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Monday, February 28, 2011

Bougie Girl In The Kitchen: Potluck!


 

The avenues of downtown Newport are packed with locals headed out to their favorite watering holes. I am in their midst carrying a large plastic serving bowl filled with baked breaded chicken strips marinated in balsamic vinegar and lime. The title for this evening's potluck is Ethnic Dinner and a Movie. I attempted to do an Asian fusion dish for this evening's potluck. Alas, I forgot to add the honey glaze. Still, the small sampling which I had tasted pretty good.

Potluck parties remind me of my childhood growing in the Midwest before the advent of the Internet. Back then, we relied upon the phone and mail to assign dishes to the attendees. These days, we use Facebook, email chains, and even messageboards to assign culinary duties.

I arrive and the party is in full swing. The first order of business is to greet the host and the guests. Next, I am off to the kitchen to heat up the chicken in the microwave. Another guest is preparing king cake for this evening's dessert offering. Turns out that she is hosting the Mardi Gras potluck next week.

Back out in the dining room, the other guests are mingling. A few minutes later, we all convene around the dinner table. Drinks are poured and we begin passing out plates and silverware. All of the dishes look and smell wonderful. The conversation skips around a variety of topics. We start off chatting about sports, next a splash of politics, celebrities, history, board games, and then we are subjected to rousing anecdotes from the Naval officers  in the group about life aboard a ship.

The hours slip by with lots of eating and laughter. An accidental glance at the clock lets me know that it is time to go. Tomorrow is Sunday and I have church choir rehearsal and two musical performances. I thank the host for her hospitality, say goodbye to the other guests, and I slowly begin gathering up my things.

Once back out on the street, my mind flashes on how different my life was six months ago. I am socializing more than ever and it feels good to circulate out in the world again.





Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Projectionist

 

I am watching my life play out on screen. Well, actually it is more of a dramatization of my life. It floors me how I am nothing like the woman portraying me on screen. It is downright disturbing. I go upstairs and pay a visit to the Projectionist. We exchange a few awkward pleasantries and then I explain my concerns about how my character is being portrayed in the film.

"Look, that woman on screen is nothing like me. Not even close." I say.

He responds with somewhat of a vacant stare.

"But, that's how I see you." He replies.

I am starting to get a little creeped out. He has projected these qualities onto my character in the movie. He has no idea of who I really am. I am a trophy, but not a person. I have the distinct feeling that he has no interest whatsoever in knowing who I really am.

I politely thank him for his time and leave the projectionist booth. 




Saturday, February 26, 2011

Default


 

The Default situation is rarely ideal, yet it serves as a means to kill time until something better comes along.
We are never truly engaged by our Default. We spend our time always on the look out for the next optimal situation and when that comes along we flee the Default. Each time, telling ourselves that this is the last time that we will boomerang back to the Default situation.

We create  elaborate roadblocks and the like to ensure that we will have a hard time going back to the Default situation. Yet, we never let go of the Default situation. Default situations are deceptively benign. They provide us comfort and familiarity. Sort of a dysfunctional safety net, if you will. It is difficult to see the danger in them. The threat of stagnation is ever-present and we know this and that is why we never stay in the Default situation long-term.

We  go out into the world and whenever things get too intense we can return to the Default situation to numb out. We never stop to think what is in the best interest of our Default situation. It has not occurred to us that our revolving door treatment of them could ever be considered abusive.

The Default knows the score. It is never going to be anything permanent. Remember, Defaults have hopes and dreams too. Perhaps, they would like to experience an authentic love from someone whom will treat them with respect.



Friday, February 25, 2011

Attachment vs. Love

 

He wants to know why I have chosen to to let him go so quickly. He has incorrectly surmised that my detachment from the relationship means that I never cared about him in the first place.

