The Mastermind Group

I’ve mentioned my friends a few times already.  I have a close circle of friends I’ve dubbed my “Mastermind Group”.  I got the name from Napoleon Hill’s classic book, “Think and Grow Rich”.  He recommends keeping a group of people together, advisors in a way, in your corner.  People who know more than you do, who can guide you or provide a sounding board.  (I can’t recommend this book enough.)   I have seven close friends—wow, when I say that aloud I’m amazed!  Seven?  I’m quite the lucky girl!  These wonderful women make up my group.  I go to them for everything—support, venting, laughter, dirty jokes, etc.  I know they are there for me, and I hope they know that I am there for them.  I love just talking to them and appreciate so many wonderful things about them.  Sometimes, depending on the problem, I only go to one or two of them; sometimes all.  But I know they are there.


Donna, Christine, Janis, Michelle, Marian, Sindy and Judy:  I love you all and am so grateful and happy to have you in my life.  You keep me sane.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=ripples-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=193764135X&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=ripples-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=061561213X&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

A "Meltdown," A Letter, and An Epiphany

I had a bit of an epiphany today.  It came in the form of a weird, noticeable sense of knowing, and with it came a feeling of relief and release.  Of course, it is a lesson I already know, and try to practice, and don’t always succeed most of the time.  So today’s…sensing is noteworthy.

If you’re on Facebook or Pinterest or anything like that, you notice all the photo memes that are posted and reposted.  There are very common themes in the “don’t waste your time on people who don’t want to be in your life” and “Let go” categories.  We all know these.  I know these.  And still I find myself struggling with them on some level, in some form or another.

THE “MELTDOWN”:  I made a new friend.  We had a great time for a while, texting every day, and then hanging out together.  One day I did not hear from him. And (I’m somewhat ashamed to say this) I sent one of those cliched, needy, stereo-typically female, “Why haven’t I heard from you?” letters.  I know, I know BIG mistake!  I have no defense other than it was just a bad day for me.  I had a special friend who died last October; and that particular day would have been significant for us.  We hung out, texted/talked every single day, and one day after a message that said, “It is not time to worry yet,” the texts and calls STOPPED.  He was gone exactly one week later.  Suffice to say I was a teensy bit emotional when I realized what day it was. (Ha!) I reacted.

The response to my letter came a day later.  It was simple, downright condescending, decisive and cutting.  Extremely well done, I have to say:

            “I did not respond right away because I was floored at your message.
It is unfortunate that a busy day at work for me equals a meltdown on your end.”
(Can we say “OUCH!”?)
Of course, my first reaction was to respond in kind, which I did. Immediately. Basically a short note, “I’m used to hearing from you daily. I’m sorry you can’t understand…” blah, blah, blah.   I was PISSED. Lol.  I admit I overreacted with the initial letter, but I was surprised to get such a harsh dismissal from someone I thought was a friend. And it was a dismissal.  I haven’t heard from him since, and it’s been a week.  I even sent a short “I am sorry. Can we talk?” text that has also been ignored. I’m sorry, but NOBODY is so busy they can’t respond to a text with a simple “yes” or “no” (even just a Y or an N).
Of course, you can all imagine now what I’m feeling.  I’m hurt.  Hurt that I obviously don’t matter enough to a supposed friend to be treated…like a human being.  And, I am angry.  In the “You’re so much better than me that only you can have a bad day?” and “Who the fuck do you think you are that you can treat people like that?” way.  I went back and forth (another Libra trait) between hurt and anger.  A little.

(To my girls: STOP LAUGHING!)

I realize that my letter to him was a reaction to my own baggage, and I’m assuming his (what I consider extreme) response was also some form of reaction to something in his own history.  Nobody’s that much of a prick, right? I have to believe that. I need to believe in the good in people.

