I Guess I AM the Only One Who’s Normal…

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, or if you know me IRL (in real life), you are aware that friendship means a lot to me.  I take pride in being a good and loyal friend and I value those people who feel the same.  I have several good friends, and they’re all so different and unique, and I love that about them.  But lately I’ve been realizing a little more clearly that each friend has a quality about them that I would characterize as “strange”, or “weird”.  Nothing that would be a friendship-breaker, mind you.  Just something about them that makes me a little crazy, something that makes me stand back and say, “Hmmm…”

There’s the friend that is constantly worried that her kids are going to be “snatched”.  She won’t even let her kids play in their own backyard, which is not visible from the street, by the way, without being right there every minute.  When we go somewhere, she looks for all the ways a child-snatcher could escape with her child.  She has a hard time letting others watch her children, because she’s always convinced that they won’t watch for kidnappers as well as she would.  I love this friend dearly, and don’t love her any less for having this little quirk, but sometimes I do think it’s a little nuts.

Then there’s the friend who never calls me, despite how close we’ve always been.  But when I call her, she claims that she’s been thinking and wondering about me for days or weeks.  She hasn’t called, of course.  But she’s been thinking about me.  LOVE love love her, but ya know…a little weird.

I have a friend that doesn’t ever change the way she does things, no matter where she is or who’s around.  A whole group of girls watching a movie??  Well, she always watches movies in complete darkness, so she gets up and turns off the lights, without asking everyone else’s preferences.  Going out to eat with a bunch of people?  She never ever eats outside…sorry!  It’s an inside table for us.  A friendship-breaker?  Of course not!!  But a bit crazy.

Another friend asks me over often to hang out, but never offers me anything to eat or drink when I’m there.  Even once, I went over and taught her to make one of my favorite meals, and then we ate it together, but I finally had to ask for a glass of water because she never thought to give me something to drink with my food.  She also added seasoning to some of her food that she never offered to me as well.  Another weird thing is that when this friend comes to my house, she often reaches into her purse and pulls out a packet of candy or some other snack and proceeds to eat it all on her own.  I love her to pieces, but how insane is that?

One friend finishes your sentences with you as you speak.  Another friend has very strange shopping and laundry habits.  (She soaks everything five times before she washes it, and she hangs everything on hangers to dry so they won’t be ruined…even pajamas!!)  Someone else winks at you often during a conversation.  Everyone has their own little quirks…those things that make us all who we are.  And don’t think I’m criticizing or finding fault…I’m really not at all.  Like I said, it’s not that I mind these things.  I just think they’re funny, and different than how I do things myself.  They just make me pause and think, that’s all. 

But then I started thinking about what makes me “weird”, and honestly I couldn’t think of anything.  I mentioned this to Sarge, and told him that I guess I wouldn’t know it was weird or I wouldn’t do it, and he agreed.  But he couldn’t come up with much for me, either.  A friend says I say “Dude” a lot, but I think that just comes from having a thirteen year old son.  I’m not sure it’s something that would qualify me as being strange exactly.  So I’m really curious now.  I know I’m not the only normal person on the planet.  That in itself would make me strange!  So I wonder what it is…what quirks do I have?  What makes me a little strange?  What about me makes others a little crazy?  Seriously…I want to know.

And while you’re at it, what are your quirks?


Carpe Diem

There are two things on my mind today, and in some strange way they are related.  The first is that I found out this weekend that a guy I knew in high school died last Friday.  He was 34, had been married for 10 months, and just died in his sleep.  No warning.  No hint that his last words or goodnight kiss or the evening before would be his last.  Just poof.  Gone.

I haven’t seen this guy since high school…haven’t really even thought about him since high school, if you want to know the honest truth.  But he was good friends with my friend M, who I do hang out with now and then.  So M has been talking about it and telling me about it, and it blows my mind that a perfectly healthy guy my age just suddenly left this world.

It makes me think about how I’m living my life, for sure.  Am I living each day to the fullest?  Am I saying the things that need to be said?  Am I living my life in such a way that if I were to die tomorrow, I could die with no regrets?  Yeah, I’m thinking on all those things.  But also, I’m looking at the people in my life and seeing that there are a lot of people in this world that aren’t looking at the big picture.

My friend, A, for instance, recently found text messages on her husband’s phone from a woman.  “A friend”, according to him.  The messages were flirty and often in code and completely inappropriate.  But he didn’t like being called out on them.  He didn’t like that A was mad about his relationship with this girl, whatever it may be.  So he left.  He moved out, and now A is taking care of their three children on her own.  She’s drinking more than she should.  She has started smoking again.  She’s taking advantage of her freedom by flirting with other guys and entertaining the thought of finding a new guy.  She’s visiting lawyers and bad-mouthing her husband and talking divorce.  Mostly, she’s in defensive mode, because her husband L is being such a jerk. 

