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Baby Got Back

I’m a little annoyed right now.  I found out from a friend on Twitter that Iggy Azalea recently quit Twitter, giving control of her account to her management team, due to online bullying.  Apparently, people went crazy over a photo of her in Hawaii wearing a bikini that displayed her large assets and her cellulite.

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Quite honestly, I am disgusted.  I’m ashamed to live in a world where the photo above is so revolting and so horrific, that people can’t help but reach out to the subject of the photograph and let them know they should wear multiple layers of clothing to hide their gross body from the world.  Are you kidding me?!?

Let’s look back at Kim Kardashian’s “break the internet” photo of her giant, oiled up ass.  No cellulite to be seen, right?  Of course, when you use photography tricks, perfect lighting, and countless other ways to alter the photo into something artistic and flawless.  No body is perfect.  Photoshop can turn even the most horrendous looking person into someone aesthetically pleasing.  But that simply isn’t reality.

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Do we really have nothing better to do with our time than hurl insults at someone for the tiniest of flaws?  Especially flaws we all have ourselves?  Are we that insure with our own bodies that the only way to feel better is to degrade famous people for not being free of flaws?  How pathetic are we?

I’m not some die-hard Iggy fan who is angry that her favorite celebrity got her feelings hurt.  I personally don’t care for her music at all and have zero interest in her personal life.  My focus here is on our sad society.  It’s one thing to have an opinion.  We all don’t have to agree on who is beautiful.  We are allowed to think certain people are hideous.  What isn’t okay is to purposely target the person and make them feel lower than a piece of shit.  Famous or not, that isn’t okay to do to anyone.

We are all flawed in some way, but flaws are what make us beautiful.  There are some things that one person considers a negative and another sees it as a fantastic positive.  No two people look at one thing the same way.  There is no right or wrong when it comes to beauty.  So the next time you feel like calling out someone directly for wearing the wrong thing or looking the wrong way, take a second to think about why you’re acting like such a hateful twat and maybe keep your opinions to yourself this time.

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All Work And No Blogging

Back when I worked for the National Guard Finance office, I spent a healthy amount of time writing about the various people I observed and the events that took place.  Tubberpottimus, the bane of my very existence, was a frequently covered topic, as it was either write about her or go absolutely insane.  Now that I’m out of there and settled into my new position, I find myself wanting to write about so many things but being 100% unable to do so.

We have very strict policies in my office.  Cell phone usage is strictly prohibited except in break rooms or outside.  This includes talking, texting, or even taking it out to check the time.  Training materials, notebooks, and anything else with company information on it or written in it cannot leave the property.  Unless you have a photo pass, like I do, you cannot take pictures or record videos.  Even with my badge, I cannot take a photo on site and post it to Twitter; it has to be a photo for on-site company use.

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The days of forwarding my husband funny emails I receive are over.  If someone decorates my desk for my birthday, you won’t see it.  And as much as I want to share some of the insane things that happen here sometimes, I have to keep my mouth shut.  It drives me absolutely insane.  I love sharing crazy stories from the office, and we have more than enough here on a daily basis.  But because I love this job, there is zero workaround, so you guys are going to have to miss out on a lot of WTF moments.

At the end of the day, I’m just glad to have a job that I love.  It feels like it’s been forever and a day since I was able to say that and mean it.  I work somewhere that changes lives.  I support and help run an office that is bringing amazing things to the world.  And I don’t answer phones, deal with customers, greet clients or visitors, or file a single thing.  As far as having to keep my mouth shut… who knows, maybe I’ll write a book.

Dumb Phones

My company has a very strict policy regarding cell phone usage.  During my orientation, we were all warned that using our phones during training can and will result in immediate termination.  Once out of training, every employee must follow very strict rules regarding cell phone usage.  Other than the designated break rooms, the cafeteria, and outside of the building, cell phone use is prohibited.  You can’t text while getting coffee or using the microwave; you have to get your food and/or drink and go to a designated break room before pulling out your phone.  You can’t throw a post on Facebook while walking through the hallways; any spot but the designated spots are strictly off limits.  Because of this, my phone is shut down before I leave for work and doesn’t get turned back on until I’m in my car and ready to drive home.

The cell phone policy is an easy one, thanks to the countless signs posted around the office.  We have them above the microwaves and coffee machines, on the bathroom door and on every stall, and in other rooms where people could try to go for privacy.  Supervisors give strict instructions that the phones are not to be seen or heard unless in one of the specific zones.  You would think it’s an easy policy to follow, but I’ve already seen more than one person lose their job because they’d rather text than pay attention and take notes during training.  To be honest, part of me wants to be sympathetic, as I had 4 hours of training and was frustrated and bored; they have two weeks.  But the bigger part of me wants to slap them upside the head for being so stupid.  Can’t you survive for two hours at a time without a phone?  Can’t it wait until you go on break?

