Thursday, December 29, 2016

Last words


What will your last words to me be,
or mine to you?
Will they be spoken in anger or sorrow,
in mirth or in jest?
Will they bite like the cold,
or sting like sands on a bitter wind?
Will they provide comfort
or nourish the soul?
Can we guarantee
what they will be?
Maybe there's a way.
If all our words are kind,
yours and mine.
Our last words, then,
should follow suit
and rhyme.
In time. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

How do I really make others feel?

No idea! Just rolling my eyes at myself.
Lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking about how my words and actions speak to others. Sometimes I'm not real proud of myself in this area. My intentions are good. It's just that sometimes other people frustrate me to the point where I say and do some things that aren't very nice.

Now, I'm not justifying my behavior. Far from it. I'd really like to stop. I wish I had my Dad's self control when it comes to things like people disappointing me. Unfortunately, I do not. Nope. When people let me down over and over, I find it nearly impossible to hold my tongue and temper.

I suppose I could look at it as self defense, but I don't think that way. Nope. It's one of my worst character flaws and one that I am working on.

I also have this thing where taking about my frustrations helps. Unfortunately, that talk sometimes comes out sharp and gossipy. I hate that about myself.

And then, of course, there is another side. It's just way too easy to forgive myself because after all, there is good reason for me to be upset under certain circumstances with repeat offenders, right?

People who continually show a lack of consideration or those who just constantly ask for more than I have to give may be getting exactly what they deserve but I don't feel good about it.

Instead, I feel like I should be giving what I would like to receive, regardless of anyone else's behavior.

So how do I really make others feel? Is my help/advice, actually helpful or rude and intrusive? Sometimes I'm not so sure, even though I mean well. And I wonder, do they even realize why I'm so very frustrated sometimes?

Do they see how they make me feel? Or have I just become the “Big Bad Wolf” of this scenario? I certainly hope not but if I had to hazard a guess, I'm pretty sure that's how some people see me, despite the fact that they may have “started it” by being nonchalant about my feelings and/or taking advantage of my generosity.

Relationships with other humans sure are complex, aren't they? Especially for those of us who lack social skills and have limitations that keep us from attaining them. But I'm not giving up. Nope. I will overcome this habit of holding in resentments until they blow up in the faces of those I love.

Meanwhile, I hope that I make the people in my life feel loved and welcome at least 75% of the time. And as for those bad days, I sincerely apologize. Geez! I'm such a hard case! Such a human! Who knew?

Surviving the reign of social media

I'm serious, you guys. When I was first introduced to the wonderful world of the web, it was all fun and games. Well, that mixed with a bit of cursing at the learning curve. But now? Well now, if I'm on there too long, which could mean anywhere from10 minutes to 2 hours, it honestly makes me a bit nauseous.

In particular, I'm so tired of being inundated with commercialism on social media. I mean, I get that some web promotion is necessary these days. But must everyone be trying to sell something (even if it's only a plea for self-affirmation?) every second of every day?

And point proving has become an epidemic. Worse than that, people actually brag about showing others up and making them feel bad.

And does this sound familiar?

*If you scroll past this, you're heartless.
*Pass this on to 25 friends (in other words, annoy the heck out of them too.)
*Say Merry Christmas/Don't say Merry Christmas/Keep Christ in Christmas
*Wear this/Do this/Say that
*Share this to prove you're my friend

And on and on.

No wonder we're all so stressed out.

When did this all become normal and/or acceptable?
Also, when did we start thinking it was OK to spam, troll or bite the heads off of our friends for entertainment/profit or personal satisfaction/affirmation?

What ever happened to placing value on common decency, dignity and grace?

And what's worse?

I'm guilty of some of it myself.

Which is why you don't see much of me on social media any more. It's getting to a point where I'm just as nauseated by my own online behavior as I am the behavior of others. I'm now questioning my decision to participate in social media. At least the way the tone of it runs now, anyway. It just encourages such a warped mindset.

The reign of social media is changing us all. It's certainly nice to get to know people you wouldn't have met otherwise or keep in touch with/find old friends. Beyond that, though, it appears to have become a big bitch session.

I think I'll just stick to the friendly socialization part of social media from now on and cut myself off if things get ugly. I can auto-post my articles directly from my blogs anyway.

And by the way, I've never expected anyone to feel obligated to read my blogs. I just put them out there in case there's interest. I mean, sure, that's how I make money, from page views. But honestly, I want people to read my writing out of enjoyment, not because they feel guilty if they don't.

Oh, and if I feel like venting, I always have this Rants and Raves blog. It's better to put it here since it's not directed at anyone on a personal level. Therefore, there's not such a sting involved as there is in personal social media conversation.

So, that's how I'm dealing with surviving the reign of social media. How about you?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

When someone asks me my symptoms and other negative babble

Ha! I swear that it's no wonder people don't think those with chronic illness are actually sick. Because, quite often, when I'm asked what my symptoms are, what they get in response is an open mouthed, blank, puzzled stare, as if I don't even know. When in actuality, what I'm thinking is, “Ummm where do I begin?” LOL

The list of symptoms associated with Lupus and Rheumatoid that I have experienced is extremely long. And honestly, you guys, I'm just as tired of talking about it as I am of going through it. I'm not really wanting to dwell on my pain and suffering every time I meet someone new. I'd rather talk about anything but my illness. Anything at all.

So.... symptoms. Well, I guess my answer should be, “You name it, Lupus and Rheumatoid will throw it at you at one point or another.” You know how comedians will poke fun at warning labels on medicine bottles? Well, that's exactly how a run down of chronic illness symptoms reads.

Severe pain, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhea, limited mobility, permanent or temporary paralysis, acid reflux, lung infections, organ damage, kidney failure, nerve issues, tissue damage, joint issues, swelling, inflammation, low immunity, overactive immunity and on and on. The list never really ends.

