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Thursday, April 28, 2016

I Can't Even . . .

Still blogging with my three co-bloggers!  Each week, one of us chooses a topic and we all post a blog entry on that topic, usually on Thursdays.  (Usually we are on time.  Usually.  Ok, mostly.  Sometimes?  Don’t judge me.)

Here are the links to the other fabulous blogs:

Merryland Girl           
Moma Rock

            This week, Moma Rock chose, and she asked us to write about life’s frustrations.

            Moma Rock suggested the topic during a messaging session between Merryland Girl, Moma Rock, and me.  We were venting about various stressors with which we were dealing at the time.  Our issues were different, but our frustrations were the same.  Moma Rock smartly thought it might be helpful to write about them. 
            Funny enough, the main frustration on my plate right now is one I’m not at liberty to talk about at the moment . . . which is really, really frustrating.  So, there’s one for you:  I become quite frustrated when I am not able to express myself.  I’m a verbal processor, and I work through problems by talking and even writing about them.  When I can’t, I literally feel like I’m going to burst.  I feel, well, frustrated. 

            Since I can’t discuss that source of frustration, I sat down and thought about other things that generally frustrate me, and why.   

            Here’s one (and it massively underlies the “thing” I can’t write about right now):  I become frustrated when I can’t control a situation.  I don’t mean that in a general sense; I accept that much of life is out of my control, particularly the actions of others.  For the most part, that’s okay because, for the most, part, other people’s actions and choices don’t affect me all that much.  But when they do, and when I cannot do anything about it, I get extremely frustrated.  I’m talking about those times when I need someone to communicate with me, but she doesn’t.  Or when I can’t do my part in something until someone else does his part, and he doesn’t.  If someone’s work ethic does not match mine, I can feel the frustration rise.  In those situations, I want to make something happen and I cannot, and I hate it. 

            I’ve also come to realize that I absolutely hate when someone comes to me for advice or input and then I later realize – usually after spending a good chunk of time talking to the person – that they never really wanted my advice but instead were merely seeking my approval.  This almost always happens in situations where my approval would not be readily forthcoming.  I end up feeling manipulated and like I’ve wasted my time.  And, of course, I feel frustrated.

            Then, too, I’ve discovered that I get very frustrated when I want to help someone, but I cannot.  I hate seeing anyone in pain or distress, and when I cannot fix the situation, I become not only sad, but also frustrated.  I’m a fixer at heart, and to stand back helpless feels like torture.  Again, I suppose this is a control issue, but in a good way.  I want control so I can take care and solve the problem.  But I know that’s not always possible.

            Not surprisingly, I handle frustration by verbally processing it.  I complain, I vent, I talk it out.  Eventually, I feel better, I guess, at least until the next time.  I’m working on letting more things roll off my back, but I’m a work in progress.

            And, of course, the fact it’s taking so long to learn to calm down a bit?  Is totally frustrating me.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dear Uncle Walt . . .

Back to blogging with my three co-bloggers!  Each week, one of us chooses a topic and we all post a blog entry on that topic, usually on Thursdays.  (Usually we are on time.  Usually.  Ok, mostly.  Sometimes?  Don’t judge me.)

Here are the links to the other fabulous blogs:

Merryland Girl           
Moma Rock

 This week, I chose the topic, and I asked everyone to write an open letter to someone or something.  Here is mine:

Dear Disney Corporation:

            It should not be this hard.  It just shouldn’t. 

            It is supposed to be a vacation.  A vacation.  Taking said vacation should not require hours and hours of pre-planning months prior to taking said vacation.  It should not require scheduling every single moment of every single day of something (a vacation) that is supposed to be relaxing.

            There is absolutely nothing relaxing about planning a trip to Disney.