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People get desperate though without that little device always available to use at their leisure.  As a result, the bathroom is a major hotspot for cell phone use during regular breaks or “emergency” restroom breaks.  Call me crazy, but I never find myself in a situation that requires me to be on the john and on the phone at the same time.  One or the other can wait.  As far as hiding places go, a bathroom stall is a last resort in my book; I don’t want to have a conversation in a place where people do their business.  But here?  People literally multitask, talking in between… well, you get the gist of it.  It’s absolutely disgusting.

The amount of dependence we have on these little electronic devices is staggeringly high.  When people are at the point to where they would rather go hide out in a cobweb infested abandoned part of campus than just wait until their break to text a friend, it’s a problem.  When people are willing to risk their jobs because they absolutely cannot live without Twitter, it’s a problem.  This job forced me to go from having my phone always within reach to having it 100% out of sight and out of mind, and it drove me nuts for about a week until I realized how much better off I was without it.  I let my email pile up, I get behind on tweets, and I’m cool with it.

Being without a phone, and seeing how people around me refuse to go without, has made me realize how much I was missing by having my eyes glued to that tiny screen so often.  What is the point in walking around like a zombie all the time?  Is it really THAT important to see who said what on Facebook?  Do we really have to document every moment with a selfie or some overly filtered fancy Instagram shot?  And please, someone explain to me, what can be so important to make bathroom time become a group activity so you can have a conversation with your mom?  Just chill.  Unplug.  I’m always glad to turn my phone back on when I leave the office for the day, but I’m equally as glad to turn the damn thing off and not deal with it for the eight and a half hours I’m supposed to be working.  It didn’t kill me, and it sure as hell won’t kill you.

Catfish

I confess, I am addicted to MTV’s reality show, Catfish.  I recently read that before hosts Nev Schulman and Max Joseph are able to read a single word from the victim of a potential Catfish, the production staff does extensive homework on all involved parties, which includes verification of the story, obtaining signed releases, and often requesting that the person being Catfished write a letter to Nev and Max asking for their help.  This is done because the majority of the people who contact MTV are the Catfish themselves, likely looking to finally come clean, which explains why their first words are almost always an apology.  Almost always.

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Catfish has gotten quite heavy in its third season.  While Nev has always been the calm voice of reason with Max occasionally losing patience and having to take a breather, we have seen Nev become seriously heated and angry at the people who have been hiding behind a false persona.  On the episode featuring Kidd Cole, who has scammed thousands of dollars out of who knows how many people, Nev became so angry at Cole’s lack of empathy with his latest victim that he threw Cole’s phone into a river.  Producers on-site have had to step in multiple times to calm Nev and Max down because, in their words, they are in danger of sabotaging their own show unless they get their emotions in check.  But honestly, who can blame them?

To my knowledge, I have never been Catfished, but I feel very confident that it has happened to me at least once during my life online.  Like most people nowadays, I’ve formed numerous friendships with people I’ve met online but never been able to see in person or video chat with.  I even met my husband online, although he was thankfully very real and never once hid behind any online falsehood.  I have friendships with people on Twitter that I still have yet to meet in person.  I’ve had brief interactions with people I assume are celebrities on a verified account that could in fact be just a random employee of that public figure.  Every single day, I find myself in some sort of contact with a person that could be someone very different from who I assume they are.

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The idea of Catfishing someone is hardly a new concept though, just one that has only recently been thrown into a spotlight.  Back when I was eleven and my AOL access was limited to an hour of glorious dial-up per week, I can recall spending the majority of that hour in various chat rooms made for my age group.  I quickly noticed that unlike the real world, each chat room would have a huge number of tall blond cheerleaders and ruggedly handsome football players.  The older I got, the bigger the lies became.  A slight exaggeration on physical appearance became outright lies that took hundreds of pounds off of bodies, changed genders and orientations, shaved off decades from a person’s age, and allowed anyone to have whatever career and financial status they wanted.  The joke became that any and all lesbian chat rooms were actually nothing but 30 – 50 year old men talking dirty to one another.

You would think that the more we see liars and cheats exposed online, and the more we see how easily one person can become someone else entirely via the internet, the more cautious we would all become.  Nev and Max’s investigations on Catfish are reduced from hours into minutes, but their work gives us more than a few tricks that can easily be used to verify someone’s identity.  The last episode of Catfish featured a tech-savvy guy who didn’t do his homework out of respect for the girl he thought he was talking to, but surely our own safety is more important that an imagined slight against a stranger.  I just popped my photo into a Google image search and scared myself a bit at how accurate the results were.  Lying is easy, but exposing those lies is easier.

