The Time I Thought They Forgot My Birthday

The Universe schooled me this week.

I thought my coworkers were going to forget my birthday. You know, kinda like what happened to Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles. Except I am a GROWN WOMAN and felt really dumb worrying about people forgetting my 43RD BIRTHDAY. And yet, I worried.

“Maybe you should drop a hint?” my sister half-joked.

“I can’t do that! I’ll look crazy!” I answered.

So the anxiety stayed in the back of my mind for the next few days. I wondered why I cared so much. I don’t really like being the center of attention, so why did it matter if they remembered or not. It matters because them remembering makes you feel like YOU matter, I thought to myself. Oh right. That makes sense. Conversely, if people forget, it means you don’t matter. Nobody wants to not matter. Duh.

Anyway, these girls remembered like a boss. They remembered so hard. Balloons, decorations, cupcakes, flowers, a card, lunch and treats. They even sung the birthday song. They outdid all previous coworker birthday celebrations. How could I ever have doubted them? That was silly.

Universe: When will you learn? I got this.

 

The Business Plan That Had Nothing To Do With Me

An ex-boy-now-a-friend of mine was in town for a visit a couple of months ago and wanted to get together. Last time we saw each other, we were 20 years old and making lots of terrible decisions. As dramaticically driven twenty-somethings do. He ended up moving away for a job, we broke up and eventually lost touch.

During our visit we had a drink, caught up on life and talked about the future. He mentioned that he planned to move home again (my city) and wanted my help re-starting his business. We could be partners. I asked if his live in girlfriend knew about his plans and he said that she did, but that she would never move. It became obvious that they were on the rocks. Like, big rocks.

I figured the move-back-and-start-a-business plan was all just talk. Something we all do when we are looking for an exit from current life circumstances. Even so, we continued to discuss it after he left town. I kept checking on his commitment.

I’m sure you’ll change your mind, I texted.

Not changing my mind!, he texted back.

For weeks we talked logistics, timeframe and long term goals. As excitement grew, I began to think it could possibly work out. I allowed myself a measured amount of enthusiasm regarding the venture because I also knew that people rarely follow through with grand plans. This move-back-and-start-a-business thing was an obvious attempt to escape whatever shitstorm was happening back at his house. So I was playing it by ear.

Then everything went silent. He quit answering my texts.

“I’m not surprised,” my sister said. “People are shitty.”

“I’m not surprised he changed his mind, but I always expected him to tell me when he had,” I replied. “Not just play dead!”

(His sister has confirmed he’s not dead, by the way.)

For whatever reason, he’s not interested in dealing with the situation.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

People do weird things like this all the time. When I was younger, it used to upset me. I would get really wrapped up in figuring out the ‘why’ of it all. I’d take the disappointment personally. But now… now I just feel like people are complicated.

It’s not a personal thing. We all have our reasons. Our fears. Our insecurities. Our baggage. Our enigmatic actions are shaped by our own experiences and usually they have little to do with the people who are left wondering about them.

Another Interesting, But Unfruitful Procedure

I went for another “let’s see if this works” headache procedure yesterday. It’s called a Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block and it’s disgusting.

As I waited for the nurse to do her paperwork, I gazed at the only piece of artwork in the exam room.

IMG_0063

Weird choice for an exam room. Wondered if all of the exam rooms contained senior stock photos.  I’m used to seeing pictures of egrets or sand dunes.

“Is that the doctor?” I asked the nurse, half joking.

“No,” said the nurse chuckling.

I imagine it must be some famous geriatric surfer. I don’t travel in surfing circles, but I’m sure he’s probably an important part of that community.

Doctor has me lay down on the exam table while he and I begin a dance called The Approach and Pull Away. Very popular dance in doctors’ offices, I suspect. He approaches my nose with the liquid, I turn my head. He approaches, I turn. Cha cha cha. I finally get ahold of myself and let him pour the bitter water DOWN MY NOSTRILS.

<gag, choke, cough sniff, almost barf>

Now the Q-tips.

“Close your eyes,” he said. In regular life, those words are usually followed by some awesome surprise. In medical life, it’s never good. He had obviously wised up since the liquid. He didn’t want me to see the gigantic size of the Q-tips he was about to shove DOWN MY NOSTRILS. I didn’t want to see them either, so I happily complied. He inserted one Q-tip into each of my nostrils and pushed them in until they touched the back of my throat. Yeah. Picture it. It’s as unpleasant as it sounds.

“Ok just lay there and I’ll be back in 15 minutes,” said the doctor.

“Ok but DON’T FORGET TO COME BACK!” I said nervously. Doc laughs. No, but for real, I thought, don’t forget!

So I laid on the table, Q-tips sticking out like walrus tusks. I stared at geriatric surfer. He was my only friend.

Doc came back, as promised, and removed the Q-tips. “See how your headache is tonight,” he said.

“Ok,” I humored him, too familiar with this drill. “I will.”

I felt dollar signs exploding from the top of my head as I left. Another bundle of money for another procedure. And today I still feel the same. Next!

Photo courtesy of Wikepedia

 

I Think It’s Not Really About The Guns

“Guns don’t kill, people do.”

Okay, but that’s still a really big problem.

Each time an act of gun violence occurs, I feel like we try to treat the symptoms but not the disease. Gun violence is a symptom of a much larger problem. Gun control is a band-aid and not a cure.

Like when Hannah and I get home from a long day, it’s a million degrees out, I have a headache and I trip over her backpack and yell, “WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR BACKPACK HERE! I’VE TOLD YOU A MILLION TIMES TO TAKE IT TO YOUR ROOM! YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME!” Hannah stares at me for a moment and then says, “Ok this obviously isn’t about the backpack. What’s the real issue?”

