Get Over It

(this blog has been cross-posted)

I have $19.41 in my wallet, and that amount is to last me for the rest of the week thanks to a major snafu on the part of a large company that took multiple payments out of my bank account one day two weeks ago, and a second time again last week. There are two reasons I’m telling you this: one, to show my certainty in my willingness to gamble with it; and, two, to point out that one event creates a domino effect afterward – which is part of the point I am trying to make now.

I am willing to bet that whole $19.41 – all that I have right now – that with the three words at the top of this article you have a good idea about my subject here. I even knew that those three words would get attention because of their implication.

Three words. Like I love you, they now carry a weight much larger than the space they take up on paper implies. Now especially, they can also evoke as much emotion as those other three little words, although their meaning has grown into something more hurtful, more uncaring, and more dismissive than before.

Get over it.

Something happened recently that has caused many people to be afraid. Very afraid. Had that event had the opposite result (and it very nearly did, if not for a … technicality), then another group of people would know that same fear – if their vociferous and public opinions beforehand were any indication; yet, instead of there but for the Grace of God their motto is the derogatory get over it.

When exactly did you stop caring about other people? When did you stop being able to see that it could have been you in that position?

I will ‘get over’ my financial issues after the company resolves its error in ‘the system’ which, apparently is a law unto itself, that will try three times – with no apparent means of stopping it – to make that same error a third time (I can’t wait to see what happens on Friday). I will ‘get over it’ after the bank has refunded bank fees and charges for overdraft, and when the company provides full compensation for what I have spent. Obviously, I won’t ‘get over it’ until later.

My daughter was in a serious car accident in July. While we are fortunate enough that she will heal in time, we will ‘get over it’ after she has completed therapy, after she is no longer in pain, after she is able to go back to work, and after she gets on her feet again. AFTER the actual event.

My mother had breast cancer. There were many things that happened after the diagnosis. We shaved her head in a ‘family ceremony’, she went through chemotherapy and radiation and suffered the aftereffects – not to mention how something like that can put one’s life on hold, or worse. Tell me, if the diagnosis happened in one day, when should she have gotten over it?

A man I loved died of cancer a little over four years ago. It happened; it’s done, right? When should I get over that?

I’m asking you to get a little perspective. The people who are concerned and afraid have their reasons for feeling the way they do. Who is any of us to judge what they are feeling or how strong their feelings are? Who are you to dismiss and disparage something that’s very real to them just because you don’t feel the same way?

We – none of us – are not even able to determine what courage is in another person, because we can never know what something might cost them. We decide someone else’s measure of bravery based on our own experiences and value judgments. We never really know how much the personal price is for a soldier, an activist, a parent, or the seemingly ordinary person walking out his or her front door … anyone.

We rush to judge people, and dismiss them only based on how we feel, conveniently forgetting that they have feelings, too. Like you, other people have their own truths. If you truly believe we live in a free country, if you value your freedom of thought, then you should be able to show some respect for the freedom of others in thinking and feeling as they do. Divided we fall.

Isn’t it funny how selective we can be, even with compassion? We seem to have more compassion for the person afraid of spiders. Why is that? Why can we accept their fear in that situation?
Do we ‘believe’ that opposing beliefs of others are to be scorned? That’s a little contradictory, don’t you think?

There is one more thing that I ask that you consider – if the above wasn’t too much for you already: the event that you are telling people to ‘get over’ hasn’t happened yet. A decision was made, and a future was foretold. These people you are telling to get over it haven’t even experienced what they are worried about – they were basically told that a disastrous event was coming. If it hasn’t happened yet, how can they possibly ‘get over’ it? And, if their fears are realized, what then? Or can you predict the future – including the actions of another – and fully assure others that everything will be all right? I’m a mother, and I have trouble telling that to my children – and there’s only two of them.

If you were told that something you feared was going to happen, how would you react? And how would you feel talking to someone else who didn’t understand your feelings?

Please, please, stop using those three little words. Understand the effect they would have on you. Remember the ‘other’ three little words. If you are unable to go that far then, please, just be quiet.

I love you.

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The Twelve (Wines) Days of Christmas

40-something, wanna-be Solid Gold-dancing Breck Girl

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(Also called: Who’s Getting’ Nuttin’ for Christmas?)

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
a wine glass filled with red Chianti.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
two Zinfandels
and a glass filled with red Chianti.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
three Pinot Noirs,
two Zinfandels
and a glass filled with red Chianti

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
four Chardonnays
three Pinot Noirs
two other drinks
and a glass filled with something that’s red

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
PETIT SIRAH!
four Chardonnays
three Pinot Noirs
two other drinks
and a glass filled with something that’s red

On the sith day of Chrissmas, my true love gave to me
Moet & Chandon
FOR AULD LANG SYNE!
Chardonnay-nay-nay
three…

View original post 248 more words

Let’s Put The ‘Social’ Back In Social Media: Don’t Turn Facebook Into HATEbook.