I recently contracted Lupus related pneumonia. And guess what? Due to the type of Lupus I have, I can't get any preventative immunization that goes into muscle. So, I was both high risk and low protection. Great combination. Which is why I ended up in the ER 4 days before my son's wedding.

Sweeeet, right?

And the pain! You have no idea!

Have you ever had pain so bad that you actually cried? Real, hard tears, I mean. Not just “Oh, wow, that really hurts” pain. I'm talking about gut wrenching sobs. Pleas for mercy. Curling up in a ball, wishing for death to swoop you up in it's arms, knock you out and drag you away. Or worse, those silent tears in the middle of the night, shaking and quaking and trying like holy hell not to wake anyone up so they won't have to suffer with you? What if that was your daily reality? Well, there you go. That's Lupus and Rheumatoid.

Thank goodness for non-flare days!

Problem is, though, even when you do get a few days of relief, you know it will always be back. You just don't know when or how it will present itself. 

So, you can't work, even if you want to. And believe me, I want to. If you work for a living, you might think of staying home all day, every day as the best thing that could possibly happen to you. It's not. It sucks big time. Oh, the first couple weeks are heaven. Maybe even the first month. But after that, it's just a never-ending sameness, no matter how many ways you find to occupy your time.

It's also pretty hard to find ways to occupy yourself when your income is zero, due to illness. Even the simplest hobbies cost money, you know? Now, I'm lucky to have people in my life who keep me in art supplies and that type of thing. The boyfriend gets it since he's the one who gets to listen to me crying, night after night. So, he's kind enough to replace broken computers and so I can keep writing. In fact, he supports me completely and literally these days.

And you know what? I'm no gold digger, so that really bothers me. I was always a self sufficient individual until Lupus and Rheumatoid reared their ugly heads. Heck, I even kept working long after it was healthy for me to do so. I feel like that's true of most people with chronic illness. I've even considered going back to work now that I've been officially told not to. And on more than one occasion. That's how much it bothers me.

Anyway, I carry on. And I do manage to stay positive, even though this little rant may not be. I have hobbies. I paint. I write. I take photos. I make the house pretty. It doesn't stay that way long.... LOL But so what? I try. I spend time with the grand-kids. The boyfriend takes me on road trips. He drives most of the time since well, you know. Rheumatoid and those long drives equals ouch! That ain't happening.

And of course, I educate people a bit about chronic illness with my blogs. It really makes me happy to help people, you know?

But please don't ask my my symptoms. It would literally take days to answer you. Plus, it would remind me of what I'd rather forget. Aside from the fact that I write about it a lot, in "real" life, I don't really like being defined by my illness. I don't want to be that person people mention to other people with chronic illness. Oh, you know, Jaipi has Lupus too. Maybe you two can get together and talk about it.

Ummmm no. We don't want to talk about it. We want to forget it.

If only it would let us.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tone it down? Maybe....

Ahem.... So, lately I've been thinking to myself that I may come off just a tad opinionated. I'm sure that doesn't surprise most of my readers. OK. I'm sure that doesn't surprise any of my readers. It's kind of who I am, you know?

I also have a tendency to be critical of others. OK, I know. You figured that out too. Yup.

But really, you guys, I would like to be a smidge nicer. No, I'm serious. You see, I used to be one of those people who never said a bad word about anyone. It's true. 

Then one day, I just cracked the heck out of my shell, stuck my head out, opened my big fat yap and all those repressed thoughts came pouring out.

And I got carried away with it, I guess. To the point where I'm now searching diligently for that sweet girl I used to be. She's gone, of course, swept away in a current of “I've been holding this in for way too long.”

But still, I'd very much like to get back just a little of her sensitivity and kindness. Just a little. And so, from now on, I'm making an effort to at least take the edge off my bark and bite. We'll see how it goes, right?

Because we all know me, right? I can't promise that I won't get worked up about some injustice and have a relapse. Still, I'm going to give it a go. Tone it down a bit. Be a kinder, gentler version of the beast. Maybe....

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

On the subject of un-friending

It's better for both parties!
I used to think that un-friending/un-following people on Facebook whose opinions disagreed with mine was un-cool, rude and pretentious. I was wrong. Turns out that I was being a little too politically correct for my own good. Plus, I was preventing them from having a peaceful Facebook experience as well.

Think about it. If you're nearly always aggravated and your day is negatively impacted by someone's posts, chances are, they feel the same about yours. It's just not nice to put them (or you) through that for no reason other than to continually shove your opinions down their throat or “I told you so” them to death with memes and related articles that prove your point.

It's much better to treat Facebook and other social media friends just as you do those in real life. If you disagree with people in real life, don't you naturally drift apart? And if you agree with someone in real life, aren't you naturally drawn to them?

That's because you can relate to those you agree with. You find conversations with them to be a pleasant experience. You enjoy being around them. And those other people? Not so much, yes?

Now, I'm not saying that in “real” life, you should make it your goal to only have friends that agree with you. That would be silly. What I'm saying is that it's just how it goes. It's natural to migrate toward like-minded people.

Besides, why would you want a friend who makes you feel bad or brings constant negativity to your life?

But the more important question here is, why would they want you to make them miserable, either?

Because as right as you think you are, you have to face the fact that to some people, you're the annoying and negative one. Oh yes, you are. And maybe that's the very best reason there is not to feel guilty about clicking that unfriend button.

Because it's better for both of you.

And on a personal note, the one good thing this recent election has done for me is give me the courage to click that button on numerous occasions. And you know what? It works for me and it works for them (the un-friended/un-followed) too.

Facebook is fun again for me. I'm also sure it's better for them too. Because on more than a few occasions, it was a mutual, peaceful agreement. How do you like that?

Folks, you don't have to like everyone. You don't have to pretend you like everyone. You don't have to tolerate everything. You're a human being with very human emotions. Just be yourself and the people who belong in your life and that will enrich it will be drawn to you.

And yin/yang being what it is, the opposite is also true. Those who don't belong in your life and don't enrich it, will drift away.

