Category: Observations about Life


Cedar Park, TX Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Cedar Park, TX
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

I’m not a naturally social person.  It’s not that I don’t like people; it’s mostly that I like to be left alone.

I love my friends.  I love spending time hanging out and talking about anything that comes to mind.  But when it comes to strangers, I prefer not to talk.  I believe in politeness and eye contact.  I think that these things are important, and so I stop texting or reading email, make eye contact with the cashier or waitstaff, smile, greet them, and say whatever seems appropriate in that moment.  I do that because I believe that people are feeling more disconnected because of forgetting to do the basics.  However, even though I believe in making human connections with others, I don’t want random conversation.  However, I value those conversations and what I learn about people.  Contradiction?  Yes.  Do I care?  Nope.

I was in the hardware store recently, and as an older gentlemen helped me find the part I needed, I mentioned that I recently moved to Austin.  He started telling me how much he loved Houston, and said, “I’m old fashioned.  I love women with big hair.  In Texas they have more of them, but not as many as they used to.”  People say the greatest and most unexpected things sometimes.  I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

A few days ago, I went to Walgreens because I needed two small items, and I figured it would be quicker to go to the drugstore than Wal-Mart.  Wrong.

Although I got my items and paid for them in less than 10 minutes, the cashier started chatting, and before I knew it, a half hour had gone by.  I did enjoy our conversation, but in the back of my head, I kept thinking, “I have things to do.  It’s time for me to go.”  I learned about this woman’s first marriage, and her unexpected third child.  I learned that she likes to travel and works at Walgreens so that she has extra money.  I learned that she has Apple stock, and that she once had a customer who gives all her saved money (like if an item is on sale and she saves $1) to her young son, and that he in turn invests the money, and that at 8, he owns stock.  All very interesting, and part of me is glad when I have unexpected conversations with strangers, while another part of me, the larger part of me, still wishes I never had to leave the house.

I have extroverted friends who love talking to strangers, being nosy inquiring about others’ lives, and just generally meeting everyone.  I’m always perplexed by this behavior, but because I can fake extrovert, I get caught up in some of the same types of conversations.  I just don’t happen to enjoy them as much as others.  I enjoy the end result though, which is having more characteristics for my internal character bank.

So what do you think?  Do you love or hate talking to strangers?  Or are you too somewhere in between?

Sexy Costumes

Yep, that's me.  Halloween 2011.

Yep, that’s me. Halloween 2011.

When I was in my 20’s, I dressed in some sexy costumes.  Who doesn’t use Halloween as an excuse to step a little out of the comfort zone?  However, I really think the “sexy” costumes are getting a little out of hand.  (Is this me being old?)  Halloween is a FALL holiday, and I’m seeing costumes that don’t cover much more than a bathing suit’s worth of flesh.  Is freezing really sexy?  No one has ever said to me, “Those goosebumps look great on you.”

Plus, what happened to being scary or having fun?  Sexy and nurse go together, but sexy and Freddie Krueger??  (Freddie is a burned up weirdo… just sayin’.)  He’s supposed to be scary.  He murders people!  I think it’s cool to dress up like him because I love the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.  But to make scary be sexy (unless you’re being ironic or sardonic) seems just odd to me.  Like writing to convicted murderers looking for romance.  And a sexy nun?  I’m not religious, but that just seems disrespectful.

I guess it all boils down to what Halloween is about for you.  For me it’s a time to watch scary movies, dress up and have a lot of fun.  I like to look good but I don’t have to be “sexy.”  I like ghosts and witches and vampires and Freddy and Jason.  I like giving out candy and smelling pumpkin and apple spice.  I like when it gets too cold to wear skimpy clothes and when leaves crunch under my feet.  I love going to haunted houses and getting the jolt of fear, just for a second.

I don’t like freezing various parts of my anatomy off or having to worry that if I bend over, I’ll be showing off parts I prefer to keep covered.  The bottom line is that Halloween is for fun, and should be about whatever is fun for you.

This year, I’m dressing up as a sugar skull.  I can’t wait to see how my makeup turns out.

While we’re on the subject of sexy costumes: Here’s a link to men dressing up in sexy Halloween costumes.  I love this one.

