Fears (Day 17)

Spiders, snakes, being old(er) and alone and living a life without purpose. Those are my top four fears. I have other things that make me fearful but I don’t want to go on and on about things like Stephen King’s books and movies. Have you ever read Tommy Knockers? Shudder, that was my last scary book. Then there is that red rum scene in the Shining that make me want to hide in my closet. 

Last year my ex took me back to court to change custody. Some days I was very afraid. The financial impact and the possibility of him winning the case caused me anxiety for many months. 

I refuse to live the rest of my life in fear. I had plenty of fears growing up. I feared too many things and people. I was concerned about what people would say to me, if the mean girls were going to threaten to beat me up, were they going to make fun of my clothes today? Those are big deals to middle school girls. 

When thoughts come to my mind or I’m having too many negative conversations with myself I repeat two of my favorite quotes. “Only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt and “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. 

To the Least of These

I’ve read my share of feel good articles about people helping the homeless or less fortunate. I’ve watched videos of people asking for food from those who seemingly have it to give but their requests are denied. I’ve paid it forward in the drive thru line. I’ve even offered to buy a guy’s grocery bill when he left his wallet at home. He was buying flowers and the makings of a nice dinner how could I not?

Today was different. I was picking up a few items for the fan4 aka my four children at the store when a lady approached me and asked me to buy her groceries. I was taken off guard then I did a quick scan of her basket as she talked. “I get food stamps but they don’t come in until the sixth. I’m just trying to get some food for me and my daughter.” Within a few seconds I sized her up, analyzed her basket and did a quick calculation of what I needed vs what she was asking me to buy and whether or not it was an expense I was willing to take on.

I wanted to talk to her about budgeting her food stamps. I wanted to ask what was her plan after the two pack of hotdogs, one can of chili, two can of Pringle’s and one pack of break and bake cookies were gone. I wanted to know why there was no fresh fruit or vegetables in her basket. I wanted to know her scam or her hustle. What I didn’t want to know was her struggle. I have my own.

I thought about telling her I’m a single mother of four working one and a half jobs on a tight budget. Then I felt a tinge of condemnation. Yes, I will buy your groceries. As I checked out I couldn’t help but wonder why the clerk didn’t ask her how she was paying. I had her items separated from mine. For some reason I wanted different transactions. Some how the clerk knew I was picking up the tab. As soon as her groceries were paid, she thanked me and disappeared.

As I walked out of the store I wasn’t overcome with any emotion or sense of pride for doing a good deed. That’s what bothered me. Why didn’t I feel good? Why didn’t I have a rush of adrenaline? Where were the endorphins? I don’t know. Does it count when you perform the action but your heart didn’t play a part?

March 5, 2014

It had been a regular day. I woke up early. Prepared breakfast for the kids. I got everybody off to school and I put in my time at work. I don’t remember anything exciting occurring. Like I said, it had been a regular day. 

I was preparing dinner. The Fan4 were completing homework. That’s when I heard the knock on the door. I looked out the window beside the door and saw a short unassuming man. I thought he was another salesman attempting to get me to change electric companies. I remember thinking it’s a little late in the evening for door to door sales. 

I spoke to him through the screen door. “How may I help you?” He told me I needed to sign for something. I asked, “what is it?” By this time the Fan4, who are always excited when someone knocks on the door, were behind me watching and listening. 

Let me take you back a few months to December 2013  kids and I were talking about some of the things we wanted to do for 2014. I want to play soccer, I want to attend a basketball camp. Can I go to a summer camp? I told them I wanted to take a trip to Virginia. Due to the cost, we would not have birthday parties in 2014. What can I say? We live on a budget. Everybody agreed on the trip. 

I opened the front door to sign the papers. The gentleman told me I had ten days to respond and needed to get an attorney as soon as possible. I had been served. My heart was racing and so was my mind. What! Who? I walked through the crowd of people, four kids does feel like a throng of people at times. As I stood in my kitchen I opened the packet and realized my ex was taking me to court. 

I don’t know what I did next or who I called first. 

