Alone

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I realized that I used to question people’s motives. Why are you calling me? What do you want? When are you going to hurt me? This affected my interpersonal relationships because I was very easily swayed. I was skittish, because I felt like I couldn’t make choices on my own. So, my best friend said that this person is being a jerk, don’t trust them, keep this person out, etc. I trusted everything they said like the Gospel, because, after all, I was the dippy girl who kept getting into trouble. Then I learned that my “best friend” lied to me about pretty much everything. This made me question everything; how I reacted to certain situations, people, etc. Were those my fears, or planted fears of a pessimist?

I’m not a pessimist. I’m an optimist. I love believing in goodness & second chances & third & ten millionth chances. We all eff up sometimes. We all act like assholes sometimes & we want another chance. So, blind trust or not, I’ll believe that anyone who comes into my life (or comes back in) has the best of intentions. If I’m wrong, maybe they will the next time or the next. I don’t want to be a cynic. I want to trust people. Maybe not as much as I do (I leave my phone laying on my work kiosk ALL OF THE TIME), but I will trust my inner circle…& my own instincts.

So, maybe it’s blind trust, or blind faith. But I’d rather believe in the goodness of people than be the person who believes everyone is out to screw you over. I don’t want to become cynical & jaded like so many others & if I get hurt, it’s my cross to bear. So, I’ll learn to trust people by trusting them & allowing them to earn it back as many times as needed. Maybe I’ll get rocked once in awhile, but I’ll retain my faith in humanity.

Far Away

I have a love/hate relationship with social media.

I have enough of it; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Tumblr (the last mainly exists for my 12yo to re-blog various photos from her fave shows). Most are controlled, with advanced privacy settings, except for Twitter, because apparently as a writer I need a social media footprint or something.

Then, my mom joined Twitter.

After that, I would have conversations with my mom about my various tweets:

Mom: “are you mad @ me? You tweeted that you’re mad.”
Me: No mother.
Mom: “Why did you tweet about pancakes?”
Me: Because I really like them mother.
Mom: “Why did you re-tweet that sappy thing & what’s a retweet & should I be doing it?”
Me: because I was bored on a bus & it sounded pretty & it’s…no, no you shouldn’t.

(Also, let’s all wave to my mother, who is now a huge fan of this blog. No, I’m not mad @ you. Enjoy Twitter)

But it does annoy me that we have regressed to the point where we think we understand someone’s life from 140 characters or who they follow on Twitter. WWE websites were abuzz when former Diva Maryse Ouellet unfollowed the shared account of current WWE Divas Brie & Nikki Bella. Gasp! What does this mean? That Ouellet is passive aggressive? That the Bella Twins & Ouellet had a falling out? Why is this news? Miley Cyrus unfollowed former fiancé Liam Hemsworth as reports of his serial adultery surfaced. Again, why is Twitter news?

I am not passive aggressive by any stretch of the imagination. I may not be confrontational, but if I’m mad, YOU WILL KNOW. If I want something, you’ll know, because I’ll get it (just ask the good people @ various record labels who told me I couldn’t talk to their artists. I’m like a pitbull. PS with the exception of two, I got every single artist I asked for. My current boss learned this when I said in my interview I was not leaving without that job), and if I have something to say, I’ll tell you. I hate when someone says “Oh hey, I saw on FB that you like pancakes!” (I’ll assume you’re new), because I miss conversations & I hate that social media is sort of replacing it. As a writer, I’m conflicted. I need to have a social media footprint to encourage readers, but I’m also tired of my friends & family using it to learn about me in lieu of talking to me. Not to mention the weird habit of creeping people, etc. Yuck.