THE LETTER: Two days ago I was in angry mode.  I wrote a very angry letter.  My way of saying “If you are walking out, let me slam the door behind you.”  It was a good letter, I thought.  And when I realized writing it out did not make me feel better, I contemplated sending it.  I consulted my Mastermind Group.  My girls, my support, my guidance, my friends.  I’m so very lucky to have them in my life. One of them said she wouldn’t stop me from sending it.  So I asked her, are you not stopping me even though you think I’m an idiot and are just, as my friend, allowing me to be an idiot? (I love them all!)  Another actually called the letter hurtful. That actually gave me some pause.  My own feeling was that for it to be hurtful, I would have to matter, and if someone could cut me off that fast I obviously don’t.   Yes, it was a tad heavy on the sarcasm (!), but I did end it on a somewhat positive, “I don’t hate you” note; she said that was like cutting someone’s throat then handing them the towel to wipe up the blood.  She also said I would get an A+ in Snarky Speak (as an editor, she herself is no slouch with words; I have to say I was a little impressed with that praise!). She also asked if I really wanted to ‘put that feeling out there’.

I had already had doubts about sending it, anyway.  Her thought that it was hurtful stopped me from sending the letter…temporarily, anyway.  Give it a few more days, I thought, even if I didn’t understand anyoneneeding that kind of time to respond to an alleged friend’s idiocy.

I wait a few days more.  Nothing.  And I wonder why I’m so angry and hurt.  I have so much more important things on my plate to worry about.  Was I just focusing on this to get my head out of the reallife challenges?  It wasn’t like we’d been best friends forever.  Obviously, it hit an insecure nerve in me.  Do I matter at all?  It also hit a pride nerve that I’m always surprised by when it rears its head.  I didn’t deserve that condescension and dismissal.  No one does, on a first strike. I would never take that road first.

You know, I get that kind of angry when I’m driving and I see someone driving with the “I own the road” rudeness.  We’re not supposed to be like that. I try not to be, why don’t you?

I know I can’t control the actions of others; I know I can’t force someone to like me.  And still, the unfairness of all of it really gets to me.  It wasn’t even like I initiated the friendship in the first place.

THE EPIPHANY: So now, still with no response or human acknowledgment, I feel another ‘letter’ coming on.  And during a two and a half hour drive, the words are forming in my head.  My friend’s comments about being hurtful in general and getting back what you put out are also sneaking in my thoughts, between the not-as-snarky-as-in-the-first-letter lines of my mental letter.  I was trying to be fair and not hurtful, yet not wanting to come across as ‘needy’ in any way.  And all of a sudden I got this intense feeling and clear realization that I was putting hurt and anger ‘out there’.  Because of something as silly as hurt feelings and pride.  The childish response of ‘I want you to know you hurt me, even if you don’t care.’  It was a very physical feeling of a weight being lifted off of me, and I realized that I really don’t want to put that kind of negativity out there, and that is exactly what I had been doing.  And that realization that I really don’t want to be hurtful in any way stopped the mental letter-writing dead.  And I felt good. And then none of it mattered.  It was a truly amazing feeling.

(I really wish these things would happen more often and a little sooner!)


There will be no letter.  There will be no more attempts at communication.  There are no more feelings of hurt and bruised pride.  I did have a great time, for as long as it lasted.  That really is enough. 

Don, Grief and Insanity from THWF

A bit of grieving, going back to the day I last saw him, my birthday…



Once upon a time,
A Cinderella went to a ball
And met a Prince.
And they danced, they laughed, they loved…

And they kept an eye on the clock
Knowing they had only ‘til midnight
They tried to make the best out of every minute, every second
Tried to give each other only the best of themselves

Midnight came
And with great sorrow they parted…
Taking each with them a memory and knowledge
Of laughter and love
And making the most of time.

11.25.12


There are too many words
To describe what I’m feeling
They spin around and around in my head
Yet choke me when I try to speak
My pen can’t keep up with them
It would take a lifetime to get them all out
And in no way would 17 syllables suffice

un-ku-ku

11.25.12


I don’t question why.
I can see a big picture.
I just miss you here.

