Monday, November 24, 2014

8 Reasons You Should Be Thankful For A**holes

In life, there are three things you can be sure of:

(1) You’re going to pay taxes
(2) At some point you’re going to die; and
(3) You’re going to encounter more than your share of assholes.

That’s because there are assholes all over this earth doing what assholes do best – assholing it up. They are everywhere. They shamelessly spread gossipy untruths, they act like entitled drama queens, they take the parking space in the mall parking lot that you’ve been patiently waiting for and literally knock you out of the way so they can be first in the grocery store checkout line.

Assholes aren’t limited to random strangers and non-innocent bystanders. There are also assholes who cleverly disguise their jealousy and insecurity by making snide jokes that might be taken as an insult -- except that they’re just nice enough that you brush off their comment and think: Maybe I’m being overly sensitive because I’m getting my period. Maybe she didn’t mean it that way. Maybe she’s isn’t that bad of a person. Maybe she’s having a bad day. Maybe...

No. She’s just being an asshole.

Then there is that other level of asshole that seems to have crawled up from Dante’s ninth circle hell. These are the people who have no consideration for the feelings of others. They will do anything and say anything to manipulate their way out of a bad situation. They will never own their mistakes but won’t hesitate to broadcast yours.

There is a bright spot to having these people in your life. You will learn from them, you’ll grow into a stronger, smarter person and your life will improve. Here I give you eight reasons why you should be thankful for the assholes of the world.

Let’s see if we can navigate Jerkwad River without being pulled down by the current:

Assholes teach you how to stand up for yourself. At some point, you’re going to get tired of other people’s shit, straighten your backbone and grow a thicker skin. For some people, this happens during childhood. For others (such as me) it happens later in life. When it does, you’ll notice your voice is no longer lost in a conversation. When you want people to listen, you'll know how to make them listen. Oh, and you know that voice in your head that always urged you to play it safe? It gets quiet, and when it does, you discover a side of yourself that you didn’t know existed. A side that was lying dormant and only emerged after your world crashed down and you were forced to rebuild.

They teach you to look out for the people who are important to you. Your husband, your wife, your significant other, your children, your friends -- you care so much about those people that you hurt when they hurt. When something bad happens to them, it’s like something bad is happening to your too.

One of the best lessons you can learn from an asshole is which people are the most important to you. You'll remember the times you celebrated together, laughed together and cried together. You'll remember how they’ve always been proud of your achievements and you were proud of theirs too. When someone does them wrong, it’s like they’ve done you wrong too.

Assholes prove you can’t help someone unless they want to be helped. You may have the best intentions in wanting to help someone but if they don’t want your help, they’re going to lash out at you. That’s because people only accept the love (and help) they think they deserve. You can spend the rest of your life trying to fix a broken person but the truth is, if that douche canoe doesn’t want to be fixed, nothing short of a miracle is going to change his or ways. That means eventually you learn that…

Some people are just assholes and always will be assholes. These are the worst of the bunch. This category of asshole belongs to the people who get pleasure – real heartwarming pleasure – out of being jerks. They enjoy the feeling of superiority when they intentionally hurt someone. They stir the kettle of drama until it boils over and burns everyone in the near vicinity. They start shit. They spread rumors and they revel in the attention it brings them. That is because they are truly horrible people or people who enjoy drama or people who have nothing else in their life. The best thing to do is to stay out of their path, mkay?

Assholes teach you how to appreciate kindness. Personally, I think there are different levels of “rock bottom. At different times in my 40+ years, I feel like I’ve hit quite a few of them. Yes, it sucked but each time there were random people who drifted into my life to offer advice, kindness and inspiration. They helped me put things back together and move on with hope and confidence and they helped me to realize this valuable lesson: When I force myself to pull out of a bad mood, not only do things in my life improve, I’m also more aware of the kindness of the people around me. I try to pay it forward and be kind to someone else who might be having a bad day. What goes around comes around. Kindness is no exception. Don't you love karma?

You learn forgiveness. There will be things that some people do that you cannot forgive or forget. The thing is, if you want to be emotionally healthy, it’s better to forgive so you can find peace. Without forgiveness, you’ll spend your life holding on to a giant piece of regret or anger or hatred or jealousy or some other nasty emotion that eats you raw.