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In addition to being cautious, we need to be smart.  Giving some random stranger online your full trust is beyond stupid.  People who wouldn’t trust some of their own family will put all of their faith into a person from Facebook that they’ve never met.  It’s mind-boggling.  Stopping for a moment and being rational rather than emotional could work to save a lot of people from a lot of heartache.  In the case of recent Catfish, Kidd Cole, it could have saved people a lot of money had they not taken the word of someone simply because he had a shiny cover story and amazing empty promises.  Every single person who puts themselves on the internet immediately makes themselves vulnerable to some extent.  How vulnerable you allow yourself to be, however, is something every one of us can closely control.

Thanks Obama

I am going to have to try my best to be vague in order to protect the privacy of certain individuals, so bear with me.  I am a government contractor, which often leaves me waiting until the last minute to find out if my contract has been extended and I still have a job.  I’m not faulting my contracting company, as this is just the way it’s done.  To their credit, I have never been out of work due to last minute renewals not going through as planned.  Not everyone in my building is as lucky though; contracts end all the time and some without much warning.  Last week, one was forced to put their employees on furlough “until further notice” because the funding was not approved and they have no way to pay their employees until it is.

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Naturally, the affected employees were upset, and they had every right to be.  One took to Facebook almost immediately to voice her disappointment.  Her comment got feedback as you would expect, but one person (I’ll name him Bob) went slightly overboard.  Bob was also affected by the furlough and was apparently more upset than anyone could have imagined.  His comments were not only inappropriate, they were threatening towards important people in the United States.  Word got back to his supervisor about what was said, because it’s Facebook and you can’t say anything on there without the whole world finding out.  I heard rumors that the FBI and the Secret Service were both notified and looking for Bob.  I heard for sure that both of his supervisors suggested he be dismissed immediately, as employees that say what he said should not be employees for the government.  The whole thing is a mess.

Apparently, Bob went to the hospital shortly after stirring things up with his comments.  The general opinion is that he did this in order to explain the comments away as some sort of temporary insanity.  That opinion is just that, and he could be genuinely sick for all I know.  From the feedback I’ve heard and the remarks from those involved, it’s not looking as though it will matter what frame of mind he was in when he said what he did.  Regardless of intent, he made threats.  I highly doubt Bob would have gone through with anything, but one look at the front page of any news website or paper will tell you that we’re no longer allowed to go easy on people and give them the benefit of the doubt.  Too many psychos in the world are causing irreparable damage for anything to be ignored at this point.

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What did surprise me though, which may reveal my naivety, is that Bob is very likely without a job now because of a Facebook post.  I recently made a comment on Twitter that sometimes I’d like to throw people out of windows when they get on my nerves.  I will go through life without throwing a single living thing out of a window though; it’s normal for us to turn to social media when stressed in order to vent.  If my comment was about throwing my boss out of a window, would that be a threat?  Would I lose my job?  It’s a strange thing to think about, but offhand remarks about harming others are taken much more seriously now that we know that people exist that will be more than happy to follow through with a vengeance.  If I posted about throwing my boss out a window, and then I did so, the first thing people would cry out is “why wasn’t anything done to her when she made those threats??!?”

Bob behaved like an idiot and unfortunately he and his family are currently paying the price.  People are going to say awful things about he and his wife as they try to navigate through this mess.  It’s unfair and could have easily been prevented had he just watched what he said or simply said it in the privacy of his home rather than a public website.  Freedom of speech only goes so far.  There are things you just can’t say.  I can say Obama Sucks until I’m blue in the face, but I can’t say I’m going to track him down and do something awful without suffering some sort of consequence.  I might know that I’m not being serious, but how is anyone else to know unless they check me out?  I’m curious to know what you think.  Where do we draw the line with critiques on our government and officials?  What is okay to say and what is crossing the line?  How should we decide what is a serious threat and what is just someone blowing off steam?

Trust

I’ve been thinking lately about cheating.  NO, not like that.  Cheaters is one of my favorite shows, even though I barely catch it on TV anymore.  It’s somewhat fascinating to me to see people who trust each other so fully to fall apart because someone can’t keep their pants on.  I don’t mean that in a cruel way; it’s never a pleasant thing to see hearts break and relationships fail.  We all want love to conquer all and it simply sucks when that cannot happen.  But the thing that grabs my attention even more is the trust that the cheater is putting with their new partner.