Here’s another one to 32 sexy costumes that don’t really make sense.  I agree with many of them.  I just shook my head and wondered why.  Especially the crayon.  Who ever looked at a crayon and thought, “I’d hit that?”

So what’s your vote on Halloween costumes?  Sexy or not?  And do you find anything skimpy to be sexy, or does it have to make sense?

Feel Good Friday

Happy Friday!  I, for one, am very happy that today is Friday.  I’m looking very much forward to the weekend.

Gang members feed hungry kids.

Man leaves letters behind for his family to read after his death.

Printer creates 3-D memories for the blind.

Luggage drive for foster children makes moving a little easier. 

Sewage workers go beyond the call of duty to find a woman’s flushed ring.

Go enjoy something today.

Go enjoy something today.

Pecan Street Festival, Austin TX Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Pecan Street Festival, Austin TX
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

It seems like everyone these days has trust issues, if Facebook is any indication.  I see all kinds of posts going around about how people have had their trust broken, about how loved ones are stabbing them in the back, and I think, “Does everyone have trust issues?”

I guess everyone has someone in their lives who have hurt them.  You can’t get through life without it.  The issue is how it affects you.  Do you let those who’ve hurt you color your relationships with everyone, or do you learn the lesson and move on from it?

I’ve had people break my trust, and at the time, it hurt.  I thought I would never recover from it.  Eventually, time and distance lessen pain, and I did move on from what happened.  It didn’t resolve overnight, and when I was able to take a step back from the pain, I found lessons in what happened.  I could have chosen to learn that people aren’t trustworthy, but I didn’t learn that.  What I learned is that people are human, and sometimes hurt you.  Sometimes it’s intentional, and when it is, it’s usually about something going on with them.  Sometimes it’s unintentional.  They’re hurt.  Or depressed.  Or in pain.  Or scared.  And they lash out.  There are some genuinely rotten people out there, but that’s not most of the people I meet.  Most of the people I meet just have their own stuff going on.  But I digress.

So in my case, the person was all of the above: hurt, depressed, in pain, and scared.  This person lashed out at me and hurt me.  A lot.  In order to protect myself, I had to distance myself from this person, which really hurt me because it was someone I was very close to.  All of the above is not an excuse to hurt others, and I wasn’t going to stand in the way and be hurt over and over again.  I completely cut myself off from this person for about 6 months.  I ignored text messages, phone calls, Facebook messages, and emails.  I took that time to heal myself, and in that time, I decided that I wanted to continue a relationship with this person.  I went back to the relationship, knowing 100% who they were and choosing to accept it.  Acceptance doesn’t make it okay when others hurt you, but acceptance does mean that you’ll be okay, no matter what happens.

To my surprise, when I refused to get angry, our relationship actually improved.  The person got a little healthier and I was a lot healthier.  I didn’t keep opening those old wounds.

My situation isn’t everyone’s situation.  But I do think that forgiveness works in every situation.  I forgave, and it healed me inside.  Sometimes forgiveness has to be done at a distance.  Sometimes when you forgive, you can’t resume the relationship.  It’s important not to continue a relationship with someone who hurts you over and over.  You can’t forgive an ongoing wound; it would be nearly impossible and completely exhausting.

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.  It’s really just a choice to let go of pain and bitterness.  Many people say that trust issues are their way of protecting themselves from getting hurt again, but I disagree.  Most people with “trust issues” don’t feel good about those issues.  Their lack of trust in others doesn’t make them feel safer or more secure.  Having trust issues means that the person must constantly be on the defensive, must worry about and analyze the intentions of others.  That doesn’t sound like a solution to me; it sounds like a whole new set of problems.

Even though I’ve been hurt in the past (the above is just one example), I don’t assume people are going to hurt me.  I assume that they’ll do the best they can with what they’ve got.  Sometimes, the best they can do in that moment is awful.  Sometimes they’re mean or unpredictable or just not present.  But that’s not about me; that’s about them.  And I could choose to judge them for it, or I can try to understand that whatever is going on in their heads is why they are that way.  And I can understand that nothing I could do or say to them would be worse than them having to live inside their own heads, and I can be grateful that I don’t have to spend time there.