I picked up my cell phone at some point and walked into my room closing the door behind me. I walked into my closet and closed that door as well. My closet is my inner sanctuary at times. It’s where I go to have private conversations and get a couple of minutes alone. It’s the only place I can go in the house without a Fan following. 

I remember the shock. I remember the heartbreak. I also remember being overwhelmed and afraid. I knew that a court battle could obliterate my finances. I also knew that depending on the outcome our lives would change forever. 

I can’t help but wonder

I was reading an article about Meatless Mondays that is being “forced” on students in public schools. The article states animal rights activists are behind this movement. They are talking to students about the earth, the animals and what eating meat does to both.
Read the article here: http://news.yahoo.com/public-schools-forcibly-subject-students-meatless-monday-activism-021822637.html

I don’t have a problem with Meatless Mondays or Fish only Fridays. But I do wonder what life would look like if everybody minded their own business. What would the world look like if you were allowed to worship, eat, marry, learn, teach, dress they way you wanted to. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand we need rules and laws. I don’t support abuse of humans or cruelty to animals. Hhmmm I guess that’s the thing, my definition of abuse to animals is not the same as an animal rights activist’s view on abuse. Where is the common ground? If you don’t believe in eating meat then by all means, don’t eat meat. If you don’t want to wear clothes at the beach, there are places designated for that. If you dont’ want to worship a God then don’t go to church. If you don’t appreciate emissions from cars then walk. If you want to feed your children fast food every night and never give them a vegetable, I’m good with that as well. How much of life are we going to regulate, manipulate, and dictate?

Is it our duty as a society to push our agenda on others? Why do we insist on others living the way we live? Why must other’s worship your God? Let me throw this out here, how different is the ISIS from the Christian Crusades? How many lost their lives in the effort to advance the kingdom?

If I don’t vote the way you think I should, why can’t we still be friends? Why must we insult other people who vote, live and think differently? Why can’t I embrace your way of life and you embrace mine.

Again, I understand we need laws to deter crime. But we have a lot of laws on the books now and there is still quite a bit of crime going on daily. Is it because we don’t have enough laws? Is it because the thought of sitting in prison for life is not a deterrent? Perhaps it’s because we don’t love enough. If we put our differences aside and I look at you as a fellow human on this journey of life together and accept you where you are the way you are, would the heaviness of life appear a little lighter? If you could go to a neighbor and say, I am having a bad day and need to leave my kids with you for a day and not fear the state taking them away, would more children live or not experience abuse? If you could say to your partner, I need a break from you and have the option of taking a break, would more marriages survive? If a teen could say to a parent, teacher, friend, counselor I am having a tough time and have thoughts of committing suicide or killing people in mass and receive help instead of judgement or isolation, would they reach out?

I don’t have answers but I do have a lot of questions.

Meatless Mondays… Per the article, if you don’t support meatless Mondays, pack your kids a lunch. Don’t get me started on the number of kids that don’t have food at home to pack. That’s another topic for another day.

Gin and Tonic

Gin and tonic
Tonic and gin
You have quite the reputation
They said you make people sin
I heard a guy say something
I’m not sure what it meant
He said you would help a man get in
So now you have people?
Are you handing out passes?
Is it only to those with highball glasses?
Hangovers, hangouts, hang ups and hang downs
What kind of people are you hanging around?
Chose your friends carefully
You’re building quite the reputation
That girl who fell down the stairs
Called you, gin, her only liberation
Was she being held captive?
Did you really set her free?
Or did you capture her when she was weak
Gin and tonic
Tonic and gin
The friendship that just won’t end
You are strong
You provide courage
But it’s only for while
Then life, that was out of focus
Comes back without the hocus pocus
Friend of no one
Loved by many
At the end of the day
A headache and regrets is what awaits

First Date Do’s and Don’ts

I met this guy a few months ago. We’ve talked and texted since then but due to our schedules and let’s face it, lack of any real effort we went out for the first time recently. After I write this article I really should write one that helps you determine if the person is date worthy.
I’m not new to dating. I’ve had several first dates that never led to a second date. I’m not a serial dater but I consider my time valuable and can’t see spending hours with a person I never want to see again, because they seem nice but have no substance or are self-absorbed. First dates can be awkward. But there are things you can do to lessen the awkwardness and increase the chances of there being a second date.

