What I Know about You

Howdy stranger. Even if you are a regular reader of this blog, chances are I’ve never met you. Even so, there are things that I know about you with complete certainty.

  • You have value. (We all do.)

  • You are capable of learning new things. (And there’s so much to choose from!)

  • You are capable of change (even if you don’t enjoy it).

  • You know things that I do not. (We could learn from each other.)

  • You have interesting stories to tell (even if you may not be good at telling them).

  • There’s more to you than meets the eye. (We’re all complex.)

  • You are a survivor, by virtue of the fact that you are right here, right now. (Yay!)

  • You are curious, or you wouldn’t be reading. (You can’t deny it.)

  • We have something in common. (Here we are, after all.)

  • There’s no one else exactly like you on earth. (Isn’t it great?)

  • There are things we would disagree about. (I think that’s exciting.)

  • You can imagine me, here, at my keyboard, just as I can imagine you, there, looking at these words. (See? We have a connection.)

  • You have good taste in blogs. (Okay, so I might be a little biased on this point.)

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure there are a million other fascinating things about you. I just thought I’d tell you a few, in case no one else had in a while.

The fact that I can say these things, without hesitation, about every single person who reads this post, gives me hope for humanity.  It’s a connection. Even if you are the most despicable human on earth (I suspect you aren’t, by the way), we have these things. It’s a starting point. We ought to be able to build from here.

So as you get out there and have a nice day, ponder the fact that all this divisiveness is merely an illusion.

You're Awesome

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What Makes You So Special?

In some cultures, humility is prized over self-esteem. I get that. In crowded or isolated places, getting along with others is more of a survival skill than feeling good about yourself will ever be.

But it breaks my heart to see how many people walk this earth without knowing just how special they are. Yeah. I’m talking to you. You’re special.

First of all, you’ve been given the gift of life. That’s amazing in and of itself. The odds were stacked against you. If the earth had been a little closer to the sun, or a little farther away, life wouldn’t exist. If gravity were a little stronger or a little weaker, life wouldn’t exist. If all that star stuff hadn’t come together in exactly the right combination, life wouldn’t exist.

On a more personal note, every one of your ancestors had to survive just long enough to meet and reproduce, for hundreds of generations, so that just the right sperm would meet up with just the right egg at just the right time for you to be you. What are the chances? You are a miracle. What a gift you are!

And every single one of us brings different qualities and skills to the table. I, for one, am grateful that there are musicians in this world. If I had to rely on my own talents for music, I would be suffering indeed. I’m also thrilled that there are people out there with a talent for science and math and cooking and building. We all serve a purpose. We all have value.

And we certainly aren’t all carbon copies of each other. Thank goodness! How boring would that be?

If you genuinely cannot answer the question “What makes you so special?” I strongly encourage you to ask your friends and loved ones. I guarantee you that they’ll know. Their answers may or may not surprise you, but it will be good information to have, if only as a reminder on those bad hair days that all of us suffer through every once in a while.

It’s also a good idea to be mindful that those around you may not be aware how amazing they are, either. Tell them. Remind them often. It costs you nothing but a few moments, and it will be priceless to the person to whom you give that gift.

Thank you, dear reader, for being you!

Tattoo this backwards on your forehead if need be.

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My Dog Would Make a Great Boyfriend

The other night it was cold and rainy and I just wanted to get into my sweatpants and watch Hulu. So I did. I was settled in bed, when along came Quagmire, my faithful dachshund. He immediately crawled under the blankets and curled up beside me. Family night.

I really can’t think of a better feeling in the world. He’s my best friend. He never judges. And he’s soft and puts out a delightful amount of body heat.

He has other amazing qualities as well. If I could find a man like Quagmire, life would be perfect. Here are some of Quagmire’s many pluses:

  • He doesn’t fight over the remote control.

  • If I want to go somewhere, he’s more than happy to tag along.

  • He’s also cool with giving me my space.

  • He makes me laugh.

  • He listens. (Although his level of understanding is questionable.)

  • He is very protective of me.

  • He’s more than happy to clean up if I spill food.

  • He doesn’t laugh at me in the morning when I’ve fallen asleep with wet hair.

  • He’s an amazing snuggler.

  • He rarely snores.

  • He’s always happy to see me.

  • He thinks I’m the best.

  • He doesn’t care what I wear or weigh or look like.

  • He loves a good nap as much as I do.

  • He doesn’t complain.

  • He can be quite charming.

  • He sometimes brings me presents. Just because.

  • He’s cute.

  • He doesn’t take up much space.

  • He enjoys kissing me. (Perhaps a bit too much.)

  • He has his issues, so he’s cool with mine.