Still waiting-ku

11.27.12


The air is misty
Dampening the surface
Of everything it touches
A solitary raindrop falls
Then another…and another still
The clouds let go
Releasing the floodgates
And it rains
Gray skies are crying
The tears I cannot shed
11.12.12


I’m waiting…waiting
waiting…quiet and still
listening…listening
Listening..for the sound of your voice
hoping…hoping
Hoping…for that connection
Feeling…feeling
Feeling…a heart so full
11.11.12


Soft kisses stolen
lush kisses shared in private
impressed on the heart 

kisses are forever-ku

11.11.12


Patience is a word
I’m told I need more patience.
FUCK is a word, too.

I’m screwed – ku

11.10.12


Go through the motions
Smile, speak when necessary
Sleep. Begin again.
11.10.12


A sad day, indeed
When even Milton Hershey
Can’t take care of me
11.08.12


breath-taking moments.
but to be able to give
some of them back?

always with me-ku

11.07.12


Happy, satisfied
Stable, determined, content
Imaginative

Complete, connected
Receptive, present, able
Things I dream to be

UN-ku

11.07.12


Internal pressure
Demanding to be released
Gaining momentum

I can feel it build- ku

11.07.12

In matters of time
it’s a drop in the bucket
and, now, forever
11.04.12


A love resolute
Is a gift. To the worthy
It becomes priceless
11.04.12


Juvenile? Probably. But I bet I could make a good pop(tart) song out of it:

Hit and Run

I wasn’t looking
When I crossed that street
You came along suddenly
I was blindsided
With no protection against the collision

Stunned, with no sense of direction
You turned my world upside down
When I looked up
You were nowhere to be found

The heart has no insurance 
Against a claim like this
Just try to pick up the pieces
And move on…move on

You came into my life like a hit and run
Hit me hard, and now you’re gone

11.01.12


I’m riding the fence
Between what is and what was
A life in limbo
11.01.12


Sunshine on my face
attempting to pervade the
dark thoughts of the mind
10.31.12


bright warmth creeps slowly
across damp skin, slight breezes
dry the tears away

Nature’s tissue-ku

10.31.12


Yes, it takes time, but
when will I stop noticing
plans made ‘without you’?

constantly reminded-ku

10.30.12


Spread my wings and run
into the heart of the sun.
I get it. Swan song.

through all the days and all the years right here I’ll be – ku

10.29.12



you’d bite your lower lip
in an effort to refrain
that would distract me
and I would stare at your mouth
made me want to bite it, too

a nice memory – tanku

10.28.12


you turned a corner
left me, then, standing by myself
unsure, to move on
10.28.12


We hadn’t seen each other for two whole weeks
I got there first.
I remember not being able to watch for you, 
I was so excited to see you
and was afraid I’d make a fool of myself
jumping up and launching myself at you…

I miss those butterflies – ku

10.28.12


go through the motions
and do what I have to do
one day at a time
10.28.12


can’t hurt any less
yet there’s the silver lining
can’t hurt any more
10.28.12


to feel it again
to feel anything again
passion is feeling

numb-ku

10.28.12


Right now I am still
a moment between moments
something and nothing
10.27.12


trains are wonderful
time to enjoy the journey
something not to miss

read between the lines-ku

10.27.12

I write ev’ry day
I know what you want for me
I’m okay with that

baby steps-ku

10.27.12


who would have found me
I wonder, if I managed
to knock myself out 
when I hit my head on the
towel rack in the shower?

and if this is some kind of subliminal joke about the train….! – tanku

10.26.12


you can’t force feelings
as I’m learning now, but it
would be nice to be
able to feel more than the
nothing I am feeling now

(And anyone who posts Morris Albert’s song now will be slapped!- ku) 🙂

10.26.12


Make me come alive
Let creative juices flow
Turn me on again!