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Sure, there are people out there who cheat in the dumbest possible ways, seemingly asking to get caught in the act.  But for every one of them, there exists a person who is shamefully good at being unfaithful.  They lead a double life effortlessly and mostly free of guilt.  At least one, if not both (or more) of the people they are with are being duped into thinking that they are the only one receiving love, sex and affection.  They play this game of balancing their lovers, never revealing their true colors and intentions.  They cover their tracks beautifully and leave nothing in question.  Even though it’s wrong, you can’t help but be slightly impressed at the way they keep blinders on everyone around them.

What I never thought about until recently is how much trust goes into these affairs.  When Mike is unfaithful to his wife with Stacy, he needs to trust Stacy to keep her mouth shut, to keep her distance from his family, and to not grow too attached and do something stupid to reveal the entire ruse.  (fictional people, obviously)  Mike has to have faith in Stacy to either accept that he has a life away from her that he wants to keep, or that she won’t find him on Facebook or elsewhere and flip out when she discovers his wife and children.  There must be an enormous amount of trust put into Stacy upon beginning the affair, and it’s incredibly hard to trust a person with so much of your life and happiness.

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With social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others, it’s near impossible to keep your personal life 100% personal.  If Mike begins his affair with the intent to keep Stacy fully ignorant of his wife and family, Facebook can ruin that plan in a heartbeat.  Even without a Facebook friend acceptance, Stacy would be able to see the minimal details that would show Mike to be a family man with a woman he is committed to.  Photos on Instagram and Twitter can do the same.  More digging from Stacy could put her in direct contact with Mike’s wife, blowing his cover and making his poor spouse very unhappy.  It’s made even worse if Stacy is armed with text messages, voicemails, emails, or any other type of concrete evidence of Mike’s infidelity.

This type of trust confuses me.  If you’re married (or committed to someone in the same respect without the certificate) you obviously trust that person implicitly.  Trust is a hard thing to earn and to give, so it makes sense that it would go hand in hand with marriage (or similar commitment).  It’s not something you give to everyone, yet the cheater gives it to their new lover almost effortlessly.  They get flirtatious and cross the line, surely knowing full well that their new lover could tear their world down in a second.  Yet they trust this person not to do so.  They trust that this person will understand and respect the boundaries and rules put into place, even though they have no reason to respect anything.

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I imagine that while cheating, the trust does begin to bend a bit.  The cheater generally begins to lose trust for their spouse or primary partner, thinking that they are the one lying and sneaking around.  They project their activities onto this person, analyzing their every move and every word.  I suspect that they may even do this with the person they are cheating with, assuming that they are doing their own share of sneaking around.  The trust wavers, not because of the other parties, but because the cheater subconsciously acknowledges that they are betraying the trust of someone important to them.  But even then, the motivation to stop simply isn’t there.

Mike could have been called out by his wife on his activities that don’t match up to his stories, he could be called out by Stacy after she discovers that his background isn’t what he has presented it to be, but that still isn’t always enough for Mike to cut ties with Stacy (or his wife) and decide to live and love honestly.  Even in the face of failure, the cheater maintains the trust and faith that things will work out and run smoothly.  It makes no sense to put faith in something so broken, but people are out there doing it every single day.

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Trust is an important thing and it’s sad that these strange perversion of trust exists out there and gives cheaters validation to do what they do.  But it may also be their ultimate downfall.  When you’re doing something shady, any trust you give to your accomplice is tainted and destined to shatter.  You can’t play with someone’s emotions and then expect nothing negative to come of it.  You can’t assume that your penis pictures won’t see the light of day eventually after you tick off your new lover due to your inability to commit to just him/her.  If you’re going to trust in anything while cheating, trust in this:  It will fall apart and it will fall hard.  Secrets aren’t well kept when everything we do can be put online or emailed in a screenshot.  Everyone has their limits and eventually your “other” will get tired of that status and your secrets will be revealed.  Unless your trust also comes with total and complete honesty, it is destined to crumble and take you down with it.

You Have One New Email

On the drive in to work this morning, I was listening to a talk radio show, since that is easier to find than music early in the day.  The station’s DJs were speaking with a woman who had received an email at work from her boyfriend ending the relationship.  From the conversation that aired, it was clear that they had been speaking to this woman for about a week now.  She said that her now ex had written her a paragraph about why they should not be together for every month they spent as a couple.  According to the woman, the email was a lot of “it’s not you, it’s me,” citing various reasons about why they simply don’t work as a couple.  The woman was understandably upset to receive such an email at work, especially because breaking up through a letter is a pretty cowardly way to go about it.

