Extreme dysfunction

A greedy person and a pauper are practically one and the same. ~ Swiss Proverb

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I am taking a break from my “all-about-me-and-my-woes” blogging to discuss something that has been on my mind for a little while.  It’s the show “Extreme Couponing” on TLC.

 

Let me disclaim, before we start, that because of this show, I have decided to use coupons a little more consistently.  And my irritation with this show *isn’t* because they use coupons.  It isn’t even because they take a shopping trip from $1000 down to $55.  The truth is that I think it’s a savvy and proactive way to save money.  My issues with this show are that it spotlights greed and gluttony in a way that makes the subjects of the show “heroes”.

 

Compare it to “Hoarders” on the same channel.  The truth is that there is no difference, in my opinion.  One person collects, what appears to us as useless junk.  The other collects things that are useful.  But, in the end, is it really different?  Only in America would we make a show that is entirely based on greed, gluttony and pride.

 

**Side note: some of these people who buy tons of foodstuff actually donate it and help other people.  One couple donated $75K of groceries to a charity.  Those are *not* the people I am referring to.  It’s the lady who has 150 packages of cat treats and doesn’t own a cat! It’s the people who bought 200 containers of Aleve to add to their stockpile of dozens.  That medicine will expire before anyone uses it!  That’s so fucking wasteful!

Whew!  Okay.  I can feel the hair standing up on my neck.  Yes.  This really, really irritates me.

 

I grew up as a have-not.  We were poor.  And not that kind of poor that people just bitch about because they didn’t get everything they wanted.  Or their parents didn’t buy cable.  I’m talking real poverty.  I remember, once, I didn’t eat any solid food for days.  I learned that caffeine was an appetite suppressant.  So I drank lots and lots of tea.  After days of my tea-induced-stomach-shrinking, I ate a sandwich.  It was payday, you see, and I finally got to eat again.  And it wouldn’t stay down.  My stomach wouldn’t take it.

I was 7 years old.

 

My issue is that people buy all of this crap, just for the glory of knowing that they saved 98% of their shopping bill.  That’s crazy.  And what’s worse?  The way TLC makes them out to be these small-time-heroes.  In my incredibly blunt opinion, they are exactly the same as a hoarder.  It is an illness.  It isn’t something to be celebrated.  If I were to go to a friend’s house and see that their children had no room for toys in their closets or under beds because they had their stockpile there, I would call them out.  That’s not okay!

 

These women (mostly) who spend 75 hours a week clipping coupons instead of working… wow.  I’m not a stay-at-home-mom-type-of-girl (I think we’ve already established that), but really?  75 hours a week?  Here’s a clue, lady: how about actually spending time with your children and family doing things that enrich their lives instead of obsessing over the double coupon day at your local grocery store.  You really think your kids are going to grow up and say, “Wow… my mom is awesome?”  Nope.  More than likely, they will wonder how to get your attention.  And will probably, and sadly, make a coupon book full of things that they want to do with you in the desperate hope that you’ll actually engage them.

 

Yeah… sad, huh?  *This* is what that show spotlights.  It’s unfortunate.  I hope that the rest of America isn’t so duped by creative filming.  Hopefully they see, as I do, that these people have control issues.

My bottom line: just because dysfunction isn’t dressed as a tattered and weathered hobo, doesn’t mean that it isn’t dysfunction.  You can put all the pretty bows on a disorder that you want to.  At the end of the day, it’s still an illness.

 

That’s my soapbox for today.  And no, I didn’t use a coupon to get it.


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Learning to be patient

Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy. ~Saadi

Patience has never been a virtue of mine.  I have always been…. impulsive, for lack of a better word.  Driven… maybe that’s a better word.  ….Intended.  That’s probably the  best word.

It isn’t that I don’t think things through, as impulsive would imply.  Instead, I tend to over-think things to the point that I am absolutely convinced of my direction, and it is that which guides me.  Intended.  That’s me.

But, relationships and situations have required me to grow a new skill: patience.  Never been a strong suit.  Never.  Even when I was young, and we were planning a trip, I’d be the one packed weeks in advance.  Literally.  Weeks.  I’d know what I was going to wear; what I was going to take.  Everything nailed down.  As I got older, I learned the list method.  I’d make lists.  I knew exactly what I was going to pack.  And then, several days in advance, I’d pack it.

