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Archive for May, 2011

If you hear a voice call out your name
Saying you can stop yourself from falling
And if he strikes you in his fear and shame
Well you can leave him to his ruin

If your dreams they wake you in the night
And your heart it is a pounding
If you cry out as you wake in your fright
And the wind it is a-howling

Maybe it’s time to find another place
Where nobody even knows your face
There is no need to be afraid
For it’s only freedom calling

If your tears begin to overflow
As you walk against the undertow
There is no need to be afraid
For it’s only freedom calling

If you’re sad ‘cause you’re all alone
And your hands they are a shaking
And your miracle cure’s not working anymore
And the flood bank’s close to breaking

Suddenly you’re on an open unknown road
Passing all the heavy, long wide loads
It is time to make your great escape
And you can hear your freedom calling

I want to dive into the sea of love
But my knees they are a quaking
I can see myself high up above
And there’s no time left for faking

I no longer need to understand
What it is to truly be a man
Only when I gave up on my masterplan
Did I then hear freedom calling

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One of the guys in the firehouse  has implied that I am a Man-Hater. In fact, he was nervous allowing me to be alone with his girlfriend (who herself is divorced) for a couple of glasses of wine for fear that I would turn her into a Man-Hater too. I am so saddened by this implication because, honestly, I truly do love men. Many of my best friends are of the male persuasion and I adore the  unique perspective they have on life.

I tried to explain to my friend that I do NOT hate all men in general – maybe just one. And I’m not even sure I can hate him – my ex has truly shown himself as an AssHat as a husband – but I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a firefighter and paramedic. It’s very hard to hate someone you admire. But in thinking about being accused of being a Man-Hater, it reminded me of one of my favorite movies, “Runaway Bride.” In the opening scenes of the movie, a cynical male columnist writes this about us women:

Today is a day of profound introspection. I have been accused of using this column to direct bitter diatribes at the opposite sex. This uncomfortable accusation has plunged me into at least a minute of serious reflection, from which I have emerged with the conclusion that, yes, I traffic in female stereotypes. But how can one blame me when every time I step out my front door, I meet fresh proof that the female archetypes are alive and well. The mother, the virgin, the whore, the crone. They’re elbowing you in the subway, stealing your cabs, and overwhelming you with perfume in elevators. But perhaps in fairness to the fairer sex, I do need to broaden my horizon and add some new goddesses to the pantheon. I would like to nominate for deity the cheerleader, the coed – and the man-eater, the last of which concerns me most today. In ancient Greece, this fearsome female was known as Erinys, the devouring death goddess. In India, she is Kali, who likes to devour her boyfriend Shiva’s entrails while her yoni devours his dot, dot, dot… never mind. In Indonesia, the bloody-jawed man-eater is called Ragma.  You notice these are all countries without cable. And in Hale, Maryland, where she helps run the family hardware store, she is known as Miss Maggie Carpenter…

How ironic that, since my ex has accused me of using this blog to display my bitterness and my friends think I have gone off men altogether, I am labeled a Man-Hater. I guess I am in good company, though, as you look at “Runaway Bride’s” researched list of mythological divinities that have paved the way for me. I am certainly, according to this list, not the first woman to be frustrated beyond belief by the actions of the opposite sex. And, as many of you reading this are probably female, you can understand the things that guys do that make us crazy…

But, as I said before, I really am NOT a Man-Hater. I would hope my guy friends could testify that I pride myself on being “just one of the guys.” I depend on my men to keep me grounded and to help me to let go of grudges, to not allow emotions to get in the way of reason, and to be a little selfish sometimes. My guys are the balance to the estrogen of my girlfriends and I need them to help me not take life so seriously, to laugh at the absurd, and to relax a little more. I rely on them to teach me about beer, baseball, fart humor, and the genius of Mel Brooks movies.