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The DJs had a suggestion that would allow the woman to get a bit of revenge on her ex.  They said that she should pretend that the storm we had through Indiana knocked out the emails at her job, so she didn’t receive anything.  According to her, she did this and her boyfriend’s reaction was “oh, well I sent you a few emails at work; you didn’t get any?”  She replied in the negative to her boyfriend, telling the DJs that it was actually only the one break up email that was received from him.  The DJs then said that her next move was to lie and say that she won an all expense paid trip to Italy from a work incentive contest in order to boost productivity.  The woman did this over the weekend and reported that the boyfriend was excited, but adamant that he could not pay for a thing, so it had to be covered.  He did not mention the break up email.

Their plan going forward was for this woman to print out various inclusive packages to Italy to get her boyfriend excited.  On Friday, she is to tell her boyfriend that the IT department at her office found a way to restore all lost emails and she would get back everything that is missing on Monday; the logic being that this would cause the boyfriend to sweat it out all weekend.  The woman admitted that this was a cruel thing to do, but stated that he deserved this and worse for being such a coward and trying to end the relationship via email.

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I am guilty of breaking up with someone through a letter, but this is back in high school when the relationships often started through a letter due to fear of rejection and the fact that I was just a kid.  As an adult, it’s the wrong way to go about handling your business.  Unless the person in question is someone you’ve only been seeing casually for a date or two, you owe it to them to break up face to face.  It’s never a fun process, but part of being an adult is facing responsibilities head on.  The woman on the radio had stated that the relationship was pretty serious, so I definitely see that her anger is justified.  But is revenge the best way to handle this?  The woman and the DJs plan involves having the guy go as far as to request the time off of work and begin making plans before dropping the bomb that she DID in fact see the break up email and she wants nothing to do with him.

What the guy did by sending the email was immature, but why is it necessary to match that with even more immaturity?  I don’t see how this is going to help ease the pain of the break up and I don’t see why the guy deserves to be tricked into thinking he is going to Italy, a place he’s wanted to go since he has family there and loves Italian cuisine.  This woman might feel a bit better by tricking this man, but she is making a bigger fool of herself than he did by writing the email in the first place.  Not only that, but she has taken to the radio to broadcast their business to everyone listening, and chances are that someone who knows one or both of them will catch wind of what is going on.

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According to a survey, one third of adults have broken off a relationship through email, text, Facebook, or other means of technology.  This makes sense, as many relationships begin while each party is in front of a separate computer screen.  My own marriage began this way; meeting on Newblog and bonding through MySpace and AIM messenger.  The survey also noted that 40% of the people surveyed would definitely use technology in the future to end a relationship.  More than half stated that they change their Facebook status back to single immediately after a break up occurs, and 57% make moves to make the relationship Facebook official immediately after the first date.  Only 42% of people surveyed said they would contact someone in person to initiate the first date, the rest preferring to initiate it via social media or text message.

Social media and other technology has definitely become key in beginning and maintaining a relationship, so it’s no surprise that many people also find it helpful when it’s time for that relationship to end.  But just because something can be done through Facebook doesn’t mean it SHOULD be done through that channel.  Relationships are personal and emotional, existing both online and in real life.  If your relationship has never left the computer screen, I can see how an online break up would be appropriate, but when you see each other in person, the break up should be done in person.  If it’s not, you have every right to be upset, but you also need to understand that for some people, it just makes more sense to do it that way and it isn’t always done maliciously.

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The best thing to do if you have your heart broken via email, text, Facebook message, or other indirect way is to take time to mourn, take time to be upset, and move on as quickly as possible.  Know that the person who broke your heart chose the cowardly way out and strive to be better than that.  Choose to rise above rather than sink to their level.  Understand that there is a chance that this person honestly thought that using technology to end things was the best way to do it.  Respond if you will, but let go of any ideas of revenge before you do so.  Break ties and know that you deserve better and you will get better as long as you take the high road.  Sometimes a break up is the best thing that can happen to you.  Focus on that and move on respectfully.

No Love Lost

I’ve been married for slightly over five years now, about as long as my two previous longest and most serious relationships combined.  I’ve gone from being a paranoid nutcase to a happy nutcase, settling into married life and becoming part of something I never thought I would have.  I’d be lying if I said it was an easy journey; my husband and I butted heads quite often in the beginning and we still do so now in a much gentler fashion.  We threw ourselves headfirst into a relationship after spending less than two days in each others company, relying solely on the emotions we felt through our digital relationship and the confidence that we had found our other half.  It was a big risk but one I’m so glad we took.

