain trying situations what indeed He would do, I can't swallow that one fixed rule of Christianity insisting that Christ is the only path to God. Strictly speaking, then, I cannot call myself a Christian. (page 14)

I have had problem with that "rule" for years...since the God of the Christians, Jews, and Muslims is the SAME God, and since people of other religions have many of the same beliefs as Christians, how can anyone say with any sort of absolute certainty that there IS only one way to God. My belief is that He's more concerned with whether or not we come to Him than about how we get there...just sayin'.

In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding that they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place. (page 19)

Oh man...how many times have I fallen into THAT trap? Thankfully, I've finally gotten past it, and learned to accept him as he is--which is not to say that we don't still try to help each other reach our full potential and become the best "US" we can be. That's different than trying to turn someone into someone totally different than who they are, though.

It's a kind of emergency life-saving policy, more than anything else. I got started early in life with the pursuit of sexual and romantic pleasure. I barely had an adolescence before I had my first boyfriend, and I have consistently had a boy or a man (or sometimes both) in my life since I was fifteen years old. That was--oh, let's see--about nineteen years ago, now. That's almost two solid decades I have been entwined in some kind of drama with some kind of guy. Each overlapping the next, with never so much as week's breather in between. And I can't help but think that's been something of a liability on my path to maturity.
I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog's money, my dog's time--everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.
I do not relay these facts about myself with pride, but this is how it's always been. (page 65)

For me it started when I was nineteen years old...a full three decades ago. I came to this realization about a year and a half ago, and I've been working on myself a LOT in those 18 months. I feel more comfortable with myself these days, and am now able to give without giving ALL of myself...and I'm enjoying finding out who Teresa really is, as well.

And the question for me now is, What are my choices to be? What do I believe that I deserve in this life? Where can I accept sacrifice, and where can I not? (page 83)

This is pretty much where I am right now. I'm making choices about my life that will make it just a little more about me and less about pleasing everyone else. I'm working out what I think I deserve, instead of listening to the voices from the past that have always told me what I don't deserve...and I'm setting boundaries, so that I don't sacrifice all of ME to other people and their needs/wants.

When you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt--this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.
I came to Italy pinched and thin. I did not know yet what I deserved. I still maybe don't fully know what I deserve. But I do know that I have collected myslef of late--through the enjoyment of harmless pleasures--into somebody much more intact. The easiest, most fundamentally human way to say it is that I have put on weight. I exist more now than I did four months ago. I will leave Italy noticeably bigger than when I arrived here. And I will leave with the hope that the expansion of one person--the magnification of one life--is indeed an act of worth in this world. Even if that life, just this one time, happens to be nobody's but my own. (page 115-116)

I LOVE that quote about happiness!!! In the last few months, I've definitely been grabbing onto the ankles of happiness, holding on tight...and yes, it's dragged me out of the dirt. I was in a place for a while where I felt like I'd lived the best part of my life, and that all I had to "look forward to" from here on out was just getting by...that "sorta happy" was all I deserved. Now I know better...I'm HAPPY, and it makes a huge difference in the way I look at life, and the way other people see me. At our family reunion over Labor Day weekend, we were watching a video from 1995, and one of my aunts remarked that I still look the same, just happier. It's great to know that people can see the difference in me. And I can relate to the "putting on weight" by living a fuller, happier life...the stress is lessened, so I've gained weight in the physical sense and no longer look anorexic and sick...and "Teresa," the real me, has more substance and being with every day, so I've gained weight in an emotional and spiritual way as well.

People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. (page 149)

I'd never really thought about it like this before...but to look at it this way, I realize now that I've had several soul mates in my life. They've all helped me to change in some way....some big, some small...and become the person I am today, who is ever closer to the person I want to be. And now, I think I've discovered a "soul MATCH," someone I can be with for the rest of my life, someone who complements me, who I complement, and with whom I can be myself....good, bad and ugly.

