Changing Expectations

expectationIt has been a long while since I have posted on my blog, 8 months to be precise. When I chose to take a hiatus from writing, I had a few good reasons. Ok, I had a few horrible excuses.

One of those horrible excuses being… I was distraught. I was disappointed by all the work I had put in to my writing and not scoring a job. What did I expect? A job…with money coming in…paid bills…recognition. It is what every writer expects.

As the months went by and my life took every single U-turn, side road, and dark dirty alley that it could find. I found out several things about myself and other people. I never imagined that I had high expectations. Hell, compared to most people I’ve ever known in my life; my expectations were damn near invisible. But, there they were, in their obnoxiously repugnant glory.

I expected friends to be friends. Friends like I am with people. It never occurred to me that some people have a different view and belief about the meaning of friendship. Facebook taught me that many people don’t even consider strangers to be their friends. That was an alien concept to me. Because a friend can be anyone, and some of the bestest friends you may ever have will turn out to be that unlikely one. The person that you didn’t even think you needed, the shy one in the corner with an occasional glimmer of fun times and tomfoolery. The one who picks you up so you both can stalk their ex in low-cut tops at a bar while he is on a date with some insignificant hussie… YES>>>that one!People

Friends are friends are friends. Until they aren’t…and trust me, lately, I’ve found that many that I thought were…weren’t! The reasons given for breaking a long-standing friendship were asinine, to say the least. Well they were to me anyway. Because, as I said, friends are friends are friends. They are similar to a marriage, without all the fighting. Nothing can get between two friends…or so I believed. But, as with many things in my life…I got educated quickly and painfully on the subject of true friendship.

It seems to me, that when I was a lowly nobody…let me clarify that. When I believed that I was a lowly nobody, I had friends that stuck beside me no matter what. However, when I started believing that I was somebody and even worse, when I began telling them that they are somebody and could do better…well, that was the end of that friendship. This happened repeatedly. Something was clearly wrong here.

The thing about changing, growing, and becoming a better human being, is that it is a lonely road… it is a path that one can only travel alone. You cannot take anyone with you, even though you desperately want to. People cannot be forced into changing. No matter how much you shove your opinion down their throat…I am guilty of that. No matter how many inspirational/motivational photos you share on Facebook…I have done that. No matter how much you try to make them see that the only people who can make them happy are themselves. No matter the extent in which you try to convince them that they are hurting themselves and everyone around them as well. No…you cannot force anyone into changing!

But…I could change me, and I did. I changed how I viewed friends and how to distinguish between real and fake friends. I changed how I allowed others in my life…positive in, negative out. However, the most important change was about expectations. I didn’t lower them and I surely didn’t raise them. I got rid of them entirely. Expecting others to be someone they weren’t or in most cases, couldn’t be was what I had bitched about them doing to me. They were expecting me to shut the hell up and I was expecting them to speak up. They were expecting me to stay the same and I was expecting them to grow up. It was becoming a vicious cycle of why can’t you be more like me and less like you. What the hell? Who had I let myself become?!

I was always angry, sad, depressed, and worried because of the expectations that I had of other people. All of which had nothing to do with me really and everything to do with them. I wanted them to change and become people of their word. They weren’t that. They couldn’t be that. It was an alien concept to them. If only I had let them be who they are.

But, in that lies the problem. Not everyone is supposed to stay in your life. It is just not possible to keep people in your life who no longer mesh with you. I am not saying they ALL have to mesh, that would be boring and nobody could grow that way. However, some people are just too low on the rung of the ladder of life to notice anymore. Not that I am calling them lowly nobodies…because I’m not. I am just saying as you make your climb up the ladder you do not keep looking down and expect to keep going up. You would fall off the ladder and then where would you be? At the bottom, on your back, looking at where you use to be and having to work even harder to get a portion of the way back up there. Nobody wants to fall off the ladder of life…NOBODY!

So release your expectations of other people. Let them be who they are and you be who you are… And if it’s bad for your well-being, then stop looking down the ladder and let them “fall” out of view. You will be happier and they will be happier, the universe will once again be in balance.Happiness

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V is for Valentine’s Day and Valerian Root

Copyrighted- InJensMind

February 14th, the universal day of love. HA! The day when all the people who are in a relationship expect to be loved more than they have already been all year-long. The day when single people curse the couples for having a love day and often times, curse the people in a relationship for being in a relationship.

It’s a day of pure commercialism, stupidity, and anger. It’s a day that causes people to go to bed angry after fighting with their significant other because they didn’t get the biggest and best gift that even Donald Trump couldn’t afford to give. By the way, Donald Trump is a rich guy and sure looks like a sourpuss, therefore I conclude that money cannot, does not, and never will buy happiness. LOL (Lighten up people, you know my sense of humor by now.)

