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Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

A Lesson on Happiness: How Words Transform (Day Eleven)

In English Major, Happiness, Humanity, Laughter, life, Love, Men, Men, wit on July 29, 2010 at 4:21 pm

A wonderful philosopher once said, “As is his language so was his life.”

The past two weeks have been wonderful for me as I’ve reflected on so many things, the present and the past.  The words written here have transformed, somewhat, and they’ve changed my perspective on things.  So ten days in review, a lesson on how to be happy (plus some added extras).    See you don’t need Prozac after all.

  1. listen to those around you, see what they’re saying, you may find truth. (thank you Mr. Be Happy)
  2. Do something you haven’t dared before
  3. Embrace life, whatever it brings (Hello Earl)
  4. Create your own reality
  5. Live your dreams or in them (that’s fun too)
  6. Let thoughts of happiness infiltrate your ideas
  7. Remember to live (don’t check out empty handed)
  8. Recognize that some days are just going to be shitty
  9. Talk to yourself
  10. If you have holes in your soul–fill em’ up

I realize my realities can be whatever I make them; I can write my own world.  We can all live in our dreams and hopefully those dreams make up our bliss.  You don’t have to pretend to be happy (I used to do that) you just have to give yourself permission to let the good in.  One last thing, let the words of others pervade—sometimes you gotta get out of your own head.

Cupcake: Laugh at Me

In Blogging, Blogs, Dating, Faith, Fun, Humor, Stories, Thoughts, wit, Work, Writing on July 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Today’s cupcake is just something that made me smile and since this place is about being happy, enjoy.

Yesterday while  in NEO (New Employee Orientation) training we visited the various offices within our building.  A sort of get to know you.  We had this thing, “Fun Facts” where each department manager was asked to share a fun bit of information about himself/herself.

While in the legal department we met an older gentlemen named, Earl.  His fun fact was that he model railroads. Cool.

Anyway, when we got to Directors Office the NEO officer explained to the manager the concept of “Fun Facts” he began to recite all of those we had previously collected throughout the day.  He couldn’t recall Earl’s Fun Fact.  I leaned forward to help him and somehow this came out, “he male models.”  Aw, orthodontics–my retainers were the source of this word confusion.  Laughing, everyone agreed that was the funnest fact of the day.

Huge joke circulating the office –Earl from the legal department is a male model.  I wish I had a picture of Earl.

This reminded me slightly of my eighth grade science class.  The answer was organism.  It was for extra credit, I think.  The boy next to me  whispered the answer in my ear.  I was golden, raising my hand with great height I blurted it out, “Orgasm!”

Daily Cupcake: Old Spice Man Revisited

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2010 at 6:09 am

Surely you have seen this by now.  If you haven’t, take a look.  Even the Old Spice Guy can make NPR sound sexy–now that’s talent.  I agree, I don’t think his career is going anywhere anytime soon.

Thank you Tego for the image!  Now we can have our cake and Old Spice Man too!

Daily Cupcake: Deception or Ignorance: Which is worse?

In life, wit on July 26, 2010 at 8:29 pm

The war in the Middle East upsets me.  However much this is NOT a forum for my political affiliations/beliefs I will not suspend any amount of truth from being told here.

The only thing that upsets me more than governmental deception is ignorance.  Someday this will all be history.  Please be assured that you can answer to your grandchildren and the history books, afterall, you got to be here.  That’s not lucky, that’s a priviledge.

Inception: Can we ever truly decipher reality?: Day Neuf

In life, wit on July 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Whose to say that reality is when we wake up perhaps the opposite is true, maybe, reality is when we close our eyes and just dream.

I met him sitting on a couch in a swanky club.  His hair was long and his blue eyes piercing, I called him Fabio. His name, “Ethan.”

