Bitch, Bitch, Bitch.

I was scrolling through Facebook last night and I came upon an article by Marc Chernoff entitled “12 Toxic Behaviors that Push People Away from You”. Well I was intrigued, of course. I was sure I was guilty of a few. Imagine my dismay when I realized I was guilty of pretty much every one! Let me take a moment to paraphrase the article and list them:

•Being envious of everyone else. Please, I’m jealous of the characters in the Nora Roberts novel I’m reading. Don’t get me started on other real people.

•Taking everything personally. I was told once by a friend that I was the most self-absorbed person she knew. Well, isn’t it all about me?

•Acting like you are always the victim. Nothing is ever my fault. The universe has conspired against me. I could, if only…I would, if only…if I was richer, thinner, prettier, had more time. You know what, I’m just gonna watch a little TV until I lose that last 20 pounds.

•Hoarding pain and loss. See previous behavior. Those slights, losses, hurts, both real and imagined, are very handy when one needs to play the victim. I always keep a few on hand in case of unexpected guests.

•Obsessive negative thinking. Do I really need to say anything here?

•Lack of Emotional Self-Control. The title of this post was a constant, albeit affectionate quote from my friend, Tony Ferrieri. In the seven years I spent in Pittsburgh, he must have said it a thousand times. To me. He loved me anyway. Several years ago my husband and I were in New Orleans for a dear friends wedding. We were with another couple, two of our best friends and we were supposed to meet at our hotel, so I called them but there was no answer. I immediately went on this rant, about how inconsiderate it was if we made plans and we couldn’t get in touch with them, blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, I had neglected to turn my phone off and this whole rant was on their voice mail. They laughed their heads off and played it back for me. It still makes them laugh and makes me cringe. They love me anyway. Not an isolated incident. I’ve had work acquaintances not speak to me for months because I mouthed off too often. People who love me, do so in spite of my tantrums. People who don’t probably never will.

•Superficial judgements of other people. I never do this. Which you’d know if you didn’t have a mullet. And who in their right mind would wear those pants? Seriously, I never do this.

•Cruelty, Lack of Empathy. In all seriousness, this is probably the only one I am not guilty of. Whatever else I am, I am not a cruel person. I do believe I am basically a kind person. I can be selfish and greedy, but not cruel and if you don’t believe me, I don’t really give a @&#%} what you think!

•Cheating, cutting corners. Hmm. This might need a blog of its own. When one is always the victim, one starts to believe that they deserve whatever they want, even when it doesn’t belong to them. Let’s just say my past is full of both, but I have been working very hard and I can honestly say that I don’t do that anymore. For now. It’s a daily struggle for me. It always will be.

•Needing constant validation. Enough about me. What do you think about me? Seriously, would you all please read this and tell me how much you love it and how wonderful I am. So wish I was kidding.

•Stubborn Perfectionist. This is a tough one. On the one hand, I am the most imperfect person I know. On the other, I’m pretty much sure that if I want something done right, I’d rather do it myself, than try to explain it to someone else. This is especially tough when you’re married to a man whose English is about as good as your Spanish.

•Hiding your Truth. Well, I’m still not sure what my truth is. But when I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know. In the meantime, I may be a little radioactive, so come closer at your own risk.

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My House carynjune

Because I Said So!

I spent most of the day today throwing things away. And not in the good, cleaning out my closets, shredding that enormous bag of old bank statements kind of way. It was the I stink, what made me ever think that people would buy this crap, bad kind of way. Coming on the heels of yet another craft fair where the only reason I sold anything was I slashed prices considerably below what I thought my pieces were worth, I’m a deer in the headlights. I got feedback ranging from “they’re beautiful, but a little out of my price range” to “$200 for THAT?!” By the end of the day, the sharks smelled blood. They knew I’d rather sell them for next to nothing than not sell them at all. I devalued my work. And I devalued myself. And I can’t figure out what to do next. I don’t know what they are worth. I don’t know what to compare them to to figure out what they are worth because there’s nothing out there like them. Now that’s either because I’m a creative genius or no one is remotely interested in the twisted workings of my brain. Either way, the simple fact remains that they are worth what I believe they are worth. If they’re a little pricey, it’s because they’re hand made, one of a kind, and beautiful. If I take the price down, it’s because they’re crap. See how that works? All I have to do is believe. Art or Crap. Because I said so.