Nothing wrong that. Or with wanting your life and theirs to be a happier experience. Nothing wrong with it at all. It's better for both of you.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The peace promotion conundrum

Quite often, I have people question me as to why or how I can say I promote peace when I get so fired up about injustice. The thing is you guys, you cannot truly stand for peace without standing against hatred. Yin/Yang etc. You see, it's much like those in the army who fight for freedom. (Not that I'm comparing their sacrifice to mine in any way.) I am constantly fighting for peace, love and compassion.

Ironic, yes? (Fighting for peace, that is.)

Couldn't I simply exude sunshine and rainbows all day and hope people follow my lead? Not really. Because, while I'm doing that, others are busy learning to sway good people to their evil and not so well intended line of thinking. The squeaky, noisy, rusty wheel gets the oil every time, my friends. Nobody cares about that quiet wheel at the back of the cart just calmly turning in a dignified manner and saying nothing.

I believe we just saw that principle in action, didn't we?

Leading exclusively by quiet example doesn't work because human nature doesn't work that way. We want fire in our leaders. We want them to have the courage to speak up and speak out. Loudly. And yes, we want a good example to follow. However, if nothing is said or dealt with, example just doesn't cut it. In fact, if history is any indication, leading by example alone is a death sentence.

It doesn't even matter what they're saying, we want our leaders to sound off.

Once again, we just saw that last bit proven. Am I right?

Ladies and gentleman, this is my conundrum.

I want people to exude peace, love, compassion and all that's good. I want people to love and care for each other. I want the world to be filled with random kindness and unselfish sacrifices for the greater good. I try my best to do that every day myself.

Unfortunately, in order for peace to happen, we must first squelch the nastiness. And in order to do that, we can't just wait and hope. We have to take action. We have to fight for a better world. Because, let's face it, no-one is going to hand it to us on a silver platter. The powers that be like being the powers that be. It's working for them.

And oh boy, do they love it when we roll over and do nothing. In fact, they love it so much that they have spent decades studying us so that they can make us do just exactly that without us even realizing it. They're so good at it that we think there is actually a good side and an evil side, no matter which “side” we're on, we think they other “side” is brainwashed, when actually, we all are!

Societal manipulation is a science, my friends and they have got it down pat.

So, I'm not always nice. I'm not always peaceful, either. Sometimes, I give evil exactly what it deserves. Call it a kick in the pants, a punch in the face or just a good talking to. But in any case, if you want peace, you have to rise up against oppression, bigotry, bullying and general hatred. You have to speak up and speak out. You have to hit it right where it lives.

The powers that be don't understand peace. It's not in their repertoire. If you want to get through to them, sometimes you have to speak their language. Sad, but true. Still, I'd rather fight for peace, freedom and justice than lose them forever. (Or worse, fight for hatred and exclusion in disguise.) So there you go. There's your answer. Why do I come off so mean and intolerant when I claim to represent peace, love and compassion?

Because I have to, that's why.
Because someone has to take that stand.
Because someone has to make people aware of injustice.
Because someone has to point it out so people will notice.
Because if we aren't aware of the problem, how can we address it?

But most of all:

Because if no one does anything.... If we all sit back, wait and see and take things as they come, well, nothing will ever change.

So, you see, I can be the sweetest, kindest, most tolerant, most compassionate person in the universe and usually, I am. But unless I occasionally stand up and make that wheel squeal, nothing will ever change. So, ya, it may be a bit ironic. But I will fight for peace, freedom, compassion and justice, tooth and nail every day of my life. I will not calmly wait and see while the world falls apart around me.

Actions speak louder than silence.

And there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with being enemies with hatred.

Get it?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

For heaven's sake, you don't have to tolerate everything!

It's OK to be angry at some behaviors!
I've noticed a trend lately that I'd like to talk about. Now, before I get started, let me assure you, I am a big fan of individuality. I believe in respecting people's right to do or say what they feel. However, accepting them doesn't mean that I have to accept their bad behavior or be OK with everything they support, particularly if what they support causes others pain and suffering.

Because, my friends, there are some behaviors that are simply unacceptable. And there are some people who, when they exhibit those behaviors, are more than difficult to be around. They zap your energy. They kill your joy. They upset you. They make you sad for our future.

Because the behaviors they exhibit and the things they support, reveal them as uncaring, unkind, biased and just plain, downright nasty.

Now granted, some well intended people simply don't know how bad the things they support are or how selfish they sound by supporting them. Some people don't realize that the things they promote have a hate based, exclusionary core. It's not their fault. They're victims of the “let's purposefully create lemmings” technique of brainwashing incorporated by those to whom power is king.

And BTW, as a side point, there is absolutely nothing wrong with letting good people know what's really going on, so that they can make a more educated choice of their own, as long as you have good intentions and do so with an open heart.

But on to the main point.

Folks, it's OK to stay away from people who are purposely cruel, rude, prejudiced, etc. You don't have to accept anyone's “right” to be an asshole. You don't have to be understanding of people who lack compassion, don't have a sense of right from wrong (or don't act as if they do) or fail to consider the negative impact their behaviors have on others.

There seems to be a trend these days of accept everyone for who they are, mind your own business, scroll, scroll, scroll. And that's fine. But not if the person you're accepting of is a complete and total selfish jerk or has been brainwashed into thinking some cause or another is just and fair when it's actually quite horrendous. That's just not OK and you don't have to be OK with it. And the reason it's not OK is because people are being hurt by it.

You don't have to accept and/or tolerate everything and everyone!

Not only that, you shouldn't. Because the longer we continue to accept/promote/ignore cruelty, bias, selfishness, etc., the longer they will stick around. So, speak up, speak out and take action against behaviors that impact all of us negatively. It's perfectly OK not to accept every human behavior. You don't have to remain friends with people who continually behave in a manner that's hurtful and destructive.

It's OK to call an asshole an asshole. They don't deserve your respect. They're not earning your respect and they shouldn't get your respect.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Would you like to swing on a star?

