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Archive for the category “How We Relate”

I’m So Empty I Could Burst

It occurred to me a few nights ago. As the holiday rapidly approaches, those who are happy only get happier. The others, the ones like me, vacillate between hoping it will come and go versus it not coming. This challenge is one I prepare for in recent times but never have been able to get it quite right, at least NOT to my satisfaction.

As someone who has lived through decades of holidays, one’s memory carries one through. Traveling back and forth through the milestones, only stopping at the ones that bring about the sense of being overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with happy, overwhelmed with anticipation, overwhelmed with sorrow. The others fly by like pages of an open book on a windy day. Yet you need something, you need to feel some little thing.

It seems possible to recreate the good, we will fix that same favorite meal, we will play those old familiar songs and we will give way to the memories that brought us this immense joy then with hopes we can sample that same joy today.

Reliving the sorrow is seemingly an effortless act, you simply need to BE. That moment when it happened, the pain in your heart, and of course what the source of this unhappiness was. Ideally you want to come away from this place, but it is NOT so easy. There is a mark on your heart, and it is NOT fading.

Numb and lifeless, but startled back into the now you go along, you perform as though everything IS alright. No one around seems to be the wiser, but in actuality they are choosing to believe you are strong, strong enough to withstand all. You play your role; because they like you, need to be able see that which they believe. There you sit in a room full of others, but you are isolated and no one even notices.

These empty feelings, this sense of being alone, give you a vastness that overtakes your soul. The emptiness is like air in a balloon as it fills up, becoming tighter until it can take no more and then it bursts.

Happy Endings

Are there such things? What does the title say to you? I think to figure the endings out we must start with the beginnings. In the spirit of where many of us are let’s address this as a result verses a consequence. On the road to connecting with a partner/ companion/ love interest we encounter many obstacles.

Our age group being a huge factor. We can lie to ourselves and say, “age aint nuthin but a number” but in actuality age is far more than a number. With one’s time on the planet we gain certain things by virtue of mere exposure. Some of these things we keep, cherish and utilize. Others we carry like heavy baggage waiting to be unloaded.

For me treading these “murky waters” of senior dating clearly (forgive the pun) there have been far more failures than successes. I am being kind; for the plain truth is they have all been failures. This is not a blame game either. I do believe they have been simple mismatches, well at least the majority of them. Yet with that in mind, it is still not easy to tell someone This is NOT working. People take that statement personally in the most negative of ways and that is NOT always the case.

Like I said earlier we need to examine the beginnings. I have experienced some seemingly great starts. Good conversationalists, intelligent, attractive, tall… most of the ones that have not worked out, I am thankful have ended in very early stages. Not a lot of time, effort, or emotion vested. With this particular “relationship” type things usually just drop off, the calls become less and less until there are none, you look up and months have gone by, and soon you realize YOU have gone on. Then there are the “ghostings” a bit more of a sensitive subject and covered briefly in prior piece. I will again state sometimes there is just nothing to say, no case to be made, but when it happens the party being ghosted does not understand. Why not just take it as… if this is all they have for me there truly is nothing that needs to be said. However, we are human; rejection does not sit well with most of us, we are curious and sensitive. There IS the need to know “why”. This writer is challenged by this very thing as well. I have to say I should follow my own advice in these cases. I am certain there will be more not-so-pleasant breaks. I also feel like we have to be subjective in the way we view what a happy ending if. Sometimes you are lucky you get the one you want, and everything is good. Other times you do not walk away with the intended party and that too is a good thing. Just a couple of brief examples and in either case, the respective endings can still be happy.

Because I Live Here

On the heels of Earth Day, one may find themselves in activist mode. It certainly seems that way for me. I look around the community, my street and I see signs of folks that are selfish and unconcerned. That distresses and annoys me. I remember a time, not-so-long ago when the airways were flooded with warnings and pleas for US/Americans NOT to litter. While in many places I travel to as well as where I live littering is NOT a huge problem one has to be aware that it wouldn’t take much for the scales to tip the other way.