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Every happy ending is prefaced by heartbreak, and I definitely experienced my share before finding happiness.  It taught me a lot and has made me sensitive to others who are unlucky in love, turned off to relationships for personal reasons, or stuck in bad situations.  Too often, I see friends on Twitter venting about failed relationships or feeling as if they are not meant for love and destined to be single forever.  I’m always glad to see the handful that are comfortable with their single status and immune to the pressures of finding someone and settling down, but they are sadly outnumbered by the miserable crowd who wants nothing more than to find true love.  Dating can be rough and it’s quite the challenge to find someone who fits your needs to a T.

The desperation to find love can make even the most intelligent person turn into a lovesick teenager, reaching out for anyone who will give them a chance.  I’ve seen strong-willed men and women crumble at the feet of a person they want to love but who is all kinds of wrong for them, sacrificing parts of themselves in order to appease the other person in their search for happiness.  I was that person once, always anxious to hear those three little words and willing to do whatever it took in order to hear them.  It was never something I admitted, not even to myself, but that need grabbed hold of my life for far too long and kept me prisoner.

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Desperation is what kills you.  Half the time, you’re blissfully unaware that you have become desperate, but it’s clear as day through actions and words.  Maybe you’re unable to enjoy a girls night out because your pretty friend is getting attention from men while you go ignored.  Perhaps you cling to flirty words on Facebook, regardless of who they come from, because you want to feel pretty and wanted.  Maybe you feel pangs of jealousy whenever you see a couple holding hands or a post on Twitter talking about love.  Acknowledging the signs and adjusting your behavior is key, but it rarely happens.  It isn’t fair that everyone else is happy while you’re lonely and stuck on the outskirts, and it’s natural to have a strong desire to change that.

When the emotions cloud common sense, people make mistakes.  Some will settle for a person who isn’t good enough for them just so they can have someone to cuddle up next to at night.  Some are looking to fill a gap left by a previous love and show a lack of care for who they choose to fill that gap.  Some are quick to sacrifice friends in order to maintain their relationship, siding with their new love without question or thought.  They blame others for any hiccups in their relationship but never blame themselves or the person they are with.  They shut themselves off from the world, creating their own little universe around this “perfect” person.  It’s a dangerous path to take, but countless people are walking it right now.

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I hate that I’ve lost friends because of their relationships.  It stings a bit to know that I can be cast aside so easily in favor of some girl or guy, but it saddens me more to know what a big mistake they are making.  True love does not require one to break friendships and become someone different.  Love does not give ultimatums, spoken or otherwise, that cause a person to compromise parts of themselves in order to keep the relationship going.  Love does not say “your friends aren’t worth it, take my friends instead.”  It shouldn’t be selfish, closed off, take it or leave it, or hurtful in any way.  Love shouldn’t make you choose between that person and the rest of your world.

I lost a lot of friends when I was with my most serious ex because I chose him over everything else, casting everyone aside and immersing myself in an unhealthy relationship.  I know too well when someone else is doing the same and it pains me to see it happen.  Just as I ignored warning signs that flashed in front of me, I see people turning a blind eye to all kinds horrible actions from their love.  And there is nothing I can do about it.  I didn’t allow anyone to help me and let advice slide right off my back, so why should I expect anyone else to do any different?  I can only hope they come to their senses before wasting any more of their life on a person who isn’t good enough for them.

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Good things come to those to wait, right?  Annoying saying, but it’s true.  As I’m typing this, I’m listening to a coworker on the phone with a friend, talking to her about her failed marriage.  In regards to her own marriage, after listing complaints about her husband, she said “well, I guess I could do worse.”  It’s a perfect example of someone who failed to wait for a good thing and decided to settle for what was available, leaving her needs unsatisfied and her heart desiring something more.  At nearly 60 years old, she is venting her regret for not having a better husband.  That shouldn’t be anyone’s reality.  Take a deep breath and take an honest look at your life.  If you want better, go out and get it.  Just be patient and be smart about it.  No one should be forced to settle for anything less than what they truly deserve.

My High Horse

I have been called a drama queen more than once in my life.  The thing is, I’ve never been called a drama queen for engaging in behavior that is characteristic of one.  True, I do take to Twitter and this site to vent my various frustrations, both big and small, but by no means is that making a mountain out of a molehill.  I’m no social media whore, so any dramatic outbursts that may occur are confined to 140 characters and a small audience.  While I do have an opinion on everything and everyone, I’m not a gossip and it’s not in my nature to waste my time talking about others and analyzing their lives and choices in a way that is spiteful, mean-spirited, or dramatic.  The bulk of my “gossip” is what you see here; vague commentary about people without ever calling anyone out or inviting any attack of any kind on a person or group of people.