He says he’s a dentist with a little girl, Hayley.  Hayley’s Mom died of blood cancer—they were married for ten years.  I sense his sadness or perhaps he was just really drunk, but I don’t think so.  We sat there for a long time and I asked most of the questions. Finally, while showing him a picture of my little E that’s when he inquired about our “arrangment” (this term always references custody in the divorce world).  The only time he inquired, and when he did so, it’s as if his sadness reflected directly onto me.

It’s funny how people come into our lives and for a moment change how we think.  Sometimes those thoughts are lasting and pieces of them never dissipate.  It’s like we can’t forget,  our mind won’t let us, ideas of them consume us although at different depths—some small, some big.  Not just people, it can be about anything really—love, happiness, sadness, hysterity.  Once we let them in we’re subject to all their idiosyncracies.   Thoughts are never isolated, that’s not how our mind works, they come in, and then they infiltrate every part of our being.  They alter what we thought before and our truth transforms into something new– something that incorporates this new thing.  It’s mental evolution.

Last night I could not fall asleep.  I’ve been doing really well with this happiness thing.  I can already see my empty hole (the one within my soul) beginning to fill.  The idea, that you must insist upon happiness, you must want it, and work for it—that is now a part of me.  It’s a good thing.   But last night, I missed E.  When he’s with his Dad it’s always hard.  I sat there for a long time, on my bed, waiting to break down, but it didn’t happen.  My mind wouldn’t let me. I could only focus on the fact that he would be back in just a weeks time and then a funny thing happened, I began to recall all of the things in my life that are truly good, true goodness.  I thought of health, and my family, Ini, my job.  I thought of the beautiful plant on my kitchen table.  Suddenly all of that became my reality and I no longer felt sadness but rather happiness.  I thought briefly of Ethan and our meeting.

The mind is a place where life is captured, stored, and processed.  Ultimately, our state of mind equates to our state of life.

The night ended and Fabio, or Ethan, or whoever, went home.  I don’t know if he really was a dentist, a dad, or a widow.  I don’t even  know if I met him in the sense I thought I did, but these details don’t matter anyway.  I do know, he came into my life somehow, and now he’s my idea.

His eyes were defeated—or were they mine?  Was I looking into my own eyes, seeing myself from another perspective?  Perhaps, it was all just a dream, one that woke me up to see the greater me—the happy me.  Maybe that’s why on the bed last night while fighting off defeat I thought of him– just briefly.  Then the idea of happiness resumed.

Eat, Love, Pray: A Tribute

In life, wit on July 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm

We didn’t have a cupcake yesterday, so I am obligated to provide you with something really rich today.  Slight problem, I’m feeling–half eaten.  Probably because I finished this book.  Read it, so great.  Time for a trip to the bookstore nearest me.  I’ll miss you latest great memoir.

Divorce, Who Needs Furniture Anyway?: Day Huit

In life, wit on July 23, 2010 at 8:11 pm

It always feels the worst when you see a happy couple or a pregnant woman.  One of my coworkers, a newlywed, proclaims yesterday, “Being married is fabulous, fabulous.  I don’t have to worry about anything anymore.  We’re getting our new couches on Saturday!”  Yep, she’s a newlywed.  They never quite understand that matching furniture and blenders do not solve marital woes, and there will be woes.

 I didn’t want to be a divorced couple.  In fact, I never thought I would be one of those people.  This narrative  is supposed to be about my world but somehow my ex is woven into the strands of my life, still.  He’s like a vampire trying to suck all the life out of me, he’s been trying to do that since the day I told him his lies would no longer suffice.  Marriage happens when two earthly souls collide, its magical.  Divorce occurs when those same souls run as far away from one another as they can–they’re running two marathons in the opposite direction.  Although most of the time, they don’t even realize it, until they get to the finish line, and there is no one there cheering them on or to share in the victory.  Marathons are difficult and challenging, as is life, getting to the end only to be alone isn’t what anyone wants, but it happens, fifty percent of the time to be exact.  