Because it annoys me so , I decided to reject all forms of indirect communication. Passive aggressive Facebook statuses (if you do it, you’re unfriended. The end), subtweets, and third party message delivery service. No mas. I’m going to bring back the lost art of conversation if it kills me. Like I told the angry tween, if someone wants to talk to me , I am easily found. My address hasn’t changed (yet), my number either (yet) & thanks to Facebook, generally people know where I am when I’m out socially, which is almost never. Short of me boasting a neon sign that says “MH IS HERE” with an arrow pointing down, I am most definitely not Waldo. I also do not tolerate third party conversations that can get lost in translation. As my coworkers have learned, I won’t even discuss things over text, because they can be misconstrued. If someone wants to talk to me, be around me, be in my life, etc. then talk to me, be around me, etc. I firmly believe in direct contact, not playing telephone or leaving messages with a friend or whatever. I believe that if someone wants to be around me, no matter what’s happened , they will summon every ounce of courage in their body, swallow their pride & come find me, much like Gigi did a year ago. But I will not chase anyone. If you left my life for any reason, it’s up to you to walk back in. Much like Gigi learned, I’m not really a grudge holder & there is one person in this life that I will forgive absolutely everything. If you want to be around me, then it’s up to you to make that step, & if you choose to make that step, I’m pretty easy to find. Just ask…or appear. I’ll be found.

I must seem a titch hypocritical, writing about my annoyance with social media, which I will then blast over social media for you to read, but I don’t hate social media. I hate the misuse of it & when it replaces real human interaction. It’s like my thing with television; as an entertainment reporter, I obviously need it to makes my living, but I do not need to be a slave to it, which is why the girls & I lock up the phones, turn off the computer & TV twice a week & have technology free days where we go outside & play with toys & such. So, let’s stop using our social media accounts as our sole way to interact with people & actually talk to them. You’re likely missing all the important stuff that you can’t find in a status update or 140 characters.

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My Precious

I spend a lot of time on Facebook on the bus rides to & from work. During this time, people ask a lot of rhetorical questions. So, I decided to play guru & answer all of the rhetorical questions people post on Facebook! Hooray!

***Disclaimer: I am not smart nor qualified to dispense advice. The magic 8 ball is more qualified than me. Any taking of my knowledge & applying it to your life isn’t wise, as I’m not wise.***

Rhetorical question #1: why are people cruel?

Answer: because you let them. A lesson I have learned is that people will be as mean as you let them. Don’t allow it. Ignore it, be a lady (or gentleman) & do not dignify cruelty with a response. Simply remove what they intend to use as “ammo” & carry on like they do not exist. Also, people are cruelest to the one that loves them most. They know you’ll take it, absorb it, nurse that wound & continue to love them. It’s control. You can love someone more than life, but you don’t need to take their crap. Remember the words that my foster father gave me years ago: people are generally good & those that aren’t get what they deserve.

Rhetorical question #2: why do people Facebook creep/stalk their exes? It’s soooo annoying & I just want to punch my cousin in the face because she does it all of the time & then cries.

Rhetorical answer: because they are still in love with them. There are only two true emotions; love & indifference. Hate is just an angry version of love. If you care soooo much about what your ex is thinking that you creep them incessantly, you are still in love with them & any attempts to move forward are just attempts to replace what you left behind (The song Hurricane by Parachute addresses this well). Even the “I need to know they are thinking about/talking about me” proves you are in love with them, because that just screams that you need validation, that they think of you as much as you think of them. I guess the one upside to low self image is I just assume you’re not thinking about me and I need to do something to move on, so I just avoid. I will block you & everyone you know until I feel indifference. It’s likely the extreme opposite, but it makes me feel better. Also, don’t punch your cousin. Violence is never cool.

Rhetorical question #3: why do families hurt each other?

Rhetorical answer: because happy families that make sense & love each other every second only exist on TV. Every family has its moments where someone is a donger. Maybe they’re all dongers. MAYBE YOU’RE A DONGER. But we hold family to a higher expectation; stop that. All human interaction can be marred by human emotion. Blood doesn’t change that.

Rhetorical Question #4: WILL YOU PLEASE STOP SENDING ME GAME REQUESTS?!