Not me. Night stars are incredibly beautiful. They're the subject of many of my paintings. Still, I'm a true down to earth, feet on the ground sort of girl. Or, at least when I do soar, it's on my own terms. I suppose some might call me stodgy, except that I'm a definite left winger. LOL Maybe boring is a better term. I'm pretty much content with the simple things. They make me happy.

I've also never had much use the other kind of stars. Fame, fortune and all that goes with it doesn't appeal to me. I don't care which celebrity is pregnant, has just been arrested or what substance they're addicted to either. It's not that I think they're horrible people. In fact, it's that I think they're no different than you or I. Plus, every human being deserves a little privacy.

I don't have much use for flaunting my possessions either. Which is good, because I don't have many.

I lead a simple life. I like that. 

I don't say that with smugness, either. To each his own, as they say. You may enjoy reading about the hi-jinks of celebrities, while shopping like a “fashionista.” Have at it. It's just not for me. I'll be reading a book, writing, gardening or riding my bike.

I was raised in an era where pop culture didn't influence our daily lives so heavily. I guess that’s why I have no desire to buy into it.

Sales pitches are wasted on me. If you want me to buy what you're selling, the best approach is not to approach me at all. Don't stalk me on social media, trying to convince me your idea or product is worthy of my hard earned dollars. Don't park yourself outside the local grocery with your donation box. That's the quickest way to get me to say no. 

Unless you have Girl Scout cookies, of course.

I am not star struck, sparkly or blinded by the light. I'm not stupid, either. I know manipulation when I see it. I don't like things just because I'm supposed to. 

I think about the consequences of my lifestyle and don't follow the crowd unless they're doing something I agree with. Tradition can be a beautiful thing, but some traditions have traditionally brought us nothing but trouble.

So, as I said, to each his own. Would you like to swing on a star? Go for it. I'll be down here with my feet firmly planted. It suits me.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Do you know who I am?

You do? Oh, thank goodness! Well, let me in on the secret, will you? I've been trying to figure it out since puberty. Oh, I have the general gist of it, alright. I'm a tree hugger. I'm a friend to animals. I believe in a low impact lifestyle. (That's code for I can't buy anything because I'm too broke.) Still, my personality seems to morph with every epiphany and revelation I have.

I'm sarcastic, but friendly. The sarcasm is just for fun. I'm really quite shy and sensitive. I'm a neat freak, but I still manage to slobber all over myself when I eat. I love cooking for my partner, but he better not ever come to expect it. I'm no Suzy Homemaker, but I take total June Cleaver pride in my house. That doesn't mean it's spotless, oh crap no, I'm not THAT good.

And once I get out of the house, I never want to come home. I love road trips!

When I was a kid I read Sybil (spelling?). I was totally convinced I had multiple personalities. Now that I'm all grown up, I realize everyone does. Yup, you included. You can never fully know anyone. That's because as humans, we are constantly changing, based on our experiences and/or latent traits that we haven't brought to their full potential.

Do you know me completely? Heck no. I don't know you either. That's the whole point. That's what makes it fun. Being friends with someone who never changes or is stuck in a rut is boring. So, let's keep the mystery in it, shall we? Just when you think you know me, I'll reveal a side of me you had no idea existed. I'm cool like that.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Johnny Depp quote and what I think of it

Who knows if he actually said it. It was a Facebook meme, after all. And yes, I know. Johnny Depp is awesome. And of course, he's way, way more successful than I am. But that doesn't mean he can't be wrong on occasion, does it?

So, that being said, here is a Johnny Depp quote I saw and what I think of it.

“If you love two people at the same time, choose the second one. Because if you loved the first one, you would never have fallen for the second.”

Well, OK, Johnny, you make a good point, but I have to say this is not always true.

What if the second one is one of those snow job artists who only wants you for money/stability but is really, really good at convincing you he or she is a prize package in order to get what he/she wants?

What if the second one has you blinded with awesome, different sex and when that sex goes away, you realize that was all you liked about him/her?

Or what if the first one is much better for you than the second one, but you're one of those people who's never satisfied because you think the person you're with is supposed to be perfect like those folks on TV or in the movies?

Or what if you're a real dumb-ass when it comes to choosing who you fall for and both of them are losers?

So, here's what I think. The first person could be the one you should be with. The second person could also be the one you should be with. Every circumstance is different. And no matter which one you choose, there will likely be some regrets.

So, here's an idea. How about you try being with one person at a time, rather than confusing the holy hell out of yourself and making everyone else involved absolutely miserable?

Hmmm. It just might work.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Stop making your own fish climb that tree


We all know this quote, right? We apply it to our kids, our friends that we disagree with and even our sworn nemesis, if we have one. We try like crazy to understand that not everyone thinks or acts alike, yes? But how many of us give the same consideration to ourselves?

Why are we so hard on ourselves when we cannot do what is against our nature to do?

In my case, that's probably to gracefully shut my trap. I am not someone most would describe as dignified or reserved. I'm pretty much a know it all and I will let you know it all in no uncertain terms.

I also detest being misunderstood. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because I often am or perhaps it reveals my insecurities. Who knows? But you know what? So what? Because all the things other people look upon as my imperfections are a part of me too.

And I like me. All of me. I like bat shit crazy me. I like silly me. I like happy me, friendly me and committed to my causes me. (Maybe there's a bit of a narcissist lurking in there.)

But who cares? And gosh darn it, anyway!

I'm going to stop making my own fish climb that tree just to make other people accept me.

Because that's not me they're accepting. It's who they want me to be. It's not who I am. And who I am is a pretty nice person with good intentions who has “faults” or at least what others think of as faults and is not perfect in any way and who occasionally loses it and spouts off like Old Faithful.

And you know what?

As long as you're not out there purposefully causing people pain and heartache or creating general mayhem etc., well, you should stop making your fish climb that tree too. Because you are beautiful for exactly who you are. We all are.

And pardon my “french” but fuck all if they don't like us for who we are. I never could climb trees anyway.