Although, marriage and divorce aren’t as different as you think.  They both teach you how to deal with another individual–only one scenrio you love that person and the other you hate them.  They also both require you to be someone else at least in some capacity, divorce especially:

No one calls you by your name anymore–you’re either petitioner or respondent.  This tactic works well, strip them of their identity and they’ll suddenly act like whoever you want them to be—allowing an attorney to play with their souls like puppets.  The family law court is full of these puppets.  They sit at awkward distances, with protecting bodyguards, all while exchanging looks of disgust.  

I’ve come to dread the courthouse  because it represents everything I cannot change and it’s the first place (actual place) where my happiness was tested, truly.  I remember vividly the first time I saw a judge and my ex husband, excuse me, petitioner.  It was like a big nightmare but I couldn’t wake up, no escaping this one Ms. whit. ing. addict and the gavel drops.  I’ve now come to know San Diego Superior Court as my “home away from home.” 

A month ago I was there sitting in Department 15 for my kindof final custody hearing.  No attorney, fancy clothing, or notes, just me.  As I was waiting for our case to be called I made a slight detour into another room.  I sat there for an hour.  Case after case was heard and each time the mother explained her drug usage, recent disappearance,  abusive behavior, basically every indiscriminate reason why she shouldn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t see her child(ren).   I realized this was the DV (domestic violence) room about twenty minutes in, but what really struck me wasn’t these mothers, it was the fathers.  Each one sat there, full custody of the children, head bowed and in silence.  They all looked exhausted but even more than that, saddened.   I recognized, that my divorce, as bad as it is, could never be worse than this.  This wasn’t even dissolution, it was—disinigration.  Their families had not only broken apart they were now disappearing, soon there would be nothing left.  One Mom said she just “needs time” and that she’d petition to see her children someday when she feels ready for it; this father looked particularly heartbroken.  He faced the irrevocable truth—his children had no mother. 

The bailiff came in and gestured for my hearing.  At that point, I couldn’t be sad.  I’d been through courtroom after courtroom, countless pleadings, subpoenas, and declarations.  My happiness was stirred and tested and lost at times, but never once did my hope dissolve or did my love for E diminish.  It grew naturally, the way a mother’s love should, as it continues to do.  I was happy for that.  In court, Petitioner’s attorney lied about things like income and school and travel—but I stood resolute in the fact that things were not so bad.  At the close the Judge looked to both of us, “I’ve seen situations much worse than two people living in separate counties—one of you could be in New York.”  I wanted to stop her, but withheld due to courtroom etiquette, “Excuse me your honor, I’ve seen situations much worse, one door down, right here in this department.  Situations where parents don’t want their children at all.”  I wanted to smile but I didn’t.  Then I went outside and cried and vowed that courthouse would not take away one more ounce of my bliss.  Two weeks later my ex called and said he’d be moving to Los Angeles, turns out I’ll never have to set foot in that courthouse again, period.  One word. God.

a whit. ing. addict who found happiness in an unlikely place.

Happy People Are Beautiful: Day Sept

In life, wit on July 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm

So, now that I’ve told you all the beginnings of my divorce and my innermost thoughts, let’s move on.

I’m standing in my bathroom scrubbing the toilet (you’ll notice most of my thinking happens in the bathroom and kitchen) and wondering what the hell am I going to put in this gaping hole.  I wish the answer was something simple like, a rosebush, but when the hole is part of your soul, you have to get a bit more creative.

Then like a rush, God spoke to me.  I’ll intercept here (excerpt from my heart):

I believe in God but like I told a friend the other day, “God is whoever you think he is.  For some little old Japanese man on fishing boat in Okinawa, he’s may be Buddha.  The Muslim, Allah.  The Jew, Yeswah.  For me, my Father.  There is only one thing that God is absolutely not and that is, limited.”  So, I’ll continue.

