Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Chatty Cathy Speaks Her Piece

Posted by Anonymous.

I hated high school. Now, I have issues with women who say they like me, are friendly to my face... but really don’t enjoy being around me. (kind of like high school) They are too chicken to tell me. This pisses me off.

I’ll give you some background here. Then you’ll understand why this post is being aired in the basement. I sure as hell couldn’t post it on my blog. I do get controversial there occasionally, but, well, you know who reads my blog. My mom. My husband’s mom. Some of the women who are two-faced. Enough said about that. This could get long- it’s a complicated situation

I have a bit of what some would call, a personality problem. I can’t be quiet. I will talk to you in the grocery store. I will hand you a piece of clothing in your child’s size at the Value Village even when I just laid my eyes on you 2 minutes before. If I am waiting to pick my child up on the playground and I hear that you are car shopping, I’ll tell you all about the car I test-drove last weekend. I can’t help it. I love to talk. I love the sound of my own voice. I love to meet people and give them whatever information that I find to be currently fascinating. My son? Well,
he’s 5. He’ll talk your arm off as well. (runs in the family and that is another post)

I am a scrapbooker. A rabid one. I love to go to crops and sit my bum down and... talk. (sometimes I scrap) This whole thing started when I joined a cropping group in my town with people that I don’t know very well. The crop is sponsored by a woman who I really like. She’s funny, she is passionate about her kids, she runs a rockin’ business and she is very generous with her time and her money. Herein lies the problem. I come to scrapbook, and I talk. And talk, and talk, and talk. With people I know well, this is not a problem. They like me and will tell me if they want me to hush up. They will grin, and say “Hey, are you ever quiet? Enough already!” We laugh and move on, a bit more quietly. This woman? She is too polite to say anything. I was driving other people away and she still didn’t say anything. I, being so self-centered, didn’t figure out that I was the problem. Two weeks ago, I figured it out.

I felt mortified. I felt embarrassed. I was pissed off. I still am. Here’s how I figured it out. As a stay at home mom married to a workaholic, I have to find things to keep me sane. One of my sanity boosters is a message board for scrapbookers. I was reading along one day and came across a post by a scrapbooking consultant. She was complaining about a “toxic, chatty Cathy client”. She was relating that she has many fewer customers because this client had chased them away. She wanted to know what to do. Advice was given and she replied further down the thread, describing her “toxic customer“ in detail. I didn’t recognize the user name of this person posting. I kept reading. Further down the thread, she signed her name. Her real name. You guessed it, my crop hostess. I checked the date on the thread and realized that she had dropped me from her mailing list about that time. I then posted anonymously and asked consultants to please be honest with a client if they had a problem with her. Really, they owe it to themselves and that person to say something, nicely. I could have gone away months prior to this and saved her a whole bunch of angst and anxiety, to say nothing of less of a negative impact on her business. It really chaps my ass that she didn’t say anything to me.

So, what have I decided to do about this? First of all, I can’t be 100% sure that the client she had trouble with was me. I am too chicken to go and talk to her right now. That could change in the future. After my anonymous post, I changed my avatar to a picture of a Chatty Cathy doll. My tag-line now reads “Chatty Cathy in Recovery”. I hope she sees it and feels guilty. I really do. That is mean and petty and right now? I really don’t give a shit. I now have a learning experience on my hands. I went to a new crop at the invitation of another gal on the message board a few weeks ago. I got a lot done. I listened. I answered direct questions. I asked a few questions of the gals around me. I didn’t share any tools or supplies unless asked. I made a small purchase from the consultant and I left. I was invited to come back again the very next day. I enjoyed myself.

Part of me is really grateful that I now have knowledge and I can learn and grow and make changes to my behavior. Part of me is still really ticked off that she was nice to my face and trashed me behind my back. Part of me is disappointed because I have lost what I thought was a friend. The rest of me? I’m going on with my life and choosing to be happy. I’m choosing to continue meeting new people and enjoying them. My mama taught me to keep quiet if I didn’t have nice things to say. Evidently her mama taught her that as well. I wish she hadn’t learned her lesson so well.

But what should I do? Should I contact her or let things go?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

(Do) You Gotta Fight?

Posted by Anonymous.

I think the appropriate place to ask this is in the Basement.

A few months ago there was a lot of talk about feminsim on various blogs, what it meant, etc. I didn't weigh in, because to me it was a non-issue. Not that I didn't care. I just never thought about it that much. My mom is a feminist, and she raised me in an environment where I never questioned women's rights.

I still don't mostly.

Except for one thing in my life.