Two years ago, I wrote about “Why I Love Facebook” (read here). Three years ago I wrote another blog called, “Easy Facebook Etiquette: How to get along in the neighborhood” (read here).

After reading the posts during the recent election and the day after, I went back and read my two blogs again. My opinions haven’t changed (although my job has). Facebook is social media, emphasis on ‘social’- as in “party, gathering, get-together” – and most of what’s been posted has been quite anti-social.

I love my Facebook friends, I love my live friends, and I love my live friends who are on Facebook.

I do not love what many of them are saying. There has been gloating, un-friending, anger, hate, vicious attacks … and then there have been really nasty things posted.


I don’t discuss politics. I don’t post politics – although I have reposted some memes that were just too funny – I’m sorry; Donald Trump’s hair has been a thing for me since I was a teenager – but after things got ‘real’ I stopped. Because things got so heated towards the end of the race, I did involve myself in a little political conversation with a few around me. I will tell you now that I was on the side that ‘lost’ – and I will also tell you I wasn’t fond of either side, and that voting did not make me feel good.


I am only telling you this because I want it known that what I say here has nothing to do with what side I was on; this is not gloating, nor is it sour grapes. Yes, I was disappointed with the outcome, for my own reasons; but I am also aware that the game is not over and that life will – and has to – go on.

We all knew this was going to be a tough election for everyone. We were all in that together. And we all knew that one side would be disappointed. None of this was a surprise, yet people are acting more divisive and angry than they were before the outcome was revealed.

“You are not my friend if you voted for – “. “I’m leaving the country if – wins.” “You are not a nice person if you voted for – “

If any of you have read anything I’ve ever posted or blogged about, you know where I stand on many ‘issues’.  I have very strong opinions about certain things, and I talk or write about them every single time a thought crosses my mind.

But one theme that keeps popping up in my writing/talking is connectedness, and I believe in that more strongly than anything else.

What depresses me most is the disconnectedness I am seeing. If we all agree that we each have our own opinions and our own right to our own opinion, why is it that we are battling each other over having them?

One of my live/Facebook friends posted something nasty about Hillary when the outcome was revealed, and then one hour later posted an “I saw someone who had real problems – get the fuck over it” type of post. This is a person I consider loving and kind, too.

Yesterday, I had a bit of personal happy that I wanted to share – and someone tried to discourage me from posting about it because of possible backlash, as in, “How could you post something positive while this country is going to shit?”

What?

(I posted anyway.)

We really do have bigger issues than this; we have the ones that are right in front of our faces, the ones we have to deal with daily. A gentle reminder to someone that “things could be worse, let’s put it into perspective” is one thing; but condemning someone so harshly for their feelings is another, especially when you know that the election was so close that it could have been your side that lost. You know how strong your feelings were for your choice – how would you be feeling if you were truly concerned about something and people just kept telling you to “get over it!”?

Your feelings matter (coincidentally – if I believed in coincidences – I wrote about that, too. Read here). All of your feelings, even the negative ones. You have them for a reason. You are allowed to have them.

So is everyone else. You can feel proud that your candidate won, scared because yours didn’t, or even sick to your stomach that those two were our choices. You even have the right to voice your opinion.
But to think you have the right to invalidate and insult someone else because theirs doesn’t agree with yours is something else entirely.

We are not being kind. We are being divisive and hateful. We will end up killing this country faster than one ‘representative’ will, because we are the foundation.

If you know me at all, you know that I do not follow the (m)asses. I speak up whenever I feel the need to, and I always will. I will continue to write/speak on the issues that I believe or don’t believe in, and I will live by what I say – or do my best to.

I will not go against my belief in unity; I can’t. I will try not to participate in divisive behavior.

That being said:

I live in the United States; that makes this my country. My collective country voted that Donald Trump should be president of my country; that makes him my president. Even if he wasn’t my personal choice. Even if I may be upset that he won.

And I will continue to speak out about what I believe in, at every opportunity. I will also try to come up with new solutions for things I believe to be problems. I will honor my own opinions and feelings and yours, as well. If I try to invalidate you and yours, I am invalidating my own.

I have a responsibility to my belief in unity – but I do not have responsibility for the actions and thoughts of anyone else.

Please, everyone, understand that no matter your opinions we are all in this together.

Together.

Facebook is our place to play, to laugh, to connect. Allow others to have their own opinions. Let’s not violate this privilege we have. 

P.C.

What a jumble my thoughts are in right now, but I’ll do the best I can here. 