So, I am proclaiming here and now (are you listening, Chris?) I am NOT a Man-Hater! I will not be turning into Kali and devouring your entrails or going postal on your guyness. My guy friends are wonderfully unique creatures totally different from my girly self and I am truly blessed to have them to keep me straight and to keep me laughing!

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“I knew Robert’s failings – women always know. Society accuses us of wanting to reform a rake, but that is never our intention. We simply want to give them the love they have never known, no matter what it costs us. One night in the arms of such a man is worth all the nights of loneliness.”      ~”The Phantom of Pemberly” by Regina Jeffers

In the last 8 months, my ‘sister’ Stacy has helped me to identify a major character flaw in my nature. Hello, my name is Becky and I am an Incurable Nurterer. I can’t help but to try to give care and comfort to people – often at my own expense. Whatever the problem or challenge my loved ones face, I will feed it, buy it, solve it, listen to it, fix it, be patient with it, and embrace it – anything that will make my loved ones happy.

The way we stumbled upon this major revelation was actually kind of funny – in the “duh, Becky, you’re such a dumbass” way. In the fall, after my marriage had gone the way of dead roses and angry words, I began to date some other men. Needless to say, they were NOT good choices and, in fact, were downright disastrous. But one night, as the Girl Talk flowed with Stacy, over several bottles of wine, it occurred to us that I can’t help but fall for men that NEED me to take care of them. These are men that, despite everyone’s objections, I leap into relationships with so I can support them, care for them, love them in spite of the world. Some of them have been unloved, broken by bad relationships and heartsore. Some of them have been unlovable because of prickly natures. Some have been untouchable due to jaded personalities and anger issues. And some have been so badly damaged by life that they have lost their senses.

Now, just for clarification, I am NOT one of those girls who gets into relationships to FIX those men. I may be a handywoman when it comes to household projects and my garden but I do NOT want to do that in a relationship. I love these men for their flaws, their weaknesses, their need to be loved in an unloving world. I’m not trying to fix that or repair that – I just want to be the one to take care of them.

I don’t know WHY I have this pathological need to take care of someone. I had a perfectly happy childhood, well-cared for by parents who loved me and provided a loving and supportive home. I wasn’t neglected and therefore can’t be trying to right past wrongs. I actually think my need to take care of other people is based in how relatively happy and loving my upbringing was – I want to be the one to provide those wonderful feelings for someone else. My parents had a wonderful marriage – and my mom is definitely the caretaker in our family. She will fuss herself to death to make the perfect Christmas or the ideal birthday. She can’t help herself – and now I fear I’m walking in her path (yikes, no woman wants to ponder THAT sad reality!).

But, you know what? I’m not sure that being a Nurterer is necessarily a bad thing. I want to take care of people and to love them fiercely – it makes me feel good about the world in general. The trick for me, in the future, will be to give that love and nurture to people who want it, who will respect the giver, who will love me and take care of me in return. Wonder if there’s anyone out there like that…?

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Wake up, ninety miles an hour
Take the world’s fastest shower
Coffee black, microwave it
I’m at at my best caffeinated.
Out the door, pick up the pace
I’m here, I’m there, I’m everyplace!

That’s how it goes
A day in my life
I’m on my toes
From morning to night
Livin’ like this
Some might say it’s
So exhaustin’ frenzied, manic
Call me nuts but I like it frantic

I’m not built for relaxing
I get bored without some action.
One speed is all I know
Seize the day, yeah that’s my motto.
Maybe someday, I’ll slow down
Maybe someday, but for now –

That’s how it goes
A day in my life
I’m on my toes
From morning to night
Livin’ like this
Some might say it’s
So exhaustin’ frenzied, manic
Call me nuts but I like it frantic!

Things I haven’t done
Keep me on the run
But time sure does fly
When you’re having so much fun!

P.S. – the youtube video link features the newest incarnation of “Doctor Who” – check it out on BBC, it really is fantastic! and a great way to connect with your inner geek!