Rhetorical answer: okay, this isn’t rhetorical, it just is. Go to settings & block the requests.

Rhetorical question #5: why are men/women such jerks?

Rhetorical answer: they’re not. Jerkdom is not defined by gender; it’s defined by jerks. Maybe that person dealt with so many other jerks who were hurt by previous jerks who were hurt by the original jerk. Think vampirism, only with jerks. Show kindness in the face of jerkdom. You’ll be surprised how people’s attitudes will change once you show them kindness.

Rhetorical question #6: why is dating so hard?

Rhetorical answer: chances are that you have unrealistic expectations. Obviously things like kids, sexual appetite, matrimony, are deal breakers, but if you’re looking for a supermodel when you aren’t or nitpicking about details that don’t matter, you’re choosing to make it hard. Life is about compromise & you need to figure out which details are set in stone & which ones aren’t & stop sending people packing because they didn’t have ocean green eyes with tanned skin. I know this, because I walk out of dates all of the time for dumb stuff just like that.

Rhetorical question #7: WHY WON’T MY CHILDREN BEHAVE?!

Rhetorical answer: I have no idea. But if you ever find the answer, share it with the rest of us. May God give you strength.

Rhetorical question #8: why are some people so awful? Like for reals, I wouldn’t do that to my BEST FRIEND & I can’t believe you would put that on Facebook. Not talking about any one person, but if I was, you know who you are.

Rhetorical answer: you did just put it on Facebook. Congrats, you got attention.

Rhetorical question #9: why does everything bad happen to meee? FML (sorry, can’t talk about it)

Rhetorical answer: see above.

There you have it, answers to random questions found on Facebook! I hope you got a cheap laugh & perhaps I’ll do it again sometime.

Stupid Girls

I just realized that my entire adult life can be described in about 8 P!nk songs. I’m not sure if this is really cool or horrifying. It’s entirely possible that this means I need more sleep & between work, raising the fam jam, setting up the ASH Life in time for launch (cheap plug, insert cheap pop here) & stopping my friends from leading a revolt against The Adventures of Tintin, I’ve gone crazy.

Or I need to stop making Red Bull a staple in my diet. Whatever.

PS I love P!nk.

Last October

I have a hippie friend.

I love my hippie friend. She is strong, brave, wise and generally sorts things out for me that confuse the eff out of me.

Well, lately I’ve been trying to sort through some stuff & I didn’t know how to understand it, so I went to the hippie and the unlikeliest of sources.

I’ve had a bit of a falling out with some close friends over the last year, three to be exact. While one of them & I are reconnecting a bit on social media, her & I not being as close as we were has been kind of a sore spot with me, because I missed her. While outwardly, I acted like it didn’t bother me, my counselling sessions and chats with the hippie often mentioned my longing for my friendship with her, the support, the brutal honesty, the mutual love of cats and her adorable son. I wanted to apologize for sort of passing the buck about a few things, not adequately explaining what was bothering me, etc. but didn’t know how. The absence of regular conversations with this friend affected me. I was in a funk, my grades slipped, my heart was heavy. Combined with the end of a relationship with a person that meant so much to me, it was hard to pull myself out of the doldrums and I became Debbie Downer, which for anyone who knows me knows that is not me.

However, I later learned two of my best friends had lied to me about a lot of things because hurting me was mean or some such garbage and we’ve kind of distanced ourselves, to the point where the friendship seems to have ended. However, there was no despondency. There was a lot of focus on self-improvement, a lot of realization that I spent a lot of time saying “Well, they think…” and I realized how few major life decisions I have made on my own since the divorce. However, I didn’t feel that gutting agony of them not being there. I just kept on working. I got a job…and another one. My grades went up. I focused on losing weight. I felt more confident in my choices. I’m not saying that they are bad people, in fact, they’re amazing people! But right now it seems that they don’t fit in my current life plan and strangely enough, I’m okay with that. There is no tears or begging or that feeling of desolation and hurt. It’s just “Oh, well that’s cool. Hope they’re doing well.”

