While I am waiting for M to run, shower, eat, and finally be ready to leave the house with me, I have been cleaning house and reading blogs. Not necessarily at the same time, although right now the laundry is churning in Hansel and Gretel and the dishwasher is blasting so technically I am doing chores while reading blogs and writing this post. Cookies for this evening (yes, we are putting in an appearance at my daughter’s birthday party) are cooling on the rack. A kitchenaid mixer, double ovens, and lots of cookies sheets make quick work of the chocolate chip cookie baking process.
I have a bunch of random thoughts going through my head today, none of which would make a very substantial post on their own. This is a compilation of reading and other events in life from the week.
A bestie started therapy. This is a milestone event, and I am mentally and emotionally bracing myself for her in this process. It is huge and the potential impact on her day-to-day life are significant. That said, I am enormously excited and pleased for her, while at the same time scared and anxious. Having been through my fair share of counselors and therapists over the years, I know how helpful and how challenging the process can be in unraveling old hurts and coping with things we would rather not ever think about much less deal with directly. We cannot expect family and friends to replace qualified, objective, professional counselors, and she needs this outlet and brand of assistance.
Happy marriages may be an illusion. Over the course of the last year I have officially and unofficially followed a number of blogs for cheating and betrayed spouses. It has mostly been a curious exercise for me, in that my judgment gene gets a much more intense work out that I would have ever imagined. I have to continually remind myself that these blogs are focused on the fallout of a poor choice, and whether it’s written my a remorseful cheater or the betrayed spouse, the intensity of the emotions remains the same, frequently years after the discovery or the confession. I am most definitely someone who believes in the consequences for our actions, so the straying spouse may or may not receive much level of sympathy from me. That said, if a betrayed spouse cannot forgive and rebuild, perhaps a clean break is in order. What I find fascinating is the view of the marriage before the breach, and sometimes we choose people who do not really reveal their true character until long after the fact.
I may be kind of smug about my own marriage, and OMG I HOPE it never comes across that way to others. M and I have a good marriage. Completely, normally, realistically imperfect, but a good marriage all the same. We are kind of boring that way, too, and I am perfectly okay with that fact. Truth is I think we are pretty ordinary people trying to be the best examples of humanity. Reading something earlier this week makes me realize that while I do not always listen to M – he talks A LOT about the myriad of issues that have currently captured his attention – I am very serious about active listening when it counts. I can listen and think my own thoughts while he is ranting about the state of DC and politics and the nonsensical actions of groups pushing their own agenda. But I hear the change in pitch, instinctively understand when the subject changes and turns to his father and the ongoing grief for his recent loss. I am 110% tuned in to what he is saying, what he needs at that moment. Same is true for him. For all the times he makes me crazy with his OCD tendencies about things that do not matter (that’s a whole series of posts at some future date), for all the times I have asked him to shut the fuck up and just LISTEN to me tell him the story without his quasi-therapeutic input, his happiness and well-being bobbles around as my highest priority. The only things that tend to push it out of the top spot is other, bigger, life-or-death-level issues with me or the kids. And that feels right.
I love the holidays and really do believe it is the thought that counts. No secret to anyone reading this blog, I love Christmas, love the holidays. I am completely without shame in my shopping for tree bling, house bling, gifts for family and close friends. Wrapping presents is a happy experience, and I am eagerly anticipating the rip of paper and crushing of bows next week. I’m prepared for my kids to not love what I have purchased and will not really care if they return the items for something else they desire or need. I shop based on my own feelings and perceptions, and if I am off the mark, there is always next year. Or next year could be the DIY gift instead. In my heart I know those I love, those I share gifts with, know my intentions were pure and that I had a blast picking out what I chose, even if it did not quite work. I tried, and probably most of the time, I succeeded. But it pains me when someone, anyone, gives me something and then apologizes for is petiteness or lack of higher value. Truly, the idea that someone took a moment to think about me and provide a gift is all that matters to me. I might not need it, I might not even like it all that much, but I am genuinely and sincerely touched by the sentiment of giving behind it.
I desire acceptance and approval, but it does not have to define my happiness and contentment. A few different posts this week, including my own celebrating my first year of blogging, have me thinking about what I write about and who may or may not be reading. When I first started blogging, it was with trepidation that I hit the publish button those first few dozen times. Then as I received my first comments and followers, the people pleaser within me woke up and tried to examine what I said, what they were blogging about, and how I might become a better fit for each. That faded pretty quickly, as it felt completely unnatural to me. While my own blog voice is still evolving – probably a lifetime process – the words squeaking out are all mine own, typos and all. I realize this carries over into other aspects of my life. I do things for other people all the time, because it makes me feel good or because I view it as my responsibility somehow. I work the jobs I work because it benefits them to pay me to do so, and I have to do something to earn an income to keep our little household afloat. I enjoy my work, mostly enjoy my bosses, coworkers, clients, and vendors. There are things I have done and accomplished that I am very proud of, yet I know that it’s not a legacy that carries over once I move on to the next job, or the one after that. Thing is I just want to do a good job, be compensated fairly, and go home after the end of each day feeling good about my life. I do not hate my jobs, but I am not positively passionate about them either. They are a suitable means to an end, in that we get to have our home, our cars, food on the table, electricity, heat, retirement savings, and all the rest that goes with it. My self-esteem is not predicated on positive affirmations from my bosses, although I would be truly devastated if they fired me because I was failing them somehow. I have been fired before; I know how crushing it was to my ego. But still, I overcame, I go up, I got another job. Life continued. I am happier now because I learned from that experience all those years ago, and I have learned from being unhappy in circumstances I cannot control. Maybe I can (and did) change those circumstances, but maybe now I cannot. I can give the circumstances less power over me; I can let what is giving me grief have less ability to define my worth. I always have choices, and many/most/all of them could be choices I hate. My worth, my final value rests with me, and I always hope to believe I am worth more than the outside forces contributing to my dissatisfaction, even if I cannot choose to completely escape the outside forces.
As a consumer, my best defense against poor customer service is voting with my feet and taking my business elsewhere. I wrote earlier about our replacement car search and severing a business relationship with a local dealership. Since then I have had phone conversations with the sales manager and general manager of the dealership. They were both apologetic, but maintained that it was a simple mistake and all cars are subject to prior sale, yadda, yadda, yadda. I accept that I am one customer out of thousands they will have in the coming months and years until our next vehicle purchase, and whatever they profit them might make from transactions with me was not even a drop in their annual sales bucket. However, my monetary contribution to their profit margin is not nothing, and while I am not going to go on a PR campaign against them, I will also drive farther to have my vehicle serviced and repaired and will share my buying experience with anyone else I meet looking to buy a vehicle. In my book they are even less trustworthy than your average car dealership and their attempts to repair the service relationship only underscore that distrust. They admit the sales consultant made a mistake, but they also state the sales consultant had no obligation to honor our verbal agreement. The top guy in the day-to-day operations telling me this helps their case how? We agree to disagree, I will shop elsewhere in the future.
Dictionary.com is THE BEST. Sometimes I wonder if I am using the right word in the right context. It’s so nice to have a quick and easy way to check both spelling and meaning while writing.
And with that we are off. Hope you all have a wonderful Saturday.