Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If Pride Had Calories, I'd Be 9,000 Pounds.

Boy, turning Forty came with more shit than I could have imagined - some good and some bad and some, well... I guess some newly-acquired knowledge. (I guess that can fall under either category).

Everything has changed for me and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm now questioning the virtues, the ideas, and everything else I've always believed in.

We all have a certain sense of pride, dignity, and integrity; some of us have small egos, while others have inexplicably ginormous ones; some people are self-righteous, while some are humble; some are conceited, while others are completely self-deprecating. There's well-deserved forgiveness and equally, well-deserved blame. And then there's the truth. The truth is a concept that has different meanings, or so it seems, to everyone.

I've come to a conclusion that all of those things mentioned above are full of great meaning and also full of shit at the same time. Yes, while all of those virtues and traits are fine and dandy, there has to be some sort of balance between them, as well.

I'm always able to swallow my pride if and when I have to. Sure, it tastes bad going down but, hell, when I have to do it, the results have always been worth it. Shit, if pride had calories, I'd weigh 9,000 pounds. What amazes me, though, is how other people allow their pride to get in the way of things and how they make their decisions. Sure, it's a wonderful thing to have pride in yourself and in your character, but when it prevents you from seeing situations from another person's perspective because, God forbid your ego takes a punch in the gut, is it really that important? When it comes to losing out on something significant in your life, is it not worth taking that small hit? I've always believed that nobody is that fucking great to take that hit.

But there's another, darker side to that, as well. A small ding in your pride is one thing. But when you let go of it almost completely, that's a problem. Like I said, balance is key. I've been to that side, where I've tossed all my self-respect to the ground and had it dragged through the mud for something I believed so strongly in, something so worth it, but in the end, unfortunately, all that did for me was make me feel foolish. But in another way, it was a good lesson in learning that whole 'balance' thing I mentioned. Wear your pride like you wear your winter clothing: in layers. Sometimes, you have to shed a sweater when it gets too warm, but at least you still have something still on so you don't get too cold. Does that make any kind of ridiculous sense? (Oh, my three readers, I've been up since 3:50 am. Please try to figure that one out on your own.)

Another thing I've come to realize with age is that I hate how people skew the truth in order to soothe themselves, to make themselves look better/smarter/superior to others, or just because the real truth isn't something they can accept for whatever reason. Damn, I've told the truth even when it shed me in a bad light but to me, it was the right thing to do. Sure the truth is always easier to say when it makes us look good, but I think it shows more character to admit it even when it doesn't. People dance around it, they twist and turn it, they ignore it, they exaggerate it.... To look the truth right in the eye though? (Mostly) unheard of.

Which brings me to forgiveness. I've had so many experiences in my life with so many people where this was an issue. I've forgiven people in my past for things I probably shouldn't have forgiven them for. But who says I'm so great or high and mighty that I shouldn't give others another chance (or two, or ten, or endless ones, which has been the case many-a-time). Why are too many people so intent, though, on being unforgiving? Is it their stupid dignity that gets in the way? Are they in some way partially to blame in some way, shape or form and can't accept that? Do they feel that forgiveness is a sign of weakness? I don't know about anyone else, but to me, being able to forgive is a sign or strength.

I hate questioning all I've ever believed in, all the virtues and ideas I've had about people and life, but every day, something causes me to do so. Certainly, I am far from perfect and at one time or another have had the scales tip too greatly on the pride/truth/integrity/whatever side. But I am human. I recognize these things about myself and I always want to find a balance; I strive for it.

We all have to look at ourselves in the mirror every day and remind ourselves that the person looking back at us is the one person we have to make decisions for and live with forever. When I feel like I'm losing my own sense of self or have done something I am not too proud of, I never revert my eyes from that reflection - I face it and try to do the best that I can to change or make up for anything I need to. I don't want my ability to forgive or to be honest or any of those other things to become unrecognizable to me. But sometimes they do and unfortunately, it's because I've allowed people and bad experiences to do that to me. I don't want that, and I really don't want to question myself and who I am because at the end of the day, warts and all, I still want and like to be Ol' Forty.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks Be

Normally, I just say little prayers in my head and thank God silently. But here's a list to my three readers of what I am thankful for:

1) My kids, Thirteen and Nine. The lights (and pains in the asses) of my life. Nothing would be the same without you two. Even though life has changed for all of us, all is still pretty damn good and for those things that are a little shaky, Ol' Mama Forty will make it all good. I love you two to pieces.

2) My family (Ol' Sixty Eight, Forty-three and even Ol' Forty-Eight). No matter what, you are all constants in my life through the good, bad and the-fucking- so-ugly-it's-ridiculous.

3) My friends. The ones I met through my kids' school, the ones who I've known through my own schooling and the ones who've gone away and come back. You all are the people who I hold near and dear to me, sometimes nearer and dearer than other times. ;-)

4) My sense of humor. It gets me through all those aforementioned good, bad and so fucking-ugly-it's-ridiculous times. I laugh at myself constantly even when I want to scream. Who else can walk into work with a bra hanging off her shoulder and laugh all day?

