Sunday, June 28, 2015

The fallout from being slandered on Facebook

Some time ago on Facebook, I posted a mini-rant about someone. One person on my Friends list knew this person and pointed out that it wasn’t fair that I was saying as much when this person was not able to defend himself in response to what I said. That was a very good point and since then I have kept that in mind before I post stuff. (Though I gotta say: I no longer post ANYTHING like that that has to do with personal relationships because I would rather talk with the person privately instead of whining about it on Facebook. Whining does not solve anything!) Unfortunately, there are some people out there who do not think that way. Today I came across someone who I do not know and who is not on my Friends list but whose page I checked out because, from what I learned through a private discussion with a friend, he was slandering her on his page. I checked it out and, yes, unfortunately, he WAS slandering her on his Facebook page. By name. I was outraged because this dude was acting like such a hypocrite and he was trashing MY FRIEND. The worst part was that my friend could not defend herself because he unfriended her. That is just not cool.

The big thing that I worried about because of this, though, is that from now on, everybody on his page who saw that would forever believe that this particular person is EVIL. That she DISCRIMINATES. I won’t post my friend’s name here because I respect her privacy, but I WILL say that this dude was WRONG and anybody who believes him is WRONG. And I also gotta say that I have been where my friend is now. I was not attacked by name but, boy, did I get my ass chewed out on Facebook over a stupid meme. My worry then was the same that I had for my friend now: That everybody who saw all of that would believe what I was wrongfully accused of.

But I want to tell my friend the same thing I told myself after all of that blew over. I want to tell her this: If everybody who sees that post believes what that guy says about you, screw them. They do not know you. They do not understand you. They probably want some reason or another to gracefully bow out of your life without looking like a total jerk because they’re going to ride their Righteous Horse for all it is worth and BELIEVE what they think of you no matter what. And you have to let that go. Don’t waste your time trying to tell them they are wrong or defend yourself to them because They. Don’t. Care. They want to have this NEGATIVE view of you and milk it for all it is worth to make THEM look like some martyr or a prince and YOU look like a sack of shit. I’m sorry, but it is true. That’s how people are.

And, you know, if they were looking for some excuse to drop you, then maybe it’s a good thing this all happened. Because at least now you know that they didn’t really care about you at all. It hurts, yes, but there are people who wouldn’t bat an eye over hurting someone. It’s a cold, hard fact about this world. You know, people suck. You could try convincing them that they are wrong and you can talk until you are blue in the face, but they won’t listen. They won’t care. They will believe what the other person said. Or they will believe this incorrect and negative view that they have of you forever and ever and ever.

And, you know what? You don’t need people like that in your life. If they are the kind of person who does not want to take time to get to know you, understand you and accept you the way you are, then don’t chase after them when they choose to walk out of your life. In fact, show them the door!

People who DO know you will understand that you are not that person. People who DO care about you will realize what’s going on and remain your friend, confidante, whatever, No. Matter. What. I mean, they’ll see that crap that guy said and think that, obviously, there was a misunderstanding. There was some form of miscommunication. Or maybe that guy is just being a jerk.

So don’t sweat jerks like that. Yes, it’s wrong of them to slander you like that on Facebook, but really, there’s not much you can do about it. Just write them off. Accept their unfriending you with a glad heart. Because now you know what kind of person they REALLY are, and you are better off that they have walked out of your life. Good riddance!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cardiologist appointment

Last month, I had what I have since referred to as a “heart scare.” To get all the details about what had happened, see here. Part of my follow-up instructions was to see a cardiologist at a heart care center. This place is located at a local hospital, locally referred to as RiverBend. I had scheduled the appointment late last month and that appointment was today.

Before my appointment, however, I kept trying to figure out just what the heck had happened. I’d been having this severe chest pain usually once a month for some time now. It gets so bad that I honestly think I’m having a heart attack. I recently changed my diet and started taking aspirin every day, but I’ve still been troubled over just what the cause of this might be. I actually started to look it up on the Internet yesterday and pretty much stopped when the results brought up heart disease. I didn’t want to jump the gun on this. Personal experience has taught me that it’s best to talk to a doctor about things like this rather than trying to “self-diagnose myself” through the Internet.