I never give  anything I can’t afford to: money, time, love, energy.  So when I give it away, if I don’t get paid back, I let it go.  Because I didn’t give away something too expensive.  That allows me, when someone breaks my trust, to let it go and know that at that moment, the person I gave to felt that they needed whatever it was more than I did.  I can wish them well and walk away.

IMG_5213I’m superstitious.  I throw salt over my shoulder to blind passing witches and will never pick up a penny unless it’s head’s up.  I knock on wood to stun the fairies (they’re mischievous), and I don’t like crossing under ladders.

BUT… I love the number 13, and I love black cats.  Did you know that black cats are the least adopted?  Did you know that October is a dangerous month for these precious animals due to their completely unfair reputation?

I don’t personally have any black cats right now, but I have in the past.  My sister in law has always had black cats, and they’re exactly the same as other cats.  Except, you know… they’re black.  Normally, I like scary stories, but not at the expense of a living thing.

So where did the whole black cats being unlucky thing come from?  Well, it comes from a couple of different places, but it boils down to black cats being evil, and often blamed for being a witch’s familiar.  Because we all know how often “old woman” and “cat” goes in the same sentence, right?  Apparently a witch was just the earliest crazy cat lady.  Here’s a link if you want a more in-depth explanation.

I bring this up because I want you to realize that there are some people who are superstitious out there.  If you have a beloved black kitty, please keep him or her close to home in October especially.  And next time you go to adopt, remember that black kitties need homes too.

What’s your favorite superstition?

Feel Good Friday

Hello, it’s Friday, so there are lots of reasons to feel good today!  Here are a few more…

Army veteran gets a happy surprise.

People thank people who have helped them.

Dogs stay with an injured woman until help arrives.

Man regains some sight with a bionic eye.

Facebook users save horse from an uncertain fate.

abrahamlincoln137180

Cedar Park, Texas Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Cedar Park, Texas
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

The world is loud.

I never knew that before. I was born with a hearing impairment, not a really bad one, but just enough to make certain things annoying. Like when I had jury duty. Or talking to soft spoken people. Or eating with a friend in noisy restaurants. I probably could have gone my whole life without hearing aids, until I became a therapist. Then I realized it was just impractical to be with someone who just told me about something awful and emotional, sometimes their first time telling anybody, and have to say, “I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”

I intended to get hearing aids back in Arizona, but then I found out we would be moving, and decided to put it off until I got to Texas.  Once here, I got tested by an audiologist, and got my first pair of hearing aids ever.  I told her that I primarily wanted them for work, or in as needed situations.  She laughed and said she was pretty sure that once I got used to them, I’d want to wear them all the time.

Um, no.

The world is a loud, loud place.  I never realized it before because I’ve always been insulated by my own limited hearing.  My first day, I wore the hearing aids for two hours, and then I had to take Excedrin from the pounding headache from being able to hear everything.

And they’re not even turned all the way up yet.

I’m so grateful for this wonderful technology, and I’m grateful that I had enough money in my HSA account to buy them.  But to wear them full time?  No.

You see, silence is one of my favorite things.  I love to sit and read or write or surf the internet in silence.  If I do put music on, it’s quiet.  I love being outside, but I can hear the birds chirping or the wind rustling in the leaves of the trees.  I can’t hear traffic.  Or my neighbors.

I knew that for me, hearing aids would primarily be a tool, but I didn’t realize how they would make me understand that my limited hearing has never been a limitation for me at all; it’s been a blessing.  I get to hear the world in a very different way than others do, and that’s not a bad thing.  When I want to hear more, I put my hearing aids in, and suddenly, the world is louder.  It’s easier for me to understand other people speaking and pull in background noise.  And when I take them out, the world is quiet again.

I asked my husband if he minded if I didn’t wear them at home, and he shrugged and said that after 14 years, he’s used to speaking loudly so that I can hear him.  <3  I guess most of my friends are.

Back to my audiologist… it occurs to me again that it’s an extrovert’s world.  She assumed that I would like hearing and like connecting with the world around me, when it’s the opposite.  I don’t feel disconnected.  I connect with the people I want to and leave the rest in the background.  I don’t mind not knowing what’s going on behind me or around me.  I don’t mind missing background noises or sounds.  I like my life’s soundtrack to be quiet.