And I look at L and I can tell that he’s acting on this little feeling of unhappiness.  This restless feeling everyone has now and then of being in a marriage for a while and having the responsibility of three kids and wondering what it would be like to be a little more free again.  Most of us brush it away, whine a little about how rough life is, and get on with our lives the best we can.  But L…he’s checking it out.  He’s walking away, just like the eight years and three kids mean nothing to him.  He’s out having fun and acting single.  And his children are paying the price.  His wife is paying the price.  His family is paying the price.  All because he’s not looking at the big picture.

L claims to have no “emotional interest” in A at this point.  He just doesn’t care about her or their marriage anymore.  He’s done.  Overnight, practically, he has decided that he wants out.  He probably thinks that he is seizing the moment, and doing what he needs to do to be happy.  But I think I’m wise enough these days to realize that in truth, there are two ways to go about that.  He can leave his family behind to pursue “new” happiness…the excitement of a new girl and new possibilities and a new life.  Or, he can man up and do what he needs to do to make his current life happier.  Make more effort.  Be a better husband.  Be a better dad.  Care.  In the end, which would he regret?  If he died tomorrow, would he regret staying?  Or leaving?

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying there’s never a place for divorce.  I have many friends that are divorced and it was the best thing for them…they are much happier now.  What I’m saying is that people too often don’t look at the big picture.  Too often they take the “easy” way out.  They don’t try hard enough.  I think that if you are going to take steps toward divorce, especially if you have children, you need to make every possible effort to save that marriage first.  You need to exhaust every minute possibility.  You need to fight your butt off before throwing in the towel.

Somehow this has turned into a post about divorce.  That wasn’t my intention.  But it’s a valid example of how easily many people today throw away things in their life without much consideration.  We take the “easy” way out…we are selfish and do whatever we want to do to fulfill our fleeting desires…we toss aside people and pursue our own agendas.  If I could talk to the high school friend who just passed away, what would he say his regrets were?  I think it would be the people he hurt.  The things he didn’t say to those he loved.  The things he didn’t do for them that he should have.

But for us, it’s not too late.  Now’s our chance.


My Blogger Party Dream

Goo woke me this morning at 7ish, and after getting him settled with his older brother and sister, I went back to bed for a while.  It is times like these that I dream most vividly, and that I remember my dreams the best, and today was no exception.  Today I dreamed that I was at a party with a bunch of my bloggy friends…mostly people that I was pretty friendly with when I was at my old blog on Blogger…some of whom have not followed me over to my new blog. 

In my dream, I sat next to Mishi and rocked little Alexis to sleep while her blog-famous Mom was sociable. I waited excitedly to meet Lunanik because she was running late. There were others there that I don’t know. There was a beautiful Indian woman with her three gorgeous daughters. There was a woman with curly hair and glasses who had, like, eight children. Stella and I had a great chat. Mamarazzi was there dressed all in pink. It was a fun dream.

And yet, just as in real life, I felt slightly seperated from a few of those bloggers I admire most. Mr. Lady, BusyDad, and Huckdoll were huddled in a corner in deep conversation. OhMommy was looking fab in her stillettos, chatting with Joeprah.  I stood back and watched.  I was envious of their connection.  I wanted to be a part of it. 

I think about this, though, and I don’t understand myself.  These are all people I am on friendly terms with.  Busydad and I have had some great conversations via comments.  Huckdoll stood up for me in a major, humbling way when I got some hate mail.  Joeprah gave me a great review once on his blog.  All of these other bloggers would be, I’m sure, generous and friendly and gracious and wonderful if I were to meet them in person.  They would not, in a million years, think of me as “less” than them, even though my readership, especially here at my new blog, has gone way down and I’ve been posting much less than I used to.  So the fact is, the problem lies with me.  Once again, I feel inadequate.  Once again, I feel not good enough.  And as a result, I’m being held back by my own low self-expectations. 

I know it was just a dream, but I should have gotten up and talked to those people standing around.  Why would I wait for them to approach me?  I am not shy.  I am not introverted.  I am outgoing and friendly and funny and fun.  Why am I so afraid?  Why do I think that I will be rejected?

I think dreams can, at times, teach us a lot about ourselves.  This one, for sure, showed me just how much I’m hurting myself by having these ridiculous fears.  It taught me that I need to think more of myself than I do, and I need to figure out a way to gain confidence and to know that I’m a pretty great person.  Other people tell me all the time.  It’s time I started believing them.