I’ve found, however, that you can’t always plan for everything.  Some things… many things, are out of my control.

Let me be clear: I hate that.  I’m not a control freak in the traditional sense of the word.  I know people who are.  Everything’s got to go their way.  Things have to be done their way.  Life has to be lived their way.  That’s not me.  Not even at all.  But I do like knowing I am an influencer.  I like knowing that my influence can persuade or dissuade someone.  I like knowing that my hand plays a part in the outcome.

*sigh*  I am, however, learning to let things be and develop over time.  Let things play out.  Not everything needs to be decided right now.  I have forever to live.  I should enjoy the moments in between the milestones.  I should relax and not worry so much about everyone and everything.  I know that what is going on in someone else’s head isn’t a reflection of how they feel about me.  It’s just circumstances.  It’s just… life.  And it will be better.

There are things worth waiting for.  I’ve always known that – even if I haven’t always demonstrated that knowledge.  And for all of my intention and all of my impatience, I can learn to be better.  I can wait.

I will wait this out.  I know that it’ll be okay.

6pm came and went, now didn’t it?

Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice. ~Robert Frost

I realize I’m a little late in the whole “end-of-the-world” thing-a-ma-jig commentary.  That’s fine.  I knew that everyone and their dog would have something to say on the topic.  My take is, as always, my take.  And it took me a little while to process what I as really thinking about the whole thing.

Firstly, no, I knew the world wasn’t ending on May 21st at 6pm.  Precisely *because* it was so specific.  No, I don’t think that God has passed any more or less judgement on us than He normally has/does.  No, I don’t think the world is ending on October 21st.

I am quite strong in my convictions.  I am very deliberate in my faith.  I’ve slacked off with praying, but not because I haven’t felt a connection to God, I have just been so tired at night.  That is my “prayer” time; but be clear – I pray a lot.  During the day, I thank God for my blessings.  In the morning, I ask Him to walk with me and help me be a better person.  Sometimes, on the way home, I ask him for joy and blessings.  I’ve learned to pray for what I need, and quit being wishy-washy with it.

But that leads me to what I am really writing about today.  I don’t know when the world is going to end.  There have been naysayers for hundreds thousands of years.  It isn’t a new thing.  But every now and then, some yahoo will come along and, all the sudden, we feel compelled to take ownership in his misgivings- mainly because we are looking for a way out.  For some, it’s a way out of their lives.  For others, it’s a reason to release the burdens they have been carrying around.  For me?  I found no way out in his nonsense.

Instead, what it brought to the front of my mind was… what if?  Not, “What if he is right?”  But what if things ended today?  Where would I be, metaphorically speaking?  What kind of person would I be?  What regrets would I have?  Do I think I’ve given this life all I’ve got?  Have I wasted too much time on nonsense?  Have I contributed to the problems on this planet?

We can all feel it – something is off.  Our planet is very upset with us.  Is it global warming?  Is it the end-of-days?  I don’t know.  And, truthfully, I almost don’t care.  I know what my plans are.

I plan to continue living well.  I plan to enjoy my life.  I plan to try not to waste any time on things that don’t support my starring role in this life.  Generally, I just want to be helpful in my own life.  I want the ripples of my life to be a positive thing for other people.  I want people to be inspired by my existence, rather than wounded.

I’ve long made my peace with God.  When the day comes when He brings me home, I hope I can sit back and say, “I did good.”  I know, not, the day or time, but when it happens, I want to know I have done all I can with the life I was so graciously given.

That’s all.  What are you doing with yours?  Are you starring in your own destiny?  Choose it.  It begins today.  And come what may, either in October, or tomorrow or 100 years from now, don’t you want to look back and say, “I made it count.”

I know I do.

The train wreck continues

I’m just going to write, because I cannot help it. ~ Charlotte Bronte

I didn’t really have much to say since last week.  But after pouring over quotes (some inspirational, some happy, some sad), I found that I should just write it out.  It’s really what I want to do anyway.  So please excuse my rambling.  I’m just going to write, because I cannot help it.

I love reading.  It has always been an escape for me; to just delve into the thoughts and mind of another is the sweetest way to take leave of my reality.  And for my birthday, the hubs got me a Kindle.  I’ve gotta say, I think that is the single best thing I could have every even thought of wanting, and I didn’t even think about wanting it.  Without cluttering up my bookshelf, I can carry around all the books I love so much.