Welcome to the pond!

Why check the accuracy of your Facebook posts?

Do you Facebook for fun or for work? Maybe it's a little of both? If you go on Facebook mainly for entertainment, I'm sure you're not really concerned about the accuracy of your posts. In fact, many of your posts may be purposefully, sarcastically, inaccurate. Problem is, there are people out there who may be taken in by them them, even when you're posting in jest.

When that happens, they're spread around, even though there's absolutely nothing or very little that's factual in them. And that's when things get out of hand. Because once several people post them, they take off like wildfire, along with accompanying rumors, leading many other people to believe that the information contained in them is true.

What's the harm in that?

Well, let's take political posts. Or maybe we should leave them. LOL Because, while some are true, a lot of them are trumped up. (Pardon the unintentional pun.) Others are taken completely out of context. Still others have a bit of truth in them, which allows people to believe the entire post is true. Therefore, good people on both “sides” are being swayed to vote for certain individuals by way of deceitful Facebook posts and memes.

Now, there's this other factor to consider as well. If you've already made a decision as to who the right candidate is for you or what type of lifestyle you believe is best, you are more susceptible to false information that supports your views. That's just human nature. And of course, this means that you and your followers may be deceived by your posts.

Folks, just because a meme says something happened or someone did something, well, that's no reason to believe it or post it. Doing so just perpetuates potential lies, along with the political brainwashing that's so rampant these days. That old saying, “Don't believe everything you read.” applies to the internet too, you know.

So before you post anything, especially something potentially slanderous, be sure to do your own independent, unbiased research. And by that I mean, look at both sides of the story. Look at the whole story or video, not just a snippet. And not just Snopes or any other single source. Go to several different sources. And be sure the sources you use or their sponsors don't profit from the information that they're providing.

For instance, you don't go to the websites of political parties for information concerning either their party or the opposing party. Because either way, they are human too and therefore slanted in their beliefs, intentional or not. You go to a neutral source. Someone who has nothing to gain or lose by revealing the truth, slanting it or hiding it altogether. In fact, you go to several unbiased sources.

And then, because you can find evidence supporting just about anything online, use your head to analyze the evidence. Does it make sense? Does it sound probable? Has it been legally proven? Does it reflect the history of the individual concerned or of history itself?

Or does it sound like vengeance created to malign someone? Does it suggest that they are guilty of the same crime that their opponent has been found guilty of? In other words, does it fit the “Nanny nanny boo boo” or grade school behavior scenario?You know what I mean, right? Even adults behave like children sometimes, especially when they're passionate about their causes.

So folks, if you have any doubts, or you don't know for absolute certain that something is true, just don't post it. Because even though Facebook is an entertainment venue, some people take those posts very seriously. In fact, some people base their life decisions on what they've seen on Facebook.

That makes checking the accuracy of your posts extremely important, whether you Facebook for fun, work or a little of both.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Working on sainthood and judgment be damned

Ha ha. Joke's on me. I'll never get there. I'm not even Catholic any more, even though I was raised as such. Heck, I'm not even a believer. But still, I have a deep regard for doing the right thing, or at least what I feel is the right thing.

I suppose that it's for that reason, many people consider me to be overly kind and decent, or in some cases, a pushover. LOL

The thing is though, I'm no different than anyone else. I have unkind and cruel thoughts, particularly toward those who are unkind and cruel. Ironic right? And yes, people piss me off. Absolutely. And oh boy, do I ever wish some people in my life were doing a little closer to right, by themselves and others!

I'll never be a saint. None of us will. None of us will ever be perfect. No way. Because we're human beings and the perfect human simply does not exist.

One of the reasons that's true is because every human being has a different idea of what perfection is. Some folks are perfectly happy with maintaining a happy medium and living with an “all things in moderation” philosophy, while others find that unacceptable because all things are not acceptable to them.

There are so many approaches to life that all we can do is take the approach that's best for us and leave others to do the same. And while some of the things other people do may cause us worries and anxieties, unless they're being intentionally harmful, there's not much we can do about it, is there?

Or is there? Because while we certainly cannot change the directions other people choose to take in life, we can change ours. And sometimes our journey toward sainthood, so to speak, may just show us ways to make a difference in the lives of others without direct interference or judgment.

And we make sacrifices, especially for those we love, don't we? I mean, I guess that makes us saints of a sort. Sometimes we take up the slack when their burdens get too heavy, even if they brought those burdens upon themselves. I guess that's because we realize and remember the times when we stumbled and that we are no better.

Just because we're in a better place, now, well, that doesn't mean we always have been or always will be. Everyone makes mistakes, after all. Our mistakes may have already happened or be destined to arrive any day. That's the beauty of this crazy life. It's so unpredictable.

I guess that about all I have to say, except that here's my idea of perfect. You try. You dig in. You do what is in your power to do. You practice compassion, kindness and acceptance as much as possible. You live life on your own terms and stay true to yourself. You let others do the same. And you try not to be so quick to pass judgment on others, or even on yourself, for that matter.

None of us are perfect. And hard as we might try, none of us are saints. In fact, I'm pretty sure those who have been declared saints have made their share of mistakes as well. I'm also sure there are “bad” people who have done good from time to time. Don't you think?

Sainthood? I'll never get there. But I can try to be a good person. I can try to help people. I can try to be kind and compassionate. And if I'm lucky, maybe some folks will return the favor. But even if they don't, I'll know I did (or tried to do) what I feel is right. That's good enough for me.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Talking to myself

Welcome to my world!
You know, folks, a lot of times when I write these random philosophical thoughts down, I'm talking to myself, more than anyone else. No, not just because so few people actually read what I've written. Rather, it's because I'm constantly messing up my life and therefore, constantly working on my character, on paper for all the world to see, should they so choose.

My Dad was big on character.

(Incidentally, he also was a character. Or at least that's how some people might describe him. In addition to having amazing integrity, he was frequently called a stubborn old coot, a penny-pincher and if you were my Mom, well, he was her Herbie, as she referred to him in her poetry.)