He didn’t speak to me in a powerful voice or even my own voice for that matter (which he sometimes does).  He spoke to me through the words of others, which actually doesn’t come as a surprise given my obsession with words.  The most interesting part of this entire scenerio is the context under which it occurred.  So, I’ll back up.  Two nights ago I am on the phone with this guy.  I would call him my friend but that isn’t really his rightful title seeing as I have only known him a few weeks, and half of that he spent hiking through the hills of Canada.  So, I’ve known this guy, really, for about a week.  I’ll decline to mention where I met him, but assure you it was not on some freaky website or in a therapy group.  The main premise in our talking revolved around something like dating, something like that.  We’re phone conversing, and really I’m annoyed with him from the get-go, he’s way too nonchalant for me, reminds me of my ex-husband.  Then suddenly he stops—“Ms. whit. ing. addict I sense you’re not happy.  I went through a rough time during my twenties too.  Take some time and find out who you are, find out what makes you happy.”  I was pissed.  First, I don’t like being told what I am and what I am not.  Second, this guy has no clue what I’m going through.  His “rough” twenties probably involved five bongs and a pound of cannabis.  Plus, he’s thirty six, no kids, no marriage, balding, what does he know?  So, I hung up the phone and went to bed with a huge grudge, one that was still lingering the next morning.

To top it all off, this guy works directly across the street from me.  So, I spend my morning walk trying to dodge a chance meeting with Mr. Be Happy.  Then I get to work and start working, all day.  At lunch I pull up one of my favorite inspirational blogs and I read this, “Happy people are Beautiful.”  There were God’s words, in the writings of my fellow blogger/burn victim (83 percent of her body was burned in a plane crash).  I thought maybe there’s some power to that and I kept working.  Mr. Be Happy must think I’m a troll according to this philosophy. 

On my walk home I’m finishing up my book and I read these words, “Ms. whit. ing. addict, you tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, you strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never be lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment. It’s east enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.”

Through the manifestations of God I realize I’ve been doing it all wrong.  I’ve been like a little kid waiting for a boost, “Come on, lift me up to my happy life.  I wanna see it.  If you give me sucker or an icecream cone, then I’ll be happy.”  There he is in heaven, or wherever he lives, “Child, child—you’ve got to lift yourself up.  You’re big enough now that with a little effort you can get there on your own.  Don’t worry though, I’ll be right behind you, making sure you don’t fall on your ass.  You’ve got to learn to be happy with what you have.  Sometimes icecream isn’t what you need.  Sometimes you need to get your ass to the gym.”

We’re here to bless others, to help others, and that requires personal happiness.  So, as part of my efforts towards self-revelation I have made the decision to dispel any and all negative thoughts I’ve felt for Mr. Be Happy.  Instead, I think I’ll join him in his bliss. No more putting on makeup and pretending to be happy.  It only covers the blemishes and then each night, when you wash it off your face, you’re back to where  you began.  What you really need is a solid beauty cream, one that penetrates, working from the inside out. 

Hopefully, at the end of this journey, I’ll still be striving for self-content, “insisting upon it.” I’m looking down into that huge hole I’ve dug.  I know what I’m going to fill it up with, happiness.  Although, that doesn’t happen without continuing to work through the painful, difficult things, that’s part of insisting upon it, striving for it, and knowing what it truly is.  You can never know the good without first knowing the bad.

I’ll love you forever. Period.

In English Major, life, literature on July 21, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Since we’re on the topic of memories…this is one of my favorite childhood books.  I read it to E whenever I can.

Sifting Through Memories: Day Six

In life, wit on July 21, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Back to the tree analogy and my marriage, slash, divorce, slash, everything in between.  There I am with my shovel in hand, covered in dirt, and a gaping hole in the backyard of my mind. I’m trying to plant a tree here.

Actually, I was on a bed having a pity session, but nevermind that.

