Monday, January 30, 2012

Perception and Reality

I've been writing this post in my head for a few weeks.

I kept thinking, as I turned it around and around, that I would have some giant breakthrough and that touted "A-Ha!" moment that I've heard about.

I have actually had several of those, and I never stop being surprised at the constantly changing life I live.

Originally I was going to talk about the way that, when you step back from a situation - really step back - that you are then able to see things for what they actually are, instead of the colored versions that your heart and logic and experience and passions present up close. The way that something that you've believed to be true in the deepest, darkest part of your heart is something very different once it's stripped down and naked.

Maybe someone you loved isn't at all the person you believed them to be. Maybe someone you thought you were over has crept their way back into your thoughts. Maybe something you did that made sense at the time seems ridiculous in retrospect. Or someone you count as a friend, or a leader, is someone from whom you can learn a wholly different, and unwelcome, set of skills.

What I am finding, though, is that we have a way of manifesting a truth for ourselves that makes it so much easier to justify our actions and decisions. And the more reality rears its ugly head, the more adept we become and changing not only our perceptions, but absolute and total faith in something that suits our needs until our life is nothing but a carefully orchestrated facade. How many people know the real me? How many people really know you?

All of the above things have happened to me in recent weeks. People I thought I knew well, I do not know at all. It is alarming, the contrast between my perception and their reality.

Something I did that seemed perfectly logical - now - is an embarassment. (And no, I am not talking about my tattoo. I still love it.)

Sometimes skewed perceptions are necessary. They help us cope. They help us forgive ourselves, and others. But they are no longer harmless when they negatively affect how we treat the people around us. We forget those who really love us because we are fixated on the one we can't have...simply because we cannot have them. We fail to see our blessings because we focus on desires that aren't met. On some level, we even realize this. We then feel self-pity, self-loathing, and that translates into self-destruction that in the end hurts the very people we don't see.

I wanted to have a conclusion to this that would change people. Make them stop and think about their actions, their beliefs, their silly made-up realities. I don't think I've gotten there yet. What I do have is an understanding that I have been just as guilty as the people I have shaken my head at in frustration.

The only thing left to do, then, is to try to see things as they actually are, no matter how heinous the effect, in the hope that I will not miss the things that I've been missing in my delusional little life.

It is unfortunate that it's taken me 39 years to get to this point. And I'm not even sure I'm where I need to be. But for now at least, I can see the ugly truth.

And what surrounds it is beautiful. It's real, and it's mine. It's me.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Budding Sommelier

I have another resolution to add to the list.

I want to learn more about wine.

I rarely drank before the age of 28. My first husband claimed to be a recovering alcoholic (and also someone with moral values) so we just didn't drink. At all. Ever.

Once the marriage ended, I did the expected thing and became a club-goer. My girlfriends at the time were beer drinkers but I hadn't yet developed a taste for the stuff, so I started to experiment with drinking wine.

The only kinds I liked were sweet. White Zinfandel was my go-to. I also felt sophisticated when ordering it, and rather adored the image I believed I projected whilst carrying a wine glass around the club. I probably even adopted a little Thurston Howell accent. That would be vintage Fawn.

I have never been one to drink at home. I don't usually keep alcohol in the house at all. To wit - I bought a 12-pack of Bud Light for my football draft in August and finally used the last can in a French Dip crock pot roast about two weeks ago. So yeah, not much of a drinker. I have trained myself to enjoy beer occasionally, mostly because it's everywhere and, let's face it, guys dig a chick who will drink a cold one and watch a ball game. Also? Cheaper. WINNING!

Occasionally though, usually in a fancier setting, I will want to have a glass of wine, and I am clueless about what to order. In the liquor store, I am overwhelmed by the selection. I recently purchased a bottle for a friend's birthday and ended up having the cashier select it for me. Luckily, it was a hit, but I can't take any credit.

I'd like to remedy that. I'd like to order with confidence.

"Yes, I'll have the 1983 Blooo dee blah"

"A fine selection, madam."