I still wanted to know what possibilities there were. I talked about it with some people on Facebook yesterday and their comments gave me a lot to think about.

So I went to the appointment today and I handed in the paperwork I’d previously filled out about my medical history, personal habits and so forth. They took my vitals, asked me more questions about my medical experiences and asked me to go more in-depth about these chest pain episodes. What caught my attention was the doctor asking me why I felt the problem was my heart. I wondered why he asked that and broached the subject that maybe the cause was other things. I told the doctor my dad had heart problems and I thought maybe there was a connection there, but that I was also open to the possibility it might be something else or some other reason. The doctor listened to my heart and said everything sounded fine. Aside from my blood pressure being high at the time of this visit, everything else checked out okay. The doctor suggested I take a stress test so they can better test my heart health and so I have to go back when they schedule that test.

I am frustrated that they didn’t have an answer to my chest pain but when I left that appointment, I decided I would try to get a new primary care physician and look into some other options about what could be causing this. It might be the heart. It might be something else. Whatever it is, I hope it can be treated so that I don’t have to deal with those scary and painful episodes anymore.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

While I was sleeping

If there’s one thing I can count on waking up to in the morning, it is evidence that my oldest was up and about last night after I had gone to bed. Jen is a night owl, but not only this, she gets a case of what I call the “midnight munchies.” She’s always hungry late at night. I’m fine with her eating at night – she is underweight so extra food in her stomach is okay by me! – but as much as I remind her to clean up after herself once she’s done going on another culinary experiment, she tends to forget. I have woken up to find a plate of cookies in one area of the kitchen and EVERYTHING used to make those cookies in the sink. (Well, at least they were in the sink, though she usually forgets to rinse out things.) Or sometimes I’ll find used dishes scattered around the house or areas of popcorn, sugar, cinnamon or stray pieces of cereal on the kitchen counter.

This kinda thing definitely happens when Jen has a friend spend the night at our house. I always wake up to discover that, yes, two teenagers were up and about after both Jesse and myself had gone to sleep!

I have a morning routine when I get up in the mornings. I start the coffee and turn on the TV to the news if it’s the weekday or cartoons if it’s a weekend. (Now that it’s summer vacation, though, I’ll be turning on the TV to the cartoons more often!) I wash my face, turn on the computer, tidy up around the house a bit, check my phone for messages (and delete the spam) and drink bottled water before having coffee. Well, part of the tidying up I did this morning included washing up some kind of brown powdery stuff on the counter in the kitchen. When I smelled it, I realized it was cinnamon. And since it was near the toaster, chances are good that Jennifer and the friend she had sleeping over last night had made themselves some cinnamon toast while the other two people in the house were asleep. (Anytime Jen has a friend sleeping over, they’re usually up until 2 or 3 in the morning.)

Granted, Jen should start cleaning up after herself when she’s making herself something to eat at night, but the truth is, I really don’t mind the clean-up. I am just glad she ate something! The messes she leaves behind are usually very small so that’s usually why I don’t say anything about it. She knows if she and/or her friends leave a disaster in their wake, they’ll hear about it from me! But it’s small stuff and I’m fine with taking care of it. Maybe one day she’ll remember to wash out a glass or wipe stuff up. I am just glad she and her friend could enjoy the task of making something together and having something to eat.

Meanwhile, I continue to wake up to little surprises in the house. At least they are not bad surprises. Sometimes, there’ll even be something for me to eat, too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

From out of the shadows

I woke up at around 3ish in the morning and had a hard time going back to sleep. Someone recently verbally attacked me on Facebook and her words still hurt. I was also upset because I had bad dreams and I’ve had so many of those lately, I REALLY didn’t want to go back to sleep because I knew that if I did, I would most likely have more bad dreams. I just didn’t want to deal with that.

