Friday, February 4, 2011

Getting Naked with a Friend

Over the last 5 years or so I've been getting together with a friend, now my best friend, about every 1 to 2 weeks. There is always good conversation, but last time something different happened. I got naked. Yes, naked. But not physically, rather, personally. I've had a lot of fears about opening up about the really deep stuff, the personal stuff, the skeletons-in-my-closet stuff. You see, her friendship is important to me, and I want her to like me. The truth is, I want her to accept me for who I really am, but, she can't do that if I'm hiding the risky stuff. Some of it I really wanted to talk about before, but I was afraid. But, for whatever reason, it all came out. It was taking a lot of energy to hold in what I really wanted to say. So getting it all out was very exhilarating. The best part is, I think she still likes me. :)

It's also brought insight to me. I can think of some other "friends" who I definitely feel don't accept me for who I am. Until now, I've been wanting to avoid them. Instead, the next time I feel criticized by them I'm going to come right out and say, "I feel like you don't accept me for who I am." I don't think that's their intention, so I have faith that it could go a long way in improving our relationship. It can't make it any worse.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Loneliness of Social Networking

I have recently closed my account on a very prominent social networking site. I like to call it "Fakebook." When I first heard of FB, I wanted to join right away and I did. I was so excited to be able to connect with my friends in this way; to see what was going on in their lives on a daily basis, and to share what was going on in my life too. I liked to see how creative and interesting I could make my status. I had fun there for about 3 years. Then one day, it wasn't fun anymore. I realized that it was empty. I felt lonely when logged in and saw everyone so near and yet so far. I found this kind of ironic since the idea of social media is about getting more intimately into the lives of others, But, I felt like it was fake.
I wasn't spending a lot of time on there, but I would check my account an average of once a day. I would always scroll down and read the latest status updates of my "friends." One day I read 3 updates from a "friend" who I hadn't seen in 20 years. In real life she had been an acquaintance. I began to question why I was spending my time reading about her life when I would probably never see her again or have another live conversation with her, let alone meet for coffee.
It was an easy way to contact people. I decided that didn't matter; anyone on there who needed to contact me had my phone number and I had theirs. I would rather hear their voice.
When I told my 10-year-old daughter that I'd left FB she was shocked. I told her it wasn't bringing me life. I felt lonely there. She'd been wanting to join herself, but we told her she had to wait until she was older. The problem, I've heard, for teens on FB is it gives the appearance that everyone else is having more fun than them. The result is - guess - loneliness.
Perhaps I'll go back on someday, maybe soon, maybe not. If I do, maybe I'll hide some people whose lives I don't need to know so much about.
Last week I read an article in which author Shelly Turkle is quoted and I think she is bang on. "People are lonely. The network is seductive. But if we're always on, we may deny ourselves the rewards of solitude. As we distribute ourselves, we may abandon ourselves. Sometimes people experience no sense of having communicated after hours of connection."

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Travesty of Bottled Water

I started drinking bottled water about 15 years ago. I would only drink it occasionally, for example if I was out and needed to buy a drink. I didn't want all the sugar that's in a pop, and I find water so nice and refreshing. But, in more recent years, I've been educating myself about bottled water. There are many issues that are problematic: spring water drains the aquifers which are our future sources of water, bottled water is not regulated for quality, it costs more than gasoline, the plastic bottles cause a lot of pollution, the transportation of it pollutes the environment. The Environmental Working Group has just completed a study of 188 brands of bottled water in the US. Only two brands would disclose the source, method of treatment and purity of their water. Incredibly, every 27 hours Americans consume enough bottled water to circle the entire equator with plastic bottles stacked end to end. For more astounding facts on bottled water check out the EWG link below.

