Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dear Ugly-Hearted Racist Guy

Dear Ugly-Hearted Racist Guy,

     I don't like you. I'm sure you're not too upset, since obviously, you don't like me either. The thing is, I like people. And, I like liking them. OK, I can be judgy when I want to be, like when people fuss over food that's like a minute past expiration- seriously, first world problems. I think the standard for food expiration in much of the world goes something like this, "Mom, I'm so hungry" "I know son, here we can eat this, it's almost food") or when customer service reps couldn't care less that they can't help you (my friend, if you can't muster an 'I'm sorry about that' or "Let me try this' you are in the wrong profession.) But seriously, people are dope- so different, quirky, comical. For someone who loves to look at the funny in life, the one thing that's a non-negotiable is the human race. From the 'caught in Walmart' photos (yes, I look at them and shoot milk out of my nose occasionally- it's therapeutic) to those awkward family pictures (not mine of course, mine always come out fabulous) to those tear jerking videos where 10 random people on the beach pitch in and save 50 stranded dolphins, or a soldier returning home from duty and hugging his newborn for the first time, there is really nothing funnier or more beautiful than people.
     But you, you searched for me on the internet, hoping to find someone to say ugly, mean things to. I wish you hadn't found me, but you did. I, being quick and clever and generally cooler and smarter (I certainly hope) than you responded with disarming humour and a sharp tongue which quickly put you in your place. That was all I would give you. That was all you deserved. But of course, your words hurt. They made me angry and they hurt. But I reserve those truer feelings for those who I like, love and trust. And only they will know that the ugly-hearted racist guy made me cry and stole my joy that day, making me wonder why it is that I like people. Tomorrow, I will start again, remembering the humor and kindness that makes up most of what I love about us. Tonight, I'm pulling the covers over my head and going to sleep.

Waiting for joy that comes in the morning.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dear Married Folks

Dear Married Folks,

My husband and I are about to walk, on purpose, down a dark and scary road. Really, that's what I envision every time I think the words 'marriage counseling.' Among other things, it's a scary road because of all of the freaks that reside there; consider what's more nightmarish; walking down a dark road littered with ex-cons or a dark road loitered by off-duty carnies from the Coney Island Freak Show? Exactly. Joining the world of counseling feels in many ways like joining the ranks of the deformed. "Is everything OK " "I thought you guys were doing so well?" "What do you need help with?"

We've been playing with the idea of counseling for over a year now, and are finally getting around to it (read: I've finally grown a pair of ovaries big enough to agree. Imagine that, the wife drags her feet while the husband readily agrees to marriage counseling; we are freaks!) Don't mind me, I deflect with humor and self-deprecation. The truth is, we're doing pretty well, I think. But, I'm afraid to go to counseling for the same reason that your 85 year-old grandma doesn't want to go to the doctor. She doesn't want to find out that things are worse than she could have guessed. Better to live with the aches and pains than find out that it's stage 4 melanoma. I'm good with that, granny. You wanna rock out your last years in the bliss of ignorance, cool. But I'm too young to pull that nonsense- if it's melanoma, I need to know now so I can chemo-therapize, radiationize, vegan, raw dietize, yoga blast that shit outta here! Wait, I'm not saying that there's a cancer growing in my marriage or anything. I love him. Lots. And, I'm sure of his love for me. After a decade of marriage, we've got lots of amazing things to show, but we've also got our old scars and fresher scabs. So, we agreed, it's time to let someone look under the hood. Yes, I know I'm mixing metaphors, deal with it (hey, I'm dealing with going to therapy...)

So that's the plan. Now, I'll employ my other faithful tactic for dealing with stress and fear (the first being the aforementioned deflection with humor and self-deprecation)- I'm probably going to go Rambo on therapy. (Full Disclosure: at first I wrote 'I'm probably going to go commando on therapy' but then I realized that that would imply that I was going to go to therapy without wearing any underwear. While that would certainly be an interesting experience, it's not really the one I'm going for here. Luckily, I remembered that the cinematic reference I was looking for was actually Rambo- dude goes berserk, takes no prisoners and is generally bad-ass for the entire film, and there's pretty much no mention of his undies at all. Yup, that's the one.) Yeah, so when something is scary, I often try to research the crap out of it, understand it, and be the best at it. I'll probably even compete with my husband a bit. So, don't be surprised if you meet my therapist on the street, ask her how I'm handling having to talk about my marriage with a total stranger, and she answers, "oh, she's handling therapy like a boss!"