So I got out of bed. After turning the news on the TV and doing other morning-routine stuff, I got on the Internet. I felt I needed to explain something and I explained it. It was an apology, of sorts. I THINK I might have inadvertently offended some people and I didn’t want people thinking I was discriminating because I don’t discriminate. Believe me, I have had my own fair share of discrimination – as a girl, as a burn survivor, as someone who is overweight and someone who is deaf. I’ve been there. And I know discrimination hurts. So I don’t discriminate, at all. But I think I might have and was not aware of it and I wanted to apologize and pretty much let everyone know that had not been my intention at all. Also, I may share stuff and not realize it is so negative. I don’t try to be negative. In fact, the last thing I said in my post was, “There is too much negativity in this world and I don’t want to add to it.”

This gave me pause. If there is ANYONE with good reason to lash out at the world, hate EVERYONE and be negative and critical, it is me. I have been through So Much. I grew up in a family rife with negativity, abuse, lies, manipulation, thievery and pain. I have also had bad things happen to me with other people. Ya know? Like lots of other people have had. And, oh yeah! I write books that nobody wants to buy! I have just been through a lot and, to be honest, it’s amazing I don’t take all that bad stuff and let it turn me into a monster. I know I DO have my bad days when my blood is boiling and I want to rip everybody’s head off, but, for the most part, I am not a horrible, evil person. I did not let my past define my present.

Now I did stick to those old habits for a while there, especially when I first moved to Oregon. I was still dealing with criticism and negativity from family members and also I was scared to be somewhere where I didn’t know anyone. I was especially scared and super-cautious, even paranoid, when faced with the prospect of being on my own with my daughter. So, yeah, I did stay with the old me for a while there.

But I got to a point where I finally realized, you know what? I don’t have to be that person anymore. Unlike some people in my family – a parent, siblings – I got rid of that person that I was when growing up in that family. I realized I didn’t have to be that way anymore. I didn’t have to hide information. I didn’t have to lie to anyone. I didn’t have to use my fists to defend myself from a violent attack or be able to physically fight back in some way if I had to. I didn’t have to avoid certain people who I KNEW would hurt me or put on some kind of defense when talking to negative people.

I finally realized that I didn’t have to do that anymore, because I wasn’t around those people anymore. They were far away from me. They could not hurt me anymore. I was free and I didn’t have to stick to my old ways anymore.

I am glad I finally got to a point in life where I realized this, because it gave me a chance to embrace the life I had now and enjoy the GOOD people that were in my life now. They are still in my life now. These days, I don’t have any room for negative, violent or shady people. I will not allow them in my life and if I realize someone is shady, then I sever ties with them. I AM willing to give someone another chance, and of course I recognize that people make mistakes, but if they prove me wrong in trusting them again or if they go back to being the person they once were, I will no longer be so trusting or be so giving. Our relationship will be damaged. It will exist but not the same way it was before. And if it happens a SECOND time, I will write them out of my life for good. I won’t talk to them. I won’t have a relationship with them. I won’t associate with them in any way. They will be gone.

I have had to put up walls to protect myself from bad people because of the bad people that I was raised with. That is just the way that I am and it's the way my past taught me to be. This is why I do not trust strangers so easily. This is why I do not throw myself at just anyone when I meet them. I need time to trust. And I guess they need time to understand the kind of person that I am, too...

So I think that me being careful with people is actually the best thing I got out of my bad past. It did not turn me into a monster, it just made me cautious with people. It made me stronger, yes, and maybe a little wiser, but ultimately I am careful with people. With everyone. I can’t allow negative people in my life. And I WON’T allow negative or violent people in my life. I’ve been on the giving AND receiving end of violence and will never go back to that again. And I just don't want anymore negativity from people. I think I have had my fair share of it.

So out of the shadows of my past emerged a stronger person. I am stronger from everything that I have been through. And I have learned lessons from everything too. There were bad people in my past, but there won’t be any bad people in my present. Or my future. I won’t allow them. I embrace a better life now with better people who I know I can trust. We have a strong bond and I am grateful at this “second chance” in life where I have more control over how it can be a better one.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

My anti-celebrity tirade

If you were to ask me which one I would pick – the celebrity or the soldier – then I would pick the soldier.

If you were to ask me which one I would pick – the celebrity or Average Citizen – then I would pick Average Citizen.

If you were to ask me which one I would pick – the celebrity or some animal – then I would pick some animal.

Notice a pattern here?