That being said… I’ve got nothing to say and everything to say.  My birthday being last week is sorta like a mid-year New Years thing for me.  That being said, I took a quick stock of my resolutions and I seem to be on track… with the exception of the marathon thing.  I just need to get my ass out on the road.  That’s it; just get out there and run.  I will.  This week.

I also need to go blazing more.  Just a little more.  As much as I love to photograph, I need to find the time to do it more often.  I need me time.  That should be a part of it.

My thoughts tend to runaway with me.  If any one person could be privy to my thoughts, I think surely he’d find me a little mad.  I’ve always thought that if people saw me from the inside, maybe they’d run.  Funny, though.  Because I am one of the most upfront and transparent people I know.  But there is that side of me…

That side has threatened to encroach, more and more lately, into daily life.  Not always dark, just blazingly real.  And that is odd for me.  This part of me, so content to stay in the shadows, has gotten louder and more demanding in the most recent months.

So I’m spending time getting comfortable with this.  Understanding what it is that I am really asking of others.  Most importantly, what it is that I am asking of myself.

It occurs to me that I should be more comfortable with asking of people.  Not demanding, because I don’t do that.  But telling people what I need and asking them to help me with it.  I should be able to ask of the people I love, and not apologize for it.  For too long I have avoided that.  I feel like because of the mistakes I have made, I am without the right to be loved.

That couldn’t be less true.  I know this.

I don’t believe in saying “do this or else.”  I mean, logically, it kinda comes down to that.  “Please give to me.  I need you.”  And if that need isn’t fulfilled, then there will obviously be a shift.  Even as I write this, I feel guilty about feeling it and needing it.

What is so wrong with asking that I be loved back?  What is so wrong with asking to be let into someone’s life?  What is so wrong with asking for honesty and love?  And why is that so damned hard for me to ask?

Why do I feel so bad about needing it?

It’s a horrible feeling, to feel so empty.  I’ve been slowly losing my composure.  I’ve been slowly letting down the facade.  Believe me, it isn’t on purpose.  But I can’t seem to keep it up, anymore.  I can’t seem to smile like everything is okay.  I can’t seem to pretend like my heart isn’t breaking.  Or that I am not the single loneliest person alive.  I cry more lately than I have in 15 years.

I just want to feel like I matter.  I want to feel like I’m important.  I want to feel like, without me, the world would stop turning for someone.  (Side note… I get it.  My child obviously ranks in that category.  And she counts, believe me.  But I’m talking something deeper and with a different meaning than that.)  I just want to feel…. something.

I’ll ask.  I suppose, now, that is all I am left with.

How random

Random chance plays a huge part in everybody’s life.  ~Gary Gygax

I have a very many things rattling around in my brain these days.  Unfortunately, it seems that the people I want to hear them are the very people I can’t seem to tell.  In the interest of randomness, while I get a hold of all the randomness inside my head, I thought it’d be fun to play the “random things about me” game.  So, here we go.  25 random things about me.

1. I lived in San Diego for 7 years.  I hated it there.

2. I wanted to be a psychologist when I was in high school.

3. I am definitely not a psychologist now.

4. I went to a total of 15 different schools from pre-school to high school graduation.

5. I have a strong fear of change.

6. That being said, I never stay the same day-to-day.  I don’t have a style that is all my own.  I don’t do my hair or makeup the same way.  Hell, I don’t even know what I like eating from day-to-day.

7. I called someone a dummy once.  I’m no stranger to insults, but dummy?  Yeah, I was 20 when I said that.  Who calls someone a dummy at 20 years old? I instantly regretted it and apologized.

8. I remember, when I gave birth, that saying “my daughter” was a foreign concept.  I only really understood the magnitude when she was 4 days old and I had to register her for something.

9. I hate places without curtains.  Curtains signal that a house has been lived in.  That it is a home.

10. “Never go to bed angry” is the single dumbest advice I have heard people give to newlyweds.  Sure.  Go to bed angry.  Tomorrow is a new day.  You can talk about it then.

11. I really really suck at golf.

12. But I’m great at a very big lot of things.  Like, a lot a lot.

13. I sing like a freakin’ superstar in my car.  In person, too.  And I can harmonize with *any* song.  But I assume no one wants to hear me, so I never sing for them.