You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be. (page 150)

Oh boy, did this resonate with me!!! I've spent way too much time WISHING things could be different, WISHING I could have a better life...when all I really need to do is stand up for myself and MAKE things happen the way they should for me.

There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under my jurisdiction. There are certain lottery tickets I can buy, thereby increasing my odds of finding contentment. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I eat and read and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life--whether I will see them as curses or opportunities (and on the occasions when I can't rise to the most optimistic viewpoint, because I'm feeling too damn sorry for myself, I can choose to keep trying to change my outlook). I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts. (page 177)

And this paragraph sums up, rather succinctly, where I am at this point in my life. I'm still a work in progress, but the goal is to stop trying to please other people with the decisions I make...to make decisions that make ME happy, that bring me closer to the life I've always imagined was right for ME. It's a one day at a time struggle, but the good news is that it becomes less of a struggle every day!!!






Thursday, September 2, 2010

Forgiveness

"What is there that forgiveness cannot achieve?"--Vidura

I have to say, when I'm getting sent a message, I REALLY get sent a message!! Almost every quote I found to post on Facebook yesterday had to do with forgiveness and tolerance in some form or another. And then when I sat down to finish reading "Have A Little Faith," by Mitch Albom, I was struck by THIS passage:
And now the Reb was urging me not to wait.
"Mitch, it does no good to be angry or carry grudges."
He made a fist. "It churns you up inside. It does
you more harm than the object of your anger."
So let it go? I asked.
"Or don't let it get started in the first place, he said. "You
know what I found over the years? When I had a
disagreement with someone, and they came to talk to me,
I always began by saying 'I've thought about it. And in
some ways maybe you're right.
Now, I didn't always believe that. But it made things
easier. Right from the start, they relaxed. A
negotiation could take place. I took a volatile situation
and, what's the word...?"
Defused it?
"Defused it. We need to do that. Especially with family. You know,
in our tradition, we ask forgiveness from everyone--
even casual acquaintances. But with those we are
closest with--wives, children, parents--we too often
let things linger. Don't wait, Mitch. It's such a waste."
He told me a story. A man buried his wife. At the gravesite he stood
by the Reb, tears falling down his face.
"I loved her," he whispered.
The Reb nodded.
"I mean...I really loved her."
The man broke down.
"And...I almost told her once."
The Reb looked at me sadly.
"Nothing haunts like the things we don't say."

Yep, I get it...I really do. To all those friends and family members I've ever hurt, intentionally or unintentionally....I'm sorry. To all those friends and family members who have ever hurt me, intentionally or unintentionally....I forgive you. And to all of you....I LOVE YOU!!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thinking Out Loud

In the last few days, I've read and commented on several discussions of a religious and/or political nature. I usually try to steer clear of those, as I'm aware they can get heated, but these have all been started by people I consider good friends, so I presumed that things would stay on a more mature, adult level. Just goes to show you what I know!!!

I've seen name-calling of people involved in the discussion as well as of public figures...insults, disrespect, anger all run rampant. I stop enjoying drama in my life years ago, and I try to stay away from places where I see it starting. I don't approve of the sort of behavior I'm seeing, and I will work behind the scenes to try to mediate, to calm people down, to draw their attention to what they are doing, etc.--but I won't call them out in in public, as that's not what I see as the best way to handle the situation (although if it works for someone else, I won't think any less of them, for sure).

I love my friends, each and every one of them, and I'm glad that we don't always agree on everything we discuss...if we did, life would be pretty boring, and I wouldn't have the opportunity to learn from those who have different opinions from mine. But I also happen to believe that the best way to get people to LISTEN when you disagree is to be respectful, present facts...or present your opinions in a calm, cool, rational way....and then, in turn, listen to the other person's POV with the same respect you want them to give you.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you....timeless advice.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Enough Already!!!