Anyway, back to the subject at hand, one of the best things I learned from the actions of my Dad is that good character is not only vital to happiness, it's the most prominent thing that people truly remember you for when you're gone.

So, when I learn a lesson that helps me build my character, or am reminded of it, I write about it so it sticks better. In other words, these little seemingly “preachy” posts and comments I write are nothing of the kind. Rather, they are a form of self discipline/self improvement. Know what I mean?

Folks, please don't be offended when I express my beliefs. Please don't look at my attempts to work out my life on paper as an insult. I'm usually talking more to myself than to anyone else. I'm not a social person. I'm a loner. In other words, it's not about you, it's about me.

No offense intended, but I have enough on my plate and enough of my own mistakes to correct without worrying about yours. That's your department, not mine. I'm not in charge of you. You are in charge of you. And thank goodness for that. I don't have the energy to be a control freak.

Even when I speak of the state of the world and how it could be improved (in my opinion) it's more about me making the changes I wish to see. Although, you're certainly welcome to join me if you agree.

Ha!

And while yes, I would certainly be happy if everyone in the world made more of an effort to live a more compassionate life, I realize that we all have to make our own choices. Following that thought, please also realize that freedom of speech is a two way street. By denying me the right to free expression, regardless of whether you agree with me, you deny yourself as well.

I speak my mind on paper. It's kind of my thing. Thus, the whole writer label. But it's completely up to you whether you listen or agree. Because I really am just talking to myself and/or taking notes. It really isn't directed at you. It's just that my “works” are public, due to the fact that I write for a living.

And sometimes, I direct my thoughts at “you” just like those who keep journals direct their thought to “Dear Diary.” It's nothing personal, folks.

I'm not afraid for people to know my naked inner thought process. We all have one, you know. It's just that not all people think out-loud, without a filter and on paper for all the world to see. So, of course, people get upset. They're not used to raw, unprocessed thoughts.

Look at it like this, it's like you get to read my diary. And I let you. Because honestly, I really don't care if people know the real me, craziness, imperfections and all. Never have particularly fond of presenting a watered down, strained smooth version of myself anyway.

This is who I am. I don't expect anyone to be exactly like me. But please also do not expect me to think like you. Because I'm not you. I'm me. And this is my blog, not yours. Therefore, it reflects my thoughts and opinions, not yours.

It's really written for me. You just get to snoop around in it. Is that cool or what?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Let's talk about that real world, shall we?


I very often hear people talking about how unconventional folks should be living in the “real” world. But exactly how real is that real world? Those of us who are thinking people know, of course, that the real world isn't real at all.

It's a world, a society if you will, that we created for ourselves out of sheer nothingness. It truly does not exist, except in our heads, just like the worlds of those other people we criticize for their lack of conformity do not exist except in their heads.

This is where we pause for thought.

Because how many times in your life and mine have we been critical of someone, simply because they do not fit in this current society and are therefore living happily outside of it? How many times have we told someone to “get real,” “get with the program” or just “deal with it” because that's the way it is and the way it always has been?

But it's not.

It's not the way it always has been, that is. There was a time when humans roamed the earth as free and free thinking individuals, just like other animals would if we let them. True, that time was not perfect either. There were struggles. Huge ones. However, it was indeed very real. It was not based on anyone's idea of a perfect society, it was simply a natural life.

This entity that we call “real” society today is about as far from that first, reality based, more natural way of living as we could possibly get. We've even forgotten that we are animals, natural beings who thrive best in a natural environment. You know? The one we're rapidly destroying?

My point is not that we should go back to that first way of living. That would be impossible, barring being forced into it by massive annihilation. However, what it might be wise to do is to remember that the society we do live in is just as self created as the “fantasy” lives that non-conformists live. The only difference is that conventional society is a widely accepted fantasy life.

Oh.

So maybe the next time you bash or giggle at someone's alternative lifestyle choice, you should remember that you are living an alternative lifestyle as well. Yours is just more popular.

So how about we all get our noses out of the sky and see things for the way they really are? How about we all get in touch with reality? How about we all realize that not everyone finds the “real” world of today to be either real or viable or even sustainable?

It's not, by the way. It's just an epic, mass brainwashing session, created to make life profitable for about 1% of the population. And they're laughing at us right now because we are happily conforming to it, just as they knew we would.

Oh.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I am the 1 in 100,000


By now, you all know that I am one of the not so lucky “one in whatever” to suffer from Lupus. That's not what this is about, though. It does have to do with my doctors and a few other things that I represent the statistical anomaly of, though. 

First, let's talk about meds. I can't take more than one of the normal medications for what I have, no matter what I have. Ya. My body does not like foreign objects and it will let me know that in no uncertain terms.

When it comes to Lupus, so far, I can only take prednisone. When it comes to infections, I can only take penicillin. That's it. Those are the only two prescription medications in my 56 years of life that I have been able to tolerate at all.

My body has rejected 99.9% of the meds I've been given in my life. And yet, somehow, my doctors feel that I'll be perfectly fine taking a medicine that kills one in 100,000 people within the first 24 hours of starting it. Yup. Because, you know, I'm so good at tolerating medicines. Ya. I think it's pretty likely that I'm the 1 in 100,000. Not a stretch there. Just another statistical anomaly.

Me, that is, I am the anomaly.

But hey, there is good news. You see, if I can't afford to kill myself with their medicine, the company that makes it has a program that insures that I can die trying at no cost to me whatsoever. Isn't that fabulous? Can you say, “experimental medicine alert?”

The doctors also felt that it was fine to vaccinate me against the flu and pneumonia, since, you know, I have Lupus and I am at high risk from dying of the flu or pneumonia. Is there a problem? Ya, kind of. Because, as I told them, shots tend to leave me paralyzed, even when I'm healthy. And I'm not healthy. So, guess who spent nearly a year of her life unable to move her arms? Yup. That would be me.