I asked the Hippie why and she said “some friends do not impact your person they are more peripheral? You enjoy them but they do not enrich your world and your life. Some people make a contribution to your world and they may not even be friends, but you are profoundly hurt by the loss of them in your life.”

While the friends made a positive impact in my life, things slowly changed and now the trust just isn’t there anymore. Meanwhile, the friend who I got annoyed with for being well meaning and even brutally honest & the man were the ones who enriched my life in deeper ways. It was the friend that I missed more than anything, even when I was annoyed. It was her birthday message that made me smile on the worst day ever. It was her random comments here and there that I would reply to. My children still long for that long lost person, that person whose departure from my life broke my heart in ways that I didn’t know could be done. The one I waited for months for, because I didn’t want a future without him, his child & his goodness. Because these people are a “person of value,” not just a friend.

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I asked my ex-husband (because after all, the person who’s known me for almost half of my life should know something about me and despite the acrimonious split, for some reason, I still ask him stuff and vice versa. I guess it’s because deep down we know we still know the other one well) why the loss of some people just doesn’t seem to bother me and throughout my life, there have only been three people whose departures have affected me long term and he suggested that maybe they belonged in my life. I missed my friend, that’s why her picture is still on my wall. I didn’t bat an eyelash walking out on a long term union, but “nothing broke you like the loss of that man. I wish I could do something to help, especially for the girls’ sake, because you were all happy then.” “Person of Value” was actually a term that he used to use. While yes, we had friends in Windsor, none were valuable, I wasn’t valuable. His family was valuable, the people he’s met online are valuable because they enrich him in some way. I’m glad he’s found “Persons of value.”

I don't love easily, or very well. But when I do, it's a choice that I make, knowing that it's irreversable, unchanging and there is a good chance that I will become roadkill and end up without them. But I do it, and continue to do it because it is a choice, a choice to love when you are unloved, a choice to give when there is nothing left to give, to love them when they're long gone & to always love them, because that is the nature of what love truly is. Wanting more for the other person than yourself.
I don’t love easily, or very well. But when I do, it’s a choice that I make, knowing that it’s irreversable, unchanging and there is a good chance that I will become roadkill and end up alone. But I do it, and continue to do it because it is a choice, a choice to love when you are unloved, a choice to give when there is nothing left to give, to love when you get nothing back, to love when they are long gone & to always love them, because that is the nature of what love truly is. Wanting more for the other person than yourself. I love only a handful of people like this, & I know I couldn’t stop if I wanted to, because when I made the choice, I knew I couldn’t reverse it. It was agape, always love.

I have a long time best friend who was a “Person of Value” to me. We had a falling out over a misunderstanding and we would only sporadically talk for 10 years. Finally, she messaged me on Facebook and we are talking again and it’s great. I feel so much happier with her presence in my life again. The years she wasn’t around, I missed her friendship, her bluntness and her constant “What do YOU think? You have to live with the choice,” which challenged me. My other high school best friend is another “Person of Value.” We’ve always kept in touch, but she is definitely one of my closest friends and role models and I love her for being in my life.

So, while I may not have all of the “Persons of Value” in my life again, it’s nice to know that I’m not weird for only truly wanting certain people in my life and not really mourning the rest. Maybe someday, the other friends will be a part of my life again, when fate dictates that we need each other. Until then, I wish them nothing but happiness and good health, because that’s what they deserve.

Incomplete

I discovered this amazeballs quote thanks to WWE Divas Champion (& loveable lunatic) AJ Lee & it just resonated with me. I hope it resonates with you too. It kind of reminds me why I’m always trying to work things out with people, even if I’m not particularly happy with them or whatever. Because this is true.

“There is no such thing as a “broken family.” Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart. The only time family becomes null is when those ties in the heart are cut. If you cut those ties, those people are not your family. If you make those ties, those people are your family. And if you hate those ties, those people will still be your family because whatever you hate will always be with you.”