I gots to be me-ku

10.25.12


Need to feel alive
to get excited again,
to be able to

proof of life-ku

10.25.12


Play. Listen. Repeat.
My music as therapy.
The Show Must Go On.
10.22.12


the memories rain
droplets of smiles, yet still not
enough to douse pain’s fire
10.21.12


try to change focus
yet some times there are never
enough distractions
10.21.12


Tupelo, a chance
to leave it all behind,
but I took it with me

No matter where you are, there you are-ku

10.20.12


It’s there
just under the surface
all the passion, the love
the rage, the pain
waiting to erupt
10.17.12


how is it that such
a hollow, empty feeling
can take up such space?
10.17.12


I see his picture
That wasn’t too long ago
It’s hard to believe
it all went downhill that fast
I can’t believe he is gone.
10.15.12


sadness is heavy
weighs down on your heart, your lungs
makes it hard to breathe
10.15.12


I see you by the water
in that special place
I’ll meet you there
and we can talk
10.14.12


“Good Morning!” Simple
words that become less simple
when no longer heard
10.13.12


The life of a flame
it starts with a spark
burns brightly for a brief moment
then slowly, quietly dims
until it goes out.
yet before that happens,
that flame has the opportunity
to ignite other flames
even full conflagrations.
each new flame
ignites other flames
keeping that original flame
eternally burning
10.10.12


A part of me is missing
I don’t know where it is
because that part is with you—
and I don’t know where you are

message to the cosmos – ku

10.09.12


anticipation
comes in two forms, breath -less
and -withheld. I wait…
10.07.12


I received a beautiful notebook
as soon as I saw it I knew what it was for
what I was supposed to write about
and yet it still sits, unopened, where I left it
I’m not prepared to write in past tense yet.
10.05.12


Can’t sleep
feel so useless…helpless
and so very far away
are you ok?
are you alone? 
are you scared? 
I am
it hasn’t all been said
and I needed to hear it
this not knowing…
it’s tearing me to pieces
10.03.12


I know what i want
worried it will never be
nothing I can do
10.02.12


The rain understands
It cries the tears of others
While they all pretend

10.02.12

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=ripples-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B000000OA6&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=ripples-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B00138GN3G&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=ripples-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B00005UKMY&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

FAVORITES FROM THWF

FAVORITES FROM THWF
I belong to a great writing group on Facebook, The HaikuWednesday Fiasco.  Yes, it’s mostly haiku (and different variations thereof) with a ‘no-rules’ policy. The people in that group are my family and keep me sane.  We write whatever and whenever we feel.  NO RULES. Freedom to write what I want, how I want. Some of my ‘stuff’.
*******************************************
07.13.12
I can be shallow…And still have great depth
I can be frightened…And still fight with courage 
I can be greedy…And still generously give 
I can be sexual…And still guard my femininity 
I can be arrogant…And still show humility
I can be impatient…And still wait quietly

To know me is to understand…I can be all these things
To know me is to understand…I can be more
To know me is to understand…I have no limits
To know me is to understand…I will not be judged
To know me is to understand…I am worthy
To know me is to understand…who you are

*********************************************
12.17.12
Spinning the Coin

The coin spins slowly
balancing precariously on its edge
looking at it spin you see Heads then Tails, then Heads then Tails.

Heads and Tails. Good and Bad. Joy and Pain. 
Happy and Sad. Life and Death. Light and Dark.
Both sides in constant rotation 
keeping the coin upright.
Sometimes it spins in the opposite direction
Tails then Heads, then Tails then Heads.
Tails and Heads. Bad and Good. Pain and Joy.
Sad and Happy. Death and Life. Dark and Light.
As with the Earth’s rotation around the sun
we go through Dark to get to Light
and Light to get to Dark.
Whichever side we are on, the Dark or the Light
there is always an awareness of the existence of the other side.
Our coins will spin
we will see both sides, 
will experience both sides
because neither side exists without the other.
We can choose the direction in which our coins spin
Ever aware of, feeling through, experiencing both sides.
Heads and Tails. Good and Bad. Joy and Pain. 
Happy and Sad. Life and Death. Light and Dark.
Choosing which side, Heads or Tails,
starts the spin
and ultimately
stops, falls over
and ends
“Up”
**************************************************

07.04.12
Fireworks all around me
Cannot compare with the fireworks inside 
Splashes of color
Pale next to the 
rainbow of emotion I feel
The burn fizzles against
The desire that erupts from
the depths of me
The thunder
Is a mere whisper
To the pounding of 
My full heart…