Guess what? I am anti-celebrity. I don’t give a $#!& about celebrities. And I don’t think I will for a long time either.

And no matter what a certain celebrity does with his/her life, I STILL will not care! I will STILL root for the soldiers! I will STILL root for the Average Citizen! I will STILL root for the animals!

It’s sad that there are people in this world who don’t understand that, let alone accept it.

I will still NOT CARE about celebrities no matter what people say and no matter what they do. That is especially true if said celebrity is a celebrity athlete.

And guess what? I have every right to feel that way. Last time I checked, this was a free country. I have the right to feel the way I do and be the way I am. So deal with it!

I think it’s awesome Bruce Jenner was courageous enough to transform into Caitlyn Jenner. More power to her. Please excuse me for not being a part of the crowd making a fuss over it. I am totally in support of changing your life completely and turning into a completely different person. Heck, that is what I am trying to do myself, with my own life.

But if I was to make a choice about who I care MORE about, then hands down, I support our troops 110%.

Now, I know when I am wrong, and I am willing to admit to as much. If something I share on Facebook or post on MY timeline is inaccurate, judgmental, discriminating, hateful or part of some government conspiracy to spy on all Facebook users, then I WILL remove it! Give me some credit for having a heart, okay? If I don’t have a clue about something, then for God’s sake, say so! Do not instead accuse me of being discriminating, judgmental, hateful or bitter. Although I do get into a bad mood sometimes and post REALLY angry and offensive crap! LOL That’s what people DO! That's what I have done on Facebook and that's what I will always do on Facebook! (Though I am trying to make an effort to STAY OFF the freaking Internet when I am in one of my homicidal moods, as well as turn off my phone, stay in my house, avoid people, etc.

But I digress.

I just don’t really care about celebrities at all. Seriously. That’s all there is to it. If you tell me about something an actor or actress did, I’d be all like, “Eh.” A celebrity athlete did something? “Don’t care.” A musician has a song that’s getting a bazillion likes on YouTube? I’d be all like, “So what.”

The truth is, I. Don’t. Care. All the celebrities in the world could all jump off a cliff and guess what? I still won’t care! (But first I would suspect some nefarious conspiracy cooked up by the government using alien technology and … oh, I’ve said too much.)

So, yeah. That’s me. That is just me. I care about everybody else and ALL the animals MORE than I do about celebrities. Our soldiers mean more to me than our celebrities do. That doesn’t mean I’m discriminating or judgmental against something going on with a celebrity – ANY celebrity. It just means I don’t care. I won't jump on the bandwagon going all crazy about it. I just don't say anything. That’s all. That’s me.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Plotting a new course

I remember how, in middle school, there were guidance counselors. They were the people we could go to for, well, guidance. There were also these tests we had to take to see what kind of career was the right fit for us. And I remember after taking one such test, I was told that the best career choice for me was “Counselor.” And I remember thinking, Counselor? No way! I’m going to be a famous author one day!

Well, that was my plan. I wrote like there was no tomorrow. And it was my goal to become one of those authors whose books flew off the shelves and earned a lot of money. Yes, I was in it for financial gain.

But that did not happen. I DID become an author, yes, but I did not become a money-making author. Alas! My books do sell – every once in a while, that is – but not in a way I had hoped they would.

Now, as I was doing this, I was also doing something else. Or, rather, trying to BE something else. Not just a writer. I spent a lot of time during my teen years trying to be this person. And every time I tried, I would go to my dad with what I’d put together to see if he thought it had any merit. I got two kinds of responses from him: “Impossible!” and “No, you can’t do that.”

No matter how often I tried and went to my father for validation, I always, ALWAYS, got that kind of reaction from him.

Now, I am not trying to badmouth my dad. You should never speak evil of the dead! I am only sharing what had happened.

Those responses to my ideas pretty much shot me down. I deep-sixed that idea and went back to trying to be this amazing author.