With each shovel of dirt, I dig, something new reveals itself or a memory surfaces.  It was like unexplicable deja-vu a thousand times over.  I’d be sitting on one of those toy structures at the park, watching my son jaunt from slide to slide, and suddenly remember a trip or a moment.  Moments are always accompanied by feelings, at least for me, when something is really special I can feel it, taste it, smell it.  I even have a theme song playing in the background.  That’s what happened this morning outside my apartment as I was locking the door.  A breeze was present and the air had a smell of early winter when it’s just beginning to feel crisp.  It reminded me of so many places I’ve been before, it reminded me of September 21, 2005.  Theme song: Tim McGraw, “Let the Wind Blow By” (I recommend playing it while you read this next section).

My blood pressure was high that day, extremely high.  At least that’s what the nurse midwife told me as she undid the pressure cuff and immediately picked up the phone.  Okay, you’re coming back at 1:00–this little guy is going to make his debut today.  She was right, he did.  We got into the car and drove cautiously back to our townhouse, afterall we didn’t want to die en route the hospital to have a baby, actually, I did kind of.  Slamming the trunk shut I took one last puke into the bush (for old time’s sake) and hopped in the car.  For about two exits I thought about how much I would miss the constant throwing up, lack of sleep due to heartburn, itchy belly skin, among other things.  Pregnant women really are hormonal.  At exit three I turned to my then husband, “why don’t we just turn around, turn around!   I changed my mind.”  Unfortunately, there is no changing your mind when you’re nine months pregnant.

Two weeks earlier I vowed that if the pregnancy didn’t end within one month time I would rather be dead.  That is another hormonal pregnancy thought.  It’s also what nine months of vomit does to you.  At exit four I was resolved and praying that my pelvic cavity would do its job.  The hospital room had one of those birthing bathtubs, which I took one look at, just one.  Then I shut the door and ordered all those present to keep it closed indefintely.  The nurse had no problem with that, she promply attached me to the bed via plastic tubing–have at it girl.  At this point, I am thinking two words over and over in my head–watermelon, lemon, watermelon, lemon…how does this equate?

In all actuality, babies aren’t really the size of watermelons and your va jay jay isn’t the size of a lemon either—not when it’s done doing its job.  After four hours of labor (that included pushing) little E entered the world at a mere six pounds, God was watching over me that day.  Despite all my fears, I now realize that labor was the least of my worries, the very least.

The next morning at eight a.m.,  I ordered the nurse to sign the orders that would release me.  My ex sister in-law used to say she was staying as long as they’d let her, five days. Five days?!? Pardon me, but I think I’ll nurse my va jay jay back to health at home and  I was going home, freedom (with a slight inflection)!  I squeezed into my size one jeans (I know rough) and dressed little E for his big trip.  This is where the important part of the story happens, the breeze, the crisp air, the smell, September 21, 2005 (well actually 22nd by now but you get the picture), easily the best moment of my life.  Stepping out of that hospital I was free to live my life however I would choose; free to be the Mom of little E and raise him to know all good things and some bad too, so he’d pick the best experiences in life.  That day, as I placed his seat in my car, I couldn’t know exactly what was to come but I did know certain things.  Like life was good and the crisp air would someday be a remembrance, a moment.

That moment came:

in the fall of 2006 as E took his first steps on the porch,

and 2007 when I found him chasing the dog through the leaves,

2008 as he “spit” out his third birthday candles,

2009 while riding his bike in the autumn months.

This morning it came unexpectedly as I locked the door to our apartment.  Its summer and E spends most of it with his Dad now in Southern California (a product of the divorce).  I won’t see him for another two weeks, so in my humble opinion E sent me that moment on a hot July day to remind me.  This fall is kindergarten, a fresh start at something new for E, maybe me too.  You can turn the music off now.

Three and a half years of digging and remembrances has left me tired and happy and melancholy all at the same time.  I’m thinking it’s finally time to fill that hole up.

Your whit. ing. mom

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