Shall we number these? Sure, why not?

1. Resist the urge stare at your date – seems like a no brainer right? If it wasn’t occurring I wouldn’t add it to my list. My last two dates sat across from me and stared. One with the intention of making me uncomfortable. He was trying to, “see my soul through my eyes.” It reminded me of staring contests I would get into with my honeygirl when she was a toddler. She had uncanny ability to not blink. I always lost therefore I never accepted that particular challenge from anybody else. What’s the point anyway? Heck, I like blinking. The other person was much more smooth with his staring and even gave me a line upfront, “I’m not staring, I’m observing.” Call it what you want it still results in making your date uncomfortable.

2. If you are going to insist on the other person selecting the place then don’t complain or worse wait until you get to the restaurant to let them know how much you dislike their selection. “Why didn’t you say something two hours ago when I made the suggestion?” ” I didn’t want to offend you.” I can fully appreciate not wanting to offend someone, irritating them is a much better option.

3. Allow the other person to talk. I know you and your life are fascinating but there’s something so engaging about dialogue. If you don’t ruin the first date you might get a second one and can use that date to tell the other person how smart, talented and wonderful you are.

4. Keep your assets to yourself. I’m not using that as a metaphor. Unless you are looking for a gold digger it’s not necessary to list all of your assets on the first date. I understand you want to appear successful but unless you are giving out one of your many houses or putting my name on your large bank account, I honestly don’t care.

5. Don’t talk about your ex. I had one guy insist on taking me out for my birthday as our first date. He spent an hour ranting about his ex whom he had been divorced from for three years. Another one actually called his ex and the mother of his children a bitch. If you will call her a name what’s to keep you from calling me one? We aren’t friends and I’m not your confidante. Get over your ex or at the very least don’t disrepect them in front of your date.

6. Be yourself but not all of yourself. Save the revelation of fetishes, quirks and anything else that may abruptly end the potential relationship until the third date. Those things may seem charming and eclectic instead of weird and strange by then.

7. Hold off on the selfies or usies. I don’t like the thought of my face being plastered all over someone’s social media outlets. Call me old-fashioned. Let’s add, don’t take unauthorized photos either. One of my friends mentioned something about a guy taking pictures of her toe cleavage without asking her and it was on the first date. Had he waited to reveal his foot fetish until the third date who knows what could have happened between them.

8. Be “normal”- Use your active listening skills. Make brief eye contact, smile and even laugh a little.

9. Enjoy the silence. Every moment of a date doesn’t have to be filled with conversation. It may seem awkward at first but give it a try. This is not an opportunity to manipulate or intimidate the other person. “I’m going be quiet and stare at you until you talk.” It’s givng an opportunity to chew your food, enjoy the music or think about something intriguing you just said.

If you have any others to add feel free to leave them in the comments. Thanks for stopping by.

Sometimes I Cry

Sometimes I cry out of frustration
Other times I cry because my heart is hurting
Then there are the times I cry and laugh
Today I cried because it was time to say good-bye
I cry when life gets overwhelming
I often hear people say, “you are strong”
I’m only strong because I allow myself to cry
It’s the external manifestation of my current internal situation
The tears come when the numbers on the  barometer that measures the atmospheric pressure of my soul gets to high
Numerically speaking, when you multiply responsibility by tension then add negative relations
You get frustration
When frustration is divided by demands
It equals life
And life, in terms of numbers, is prime
When you divide it by its self, you only get one
At times I cry because some days, during this 1 life that I live, are filled with sorrow
But I will take this life and not covet any other
Because this life allows me to cry
If water is cleansing and refreshing
Then my tears cleanse my soul and refresh my spirit
Just a while ago, I said farewell to somebody who was dear to me
Today, was a day that I cried