I have to admit; I too, have occasionally fallen into the trap of Valentine’s Day. I am a romantic and I am sort of an old school kind of gal. I like to be wooed and I enjoy immensely, reading words of adoration from my sweet, even if his English is less than clear. Full boxes of innumerable cards adorn my room from days of yore. (Say that 3 times fast.)

On top of my obvious romantic nature, I am also a pack rat… a weepy-eyed, sentimental, clinger to all things given in the name of love… pack rat. In the 17 years I’ve been with my husband, I have never thrown away a single card. Not a birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, sympathy, congratulations, etc… card from him or to him. I have never thrown away a single card or letter from anyone I have ever known in these last 18-19 years of my life. I also have the occasional never been mailed card or letter. Like for instance, I bought a get well card for my grandmother and before I could send it we moved to Chicago and that weekend we visited her and a few days later she passed away. The card brings tears to my eyes every time I come across it. I am such an emotional sap aren’t I…

When my husband and I were freshly engaged in 1994, he chose the day of lovers to be our wedding day. Not our first Valentine’s Day as a couple in 1995 but, the one afterwards in 1996. Of course, I said yes. Who could say no to a man who wants to make you his bride for life on the most passionate day of the year? My mother warned against it. She told me of the doom and gloom and the death of all things happy and sunshiney if I were to get married on that day. She wished I would reconsider before we got married and ended up divorcing, consequently ruining the day for me forever in the future. Why? Because she had married my father on that day and look what happened to their love. Honestly, who could argue with that? But, did I listen? Hell no I didn’t. Why on Earth would I listen to my mother when I was a grown ass 19-year-old?!

A week or two before Valentine’s Day of 1996 was upon us, I dug in the local phone book and started calling chapels to get married in. I don’t know what possessed me to do that or to think that money was of no object. I was the mother of a 3 month old daughter, my husband was barely working, and we lived with my mother, my brother, and my great-uncle. We were pulling our weight of course with bills but, still. We were a young couple with no bank account or vehicle, needless to say we were broke. But, there I was 20 years old fully expecting the fairytale wedding I had been promised. (click on fairytale to read more about my fairytale love) I finally found a chapel in Las Vegas that wasn’t completely booked and expecting thousands of dollars and I yelled out, “SOLD!!!” I didn’t ask my husband. I didn’t consult anyone in my family, just booked it and awaited the glorious day.

St. Valentine’s Day; February 14th, 1996: I got up bright and early with my husband who was getting ready for work. “AHEM. Do you know what today is?” I asked beaming from ear to ear. “No.” he replied. “No? Umm, well…it’s Valentine’s Day silly.” I replied. “Oh…” he whispered. So I pushed further. “Well, I booked a chapel for us to get married today at –:– pm in _____ chapel.” (Clearly the insanity of it all back then made me forget the details today.) I stated, still smiling big. I must have checked out mentally because I don’t remember what he said to me. All I know is I spent the day dressing up my baby girl and myself and waiting for him to come home and keep his promise.

As the day dragged on I decided to make a cake. A heart-shaped cake, of course. I mixed it, baked it, cut it into a heart, frosted it, and waited. And waited… and waited. It was nearly midnight when my husband to be came home. I stood there in tears and didn’t say a word. He put an unsigned card on the countertop in front of me and walked into the kitchen and proceeded to eat the cake I had made for us. He was drunk! Finally he got the balls to look up at me, while I was still crying, and said quietly, “I’m sorry.” I was traumatized!!! I should have slept the entire day away instead.

It came down to embarrassment, guilt, and a few words that obviously were screwing with his head. At some point in the year and 5 months we had been together, my father had quoted words straight out of the ‘Handbook of Shit a Person Should Never Say!’ He said: “He’s ONLY marrying you to get his papers!” Excuse me, WHAT?!?! That same man who uttered those demonic words, Hell bent to hurt me and my partner, was the same man who a couple of years before was telling me to hurry up and set a date to marry a man who asked me to marry him (and I might add we found out shortly afterwards that he was already married with two children, one born while we were dating.), because time was running short between my father being able to pay for my wedding and paying for my sister’s graduation the following year. He is also the same man who ruined his own first marriage by committing adultery over and over and over and over. Yet, my sweet… my love… my daughter’s father… the man who has taken care of me since January of 1995… was using me to get papers?! Even though the man already had a legal green card 7 years before we met. Talk about an asshole move by someone who is supposed to love you unconditionally. Thanks again daddy dearest!