I’m an Android girl. I’m known to be very vocal in my opinions against Apple. My issues aren’t even with their products so much as they are with the company itself. Proprietary is the first word that comes to mind. Once you buy in, you have to stay in. Their products, as nice as they may be in general, don’t play well with others, and each ‘generation’ became more walled in.

He who owns the ball makes the rules, right? You want to play? You do it my way.

Apple does have good products, but I don’t want to be in a cage – no matter how prettily it’s decorated.

Isolate and exclude.

I’m ashamed to admit this: I own an iPod. The 160 GB Classic. I had the original Microsoft Zune and I absolutely loved it (I still have it, and it still works well), but there wasn’t enough storage on it for me (yes, I need to take as much of my music library with me wherever I go). Microsoft upgraded the Zune to 120 GB and I was all set to buy it until I saw the iPod 160 being sold for the same price. I sold out for those extra 40 GB.

My daughter and then-husband had iPods. I was already well-versed in iTunes (and well-disgusted). It’s a filing nightmare to try to transfer already-uploaded music into iTunes. I spent many hours converting CDs, records and cassette tapes into digital files, and the transfer into the iTunes program didn’t go well – stored information on each file was changed or not accepted. I had/still have to go through each individual file to correct the artist name, title, album, and genre to be able to sort it out into playlists and to be able to choose what I want to listen to. Apple wants you to upload your music directly into the program from the source or, better yet, purchase directly from them. I have been building my music collection for over 40 years now; I’m not buying it all over again, nor will I purchase audio files that I can only play in one place. If I choose to buy a $60 collection or audio book, I want the CD; that way I can record and play it anywhere – not only on my iPod (remember, I still have my Zune).

Once my iPod is full and filed properly (it’s been years and still not the way I want it), I’m not changing it. I made my bed and I will lie in it. I will buy a different company’s product if I need any other upgrade.

We’ve all sold out in some way, haven’t we? We spend more for labels. You can’t put a price on quality, right? But does “quality” need to be emblazoned in large letters across your chest or your ass? Your support of a label provides companies with the inflated profit of the product and gives them free advertising as well. You are part of the problem, too.

We all are. We have accepted that we can’t truly be safe in cars unless we buy the most expensive. We can’t eat healthy without spending more. We can’t protect our children, seniors, homes, bank accounts, and selves without a cost. We can’t take care of our health and our homes and responsibilities. We are forced to make value judgments on essentials.
How did we get here?
We blame our government, first.
Isolate and exclude.
We isolate ‘them’ as the source of blame and exclude ourselves from the fact that we put them there, by our support (even tolerance is a measure of support) and perpetuation of ‘normal’ or ‘standard’.
We become further divided in our handling of the problems we see. Some will fight against the norm and others won’t, either out of fear of reprisal or a fatalistic attitude of “That’s the way it is.” Then, the people who are fighting the issue are fighting the people who won’t fight. And the people who won’t fight settle back into their chairs even further because it seems that the people who are fighting ‘are getting nowhere, anyway’.
We are going in the same circles, around and around and around again.
United we stand. No truer words. The irony that these words were written during times of serious isolation and exclusion is not lost on me.
We even use those words in fight. We need to band together (isolate) to fight them (exclude). There’s another irony right there.
Isolate and exclude.

Our country’s motto of unity is hypocrisy, right from the day those words were written, because all of us in some way have bowed to or chose some form of isolation and exclusion.

Fighting doesn’t work. If it did, we’d all be unified by now. Like George Carlin said, “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”

We’ve made this bed. All of us, together (and we even deny that unity). We’re going to have to learn to lie in it without hogging all the covers or kicking people off of it.

We have to begin again, at ground zero.

“But where shall I start? The world is so vast, I shall start with the country I know best, my own. But my country is so very large, I had better start with my town. But my town, too, is large. I had best start with my street. No, my home. No, my family. Never mind, I shall start with myself.” – Elie Wiesel

Be, but let others be. Stop judging others, stop telling them that what they are doing or who they are is wrong.

Fighting is tiring; unhappy acceptance is tiring. We are a tired nation. And we will never learn to get along with others until we get along among ourselves, and that starts with each and every one of us.
Right now, my country stands on isolation and exclusion (that is how it was built); but we do have a collective conscience that keeps reminding us, united we stand.

The only way to achieve true unity is to stop dividing lines between us. Every single one of us was created both the same and different. This and that. The contrast is always what makes life beautiful. If everything and everyone were the same, there would be no joy – because we would have no way to recognize it.

Even those of us who don’t cook understand that it is the combination of different ingredients that make the sauce so tasty. True wine aficionados won’t serve grapes with their wines, because the contrast of other foods is what enhances the flavor of the wine. Vintners go out of their way to use different grapes to create one specific taste (the same grapes only different?).  Different instruments are required to give music its depth.

 – Harmony is the blend of differences.