I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb here if I say that a lot of women have dealt with the issue of their sexuality in the workplace before. I have. My friends have. Being a woman is not easy. Entering the work world, unless you are in a decidedly female environment introduces you to it. Sometimes, I use it to my advantage. Not in the sense of sleeping my way to the top, but I know that sometimes some men are more willing to help me out because I'm pretty

But then something happened that shouldn't have.

A man, who I used to respect, and still do respect, did something he shouldn't have. He said stuff that I won't repeat. I was shocked. I was a little angry. I was mostly just surprised - partly that he felt that way and partly that he would express himself.

It was the situation. It was a social setting. Drinks were flowing. We were enjoying ourselves chatting. But, then he said some stupid things. I didn't know how to reply. So I didn't. I just let him talk. At the time, and looking back, I know it was a shitty moment for both of us. But we've all had them. We go for drinks with friends and colleagues. We say dumb things. It's the alcohol talking. And then the next day we wake up and think "shit. Did I say that?" And we hope that it's not the scandal of the day. We hope that the person we made the comment to gets over it, is maybe flattered by it (depending) and moves on.

This is how I took it. A booze induced slip of tongue that shouldn't have happened but did.

The problem? It was overheard. What's more of a problem - that now it's growing and lots of people know and lots of people want me to fight for my (feminist) rights.

My question - should I?

I have already spoken with him about it. I've already cleared the air. I was okay with it the next day. I'm not embarrassed to see him. I don't want to do anything about it. I want to accept that he made a mistake. I don't feel the need to "speak to someone about it". It's not that I don't think the various options available to me aren't great. I just feel that in this situation they are not necessary. It was not a huge deal.

I've closed the door. I'm not willing to re-open it.

But now there is a feminist backlash. There are the naysayers. The ones who are telling me that by not using every option (i.e. harrassment policies) out there I'm setting women and the feminist movement back. All the rights that my mom and my grandmothers and all feminists have been fighting for - they are all being destroyed because I won't do anything about this and I am willing to forgive him.

When I said no to laying any sort of charge I thought this was over. I really did. But I just found out (this week) that since I refuse to claim harrassment it is being claimed for me. The reasoning, because I am too "weak" to claim it for myself. There is literally nothing I can do. The charge is going ahead. I can't stop it. My only choice is to fight back and defend him and say none of this is true - but I don't want to do that either. It did happen. But, I want to say he made a mistake, apologized and I fogave him. How do I do that?

So here's my question - by refusing to claim harrassment was I hurting the "cause" of feminism?

And, an additional question. What now? Now that this is over my head and I am the unwilling victim how do I stop it?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Scared and Confused

Posted by Anonymous.

I am 28 years old and I have never had a loving relationship in my life. Perhaps that’s because until I was 25, my priorities were school and work.

My close friends describe me as educated, smart, successful, well spoken, funny, cute and very kind. Usually when guys meet me, the first thing they say is “you seem like every guy’s dream girl. How come you are single?”

4 years ago, the guy that I was in love with, broke it off because it turned out that he was cheating on his girlfriend with me for a year! I really had no idea! A coupld of other guys I met, never loved me or left me for someone else.

This year, I met someone at work and it seemed like it was instant connection. After about a month, I realized for some health reasons he was rather depressed. But I didn’t want to push him. My grand mother passed away and I decided to spend 2 weekends with my family rather than him. On a Sunday that we were supposed to meet for brunch, he didn’t show up. I called him for 12 hours and I was convinced that something had happened to him, until I saw him at work on Monday morning.

He apologized and said that he couldn’t return my calls because he was with someone else. I still shiver when I recall that conversation.

He said he didn’t think I would be so upset because I am a strong woman and I can have any man I want. Some of his words still buzz in my head: “she is a friend from before. I wasn’t planning on sleeping with her, it just happened.”

He apologized for a whole week and eventually we made up. With have been dating for more than 2 months after that incident, since.

He has introduced me to all his friends and even told his parents about me. This past weekend he met my parents.

I am still very curious about that weekend 2 months ago. He has a lady friend that lives close by and he doesn’t want to talk about her. I am pretty sure she is the woman he slept with.

Sometimes when he doesn’t pick up the phone, I can imagine him with her in bed and I start crying, despite the fact that he has bought me a promise ring, he says he loves me and he will never hurt me again.

I can see him sleeping with someone else if I get pregnant. I picture him saying “it just happened, I wasn’t planning on it”.

I care about him a lot. He is smart and sweet. He is very clean and even cooks for me. We have the same taste in food, clothes, furniture and movies. But I know he is a bit messed up.

I know when he was a child, he was molested. So was I, but I dealt with it. He tried to get married twice before, but was unsuccessful due to bad luck, mostly. He is emotionally unstable, I think.