Why should one take time out to concern themselves with such a matter? I will tell you as I tell strangers and neighbors alike when they see me picking up trash “out and about“; simply, “Because I live here.” Look I do NOT enjoy picking up after others, but the flip side would be to let the trash and debris sit there or blow around. It takes away from the aesthetic of the area and it sends other offenders the message it is okay to toss their trash out in this area too. Thus, the problem becomes unsightly and unbearable, when one can provide a quickfix. We have to feel responsible for the place we live in, not just our small little space on a street, but in the grand scheme of things, for the planet. My hope is not just to get others involved in the clean-up but that the perpetrators will simply stop adding to the breakdown of civil awareness and civic duty. They will see first-hand that someone does actually care even if they don’t. The human subconscious is a peculiar thing, guilt, remorse and responsibility can work together in order to produce the desired effect and/or being. Now this may not work everywhere, it may not be for everyone, but so far it is doing what I want to do for now.

One cannot be sporadic or easily discouraged, this is a battle which will not be won overnight. However, the cause is worthy, and everyone benefits. Be it your neighborhood, the office you work at, or a public park; these places are ALL a part of the community of the planet Earth, and after it is all said and done, we live here too.

But If I’m Honest

His head dropped when he saw her now. She seemed unaffected and indifferent. However, not so long ago he looked forward to the chance encounters, even though he timed her moves. But if honesty can enter this discussion, he’d have to admit she really had not changed. The only thing that changed was they actually had a conversation and they knew each other’s names.

It is not always received well, one insinuating themself into the life/space of another. I think it is easier accepted if there is a not-so-nice interaction, but if one is in the most remote fashion civil, there are individuals who basically take the kindnesses and run. What I mean is all they need is a crack in an open door and they proceed with not sense of caution. These are the same individuals who will look/be butthurt when they are stopped in their tracks.

Many of us were taught as children to be respectful and polite. Then there are the others. Unpolished and unrefined their experience is often self-taught; this does NOT always translate well. Truth is there are people you should just leave alone. That is not saying they are bad/stand-offish/mean. That only says you have to make informed decisions about who and how you approach. There are people who are just EXTROVERTS. They enjoy people and interacting with. What one has to do is NOT mistake a polite greeting as an invitation in. Extroverts attract us; their magnetic personalities make all of us feel like it is not so bad to just be out there, because what comes easy to them, they manage to make appear easy to us. The INTROVERTS may not have the outward appearance of being shy but read the body language. If they turn away rather than speak, the folded arms. They do NOT want you in their space, if they did/do they WILL invite you in. This is by-no-means a clear, concise character study, just things I have seen.

Personally, I am neither an introvert nor an extrovert, defined. I believe I can and do come off a bit (we will call it this for arguments sake) distant. I also believe I do not send mixed messages. I speak and keep moving. In my mind, in my world, that is an example of what my dad characterized so many decades ago by saying Even two dogs on the street have the decency to bark when they see one another… a greeting should be a given. I do not want you to be upset with me by what YOU perceive as implied. I do want you embrace the obvious. Here is where the honesty comes in. If you pay attention and read the signs, you will get an idea of who you are approaching. You will be able to determine how to approach…or not. Finally, you will begin to realize if you had taken a moment or two more and paid attention, you would have made a better/different decision. If you are honest, you will see who is to blame for that butthurt.

Do You Think We’re Sexy?

Remember that song by Rod Stewart…”Do You Think I’m Sexy?” How many of us danced to, sang aloud, whispered the lyrics into the ears of a lover and even laughed at the idea certain individuals would even suggest the mere idea came to their head? Let’s be honest here sexy is not just a look, it IS a state of mind. Back in 1978 many of us were teens and young adults; we were in our most perfect forms and at the height of our sexuality…of course we thought we were sexy!

I recall having a discussion with a “sister/friend about a Human Sexuality class she was taking in college. I remember being absolutely repulsed when she described a film/video the class watched in which seniors were interviewed. Plus, they not only discussed sex at their age, but there were also visuals. I could not imagine why people that age would want to have sex. My immature mind could NOT wrap around the idea of folks with their particular type bodies would want to see one another naked, let alone be aroused by such a sight. Keep in mind I had seen a grand total of ZERO naked seniors. My opinions were solely based on what I could see in their respective faces and therefore I figured the bodies had to have a similar look.