And that whole autism thing? As it turns out, with all the back and forth arguing, it has been determined that there actually is an extremely small percentage of the population impacted by vaccines in the form of autism.

Now, I never knew that was my issue. Neither did my folks. But guess what? When I think back on my childhood, I was high functioning autistic as all get out. For real. So, I spoke to some professionals, took a little pretest and guess what? Yes, I was once again, the one in whatever number. That is, it is very likely that I had autism as a child, and still have some lingering symptoms, according to certain characteristics and behaviors that I exhibited.

And no, I'm not “one of those people.” I don't know with any certainty that the reason I was completely in my own little world with no idea how to relate to the rest of the population (and still am, just to a lesser degree today) was due to vaccinations. But I do know that my Catholic school gave them out like candy canes at Christmas or pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and that after them, I was always reeling, confused, immobile and disoriented.

Like I said, meds are not my thing.

Now comes my point, of course, which is this. And listen up, people, because: For those of us who are on the losing end of statistics, statistics take on a whole different meaning. Because it's us who suffer, who become paralyzed, who lose touch with the “real” world and yes, it's us who die.

I am the 1 in 100,000. Yup. And I am just as important as you. I am important to my friends. I am important to my family and I'm important to me! So don't spout your statistics at me, with your “so there” attitude please. Because your statistics do not value people like me.

They do not consider the people behind the low numbers. They do not consider the mothers who cry for their children, the partners who grieve for the loves of their lives or in my case, the kids who cry for their mothers because they are the 1 in 100,000. It's all about the numbers. And if you're on the low end, well, who cares about you? Because most people come out fine. Majority rules.

I am the 1 in 100,000. No, we are the 1 in 100,000. Yup. And we matter too! Screw your statistics. Because when you're on the bottom end of them, like us weirdos, they just don't matter. And neither, apparently, do we. At least not to you.

Get it?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Booting negative people from your life – A closer look

First of all, you can't have one without the other.
Booting negative people from your life seems to be a growing trend. While doing so certainly makes your life more peaceful, is it the right thing to do? I have no room in my life for people who continually insult or abuse me. I don't believe I should have to be friendly with out and out criminals, bigots, etc. However, when it comes to people who simply disagree with my point of view from time to time, they are perfectly welcome in my life.

Sometimes I think people take this whole negativity removal thing a bit too far. Negativity is a powerful learning tool. As humans, we have a pretty basic learning process. By experiencing the bad, we learn to appreciate the good and make positive changes. But we are human, after all, aren't we? That means we're not perfectly positive all the time ourselves. So, next time you consider “un-friending” someone, ask yourself if their infraction was intentional first.

If their behavior contained intentional animosity toward you or someone you care for, you're probably better off without them in your life. If it didn't, do your best to find out what made them feel or act negatively. Try building them up with your own positivism. Not everyone grows and learns at the same rate. If the behavior continues or worsens or you feel your relationship with them is nothing but a psychological drain, then fine, remove them from your life.

Otherwise, just understand that nobody is perfect, not even you and that you truly do:

“Live and learn, from fools and from sages.” - Aerosmith

Everyone has at least one positive quality. Be grateful for the people in your life. Don't just kick them to the curb over one or two negative incidents. Maybe they'll give you the same consideration, the next time you do something stupid.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Why so critical?


Folks, you can probably tell by the rest of my recent blog posts that the outright animosity in the world has been on my mind lately. Why are we all so critical, intolerant and downright cruel to each other? What is the purpose of incessantly insulting each other like this?

I've noticed that there's also a lot of statistical point proving going on, especially on social media. Statistics have one fault, though. They leave out the way people in the minority feel. So what if 85% of a certain group are not victims? That doesn't mean the other 15% are not in pain, does it?

Kindness should be 100%, regardless of statistics.

By way of explanation, if someone was bleeding to death in the street would you refuse to help because that only happens to 10% of us? Of course not.

If only one person on the face of the earth was ever murdered, does that mean murder is not a problem? Because I'm pretty sure it was a problem for that person.

Every person's experiences matter to that person, regardless of statistics. Get it?

And my oh my, the judgment and blame gaming that goes on! Everyone wants to point fingers, rather than solving problems.

And the out and out rudeness! People seem to be proud of it, don't they?

Everyone wants to get the last word in, right? Everyone wants to prove themselves right, yes? That's supposed to make us better somehow, I guess. But what it really makes us is a bunch of conceited, self serving ass-hats.

And I have absolutely fallen into the trap a time or two. In fact, maybe, by being so critical of critical people, I'm actually illustrating my point. Who knows?

But I'll tell you what I do know. What I do know is that from now on, my journey is going to give acceptance and compassion a closer, deeper look. I'm going to make a concentrated- effort to be kinder, more understanding and less judgmental.

People are having battles I know nothing about. Everyone has struggles they keep to themselves. At least I know that I do. And the last thing people need on top of their already bad day is to be condemned, judged or berated.

I don't need to make someone else look or feel bad in order to prove a point or make myself look superior. I just don't. I'm much happier when instead of condemning people, I share my happiness with them so they can have a good day too.

Life is about making others happy, not miserable. Well, OK, maybe sometimes lately it isn't. But I think it should be. How about you?

Great! Now let's make it so, shall we? And while you're at it, do have a wonderful day for yourself because you're worth it!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Stark raving happy!

Oh boy, you guys. Isn't this year's presidential race enough to make you un-friend your best Facebook friend? It's been driving me absolutely bonkers the way some people push my political buttons. Oh ya! But guess what? I have found the perfect solution and instead of being stark raving mad, I am now stark raving happy!

And the secret is, ta-da! I just don't talk about politics all that much on Facebook any more.

You know, just like in real life. In real life, I don't go around holding up political posters in my friends' faces or handing them DVD's to watch on my pet subjects. That would be ridiculous, right?

So, I got to thinking, why am I doing things like that on Facebook? You know, things I would never do in real life. Why am I so caught up in telling everyone under the sun how I feel about everything under the sun in a public forum? Isn't that just asking for trouble?