Oh, I cared alright. Perhaps, too much in fact. During the relationship, I became overly attached to his needs and virtually ignored my own. After the relationship ended, I found myself slowly detaching from it. My love for him did not waver, but the attachment to our relationship has lessened over time. I no longer grow misty-eyed whenever I recall, our carefully crafted future plans.

I am captain of my own ship again. Admittedly, it was somewhat difficult to untether myself from the dock that was our relationship. I still miss cooking big meals, date nights, and the sound of his heavy footsteps on the back stairs of the apartment.

However, we cannot sustain our lives solely on pleasant memories. Life demands that we keep moving onto the next stage.

Attachment requires that we stay emotionally chained to someone without regard to what is best for both parties. Love instinctively knows that things fall apart, so that better things can come together. 

Overall, this experience has taught me the proper way in which to let a relationship go and still carry love in my heart for the other person.



The End


 

We cannot take it personally when a relationship ends. Sure, there may be valid reasons why we are upset with how the breakup occurred. However, romantic breakups yield new opportunities for us whether it be job-related or another relationship.

Perhaps, we may even gain some perspective on our behavioral patterns in relationships. Either way, these are valuable things that can result from a relationship ending.

Sometimes, we get so caught up in the fairytale ending that we forget to read the story altogether.







Sunday, February 20, 2011

Revising the Pact

 
We made a pact years before we even knew who were as people. You would be my knight-in-shining armor and I would stay in an almost permanent state of distress. This dynamic worked out beautifully for us, but I wanted more. I wanted you to see me as an equal. Not as the hapless small town girl, but as a woman whom you would be proud to call your own.

I tried everything to get you to appreciate the woman whom I had grown into, but you kept putting me down and acting as though my new-found independence was some type of betrayal of our love. I could not understand how you seemed to admire independence in other women, but not in me.

I requested that we revise our original pact to include language which would allow both parties to grow and change in the relationship. You steadfastly refused and so I had to leave. I could not risk losing yet another decade of  my soul in this relationship.



Saturday, February 19, 2011

Anchorweights



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The word "anchorweight" makes me think of a parasitic person who is constantly riding on the coattails of someone else. Usually, the anchorweight finds their host cell early on in life. An anchorweight can be a spouse/significant other, sibling, parent, relative, co-worker, friend, or a bad habit that we have been  dragging from place to place.

Anchorweights can make us feel guilty for wanting to cut the proverbial chain which links us together. They make us feel as though we are responsible for both their successes or failures in life. It is our job to do everything for them, so that they will feel good about themselves. Once, we refuse to do so, they punish us with recriminations and frequent guilt trips.

But, we should really ask ourselves how got involved with our anchorweight  in the first place?

Constantly bailing out the anchorweight in our lives can make us feel powerful at first, but that feeling eventually it wears off.  Pretty soon, our lives become a torturous hell which, revolves around the never-ending drama of the anchorweight.

It takes a toll on our well-being to deal with a grown-up whom refuses to handle their financial and/or emotional business.

If we are not careful, guilt can keeps us chained to anchorweight for eternity. Anchorweights will remind us of every instance in which we have wronged them. Usually, they will  also demand that we take responsibility for their crappy childhoods.

Parents have been known to set up anchorweight situations between their children. It becomes clear to them early on which sibling is the stronger of the group. After the determination has been made, the parents will then place a heavy chain of responsibility around the ankle of the  stronger sibling. The heavy chain of responsibility will keep the stronger sibling tethered to the weaker ones.

This ensures that the parents will not have to worry about the weaker sibling as much. However, the stronger siblings will feel frustrated at being the eternal keep of the weaker ones. In turn, the weaker siblings will never stand on their own two feet.

I have a tendency to attract emotional anchorweights. On the surface, most of the anchorweights which I have encountered,   come across as very together people. They can successful careers and a large circle of friends. However, after a period of time the facade quickly dissipates and the emotional neediness spills out everywhere. They expect  me to make their drama my whole world. After awhile, I have to disentangle myself from them. It is never easy, because anchorweights will rarely unchain themselves from someone without a nasty battle ensuing.

