I DON’T DO CATFIGHTS
Women who believe this:
Don’t understand this:
Telling me that I get to choose whether you are my best friend or my worst enemy gives all of your personal power away.
I am the one in control when that happens. You are giving me the power to choose who you are in my life instead of choosing for yourself.
I value my female friends and I know not all women do. Some women build walls because they believe we are the competition and we should be feared
They’ve been lied to.
This isn’t about feminism, it’s about recognizing the value in friendships and in each other. We are not the competition. Girlfriends are of vital importance in our lives. Don’t allow insecurity, jealousy, or fear keep you from the richness that is so vital to our psyche.
I have no interest in being friends with anyone, male or female, who feels the need to use fear and manipulation in order to control me.
I have no interest in being friends with little girls today.
Or little boys for that matter.
And so I call shenanigans on any and all lies, manipulation, power trips, gossip, threats, with-holdings and fear based everything.
Give me the power to choose and I will.
I choose neither and leave you alone to yourself and your fear.
I chose wisely, but have you?
It is the day after Christmas. It’s 12:30 and I am still in my PJs. Why? I survived Christmas and I’m celebrating. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great Christmas. Both of my boys are home and even my Dad spent the night. While we didn’t do a lot of the things we normally do because of my broken leg, we still enjoyed the day. I even survived listening to how great Fox news is, the war on Christmas (that doesn’t really exist), and sentences that started with “not that I’m racists but…” and get this..
My youngest son did interject a random, “How about them Jets?” at one point which of course made everyone laugh.
Let’s face it, Christmas is not always the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. Alcoholism, divorce, death, illness, singleness, and a myriad of familial dysfunction can make the day beyond stressful for many people.
My parents got divorced when I was four. Between the ages of nine and twelve, the day after Christmas was spent on an airplane on my way to visit my father and his new family in New York. My mother hated the fact that she had to share me with him and we would invariably argue the week leading up to these visits. Honestly, I was really too young to understand what was going on, I just wanted to see my Dad. She didn’t think he deserved it. I only saw my father three times between the ages of four and nine for various reasons.
He made lots of plans to see me after the divorce, but 90% of them fell through and she was the one left to pick up the pieces of a broken-hearted kid. I would stress so badly over the tension that by the time the trip arrived, I’d be sick and still insist on going anyway. It would be at that point that she would threaten to pack my bags and send me off to live with him for good if I was so insistent on seeing him.
Instead of anticipation, family and joy, Christmas for me, came with fear and trepidation as a kid. Forget Santa. All I wanted for Christmas was parents who knew how to behave.
Would he cancel the visit last-minute? Again.
Would she really send me away for good? (She never did)
It’s not like the trips were all that great anyway – I left one drunk household for another. One set of problems for another.
Neither of them were sober back then, I had learned how to be the adult for all of us and I was really bad at it. But that didn’t keep me from trying. There are some things kids just aren’t supposed to be able to fix.
Then Mom got sober and the trips back and forth stopped. Instead of NY, Dad now lived in Chicago and even though it was only four hours away, he was too busy to see me. While I was hurt by that, I was also relieved by no longer being stuck in the middle.
Flash forward ten years or so, now married with my own children and fueled by my own painful memories of Christmas past, this broken child turned into the Queen of Christmas. We were going to have the PERFECT Christmas come hell or high water even if it killed me and everyone around me.
We did Christmas on our own in Oklahoma. We did it all, lights, Church pageants, decorations, presents and food galore. There was no Christmas at Grandma’s house because both sets of parents had downsized and there wasn’t room for us and neither set wanted to travel. Only my Dad came. He was harmless enough, drinking himself into a quiet stupor in the recliner. Besides he had nowhere else to go and I picked up my old hat of saving the world.
Did everyone have a perfect Christmas? I don’t know. By the time the holiday actually arrived my martyr hat was glued on so tightly that I’m pretty sure it impacted the blood flow to my brain and affected my judgement. Fortunately for me, (and thankful for my own 12 step program) I did eventually learn how to give up the ghost and stop trying so hard and believe it or not, my boys (now grown) actually have good memories about Christmas.
I have a broken leg this year – I could not have been the queen of Christmas even if I wanted. My husband had to take over the decorating, shopping, cleaning and a good part of the cooking and you know what? It was great! He did a wonderful job and I learned Christmas doesn’t have to rest completely on my shoulders.