Do you really want to spend your life carrying that crap around? I’m guessing no. Finding peace is the most important part of life. But sometimes it’s easy to forgive but impossible to forget. Like when there’s a memory that is so painful it’s wedged in your heart forever and no amount of time will take away the all the pain. Thank the assholes for teaching you which pain you can put up with and which pain you can part with. Forever.

You learn how to control your emotions. When I’m angry about something or horribly hurt, I’m more inclined to walk away instead of exploding on someone. (The exception is if you are my husband then I will explode on you.) The few times I have exploded on someone who wasn't my spouse, I’ve wished things would have ended up differently because a nasty explosion (whether it's in a face-to-face conversation or a text) is a horrible thing to experience. It’s physically and mentally draining and the aftereffects stay with you for days.

When the chaos on the outside seems to overshadow everything on the inside, I've learned to look inward, find my inner calm, my inner peace and the clarity in my thoughts. I have also learned when to not to say anything because some people aren’t worth one single breath of my time.

You learn how to put your heart back together – stronger than ever -- after it’s been broken. You know that saying “Love is patient, love is kind…” well it’s complete bullshit. Love hurts. Heartbreak hurts. Breaking up hurts and oh…love does not “find a way.” Love is work. Learning how to love someone and be there for them and being in a relationship – any kind of relationship – is hard.

The people who hurt you the most are the ones you let in, so it’s a double-edged sword. When you breakup with a lover or friend, you’ll learn more about yourself than if you were still in a relationship -- like how badass and resilient you are when you brush the pain from your body and move on.

So take a moment and thank all the assholes in your life for helping you put things in perspective. Thank them for making you a better person. Thank them for teaching you to appreciate what you have. Thank them for helping you realize that time is fleeting and should not be wasted on people who don’t deserve it. Be thankful that you have the ability to cut those people out of your life who don’t deserve to be there. Enjoy spending time with the people you love, the things you’re passionate about and live each day to the best of your ability.


Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm Thankful For A Lot of Things But Thanksgiving Isn't One Of Them

I confess, I don’t really like Thanksgiving and I’m not sorry.

As far as holiday’s go, Thanksgiving isn’t all that. Halloween is about dressing up in a cool costume, going to parties and sharing candy. Oh, and let’s not forget the spookiness, which is awesome! Christmas is happy songs, cookies and gifts. Hello, YES! But Thanksgiving is…food, family and football which to me is the equivalent of indigestion, frustration and a snoozefest.

Thanksgiving is not, and never has been, a favorite of mine. Here’s why:

Forced thankfulness. Look, I’m already thankful for plenty of things. As a matter of fact, I keep a thankfulness journal in a document on my computer. In it, I record the things I’m thankful for because – in case you haven’t noticed – I have a tendency to be bitchy and complain-y. Forcing myself to look at the good things I have is necessary. Otherwise, I would spin off into even more frequent and dramatic depressive episodes.

So yes, I’m all for being grateful. At the sake of sounding corny, I try to be grateful every day of the year and not just when I’m sitting around the table with family and required to give a trite reason before I can eat.

The food. I really, really don’t like Thanksgiving food. If you looked at my plate, you’d see a small slice of turkey, which I most likely won’t eat, a couple dinner rolls and buttered corn. If the Thanksgiving meal consisted of pizza, spaghetti, chicken wings and shrimp scampi, I’d be all over that. But turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce…meh…I’ll pass. And let me ask you this: If that stuff is so good, how come we don’t eat it any other time of the year?

It’s too close to Christmas. Since we must do Thanksgiving, why not do it in June or August? Having to see extended family just month before you see them again for Christmas is a bit much in such a short period of time. Not because I don’t like spending time with them but because we because we go for a span of about 6 months of not seeing them in the middle of the year. Then there’s the way we must travel in treacherous weather two months in a row.

Family considerations aside, retailers have turned Thanksgiving into nothing more than a materialistic profit-generating shopping holiday, not a time to enjoy with your family and friends. If we separate it from Christmas, we can squash that bullshit and turn Thanksgiving back into the day it was meant to be.