My husband and I finally did get married though and not on Valentine’s Day. And the father of the bride didn’t pay a damn red-cent of it neither! My husband chose to pick another day that could potentially ruin all of my future happiness if we ever divorced, and that day is my birthday. Sheesh!

So there you have it, my crappy Valentine’s Day story. And ever since then; Valentine’s Day has been just another day for my family. Just another day for my husband and I to end up in an argument caused by just another day of pressure, stress, and lack of money. And it’s just another day for my children and I to express our love for one another; by making cards, cooking, eating together, and doing what we three do every day… spend the day together and love one another unconditionally for all that we are, all that we can be, and all that we will be!

And you my loves? Who will you be loving on this day?

And because it’s also YouTube Tuesday… Here you go,
mis amores! ❤

Elvis Presley – Ku-Ui-Po

Ku-u-i-po I love you more today
More today than yesterday
But I love you less today
Less than I will tomorrow

See the sweet Hawaiian rose
See it blossom see it grow
That’s the story of our love
Ever since we said hello

As the years go passing by
We’ll recall our wedding day
I will be there by your side
You will always hear me say

Ku-u-i-po, you’re my Hawaiian sweetheart

Sunday’s Question Segment

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This is the second installment of Sunday’s Question Segment, where you, the reader, write in and ask a question that you would like answered.

I am not a professional psychiatrist or a licensed doctor, these are just my sole opinions. The whole reasoning for this segment is for you to get a question answered, to build a great conversation, and for me to share a bit more of myself… my thoughts, feelings and opinions. I hope you enjoy these magnificent questions and hopefully I can answer them the way they truly deserve to be answered… with honesty, feeling, and insight.

We will continue this segment every week, so please feel free to send in questions in any number of ways that were listed in last week’s post. By all means, the answers in any of these question segments are not intended to offend anyone.

This week we have three questions so let’s get started. Our first post comes from Bornstoryteller and it is one hell of a question. Here’s hoping I don’t screw it up.

Why are we living in a world where we can’t pay attention to what is in front of us? How did we get here?
                                             -Bornstoryteller

Dear Bornstoryteller,
I think the reason we cannot pay attention to what’s in front of us has to do with short attention spans from technology. When I was a child we watched movies about the future. In these movies, the robots would take over humanity.

I think in some weird way that is what has happened. When you look around you today, you can see how technology has deteriorated what once was; manners, common sense, the ability to think and act on one’s own behalf, and the distortion of the English language.
Don’t get me wrong, technology has been very helpful to humanity but, it has also created a “need” for instant gratification and entitlement. I say “need” when it’s actually a want because of course we think we “need” it therefore, we keep upgrading everything in our lives to bigger, better, faster things.

Patience is becoming as extinct as a home phone. Nobody wants to wait around for something to happen, it needs to happen now or we get bored and just let it go or we don’t even see it in the first place. We have become a society that believes we are entitled to anything and everything that we want when we want it.
For example, not being able to buy groceries for a couple of weeks but, can afford an unlimited data plan on a new I-phone because “I am entitled to nice things.” This type of instant gratification has also made us impatient and reckless in our relationships and in raising children. Instead of working out indifference, lowering our high standards, or compromising in our relationships we go into all of them with the notion we can replace them or divorce them with no real consequences. In other words, we treat fellow human beings as we do material possessions.

I don’t see this getting any better as our children (who walk around with the newest technology by the age of 10) are under the same impression that technology will solve all humanities issues.
There is also a rise in ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in the world and this I don’t believe comes completely from technology, although God only knows what kind of affects the constant radio waves from cell phones and laptops are doing to our bodies that we are passing on to our children. But, this does in part have to do with what I said about wanting bigger and better things.

And of course, since our kids are tech junkies they don’t get as much of that clean, fresh air and sunshine that we did as children. We have tainted our food and water supplies. It’s nothing new but, our children’s DNA seems to be more polluted than ours is. I think this has to do with their lower abilities to fight off infections, more government mandated vaccinations and the greater accessibility to processed food.
So in my opinion, since we are so “connected” we lose focus on the things right in front of us that use to be as plain as the nose on our faces.
-InJensMind

Our next question comes from Martha.

What can help you heal the hurt, my dear?
-Martha Orlando

Before I answer this question I want to give a little insight to it. Martha asked this after reading my post about my sister’s sudden death from Cancer, ‘My Sister’s Keeper.’

Dear Martha,
I have dealt with death of many close family members since I was a young girl. I don’t know if “dealt” is the proper word because when I think of the word dealt, I think of coming to terms with it by yourself. I don’t feel like I came to terms with any of the deaths on my own. When someone we know and love dies, we are forced to deal with it because there is no way to bring them back and life goes on whether we want it to or not.