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The actual drama in my life is pretty damn boring.  I stress about money, about my kid, about my job, and about other various bits of nonsense that everyone else deals with on a weekly basis.  I don’t sit around talking trash about the people in my life while thumbing through the latest issue of US Weekly and watching E! News.  I don’t share things that I’ve been told in confidence or even things that I assume the person would want kept private.  It boggles my mind why I would be called a drama queen or seen as a source of drama.  Until recently, that is.

I had an odd dream last night about someone who doesn’t feel that I’m worth talking to anymore, and as I emerged from my groggy state and hopped in the shower, it finally clicked.  Every single person who has ever called me a drama queen, both directly and indirectly, has been a person that has been offended when I’ve said something honest.  For example, I went on a mini-rant once about people who post spoilers for television shows on social media outlets, resulting in one of the worst people ever getting annoyed by my statement and reducing me to drama queen status.  I don’t feel that my actions fit the drama queen profile but because this person took my vague statement to EVERYONE who does it and made it into a personal attack, I was given the label.

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The other thing I’ve noticed is that the people who think it appropriate to give me this label are also people who fit the queen profile, both males and females.  They troll Facebook looking for old friends just to talk trash about them with current friends, they get into everyone’s business so they have something to discuss later, and they automatically assume everything is all about them.  Sticking me with the label is simply a way of them making themselves feel better about their poor decisions.  If I post a blog entry about how aggressive flirtation on social media is wrong when you’re not single and it angers someone, it’s easier for them to write me off as a drama queen instead of owning up to the fact that they fit the profile I described and they are doing something wrong.

I suppose I’ve just reached a point where things are finally clear to me.  I don’t need to feel bad or guilty about anything I’ve done or said.  I have never personally attacked anyone without being directly provoked and when I do attack, it’s certainly not out in the open so I can display it to everyone.  If someone doesn’t want to associate with me because I’m vocal about my disgust for people who constantly discuss their sex lives out in the open, so be it.  I am losing nothing of value from that separation and I do not need to feel remorse about expressing my honest opinion, especially when I had the decency to keep names and specifics out of it.  I cannot be responsible for anyone being blind to their own bad behavior or the bad behavior of their loved one.  I’m done feeling like I’m in the wrong.

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I’m not trying to climb on the highest horse around so I can look down on as many people as possible, I’m just at a new phase in my life.  I like to think I evolve more and more each day, and this is just one more tiny piece of my personal evolution.  I cannot be held responsibly for the opinions and behaviors of others, even when they are indirectly caused by something I said or wrote.  I refuse to bite my tongue out of fear of offending cheaters; I’m entitled to think it’s deplorable to cheat and I’m entitled to express it here, on Twitter, and in other appropriate settings.  I cannot censor myself just because a handful of people are going to think I’m being mean.

As long as things are said in the right ways and in the proper settings, there’s no reason for the speaker to feel bad about their statements and opinions.  Someone who simply disagrees should have enough maturity within them to say something to you if they feel strongly enough about it.  Those who feel guilty and become angry should direct that anger back at themselves, not at the speaker.  “Tracy is an attention seeking whore” and “There are way too many cleavage pics on my timeline; tone it down, ladies” are two very different statements.  Only one should cause you to feel that twinge of guilt and only one gives a specific person reason to call you out.  As long as I keep my statements in blanket form, I have nothing to feel bad about.  It’s a shame that certain people disappear, but can it really be called a loss if that makes me down one delusional, lying, selfish friend?

Play Fair

This morning, the news anchors on our local station were talking about a girls high school basketball game.  Normally I would have zero interest, but they stated that Bloomington South High School beat Arlington High School by scoring 107 points to their 2 points earned by free throws.  Larry Winters, the coach for Bloomington, stated that all nine girls on his team received playing time that night.  It would seem that they simply outplayed their opponents.  Chris Kaufman, a spokesperson for the Indiana High School Athletic Organization said that this score is not what they would have liked to see, but did admit that there is no “mercy” rule, so Bloomington had no reason to stop playing simply because they had a tremendous lead.

Jake Query, a host for 1260 WNDE, stated that “a 107 – 2 score makes Bloomington South look worse than it does Arlington.”  The RTV6 Facebook page is receiving many comments from viewers who were also unhappy with the game’s turnout.  Some questioned why there was no mercy shown, some felt that the players should have been pulled, and some thought the winning team should have taken the losing team’s feelings into consideration.  Others shared my opinion though, stating that there was nothing wrong here.  One Facebook comment stated that “there is no mercy in real life,” so there was no problem with the game being played as it was.

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A score of 107 to 2, with the two points not even coming from actual game play, isn’t exactly a common occurrence, but it’s an obvious possibility.  I don’t know much about either school so I can’t say if Arlington’s team is solid or not, but I imagine that this game was a result of either Arlington giving up or a result of them simply being outplayed.  109 total points scored seems to be a fair amount for a high school game, it just happened to be mainly on one side of the court.  It is definitely an extreme score and I’m sure the defeated team is feeling the after effects.  Likewise, I imagine the winning team feels a bit of guilt or remorse for basically wiping the floor with their opponents.  But was it wrong?