Football. I cannot muster up even two figs of a fuck to give about football any time of the year, let alone on Thanksgiving.

The Colors. Maybe I’m being a tad nitpicky but the colors associated with Thanksgiving – orange, brown, gold and rust-- are ugly. Because they remind me of the Brady Bunch (anyone remember their orange kitchen countertop?) and all the other decorating trends of the early 1970s, I don’t want to deck my house out with them. I know plenty of people enjoy the beauty of fall leaves and gourds but give me some happy reds and basic navy’s please.

It’s sort of a lie. We all learned that heartwarming story in elementary school about the how the pilgrims and Native Americans sat down to a delicious harvest dinner…except that it’s not really true. No one ate turkey. Instead, they feasted on passengers pigeons stuffed with chunks of onions and herbs -- which is kind of gross – but they also ate lobster, clams and mussels. The actual meal didn’t take place in November, but in October and Squanto was a Wampanoag who was kidnapped, brought to Europe and then found his way back to the Americans to work as a translator. Poor Thanksgiving. The whole holiday is nothing more than a fairytale.

Shopping madness! By now, you all know where I stand on Black Thursday and Black Friday shopping. Honestly, everyone needs to seriously chill out with all the standing in line at 4 am to buy toys and electronics. Over the years, Thanksgiving has morphed into nothing but a day to stuff your face before beginning your shopping frenzy. The thing is, it’s supposed to be about family. Kind of sad to see a major holiday being co-opted by the retail industry.

I realize I’m probably in the minority with my Thanksgiving dislike, as everyone I know loves Thanksgiving with every ounce of their soul. But whatev. That’s just me. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

5 Real Life Rules Every Woman Should Know

Once I admitted to being a grown up, I realized there were two things that I didn’t like: (1) Being a grown up and (2) Not being a kid anymore.

30-some years later, none of that has changed. With kids and responsibilities and bills and dealing with other grown ups who act assholes, I am solidly of the opinion that some days, being an adult SUCKS.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times when adulthood is wonderful. But during those times when my hatred for having to live a grown up life gurgles up, I use motivational quotes to get me through the day.

Here are my five favorites along with the pep talk I give myself and some Disney animation, just because I love Disney animation.

1) If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave. – Mo Williams

Breaking news from the No Shit Gazette: You have the power to change the things in your life that you don’t like. Sick of those 10 extra pounds? Diet them off. Battling depression? Find a therapist. Drinking too much? Join AA. Don’t know how to knit? Take a class. Face your fears and try something new.

Don't know where to start? Here's an idea: Stop sitting on the couch every night staring saucer eyed at the television and scratch out a few ideas.

2) How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than create it herself? – Anais Nin

Believe it or not, I grew up thinking a man was going to give me everything I wanted and needed. (Thank you 1970s parents who raised me with a 1950s husband-is-dominant-and-woman-is-submissive mentality.)  In my 20s I learned that attitude is a minefield. A big, BIG minefield – and at some point, it’s guaranteed to blow up.

Listen to me: Life isn't about finding your Prince and having a happy ending. It is up to you to get what you want. No man is going to give you everything you need or do everything you want or satisfy every one of your emotional whims. If you want something, get your butt out there and get it yourself. It may not be easy, it may almost break you and they’ll be plenty of times you’ll come close to losing hope, but damn it girl, you can do it!

3) No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt

I always try to be nice to people because one of my favorite things is people who are nice to me. The problem is, there are some people who will always be assholes. The easiest way to remedy that is to not associate with assholes and not let their asshole behavior get you down. Unfortunately, even though you’re not actively associating with assholes, some will still come and find you.

You can give yourself a hole in your stomach worrying about those people or you can file them away under “Sometimes Life’s A Bitch.” Trust me, by your 40s, that file is going to be pretty thick.

4) Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass. – Maya Angelou

Going solely from my own personal experience and observation, this one is sooooooo true. Life – especially life as an adult – can be a hellfest. If you think playground annoyances end when you’re a grownup, you are wrong. So very sadly wrong.