Maybe this is the reason I haven’t healed fully from any of the losses in my life. People say, “time heals.” Time heals because after a while of living without someone, we eventually push them out of the front of our minds. Technically, life pushes them out of the front of our minds not necessarily us. Day after day, happy and not-so happy things happen that take the place of those initial thoughts of that person we lost. I don’t think there is a way to ever heal fully from the loss of a loved one; it remains in us like a scar from surgery does.

There will always be a reminder that they were once present in our lives. When someone loses a close friend or loved one we say the best thing to do is hold on to the happy memories of them. How can we ever fully heal if we cling to their memory? We can’t, because we remember them.

So, I suppose in time I can heal because I will not focus so much on her being gone but, I will never fully heal from losing my sister.
-InJensMind

Our final question this week comes from Jan.

I have been in an unintended competition with my sister for years, all of our lives really. She is 6 years my senior, my favorite saying of us is that if we hadn’t been born sisters we would have never met. We are completely different. She lives a life of I can’t(s), I live with tell me I can’t I will show you I can. “I can’t” are her two favorite words. Anyway, when something serious happens, such as I had a crisis in my life, as a result had my blood pressure checked ended up on 4 different meds for it. The doctor was astounded that I hadn’t stroked out. 2 weeks later my sister calls and says, “Um, I don’t mean to steal your thunder, but my blood pressure was higher than yours.” Seriously? Does she truly think I Want to be ill? This is the kind of competitiveness I mean. What can I do? Continue to ignore her or heaven forbid confront her. I don’t feel confrontation would work either because she has no idea of what she is doing, and would deny, deny, deny, also how she lives.
-Thanks, Jan

Dear Jan,
A little bit of competition in life is not a bad thing, in fact it can make us push ourselves to do better than what we thought we could do. Sibling rivalry is nothing new, it’s been around forever. It’s ok to be different, we should be different from others or how boring life would be if we were all the same. Being of the same bloodline does not mean we will be alike. Those aspects of your relationship with your sister are perfectly normal.

Now let me address this issue about being ill. I am sorry to hear of your illness and hope that you get better soon. As far as your sister’s reaction, some people believe that they are the center of everything and should always be treated as such. Sickness should never be a competition, EVER! I find it disconcerting that your own sister would try to make that a competition. What’s the prize when you win in this type of competition? Death… I don’t know about you but, I wouldn’t want to brag about winning that prize.

I don’t want to say ignore it but, I also don’t believe you should confront her. People get set in their ways; all a confrontation does is add more stress for the person who truly cares more, in this case that would be you. More stress equals more illness which is not what you need in your life. I am a firm believer in just accepting people for who and what they are. Nothing you say is going to make her realize what she is doing is in bad taste. I have firsthand knowledge in this and I handled it this way.

When the person called, I let them do the talking, complaining, and /or pity-party conversation. I would occasionally try to throw in an “uh-huh, ok, or wow that’s something isn’t it.” Then from there I would change the subject and if they were hell-bent on staying on their “poor me” topic, well then it was time for me to go.

It’s not that you have to give into their apprehensive behavior and lack of common courtesy it’s just there are benefits of doing this. As a caring and loving person the biggest issue I have found is… what if my loved one passed away and I didn’t do all I could to be understanding.

I can’t begin to tell you why your sister acts the way she does. I can tell you though, that if you cut her off completely it would only bring a moments worth of relief. Eventually, your conscience will eat away at you because you turned your back on someone who is obviously in great need of help.

The best thing you can do to help her is to listen and cut it short if she doesn’t want to move on to something more positive or be a caring, loving sister in return. Not everyone realizes they are being selfish when they act the way your sister has. But, seeing as she purposely said to you, “ I don’t mean to steal your thunder” indicates that not only does she know she is doing it but, that she thinks that being ill is a game. When people do that it makes me wonder are they even sick or are they playing games.

My advice to you is… to do what you feel is right. If you don’t feel like dealing with her nonsense then ignore the phone call until you feel you are strong enough to speak to her. It doesn’t matter if you ignore her or confront her she is going to keep doing this because it makes her “feel” better. Good people know that everyone matters and we must do our best to be tolerant and understanding, even if the person they are dealing with is a conceited jerk who will never be a nice person. If she truly is ill or more ill than you are and she doesn’t take it seriously than it is on her.

Don’t let anyone; including your family make you feel bad for them, especially when they aren’t taking their own life seriously. Anyone who loves you would never force you into feeling guilty for them. You don’t need her to confirm you in any way, just treat her as you would an acquaintance and in the end all things work themselves out. In the meantime, you can feel good knowing that you tried and were the best tolerant and forgiving person that you could be. Good luck to you!
-InJensMind

“Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.”
By Dalai Lama XIV