I am beginning to think that I am emotionally unstable, too.

I am almost sure whoever I meet, will cheat on me eventually. I have always loved to become a mother. But now, I am afraid that the guy will leave me. What if he wants sex and I cannot give him that during pregnancy? What if I get fat and he doesn’t want me anymore?

Why do I hear on the news that 80% of men cheat?

I am pretty sure by now that I don’t deserve love and commitment. I am destined for heart break. I am very scared and confused.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Angry Mother, Bad Mother?

Posted by Anonymous.

I have become a bad mother. Not a “ha-ha bad mother” but one that you would certainly turn your shopping cart around to avoid. I rant and rave and go on and on and on about trivial crap. I swear. I stomp around. I am Angry. All. The. Time.

Well, not all the time. I am happy when I go to my class, or am creating art or going out to see live music. All of these things I am able to do more, now, than I have in a long time. But when I am NOT doing these things, I am an unbearable bitch. And since I have 3 children, I can only really do these things after they go to bed.

I feel like I was a good mother up until the birth of the third, and I just don’t have it in me to be kind to all of the people all of the time. My husband is more helpful than he has ever been, but still significantly lazy. (Not “doesn’t hold a job lazy”, but “takes a 3 hour nap 4 hours after waking up, and doing nothing if importance in the meantime” lazy).

You would think that with 3 kids I would have a handle on what I am doing, but I don’t. The older 2 are 11 and 10 and are going thru all the “tween” issues. But I haven’t found a “What to expect- elementary years” book. I don’t know what responsibilities they should and should not have and I don’t know what to expect on a cognitive level. I probably expect too much, but it is also met with eye rolling and sassy attitudes. I am lost.

I do know this with the 2 year old. The issue with him, is that he has an audience with the older ones, so all the behaviors that I should “just ignore, and will go away for lack of attention”, don’t go away, but get a laugh instead.

And I have no consistency in my parenting because I am so very outnumbered that things may or may not get disciplined, depending how much I have on my plate.

I know that others have it worse. I can recognize all the wonderful things I have in my life. I take anti-depressants and I exercise (not as much as I should, but they recognize my face at the gym). I love my part-time job. I don’t have cancer…there are so many blessings that I can see, but I don’t know how to stop being so ANGRY.

Does anyone have any similar experiences or advice??

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

In Paradisum

I could not blog light-heartedly this evening.

You may not know Rob, or his blog, How About Two. Or maybe you do know him, and have followed the stories of his wife's pregnancy with twins, and his efforts to prepare himself for fatherhood. But whether you already know him, or don't yet know him, you should know this: he's one of us, a parent who is embracing parenthood with his words. And he, and his wife, his family, have just suffered a devastating loss.

Please, go and visit. Send whatever love that you can. Offer warmth and hugs and good, strong wishes for the well-being of their hearts. Help them say goodbye to the angel that has flown, and say hello (joy-filled hellos! for she is an occasion for much joy!) for the living angel that remains in their arms.

And tell Rob thank you for sharing his story, and his grief. Say thank you, because his words remind you to be so, so grateful for the children that you carry in your arms. And because his story reminds you that true love lives always, eternally, in the heart.

Much love to you, Barron family. Much love, and thanks.

Doss Donovan Barron, in paradisum deducant te Angeli.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Secret Heart

Posted by Anonymous.

Secrets have a life of their own, don't they? I am careful to only share this secret in places where I know my family won't tread. Because, regardless of all the secrets I have told them... this isn't one of them.

I'm a birth mom. I had a little girl for whom my heart aches, daily. She is the product of a relationship I am still in, with someone I dearly love. Her timing, not so great. I was 5 months pregnant when I actually found out that I was carrying a little life.

I do realize this paints me as some ozark cave dweller with zero body consciousness. I was still having menstrual cycles and I had only gained 3 pounds. Needless to say, I was not the only one surprised.

We made the decision, swiftly, quickly, to place her for adoption. We were simply not ready to be parents. I will be honest, that while I don't mourn my decision...I long for her. We see her once a year, and her parents keep in good contact with us, they are giving, wonderful people. But, when I see her curls and hear her laugh, I want to wrap her in my arms and cry as I breathe in her smell. I want to trap it in my brain and take it home with me so I can pull it back up when I feel alone.

She asks her parents about me, she pulled her mother into her room one day, where a picture of her, biodad and I sits on her dresser. She held it in her sweet, little girl hands and asked "Is Christine ok?"

Oh, my heart. This was the right decision, but it doesn't mean I don't hurt. I can't even send out mother's day cards without feeling as though I am about to break. I don't know what I want from this... I just needed someone to know.