If you want to survive in this world, here’s what you do: Make friends. Work hard. Be kind and honest. Find your voice and use it and stand up for yourself, your family and what you believe in -- respectfully, of course. There’s no need to lose your temper to the point where your pupils dilate and turn into little spirals. No one’s going to take you seriously or listen if you’re always running around like a screaming banshee.

5) Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. – Eleanor Roosevelt

I don’t have a lot of rules in my house for visitors. We’re pretty laid back and allow people who are staying with us to treat our home as their own. That means all the food in the fridge, the remote (if you can pry it out my husband’s hand), the couch and the special body spray in the bathroom are all yours for the using when you’re here. I usually only ask that you take your shoes off, because I have this thing about my carpets, but that’s pretty much all of it. Oh, that and, don’t waste my time with petty gossip.

Like seriously. I don’t want to hear it. I don’t give a rat’s ass about what the neighbor is doing or how so-and-so’s haircut looks like she shoved her head in a pencil sharpener so do not try to discuss that crap with me.

Remember, if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, you shouldn’t be saying it behind their back. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Let's All Make A Pledge to Not Shop on Black Thursday (AKA Thanksgiving)

I have never been a fan of Black Friday but now, more than ever, it makes me pissy. That’s because over the years Black Friday has turned into Black Thursday (aka Black Thanksgiving.)

As a child of the 1970s, I remember a time when stores closed not only on holidays but also on Sundays. It was a slower, simpler time. No one felt the urge to skip out of holiday dinners or lazy Sunday afternoons to shop and we all managed just fine.

I blame corporate America and all its corporate greed. Oh how I’d love to go back to the days of small towns and small family owned business. Except that small towns have pretty much dried up as a result of rampant corporate growth.

Speaking of rampant things, I’m also not a fan of the rampant materialism of the holiday season that’s being pushed by those same corporations. This year we have some retail stores open for the morning of Thanksgiving to nab early shoppers (I'm talking about you Kmart) while others (*ahem*, Macy’s) plan to open around 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day. So hey all you blue light special lovers, if you'd prefer to buy cheap crap on a day when you're supposed to be relaxing, enjoying the holiday with your family and reflecting on the year gone by, Kmart has your back.

Surely I am not the only one who thinks that is loathsome and goes against the whole idea of what this time of year is supposed to be about.

Of course there are some businesses and industries that require people to work on Thanksgiving – gas stations, police officers, fire fighters, healthcare workers to name a few. Restaurant workers are subject to working holidays too, which I think is one thousand times wrong, but some people do like to go out to eat on the holidays so I suppose I can tolerate that. These industries are essential to our well being an must be open on a holiday.

Do you need treatment in a hospital if you cut your finger open with a knife? Yes. Do you need fire trucks to spray your house down if a fall candle ignites your living room curtains and sets your house ablaze? Of course. Do you need gas for your car if you are driving 500 miles to see Aunt Helen? I suppose you do, although I hate to think of someone working at a gas station on a holiday but gas does fall under “essential.” But please answer this for me: Does anyone need ANYTHING Kmart and Macy’s sells so desperately to justify them being open on Thanksgiving? 

I’m going to go with no.

I just cannot grasp forcing minimum wage employees to work long hours on a major American holiday so selfish jerks can buy a cheap, big-screen TV or this years toy fad. Personally, I don’t think any deal is good enough to justify shopping on Thanksgiving. 

As for those early bird specials, let's just say that shoppers are being tricked into thinking Black Friday has the best deals of the season. It does not. Savvy shoppers know that the best deals crop up as the season continues. And those door busters some people wait all night for? They're nothing ore than a ploy to get people in the door. When the stores run out of the minimal number of those items they have in stock, the people who came out in the middle of the night for a certain item end up buying something else so their efforts weren't a complete wast of time. Have they forgotten that we have Amazon and the rest of the internet along with a crap ton of online sales and free shipping? 

I realize some people have their own Black Friday traditions and I don't begrudge them that. What I really dislike is the way Black Friday keeps happening earlier and earlier. At this rate, all stores - not just stupid Kmart -- will be open all day long on Thanksgiving in order to top the competition.