5) My sense of who I am. It's taken me years to figure it out but I finally know. I no longer care so much how others perceive me because perception is just that - we all see things differently. My truths are the most important to me because I know what I believe, I know what I mean, I know my own intentions. If someone else chooses to see it differently, then so be it. As long as I know what I know.

6) My determination. I have done things that I never thought I would do. I have pushed through things I never thought I could get through. I have achieved certain goals that, at one time or another, seemed unattainable. Sometimes it takes me years and years to accomplish what I want to, but I always find a way.

7) My belief and desire to forgive and be forgiven. Everything and everyone deserves chances - sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes countless. Most, if not all things, can be worked through. At least I think so.

8) Pizza and Pindar. (come on... we knew that was coming)

9) The opportunity(ies) to speak my mind. We should all be able to do so no matter what.

10) People that tell me my bra is stuck to my shoulder. I am so thankful for you.

11) Food Network. The day isn't complete without the Neelys or Paula Deen, y'all!

12) My dog, Almost Three. She's a little nutty lately but she wags her weapon-like tail at me and always smiles when I need to see one.

13) Discount stores. How else would I be able to buy a wardrobe for under $100?

14) Suavitel fabric softener. My clothes smell yummy all for the low price of $7. Who needs Downey? (well, except for the one below...)

15) Robert Downey Jr. Period.

16) To those that love me through it all... no matter what. You make my days brighter knowing that you believe in me and the person I truly am even when I fuck up, which I will admit to doing here and there ;)

17) My age-earned wisdom. Even though sometimes I'm off the mark, at least I'm reasonable enough to know and understand WHY I'm off the mark. Age does have its benefits.

To be continued.....

Ol' Forty

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Open Letter.....

How many times have you had conversations in your head with people who you need to speak with but you can't for some reason? How many times have you wanted to bawl someone out who fucking deserved it but you can't because it would cause too many other things to snowball so you just hold it in? How many times have you eaten a really good fucking slice of pizza and wanted to hug the person who put just the right amount of cheese on it and baked it to a bubbly brown? How many times have you just had a damn day/week/month/year that was so crazy, you wished you could address everything and everyone involved personally?

For me? It's been millions. So here's an open letter to all:

Dear The Idiots I Have Recently Encountered:

Thank you for showing me that in order to make yourselves feel better, you make up lies and embellish stories. Not only have you fucked up parts of my life, but you've also made me realize that 99% of people are just selfish assholes and I can no longer have faith in most people. Somehow, someway, I will find the strength to delete you all from my stupid Facebook account.

Dear Former Employers Who Have Treated Me Like Crap:

You have taught me many a lesson in being an employee. I will no longer be able to be honest to a fault about who I am and what I want because you have taken advantage of that and have treated me like a worthless piece of shit. Lesson learned and I pity the fuck that crosses me again in the work place.

Dear Friends Who Are No Longer Friends:
Oh, just fuck you. So not worth more words than that.

Dear People Who Have Stood By Me:
Well, thank GOD there are a handful of you. What would I do without you?

Dear Selfish People:
I have given you 100% or more of me. And when I make a mistake, suddenly I am like the plague. How sad it is that all the good I have added to you and your life (lives) is instantly forgotten. I guess human error is unheard of when all you can do is think about yourself(ves), Carry on with you life(ves) and leave me the fuck alone. I will no longer give more than I should and that's too bad.... because, damn, I can give an awful lot. You screwed all the people that I may encounter one day in the future.

Dear Pizza:
You make me feel full and warm and happy when I am sad and down. You soak up my wine just enough so that I feel cozy and lovely. Thank you for being ever-present at the mere cost of $4.50 for two slices of your heavenliness. I heart you.

Dear Paycheck:
I worked really hard for you and you made me smile amidst any gloom and doom I was experiencing. God bless you.

Dear Debit Card:
Thank you for seeming to be endless lately. I have enjoyed swiping you at Nordstrom, Marshall's and TJ Maxx for the past three days. Please don't disappoint me when I need to go to Toys R us.

Dear Westbury Liquors:
Pindar Winter White for $9.99 a bottle...the big one. No more explanation needed.

Dear Me:
I am bruised and hurt by people who were/are supposed to know who I am and what I am about. But I will fight like a mother fucker to not let them get me down. I know the truth about everything and that's all that matters. I will make sure I let myself heal and then move onward and upward. I will no longer beat myself up for mistakes, wrong decisions or anything else. Please keep remembering these words when I can't sleep at night when I think of those bruisers and liars and selfish people who make me feel horrible.

Dear New House (even though you're not really new and sort of old but you're new to me):
I like you and will make you my home.

Love Ol' Forty who no longer gives a fuck.