            To the contrary, merely cracking open the Unofficial Guide to Disney World 2016 broke me out in a cold sweat.  Studying the app trying to figure out which rides merit use of the Fast Pass + literally kept me up nights.  And actually logging into the website and attempting to reserve meal and ride times triggered the absolute worst of my OCD and Type A personality.  I will eat at Be Our Guest, goddamn it, even if it means relentlessly checking for a reservation when I should be working, cleaning, running errands, reading, living my normal life.  And how is it possible the damn Dwarves Train is no longer accepting Fast Pass + mere days after I was even eligible to sign up?  It’s absolutely insane.

            Also, how am I supposed to know what the hell I will want to eat two months from now?  It took me a half hour to decide what I wanted for dinner tonight – and my choices were fairly limited.  Sure hope I’m craving Italian food in early June.

            While I’m on the subject, it should not take two people, both of whom have advanced degrees, to actually plan said “vacation.”  Once my first panic attack subsided, I reached out to my dear friend Karen, who herself had spent hours upon hours planning her Magical Trip several months ago.  I squeaked out a pathetic, “Help me,” before giving her my username and password and credit card number (I offered her my first-born child, but she politely declined).  She walked me through the restaurants and the rides.  I am not a stupid person; I mean, I’m an attorney and I read pretty complex documents on a regular basis, but I still cannot make heads or tails of your Disabled Services pass requirements.  And calling the number in the brochure?  Not super helpful, thanks.

            I’ve had what I call “Disney issues” for years.  Many moons ago, I lived in L.A., where I met several people who worked for The Mouse.  Did you know that Disney has a policy wherein if an employee writes a screenplay while employed for Disney – even if it is written during non-work hours – Disney considers that screenplay its property?  Or that some of corporate employees refer to the company as Mouschwitz?  I lived in California for two and a half years and only visited Disneyland once, largely because of the high price of admission.  My perception of the company did not improve with the birth of my first child, more than two decades ago, and my corresponding realization that Disney floods the marketplace with super-appealing characters – and then charges a roughly 30% premium for any toy or item of clothing containing the characters’ faces.  And don’t even get me started on Michael Eisner; I mean, I’m fine with corporate CEOs making a lot of money, but not when the real stars of the show are making minimum wage while wearing ridiculously hot costumes in July.  In Florida.  Trickle it down, man, trickle it down.

            Disney redeemed itself some a few months ago when it granted Daniel Fleetwood’s wish to see the latest Star Wars film before his extremely untimely death last November.  Disney helped make Daniel’s dying wish come true, and the company scored big points in my book.  I’m hoping this is the beginning of a new, improved “nicer” Disney, one I can forgive as I fork over $14.00 for a Dole Whip.

            I am told that, ridiculous planning aside, my family and I will enjoy our trip and will cherish our Disney memories.  I can only hope this is true.  I will say that I have fond memories of my earlier trips; I can even remember the words to songs from the Country Bear Jamboree – and it has been many, many moons since I saw those big old bears.  I almost hate to admit it, but I am looking forward to riding the Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain once again.  I only wish that it didn’t take so much freaking advance planning.

            The Happiest Place on Earth?  I suppose it remains to be seen.  Right now, to me, Disney World feels like the most tedious, forced, neurosis-triggering spot of land in these United States.  But I suppose it’s nothing Liver Lips McGrowl and a Mickey ice cream bar can’t remedy. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Karma Karma Karma Chameleon

Back to blogging with my three co-bloggers!  Each week, one of us chooses a topic and we all post a blog entry on that topic, usually on Thursdays.  (Usually we are on time.  Usually.  Ok, mostly.  Sometimes?  Don’t judge me.)

Here are the links to the other fabulous blogs:

Merryland Girl           
Moma Rock

            We didn’t have a group topic this week, so I’m going with a topic suggested by my friend, Laura:  Do you believe in karma?

            Long answer short:  No – but I sure want to.

            I’ve mentioned before that I am not much of a believer in tenets like fate or kismet or things happening for a reason, et cetera.  I don’t pray to any higher power (though I do send energy – more on this later).  I believe in randomness and coincidence; not very romantic, but very true, for me, anyway.