Make no mistake, I am all for being compassionate and helping folks out in their time of need. However, I cannot be the keeper of someone else's emotional and/or financial well-being at all times.

But, anchorweights are not just people, they are also bad  habits which drag us down. Often, we are our own worst anchorweights. Laziness, procrastination, and/or the refusal to take responsibility for our own actions are very heavy anchorweights. Yet, many of us insist on dragging these bad habits from situation to situation.

However, for our own health and sanity we have to untether ourselves from any type of anchorweight situation. Remember, indulging the anchorweight in our lives does nothing to help us or them in the long run.

They just become more dependent and feel even more entitled to deplete us of our resources.




Friday, February 18, 2011

Forfeit



 

Earlier this month, I forfeited the opportunity to sing a solo in my church choir. Although, I am blessed with a good singing voice, the song was all wrong for me. The range of the notes were not in an ideal placement for my voice. It required someone with a more demure sound, instead of my huge Las Vegas style Lyric soprano voice.  I worked hours on perfecting this solo. Alas, it was just not a good choice for me.

However, the eternal 21 year-old inside me did not want to give up the chance to be in the spotlight. Fortunately, the 30-something person who I am today, decided to forgo her ego and choose another solo for my voice. Sometimes, being a grown up is hard work.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Waiting

 

The first time I applied to law school my life was a hot mess. I was struggling with anxiety-fueled anorexia,  working at least 3 jobs, my mother had fallen ill, a couple of my friends had passed away, and I was trying to figure out who the heck I was in general. As a result, I spent most of the application process freaked out and stressed beyond belief.

After I was accepted into law school, my life became even more hectic. My anxiety worsened with each passing day. I was learning a lot and making new friends, but it was difficult to hold everything together. I was worried about my mom and dealing with childhood issues that up until that time, I did not even know I had.

For example, I am the eldest in my family and for years I was the glue holding the household together while my divorced mom was working her tail off to keep a roof over our heads. I took my household administrator role very seriously. Unfortunately, I also took my overly developed sense of responsibility for the world at large.

This translated in me helping a lot of  " lost sheep"  find their paths, however, I have paid a high price for this altruism. I put off living my own life until I was 29 years old. Which has meant playing a wicked game of catch up and now at almost 37 years old, I finally feel ready to settle down.

Sure, I could have settled down before, but my future husband and kids would have incurred the wrath of woman who had never once lived for herself. I could not bear to do that to my future family. Although, I will be an older mom, I will definitely be a better one because, I chose to wait.







Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reinstatement





 

I received some  really good news the other day. The Board of Bad A** Women has decided to reinstate my license. Apparently, the hearing went better than I initially thought. Of course, it was somewhat humiliating to recite all of my prior acts of enabling and codependency. However, it  still felt good to tell my side of the story.


The Board of Bad A** Women, took turns lecturing me on the dangers of enabling the destructive behaviors of other people. I nod affirmatively at their well-meaning words. They are correct in their concern for me. Nothing zaps a  Bad A**  Woman's superpowers faster than the evil twins of Enabling and Codependency.







Sunday, February 13, 2011

We Wanna Change....But

 

We really wanna change. The life that we having been living up until now has not been great. It is alright, but it could a lot better. We are working below our potential and the only way that we can see out is expand our horizons to a higher class of people.

So, we study those in the social strata above us to see how they navigate through the world and when we are ready we take the plunge. We say goodbye to those in our past and head to new pastures. But , these new pastures have different rules and protocols.

We cannot get away with our past behaviors and sometimes the whole personal accountability becomes overwhelming. We do not wanna backslide, but at the same time it would be much easier if we just went back to the old and familiar ways.

In this new world, we feel so insignificant and unimportant. But, in an odd way we feel more stable because we realize that we are on a more sincere and authentic path. Yet, whenever times get rocky on this new found path, we  find ourselves longing for our old group of friends.