There is no rule stating that Bloomington should have pulled its players due to their high score, and even if there was, there’s no reason they should be forced to cut their game short while on a streak.  Arlington had the option of forfeiting the game once it became obvious that there was no coming back, but they also chose to finish out the game.  Even if the game was cut short, I imagine those who are outraged would still find reason to complain, crying out about how these students weren’t “allowed” to play, that they were taught to quit when things get tough, or citing some other imagined injustice.  Either way, both teams would lose.

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This game is just another shining example of the way we now coddle our children on their journey to adulthood.  It’s great to give participation ribbons to all players and to have games where everyone wins when you’re dealing with preschoolers who aren’t yet ready for competition.  It’s silly to expect a group of high school students, who are fast approaching adulthood and are entering the “real world” already by acquiring a driver’s license and getting a job, to stop playing a game because their success may make the opposing team sad.  These are not toddlers who will get cranky and give up on life because they aren’t getting their way, these are teenagers who must develop a thick skin in order to survive as an adult.

I do completely understand that it looks bad for a high school team to beat another so badly, and I understand that people are upset, but it is wrong to punish Bloomington for the amazing game they played and it is wrong to coddle Arlington because of their terrible loss.  What exactly are we teaching these teenagers by reacting to this game in this way?  Winning is great as long as you don’t win too much?  It’s better to quit than to lose badly?  If you lose big or win big, you should feel shame?  The proper reaction would be to congratulate the winning team and to push the losing team even harder in order to prevent a future loss of that magnitude.  We should expect these teenagers to be able to handle a dramatic win or loss without having to have their hands held and be told they’re a winner no matter what.

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Another thing that should be looked at is how the reaction to this particular game will affect other games.  Will players assume they should give up when their opponents stretch their lead one point too far?  Will winning teams feel guilty about outscoring their opponents, dialing back their performance in order to be “fair?”  Will a “mercy rule” be put into place, cutting games short and denying players game time in an effort to appease both sides?  This game was an anomaly and should be treated as such; it won’t be often that a high school team beats another by so much and it can’t be allowed to dictate future behavior by coaches and teams.

This game also teaches valuable lessons to these players, on both sides.  The winners get to experience the rush of blowing their opponents out of the water as well as the negative feedback that always comes to those who do well.  They get to see the benefits of their hard work and learn the unfortunate way certain people react to the successes of others.  The losers get to experience the crushing blow of defeat, but can take pride in the fact that they saw that game to the end.  They will discover where they went wrong and learn from the event in order to keep it from happening again.  Both sides will hopefully also learn to either win or lose with grace and pride.

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Coach Winters stated that he did not tell his girls to stop shooting at any point that would have been even “more embarrassing” to Arlington.  Coach Ebony Jackson of the defeated team countered that she was disappointed with the game and that Winters will have to “live with” his decision to keep the game going.  She said “if that’s the way they want to carry themselves, that’s fine.”  I fear that Jackson’s incredibly negative attitude, combined with the outrage on social media, will teach the wrong lesson to the girls on the team and to people elsewhere.  Losing is a part of life, as is getting embarrassed, stomped on, and kicked when you’re down.  The best thing we can do for both teams and for all impressionable minds tuned in to this story is give a nod to the winners, a pat on the back to the losers, and quietly MOVE ON.

UPDATE 12/13/12, 8:21AM:

Comedian Mike Epps paid a visit to Arlington High School after hearing about their loss on the news.  He said “we just wanted to encourage the kids and make sure that they understand that somebody still cares for them out there.  We all take losses and it’s about getting up and coming back.”  Epps also threw in “I don’t think it made the other team look real good either.”  I would like to congratulate Mike Epps for making a bad situation even worse.  Congratulations for making the winning team feel even worse about their victory by drawing even more attention to it and going in front of a camera to say that a team of high school girls made themselves look bad by playing a sport to the best of your ability.  Congratulations on going out of your way to coddle the losing team who, by their coach’s own admission, are not experienced players anyway.  Congratulations on doing the exact opposite of what should have been done.  In my opinion, if Epps should have acted at all, he should have acted to get the two teams together in the same room and let them see how silly all the drama surrounding the game truly is.  Unite the two teams, have them shake hands and hug, and host a clinic where both teams can practice as one.  Use your power as a celebrity for something worthwhile, not to tell a bunch of teen girls that they don’t “look real good.”

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