**************************************************
09.12.12
I innocently came on the scene
with haiku that was actually quite clean.
these folks from Fiasco
brought heat like tabasco
Thus bred the Cougar, hyped up on caffeine

Did someone say limerick-ku
****************************************************

03.02.12
Once I thought, “He does!”
Quoth the raven, “Never Was!
— Susan Haiku-Poe

**************************************************
12.21.12
their farewells they made sure to bade
should there be truth in predictions Mayans made
spent the night rashly carousing
when they woke up they were grousing
(except those of us who didn’t get… any)
End of the World Limerick Ku
*************************************************
12.19.12
fragile leaves dance in the wind
uncaring of direction
delighting in movement
spiraling skyward
then floating gently down
softly touching ground.
I can see myself
arms raised as if in flight
a long, diaphanous gown
dancing alongside
carelessly
freely
joyously
heart lighter than air

*******************************************
11.25.12
Sunlight streams through the windows
adding warmth to an already toasty room
the smell of coffee permeates the air
stimulating wicked thoughts
as I pad around the kitchen
wearing only my nail polish
I grab my notebook and settle among the pillows
and enjoy MY time, in MY space…

**********************************************
11.10.12
Patience is a word
I’m told I need more patience.
FUCK is a word, too.

I’m screwed – ku

*******************************************
10.10.12
The life of a flame
it starts with a spark
burns brightly for a brief moment
then slowly, quietly dims
until it goes out.
yet before that happens,
that flame has the opportunity
to ignite other flames
even full conflagrations.
each new flame
ignites other flames
keeping that original flame
eternally burning
**********************************************
10.03.12
The page stares blankly back at me
there are too many words inside 
bigger than this page 
bigger than me
too big to write
so I sit
staring at this page
and FEEL
every single word
while the page waits
and stays
blank

Leave it to Good Music to Put Us Together, Pt. 2

(This is Part 2. Read Part 1 at Leave it to Good Music to Put Us Together, Pt. 1)

“Put us together, keep us together, keep us “together”!”
And here is where we get to what music really does for me.  It keeps me ‘together’. That good friend (whose comments started all of this) even said me more than once, “Music has saved my life on more than one occasion.”   I soget that.  No, I’d never gotten to a point where I would have even considered ‘ending it all’ but I have been so low that I never wanted to get back up, and it was music that helped me through.

I have my own version of what I call “Music Therapy”.  The playlists on my iPod start off broad and generic (80’s, classical, blues, etc.) and then get narrowed down first by tone and then by moods.  I have 3 versions of my “generic favorites”: one, the broad list: a  second one that narrows it down to the more special favorites; and a third tighter list narrowed down to the must-haves, that I listen to over and over.  That tightest list grounds me. I have a playlist for when I’m angry and totally pissy, one for when I’m angry and feel powerless, one for when I’m angry but still feel somewhat positive.  I have playlists of music that allow me to wallow in self-pity when I feel I need it.  I have playlists that give me energy and make me move.  I have a playlist for every possible mood I could have, pretty much.  And they are ALWAYS playing.  I hear them when I am not even plugged in.  I even have playlists for activities, like driving, walking, working out (ha!), and for other moods, like silly, empowered, mean, sleepy, sexy and reallysexy.  Some songs even ‘cross over’ because they encourage/invoke different moods depending on what I’m feeling at the time.

A special friend of mine passed less than a year ago.  For the first month I was constantly plugged in–as in, iPod in back pocket, headphone cord up the back of my shirt, one earbud in with the wire wrapped around my ear hidden under my hair.  Nobody knew.  The music was just low enough for me to be comforted constantly and I could still talk and function and work. Sort of a white noise that kept me sane.  I think I only listened to four songs that month.  Then I worked my way up to seven, and then a playlist that was more ‘normal’ for me.  I still go back to that playlist every now and then, as needed.

I could be in the car listening to music and hear a song that hits me just right, for whatever reason – it could even be pulling up creative ideas—and I will play it over and over and over again, until I feel I’m done with it.  Depending on my mood, my playlist could consist of only one song up to thirty or a hundred or more, playing on a continuous loop.

