Monthly Archives: August 2010

Inner Mean Girl Cleanse – Giving up Gossip

Gossip, wow!  This is going to be as hard for me as giving up chocolate.  I have known that I gossip, I also did realize how damaging it was.  So, shame on me for not stopping long before now.

Facebook and Twitter are wonderful medias, but they are also fodder for gossips. As much as I love facebook, I have gotten tired of reading statuses that are geared towards bragging and gossiping.  In fact, the term friends for facebook is funny, I think many people use facebook to see how their high school friends and enemies turned out.  It is a secret way of seeing their lives without having to deal with seeing them in person.  FACEBOOK STALKING!  Is this good?  I would even guess that the numbers of attendees to high school or college reunions has dropped for each generation.  The new generation, social media savvy, get their fuel from stalking rather than waiting 10 years for a reunion.

As I spent more time trying to discover my motivations, I realized one main thing about myself.  It is my way of making me feel better about myself.  Sad, huh?!  What is wrong with me that I need to compare myself to others?  I never tried to gossip to hurt others (well maybe a few times I did).  My gossip was more to have something interesting to say to make people want to listen to me.  In most cases, I don’t think I am interesting enough for others to want to listen.

In some further evaluation, I have found the reasons why gossiping became so mainstream for me.  I am a generational gossip, it was passed down from my mother and her mother etc.  It became a norm.

My mom, as beautiful a person as she is, suffers from low self esteem.  In an effort to battle this, she would gossip about others in an effort to bring them down to a level that she feels better about herself.  One of the most shocking things for me was when I heard her say, “I don’t have to know the truth about someone.  I can make it up!”  In her mind this creation becomes the reality for her.  Bless her soul, she was extremely protective of her children.  If one of our friends hurt us, she would find all their faults to criticize them and explain to us why we were better off without them.  I can see that she dealt with a lot of pain and rejection in her life.  The gossip was her survival mechanism.  She is able to put herself back up on her pedestal, by placing others where she can feel comfortable with them.

Now, with that said, I should have learned from this.  I fell victim to this gossip many times.  My family felt rejected by me as I grew and started to develop my own life.  In response to the rejection, they started gossiping about me when I wasn’t around.  My sister’s jealousy and competitiveness has destroyed our relationship.  She would run to my mom with gossip about something she overheard me saying, by using this information she was able to feed my mom’s sickness.  She in turn would be my mom’s favorite.

I hate that I learned to gossip as the only way to connect with others.  I thought if I could have some good gossip, people would want to be my friend.  I know that I have hurt a lot of people with this and I WANT to stop. I am a mom of a two year old little girl and leading by example is my job.

I know in a lot of ways, I have seen and even contributed in gossip to alienate someone.  I have seem my mother and sister unite in their anger towards the same subject.  The gossip about this subject is the glue in the relationship and if one deviates from this anger they are excluded.  I think the fear of being gossiped about is the motivation to continue.  I have heard and even thought the same way, “I am going to hurt them before they get a chance to hurt me.”  I have learned better ways to handle this.  Unfortunately, the hardest part for me to let go of is gossiping about my family.  Many years of hurt and anger, lead me to gossiping about them.  It is my response to knowing they are talking about me.  My pride gets in the way.

One my other weaknesses is when I see a beautiful woman, I have a hard time being around them.  I want ways to find cracks in their armor to make me feel better about myself.  Sad!  Why does beauty have to be a driver for gossip?  I think competition for men’s attention and the media fuels this feeling.  How many times have you heard someone say, “She must be anorexic, no one is that skinny and healthy.” or  my favorite is the pictures of beautiful celebrities in magazines trying to show off their imperfections.  What does an ounce of fat have to do with their ability to act?

In order to combat this part of my gossiping, I stopped caring what others thought of me.  I am taking the power away from those who are gossiping about me.  I know they are going to and I know gossip is real, so I choose not to worry about the things I can not change.  Live and let live has been my motto.  Stop judging others is the key to ending the gossip for me.

I am so excited about this series, Inner Mean Girl Cleanse.  I want to shut her up for good.  It is time to nurture the woman I am inside – Loving, nurturing, loyal, and beautiful!  I want to be an authentic friend.  I do care about others and don’t want to hurt anyone.

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A Chance Encounter – A Fawn

I have always loved nature, animals, and just being outside.  Sometimes I forget to slow down and enjoy these things, I have had some amazing experiences when I do.