Wouldn’t it be a nice compromise to see the stores agree that opening at 7 or 8 am on Friday is just fine and refuse to do it any earlier? Of course it won’t happen as long as people make a point to shop on Thanksgiving Day, but this somewhat old-fashioned girl can dream. 


Five Things To NOT Be Thankful For

10 Strange Thanksgiving Facts You Probably Didn't Know

Pilgrim Hat Cookies Are the Cutest Thanksgiving Dessert Ever

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

10 Stupid Things Our Kid Will Find In Our House After We Die

I’m not trying to be morbid but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how Bill and I are on the verge of a “new” lifestyle when he retires in so many years. This will be the time when we move someplace perpetually warm and spend our Golden Years beekeeping or making ceramics or learning how to tap dance or whatever other  silly hobby catches our attention.

And then at some point – hopefully decades from now – we’re going to die and it’s going to be up to our son to clean out our house. I’ve heard stories about people finding things from their childhood that they didn’t know their parents kept. (I’ve never heard of someone stumbling on a secret sex dungeon, but wouldn’t that be funny?)

We’re not hoarders – although someone called us that when I posted a picture on Facebook a few years ago that happened to show our garage and all the crap in it in the background. (Note to all: We have since cleaned that shit out, sold it in the neighborhood garage sale and spent the money on a new roof so THERE.)

But there still is some dumb stuff in our house. Stuff I don’t think twice about when I open a closet or drawer but stuff that might make other people wonder, “What were those two thinking?!” Things like:

My “back massager.” I was invited to a “toy” party and you know how those parties are. It’s not polite to leave without buying anything. I didn’t want to be rude. Besides, it's a back massager people!! Where are your minds??!!

Pens. I’m going to go on record and say I have never bought a pen in my life. Why? Because we travel a lot and they are always available in hotel rooms. Also because I have this unintentional habit of never returning a pen when I borrow one. Thanks to my pen fetish, there are hundreds of pens in our house. My child will never be without a pen again.

Thousands of dollars’ worth of hair products. When my hair looks bad, I feel bad. For that reason, I hoard hair products. You name it, I’ve got it…in abundance. One day Justin is going waste hours of his life cleaning out a closet full of shampoo, regular conditioner, deep conditioner, Moroccan oil, gel, mousse, hairspray, anti-humidity spray, heat protectant spray, boxed hair color, pomade, wax, styling cream and about 52,000 hair brushes of various sizes and shapes. Sorry kid. On the bright side, add the hair junk to the pens and think about how much money you'll be saving.

Stacks of receipts. I keep our receipts. All of them. One day my son will find them and say “What are these? And why would anyone need to remember that they bought a roll of Lifesavers at Disney World on this one day? Damn it mom!” Dad’s with you on that one, befuddled child.

A sex dungeon. I’m kidding.

A frillion pillow cases and a few stacks of fitted and flat sheets, none of which match. What kind of idiots manage to accumulate a ton of bedding that doesn’t match? These idiots. And here’s the bad news: You can’t even give them away. Enjoy your fourth trip to the dump.

A book on how to train for a marathon. “Hey, remember that time that Mom thought she was going to run a marathon even though she hates to run, has asthmatic fits and bitches about her feet hurting after 20 minutes on the treadmill? Ha! That was hilarious. We’ll add this to the Pile of Stupidity in the corner and burn it later.”

My memory box. By “memory box” I mean an old Whitman’s Sampler box full of jumbled mementos and miscellaneous junk. It will remind Justin that I was the sentimental, lazy type. A woman who liked to have keepsakes from the special times in her life so that she could toss them into a stinky old box in the basement. What a sweetheart I was.

A giant container of photographs. While I managed to take pictures of every aspect of Justin's life from birth to the present, I never bothered to do anything with them. You're all aware of my intense dislike of scrapbooking, right?

Okay, you’re turn. What kind of dumb junk would your kids find when they’re cleaning out your house?

Related Posts

I'm Not A Perfect Parent But I've Never Reached This Level of Awful

When My Son Was Little Other Moms Bored the Crap Out of Me

My Imaginary Perfect Life vs. the Real Thing

Nobody Will Ever Call Me a Cougar Because I'm Actually More of a Sloth