My most precious moments involve music.  My best times with my family involve music.  The best way for me to relax and unwind is to take off in my car with whatever mood music I need blaring at me.  Singing at the top of my lungs also relieves my stress better than any physical workout could do for me.  A special moment for me was when I was in my car, in my “zone”, and a special friend was sharing music with me that I didn’t know and he was dancing and singing as much as I would’ve been if I’d known the music. I’m thinking, “That’s me!”  And laying down next to each other, talking about music and singing together.  Sharing music is a personal thing for me.  If I share music with you, it’s because I want you to get the same feeling from the music as I do.  I also receive music from people that way.  I read into both the tone of the music and the feelings it evokes, as well as the lyrics (I even make it a point to look them up). Music speaks for me in the way I can’t (and I have no shortage of words and no problems using them).  This is not exclusive to members of the opposite sex.  My best friend needed some CDs for her car and I put together one for her of music that is special to me.  I wanted her to feel that same special-ness from that group of songs as I do.

Sometimes I waffle back and forth about which is more important, the music or the lyrics.  I am a bit of a word-girl, after all. (I even have songs in my playlists that I actually can’t stand, but the lyrics are so good—to me—that I have to keep them for when I need them!)  But it’s truly the combination.  There are even some songs I listen to just for a specific note, or bridge, or combination of notes that just hits me where I breathe, and I only listen to the rest of the song because it’s there.

There are some songs that are only done justice by when listened to at a very loud level.  To feel the music vibrating through you as it washes over you at the same time.  Some songs I listen to in bed with my eyes closed and just feel the song.  A tiny fantasy of mine is to be at a concert with someone special, in a small venue where everyone is standing together in front of the stage (possibly even standing next to the speakers for the full effect), he’s hugging me from behind and that special music can be felt pulsating through the both of us as we start swaying…  yeah, I’ve got a wishlist/playlist for that.  Certain music just hits me that way.

I even sort my friends and music. If I’m going to hear classical music, I go with friends who I know would enjoy it as much as I would.  I won’t just go listen to music with anyone, anymore.  It is too special to me.

Whether I’m plugged in or not, I always have music in my head.  My fingers are always tapping out some rhythm or another.  I dance to that music, and sing along.  I dance in my kitchen.  Sometimes I just stand there with my eyes closed, listening and feeling it.  This is what grounds me, even on my flightiest of days.  My medication, my therapy.  My memory trigger…oh yes, I can recall any moment with the right song.

I really, really wish I played an instrument…  someday…
If you ask me who my favorite artist is or what my favorite type of music is, my answers would change depending on what my life is like at the time.  Tears for Fears will always be a top.  They’ve been there for me for a loooooong time.  And now Todd Rundgren.  I will forever be grateful for having his music shared with me… some of his lyrics are killer, and one of his songs has already made it up to the ‘fantasy’ wishlist/playlist.  Outside of them, I would have to say my favorite genre is 80’s (I am an 80’s queen!), but there are some days where I’d be listening to the 60’s or 50’s, or classical or jazz or blues, or metal or rap.  The only genre I can be consistent about is country music, as it is the one form I am probably never listening to.  It just doesn’t hit me as rightly as everything else (except some of the much older country music). I’m never alone because I have music. And what I’m listening to from moment to moment really does depend on my mood.  

And music is there for EVERY mood.