For the last 4 years, I've avoided buying bottled water, and instead, I fill up my Klean Kanteen at home and bring it with me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Eye Contact

What's up with people who don't make eye contact when they talk to you? When I'm serving customers at work and they don't make eye contact I assume that they're uncomfortable or intimidated by me. Some people with autism don't make a lot of eye contact; it's one of the traits of autism. It can also be a trait of ADHD. One of my children could do better at making eye contact; she falls into the ADHD category.

When I'm with my husband, having a conversation with someone, there are occasions when he gets all the eye contact. If the conversation is with a man, I assume he doesn't want my husband to think he's checking me out, or maybe he is struggling with checking me out, or maybe he just wants to have a guy to guy conversation. Although I feel awkward, I don't get hung up on it. However, I do get hung up when we're talking with a woman and he gets all the eye contact. It's not that I think she's flirting with him, or checking him out, it's that I wonder how I got to be invisible. Why is she not looking at me? Is she intimidated by me? Or does she not respect me? Generally, I feel untrusting of her, and as though she is not interested in getting to know me or letting herself be known to me.

Eye contact is important. When people make eye contact with me I feel respected, listened to and connected to them. It is also easier for me to listen to and understand them when they make eye contact with me.

Sometimes I notice myself avoiding eye contact and I start to think about why. Usually it's because I'm tired, feeling introverted or overwhelmed. Why do you avoid eye contact?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Photobucket I am participating in the 2011 Mommytography 365 Project! For this year long project I will be posting an image a day, to get me out shooting, using my camera and learning new things with it daily. Anyone interested in photography can join, no need to be a Mommytographer. We have teens to adults, male and female, as well as people from all over the world. Come join the fun!

Is Rock Music Evil?

Here's a fun opener. Is rock music evil? Is any music evil? I never thought I'd actually be considering this question seriously. This is a question that inevitably comes up if you are hanging out in any Christian circles. It doesn't usually get debated for long. Christians have invented their own cultural alternative to what they call "secular music." They call it "Christian music." My husband calls it "gay Christian music" (GCM) (no offence meant to anyone who is gay). I would have to say that music cannot be catagorized in this way. I think it is all spiritual. Now back to the question: is any of it evil? I don't think that "evil" is the right word to describe it, I prefer to use "dysfunctional." Yes, a lot of it is dysfunctional. Here's my favourite example, it's from Amanda Marshall's If I Didn't Have You

I'd give up my sight just to see you
I'd beg, I would borrow and steal
I'd cut off my hands just to touch you
And tear out my heart so you'd know how I feel
There's nowhere that I wouldn't follow
There's nothing that I wouldn't do
'Cause I wouldn't wanna be me
If I didn't have you

Yikes! I sure wouldn't want to be in a relationship with her! Nor do I want to even sing along. That is desperate! I'm sure I could find some dysfunctional lyrics in "Christian" songs too, if I listened to enough of it. I work in an environment that plays music in the background. I don't get to choose what I listen to. It's amazing how we sing along because we like a tune or a catch phrase. The DJ plays these songs in my head when I'm falling asleep at night and when I wake up in the morning and doesn't take requests. As Blues Traveller puts it, "the hook brings you back." Hearing them over and over again does have the power to imprint my brain with the lie that these dysfunctional relationships are normal. So are these lyrics evil? I suppose we'd have to define evil first. If evil is something that sneeks into your subconscious to destroy your relationships with others and with yourself by lying to you, then I'd have to say that some songs do have evil lyrics. I suppose it is a symptom of the dysfunction in our culture. We are dysfunctional people in dysfunctional relationships writing dysfunctional songs about our dysfunctional lives while on the inside longing for wholeness.

Why am I the Happy Grinch?

hap·py [hap-ee] -adjective
characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy: a happy mood; a happy frame of mind.*

grinch [grinch] -noun
a person or thing that spoils or dampens the pleasure of others.*

Am I a Happy Grinch? I would say I'm working on it. My goal is to increase the happy factor, and decrease the grinch factor. How does this work? One step at a time. (Oh, and happy bitch was taken!)

*courtesy of