14. I *love* my car.  Love is an understatement.  The only car I want more than my Scion XB is a red convertible mustang.  But until that sweet day, I am incredibly happy with my car.

15. My favorite movie of all time is Forrest Gump.  I can quote that movie line-for-line.

16. I think sweat pants are horrible and I don’t own a pair.  It just kinda screams out, “I’ve let myself go.”  I don’t care what other people think, I just don’t want that thought to rattle around in *my* head.

17. I’ve gone to the store on more than one occasion in pajamas or hot rollers, to the dismay of BFF #1.  I generally don’t care what people think about me.

18. My favorite book is Wuthering Heights.  I have a certain penchant for old novels.

19.  The only bug I will tolerate touching me is a ladybug.  All others must die.

20. Most people tend to have a hard time coming up with 25 things, but I am finding it very easy.  Remarkable.  Maybe because my brain works in this sort of randomness.

21. I am reading the Bible and not ashamed to say it.

22. I completely enjoy helping people.  It is one of God’s beautiful blessings to reach outside of yourself and help someone else.

23. I find that I am becoming more and more afraid of technology as I grow older.  Not that I am afraid… I guess it’s more that I don’t want to be bothered by learning something new that will be outdated in a month.

24. I am a fabulous cook, but I suck at baking.  I should invest some time in getting better, but I keep finding things I’d rather cook than bake.

25. I wish I were handier.  I love getting my hands dirty with yard work, handy things around the house.  But, sadly, I don’t know how to do very much.  And I am afraid that I will break something if I try.  So I limit my risk taking to things that are easy to correct when I screw it up.

25a.  I hate messing it up.  And I get extraordinarily pouty when I do.  So… I need to learn to be a better loser.

Words that feed my soul

I am feeling rather directionless these days.  Today feels special, though.  It just does.  And today my soul is hungry for strength.  I am looking for some of the words that can lift me and bring me back to life.

So I scoured the quote sites I am so very fond of and found this one:
Your words are my food; your breath, my wine. You are everything to me. ~Sarah Bernhardt

That just sums it all up, doesn’t it?

Never explain – your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway. ~Elbert Hubbard
Still working on this one.  I always feel the need to explain.  Unsaid things are the silent killers in relationships… in life, really.

In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it – thou art a fool. ~Lord Chesterfield
I know that I have never learned everything.  I know that I won’t learn everything.  But I’ll be damned if I won’t die trying.

Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself. ~Harvey Fierstein
Boy, is that easier said than done, or what?  Working on it.  I truly am.

So what’s the deal with the whole birthday thing?

For reasons I care not to share, I haven’t counted down as vocally as normal; but my birthday arrived on the same day, as it has for many years.

33 years, to be exact.

And I love my birthday.  It should be a national holiday.  Not because I am so great, but because I love it so much.  Because I celebrate my life, and all that I have done with it.

It hasn’t been easy being me.  And lesser people would have been crushed under the weight of the awful things that have happened.  But not me.  Oh no; I take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.  There’s a joke there… I know. 😉

My birthday is the one day a year that I don’t share with moms, or Christians, or my spouse or America or anything.  It is a holiday about me.  Just me.  And I love that.

Around this time of year, I get a lot of questions to the effect of “do you have big plans,” or “are you getting something special as a present?”  Nope.  I’m not.  I like stuff, don’t get me wrong.  But “stuff” isn’t really my deal.  I don’t need stuff.  I need people.  I need value.  And on my birthday, I’d like to know why I am a valued in the eyes of another.  My friends and family show that by spending time with me, or calling me, and letting me know that I matter to them.  That’s special.

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well. ~Voltaire

I have long believed that it is our responsibility to live life well.  It cannot be done for us, although it can be done with us.  Living life well after the age of 18 is our sole responsibility.  It is our choice.  We can’t blame others or shrug the blame to someone else when our life isn’t moving along like we planned.

It comes down to me.  It always has.

So in the spirit of positive movement and happy choices, I will say this: The next year of my life will be the year of years.  I will make it count, in every way I can.  I will make the right choices for my body, for my mind and for my soul.  I will step forward and be counted, because I deserve to matter.  I will love, with all my heart.  I will enjoy my time with my family and friends.

This is the only life I’ve got.  And I need to do a better job at making it matter!

So, here’s to me.  Happy birthday to me.  Have a drink in my honor, if you remember.  And when your special day comes around, celebrate your life, too. You deserve it.