I didn’t have my dad’s support for that person I tried to be. The only thing my dad was willing to get behind was the possibility that I’d be an author making serious dinero. But when that didn’t happen after my first book, he jumped ship. I, however, stuck with it longer. For 10 years, in fact. I worked hard to try to make that happen and did everything that I thought I was supposed to do. But it just did not pan out. (And some of my so-called “friends” I made in the author community distanced themselves from me when they realized I was not an author making huge amounts of money. I became a joke to them.) (Screw them!)

So I decided that after 10 years, the writing thing would NOT be something I focused on for financial success. I would continue to write, yes, but only when the time and energy were there.

But what else was I going to do with my life now? Where would I go from here? What am I going to invest the next 10 years of my life in in order to achieve that financial success?

What. Now?

I had hoped to figure that out when I turned 40, because that was the 10-year mark. But I didn’t figure it out. I was ready for something new in life but had not yet decided on what path to take.

Three months into turning 40, I was all, “It’s time for something new!”


Six months into it: “It’s time for something new!”

Still nothing.

After nine months: “It’s REALLY time for something new!”

Still, nothing.

And after a year, I was asking myself, “Do I have something new yet???”

And believe me, I TRIED to figure out that something new. I turned over a ton of ideas in my head. The film industry? Nah. The food industry? Nope. Science? Eh, not me. Teaching? Nope. Mentoring? Uh-uh.

I spent time on the Internet reading several job-related articles, career profiles and employment possibilities. I wanted something that could ACTUALLY work as financially rewarding. I want to have that financial security. That’s important.

But none of my online research helped me figure that out, either.

So, last night, sometime after deciding I would take on a whole new me, I spent some time brainstorming for ideas. Not too long ago, I got together with my husband, daughter and my sister via text to do some brainstorming. But the idea we all eventually agreed on was still iffy for me. I wanted something I was willing to get behind. Something that sparked a fire within.

And last night’s brainstorming did just that. (Thank goodness I don’t have carpet in my kitchen, because I was pacing like crazy!) I actually had a “Eureka!” moment. I figured out what I was going to do next and, a bonus, realized I could take it to the next level and specialize it to where it would be a help to the deaf. Because, you know what, that particular need for the deaf is there. And it's not being met. I am deaf, and I could make this work FOR the deaf! Yes! I could do it! (One of the secrets for success: “Find a need and fill it.”)

Happily satisfied and encouraged by this, I went about the rest of my evening set on this new life goal.

Then I had a dream.

Last night, I dreamed about something related to that person that I tried to be a long time ago. And in my dream, I was a success with it. It had actually WORKED!

I woke up from that dream feeling inspired. And I asked myself, “Why did I let that person die? Why did I allow it to get shot down so easily?”

I guess I had really needed that validation from my dad before I could continue on that path. But I let his discouragement put a blot in that dream.

But, you know, I am at a point in life where I don’t really need his validation anymore. Not like I’d get it if he was still around. But I’m confident in myself enough to believe in myself. And that’s okay. I don’t need ANYONE to get behind me on anything. I do my own thing! And if this is what I want to try to do in life, then I’m going to go for it. I give myself permission to try that path again. To try again. I am going to bring that person back to life and tell her, “You can do anything.”

I am going to stick with my original plan that I conceived last night. I will continue with that journey. But I will also bring back this person I tried to be once upon a time and allow her to have free reign in my life. I’ll let that person be alive again, thinking up those ideas again, and just maybe it will lead to something, too. Like I tell my kids, “You don’t HAVE to do just one thing in life.” It’s time to let that girl I once was all those years ago out of the grave and live again. To let her dream again. And believe.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Starting over in life

The first 40 years of my life was a disaster.

A couple of good things happened -- I had my kids and I got to author or coauthor 20 books -- but there was just so much that went wrong.

So much disappointment.

So much failure.

So many things that did not work out the way I had hoped.

So many dreams that did not come true, no matter what I tried.

So many friends who dropped me and family who wrote me off.

So many people who turned their backs on me and didn't even stand by my side when I needed them.

So much heartache, loss and letdowns.

Especially the loss...

Just too much for me to carry around anymore. 

Too much bad stuff.

But I'm over that now. 

I'm done feeling sorry for myself about it.

I have thrown it all away.

I have decided to be done with all that.

At age 41, I am walking away from everything my life has been so far.

And I am going to start over.