We miss the  feeling of superiority which we possessed in a previous life, even though it was all an illusion. Illusions do not  have to be all bad, right?

But, the illusions keep us close to home lest we venture out too far and our own mediocrity is discovered.




Friday, February 11, 2011

Low Hanging Fruit


 

Lately, low hanging fruit has gotten a bad rap. It is highly sought after, but not really valued by those whom actively harvest it. Low hanging fruit is infamous for  both being easily accessible and offering little or no real sustenance.

However, we cannot place the blame on the low hanging fruit for its bitter nectar.  After all, it is at the bottom of the tree, sometimes even on the ground.

The sweeter fruit which is located on the top of the tree, requires us to haul out a ladder and climb up to pick it. Frankly, that can be a lot of work. Besides, once we have the sweeter fruit it seems kind of sacrilegious to actually partake of it. What if we are not worthy of the fruit at the top of the tree?

Even worse, what if everyone around us also thinks that we are not worthy of it? We imagine ourselves walking down the street alongside the fruit at the top of  tree with everyone around us whispering about how we are  way out of our league.

An easier solution is just to surround  ourselves with low hanging fruit so that we can feel important and not get slammed for being out of our league.

Meanwhile, we can constantly badger the low hanging fruit for not meeting our standards. The low hanging fruit feels further diminished which places us solidly in control. We look downright charitable hanging out with the low hanging fruit. Sometimes, when the low hanging fruit is annoying us with its basicness, we recall the beauty and grace of the fruit located at the top of the tree.

Things are so much more stable there at the pinnacle of the tree. The breezes are much calmer and our minds are much more relaxed, because we do not constantly have to reassure the fruit at the top of the tree of  its self-worth.We feel downright invincible with the fruit at the top of the tree.

However, if we stayed in this paradise forever, then we would have no excuse not  pursue our dreams and aspirations. We could not place blame on the fruit at the top of the tree for ruining our life or holding us back.
We would have to become responsible for our own happiness.

However, it is so much easier to just wallow in both the drama and the misery of being with low hanging fruit.










Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Key Words


 

Love is here, but Trust exited the premises awhile back. Trust was never really in the picture in the first place. It made a few cameo appearances, alas it never laid down any roots. Even, when we gloss over the unpleasantness, Trust still was not much of a factor with us.

We could always count on Convenience to keep our relationship going, but that only took us so far.

Whenever times got rocky, we clung to Convenience until Resentment showed up and killed all of the goodwill between us. After Resentment came into the picture, the pinch of Trust which existed between us disappeared into the vapor. Still, Love is here and that's enough...right?







Monday, February 7, 2011

Bougie Girl In The Kitchen: Cucumber Salad

I am craving a salad, but I do not feel like going through the long process of washing, draining, and chopping up lettuce. Instead, I turn my attention to the cucumber in the crisper section of my fridge.

I also discover other yummy ingredients nestled in the fridge such as: baby bella mushrooms, red onions, and mozzarella cheese . A splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil will bring this alternative salad to fruition. Next time, I plan on adding some capers or sliced green olives for extra flavor.





Sunday, February 6, 2011

Triangulation

 

It starts out with "A" and "B".

"C" shows up a while later and their arrival creates friction between "A" and "B".

Pretty soon, "A" leaves "B" for "C". But, that is not the end of the story. In fact, it is only beginning. "A" will continue to communicate with "B" about the shortcomings of "C".

Pretty soon, "C" and "A" will have a falling out. "A" runs back to "B" and stays there until "C" shows back up.

On a rare occasion, "B" and "C" may gang up on "A". However, usually that only happens when the infrastructure of the triangle begins to crumble outright. This could occur if "A" leaves both "B" and "C" for newly arrived "D".

Confusing?