I also ganked this from Facebook & felt the messages work hand & hand…or I’m also a loveable lunatic. Whatever. Either way, they’re both cool thoughts & I wanted to share them. Enjoy!

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Where We Land

Let me tell you about my friend the Texan.

I met her online on a Mommy message board and from the moment we started talking, I knew she was one of the most amazing people in the world. When I mentioned that my middle child was colicky and didn’t want to be put down, I was surprised with a Peanut Shell sling in the mail, for no other reason than I had a need and she wanted to fill it. I was blown away by her generosity. She showed me through this and our many conversations that she was the living embodiment of the true Christian; someone who loved her neighbour as herself and wanted to be a shining example of God’s love.

When my eldest daughter began her struggles, the Texan was the only person I spoke to. It was nothing against my other friends, but it’s hard to explain these issues when you’ve never lived through them. I’ve been a mom for almost 12 years and I still would never have been able to relate to a parent in this situation until I’ve been here myself. However, the Texan offered me constructive advice and is quick to check in with me on counselling days, which are particularly draining for my child and I. While I enjoy these days, as it helps me come up with an action plan to better meet my children’s needs, it’s still difficult to hear her sob for someone and something that she sees as so easy and she doesn’t understand why I won’t just reach out and make it happen. She likens what she wants to her favourite book romance (Stefan and Elena from the Vampire Diaries; I won’t let her watch the show. Too many hearts being ripped out), and that no matter how long the separations, the love doesn’t die and if I would just make a phone call, that person will show up @ the door & it can be worked out and she’ll get her real family. Of course, real life doesn’t work that way & her dream scenario of him coming back to be with us out of the blue is more of a fairy tale. Of course, that doesn’t stop her from believing every knock @ the door, every time the phone rings, this time it’s him. This time, he’ll be standing there saying he’ll be with us. But the Texan is the one who helps me understand that the guilt I feel is normal, that it’ll be okay and that my efforts to make things better (the counselling, the yoga, the journalling, extracurricular activities, etc.) are all effective strategies to improve things, help with the resentment she feels that I won’t make that phone call that she’s begged me to make for months, because I’m afraid & why don’t grown ups act brave for once, admit they’re wrong, that they love each other & be a family. That way she and her sisters don’t need to be sad anymore. The Texan doesn’t question my choice to fall on my sword as it were, letting her think it’s my refusal to reach out that keeps her from having the person she feels is the best person ever so she won’t feel rejected, because he promised her when he brought her a birthday gift that he’d never leave her ever again. The Texan understands it’s to protect my child…& preserve the memory of the person who was once the most important adult in the world to me (& my natural instinct to shoulder the blame for everything & believing that the people I care about are good. Protect and defend the ones I love, even @ the expense of myself. That’s the MH way). The Texan often mentions continued prayer to help me get through the rough parts by reminding me that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, and I’m so grateful for her guidance. She’s like the coolest older sister figure ever. She’s the one who suggested I blog about these struggles, so I wouldn’t feel so alone; that other parents feel this way sometimes too.