I don’t know what your Christmas was like. Maybe it was spectacular. Maybe you had to sit through dinner with a Republican. Or a Democrat. Maybe you lost a parent or loved one. Maybe it was your spouse’s turn to have the kids and you were alone. The bottom line is, not matter how Christmas went, today is a new day.
You got through it, no matter what it was, therefore I suggest we celebrate. Stay in your jammies if you want. Call a friend and tell them “I did it!” I did this hard thing – let the kids see their dad, missed my Mom, survived the family dinner, stayed sober — what ever it is you did. Celebrate it. Take a bubble bath – go for a run, ride a bike. Do what ever it is you do when you celebrate. Give yourself a pat on the back. It’s okay — I give you permission.
Originally posted on Saturdays with Sylvia:
My name is Sylvia Traymore Morrison. I wanted to share my personal Saturday Night Live experience, considering there is so much controversy and conversation taking place regarding the Black Women issue.
I am America’s first renowned Black Female Impressionist. I did my first professional show in 1969 at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. At that time I was singing and doing impressions. Shortly after that, in the early 70s, I entered the Miss Black America pageant (Black women at that time had no chance whatsoever of even thinking of becoming Miss America so a Black pageant was created by J. Morris Anderson. I missed Oprah Winfrey by one year, who was Miss Black Tennessee the year before). I ended up placing as 2nd Runner-up and going to Europe to entertain the American troops. The reception was magnificent. Apparently, they had never seen a Black Woman who did impressions. The day I returned to the…
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” I miss my friends. I miss our house. I miss our store. I hate you for bringing me here.” she said. And he reminds her, “But we chose this, remember? The house, yard, and store were too much to take care of now, and we were too far away from town and the doctor’s offices. And we’re closer to our daughter now. You can walk to her house. You couldn’t do that before. So what if we have to drive farther to see our friends, we knew that when we chose to move.”
* “I hate living in Chicago. It’s scary and it’s hard. And those men I have to work with? They are crude! They keep trying to scare me off. It’s so hard some days Gramps.”
“But you chose this, remember? You wanted to live in Chicago. You wanted to have a career. You knew you would be the only woman in that group when you accepted the job. You chose this life. The only question that remains now is what choices are you willing to make today? Are you going to step up to the plate and face the challenge you accepted or are you going to run away?”
YOU CHOSE THIS, REMEMBER?
If I remember nothing else from my Grandfather, I hope I never forget those words. You chose this. Own your choices or they will own you.
My Grand Father had an 8th grade education at best, and I swear up and down he was the smartest man I’ve ever known in my life. I miss him beyond measure most days.
The great thing about choices is we get to change our minds and make a different choice, or we get to buckle down and do what needs to be done.
I got a little whiney this week. I didn’t think I was being whiney. I thought I was just stating facts, I’ve been performing all month at various venues and some have been harder than others. I haven’t slept well in I don’t know how long. I’ve been up half the night most nights writing new jokes, practicing my banjo and my guitar, writing stories, talking with friends, working through home work that is due June 15. I have gardens to work, and deadlines looming. I got to feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all and I think part of me was looking for a little bit of sympathy only I didn’t get it.
I’m glad really. Women (and men) don’t need sympathy — especially in light of the fact that we are all living the lives we choose to live. (For the record, sympathy and empathy are not the same thing.)
We may not view our lives as choice. Sometimes we view ourselves as victims of either fate or circumstance or others but nothing can be further from the truth.
I’m choosing to add music lessons, a ministry class, and playing stand up in bars and clubs to my already full schedule of running a home, caring for aging parents, and going green in my gardening (No GMO’s for us thank you) not to mention becoming a full-fledged cyclist. All of these are good choices. Yes, it does mean I get a bit less sleep. I’m not a victim. I’m living my dream. I’m performing comedy. I’m working hard at being the best comic I can become. Every choice I make pushes me a little bit closer to my goals.
I can either accept, appreciate, and value the hard work that goes into that – or I can stay a stuck little girl and whine which leads people and myself to wonder – if it’s really that awful why do you keep doing it?
We choose where we work, where we live, whom we trust, how we eat, how we spend our time and what we think.
When we replace the have to’s with chooses to’s, we step out of the little girl victim mode and become women who own our own lives.
It isn’t always easy. Life is still life. Relationships are hard. Work is hard. And even in the face of hardship we still choose how we respond.