You bet. Triangles are rarely easy to decipher. Most of the time, people associate triangles with romantic relationships. However, you can find a triangle between siblings, parents, co-workers, and/or friends.

Generally, "A" is the one controlling the flow of the triangle. "B" can have a lot of influence over "A", but it is usually only for a short amount of time.

"C" is the key element of the triangle. "C" is usually either a poor man's version of "B" or in rare cases way out of both "A" and "B"'s league.

If "C" is a poor man's version of "B", then "A" can keep the triangle going for the foreseeable future. Also, in this scenario, "C" can be played by a whole bunch of different people.

However, if "C" is way out of both "A" and "B"'s league, then the triangle becomes more complex and "B" loses quite a bit of power. In this scenario,"A" could end the triangle once and for all and end up with "C".

Thus, leaving "B" out in the cold for good. "A" could also take the option of rewriting history and magnifying "C"'s faults in order to level the playing field on "B"'s behalf.

Generally, in the scenario in which "C" is of a higher strata, the triangle collapses upon its own weight. Once "C" figures out what is going on with the triangle, they will immediately leave.

"A" will chase after "C" with no avail. "B" will be relieved to have "A" all to themselves again.

Unfortunately, "A" will spend the rest of the time longing for "C". "B" will try everything to keep "A"'s attention. "B" will bad mouth "C" to "A" at every opportunity. "B" does not understand that in a triangle, things must constantly shift in order for it to be successful.

"B" will never win over "A"... not for the long haul anyway.

Not surprisingly, the biggest loser in the triangle is "A, because they will never learn to communicate effectively with anyone. Instead, "A" will continue playing people against one another and wonder why there is an eternal emptiness in their soul.




Who Benefits from Your Drama?

 

There is always someone in your life benefiting from your drama.

And guess what? It ain't you.

Perhaps, you have a friend, relative, or significant other who becomes more powerful because of the on-going feuds which you have with others.

As long as the strife continues their powerbase is secure.

These Psychodrama Benefactors will say or do anything to prevent you from eliminating unnecessary strife from your life.

They are afraid that once you resolve the drama, you will examine their motives closer. Upon further examination,  you will realize their true level of toxicity and take steps to remove the Psychodrama Benefactor from your life.




Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Golden Ticket vs. The Nostalgic Past


 


One day, a Perpetual Wanderer stumbled upon "The Golden Ticket".

"The Golden Ticket" led him to a new path.

This new path showed him a world of different possibilities.

One of the caveats of having a Golden Ticket meant that he had to put the past behind him.

At first, he found it easy to leave "The Nostalgic Past" behind. Yet, the more he lived in the present, the more he wanted to visit "The Nostalgic Past".

One day, he paid a visit to the "The Nostalgic Past".

For some reason, "The Nostalgic Past" did not comfort him as it once had.

The Perpetual Wanderer instantly blamed "The Golden Ticket" for the sudden ineffectiveness of The Nostalgic Past.

"The Golden Ticket" required him to grow and evolve as a person.

"The Nostalgic Past" was just happy that someone still wanted to visit.

Ultimately, the Perpetual Wanderer chose "The Nostalgic Past".

He took "The Golden Ticket" out of his pocket and threw it onto the ground.

A few minutes later, he wrapped himself in the comfort of "The Nostalgic Past".

He spent a few months living in "The Nostalgic Past" and it sucked.

The Perpetual Wanderer came to the realization that he needed to leave "The Nostalgic Past" once and for all.

He ran back towards the place where he had carelessly tossed "The Golden Ticket".

But, it was gone. He frantically searched the area yet, he could not find "The Golden Ticket" anywhere.

In that moment, it became clear that he had thrown away a great opportunity to further his life. "The Nostalgic Past" would never sustain him in the long run.

Why hadn't the Perpetual Wanderer learned that in the first place?

Why did it take the Perpetual Wanderer losing "The Golden Ticket" to fully understand the importance of living in the present?