And why am I so upset about other people's opinions anyway? Especially people I have never even met in person. Which, because I network on Facebook, describes about 90% of my Facebook friends.

And most especially, why on earth am I wasting precious time on pointless (because neither of us is going to change our mind) arguments when I could be enjoying myself or at least writing about my opinion and earning a few bucks?

Last time I checked, Facebook does not reward me in any way for my opinions, even when I do “win the internet.”

So, you guys, I believe that from now on, controversial subjects like politics will play a minuscule role in my Facebook experience.

I'm also stark raving happy to be done with those endless comment wars and wearing myself and others down to prove a point. Now, I just say my piece and move on. Or I don't comment at all when I am not in agreement. Either way, though, I'm living a more peaceful existence, sans Facebook politics.

It's a beautiful thing!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

How to survive a zombie apocalypse


Run! Nah, just kidding. Folks, here's the thing. The first step toward surviving an apocalypse of any kind is to see it coming. Yes? You have to know who the zombies are too, right? But what if the zombie is you? We are all zombies right now and I'm about to tell you why, as well as how to turn yourself back into a human again.

Think for yourself! Oh, you already do? Not so fast. Ponder your daily activities for just one moment. How many of the things you do were influenced or promoted by society, social media, for profit businesses, your government, etc. You might think just a few. And you might be wrong. Just saying. Because I'm a rebel from way back and even I am a victim of brainwashing at times.

If you haven't noticed, even your vote, the most sacred right you have, as a member of a “free” country is being manipulated for profit. It's all decided for you before you even step into the booth. Those in power know how to motivate you to vote for the candidate they want in office.

They're good at it. They have a lot of practice. They know your buttons well and they will push them until they get what they want. Fear, anger, outrage, protecting the innocent, etc. etc. It's all in their arsenal and they are not afraid to use it. They know who's going to win because they know how to make it happen.

My friends, we are all being duped. Every second of our lives. We worry constantly about being scammed but we are being scammed 24/7. Even people who think they're making the right choices fall for it. I see it every day.

Who do you think came up with the phrase, “shop till you drop?” Chances are, it was the people who benefit from the shopping. So, even what seems like an innocent, cutesy phrase/stereotype is actually programmed into us in order to generate a profit.

They even have us believing that sending our kids off to die in a war for profit is admirable. Did you hear me there? They have us convinced that it's OK, even noble, for our kids to die to line their pockets. What? Folks, fighting for freedom and justice is one thing, but seriously? Fighting for more weapons? Oil? Power? No.

But back to the subject at hand. Most of our impressions of what we're supposed to be and what's good for us actually started as campaigns to sell more products. We are bombarded with subliminal messages daily. Messages that are now so ingrained, we don't even notice them any more. But we do base our thought processes on them.

For instance:

Men are useless around the house. All they do is watch TV and drink beer. We have to buy lots of things for them because they would be lost in the store. They love beer, tools and porn. They dread shopping, except for beer, tools and porn. And we have to buy lots of things to make ourselves pretty so they don't buy the porn or cheat on us. They are just there to fix things. They have no other value. Bullshit!

Women are stupid about business. But at the same time, they can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. In other words, let's stick them with all the work. They are obsessed with wine and love to shop for clothes and shoes, especially shoes. Lots and lots of shoes. And women who don't shave/wax their personal parts for the men they love are just gross. And older women also need plastic surgery, wrinkle cream and when they start to gain weight (which is natural, by the way) there is always more surgery. Wouldn't want to be less than perfect, right? Bullshit!

Kids always have to have the latest in technology. They can't properly do their homework without a computer. They must have a cell phone so you can be sure they're safe. If you don't entertain them with expensive gifts and activities, you're a bad parent. Bullshit!

It's OK to buy things you don't need if they're on sale or you have a coupon. Bullshit!

When will it end?

Folks, you don't “need” anything but food, clothing, shelter, family and friends. And I'm talking about real food, you know, not the kind that comes in a box full of goodness knows what. Caffeine is not a nutritional necessity. It is, however, extremely addictive and profitable. So, hey, let's get people talking about how much they need it to survive the day. Then, they'll buy more and more and more.

We don't need fancy clothes and million dollar homes with bowling alleys and pools either. TV is not a necessity. Computers are not a necessity unless you use them to make a living. Wait. What? You see what is happening there? We are so accustomed to making money for others that we are becoming just as greedy ourselves. If it makes us money, it's OK.

And there you go. That is my zombie weakness, right there. Computer = writing = money.

Big business has us confusing our needs and wants. It's profitable for them to do so. And big pharm? They're selling us medicine we don't need, which is making us sicker and sicker because that's profitable too. And what's worse? They have our doctors convinced that we need it and are paying them to prescribe it to us.

And now, we have started selling people too. Yes? To the point where people talk about “branding” themselves for better sale value. You must look, talk and act according to the dictates and mandates of society in order to be salable.

And that is how zombies are born, ladies and gentleman.

If you really want to survive the zombie apocalypse, don't become a corporate owned zombie sell out. Just don't do it. Don't let them tell you how to feel or what you need. Don't buy what they're selling unless it's actually good for you or you actually need it. And when it comes to political matters, don't let them scare you into the lesser of two evils when there is a “no evil” option.

That's right, we would not have to settle for the lesser of two evils if we all voted for no evil. We actually do have the power. But they have us so scared that we just follow along with their game, dragging our swollen feet behind us and silently licking our gaping wounds. They even have us convinced that there are only two candidates worth considering. You know. The two from the political parties they have conveniently wrapped around their fingers?

And maybe you're OK with that. Maybe you enjoy being someone's puppet for profit or getting 80% of what you do need and having a whole bunch of crap you don't need cluttering up your house so someone else can get richer than they already are. If so, use your vote and your life to continue on with business as usual. Just don't tell me that I have to do the same.

Because I'm no zombie.