Fast Forward: here I am now that person that I imitated throwing up at the thought of, facing the question of sexuality. We must couple the idea of physical beauty, with physical limitations. Pregnancy has gone from being covered up like a nun (which was in direct contrast to the condition) to painted and bared bellies. Perhaps a better question for “US” would be… Do you think we’re sexual? The answer is as varied as we are, but once again our numbers draw attention to us. Senior dating sites are as prevalent as ones focusing on the young. Why is that you may think…short answer is because we as human beings still want to connect and to be connected. As life progresses things happen, spouses/partners leave us either through death or through divorce. Then we are left to do what our very nature tells us we must do…find a mate/companion/love.

Sex is everywhere on one level or another and that is NOTHING new. Yet as we move forward and evolve, we cannot help noticing the changes in ourselves, our contemporaries, our environment and society’s attitudes. I have said this time and again as I have written in this blog we “baby-boomers” are a group that none of the likes have been seen, we are trendsetters by virtue of existence. Our numbers alone call for recognition as we draw attention to what it looks like to live, grow up, and age in a modern society with instant access to record and catalog it all. Have we changed our minds about sex and being sexy? I say,” YES absolutely”. When you see a muscular young man at the gym or a toned young woman at the beach in a skimpy swim suit, do you judge them or do you fondly recall when that was YOU or someone you would set your sights on? Don’t be creepy or forgetful, it can be easy to fall into those pigeon-holes. Do you think we’re sexy…HELL YEAH WE ARE!

Redefined

Things aren’t like they used to be. No surprises in that statement but making that statement and NOT truly recognizing what is being said sets one up for a bit of confusion. At one time or another one may find themselves in what used to be a familiar situation, and although one might be compelled into thinking the same strategy, plan, method would still work, you must resist that train of thought. Instead, you must embrace the idea that change has likely taken place and you must approach from a different angle.

It was an innocent looking encounter, if you were not paying attention. When we are in close proximity to one another and couple that with the fact human beings are social, there is nothing extraordinary about a chance meeting on a bench. What isn’t so innocent is when one gets too close too quickly. Everyone is not easy to get to know. One must be mindful of this, or one could “scare” the other individual away. I am a people watcher just by nature and I was given a unique opportunity to see the failed attempt to become familiar unfold. I was not privy to the conversation itself; I saw body language and facial expression. I do not believe anything inappropriate was said or done. I summed the entire episode up as one individual simply not wanting to be bothered. In this situation as the other person persisted it then became more personal and now took on the tone of, she was NOT interested in talking to this man specifically. Sometimes you have to know when to stop, sometimes you have to know when to simply move on. Cut your losses, live to fight another day…but it was clear this fellow was applying methods that worked a long time ago. He was lucky, from my vantage point, that he did not get an old-fashioned slap. The fatal blow to what was left of his ego. Yet, I do believe because his intended target was not flat out mean, he will try again.

Don’t get me wrong here, there is something to be said for persistence. The only thing I can say is the desired effect was NOT achieved. How much time do you invest in the tried and true? When do you come to grips with this is not working…? Some goals are unattainable, we must learn that “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” does NOT have to be our mantra. Instead shoot for, “I’ll try something new”. Hit the gym, don’t cut your long hair, take that painting class…. Our advancing years do not always indicate we are increasingly limited. Make this your venture into becoming…REDEFINED

When It Just Isn’t Enough

You two said goodnight. You had spent hours together talking endlessly about everything under the sun. Ironically you could have gone on, but against better judgement the decision was made to stop here..for the moment.

It is NOT the way you recall it being so many years ago. We have changed on every level including but not limited to chronologically. We have truly lived a “lifetime”. Now that we are back in a familiar place it is not so easy to recall what was and what was not correct. Couple that with the rules of the game have been altered to fit the masses and we are no longer the masses.

Unlike the learning process we grew up with, feeling the confidence that comes with familiarity, once again we find ourselves stumbling through this obstacle course called “life”. This feels familiar and strange at the same time, perhaps that is why we are drawn to it.

It feels like a walk on the beach at Waikiki. In the moments we share the actual environment is insignificant. You ask why one would want to be any other place but in the company of this being? One cannot imagine. We are at a point in our lives where there may NOT be many more opportunities like this one to seize.