I am a people pleaser...there, I said it! I am the type of person who wants everyone around her to be happy, and will do almost anything they ask me to do for them to insure that happiness, even if it sometimes means sacrificing my own happiness in the process.

It started in my childhood. Older members of my family wanted me to be a nurse, so I started answering the "What do you want to be when you grow up?" question with "A nurse," even though, in my heart, the answer was "A teacher." I joined a candy striper program in high school, and I hated every minute of it....some weeks I would sign in, then hide in the restroom until it was time to sign out, just to avoid having to deal with the situation.

I got a full scholarship to nursing school, and I forced myself to push through the first quarter. During the break between first and second quarters, I tried to convince my mother that I didn't want to go back...she guilted me into continuing, though. I made it through one week of the second quarter before I just KNEW that I was at my breaking point. So, one night I wrote a short note, took a bottle of pills and went to bed, thinking that was the only way I could get out of a hopeless situation. Obviously, since I'm still around, I was rescued before it was too late....and I was then able to convince my mother I was serious about not wanting to be a nurse, and only doing it because it was what SHE wanted.

I nearly let other people talk me into giving my first child up for adoption, and I wound up married to my first husband because that was the only way I could keep my child and still be seen as respectable. I put up with a lot of crap from my in-laws, and lot of behavior from my husband, that I should never have let just go by, but I didn't want to make waves or start any arguments. I nearly had a nervous breakdown during my second pregnancy because it was such a difficult time, and I went through most of it on my own--more emotionally than physically--while also trying to take care of a three year old. I finally got to the point where I couldn't take any more, and I walked away from the relationship rather than make any sort of effort to fix it....and I felt guilty for letting everyone else down, never bothering to really take a look at how I felt about it.

In my second marriage, I spent years putting up with emotional and physical abuse, hiding it from most everyone, thinking that I somehow deserved it. I told myself that if I were a better wife, somehow, it wouldn't happen. And yet, no matter how hard I tried to keep him happy, it was never enough.

I can't count how many times I've given up plans of my own, shelved dreams and hopes, or even gone so far as trying to be someone I'm not, just so the people who matter to me can have the life I think they deserve, or at least some temporary happiness. And yet, every time I do it, I build up just a little more resentment, and eventually it leads to things like this blog, where I just let it all come spewing out.

All I want is the chance to be ME...to live the life that I want...to make plans for myself, and to be able to follow my own dreams. Is that REALLY too much to ask???

Monday, August 2, 2010

Irresponsible Parents

Some people call them deadbeat dads, but I know that term is offensive to some, so I titled this discussion differently. That does NOT change my personal opinion, however.

When a father doesn't work at all, lets his girlfriend/new wife pay his bills, and refuses to give any money to his CHILDREN, that makes him a DEADBEAT DAD!


When a father chooses not to take advantage of the fact that the mother is willing to let him see his children anytime he wants, and goes for months without seeing or even contacting said child, that makes him a DEADBEAT DAD.


The mother may have decided that she has no further use for him, but that gives him no right to decide he has no further use for or obligation to his child. Many of these DEADBEAT DADS are spending money on beer and cigarettes but can't find a penny to spare for their child.


Furthermore, these DEADBEAT DADS are living with other women,letting her support him, while mom has married someone who is working 60 hours a week and paying for the children of the DEADBEAT DAD, since he's too lazy to get off his butt and fulfill his obligations. It's not about giving "free money" to an former wife, it's about continuing to take part in raising a child that you took part in creating.


If the DEADBEAT DAD were a REAL MAN, he would be paying his support on time, taking every available opportunity to be with his child, and then he wouldn't have to worry about getting tossed in jail, losing his job, his house, his vehicle, etc.


If a man supports and encourages his wife to be a stay at home mother while they are married, then he should be willing to still pull his weight when it comes to the CHILDREN....not the mother, granted, but definitely the CHILDREN.
So get over yourself and put your children ahead of trying to get back at your former wife for a change.




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