Where do you weigh in on silence vs noise?

Feel Good Friday

Hi, it’s Friday, so it’s time to focus on the good in the world (but you’re already doing that all week, right?)

Blind dog has seeing eye cat.

Cop pays vet bill for service dog after hit and run.

College students tip pizza delivery man $1200.

Veteran who is a double amputee uses exercise to battle depression and ends up on cover of Men’s Health.

Not a specific news story, but a whole site dedicated to random acts of kindness.

“Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.” ~Robert Brault

I’m a fan of graffiti.  Not gang tags or kids destroying stuff for the sake of destruction, but I understand the need to carve your name in a wooden picnic table or write on a bathroom wall.  I’ve never done it, but I admire the artwork and creativity of others.

I don’t understand the need to destroy, when others deface artwork or “tag” things that were clearly not meant to be tagged.  I once saw petroglyphs in a rock where people had carved their names into the stone around them, and I wondered who would destroy something like that.

This post isn’t about acts of destruction though.  I recently ran into graffiti on a bathroom wall that made me smile and made me think.  When I read it, I thought, “This is kind of a low-tech Facebook.”

As seen on a bathroom wall stall...

As seen on a bathroom wall stall…

I really enjoyed this conversation.  In black, is:

“Don’t (sic) ever fall in love.  it’s a trap.”

“<– thats depressing.”

“<DONT (sic) EVER FOLLOW SOMEONE ELSE’S HEART.  THATS (sic) THE TRAP.”

Then it gets interesting.  (Extra points because she used mostly used proper punctuation, grammar, and spelling).  In brown, it says,

“Love is a choice, not a feeling.  Those butterflies are from infatuation.  Love at first sight is a Feb 14 hoax.  We should strive for love and grow more deeply in it daily with our partners.  Because when I see him for the last time I want to be more in love with him then (sic) I ever have been before.  But, Just my opinion. -CK”

It’s clear that the first girl had a bad experience, probably not long before she wrote that.  I picture her in the bathroom, getting a disappointing text message from her beloved.  Maybe her beloved broke up with her via text just then.  Maybe they had an argument over dinner.  Maybe her beloved didn’t send her a text when she expected one.  In any case, at that moment, she was moved to write those words.  She could have updated her Facebook status with that, and maybe she did that as well.  Or, maybe she didn’t want her friends and family to know that her beloved disappointed her yet again.

The girl in brown wrote that “Love is a choice, not a feeling.”  I agree with her sentiment, but not exactly what she says.  Anyone who’s ever been in love, especially after they’ve made it past the butterflies in your stomach feeling, knows that long term love is both a choice and a feeling.  Once upon a time, I dated a wonderful man, but I just didn’t have that feeling for him, and ended up breaking it off.  I could have chosen to stay, but without that love feeling, it can be hard to get through the ups and downs of a real relationship.  In contrast, with my husband, I’m long past the butterflies in my stomach stage, but I still have that warm and fuzzy feeling.  And that warm feeling helps me choose not to bash him over the head with a very heavy object when he irritates me.

In all seriousness, I don’t believe that you can choose who you fall in love with.  I believe in chemistry, and I believe that the chemistry between two individuals can be love.  I’m not just talking about romantic chemistry/ love, but also the platonic chemistry/ love that happens between friends.  Sometimes you just know that you’re going to be wonderful friends or lovers, and the relationship doesn’t take years to build.  Sometimes those relationships start immediately because of chemistry.  But at some point, there’s clearly the choice to put the hard work in or not put the hard work in.

Love isn’t the trap.  Thinking that love should be easy is the trap.  But, just my opinion.  :)

Feel Good Friday

Here’s your dose of good news for the day.  I’d just like to mention that one thing I noticed when doing my homework to post good news, is that a lot of good news stories are much shorter than their negative counterparts.  Click these links, look for good news, and show the news outlets that you’d like to see more of these stories.  That’s how change happens.

Vet with PTSD feels better with the help DD from Pets for Vets.

Finally, a mirror that tells the truth!

Cops rescue ring and save marriage proposal.

Man donates kidney to stranger.

Firefighters clean up yard for an elderly woman.

“Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond.”
-Hunter S. Thompson

 

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