Am I missing the point? Ah well, I'll let my therapist fix that.

Love and Life Y'all

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dear Life

Dear Life,
I want to wage a war that I can win. Daily, it seems, I fight losing battles. But today, just want to wage a war that I can win.

GI Jane

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dear Chubby Girl

Dear Chubby Girl,

Put your big girl panties on and walk away from that fool.

OK, that's a little harsh, and a little simplistic and possibly a little narrow. But really, maybe it's not. I'm a chubby girl too.  To be fair, 'chubby' is what people say when they want to make terms like overweight and obese sound cuter- whatever, doesn't matter. Whatever you want to call it, I'm that too. But, the title of this letter could easily read a hundred different ways: "Dear shy girl, Dear girl with a big nose, Dear girl with crooked teeth, Dear not- the-brightest girl, Dear girl with a past, Dear fill in the blank with whatever adjective you most fear someone will point out at a party. All of you, put those bloomers on, or if you prefer, your micro-fiber hipster panties- and walk away from the loser (I know, I know, he's not, he's misunderstood, he needs you, he doesn't mean it, he's not always that way, I don't know him like you do, he LOVES you) that keeps telling you that all of the aforementioned titles (chubby, big nose, crooked teeth, less than impressive wit, unmentionable past) are what make you lucky to have his mediocre 'love.'

Now, I recognize that people can grow and change and work through things, and I am not a fan of the ever popular cut and run tactics that most of Hollywood (not to mention the rest of American society) employ in the arena of marriage. Primarily, though, I am not talking to the woman who has weighed the pros and cons and decided to commit to an imperfect man (aren't they all, aren't we all?) for better or worse (what to do then is a topic for another day entirely...), I am talking about the girl who has that irksome feeling, that little voice that's telling her "you don't deserve this, don't keep dating him, don't move in with him, don't marry him" but is tempted to listen to the louder, harsher lying voice (ever notice how people get louder and more emphatic when they're lying? Same goes for the voice inside.) which says "remember, beggars can't be choosers."

 It's true, beggars can't be choosers, (well except for that time when I was walking through the Lexington Ave tunnel on my way to catch the 6 Train and a homeless man asked me for money because he was hungry. I had a fresh, uneaten, sesame-egg bagel with veggie cream cheese- hello, heaven!- folded neatly in a brown paper bag. I offered it to him. I was coming from an evening church service and was feeling all kinds of good samaritan-y. The man, who did not smell quite as fresh as my bagel, refused my love offering, citing "too many carbs". I was pissed, "what the hell?! Too many carbs?! Whatchu on the Atkins' Diet??" Bye Bye good samaritan, hello Xena, defender of NY bagelkind!) Generally speaking though, no, beggars cannot be choosers, but you are not a beggar, at least not a beggar of love from a man who doesn't want to give it freely. If you want to beg, beg grace from the almighty, I won't argue with that. Beg for patience and strength and the grace to be kind to others when it's hard. Beg for peace and acceptance and love for who you who have been made to be, beg for self-control to stop the bad habits and patterns you've fallen into (we all have them) and the perseverance to change into the woman you want to be. But beg a man to stay with you when he's already shown you that he doesn't want to? No. Don't wait for him to leave you (he probably never will- you give him everything and require nothing of him) don't walk on pins and needles trying your best to eliminate all of the things that you think make him uncommitted and uncertain about you, trying not to give him a reason to leave. You choose- choose love, choose life.

Now's the time in this letter for me to tell you all the reasons why you are worth loving and why you should "believe in yourself". But, I'm not going to- maybe I'm not in the mood, or maybe I know that it can't come from  a letter from some stranger  or maybe it's because I've never been good at gentle words of encouragement (kick in the pants being my preferred style). And maybe telling you to put on your big girls panties, and walk away is harsh. Or maybe it's exactly right.

Love and life,
From a friend.