However, we still hesitate. For whatever the reason, we contemplate the “other” possibilities. We look at others who have acted in a fashion we deem hastily and try to justify what we are doing. Our way makes sense. To this I offer, while we go through all of the why’s and how’s to do things correctly or timely or both… the unthinkable CAN happen. Then we MUST realize we set our own selves up for this scenario in which there truly wasn’t enough….

And the Oscar Goes To….

What can one say when they bear witness to something but have only a few facts? Are we to trust our very own deceiving eyes? Can we believe our betraying ears? What could we have missed? We speculate, we listen to the so-called experts, critics, and fans. In the end the conclusion is as varied as the individuals that draw them. Therefore, let us begin…

For decades now I have made it my business NOT to take in the pageantry, tradition, grandeur and fluff of award shows. This is a far cry from what I once did. From the red-carpet attire to the acceptance speeches, for years I was captivated. Oscar’s, Grammy’s, Tony’s, Emmy’s, SAG, American Music; I made time for them all. I may have not watched from beginning to end but I took in a good part of them. I knew the main players and recipients of the biggest bounty.

As time went on, as it happens, many things changed. People stopped holding these events in high esteem; the events seemed to be losing momentum, the attire was the first to fall on the wayside and the behavior was the next casualty. I recall watching in utter disgust as a band came forward to accept their award and one of the members spat as he walked toward the stage. This was the Grammy’s, and it was held inside with carpeted floors and upholstered seats. We won’t even talk about how they were dressed I had seen enough. It was not a surprise that I no longer held any interest. Thankfully, things improved, and the award shows returned to what they resembled in past years. I, however, was scarred and to me they lost their zeal. The advent of the internet allowed me to get the results without having to dedicate hours to watching the entire event(s). Problem solved.

It pains me to write this, but as with countless others I feel I have something to say. I have an opinion…and we know what is said about opinions. I was positively appalled by Will Smith’s display Sunday March 27,2022. One can argue he cracked, or he was defending his wife’s honor. Henceforth the record will show a black man assaulting another black man on stage, televised around the world. What a pretty picture, Will. As you broke through a barrier you trashed the area around it with stereotypical behavior. You showed the world violence and foul language, in an instant and no one took into account the possible reasons why.

Many things should have prevented this from happening. Where was security at the event? Why was Will permitted to calmly walk up on that stage assault Chris and walk back to his seat and stay to accept his award later in the show? Academy FAIL.

Why did Will take offense to a joke (no matter whether one feels was in poor taste or not) after he was seemingly seen/filmed laughing at the same joke, to the point the felt compelled to behave in such an uncivilized manner. Under the guise of being disrespected he demonstrated disrespect. Under the guise of protecting, he unmercifully attacked. Though he later apologized to everyone EXCEPT who was physically harmed. And no one was fooled by a publicist version of an apology to Chris the next day. Will Smith FAIL.

As unpopular as this may be let us shine the spotlight on the so-called catalyst in this situation…Will’s wife Jada. Jada, who was so deeply hurt and saddened by Chris’ unkind words (NOTE coming from a comedian it is called a joke) regarding her alopecia, she could not find the strength in her very own character to stop her husband/her protector from putting himself in a very questionable position? For as it has been noted, all it took was a look from Jada to prompt Will’s assault, it is very possible/probable a touch, a word could have prevented this chain of events that took place subsequently. Jada Pinkett-Smith FAIL.

Finally, we must examine the man who was the ultimate target, Chris. Chris is NOT a saint. Chris IS a comedian, a comedian charged with hosting an award show, and he did it with the tools of his trade…JOKES. He is not the first comedian to tell jokes at the expense of others, he is not the only comedian to tell jokes at the expense of others, and hopefully he will not be the last…. This IS what comedians do. Actors act, singers sing, dancers dance…. See a correlation here? What Chris did do was, demonstrate class and professionalism under conditions many of us may not have. Chris Rock PASS with honors.

I have heard and read; it was staged, Chris got what he deserved, and let he without sin cast the first stone.

This writer’s take away… have RESPECT and don’t take yourself too seriously. In a joyous situation allow the celebration to take center stage and IF you understand the concept/definition of RESPECT all situations will be handled appropriately.

I Just Knew I Was Right

Have you ever just pegged someone completely correct? It is as though you have the power to tell the future. The individual seems to walk, run, go-through-the-motions like a perfectly chorographed dance.