While sitting in church on Sunday, the Reverend mentioned a verse that hit home for me and really helped me gain perspective on a lot of things.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Whether you believe in a higher power or you don’t, one must remember that the world will not give us more than we can handle. While this may not always have been true, one thing I’ve tried to remind myself is that clearly God has a lot of faith in me as a person. After all, if God won’t give us more than we can handle, then clearly he trusts me to thrive in situations that most people would look at and want no part of. This is the lesson that my amazing friend reminds me of when I lose my way. So, I look at some of the things that I struggle with, from parenting to employment to friendships and some days, even my own sanity as opportunities to grow, to be challenged. Instead of begging God for help, I’m going to thank him for trusting me to tackle these things and rise to the occasion. So, thank you my friend, for being a wise older sister, fortune teller and all around amazing person during times of triumph and tribulations. Thanks for reminding me to welcome these things and be thankful for struggles, for they shape us and make us strong, make us hopeful. We should welcome the darkness because when it’s over, we’ll be more grateful for the gifts we are given. After all, darkness helps us build character. These trying times have helped me discover who I am standing on my own feet, not with anyone to “protect” me and I’m holding up okay. These times have helped shape my parenting style, helping me learn to keep a cool head, which has helped me during challenging times such as exams. There was no panic, simply rising to the occasion and my grades reflected my efforts. Darkness will help me appreciate things as they come, and I will see them as gifts and cherish them, and not wait for the shoe to drop. So, I’m thankful and grateful that the universe trusts me to hold up the world like Atlas, for it will make me a better person in the end.

I may not be the perfect mother or the perfect friend. I may not be a superhuman machine. But I am a mom, a friend, a journalist and a law clerk and a good person and that’s all I need to be, and I have an amazing role model to show me how to embrace those things.

You’re amazing Texan, and I love you.

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Little Lion Man

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for their kind messages as of late. It’s nice to know that everyone has felt dark or low & wondered how to get through. But, I’ve also found that, while popular, my blog has been dark. I am not generally a dark person, so I’m injecting some much needed light…

…with Jesus & cat memes.

Whether its a message board I frequent, or a class that requires computers, I break up tension by telling people they need Jesus & cat memes. Why? I dunno, it’s funny. I’m not one who likes anger or tension, so I will generally try to lighten moods by cracking jokes or through something ridiculous. I’ll talk about something that makes me happy instead of the blah thing. The world is full of horrible things, so sometimes we need a break from those things to enjoy a laugh or a smile.

I guess sometimes we need to remember that life needs to be fun too. It’s not all seriousness all of the time & we can break up the seriousness of life with some much needed silliness (I mentioned this HERE, complete with an adorable photo of me being very mature).

So, while we must tackle the seriousness, we could always use a break. Dr. Seuss always said “Fun is good,” so lets take a moment each day to do something fun, something silly & laugh, because tomorrow may require seriousness again.

Until then, I leave you with this cat meme (Jesus sold separately).

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Paralyzed

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Ummmm…this is sort of true.

I understand that Mr. Warren speaks about same sex marriage, but the idea itself is not wrong.

He’s wrong because LGBT isn’t a lifestyle, it’s simply who one is, so his quote doesn’t apply there, but everyone has a different style of life. Smoking marijuana is part of a lifestyle, so is eating healthy. Some of the people I love do these things. Caffeine is a staple of my lifestyle.

I have convictions & a moral centre. I believe promises must always be kept, & I try my best to keep them. I think if you gave your word, you have to do whatever it takes to keep it, even if it hurts for awhile (hence the fatal flaw). I believe that sex is a serious act that must only be given in love & if you have been given that, it’s because I genuinely thought that you were the person I was going to spend my life with. I believe in honesty, kindness & that anger is stupid, to the point that when goaded into anger, I will actually break down into sobs because I just hate anger. But those are my convictions, & apply only to me.

The people I love most in this world do not agree with my convictions, & I do not love them any less, nor do they love me any less. The difference is that we are not trying to pass laws to make what we think is “right” the social norm.

You don’t have to compromise your convictions, but your convictions are not “better” than anyone else’s. if you disagree with the stoner lifestyle, don’t do drugs. If you do not like the idea of working moms, don’t work. But please remember that those should only apply to your family, your life. Also, remember that you did not make the choice to be straight, nor is it a “lifestyle.” If you don’t want to marry someone of the same sex, or anyone, you don’t have to! You also don’t have to eat flax bread! But remember, there are people who enjoy flax bread & they might want to marry someone of the same sex. The flax bread is the lifestyle choice, the other isn’t.

So, remember, everyone has a moral code. No two are the same. Lets respect all convictions, not just the ones we understand.