Leave it to Good Music to Put Us Together, Pt.1

“Leave it to good music to put us together.”
When my good friend texted that to me, he was talking about Tears For Fears.  We met at one of their concert three years ago, and most of our initial communication had been about them, and music in general—oh, and steak.  (I lovesteak!)
This was my response:
“Put us together, keep us together, keep us “together”!” 
His one sentence said a lot.  Music brings people together.  Music keeps me “together”. (And that second part will be discussed in “Pt.2”)
Music brings people together.  That was never more obvious to me than when I was a child in my not-yet-officially-broken home. No matter the mood or atmosphere, the one thing that we ALWAYS enjoyed as a cohesive unit was music.  Music was always playing, we were always singing or talking in song.  (I went more in depth on this earlier, I (re)Write the Songs.)
And then I got older and started going to concerts.  One thing I noticed immediately was that no matter how diverse the crowd was, everyone was the same person at that moment.  We moved as one, we sang as one.  It’s an empowering and…full feeling.  I love it.  To me, music became “The Great Leveller”.  When we are all listening to the same music together, we are one and the same.  No one is better, smarter, richer or poorer.
(I also think it’s pretty cool that my friend and I were at the same Tears for Fears concert 25 years ago on my 18th birthday, even though we didn’t know each other then!)
Last year I went to two outdoor concerts in one week while I was working in North Carolina. Evelyn “Champagne” King with Midnight Star and then two days later it was Night Ranger with Loverboy (yes, I am a child of the 80’s—and it never gets old!)  The two crowds could not have been more different, yet the atmosphere was the same; all are one.
I have some friends that the only thing we share in common is love of the same music; all we do together is talk about and/or listen to music.  And those friends are just as important to me as my best friends who listen to my angst, bitching and insanity on a regular basis.  Sharing music is just as important to me.
Next time you are at a concert, take a look around.  The music, or type of music never matters.
The audience is the same, no matter how different they look.  They dance together, sing together, smile together.  It’s truly beautiful.

THE SINGLE MAN AND THE SINGLE MOTHER: A Comparison of the Perspectives of Time and Priority