            I know karma is not as simple as we tend to think it is.  It’s a whole complex “thing” (at least from what I’ve read), but in our society, we tend to break it down simply into “what goes around comes around.”  Said otherwise, karma means that if we intentionally do something wrong or hurtful, we can expect something bad to happen to us at some later time (this also applies to good behavior, as well). 

            The idea of such an evenness appeals to me.  I appreciate the thought of a balance of good versus bad; I enjoy the idea that if you intentionally put bad into the world, it will come back to you later in another form so as to smack you in your face and teach you a lesson, or that if you give something good, it will be returned to you.  However, I also like the thought of unicorns and jackaloupes, but my wishes won’t make them real.  I have lived a lot of life, and I’ve seen too many people behave badly and put horrible, negative energy into the universe with little to no negative karmic reaction.  I know that if you think about it, you, too, will be able to picture at least one human who seems to skate through life doing as s/he pleases with nary a consequence in sight.  Hell, three faces immediately come to mind.  Three.  Then, too, I know of truly good people who seem to have fallen in the path of not-so-good life experiences, people who suffered unduly or died young.  There is no fairness there, only randomness.

            I have seen what looks like karma in action, and it has given me pause, but only briefly.  For example, I know of a few people who were less than faithful in their committed relationships and then who, years later, were “rewarded” by their later partners cheating on them.  It’s tempting to scream, “Karma!”  But then I remember a few other people I know who behaved the same way and never had the behavior turned back to them.  Which leads me to believe the first set weren’t experiencing karma at all but instead were just suffering the downside of being bad at choosing and staying in relationships.  No karma – just poor choices.

            Funny thing:  Although I don’t believe in karma, I live my life as if I do.  A few years ago, I had a convo with a friend who is not religious and doesn’t believe in an afterlife, etc., but who baptized her kids into a church that does embrace these beliefs.  When I asked why she bothered, she said, “Well, what if I’m wrong?”  That’s kind of how I feel about karma.  I try not to put too much bad out there, and I never, ever intentionally mistreat anyone, lest it happen to me.  I try to do right by others, and I try to do good where I can.  I suppose some of these choices are rooted in my desire not to want to poke the bear that is karma (should she exist) – but maybe I behave this way simply because I’m not a jerk.  Either way, I’ve got myself covered.  Or so I hope.

            Karma aside, I do believe that humans share energy:  good, bad, and other.  Everything in this world is made up of energy, which means, to me, that everything is connected.  I believe that someone’s negative or positive energy can affect someone else and change the other person’s mood.  (I’ve seen it happen, more than once.)  A handful of times in my life, I have been near a person whose mere presence made the hair on the back of my neck stand up – and I have gotten away from that person as quickly as possible.  I believe those people emitted energy incompatible with mine.  Dangerous energy.  I don’t know whether we can direct the transfer of energy, but I sure try:  If someone is sick, I close my eyes and focus on healing and feeling well, and I try to send some of that healing energy to that person.  Do they feel it?  I can’t say.  But I can say that the times I’ve asked people for supportive thoughts and energy, I’ve felt buoyed simply knowing they are thinking about me.  And that’s good enough.

            So, no, as much as I’d like to, I don’t believe in karma.  I don’t believe that what goes around, comes around, or that someone reaps what s/he sows.  There’s no cosmic scorecard in my world, no threat of lightening bolts or karmic retribution.  Could I be wrong?  Of course.  But I hope to never know.  Because even without the threat of a universal wrong-righter, I choose to live my life putting as much good into the universe as I can and making amends for the times when I misstep, which is often.  Should it come to pass that I have misjudged how the universe works and should karma, indeed, exist, I sure hope she – and karma is for sure a chick – doesn’t unleash her wrath on me . . . because I’ve heard she can be a real bitch.