One of the greatest joys of my new job, is that I get to spend time working from home.  I pull my computer table outside, settle in my cushioned lawn chair and go to work. During one of these mornings working on my porch, I noticed a fawn munching on some grass in my front pasture.  He was so small, still had his white spots.  As I watched him for a while, I noticed that he was alone.  I thought for sure his mother would show up, but she never did.

Over the last few weeks, I have spotted this little fawn near the barn with the horses.  He will run off when he sees me coming to feed.  Still alone!  I am assuming that he is orphaned.  Pretty sweet deal for him though.  He hangs out with my crew, drinks fresh water from their trough, eats their left over oats, and is protected by these other “gigantic deer”.  I am thinking at this point the little guy thinks my horses are his new family.  Kind of funny when you think about it.  Here are these 5 gigantic deer who are feed by humans twice a day, fresh water every day, shelter from the weather, and lazy days to safely hang out.  I am sure he thinks “WOW!  These guys have it made!”

I haven’t gotten a chance to get a close look at the little fella, until the other day.  I woke up at 5 am to take a ride on Angelina, my soul mate.  We are so in sync.  Riding her is so much fun, I feel connected and complete when I am with her.  A little like in the movie “Avatar” when they hook up with the banshees to fly.  Anyway, back to the ride……

Angelina and I were lazily walking around the pasture when we happened up on the little fawn hiding in some brush.  I was only 5 feet from him.  With my being on Angelina (the gigantic deer), I must not have seemed like a threat.  He watched me for a few minutes then ran off into the woods.  Thinking it would be impossible, I decided to try to follow him to see if I could get closer.  I headed off in the direction that he fled.

I wasn’t much help in finding him, he took off so fast.  As I started down a path, Angelina pulled me away through some high brush.  Strange, I thought!?  She hates tall brush.  But, right in the middle of this brush was the little fawn.  She knew exactly where to look and that I wanted to find him.

He took off again.  As fate would have it Angelina slowly sauntered after him and tracked him down 3 more times.  First time, I thought it was blind luck, but the next three showed me that she knew exactly what she was doing.  Her mom wanted to find the little fawn, she found the little fawn.  I have always known that we were connected, but it is always amazing when you are reminded with those magical moments!

As for that little orphaned fawn, he has found his new home.  Pretty smart fella, if you ask me!  I can’t wait for my next ride.  I am taking the camera this time.  I will post the picture soon.

Passwords – Damn forgot mine again……

I have an ever increasing problem – every site that I belong to or account I have requires a password.  Do you know how many passwords that is?  Take a minute to see how many places you have a password.

I have a horrible memory for details like these, it is much worse since I became a mom.  They say that we can only hold so much information in our memory before some things have to move out to make room for new things.  If this is true, then the part of my memory that holds my passwords has moved and left no forwarding address.

I find myself changing my passwords just about every time I need to pay credit cards online.  It is so frustrating!  My favorite part of this process is when they ask you for your security question and the answer.  The answer I am always using is “DAMN!  I forgot that too!”

I have tried making my password one version with a minor change to one letter each time I change it.  Worked great for awhile, until someone hacked into my email.  The worst part was not that my email was hacked, it was trying to remember all of the accounts that I now had to change the passwords.  GRRR!!!!  The damnedest part is that they also hacked into my pay pal account a week later, they not only figured out my password – they remembered it!  I can’t ever remember the password to this account.

I think I was cursed with this genetic defect.  The long running joke in our family is my mother’s inability to remember simple things, conversations, or even our names.  I guess I have learned my lesson about picking on my mother.

One example that really stands out with my mother’s handicap, was when the came to visit me.  I walked into my kitchen to the smell of something burning.  I asked my mother if she was cooking something.  “OH, I forgot my toast!” was her reply.  Very common for mom to forget bread in the oven, we ate many a piece of burned toast in our day.  But this time, the toaster oven was on fire!  I put it out and thinking it had malfunctioned did further investigation.  Somehow she had managed to put the bread BEHIND the pop up baskets.  This was not only strange, but extremely difficult.  I couldn’t remove the bread in the same manner in which it went it.  Her answer was, “I knew it seemed difficult to put in the bread.”

No, my other is not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or senior moments.  She has been doing things like this since she was in her 30’s.  She isn’t stupid, in fact she has a very high IQ, but her memory is very poor.  GENETICS!!!  I guess this is my future too.