We aren’t beach balls tossed around by a crowd. We are women. We control our steps, our hearts, and our destiny. Only when we live it, breathe it, and own it are we free.
* I went on to earn numerous performance rewards, including but not limited to recognition from the National Associate of Female Executives for being the first women to work in Internal Communications for a National Telecommunications company. When hired, the manager told me “HR says I have to hire a broad, I give you 90 days.” — Today that department has almost as many women working in it as men. I’m proud I chose to rise to the challenge and stick with it.
When writing the story of your life,
don’t let anyone else hold the pen. – Harley Davidson
It doesn’t matter how 2012 ended.
It does not matter if you kept last year’s resolutions or not.
You have the power to decide where to go next. You always have.
I usually end the year with an inventory of some kind. I list what went well, what did not go well, what I learned, what I still need to learn and then once finished, I declare the year complete. 2012 was a year of challenges and great growth for me. Instead of making resolutions, I followed the advice of several writer friends. I chose to live a great story (Donald Miller) and picked a word for the year to focus on. 2012 turned out to be one of the best years I’ve had in a while. I even chose to follow Ken Davis’s advice and live a year that is Fully Alive and what a difference that makes. Living a great story Fully Alive is not an easy road — you get skinned knees and bruised hearts along the way. It requires honesty with yourself and others. It’s hard work. Sometimes you say as many goodbyes as you do hellos and that is okay.
Some highlights from 2012
- My youngest graduated high school and started college as well as a part-time job. — He has epilepsy and a great deal of my life and his childhood has revolved around taking care of him and being his advocate. Now I get to watch him spread his wings and I could not be more proud. (My oldest is in his 4th year of college with one more to go — my life is changing fast)
- I’m in two movies as a paid extra, Cowgirls N Angels and So This is Christmas — I am at a loss of words trying to explain the emotional impact of seeing myself on the big screen had on me. The best I can come up with is “it rocked!” I want to do more of that.
- I rode the Tulsa Tour De Cure for the first time and will definitely raise the challenge bar and do it again.
- I started playing the banjo.
- I emceed a local youth rock concert.
- Attended the Christian Comedy Association Conference in Nashville and had a blast.
- The political climate caused some attrition in my friendships. Sorry to see that happen, learning to let go.
- Made new friends.
- I said goodbye to the church I’ve attended for ten years and hello to a new one that has women’s ministries and bible studies, two things that are important to me. This was a hard choice, but one that needed to be made.
- In 2013, I plan to ride more, participate in the Route 66 Marathon, return to Nashville for the CCA Conference. My word for the year is Resolve and I plan to continue writing and living a story that keeps me alive.
- It’s easier to tell the truth the first time than to have to remember a lie.
- Hidden things have a way of coming back to bite you — deal with your closet before it deals with you. (Just trust me on this one.)
- You can’t have everything you want.
- Don’t take what isn’t yours.
- Don’t do something permanently stupid just because you are temporarily upset. – Temper your temper.
- Always strive to leave people and things better than you found them.
- Own who you are.
- Don’t blame others for your choices.
- Try new things.
- Fail as often as you need to before you succeed.
- Gratitude is a choice.
- Write your own story.
- Find your catalyst and be the person worthy of love, trust, and respect that looks back at you in the mirror every day.
- LIVE a life that is UNDAUNTED.
I’ll be honest, some days I feel more like my old self than I do my new. Some days the old me emerges out of nowhere and I wonder if I’ve grown any at all. Thankfully, feelings aren’t facts.
The old me was really really cute, and man did she know how to work it. I still do and I hate it. As much as I hate how good I am at cute, there was a time when I hated being called out on it even more. And yet, I have a mentor, and a multitude of friends who when seeing my “cute self” try to push her way around, call me out on it. A lot. I am learning to appreciate that even if it hurts. That’s what happens when you hang out around 12 step rooms for too long. You learn to appreciate things you used to resent. – Like the truth. It took me a long time before I ever allowed people to tell me the truth. While I’m selective today about who gets to, I still allow it because I know I need it from time to time.
“I’m cute and I know how to work it!” Said no self-respecting woman, ever! –Tweet This
Playing cute is a lack of trust as well as a lack of respect both for ourselves and our victims.
My cute self got us in a butt load of trouble when I was younger. So much trouble in fact it cost me the respect of my co-workers, friends, and myself. What made me change? A man. An honest one at that.
Do you know what he said to me?