We all enjoy being correct. No matter how much we deny it and try to act like we get little satisfaction from being right , the truth is the truth. However, there are situations and circumstances that just have to make you feel so much better than just being right, like when you dodge the perpetual bullet.

Though it is validation, can you recall when you would have given anything to be wrong? Thoughts swirled about you and your particular individual, but instinct, common sense, and that gut feeling took over. You could not deny such a combination. Rather than acting on impulses and with your heart, you used your head.

Therefore, today when confirmation presented itself all you could do was smile. Like looking through a two-way mirror, you were able to observe him go through his VERY predictable motions. When you talk, because you still talk to him, he tries to make the situation seem innocent and as though he is this benevolent creature saving yet another poor soul. All he is doing is more of the same, the same Modus Operandi, the years have changed but he has not. He is no more able to be emotionally available than he was when you met him and now, he once again embarks on another venture that will undoubtedly be a failure and he will be able to proclaim he is the victim. He wants to take you on this ride with him, under the guise that you two are friends. The truth is you are NOT friends, he has taken you on his trips throughout the years, you just have not been in the car beside him. Even though you have been close, and you felt yourself slipping; you have watched from the ground or just outside the line. He even got angry because you told him that you knew who he was and his behavior was typical. The “friendship” may not survive this time. Now all you can do is smile as you know you were right and did in fact dodge-the-bullet.

Don’t Act As Though I Am The Only One

I remember my dad pulling into a parking space that there seemingly was no one else around. Perhaps it was to catch his breath, perhaps it was to enjoy an ice cream cone without having eyes studying your every move.. but then it would happen. Another car would pull up and park in a space very near if not right beside us. He would become annoyed, angry at other times. However, the constant thought /statement was, “They just came over here/parked here because I was here.” The older I got the more ridiculous it seemed to me for him to say. My dad was a kind, smart, rational man. However, when that statement came out of his mouth, he seemed far from any of the afore mentioned adjectives.

The years are advancing, the body is changing, and the mind is playing tricks on us all. Sometimes I want/need to be alone. I am comfortable in a restaurant eating a meal or going to a movie unaccompanied, for in those places you never really are alone. My refuge has become my vehicle. I am in control in there, no one giving me suggested routes or directing me to the closest spot to the door of a given retail establishment. I don’t seem to be bound by the four walls of a building either. It feels of freedom. Just me and my music, if I chose to play music. I also MUST note how powerful I feel having that absolute power over the sounds in my car. Remember not-so-long ago we were subject to AM/FM radio.

On a particular Friday afternoon, I found myself in one of those moods that insisted I NEEDED to be alone. I did not argue or resist. I hoped in the car and took off for parts unknown (not too far away it was a Friday). I decided that I felt hungry enough to eat, but rather than grab something from a fast-food joint I opted for a grocery store meal. That felt better, healthier even though that may or may NOT have been the case. You can talk yourself into anything, if you put a little effort in. I even had to get out and walk to get said meal.

Mission accomplished, I had my food and a bottle on kombucha. I did not like the parking lot vibe of the market and sought a more secluded calm spot. I settled on what seemed to be a less frequented shopping plaza that had a national chain hardware store as an anchor. I found the perfect spot under a tree and the concrete planter assured at least one space on one side of me would be unoccupied. Plus, it was the middle of the day Friday, surely folks had other things to do. I was not worried in the least.

I got about 3 minutes into my meal when a small white sedan pulled into a spot directly across from me one space to the left. I tried NOT to notice or pay attention and continued eating my food. Now a full-sized red truck pulls in next to the planter on the other side. Let’s not forget the silver sports car, which had clearly just been waxed. I looked around the parking lot, there were plenty of spaces, closer to the stores, I felt it coming on. Maybe I would have felt better if everyone pulled out something to eat or even drink, but that didn’t happen. I found myself locked into paying attention to these people and to what they, in their respective cars, were doing. This annoyed me immensely and at first, I thought,” Just start the car up and move to another spot on the lot or go home”. However, I was now genuinely hungry. I decided to stay put and do what I intended to do in the first place. Then it happened and a smirk of a smile came across my face as I thought about my father…I said aloud,” Dad, you were right all along. They did park in these spaces just because I was here.”

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