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Heckscher Park in the Rain

All this Backlooking is Giving me a Crick in my Neck

As I sat on the train this afternoon, I happened to be looking back at a post from February called, oddly enough, “Looking Back” which was about my decision not to refinance my mortgage to pay off my credit cards. I was going to strap on a pair and pay them off with discipline and hard work. Well, I worked very hard to get that debt higher than it’s ever been! Needless to say, things didn’t work out exactly as I planned, and I finally had to admit the only way I’ll ever get out of debt is to refinance. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I may have sold my Big Girl Panties for a couple of extra bucks. I’m a little scared I’ll do this dance over and over until my mortgage is higher than my apartment is worth and I’ll have to go live in a cardboard box. My husband is convinced we’ll be back in debt within the year. I closed on my refi this afternoon. It was the first time since I bought the apartment 14 years ago that I did it without my Dad. When he died, the apartment became mine. I know wherever he is, he is furious with me about my credit card debt, and although he’s been keeping mum about it, I still feel like a foolish 12 year old. But I’m not. I’m an adult. And while it would be easy to play both the fool and the 12-year old, I am neither. I understand that I made the best decision I could given the choices I made and the circumstances I am now in. All I can do from here is grow up.

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Fall or Fly carynjune

Stick a Fork in Me; I’m Done

The gentleman who runs the little market I frequent near my office happened to catch a glimpse of my drivers license while I was rooting around for change. “Wow, ” he said. “How long? 10 years? More! You were so young!” What the…?!?!! I was crushed! I’ve always been the one who didn’t look my age. What the hell is going on here? Granted the picture is 20 years old but I haven’t changed that much, have I??!!! Well…HAVE I?!!!. Shit. Shit. Shit! My young, funky, sense of style aside, I ain’t getting any younger. Damn it! Ok, take a breath. I could take this moment to point out that the Japanese have an art form called Kintsugi, repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer, thus rendering it more beautiful for having broken….Nope, not feelin’ it. I’ve got no soul-searching or self-awareness. No wit or wisdom. No prose or pith. Pissed, however I’ve got. I’m pissed. Old and pissed.

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Bite Me carynjune

The Newest Angel

A dear friend of mine’s daughter committed suicide several days ago. I didn’t know her well. She lived with her other parent, who I met a couple of times but also didn’t know well. I have found myself terribly saddened by this young woman’s inability to see a brighter future, to carry on until things get better, to ask for and accept help when it seems nothing will help. But I’ve somehow managed to make it about me. How much I do not want to go to the wake because it’s going to be uncomfortable and awful. For me. I have to go or be perceived as a “bad friend”. Can’t have that! When can I go so as to spend the least time feeling uncomfortable while still being a “good friend”. I’m finding it hard to just suck up my discomfort and be there for a friend who is feeling so much more than discomfort. Anguish, pain, loss, despair. A mother’s deepest grief, a pain that will lessen but never leave. It is always startling that the world does not revolve around me. And how much of the universe’s gifts, both good and bad, I have been deprived of because there was some discomfort involved. As I write this, dreading the task in front of me, I know that whatever is running through my head and heart doesn’t matter one bit. I can acknowledge it, but not pay it more heed than that. Because not everything is about me.

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Woman Praying carynjune
In memory of Joy

I Want my Mommy!

So last night I had one of my famous meltdowns. Well, actually only famous if you happen to live in the same house with me. Or read this blog. I get my train ticket and metro card in the mail every month and I always put it in the same place in the kitchen until the previous month expires. So I go into the kitchen and it’s not there. “What the…but I always put it in the same place!”. Famous last words. I look, I take all the bills and sift through them. Nothing. Now my first thought is when I was cleaning up for my cleaning lady, (oh, you know you all do it…), I threw out a lot if #%}^*. Oh no, what if I threw it out, I’m so screwed! And I start to cry. My husband comes in and starts to help me look, trying to calm me down, but I am inconsolable. I empty my purse, I look through my desk in the bedroom. We’re emptying garbage and recycling all over the floor and I am sobbing, snot all over my face, “what am I gonna dooooooo?” I am practically prostrate with doom. My husband then goes through a pile on my desk that I have already looked through, “it’s not theeeeerrreeee…” And pulls out the envelope with my ticket. Now, I’m hugging him and crying because he’s the best husband in the world. And I’m feeling a little ridiculous. “But I always put it in the same place!!!” Guess what, no I don’t. Or I do, but it gets mixed in with something that goes in a different place. He almost always finds it, whatever “it” is. Because he is patient, and knows there’s always a solution if you look for it. And sometimes, it’s just lost. But there’s still a solution. My go to place is brouhaha and the end of the world. Like a child who has not yet learned to use his words and his brain, if I throw a big enough tantrum, the universe will give me what I want. It doesn’t usually work for children, and it definitely doesn’t work for me. I’m not, by nature, a particularly patient person. I lose interest, I’m not good enough at something, move on! It’s too much work to stop and figure out a solution, to perfect a skill, to find the lost. So much easier to stay a child, to stomp and cry and let someone else do all the work. I am lucky my husband is patient and kind and loves me anyway. But even he doesn’t want to raise a 56 year old baby. Time to put on my Big Girl Panties, Wait! What the %#}^* ??! Where are my Big Girl Panties????!!! I always put them in the same place!

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Namaste carynjune