“Don’t get me wrong darlin, I love my wife. I just think we’d be good in bed together.”
I didn’t feel very cute after hearing those words come out of his mouth. Actually, I never felt more alone, hurt, and ashamed in my life. My cute self had behaved us into a really nasty corner and I felt stuck. I’d pursued him, if I’m being honest, under the guise of we work together, we should hang out. What’s the harm in that? Not that he wasn’t willing, ready and able, but I digress. Every time we hung out after work was at my invitation, never his. And we rarely hung out in a crowd, it was usually just us and a couple of beers.
My excuse at the time “I thought we were just buds. I never saw that coming, HE’s the jerk, not me.” — It took me a few weeks (okay years plus a few 12 steps, sponsors and finally a flat on my back moment of surrender) to stop lying to myself. Even though I wasn’t willing to admit it at the time, deep down, I didn’t want him to love his wife, I wanted him to love me. Now that the truth was out, I couldn’t lie, I couldn’t pretend and boy did it hurt.
The truth is, they always love their wives and you and I deserve better than meaningless table scraps. We deserve the whole banquet and yet due to moments of extreme stupidity, loneliness, lack of self-esteem or what ever you want to blame we are easily tempted to settle for so much less.
Instead of being the kind of woman that brings out the whole man, we play the cute little girl who can manipulate boys and nobody wins.
“I love my wife…” I heard these words more than two decades ago, and I have never forgotten them. My life changed that night.
Yes, I turned him down. Just in case you were wondering. Not that it matters really. It still cost me my job eventually. I also cried for weeks. Cute stopped being fun. It stopped working. Cute wanted love, not a cheap one night stand with a married co-worker. I had to kick her to the curb if I was ever going to get what I really wanted and kick her to the curb I did.
The problem I have with Miss Cute Self is she likes to make an appearance every once in a while just to see if she’s still got it. That’s when my brain kicks in and tries to tell me that I will never change.
I have a news flash, my brain lies. For one thing the committee that meets are a bunch of drunks, misfits, co-dependents, floozies, and stone throwers. They are the nay-sayers of life and live to prove that I’ll wind up homeless and rejected tomorrow if I’m not careful. They like to wring their hands and show slides from the past. They like to try to prove that what tripped me up yesterday will surely trip me up today and I need to stay in my little cocoon and keep up my old tricks in order to survive.
Every time my brain rehearses the past to take away my present reality, I lose the chance to grow. Committees are just dementiated liars. (I made that word up – my committee suffers from memory loss and warped perceptions of reality.) I don’t care how many times I hit replay on that DVR’d memory, it’s going to be foggy. Did I say this or that? What did they really say? When did that really happen? All I get are sound bites and nothing more. Just enough really to want to cling to my old habit, old hurts, old resentments, old anger, whatever.
I miss out on so much when I let the committee have its way with me. When I get lost in my mind as I’m prone to do, I need a referee. I need an advocate. I need Christ to take over and set things straight. Once I have that, I can ignore them when they call. Unlike my committee, God doesn’t keep score. I’m told in psalm 130 that he keeps no record of our sins. I think that’s fantastic. He’s not some boogie man in the sky waiting to strike me dead or hold me to account for my past — he covered that with the cross.
There are still old habits, old behaviors, and old memories that trip me up from time to time even today. That doesn’t mean I haven’t changed or grown. It doesn’t mean I have to keep doing those things either. When I catch myself in an old behavior (or have an old behavior pointed out by a friend) I can choose to react and behave differently right this minute. Yep, I’m back to choices.
I have friends who believe in me enough to tell me the truth. Sometimes it’s a “yeah you, you so got this!” and sometimes it’s things like, grow up, quit being a victim, don’t manipulate me, and take responsibility for your choices.
I don’t have to crumble when someone points out something I know to be an old behavior surfacing. It’s not the end of the world. I don’t have to allow the committee to take over with their doctored evidence. I can own it, apologize and move on. And it’s over and done with. I love that.
Sometimes there are tears because it hurts. Hurts is okay. It means I’m alive. Allowing myself to be open enough to these friends is a good thing – and a somewhat new thing. Ken Davis said it well in his book Fully Alive, If you choose to move forward in your quest to live fully alive, you will fall, it will hurt…and it will be worth it.
I have friends who love me enough to help me kick her to the curb when they see her and I love that. I don’t need to be cute with them. I just need to be me.