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I have come to a very sad decision: it is no longer fair of me to drag my friends and potential significant others into the craziness that I call Life. I can no longer expect the people that I care about to have to tolerate the crazy nonsense that seems to define my life.

To catch any of you newer readers up, my life has become a bad episode of the “Jerry Springer” show. My all-too-brief marriage ended last May because my husband was having a long-time affair with a woman who could herself be the very definition of Trailer Trash. He has now started life over with her and her two children – instant family, just add water. I am now left with a dog, a broken heart, and a shattered sense of self. In the span of 12 calendar months, I have lost my husband, my house, my dreams, and my self-esteem. I am bitter and just generally pissed off. The only thing that could have made this any worse was if we had children that would be subjected to the trauma of this whole ordeal. So, to sum up, my life now has all the elements of a bad country song or a mediocre reality show: divorce, adultery, a bitter ex-wife, a trashy mistress, and a loser ex-husband.

My friends and loved ones, bless them, have supported me through this whole ordeal. They have dried my tears and made me laugh, listened to me bitch incessantly and shared the lowest points of my life. They have offered advice, comfort, and kindness at a time when I might have thought that goodness no longer existed in my world.

And how have I repaid them? By dragging them all into this mess. He threatened to shoot one of my best friends because she dared to stand up for me. He actively hates and harasses another one because she dares to say publicly that his mistress is sleazy. I had to sneak out of my own house in order to go see another of my best friends because he never did like her. Friends and acquaintances were put smack dab into the middle of bad behavior and inappropriate moments with the husband and his mistress. I vented my spleen and showed my ass on numerous occasions to our mutual friends as I have struggled to work through the very negative emotions that accompanied this whole experience. I have had to watch my words and contain myself around my godkids who love my ex – I would hate to disillusion them so young. I have had to stand by and watch people idolize my ex and treat him as though he is some sort of small-town royalty – which makes me want to either hit somebody or vomit. I had to admit to my family that we had all been fooled by someone who betrayed us.

But the ultimate moment of clarity came yesterday morning, when I found myself having created a very awkward situation for the new man in my life. This poor guy had come over to my house with every expectation of a quiet day at my house – and instead found himself facing my ex who just “happened” to stop by to claim custody of the 2 cats that he got in the divorce. This kind soul, who has known my husband for more years than I’ve lived here, had to look my ex in the eye and act normal – like I hadn’t thrown him into the most awkward situation possible. AND then he had to watch me sob like a little girl because I had lost my kitties.

Needless to say, all of a sudden, it hit me that I have dragged many, MANY wonderful people into my Jerry Springer life! And the more I think about it, the worse I feel about what I have done to the people I love. How could I have subjected them to this horrible situation? What kind of a friend and human being am I to share this misery with good, kind people? So, moving forward, I have decided I just can’t expose my loved ones to the toxic minefield of my life. I can’t expect them to keep picking up the pieces. And I can’t expect someone to date me and entwine their life with mine – that would be a disservice of the worst kind. So, I am here and now posting the signs around me – Keep Away! Danger! Beware of Disaster!

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When’s the day you start again
And when the hell does you’ll get over it begin
I’m looking hard in the mirror but I don’t fit my skin
It’s too much to take, it’s too hard to break me
From the cell I’m in
Oh from this moment on
I’m changing the way I feel yeah
From this moment on , it’s time to get a real

Cause I still don’t know how to act
Don’t know what to say
Still wear the scars like it was yesterday
But you’re long gone and moved on
Cause you’re long gone
But I still don’t know where to start, still finding my way
Still talk about you like it was yesterday
But you’re long gone, and moved on

So how’d you pick the pieces up yeah
I’m barely used to sayin ‘me’ instead of ‘us’
The elephant in the room keeps scarin off the guests
It gets under my skin to see you with him
And it’s not me that you’re with

No I can’t keep thinking that you’re coming back, no
Cause I got no business knowing where you’re at, no
And it’s gonna be hard yeah
Cause I have to wanna heal, yeah
And its gonna be hard yeah
The way I feel that I have to get real

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Someone recently told me that all women watch “The Golden Girls” which got me thinking about the gender differences in television viewing. Why are some shows considered manly and some not? Why can’t a guy watch or enjoy programming targeted at women? And, more important, why are shows like “Sex and the City” and “The Golden Girls”  so wildly popular with women. And here is the theory that I have come up with: we as women can relate to and identify with those characters. We all have circles of friends that have the same characteristics and dynamics as those two sets of women. And we ourselves can see our own personalities in those 8 women.