Any ideas on how to fix this problem?  Do you have any experiences where you forgot something?

Unconditional Love – Is It Really A Mystery?

I received an update from one of my favorite sites this morning and it made me think.  Is unconditional love an urban myth?  Are we able to accomplish this?  What stands in our way of true unconditional love?

The topic of this article is Unreasonable Love.  These words are going to be engraved on a plaque to remind me everyday:

To love unconditionally means you don’t need a “reason” to justify loving. In other words…

  1. When you have a good reason to love, then you love.
  2. When you have a good reason not to love, you love anyway.
  3. You love for no reason at all.

I didn’t experience this type of love growing up, everything had a condition and you better be appreciative.  If you weren’t perfect, you were excommunicated.  I can guarantee any of the doubters that this type of love is cruel.  You might even find yourself excommunicated one day, from this type of love.

Why do we put conditions on our love?  The message I heard growing up, “It is tough love.  It makes you a better person.”  Their point was to make sure I learned to survive on my own and didn’t rely on anyone.  Another message constantly repeated, “Your family is the only one who will tell you the truth about yourself”.  There are some benefits to this type of lesson, but the downside is that you learn to be an island.  You don’t rely on anyone and you feel that you don’t need anyone.  Pretty lonely!  Is that the lesson to learn?

I ask myself “Why do we expect so much from those we love?”  Do we try to control them with love as the ultimate reward for compliance?  Is love meant to be part of the reward/punishment method?  We need to stop and ask ourselves – “What is my motivation for what I am doing?”  Maybe there is a better way to gain cooperation, without taking away love.

The time out process can be misused to demonstrate the withdrawal of love for non-compliance.  If our child is not behaving by our standards, do you really think putting them in the corner to be ignored is a good way to set an example of good behavior?  I have seen the threat of time out (isolation) being used in this manner.  Don’t get me wrong, getting frustrated and even angry is normal.  Refusing to love or saying things that are focused on withdrawing from them is not all right.

The process of time out, in my opinion, should be used as a way for your child to learn to stop, calm down, and rejoin the activity.  Nothing is wrong with hugging them, telling them you love them, and you are sorry they don’t understand.  Show them the correct behavior by example and calmly explaining it.  What is wrong with time out in mom’s lap?  You aren’t accepting the behavior, you are changing it through love.  Many times children are so excited they can’t control their emotions.  It is our job to show them the tools to regain this control.  Not isolate them!

During my journey to find myself, I have started to notice many of my lessons were learned from the animals that I saved.  They never rejected me and they showed me unconditional love.  Their hearts were always so full of love and devotion, they weren’t afraid to need me.  I was key to their survival and in some cases I was their last stop.

Just to name a few of them:  Dreamer, the severely abused horse who was headed for a very short life.  Horatio, you can see his story on an earlier post.  Desdemona, the road weary Pekingnese.  Drucilla, the one eyed, deaf, declawed, defenseless, homeless cat (her story is to come.)  Smithers, the bear like puppy with Parvo.  Slinky, the homeless cat who chose me (of course more to come about her as well).  Rosie, the lost, starved, unwanted, saddest hound I have ever seen (yep, I will write her story too).  Oh yeah, how could I forget Abe the retired gentleman who’s owners didn’t find a need for him anymore.  There have been so many kittens I have nursed to health and found homes (Stay tuned for the great story about 30 kittens I saved at one time).  Squirrels, puppies, homeless dogs …..  you name it.  I felt their need and I answered.

I mentioned before that I have been lucky to have met some inspiring animals in my life, that is so true.  These lost souls taught me to love, no matter what.  We all could learn a little from this.  Previous owners of these animals used the “Unreasonable Love” methods and almost destroyed their precious lives.  These animals could choose to never trust or love anyone ever again for fear of the same outcome.  But over and over they choose to love anyway, in hopes that someone will appreciate their love.

My debt to these wonderful creatures is something I can never repay.  They have given me the gift of unconditional love and taught me how to give it in return.  My efforts with my little girl are based on these lessons.  I have found a depth of love that I never knew existed.  I love her for who she is, what she is, and what she wants to be.  My only goal is to help her obtain her goals.  Support, unconditional love, loyalty, patience, forgiving, and understanding are my tools to accomplish this task.

Ask yourself what you can do to show unconditional love to your family?  Share some of your stories of unconditional love and how it made you feel?  What do you do when you find this love tested, how do you remind yourself to show love in all of your actions?