How is it that we can understand that concept of the necessity of inclusion of differences in so many aspects of life, but not in the overall picture?

We either have reached or are nearing our tipping point. If our country falls, we are all responsible for it. Many people have been screaming for some type of change, but expecting others to do it for them. And it always comes back in our faces, doesn’t it?

Monopolies fall (Ma Bell, anyone?), because isolation and exclusion only goes so far – how long something continues relies on participation. The same goes for our country.

(I never liked Monopoly.)

Our country is made up of smaller groups; states, cities and towns, organizations, religions, ethnicities, and more. Each group can be further divided down until you hit the common denominator: the individual person. You. Me. That is where the change begins. We choose our participation. 

Whatever happens now, we are certainly all in it together, aren’t we?

Androids and Apples are the same, only different. I will go with my preference, and I will let you go with yours. That is where I will start.

I already feel better. How I act, support, be, do is up to me, and I do have control over that. I will show my unity with you by letting you do the same. 

And we can stand, together. The same and different.

United.

More Shameless Self-Promotion

For those who haven’t heard (those fortunate enough not to be near enough to me to shove something in their faces), I have co-authored a book with Jody Clark.

Jody is a screenplay writer from York, Maine, and has nine scripts under his belt. He went looking for writers on the East Coast to help him turn his scripts into novels. He found me (God help him) during his search.

I’m happy to say we were able to stick to something of a schedule and finished it in a year.

Our book, Livin’ on a Prayer,  is a comedy following high school sweethearts Tommy and Gina and their friends from 1988 to the present. It is a story that takes you from hair bands and Aquanet through tragedy and redemption, all the way to yoga pants.

If you were fortunate enough to experience the 80s – even if you only vaguely remember them – and enjoy hearty and heartwarming laughter, check it out here!

2016-10-23-09-45-20

I Am (Was) Part of the Problem: Assumptions

Tamar Carroll and I are cousins-through-shared-cousins, which means I’ve spent roughly 1/4th of my holidays growing up (about half of the gatherings on my father’s side) with her. Between the combination of a significant-enough age difference that always affects interactions with the ‘once-removeds’, geographical distance, and an almost diametrically opposite upbringing, I had never considered that we had much in common.

I am sorry for that perceived and assumptive brush-off, Tamar.

We both published a book within a year of each other, and I still considered us at somewhat ‘opposite ends’ – her book being based on ‘real’ education and mine only on ‘opinion’ (we all understand the significance of that, and I admit it).

With the normal expansion (and division, in some cases) of families, I began to see less and less of her. Then we became ‘Facebook friends’ (still a funny term to me). I ‘see’ her regularly now; more than when we saw each other at family gatherings.

We are both adults, she is married and I once was, and we are both parents. As expected, the age gap that seemed so divisive long ago has declined with age and commonalities became more … well, common.

I (finally) began to notice things, like specific-subject-matter posts she put up, and her likes/comments on certain posts of mine – and I began to see a resemblance between us, and our way of thinking.

So, I went to Amazon and looked up her book –

and realized I was a complete idiot.

First of all, it was not some lofty, over-your-head thesis type, written only for the well-educated to debate at dressy cocktail parties, laughing while barely opening their mouths.

Again, I’m sorry for my assumptions – all of them.

Secondly – and this was the biggest kick in the pants – her book is about ‘community’ activism, the affecting of change, the banding together of groups usually marginalized, AND how they are all intertwined.

Connections.

Isn’t that what I write (preach) about, in my own way, in my own words? About separation and pre-supposition? About pervasive attitudes and ignorance of the scope of their reach?

And I missed this in her? Because of my own ‘programming’ that seeps into my thoughts and actions?

This means that as much as I talk about fixing certain problems, I am still an active part of them.

Was.

The first step is admission. To be able to admit I’ve done something wrong or negative, I    have to be well enough away from it to view it from the outside. Now, any assumptions I make are not ‘habit’ but choice, because I’m aware I make them.

This also validates points that she and I both touch on in our writing: how ingrained our ‘learned’ behavior is, the un-awareness of the full scope and pervasiveness of certain issues, and the ties between them. It is all connected. We are all connected.

Now, this ‘young grasshopper’ has learned – yet again – that with all she has learned, she still has so much more to learn.

Thank you for the lesson, Professor.

………….

Purchase her book here:  Mobilizing New York: Aids, Antipoverty, and Feminist Activism (Gender and American Culture) by Tamar W. Carroll

From the back cover: “Carroll contends that social policies that encourage the political mobilization of marginalized groups and foster coalitions across identity differences are the most effective means of solving social problems and realizing democracy.”

From the Preface: “… I began to doubt prevailing assumptions that a strong group identity is likely a barrier to social movement building, and I wanted to learn more about how [these] coalitions maneuvered within the difficult terrain of identity and power.”