“The Golden Girls” was a groundbreaker for the many female-based shows to follow. It didn’t show women in the ‘traditional’ roles of mothers, teachers, nurses, waitresses, etc. – these were retirees, grandmothers, single women enjoying their lives. It didn’t portray the female stereotypes of the empty-headed, meek and submissive woman waiting for a man to tell her what to do – it showed women who were strong, smart, outspoken, and independent. It didn’t focus only on the domestic issues that Mrs. Cleaver and Mrs. Brady battled. It didn’t shy away from real womens’ issues  – instead, we watched REAL women talk about sex, jealousy, getting old, getting dumped, and getting fat, along with many other important issues. This truly was the first sitcom about a group of women acting like actual women.

Women of my generation grew up with the “Girls” and found their way through their 20’s with “Sex.” We sat in those restaurants with Carrie and the girls and in the kitchen with Blanche and company – and laughed at their various escapades, cringed at the bad date stories, and pondered the great meanings of our relationships. The lessons we learned from Blanche, Sophia and company when we were young helped us to cope with a new world that looked like Carrie Bradshaw’s column.

Ask any woman and she will have to admit that her group of girlfriends, including herself, has all the elements of both of these sets of women. We all know the tramp (Blanche and Samantha), the naive one (Rose and Charlotte), the intellectual (Carrie and Dorothy) and the wise woman (Miranda and Sophia). BUT we also identify with those same characters, finding those characteristics in ourselves. No one woman falls so neatly into any category – we all have elements of ALL of those women. I think that’s why these shows are so popular – every woman in the world can identify with and relate to ALL of these types of women. And we have all experienced some of the same issues. We have all struggled with being women in a world designed for men. We all have sat around eating really fattening food and swapping stories about our love lives. We all have struggled with careers, the biological clocks, frustrating family members, awkward social situations, and unrealistic gender roles.

So in pondering this theory, I asked myself which character I most relate to. I’m too smart to be Rose, too jaded to be Charlotte, too kind to be Miranda, too reserved to be Sophia, too self-conscious to be Blanche. I’m not nearly  adventurous,  attractive, or sexually experienced as Blanche or Samantha. I’m too pragmatic (and pessimistic) to be Rose or Charlotte. I haven’t got the brains or personality needed to be Sophia or Miranda. I do come from a small town (Rose) and have a relatively idealized view of the world around me (Charlotte). I am a career woman (Miranda) who doesn’t have a need to be a mother (Samantha) and can speak my mind freely (Sophia).

Of these various women, though, I guess I most closely identify with Dorothy and Carrie. I have lived with a disappointing end to my marriage (Dorothy) and am seriously skeptical about men (Carrie). I love to write (Carrie) and to teach (Dorothy). I tend to be very cautious in my relationships and am hesitant to trust. I love my family dearly (Dorothy) but am content to be the lone wolf (Carrie). I consider myself too smart to fall into trouble but somehow end up there anyway. I desperately want to find a happy relationship (Carrie) but accept that I will have to play the hand dealt to me (Dorothy).

So, ladies, I invite you to think about your own lives – who do you want to be? What characteristics do you possess and who influenced you most growing up? Are you a Rose or a Samantha? A Miranda or a Blanche? Go on, let your inner “Golden Girl” out and take some time for “Sex” – and don’t forget to share those moments with your girlfriends!

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