  • As long as he’s fed and treated fairly, his love is unconditional.

What a guy! Now, if he’d only get a job and do half the housework.

Quagmire Best Pic

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A Shout Out to Fair-Weather Friends

When I was young, I used to have such high expectations for friends. I thought that each one should fulfill all my emotional needs or they were somehow falling short. But that’s asking quite a lot of someone. By setting the bar that high, you will miss out on a lot of amazing people in your life.

With maturity came the knowledge that no one can be your everything. I certainly could never pass that litmus test for someone else. I’m inherently flawed, but I still think I’m a great friend. I therefore no longer insist on friendship perfection.

For example, I have one friend who has a really negative attitude. She views life through an extremely cynical lens. But she’s also intelligent and compassionate and is totally cool with my dark moods. She is not someone I would ever approach to brighten my day, but she’s genuine and sincere and can be counted on to say what she really thinks. She’s also a really good listener. I can say things to her that I’d probably never admit to anyone else. That can be refreshing.

I have another friend who is amazing and fun and kind, but she has demonstrated that she is not capable of being there for me in times of catastrophe. She just can’t handle it. That’s good information to have. She’s definitely not the first (or the tenth) person I’ll call when the stuff hits the fan. And while that might have been a deal-breaker in the past, it no longer is. Because, hey, I like fun as much as the next person. And fortunately I’m not always in the midst of a crisis. So, would I give her my emotional nuclear codes? Never. But can we hang out and laugh? Of course we can.

Fair-weather friends get a bum rap. If you keep things in perspective, what’s wrong with enjoying the fair weather with them? As long as you know who will stick around for the impending squall and aren’t neglecting those people, why not cultivate a few extra people for those sunny days?

I’ve found that it’s important to let people be who they are, and adjust my expectations accordingly. Everyone in your life comes bearing different gifts. Each gift has its own value.


The Cheerleaders in Your Life

Starting at around 7th grade, I developed a potent and bitter dislike of cheerleaders that lasted right on through my time at university. I would never have admitted this then, but I was jealous. They were all beautiful and thin and popular and coordinated and never seemed to get pimples, and knew how to wear makeup and had the confidence to rock a miniskirt. Those were all qualities that seemed very out of reach to me. Actually, they still feel pretty out of reach, if I’m honest.

Over time I’ve learned that there are other fantastic qualities to have, such as intelligence and compassion and integrity, and those will stand the test of time long after your miniskirt days are over. I really like who I am. I’m finding that these traits may not be visible at first glance, and therefore I still struggle to get dates, but I’d totally date me.

Another thing that’s changed over time is my view of cheerleaders. Now I don’t disdain them. I cultivate them. Not the sporting kind. The kind that encourage you. The kind that sing your praises. The kind that say, “You go, girl!!!” Everybody needs that kind of positivity in their lives.

Because of this, I also try to be a cheerleader. I go out of my way to give sincere compliments. I want to be uplifting. In this world there will be plenty of people who will try to drag you down. Do your best to surround yourself with those who will cheer for you, and make an effort to cheer for them as well. Maybe your pom poms aren’t as perky as the next person’s, but your words will still give them spirit.

Rah rah!

[Image credit: wikipedia.org]

Gaining Your Temper


[tem-per] noun

1. habit of mind, especially with respect to irritability or patience, outbursts of anger, or the like; disposition: an even temper.

2. heat of mind or passion, shown in outbursts of anger, resentment, etc.

3. a substance added to something to modify its properties or qualities.

Everyone loses their temper once in a while. Lately I’ve had quite a lot to be angry about. I’ve experienced injustices of a personal, societal and political nature, and I’ve also made some epic mistakes. Sometimes it’s hard not to be perpetually pissed off.

Your temper is something you’re taught you should never lose, but that leads me to believe that it’s something you must first have. You can’t lose something you don’t possess, and apparently it’s valuable or the whole world wouldn’t be urging you to hang on to it. So I started thinking about this thing, this temper, and what it means to have it and to lose it.

If you look at definition number three above, you’ll note that a temper modifies you. Think of tempered steel. It’s stronger and harder than regular steel. It’s also magnetic. I want those qualities. I want a backbone of tempered steel. I want to be able to withstand the slings and arrows of life. I want to persevere. I want to endure.

The temper is also contradictory. You can be even tempered, or you can have a temper, which means you’re prone to fits of anger. I like the idea that a temper can be what you make it, that you have choices.

I am going to try to let my temper temper me. I am going to attempt to let my righteous indignation about injustices make me stronger. I’m going to make an effort to stand up straight and make choices about the woman I want to be.

I want to gain my temper.

blacksmith striking anvil