DISCLAIMER:  This is by no means a complaint of my own situation.  It is not to create a contest between who has it worse; it is not a statement on parenting and not parenting; this has nothing to do with single fathers or married mothers; it is not about single women and single fathers; It is merely a breakdown of perspectives of two specific groups that sometimes find reasons for interaction.  It is also broad and generic, as we all know every person’s personal situation is different.  An understanding of the differing perspectives goes a long way in keeping peace between the two.  “Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world. ~Schopenhauer” (Thank you, J.B. for just now posting this!)
THE SINGLE MAN gets up out of bed at whatever time allows him to have his morning coffee routine and get ready for work.
THE SINGLE MOTHER gets up out of bed very early, to have time to get herself ready for her day, and to also get her kids ready for her day.  She allows extra time for last minute surprises (‘I didn’t do my homework; We have a field trip and I need a specific bagged lunch; I can’t find my other shoe; I don’t feel good; I don’t want to go to school; I hurt myself; BARF!!…).  If she wants coffee, she needs to get up earlier.
THE SINGLE MAN is allowed undivided focus and attention on his job, whether he likes his job or not.
THE SINGLE MOTHER is never allowed undivided focus and attention, because she sent her kid to school with the sniffles and there is a concern at the back of her mind that the school nurse is going to call saying the child is sick and needs to go home; she is also mentally planning her exit strategy from work and lining up all possible other options for rides and babysitting—and possible trips to the doctors.  If her child was fine when he or she left for school, there is still the possibility of the phone call from the nurse when the child gets hurt during recess or a call from the principal if the child does something wrong.  Either way, the child will have to be picked up and dealt with.
THE SINGLE MAN can take a phone call from a friend who happens to be in the neighborhood and decide at that moment to go out right then and meet him when asked.  And he can come home whenever he feels like it, in whatever condition he feels like it.
THE SINGLE MOTHER can take a phone call from a friend who happens to be in the neighborhood, and when asked to go out, asks first if she can call her friend back in five minutes, spends a few of those minutes mentally reviewing the kids’ schedules to see if this would interfere, then the next 10 minutes trying to arrange a sitter (hopefully her options are home, otherwise this will take more than ten minutes since she will be forced to leave a message and wait for a call-back).  Twenty to thirty minutes later she will have an answer for her friend: either no, it’s not possible because the kids have karate class or music lessons or yes, but it won’t be for about an hour because “I have to drive them to my mother’s and I still haven’t changed out of my work clothes yet.”  And she WILL be home at a respectable hour, because her sitter needs to have her own life, and she will NOT be drunk with her clothing in obvious disarray.  Kids ask questions.  ALL THE TIME.
THE SINGLE MAN only has to consider himself when he is saying or doing anything. He can go out, stay in, take a day off from work, take an extra shift of work without any effort or extra phone calls or extra planning.
THE SINGLE MOTHER is not first on her list of who’s to be considered before saying or doing anything (this even includes going to the bathroom, taking a shower, tending to herself when she is sick, etc.).  She cannot go out, stay in, take a day off from work, take an extra shift of work without having to plan, arrange and rearrange.
I won’t even go into the…”social life” aspect here.  Let’s just say again, that the only person the Single Man has to worry about is himself.  The Single Mother has to do some serious planning.
THE SINGLE MAN’S ‘free time’ is free.  He can also have undivided attention there, too. It also usually covers a larger span of time. 
THE SINGLE MOTHER’S ‘free time’ (STOP LAUGHING) is budgeted, planned in advance, usually kept on some type of leash and always with an eye on the clock.  Since it is a tighter span of time, and a little more encapsulated, emotions surrounding this ‘free’ (again, STOP LAUGHING) could be a little more intense.
THE SINGLE MAN can have a bad day at work, and come home and be pissy.  He can bitch to all around him.  He can take time to himself to calm down and get over it.  He can grab a beer as soon as he walks in the door, strip down to his underwear and throw himself in the chair in front of the TV and ignore everything.  He can give himself, or get, whatever attention he needs, wants or doesn’t want.
THE SINGLE MOTHER can have a bad day at work, too, but can’t be pissy about it til after the kids have been fed, homeworked, bathed, listened to (my gosh they talk ALL the time!) and sent to bed.  Only then can she call a friend or take time to herself.  And she can only do this if she wants to give up sleep for it.
THE SINGLE MOTHER does not ask for credit for doing her job, she is not asking anyone to do it for her.  Sometimes, though, she does ask for acknowledgment, that someone might be thinking of her.  And, yes, to someone without the same set of responsibilities, this could seem somewhat needy.  And then, being considered needy by someone with… a different set of responsibilities can seem like an unfair judgment.  Her thoughts and actions first and foremost are always directed outward, towards someone else’s needs.  Again, no blame or complaint here, just a request to consider the ‘other side’.  As she will have to realize that because of his own situation, he may not view things the same.
“I wouldn’t want to take up any time
Just let me know that I’ve crossed your mind
****
If my expectations are a burden then I will take the blame
It doesn’t bother me to be alone
I’ve gotten used to being on my own
A little sustenance is all I need
A small reminder that you think of me”
(Taken from the song “Ping Me”.  Thank you Mr. Rundgren.  I only really just met you, but your words say it all perfectly!)
NOTE:
I am a single mother.  It took me five hours total to write this from start to finish (after having planned it all out in my head earlier in the day).  My daughter had a half-day, so I arranged for a friend to come over. Sometimes two is easier than one—they keep each other occupied and I needed time to write.  This is my short list of interruptions:  forty minutes’ work at my ‘paying’ job,  two snacks and a lunch, a trip to the park (I took my notebook, but I had to stop to “Watch Me!” and prove that I could do it, too; kiss a boo-boo after a fall; push on a swing, etc.), reach the Play-doh set, put the Play-doh set back when they were done with it, help them reach high in the closet where the one dress-up item they HAD to have was, interfere many times when they were giving the cat more attention than he wanted (and put band-aids on the resulting scratches), listen to them sing songs from the upcoming school play, hear about their days at school–even though I asked not to be disturbed. 
That was my set-aside writing time.  During that time I also managed to snap a few pics and post them to Facebook, have a short text-versation with my sister-in-law arranging for a family visit, and shoot off a quick “hello” message to my friend who was having surgery today. (I LOVE SMARTPHONES!)  But then, I did consider it important enough to do so. So, yes, I admit it. A short “I thought about you today” message from someone whose company I enjoy that I am not responsible for is a welcome distraction.  It does make me feel good. 
EXTRA NOTE:
It was five hours of ‘writing’ to get this down, at the time I wrote those last two paragraphs.  Then I went back over my pages to check for corrections and get someone a glass of root beer, the other half of the sub she didn’t finish and watch a puppet show—even though I stressed again not to be disturbed.  So this actually took about six hours of “just” writing.