Contrary to what the committee says, I don’t need my cute self in order to survive anymore nor do I have to stare at my past and believe I’m never going to change. I have changed and that is good news.
What old habits trip you up? Do you let them define your day? How do you change?
Making myself nothing to suit others is not humility; it’s ego and lack of trust. When I make myself small to “help” someone else feel like they are important what I’m really communicating is I think I’m too big for you to handle and you are too weak to see my greatness. Real relationships require real honesty. If I cannot allow myself to be fully me when we’re together, am I really allowing the other person to be all they can be? Of course not.
Making myself nothing is just another mask for fear. Fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. What are we really afraid of when we do that? Rejection? Failure? Pride?
We get caught up in the lie that we are being too prideful if we boast (talk) about our accomplishments. Really? Isn’t playing small prideful as well? Yes, we can be very prideful in our ability to make ourselves small — I see it all the time in church. We get hung up on thinking that playing small pleases God. No it does not.
God did not create us to be small nor did He create us to fit in. We are created in HIS likeness in order to make a difference in this world. We cannot make a difference if we are playing down to nothing.
Making myself nothing so that other people can feel like everything is about manipulation and control. It’s about people pleasing and being liked.
Let go of the control.
Be who you were created to be and make a difference.
You can do it.
I believe in you.
Well written poetry heals souls.
Why bother using an Ivy League vocabulary when the truth is as simple as that?
When discussing great literature, I catch myself wanting to write as if I’ve graduated from Baylor instead of business college. That makes book reviews difficult for me sometimes. I want to match the intellect of the authors in question and write as if I were a scholar myself. My main problem with that however is the scholastic approach to writing does not match my day-to-day voice. I’m not an MFA graduate. I’m just me. Mac and Cheese as Molly calls me. Comfort food in many ways.
I went looking for my literary voice last year and found my heart. Granted my heart was at the time in a about a million pieces all over the floor. I was lost in the rubble when a ragtag band of modern-day poets and women’s rights activists invited me to internet tea last fall. We banded together as only women can and sifted through the debris of unmet needs, false hopes, unrealistic expectations of others and toxic co-dependency. Their love and acceptance breathes life into my battle weary soul.
I have no idea how long I’d been holding my breath; it must have been a while. I just know that it had been long time since I’d had fresh air. I found a respite and breathing place with these women. I took big gulps of air at first and gushed quite a bit over their acceptance and caring. I’ve settled in quite nicely now and my heart rate and oxygen levels have returned to normal.
Recovering from a broken heart takes more time than I am sometimes willing to allow. One of the unexpected bonuses, while I am picking up the pieces I discover that not all of them fit any more. This is good news. This means there is room for more –
I have officially turned the corner and the scenery is to die for.
I wrote my first poem of sorts in many years on September 12 of 2011. My poetic soul knows what I didn’t. You might say it was my battle cry.
The Fractured Mirror
To be handed one’s emotional ass on a silver platter and yet have so little regard for self, that the best revelation one can muster that anything is wrong are stomach issues, persistent blushing, and chest pain is a travesty. While it is true that artists are capable of being emotionally empathetic to a fault and that our souls can easily be a magnet to acts of spiritual terrorism, we still have choices.
Does one choose to succumb to this warped sense of reality, thereby being a victim of the fractured mirror of others as well as their own learned misogynistic views? Or can the false mirror be broken and a new paradigm created?
Some world views are nothing more than a fractured reflection of one’s own self-hatred and false dichotomies.
Unrealistic expectations and lies of others do not define me. I DEFINE ME.
Thus began my journey back to wholeness and life. Molly gave us the following poem during my very first week of writing classes – I’d never read The Journey by Mary Oliver before. As soon as I read it, I knew I was home.
one day you finally knew what you had to do, and began. though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice, though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles, “mend my life!” – each voice cried, but you didn’t stop you knew what you had to do. though the wind pried with its stiff finger at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible, it was already late enough and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches & stones. but little by little as you left their voices behind the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds. and there was a new voice which you suddenly recognized as your own and that kept you company as you strode deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do, determined to save the only life you could save. – mary oliver
I’m continuing my journey next week by attending Poetry Book Camp led by Molly Fisk which means I won’t be here. While I’m gone might I suggest reading a good poetry book or better yet – write your own poems. Like I said – Well written poetry heals souls. Your soul is worth it.
I’ll be back before the month is out.