It’s like that.

She could move her backpack, but that’s not really what has me pissed. And even if she hadn’t left her backpack there, I’d find another dumb reason to explode. So what really needs attention is the root of my anger, not the location of the backpack.

I’m not a gun person. Like most Americans, I support common sense gun legislation. Yes! Good. Do it. That’s an appropriate reaction. Lock all that shit down! Especially the ridiculous automatic weapons. That’s a no-brainer for anyone, you’d think.

But also…negative emotions stem from fear …and violence is a symptom of fear. Fear is the real disease and it’s spreading. It’s becoming accepted as part of our culture (I’m looking at you and your fence, Donald Trump). It’s a spiritual problem that needs our attention.

“There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. It’s true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it’s more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They’re opposites. If we’re in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.” —Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

What do you think? I would love to hear. Please feel free to comment!

If you like this article and want to read more of my blog, like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/growingtowardthesun/.

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Online Dating is a Pointless Endeavor With No End in Sight

Originally published 5/19/14
“Me. You. Tonight.”

Oh brother.

I sign in for 1 month. I sign off for 1 month. I sign in for 1 month. I sign off for 1 month. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s a vicious cycle that begins with optimism and ends in loss of all faith in humanity.

Once you sign up, you’re immediately engulfed by a sea of profiles. None of which tell you anything. All blend together.

I love to laugh. Who doesn’t? I can go from jeans to dress up. I ponder if there are any men out there who stomp their foot and refuse to take off their jeans. I enjoy snowboarding, water skiing, rock climbing, surfing, scuba, biking, skydiving… Ok I’m already exhausted.

You begin to realize that online dating is both helpful and harmful. Advantages: quantity. Disadvantages: quantity. It’s way too easy to pass by an unflattering photo. Maybe one thing in their “About Me” turns you off. They don’t have this thing or that thing. And even though I am aware that this is a jackass way to be, I can’t seem to stop myself. I see one comment or observe one attribute or hobby and then start making up this whole story about that person.

Likes sports. I bet his whole life is sports and I do not want every Sunday swallowed up by football. Works in IT. I bet he has no sense of humor and is a huge know-it-all. Spend most of my time hunting and fishing. His politics are probably a nightmare. Love motorcycles. He couldn’t possibly be family oriented.

I try to look for people whose profiles show effort, like mindedness and a sense of humor. I’m honest in mine and forthright about the fact that I have a daughter. Still, once I find someone appealing, the invitations I get to meet are usually incredibly last minute.

Me: I’m free Wednesday.
Him: I have to move my kayak.
Me: Ok
Him: Tell you what…I’ll text you after I move my kayak and we’ll see if that leaves us time to meet up after.

Thanks for squeezing me in (maybe) and making me feel soooo special. And like I have nothing else to do but wait around for kayak movers. Pass.

So we all hang in a little bit longer…just in case…someone might have their kayak already moved and be able to plan a date…and maybe make that connection that will pave our way out of the world of online dating.

Until then, we keep growing toward the sun with our valiant efforts and never ending faith, open to…whatever happens.

photo credit: Cab over water via photopin (license)

Please Exit In An Orderly Fashion

My friend got canned on Friday. Employer says he is welcome to stay while they look for a replacement and he looks for a new position. I thought to myself, wow, now THAT would be a conundrum.

On the one hand, you might as well stay and keep getting your paycheck while you find something else. Seems silly to cut off your nose to spite your face. On the other hand, how how how? I think it would be really hard to go back to a place that has let you go. To exit in such an orderly fashion after such an ego hit.

I think a lot of people would never go back. Or they’d go back for the paycheck, but secretly fantasize about burning the place to the ground.

But he said something very growing-toward-the-sun-ish that won my admiration. “It’s just business. I don’t have any hard feelings. If I get all bitter about it, it just makes things worse for me.”

Touché.

And that’s how it’s done. <mic drop>

Hannah Saves The World

“There’s this kid at school who is different and people always bother him,” Hannah told me on our morning drive to the bus stop.

“Like different how?” I asked.

“I dunno. Like he’ll sneak up behind you in the hall and scare you. And he doesn’t really talk much. I dunno…” she trailed off.

<imaginary question marks popping out of the top of my head>

“Mornings in the courtyard are getting so annoying because people won’t leave him alone. He likes to sit under the palm tree and save the ants and bugs and things. He builds them these little houses and tries to take care of them and then idiots just come up and step on them. They purposely taunt him until he reacts. So then he gets upset and chases them because, duh. But then the idiots turn it around on him and act like he’s crazy and they’re a victim,” she went on.

“Do you say anything?” I asked.

“Yeah Trista and I told them to leave him alone and that they could go be someplace else,” she said, getting worked up. “And the teachers tell them to get away from him, but don’t really do anything about it. This is how school shooters are born!” she exclaimed, her voice rising.

“Why do you think they pick on him?” I asked her, wanting to see what she thought.

“I guess people like to pick on the weak to make themselves feel stronger. Or maybe they need attention. They’re showing off. It’s SO ANNOYING!” Hannah sighed.

My heart broke for this kid, protector of the ants.

“Yes, people tend to pick on those who are different. They’re easy targets. I hope you stand up for him every chance you can. Maybe if they know someone is going to confront them when they harass him, they will be less likely to do it,” I said.

I realize we are at a fork in the road and wonder if I should call the principal. I play out different scenarios in my mind. Still cannot decide.

“I just don’t understand why people have to hurt other people for no reason,” she said. I like that she doesn’t understand this. I like that she questions this. I like that she chooses the path of growing toward the sun. I like her moxie.