On my own, I have branched out to other safe options - Pinot Grigio, Moscato, occasionally a Pinot Noir. I'm not sure what the best way is to learn...but I'm certainly willing to investigate. I'm even willing to bet I could find a friend or two willing to learn with me and, if I'm lucky, a knowledgeable friend who will point me in the right direction.

So tell me...what's your poison?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This ain't Patrick Swayze...


I think I have a ghost, you guys.

Or maybe ghosts, plural.

Some history...

My mom has always been a bit of thinker when it comes to the paranormal. When we were growing up, we would sometimes play "the psychic game." She would take 6 cards and on each one she would draw a symbol: a star, a circle, three wavy get the idea.
Then she would look at one card and try to project to us what she'd seen. We took turns saying out loud what had popped into our heads. OR sometimes, to mix it up, the person looking at the card would ONLY PROJECT TO THE PERSON NEXT TO THEM...and they'd project to the next person...and so on.

I wish I were kidding. I am not.

Mom believes in reincarnation...and in ghosts. Stop by her house any given Saturday night and I'll bet you dollars to donuts that she's watching Celebrity Ghost Stories...or A Haunting in Connecticut...or something in that vein.

So naturally, I tend to pooh all of that as baloney, the way most girls do when it comes to stuff their mom believes.

That said, I've had some...strange occurences throughout my life.

When I was around 2 and a half, as God above is my witness, I saw a cardboard cutout ape coming down the hall growling at me. I know how old I was because my sister Heather was in the crib next to me. I buried my face into my pillow and screamed until my mother came to get me. "It was just a nightmare," she said.

THIS WAS NO DREAM. 37ish years later, I can still describe exactly how it looked and sounded. I know what I saw.

When Farren was a baby, her father worked nights and came home very early in the morning. Usually she would sleep with me, and when he came in he would put her in her crib and then crash. One morning, just as the sun was coming up, I heard sounded like dozens of voices, and they were all saying, "Go check on Farren..." over and over again. I went to her crib and she was sound asleep, but her dad had forgotten to put the rail up. If she'd woken up, I have no doubt she would have fallen out. She was just starting to pull up onto things.

Creepy, no?

When I was last married, I was about to doze off and I was facing the wall next to the window. I saw a black shadowy...thing...slither down the wall and behind my dresser. I woke up husband up and made him turn on the lights to investigate, so sure was I that I'd seen something but of course, nothing was there.

I should probably dig into what that one might be, know what? I don't think I want to know.

So yeah. Last night I was in bed. It was around midnight. My door was cracked. I heard the kids in the hallway outside my door. I heard them whispering and I heard a giggle. I heard footsteps moving towards the kitchen. I called out asking who was up. I got up and went to the kitchen and...nothing. I went to the kids room and they were sound asleep.

I went back to bed and laid there about half an hour and it happened again. I went more quickly to the kids room to see if they were playing a trick on me and...

...they weren't. They were in the same position.

You guys. It was not my kids. So who was it?

It is 11:30 p.m. and I am about to try to get some sleep. If I should be found dead or possessed or something by morning (Our Father, who art in heaven...) then this will serve as the Blair Witch of Blogs.

Feel free to share your ghost stories.

It's not like I'm going to be sleeping tonight anyway.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Family Tradition

So recently, my new sister-in-law Sarah got the photos back from her wedding. Immediately, she sent me the following compilation:

What we have here is a comparison/contrast of photos taken with disposable cameras set out at the reception. Top left is me - looking stunning, as usual - then to the right, my brother Josh and his wife Kim. On the bottom is our sister, Angel.

I do not remember when or how this phenomenon started, but it isn't a new trend.

Won't you please enjoy my cleavage?

My best friend used to say I looked like a catfish.

I know there are more pictures like this out there, but try as I might, I cannot find them. Maybe I will create a new album on Facebook dedicated only to this.

One thing is certain. We come by it naturally.

Thanks, Mom.